Christmas is coming!

So a few years a go now (I don’t know where the time goes?) inspired by something I had seen on Pinterest my little craft obsession began…
I raided the sewing box my Aunty gave me as a wedding present, bought some felt from my local  The Range and found some cotton wool for stuffing and started making Felt Christmas decorations.
I started off making Gingerbread Men and wondered what else I could try my hand at, after a quick search I soon found lots of lovely ideas and added Christmas Puddings and Robins to the collection (there would be many more designs if I had more time, but perhaps these will come next year!).
I originally made just a few for our Christmas Tree and a couple for family and friends. Word soon got out and I found myself with requests form work colleagues other friends and so it went on from there.
I got myself a little more organised and this year have decided to try my hand at a few Christmas Craft Fairs. It was thanks to my friend Laura from Handsome Hound Bandanas who got me thinking about it. She lovingly hand makes dog bandanas and has been to several shows this year selling them, rather successfully, you might have seen her out and about over the summer.
After a little search on google we both found some local fairs and booked a few up, I will give you a few dates for your diary a little later on.


It got me thinking what else I could add to my range to fill up my stall a little bit and after a bit of searching I found some fun little cards. These are made out of Hama Beads with little letters attached, they are fun to make and actually quite therapeutic! Again I only have a couple of designs at the moment because that is all my time will allow, but do keep an eye out for other designs hopefully coming soon.

Christmas Pudding Christmas Card

father christmas christmas card

Here are some dates for your diaries –

I will be at the 26th November and 4th December fair with my Mum who is also a very crafty lady, she will be selling her Pebble Pictures, you can find her on Facebook by searching for @homemadepebblepictures and I will be with Laura from Handsome Hound Bandanas on the 3rd and 4th December. So come and find us and buy some of your Christmas Presents/Decorations locally this year! Failing that my lovely husband has set me up a shiny new shop in which you can purchase all of my goodies online. You can find them all in the shop section of my blog, on the top far right.

Hope to see you soon x

Fernworthy Reservoir

Living in Mid Devon there are plenty of easily accessible places for us to choose for Sunday walks. This weekend we chose to go and explore Fernworthy Reservoir just outside of Chagford.

I think we may have gone a weird and wonderful way to get there but we managed to navigate our way down the narrow country lanes and arrive in one piece. Once parked up we realised that we needed some change for the car park, we hadn’t thought that far ahead! Between us we managed to scrape together enough for two cars slapped the ticket on dashboard and made our way out of the car park.
We walked out to the right hand side of the car park and made our way along the path towards the huge dam, it is quite an impressive site. We walked down a pathway that took us to the bottom of it to have a better look.





Buck managed to find a stream to swim in and also found a stick, making him one happy woof.
There were two different walks you could choose from, the red walk and the blue (or green we couldn’t decide which colour it was) walk, we chose to walk the blue walk for no other reason than it was the way we were going. We carried along and were hoping to do a loop around the Reservoir. It’s a very picturesque place to visit with plenty of spots to stop for a picnic, had we been a bit more organised! Buck enjoyed chasing the stick we threw for him whilst walking along the stoney shore of the water. The reservoir was a little on the low side but we guessed it was due to the lack of rain we have had?
We carried on around the reservoir and found a meadow to throw the ball for Buck, he was having the best time until it was thrown for the last time, never to be found again, lost in the vast green patch! We distracted Buck and carried on along our way, we got to a point where we weren’t sure which way to go which ended in us stood scratching our heads for a few minutes, in the end we walked up a pathway which did end up taking us around a loop of the reservoir and back to the car park.
It was a really nice walk and one that was fairly easy going. I am sure we will be back one day, but next time with a picnic!

Watergate Bay Cornwall – My new love!

September marked our 5th Wedding Anniversary… yes where did the time go!? We thought it was worthy of a bigger celebration this year so we decided to go away for the weekend. On our list of places to visit was Watergate Bay in beautiful Cornwall, it is a place I have been wanting to visit for a long time but not had an excuse to book it up, this one seemed perfect! We booked a standard room with Dinner, B&B, it can be quite pricey but we were celebrating so thought we would treat ourselves.


