Category Archives: Things to Do

Tintagel in the West Country

Standard

Tintagel has to be one of my top UK places I’ve visited. It has to be one of the:

1. Strangest places I visited.

2. Most breath-taking places I’ve visited.

3. Most inspiring places.

Basically, if you didn’t know, Tintagel is a small Cornish parish situated on the North coast of Cornwall. The village is also home to Tintagel castle, the ruins of which are found on an island connected by a stairway suspended between the cliffs.

The castle is the mythical birthplace of King Arthur and is associated with many legends of him and his knights of the Round Table. According to Wikipedia (the fountain of all knowledge), it is one of the most visited places in Britain today and you can see why from the pictures:

Aerial View of Tintagel

Aerial View of Tintagel

Tintagel Castle

Tintagel Castle

Antique Painting of Tintagel

Antique Painting of Tintagel

Tintagel Castle Stairway

Tintagel Castle Stairway

Tintagel Castle Ruins

Tintagel Castle Ruins

Tintagel Castle

Tintagel Castle

Tintagel Castle Overview

Tintagel Castle Overview

English Heritage, whose site the above two photos are from, describe Tintagel as,

‘A magical day out in Cornwall, take the family to Tintagel Castle. Its wonderful location, set high on the rugged North Cornwall coast, offers dramatic views, and its fascinating ruins and stunning beach cafe make it a perfect day trip, ideal for those on holiday in Dorset, Cornwall or Dartmoor.

Tintagel Castle is steeped in legend and mystery; said to be the birthplace of King Arthur, you can still visit the nearby Merlin’s Cave. The castle also features in the tale of Tristan and Isolde. With a history stretching as far back as the Romans, Tintagel Castle is one of the most iconic visitor attractions in the south west.

  • The introductory video ‘Searching for Arthur
  • The rugged trail to the ‘island’
  • A visit to our stunning Beach Cafe
  • The ‘tunnel’ on the ‘island’ what was it used for?’

I can honestly say it’s a fabulous day out!

p.s. I reserve no rights to the above photos

I give you Bath, no not A bath, I give you BATH…Never mind…

Standard

Hi all, apologies, it’s been rather busy here but without further ado I give you Bath for 2012:

Bath High Street

Bath High Street

 Lots of lovely shops to visit.

Bath's Stunning Architecture

Bath's Stunning Architecture

When you’re standing on that bridge you have no way of knowing it’s a bridge because it has a road, pavements and is lined with shops like any other street!

Bath Abbey & The Roman Baths & The Pump Room

Bath Abbey & The Roman Baths & The Pump Room

Amazing how this little square in Bath contains so much of my favourite thing – History!

Bath Abbey sits straight ahead, to the right is the Pump Rooms, a famous and once fashionable place for the ton to meet and loiter and the Roman Baths sitting happily behind the Pump Room, like it has done for thousands of years…..

City of Bath

City of Bath

And of course this is just a beautiful city to see!

So, whether you want to admire the beauty of the Roman Baths:

Roman Baths in Bath

Roman Baths in Bath

Look at and try and imagine the splendour of bygone days whilst taking tea in the Pump Room:

Tea in the Pump Rooms

Tea in the Pump Room

The Pump Room Built in 1795 by Thomas Baldwin & John Palmer As The Focal Point of Georgian Society

The Pump Room Built in 1795 by Thomas Baldwin & John Palmer As The Focal Point of Georgian Society

 Walk around the incredible architecture of the Royal Crescent:

Bath Crescent

Bath Crescent - On one house there is a plaque describing an elopement of one of the women that lived there with a young man!

 Or just milling around, doing a little shopping, popping into the many art gallerys or museums, Bath is a lovely city to visit.

 

I have been and it remains one of my favourite places in England and my favourite part was Jane Austen’s house and Great Pultney Street (I cheated with two!!).

 

How about you? Have you been? What did you think? What was your favourite part?

We Stop This Series For An Urgent Baking Broadcast!!!!

Standard

Home-Made Creamy Tomato Soup  

And now for something….completely different. I’m taking a brief interlude in my photography series to share something delicious with you. A combination of my two favourite ingredients: tomatoes and basil…mmmmm! And if anyone looks at my pages regularly you will already have seen this one appear on the baking section of my blog site 😉 brownie points for loyal readers.

