A Trip to Hever Castle

I have always thought that it is difficult to take photographs of beautiful things; what you can capture with the camera lens is invariably different to what you can see with your own two eyes. I actually find it a lot easier to take ordinary or even ugly things and snap them in a flattering light. Anyway, I knew this would be the case when we visited Hever Castle because quite frankly the place is amazing.

Childhood home to Anne Boleyn, Hever Castle is situated in Hever, Kent and stands proudly on 125 acres of grounds and award-winning gardens. It was actually the latter that attracted us to Hever Castle in the first place as we both love to walk through manicured gardens and I adore looking at flowers. On Sunday the sun was shining and it was incredibly warm for so early in April; it was the perfect day to pay a visit.

Entrance in to the grounds and castle is quite steep at £16.90 per adult but let me be upfront about it; it’s so worth it.

Entering the grounds I was immediately enamoured with the gardens. Even so early in to Spring such a lot of work had gone in to them. Tulips bobbed in the breeze, roses were blooming and the air was thick with the scent of lavender. Upon entering we walked through the walled gardens which were immaculately kept and very impressive.

 

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We walked through these gardens for a little while, taking in the surroundings and marvelling at just how nice everything was (me desperate to capture a shot of a bee.)  On our walk we discovered that there archery lessons going on in one of the fields. There is a small fee for those who want to take part but you choose how many arrows you want to pay for and it’s very reasonably priced. Naturally Gareth wanted to have a go at this despite my protests about my lack of hand/eye coordination. In the end I relented and it was a lot of fun (even if I was utterly hopeless.) One of the great things about Hever Castle is that there is a lot to do with mazes, archery, craft activities and more to keep you occupied for the whole day; it’s a true family day out.

Afterwards we stopped for lunch at the one of the restaurants. I believe there are three of these, each serving delicious food from stone baked pizzas to handmade sausage rolls, sandwiches and cold lemonade. We ate on the grass in the sunshine.

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Later we explored the water maze which was a really fun little attraction that seemed to amuse all the children; Gareth and myself included. We were definitely giggling as we tried to avoid the spouts of water that jetted up randomly as we navigated our way to the centre and safety. I’m proud to report that we remained completely dry.

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Finally we stopped for ice creams (our first of the year; mine wild strawberry and cream his chocolate) before heading inside the castle. At first we were not sure if we should skip it, having spent a long afternoon walking through the gardens. Eventually we decided to venture inside as we had paid for it and didn’t want to miss it if it was particularly stunning.

The castle has a rich history spanning over 700 years so it is definitely not one to miss.  Inside the castle walls are beautifully decorated bedrooms, elegant libraries and dining rooms. There is definitely a feeling of opulence about the place but that aside it’s just really interesting to imagine Anne Boleyn growing up in a space like that (and then imagining yourself growing up in a space like that.)

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Overall we had a fantastic day at Hever Castle and I can’t recommend it enough. From the vibrant flowers bordering the gardens to the magnificent castle and all the interesting activities to immerse yourself in; there truly is something to please and delight everyone. I can’t wait to pay another visit to this wonderful place.

A Spring Walk at Weald

Weald is one of my favourite country parks and for good reason; whether you’re walking in Autumn, Winter, Spring or Summer it’s really beautiful and there’s plenty to see.

On Sunday I found myself home alone and without any plans. I hadn’t visited Weald this year and with the sun shining down I decided it would be a good time to take a walk.

If you have read my Spring Appreciation Post you’ll know that this season is one of my favourites. I just love all the flora and fauna that’s around this time of year. I knew that Weald would be just lovely.

With the sun warming my skin I walked down towards the deer enclosure and the vast lake at the bottom of the hill. I always like to visit the deer when at Weald as they are such sweet little creatures. You can actually buy food to feed them with at the cafe. Lots of families had spent the morning feeding the deer though, so instead of desperately seeking out the pellets in visitors hands, the deer basked in the warmth- clearly overfed! (So I didn’t bother to buy any deer food on this particular trip.)

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After spending some time watching the deer and the ducks I decided to head back up the hill to the little cafe and get myself something to eat. The cafe sells lots of goodies; soft plush animals, books and pin badges. I purchased a cup of sweet tea and a generously sized scone with butter and jam. I took my food outside and ate at one of the benches as the weather was so pleasant.

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Weald is composed of many rolling hills and hollows, meadows and woodland. After eating and still clutching my cup of tea, I trundled up another hill and some concrete steps to reach a wooded area where the floor was littered with buttery yellow daffodils and soft green moss.

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Weald was very busy with families playing football, flying kites and picnicking. Laughter and children’s excited squeals were carried on the gentle breeze and I could feel my mood lighten as I took in the scenes unfolding around me. Blossoms had started to bloom and Weald was a riot of colour once again.

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As I mentioned earlier, there is plenty to see at Weald; all that’s required is a keen eye. I spotted lots of different types of fungi, flowers and plants. As I stooped to snap a cluster of mushrooms a young child approached me and asked me what I was taking a picture of. As I pointed out the mushrooms the child exclaimed in delight “I’ve never seen mushrooms outside before!” His mother helpfully reminded him that they weren’t edible (thank God for responsible adults.)

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I walked for around two hours, taking time to sit and soak in my surroundings every now and then. I left Weald feeling much happier and positive. More Spring walks are definitely in the pipeline and I can’t wait to get my picnic basket out again!

March Lust List

As March nears its’ end I thought I’d take the time to do my usual thing and look back over what I have loved this month. March has been a weirdly tough month for me so I can’t say that I’m particularly sad to say goodbye! I look ahead to April with great anticipation though.