The drive to Cornwall took us just over an hour and a half, I always forget how close to Cornwall we are, we got stuck in a little bit of traffic but weren’t in any real hurry so didn’t mind.
Watergate Bay is located on the North Coast of Cornwall just a few miles from Newquay and is the perfect location for surfers and walkers or sunbathers (however we do live in England!). To quote their website “It’s a place that’s about the balance in life – being active, getting among the elements, eating and drinking well, chilling out and getting cosy. Most of all, it’s about having a good time” and oh how very true this is! It perfectly sums up the hotel and it’s relaxed atmosphere, as soon as you walk in the door the deep purple carpets are scattered in sandy foot print marks from all the guests visiting the beach down below.
Upon arriving at the hotel we backed into a space in the small car park at the front of the hotel, as usual we were too early for check in so went to explore the area and grab some lunch, despite being early you are still able to use all of the facilities the hotel has to offer. We chose to eat in The Living Space for lunch, it’s a beautiful room with windows most of the way round, opening out to a stunning view of the beach below. It was busy because we’d arrived at peak lunch time but we managed to find a seat and admire the view. We both ordered BBQ Brisket Ciabatta’s with a side of fries (the fries were amazing!), Dave had a local cider and I went for a White Peach Bellini (well we were celebrating)! The food was delicious and we were soon feeling very stuffed!
Once we paid our bill we headed back outside to go and explore the area. Next to the Hotel is Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen restaurant and The Beach Hut, we didn’t have time to pop into these restaurants but that’s an excuse to go back! We made our way past these and up a small foot path that takes you on a cliff top walk, I think if we had walked far enough we could have ended up in Newquay but it was so windy we deiced against it, we did however walk a little way along and manage to get some lovely pictures.
We soon got fed up of being battered by the wind and made our way back to the hotel to check in – hoorah! We arrived at reception and were greeted by very friendly staff, the lady that helped us gave us our key cards and told us how to find our room, she assured us it was a lovely room and we hoped she wasn’t wrong! We swiped the key card and pushed open the door… we were not disappointed, the room was beautifully decorated AND we had a sea view, yay! The hotel is partnered with Joules so all of the staff uniform is Joules and features in the room too, my favourite was the navy striped mugs 😀 Our room was beautifully decorated in white washed furniture and blues and greys.
The wind that day was really strong and despite being inside with all the doors shut we could hear the ferociousness of the sea, we pulled back the net curtain and opened the door to sit out on the balcony and watch the waves crashing on the shore and admire our view – navy stripy mugs in hand full of tea, heaven!
You could never get bored of the view but after a little while we decided not to waste our afternoon so grabbed our swimming things and went down to make use of the 25m infinity pool. This again had the most amazing view of the sea and really is a must while you are there. After a few lengths we dried off and went in search of a drink, there are a few places to choose from but we decided to stay close to where we were and went into the Ocean Room, it was somewhere one of the staff told us to go when we checked in, again we were not disappointed, I know I keep going on about the view but it really is stunning. We ordered a beer and a cocktail and let the day drift on while watching the wind whip up the sea and the last of the surfers pack up for the day.
The afternoon soon drifted on and it was time for dinner. We had booked into Zacry’s one of the other restaurants on site, three course of deliciousness. They serve food that combines Cornish attitude with a classic brasserie, I believe they have also won several awards and I am not surprised the food was delicious.
The menu is very seasonal and changes daily so every day is different. We were seated by the window and wished a Happy Anniversary shortly followed by a complimentary glass of Prosecco each which was a lovely little touch.
We studied the menu for a little while, it was so hard to choose! In the end I went for a Crab Salad and Dave went for Parfait (I forget which kind) for starters and for mains we both pushed the boat out and had Lobster, something we have never tried before.
The starters were lovely and light and just the right amount, leaving room for our mains, our lobster arrived with green beans and triple cooked chips, I won’t lie I was a little afraid I wouldn’t like it but I was being brave and trying new things. It all came out looking lovely and we both tucked in neither of us saying much just enjoying our food.
It was soon time to move on to pudding, my favourite. I went for the Ice Cream and Sorbet and Dave went for the ‘alternative’ Cheesecake, both were amazing, my favourite being Strawberry Prosecco Sorbet!!! Absolute heaven.
We were both absolutely stuffed once we had finished. The food was amazing and I can’t wait to go back again to try something different. The staff were brilliant too.
We left the restaurant and went across to The Living Space, we had a note pushed under our door after we had been swimming to say that a wedding was at the hotel that day and they had arranged to have a fireworks display that we could all watch from the hotel. This was amazing, however the weather was horrendous with driving, sideways rain! Despite this the fireworks were still to go ahead. They were brilliant and a lovely extra touch, especially as we were celebrating our wedding too.
The next morning we woke to the sound of loud wind outside and crashing waves, the curtains were thick blackout curtains so I expected to pull them back to reveal awful weather, but to our surprise the sun was shining and it had turned out to be a lovely morning!
We went down to enjoy our breakfast, which again was amazing, waffles with all the trimmings, a real treat, before going out to walk the beach and heading home (chores were calling us – boo).
We walked up the beach, admiring the crazy Kite Surfers and discovering lots of hidden caves in the cliffs, it’s a lovely beach and seems to get very busy, they even have beach polo once a year which I bet would be good fun to watch.
After we’d walked the beach and woken ourselves up we went back up to our room to grab our bags and check out, albeit with a heavy heart. I absolutely loved our stay here and really cannot recommend it enough if you are stuck for a mini break idea, the staff really cannot do enough for you and I CANNOT wait to come back.
See you soon Watergate Bay x

