Sunday, 29 September 2013

The Drunken Duck

Whilst in the Lake District for a weekend away, we decided we ought to try out the highly recommended restaurant, The Drunken Duck. Nestled high on a hill overlooking the village of Ambleside, this is a pub ideal for an evening retreat after a long day of walking.

Friday, 27 September 2013

The Lakes

For Luke’s Dad’s 50th birthday in July, we booked for the four of us to go glamping in the Lake District this weekend just gone. We stayed at a National Trust campsite called Low Wray, not far from Ambleside, and rented some camping pods for 3 nights.
We arrived on Friday night and, after admiring the views, set up camp, started the fire, cooked a chilli, drank wine, toasted marshmallows and chatted until the sun went down.
Saturday meant donning the walking attire and tackling the hills surrounding Lake Windermere. We walked about 8 miles, up and down the hills, went up to Wray Castle and stopped to talk to the cows in the adjacent fields. For the dogs it meant paddling in the lake, chasing ducks and other winged animals and collecting stones. (Ollie can smell a stone under the water metres away, and won't move until he has dug it up, strange dog).

We went for dinner at a nearby pub on Saturday evening and had an early night. Even the dogs were tired after their long walk and paddles in the lake
We spent Sunday meandering around Ambleside, a lovely little town, stopping for lunch and wine and cake and icecream. We also went down to the pier and watched the world go byAs Sunday night was our last night, we got our gladrags on and headed out to a restaurant that I’d read numerous good reviews about. The Drunken Duck

I’ll do an entirely separate post on this another day, but let’s just say the food was amazing. The menu was small, but well thought out, and changes all year round to ensure only seasonal food is used. It wasn’t cheap, but it was well worth it. With full bellies, we went back to the campsite and set up another fire and had a lovely chit chat.
Monday morning we packed up camp and filled the truck to the rafters (literally, there was stuff strapped to the roof - we ALWAYS overpack), and headed out to Hill Top, Beatrix Potter’s house. Another National Trust gem, which has been completely untouched and left like a house, rather than a museum, at Miss Potter’s request. I’d definitely recommend a visit if you’re ever up that way, it’s free to National Trust members (a year’s membership for under 26s is only £26!). She left over 4000 acres of land to the National Trust when she died, and pretty much every single one of her illustrations is a real life depiction of her house, furniture and surroundings. You can read more about it here 
Beatrix Potter's cottage - Hill Top
The gate illustrated in the Tale of Tom Kitten

This was featured in the Tales of Jemima Puddleduck

 A thoroughly enjoyable weekend of spending time with loved ones and making more memories. There is so much to see around the Lakes, that we will definitely be going back next year.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

The Liebster Award

Carima at Scrapbook of Allsorts was lovely enough to nominate me. The 'award' is passed onto other bloggers with less than 200 followers, which is a great way to let every get to know each other just that little bit better.

Here are the rules:
1. Mention the blogger who nominated you
2. Answer the 10 questions
3. Think of 10 new questions to ask the bloggers you nominate.
4. Nominate 10 other blogger who have less than 200 followers and let them know.

And here are my answers to the questions posed by Carima:

1. If you could only get one present for Christmas what would it be? I'm a very unmaterialistic person, so lavish presents never really appeal to me. Something simple like a handmade gift which shows someone's thought, time and effort is what really makes me happy. 

2. What would be your dream job? Honestly? A housewife. Which I know isn’t a job. I love doing housewifey things, but don’t always have the time. So I guess a more realistic dream job would be something like a wedding planner, someone who makes all the wedding stationery, bakes the cakes, and decorates the room. That way I’d get to realise my hobbies and get paid in return!

3. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? I could easily mention hundreds of places here that I have visited and loved – Paris, Toronto, London. But there really is no place like home. I love where we live at the moment, close to friends and family, but only a short drive away from the seaside, the hills, the countryside and the city.

