Month: February 2017

Seville:awe-inspiring architecture

My recent Spanish visit inspired by Rick Stein began and ended in Seville. Seville is a city with something of a split-personality. It’s a giant mish-mash of Moorish, baroque and gothic architecture with a dash of the ultra-modern thrown in there for good measure. Simply put, it’s stunning. It’s an incredibly walkable city typified by the small windy streets that sporadically open out on to beautiful plazas. Walking is definitely the best way to get a true sense of Seville’s soul. There’s a church on every corner. And colourful mosaics and tiles, the detailing on the buildings is something else. Even the undersides of the balconies are adorned with beautiful painted tiles. Seville’s Old Town is the third largest in Europe and contains three UNESCO World Heritage Sites. My globe-trotting friend and I had two nights at the Hotel Fontecruz Sevilla Seises. It was ten minutes by taxi from the station down the narrowest of streets that no serious motorist would dare to drive. The hotel was right in the city, on the edge of …

Secrets of Cádiz

Rick Stein and his recent TV series (and now a book!) ‘Rick Stein’s – Long Weekends’, has a lot to answer for, he has encouraged my get up and go, to get going. His series of culinary city breaks prompted my globe-trotting friend and I to jet off to Cádiz to explore this Andalusian city. Helping me restore my confidence to travel too!! The best gateway was Seville airport, add a train journey of an hour and a half from Sevilla Santa Justa station and we got off the train in Cádiz met by a wonderful fresh salty smell of the sea!! So here we were, in a city that is considered to be the oldest continuously inhabited settlement in Europe. Don’t you just love superlatives? 😉 Surrounded almost entirely by water, Cádiz’s ancient centre is a romantic jumble of narrow streets and tall, once grand buildings covered in brightly-coloured, peeling paintwork and ornate wrought iron balconies.  The waves of the Atlantic crash against eroded sea walls, sea gulls circle the skies. Cádiz’s links with …

Hello Harlow Carr

February can feel gloomy, but it’s surprising how a visit to RHS Harlow Carr in Harrogate can lift the spirits, by taking a few photos of the oh so early spring bulbs and an ideal place to enjoy being a Granny still in training for pram pushing. So this February Sunday afternoon was perfect to practice my new skill along previously undiscovered paths, some quite hilly and then freewheel down to Bettys outdoor café to refuel with a hot chocolate. Then a stroll up the gentle slope past rhubarb to the surprisingly large book and gift shop. This is the kind of place to take your time, to wander…to take in your surroundings. Harlow Carr is a must-see if you are ever in the Harrogate vicinity.  There is an entrance fee but I’m glad I took the annual RHS membership. I can take a family member, and Grandson as often as I want. That’s the way to go! I look forward to returning in the next few weeks and photograph the seasonal changing of the …

The Temperance Spirit Company

It’s permanently dry January for me, but I am always on the lookout for a sophisticated adult styled alternative when attending a social gathering. Sugary drinks just don’t cut the mustard and there are only so many glasses of fresh orange you can stomach. Research has suggested that there’s a thirst for products that protect against pounding heads next morning, and also keeping an eye on what you drink can have a positive effect on your overall health and well-being. But fear not, help is at hand in the form of the Temperance Spirit Company from Skipton and their Teetotal G’n’T which claims to be as close as you can get to the taste of a real gin and tonic, but without the gin. The Temperance Spirit Company was formed in 2015 by three businessman Brendan Duckworth, Ian Jowett and Ian Ackroyd. It was former research chemist and doctor of chemistry Ian Jowett who was tasked with first developing the recipe for Teetotal G’n’T using only all natural, high quality ingredients and he spent many …

Tadcaster: Bridge Over The River Wharfe

Tadcaster What’s going for it?  Yorkshire has for so long appealed to me, Leeds urban and sprawling, and York touristy and twee, then peeping between the two on a map and there you find Tadcaster, a small market town not making much fuss. Tad, as the locals call it, has been dominated by its brewing industry for about 800 years, thanks to the limestone water. As a result, the town sometimes smells a little fruity, but it’s actually quite pleasant: Sam Smith’s brewery (not to be confused with the pop star) still employs a cooper, a sign writer and an ostler, its shire horses making local deliveries five days a week. Tad is a friendly sort of place. The town sits astride the river Wharfe, is surrounded by fields, and is in a very flat bit of Yorkshire. People there just got on with life, until that is….. The 18th-century Grade II-listed bridge over the river Wharfe crumbled on 29 December 2015 after the river rose to historic levels. Its collapse came as flooding hit …

Reinvention: Sewing corner

Years and years of sewing in the dining room or at the kitchen table, getting everything out, then having to put it all away (even when the project wasn’t finished yet) — never having a sewing room of my own, finally changed recently when I had an oak work surface and cupboards fitted creating a sewing corner. I am still having fun deciding on knobs for the cupboards. And as it is a dark corner, loving this lamp. It’s upstairs in my office and now filled with fabric, my sewing machine, sewing baskets, the scissors I never use for anything but fabric, my pin cushions, everything in one place. I can get out my projects now and just leave them out until they’re done! When I was young, all of my “creative ways” went into sewing. I remember being perched on an armchair, next to my mum who showed me how to knit; or how to sew, on the old black Singer that was always up in the corner of our kitchen; how to crochet, …