Monday 30 November 2015

Thorpe, Derbyshire - and ...... relax!

We were away for my 51st birthday week, staying in a lovely cottage in Thorpe, in the lovely Peak District.

The cottage was called The Rest and that really is what we were hoping for. Martin was definitely ready for a break, even though it isn't really that long since our Guernsey holiday, and even I, lady of so called leisure, was ready for some serious rest and relaxation, before the madness of the next couple of months kicks in proper.

The weather forecast was not good which, in a way, was a good thing, as it did confine us to barracks for a few lazy afternoons where we could really wind down. When the weather is good we don't tend to relax much as we just have to get out and about.

From the moment we arrived we could see that The Rest would be a great place to hunker down on those wet and windy afternoons, generally chilling and catching up with a few bits that we'd brought away with us to look at.

Our first full day, Saturday, was wet and windy and we didn't venture far. We just popped into Ashbourne to have a look at the 'artisan' market. I have a real need at the moment to see what other hand made stuff is out there. The more I look the happier I am with the quality of stuff I am turning out from Hand Made at Number 27. It's also good to look at prices too, I can't believe how much you can pay for a small purse ... £10.50!! No padding, no zipper covers, no frills, just a couple of pieces of fabric stitched together with a lining and a zip.

We were only out for about an hour and spent the afternoon just chilling. I got a load of squares crocheted for a cushion I am making as a Christmas gift whilst Martin was glued to his ipad. We did break off to sample the hot tub in the pouring rain which was a real treat.

We ended our first day with a slow cooker curry and a nice cosy, lazy evening watching Strictly and X-factor.

So far so good ... we were definitely ticking off the need to relax box.

On Sunday we decided we would make a bit of an effort and make a trip over to the Chatsworth estate garden centre and farm shop. The garden centre is normally a good start for Christmas shopping and the farm shop is also a bit of a treat.

The farm shop was absolutely packed and full of gorgeous looking food of every variety, with a full rainbow of colours of fruit and vegetables.  I couldn't resist a few sneaky snaps.
We weren't out long and I spent the afternoon adding buttons and bows to a stack of Christmas themed stuffed hearts I'd already made. These are stock for a craft Fayre, I am attending later this month, and will look great hung on the white twiggy tree Martin has bought me for my birthday.
A lazy afternoon was followed by another dip in the hot tub, no rain this time, an old favourite, chicken tortilla bake, for tea and slobbing in front of the TV for the rest of the evening.

We are really starting to get to grips with this relaxing business!

Monday 23 November 2015

The Rest - Thorpe, Derbyshire

When did we visit?
13-20 November 2015

How much was it?

Who did we book with?

What were our initial impressions?
This cottage is in a lovely spot, on the road that takes you from the A515, just outside of Ashbourne, to Dovedale. Thorpe Cloud can be seen from the cottage and there are great views from the small car park across the road from the cottage.
When we first arrived our first thought was, hey it's a bit tricky getting on the drive, which was best achieved with a nifty bit of reversing, but the road was very quiet this time of year and didn't give us much of a problem.

The cottage is a bungalow and the front door is in the middle. We tentatively entered, wondering what we would find. Our first thoughts were oooh, lovely and warm and cosy. We decided we'd head left to explore first.

We went through the hall and into the lounge and thought straight away, we would be dead comfy and cosy in here. Through the lounge into the kitchen to find a dining area with a pretty round table set for two.

The kitchen was really spacious, with plenty of storage and equipment and there was some milk in the fridge and some lovely local cookies to welcome us.

We went out of the kitchen door and were surprised to find ourselves in a small, but charming conservatory, with an outside door to the front garden and another door leading in to the back of the cottage.

Through there was a well equipped utility area and separate loo. We went through another door which lead us into the third bedroom, which was just lovely and had doors opening into the courtyard area with the hot tub, which we would definitely be making use of whilst we were here.

Back through to where we started to discover two nice double bedrooms and a spotlessly clean bathroom.

First impressions definitely hit the spot

Our likes over the course of our stay ...
  • The kitchen was well equipped, we found everything that we needed. 
  • The shower was seriously powerful and nice and hot.  
  • Separate towels were provided for use with the hot tub, which we loved. We went in almost every day. It was really private and we loved chilling out there in the dusk in the wind and the rain.
  • The lounge was dead comfy, though Martin found the sofa just a bit too slouchy for his liking.
  • The cottage is in a brilliant location with loads of lovely walks from the the front door. In very easy driving distance of most places that we wanted to visit, Ashbourne, Tissington, Bakewell, Chatsworth and Matlock.
  • It was just what we needed as we'd come away for a bit of rest and relaxation before the madness of December descends.
  • The heating temperature easy to regulate throughout the cottage.
  • It was very quiet, light and bright, but cozy at the same time, it's definitely somewhere to retreat to if you've been out walking or biking for the day.
  • There was plenty of space. 
  • The Rest is a cottage that's nice to just spend time in, rather than it just provide a bed for the night. It was easy to imagine living here.
Anything that could have made it better ...
As the week went by we really struggled to find anything we didn't like about this cottage. 