4. What is the one make up product you couldn't live without? Mascara, as I look like a mole without it.

5. Which season is your favourite and why? Always Autumn. I love the ‘inbetween’ seasons like Autumn and Spring, but there is something satisfying about the colder nights and the crisp mornings of Autumn and being able to take comfort in front of the fire with a mug of coco. That said, seeing the birth of little lambs and chicks make me so content.

6. If you could only choose one famous person to always dress like who would it be? I've never really been bothered about trends, and I only dress to flatter my shape and size and what suits me. So without wanting this to be a boring answer, [which I know it is], I would only ever choose to dress as myself :)

7. Why did you start blogging? A couple of years ago I wrote a blog whilst volunteering in Uganda as a way for my family and friends to keep tabs on what I was up to. I enjoyed writing it lots and others said they loved reading it. I then started a scrapbook about 18 months ago as a way to document my life, but it got very time consuming and costly. My boyfriend, Luke, said I should keep a diary or start a blog instead [probably because he was fed up of my ramblings!] so after months of deliberation I did! I find it a great way to spill all my thoughts.

8. If you could give your younger self advice what would it be? Always put yourself first. I wish I could practice what I preach, even now, because I am a sucker for prioritising others which quite often isn't appreciated or reciprocated. I'd never put myself first to the point of being selfish - I like to think I am of a kind giving nature, but throughout my life I have spent much time, money and effort on people who don't even say thank you. This had inevitably led to feelings of sadness, and deflatedness [is that even a word?], but alas, perhaps I'll listen to myself more often!

9. What is your favourite TV show? I'm not a big TV watcher, I always find myself too busy to sit down. However, the must watch programmes on my list are the Bake Off [need I say more?!] and Waterloo Road [sad I know]. I also enjoy watching one off dramas and crime series.

10. What's your favourite quote? Linked to number 8 here, "Respect yourself to walk away from anything that no longer serves you, grows you, or makes you happy"

I have nominated 10 bloggers whose blogs I read regularly, to get to know them a little more: 
1. Alice at The Cup and Saucer 
3. Louise at LouLou in Paris
4. Michelle from Life Outside London
5. Rosie from Life's A Cup of Tea 
6. Tilly at Love Tilly
7. Annie at Apple Toothpaste
8. Helen at Treasure Every Moment
9. Becca Louisa at Becca Louisa
10. Holly at Crumpets and Tea

And my questions for you are:
1. Tell us your most prominent memory of your childhood.
2. If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
3. What or who inspires you?
4. Favourite book to read?
5. Cats or dogs?
6. What have you learnt the most about blogging?
7. If you had £10 and had to make a meal for 4, what would you buy and cook?
8. What's your ideal way to spend a Sunday?
9. What motto do you live by, if any?
10. What are you favourite blogs to read? 

Please let me know in the comments if you'll be taking part :)


Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Hello Mrs Bookworm

Image found via Pinterest - original source unknown
I’ve been a book worm for as long as I can remember, I spent hours at the library as a child and even longer with my face in a book. My reading for leisure slacked a lot when I went to Uni as there were boring important books on French politics, history and linguistics which had to be put to the top of the pile. I must admit it took me quite a while to get back into reading for pleasure after graduating, I felt so free and couldn’t bear to read anything other than trash.

A couple of years on and I’m back to the old book worm I used to be. I am one of these people that gets so involved with the characters in a book that I often cry or laugh out loud. I have also been known to stay on the train for one stop longer, just so I can finish a chapter. As technology advances, gone are the days of trundling to the library with a heavy duty bag to bring back my monthly allowance of books. When e-books first hit the stores I was a bit sceptical, thinking they could never replace the smell and feel of an old book which had passed through the hands of many others.

I defied the trends and carried on with my paperbacks, borrowed from others and added to my own collection. I have a wide array of genres I love reading, depending on my moods, but crime fiction tends me be my genre of choice. I do try to steer myself towards more light-hearted books occasionally, as I must admit the crime fiction wasn’t helping with my nightmares.

