A town with beautiful buildings, art galleries, a castle, museums, fascinating little shops, an amazing garden and creativity everywhere you look, Kirkcudbright (pronounced kerr-koo-bree) is very deserving of its title of The Artists Town. Whats not to love? Read more
Its funny how you can live somewhere for years , yet still find new places to explore. So, given a slightly showery July day, I headed to somewhere I had never explored: the Framework Knitters Museum in Ruddington. I’ll admit, I didn’t know what Framework Knitters even meant. Maybe that was the reason I hadn’t got round to going. Read more
It’s no secret that I love visiting National Trust properties. The combination of beautiful locations, gorgeous gardens and houses with their paintings and textiles always makes a for lovely day out, throw in an excellent tea room and I’m totally sold. But they are also a great example of how museums and historical sites are presenting information through creative displays that really bring the past to life. Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire, is often overlooked by neighbouring Chatsworth, but is really worth a visit. Read more
As part of my Birthday loveliness last month, I went on an adventure to the Harry Potter Studio Tour! For me, creative inspiration comes in many forms: writing, designing, graphics, and performance are all just as valid as painting and drawing. The perfect example of this is the Harry Potter franchise. Pretty much everything from JK Rowling writing the books, to the actors in the films, via all the prop makers, costume designers and visuals effects team is one giant mass of creative energy. I have also been a massive fan ever since picking up the books as a student, so getting to wander about the actual sets where the films were made, was something that was long overdue. So consider this a sort of creatives guide to the Harry Potter Studio Tour! Read more
Foreign holidays are great, you get to experience different cultures, see beautiful places and soak up the sun. But we could all do without the early morning car journeys, hanging around in airports for hours and trying to get the luggage within the weight allowance. Center Parcs might be great for young families, but it is also a perfect getaway for grown-ups that want a relaxing short break without the hassle of airport travel. Read more
I have lived in a few different parts of the UK in my life, but Morecambe wins hands down for scenery. A seaside town in Lancashire, and is often called Morecambe Bay, for its huge tidal mud flats that dominate the seafront. You look out over the bay towards the hills of the Lake District, and in fact if you are visiting the Lakes, Morecambe makes for a lovely day trip. But if you are looking for a lively resort like Brighton or even Blackpool, then Morecambe probably isn’t the place. Its quiet, blustery with a distinct lack of nice sandy beaches even when the weather accommodates. Many parts of the town itself are run down, pound shops and discount stores are the main draw here. But, look beyond this and you will find a quiet beauty in the architecture, old shops and breathtaking views on offer. Read more
North Norfolk is a place of coastline, market towns and wide open landscapes. Its is only a couple of hours from Nottingham, so makes a perfect few days getaway location. We stayed at a small self catering cottage attached to the owners own home on the outskirts of North Runcton near King Lynn in north Norfolk. It was peaceful, quiet and who can resist some pretty bunting?
We headed into Kings Lynn, somewhere we had only ever been through and never explored, and I was pleasantly surprised! The old town near the docks are a maze of historic buildings, that from the old quayside to market town to the Minster. It seems incompletely at odds with the newer half of the town near the bus station.
After a quick lunch, we got back in the car and drove out to Snettisham Deer Park. They have something quite unique- a deer safari! Not quite the Serengeti, but you are driven through gorgeous fields until you enter the paddock of native red deer. They drive around the small lake and the deer actually swim through water to get to the food we have all been given by the highly entertaining guide. Deer slobber. A lot. A thorough wash, not only of hands, but of feet and legs were required afterwards, but they were surprisingly gentle for such large beasts. They also have a barn with animals in, with lamb bottle feeding for the kids and some of the fluffiest sheep I have ever seen. We finished off the day with a visit to Snettisham beach, which is more pebble than sand, but lovely none the less.
Last week I went a cheeky trip out with my family to Belton House and Gardens, a National Trust property near Grantham in Lincolnshire!
The parkland is extensive, formal gardens and a mansion house to explore, along with the usual National Trust cafe, shop and kids play areas. We decided just to concentrate on the formal gardens as it was a gorgeous day (one of the rare few we seem to get in UK!) and promised to be the perfect time of year for flowering plants. Read more
I moved to Nottingham for University in 2002 and I’m still here 14 years later! (eek! that makes me feel old!) I love it because it is small but busy, friendly and brilliantly located to get to other parts of the UK. But mostly, I love the creativity that goes on on in this city: a thriving art and craft scene, an annual fashion week and lots of creative businesses and companies. So this is my own personal guide to places to visit here in Nottingham, with heavy emphasis on the cultural and creative side of the city, but is by no means an exhaustive list. There may be a bias towards places with good cafes too. Read more
Fred Aldous has been a Manchester institution since 1886, but it took until last year for them to open another store, this time in Leeds. Visiting the Manchester store is like Willy Wonkas Chocolate Factory but for art and craft supplies, and their website has so much, you won’t know where to start! So when I was visiting my parents last week, I just had to see how the new Leeds shop measured up, and I wasn’t disappointed. Read more