2017

Looking back at 2017, it has been a strange year full of highs and lows.  But when all said and done, we’ve traveled to a lot of wonderful places, Ireland, Portugal and Germany, we’ve learnt new skills and set new goals. Also, the littlest Elf; Mowgli joined the clan.  

At home we have had a big year of changes, moving home, finishing degrees and changing jobs.  

It is easy to feel at the end of the year, that you have not achieved all that you set out to do.  Taking some time to reflect on all you have achieved and done.  There is much to be proud of, pleased with and look forward to the New Year with renewed energy and determination.

Bring on 2018 and all the adventures you are promising.

love xx

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A very Mowgli adventure

A new sort of adventure, dog friendly, countryside hotel…a very grown up weekend away!

We have hired a car, with our littlest elf snuggled up in the back seat we head off to the Cotswolds.  We wind our way though little streets ad pass through lots of lovely villages that are gearing up for Christmas.  It is a cozy delight.

We stop for a quick lunch in a lovely pub The King’s Inn.

Back in the car we head towards our accommodation for tonight.  The Fish Hotel.  The Fish boasts its own restaurant and has lots of different options for accommodation, including a dog friendly section.

We check in and drive down to the stable.  The room is wonderful and Mowgli even gets a bed, bowl, towel and treats!  The treats are a big hit.  We take advantage of the location and head our for a walk around the pond and fields.  Mowgli is in heaven.

The Fish accommodates it’s canine guests accompanied by their humans in the bar for dinner and breakfast.

In terms of dog friendly, this Hotel really is amazing.

We spend the next day we drive to Woodstock and visit the market and wander in the pretty town.  This is the home of Blenheim Palace which is worth a visit if you have time.

We hired the car though Sixt and they were great with Mowgli and would recommend them if you need a dog friendly option.

 

Mowgli had a great time, and so did we.  The Cotswolds is a beautiful location and really lovely for a getaway.  There are so many cute little places you can stop and experience something new.

….a little bit more…

“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!” 

― Dr. SeussHow the Grinch Stole Christmas!

Secrets

So, we wanted to share some of our favourite secret things we have learn on our travels.  In no particular order:

 

Amsterdam – Vondel Park

If you want something low key and easy on the wallet whilst you are in Amsterdam, we thoroughly recommend a Picnic in Vondel park.  Lots of the supermarkets sell little BBQs that are disposable, grab one and join the locals.  Really is wonderful.

 

Porto – BBs Bar 

For the best view and money saving beer.  Head under the bridge on the Porto side of the river and grab a cheep beer from BBs, then grab a bit of wall.  Perfect.  Simple as that.

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Ouse Valley Viaduct

A short train trip from London and a walk will bring you to this wonderful location.  This Viaduct was built in 1841 and it something to behold.

 

Esposende (Northern Portugal) – De Lili & Ca

For the best pastry you can imagine…only you can’t imagine a pastry with pumpkin that would taste like this.  Really Pasteis de Lili are something else!  Covered in icing sugar and crisp pastry, perfect with coffee.

 

Made by Elves

Less of an adventure more of a challenge.  I’ve undertaken an upcycle/refurb/artistic re-do project on a traveling trunk.

I found this trunk online and have be reading lots of blogs (thank you guys!) and this is my first try.

First I washed the trunk down and made sure it was clean.  There was a little rust on the lid, so I sanded it back a bit.

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Next I chose my colours and started painting.  I chose chalk paint as it sticks to all sorts of materials including metal.

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Next…I realised I had an issue…bleed through.  After more research I realised I should have used a sealant before painting…still I know.  Although I have been assured this will not have caused any damage to the trunk.

So, I sealed the trunk using a spray varnish for metal.  After applying and drying two layers I re-painted.  Having used up some of the  colours I updated the choices and applied two coats.  Once dry, I applied two further coats of varnish and this is the final result.

 

If you are interested in the trunk, it is for sale. Please do get in touch and let me know.

 

Braveheart

just for fun!

 

William Wallace: “Royal Magistrate: The prisoner wishes to say a word. William Wallace: [shouts loud and long] Freedom!”
Magistrate: The prisoner wishes to say a word.
William Wallace: [shouts loud and long] Freedom!

Trim Castle

Its raining…its been raining…but it is Ireland so we get up and head off into the countryside.  We are heading to Trim Castle via some pretty places on the way.

We stop at Bective Abbey and watch birds dip in and out of its ruins.  It’s stark beauty is strange and desolate.

When we make it to Trim, we park up head for cover in the entrance of the castle.  It is 2 euros if you just want to wander in the grounds, or 5 euros if you want a guided tour of the keep as well.  Pay the 5 euros…it is so worth it.

The rain is really coming down, so I walk the perimeter of the grounds rather swiftly even so it is clear that the castle is very big and intact.  Our guide arrives and we head into the keep.  Our guide is wonderful, she invites us to use our imaginations to see how the castle would have been in the different periods of its existence.

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We work our way up spiral staircases and visit the chapel and walk among the history of the Castle.  Eventually we make our way to the very top and look our on the misty countryside and town of Trim.  I very very much recommend this stop on your tour of Ireland.

You might recognize the Castle from Braveheart! There are lots of photos at the entrance of the transformation for the movie.

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Also another fact…this is the largest Ango-Norman Castle in Ireland.

When we are done at the Castle we head into Drogheda.  Drogheda is one of the oldest towns in Ireland.  St. Peter’s Church is one of the famous sites of Drogheda,  the church is not very ornate inside, however it does have one unusual thing…a severed head.  Yes, a severed and preserved head.  St Oliver’s head to be exact.  The shrine is quite beautiful and the hand written confirmation of the authenticity of the head is very intriguing.

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If you are hungry in Drogheda I definitely recommend The Bare Food Company.  We had scones and coffee and they were so good!

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And that is about it for the Elf in Ireland.