Monday, September 30, 2019

Camping Day 1

For the past few years we've had a camping trip over the summer with my mum and stepdad, my aunt, uncle and cousins. It's always a lot of fun - really relaxing and we always have a lot to talk about. We take it in turns to cook and last year we took our barbecue which doubles as a fire pit. I love a campfire, it's so soothing and relaxing.

This year we booked a site near Bicester in Oxfordshire because it's only a couple of hours away from each of us. Lee and I had stayed at home the night before, as I said, so we packed up the camping things about left around 10am in the morning. We got to Bicester around 12.30. Everyone else was already there so we all set up our tents. My mother's tent is really similar to ours, just slightly fancier, but my aunt's is huge. It has a big awning too which we all ended up sitting under in order to be in the shade, because it was a really hot weekend.

We didn't do much for the day. My mum had made chicken and vegetarian fajitas (the Quorn fajita strips, which are so good, I recommend them) for tea with wraps, guacamole, sour cream, and so on. We lit the fire just as the sun was setting. It wasn't actually that cold, but the fire was so cosy. I had taken my new crochet blanket with me for the campfire, which was cosy too.

We stayed at Glebe Leisure near Bicester. It was a nice quiet site, it had two toilet blocks which were close by to the tents, they were both a bit shabby but okay. The pitches were quite small and more geared to caravans really, but we put our windbreaker up which gave us a bit more privacy. I'm not sure I would go back, but it was perfectly fine for us and what we needed.

Here's my photos:

Our car was absolutely full to the rafters!

This is our lovely tent, it's a five berth tent so it's pretty big. I love it because it's so tall so I can stand up easily, and it's got loads of room in it for stuff. We bought the awning poles separately and they're really good in nice weather to extend the living space a bit

I recently got a new camping chair, it's really big and much better for me. When I'm sitting in it though my feet don't touch the ground! So I bought a little stool for my feet, it's really cute and it folds up into a handy pocket. Here's my gorgeous cousin Peter demonstrating that it would fit in his pocket

As it had been Lee's birthday I had arranged for someone local to me to make a cake for him. She could do anything I asked so I suggested Mario as Lee's really into video games. I love it, isn't it cute?! It was chocolate inside with a really nice ganache in the middle

It was a surprise for Lee so this was the first time he'd seen it, and I swear he was more impressed than this photo suggests

Getting the fire underway

And finally here's Peter lit up later as he was reading us some quiz questions :)

Friday, September 27, 2019

What I Wore 21st August

I knew we were going out for a nice meal on Lee's birthday so I went through my dresses to see what to pack, and happened upon this one. I've only worn it once - at Christmas - but thought it would be nice for the evening. It is almost scuba material which I don't particularly like, but that did mean it was okay in the suitcase without creasing. I love the floral pattern and the cream top, I also think this dress is a really nice length. I'll have to wear it again soon I think!

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Holiday - Day 4

Day 4 of our week off was Lee's birthday. I can't believe he is 37 - when I met him he was just about to turn eighteen! We had to leave Cumbria, so I had booked us into Lancaster House Hotel for the night.

We have been to this hotel before. The Christmas after my dad had died, me, my mum and Lee went away because it was better than being at home. We had a nice time - the hotel was really luxurious, the food was amazing, and we made good use of the leisure facilities. But we were all grieving horribly and Lee had a terrible cold, so I've always wanted to go back and make better memories. I was looking for somewhere between Cumbria and home just for the night, and this popped up at a not ridiculous price, so I booked a double room.

We left Cumbria around 10am and arrived in Lancaster about about midday. I had booked afternoon tea for lunch for us as a surprise for Lee at 1pm, so we were slightly early. It didn't matter though because our room was ready - and we had been upgraded to a suite! It was on one corner of the ground floor, and it was huge. Lee and I stayed in one back in 2008, and I was so glad to get one again. It had a little sitting room area, a huge bedroom and bed, and a huge bathroom. It was so lovely.

