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21 June 2013

Nails Recently

I haven't posted any pics of my nails recently, so thought I would do a little catch up.  I have been in more of a 'plain' mood with my nails of late, not wanting to wear elaborate designs.  I am so used to having more than one colour on my nails that plain block colour looks a bit odd, so I usually do end up putting on some polka dots! hehe.
 
Top pic above is Barry M in Cobalt blue as base coat and then Barry M Cyan Blue for dots, finished off with Seche Vite as topcoat.
 
 Base colour here is a very old (I was surprised it hadn't gone gloopy!) Ruby & Millie in Green 720C, with Barry M Gelly in Greenberry for the dots.

An unusual nail for me, plain block colour and a pastel colour! I am trying to branch out with my colour choices.  This is 2True in shade 20, super cheap nail varnish purchased in my local Superdrug, but I love the colour, had lots of compliments on it.
 
 

19 June 2013

A Trip to Belsay Hall


I recently made a visit to Belsay Hall in Northumberland with my friend Ailsa, that's her in the photo above.  Ailsa works for English Heritage and loves history and castles as much as me so when she suggested a trip to Belsay I jumped at the chance.  Ailsa knew I would like it especially as there is currently a Jane Austen costume exhibition on!
 
 
The costumes are the original ones from the most famous Jane Austen films, including the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice of course and the Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet Sense and Sensibility.
 
Mr Darcy (Colin Firth) and Elizabeth Bennet's (Jennifer Ehle) wedding outfits from Pride and Prejudice.
 
Colonel Brandon (Alan Rickman) and Marianne Dashwood's (Kate Winslet) wedding outfits.
 
Edward Ferrars (Hugh Grant) and Elinor Dashwood's (Emma Thompson) wedding outfits from Sense and Sensibility.
 
Belsay is quite unlike any English Heritage site I have ever visited! It is such a good day out, there is loads to see!  The main house, Belsay Hall is a Greek style mansion built in the early 1800s.  Sadly the house is in need of repair now and inside the rooms are empty with very few original features or furnishings left, but some original William Morris wallpaper does remain. Because the hall is now empty it of course makes an excellent exhibition space.
 
 
Perhaps the main attraction for most at Belsay are the gardens, they are beautiful and I am so glad I took my camera so I could snap a few pics.  I found it quite difficult to choose which pics to post here, so there are quite a few!  but look how pretty the flowers are!
 



 Belsay has its own croquet lawn complete with croquet team, we saw them playing.  This lawn is stunning, we were not allowed on to take more photos but such a perfect setting.  I wouldn't play croquet here, I would have a garden party!

Oh I do love a little secret garden door.... This particular door is through to the quarry gardens. Purpose built quarry walls, with an amazing collection of unusual plants.




 
Just to prove I was really there, here is me in the quarry garden.
 


And if all that is not enough to keep you busy Belsay has an actual castle in the grounds!!! It is quite a small castle and you would be forgiven for thinking it is actually a folly, but no it is the original 14th century medieval castle, it seems that the family decided their castle was not big enough and made the hall in the grounds!  So the castle is open for visitors to look round too.
 
 

 
I do love a Monkey Puzzle tree, this one was huge.
 
Do visit belsay if you are in the area, you can read more about the history here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belsay and find out about the visitor information here http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/belsay-hall-castle-and-gardens/
 
 

17 June 2013

Sisters Walk to Lanercost

Aaages ago now on Bank Holiday Monday Jen and I were determined to have a lovely 'Sisters day out' together. We don't get much of an opportunity to spend a lot of time together as we live in different cities and have conflicting work schedules so it was really fun planning a rare day out.

We wanted to go somewhere pretty, pretty views, pretty buildings, and of course pretty tearooms!  A little stumbling block is that neither myself or Jen drive, and generally if you want to go to pretty places in Cumbria you have to drive.  I was a little frustrated to discover that public transport routes to places we want to go  are very few and far between, so we had to pick somewhere we could get to relatively easily.

We picked Lanercost, which is a teeny village with a lot of historical interest, just out of Brampton, East of Carlisle. We could get a bus from Carlisle to Brampton and then it is a lovely 2.5 mile walk from the town up the road to Lanercost.

The weather was not perfect, a little annoying after a glorious weekend, but hey ho, if you wait for perfect weather you will never get anywhere (especially in Cumbria!).

The pic above is a little tearoom we discovered in Brampton, sadly it was closed for the day, but looks so cute, will have to make another visit.

We popped into the Tourist Information and the very helpful staff explained how we could get there along a really pretty path.  The path was beautiful, tree lined woodland walk with stunning views across the open countryside.

I love tree lined boundary paths like this, the trees are so old, imagine the stories they could tell.  Here is Jen admiring the view.


