Friday, 27 November 2015

A picnic at Minster Lovell

Returning from London my friend and I did a little stop at the romantic ruins of Minster Lovell Hall, it seemed fitting as we were coming back from a Richard III event, yes that King that I am rather fond of.....

So this pretty place was the residence of one of Richard's main men - Francis Lovell and indeed Richard may have stayed here. Built in the 1440's by Lord William Lovell, the hall was then extended by his grandson Francis. 

Minster Lovell arched door We sat perched on a little wall, eating our little picnic, just quietly soaking the atmosphere up and watched the families around us, kids playing,  running in and out of the ruins and climbing  - one too high and my heart was pounding until his father got him down.

My friend told me tales around Minster Lovell, of skeletons in secret chambers found, perhaps the remains of Francis Lovell whose fate was unknown. One story is that he fled here to hide and a loyal servant was bringing him food and water but something happened and he did not return leaving Francis imprisoned here. In the 18th century it is said that bones were found in a secret chamber but upon meeting with the air they crumbled to dust.

Also of the Mistletoe Bride as this is one of the locations that the story is associated with. Actually my favourite ghost story!

Minster Lovell tower Ghosts aside, the place has a wonderful ambiance and it's a free stop off with the children to have a run about and learn about some medieval history, a couple of pubs too in the village for food. remaining Minster Lovell dripstone ruins of Minster Lovell Minster Lovell Hall River Windrush remains of Monster Lovell Hall The River Windrush murmurs in the background and the church of St Kenelm peeks through the ruined hall, go in there as it's lovely too. Minster Lovell Hall Oxfordshire Mnster Lovell autumn trees Minster Lovell Church

Minster Lovell is looked after by English Heritage and it is an open site. A medieval dovecote is to be found here too. 

Win 5 Megableu games

Following on from the fun Megableu games we played at Halloween, we have three new ones to show you and then there is a fantastic competition to win all five!!

The games are all really interactive and great for creating lots of laughs, here's what we thought:

Trickin' Camel

A quirky game where a camel does indeed try to trick you. There are three different game challenges to try and win a drink bottle, a guessing game, memory game and speed game. Beware though as the camel spits if you choose the wrong answer. A correct answer and you may take a bottle. The trick is when the camel will chuck out all the bottles and you have to grab them. 

The winner of the game is who has the most bottles. For me the best bit was seeing Dad squirted with water but it did infuriate me a little watching the lights - everybody else loved it. 
Trickin' Camel

Cobra Attack

This was our favourite game, the cobra lies in wait within the basket whilst the aim is to retrieve the sacred green crystal which he guards so well. You need to be careful as this cobra detects movement, when his eyes glows red be still, when they're green move forwards carefully. You win if you manage to retrieve the crystal without the cobra nipping you - our dog Billy tried and had the fright of his life.

A fun game, the cobra sort of flops out really rather than comedy springs out but laughter inducing anyway. Great fun for younger children and very much a party game.
Cobra Attack

Alien Mission
Similar to Ghost Hunt Evolution as you wear goggles and shoot the aliens with your laser gun that appear in them as opposed to on the wall. The score appears on the gun and the person to have zapped most aliens win but don't shoot the red ones as they are friendly and you'll lose points for that. 

Very much a solo game but funny to watch other family members play so still brings you together. 
Alien Mission

All games require a fair few batteries so stock up. A great selection of fun, exciting games for Christmas and so if you would like to win all 5 of the Megableu Games I have reviewed.....

1. Ghost Hunt Evolution
2. Creepy Hand
3. Alien Mission
4. Trickin' Camel
5. Cobra Attack

Answer the question with a blog comment and complete the Gleam widget. 

Win 5 Megableu games

*Megableu sent games for the purpose of the review, words are my own honest opinion

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Tears for a fish

Victorian planting Escaping the freezing hail we ran into the conservatory at Buxton's Pavilion Gardens and had a warm by the palms and the bright Victorian bedding plants. Scarlet flashes of festive Poinsettias clashed against yellow chrysanthemums and we watched a man for a while dunking watering cans into the fish pond to water the plants with. Meanwhile Joy to the World was playing in the band stand and all was well.

