Food, Travel, Winter

The Lake District | Food

When people asked me where we were going on our honeymoon I would explain to them all about the beautiful little cottage we had booked right in the middle of the countryside and the walks we had planned but I would always end with the most important thing – the food we intended to eat. For me the food is an integral part of any holiday and a great way of sampling local culture. Both Russell and I are big foodies, part of the reason we fit each other so well, and so when we are looking at visiting a place the food is a massive consideration. Having been to the Lakes numerous times I knew that the food here does not disappoint. From pubs, to cafes, to restaurants if you’re looking for amazing food the Lake District is the place to be. I thought I’d share a selection of the places we had some seriously spectacular food on our honeymoon for any other foodies out there wanting to take a trip.

The Watermill
This was the local pub for us, just down the farm track from our cottage we decided to pop here for a bite to eat when we really couldn’t be bothered going any further. We’d been told it was a great place for a nice local ale, so Russell was in his element choosing a few to try over the evening. The food was good english pub grub and was absolutely delicious. If you are looking for a chilled out evening, somewhere you can go after a long walk for a slap up meal and a drink this is the one.

Poppi Red
One of my favourite cafes from when I used to visit with my parents, Poppi Red is full of cute floral prints and vintage gifts. Predominantly a cafe it also has a lovely little shop worth looking round before you sit down and order one of their deliciously naughty cakes. We decided to go for a panini each and were really impressed with the use of local ingredients including Hawskead Relish and local meats. This is a great place for coffee and cake or lunch out with the girls.  

Zepherellis 
Another place I used to go to with my parents when I was little, Zephs is definitely more of a restaurant. Although you can just turn up in your jeans its also somewhere you feel you can get a little bit more dressed up for. The menu is entirely vegetarian but don’t let that put you off, even my meat loving husband managed to enjoy himself as we ate two courses before going through to their cinema to watch La La Land. Zepherellis is both a restaurant and cinema offering special deals for food and cinema tickets. It was a lovely place to go to as more of a date and we enjoyed the chance to dress up a bit and have a special night out together.

Mason Arms
This is definitely my favourite place in the Lake District (so far), a beautiful little 13th century inn the Masons Arms is cosy and warm with a crackling fire, candle light and the most amazing food you’ll ever eat. A slight step up from pub grub, it serves all sorts of local dishes such as lamb Cartmel as well as ham hock, black pudding burgers and my personal favourite – Masons Arms Ribs. If like me you are a bbq rib lover this is the place to go,  having sampled many bbq ribs all over the world for these are the best. A great place to go for a cosy relaxed date with sensational food.

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Adventure, Christianity, Style, Travel, Winter

Nene Way | Wellingborough

Last weekend we were lucky enough to go on another holiday, this time it was just a little weekend away but it was really nice to get some time out of Oxford and out in the countryside. We went away with our church’s student group as Russell is both a student and student leader at the weekly groups and I make the cake. It was an amazing weekend, the theme was on Identity, and I definitely felt God talking to a lot of us there including me. I feel that I learnt a lot and found it challenging some of my ideas and feelings. I also made lots of new friends and ate a lot of good food so all in all it was a pretty epic weekend!
We went away to an adventure centre in Wellingborough, a place I have never been to before, in actual fact I realised I haven’t really been to the east side of England ever before so thats definitely somewhere I’d like to explore more. As a self professed British travel blogger I love any chance to travel to a new place in Britain and do a bit of exploring. On the Saturday afternoon we had a little bit of free time and Russell and I decided to have a little wander along the Nene Valley. It was very pretty with a series of waterways and lots of birds and as we watched the sunlight turn into that perfect golden we couldn’t help but stop to take a few photos. 
We have a few more trips planned for 2017 around Britain and so I am hoping this is going to be the year of exploring my country a little bit more.   

What I Wore…
Top – Joules | Jeans – M&S | Wellies – Hunters 
Travel, Winter

The Lake District | Bowness

Our final day in the Lakes was really bittersweet. We’d had such a lovely time relaxing in the beautiful surroundings of Cumbria, we’d been answerable to no one being able to get up when we wanted, eat when we wanted, light fires, relax, read, walk and have cake for breakfast. It was an amazing chilled out week and a great start to our marriage, we both agreed the cottage we had stayed in was so wonderful we’d really love to come back and were already planning a few more trips round the uk. We decided to take a drive around the countryside on the last day having an amazing lunch in Hawkshead at Poppi Red followed by some slightly terrifying driving round tiny little lanes with tractors coming full pelt at you.

