Thursday, 27 May 2010

I made it...finally!!

I'm finally here...sitting down at the 'puter in (relative) peace to, at last, post on our gorgeously sunny visit to Harrogate last weekend! It was fantastic...

We were staying at The Old Swan, close to the centre of Harrogate and known as Agatha's Hideout as this is where Ms Christie hid for 10 days in 1926 while the world and it's press hunted for her and speculated on what might have happened...she checked into the hotel under her husband's mistress's name (possibly partly explaining why she had ran away?!?) and when she was finally found, she kept her husband waiting in reception while she dressed for dinner...quite right too!!

The setting was perfect - like being transported into one of her novels - just the right amount of shabby decadence to set the scene. There was a wedding taking place on the Friday and a Murder Mystery going on the whole weekend - how cool would that be?! We met some of the actors and they were hilarious, all very 'lovie, dahling!' The only downside was the obvious lack of air-con and the fact that every surface in our beautiful bathroom was heated - the floor, the mirror, the wall (thanks to the huge heated towel rail) and since the lovely big bay window only opened a crack, it acted like more of a greenhouse than anything! The bedding was a bit strange - two sheets with a thick nylon fleece type blanket sandwiched between acted as our duvet and if Agatha lasted 10 days there then she must have taken her own pillow...!! But, the staff were friendly and helpful, the food was gorgeous, the G&T's were cold and the lovely Sandra and her husband Andy were staying there too, meaning that I got some bonus time driving to Dy's with her which was so nice. The addition of an electric fan helped make our stay more enjoyable too!!

We had arrived there late Thursday night, stopping off at Ikea in Edinburgh to do a quick recon on furniture for the new craft room...I ended up buying garden furniture much to Paul's disbelief but what's the point in having a lovely big van if you can't buy a table and benches on a whim?!? On Friday morning we set out in the sunshine to do some shopping and spend some time together before the 'hard' work started that evening! Harrogate is very pretty, especially with all the trees and flowers in full bloom...

Love the dappled light in this cobbled street

Before long (and before even hitting the shops) we had to stop for a drink...with the sun blazing and it feeling so Summery, it had to be Pimms...

Spent a really chilled out day, wandering about, stopping for lunch at Betty's (you just have too!), making a dent in the stock levels at Cath Kidston and exploring the vintage shops...

When we got back to the Swan, laden down with bags (I went kinda crazy in Paperchase too) there was time for a quick freshen up and a bit of a phone makeover... with the old...

...and on with the new!

Much better!

After a G&T in the Cocktail Lounge we made our way to Art From the Heart aka Dy's place. I was the last to arrive and it was so nice to see Dyan, the new shop, meet Jay for the first time and be greeted by all the familiar faces from AJ1 - and a few new ones too! For the next few hours we chatted, folded, laughed, ate, drank, sewed, chatted and all too soon it was time to go...but not before getting lovely pressies from Virginia and Mel - an inspiration jar from Ginny, full of little prompts for journal pages (I had been talking about struggling with what to journal about earlier, so it was the perfect gift!) and a gorgeous bracelet that Mel had made which was worn most of the weekend!

We were all raring to go on Saturday morning and Dy set about showing us how to create different lettering for our journalling in her own unique style...

We doodled borders, created borders using Dyan's Downloads, picked a colour and cut pictures of that colour out of magazines to create another border. Ooh, and we finished off the day with 3d balls!! Here are the results...

Sandra with red...

Anne Marie with yellow

Ronni with orange

Carole with green

Me with pink (thanks Ronni for taking over the photography!)

Mel with black (of course!)

Virginia with purple

Valencia with green

Vanessa with blue

Steph with aqua

Ann with yellow

Birthday Bee with blue

Emma with pink

Janet with orange

Michelle with grey

Liz with blue

Chris with pink

and finally Dyan with black!!

Here are my pages for the day...

Doodled border

Dy's Downloads border

Pink border

3d balls!!

Dyan and Sandra were off to a Northern Soul night - Dy was suffering with her back so didn't expect to be doing much in the way of dancing...Paul came to meet me and the Roffrum lot and we headed to the Premier Inn beer garden for some much needed lager shandy. The gorgeously funny Anne Marie and her hubbie joined us (he likes meeting people from foreign countries!) and we all had a good natter and a laugh in the sunshine. Paul and I headed back to our hotel to get ready for our night on the town. I got changed into my new frock and heels...

...then promptly changed out of them when I decided that the floaty number I had been wearing that day would be WAY more comfy (I don't normally do comfort over style - THAT'S how hot it was)


View from the terrace (on Hipstamatic)

Headed to Hotel du Vin and enjoyed a couple of cocktails out on the terrace. It was such a beautiful, still evening and we decided to get a table there for dinner later instead of heading further. Paul disappeared into the bar to get some more drinks and snacks and came back with...


Such a good night...

Dinner was so nice and afterwards we strolled back for the night...toying with the idea of visiting Virginia and Mel but once I'd taken my boots off there was no going back...!

Sunday was spent playing - inking, painting, distressing, mixing, spraying and generally having a free reign to create and use whatever we liked to finish the books we had sewn together on Friday evening. Oh, and Dy's back was much better thanks to all the dancing she did!!

