Thursday 31 December 2015

And that my Friends ...... was 2015!

Hi there everyone

Well, here we are ... Almost at the end of another year, how quickly they seem to pass.

I've had a bit of a blog break this week, Martin and I have just felt really lazy and have made the most of that chill out time, between Christmas and New Year, by not doing very much at all.

I do have lots to tell you about though, including our family Christmas break In Yorkshire, a Christmas wedding and an update on where I am with my list of 50 things to do before I'm 60 so look out for my usual Monday posts, which should be back on track from next week.

It seems that this time of year it's 'de rigeur' in the bloggersphere to take stock and do a bit of a review of the most popular posts of the year, so, not wanting to be left out, I thought I'd jump on the bandwagon.

So here we go .... In reverse order .... the 10 (well, actually it's 11) most popular posts on Life of Pottering for 2015 ....

In joint 10th place you liked my holiday cottage reviews of The Rest and The Haybarn, two of the holiday cottages that we stayed in this year, both in the lovely Peak District.
In close competition for 9th & 8th most popular posts were two posts from our holiday in The Cairngorms.  You liked reading about our visits to Royal Deeside, in particular, Balmoral and Ballater.
Then we had my post about our visit to Sudbury Hall, A National Trust property that we had been meaning to visit for years, but never seemed to have the time to stop whilst passing.

The 6th most popular post this year was my list of the 50 things I want to do before I'm 60, an update on this will be posted over the next few weeks, so you can see how I am getting on.

Then we have one of my first posts of 2015, A Crafty Hand Made Christmas, where I shared my new bracelet making efforts with you.

In 4th place is another travel post, back in Derbyshire, with our wander around Leek.

In 3rd place came the recipe for Morello Cherry jam, one of very few recipe posts that I've done this year.

In 2nd place was another National Trust visit, this time to Stonywell, a new property, which opened just this year, in Leciestershire.

The most popular post of the year came as a bit of a surprise, it was the post about my decoupage placemats upcycling project. I am pleased to report that these are still in service and doing a great job.

So, that's it then, from Life of Pottering for 2015. I can't wait to see what 2016 brings. I hope you all have a great New Year and hopefully I'll see you all in 2016.

Monday 14 December 2015

Thorpe, Derbyshire - Stepping Stones & Tissington

It was the last full day of our week's break staying at The Rest, a lovely warm, cosy and relaxing cottage in Thorpe, in the lovely Peak District.

After a slow start we decided that it would be wrong to have stayed here and not at least have visited the stepping stones, so that's exactly what we did.

It was raining and the river was pretty high, and had flooded it's bank in places, but we were dressed for it and soon ended up back in one of our favourite spots, where we messed about taking photos for a bit before heading back to the car.
We then decided that Tissington might be worth another try and we were pleased that we did, as the gorgeous gift and sweet shops were both open for business and we couldn't help but make just a few purchases.

Both shops are definitely worth a special trip. The gift shop was overflowing with beautiful things, all colour coordinated and looking amazing. The sweet shop was a real treat too and we couldn't resist fudge, flying saucers, jazzies and violet creams.

It was then Back to The Rest for our last afternoon of chilling, hot tub, peppered venison with Gorgonzola scones, which had been bubbling all day in the slow cooker, and a last evening of TV, before heading for home and the madness that comes with the preparations for Christmas.

Thorpe, Derbyshire - Out in the Rain

On Tuesday we were both shattered after our busy day out and about with mum and dad, so had a nice lie in before heading out to Tissington, a lovely little village, literally just up the road.

We were hoping for a mooch round a couple of nice gift shops, but were disappointed to find all were closed up.

We had been planning visiting the tea room for an early lunch but had a change of heart as a coach party had just arrived and were forming an orderly queue for service.

Instead, we headed to the Manifold Tea Rooms at Ilam Hall where, after a quick wander about in the rain, we had a very hearty steak and ale pie for lunch before heading back, still in the pouring rain, to The Rest. After all, we didn't want to be overdoing it.

We had a very lazy afternoon and I managed to finish off my crocheted cushion squares before finishing off the afternoon with not much else at all really.

Wednesday was my 51st birthday. I can't quite believe a year has passed already since I was celebrating my 50th in Norfolk last year.

We had another very lazy get up and banana and blueberry pancakes for breakfast before heading out to Bakewell for the afternoon.

We had a wander around, got very wet, found a fab fabric shop, before drying out over lunch the the old original Bakewell pudding shop, where we had an amazing lunch topped off by the biggest piece of cake I have ever been faced with. Gingerbread and caramel ... Just lush. Martin was pretty impressed with Bakewell pudding too.
Back to the rest for a doze before a quick dip in the hot tub to then settle down for this week's episode of The Apprentice. Days don't get much better.

We really seem to be easing into this relaxing lark!

Monday 7 December 2015

Thorpe, Derbyshire - Big Day Out

On the Monday of our week away, staying in The Rest in Thorpe, mum and dad were joining us for the day so we'd got a big day out planned, with not much relaxing on the cards.

They were with us in time for our favourite breakfast of Bacon and Parsley hot cakes, topped with poached eggs, for breakfast, before we headed out for the day.

We headed for Wirksworth, a small town we'd driven through before and wanted to revisit. We parked up and had a wander up and down the High Street, which was really interesting.
We also had a good old mooch in the charity and small gift shops and I actually managed to find some blue wool, which has worked as a treat for my button art elephant's tail.
We were really lucky with the weather and actually saw blue skies for the first time this week.
We also managed to pick up our first cache of the holiday.

Having spent a pleasant hour in Wirkswirth we headed off to Cromford Mills, where I was looking forward to mooching round the fabric ship and the antique shops.

I'm not quite sure how it happened but I actually didn't buy anything in the fabric shop, though I did find a brand new reel of Gutterman thread for 20p in one of the antique shops and a selection of ribbon in another, so i didn't come away totally empty handed.

We had a quick wander over by the canal before heading on our way for our next stop.
From Cromford Mill we headed into Matlock, where mum and I had a good wander round some of the sprawling antique shops, whilst dad and Martin hung around outside .... not really their thing!

Our next stop was at Massons Mill shopping village where we picked up these place mats, which I have managed to turn into some really nice Christmas decorations.
We then had one last stop of the day at Carsington Reservoir where, I'm afraid, all we did, was to have a drink and a very nice piece of cake in the restaurant and a quick wander around the few small shops.

We did pick up one more cache before we all decided that was quite enough activity for one day and headed back to The Rest for lasagne, before peace descended again, as mum and dad headed for home.