Category Archives: holiday

Babymoon in Wales

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Babymoon in Wales

So this year’s summer holiday and our last holiday together before our little baby boy arrives, we are staying in the UK. So I booked us a 5* apartment in Saundersfoot in Wales using Holiday Cottages. I wanted to go to Saundersfoot as I had heard good things about it and nearby Tenby. This holiday diary is a long one about food, history and relaxing in Wales. So I understand if you skip ahead to look at the pictures!

So we set off on what we thought was a 4 hour drive but it ended up being pretty much a 6 hour drive. We stopped a couple of times on the way and got stuck behind every kind of slow vehicle there was going; army trucks, lorries, old biddy drivers, tractors etc. But it was a gorgeous drive through the valleys. We arrived at the St Brides Spa Hotel 5:30ish to pick up our keys for the apartment owned by St Brides. The apartment is lovely and we were so happy with it. It is a one bedroom with an open plan kitchen/dining/living room, with a balcony. It has a huge king-size bed and a view to the sea!

After we had settled in and unpacked (I actually do love to unpack!) We wandered down to Saundersfoot town to look around. It was so sunny and warm. The beach is beautiful and it has loads of little shops, pubs and restaurants. We had some delicious fish and chips at The Marina nothing like freshly caught fish deep fried in beef dripping. Such a lovely first evening on our babymoon.

Day 1 was a rainy and colder day (boo!) So we drove 5 minutes up the road to Tenby. Tenby is a Victorian holiday retreat and is a walled town with lots of little shops and colourful houses on the cliffs. The beach and harbour are beautiful and it has a castle ruin and some Museums. We wandered round the town looking at the castle and exploring the history of the place stopping at The Mooring for lunch. We each had our first Welsh Rarebit for lunch which is a cheese and mystard concoction similsr to a Croque Monsieur and I also had the pinkest hot chocolate. After lunch we drove down the coast stopping at Manorbier and Freshwater East. Each has it’s own gorgeous little beach and Manorbier has a huge castle that looks pretty intact. It is privately owned but was unfortunately shut the day we visited.

After a long nap for me, it’s hard work being on holiday, we wandered into Saundersfoot and had dinner at a local Seafood restaurant, The Stone Crab, the food was amazing and freshly caught that day! I had calamari and Fruits de Mer linguine with monkfish, salmon, cod and prawns, and he had devilled mackerel and a whole turbot. It was another perfect if cloudy evening.

Day 2 we had such a lazy morning. With us both having such stressful jobs and busy lives when we can we like to do nothing and this is what we did. We ate breakfast and chilled in our apartment. In the afternoon we went and sat on the Beach in Saundersfoot and had a picnic. It was cloudy but warm and a lovely place to be as it’s so sandy and the sea was calm. My husband actually went into the sea and swam but it is far too cold for me so I made do with paddling.

After a few hours snoozing, reading and eating ice cream on the Beach we had a wander. There is a coastal path that follows all of the coast in Pembrokeshire so we set off from Saundersfoot and walked to the next town Wisemans Bridge, following the path. For the walk you had to go through the cliffs into a tunnel and you come out the other side to a more rocky beach with rock pools. It’s lovely just to be together, walking and talking and putting the world to rights. That night it was sunny so we sat out on our balcony reading and enjoying the sun and made dinner at home. Such a lovely and peaceful day I’m very happy and calm here.

Day 3 today we drove to St Davids it’s the smallest city in the UK and to be honest doesn’t really feel like a city. We wandered round the huge St Davids Cathedral and had lunch actually at the Tourist Information Centre (because we’re cool and it was actually really nice). After lunch we discovered that you could walk along the coastal path out of St Davids to a little shrine for St Non, St David’s mother, which is still Catholic. I do like a chapel. The walk was beautiful right over the top overflow Caerfai Bay which is gorgeous and a clear blue in the sunshine. The walk was a little tough but I enjoyed it so much. The chapel itself was lovely and peaceful and I lit and candle in there. The ruined chapel is still there where St Non is supposed to have given birth to St David in a storm. After St Davids we stopped at an absolutely gorgeous beach we’d discovered on the way Newgale Sands for a while to make the most of the sunshine. It was a beautiful sunny day.