When I say this is easy I don’t mean mildly difficult like most chef’s mean – I mean bung everything in, heat it up and eat it up! That’s the sort of cook I am afraid I am so here it is – An easy tomato soup:

Home-Made Tomato Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion – chopped
  • 1 garlic clove – finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • handful basil leaf
  • pinch baking soda
  • 600ml milk

First: Heat the olive oil in a large pan, then tip in the onion and garlic. Cook over a moderate heat until the onion has softened, about 5 mins.

Second: Stir in the tomato purée, then pour in the chopped tomatoes and basil leaves, and bring up to the boil.

Third: Turn the heat down and leave to simmer for about 15 mins until thick and full of flavour. (If you like a smooth soup, like in the Heinz tins, then whizz the mixture at this point (most carefully of course) with a hand blender or some such implement. At this point you can cool the mixture and freeze it if that’s your plan – If you’re like me however and must eat whatever I cook right away carry on….

Fourthly: To finish the soup, tip the tomato mixture into a pan. Spoon the baking soda into a small bowl and pour over 1 tbsp or so of the milk. Mix together until there are no lumps, then tip into the tomato mix and pour over the milk. Bring up to a boil (the mixture will froth, but don’t worry – it will go away). Gently simmer for about 5 mins until ready to serve.

Got it? Good, I’m off to eat mine….

The New 2011 Jane Eyre Film – An Amateur Critique

Standard

When flying recently I got the chance to watch the new Jane Eyre Film…..Which naturally I LEAPT at!

Leading lady Mia Wasikowska played Jane Eyre:

Jane Eyre 2011

Jane Eyre

While playing opposite her as Edward Fairfax Rochester was Michael Fassbender:

Jane Eyre 2011

Edward Fairfax Rochester

And for good measure no one can say no to Dame Judi Dench as Mrs. Fairfax the Housekeeper:

Jane Eyre 2011

Mrs. Fairfax the Housekeeper

I was suitably impressed by Thornfield Hall:

Jane Eyre 2011

Thornfield Hall

And I enjoyed the word sparring and ominous conversations betwixt Rochester and Jane Eyre:

Jane Eyre 2011

Jane Eyre and Rochester

And of course there ultimate love which covers rough ground, a maniacal wife and a house fire:

Jane Eyre 2011

Jane Eyre and Rochester

However, I have to say that I could not quite believe their passion, despite the above picture, and I still think that no one can outdo Toby Stephens as Rochester and the general brilliance of the BBC adaptation:

Jane Eyre BBC

Jane Eyre - The BBC Version

Jane Eyre BBC

My Favourite and Most Dashing Mr. Rochester

For me Jane Eyre is all about the passion which the film, although good and deserving of a watch, somehow lacked – Though I thought the northern accents were a nice touch – What are your thoughts?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some New Books for the New Year…

Standard

Hello all,

Sorry for the delay in posting, I have been very naughty and busying myself with other things (like moving house next week)! This post, as you can see by the title, will be about books. I LOVE reading, and I just wanted to share some books with you that I recommend if you’re looking for a new novel in the New Year (I shall keep call it the New Year for as long as I can).

A Red Herring Without Mustard

A Red Herring Without Mustard

A Red Herring Without Mustard

‘In the hamlet of Bishop’s Lacey, the insidiously clever and unflappable eleven-year-old sleuth Flavia de Luce had asked a Gypsy woman to tell her fortune—never expecting to later stumble across the poor soul, bludgeoned almost to death in the wee hours in her own caravan. Was this an act of retribution by those convinced that the soothsayer abducted a local child years ago? Certainly Flavia understands the bliss of settling scores; revenge is a delightful pastime when one has two odious older sisters. But how could this crime be connected to the missing baby? As the red herrings pile up, Flavia must sort through clues fishy and foul to untangle dark deeds and dangerous secrets. ‘ – Amazon’s Product Description. A funny and qwuirky novel, definitely for those of you looking for something different but still of very high quality — though this is the third novel in the series, you may want to start with ‘The Sweetness At The Bottom Of The Pie’

Persuasion

Persuasion

Persuasion

In my opinion this is Austen’s best novel. A story of a woman who is past her bloom and the man she once jilted under someone else’s advice because of his lack of fortune and connections. The novel begins describing her dull-ish life and then moves on to her meeting her former love who now has fortune and title as he has distinguished himself in the navy. With the social positions so changed and much pain and heart-ache brought up from the past you watch as they deal with the past and hopefully move on to a happy future. I love this novel because I feel Austen is writing her own happy ending, or at least the one she wanted but never managed to get.

