A birthday week in Malham

Sheep in Malham, Yorkshire Dales | H is for Home

We’ve just returned from Malham in the Yorkshire Dales – a little getaway to mark Adelle’s birthday!

Tennant Cottage, Malham, Yorkshire Dales | H is for Home

We stayed at Tennant Cottage, a traditional stone house which we found online.

Malham, Yorkshire Dales | H is for Home

It has a wonderful location, right in the heart of the village, the bubbling beck flowing out front.

Dry stone walls, Malham, Yorkshire Dales | H is for Home

It’s only a short drive from our home in Todmorden to Malham (just over an hour); however, Malham is a magical little place, so you still feel like you’re having a holiday!

Adelle looking through a gap in a dry stone wall, Malham Cove, Yorkshire Dales | H is for Home

The high, upland moors of the Dales are very similar to our own Pennine moors, but at lower levels the area has a very unique appearance and feel.

Sheep paddocks, Malham, Yorkshire Dales | H is for Home

The pale limestone rock plays a major part. In fact, it has the classic limestone scenery taught in geography & geology lessons in classrooms worldwide. Justin came here on school field trips in his youth – now an old man, he returned to sit on rocks where he had his packed lunch 40 years ago!

Justin in front of Gordale Scar, Malham, Yorkshire Dales | H is for Home

There are lots of craggy outcrops, cliffs, gorges, pavements, streams and caverns – and the famous dry stone walls and farm buildings are all constructed from this local rock.

Solitary tree, Malham, Yorkshire Dales | H is for Home

It’s very pretty in the summer; however, the winter months can be stunning too – it has a stark beauty.

Footpath, Malham, Yorkshire Dales | H is for Home

We enjoyed our many walks with Fudge, especially when the sun shone. There were lots of tempting paths that drew us through the glorious countryside.

Tree beside Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales | H is for Home

Weather-wise, we had three nice sunny days and three ‘challenging’ ones. The scenery was still dramatic on the harsh days, but driving wind & rain isn’t great for taking it all in. You find yourselves hood ups, heads down, looking at your walking boots!

Adelle braving the wind, Malham Cove, Yorkshire Dales | H is for Home

Still, it was late November, so a mixed bag has to be expected.

Limestone pavement, Malham Cove, Yorkshire Dales | H is for Home

Back in the village, we had a choice of places to relax. Our cottage was warm & cosy so that was one option. We also had a choice of pubs and cafés on the doorstep.

Looking through the window of Tennant Cottage, Yorkshire Dales | H is for Home

And when we say on the doorstep, we really mean it. You could actually see most of them from the house – and a tempting sight they were too!

Bridge in the evening, Malham, Yorkshire Dales | H is for Home

There are a couple of good pubs – The Buck Inn and the Lister Arms Hotel. We frequented The Lister Arms in particular – we loved its country style and traditional feel.

The Lister Arms Hotel, Malham, Yorkshire Dales | H is for Home

It had a great fire too, where a fair few refreshing pints were supped!

A pint of bitter in front of the fire in the Lister Arms Hotel bar, Malham, Yorkshire Dales | H is for Home

There’s also Beck Hall with it’s lovely wood panelled snug – that’s a must for your Malham shortlist. In addition to its snug and garden room, it has some outside seating areas alongside the river which will no doubt be glorious in the summer.

The lounge in Beck Hall, Malham, Yorkshire Dales | H is for Home

Everywhere seemed to be dog friendly which made life much easier for us.

Justin and Fudge on a bridge over Malham Beck, Yorkshire Dales | H is for Home

Despite his advancing years, Fudge was really in his element and loved the long walks.

Fudge drinking from Malham Beck | H is for Home

It’s perfect dog walking territory actually – paths, picnic spots and places to get drinks on the move.

Adelle and Fudge at Janet's Foss, Yorkshire Dales | H is for Home

In addition to the outdoor activity, he was equally fond of all the attention he got – not only from us, but fellow walkers, pub-goers, business owners and staff.

Ribblehead Viaduct on a wet, wintery day, Yorkshire Dales | H is for Home

We could happily spend the days in and around the village, but we took a drive through the Dales midway through our stay, getting as far as Hawes in the north of the area. There are endless country lanes, villages and valleys to explore. We’ve always loved the Ribblehead Viaduct when we’ve seen it on photos – what a joy it was when it came into view on our little jaunt out.

Adelle with Malham Cove in the background, Yorkshire Dales | H is for Home

The Yorkshire Dales National Park is a special place – Adelle will always remember this birthday in beautiful Malham.

How to introduce a taste of the exotic to your home

Eclectic bedroomcredit

Who doesn’t love travelling, seeing the world and learning about other cultures and customs? When you’ve arrived back home you may want to incorporate your exotic experiences into your home décor. Here are a few of our tips for doing just that.

Have faraway dreams

You may have returned home, back to your everyday lives, but you can always go to sleep and dream about your past adventures. Envelop yourself in beautiful, bohemian bedding like this duvet set pictured below from Vaulia.

