Wednesday Lensday: Smugglers Ahoy!

Wednesday Lensday: Smugglers Ahoy!

“The houses of the old town…are all red-roofed, and seem piled up one over the other…”
Mina Murray’s journal, Dracula.

The Yorkshire seaside town of Whitby may have been firmly put on the tourist map, thanks to Bram Stoker and his vampiric anti-hero, subsequently becoming a North of England Mecca for all things Gothic or Steam Punk, but take a 5 minute drive south from the prominent abbey and you’ll discover a place with a darker, and more factual, history.

“…a most noble ruin, of immense size, and full of beautiful and romantic bits.” Mina Murray’s Journal, Dracula
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Wednesday Lensday: Grandeur Abandoned

Wednesday Lensday: Grandeur Abandoned

Burton Constable Hall is a large country house, approximately 10 minutes drive from where I grew up. The Grade I listed, Elizabethan property that stands today, began its construction in the 1560s and is surrounded by 300 acres of parkland designed by Capability Brown.

If you were to visit the hall, you’d likely learn that it has been the seat of the Constable family for over 400 years. You’d probably marvel at the interiors decorated in original furniture and features from the 18th century and you may even discover that parts of the building date back much further to Medieval times.

It’s several years since I’ve wandered in its peaceful grounds and the last time I explored the rooms, everything was distinctly larger and taller, so it was lovely to return over the Easter holidays with my mum.

Yet, as elaborate and intricate as the ceilings, bedrooms and even the radiators were, the rooms ‘dressed’ in their original splendour were not the most interesting to me. All a little too ostentatious and gilded.

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Alphabet of Travel Snaps: D is for…

Alphabet of Travel Snaps: D is for…

…the delightful country of our recent trip, DENMARK, specifically the wonderful city of COPENHAGEN!

Having a love of all things Scandi, scrumptious food and beautiful photo opportunities, the capital seemed like a great location for a short school holiday getaway. I’d heard nothing but good things about Copenhagen and was excited to experience some of the healthy, Hygge lifestyle.

And we were certainly not disappointed. Firstly, the Danish are just soooo polite and friendly. Copenhagen never had the feel of a capital city, being very relaxed, super clean and orderly – the road might be empty but don’t go thinking you can just saunter across unless the green man says yes!

Even nearer the central station, around the red light district, I would have happily walked around alone and although we did see large numbers of police vans heading out towards the waterfront on a couple of days*, I don’t believe they actually have crime. More likely the police were bored (as everyone is so considerate of each other) and simply needed to give the vans a run out. Even the sirens came on in small blasts, as if to apologise to the masses for the disruption they were causing!

Every interaction we had was friendly and happy – except, perhaps, for the bus driver, who wasn’t exactly grumpy, he just didn’t lay on a special taxi service to the connecting bus (that we weren’t aware we needed) when his route ended, instead telling us that we had to get off. How disgraceful… 😉

The whole atmosphere and mindset of getting outside, spending time with friends and family and striving for positive mental health certainly oozed through every area we visited. There’s no wonder they are the happiest nation on the planet.

So, here’s my run-down on all the highlights and why you definitely should try to spend a few days in Wonderful, Wonderful Copenhagen!

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Alphabet of Travel Snaps: L is for…

Alphabet of Travel Snaps: L is for…

Loch Lomond and the Trossachs

I feel it should be a band. Maybe a folk ensemble, one with some jaunty chap on a fiddle and another, beardy bloke banging on a bodhran.

Then again, I’m possibly being swayed by some Celtic vibe, as it’s actually an area of Scotland!

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Not quite the true Highlands, it is still wild, craggy, and undeniably stunning. Winding roads lead through quaint stone villages, overshadowed by atmospheric mountains, unspoiled forests and surrounded by a multitude of lochs.

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Although Loch Ness (plus a few others) may be longer and/or deeper (and have resident monsters!), Loch Lomond is the largest expanse of fresh water in Britain and part of the Trossachs National Park.

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Being only an hour away from both Edinburgh and Glasgow, it’s a perfect base for exploring and revisiting history (Rob Roy’s grave was up the road and Stirling, with the Wallace Monument, is 20 minutes away). But you could easily spend longer and never leave the area.

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We stayed in a cabin* on the shores of neighbouring Lake of Menteith – the only area of water labelled ‘lake’ in Scotland.

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We’re quite lucky to live in a part of the UK that is also not far from rural retreats and green spaces, but the silence when you are truly deep in the countryside is something else.

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Had it not been for the (apparently wild) mallards that literally tapped on the window each day to let us know they had arrived, we could have easily just spent the week sleeping blissfully undisturbed!

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But then we would have missed out on seeing our first ever red squirrel, spectacular scenery and bracing walks. Oh and bracing they were… and extremely wet. But hey, at least we didn’t get bitten by midges!

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*We stayed at Lochend Chalets – see their website here: http://www.lochend-chalets.com


Image Credits: All mine (or taken by Sam), so please be sweet and ask before sharing. 🙂

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Wednesday Lensday: A Game of Stones

Wednesday Lensday: A Game of Stones

Rock Balancing. So that’s a thing.

And it does exactly as it says on the tin: take some rocks and balance them on top of one another. It seems to have become quite popular in the last few years, being a way to focus the mind and a form of relaxation.

Unless they keep falling down, then it has the opposite effect!

Anyway, when we were at the beach the other day, I noticed several people indulging in the pastime, except all they were doing was finding the flattest stones possible and stacking them like pancakes.

If I’ve learned anything of the art form from the images on Instagram, it’s that you need to build them in tricky ways, such as resting a large pebble, to wobble around precariously on the pointy edge of a triangular one. No glue allowed!

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So I thought I’d have a go – I reckoned I could at least manage a few perpendicular arrangements. I’m all about rakish angles!

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Et voila! Maybe I’ll try dry stone walling next… 😉

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IMAGE CREDITS: All my own, so please ask before sharing. 🙂

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