Sunday, 18 February 2018

Escape to the Country: A Weekend in the Lakes


Today I've got a bit of a mish-mash of pictures from last weekend. February is pretty special for us as it's when we got together (a whole nine years ago now!) and also when we got engaged, on Valentine's Day two years ago.

At Christmas, we got a really thoughtful gift from Chris' family of a one-night getaway voucher. If you follow me on social you might've seen that we recently booked New York for our wedding anniversary in July so we thought it'd be nice to use the voucher for a little break between Christmas and the big trip!

Even though I'm from North Yorkshire and fairly near the Lake District, I've never actually been for longer than a day trip. We'd been saying for a while that it'd be nice to spend a day or two up there so it seemed like the perfect opportunity!

We found the perfect little base at the wonderful String of Horses Inn about 15 minutes from Carlisle - a great location for the North Lakes.

As we couldn't check in until 3pm on the Saturday, we headed into central Carlisle for a few hours first.

Outside Carlisle Castle
Pizza at Dutch Uncle

Now, I have been to Carlisle a few times before and I wasn't really sure what we'd have to do there...

We decided to head to the castle first but having set off later than we wanted to, it had just closed by the time we got there! We had a little wander along the castle walls as you could walk all the way around the exterior.

You might be getting the impression by now that we hadn't planned this trip particularly well...

I was under the impression that Hadrian's Wall ran near enough through the city centre too but after trekking up and down a few of the trail paths, we realised that it was probably a few miles before we would reach anything resembling the wall.

With that, we gave up and did what we do best - went for some food and a beer! We came across the brilliant Dutch Uncle, tucked away within Carlyle Court, not far from the castle grounds.

This casual bar/restaurant was just what we were looking for with a small but interesting street food-inspired menu, cocktail list and great beers at good value.

We shared a Nduja, Prosciutto and Rosemary Pizza with a side of Dutch Truffle Fries with Garlic Mayo which was insanely good!

With that, we headed to the hotel.

String of Horses Carlisle Bedroom
String of Horses Faugh Heads Nook
String of Horses Room Carlisle

The String of Horses is based in the small village of Faugh, Heads Nook, just outside of Carlisle. It's a traditional coaching inn; I LOVE old pubs, especially having worked in one back home for around 6 years.

I must say, I didn't know what to expect of this one as a hotel but it completely blew me away! Our room was so lovely and the whole inn itself has so much charm - with proper oak panelling, brasses and ornaments lining the walls, wooden beams, leaded windows, open fires, winding corridors and low ceilings.

Satin duster jacket - Lavish Alice (sample sale)
Off-shoulder choker tee - Tobi*
Green tassel earrings - H&M
Leggings - Tobi*
Polka dot socks - Joanie
Gold holographic sandals - ASOS

Our voucher included a meal so we chilled out in the room a while before getting a little dressed up for some hearty pub food for dinner!

I've been living in these black moto leggings from Tobi lately! I teamed them with my off-shoulder choker tee - I love that it shows off my new roman numerals shoulder tattoo.

String of Horses inside pub
String of Horses Carlisle Sticky Toffee Pudding

Sunday was earmarked for exploring the Lakes. Being at the north side of the area, we chose Keswick for our day trip.

Our minuscule amount of research took us to Derwentwater, a three-mile long lake in Keswick, surrounded by dramatic peaks.

We weren't really equipped for much walking so we parked up by the lakeside and strolled around the water's edge and took a little trail up to the Friar's Crag viewpoint. Even though it was on-off raining/snowing, the views were beautiful!

Derwentwater Lake Cumbria
Keswick views Lake District
Keswick Lake District
The Lakes, Keswick Derwentwater

A brief stop in Keswick town centre for lunch and we were off to our last activity - something I booked in advance and was really excited about!

I can't remember how I came across Alpacaly Ever After (great pun), I think it was on Tripadvisor, but it was such a good shout!

We spent Sunday afternoon with Farmer Terry (super friendly and knowledgeable) and his rescue alpacas - even getting to feed them and take selfies with these cute and goofy animals. A perfect day!

Apacas Keswick
Alpaca Farm Lake District

I'd love to go back with some proper hiking gear in the summer and do some further exploring.

Have you been to this part of the Lakes before?


Sunday, 4 February 2018

A Little Bit of What You Fancy (Does You Good)


As we step into February, I was thinking about what myself and so many people around me have sacrificed during the month of January.

I'd put on weight last year after our wedding (which I fully expected after letting go so spectacularly!) so I'd decided that as soon as January hit, I was going to get serious about getting back into shape.

There seems to be opposing views on New Year's resolutions but I am firmly in the camp that if it takes a new year to give you a fresh start and the motivation you need to achieve your goals then good for you, girl! For me, I like to indulge a little at Christmas - drinking, eating, partying, spending, you name it - so January is the perfect clean slate.

Once January hit, I gave myself a week's grace and then it was straight into an intense diet and increased activity down at the gym. I've made some great progress so far - but approaching the last week of the month, I realised that I was unnecessarily punishing myself.

Like many of my friends around me (who've been doing Dry January, cutting things out like carbs and sugar and putting themselves on a spending ban), I was becoming miserable! I found myself not looking forward to weekends because I didn't want to make plans that would involve meals out, alcohol or even caffeine - I was happier in work, keeping myself busy without temptation.

And that's when I decided it was time to ease up. Having a treat every now and again isn't failing; sometimes it's needed to help you stay on the right track.

With that in mind, I allowed myself the first treat of the month - a wander into Altrincham with lunch out at Toast and a potter around the market, plus a few beers later on. It's not much but it did me the world of good!

January ootd - Green Faux Fur Coat and Fedora

Fedora hat - Primark
Green faux fur coat - Mango
Jumper - Tobi*
Velvet constellation bag - Ali Express
Leggings - Tobi*
Boots - Office

Blogger Prada Dupe - Velvet Star Bag
Latte at Toast, Altrincham
Interior Toast Altrincham
Brunch Toast Altrincham
Flowers at Altrincham Market
Browsing Stalls Altrincham Market
Altrincham Market Photo Stall

Even though I wasn't overly dressed up, feeling happy in my new casual pieces from newly discovered site Tobi, just slapping on a bit of makeup and getting out really lifted my spirits.

Sometimes I think I can be a bit hard on myself; I always strive to do the best that I possibly can and recently, I've been reflecting on the fact that not only is this not always possible, it's not necessary either. 

As part of the goals I've set for myself this year, I want to give my wellbeing a bit more attention. I need to remember that I don't have to go through life at 100mph, all or nothing. I can, in fact, take more time out for myself and not feel bad about doing so. 

So with my health goals in mind, I've decided that I don't have to smash them in record time - I can take things a little slower and not completely deprive myself of  everything. 

It's all compromise and I need to get better at not beating myself up over the small obstacles that make reaching life's goals that bit more enjoyable.

Did you set any New Year's resolutions? Do you feel differently about them now we've reached February?

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