Category Archives: Holidays

Magic Moments – 2/52

Hello all, lovely to see you here on Rosy Hill. This post has been on my mind a lot lately, whenever I’ve done a little sigh of contentment or laughed merrily at life. How do I choose just 4 special moments in such a fun filled week?

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1. A spectacular sunrise on our first morning at the loch. Yes, I admit it heralded an atrocious day weatherwise but it started with a moment of peace and awe. I was up early with the Little Man and we were snuggling in the enclosed balcony when my mother joined us with a cup of tea. It was quiet, tranquil and beautiful and we watched for 25 minutes as the sky slowly lightened, the grey becoming tinged with pink until the whole sky was dashed with vivid pinks and oranges.

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2. Savouring a slice of toffeelicious cake in the adorable Treats Cafe, Kinloch Rannoch. Feeling tired but virtuous after climbing the mountain, the cake tasted all the more amazing for being earned for once.

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3. A proud moment as the final piece was fitted. It has been a long time since I did a jigsaw and we really got the bug this week – 3 completed in record time. Roll on our 3,000 piece epic journey when we return home!

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4. Enjoying the feast at Khublai Khan’s Mongolian Restaurant. After 8 years of hearing about how much we love this place, the pressure was on taking my parents and sister there for the first time. We need not have worried – they loved it! So much so we visited on the way to and from Loch Rannoch. We had a fabulous time, as always, with delicious food and wonderful service on both occasions but the real highlight was seeing the Little Man chomp away on wild boar, venison, mixed game, zebra, ostrich, springbok and kangaroo. Not a bad selection for a 9 month old!

I hope you have had many magic moments this week, x

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Schiehallion

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Greetings from the Central Highlands of Scotland or, more specifically, from the shore of Loch Rannoch. We are currently holed up here in a rather wonderful lodge enjoying a week of good food and lazy living. It’s marvellous.

I shall share my general holiday news at a later date but now I would like to talk to you about that mountain to the left of the picture above. That is Schiehallion and yesterday we set out on an adventure to climb it.

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The name Schiehallion originates from Gaelic and has the rather wonderful translation of ‘fairy mountain of Caledonia (Scotland)’.
Schiehallion is one of the most wellknown of the Munros, which is basically any mountain in Scotland over 3,000ft (nearly 1,000m). People spend a lifetime trying to climb them all.

Now I enjoy a walk and even a little climb from time to time but scaling rock faces with pick axe and crampons is not my idea of fun, especially when I am hideously unfit and have a nine month old baby in tow. However, for the main part, Schiehallion is not exactly a tough challenge as mountaineering goes. It is only 3,500ft to the summit and there is a single path for most of the ascent. Even so, there was never really any question of my making it to top.

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In preparation for the holiday we decided to splash out on an Ergo baby carrier. I still love my second hand Moby wrap, which I have used with the Little Man since birth, but it is too much of a faff to get him in and out now we are venturing out for longer and is not really practical for outdoor exploring.

The other advantage of the Ergo is that hubby can carry the Little Man without suffering from backache. We therefore shared the load – hubby going up and me coming down, teehee!

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For a relatively isolated and seemingly insignificant hill Schiehallion is surprisingly notorious, not least for its involvement in an ambitious 18th century experiment to estimate the mass of the Earth. It is just about the central point of Scotland, lends its name to a lager, a dance and an oilfield and also happens to be a particularly enjoyable spot for a bit of amateur hill climbing.

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The climb began easily as we meandered along a windy path but it soon became steeper. We had all been somewhat dismayed when the view from our windows that morning was obscured by mist but, having studied the weather at length online, hubby assured us that it would be clear on the mountain and he was right. As we walked we could see the mist hanging over Loch Tummel and Dunalastair Reservoir.

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Can you spot the tiny people on the ridge there?!
My zippy little sister and soon to be brother-in-law sped off whilst we (hubby, the Little Man, my father-in-law and myself) continued at a somewhat more leisurely pace, some of us huffing and puffing more than others.