Apologies for this post arriving slightly earlier than it might usually however I am aware I’ve been posting a lot of review-type posts lately and I want to start writing some more days out/adventure/inspirational posts so I’m just freeing up some time for that. (Keep your eyes peeled.)

Lush Cosmetics Kisskin Bubble Bar £4.29 from the Kitchen

I have always wanted to try the Lush Mumkin bar but have never managed to snag one. For the last few weeks I have been requesting their appearance in the Lush kitchen. Imagine my delight when they announced they would be releasing Mumkin’s super-rare cousin Kisskin in the kitchen. I put the date down in my diary and luckily snatched up four before they all sold out online. (In a matter of five minutes I believe!) I was super-excited to receive them in the post. Unfortunately three of my Kisskins were a little worse for wear with pieces falling off of them but one of them arrived in tact and that’s the beauty you see photographed here. Kisskin smells strongly of raspberries and the design is super-cute albeit fragile. This bubble bar produces really soft mounds of bubbles and a pale pink water that’s quite pleasant. The scent is really strong which was a plus for me so I’m happy to have some tucked away in my Lush stash.

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The Ladykiller book by Martina Cole £9.99 from Waterstones

I recently wrote a blog post on my Top Ten Crime/Thriller Fiction Reads  and this featured on that list for good reason. If you want to know why I loved it so much, go read that post! Martina Cole has a real skill at developing her characters and creating believable yet horrifying storylines. It did take me quite awhile to get through this book but it has definitely been the best I’ve read this month and for that reason I recommend you check it out!

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Lush Cosmetics Golden Egg Bath Bomb Melt £3.95

Of course in a post of March favourites I couldn’t miss out on Lush’s amazing Easter collection. I absolutely love everything and am so impressed with both the designs and the scents of this years collection. The Golden Egg still remains a firm favourite for me though and I will continue to stock up on this until it sells out. With a wonderful toffee scent and all the glitter a girl could ever want, the Golden Egg produces the most opulent bath. Make sure you grab yours before the season ends!

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Lush Cosmetics Vanishing  Cream Facial Moisturiser £18.95 for 45g

Another Lush item on the list (sorry!) is Vanishing Cream facial moisturiser. I really didn’t want to make this list all about Lush but there’s no way I could leave this one off when it’s pretty much saved my skin from total meltdown. I purchased this after receiving a sample and falling in love (proof that the samples really do work.) My skin is super oily so for a long time I have forgone moisturising it. I realise that sounds pretty bad but even a smidge of moisturiser leaves my face shiny and wet. Vanishing Cream however, soaks in to my skin leaving it grease-free and lovely. It also seems to have a slight mattifying effect and has done numerous wonderful things for my skin. For a start it is already starting to improve small scars and weird discolouration on my face and weirdly cleared up a really bad breakout I was going through. I just love it and can no longer imagine a skin routine without it. I’m actually in the process of switching all my skin care products over to Lush now because they are really fantastic. Vanishing Cream is quite pricey but a tiny amount goes a long way so it’s actually surprisingly good value for money.

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They Walk Among Us Podcast

If like me you’re a dedicated listener of crime podcasts, you will absolutely love They Walk Among Us which you can find here! I would say there are about five crime podcasts I listen to regularly whilst I work. In my professional career I am Copywriter and weirdly I find that listening to podcasts helps me to get through my workload (but music completely distracts me!) Sword & Scale is a staple for me, as are The Generation Why and Vanished. But between the releases of fresh episodes I become frustrated and hunt for new material to listen to. My boyfriend was the one who suggested They Walk Among Us (although he hadn’t listened to it.) I can’t get over how good it is! They Walk Among Us is a podcast dedicated to true UK crime and it covers some high-profile cases. It is so well produced and interesting; giving me so much more insight to the crimes I had heard about in the news but hadn’t given much of an afterthought to. I’ve already listened to everything several times over and I recommend this if you’re in to crime. But please, steer clear if you’re of a faint disposition!

 

Quails

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Last but not least I’m loving our new quail chicks! We were devastated to lose our beloved Omelette at the end of last month and we were worried about how Fudge might find life as the only Japanese quail in the household. We made the decision to purchase two more Japanese quail to keep her company and bought them from a dedicated farm. This time we decided to get our quails at a younger age so that they would acclimatise better to life in a busy household; it was the best decision we ever made. At just two weeks old the quails were still coated in a fine layer of fluff and enjoyed snuggling up on our laps to sleep. Three weeks later and our quails are almost fully grown but still enjoy snuggling up with us in the evenings, opting to jump up on to the sofa or fall asleep in our laps during their time out of the cage. They are so friendly, lovely and full of character that I must admit I have fallen completely head over heels for them and cannot imagine a life without them.

These pictures were taken a couple of days after we got them – they are much bigger now!

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What having you been loving this month?

Top Ten Crime/Thriller Fiction Reads

Since the middle of last year when I took up reading again (I’d gone through a dry spell), I have been hoovering up all the crime and thriller I can get my hands on. I’ve come across some truly terrible books, but also some wonderful ones that I couldn’t put down. Goodreads has become a friend to me; I literally wont buy a book unless I’ve read the reviews on there first! And I’m always looking out for inspiration. I thought I’d compile my top ten of thriller/crime books as a little guide to get you started (or help you find your next read!) These are in no particular order as it was hard enough identifying (just) ten favourites to begin with!

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Lush Mother Earth Bath Bomb Review

When I first spotted mother Earth in the Lush Kitchen I thought to myself: “Why on Earth is this bath bomb so expensive?!” Priced at £7.95 I couldn’t work out what was so special about it if I am being honest. It looks nice sure; with its’ blue and green swirls it looks just like a mini Earth. But I didn’t think it warranted the price tag. That was until I did some serious Googling.

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