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Monday, 28 November 2016

Glamping at Samlesbury Hall


My boyfriend once said I wasn't very "outdoorsy." He wasn't a million miles from the truth, but still, I took offence.  I forget which activity I was trying to worm my way out of at the time the accusation was slung, although paddle boarding springs to mind. 

Well, to celebrate his birthday this year I booked a surprise night camping glamping in The Shepherds Hut Hamlet at Samlesbury Hall. Who's not outdoorsy now?

I managed to keep the location of our night away a secret right until the very last minute when someone gave the game away...

"Starting route to Samlesbury Hall" 

Cheers for that IPhone Maps guy.


Considering we'd been graced with the presence of Storm Angus early last week I was a little apprehensive about how a night in a hut, in November, would pan out. Advertised as cosy in the winter, I packed extra bedding just in case... "Happy Birthday, sorry about the hypothermia"... and booked a camp fire kit as an optional extra.

Nestled in the grounds of Samlesbury Hall, the huts are tucked away on the perimeter amongst the trees. I'll be honest it was a little chilly when we first arrived, but perhaps that's to be expected this time of year. We were shown how to work the heating and it ended up a toasty little haven.

The hut we stayed in was kitted out with two comfy double beds, bedding and snugly throws, tea and coffee making facilities and an en-suite including hot shower, towels and toiletries. It also had the added luxury of plug sockets, and a table and chairs. I could get used to this wilderness malarkey.























We ate at Mezzo, an Italian restaurant a short walk from Samlesbury Hall and strolled back to our hut that night clutching the lantern provided. The Hall is closed if a wedding's being held so it's worth having a quick check on-line when you book. When everything's open there's a restaurant, coffee shop, museum and gift shop to go at.

But back to stumbling to our hut. We got the camp fire going, 'we' meaning Oliver, and whiled the night away huddled together, gazing at the stars. Well we whiled a portion of the night away until we retreated to the warmth of our hut and cracked open some Champers. It's November people.

We slept soundly unaware that we might not have been completely alone. Samlesbury Hall is well known as one of the most haunted places in Britain. A fact I knew before we spent the night in it's grounds. I didn't know however that 'The White Lady' Lady Dorothy Southworth who died of a broken heart, has been seen, and I quote, "on many occasions" within the hall and it's grounds!!  

I can't say we witnessed any unusual goings on during our stay, thank the lord, other than my camera randomly stopped working for a little while. Paranormal activity or too much fizz? You decide. 

We rounded off our stay with a welcomed Full English Breakfast in the hall itself sat by a roaring fire. 

If you fancy something a bit different Do have a look at a night in a Shepherds Hut here but Don't search YouTube for Samlesbury Hall Ghosts before you go. 

Thanks so much for reading. If you've any suggestions of fun and different getaways send them my way xx

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Loving Franz Ferdinand & Other Signs Of A Noughties Indie Girl

Joy Division, Unknown Pleasures Album TShirt

What does Babyshambles mean to you? A refreshing sparkling perry or a band that you simultaneously loved and worried for their well-being? If it's the latter, this post is for you...

I watched Oasis: Supersonic this week, a documentary about the rise of, you guessed it, Oasis, and had flashbacks to my own meagre dalliance with the world of rock. 

Joining a band, sell-out gigs, crystal meth fuelled fallouts. Ahh those where the days... that I didn't have any of. I did however start wearing converse, cut the sleeves off a few band tees and looked immediately for a boyfriend with long hair.

Did someone say booze, boys and bands? Goodbye low cut pink tops from Morgan, and hello Joy Division Tops. Cliché? Moi? Never!

Kick back and flick through your copy of NME right AFTER you've read ... The Tell Tale Signs You Were An Indie Girl In The Noughties ...

* You felt way too uncomfortable to class yourself as Indie

* You fancied a bloke(s) purely because of his longer than the norm barnet... (not to be confused with fancying all blokes who have longer than the norm hair)

* An excellent selection of Fred Perry clothing alone made a bloke an eligible bachelor

* Your mates classed any guy in any band as "your type"

* Still though, you wouldn't mind going out with a guy in a band

* Bands, bands, bands, you loved to watch a good band

* You wished you'd had the chance to watch Joy Division live but settled with the film Closer, several times

* You were distraught when you heard The Cooper Temple Clause had split up

* The more worn out your Converse the more credibility you had

* You went through a phase, a short phase, of buying badges

* You started buying Vinyl and overlooked the inconvenience of getting up and turning your records over

* You started buying clothes from vintage shops despite that smell, the smell of attic, that never quite leaves a piece of vintage clothing.