Mini book using spray inks and stencils with gesso, doodling and the gorgeous Stampotique stamps.

Using the leftover spray ink on the stencils in my Moleskin.

Distressing, masking and faux bleach effect.

Paul had ended up going to the cinema with Anne Marie's husband, they were back at the hotel having a drink on the lawn when I called at 4pm so he headed over while I headed through to the shop...the plan was to leave a bit early to get home earlier...

...but I had so much stuff that I kept letting everyone else go first but that was nice as I got to chat to everyone as we were queueing! Dyan's till skills are hilarious...the best one being when she and Valencia between them managed to charge £114,500 onto Val's card. Paul said "Was it declined?" to which Val replied "I bloody hope so, I'm only a pensioner!!"

So much for my mantra of "No more paper, no more paper..."!!

In crafty retail heaven...

Soon, it was time to say goodbye as the lovely ladies started to filter out into the sunshine...

Sandra, me and Dyan

My Roffrum sisters

...and then there was just us!

I got changed for the journey - honestly that dress was a Godsend! Been trying to find ones for Mel and Dy and not having any luck - they were still around about a month ago but have disappeared!! Will keep looking ladies...

Jay and Dyan

We headed off on the long drive home - listening to The Beatles, Plan B and Paloma Faith, realising as we reached Berwick that I'd left my cardi behind, chatting about our weekend and planning the next one! I managed to get a photo of the Angel of the North as we were passing through Newcastle...

Really want to visit it properly next time. I did some doodling till the light faded as we were crossing the Forth Road Bridge...

We arrived home just before midnight, tired but happy and glad to be home safely. Thanks Dyan, Jay, Pam, Katie and all the ladies who made the weekend so much fun - can't wait to see you all again real soon! xx


  1. Oh Jude what a beautiful posting absolutely fantastic - however next time can we take photos very far away from me -very very far away would suit me better i'm sure LOL! Loved your Saturday outfit - even if you didn't manage to retain it - comfort over fashion any time for me - however, you look fashionable no matter what you are wearing! You've captured the weekend beautifully and now I want to head back to Harrogate because how gorgeous is their town centre -honestly gorgeous! I've taken your advice today and will post later to show you! It has meant being out in the garden for most of the day up to now which means I'm definitely had my fix of vitamin D today, the kids are out there at the minute, I've got mine and Melanie's here and they're in a tent eating spag bol (I kid you not), they joined in earlier on with what I was doing but on a smaller scale and I think they liked it - not sure my grass is going to recover but I'm sure purple grass is completely in keeping with everyone elses - very retro - not very chelsea flower show LOL! Got a docs appointment at 2pm so I'm palming the two of them off for an hour whilst I go and make sure I'm still all here - even if I'm not sure who 'me' is any more. Love your photos of the angel of the north - we took photos of it's marquette last year when it was at Chatsworth! Hope you're having a good day - and keep this blog updated more I tell you I love to keep in touch and know what you're doing! Big hugs

  2. Ooooh looks like you had loads of fun! Your journal pages look luverlee :-) Glad you enjoyed Harrogate centre so much - I'm only about 30 mins away from Harrogate so I go there quite a bit, and usually squidge in a little trip to AFTH while I'm there (well it would be rude not to wouldn't it?!) Your outfits look fab, you are a stylish gal! Kate x

  3. Oh no I should never wear orange again LOL! fab re telling of the weekend Jude x Janet

  4. Looks like a good time was had by all in beautiful Harrogate - must visit soon, I just love the place....x

  5. Ahhh Jude, I've decided I shall call you the Style Queen. You are very photogenic (even when 'shiny'!) beautiful gal.
    Loved your story of the weekend along with the stuff you and Paul got up to...Andy and I fitted in Knaresborough, Bolton Abbey (where we met up and spent the day with our daughter & fiance), and Ripon before we came home on Monday. That's what I call stretching a weekend break! The Swan was cool wasn't it? ha ha - cool in one sense but def NOT cool in another! Your splattery inky book turned out fabuloso - gotta try that again eh?
    I'd better depart or I shall be taking over from Ginnie as Miss War & Peace!
    Love ya! x x

  6. well what a FAB weekend that looked!! I am suddenly all expensively thirsty after the pics of the oh so perfectly chilled Moet.... now to the village pub...actually they think a G&T is a cocktail in there so maybe not!! You really could have popped in for a coffee when you went by the Angel, I am about 20 mins away from there!! Next time..BH xx

  7. I've loved reeding this post Jude, you put in so much detail. You all had such fun and created some beautiful pages!
    Thanks so much for sharing with us.
    Lesley x

  8. Wow, Harrogate looked like so much fun! Definitely going to try and include it in our travels next month. Thanks for getting those macaroons for me, yummy and great subject matter for photos too :)

    Was wanting that very same cover for my phone...well that or the spray flowers one, so pretty.... but decided to hold off till we get an upgrade, not sure if the 4G iphones are smaller or what!?!

    Free this Wednesday if thats any use? Car is going in for its MOT at some point that day though, not sure when...xx

  9. Thanks for blogging your weekend - it's lovely to read someones fabulous crafty weekend. :)

  10. I just handed you a blog award - this one made me giggle!


Thanks for taking the time to comment - I love reading them all!