Day 4 today after another lazy morning eating chocolate croissants in bed (I could get used to this) we drove to Pembroke. Pembroke is home to provably the main castle in Pembrokeshire, aptly named Pembroke Castle. This castle is stocked full of history and their main famous part is that Henry VII was born there it’s a great place to take kids for the day. It’s a big castle and you can climb up the walls and see for miles. There is a huge round tower to climb up too. My husband loved it. We had a picnic by the river next to the castle and a little wander round Pembroke itself which has some lovely little shops. It was a very lovely and warm afternoon together. That evening we went down to the beach front in Saundersfoot for dinner at Beachside BBQ which serves bbq meat and fish and has a really chilled out atmosphere.

Day 5 today we went castle hunting. My husband loves castles and the history around each one. So today we went to Narbeth, Llandhaw and Wiston castle. The thing with these castles is they are all very ruined but free to go in. Narbeth is a little market town with great shops and cafes and the castle is at the bottom of the town overlooking the valley. Llandhaw is a Bishops Palace that has been left to ruin in a tiny hamlet it would have been absolutely huge and grand in its day. There were some people there Ghost hunting but I ain’t afraid of no ghost. Wiston is a traditional Motte and Bailey castle with just the Motte left and the outline of the Bailey shown in the ditches. It was a rainy day today but perfect weather for Castle hunting. We also visited a local manor house called Scolton Manor and had lunch in their café I wasn’t that keen on the manor house it is set up like it would have been in Victorian times when it was lived in by the Higgon family but it was very quiet and we didn’t stay very long. I’m sure its great in the main tourist season. After our hunting I was very tired so we came back to the apartment and had a chilled evening watching movies and eating spaghetti.

Day 6 our last day! I don’t want this holiday to end. On our last day my husband had been reading about all the beaches in Pembrokeshire. It apparently has the best beach in the UK, Barafundle Bay. It was another sunny morning so we drove down. This is a National Trust beach and is part of a place called Stackpole which has a little town and a quay. It has lots of parking and facilities. There is a walk up to it but this is over another coastal path that my husband loves and it wasn’t strenuous, once over the crest of the hill and you look down the beach is there and it’s beautiful. Truly beautiful and worth the visit. We sat on this beautiful beach in the sun all day just talking and reading and sleeping it was a perfect day to end the holiday. There were a few instances when the rain suddenly poured down whilst it was sunny but that’s a peril of being at the coast and were very funny. We had a quick brew at the National Trust cafe before we set off home again. For our last night we went back to the Stone Crab. I know We went earlier in the week but it’s so good there we didn’t fancy anywhere else. I had a huge bowl of mussels followed by a seafood paella and he had calimari followed by a mega surf and turf of a steak with half a lobster. Delicious. What I loved about this restaurant is it’s tiny and full the whole time and that there is one chef who changes the menu everyday to suit the catch of the day. We loved it the best seafood. Now however it’s back to reality and home to Mossley.

I have had a great Babymoon holiday with my husband. It’s been wonderful to get away just us two and spend loads of time together talking, exploring, laughing and relaxing. It’s been wonderful to be pregnant as well and be able to plan together what we will do when the baby comes. I can’t recommend this part of Wales enough and I know we will be back with our little boy one day.

Northumberland Sky

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Northumberland Sky

There is one place I love almost as much as I love my home town and that is Northumberland. I feel it is a little under appreciated but it is one of the most beautiful areas and is absolutely full of history. The open sky in Northumberland just seems to last for miles. We visited a few years ago and this year to get away from it all we went back.  There is a lot to do so forgive my long rambly post!

On the way to Northumberland we took a little sojourn at Knaresborough to go to Mother Shipton’s Cave. This is somewhere I’ve always wanted to go and it is a place where in the 1500s a woman called Mother Shipton lived as an outcast in the woods. She had powers of prophecy and was a suspected witch. She had been born in the cave and lived there alone tull she died speaking prophecies and telling the future of whoever asked good or bad. On part of the cave there is a waterfall which turns items to stone. this is due to too much Calcite in the water but it is still pretty creepy and must have been scary back then. I made a wish in the Wishing Well which people have done for centuries and as long as you dont tell anyone it should come true. Fingers crossed! It’s a lovely place to go for the day and we had a walk round Knaresborough which is a lovely little town. Had a chip buttie in the square and then onward to Northumberland.

Knaresborough

The cave

We had decided to stay in Warkworth and in the Warkworth House Hotel. The hotel was lovely and cosy and we had a delicious meal in their in house restaurant that night. After an amazing night sleep and big breakfast we set off and went to see Warkworth Castle. The castle is huge and built by the Percy Family. It’s still in amazing condition as it was rescued and parts of it were rebuilt in later decades. the whole town is but around the castle so it’s pretty impressive.