Emma Bridgewater Tour – Stoke-on-Trent

If you read my Edinburgh post you will have seen that we were making a stop off at Stoke On Trent on our way home. This was for two reasons, firstly so we didn’t have to drive over eight hours in one go to get home and secondly (and most importantly) it was to make a stop a the Emma Bridgewater Factory! As you can imagine Dave was delighted at the idea! I however was very excited, if any of you know me well enough you will know I have an unhealthy obsession with pretty mugs so the trip was something I was very excited about.
We arrived in Stoke On Trent just before the rush hour traffic, good timing on our part and rocked up to our Premier Inn which we managed to find with ease.
We checked in and chucked our bags in our room, it seemed that we were staying in the hottest hotel ever, it was really hot outside and I assume the hotel was really well insulated, meaning we were melting! Rather than sweating it out in the sauna of our room we had quick showers and headed out the door for dinner. We ended up in the Intu Potteries Shopping Centre, there were several restaurants located upstairs on the terrace. We chose to eat in Pizza Express, it was nothing to shout about but we did have a 40% off voucher so it didn’t really matter, after a week of eating out we were craving a home cooked meal!
After a rather warm nights sleep we woke up and got ready to leave for the Emma Bridgewater Factory, it was a few minutes up the road and we were booked on the 10.00am tour. I booked our tickets online for £2.50, if you spend over £12.95 (easily done) you can redeem your voucher against your purchase, even better!
We were one of the first to arrive, whilst waiting for the others in our party to arrive we had a little look around the Seconds Store, but not too closely, I wanted to save it for the end.

Once our party had grown a little more in size we were asked to put on our tour lanyards and went on our way. The tour was to last about an hour, we were told we were aloud to take photos but would be told when we couldn’t as we would be taken to a room where staff were working on the new Christmas range which hadn’t been released yet. We went outside and walked down the long, historic factory driveway and taken through a side door.


From here I don’t really remember all the processes so I can’t go into too much detail (you’ll just have to do the tour yourself 🙂 ), I did however take a lot of pictures so maybe that might help!
We were taken into the first part of the factory where they make all of the moulds, the moulds don’t last too long so new ones are needed, they are made using blocks which I believe are reused to make new moulds. From here the moulds are filled to make which ever piece is being made and so it goes on from here. 35,000 pieces of pottery are made each week if I remember rightly (maybe don’t quote me on that) so you can imagine how big the factory is and how it needs to be run smoothly.




We moved on into another part of the factory where they make the different types of plates and cake stands etc. There is a man in there who is the only one in the factory who knows how to do this job. He also has a machine called Betsy that he uses to shape the plates, the machine is so old they no longer make them. She is starting to break down every now and the and parts are becoming very hard to come by!


I have always thought Emma Bridgewater Pottery to be on the pricey side but having seen how much love and attention goes into making each piece I can now understand why. There are a team of people who’s job is to solely make stamps for different designs, we were told that the spotty pieces, that have made the brand so famous, are the worst because they need to cut a perfect circle for each of the stamps, which are all done by hand, it’s amazing to watch! We weren’t aloud to take photos in this part so I can’t show you how amazing it was I’m afraid.

We carried on through the factory, getting towards the end of the tour. Our tour guide was very informative, she was training another lady to be a tour guide too who was also very good, it was her first week but she seemed very clued up, I’d imagine it’s hard to memorise all the facts, figures and processes but she was doing a great job. We were soon at the end of the tour and left to our own devices. The factory has two shops, one for firsts and one for seconds, we had a good look around the firsts shop and then had a cup of tea and cake. The coffee shop was full of lovely pieces and even had an Emma Bridgewater Aga!



After we filled ourselves with tea we made our way to the seconds shop to fill our basket! You can’t go to the Emma Bridgewater factory and leave without a basket full of goodies! It was so hard to choose what to buy without maxing ourselves out, there was so much to choose from! Eventually we decided on what we wanted and I left smiling and Dave left quivering at our bank balance.





We had a brilliant time on the tour and even Dave, who wasn’t massively looking forward to it, said it was very interesting and enjoyed it too.  We left back down the long driveway and carefully stored our purchases in the car before our trip back home to Devon.