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The weather, being dry, mild and relatively bright, was about as kind as you could wish for considering it is early January. However we did come across a couple of patches of icy snow, which we were very excited about.

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After just over 90 minutes climbing we came upon a flat bed of heather which provided a suitable place for lunch. The path disappeared soon afterwards and I was very aware that the Little Man’s interest in the expedition was not going to be unlimited and we still had to make our way back down. I had packed a banana and a hot cross bun as a handy lunch for him but he did manage to snaffle a fair few chunks of my sandwich as well.

Unfortunately, as we were finishing our picnic the mist descended, shrouding us in freezing fog. Having had word from the others that they were really close to the peak we decided that it would be prudent to begin our descent.

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Luckily the fog was temporary, as hubby had assured us it would be, and the view soon lay spectacularly below us.

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Given the circumstances we decided that it would be easier for me to also carry the Little Man on my back. It was very comfortable and the best choice on this terrain but I missed being able to kiss and cuddle him and will continue to carry him on my front usually for a while yet.

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The massive head start did not deter my sister and they caught up with us in an embarrassingly short time. However this meant we could enjoy an amicable descent together as a group whilst they told us what lay beyond the ridge of the mountain!

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Edinburgh

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I love this picture. Not because it is particularly good or interesting but because it holds so many memories. Not only does it remind me of our lovely stroll around Edinburgh last Friday but it also represents all of the other times we have visited the city over the last 8 years.

This time was particularly special as it was the Little Man’s first trip to Scotland. We were visiting en route to our holiday destination of Loch Rannoch but decided to break the journey here. My lovely father-in-law was particularly obliging as we (hubby, me, the Little Man, my sister, her fiance and my parents) took over his home.

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Over the years we have done many of the tourist attractions in and around Edinburgh but it has been a long time since I just wandered around the streets admiring the architecture and soaking up the convivial atmosphere. This time, however, we did just that.

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We walked along the Royal Mile where the statues and spires were framed by a beautifully blue sky. Above is the particularly striking St. Giles Cathedral, with its crown topped spire that can be seen for miles around, and below is the former ‘Tron Kirk’.

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No longer used for worship I believe that it served as a venue for last Summer’s Fringe Festival.
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This is another picture that brings back fond memories. Soon after hubby and I began dating he returned home to celebrate Christmas with his family. As requested, he took some photographs of his travels, one of which was very similar to this. Unsure as to what it actually was I labelled it as ‘House on the Hill’. Imagine my surprise when hubby informed me that this was actually Edinburgh Castle!

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Of course, the castle does look somewhat more impressive from the other side, standing sentinel over the city, but we do share a giggle whenever we see it.

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In the centre of town the Christmas Fayre was still in full force, having remained for the Hogmanay celebrations. We took the opportunity to stop for refreshment in the form of a hot mulled cider.
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Nearby, Scott was sat on his plinth, imperious as always, although looking somewhat incongruous amongst the flashing lights and fake snow.

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The Scott Monument is one of my favourite structures in Edinburgh, standing proud and tall in all its Gothic glory (according to here it is the tallest monument to a writer in the world). We climbed it on my first ever trip and the views from the top are amazing, even if they were accompanied by gale force winds.
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The sun was setting as we ambled back to the car and the city skyline was silhouetted before us. So quiet, so peaceful. A lovely stroll in a lovely city. x
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Eta the photographs which had disappeared!

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The English Riviera

Oh! I do like to be beside the seaside
I do like to be beside the sea!

Ah, take a deep breath in and smell that salty air, feel the spray tickle your cheek bones and hear the harsh screeching of the gulls riding the currents. Is there anywhere in the world I would rather have been at that moment? I think not.