We ended the day by watching the sunset over Lake Windemere in Bowness. It was a gorgeous day and our only day of proper sun since we had arrived so we wanted to make the most of it. Donning our coats and scarves we walked a long the peer and watched as the golden light reflected on the water. Walking further down the shore I found myself surrounded by hundreds of ducks, geese, swans and pigeons as I watched the quiet still water sparkle. I wished that moment would last forever, just Russell and I surrounded by gorgeous scenery, not a care in the world and nowhere to be.

What I Wore…
Coat – Joules | Scarf – H&M | Hat – New Look
Style, Travel, Winter

The Lake District | Coniston

Whenever I go to the Lake District I can’t help but be reminded of Beatrix Potter at every turn. I think this probably started after I saw the film “Miss Potter” when I was 12 and saw all the beautiful locations where she spent her later life. It was around that time that my parents decided we would go to the Lake District every year in autumn for holiday. The film Miss Potter definitely piqued an interest in Beatrix Potter, I loved how much of a rebel she was and that she was writer just as I wanted to be. I can definitely see why she chose to live in such a beautiful place, for a writer it offers endless inspiration and I imagine when you get one of those annoying writers block moments a nice stroll around the cumbrian countryside will soon get the juices flowing again.

Unfortunately “Hilltop” the house in which Beatrix Potter lived was closed when we went due to it being out of season so instead we went for a wander along the shores of Coniston. It was absolutely gorgeous and again a very easy lake side path. On our way back home however we happened to pass Yew Tree Farm Cottage which I remembered as the cottage they had turned into Hilltop for the film “Miss Potter”. A while ago I came with my Mum for afternoon tea and read all about the filming process that had taken place here. Unfortunately they no longer serve afternoon tea and instead Yew Tree can be rented as a holiday cottage, but I still wanted to have a little wander around the front of it. The house is framed by stunning hills behind it and I can imagine it would be an absolutely amazing place to live. I think if I was ever to live in the Lake District this would be exactly the type of house I’d want.

It felt very fitting to be wearing my little book dress for our day of tracing Beatrix Potter’s steps and I think she would have approved of the design. I hope we can go back at some point when Hilltop is open and have a look around, I don’t think I will ever get bored of looking into Beatrix Potters life, she was a great feminist, writer and helped to conserve much of the Lake District so it is still as beautiful today as it was then, she’s definitely one of my big inspirations.

What I Wore…
Dress – Cath Kidston | Cardigan – M&S | Necklace – Fatface
Outdoors, Travel, Winter

The Lake District | Grasmere

Oh Grasmere! So beautiful it took my breath away, I can definitely see why Wordsworth decided to settle there. We decided to go for another slow walk on our third day away and I quite fancied having a little wander round the town of Grasmere. We started off near Rydal water and followed the path along the waters edge until we reached Grasmere lake and then continued round the lake side. It was such a stunning walk with awesome views and gorgeous reflections on the lake. If you want to see some really beautiful scenery but want and easy walk I would definitely suggest the lake path around Grasmere.  

About two thirds into the walk we reached Grasmere and went for a nice drink at the 1769 pub, the food looked amazing but we had already decided to save ourselves for dinner at the local pub that night. We then stumbled across Sarah Nelson’s Gingerbread, I had read about this place when I was looking up things to do on our honeymoon and so I knew it was worth a visit and was excited to try this famous gingerbread. We bought ourselves a little parcel of gingerbread, I love pretty packaging and it seemed to make the gingerbread taste even better. We carried on our walk, hand in hand, munching on “the best gingerbread in the world” with big smiles on our faces. It was another lovely day out in the quiet calm Lakes.