All that’s left for me to say is – Thanks for having us Emma Bridgewater!



Enchanting Edinburgh

A week off continued…
The next part of our trip saw us heading up to Scotland. I have never been that far North before so was very much looking forward to it.
We checked out of our hotel, loaded ourselves up like pack mules we went out to load up the car, belts buckled and sat nav set we headed off waving good bye to the lovely Daffodil Hotel (we will be back one day I’m sure).
The drive out of the Lake District is something to be marveled at with it’s picturesque scenery, rolling hills and stone walls, not to mention the grey scale tones the sheep came in!
It took us just under three hours to get to Edinburgh, we weren’t in any great hurry, taking in all the scenery as we went. Arriving in Edinburgh the fun soon began, we were staying in the Ibis Styles in St Andrews Square, the problem I had when finding a hotel to stay in when planning our trip was finding one that came with parking, so our first job was to find a car park that was near to where we were staying! It turned out to be fairly easy and I don’t remember getting lost at this point, however trying to navigate your way out of the car park on foot was a nightmare, we had to go through a John Lewis…could we find the exit??!! I wanted to throw down my bags and shout get me out of here! Eventually we saw the sun shining through a door way and managed to get out before we became a piece of the furniture in the store. Once we got out side to day light – phew- we made our way to our hotel to drop off our luggage, good old Google Maps was our friend for the next few days. We managed to find our hotel fairly easily but the long way round, anyway we climbed the steps with me trailing behind in a grump. The lady at reception was nice and friendly and answered all of my questions with ease and informed us that we had been upgraded to a superior room, hoorah! Despite being early for check in (again) we were given our keys and made our way up to the top floor of the hotel. The superior-ness of our hotel room meant that it came with a balcony which was great, the first day it was clear weather and we had a fantastic view of the City, Dave asked me to remind him to take a photo before we left, however this was not to be as the weather soon turned and we were left with this wonderful view! Bad times 🙁
We dropped off our bags and went out to explore a city that was new to me. We picked a good location to stay, it was fairly easy walking distance to get to everything we wanted to see.
Right at the bottom of the road was a very gothic looking piece of architecture called the Scott Monument, it was almost eerie looking standing tall at the bottom of the road, we later learnt that it is a Victorian Gothic monument to Scottish author Sir Walter Scott and stands at 60 meters tall, so as you can imagine it’s quite imposing… so now you know too 😉

We found ourselves making our way up to the famous Edinburgh Castle, we had thought that we might not go in but soon changed our minds once stood outside. There wasn’t a queue to get in so we made our way through the entrance, there were lots of work men setting up for the Edinburgh Tattoo it looked like a huge task but a great event to see I bet. We walked in through the brick entrance and went in search of the ticket office, after being served by a very friendly lady we made our way through the ticket barrier and started our tour of the castle. We spent a good few hours looking in all the different rooms they had and learnt a lot along our way. It was bustling with tourists as you would expect but worth a visit, Dave even found his own Tower!





Once we had finished at the Castle we wandered back to our hotel to get changed and search out somewhere nice for dinner. Where we were staying in St Andrews Square was very handy for places to eat as it backed on to Rose Street and George Street, both good streets for restaurants and bars. We left the hotel and went into All Bar One for a drink, after here we came across an American Restaurant called The Filling Station at this point we were starving, the menu looked like it had plenty we would both like so we made our way in and settled into a booth in the window.
We both had two courses and left feeling stuffed! The highlight for me was warm dough pretzels with sea salt and garlic butter, scrum! After a couple more drinks we made our way back to our hotel with full bellies and heavy eyes from our eventful day.
The next morning we woke up and went down for breakfast, it was a little different to what we were expecting, being that it wasn’t a cooked breakfast – cue a grumbling Dave, it was continental style but still a huge amount to choose from. Once refueled we made our way out of the hotel to further explore Edinburgh. We didn’t really have any plans so just walked and walked… and walked everywhere! The weather had turned a bit miserable so we made plenty of coffee and beer stops. I think Edinburgh is a place best discovered by foot, there are so many little streets steeped in history and hidden away.





