Something from the weekend, and my “Not Cross Bun” recipe

Did you have a lovely Easter break? I certainly did! It was just wonderful to have a four day weekend, especially with the gorgeous weather.

We spent Good Friday baking…..a coconut flour chocolate cake which I’ll share with you later in the week, and also some yummy ‘Not Cross Buns’ (my version of Hot Cross Buns!). I was rather pleased with them and thought I’d share the recipe with you, as they’re too delicious just to have around Easter!

Not Cross Buns (Hot Cross Bun) recipe by Under a Glass Sky

Ingredients:

  • 250g strong white bread flour
  • 250g plain white flour (we used gluten free)
  • 125ml warm water
  • 125ml warm organic semi-skimmed milk
  • 5g powdered dried yeast
  • 10g salt
  • 50g golden caster sugar
  • 1 medium free-range egg
  • 50g organic butter
  • 75g sultanas
  • 50g mixed peel
  • 50g dried cranberries
  • 2 tbsp orange liqueur (or orange juice for a non-alcoholic version)
  • 2 tsp ground mixed spice
  • Syrup for glazing (we used the syrup from a jar of stem ginger, but golden, maple syrup or even honey are fine too)

To Make:

  1. The night before you want to bake, pop the fruit in a shallow bowl with the orange liqueur or juice and soak overnight
  2. Ideally in a food mixer, combine the flour, water, milk, yeast, salt and sugar in the bowl and fit the dough hook. Add the egg and butter and mix to a sticky dough. You can of course do this by hand, although it will be a bit more work!
  3. Add the dried fruit and spice, then knead on low speed until well mixed. Again, you can do this by hand, but flour your hands as the mixture will be sticky!
  4. Now cover the bowl with cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for about 1 hour.
  5. Next, ‘knock back’ the risen dough and divide into 8 equal pieces. Shape into rounds and dust with flour, placing on a floured baking tray before covering again with cling film and leave to prove for about half an hour. You can now pre-heat the oven to 200°C/Gas Mark 6 so it’s ready when your buns need to go in.
  6. Once ready, bake the buns in the pre-heated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, then remove and place on a wire rack to cool. You can brush them as they cool with the syrup to create a nice golden-glazed finish.
  7. Serve them warm if you like, or split and toast before smothering in butter!

Not Cross Buns (Hot Cross Bun) recipe by Under a Glass Sky

 

On Saturday we took the short trip into Harrogate with some dear friends. We first visited Baltzersen’s cafe which is on Oxford Street. It prides itself in its offering the best Yorkshire-sourced ingredients prepared with Scandinavian inspiration. The space itself is charmingly Scandic, with simple furnishings and quirky trimmings. I ordered the Lapskaus, a Norwegian lentil and root vegetable stew, which was super. Adam went for the soup of the day, and our friends chose from the sandwich menu, all of it looking yummy.

After that we explored the wonderful Royal Pump Room Museum which exhibits the history of the spa town, as well as some other interesting bits and pieces….there’s currently a small collection of small temporary exhibitions, including ‘The Clothes We Wore’, ‘Inside the Victorian Jewellery Box’, and ‘A Town At War’. It’s well worth a visit (only £4 entry for adults) although you can sadly no longer taste the healing waters that made the town what it is, due to health and safety precautions!

Finally we made the necessary pilgrimage to Betty’s Tea Rooms for coffee and cake. Well, in my case Champagne and cake! We took a lovely table in the Montpelier Bar (which I love as it reminds me of the cafes in Vienna, and you don’t have to queue so long as for the afternoon tea rooms!) and I decided to make the most of it by ordering a Moutard Rose (one of my all time favourite Champagnes) as well as the miniature patisserie selection. It was all delicious as usual and our friends enjoyed their first visit there too!

That evening we all ordered a take out back at our place and Adam made us a few cocktails whilst we watched a Liam Neeson action/thriller film I forget the name of!