Warkworth Castle

Then on to one of my favourite places in Northumberland which is Craster. This time I had proper clothing and boots so we braved the beautiful coastal walk to Dunstanburgh Castle. Now being married to a history teacher as I am I have seen a lot of castles but this one is my favourite. It’s built right into the rock on the edge of the sea and has the most beautiful views over the ocean. Craster Beach is a rocky beach so we went down there too to play like kids and chase the tide. After that we warmed up over lunch in the Jolly Fisherman pub and bought the all important Craster kippers to bring home. It was one of the most calming and fun afternoons.

The cliff face

My all time favourite beach however in the whole of Northumberland has to be Bamburgh. I have the best memories here as a child and its just a beautiful sandy beach that goes on for miles with a pretty impressive castle on the top which we went to last time. I love walking on beaches as I feel so calm by the sea a million  miles away from the daily life. We had a walk along Bamburgh Beach and it was beautiful with miles and miles of sky.

Bamburgh Beach

That night we had more delicious food in The Sun Hotel and some drinks in their adjoinig pub. They had some great views up to the castle. The food in Northumberland is so good! The next day we left Warkworth (sob!) And we spent the morning in Hexham. Hexham looks like an interesting town built onto a hill around a cathedral and a huge ancient jail and court. But after all my open space and miles of sky it was a bit busy for me! We did some shopping and had a bit of lunch and then went on after a couple of hours.I will go back to Hexham another time as I think there is more to see when it’s less crowded but it was Halloween.

To finish our holiday my History teacher husband unsurprisingly wanted to visit Hadrians Wall. we went along to Housesteads which is an ancient Roman fort. It’s really intact and has the best views over the hills of the wall. Parts of it have been used in films and is quite famous.  We however arrived in the fog and it was freezing but it was really interesting and without sounding nerdy really cool. My husband loved it and fulfilled one of his dreams to walk on the wall. It was a really great way to round off our holiday.

The fog

Walking the wall

We absolutely loved this holiday so sorry if I’ve been rambling on and on but it truly was lovely and just what I needed to get out of a rut. we are already planning our next trip as I can’t stay away from the ocean and all that sky.

Links to where we visited!

Old Mother Shipton’s Cave 

Warkworth House Hotel

Warkworth Castle- English Heritage

Dunstanburgh Castle – English Heritage 

The Jolly Fisherman Inn Craster

Bamburgh Beach and Castle

The Sun Hotel Warkworth

Hexham

Housesteads and Hadrians Wall

Corfu- Greek Paradise

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Corfu- Greek Paradise

I am sad today as I am back home and its the one of the last days of my 2 week summer holiday! But I can’t be too sad as I had such a beautiful and amazing week in Corfu!

We flew with Jet2 to Corfu and stayed in La Riviera Apartments on Barbati Beach. I say on the Beach because it was literally a 1 minute walk to the beach. We decided to go self catering as me and my husband are quite private people when we are away and I didn’t want to go to a big Hotel full of other tourists. The apartments are perfect with our own bathroom, bedroom, kitchen/living room and a balcony with the perfect sea view! For meals we made our own but we also went to the local tavernas and sampled proper Greek food like moussaka, Stifado, souvlaki, of course calamari but most improbably baklava which is my absolute favourite now.  The restaurants are all cut into the cliff and so have beautiful views of their own. It’s so nice to go out for meals in the warmth.

Sunset View from the apartment

View from the restaurant

We wanted to relax completely so we spent the first 2 days on the Beach. And I am sad to say that in the 36°-37° heat I did burn a little which but I also got a pretty nice tan! The Beach was a pebbly beach and the water was so unbelievably warm and clear it was beautiful to swim and relax in.

Our beach camp

Sausage legs

On our third day we caught the bus into Corfu Town. The town is interesting as it has a lot of tiny streets and higgledy piggledy buildings. We had lunch and went exploring through the old streets. Ending up at the fort which is quite pivotal on Corfu’s history of being invaded and controlled by other countries. We climbed all the way to the top but boy it was so hot we couldn’t stand to stay under the sun like that so had to retreat for ice cream!

