31.05

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Since our route back home from Yorkshire last weekend skirted us round the outside of York, we decided to take the opportunity to head into the city. When we arrived I asked for recommendations on Twitter for where we should go to eat, drink, and sightsee, and immediately started making an agenda based on all the suggestions. A tour of the cathedral! Lunch at The Star! And Betty’s Betty’s Betty’s!

Turns out though, my plans were to be thwarted by time. We couldn’t really spend any longer than two or three hours in the city without getting caught in the mad end of Bank Holiday traffic, and also only had enough change on us to feed the meter to the tune of a couple of short hours.

With our time restraints in mind, we got moving…

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York turned out to be even more adorable than I’d imagined- full of narrow, cobbled lanes and leaning buildings and tiny, beautifully-dressed shopfronts. The cathedral above doesn’t even look real, does it?

We wandered through the Shambles, quickly gave up trying to compete for photo-taking space with every other tourist in York that day, and then headed out in the direction of Betty’s. Betty’s is, as it turns out, the most famous tearoom and bakery in the North of England. I’d only heard of it once before via my lovely friend Kat, but when we said we’d be in York for the day, countless people recommended we go! Sara (another Y.shire-based blogger friend!) had mentioned that the queue for Betty’s might be long, and I’ll admit scoffed at the idea initially. A queue? To get into a bakery? Do me a favour, was precisely what I thought to myself.

HA. How wrong I was! By the time we got there, the queue was right out of the door and wrapped round the first corner of the building! It must be *seriously* good cake! With such a short time in the city, we decided to pass up the experience and turned to Twitter for a recommendation of where else to go instead.

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To the rescue came Becky, blogger behind the beautiful Poppy and Pickle! She recommended that we head to a cafe called Brew + Brownie, promising that they serve really great coffee and cake. And you know what? She couldn’t have been more right!

Brew + Brownie was a total photographer’s dream- beautiful filament lightbulbs and natural wood surfaces everywhere, with the counter covered in rows of the most tempting cakes imaginable. It was pretty busy, but we managed to nab a couple of seats at the bar. Good job too, because the hanger was setting in *fast* ;) The menu was pretty simple (whopper sandwiches, toasties, all-day pancakes, and just one lone salad thrown in for good measure), and everything looked so tempting we easily could’ve ordered one of everything and been done with it. In the end though, Jason chose the pulled pork ciabatta, whilst I went for a toasted brie and bacon sandwich that turned out to be the very best decision I’d made all weekend.
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I mean, just *look* at it. Have you ever seen a more beautiful sandwich in all your life? The brie was toasted to perfection (soft and oozy!), the bacon was thick cut and delicious, and the bread? Oh, that bread. Sourdough, crisp on the outside and soft within, with plenty of little golden cheesy crunchy bits clinging to the crust. As a rule I try not to eat wheat too often (meaning that I’ll pass up heavy, twice-weekly bowls of pasta in favour of a once a fortnight burger or pizza blow out ;), and so having a toasted sandwich like that was a total treat.

If picking out that sandwich from the menu was the best decision I made all weekend, the next best was only eating 2/3rds of it, so that I could save space for a slice of the toffee apple cake. Because I’m being serious now, that cake might be the best of its kind I’ve ever had. Rich and cinnamony, peppered with slices of soft cooked apple, and a layer of sticky, treacly toffee sauce on top. I ate it halfway down the M1 during our drive home back down to Surrey, with my feet up on the dashboard and an expression of total bliss on my face. I did share the slice with Jason and am not at all ashamed to say that the sharing was somewhat begrudging, because a cake that good is bound to bring out someone’s selfish side. Right?

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So really, with cake that divine, who needs Betty’s? Okay okay, I do, but I’m determined to head back North sometime soon and stick it out in the queue for a table!

And that, as they say, was that! Whistlestop three-day tour of Yorkshire? Done!

P.s. I just shared a video from our trip on my YouTube channel! Click through to have a nosy! It contains the words ‘oh my god the wedding’s off’, just FYI ;)

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28.05

Cider-with-Rosie-Yorkshire

After breakfast, came exploration and adventure.

And when I say adventure, I mean a gentle walk through the countryside, followed by an afternoon of eating and drinking. But we were in a new place, so that’s an adventure in itself, right? Right?

Although our tent was so snug and charming I could happily have settled in for the long haul there with my book (Girl on the Train- finally getting into it, two thirds of the way through!) and endless rounds of coffee, we were determined to see as much of Yorkshire as we could in the few short days we had there. So, after testing out the shower with, I’ll be honest, a little trepidation (we couldn’t bring ourselves to believe that a tent could *possibly* have an instant hot water supply, and were proved quite happily wrong!), Jason and I layered on enough clothes for every possible weather outcome, and headed out into the countryside.

On our agenda for the day was a visit to a village called Harome, where we’d been told we’d find a pub called ‘The Star Inn’ serving some of the best pub lunches to be had for miles around. But first, since we’d maybe eaten one too many slices of toast at breakfast, a walk to work up an appetite!

What I wore :: White T shirt  || Check shirt (past season, similar) || Jeans || Boots.