Harrogate: Betty's, The Royal Pump Room, Baltzersen's, by Under a Glass Sky

On Sunday we had a leisurely breakfast with our house guests, then went for a lovely walk up on Baildon Moor, which overlooks the village we’re moving to in the next few months. It was such a glorious day and we became even more excited about the impending move….not least on Adam’s part because there are ice cream vans stationed at the car parks there!

Baildon Moor, by Under a Glass Sky

On Monday we drove up into North Yorkshire to meet more dear friends in the pretty village of Leyburn. We had a very nice pub lunch then went on a charming five mile walk to a nearby waterfall. We couldn’t believe the weather (I had taken my big insulated coat, which got left behind in the car!) and were all very eager to get a cup of tea and some cake back in the village at the end!

Leyburn, by Under a Glass Sky

On the way home we stopped off at Brymor, which is a wonderful dairy and ice cream cafe not far from Middleham. I opted for a sugar cone filled with raspberry and pineapple ice creams, which were just divine! Adam chose the elderflower and St Clements flavours which were delicious too. The perfect way to end a splendid weekend!

Ems x

 

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The Cheerful Chilli Vegetarian and Vegan Restaurant, Otley

The Cheerful Chilli Vegetarian and Vegan Restaurant and Tea Rooms, Otley Chevin, West Yorkshire

When we first moved to Yorkshire, I did the usual thing of scouring the social networks to find local people and businesses in order to get a feel for the area and find out what’s going on. And when I found that one of the most recommended local restaurants was vegetarian, I was super pleased. I’ve often struggled when eating out, because I tend not to eat meat out (other than when I really know where it’s come from) and I get pretty hacked off when the vegetarian choices are precisely the opposite….a list of one, which means I have no choice at all. Things are further complicated by the fact that my husband doesn’t eat mushrooms or beetroot, which seem to be the staple for many chefs trying to feed veggies. Oh and a salad isn’t a meal…..just because I want to eat veggie doesn’t mean I’m on a health kick! (End rant)

Anyways, pretty excited about the massive choice on offer, we visited The Cheerful Chilli soon after we arrived. It’s a small, family run place, situated on top of the beautiful Chevin Forest Park in an old farm building. It’s fairly casual (no table cloths) but you need to book well in advance if you want to go on a Saturday night as the place is clearly very popular. We’ve now been three times….twice for dinner and once for lunch….and I can thoroughly recommend it.

The menu is varied, although there is a slight Mexican slant….the chilli is their ‘house dish’ and if, like me, your’e into your chimichangas, fajitas, tacos and enchiladas, you won’t be disappointed! From the dinner menu our favourites are the sharing platter starter (seriously yummy and HUGE), the blue cheese burger (yes, this is made from mostly blue cheese, held together with a few breadcrumbs and then topped with melted cheddar!) and the tacos (super tasty and mega satisfying). The puddings are also to die for…the ice cream is home made and AMAZING, and the Chocolate Nemesis is divine.

The lunch menu changes weekly….we loved the vegetarian lasagne and the Moroccan tagine. You can actually visit just for coffee and cake at the weekends (the only time it’s open during the day) and I defy anyone not to enjoy their chocolate Guinness cake, which is clearly a gift from the Gods.

The restaurant offers Bring Your Own Bottle, although their wine list is very reasonable and there are also some great soft drinks to choose from. You can also buy dishes to take away, and they even have a stall at Otley Farmers’ Market too!

It’s a great place to go with friends or family….everything is pretty relaxed and you won’t be stared at for getting a bit noisy and enjoying yourself! We’ve been really impressed by the great value and generous portions (one has to be very careful if hoping to fit in a pudding!) as well as delighted with the choice. There is a good range of vegan dishes, as well as a banquet menu for larger groups. All in all, well worth a visit if you’re in West Yorkshire!

Ems x

Food on Friday: A Casa Di Alessia, Otley

A Casa Di Alessia, Italian Cafe, Otley

Having managed to clock up some overtime this week, Adam decided to take an extra long lunch break today, and treated me to lunch out. We’ve been wanting to try the little Italian cafe nearby for ages….several people have recommended it to us and we’d heard they serve great authentic pizza as well as good coffee.