Corfu town

Fort

Our favourite day was Saturday. We had watched all week as people hired out little boats from Emilos Boats and disappeared round the coast. I was dying to see round the Ben of the coast do we hired one. He gave us a good deal on a speed boat and we set off after my husband had a 5 minute lesson in driving a boat! It was scary first setting off and we were afraid to go too near the beach in case the propellor got damaged which Emilio did warn us of 3 times before we set off. But the absolute freedom and joy of sailing round the coast was just amazing. We found this little cove near Agni in Corfu dropped anchor and spent the afternoon swimming and messing about in boats. It was a brilliant day I won’t forget. 

Captain

Sun bathing on our boat

Jumping into the water

Off on an adventure

The only downside to our holiday was leaving. I wish we had had more time to be there and just be together. As it is so nice to be without ph0nes, Internet and television and just get  a break together.  Barbati is a beautiful place and I would recommend everyone to go if you are after a small piece of paradise.

Last night:(

Lovely hubby and me

Bella Casament

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Bella Casament

I had the most amazing weekend last weekend. My sister in law lives in Barcelona. She’s pretty amazing she’s travelled all over the world and she speaks fluent Spanish and Catalan. Whilst she was living in Barcelona she met a local Catalan man and last weekend she got married!! I have to tell you about it as it was such a beautiful and fun wedding!

On the Friday me and hubby flew over really early for a whistle stop visit in Barcelona. We met his Uncle and Aunty on the plane and when  we landed wandered down Las Ramblas and had lunch down by the marina and lots of beer! It was so sunny one minute and then raining the next. After lunch we headed on the train to Sant Cugat which is where they live and were having the wedding. After a much needed siesta we went out that night with the rest of the family and her friends for an Italian in the main square. (I have noticed that Spanish love Italian  food as much as we do!)

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Sant Cugat

The next day we got up and headed for a walk into Sant Cugat. Had some lunch and a drink in the square and a wander round the beautiful little town. After meeting his Mum by accident and having to help with a last minute wedding detail we went back to the hotel to rest before the party.

The wedding was in the evening at a local place called Las Malinas which was really nice. Problem was it was pouring down and we were in the middle of a thunderstorm. Once we managed to negotiate enough taxis for people the sun came out and it was glorious and sunny again. The Groom told everyone that rain on his wedding day was good luck. The bride in true style was 45 minutes late but when she arrived she was absolutely stunning and the ceremony was truly lovely. She said her vows in Catalan and he said his in English which was amazing.

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The happiest bride

After the wedding and thousands of photos the canapés were out which were all traditional Catalan dishes with paella and ham as well. Then there was a sit down meal with lobster salad, steak and chocolate cake. (So good!) The funniest part of the wedding was the Spanish touches. So when the Bride and Groom entered the reception they danced around the tables whilst we waved napkins above our head. Like you do. Also they gave them a real sword to cut the cake!

After copious amounts of eating and drinking we started dancing at midnight and it went so fast I was dancing till 3Am without realising when we got the last taxi home.

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Cutting the cake with a sword

The next day our flight wasn’t till 10pm so we hung around Sant Cugat again had some tapas said goodbye to the family at the hotel and set off back to Barcelona and the airport. Thoroughly exhausted but really happy and a bit sunburnt!

The thing I love most about weddings is the feeling of family. It was lovely to feel a part of such a big family. But more importantly it was amazing to see the Bride and Groom together so happy and so in love. The next day over a very hungover breakfast the Groom tols me that it was one of the happiest days of his life and that meant everything to me. It was one of the best weddings I have been to because you could see that it was everything they wanted. Even if I am a bit biased.

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My family

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Us with the Bride and Groom

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Bridesmaids

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Beautiful Bride

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London Baby

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London Baby

It’s February and is the most romantic time of the year. Not just for Valentines Day but also as it is my Wedding Anniversary and this time it is four years. To mark it, hubby and I went to London for few days. I really like London it really does have so much to do and I just like the whole busy busy nature of it.

We started in the British Museum which is absolutely amazing and so interesting! I thought it was just another history museum but is absolutely full of items from across the world and if you have seen Night at the Museum you will love it! For dinner that night we went to Bubba Gumps which is a restaurant built on the theme of Forrest Gump and serves shrimps in any way you can think of. Our hotel was Euston Square which was so close to the train station and tube it is soo handy.