* You contemplated learning to play the guitar

* You never imagined the likes of Franz Ferdinand and The Kooks would come to nothing

* You dated a guy even though he was, how do the French say??... a right dick, because he looked the part and liked the same music as you

* You forgave a not subtle fondness for Class As and decided Pete Doherty was a good catch (I blame Kate Moss)

* You bought tickets to watch Pete Doherty but he never showed up (see aforementioned fondness for Class As)

* You daydreamed about throwing in the towel at University, and your weekend job while you were at it, and becoming a groupie

* You drank a lot (not specific to Indie girls)

* Guys on nights out were friendly - the girls were not

* Maaaany a Saturday night ended with The Stone Roses, I Am The Resurrection and rightly so


Not all of the above was a passing phase. I love me a good Fred Perry top. Designed to last you see. And most Saturdays you can find my Conversed feet trotting off for a big shop. Still got it haven't I. Still bloody got it! 👍

Thanks so much for reading. Let me know in the comments if I've missed out any corkers.

Monday, 7 November 2016

Should Your Mum Read Your Blog?



I haven't written a blog post in a while. In the interests of blogging best practice I'm led to believe that you should keep any such gaps on the down low. There's always the chance no-one has noticed and you might just get away with it. The first rule of Blog Club is: you DO NOT talk about Blog Club... or words to that effect.

And so without further ado ... let's discuss ... Should Your Mum Read Your Blog?

A few weeks ago I wrote about a decision I'd made to leave my job. I was ready for a change and the world was my Oyster. I was hell bent on following my dreams... to a different desk in a different office... but still a change was afoot. 

I sat down and wrote about stage one of 'The Change'. Not THAT change, but 'The Change'.

With hindsight I might have slipped into using Not Your Nine To Five as a diary and a free form of therapy. In the interests of a good read I merrily typed about my personal situation and hit Publish. 

Tinkering on the brink of over sharing, I was hidden under an anonymous guise and didn't really care all that much. 

The next day my phone rang. I answered, knowing what was coming.

Dad: "Hello, how are things?"

Me: "Good thanks, blah blah blah..."

Dad: "And how's everything else?"

Me: "Everything else is good thanks" ... I waited. Dad's NEVER phone just to chat do they. 

Dad: "I'm just thinking about how you have to be careful about what you put in writing"

Me: "Mum's spoken to you about my post hasn't she?"

Dad: "No, of course not." .... Blatantly had. That's a team for you right there.

If amateur dramatics are your bag that would've been your perfect time to tap the lines. I refused to 'censor my writing'... until I re-read what I'd written and thought "oh shit yeah, that's a bit unprofessional." It's a small world after all and it wouldn't take a rocket scientist to figure out this blog belonged to me, if you knew me!

Unwittingly and painfully, I clicked Revert To Draft and started wondering should I remove my own Mother from my subscribers list?

Here's the dilemma:

Your Mum will always be your number one fan. She'll have been the first to head to your site when you told her you'd started a blog. (Immediately after you've explained what a blog is). 

She'll read each and every post without fail. 

No-one will follow your blog more loyally than your Mum, and therein lies the problem. No-one will pay more attention to what you write and subsequently worry on your behalf. My sister, about 20 years ago, once ripped a page out of a library book. I mentioned this in a post. My Mum worried the police might get involved.  

She's a lady that's always maintained, Be Careful What You Put In Writing. 

There is of course truth to this. Once something's been shared on the good old world wide web there's no going back. 

Will you at some point regret what you've written? By writing about it, are you immortalising a past that might resurface and bite you on the bum? Have you checked before you write, how long exactly do people serve for stealing a page from a library book, over 20 years ago, from a library that's now closed down? Possibly due to costs incurred from stolen pages.

What's a gal to do then when her favourite hobby is writing on a personal lifestyle blog? How do you find a balance between sharing your 'real' story and keeping your Mum's blood pressure down? 

If you censor your work you risk loosing the emotion behind it. You risk loosing the reality that inspired it. I doubt E. L James flung a first draft of 50 Shades Of Grey in her Mother's direction for a quick once over. Pun intended.

I've decided that I won't remove my most loyal reader from my subscribers list, nor will I write to avoid any concerned telephone calls. 

I will instead adopt a strategy that I found in an on-line discussion about what to do when your Mum brings up something she's read in your diary...

"If she brings something up just say, "No, that's not for discussion. How's Aunt Winifred?"

Considering I don't have an Aunt Winifred I think she'll get the picture. 

It's important to remember that if your Mum doesn't gasp at your memoirs then something's amiss. However, be mindful about what you write... 'Will I regret sharing this? Will I end up serving time? How the hell IS Aunt Winifred? 

Thanks so much for reading. I'd love to know if you've ever ended up in trouble over something you've written?

It's lovely to be back :) xx