It’s a teeny place, but well located just a minute’s walk from the market square in Otley, on New Market. We managed to snag a little table (there are only two, plus a bar with high stools, but we noticed nobody had to wait long as the service is pretty speedy) and opted to try out the margherita and artichoke pizza slices, as well as the veggie lasagne and long coffees. I believe the owners (who served us!) are a couple….she is clearly Italian and in charge of the cooking….he is clearly local and in charge of the lovely welcome we got!

There was a great choice, which I understand changes daily….several vegetarian and meat pizzas, meat pasta, calzones, soup of the day, salads and all sorts. Everything we saw looked delicious and fresh.

We didn’t wait long at all for our coffees, and our food arrived soon after too. I have to admit, we’ve been struggling for a decent coffee since we moved, and so these were easily the best we’ve had in Otley….rich and chocolatey, with an excellent crema. The food portions were much larger than we’d expected (we didn’t seem to mind though) and both pizzas were REALLY good. I love ‘proper’ thin dough bases, and these were clearly made fresh with really good mozzarella loaded on top. The pasta was SO yummy….it was seriously creamy and cheesey, and filled with spinach and mushrooms. Even Adam enjoyed his half and he doesn’t usually like mushrooms AT ALL!

The whole visit fitted neatly into our lunch hour, including walking there and back….perhaps on a quiet day we’ll hang around for an extra coffee or two….we will go back for sure. AND the whole meal (way too much for a usual lunch, but it was our main meal of the day!) came to just £11.40. Such good food and such good value.

I’m afraid I didn’t get any photos as I was too eager to yum everything up, but I nabbed the one above from the owner’s entry on Trip Advisor, where you can see many more great reviews so you don’t have to take my word for it!

Ems x

2014: The year that was….

Screen shot 2014-12-30 at 17.53.16

I have to say, 2014, you were pretty flippin’ brilliant.

It’s been a busy and eventful year, and probably the most memorable yet for me. I even stuck to my new year’s resolutions…although more on that another time.

I was a great start to the year….our new baby niece arrived, I had stacks of Valentines orders, there was heaps of crafting to do ahead of a certain event, as well as LOTS of planning….all leading up to the 3rd of May when I got to marry my best friend, not to mention the 24th May when we had a huge celebration with our friends. After our two-part wedding it was an amazing honeymoon in Bali, Indonesia, then more wedding shenanigans, including the wedding of my dear friend Claire for whom I was Bridesmaid.

There were more adventures as we made the brave move from Hitchin to Yorkshire. It’s been non-stop since we arrived, but we’re finally settled in….and have actually decided where gets to keep us as we found a perfect new home for us, and have had an offer accepted on a wonderful house!

As you can imagine, I’m pretty excited for next year now too….not only will we be buying our first house together (fingers crossed!) but we have lots of other things to look forward to as well.

I’d like to thank all my lovely friends for being just that….all of you who read my little blog, and get involved in commenting etc to make it so rewarding….my family (and the new extensions of that!) and of course my new husband, who I think is really rather splendid. Thanks for helping to make 2014 such a great year!

I hope you all have a fabulous New Year’s celebration, whatever it is you’re doing (cocktails and board games with friends at home for us!)….and I look forward to seeing and hearing from you in 2015!

Big loves,

Ems x

Something from the weekend….or two….

Just a very quick entry to my little online weekend diary…I love rounding up what we’ve been up to so that I can look back and remember our adventures!

Coffee in the car

Last weekend we took a road trip up to Northallerton for the wedding of our friends Richard and Tara!

Home made confetti

I’d made some confetti from the roses in the garden…although we never got around to throwing it!

Gum ball sweets wedding favour

After the very sweet ceremony there was a scrummy sit down meal…                                                                                      I couldn’t resist eating the sweeties from our favours in between courses though!

Cutting the wedding pork pie

As well as the traditional wedding cake, there was also wedding pie!

