Category Archives: Places

Deers At Dusk – Charlecote Park


Hey guys!

Can you believe it’s November already? I’m wearing woolly jumpers and thick scarves. I’ve started my Christmas shopping and I’m reading an awesome wintery book too! I’m full on embracing it. 


Yesterday afternoon, I had an amazing opportunity to see and experience the fallow deer at Charlecote Park with one of their Park rangers. I wrapped myself up and dug out my wellies ready for an adventure. If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you’ll have seen various posts about Charlecote Park. It’s one of my favourite National Trust places. Deers at Dusk was an experience that I will never forget. 


My photos aren’t amazing; the deer were a few hundred yards away and I only had my beloved iPhone, but I cannot emphasise how magical this was. I felt so at peace, so excited and yet tranquil. I know it sounds ridiculous. I left feeling that that ranger had the best job in the world. Those two hours I spent walking around was bliss. Learning about the fallow deer whilst seeing them content in as close to their natural habitat was really special. 


The sun was setting which created beautiful skies which matched the scenery and glorious Victorian building. 


The park have four types of deer and unbelievably we saw them all. The rutting season has just ended so there were a few young with their mothers. The antlers are so impressive on the older  stags. They really are like a badge of honour. They are such beautiful creatures. 


Enjoy the start of November guys!

Big love xx

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Berrington Hall 

Hey guys! 

Hope you’re well and are all prepared for the approach of November. Today was the start of my half term week off and I spent it with my lovely daddy. We visited Berrington Hall, just outside Leominster, Herefordshire. It’s such a rarity to be able to have a day out with just my dad so I was really excited. We have a mutual passion for history and gardens so this stately home was right up our street. It was a beautiful sunny day too. 


This mansion is really rather impressive. It’s Neo-Classical in design and sat amongst beautiful landscape grounds. This Georgian mansion boats of some incredible features, my favourite being the decorative ceilings (Biaggio Rebecca) and the use of marble. The interiors are the inspiration of Henry Holland yet the home belonged to the Harley, Rodney and Cawley families. 


The garden and landscape are the final design of Capability Brown. There’s a beautiful, tranquil lake at the end of the park too. We walked all the way round and tried to spot the otter that lives there (with no such luck!)


I feel like I use the same words to describe my thoughts, feelings and reactions. I fear I’m becoming repetitive but there really is something special about this place. The property and land were given to the trust in near perfect condition; a rarity for them! I found myself being quite quiet today, taking it all in, imagining the lives and experiences of those who have lived there. 


I’m sure you’ll agree that this place is just divine. It always amazes me what tests of time these places face. It’s been standing here since 1778. Imagine the comings and goings, the changes and challenges. Incredible. 


Happy Halloween and big love!

Xx 

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Filed under Autumn, Days Out, National Trust, Photography, Places, UK

The Shop That Must Not Be Named – York


Hi guys! 

It’s Saturday, Strictly is on and I’ve had another busy, up and down week. However, I decided (after some hauling out of bed) to visit The Shop That Must Not Be Named in York. 


The first thing I absolutely loved was the fact that lots of people in York were wearing something Harry Potter based (myself included – shoes!) Here are my feet in the shop!! 


The second most amazing thing was that the windows were dressed immaculately. I didn’t mind queuing because I got to see all the exciting things on offer. 


I was very good actually. It would have been easy for me to completely loose myself and buy everything there. I wanted everything I saw. However, I was reserved and treated myself to a couple of things only

The first thing I spotted and purchased was an awesome Platform 9 and 3/4s tote bag. Perfect for transporting my marking to and from school. That’s my justification anyway! 


My other purchase was a bit of a splurge I must admit. But, it’s really really beautiful. I treated myself to a journal. My only worry is that it’s too beautiful to use. 


The little shop brought to life my childhood. Those kind of memories are priceless. I really need to read the books again. I loved it. It really was pure magic


I loved it. I absolutely loved it. I would go back tomorrow. I might do! We all deserve a little magic in our lives. I’m so pleased I’ve seen this little wonder of a shop. 


Big love xx

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Birmingham Back To Backs 


Hey guys! 

I’ve got another post about a place I’ve visited. However, I never normally post on the same day. I like to take time to sleep on my thoughts, as it were, but this place is just too incredible to keep to myself. 

Birmingham Back to Backs is a place that my dad was desperate to see and it’s taken most of my summer holiday to get a booking slot. Yet, today was the day we finally got to step back in time and visit a piece of our history. 

Back to Backs centres around Court 15, the last remaining court of back to back houses. It wasn’t until 1830 that it actually became a court of backs to backs. Originally, in 1789, it was a handful of workshops. 1802 brought the start of the house building. 