There were just a few small things that would make it even nicer ...
  • Big fluffy bath sheets would have been lovely.  We were glad that we had taken our own as the towels provided were quite small - you couldn't wrap yourselves up in them and wander about.
  • The hot tub area could be made a bit more attractive, but this may look prettier in a different season.
  • The sofas are very slouchy and if, like us, you struggle with knee and joint pain, they could be quite difficult to get out of!
Would we recommend this cottage to our friends and family?
Most definitely, with no hesitation.

Would we stay in this cottage again?
Absolutely.  I can see it would be a great spot at any time of year.  In the Spring and Summer, it would be lovely to get out and about more, though I guess the area will be quite busy.  In the Autumn and Winter it is just lovely to hunker down and enjoy the quietness of the Peaks.

Monday 16 November 2015

International Earth Cache Day

International EarthCache Day 2015The 2nd Sunday in October is an important date on the Geocaching calendar.

It's what's known as International Earth Cache Day,

It's a day when a virtual souvenir badge is available to all cachers completing an Earth Cache.

Last year we headed out with mum and dad and completed an Earth cache on Cannock Chase.

This year we had to go a little bit further afield, to find an Earth cache that we hadn't completed, and we were off to Barr Beacon, a local beauty spot and war memorial, with amazing views over Birmingham.

I have to confess that I did used to come here when a lot younger and not for Geocaching!!

It was a really lovely bright day but the wind nearly took us off our feet when we got out of the car.

We were greeted by an amazing and huge kite flying above us.  It seemed to be either a giant squid or octopus, not sure which.

We had a really good walk, taking in the war memorial and finding the information that we needed to be able to complete the Earth cache, before completing a few other caches that were also in the park.
Out of the wind, it was actually quite warm.

We felt quite virtuous, having completed our bracing walk, but soon headed for home to claim our souvenir.

Monday 9 November 2015

Guernsey - Coming Home

Well ... this is it ... my last Guernsey holiday post!

Whilst we were on Guernsey we did manage to pull in a good few museum visits, as well as our coastal tour.

We were really keen to visit a number of the WW2 museums and managed to fit in trips to the Signals Museum, the Underground Museum and the Occupation Museum.

All were really well worth the visit.  The Occupation Museum especially, had lots of personal stories and mementos of what happened to individual people in the war and it was absolutely fascinating.

Before we knew it, it was time to pack up and head for home.
We managed to pull in a quick breakfast by the bathing pools, with the tide in, before a, thankfully, uneventful boarding of The Liberation to begin our onward journey back to Poole and then home.

Although it was a nice easy boarding, it was just a little rough o the way back and I was as sick as a dog.  I think it will be a long time before I travel with Condor again.

In spite of our travel shenanigans we loved our holiday on Guernsey and would most definitely recommend a visit if you get the chance.

Monday 2 November 2015

Guernsey - The Little Chapel

Whilst we did spend the majority of our time on Guernsey exploring the coast, we did manage to fit in a few more bits of sightseeing throughout the course of our time on the island.

When we were greeted at Rose Cottage by our lovely host, he told us that visiting Guernsey and not seeing The Little Chapel, is like going to Paris and not seeing the Eiffel Tower.

It was definitely added, as a priority, to our list of places to visit whilst we were here.

We weren't disappointed.  It's only a tiny little place, but it is breathtaking.

The day we visited it was a beautiful bright sunny day and it was really hard to get our photographs to do justice to the mosaics, as the glare from the sun was causing us a few problems.

We persevered and ended up being there ages, whilst trying to get some decent pictures.  I hope you like what we've ended up with.

We did manage to also visit a few other places whilst on Guernsey and we would definitely recommend the Underground Museum, the Occupation Museum and the German Naval Signals HQ.

All really tell the story of Guernsey during the occupation and tell lots of poignant stories about people's lives on the island during this time.  Most definitely food for thought.

I have just one more post to publish about our holiday on Guernsey, just in time for us to be heading off on our travels again.  This time we won't be going far, but hopefully it will be just as lovely.