Mauve and purple wedding flowers

We did lots of dancing, ate a late chip supper,                                                                                                                           and I got to take some of the gorgeous flowers home too!

The view of the Yorkshire Dales from Leyburn

On the Sunday we set off on an adventurous journey home, via Leyburn, where we found this stunning view!

Vintage deer book ends

We loved the shops in Leyburn…the wonderful independent supermarket,                                                                        the galleries and a brilliant antique shop where we saw these beauties!

Middleham Castle

After Leyburn we went to view a house in Middleham.                                                                                                            We loved it (and the castle round the corner!) but decided it’s a bit too far out for us!

Autumn leaves

This weekend we spent Saturday mooching about nearer home.                                                                                           We walked the dogs, had lunch in a local tea room, and did a little shopping.

Buddha's Hand Lemon

We also drove to our nearest garden centre to see what we could see…                                                                           which happened to include Father Christmas and this rather wonderful ‘Buddha’s Hand’ lemon tree!

Me and the hounds at Ripley Castle

As for this Sunday, we drove up to Ripon to view three houses there. The town centre was closed off for the Remembrance Day Parade at the cathedral, so we stopped off in Ripley on the way back for lunch and a walk.

Ripley Castle bridge and waterfall

We ate in the Cromwell Tea Rooms at the castle, then took the dogs to explore the grounds.                                      We’ll definitely want to go back to explore properly!

Ripley Ice Cream

Adam was delighted to get to try out the ‘World Famous Ripley Ice Cream’ for the first time too…                        despite it being pretty chilly!

Otley Brass Band and Remembrance Day parade 2014

Once home, we mostly relaxed and chilled. We were delighted to hear the sound of Otley Brass Band outside as we sat about though, and after racing upstairs to see over the garden hedge saw that the                                    Remembrance Day Parade was passing.

 

I do hope you had a good weekend, whatever you were up to!

Ems x

Something from the weekend: Visitors, treats and yums…

Beautiful mauve roses brought in from our little garden

Beautiful mauve roses brought in from our little garden

I do love it when the weekend starts early! And this one did as we recieved surprise (ish) visitors in the shape of the lovely Claire and Matthew. On their way to a wedding in the North, they joined us for our ritual Friday PieDay supper (Shepherd’s Pie this week!) as well as great chats, and much reviewing of Rightmove (at least we’re not the only ones who are addicted!).

Cooper the lurcher giving us our Saturday morning wake up call

Cooper the lurcher giving us our Saturday morning wake up call

Saturday began as usual with a wake up call from Cooper, followed by a dog walk. Then after a quick coffee we decided to walk into town for Brunch. We opted to do a little shopping and browsing first and as we’d not popped into our favourite Otley gallery in a while, went to see what treasures were to be found in the stunning Old Grammar School Gallery. As usual, there were lots of gorgeous things to spy and we had a very nice long chat with the proprietor who actually used to go to school in the building our house is now in!

We’d been eying up the incredible paintings on show there by Sheryl Ashton….the very large one in particular is a big favourite of ours but unfortunately beyond our budget (though still a steal for such amazing work!). So, when it was pointed out to us that there were a few of her original works to be purchased un-framed, we eagerly leafed through the browsers and found a stunning painting by her that we both adored….and at uncommonly decisive speed, Adam snapped it up to bring home! We’re very excited about framing and hanging it, and adding to our home!

Our Sheryl Ashton painting all wrapped up, from The Old Grammar School Gallery in Otley

‘Sold’, our Sheryl Ashton painting all wrapped up, from The Old Grammar School Gallery in Otley

For our brunch we headed to the pretty little Victoria Plum Tea Rooms. We’re hoping to try all of the tea rooms in Otley (there are a great many!) but this one had caught my eye with its quaint frontage and yummy sounding menu. Feeling pretty hungry I chose a double fried free range egg bap, with a double choc mocha alongside. Adam went for the toasted tea cake followed by a home made scone….all of which was seriously delish!

