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Monday, 27 June 2016


According to Stylist  UK has some of the most beautiful beer gardens.

They say that .....

"There are some things that British summertime just wouldn’t be complete without. Drinking Pimms out of a plastic cup in your local park; striding determinedly into a steel-grey sea, gritting your teeth as the icy water reaches your bikini bottoms; buying a ‘99’ from an ice cream van and reflecting sadly on the fact that they no longer cost 99p.

But possibly the most beyond-crucial ingredient is the classic British beer garden. From seafront seating in Brighton, to trendy roof terraces in Leeds and secret courtyards in Soho, we've got some of the UK's best right here ".

 From The Farm Pub  tucked away in Bristol's leafy St. Werburgh's district, as its name suggests has the feel of a proper countryside pub. It's big green garden is a balm for the soul, and there's a great selection of local cider at the bar. 
Hopetoun Road, Bristol, BS2 9YL;

To the oldest pub along the Thames, The Ship is South London is about as close to the water as its possible to be without actually being a ship. It's been open since 1786 and you can watch the sun set from decked waterfront beer garden, close to Wandsworth Bridge. 
41 Jews Row, Wandsworth, SW18 1TB;
Head down to The Stylist website for a choice of 30 of the best beer gardens.

Friday, 15 April 2016


I'm sure like me that you are loving all the amazing pictures of Kate in India, She has looked fantastic in everything she has worn but reading that both William and Kate made it up 10,000 feet above sea level really made me feel proud. 

The Daily Mail wrote William and Kate climbed arm-in-arm to the Tiger's Nest monastery, some 10,000 feet above sea level. 

While the prince was seen wiping sweat from his brow, his wife appeared unfazed by the climb and simply pushed her hair back from her face with her sunglasses.

The prince, dressed in chinos, a shirt and walking boots, looked more flushed than his wife - who donned £475 Penelope Chilvers boots and a £495 Nubuck shoot waistcoat over a white Jaeger linen blouse costing £89.  

At the end of the walk, Kate told the press pack she was missing George and Charlotte 'massively', adding 'we're looking forward to seeing them...they're in good hands.'

Monday, 11 April 2016


The Queen's Houses is an outstanding book written by Alan Titchmarsh. In the book, Alan takes us on a tour of the royal residences, where he examines the personal stories behind these magnificent buildings.

The Queen has dedicated her life to the public - every move is scrutinsed, every word noted. But her homes are havens where peace can be found,  and away from watchful eyes.

Through personal reflections, interviews with royal staff and meticulous historic research. Alan looks beyond the formal grandeur of Buckingham Palace, the imposing structure of Windsor Castle and the private escape offered by Balmoral and others. 

It has illustrations with intimate family photographs and evocative memorabilia and offers a glimpse of life behind the state banquets and sovereign duties.

A unique book that any royalist would love to enjoy and keep on their bookshelf. Available from Amazon and other good book shops. 

Thursday, 7 April 2016


Did you know that in the initial Roman Calendar April was the 2nd month of the year until January and February were added in 700BC.

It is thought that the name April comes from the Latin word "to open" and describes the trees opening at Springtime.

It could also be that the name came from the Greek Goddess Aphrodite.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016


'British fashion is self confident and fearless. It refuses to bow to commerce, thus generating a constant flow of new ideas whilst drawing in British heritage'...

Alexander McQueen  Lee Alexander McQueenCBE (17 March 1969 – 11 February 2010) was a British fashion designer and couturier.[2] He is known for having worked as chief designer at Givenchy from 1996 to 2001 and for founding his own Alexander McQueen label.[2] 

His achievements in fashion earned him four British Designer of the Year awards (1996, 1997, 2001 and 2003), as well as the CFDA'sInternational Designer of the Year award in 2003.[2] McQueen committed suicide in 2010 at the age of forty.

Monday, 4 April 2016


We Brits LOVE our pets ( well, most of us do). My gorgeous little Bess (above) was with us for 15 fantastic years until she passed away last year. I miss her sooooooo much.