Of course, those white horses crashing towards the beach were the product of a ‘refreshing’ (read bracing) wind that tousled our hair and chilled our finger tips but nothing could dampen my glee (I did point out that it was warmer than our beach outings during our Summer holiday!). My darling hubby grinned through it all, indulging my giddiness and refraining from commenting when we had to return to the apartment when it transpired that I had left my purse behind.

As I mentioned here, it was decided within minutes of arriving on the English Riviera it had been decided that we would be visiting Paignton. I cannot resist a good pier. Walking out into the middle of the sea gazing towards the horizon makes me forget the world around me.

Admittedly some of the romance faded when I entered the building and this sight met my eyes:

Amusement arcades do not really do anything for me. I cannot get excited about the idea of placing 2p into one slot in the hope that 4p comes out of another. I do not see the point. What is exciting about the idea of pressing a yellow button when you know that the computer will make the blue button win? Boring and what a waste of money!

There is one arcade game that I do enjoy and that is the Camel Derby where you have to roll the balls up the alley to make your camel win the race. At least you actually have to do something other than just gamble. A seasoned pro, I thrashed hubby and won 30 tickets. As this was the only game we played I quickly cashed them in to claim my prize!

Whoop whoop!

Much as we thoroughly enjoyed our stroll around Paignton, I have to say I feel that we saw all that we needed to see. I am not sure quite how I feel about our traditional piers being crammed with arcade games. I don’t mind the arcade itself so much but I wish they would leave the outdoor area free to enjoy and be at one with the sea. I have visited various seaside resorts around the country and I find the row of amusement arcade/fast food venue/amusement arcade/holiday camp that graces many an esplanade rather depressing. However, I did notice that the towns and villages of the English Riviera appear to be finding a balance. Yes, the  tackiness was all too evident in parts, but the hotels and guesthouses were well painted (in all manner of delightful colours!) and tidy, not displaying the financial difficulties that are plaguing many of our traditional (particularly Northern) seaside towns.

We left all of this behind as we moved onto our next destination.

Welcome to the utterly delightful Babbacombe, a district of Torquay. From the moment we entered this place I fell in love. It was quiet, quaint, tidy and enchanting.

I do like to stroll upon the Prom, Prom, Prom!
Where the brass bands play:
“Tiddely-om-pom-pom!”

No brass bands on a Monday afternoon in November but there is something so romantic about strolling along a promenade, arm and arm with your beau, even if I was not exactly adorned in Edwardian finery and swinging a parasol. The sun was shining, the weather was warm, all was well with the world.

The views over the bay were breathtaking. The turquoise sea was incredibly vast, spread out in front of us, bordered by tree covered cliffs. Indeed, I seem to have spent so much time absorbing the view that I didn’t manage to photograph it properly. Take my word for it though, if you ever find yourself in South Devon, visit Babbacombe. Hubby and I both agreed that we shall return sometime and when we do we shall visit the Model Village and ride upon its famous Cliff Railway, unfortunately closed for maintenance on Monday.

Whilst in Babbacombe, it struck us that we required sustenance. The sea air does whet the appetite so, you know. Luckily, we spotted the magic words ‘cream tea’ on a little sign outside the rather inconspicuous ‘Angels Tea Room’.

We were rather taken aback when, as we entered, a lady asked if we had booked. Er, no, this is a cafe, isn’t it?! Well no, it appears this is not just any cafe, but a social hub of Torquay! If you are after a quiet, relaxing experience then you may have to choose your moment to visit carefully, but if you are looking for an indulgent afternoon tea then this is the place to find it.

Delicate? Not necessarily. Decadent? Definitely! Apologies for the awful photograph, I was attempting to restrain the Little Man who was making a grab for any food that he could lay his little mitts on.

So, what did this High Tea consist of? First of all, we chose sandwiches: Bacon and Brie on granary bread for me, Pesto and Mozerella for hubby. This was followed by some scrumptious slices of cinnamon toast. Why have I never had this before? Thickly sliced white bread toasted and spread with lashings of cinnamon butter. Amazing! Then we chose a cake to share – lemon drizzle, if you please. Finally, the pièce de résistance, the scone. Not just any scone.