Exotic duvet set available from Vaulia

Turn your bathroom into a tropical rainforest

The bathroom is where you go to wash away the stresses of the day and recharge your batteries. Fill the space with lush, architectural plants. Many exotic, tropical plants will thrive in a warm, damp bathroom environment – even where there’s little sunlight. Try growing ferns, orchids and small bamboos to create your own tropical rainforest.

Roll-top bath surrounded by tropical plantscredit

Wall to wall paradise

Wallpaper is a great way of updating the feel of a room. Bold, bright, sumptuous prints incorporating exotic birds, flowers, plants – and in this case – palm trees introduce an equatorial ambiance.

Palm tree print wallpapercredit

Map the world

We all have a wish list of places we’d like to visit before we die. Hang a large world map on your wall and stick pins into the countries & cities where you want to holiday. You could also attach snaps, postcards, ticket stubs and the like to the places you’ve already been as a reminder of past good times. We love the idea of this DIY project below where a string of fairy lights has been used to illuminate spots on a map where the maker has been.

DIY illuminated mapcredit

Art

This massive mural of Vladimir Tretchikoff’s ‘Lady from the Orient’ creates a striking, eastern vibe. Such a stunning addition needs plenty of space around it in order to appreciate it to full effect. Keep furnishings in muted colours and accessories to a minimum.

Wayne Hemingway in front of a huge mural of Tretchikoff's Lady from the Orientcredit

Display souvenirs from your travels

When you’ve visited exciting and far-flung destinations, a way of of keeping the memories of your trip alive is to bring back souvenirs. Anything from vernacular furniture items to unique trinkets & handicrafts, beach-combed finds to pieces of locally-made jewellery. Blow up, print, frame and display your favourite holiday photos. Having them in out plain sight feeds your wanderlust – you’ll be planning that next journey in no time!

Ethnic furniture finds with blown up photograph of an African girl in traditional dresscredit

[disclosure*]

Keelham Farm Shop

Keelham Farm Shop entrance

We had a lovely drive over to Skipton today to visit Keelham Farm Shop.

Keelham Farm Shop in Skipton

We saw the shop on television at the weekend on the Countryfile programme. We were really taken with the Huddersfield-produced halloumi that was featured.

Keelham Farm Shop floor, Skipton

So we decided to go buy some of that – and see what else was on offer. We filled a trolley with all manner of deliciousness!

Coffee shop upstairs in Keelham Farm Shop, Skipton

There’s also a large ground floor restaurant and mezzanine café with a vintage industrial vibe – now bedecked in its Christmas decorations.

Adelle in the Keelham Farm Shop coffee shop

We found a Hygge-friendly corner! Adelle had a cute little penguin to keep her company while relaxing with a cup of coffee and slice of carrot cake.

Stairway looking down on to the shop floor of Keelham Farm Shop, Skipton

We bought quite a selection of (mainly) Yorkshire produced food & drink… including two types of the Halloumi (or Haloum! – as they call it). A mint variety and a fiery chilli. Justin bought himself a pork pie – he always judges and establishment by its pork pies. To be honest, he bought four different kinds of pie! As well as bread, cheeses, soups, ales, biscuits and puddings.

Selection of (mainly) Yorkshire produced food & drink | H is for Home

We’ve been sampling items for both lunch and dinner – they’ve all got top marks so far! We’ll be making a return trip very soon as we really like Skipton anyway – and this shop is just one more good reason to go.

Gimme Five! Car lighter accessories

'Gimme Five' blog post banner

Selection of car lighter accessories via H is for Home

We’ve made a couple of long car journeys to London and Brighton recently. Various things pop into your thoughts as the miles pass by – “I wish I had this, I could do with that”. We’ve chosen a selection of items which plug into the car lighter socket that resolve potential problems and enhance the travelling experience; whether it be playing music, re-charging devices, giving you a back massage or providing emergency air for a flat tyre!

  1. 60w car charger power adapter for Apple MacBook Pro: £22.98, eBay
  2. REALMAX® car music FM transmitter: £7.99, Amazon
  3. Portable power pack with 200w inverter and USB charging socket: £59.99, Maplin
  4. Lifemax heated back and seat massager: £39.99, Amazon
  5. Halfords rapid digital tyre inflator: £34.99, Halfords

Out & About… Bingley

'Out & About... Bingley' blog post banner

mossy wall overlooking a humpback bridge and river

Last Sunday we went Out & About in Bingley, West Yorkshire. The walk was organised by Natalie on behalf of Turtle Mat. It brought together various bloggers from the Yorkshire area.

Yorkshire bloggers on a quick stop in St Ives Estate's picnic area

Bingley is a town we’ve always wanted to see a bit more of; we’ve driven through it a couple of times, but have always been on our way somewhere and couldn’t stop.

Fudge drinking from a stream in Bingley

Our guide for the day was Cedric – originally from France, but a firm Yorkshire fan and indeed, Bingley resident. We can say straight away that from first impressions it’s a lovely little place.

