Category Archives: UK

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

Tattershall Castle


Hi everyone! 

We are experiencing some excellent autumnal days and I have to say, I’m enjoying having my autumn scarves on! 

Last Saturday I went exploring, this time to a castle! Tattershall Castle, to be specific. It was awesome! It sits proudly in the Lincolnshire fens; a fabulous setting for a castle if I do say so myself. 


First of all it’s a magnificent 15th century red brick castle. It was the size and the colour that stood out to me as I was driving up. The dates of this castle show that it’s been standing for years and years. The sights that castle has seen and stood through. The people that have been there and the stories the walls could tell. 


On exploration of the castle, I learnt that it was built by Lord Ralph Cromwell, who was Treasurer of England. Like all good castles it was built to show off his wealth and power. 


Yet it wasn’t free from its own turmoil. In 1911, the castle was saved from exportation to America. As one of the earliest surviving examples of English medieval brickwork, it was crucial that it was saved. Thankfully, now in the hands of The National Trust, it will forever be safe. 


So this castle is grand on every levels. 149 stairs along the winding staircase take you to three levels. Each floor has the most incredible stained glass windows. I love a good stained glass window, the way the light hits the colours; just stunning. 


Another prominent feature was the gothic fireplaces. They are just fantastic on every level, with little pictures depicting various scenes. Again, showing wealth and power. You can hardly blame him really. 


At the top of the tower, the views of the Lincolnshire countryside were breathtaking. It was a bit breezy up there but it was a nice sunny day which meant I could see quite far. 


I highly recommend this castle. It’s just wonderful. The spiral staircase is magnificent (but did make me feel slightly queasy) and the large rooms create a feeling of wonder. I just wish I could have seen this castle in it’s prime. 


Have a fantastic autumn everyone! 

Big love xx

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Filed under Days Out, Exploring, National Trust, Photography, 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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Filed under Days Out, Harry Potter, Photography, Places, UK

900 Followers! 


Hey guys! 

Happy Saturday. Today I realised some really exciting news… I’ve reached 900 followers. I genuinely can’t believe it. When I started my little blog I don’t really think I had any idea what I was doing really. I read a few books, visited a few places and thought I’d just write about it, almost like an online diary. Little did I know what I would learn and who I would stumble across. 

Today I had a day away, I popped to Newcastle to see the amazing Souter Lighthouse. Despite the spirals and the stairs, it was amazing. The views were lovely. I got lucky and saw a rainbow. 


I’ve never been in a lighthouse before but it really is awesome! I highly recommend it actually. On a sunny day you can see for miles. I enjoyed seeing the tide come in. There’s something about hearing the sea against the rocks; the continuous ebb and flow. I even took a smooth pebble home to remember my little trip. 


So, 900 followers and a trip to a lighthouse. Not bad for a quiet September Saturday. 

Big love to you all. Thanks for being a part of my journey. 


Xx

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Filed under Blog, Follows, Photography, UK

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

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

Shakespeare’s New Place

Hey guys! 

Today’s post comes from a recent trip to Shakespeare’s New Place in Stratford upon Avon. As you know, I always feel incredibly proud to be from here; to have this as part of my heritage. 

Back in 2016, work started on transforming this incredible garden. A massive 6 million pounds was spent. It ran behind schedule and a year later, I have finally managed to visit. It was incredible. 


A brief history:

New Place was Shakespeare’s family home from 1597 to 1616, when he died. It was decided in 1759 that the house would be demolished to make way for a garden to commemorate the site and to allow visitors to make their own connection with Shakespeare. 

Features of the original property are marked out and preserved, such as the family well. Some of these features were only unearthed once work began on the gardens. 


Now I can relate to this because I spent a lot of time growing up in Stratford. I used to spend many a summer afternoon reading or seeing friends in the original gardens here. I was excited about what changes would have been made. But, I was worried that I wouldn’t feel my personal connection with the new greenery there. 

Since I’ve been, I can honestly say I was worried about nothing. I felt so inspired in that garden. It’s hidden behind new incredibly impressive gates with a number of awe inspiring sculptures. 



What I love:

First is a sculpture of the deeds to the house. ‘Murder’s shadow lifted. Shakespeare has the true title to his house.’

My favourite sculpture is by Jill Berelowitz and is called ‘His Mind’s Eye’. Cast in bronze, the sculpture shows the world nod a large tree. The interpretation is that the tree is Shakespeare (his influence) and the smoother side is visually showing the impact that Shakespeare has. The more bumpy side is yet to be influenced by Shakespeare. What do you think? 

I also really liked the representation of Shakespeare’s chair and desk. This was amazing because you can cast your mind back, hundreds of years ago, to imagine Shakespeare writing such plays like The Tempest. I was convinced to have my photo taken. Not sure it’s my finest pose! 

There are numerous sculptures around the garden depicting a range of Shakespeare’s plays. One of my favourites: Macbeth. I don’t claim to be knowledgable about sculptures. However, I do like to think about what elements are being shown. This intrigued me immensely; the merge of faces in particular. 

Finally, the Knot Gardens are really quite lovely. They feature a rose in the middle with a variety of flowers outside. They smelt wonderful: the epitome of a summery day. 

The couple of hours I spent here made me feel incredibly calm and at ease. This hidden gem really needs to be visited. I bought myself a year pass because I want to see the flowers change, the colours develop and deepen, the leaves fall and make a carpet on the floor, new life forming next year. I just had to share one of my great loves with you all. 


Big love xx

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Filed under Gardens, Stratford upon Avon, UK, William Shakespeare