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British Museum

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The next day was our anniversary. We spent the morning in the National Portrait Gallery. Which is a like a museum of all the most interesting and influential people in the world and has some absolutely beautiful paintings. Like the one of Christabel Pankhurst which is absolutely stunning. Really worth a visit! The cafe downstairs is pretty lovely as well. Then my husband surprised me with a very romantic ride on the London Eye with a glass of champagne. It was a brilliant little treat and is just what we needed to celebrate.

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View from the top

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After the Eye we wandered down to Liberty and I spent far too much on yarn in their haberdashery on brands I can’t find as easily in Manchester. That night we had dinner in China Town and went to see Les Miserables. Oh it was so good. Such a great musical and so emotional! The actors were amazing and I cried a lot. I absolutely loved it! The Queens Theatre is also lovely it’s very old and very quaint and has the traditional theatre look. Red and gold and slightly old fashioned.

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China town

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Les miserables

Our last day we were a bit tired as London is so big! We went to the V and A Museum in the morning. Which was ok but is an exploration in art and design which if you don’t have a lot of interest in isn’t for everyone. The history of fashion they have though is worth a look. After that we wandered through Hyde Park to see Albert Memorial which is beautiful. (Queen Victoria really loved Albert a lot. I know that’s an obvious but she really did you can see it everywhere)

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V and A chandelier

We had a long lunch in a little Pizza Express we found and then went round the shops. We visited Anthropologie which could become an issue as they are online too  and have some beautfiul home ware and their huge John Lewis. Then it was back home on the train to Manchester.

I love getting away and seeing new things. It was a wonderful holiday and just what we needed to get lost in a city together.

Happy Anniversary x

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Here are some links to what we did in London:

Our Hotel – Euston Square

The British Museum

Bubba Gump Shrimp Company

National Portrait Gallery

London Eye

Liberty

Les Miserables at the Queens Theatre

Victoria and Albert Museum

Anthropologie

Bella Italia

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I dont normally do this but I have to tell you and show you sone pictures of ny summer holiday! I spent a beautiful week in Tuscany in Italy with my family. We stayed at a villa called Al Benefizio which is 10 mins from a lovely little Italian village called Barga. It was do lovely to get away into the sunshine and spend time away from everything. The villa is in the middle of nowhere and had an amazing view from the pool to the town.

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View from the pool

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Barga

Whilst we were in Italy we went to Lucca which is a large walled town and is in the hills. We have been to Lucca before and i would recomnend anyobe to go!

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Lucca

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The above is the Ponta del Diavolo or the Devils Bridge. It is famous in Lucca and every time we go we go and see the bridge and walk up to the steep middle bit. The story is a master builder was asked to build the bridge but he fell into despair as the bridge was not going to be finished in time. One night the devil came to him and said he would help him but he in payment he would take the first soul of the person who crossed the bridge. The man agreed and the bridge was finished in time. On the day the bridge opened the man sent a pig across it and the devil angry at being tricked threw himself into the water and it altered the shape of the bridge to look like this. But this is just a myth.

We also went to see Florence and it is absolutely  beautiful  but it was so warm! 36 degrees in the sun and when  you come from Manchester and think 12 degrees is warm it was boiling!

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Duomo and bell tower

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View from the Pallazzo Pitti

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Davd

It was lovely to spend time with my family and get away from it all as well a day amazing food (I mean it Italians can cook!) And get a sun tan for the first time in 5 years. I love Italy I will be going back!

Northumberland

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I have just come back from an amazing break to Northumberland. We were desperate for a getaway and some peace and quiet so Northumberland was perfect as it is full of open spaces.

We stayed in Bamburgh in the Queen Victoria Hotel and we visited the castle and it’s well worth a visit. We also visited Craster and samples the famous Craster Kippers. As well as Seahouses which is as it sounds by the sea and is beautiful. We spent a beautiful day on Lindisfarne which is a really peaceful place and you can hear the seals barking in the bay. The last day was spent in Anwick doing some shopping and I of course found the local knitting shop which was lovely and I got some supplies for my Christmas knitting projects. I also visited the market and got some hand painted buttons for my latest project soon to follow.

As my husband is a History Teacher our trip wouldn’t have been complete without a trip to see Vindolanda a Roman Fort near Hadrian’s Wall.

It was just lovely to get away and spend some quality time together away from work, washing up and daily stress. I even fitted some knitting in. We loved it and I can’t recommend Northumberland enough for a quiet break in the UK. Ah peace and quiet now over and back to the grind tomorrow.

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Bamburgh Beach

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