We sat there for a bit and Lee opened his birthday presents. I had bought him some vinyl, some secondhand Vans trainers, and some chocolates. The hotel was most of his present really. We went into the bar for lunch; the afternoon tea was really nice. There was a good selection of vegetarian sandwiches, really fluffy scones with a TON of clotted cream, and a lovely selection of little cakes. We struggled to eat it all; I took the macarons away with me.

After lunch we went to the swimming pool. I remembered it from when we visited before, there was an outdoor hot tub and we went in it on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day and we could see snow on the tops of the mountains nearby which was surreal. There's a nice pool and an indoor hot tub which was almost too hot to sit in, and the outdoor hot tub was still there. We sat for ages outside and it was lovely, it was so relaxing! It was around 5pm by the time we eventually got out.

Back in our suite, I ran a hot bath and wallowed there for a bit, I rarely have baths but love to on holiday. Lee got in after me and we both watched the TV that was between the bedroom and bathroom.

There is a restaurant in the hotel, but it didn't have a lot of vegetarian choices and was quite pricey, so I'd done some prior research and chosen the Mariners in Lancaster to eat. It is a nice pub - lots of real ales apparently - and the food was amazing. I had avocado hummus and then battered halloumi and chips. We were both too full for pudding so we went back to the hotel and had a drink in the bar.

Despite the luxurious surroundings I didn't sleep too well, not at all the fault of the hotel but I woke up tired. We had booked breakfast and it was really good - they had a bunch of veggie stuff they could cook to order, and the decaf coffee was really nice.

We checked out and then drove home. We had decided to come home for one night to see the cat and to unpack and repack before camping, and it was so nice to sleep in my own bed!

Fountain in front of the hotel

The bedroom of our suite

The living area

The bathroom

Lee with his Misfits and Manic Street Preachers vinyl (I bought the Misfits online but the Manics was from a shop in Wakefield for £5!)

Birthday kisses - I had that conch piercing done months ago and it's still killing me

And a kiss for me

Afternoon tea

Victoria sandwich, brownie, macarons, chocolate eclair, coffee eclair

Look at all the cream! Ridiculous

There was fresh flowers all over the hotel which I really liked. These were dotted along the hallway

In the outdoor hot tub. It wasn't too sunny but it was lovely

Wallowing in the bath

I kept my make up simple to go out in the evening

I'll have to try to make some avocado hummous myself as it was so delicious

Beer battered halloumi and chips

And we shared a portion of onion rings

The Mariners

Back in the hotel where there were red roses on the ceiling for Lancashire

There was a lovely roaring fire, too - when we went at Christmas these were so cosy!

Having a drink in the bar. I'd had my hair cut about a week before this picture, I'd just had a trim and a lot of dead ends cut off but it was looking a lot better!

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Trip to Cumbria - Day 3

On the Tuesday of our holiday we first of all went to Cockermouth to meet my friend Rachael. She lives in Carlisle but had got the bus to meet us in Cockermouth as there's quite a few shops to look at there. It was raining when we got there and Lee had to park quite a way out, but I met Rachael and we looked at these bollards which had the words "yan, tan, tethera, methera, pimp" on them. This is the Cumbrian system for counting sheep - there's a similar Yorkshire one which is "yan, tan, tether, mether, pip". I love old language like this and I love that Cockermouth is keeping it alive in this way!

We went in a couple of shops but as it was raining we got an early lunch. We went into the New Bookshop which had a lovely Young Adult section, I spent ages looking at it and decided to buy myself two books. The bookshop has a cafe at the back and it had a ton of vegetarian choices, so after the previous two days' disappointment Lee said we should stay there. I had a baked goat's cheese with honey, served with a bunch of salads, and Rachael had a cheese scone. I'm not sure what Lee had but I'm going to bet it was a jacket potato with tuna. The cafe had a range of homemade puddings so I had a piece of chocolate cake, Lee I think had a brownie, and Rachael had a fruit scone with cream and jam. She likes scones!

We walked up to Wordsworth's house which is at the end of the high street, and then decided to go elsewhere in search of the sea. It wasn't raining and was quite hot by this point. Rachael says we kidnapped her haha. We stopped in Whitehaven and walked for half an hour on the marina, which is really pretty. The sun was shining and for me it just felt nice to be outside in it. We drove up to Workington but the train tracks run along the seafront so we couldn't see where to stop. We ended up in Maryport again and decided to play the mini golf which goes around the aquarium. Rachael won, I came last! It was a fun course though with some interesting holes.

