Posted in Days Out, National Trust, Photography, Places, UK

Croft Castle and Parkland

Hey Everyone.

February is whizzing by and the snow drops tell me that spring is well on its way. Sometimes we all need a day of peace and tranquility to regroup and recharge. For my parents and I that was this weekend. We decided to visit Croft Castle and Parkland in Yarpole, Herefordshire.

From the outside you can see just how impressive it is. It’s quite a rarity to see a castle standing in its entirety, especially one as old as this. The castle dates back to before the Domesday Book, with the Crofts making a family home there.

Due to descendants of the Croft family, you are limited to what you can see within. However, I did really like beautiful rooms we could see. My favourite room had the most beautiful wallpaper. The gold really stood out; very grand.

One of the most fascinating items in this room was a grand clock. However, this one had eyes. I’ve never this before in my life.

For me, the parkland outside was more incredible than the castle itself. We decided to do the ancient tree walk. I was completely blown away. The suns came out (which always helps) but the trees were just amazing. The oak below is over 500 years old.

These trees create a beautiful landscape. To think they began as a small seed and now hundreds of years later they are these wondrous masterpieces. I just felt so overwhelmed.

I genuinely fell in love with the grounds here. Normally, I’m a property person. I appreciate the land but I adore the interior, the lives it represents and the time periods. Yet, I found myself more and more at peace and full of admiration for the land.

This window of family time was really quite lovely. It’s so easy sometimes for life and jobs to get in the way. It’s also really nice to have a change of pace sometimes. We live in a beautiful world. We need to treasure and nurture it for future generations.

Enjoy the rest of February, spring is nearly here!

Big love xx

Posted in Days Out, Exploring, National Trust, Photography, Places, Seasons

A Winter’s Stroll

Hey Everyone!

Hope you’re all doing well and keeping warm in this biting weather! Whilst it’s snowing outside, I’m sat here feeling quite grateful. Yesterday I managed to have a lovely walk around the grounds of Nostell Priory. It was one of those days where it’s crisp and fresh but the sun was peeking out behind the clouds. The complete opposite to today’s weather it seems!

It all sounds rather romantic. However, I’m a firm believer in needing beautiful scenery, fresh air and the opportunity to step back and recharge yourself. This was my opportunity to do just that.

I find being by water particularly calming and this was no different. It was quite nice seeing the ice sporadically spread across the ice. I also loved seeing the ducks and swans gracefully mooching across the lake.

Another thing I spotted was the vast variety of birds and squirrels. It all just felt rather tranquil. I’m embracing the thought that winter is nearly over and spring is surely on its way. The snowdrops were starting to make an appearance; surely a sign that spring is approaching us.

I wanted to share this with you because I wish that you all have a moment to yourselves to enjoy the simple things, to recharge, as I have. Blow those cobwebs away and breathe it all in. I feel recharged and ready for the next week ahead.

Big love xxx

Posted in Culture, Days Out, National Trust, Photography, Places, UK

A Wishing Tree

Hi guys!

November really is flying by and the festive season is fast approaching. This weekend I visited Nunnington Hall which is a stunning Yorkshire Manor House.

Whilst I loved the house with its stunning display of miniatures, my favourite part was The Wishing Tree. Call me naive, but I didn’t really know anything about wishing trees before now. However, I’ve learnt a little more and I’m really quite taken by it.

A wishing tree is used as an object of wishes and offerings. Such trees are believed to have religious or spiritual value. There are many all around the world but this was my first experience of seeing one. The colours of the ribbons were really lovely. It stood out, attractively, in the crisp autumn day.

With the Wishing Tree at Nunnington Hall, you attach a piece of ribbon and make a wish. Now, I can’t say what I wished for, but I really enjoyed taking part in this small aspect of culture and tradition. But above all, I hope all the wishes of my lovely followers come true.

I was also able to get super close to this handsome fellow! He was right by my car door!

Big love xxx

Posted in Photography, Places, Weekend Trips

Bruges 2017

Hey everyone!

Hope you’re well. It’s all full on at work again hence the slight absence here, but I’m back!

This weekend, my lovely friends and I went back to Bruges for our annual trip. It was more incredible than last year. You may have remembered my post last year: here. This year was slightly different. We had an amazing walk around, taking in all the sights and scenery. It was so good for the soul, honestly. We wanted to see parts we didn’t get to see last year. We were helped by our friends at a chocolate shop. (I say friends because they recognised us from 12 months ago!)

Bruges has to be one of the most beautiful cities I think I’ve ever had the privilege of visiting. The buildings, the trees, the people, all of which are incredible. The history is fascinating; something which I need to look into more.

The autumn leaves littered the streets and danced to the ground. The colours were amazing. I’m so pleased I’ve seen them when they’re crisp and crunchy, just before the rain gets them.