But then I spotted the poem of Boris the fish, a Buxton legend and I then left dabbing my eyes with a tissue. Poor little fish, I'm glad he got to live his final days in such nice surroundings. Bless his little upside down fighting spirit. 

Buxton Pavilion gardens conservatory Poinsettia palms in Buxton conservatory palms Pavilion Gardens conservatory indoor planting Boris the Buxton fish poem

Mammsaurus HDYGG


Something wonderful is about to happen

In our home we love all the build up to Christmas, the anticipation and the growing magic in the air. It's started now, the little traditions we have, places we have to go, ticking the festive boxes and enjoying the season fully.
Christmas competition

Joining in with Virgin Experience Days “Something Wonderful is About to Happen” which is highlighting what we love about Christmas so much, here are some of my Yuletide rituals and stories, followed by an exciting competition.

Christmas houses

Best present you’ve been gifted and gifted to someone else?  
My best present is still the Disney book I received when I was around 10 years old, a huge encyclopedia of all the characters and full of beautiful illustrations. I still have it now and it's has a special place on my bookshelf and brings back the nostalgia of my childhood Christmases.

The best present I ever gifted would be to my son and it was a Cosy Coupe. He loved it so much that he wouldn't get out and fell asleep in it slumped over the steering wheel. 

Family Christmas traditions
Every years we go to the Winter Watch parade in Chester and then walk around the Cathedral and the market. It's a wonderfully festive evening and seems to start the whole Christmas feeling off. 

The tree is always from Delamere forest where I have to walk up and down picking up countless firs and twirling them from side to side to see which looks the best. The final choice tree gets given a name every year much like storms do, I hope other people do this too and I'm not mad. Then we go to the cafe at Delamere train station for a hot chocolate.

Every year I go to my parents house and they have the same red tablecloth on and the food is just like I had growing up, out come the Snowball drinks and bags of walnuts - 80's Christmas all over again!

Christmas street

Earliest Christmas Memory
One that gets spun out every year is when I was age 4 and went downstairs on Christmas morning, took one look at all the presents in the front room but decided to go back to bed instead much to my parent's bemusement. I think I can actually remember this but my main memory is of receiving the Fisher Price Tree House, remember it? Ah the weebly characters that lived in there and I can remember being so excited as I unwrapped it. 

Favourite Christmas Movie
Either Santa Claus the Movie as I can remember watching this at the cinema when it first came out and I love Elf, always cheers me up. I do love the Nightmare Before Christmas too as it combines my other favourite day of Halloween. 

When does Christmas officially start for you?
As soon as the Advent calender window is opened on the 1st December, Christmas is ready to go and then I listen out for Christmas carols and music on Classic FM. Troika playing using means that I can start decorating the Christmas tree and officially can be as festive as I like.


Virgin Experience Days are offering a £150 voucher towards a short break. To enter tell me in the comments what your Christmas family traditions are and then complete the Gleam widgit.

  Virgin Experience Days £150 voucher for a short break


Monday, 23 November 2015

Buxton Winter celebration

lit umbrellas lanterns in the park Down in Pavilion Gardens Buxton, was a light extravaganza, aliens had landed and the unearthly sounds of extra terrestrials lurking around every shrub and frost hollow was an eerie accompaniment to our winter's walk. A quick blast of freezing hail had us running for cover but then the drum beat started and we couldn't help but follow.lantern parade A bright lantern trail of colourful characters led by Creeping Toad, the Ice King and the Snow Queen appeared from over the bridge and the lit procession weaved its melodious way around the park past the Peak Paddlers all lit up like Christmas trees on the chilly lake. Wallflower Dance performed with umbrellas aglow and with the lanterns by Buxton Sparkles it was all just unbelievably beautiful and creative.

Back at the band stand, the music started playing traditional carols and the town's lights were switched on. A Grand Bazaar sold gifts and there was food and drink aplenty. 