Historic Butter Cross in Bingley town centre

We all met up at the train station and, from our brief view of the town centre, we could see that there were lots of beautiful buildings & interesting corners to save for later visits. A river & canal run through its centre and there seems to be real history all around. By the looks of things, there’s no shortage of shops, pubs & cafés too.

alleyway off the main street in Bingley

Within a few short minutes of setting off, we’d found ourselves in an attractive open park, then passed some charming & well-tended allotments – then into pretty countryside and the grounds of St Ives Estate.

Adelle walking in St Ives Estate, Bingley

We stopped to take in the view on rocks overlooking the valley and Ilkley Moor beyond.

Cedrick, Justin & Fudge on a rock overlooking Ilkley Moor

From here, we dropped back down into town to have our lunch at the Brown Cow pub. We started with a well-deserved pint from a good range on offer. Adelle chose bubble & squeak with poached egg and watercress sauce.

Bubble & squeak with poached egg, tomatoes and watercress sauce at the Brown Cow, Bingley

Justin opted for traditional fish & chips – Fudge was hungry too and was hoping for a dropped chip!

Justin eating fish & chips with Fudge looking on intently

Despite not having much space left, we couldn’t resist dessert to finish. Treacle tart with raspberry coulis for Adelle…

treacle tart with raspberry coulis at the Brown Cow, Bingley

…and waffles and ice cream for Justin.

Waffles with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce at the Brown Cow, Bingley

We were each given a Turtle Mat to take home… perfect for post-walk muddy boots and dirty paws.

Turtle Mat mat with pair of walking boots

On the day of the walk we enjoyed beautiful warm sunshine, so no mud to speak of that day. We’ve had plenty of opportunity to test out the mat since though – well, we live in the Pennines after all!

Fudge in the lounge with the Turtle Mat mat

It’s found the perfect home by the front door and it really does work wonders. Our carpets and rugs might now stand a chance of staying clean!!

[disclosure*]

Rain

'Rain' blog post banner

detail of Simon Armitage's 'Rain' poem carved into rock at Cow's Mouth Quarry, near Blackstone Edge on the West Yorkshire/Greater Manchester border | H is for Home

We had a lovely long walk last weekend, taking in Blackstone Edge which sits right on the border of West Yorkshire & Greater Manchester (Lancashire really!!).

Cow's Mouth Quarry, near Blackstone Edge on the West Yorkshire/Greater Manchester border

As we walked along one of the bridleway tracks this striking outcrop of gritstone rock came into view.

Simon Armitage's 'Rain' poem carved into rock at Cow's Mouth Quarry, near Blackstone Edge on the West Yorkshire/Greater Manchester border

Lovely in its own right, but it had a little extra secret to unveil as we got closer.

Simon Armitage's 'Rain' poem carved into rock at Cow's Mouth Quarry, near Blackstone Edge on the West Yorkshire/Greater Manchester border

Expertly chiselled into its surface was a poem entitled RAIN.

Simon Armitage's 'Rain' poem carved into rock at Cow's Mouth Quarry, near Blackstone Edge on the West Yorkshire/Greater Manchester border

We suspected it might have been written by Simon Armitage when we saw the SA, but weren’t sure. Having since done a bit of research, we now know that it’s one in a series of elemental works by him entitled The Stanza Stones dotted around the Pennines. They were commissioned by Ilkley Literature Festival. Other titles include Snow, Mist, Dew, Puddle and Beck.

Simon Armitage's initials from his 'Rain' poem carved into rock at Cow's Mouth Quarry, near Blackstone Edge on the West Yorkshire/Greater Manchester border

Ironically, it was a glorious sunny day but the Pennines are certainly no strangers to the watery stuff. It’s a fundamental force in shaping this landscape.

 detail of Simon Armitage's 'Rain' poem carved into rock at Cow's Mouth Quarry, near Blackstone Edge on the West Yorkshire/Greater Manchester border

It’s a beautiful poem and we found it very life affirming – and strangely wished that we were standing in the rain reading it – the rock’s surface glistening and droplets running down our faces. Justin read it out loud and we recorded it on a mobile phone – so we’d be sure to have the words when we got home. We needn’t have worried as there’s a lovely book available called The Stanza Stones published by Enitharmon. Justin is a bit embarrassed, but his open air reading has been embedded at the bottom of this post – his Northern accent suits it! 🙂 All that’s missing is the pitter-patter of rain in the background.

 detail of Simon Armitage's 'Rain' poem carved into rock at Cow's Mouth Quarry, near Blackstone Edge on the West Yorkshire/Greater Manchester border

We’re now very keen to read the book and visit the other works in this series.

RAIN

Be glad of these freshwater tears,
Each pearled droplet some salty old sea-bullet
Air-lifted out of the waves, then laundered and sieved, recast as a soft bead and returned.
And no matter how much it strafes or sheets, it is no mean feat to catch one raindrop clean in the mouth,
To take one drop on the tongue, tasting cloud pollen, grain of the heavens, raw sky.
Let it teem, up here where the front of the mind distils the brunt of the world.

© Simon Armitage 2010

Click the little triangle on the left to hear Justin reading the poem

Stanza Stones is available from Amazon.

If you fancy giving the walk(s) a go you can download the poetry trail guide from the Ilkley Literature Festival website.