Today, the houses have been restored and conserved to show examples of the similar houses that were build around shared courtyards, for the rapidly increasing population of Britain’s industrial towns. You can imagine three main things: the air, the smell and the noise. 

The first thing you notice is the courtyard. Naturally, this would have been quite communal area; children would be playing here. There wasn’t really any privacy or alone time; everyone was part of everyone business. In this area were the toilets and wash houses. 



House 1: The 1840s

This house is a representation of the Levy family. Lawrence was a watchmaker and it is highly that he used part of the house as a workshop. The family business was carried on by his sons. Nevertheless, what this house shows us how life used to be. There were small rooms (you only had one if you were poor which the Levy’s were not) but it was a time before electricity, heat and entertainment: iPads, games etc. What I adored about this house was the stencilling on the walls. 


However, this family did have a little money. They left behind and inventory of all the furniture they owned, of which a fancy bed was listed. 



House 2: The 1870s

It was in this second house the homes of the Oldfields were reproduced. Birmingham was a city of many trades and Herbert Oldfield definitely lived up to that reputation as a glassworker. Both he and his son made eyes for toys and animals as well as the occasional glass eye for people. As with the first house, Herbert used part of this house too as a workshop. They also had two lodgers with them, resulting in 6 people sleeping in one room! 

It is in this house where you can see what the court and back to back houses were like before the restoration. They did find huge layers of wallpaper, some of which were on display. 



House 3: The 1930s

House three showed the home of the Mitchells. This family stayed here for almost a century. When they arrived there was no electricity. When they left there was. It is families like this that really experienced the changes of our own social history. Their family trade: locksmiths, something which his sons continued after his death. 

It is here we see signs of wallpaper still on the walls. Wallpaper during the Victorian period was incredibly expensive; seen as flamboyant and extravangent. How it was produced meant that it was taxed. (Another hint that the previous family did have money; others were not so lucky!) Now, mass production was in place. The houses were getting slightly larger, electricity was becoming more available and living was getting slightly easier. 



House 4: The 1970s

The final house showed the residence of George Sanders, a tailor originally from the Caribbean. He made a huge number of suits as well as pieces for the the Horse Guards. He was hugely successful and popular, after he spent time building up his reputation. What was amazing here was there are original items that had been left. The history really was alive. 



Finally, the 1930s Sweet Shop

It’s been standing there since 1910 and it was amazing. Naturally we got some sweets to take home. Back in the 1930s all of the famous brands would have been there: Cadbury, Rowntrees. Everyone deserved a little treat! 



What makes this place to special me and the reason why I’ve been writing this post since I got in the car home is because of my grandma. My grandma’s grandparents used to live in backs to backs in Birmingham. My lovely Nan was telling me all about it today, the cold, the one room, the lack of money, the best memories. “It’s true history! It’s my history.” It is this that resonates with me most. My dad also was animated when he was walking around because of this. My mum could see numerous things from her grandma’s house. There’s even items my grandma has that she uses every day now. It’s so special. We are very lucky because we have heating, space, electricity. Life is so different now. This little time capsule keeps our history alive. I absolutely loved it. 


Big love all xx

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Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal Water Garden

Hi Beauties! 

I hope you’re having a great summer. It’s a mixed bag for me really! I still feel as busy as ever and I’m still in search of a rest. Nevertheless, I have managed to visit some lovely places. Today I wanted to share my visit to Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Gardens with you. This place genuinely left me speechless. I felt incredibly overwhelmed for the whole day. 



The Abbey:

These ruins are the largest monastic ruins in the country and boy they did not disappoint. The Abbey was founded in 1132 by 13 Benedictine monks from St Mary’s in York, seeking to live a devout and simple lifestyle. 

Three years later, the settlement at Fountains had been admitted to the austere Disrercian Order. This itself brought an important development, the introduction of the Cistercian system of the lay brothers. 


The lay brothers (labourers) relieved the monks from rounding jobs, consequently giving them more time to dedicate to God. Fountains became wealthy because of the wool production, lead mining, cattle rearing, horse breeding and stone quarrying. 

However, the 14th century brought challenges as the monks had to cope with bad harvests and raids from the Scots which led to an economic collapse. The Black Death in 1348 also added to this pressure. 

Despite the financial problems, the Abbey remained essential. The abbacy of Marmaduke Huby marked a period of revival. The Great Tower, built by him, symbolises his hope for the future of the Abbey. 

Sadly, in 1539 the Abbey was closed down in the Dissolution of the Monasteries ordered by Henry VIII. They were all sent away from the Abbey without pensions. The estate was sold by the Crown to a merchant, where it remained private until the 1960s. The National Trust bought the estate in 1983. 


I have to say, this place is amazing. There aren’t enough superlatives to describe it. I honestly walked around in complete awe. It’s so difficult to comprehend. I tried to imagine the lives and the challenges. If only walls could talk! 