What I Wore…
Coat – Joules | Jumpers – M&S | Jeans – M&S | Wellies – Hunter
Fashion, Outdoors, Scotland, Sea, Winter

A Golden State Of Mind

Ahhhh Scotland! One day I’ll live here and stop harping on about how amazing it is, knowing me though I’ll never stop being amazed by this little corner of the world. Its definitely the place I feel most at home and I love to come back here again and again. One place I always like to come to visit when we are here is St Andrews, I love the little town full of pretty streets and grand old buildings with its lovely craft shops and the best book shop ever to have existed! But one of my favourite things is definitely the beach with Tensmuir forest facing you as you walk down and the beautiful towers of St Andrews facing you as you walk back. So when deciding where to give my brand new Christmas coat its first outing it was no contest really. 
I’d been wanting this lovely mustard yellow coat for ages, incredibly comfy and cute it is also 100% waterproof and has a hood. Unfortunately it was quite a bit out of my budget so when my lovely in laws to be bought it for me as a Christmas present I was super excited. I can’t wait to wear this on my honeymoon, I’m almost hoping it rains so I can test out its waterproofness. 
The walk we had was busier than normal being Christmas week but we managed to find a quieter spot right down at the bottom to splash about in the waves and chase the dogs round. Its moments like this when the sun is starting its slow journey to bed, the sky goes a pastel purple colour and Russell is there beside me holding my hand that I feel really blessed. Time stop stills for a minute and I can enjoy everything God has given us. 

What I Wore…
Coat – Joules | Top – Joules | Jeans – M&S | Wellies – Hunters | Hat – New Look | Scarf – H&M

Food, Foodie Fridays, Lifestyle, Recipe, Vegan, Vegetarian, Winter

Spinach and Roasted Veg Winter Salad

I have a confession to make……Salads are one of my favourite things….yep that’s right, I’m a total weirdo who loves to eat salad. But I think must people have the wrong view about salad, a lot of people imagine salad and see a simple plain boring load of iceberg lettuce in a box with no dressing. For me however, this is not the case at all. My salads are juicy, yummy, satisfying things full of nutrients and tangy flavour. I absolutely love having them in the summer but once it got to October I wasn’t feeling salad any more, I wanted something warm that was full of starch and be comforting on those cold days. And so I went about inventing some warm salads to have during the winter, something delicious and satisfying with seasonal veggies. I came up with lots of yummy recipes but this one has to be my favourite so far. Packed full of flavour and nutrients this dish is just the perfect comfort food on a winters day and it’s so easy to make. 
At the beginning of the week I like to make a few things in bulk to see me through and make life easier. It means I don’t have to be organised and make my lunches the night before every day of the week because I’ve already got a load of stuff in the fridge that I can chuck together. This dish is one of those things. The roasted veggies I like to make in advance and I pretty much use anything I can find be it sweet potatoes, carrots, butternut squash, potatoes, parsnips whatever I just cut it into chunks add some seasoning and throw it in the oven. Then once its cooked I put it in containers in the fridge and throughout the week I toss it over salads or add in some other veggies. Its so easy and so tasty and it means you can get a really delicious nutritious lunch every day of the week.    
Ingredients: 
Half a butternut squash
4 Potatoes 
Spinach
2 tsp mixed herbs
1 tsp paprika
Pinch of Salt
Pinch of Pepper
Two large handfuls of spinach
Olive oil
Recipe:
1. As I said I like to make the roasted veg in advance but it can be done on the day if you wish. Preheat the oven to 200 C. Cut the potato and butternut squash into chunks throw into an oven proof dish, add a glug of olive oil, the mixed herbs, paprika, salt and pepper shake the dish until the veggies are coated. 
2. Roast the veggies for 40 minutes – 50 minutes, until the potatoes are looking crisp and golden. Leave to cool and store in a box in the fridge. 
3. When you are ready for your salad take out a frying pan, put a tiny bit of oil in it add the roasted veg and the spinach and stir until all the spinach has wilted. 
And that is it! Simple and delicious and so easy to make in any way you want, you could add whatever veggies you want. The roasted veg also go really well on a bed of tender stem broccoli, raw spinach or mixed leaves. Hope you enjoyed this super easy recipe. Let me know in the comments below if you tried it.  

Fashion, Outdoors, Style, Winter

The Golden Light Of Winter

 

Sometimes it’s easy to take for granted all the things you have and to only look at what you don’t have. I am definitely guilty of this, I constantly look forward to the time when I can move to Scotland and get a nice house in the countryside for me and fiancé to live in and because of this I often miss the good things in the here and now. One of my new years resolutions was to take more time out, to enjoy slow living and I think a big part of that for me is learning to live in the present. Life always seems stressful and fast if I am constantly looking to the future, if I am constantly trying to predict what’s round the bend and planning everything. Of course there are things that need to be looked at and planned mainly our wedding, but I think that in itself should be enjoyed, the process of planning a wedding is something I will never get again and so although I am looking to the future I need to make a conscious decision to enjoy the present.