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We wandered through the village in search of a likely looking footpath to set out on, and stopped to admire a sweet gated farmyard that had the flounciest peacocks you’ve ever seen strutting around inside it. In fact, the one in this photo was doing his ‘look how snazzy my feathers are’ dance for the peahen just behind it! The owner of the farm came out and told us that he’s the oldest of all the birds she has, and that the hens mostly ignore his showing off. Clever ladies ;)

The walk we took didn’t last all that long (it felt SO strange to walk without a dog running along up ahead of us!), but we managed to catch the worst luck, and by the time we got back to the Star Inn we found out they’d stopped serving lunch only 15 minutes beforehand. ‘No matter!’ we said, and hopped back into the car and headed to the nearby village of Helmsley (singular, not plural ;) instead!

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^^ Sometimes, a little cheesy self-timer action is just totally necessary, right? ^^

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Helmsley was as chocolate-box a village as you could dream of finding, but I captured it all via video instead of photographs! You’ll have to stay tuned for the video if you want to see the giant fruit scones with jam and cream we ate for afternoon tea, and the adorable greengrocers on the corner of the village square where we purchased our dinner (so totally charming!), and all the sweet grey-stoned cottages we made heart-eyes at as we walked past…

I’ll tell you though, that scone is up there amongst the best I’ve ever eaten. Maybe it was that we’d been pottering around the countryside for a good few hours and so were ravenous by the time we sat down to eat, or maybe it was that scones are just better when served alongside a cup of good old fashioned Yorkshire tea- I don’t know. But it really was a special one.

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And so, to home. We’d picked up a handful of things to cook on the barbecue that evening, and set to work making up new potato and red pepper skewers dressed with oregano, cooking ribs, and also cracked open the bottle of champagne we’d brought with us as a Bank Holiday weekend treat!

It was pretty blissful, that evening. Sipping icey champagne from our favourite little tin mugs (brought with us from home, because we couldn’t pass up the oppurtunity to use them in their natural camping habitat ;), eating a dinner straight from the grill followed by several rounds of cheese and biscuits, and then toasting up marshmallows over the remainder of the heat from the barbecue.

In between the rush of planning our wedding (we’re ticking off the final tasks now, which is crazy exciting!), each of us getting ready to take the best part of a month out of our normal working routines, and all of the other occurrences and tasks and jobs that make life eventful and exciting and busy, I feel as though we hadn’t had chance to really connect in a while. To devote time to just talking, and to catching up with each other and where we’re both at right now, and not getting distracted by things like phones and Netflix and Twitter. It’s amazing how easy it is to become wrapped up in the bubble of ‘self’, and to forget about the importance of quality time spent with the people who matter most.

We talked about it a little whilst we were away, and decided to try and spend less time ‘rushing’, and more time concentrating. On whatever task is at hand, on work, on relaxation- on each other.

And on that note, we clinked tin mugs, and toasted to another happy evening spent in front of a roaring fire in a little tent on the edge of a forest.

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Posted in COUNTRY WALKS, COUNTRYSIDE LIFE, JASON, LOVE, TRAVEL, WEEKEND BREAK

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26.05

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The drive north, from Surrey to Yorkshire, took well over six hours. Two and a half hours longer than we’d expected, thanks to the mass Bank Holiday exodus we’d forgotten entirely would be happening this weekend when we planned our trip away. In those six plus hours, we between us worked our way through far too many jelly sweets, a couple of coffees (thank you service stations), popcorn by the messy handful, and a few rounds of ‘would you rather’. The landscape got greener and greener as we drove, the skies got wider, and eventually we turned down a tiny country lane marked with a tinier sign that said, simply, ‘JollyDays’. We even had to stop to let some hares pass as we drove down the lane, and realised there and then that the trip was set to be a magical one.

Our first night under canvas was lovelier even than we’d anticipated. The wood burning stove kept the tent toasty throughout the evening, and the charm of whistling stovetop kettles and reading by candlelight and being totally screen-free was a novelty to us both. We woke early the following morning, to soft bright light pouring in through the white canvas tent walls. Jason stoked the fire and set about lighting the barbecue outside, and I got to work on the coffee.

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We’d arrived the previous day to a kitchen (a kitchen, in a tent! Complete with gas hob, a teeny tiny Welsh dresser, and hot running water!) stocked full of breakfast ingredients, all wrapped up in the sweetest (and most Instagrammable!) brown paper bags. The menu included a couple of eggs, sausages, a couple of rashers of bacon, tomatoes and a handful of mushrooms, not to mention the loaf of perfectly crusty bread and little pat of butter. In true man-make-fire style Jason took charge of all the cooking this weekend, and lived up to his reputation within our family as Barbecue King. It left me free to tinker about taking photos of milk swirling through black coffee and listening to the bird song and watching the deer bound through the fields out back from our tent, which, it turns out, is my very favourite way to spend a morning in the forest.

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We settled down to eat at the little picnic table right outside our tent (just next to the barbecue, and under the cover of an awning), slicing and toasting bread right on the grill until our supply of butter ran out, and making endless pots of fresh coffee. I’m not sure if it was the smoke from the charcoal, the flavour imparted by a well-seasoned grill, or just the novelty of cooking and eating our breakfast in a little clearing of birch trees outside our tent, but it was easily the tastiest breakfast I’ve had in a long time.

And since I haven’t stopped daydreaming about the experience since, I think I’ve caught the camping (or rather, ‘glamping’) bug…

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More from our adventures in Yorkshire to come…

* Thanks to JollyDays for having us to stay in one of their beautiful tents. A total dream weekend!

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Posted in BREAKFAST, COUNTRYSIDE LIFE, DAY TRIPS, TRAVEL, WEEKEND BREAK

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