Thursday 15 November 2018

Autumn Must-Haves

You might not have noticed, but it's getting cold out there! Brrr! Cold AND dark! 

Yup, Autumn is definitely in full-swing. Since I can no longer live in denial about the increasingly depressing weather, I figured its about time I got myself prepared! 


Monday 28 May 2018

A Cosy Scottish Stay

(Again, I'm 'recycling' as this is from a little while ago! We are just looking at similar places to stay this summer though, so this place has been in my thoughts!)

When I first starting thinking about what I wanted to do for our family summer holiday this year, my first thoughts were of sunshine, outdoor swimming pools, all inclusive ice creams and exotic beaches. However, vocalising these thoughts to the children I was met with '....can we go to Scotland instead?'


Tuesday 22 May 2018

Belhaven Fruit Farm

So firstly, a disclaimer! I'm totally cheating with this post, as it's an old one posted elsewhere previously (so no, the kiddo's haven't shrunk!) In my defence, I've been meaning to move a lot of stuff over for,.. well the last year or so! Not everything, just the bits that seem to fit here most.... and there'll be plenty of new stuff to come too, so I hope you forgive my 'recycling'! Anyway,....

Unexpected roadside farm shops with attached tea rooms are pretty much the best reason in the world for learning to drive.


Thursday 3 May 2018

The London Problem

KC started a new job recently which has led to him, on occasion, travelling to London. He hates London with the passion of a proud Yorkshireman, and returned from his first work-based jaunt to the capital and declared 'I am never, ever, going to that city again unless I have to for work'.

And I get where he's coming from, I really do. I have no deep love for London, and I certainly wouldn't want to travel there on a regular basis. The thing is, and I feel weird just saying this, but for a few reasons I can't quite bring myself to hate it either. And while I'd rather cut off my on toes that than actually live there, I don't hate the idea of visiting occasionally.

Wednesday 25 April 2018

A Winter visit to Jurmala, Latvia

During my Riga research, I found a whole bunch of sources telling me about what a how popular the nearby beach resort of Jurmala is in the summer. Locals and tourists alike flock to the sunshiny seaside town to soak up the rays and frolick in the sea.

There was no sunshiny frolicking on my visit! But, even in the depths of winter Jurmala is well worth a visit - perhaps even more so. After all, nice beaches in the summer are ten a penny, but somewhere you can walk on the frozen sea? That's pretty special!


Sunday 15 April 2018

Cake in Riga

When I was in Riga in February, I booked a walking tour on Riga's Old Town. I didn't book a private tour, but I ended up getting one anyway - I can only assume everyone else chickened out because of the ungodly weather - but 'twas just me and my lovely guide Inga wandering round the gorgeous Old Town for a couple of ours In that time she many many things relating to the history and culture of Latvia, but one thing she said stuck with me above all else I learnt on that tour. She told me 'we Latvians love our pastries'. Now THAT is a cultural statement I can get behind! 

Earlier that day, I'd visited Bakeberry, somewhere that was on my radar for it's impressive array of pretty cakes. Though to my surprise, it wasn't one of these complex, highly decorated and beautiful looking concoctions that grabbed my attention,....

...but a comparatively simple Coconut Pastry.

There could be a couple of reasons for this decision. For example, the pricing structure that put this flakey, buttery, coconutty delight at a mere E0.75 cannot be ignored.

But I think the main this was I couldn't consider a cake that wold in any where interfere with the enjoyment of my frankly magical hot chocolate!

There's no mistake - THIS was the star of the show. The bitterly cold weather had left craving something both warming and comforting, and this was it in spades! So it seemed obvious that my accompanying food chose should be something that complemented, not competed with, the extravaganza that was my beverage. 

Still, much as I am sure I made the right decision on the day it was a shame to not indulge in some of their sweeter, fancier options. But worry not, this was not my only opportunity for overly sugary goodies! 

Possibly my favourite of the cafe's I stumbled across in Riga was the Fat Cat Eklernica. Yup, that's an eclair cafe. A cafe full of eclairs. Lots of different flavours and fillings of eclairs. 

Eclair's aside for the moment, Fat Cat is just a beautifully cosy and cheerful little spot, with really lovely service - the lass behind the counter was more than happy to offer recommendations.

So based on her suggestion, I settled down in a snug corner with my dulce de leche eclair and a nice cup of earl grey. Heaven! 

This is almost the opposite of my Bakeberry set up - the eclair was sooo sweet that anything fancier than a plain brew would have been way too much, but as it is this combo was perfection. 

I did of course hit up a couple of other cakey spots in Riga - I needed to make sure I got out of the cold every so often just so the blood didn't freeze in my veins - but this pair were my favourites, as well as the only two my hands stopped shaking long enough to get pictures in! I might have to make a return visit in better weather to do them all proper justice! 

