Let’s break out of this city…

I woke early this morning (a fairly rare occurrence for me on a Saturday!) and was suddenly overcome with an urge to get out of the city. I promptly woke the other half (he wasn’t best pleased at first…) and suggested we ditch our previous plans for the day and head out of Manchester for some proper fresh air, peace and quiet and a chance to have a proper stretch of our legs! We packed a quick picnic and set off for Formby, on the Merseyside coast, around an hour or so away.

I don’t know what it was that grabbed me this morning, but have a feeling that it may have had something to do with the fact that it was the first weekend that I can remember where it’s been dry, had a small hint of blue sky, and has not been absolutely freezing!! I don’t want to lull either myself or any of you readers into a false sense of security, but for the first time it feels like the end of winter is almost in sight…

The grey clouds rolled in fairly quickly, but luckily for us it stayed dry! We had some fun attempting to run up big sand dunes (made me think of the ‘travelator’ at the end of Gladiators! Anyone else know what I’m on about!?) and running down the other side squealing with arms wheeling in the air in that pure childhood delight of not being in any way in control and not quite knowing whether or not you were going to stay on your feet. (I only landed on my bum once, but fairly spectacularly!). It made me think, how often as grown ups do we ever really let ourselves lose control, even just for a minute? Hardly ever for most people, I bet. I think it is good for the soul to do so now and then!

We then had a good long march up the beach for a few miles and back, breathing in that lovely salty fresh sea air. There is something about being at the seaside that I just love. It’s so invigorating but also I think grounding. I like to see the sea, to contemplate our smallness in comparison to everything else ‘out there’. I like to see and contemplate the boundaries of this little island we call home. I can’t imagine living in a land locked country. I used to live a 10 minute walk from the beach when I lived in Aberdeen while at university. I loved being able to go for a walk or run along the beach whenever I felt the need. To be able to just go and stand and look at the sea. I could see the sea and a lighthouse from my bedroom window if I craned my neck to the right angle. It gave me a lot of comfort at night to see the beam from that lighthoue flashing out, a reminder that there is other stuff out there beyond what is currently pre-occupying us in our day to day lives. I wish we lived closer to the sea now.

Soon it was time to perch a-top a sand dune with a lovely view of the sea and offshore wind farm, and enjoy a cup of tea from my new Orla Kiely flask (I am so in love with it!) and a toasted bagel with smoked salmon, cream cheese and a little squeeze of lemon juice, yum! A perfect weekend lunch if you ask me šŸ™‚

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Another weekend away from the kitchen

Yes, I have been away for yet another weekend. This time to a lovely cottage in the little village of Near Sawrey (the home of Beatrix Potter! Such happy childhood memories!) in the Lake District with the in-laws for a family birthday. All these weekends away to the countryside have been fantastic, I think it’s very healthy to get away from the city and daily grind as frequently as possible for some clean fresh air, exercise and relaxation. It makes me thankful to be in such easy striking distance of countryside in the Lake District, Peak District and Yorkshire living in Manchester – you really can have the best of both worlds! And if you can be as lucky as we have at this time of year to get some true cold, crisp sunny Autumnal days, you can enjoy some truly spectacular scenery. Aside from weekends away, the last few weeks have also been full of visitors and the likes of murder mysteriesĀ as well as general day to day manicness! This has all meant I’ve hardly spent anytime in the kitchen lately other than to whip up quick but relatively unexciting week night meals (thinkĀ omelettesĀ  stir fries and baked potatoes!) I’m looking forward to getting back into the kitchen soon, but in the meantime can’t really complain when I’ve been enjoying more stunning views like this!


Summer Solstice, where are you?

Well the clocks changed here this weekend, the nights are drawing in and today I left the office in the dark. As someone who loves daylight and the sunshine more than most (I think I was born in the wrong country!) this is something that I find really hard to adjust to and I find the lack of sunlight really quite hard to deal with it at times. How can you not feel a bit down when you leave your house in the dark in the morning and leave the office in the dark on the way home? No more walks, runs, bike rides or games of tennis in the park after work now for the next few months! I think the fact that my office is located in the lower ground floor of the building doesn’t really help either! Anyway, now we suddenly have gloomy darkness an hour earlier than we’re used to, it made me cast my mind back to the start of the summer to the longest day – the summer solstice. I always think that the summer solstice feels a little magical – so much promise in the air, the thought of people celebrating this day around the world from ancient times, to pagan times, to today. The feeling of awe and admiration for the power of the sun. Tonight the dark evening made me cast my mind back to this year’s longest day. Here in Chorlton local pub the Horse & Jockey tends to hold a celebration to mark the occasion and this year the night included some highly impressive fire dancers, in the spirit of remembering the (somewhat limited!) warmth and light we enjoyed just a few months ago, I thought I’d share a few pictures here.