Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Portinscale / Newlands Beck Walk

Rob, Brock and I had a walk from Portinscale (near Keswick in The Lake District) along Newlands Beck today.

It is an easy, flat walk with fabulous mountain and farmland views. The gorse bushes were in flower next to the beck, and it was not too busy at this time of year. Please click on any photo to see a larger version.

Approaching Ullock

Brock and I at Ullock Farm
Lichen-covered wall

 Blackthorn blossom

Sunlight on the hills

 Next to Newlands Beck

Gorse and mountain views

We had morning coffee and cake before the walk, and lunch after the walk at The Chalet Tearoom in Portinscale. We had jacket potatoes and salads: Rob's with cheese and pickle; mine with Moroccan spiced aubergine. The food arrived very quickly and was tasty. The salads included a chilli-spiced wilted greens with spinach and purple sprouting, which was particularly delicious. Dogs are allowed inside and out, so this is a favourite eating place for us.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

A Walk At Hoddom Castle Estate

Rob, Brock and I went on a walk around the 'Farm Trail' at Hoddom Castle Estate.

The weather was sunny and warm, and the Spring flowers were appearing everywhere - beautiful!

 Bridge over the River Annan


Lesser Celandine (I think!)

 Brock's new fur cut

 Hoddom Castle (a bit of it, anyway).

Golf course

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Spring Tulips

I couldn't resist buying this beautiful bunch of tulips the other day ... I love these colours together!

Monday, April 04, 2016

Quilter of The Week Interview

I am honoured to have been picked as the first ever "Quilter of The Week" on's @elloquilt community. Thank you, Sara!

If you are a creative person in any media, I highly recommend as a place to network, gain inspiration and promote your work.

Friday, April 01, 2016

Holiday in Fife: Days 6 and 7: Cambo Gardens, St Andrews and Crail to Anstruther Coastal Walk

Cambo Gardens were our first port of call on Thursday 24 March. It is our third visit to these lovely gardens. They are famous for their snowdrop display, which was just about finished, but there were still plenty of Spring bulbs to see - and the pigs!

 The forest walk leads down to the sea.

The stables, which are going to be refurbished shortly.

Some of the pigs - you can buy potatoes to feed them. So cute! There was a sow with a litter of piglets in a distant area, but we didn't go over to disturb them.

A collage of some of the flowers and statues we saw; including hellebores, primroses etc.

We had a morning coffee and cake in the cafe - dogs allowed and gluten free available, so it gets my vote! I think we might have been the only people there apart from the staff.

For lunch, we went back into St Andrews to Tulsi - a Thai and Indian Restaurant. We had the vegetable thali, which was delicious. A large compartmentalised tray each of rice, dal, okra, aubergine and spinach with potato curries. The owner/waiter was very friendly and helpful. Rob had a mixed veg curry instead of the okra with his, and parathas. We were also given complimentary poppadoms with mango chutney. With two soft drinks, the bill came to £31.40. There was far more than we could eat, although I would have liked to! The food was mildly spiced, but with plenty of flavour, made with freshly prepared vegetables and herbs. I am sure we will return next time we are in St Andrews.

On Friday 25 March, it was another sunny day, so we headed out to walk from Crail to Anstruther along the coastal path. This is one of my favourite sections of the walk. 

Looking back to Crail harbour.

Strange rock formations.


Anstruther harbour.

We had a coffee and cake in the Coast Coffee Cafe, sitting outside overlooking the harbour. Very pleasant! We just had time to wander around the harbour before heading to the bus stop to catch the bus back to Crail. The buses run along the coast hourly during the day.

Lunch was at the Crail Harbour Gallery. Dogs are allowed (at least in the garden) and we piled in there with everyone else on this lovely day. The garden overlooks a small sloping area with chickens in it, and beyond that, the sea. It is quite 'cosy', so everyone soon started chatting and it was a very friendly little party. The Cafe serves paninis and fish dishes, but sadly no vegetarian gluten free food, apart from cake. Rob had a cheese panini with salad and crisps. I had yet another piece of cake: this one with apple. I would definitely come back to this cafe again, though, for the coffee and the view.

The week had gone very quickly, as holidays always do, but I'm sure we'll be back for another visit to Fife. The best bits were the lovely coastal walks, visiting the pretty fishing villages of the East Neuk, and shopping in St Andrews. Most of the cafes we visited were very good - my favourite lunch was at Cuppa Coffee House in Pittenweem, favourite main meal at Tulsi, and favourite takeaway (we only had one, but it was good - hot and spicy!) was from Eastern Touch in Anstruther.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Holiday In Fife: Day 4 and 5: Pillars of Hercules, Cupar and the East Neuk

Brock's walk on Tuesday 22 March, was around the forest trail next to The Pillars of Hercules Organic Farm Shop and Restaurant. Then we had a tasty lunch: Rob ate the 'crepe of the day' with brie and apple - it happened to be gluten free. I had GF chilli, which came with tortillas, salad and little pots of cheese and yoghurt. Rob had a slice of coffee cake, and I had lemon and poppy seed polenta cake. With two Americanos, the bill came to around £25.

We bought some vegetables, and vegetable seeds from the shop, the latter for sowing in our own garden, after the holiday.

Cupar was our next stop: a nice, small town with lots of independent shops and historically interesting buildings. The Scottish Deer Centre is nearby (with many types of deer, wolves, lynx, wild cats, birds of prey to see).

On Wednesday 23 March, we did a driving tour of the East Neuk villages, starting at Largo, then Elie, St Monans, Pittenweem, Anstruther, Cellardyke and so back to Crail. All have their own points of interest and we have holidayed in three of them now. I think Pittenweem, Anstruther and Crail are my favourites - all picturesque, with nice shops and cafes to visit. Here are some of our photos from previous visits to the area.

 Windmill, St Monans

 I love this blue-shuttered house in Crail - imagine living there! It looks straight out over the sea.

Pittenweem Harbour

Church at St Monans

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Holiday in Fife: Day 3: St Andrews

Today we walked along the beach at St Andrews - acres of yellow sand bounded by the sea on one side and golf courses on the other.

We always enjoy visiting this town. It has beautiful old buildings, lovely shops and restaurants and you can walk around it easily. There are lots of other things to do, such as visits to the:- botanical garden, castle, cathedral ruins, golf museum and university museum.

Lunch was at the dog-friendly Byre Theatre Cafe, where we had a very tasty lunch (GF mushroom salad for me and vegetarian platter with cheese, olives, bread, hummus, roasted tomatoes and peppers, etc, for Rob).

We spotted the poster above in the Theatre Cafe and it reminded us of a certain little dog of our acquaintance. He is due for a fur cut in a few weeks time so he won't be quite so 'Hairy Maclary' any more!

We bought some delicious blue cheese, and bread from IJ Mellis and gorgeous (but outrageously expensive - £1.40 each!) chocolates from Iain Burnett Highland Chocolatier. Cakes from Fisher and Donaldson - a GF meringue for me and a coffee tower for Rob. All the food groups covered!

Then it was back to the Crail Posthouse for a relaxing read by the fire!


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