Studley Royal Water Garden:

John Aislabie inherited the Studley Royal estate in 1693. He was the Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1718, thus being an incredibly ambitious man. However, his career was halted in 1729 due to his participation in the South Sea Bubble financial scandal; expelling him from Parliament. Consequently, he returned to Yorkshire and focused his attention to this incredible garden. 


The garden has everything: flowers, waters, statuses, follies. It is literally the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. 


In 1767, William Aislabie purchased the Abbey ruins to complete the garden and create a utopia. Today, over 200 years later, it is a World Heritage Site, with little differences being made. 


Honestly, this place is just amazing. I loved walking around, seeing the water, imagining the history and the lives here. I really need to go back and see it all again. Thinking back, I probabaly had my mouth open in complete shock the whole time. It’s that kind of place. 

Keep enjoying August and have a fantastic Bank Holiday weekend. 

Big love xx

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Canons Ashby – National Trust

Hey guys! 

Happy Thursday everyone! I hope you’re all doing well and enjoying this week. 

Yesterday, I went on an exploring spree with my family to Canons Ashby in Daventry. I’d researched and recommended here so I did feel a bit of pressure, I have to say. Thankfully, it was amazing. It’s turned out to be one of my favourite places. 


The H shaped Tudor house was built by the Drydens using the remains of a medieval priory. The house, mainly, has remained unchanged since 1710! The things that building has seen, the people and the history really fascinates me. The house is presented as it would have been during Sir Henry Dryden’s time. He was a Victorian antiquary who was passionate about the past. Over time, other Dryden relatives have added to the house, making it what it is today. 

I knew I knew the Dryden name from somewhere and of course it is from my literary background: John Dryden. I was intrigued to find out more about his family home. His creativity in writing also helped with the creative decoration of the house. 

However, like with many other properties, the house began to decline in the 20th century, resulting in it being given to the National Trust. 

As always, I want to share anecdotes and photos of my favourite parts with you. Firstly, The Tapestry Room. I absolutely loved this room because of the story behind it. The sofa you can see in the picture was originally sold. However, by pure chance, a watercolour painting by Clara Dryden was found showing what the room originally looked like. It was from here that one eagle eyed person spotted the sofa for sale at an auction and informed the trust. Thankfully, it’s now in its rightful home. 


The next feature I loved was the fireplace and ceiling in The Drawing Room. It literally caught me off guard because there is nothing else like it in the building. Commissioned in the 1590s, it really has stood the test of time. The family have again added this over the centuries, for example, in the 18th century, Henry Dryden had to add cast iron columns to support the chimneypiece because it was sagging. Naturally, there has been some conservation work completed by the trust along the way. 


Another literary link now: Spenser’s Room. This room was named after the poet Edmund Spenser, author of The Faerie Queen. He was first cousin by marriage. Anyway, it is in this room that I saw something I’ve genuinely never seen before. Original murals are still there today showing the danger of worshipping false gods. It is thought that Sir Erasmus painted these himself. I genuinely cannot believe they have stood the test of time. It’s incredible really. 


This property also has a church attached, just across the grass and over a little road. I enjoyed sitting there for a little while just thinking. I’m not a religious person but I always find churches very calming and restful places. As you can see, this one is incredibly old. It was an insight to see the graves of the different Drydens too. 


My final favourite piece here is a statue in the garden of a shepherd boy and his dog. There’s quite an emotional story behind this as he was killed for protecting the family. Therefore, his statue is there, always watching and guarding the house. I make no apologies for the photo of me by him. Sadly it was raining! It’s not like we expect much else for a British summer to be fair. I always find a raincoat very useful in this country. 


There’s a lot more to this house than meets the eye and I will definitely need to return to learn and retain all of the historical knowledge. I also don’t want to spoil it for you if you decide to visit. However, I really found this place quite enchanting and fascinating. 

For more information visit The National Trust – Canons Ashby

Big love to you all! Xx

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Stratford upon Avon 

Hi all,

Just a quick post. Life is pretty busy (when isn’t it!) but I managed to sneak off for a couple of hours by the river. I took a couple of photos that I wanted to share with you all. 


It always amazes me how beautiful this town is. I feel so lucky that I am from here and I can experience this place with ease. The memories it holds for me makes it just as special. I love sharing them with people. 


This made me laugh. I just had to take a photo. Littering, yes. Humorous, absolutely. 

You never really realise how much a place can make you feel until it’s tested. Life throws things at us on a daily basis; small personal challenges or larger issues which require plenty of thought. I’d temporarily forgotten the sense of serenity and calm this place gives me. 

Whatever challenge you currently might be facing, find your place to think and feel personal peace. 

Big love xx

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Filed under Photography, Places, RSC, Stratford upon Avon