Double free range fried egg bap at Victoria Plum Tea Room, Otley

Double free range fried egg bap at Victoria Plum Tea Room, Otley

Double Choc Mocha at Victoria Plum Tea Room, Otley

Double Choc Mocha at Victoria Plum Tea Room, Otley

The afternoon saw more errands, shopping and dog walking, along with a light supper and some slobbing in front of the TV!

Having enjoyed our extra hour’s sleep, Sunday brought more adventures as we received more visitors! Friends Sam and Ellie live not too far away from our new home, so they came over to see the new place and explore Otley. After a cup of tea and a catch up, we headed to the Craft Market at the Courthouse, then the monthly Farmers’ Market in the square. Sam and Ellie are foodies too, so we all enjoyed snooping around the stalls and buying up lots of treats and yums. They kindly treated Cooper and Digby to their favourite hand made treats, and we all shared some tiny Dutch pancakes called Poffertjes which were seriously yummy!

I found a new favourite stall though….the Convivial Yorkshire Crisp Company were there with lots of different flavours to try! Most notable were the Henderson’s sauce flavour which is SO good, and the Chardonnay Wine Vinegar flavour which are most unusual and very tasty. As a crisp connoisseur I can certainly recommend them, and will be munching through a great many I dare say!

Lastly, we all got a huge bap filled with hog roast and stuffing to bring home with us, and yummed those up along with some of the sweet treats.

Convivial Yorkshire Crisps from Otley Farmers' Market

Convivial Yorkshire Crisps from Otley Farmers’ Market

After that we took a dog walk together to work off some of the eating; Sam and Ellie loving to see Cooper and Digby playing and running at the park. Then after one more cuppa for the road, they set off home and we spent the rest of the afternoon and evening getting some more slobbing in…and eating a whole tub of the crisps in my case!

Ems x

Something from the weekend: Exploring, macaroons and autumn leaves

This weekend saw some more adventuring for us….we decided to check out nearby Harrogate to see what it has to offer, and also look at some potential areas for us to live. It took us just shy of half an hour to drive there this Saturday, and there are LOTS of lovely shops I’m happy to have nearby (but not TOO nearby!). We wandered around the town centre for a while, I made a stop off at M&S (in need of new undies!) and we browsed some of the other shops, including a charity shop where I found a lush Jaeger coat for just £15! I think Harrogate is a good contender to keep us!

Me wearing Boden at the Royal Pump Room Museum in Harrogate

We made a mental note to come back and explore the Royal Pump Room Museum and Turkish Baths soon, and then finished up at Bettys….that seeming the right thing to do on our first trip to Harrogate! We actually have a Bettys Tea Room just fifteen minutes away from where we live in Ilkley, but Harrogate is where it all started and so we opted to have lunch in the gorgeous Montpellier Bar there.

Adam at the Montpellier Bar at Bettys Tea Rooms in Harrogate

First we ordered two of their Viennese style coffees, which are made with their own roasted beans, steamed milk, honey, cinnamon and fresh whipped cream….absolutely delicious! Then we chose the soup of the day (sweet potato) which came with huge hunks of crusty home baked bread, and the smoked salmon which was absolutely divine on the home baked wholemeal bread. The ambience and service was just wonderful, and very much reminded us of beloved cafes in Europe. We’ll be back!

Coffee Vienna at Bettys Tea Rooms in Harrogate

Before leaving I just had to pop into the shop, where I bought a pretty box full of macaroons and a Yorkshire Rarebit Scone to take home….we scoffed them all with a brew as we relaxed in the afternoon!

Macaroons from Bettys Tea Rooms in Harrogate

Macaroons from Bettys Tea Rooms in Harrogate

On Sunday we drove just ten minutes away to Golden Acre Park to walk the dogs and meet up with some local friends. It’s a beautiful park anyway, but with all the autumnal colours bursting forth it was all extra special! We wandered all round the park before taking a pit stop at the little cafe for hot chocolates and red velvet cake….well, we had worked up our appetite by then!