 We walked along the Royal Mile and found a Bakery that was highly recommend by a good friend, called Mimi’s Bakehouse, it would have been rude not to try it so we popped in and came out with boxes of lovely treats, including a delicious Snickers Chocolate Brownie! It was the best thing I had eaten in a long time, thanks for the recommendation Helena!
After our brief pit stop we carried on along the Royal Mile and soon found ourselves outside some strange looking buildings, after a quick search for a sign we discovered they were the Parliament Buildings, they were certainly very different!
Unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures of them so you will have to go and visit for yourself. Opposite this was Holyrood Palace which is the official residence of the Queen in Scotland, it’s a really beautiful building in which the Queen spends one week at in the summer, where she carries out official engagements and ceremonies. If you keep walking along here you come to the bottom of a very steep hill in which you can climb up to Arthurs Seat, this was what we were going to do the following day so we turned around and went back in search of somewhere to rest of feet for a little while.
In the evening we had arranged to meet with a good friend who lives in Glasgow, he caught the train in so we met him from the station and went in search of somewhere to eat for dinner. He took us to an area called The Grass Market, we went to a pub and had a little catch up then walked on to find somewhere nice to eat, we ended up in a little Mexican called Mariachi which was lovely and a good choice by Stu, I would highly recommend! We stuffed our faces with Nachos and Burritos and left in search of another bar for a drink before Stu had to catch the train home. We walked back in the direction of our hotel and found a little bar called The Boozy Cow unfortunately for the boys it was mostly a cocktail bar, I was in my element and the boys embraced it, going for manly Irn Bru Cocktails… why would you not drink Irn Bru when in Scotland!
Soon it was time for Stu to catch his train so we walked back to the station with him, with the promise of catching up soon. We wandered back to our hotel and packed up our bags in preparation for check out the next morning.
In the morning we went down for our last breakfast and checked out soon after. We were heading back down South and stopping off in Stoke on Trent to break up the trip home… I will tell you why we were staying here in my next post! However before this we made a trip up to Arthur’s Seat, normally this (I imagine) would be a beautiful walk but because of the weather we could barely see 10ft in front of us because of thick fog, we sweated our way up the steep hill to see yet more fog, then made our way back down feeling quite disappointed.
We really enjoyed Edinburgh and will definitely add it on our places to go back and visit, perhaps we will fly next time though!
I would highly recommend it for any one that likes exploring historic cities and walking, it is also very good for food and drink lovers! Thanks for having us Scotland you were a pleasure, despite the weather!

Glorious Grasmere – Lake District

It’s getting to that time of year where the nights start drawing in and there is a little more chill in the air, having not taken a single week off from work so far this year we decided it was good time for a little R&R before winter properly rolls in.
We have been fortunate enough to visit several different countries around the world on our annual holidays but this year we thought we would try something a little different and give a ‘staycation’ a go, visiting some of the places we have been meaning to go to in our own country. This blog post will therefore be written over several posts rather than one mammoth post, I am one for rambling on so don’t want to bore you!!

Walking out of the office with a little spring in our step on Friday afternoon we went home to pack up our bags for a week of exploring. We loaded up the car at an ungodly hour on Sunday morning in order to hit the road before the usual build up of motorway traffic. For the first part of our trip we were headed for the Lake District. I had high hopes for this part of our trip, having done my research and followed lots of Lake District accounts on Instagram I was hopeful of a few rays of sunshine, however for anyone who has been to The Lakes before you will know this is very much wishful thinking!
We arrived in good time and didn’t meet a single traffic jam (well worth the 4am wake up call!), we turned off the Motorway and made our way through the Lake District National Park. As we navigated our way through we ended up passing by Lake Windermere so made our first stop of the day. We found a car park towards the end of the town, put our coins in the park car meter and off we went. Windermere was a nice little town full of lots of little gift shops selling Kendal Mint Cake and quaint little coffee shops, we wandered up the streets to see what it had to offer. After making our way through the tourists we went back down to the lake, there were many people queued up for the different types of boat tours around the lake, we decided against it but I am sure they would have offered some fantastic views



As we made our way back to the car we passed many tourists fascinated by the local swans and geese, they were trying to feed them and got way too close for my liking. We got back to the car and decided to make our way to our hotel to see if they would let us check in early.

The short drive to our hotel was a very picturesque one (that word maybe used a lot in this post, the lake district really is very pretty) we passed another lake which I have forgotten the name of but it was full of families giving water sports a go in the little bit of sunshine that had made an appearance. Eventually we made it to our Hotel; The Daffodil Hotel in Grasmere, situated right next to the lake Grasmere.



We made our way into the beautiful old building which was first built in 1855, it has obviously since had a vast amount changed but it is still very impressive inside. We paid a little extra to have a room with a valley view (well we weren’t going to drive all that way to look at a road!) we were quite impressed with it and glad we paid the extra.



We couldn’t check in early so we made our way back out and decided to go for a wander about Grasmere. It was a short walk down the main road to reach the little village which was bustling with more tourists and a few locals.  After stopping off and looking in a few shop windows we came across a nice little cafe called The Grasmere Tea Rooms where we stopped for lunch. We managed to find a table outside and watched as the hustle and bustle of the lively village went on.