Then came the trend of Fifty Shades of Grey. As everyone was talking about it I thought I ought to give it a whirl, so I borrowed the trilogy off my sister (younger sister may I add !!), but found myself reading it from the inside of my handbag on the train through sheer embarrassment. Its contents had been publicised that much, I hated others knowing what I was reading. So for Valentine’s Day that year, Luke, ever the romantic, bought me a kindle to save myself from future embarrassment.

I am definitely a kindle convert, it’s so light, compact and convenient and now I read at least a book a week. When the train is packed on the way to work, I don’t have the ‘holding on for dear life and trying to turn my pages in my book’ dilemma and it also helps to calm my anxious panic-ness that I used to experience when on the train.

I noticed from Alice's blog, The Cup and Saucer, that a few other bloggers were taking part in a book club. I downloaded the book, The President’s Hat, and read it within 2 days. We will all discuss it here on 17 October. Only downside with a Kindle this time round? The book was originally in French, but you can’t get the French version on Kindle. Which would have been great with my quest to keep up my French fluency.
Image credit

I am still trying to convince Luke that one of the bedrooms in our house should be like the photo above. Can you imagine how great it would be to have that many books to hand? To settle down in a big cosy armchair with a mug of tea on a Sunday afternoon and lose yourself in a good story?
If you have any books you think are must reads then please let me know in the comments below.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Happiness || 3

Family get-togethers. It was my Uncle’s 60th birthday and some family flew over from America to join us. I haven’t seen them for years and it was fantastic to reminisce about my childhood and make more memories. The above photo is of the remaining family, encompassing many generations, on the heath in Blackheath, London, where they all grew up.

Cosy nights in. Luke and I always find ourselves rushing around every evening and rarely get a chance to ourselves to just do nothing. The rain and tiredness from the weekend has meant we have stayed in most nights this week which has been lovely. Which leads me on to...

Bake Off. Not often do I sit down and watch TV, but this [along with Waterloo Road ha] is a must. I know I’m three weeks late, but this week’s was all about pies. And we all know I love pies. See here and here

Hot Chocolate. With fresh cream, caramel syrup and marshmallows. Perfect in front of the fire after having gotten rained on during the walk home.

Baths. With lots of bubbles and a book. I have had two this week which is more than I’ve had in months.

Yoga. After a long six week break, we started our classes again. The teacher is amazing and always manages to find the right balance between relaxation and a good work out. I always end the class fast asleep and stumble home in a sleepy daze, but feel amazing the next day and I’m sure a couple of inches taller ;)

Readers. When I first started writing this blog I honestly didn’t think anyone would want to read, and almost gave up bothering a couple of times. Okay, granted, I still don’t have many followers, but I at least feel like I’m reaching out to someone rather than talking to myself and it makes me happy that people care to read, follow and comment :)

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

A bit about me...

Although I reckon that most of the time the only people who read my blog are my mom and Luke, my number of followers is slowly increasing so I thought I’d let you all know a little more about myself. So without further ado…
Where I come from: Twenty-something years ago, I was born and raised in a town about 10 miles south of Birmingham. Then went to Nottingham for University, which involved a year living in Lyon, France. After I graduated I went to Uganda to volunteer then I came back home and moved out with Luke into our own place.

What I do: I studied French at Uni (with a little Italian thrown in for good measure) but my job involves nothing French related. I won’t bore you with the details but it’s in the legal sector.

In my spare time I like to: Bake, craft and explore. Which was my blog name for a short while before I changed to something more catchy. Most of my spare time is spent baking and cooking, nothing tastes better than home cooked treats. I love card making and will spend hours gluing and sticking. The majority of our spare money gets invested in exploring the world together. With limited holiday allowances, hours get spent planning the perfect holiday to cram as many sights into a few days to ensure we can see lots of places. Holidays this year? Toronto, Krakow, Norwegian Fjords, the Lake District and Paris. Planning for next year? Thailand and New York.