We took Rachael to the train station to go home and then stopped again in Allonby for an ice cream again. Once again we were in the house pretty early to relax, which we both needed. Lee made pan haggerty - his one is just potatoes, onions, cheese and butter. He always makes it on holiday because it's quite labour intensive but always delicious. It was perfect!

I was hoping we'd be able to see the sunset but, although we walked out of the cottage to see, there were too many clouds for us to see it properly. It was a shame!

Yan tan tethera methera pimp

Looking up river, apparently it quite often bursts its banks

I love old lettering like this on the side of buildings. A glimpse of history

Hot chocolate with marshmallows to put on yourself

Baked goat's cheese with salads - so nice!

Chocolate cake

Lee took this of Rachael and me

Looking up the main street

Wordsworth's house - he had another further into the Lake District which is more famous, but he lived here too

Looking down on to the beach at Whitehaven

I liked this statue/sculpture

Rachael playing mini golf

Lee playing mini golf - this one had a slide you had to get your ball up and over

Me feeling happy in the sunshine

At a memorial park in Maryport

Salted caramel ice cream and a fudge stick in Allonby

I took my rainbow shoes with me on holiday and thought they were perfect for the day as it was raining when we left, although when the sun came out my feet were quite hot!

Around 5pm on Allonby beach

As much of the sunset as we could see

And this was the view directly out of the cottage with a vista across the rolling fields

Friday, September 20, 2019

Trip to Cumbria - Day 2

We woke up quite early on the Monday morning as it was quite light in the bedroom of the cottage (although really quiet - I liked being able to hear the rush of the waves). We got ready quite early and headed up the coast to Silloth. I've been before - my friend Rachael lives in Carlisle and when I visited her we went there to see the sea. Lee hadn't been through, and he loves the seaside as much as I do. We had a bit of a wander and in a charity shop I found two of the Robin Stevens Wells & Wong books for 50p. They look unread!

We went to the amusement arcade and played on the 2p machines and the air hockey table, then played pool. The sun was so hot, which was really nice. Then we went to Allonby for lunch, in a pub called Jack's Surf Bar. There wasn't an amazing vegetarian choice, but I had a nice sandwich and chips anyway. And Lee enjoyed his roast dinner, so I guess that was good!

After lunch we went to Maryport and went into the aquarium. It was really fun - it isn't huge but we were there for about an hour, and then there was a display of feeding the rays and sharks in the big pool. That was really fun, the sharks were my favourites. They also have a hatching lab, so that was really interesting too. It was a decent aquarium although maybe slightly overpriced for what there is.

We drove back to Allonby and stopped at Twentymans for ice cream. They're apparently quite famous and they have loads of flavours! I liked the mint one the best. We were both getting tired so we just stopped quickly on the beach so I could paddle. As I said in my Saltwater review post, it was cold but refreshing, and I felt so much better for it afterwards! Lee ended up getting his feet wet too because he was helping me, whoops. The shale on the beach was really uncomfortable to walk on!

We got back to the cottage around 5pm and called it a day - I'm pretty sure we both got straight into our pyjamas and snuggled up to watch some films again. I was working on a beach themed cross stitch which seemed appropriate!

The promenade at Silloth - the whole place was really empty despite it being the summer holidays

That's Scotland you can see in the distance - this is the Solway firth

Playing pool with Lee. Of course he won

We won this in one of the machines

Sunshine selfie!

In the aquarium

I love jellyfish, they're so weird and ethereal

I also love seahorses and these ones were posed perfectly. I love how his tail is wrapped around the plant

Lee stroked a starfish but I didn't dare

The rays and sharks! I love rays, they're so floaty

You can see them being fed here too

I love how this one is almost disguised on the bottom 

Look at the baby lobster! So small and see through!

And a grown up one for good measure

Ice cream, melting fast

The beach at Allonby 


The sea had come in quite far since the morning

And finally, another selfie because I was feeling happy and relaxed and filled with sunshine