National Pet Month 2016 is running from 1st April - 2nd May. Two leading businesses are joining forces with National Pet Month to help promote responsible pet ownership and encourage pet fans to raise vital funds for UK charities.

Their Facebook page has all the information you need to get involved with National Pet Month/ Another Facebook page with details is Scratching Post  which is mainly cat related but lots of stories and great pictures to look at.

You can become a supporter of National Pet Month at their website and get help with your fund raising event.

Sunday, 3 April 2016


According to 'Hand Luggage Only' blog, a brilliant blog written by two good looking guys Yaha and Lloyd who are mates from the University of Cambridge where the blog began in April 2014 on a warm afternoon in Yaya's college room at Cambridge.

They say there are '9' British Traditions which you should experience in the UK. Their number one experience is British Morris Dancing in the Summer. This type of dancing dated back to the 15th Century where 'peasants' would dance the evening away. They say you can usually find Morris Dancers at most Summer Fetes dressed in and dancing to impress the crowds.

Their number two experience is British Maypole Dancing on May Day ( something I've not seen for years) which is predominant in Britain and other parts of Europe. People traditionally dance around the pole on May Day or Whitsun.

The number three slot goes to the English Cheese Rolling in Spring. It is held every year at Coopers Hill in Gloucester where thousands of people roll and chase a 9lb barrel of Gloucestershire cheese down a hill.

Number four on the list is the very British Bonfire Night where we all enjoy a night filled with fireworks, bonfires, sparklers and toffee apples.

Their number five experience is Welsh Bog Snorkelling ( a first for me) which takes place in the summer from Wales where locals and visitors alike can be crowned a champion 'bog snorkeller'!!!

Their number six choice is Cornish Hurling which is played only in Cornwall and is a truly unique past-time. Basically whoever ends up with the silver ball at 12 Noon gets to go to the town mayor and receive their 5 shillings (olde money) reward.

Their number seven spot is a Scottish Hogmanay which is celebrated each year on December 31st. Hogmanay is a Scottish tradition where you enjoy lots of music, whisky, street parties and singing to 'Auld Lang Syne'.

Number eight is the Scottish Burns Night which is held on January 25th every year. Burns night is to celebrate the life and works of the famous poet Robert Burns.

Finally number nine is the Summer Solstice at Stonehenge where each year during the summer solstice (Monday 20th June) upwards 40,000 people head to Stonehenge to celebrate the rising sun.

Amazing bit of British traditions don't you think? You will find lots more on this on Hand Luggage Only website. 

Wednesday, 30 March 2016


At least once a month I pop over to see my Dad in Manchester and always go through Chesterfield and over the Peak District rather than the direct route on the Motorway.

The reason is simply because of the view. It only takes about half an hour to get to Chesterfield where you pass it's famous 'Crooked Spire', then onto the A619 to the Peak District National Park. 

After a short drive through beautiful countryside I reach Chatsworth, which is a village well worth a visit to see the stunning Chatsworth House and lovely walks and tea rooms like Hatties in Baslow which is part of the Devonshire Arms in Baslow. The pretty village has quirky interior design shops and a  unique bespoke Gentlemans Tailors (GA Shepherd), which are far and few between nowadays.

You then approach Stoney Middleton after going through Calver, which is a beautiful quaint little village where cave lovers meet to go underground and see the world in a completely different light to us. It was first settle by Ancient Britons around 4,000 BC who may have been drawn by the thermal waters which still flow through the village today. The thermal springs provided water to the Roman bath house, where bathing in the mineral rich water was thought to have the power to heal.

You then stay on the A623 towards Stockport and enjoy the fantastic scenery of the Peak District National Park.  where the Peak District website says ' Take in a view you will never forget'.

The next village which you by pass is Chapel en le Frith then onto Furness Vale. Furness Vale on the A6 has one main road running through it, with wonderful views on either side and a lovely Marina (see picture above).

You then go into Disley which has an abundance of lovely shops and pubs for such a small village and a regular stop off point for many heading towards Stockport. Lyme Park ( a National Trust Property) is just outside the village and a very popular and beautiful park for a day out. Just don't go on a Good Friday as my Dad and I were stuck in a traffic jam for two hours which was all down to cars queuing up to get into the Park over the holiday.