Redeeming Love

Redeeming Love

Redeeming Love

‘California’s gold country, 1850. Angel expects nothing from men but betrayal. Sold into prostitution as a child, she survives by keeping her hatred alive. What she hates most are the men who use her, leaving her empty and dead inside. Then she meets Michael Hosea. A man who seeks his Father’s heart in everything, Michael obeys God’s call to marry Angel and to love her unconditionally. Slowly, day by day, he defies Angel’s every bitter expectation until, despite her resistance, her heart begins to thaw. But with her unexpected softening come overwhelming feelings of unworthiness and fear. So Angel runs. Back to the darkness…A powerful retelling of the book of Hosea, Redeeming Love is a life-changing story of God’s unconditional, redemptive, all-consuming love. ‘ – Amazon’s Product Description. One of my favourite books of all time which can only be read with the biggest box of tissues!

Sharpe’s Tiger

Sharpe's Tiger

Sharpe's Tiger

‘With the same meticulous research and attention to detail that is found in the Peninsular War books, Bernard Cornwell has sumptuously recreated the 1799 campaign against Seringapatam which made the British masters of southern India, a campaign that pitted brutalized soldiers against an ancient and splendid civilization. Sharpe, the rest of his battalion and rising star of the general staff Arthur Wellesley, are about to embark upon the siege of the island citadel of the Tippoo of Mysore, Seringapatam. The British must remove this potentate from his Tiger Throne, but he has gone to great lengths to defend his city from attack. When a senior British officer is captured by the Tippoo’s forces, Sharpe is offered a chance to attempt a rescue and infiltrate the Tippoo’s forces. Set against the background of dazzling wealth, ruinous poverty, gorgeous palaces, sudden cruelty and pitiless battles, ‘Sharpe’s Tiger’ is his greatest adventure yet.’ – Amazon’s Product Description.

This is, I’ll admit it, a bit of a blokes book, and funnily enough, a bloke recommended it to me, but I thought I’d give it a shot and I actually enjoyed it and am currently reading the second in the Sharpe’s series. Bernard Cornell is a very well-known writer and I’m starting to realise why.

So, I hope that’s a big enough selection for you and they are VERY varied I know so it might give you some ideas of things to read this New Year (I did it again 🙂 )

Lizzy x

Hippy-Happy New Year!

Standard

Hello One and All,

It’s most fantastical to be blogging once again, I have missed this little private space of mine…well not so private….But nevertheless to be writing again feels good.

Now a word on New Year’s Resolutions — I like them – I know, shoot me if you wish too, I would understand….Though it’s not exactly that I directly like New Year’s Resolutions but I like rather the excuse it gives you to make a change to your life and hopefully for the better.

So, you may decide on one which you know outright in your heart you’ll never keep, like quitting chocolate for the next six months or scrapping that comfy threadbare jumper which you can only wear in the house. Yes, in that case getting annoyed with New Year’s Resolutions is understandable because you know you’ll never keep it. However, if you make one like, I want to see my friends more, I want to save for that holiday I’ve always wanted, I want to learn a new craft or I want to have a cheat day once a week so that when I go on this next diet I’ll actually stick to it, you might do just that!

New Years Resolutions - ChocolateIn my head those are resolutions which you have a shot of keeping and they are great ones which you will actually want to keep because they make you enjoy yourself even more, whether it’s enjoying your friend’s companionship, you’re relaxing holiday or being comfy in that two piece while your sun-bathing. So now you can keep that thread bare jumper for your relaxing time, on that special cheat day when you can have some chocolate and don’t have to feel guilty about it.

New Year's Resolutions - Wolly Jumper

Why not choose to use New Year’s Resolutions as an excuse to make a decision that you’ve been wanting to make and that this New Year with it’s fresh set of diary pages and seasons yet to come, makes possible.

And you know what? If you don’t manage to keep it, as long as it’s not harmed anyone, does it really matter? After all, doesn’t that mean you were too busy enjoying yourself doing other things which prevented you from keeping that other thing? Well, that’s at least how I see it; an excuse to do something good with the year you’ve got and sometimes breaking the rules can be just as fun as making them 🙂

I hope this has inspired or helped you as you’ve read, and that it gives you a good ol’ run way from which to take of into the New Year without feeling pressurized but instead feeling excited. Now for a bit of humour to keep you giggling in 2012:

I was chatting to a friend the other day:

“Oh, so you went to that beauticians the other day, how was the massage?”

“Good, although, it wasn’t necessarily as relaxing as I wanted it to be.”