This was my ginger scone with gooseberry jam and clotted cream. Wow. This is a scone that I have got to add to my repertoire. Expect to hear more about ginger scones around here soon!

Once we had eaten our fill (and packed some away for later, we’re not that greedy you know!) and absorbed as much sea and sunshine as we could cram in we set off again. As the weather was marvellous and this was only a short break we decided that the journey needed to be part of the holiday. Instead of whizzing up the main road we ambled along the coast road so as to keep the sea in sight for as long as possible.

Our final stop-off was at Teignmouth. I could not resist all of those cute little boats bobbing in the harbour.

As I have already waxed lyrical at great length about two beaches I have decided to change tack and offer you a few fascinating facts about the town of Teignmouth.

Fact one: There has been a ferry service across the Teign estuary since the 13th century. Still going strong, the present boat is reputed to be the oldest working ferryboat in the country.

Can you see that bridge spanning the water in the background? That is the Shaldon Bridge. When it opened as a wooden toll bridge in 1827 it was the longest bridge in the country. The present one replaced it in 1931 (fact two!).

Teignmouth is also the proud owner of a pier heading out majestically into the sea. Crammed with all manner of arcade games, this one was closed but we did get to admire it from the sand. I love the legs – they have a sort of sculptural quality.

Fact three: The Grand Pier was first constructed in 1865 and measured 700 feet in length. It was later extended with buildings for dances, concerts and steamer trips. It is now back to its original length but the tourist board claims that it ‘still provides great delight’.

Look at this adorable mini lighthouse.

It cost £300 to build in the 1840s to guide ships into the harbour (final!). I am not sure when the bicycle wheels were added but they’re awesome. They look like sweeties out of ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’.

We left as the sun was beginning its descent below the horizon, the sky still a deep blue and the breeze barely causing a stir over the water.

So just let me be beside the seaside
I’ll be beside myself with glee

We only had to stop off once more before we arrived home for dinner and change for bed. Little Man was super as ever and even managed to eat in this ridiculous ‘high chair’ – it was low and had no tray. Where was his food meant to go?! Luckily he managed to cope with dipping his corn puffs in cabbage soup without too much mess. Bless.

It was an amazing little holiday. Only a short break but so much joy, so much laughter, so much tranquility. I hope you have not been too bored by my waffle but I wanted to record each moment of sun and sea air to look back on when I am feeling in need of a boost.

I am not pretending everything was perfect. The poor Little Man is still waiting for his top teeth to break through and screamed more on Saturday night/Sunday afternoon than he has done in the last month but we are loving our family holidays. Yes, they are a bit slower and the amount of stuff need is incredible but he is just so adorable.

Something different next time, be back soon! 🙂 xxxxxx

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Galmpton and Greenway

See that cute, little hut above the garage in the picture? That is Rozel Apartment, our delightful home for the weekend. Only recently converted it was a modern, stylish place and a wonderful place to live for a few days.

Of course, we managed to give it a suitably ‘lived in’ look within five minutes of entering with the Little Man and all his paraphernalia. He did enjoy exploring his new surroundings, especially with the light streaming through the huge window.

Luckily, he has proved to be a relatively transportable baby, even if he does require a lot of stuff. He is an excellent eater so we can take him out and about and there’s always something that he can scoff but I did take the hand blender so I could make him some soup (his current food of choice) to balance the restaurant pickings that he devoured when given the opportunity.

The apartment was located in the charming little village of Galmpton near Brixham. This choice was not purely incidental. Firstly, it was near my lovely sister-in-law’s home in Chudleigh Knighton, secondly, it was near the coast (I was Desperate to visit the seaside) and, thirdly, Galmpton has an interesting literary connection.

