summer scenes #4 | a weekend in Ingleton part 2…

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Hey evryone, what with all the exciting things going on this summer, looking at these photographs it feels like an age since I was in Ingleton, but it is barely even a fortnight. Today I’ve got the second lot of my snaps from our quick get away. If you missed the first lot take a read here.

wpid-img_20150809_195345.jpgWe woke up Sunday morning to a really rather early but surprisingly generous full cooked breakfast, then checked out and head out to explore the town of Ingleton itself a little bit. The weather had taken a turn for the worst but it was still fairly mild, and the rain held off so we were happy.

Ingleton is a tiny place. With one street dotted with a few gift shops and one or two cafe’s but the views of the surrounding countryside are beautiful. We couldn’t have spent a whole day in Ingleton itself but it made for a very pleasant morning walk before we decided to get adventuring once more, this time heading to Ingleton White Scar Caves.

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White Scar Cave, in the Yorkshire Dales, is the longest show cave in Britain. A guided tour takes you about an hour and a half and includes, two underground waterfalls, stalagmites, stalagtites, and all the caving facts you could need. The caves remain a constant 8 degrees all year round regardless of the weather outside so be sure to wear something warm, and like with the waterfall trail sensible shoes are a must! Oh, and those glamorous hard hats? They aren’t just for show, a lot of the tour involves walking through passage ways with very low, natural formed ceilings, they call one stretch the ‘gorilla passage’ you can guess why! Entry to the caves is only £9.50 for an adult, and a beautiful guide book, filled with photographs much better than mine is only £3 and makes a nice momento.

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After all that adventuring, I was hungry again, or at least I told myself I was hungry again when we saw the cake counter at Frumenty & Fluffin! There was Salted Bannana and Chocolate Cake, Strawbery, Lime & Coconut Cake, Rice Crispie Cakes, Shortbreads, Strawberry Tarts, Banoffee Pie, Apple Crumble Bars and so SO many more to choose from. I was in cake heaven (also known as vegan hell). I couldn’t resist and went for Toffee Apple Cake with a pot of Lady Grey, and Rick had a Banana Milkshake and their best selling scones with jam and cream. This was definitely one of the best cafe’s I’ve been in in a while, and not just because it looked like my dream home! I just about managed to finish my cake (Rick didn’t) which meant the drive home was a sugar filled hyper active one!

Speaking of driving, for the first time in my entire life, I got behind the wheel of a car. I went forwards, backwards and round. I’m think I’m more than well prepared now for my first lesson in September. In fact I might just take my test and save myself a whole load of money!

We left Ingleton pretty early and headed home. We wanted to stop off and explore some of the towns on the way back but it was a Sunday afternoon and most of them were closed apart from the pubs, and neither one of us could face any more food!

We did briefly stop in Gisburn which is just up the road from me, for a walk and a play on the zip line. I’d put up a video of the young man playing, but he has threatened to retaliate by putting one of me up – in slow motion!

And that was the end of our little holiday! I hadn’t even been away from home for 48 hours but it felt like we’d been exploring for a week. I was so relaxed afterwards. When you can’t afford a real summer holiday, or a full week in the sun at any time of the year, you can start to feel a little claustrophobic, but for me this year, the summer has been packed with so many wonderful moments away from reality, i’m (just about) staying sane!

Live life & take a weekend away x

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summer scenes #2… a new home, bbqs, cocktails and cats…

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A few weeks a go I went to visit some good friends of mine down near Guildford, and was once again lucky enough to have a whole weekends worth of good weather to enjoy the good company in.

Ellie and Ollie have recently bought their first house together. They are my grown up friends. Real jobs, real house, and a very real wedding coming up that I am beyond excited for. They’d only moved in a fortnight before our visit, so we enjoyed making the house feel like home, by creating lots of very happy memories in it.

After a pretty long drive down for Tom and I, and long days at work for them, Friday night was spent nibbling on a table full of food, drinking pimms in the garden, and catching up before things turned competitive with a game of cranium. A game I’d never played before which revealed I’m crazy speedy at solving anagrams (probably because I’m so crazy rubbish at spelling, that my first drafts tend to be one long anagram needing to be solved before I hit publish!).