“Why was that?” I asked (most caringly).

“Well, the massage part was really good but then I popped to the ladies. Obviously I flushed the loo and then went about washing my hands.”

“Yes,” I ask tentatively, slightly worried about the track of this conversation.

“Well then I heard this noise and it made me jump nearly out of my skin.”

“What was it?” I ask, now starting to smile at her shocked expression.

“Well I thought it was a hand drier but there wasn’t one there and it was coming from the toilet.”

“Oh, how odd.”

“Yes, it really made me jump.”

“I can see that…” Now trying to stifle my giggling, “And was this toilet downstairs by any chances?”

“Well…Yes…But how did you know? Have you been there before?”

“No, but it’s called a macerator, dear.” Now laughing hysterically as her face turns white.

“Oh, my goodness! What is that? Could it have hurt me?”

I’ll just leave that one with you, and if you’re curious as to why I laughed so much and still don’t know what macerators are, click either of the links – hehehe – Must go, still giggling!

Happy New Year To All!

(I hold no rights over the above images and give full credit to respective photographers and websites)

How To Make Home-Made Sock Monkeys!!

Standard

Yo, Ho, Ho, All!

Wonderful to see you all again and I have still be reading everyone else’s blogs and enjoying the Christmas vibes and the masses of good ideas floating around at the moment. Today I thought I would take some time out to show you all how to make an easy cuddly toy which costs very little, is wonderfully qwerky and can be done in an evening!

That’s right, you’ve guessed it, we’re making SOCK MONKEYS!!!

So, here are the ingredients (haha, that sounds funny, I should probably say making thingymabobs…):

  1. A pair of socks in a nice colour (size is your preference) with contrasting toe, heel and top – Tescos do men’s socks as cheap as 5 pairs for £6 – example to the right:
  2. Sock Monkey SocksStuffing, I personally used an old cushion which I was going to throw out which is FREE! Alternatively you can buy toy stuffing from C&H for £2.99
  3. Thread – £1.99
  4. Needle – Hopefully you already have one at home!!
  5. Buttons – Whatever colour you like, I prefer black buttons for eyes with white thread to sow 🙂
  6. A sowing machine will come in handy but if you don’t have one don’t worry, it’ll just take a little longer.

Sock Monkey Making Stages:

Stage 1 

One sock is the head, body, and legs of the monkey. The other sock will be the arms, tail, mouth and ears. Lay one sock inside out and with the heel flat facing down. Mark the center line of the foot from the toe to approximately one inch from the colored heel. Sew up one side of your marked line and back down the other side, leaving approximately a quarter inch space between the line and your seam. (The width of my sewing machine foot worked brilliantly for me):

Making A Sock Monkey

How To Make A Sock Monkey

Cut the legs up the middle, between your two seams. Turn and stuff the entire sock. Decide where the “neck” will be and stitch around the neck with quarter inch stitches. Pull the stitches snugly until you get the size neck you want and knot the ends.

Making A Sock Monkey

Round the head area with stuffing as desired. Fold the raw edges to the centre and tuck inside. Stitch the opening closed.

How To Make A Sock Monkey

Stage 2

Fold the second sock inside out and cut like this:

Making A Sock Monkey

The left two strips are the arms, the heel is the mouth, the two top semi-circles are ears and the right strip is the tail. Cut them out, sew them, turn them the right way out and stuff them – Whether you want to stuff the tail is up to you, I thought it looked best unstuffed.

Attach the tail to the bottom wherever it looks best, attach the arms either side of the body (obviously – I hope you’re cottoning on now…haha get it?)

How To Make A Sock Monkey

Now  sew the heel onto the “face” for the nose/mouth. Sew the bottom edge to the monkey’s chin carefully folding under the raw edges so they won’t be seen when it’s finished. Once you have sewn the bottom half on add stuffing to make the nose/mouth puff out. Fold the raw edge under and stitch the top edge to the face.

How to Make A Sock Monkey

Stitch the completed ears to each side of the head.

How To Make A Sock Monkey

Finally, add button eyes and there’s your monkey!

Now I’m going to be honest, I have used the wikihow website to help me out with the photos and instructions but I have now made seven sock monkeys for Christmas and they are genuinely easy and so lovely to make and look at afterwards!

Love Lizzy x

p.s. Please choose a nicer colour than the grey socks in the demo pictures!!

p.p.s. How your sock monkeys may turn out:

Sock Monkey

Sock Monkeys