Hello, good morning, I know, I know, I am late and I do apologise, so sorry to keep you waiting. I was meant to be here yesterday, but yesterday turned out to be a busy, muddly, Snowy-white day and time for blogging was nowhere to be found.
So only a day late, I have made a cup of frothy chocolatey coffee, baked some lemon and apricot cookies (a variation on the orange and raisin recipe here), and we can sit on the sofa in the morning sunshine and chat a while.
Here in North Yorkshire we have had quite a bit of snow the past two days, with more set to follow. It has been hugely exciting :: flinging snowballs onto the frozen canal has been the most fun ever ever as far as the Little people are concerned. I've been taking photos of the snowy goings-on around here, and I'll share those with you another day :: today I really want to share my Lakeland weekend with you, as promised on Monday.
So :: on with Weekendy stuff, make yourself comfy now.
On Saturday morning when we set out to drive north to the Lake District, there was not a lot to be seen. A thick, freezing fog had descended like a cold blanket wrapping itself around every single thing. But luckily we are not a family who minds the weather, we were very excited for our weekend away, regardless of the fact that we could not see very much.
Some of you may remember that we had our first ever Youth Hosteling experience in the summer, you can read about it here. We really enjoyed ourselves that weekend and had been meaning to do it again, but it had taken us until now to get round to it. We chose to go and stay in the Lake District again, at a fabulous looking youth hostel a few miles out of Windermere.
This is Lake Windermere, down at the lakeside at Bowness. We had a camping holiday near here one summer, when the Little People were very much Littler. I have fond memories of Little Lady, a little over a year old, taking very wobbly but determined steps along the side of this lake, in hot persuit of ducks and swans. It had been July then, and extremely busy and crowded and I cannot remember liking the area very much. In fact, I think I declared that I would never ever go back there. Ever. But ho-hum, I changed my mind and on a November weekend, in sub-zero temperatures, it was very much nicer. Quieter. Quite deserted in places, which is hugely unusual for this part of the Lake District.
As you can see, the predominant colour on Saturday was grey. Various shades and tones of misty, freezing, foggy cold grey. It had a certain beauty, a certain stillness that I found appealing.
The dense fog prevented us from taking a boat trip ON the lake, but there were other delights to be found in Bowness. Some beautiful shops all decked out for Christmas, a little quartet of street musicians playing Christmas carols, a fabulous deli where we got freshly made sandwiches and big chunks of home meade flapjack for our lunch.
And there was The World of Beatrix Potter Attraction.
Now my two Offspring adore the Tales of Beatrix Potter, just as I did as a child. Little Man (age 6) is really beginning to enjoy reading to himself, and his BP books are often to be found under his pillow after he has sneaked them into bed for some pre-sleep reading.
It's hard to describe this tourist attraction. It's not exactly a museum, but more a celebration of the characters that Beatrix Potter created.
The blurb on the website had told us that the attraction "includes all 23 Tales by Beatrix Potter, brought to life in a magical indoor recreation of the Lakeland countryside, complete with sights, sounds and even smells. So you can meet Peter Rabbit in Mr. McGregor’s garden, discover Jemima Puddle-duck in the woodland glade and visit Mrs. Tiggy-winkle in her kitchen."
And that is exactly right. The models (which were much larger than I expected, as large as the Little People) were beautifully made, and the scenery and backgrounds magical.
It was a delight to see the all our favourite characters acting out scenes from the story books, my favourite being Mrs Tiggywinkle busy doing the laundry in her little kitchen. Awww, she was so cute!
By the time we did a Hop Skip and Jump out of there, it was beginning to get dark. So back to the car to drive out of Bowness, two miles up and up into the thick foggy hills above the lake where the Youth Hostel was situated.
We love staying in these Hostels. Well I know this was only our second experience, but we are honestly so thrilled by these places. There is so much warmth and character in the old buildings, such a lot of fun to be had in exploring the rooms and grounds, in finding our family room all warm and clean and ready for us. And there are Bunkbeds. Crikey, I cannot begin to explain the excitement of the Little People, faced with the prospect of climbing a ladder to get into bed. It is huge. Enormous.
The LP allow us to do a quick tour of the hostel :: we discover the wonderful cosy sitting room with its huge wood burning stove, the little kitchen where we are free to make ourselves a cup of tea, the dining room with it's picture windows over looking the terrace and the valley (which we can't actually see of course because it is dark and the fog is sooooo thick by now). Then they demand to go back to the bedroom to play on the beds. What fun!
Later on, after a delicious meal of freshly prepared local and organic produce, we went to the sitting room which by then was beautifully cosy and warm with the wood burner lit. J and I sat and read while the Little People made friends and played with other children staying in the hostel. It's very sociable, friendly and we enjoyed our evening a lot.
Breakfast the next morning was at 7:45am, and we were in for a treat. The view that was not to be seen the night before was slowly revealed as the light crept in, and it was absolutely breathtaking. It was incredibly cold, well below freezing, and a thick white sparkly frost had settled on the landscape. We could still see the fog laying low over the lake in the valley, but up above it was becoming a gloriously, bright, sunny winters morning.
While eating breakfast right next to the big windows, we were able to watch the sun rise and light up the distant Lakeland fells...
...it was just incredible.
A little later in the morning we drove to Coniston Water.
It was also very beautiful and peaceful here, but oh so cold! We had a short walk, but the fog and mist soon came rolling in and we were suddenly unable to see very much again.
The Little People loved this wintry weather, loved the sparkle and drama of ice crystals and frost on grass and leaves. But there was no denying it was absolutely freeeeeezing. And a certain amount of tired, persistent whingeing was beginning to take place. So after a short family conference we decided to abandon any idea of walking in the countryside and head back toward home, stopping en route at the delightful village of Kirkby Lonsdale. Beautiful shops, lovely cafes, pretty streets. Old fashioned toyshops to explore and giant strawberry milkshakes to drink. Or in my case, this shop to browse, followed by cappuccino and carrot cake. That's better, smiles are back again, hands are warmed.
A delicious end to a fabulous weekend.
It's been great fun sharing it with you, thanks so much for stopping by. Right, I'm off the PC now and across to my sewing machine. I'm stitching a banner for my soon-to-be opened Etsy Shop. Excited? Moi???? Oh, you cannot begin to imagine!