Cooper the lurcher in Golden Acre Park in Leeds

Hunter wellies standing in autumn leaves

Gold and red leaves in Autumn at Golden Acre Park in Leeds

The view from the open air cafe at Golden Acre Park in Leeds

On the way back to the car we took a turn around the lake and the little bit of remaining model railway…the park had been a very early theme park in its Victorian hay day…I wish I could have seen it in all its glory!

The old model railway at Golden Acre Park in Leeds

The lake at Golden Acre Park in Leeds

In the afternoon we did some more exploring, taking a drive around some more of the areas we’ve been looking at houses in. Then we walked at the beautiful tarn near Adam’s parents’ new house, popping in to say hello to them on the way back. I’m loving walking at the moment (at least when it’s dry!)…the trees look stunning against the blue skies, and there’s something about this time of year that makes me want to be outside, despite the chill.

Hope you’re enjoying Autumn and had a great weekend too!

Ems x

Yorkshire Photo Walks: Taster session at Gallows Hill Nature Park, Otley

Last Saturday, despite the drizzle and chill, I went along to join in on a local photo walk. Adam had heard about it at camera club when Tom came along to tell everyone about his Yorkshire Photo Walks. We signed up right away and headed just down the road to Gallows Hill Nature Park where Tom was hosting a free introductory walk to start the season off.

It was a good excuse to explore the park, which it turns out is just across the river from where I walk the dogs most mornings. It’s a beautiful place, even when it’s grey and wet. Tom filled us in on how the walks work and then dished out a little piece of paper to each of us, on which was written a theme for us to base our photos on. I got ‘fading summer’ as a title for my photos, and so off I set!

Tom came around to each of us as we took photos, to find out more about us and to offer help. This free taster session was just an hour long, but usually they’re two hours and at the end everyone goes to the pub to review the shots they’ve captured. There’s a Flickr group too where everyone can see what other people have been up to during the walks.

Anyway, I thought I’d share a few of my photos from the walk. I enjoyed spending a whole hour just trying things out and playing with my camera (it’s a Canon G12 in case you’re interested!), and I’m quite pleased with the results.

Snail on a branch, Otley, YorkshireFallen golden leaf in nettles, Otley, Yorkshire Double exposure trick with depth of field, Otley, Yorkshire Curly autumn leaf, Otley, Yorkshire Golden vine leaf, Otley, Yorkshire Wet and speckled leaves, Otley, Yorkshire A hiding crocodile lead, Otley, Yorkshire Red firework autumn fall foliage Autumn fall seeds on dried Queen Anne Lace Golden autumn fall leaf in green foliage Sycamore glider seeds, autumn, fall Like a perching dragonfly, sycamore seeds Gnarly dried leaves, autumn, fall Vacated bird nest

Tom runs regular photos walks right across beautiful Yorkshire….there are night time walks and even a full weekend of walks you can join in on too. Each walk is usually about £15 and you can see the full list of those coming up here. You don’t need any special equipment for most of the walks….I just took along my compact camera (and iPhone!) but of course there were people there with DSLRs and tripods and whatnot. I’ll be tempted to take along a film camera on a sunny day. There are some walks just for SLR users, but everything is set up to cater for all different abilities and the people there who have been to lots of the walks all rave about what a great teacher Tom is.

I’ll look forward to updating you when I’ve been on my next Yorkshire Photo Walk!

Ems x

 

Something from the weekend: Mostly food

Despite still having lots to do as we settle into the house, we’ve been enjoying spending our weekends exploring our new locale….especially with the new added benefit of a car!

Adam finished work at lunch time on Friday as he had some time to take in lieu, so we drove to nearby Ilkley to walk the dogs down the river and scope out all that the town centre has to offer. We found lots of lovely shops, The Veggie cafe that we’re dying to try out, and our nearest Betty’s Tea Rooms which I hope to visit before long!

On Saturday we took an early morning walk on the gorgeous Otley Chevin, the foresty hill that overlooks the town. The dogs love it up there as there is lots to sniff and explore, and the views are just stunning on a gorgeous day like Saturday.