Galmpton happens to be the location of Greenway Estate, the holiday home of the British crime writer Agatha Christie. As soon as I saw this I knew we Had to stay there and Had to visit her home.

As the National Trust has the annoying habit of closing its properties for the winter we were lucky that this Sunday was the final opening before the house was to be ‘put to bed’.

Originally Georgian (18 th century), the house is laid out as it would have been in the 1950s and is chock-a-block with items collected by the family since Christie bought it in the 1930s. Little Man was in the sling and slept through most of the visit indoors which meant that hubby and I could take our time really enjoy the artefacts. (Much as I love my Moby, I was glad to put him down after 90 minutes though – that boy is Heavy!).

Incidently, did you know that the Guinness Book of Records has Agatha Christie down as the best-selling novelist of all time, ranking her stories as the third most widely published books worldwide EVER! (Only the Bible and Shakespeare have been more widely distributed and they both have a few years on Christie).

The weather whilst we were away was somewhat ‘hit and miss’ but we certainly hit lucky here. As we explored the inside of Greenway, the rain beat down heavily on the glass panes and black clouds filled the sky. This was not the time to go walking, especially with a buggy. However, by the time we’d had a nosey around the gift shop the clouds had cleared and we were treated to dazzling sunshine as we navigated the winding paths through the gardens.

The estate is a mixture of cultivated gardens and woodland, full of trees gathered by the family over the years (these people were obsessive collectors!).

I adored these tiny archways. When I was younger I was always fascinated by the film ‘The Secret Garden’ and loved the idea of a garden hidden behind stone walls, shrouded with trailing plants. There is something so appealing about having a special area to hide in that is only yours.

Enclosed inside these walls were vegetable gardens with beautifully restored greenhouses.

The estate has grown figs and nectarines for many years and the tradition continues to this day. One of the things that hubby and I really enjoy about visiting National Trust properties is the carefully tended gardens, particularly the vegetable plots. I know he particularly dreams of owning an amazing garden overflowing with wild flowers and tasty produce. One day, maybe!

We continued walking along the path into the woods. I could not stop gazing up at the amazing canopy and the sapphire blue skies beyond. If there is one thing Greenway does properly it is trees.

Just look at the width of that trunk! Incredible.

I loved the lichen (?!) growing over this one. So delicate, I imagine that there are fairies dancing over the branches, springing over the soft, mossy covering.

The mystical atmosphere continued as we strolled through dappled shade encountering luscious, lily covered ponds…

…and enchanting hidey-holes with tinkling fountains and delicate ferns.

Eventually we reached the top of the path, turned a corner and this is what met our eyes:

Neither the camera I had nor my photography skills could do justice to this scene. The scale was breathtaking. The little white houses climbing up the hillside and the tall masts of the boats bobbing gracefully on the rippling water – I wanted to soak it up and fix it in my memory forever.

Such a wonderful visit.

Next time we shall have a change of scene and visit the seaside. xxxxx

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Coffee and Walnut Cake

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I wrote a post yesterday. It was full of pictures, fascinating anecdotes (of course) and a recipe. It had it all. I published it, the little bar moved along until it reached 100 %. All good. Then the post disappeared. There is no trace of it anywhere. Gutted. I have no idea what happened but I have still not got over it.

Today I am going to try again. If it fails, I shall cry.

On a brighter note, this post is coming to you live from the English Riviera. As hubby has a long weekend we packed our bags and cashed in our Tesco tokens before setting out on the long drive to South Devon.

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We broke up our journey with a delicious car picnic of crusty bread, cheese, antipasto, juicy tomatoes and caramelised onion chutney. Yum yum. I was particularly impressed with hubby’s cheese selection: an amazingly creamy Mustard Cheddar and a semi-soft French cheese, Petit Reblochon.

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The Little Man was trying out his new forward facing car seat. As he had been getting somewhat squished in his baby seat he seemed to enjoy the space and the opportunity to look around. It made him much more part of the journey as he was able to look at us and chatter away merrily. So sweet.