Other than the obligatory eating of the chocolates and the waffles, and drinking a range of examples of Belgium beer, I did buy some Christmas presents. However, I did treat myself to a gorgeous handbag and a beautiful painting. You can’t replace the feeling a place gives you, but you can keep those memories close to you by having little reminders.

So, I hope you’ve all had an amazing weekend. Make sure you’re making lots of time for yourselves to rest and recover. Memories are such treasures too.

Big love all xx

Posted in Autumn, Days Out, National Trust, Photography, Places, 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 

Posted in 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

Posted in Days Out, National Trust, Photography, Places, UK

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

Posted in Photography, Places, RSC, Stratford upon Avon

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

Posted in Photography, Places, Stratford upon Avon, UK

The Big Wheel – Stratford upon Avon

Hey guys!

How are you all? Today was amazing because the sunshine came out so I finally got chance to get on the Big Wheel in Stratford. 

Firstly, the river and theatre looked beautiful. It really is quite breathtaking. 

I have to say, it was amazing. The views were stunning. Apologises about some of the glare on the photos. However, it doesn’t matter. It was just lovely. I genuinely have so much love for my home. For a price of £5 we spent about 5 or so minutes going around, taking in the scenery. 

I had the best time. There’s always so much to see. The town was thriving today as well. This Wheel caused a lot of controversy with the locals. Yet, I loved it. I see it as a positive to see the amazing views of our town. It made me incredibly humble for what I’ve got on my doorstep. 


Finally, my mum took this photo of me. It’s not horrendous but I wasn’t feeling particularly well as it was rocking at the top! A sunny but breezy day. 


I hope you’ve enjoyed these pictures. I loved it I have to say! 

Big love all xx

Posted in Books, Days Out, Photography, Reading

A Bookish Place

Hey everyone!

I’ve been on another exploration this week, this time with a book focus! I took a little trip to Hay-on-Wye with my lovely dad. It’s a little tradition we have, for the past three years anyway, to go and mooch about. He found out about this place because he knows how much I love books. It’s very special to me because of the memories I have made there. As I know there are a number of book lovers out there, I wanted to share this little place with you. 

Where is it?

Hay-on-Wye is just over the Welsh/English border. It’s a beautiful drive in via the scenic route, as there is luscious green everywhere. Even the car park is perched in front of beautiful scenery. 


What makes it so special? 

Everyone here is very friendly and the majority share a common interest: books. There are a huge variety of quirky little independent book shops. Some span over 3/4 floors. There are literally thousands of books, everywhere. 

Boz Books – This appealed to me because it’s a 19th century book shop. As a massive lover of Victorian Literature, I love going in to see all the cloth bound Dickens that line the shelves. There are other writers and time periods here. I managed to pick up a lovely boxed copy of Fitzgerald’s Tender is the Night. 

Addyman Books – Firstly, I love the building with the painted window outside. I bought a number of books from here, some I’ve never even heard of. This is the place I go to to find something different. Don’t be deceived by the outside. It’s huge shop! One of my favourite parts is this lovely reading room. I could definitely see myself sitting there engrossed in a good book. 


Murder and Mayhem – The outside of the shop always catches my eye. I think it is brilliant. A shop dedicated to a specific genre only is a brave and rare thing. Also, I love the little cat sitting at the bottom on the right. 


Richard Booth Bookshop – This bookshop is actually my Dad’s favourite in Hay-on-Wye. It’s where we go normally to buy beautiful copies of Folio Society Books. We always leave with one each. Again, it’s another quirky yet beautiful building. I particularly like the animal tiles down the sides. 


There are books on absolutely everything here. The Folio Society books were a little more difficult to get to because of an art display for the Hay-on-Wye festival. It was very interesting actually, but the part that caught my attention the most was the ‘Idiot Compression’. You can see part of it in the image above. In a nutshell, it consists of hundreds of sections of books cut into the spine. These parts can still be opened and read, but the meaning is irretrievably lost. Each part is around 20% of the original. This is to bring to mind the widely accepted idea that we only use 20% of our brain, and maybe only retain 20% of any reading. 

That statistic shocked me a great deal actually. Think about how much we all read, and to only retain a small amount seems a real shame. However, I do think this is quite a realistic percentage. Hmmmm. More thought needed I think. Nevertheless, it was visually stunning. More information here.



What I left with: 

Needless to say, I bought a lot. But, I wanted to get a range of books by different authors from different genres. I miss learning about new authors, so I tried to find books I’ve either never read but wanted to, or books I knew nothing about. I’m looking forward to read The Tale of Beatrix Potter being as it’s been 150 years since her birth this year. 


That’s it! Hay, you’ve been amazing as ever. My purse was much lighter by the end of the day, but my book collection (obsession?) has been increased again. 

Have a great weekend everyone! 

Big love xx