Lurcher at Otley Chevin

Cooper posing at the Chevin

After breakfast we drove to Kirkstall Abbey to meet my Brother-in-Law and Sister-in-Law and our little niece Clementine. There’s a monthly Deli Market there with dozens of wonderful food and drink stalls set up inside the beautiful ruins of the abbey. We did a circuit to see what we might like, then bought up lots of goodies….for our lunch we bought a yummy free range scotch egg and incredibly delicious pork and gammon pie from The Blue Pig (as well as some of their sausages for another day), plus some gruyere and rosemary straws. There was a huge amount of sweet stuff to choose from, and we came away with a Chai Spiced flapjack from Oat Cuisine (top prize for their punderful name!), a Vegan Columbian Coffee Tiffin from That Old Chestnut, fudge courtesy of Aunty Emily’s (another great name!), and our first ever Canadian Nanaimo bar from Fayre by Alley. We were also in need of marmalade, so we bought some amazing Orange and Cardamon Marmalade from Hummingbird Preserves. The abbey is well worth a visit in its own right, and I’m sure we’ll be back with our cameras…..and we’ll be no strangers to the Deli Market too I’d imagine!

Scoffing a scotch egg at Kirkstall Abbey Deli Market

Scoffing a scotch egg at Kirkstall Abbey Deli Market

We popped to Adam’s Brother’s for a cup of tea and niece cuddles, plus some fussing of their two gorgeous Staffies. Then we drove to nearby Arthington to look at a house for sale….we’re not strictly ready to move yet having only just arrived, but I’ve not stopped thinking about this place since Adam found it on Right Move and he eventually decided that the only way to shut me up was to take a look! I’m glad we did….it’s good practise for when we start viewing properly….but in reality it wasn’t quite the dream home I’d thought it was. We shall keep on looking though!

It being a month since we’ve moved here, we decided to celebrate with a meal out at a local vegetarian restaurant on Saturday night, then it was an early night for us after a busy day!

On Sunday we had our friends Craig and Shelley over for morning coffee….we’re delighted to be living so near to them now, and that we’ll get to see them more often. After a quick catch up we all walked to the Designer Craft Fair in the Otley Courthouse to peruse the pretty things, then made our way to the Farmers’ Market in the square. As usual there was lots to tempt us and we came away with full bags….Mornington House‘s scrumptious jams (strawberry, raspberry and damson), Butterscotch and Rocky Road slices from the amazing Yummy Yank, half a dozen huge free range duck eggs and a bun filled with delicious free range hog roast and stuffing from Happy Hogs to bring home for lunch.

Scrummy Rocky Road from The Yummy Yank

Scrummy Rocky Road from The Yummy Yank

After scoffing, Craig and Shelley headed home for some sort of sporting race or match or something, then shortly afterwards Adam’s Dad arrived as he’ll be staying with us this week. He and Adam’s Mum are also making the move up from Hitchin later this week (he’s meeting with builders and things whilst Liz sorts out the movers) and we drove over to their new place to have a little look around the nearby High Street in the afternoon.

I cooked up a roast leg of lamb with all the trimmings for supper, followed by a fruit crumble and custard. The perfect way to end a lovely weekend!

Hope you had a lovely weekend too!

Ems x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our first month in Otley

Hello! From Yorkshire!

Yes, a month ago today we made the move from Hitchin in Hertfordshire, all the way up to the little market town of Otley in West Yorkshire. It was a horrendous move….we collected so much stuff living in such a big place in Hitchin, especially with all the wedding things. Plus it was our first move with the dogs, who have a lot more luggage than you might expect! Still, they were as good as gold during the move and really did us proud.

Dogs in the car on move day

Are we nearly there yet?

Dogs on moving day

All in!

We’re finally getting sorted in the new place though, and have a place for most things and most things in their place….it has been a great opportunity for some serious sorting though and we’ve had lots to Freecycle, donate to charity shops and box up for the car boot sale. And hopefully the next move will be much easier as it won’t be so far away….we very much intend to stay in Yorkshire as we have so many friends and family here, not to mention the fact that we’ll be able to afford a much nicer house than in pricey Hitchin!