Why Pumpkins and Puddings? To cut a long story short, I wanted a new blog name and these are nicknames that Luke has for me, amongst many others. How kind of him – pumpkins are round and orange but, hey ho, there could be worse. Pumpkin also happens to be what my mom called me when I was in her tummy:)

If you want to know more about me then just ask in the comments below :)

Friday, 6 September 2013

Happiness || 2

Image via Pinterest - original source unknown
 >  Seeing the leaves changing and knowing Autumn is on its way. You can read more about why I love Autumn here

> Apple pies. And blackberry and apple pies. And apple and plum pies. Basically all fruit pies. We have eaten a lot this week due to the glut of fruit we have in the garden.

> Having Luke home early on evenings. He has been working so late the last few weeks so it is nice to have him back for evening walks and cosy nights in.

> Knowing I get to see some distant family this weekend coming. It is my uncle’s 60th birthday party in London and we have family coming from America, Scotland and down south, and it’s been years since I have seen them all. I can’t wait to catch up, reminisce and make more memories.

> And the most exciting thing all week has been booking our Eurostar tickets to Paris for New Year. Since I graduated, Luke and I have made sure we get out there every year to keep up my spoken French. Bring on baguettes, crepes, croissants and wine.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013


Image one and two found via Pinterest, source unknown - third image is my mom-in-law's hand picked and homemade apple and blackberry pie.

The arrival of September [where has this year gone?!] signals the arrival of Autumn. As much as I love the warmth of the summer sun, I've been looking forward to Autumn and here's why:

> the leaves on the trees starting to change colour and the crisp and crunch of them under your Wellies when you walk. 

> blackberry picking and crumble making. And using up the glut of apples in our garden. How amazing does this recipe look?!

> making masses of soup to eat for lunch. I made 18 portions this weekend one. Favourite? Sweet potato ad butternut squash. Heaven in a bowl. 

> Sunday morning walks around the fields. The dogs love getting muddy

> crisp dry mornings lying in a warm bed with your head poking out in the cold. Even better with a cuppa

> cosy nights in front of the fire with candles flickering, a good film and a mug of cocoa. 

> buying Autumn clothes. Knitwear, socks and thick pyjamas

> my Mom's rice pudding. With lashings of nutmeg. Perfect after a Sunday toast with the family 

> Christmas planning and the countdown to our annual trip to Paris. 

Autumn for us is particularly an exciting time for us this year as we are hoping to start work on demolishing and rebuilding our house!

What does Autumn mean for you?

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Black Country Museum

The bank holiday weekend meant a day out for me and Luke. We decided to go to the black country museum to learn a bit more about our culture.

The "Black Country" is an area south of Birmingham. During the industrial revolution, it became one of the most heavily industrialized parts of Britain with coal and steel mining producing a high level of air pollution. The name, therefore, comes from the black soot which clouded over the area.

The museum boasts fascinating insights into life in the area during Victorian times. There's the opportunity to have a guided tour around a former working mine and a lesson in the old school. All the buildings in the museum were once lived in, worked in or used somewhere in the Black Country. 

All the shops and buildings have actors or visitors to explain the history of the same. The bakery sells fresh traditional cakes and the sweet shop has an abundance of old fashioned sweets in glass jars.  

The fish and chips on their own are enough to make you want to go there. Cooked in beef dripping, they melt in your mouth. Downside? The queue is always 20 minutes long. 110% worth it though. 
After years at uni of being knocked for my accent and dialect, it's so easy to forget your heritage and roots. But this day out taught me a lot and made me value where I come from.
If anyone is ever in and around the area I would highly recommend a visit here. Plenty to do for all ages - the adults can enjoy a pint in the old fashioned pub whilst watching their little ones try their hand at hoop and stick or cup and ball. There's also a big skipping rope in the street which I was so tempted to show them how it's done ;)