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We woke up Saturday morning to sausage sandwiches (veggie for me, meaty for them)cups of tea and a whole summers day to be filled at our leisure. We didn’t fancy travelling far, as we wanted to make the most of their garden with a mid afternoon barbeque before heading for a night out in Guildford that evening, so we stuck to their local area.

North Camp is only 10 minutes away from Guildford on the train and a mere half an hour to London – but not many people seem to know that yet, so keep it between us. It’s the type of place that in 5 years time will be full of independent coffee shops, and commuters, but for now, it has a small high street and a real lovely community feeling. To be honest unless you have friends that live there, then you’d have no real reason to visit, but we spent a lovely hour or so strolling down it’s very small high street and diving into it’s charity shops, before stopping off at The Tea Shop Around the Corner for a Latte and a Belgian Bun the size of my head. I love finding little gems like this, that are gorgeous cafes made for the people that live there and not trying to fill a niche to attract the latest hipsters or tourists. The coffee was good, the people were lovely, and tucked away in the corner was a small gift shop area where I picked up the card below to stick on my kitchen wall. Ok herbivore humour, I admit, might be a little hipster…

Then we headed back for our mid afternoon barbeque, where many burgers and sausages were burnt because we accidentally got a little distracted by cats and… well… alcohol. Luckily though my vegan options were safe, which I think is probably the only time anyone has EVER been jealous of a vegan at a barbeque.

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You can’t really blame us for getting distracted by Sylvie though can you? I’m not a cat person by any means but seriously LOOK at her… Well I say her, Sylvie doesn’t actually belong to Ellie & Ollie, so she might not be a she, and she almost definitely isn’t actually called Sylvie, but that didn’t seem to bother her!

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That night we headed into Guildford which I’d never been to before but instantly reminded me of York (which I say about basically any nice city that has a historic feel to it).  We were aiming to be on the last train home, so we were going for classy cocktail night rather than drunken debauchary. I’ll let you decide based on the photos at just how classy we managed to stay!

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First up we went to the gorgeous Thai Terrace for snacks and something a little exotic. Don’t judge me, but I can’t really remember what it was I ordered… I want to say maitai but really who cares? It was delicious! As were the cashew nuts! And the terrace itself was beautiful. Unfortunately it had clouded over, so we couldn’t make the most of the views, but I loved the garden feel to it, and imagine it would be stunning on a clear day. I’d also like to head back their to try the food. I LOVE Thai, so if you’re reading this Ellie and Ollie, that’s not so much of a hint but a command!

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After that things began to get a little bit blurry, I vaguely remember bumping into a girl dressed as a penis, and visiting the largest pub and liveliest weather spoons in Britain, but all that really matters is we made the last train back, after an amazing night out!

Sunday morning was a chilled out affair of cookery programmes, tea on tap, and packing away before a long journey home.

It was such a lovely weekend and not just because the weather held out. When friends are so happy it quickly becomes infectious and not only that but Ellie and Ollie seem so settled. A year ago being faced with that level of contentedness might have terrified me, or sent me on to a jealous spiral, convinced I would never get to where they are. I’m still MILES away from buying a house or settling down, but seeing them made me realise how I feel like I am exactly where I need to be right now. There is no rush for me to own property, or to make a drastic career choice, I’m on my path and moving at just the right pace.

Thank you so much to Ellie and Ollie for welcoming me into their new home, and to Tom for being the designated driver for the weekend! Have you visited any friends this summer? What are their home towns like? I love to hear about the smaller places, you wouldn’t make a conscious effort to visit but are actually packed with their own charm.

Live life & make a house a home x

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summer scenes #1: manchester days, hot air balloons and afternoon tea in the clouds…

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Putting aside those days where I’ve had to dig out a woolly cardigan, and some form of waterproof shoe (of which I have very few) I honestly think we’re having a REAL summer this year. Sure it is interspersed with cloudy/windy/terrifyingly and beautifully stormy periods, but it has lasted longer than a week, so Mr Weatherman, thanks.