Once through Disley I know I'm out of the true countryside and getting nearer to Stockport and Manchester but even though I have driven this route hundreds of times, it still looks different each time I go on that route home.

Saturday, 26 March 2016


According to the very British paper 'The Telegraph' Britain has 20 classiest Counties, and the second ten are-

11. County Down which starts at East Belfast and meanders south to the point where " the mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea".The Royal County Down Golf Club, founded in 1889, is described by Golf Digest as the best anywhere outside the US. It is also one of the most sought after towns, glamorous-sounding Holywood, is proud to have spawned golfing superstar Roy Mcilroy.

12. East Sussex ( love it) They say there is no cooler place outside London than Brighton ( couldn't agree more on that one). The white stucco properties in Sussex Square must be some of the most attractive properties in the county. They also come with access to an enormous communual garden. Glyndebourne (pictures) is a place of pilgrimage for well-dressed opera-lovers and the market for houses in growing daily.

13. Cornwall ( thought this would have been higher up the list). This is Britain's southernmost county and is a place of timeless enchantment. It is beloved of artists and holidaymakers alike. Always a popular spot for holiday makers.

14. Oxfordshire which attracts more than its fair share of movers and shakers, many living in David Cameron's Witney constituency. The county is hardly unspoilt and has pockets of real beauty and tranquility. Some may say Bicester Village lowers the tone ( no idea why) but Blenheim Palace is one of the grandest stately homes in the country. 

15. Ross-shire, which is a tiny county that for years it was subsumed into Ross and Cromarty for admin purposes. The biggest town, Dingwall, barely has 5,000 inhabitants. Tain, Scotland's oldest Royal Burgh, is even smaller. But you only have to visit the remote villages of Wester Ross, or play golf at Royal Dornock to fall under the spell of this delightful corner of Scotland. 

16. Cumbria ( my favourite place in the whole world) feels like a breath of fresh air after the cities of the south. The scenery has a class of it's own. Wordsworth's Lake District is as glorious now as 200 years ago, and if you are looking for a classy property (that's if you can find one for sale), the landscape of timeless beauty is in abundance. 

17. Pembrokeshire which is the county well known as Little England Beyond Wales. It has some of the best beaches in Britain, as well as its smallest city, St. David's.

18. Cheshire ( my home town) which has plenty of Premier League footballer's in situ. It is said to have the most outstanding schools and amenities as well as the very popular villages of Hale, Alderley Edge and Prestbury.

19. Gwynedd which has the natural splendour of Snowdonia National Park which is a beautiful as Conwy, Caenarfon, Harlech and Beaumaris castles. Abersoch used to be a small fishing village but now attracts the yacht set. Further down the coast is one of the hot spots called Aberdovey, which attracts more out-of-county house buyers than ever before. 

20. Last but not least is Leicestershire, which is situated right in the centre of England. This classy county is the seat of the Dukes of Rutland in Belvoir Castle. It's world-class riding country is a lure to sportsmen everywhere. 

Monday, 21 March 2016


The Pennine's Way, is arguable England's longest and finest footpath, which runs from the Peaks, in Derbyshire, to the Scottish border, over rough moors and over grown Roman roads. But it's certainly no walk for the inexperienced.

It has something to offer every long distance walker. The 270-mile walk will take your from the Peak District National Park along the Pennine ridge through the Yorkshire Dales, up into Northumberland, and across the Cheviots, and into the Scottish Borders. 

If you like a bit of history and culture then you will find that on this walk. Starting at the scene of the Kinder Scout mass trespasses of the 1930s, you will walk through the Southern Pennines, cradle of the Industrial Revolution, pass Haworth, home of the Bronte sisters, cross the limestone country of the Yorkshire Dales, follow the Settle to Carlisle Railway and enter a huge Pennine area that was exploited by every kind of mining activity, the lead industry in particular, as well as The Roman Wall and beyond the territory of the Scottish Borders.

The National Trails Website has lots of details on how to plan your visit.  

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