So after a hellish journey due to a packed train, I've made it back to my little flat in Manchester, bright-eyed and pink-cheeked after a weekend of arctic winds and log fires.
I was staying in the Fairfax Arms in Gilling East, a tiny village in North Yorkshire. The village is in a valley, and has no mobile reception. Literally none. It's actually quite a nice escape every once and a while, although once you leave you have quite a lot of explaining to do... Several people are a bit miffed at me for 'ignoring' them. But what can you do?
Cue some dreadful photos - I am working on it. And, ever the optimist, I think they may be getting slightly better?
|The Fairfax Arms, in all its festive glory.|
|Great coffee and pretty Christmas decorations - this is where I posted from yesterday.|
|The bar - what can I say? I like bars...|
Here's a picture I took of the beautiful valley...
We spent today in Helmsley. This is one of my favourite places in England because, attention all Harry Potter geeks, it's the village that Hogsmeade was based on. Which I think is incredibly cool. Although unfortunately they don't actually serve butterbeer.
|The village square - hosts an amazing farmer's market on Fridays, should you ever find yourself in the vicinity!|
|Hunters of Helmsley - an amazing deli. I can recommend the apple juice, the game pie, and their ice cream. All perfection.|
We stopped for a coffee at Porters Cafe, which has a pretty incredible selection of home-made cakes and puddings:
|My personal favourite - toffee apple crumble. Divine.|
|A shot of me taken by my brother.|
Hat - ASOS; Scarf - Samantha Holmes; Coat - tailor-made; Fair Isle Jumper - F&F for Tesco(!); Ring - gift; Velvet Skirt - UO Renewal
I'd also recommend the tea-room at the Black Swan - their own blend of tea is delicious, and I'm going to make a bold statement and say that they have one of the nicest log-fires in Yorkshire. It's also a really wonderful hotel; the toiletries they give you smell amazing, and the breakfasts are great. Private events here are also lovely (I held my 18th here, many, many moons ago).
Helmsley is a really lovely village for shopping. They have a proper old-fashioned toy shop, lots of country-wear shops and boutiques, and one of the most amazing, high-end antique shops I've ever been in, Bridge Antiques. The man in the shop was absolutely lovely, letting me and my brother's girlfriend try on anything we wanted, even though we clearly weren't in the market to buy. I must have tried on about £10,000 worth of jewellery. And it was all beautiful. They also sell really gorgeous tea sets and very pretty costume jewellery, too. And if any of you are after a gift for your man/dad/cross-dressing pal, their antique cufflinks are beautiful.
|1930's 21-piece tea set, a steal at £78.00 (I know you're reading, Santa)!|
Unfortunately, I left there empty handed (1-0 to self-restraint! Yes!), but I did make a few purchases:
|Faux-fur collar, Joules - £31.96 after a 20% discount in Browns of Helmsley. I'm considering this an 'investment piece' as I think it will give a face-lift to all my coats and cardies.|
|Jilly Cooper - Jump! - £1.49 from Oxfam. Because it's alright to read mindless tat so long as it's really, really cheap.|
I may have to impose a shopping ban upon myself soon. I can't even bring myself to look at my online banking...
In short, anyone who fancies a weekend away but doesn't want to seriously travel, I would recommend both Gilling East, and Helmsley. They're both beautiful, idyllic little villages, only 40 minutes away from York. And for any Harry Potter nerds;
(1) Join the club
(2) How can you not want to go to Hogsmeade?
I hope you all had wonderful weekends! What did you get up to?