I think my summer feeling has also been seriously helped by having a diary full of plans. I was a little worried that this year summer would pass me by without any real landmark event. I don’t have a holiday planned, and I’m not going to a music festival, and for a while there I wasn’t even sure I would make it to Edinburgh Fringe, but what I have quickly come to realise is that you don’t need a to go far or go big, to make a summer. The past couple of weeks have been filled with cocktails, friends, and pleasant suprises, and I’m hoping the next month or so will continue in a simmilar way, so I thought I’d start sharing some of my summer scenes here with you, so we can all remind ourselves that actually the weather isn’t all that bad, and there are much worse places to be than good old Blighty!

I’ve recently fallen back in love with my old haunt Manchester. I remember a couple of years ago when I first moved to Manchester (and started this blog) I loved the summer months in the cirty. Every square seemed to open up on to some sort of food market or event, and every bar seemed full every night. Of course when you live there through the grey and wet winter, and also come to realise that you can’t always be the one in the bars, because sometimes you have to go and work, you can quickly forget that original charm. But now having been away for a while, and living close enough to pop to Manchester any weekend, but far enough away for it to still feel like a ‘trip’ I’ve regained my appreciation for it. Weekends have been spent sipping cocktails in the Northern Quarter, visiting Manchester International Festival and discovering new places and areas I never really visited before.

I’d recommended:

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Of course you don’t always have to head to the big cities for their events, the longer I live in a small town, the more I am coming to appreciate the charm of it. The other weekend me and the young man headed to Witton Park for an evening stroll, and to go and see some ‘Balloons & Tunes.’ Which is exactly what it says on the tin. Hot air balloons and some (some times questionable) tunes by tribute acts. I LOVE hot air balloons, and was hoping that they would set off, rather than just hover around behind the small stage, but the whole event had it’s own cheesey charm. Plus there was a fairground with chips and old school sweeties, and for £3 entry, you can’t really complain can you! That’s what I love about summer, even when it is a little bit chillier (as the coats above would suggest) people are still just looking for an excuse to get outside!

And finally, one of my favourite things I’ve done so far this summer is go for afternoon tea at Cloud 23, at the Hilton in Manchester. And before we get all awkward about it I’m just going to confess, I was a TERRIBLE vegan. I’d booked the afternoon as a treat for the young mans birthday, and we were really looking forward to having an excuse to dress up and drink bubbles on a Sunday afternoon. I really didn’t know what to expect, I knew friends had gone to Cloud 23 and raved about the food, but they hadn’t let on much about what it was like inside so this was all a bit of a mystery to me. I was worried it would be a little well to do, and that I had wished I had worn heels or spent longer on my hair, and when we arrived in the foyer of the Hilton, and made our way to the special ‘Cloud 23’ only lift and doorman I was even more worried, but actually when we got out of the lift, 23 floors up, I needn’t have worried.

23 storeys high, and floor to ceiling windows, I’d describe Cloud 23 as spacious luxury. The whole place is open and airy, with comfortable looking chairs, and glass tables, most of which are right next to the windows so you can make the most of the views. We were shown to our table, and given a drinks menu, you have to book afternoon tea in advance, so all that was left to decide on was whether we wanted tea or coffee, and then the food came out, and everything after that is a delicious, sugary blur.

Champagne afternoon tea was £33 a head, so not your normal Sunday afternoon coffee and cake affair, and Cloud 23 does book up quite far in advance, but I would definitely recommend going for a treat or a special occasion. We sat taking in the views all afternoon, without being asked to move or made to feel like we should order anything else (which is good because I honestly, would have burst) and it was so nice to get a little bit dressed up and go somewhere you wouldn’t just wander in to.

I’d also highly recommend doing it in summer while there is still a chance of clear skies and making the most of the view!

Wow, I didn’t think this post would be this long, just goes to show, that in summer those memories quickly build up! I don’t have a bucket list this summer, I’m more taking it as I go along, but I do want to make sure, weekends don’t just pass by! I’m also sharing lots of photo’s and moments regularly on instagram now that I have a shiny new (not yet smashed) phone, so come say hi over there too! How are you spending the warmer months?

Live life & take in the summer x

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