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By late afternoon we reached the seaside. Rather wet and windy, I cannot believe how early darkness falls now the clocks have gone back. Dreary as the weather was the view was far from dismal. The photo above is of Babbacombe, which looked so inviting with its twinkling lights and ferris wheel. (Ed. It is actually Torquay in the picture and Babbacombe is round the corner. Ah well!) And you see that wall? Behind that is The Sea! I cannot wait to go and explore tomorrow. On the drive down I also spied a pier in Paignton and I do love a good pier!

Of course, we have been out and about today but I have not planned my recount of those adventures yet. Instead I need to share what I wrote about yesterday because otherwise I shall not sleep!

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So, in other news. Wednesday was an exciting day for our family, not just because it was Halloween! We celebrated both my mom and my aunt’s 60th birthdays yet (yes, they are twins) and also my sister’s birthday. To mark this auspicious occasion we took my mom out to a fancy hotel for dinner – The Fairlawns.

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The meal began with a complimentary amuse-bouche,  pumpkin in honour of the season, which added an elegance to the proceedings. Maybe I’m just easily pleased but I feel that any meal gets off to a good start when you are offered teeny-tiny cups of soup to ‘cleanse the palate’. Anyway, the pate (cannot do accents on here) and duck did not fail to impress.

We ended our meal with birthday cake. Coffee and Walnut Cake with Chocolate and Coffee Buttercream and it was delicious, even if I do say so myself!

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The cake was made using Delia Smith’s fail-safe all-in-one method. This recipe makes two 20 cm/8 inch sponges.

In a mixer place:
6 oz/175 g self-raising flour
6 oz/175 g caster sugar
6 oz/175 g softened butter
1 heaped tsp baking powder
3 eggs
1 tbsp coffee granules dissolved in 1 tbsp hot water
Mix until smooth but do not over whisk.
Stir in 2 oz/55 g crushed walnuts.

Split the batter between two lined and greased tins.
Bake for 30 minutes until the sponge is firm.
*Remember* Do not open the oven until the time is up or your sponge may sink.

For the topping, beat 8 oz/225 g icing sugar and 2 tbsp cocoa powder with 4 oz/110 g softened butter and 1 tbsp coffee granules dissolved in 1 tbsp hot water.
Use 1/3 of the mixture to sandwich the sponges together then use the rest to cover the outside of the cake.

Finally, enjoy!

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I really hope this post has not lost too much from being ‘retold’! I shall be back soon to share some highlights from the English Riviera. xxxx

Edited to add the eggs – thank you to a lovely friend for pointing out my omission!

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A perfect day on the beach

In my last post I started to share with you some of my happy memories of our recent trip up North. I have been regularly visiting Edinburgh now for 7 years and if any of you are intending to travel there I have one piece of advice – visit Khublai Khans Mongolian Feast. This incredible buffet allows you to create dishes with the most phenomenal range of meats and spices, including springbok, zebra, camel and kangaroo. I cannot imagine a visit to my father-in-law without an evening here! 

Our next rendez vous was Stirling Castle. Unfortunately, the weather and my lack of photography skills have resulted in rather poor images of the castle itself, as it is quite difficult to see much of it at once. (By the look of it the creators of the website had a similar issue, which makes me feel a bit better!) It is an interesting place to visit, very different to Linlithgow. Whereas the splendour of Linlithgow was the sheer scale of the stone shell that survives, Stirling is a collection of buildings that have adapted to suit different functions over the centuries, most recently a military depot for the best part of a century until 1964.

 

Historic Scotland have since worked hard to restore and recreate many of the original features, including complete restoration of the Great Hall to its Stuart glory. Unfortunately, for me, this makes parts of it feel a bit too ‘new’. Instead, I think Stirling’s true splendour lies in its ramparts, which afford stunning views over the surrounding area.

The fire station reminded me of Fireman Sam!