I am definitely not a city girl, I lived in Birmingham for a year and I have lived in Oxford for a year and a half now and I can say assuredly that I am definitely made for the countryside. After living in a tiny little Scottish village for 6 weeks over the summer it became quite obvious that it was the country life for me. However I am also aware that this will most likely be the only few years I will ever live in such a beautiful city as Oxford and so it is important I enjoy it. I may never again be surrounded by stunning architecture, more book shops than you can shake a stick at and ridiculously good coffee shops. I may never again be able to pop down to London for the day on the coach and go to a show or do some shopping. And so I have been trying to enjoy Oxford, to enjoy my time here and to enjoy city living. I am going out of my way to enjoy spending time in such an amazing place and taking advantage of all it has to offer like beautiful walks around Christ Church Meadow which, when bathed in golden winter sun, is really rather magical.

What I wore….
Dress – Fatface | Coat – Wallis | Hat – Primark | Boots – New Look | Bag – Market Stall in Portugal
Fashion, Outdoors, Winter

Adventure Awaits…..

Now that I am working most of the time I find myself really treasuring time off, I make much more of an effort to get out and do things and have fun rather than spending all of my days off in bed watching netflix (although sometimes you just need that). I’ve also found myself being rather inventive when it comes to finding things to do for the day as I am trying to save as much as I can this year. Luckily both me and my fiancé got ourselves National Trust membership at the beginning of this year (Only £30 if you’re under 25!) and with me now having a car we have endless places we can explore. Greys Court is only 45 minutes away from us in Oxford and so one cold day we decided to venture out and see what it was like.
As we started to drive away from Oxford the fields that surrounded the country roads we sped down slowly started to turn whiter and whiter and we soon realised the “rain” we were driving through was actually snow. When we arrived at Greys Court the whole place looked as though it had been delicately sprinkled with icing sugar with just a little bit of snow here and there. We decided not to look around the house this time as we really wanted to go for a walk and thought it would be better to explore the house on a day when we had more time to enjoy it. The grounds around the house are really lovely and there are quite a few different trails you can follow. 
I felt a bit like a modern day Lucy from The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe wearing a 1940s style dress, a faux fur headband and wandering about the grounds of a large house. I felt even more like Lucy once we walked into a small snowy wood, it was a rather magical feeling, I love anything Narnia-esque! I am really looking forward to coming back to explore the house and I think the gardens will be so beautiful in the spring. Its great to know we have somewhere so pretty to go and visit so close by.    
   

What I Wore…
Dress – Old | Coat – Wallis | Headband – Market Stall | Wellies – Hunters 
Inspiring, Lifestyle, Winter

My Year

For the past few weeks I’ve been pondering over the new year and, after making the life changing decision to leave university, what I want to achieve this year. For the first time in my life I feel free to do whatever I want and to decide which way my life will go, this is both an amazing and terrifying feeling. I began to get worried that the freedom would overwhelm me and I would try to do everything at once and instead of achieving anything I would just be stuck in limbo, pulled in so many directions that instead I remained still. It was around this time that I stumbled across this post by the lovely Ashley from The Shine Project (if you haven’t heard about the shine project then definitely go read all about it, it’s amazing, inspiring and so humbling) where she suggested having a word and a mantra that describes the 2016 you want to help you focus yourself. This was exactly what I needed and so I set about creating my own.

It didn’t actually take very long at all, I found I knew exactly what I wanted my 2016 to be and within about five minutes I had it written down. So here it is, my mantra 2016:

Cultivate the type of life I want to lead
I decided on the word cultivate as I felt it encompassed exactly how I felt about what I wanted to do this year. The word cultivate means many things – to raise or grow something, to try to develop or acquire a certain skill and to try to improve or develop ones mind – all of which explain exactly what I want to do with my year. I have already begun to follow my dream of becoming a writer and living a creative life and I want this to permeate into every corner and aspect of my life. I know now that I am in charge of creating the type of life I want and therefore I have to be proactive, I have to go out and get it and achieve what I want. I need to cultivate the life that I want. 
I also have a word that helps to sum up exactly what this mantra and this year means to me and that is simply: create. This year I want to create my life be that through my job, my relationship, my home and my future. I am excited by the start I’ve already made, I know creative living is a hard thing to aspire to and I have been told by many that it is only for the brave but it is what I want and this year I intend to get it.