Bolam Lake

Still beautiful on a foggy autumn day.
Near Belsay, about half an hour out of Newcastle, the well trodden circular walk around Bolam Lake is great whatever the weather. It only takes about half an hour to get round – adult not toddler pace!  And there are a few good spots to stop and feed the swans. The visitor centre car park has a little cafe and toilets. Parking is about £1.20 for two hours.

Meanwhile, like most people I set out to try and save a few pennies this Christmas and decide to try my hand at some home made gifts.
I hoped the thought and time that has gone into them, from myself and the children, might gloss over fact that I am just being tight.
I dug out a Hairy Bikers xmas recipe book that had been lying around for a year and found some recipes for xmas chutney, lebkuchen biscuits and rum fudge.
Armed with my xmas list I headed off to the asda, where my budget plan seemed to hit an itial hurdle – when igredients of not mch more than onions sugar and butter, dried fruit – and a bit of booze seemed to bring my weekly to shop to over £100…
Anyway, my chutney seeemd go quite well, and I was quite pleased with myself until I pureed up the mixuture including a cinnamon stick and now every mouthful risks breaking your teeth.
Next, I roped in eldest cihild for a mother daughter bonding bisucit maing session, which seemed to be going quite well until I found that on top of the nutmeg and cinnamon she had added some madras curry powder.
Anyway, after finishing all the extra washing up and counting up the cost I was going to try the fudge but cracked open the rum and poured myself a big Cuba Libre and sat down for a bit of internet shopping like everyone else.


A trip to Gibside and the amazing fort

Armed with our new National Trust passes we headed to Gibside in Gateshead. Even though it is just about five minutes off the A1 I’d never been before. And what a beautiful place. We got there just after opening at around 10am and it was pretty quiet. There is a small slide just by the entrance, so it was about 10 minutes before we were even able to get inside. There was a nice cafe area too with outdoor seating. Once we were finally through the main gate, the site opens up and we walked down a beautiful alleyway of trees. Again that took about half an hour, stopping to pick up leaves, conkers and acorns along the way. The whole place is pushchair friendly, and you need one, or a backpack, as it is a vast estate and was too far for Charlotte to walk everywhere. There is a craft centre and indoor fort at the stables and another cafe too. The new play area is about a five minutes pushchair walk from the entrance, and is, even from an adults point of view, pretty impressive. The fort in the middle has steps and slides and there are smaller slides around the outside, surrounded by a picnic area. It was a sunny Saturday and by the time we were leaving at about 1pm, the car park was full and people were being sent to park in the village, so , get there early. A very relaxing day out!

More information can be found on the national trust website.

A Free Walk around Alnwick

You don’t have to pay to go to everything in Alnwick. This walk down by the river gives you beautiful views of the castle. It made me feel like I was walking through a film set of Robin Hood or some other medieval caper.

We combined it with a visit to Barter Books on the way home, which has since become one of my new favourite places, but where I want to go back without the children, as even though they have a kids section, it is pretty small and more for older ones. They loved the trains that run around the ceilings, but browsing books and toddlers do not go together.

Walk around morpeth

At least one of them managed to stay awake

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