After lunch we carried on through the village in search of the famous Grasmere Gingerbread shop, we soon found it as it was the only shop to have a huge queue out of the door. It was only a tiny little shop but is world famous for it’s gingerbread which was first made in the Victorian era of 1854. It was not quite what I was expecting but was devoured by myself and friends when we got back home. Time soon went by and we made our way back to check into our hotel. We were met by the friendly staff at reception and told we still had to wait a few more minutes but that was fine by us as we made good use of the bar, make mine a Strawberry Daiquiri!29146950704_6ee2c9f4d8_z

With alcohol warming our bellies it was finally time to check in. We collected our key cards and made our way up to the second floor, our room was lovely with a bed so big you could probably fit four in! We unpacked a few things and quickly made our way down to the spa. The spa had only just been renovated in the last week so it was lovely to be able to use the brand new facilities it had to offer. It came with the usual a pool, steam and sauna rooms and then three different type water features to massage your back, or so that was the theory, me being on the shorter side just felt like I got battered by water, however we both left feeling a lot better for it.


We returned to our room with our skin feeling softer and our shoulders a little more relaxed, time to get ready for dinner. There were two rooms you could eat in, the Lounge or the Dining room, we chose to eat in the Dining room the first night. It was a relaxed atmosphere with plenty to choose from on the menu, I went for the Steak and Dave went for Pork Belly, which we both really enjoyed, we had no room for pudding after cocktails and beer. We retired to our room with full bellies and feeling sleepy after our long drive.

The next morning we got up and headed down for yet more food, Breakfast! There was so much to choose from with the traditional fry up and also continental. Once we had eaten a bit of everything and Dave going back for seconds we made our way out for the day, deciding to just get in the car and explore the area. We visited Keswick first which was a little town not far up the road, after Keswick we weren’t sure what to do so got back in the car and just drove for a little while, we had no clue where we were going but that was part of the fun! We visited several little places and found a few lakes and plenty of sheep, the views were amazing despite the weather, Dave said he preferred it with the the low clouds, it made it more mystical I suppose!





We found our way up some steep slopes and narrow roads but eventually made it back to our hotel, just in time for our afternoon tea. We’d booked it as a bit of a treat and wow what a treat it was! It was so much that we couldn’t eat it all and ended up taking it away with us in boxes!


It came with everything you could wish of an afternoon tea and more! We left with sugar whizzing around our blood stream and went to walk it off around Lake Grasmere. The lake was very pretty and almost beach like in some spots, we felt like odd ones out having not packed any walking boots (Dave doesn’t even own a pair) but we managed, just about, in our trainers, we got rained on a little bit but it didn’t dampen our spirits, we were too busy appreciating the view.

Our hotel from across the lake –



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We strolled back to our hotel and spent the rest of the evening, relaxing and visiting the spa again. When we got back to our room we decided against going back out for dinner and did something I’ve never done before… ordered room service! What a treat!


We ate pizza, drank wine and watched TV, you might call us boring farts but we loved it 🙂

After another good snooze we woke and went down for breakfast, packed up our bags and made our way on to Scotland. We had a lovely time at the Daffodil Hotel they really couldn’t do enough for you. I would highly recommend staying there if you ever visit the area and don’t forget to book a room with a view and treat yourself to afternoon tea… you won’t regret it I promise!


Get out there and cycle!

This year saw me purchasing a shiny (or rather matt grey) new bicycle.
I had a gym membership at the University which I really enjoyed, however it became increasingly busy and I became increasingly frustrated at the lack of equipment free to use at peak times. Rather than waste my money on a membership that I had started to fall out of love with I decided to spend my money elsewhere and invest in a new bike. I went for the Whyte Fairfield in matt grey/black with a bit of pink detailing and was not disappointed, it’s lightweight, step through frame makes it easy to navigate about and an ideal choice for the hilly area I live in. I purchased it from the lovely people at The Bike Shed – I would highly recommend them if you have no clue what you or looking for or even if you do, they provide a fab, highly knowledgable service and nothing was too much trouble, especially when I rocked up near closing time several times!

Most weeks my cousin Rachel and I take our bikes for a spin around the english countryside to burn off some steam. Living in hilly Mid Devon it’s a job to find a ride that is fairly flat, leaving us with no choice but to pedal ourselves around the steep hills surrounding our little village. It has it’s advantages though, the views when you get to the top of the hills are something to be desired and very much appreciated, all the while trying to catch our breath through burning lungs! We are very much rewarded for our hard work.