Sunday 8 April 2018

March Happenings, April Plans

Another month has gone by with very little from me in the way of blogging - I'm a bad 'un! 

March is always a tough one though because it's one of the busiest times at work - not that I need an excuse for being slack! I keep thinking 'oh I'm just gonna knock the blog on the head, I don't have time for it'... but then I wouldn't have an excuse to buy the new camera I've been eyeing up so I better stick with it for a while! 

So, March. March I've been mainly up to my eyeballs in receipts and VAT and other boring work things, but I did manage a couple of nice breaks from that! 

The biggest and best thing in March was our nights stay at Crab Manor's gorgeous Bardola Lodge. Designed to look and feel like a Norwegian Ski Cabin, this cosy little lodge is in North Yorkshire. We were there for a wedding and I was more than happy to take the excuse to stay over at this stunning place. We even had out own hot tub! It was almost a shame to leave the lovely lodge and go to the wedding! 

A couple of other March plans went astray because of the snow (in March? Seriously?!), but hopefully that's all behind us now! I was worried that my brunch date with Lizi and Caroline would be snowed off, but thankfully we managed to defy the weather and indulge in some pretty awesome breakfast foods. 

April sees a long-awaited trip away with the family. Between them, the kids covered both volcanoes and Romans in school last year and they inspired me to book us a visit to Pompeii - for educational purposes of course! 

I'm also looking forward to getting out and about locally a bit more, now that the worst of the weather should finally be behind us! Also I'm really hoping to actually getting some blog posts written - I'm building up quite the backlog that I need to clear! 

How was your March? Anything fun coming up in April?

Sunday 18 March 2018

Visit Nairn

The kids only had two key criteria for picking a location for our Scottish holiday last year - they wanted to be near the beach, and they wanted to be able to visit Loch Ness. Armed with these expectations, I began trawling the Sykes Cottages page in earnest 'til I found a cute looking cottage that fit my budget and would do us nicely for the week - and thus it was decided we were staying in Nairn! 

Monday 5 March 2018

February Happenings, March Plans

Hurray for March! The first few days of the new month didn't exactly scream 'spring has sprung', but the worst of the weather has to be behind us now.... right?

Before I realised Yorkshire would come to look (and feel) like Siberia in February, it seemed like a good idea to spend a couple of days in Riga. I'd expected the pretty snow and sub-zero temperatures would be a nice novelty - oh, what a fool I am! 


Wednesday 28 February 2018

The Cairngorm Reindeer Centre

I found so many things I wanted to do when we were on holiday in Scotland last year, way too many to fit into our week - but if there was one thing I knew I wanted to prioritise it was a visit to the Cairngorm Reindeer Centre! These are the UK's only free ranging reindeer and I loved the idea of meeting these beautiful animals on their stomping ground.


Friday 23 February 2018

Local Heroes and Scottish Villages

Have you seen the film 'Local Hero'?

If you aren't familiar with Bill Forsyth's 1983 classic, I can only urge you to watch it as soon at the next available opportunity - not only because it will explain why we were keen to visit Pennan, filming location for the fictional Scottish town of Ferness, but because it a wonderful, sweet gem of a film.

Friday 2 February 2018

January Happenings, February Plans

So,... in January I went to Jamaica.

Poor old KC doesn't always get a lot of say in out holiday destinations but he's had his eye on Jamaica for a few years now. We've put it off a bunch of times for a bunch of different reasons, but then we ran out of reasons to not go.... so we went!

Wednesday 31 January 2018

Reasons to Spend a Day in Bruges

Bruges is such a beautiful city, and a surprisingly cheap and easy one to visit from Yorkshire (check out the Minicruises from P&O Ferries!) The minicruise gives you about eight hours in the centre - it's not tonnes of time but it's certainly long enough to tick off a couple of the main things Bruges has to offer. Here are a few of my favourite reasons to visit:

Saturday 27 January 2018

2017 In Review

I didn't necessarily start 2017 aiming to take a trip away from home every month - but when we almost 'accidentally' seemed to have a mini-holiday booked for the first couple of the months of the year I did like the idea of seeing how long I could drag it out!

To be fair, the trip we took last January was initially meant to be taken the previous month but a change of circumstances meant we had to re-schedule. In retrospect though, January is a much better time of year for a relaxing weekend away than December, where neverending to-do lists would probably prevent me from really chilling out anyway! 

Saturday 13 January 2018

December Happenings, January Plans

So once again, I was a terrible blogger last month. That makes me rubbish for,... pretty much all of 2017! (And 2018 didn't exactly get off to a flying start either but I won't worry too much about that for now!)

I had planned to get so caught up during my time off at Christmas, get loads written, take loads of pictures, get really organised. It didn't happen. Too busy eating Celebrations and playing board games...
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