My home studio

My new studio….still a bit of sorting to do but I can work in it at least!

We’d not been to Otley ever before our move day, and hadn’t even seen our new house! With such a busy summer we just couldn’t get the time together to do a proper scout as we usually would, and were lucky enough to have some family and friends view a few places for us. Our dear friend Craig actually came to see this place and said we’d love it….and we do! Thanks Craig!

Otley is a lot like Hitchin really. It’s a market town with lots going on, but also has the advantage of quick and easy access to the countryside. My morning walk with the dogs is just perfect….we’re a few moments away from a playing field which we walk through first, then a little river side park before we get to the gorgeous formal gardens (and playground!) and then wonderful fields for the hounds to race around, as well as lots of places for them to dip into the river….Digby has even had his first proper swim (so proud!)! We’ve seen Kingfishers along the river and I’m told you can see otters if you’re out early enough too….fingers crossed!

Swimming dog in the River Wharfe

Digby taking a swim in the goregous river Wharfe

Being a little more remote we decided we’d finally have to get a car, which means we can explore other places for our walks too. We’ve taken to driving to the stunning Chevin Forest, just two minutes away, for our afternoon walk. The dogs love exploring all the winding paths, and we adore the views from up there. There’s even an ice cream van waiting at the summit, which is a great treat after the climb! The Chevin is actually thought to have been an inspiration for some of Turner’s paintings, and I love having that connection!

The view of Otley from the Chevin Forest

The view of Otley from the Chevin Forest

We’re hoping to explore some of the nearby places too before long….I love Skipton and the Dales which are now very close, and then there’s the Keighley Railway (famous for appearing in the Railway Children!), Bronte country in the pretty village of Haworth, nearby Ilkley and its Darwin Gardens and stunning moorland, plus more of Leeds which I love for food and shopping.

There’s plenty to do in Otley too, and we’ve been enjoying getting to know it. There’s a regular market which I’ve been going to for our fruit and vegetables, plus a monthly Farmer’s market which is just wonderful, and a craft market in the Old Courthouse. There are stacks of tea rooms and plenty of good pubs….all of which we have vowed to try out, although that may take us some time!

Otley Farmers Market

Shopping at Otley Farmers Market

All natural dog treat

Cooper ready for a treat from the Farmers Market!

giant yorkshire pudding filled with chips and gravy

My kinda grub….local ‘delicacy’ of giant yorkshire pudding filled with chips and gravy

Otley Folk Festival

Dancers outside the Court House Project for the Otley Folk Festival

Adam has joined the Otley Camera Club, which is celebrating its 75th year, and we’re hoping to find local dance classes and an archery club too. I’ve been loving all the gorgeous galleries in town, and there’s a Sunday car boot within walking distance, plus several more we can explore in the car. We’re looking forward to some upcoming events as well….there’s a science fair and beer festival very soon and a Victorian fair at Christmas, plus food festivals, arts events and all sorts in the new year. Oh, and we checked out the Vintage Transport Extravaganza too which was super!

Otley Old Grammar School gallery

Art this way, at The Old Grammar School gallery

Ice cream at the Otley car boot sale

Me with my ice cream at the car boot sale. There’s ice cream everywhere here!

Otley Vintage Transport Extravaganza

At the Otley Vintage Transport Extravaganza

We’re celebrating our first month here with a trip to the wonderful sounding vegetarian restaurant, The Cheerful Chilli, up on the Chevin tomorrow night….it’ll be such a treat to have so much to choose from for a change and I’m looking forward to trying it out! Then it’ll be more exploring for potential places for us to settle down in….the plan is to buy a place within the next year, so we want to get a flavour for where in Yorkshire should get to keep us!

That’s all for now, but I’m sure I’ll have lots to share about our new town soon. Have a lush weekend!

Ems x