Cycling is a form of exercise that I am thoroughly enjoying this summer, rather than being copped up in a sweaty, hot gym, I only wish I had more time to do it.
We are fortune enough to live in Devon where cycles paths and routes are fairly accessible; I hope to venture along the Tarka Trail before the Summer is up and also catch the train into Exeter to cycle from St Davids to Exmouth on The Exe Estuary Trail (of course visiting a few watering holes along the way… although I do not condone drinking and cycling ;-)) Also the cycle to Powderham from the Quay is a pretty one too, they have now finished the tarmac track making it a lot more accessible.
I hope you can find time to get out on your bikes with what is left of our summer, I think both Rachel and I find it really helps to clear the mind and there’s nothing like the wind in your hair on a summers eve.



Chocolate Chip Banana Cake Recipe

This is one of my favourite go to recipes and one that my sister in law gave me a few years ago, I make it so much I now know the recipe off by heart.  If you are anything like us we always have a couple of spotty brown bananas left over at the end of the week, these are the perfect ingredients for this simple banana cake recipe.

To make this lovely moist *shudder at that word* spongy cake, you will need to following few ingredients –

8oz Self Raising Flour

6oz Sugar

4oz Butter

2 Eggs

2  Ripe Bananas

*Chocolate Chips and Vanilla Essence optional


First of all put the butter and sugar in a bowl and cream it by giving it a good old mix until the sugar and butter are creamed and light and fluffy.


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Next you need to crack the eggs into the mixture, one by one, giving the mixture a good stir each time. If it looks like it’s starting to curdle add a little bit of flour and mix it in.




Next you need to peel the bananas, break them up into a little bowl and mush them with a fork until they look like the picture below

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Add the mushed bananas to the butter, sugar and egg mixture. At this stage you can add anything else you’d like, I normally add 50 grams of milk chocolate chips but you can add anything you like really, fudge pieces are also one of my faves!


I also add a few drops of vanilla essence too


Mix it all together so its all combined


Finally add the flour and stir until it’s all mixed in



Line a bread tin with some grease proof paper and add the mixture to the tin



Pop in the oven on the middle shelf at 180 degrees (Gas Mark 4) for 40 minutes, then turn down to 150 degrees (Gas Mark 2) for a further 30 mins.

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Once the time is up remove from the oven and place on a wire cooling rack… after it’s cooled down pop the kettle on and enjoy with a nice cup of tea


Wonderful West Bay – Dorset

This year my parents bought themselves a new (nearly new) camper van so they could go exploring in a bit of luxury. When my Mum mentioned they were going to West Bay I jumped at the chance. As some of you may know West Bay is home of the ITV series Broadchurch and somewhere I have wanted to visit for a little while. Mum and Dad had already chosen and booked up a camp site so with a phone call to the site we were all booked in too. We packed up our car the night before and left for our trip after we finished work on the Friday, Dorset is only an hour up the road from us so we were there by 6.30pm. Mum and Dad had chosen to stay at the West Bay Parkdean Holiday park, it was a little different to how we had all expected it to be, a lot of the static caravans were owned and there weren’t many people camping it was more caravans, camper vans and static caravans. The site catered for all ages but we got the feeling it was aimed more at the older generation. Anyway we didn’t let this bother us too much and once we were directed to our pitch began setting up for the weekend.


When we finished pitching up and making our tent a home from home we wandered out of the camp site in search of some fish and chips. We found a place with a queue out of the door and thought they must be a good choice! We had to wait a little while because they were so busy, once we had our chip boxes in hand we walked a short distance down to the seafront. We each sat on a bench and tried our best to keep the seaguls away from our food! They weren’t the best fish and chips but they filled our hungry bellies. We threw away our wrappers and empty cans of fizz and walked along the sea front.



There were a lot of people coming and going, they were setting up for a boat race the next day and all camped along the sea front.


After we had seen enough we strolled back up to the camp site, all the while trying to find Pokemon along they way (yes we are ten years old)! Once back at the camp site we piled back into my parents camper and watched the sun go down.

We woke on Saturday to a mixture of weather, dark black clouds one side and bright blue sky the other side of us. After a sausage sandwich breakfast we packed up a bag and went off to see what West Bay and Bridport had to offer, the night before we had seen a big cliff with the pathway to the top so that was where we were going to start. Before we got to it we found a little emporium full of lots of little nic nacs and different shops, we had a little look round and then carried on our way.

We walked to the beach and climbed the big steep cliff side, it was hard work but so worth it when we got to the top, there was a golf course and fields of wild flowers to the left and the sea to our right.