We had a quick walk around the town, past the Opera House and the creepy silhouetted windows of The Crescent. Whilst the building is under development, over the winter holiday period the Glow project will illuminate the windows with silhouettes from archived images. 
 lantern parade Buxton Buxton Christmas light festival reflections Buxton bandstand The pictures just don't do it justice so do watch the video as it will put you in a nice festive mood. A new tradition now, Buxton's Winter celebration will be in my calendar every year for a most creative and unique show.Buxton Opera House at night The Crescent Buxton Buxton light festival
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Industrial Trend

Lit star wall art “Industrial is the stripped-back one, the one with character and edgy features. Unlike the other trends, this one takes things for what they really are and encourages us to strip things back, even if they are a little imperfect.” The Industrial trend

Industrial is metal, wood, raw textures and a stripped back beauty. Warm metals like copper bring a cosy glow for autumn through into winter, the gold metal lit star wall art from Graham and Brown is a striking centre piece for this trend. It looks great on my cast iron fireplace with some soft glow fairy lights and an antique glass effect tea light holder.

The contrast of metals is a little luxurious touch to my bedroom, with an element of the distressed effect it adds a contemporary feel to my old house. The star lights up with tiny bulbs and offsets a plain wall with warm tones.
Graham and Brown star
A few industrial accessories bring edgy style into the home from copper candles and geometric mirrors to shimmering wallpaper on a statement wall. This year has been a big trend with copper and you can pick up bowls, candles and other pieces inexpensively to create this look.

Some warming metallic elements in a nook of the home is a perfect antidote to the cold winter days. Here are a selection of items for introducing industrial glamour to your home. 
Copper home accessories

Darcy white silver Graham & Brown// cage pendants // hexagonal copper mirrors // copper wire basket // copper lanterns // copper candle // metallic Juan Purple wallpaper Graham & Brown // copper  plant pot trio


Friday, 20 November 2015

Snow crafts #BostikBloggers

jar lantern It's getting a bit chilly now and with snow forecast in some parts of the UK this week it seems fitting that this month's Bostik Bloggers challenge is indeed that - SNOW! 

I actually made a couple of lanterns for Martinmas last week with the craft box and here is what I did.

Firstly a jam jar lantern using:

Bostik White Glu
Clean jam jar
Transparent paper
Fallen leaves out of the garden
Glittery snow stickers
Grey wool

The leaves were stuck on the jar and then the transparent paper wrapped around, cut to size and glued with the Bostik White Glu. Wool was wrapped around the top to decorate and them embellished with the glittery snowflake stickers. Pop a battery tealight in and you have a frosted wintry lantern.

We then made a lantern from some sparkly white card. Fold the card in half, then cut into the bent over edge, just by an inch so it creates a fringe. Open up the card and make into a cylinder, fold over the base and glue. Punch two holes at the top so you can thread ribbon or string through to make a handle. We then places a colour changing tea light in and hung in the window to brighten up the early dark evenings.

paper lantern Finally we made a winter decoration using:

Blu Tack Foam Pads
Blu Tack White Glu
A plastic hoop
Fluffy blue and white pom poms
A foam snowflake
Pearly buttons
Blue Ric rac

Using both the Blu Tack Foam Pads and White Glu we stuck the pom poms and buttons around the plastic hoop and used the ric rac to hang it from on our pinboard.

Bostik Bloggers Snow craft winter decoration
The craft box was provided to me by Bostik as part of the Tots100/Bostik Craft Bloggers Club

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Victorian toilet at Wesley's Chapel, London

Thomas Crapper cisterns
We were staying on City Road in London recently and just near the hotel was the John Wesley Chapel, the Father of Methodism - a great place to visit but what was a surprise was when the guide led us down some steps into the men's toilets...... Victorian toilets London Eyes adjusted, we were met with the most wonderful, yes I guess toilets can be glorious things, Victorian toilets in absolutely perfect condition and I'm told working order. 

Apparently this is the only remaining late Victorian toilets (1899) in the city and is a popular place for film and television productions to use should they need some authentic Victorian 'spend a penny' charm.  It has all the original fittings - marble wash basins, tiles, cedar wood cubicles, Thomas Crapper Valveless Waste Preventers  and the George Jennings 'Monkey Closets' (the urinals) . *chuckle*Victorian toilets at the Wesley ChapelNow George Jennings I had not heard of before but he is the man who had significant input into introducing the public toilet. Famous for the retiring rooms at The Great Exhibition at The Crystal Palace in 1851.  People using the toilets had to pay a penny for a clean seat, towel and shoe shine.  

I show you all the best places ;) 
Victorian toilet mirror best Victorian toilets in LondonJohn Wesley Chapel, London