I love the seaside. Living as far away from the sea as it is possible to be in the UK, the coast represents holidays to me. Whether it be industrial docks and harbours or miles of white sand, I revel in the magic of it all. We took a quick trip to South Queensferry to see the infamous bridge over the Firth of Forth and marvel at the sunlight glinting off the water.

 

Now for my favourite part of our holiday, the ‘perfect day’ that this post is named after. A few miles down from Edinburgh and we stopped off at North Berwick. I cannot remember a day that says blissful holiday more than this.

Glorious sunshine, walks on the beach, toes wiggling in the sand whilst quickly licking your ice cream as it dribbles down the cone. Perfect.

Stone skimming competition…I was the spectator!

Gotta love the Eiderduck bobbing on the waves!

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Linlithgow Palace

Greetings to you all! It has been a while. The end of term has been upon us and life has been a blurry haze of assessments, reports, classroom moving and farewells. I have missed taking time to retire into this little blogging world. I have so much to share with you! Cooking, crocheting and holidays have been occuring behind the scene amid the mayhem!

Hubby and I recently took a trip up to Edinburgh to visit his dad, so I would like to invite you to peek inside the photo album! We wanted to make the most of this holiday as we are not going away this summer so we took the opportunity to visit attractions nearby. Our first trip was to the charming town of Linlithgow (above) in which stands the rather spectacular Linlithgow Palace. We love old buildings, particularly castles and palaces. As I walk around I am transported back in time, hearing the ghosts of those hundreds and thousands of people who called this building home.

Linlithgow is a particularly large palace and I could fill pages with images of the intricate stonework and gravity defying arches, but I shall be selective…

The modern crown adoring St. Michael’s Parish Church, evocative of Christ’s crown of thorns, replaced an older stone crown above the steeple that had to be dismantled in the nineteenth century.

This palatial abode sits alongside a rather charming loch which was dotted with multiple fisherman rocking wildly in tiny boats. Not exactly my idea of fun! Whereas I’m sure those houses have a wonderful view on a sunny summer day, it must be rather bleak in the middle of a cold, dismal winter. I’m such a city chick!

This incredible fountain held pride of place in the central courtyard so could be viewed through the stone arches along the corridors and balconies at all levels on all sides. I felt like lady of the manor, walking along the eerie darkness, gazing down imperiously! I rather like Historic Scotland’s description of it as ‘a beautiful three-tiered wedding cake structure’.

This palace has the most amazing collection of staircases and fireplaces with really ornate stonework that has survived the centuries. I loved this fireplace because of its simplicity. Admittedly the ceiling is largely absent in the upper stories but, feeling the wind blowing through the rooms, I imagine that even these gigantic fireplaces probably failed spectacularly at heating this cavernous space!

My hubby is a very practical man, nicely complementing my total lack of such skills. Consequently, I am always in awe of people who can design and create monuments and buildings. Structures such as Linlithgow are even more incredible when you imagine how little mechanical assistance the builders and architects had. It makes the scale and intricacy all the more jaw dropping. Just imagine the man hours that it must have taken to construct this section!

I love birds. They really are a passion of mine. Not just strange or unusual birds but any feathery friend sitting about the place and this speckled beauty I thought was especially cute…

And three more sunbathing, how sweet!

I am the sort of person that requires regular feeding! Well in advance I like to know when the next meal is coming and from where. Outings and holidays are often characterised for me by the quantity and quality of food consumed! After a year of wedding and house buying, budgeting is a necessity. Therefore all food this week was cooked at home and had to travel with us. Sausage and egg pie, sweet and juicy cherry tomatoes, crunchy apples dribbling down your chin – yummy!

Mr Jackdaw did a good job finishing off the pastry crumbs! 

Although there were periods of radiant sunshine, the weather could only be described as bracing. When out in the open it was literally impossible to stay up straight! However, when sheltered by the walls there was a feeling of peace and serenity that was truly special.

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