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We carried on along the pathway, hoping to get to Burton Bradstock beach, the path started to descend so we thought we had reached our destination, however the sign post told us we had only walked a mile and a quarter so we gave up and went down to the beach. We could have been anywhere in the world the weather was so nice.



We sat by the sea and rested our shaky legs from our little trek. We watched the waves lap at the shore, while Dad searched for anything prehistoric in the pebbles we sat on! We got caught out in the weather and decided it was time to apply some sun cream, turns out we had left it too late and were already quite burnt, we got caught out in the sea breeze, we were very cross with ourselves! Ouchy! After we creamed ourselves up we started to make our way back but down the beach this time. It was a pebble beach but they were quite tiny so it was quite hard to keep your footing, as we walked along we passed the cliffs that are famous from the TV Series Broadchurch.



When we got back to West Bay, we sat and ate our lunch and then carried on exploring, stopping for a pint of cool cider in a pub beer garden. In the car park opposite were lots of trucks containing TV filming equipment and rumors of the third series of Broadchurch being filmed. We made our way from here back up to the camp site, passing by an ice cream shop that sold over 30 different flavours of ice cream, we couldn’t walk past without popping in, I went for Banoffee, Dave went for Mint Choc Chip, Mum Berries and Cream and Dad Honeycomb. I didn’t have time to take a picture of them, for fear of them melting so you will just have to take my word for it that they were delicious! We got back to our camp site and went our separate ways for an hour or so. Dave and I purchased a LayBag this week, so we spent some of the afternoon lounging on this!

It was quite funny watching Dave and my Dad trying to inflate it but I think they got the hang of it in the end, the guy in the video definitely makes it look very easy!

After a little lounging we went down to watch the power boats, they were so loud we could hear them from the camp site. We walked down to the beach and saw about five minutes before it finished! It was still good fun to watch, what we saw of it anyway!

We soon got hungry and walked back up the hill to camp, Dave and I cooked up a feat of Sausages with pasta sauce and salad, Mum and Dad joined us with their tea and we sat and played cards until the sun went down.

We had to check out by 10am so we were up nice and early the next day and packed up our little home from home, we said good bye to my parents (they were staying until Monday) and made our way home.

We enjoyed our stay in West Bay, there wasn’t a huge amount to do there which is why we left early Sunday morning, but what it did have to offer was lovely and very picturesque, I am sure we will be back one day!


Afternoon Tea – Exeter Golf & Country Club

My lovely friend Harriet (who also writes a fab blog – Harriet Loves – go and check her out) decided we all deserved a little Sunday treat and were well overdue a proper catch up with the girls. The choice of venue was the Exeter Golf and Country Club where she works because she had tried and tested some of it’s delights and thought we would all love it too.


We were booked in for 2.30pm and all met outside the Georgian Manor Building just before. There were 7 of us in total, we were just missing Leanne who was off having fun at a Hen Do, you were missed Lea. We were seated by a window looking out on to the golf course and it just so happened that there was a pianist booked for the afternoon too, which was a nice added touch.

Soon after we sat down we were asked what we would like to drink, which of course was obvious for an afternoon tea… pots of tea silly, we were all driving so had to pass on the Prosecco option! Once the tea was set out on the table, soon came the afternoon treats, oh were we spoilt when it arrived, there was even a dairy free one for Bekie too.


After we had finished admiring the sweet and savoury delights in front of us we tucked in, starting with sandwiches of course, the little rectangle sarnies were Ham and Mustard, Cheese and Pickle and Salmon.


Next up were the bite size cake pieces, these were a mixture of Brownies, Cheesecake, Carrot Cake and miniature Victoria Sponges. Harriet had asked specially for the brownies to be included in our selection of treats, assuring us they were the best she had ever tasted and we weren’t let down, they were delicious! Carrot cake is not my favourite normally but that was scrumptious too.


Finally we came to the cream tea on the top… I’m ashamed to say that I couldn’t eat mine, it was just too much for me, especially after the delicious but rich brownie. However they looked like lovely scones, nice and tall and just the right amount of cream and jam.


After we had finished our afternoon treats we realised that we were the last in the building and they would soon be finishing up for the day at the golf club. All of us had happily chatted the afternoon away without giving much thought to the time. We settled our bill, a very reasonable £10.50 per person and made our way out to our cars with talk of when our next catch up would be.


I thoroughly enjoyed our afternoon with my lovely ladies and very much enjoyed our afternoon tea. I would highly recommend it for a bit of a treat, you can also go all out and replace your tea/coffee for Prosecco, it makes it a bit more expensive at £14.50 each or £25 for two but nice for an afternoon relaxing with your favourite people.

Go on treat yourself!