 Couldn't help snapping the pretty bluebells along the way.

This area is super pretty, lots of lovely little houses, Jen and I had fun daydreaming about what it would be like to live around here... sigh, one day, sigh.....

The path opened out onto the road for the last part, but it is not exactly a busy road and very pretty bursting with new spring green leaves.

Just before you get into Lanercost village, you come across a little historical bridge, we both posed for a pic.


Lanercost itself is a tourist honeypot.  It is along Hadrian's Wall, and the walking and tourist bus routes all come this way.  The main attraction being Lanercost Priory, an English Heritage site.  You can read all about it and view the visitor information here

 The beautiful Priory.

Of course we popped in for a look around.  I have been here before but a few years ago and Jen had never been.  The place is just a ruin now but you do still get a sense of how spectacular it was.




Jen in 'Jail'! Oh how we amuse ourselves so!


Sisters days out always end in a tearoom with cake! Of course there is a tearoom, in fact the tearoom is super busy and popular, there is a lovely gift shop too, you can see the details here.

Pop along to Jen's blog to see her post about our day out.

3 June 2013

 
Things that made me smile...

« Bats swooping past my window « long daylight evenings «  lots of running « long walks « spring cleaning and organising « seeing lovely friends happy at wedding « dancing with Mark « the sunshine « days out with my sister « visiting new places « new curtains « a week off work. 

Cool things discovered this month...

Surely everyone has the Beautiful Mess app by now? It came out this month and it is so fun!  It is a photo app, allowing you to add filters, handwriting and doodles to your pictures.  I love Elsie's photos on the blog and the way they add handwriting to them, now you can do it yourself with this, awesome! (Pic Source: A Beautiful Mess)

Crochet blog Little Woollie posted a tutorial on how to make these fab crochet stars, they are so cute.  Just the perfect thing to hang up in my flat to brighten the place up.  I have already had a little go at making one, if you have seen my Room For Improvement Post you may have noticed it. You can find the full tutorial here. (Pic Source: Little Woollie)

I am daydreaming about pretty summer sandals now the weather is finally starting to get a bit better.  My dream sandal would be the first picture here, Saltwater Sandals (Pic source: http://littlebylittleblog.com/) I love them, so cute.  However I will not be purchasing them as I don't wear leather.  If anybody can find me a decent cheap non-leather copy I would love you forever! Second pic Swedish Hasbeens (Pic source: www.office.co.uk) another iconic sandal, sadly again only in leather, these are slightly smarter so great for work.  And finally how pretty are these red flowery ones in pic 3? And wuhu they are not leather, and affordable at only £22 from Asos. (Pic source: www.asos.com) 

New movies/TV shows...

Star Trek Into Darkness - This was Mark's pick at the cinema (hang on, I'm pretty sure every time we go to the cinema, Mark gets to pick!), I am not a Star Trek fan at all, I have only ever watched it when forced.  but Mark promised I would enjoy these new ones, and as the one and only Simon Pegg is in it, I thought why not! To be honest I'm happy to go to the cinema anytime, who can resist a giant Tango Iceblast! But it was good, I genuinely enjoyed it. Simon Pegg made me LOL!

The Romantics - A movie I have been wanting to see for a while, after stumbling upon a trailer.  Did this ever make it over here in the UK? I don't recall seeing it on at the cinema?  Well I finally tracked it down to watch it.  Great cast, Katie Holmes (she was in Dawson's Creek so I LOVE her), Anna Paquin, Josh Dumal, Malin Akerman, Adam Brody (him from the OC!) etc.  I thought it was great, lovely scenery, a bit dark and brooding, my kind of movie.

New blog discoveries...

Tilly and the Buttons - It's her from Great British Sewing Bee! If you are crafty I'm sure you watched it.  Tilly was by far the coolest, the clothes she makes are just my style.  Even though I would never be able to make anything as good as she does, I love reading her blog and seeing the pics.  If you do fancy having a go, she provides full instructions of course.

Bow Ties are Cool - I love Meg's style, short black bobbed hair, thick geeky glasses, tattoos and wears a lot of black. It's been great to discover this blog and go back through all her fashion posts, she is super cool, go check it out...

Only two great blog discoveries this month, could it be that I have discovered ALL the blogs now? haha! If you have any recommendations, anything that you are currently loving that you think I would like, or if I haven't seen your blog yet,  please do leave me links in the comments.

It is the 1st of June as I write this, the official start of Summer and it is actually a beautiful warm sunny day outside.  I am not generally a summer person (mad I know, but I love woolly tights, coats and winter boots!) but I can't help feeling excited for long summer days enjoying the outdoors.  Come on Mr Weatherman, we haven't had a decent Summer in years, give us something to smile about....