Bluebell Cottage Gardens and Nursery

I found out about the Bluebell Cottage Gardens and Nursery via the BBC gardening website and yesterday we decided to visit, as the gardens are only a 20 minute drive away. It was a little overcast when we arrived, but next to the carpark was a gorgeous meadow of wildflowers, and a few rabbits. 🙂

We had a wander round looking at all the plants in the nursery, I made a few notes of which ones I *needed* to buy, then after a cup of tea, we went to look around the gardens.

Right by the entrance was a hen house, with a very pretty but stern looking guardian in the doorway.

Chicken in doorway of hen house

We didn’t realise quite how large the gardens would be, as we walked through a small archway and round alongside a house and conservatory. A lot of the plants growing in the garden were available to buy in the nursery, so as we wandered about, we were looking at name tags and trying to remember which plants to look for later on. There were just too many though – the gardens were just packed with gorgeous plants.

We spent a good hour or so walking round, and once the sun came out, we didn’t really want to move. 

I would definitely recommend a visit, and there’s also a woodland walk nearby, so you could make a day of it.

A trip to the National Waterways Museum

Let’s gloss over the fact that I haven’t blogged in almost 2 months and instead look at some pretty photos of colourful narrow boats, shall we?

Painted kettle on narrowboat

OK, so that’s not actually a boat, but it’s on a boat. And it is colourful.

We visited the National Waterways Museum in Ellesmere Port last Friday, and we had gorgeous weather for it. We got there relatively early to avoid most of the crowds, so we were able to wander round and take some photos pretty easily.

The museum has displays about the history of the boats, as well as locks and moorings, and a heritage boatyard, which contained some amazing old boats which are being restored by volunteers.

I found it really interesting, the buildings were fascinating inside and out – check out this photo of an engine in the ‘Power Hall’ (love the name!)

Boat engine in Power Hall

There is also a blacksmith’s forge, where you could see amazing pieces of metalwork, and they also run workshops too.

Outside, I kept being drawn to the bright colours on the boats…

Blue and yellow narrowboat name sign

Blue narrowboat 'Indigo Dawn'
I confess I took this picture because it made me think of bacon. I should probably hand back my vegetarian membership card now. 
Narrowboat number sign

Alongside the museum there were lots of narrow boats with people sitting in deckchairs alongside them with mugs of tea and dozing dogs on the grass next to them. Fantastic stuff. And as if that wasn’t enough, I spotted this…

Narrowboat selling fudge

A boat of fudge. Be still, my beating heart. The Fudge Boat.

And of course, that made me think of…

A beady, bee-y bracelet

Yet another great blog post title from me. You’re very welcome.

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you’ll know that I am prone to earring-making frenzies. I absolutely love making them, despite the fact that I rarely wear any of my own creations (I can’t wear any large earrings  as I am lobe-ally challenged *sadface*). However, I have recently developed a liking for making bracelets. One evening I made myself a little beaded bracelet with a tassel which I discovered in daylight was slightly the wrong shade of red. *twitching* I continued on my bracelet quest, and despite battling with tigertail (a coated wired used in jewellery making), crimp beads and knotted elastic that suddenly decides to ‘ping’ your carefully chosen beads across the room, I have made a bracelet that I am actually quite pleased with. As a picky perfectionist (when it comes to my own work) that is high praise indeed).

 Looky here:

It’s a relatively simple design, but I think it works quite well. I love love LOVE the purple glass beads with their ‘lustre’ effect (oh yes, I know ALL the lingo). And look…

The bee bead changes colour when the temperature changes. Which is not that easy to photograph in February. It’s a bit like the mood beads that were ‘all the rage’ in the Seventies.  According to Wikipedia, the colour change effect is due to a ‘thermochromic element’. Which is not nearly as much fun to say as a ‘moody bee bead’.

On the Snowdrop Trail at Lytham Hall

Considering how bad the weather has been recently, we were fully expecting our coach trip to Lytham Hall to be a wash out. However, we were pleasantly surprised to see not only a distinct lack of rain but even patches of blue sky. It took us a good couple of hours to bimble along on the coach, collecting people from various stop off points, so I was quite pleased to finally arrive so we could go in search of a cuppa. Once we’d revived ourselves with a cup of tea and a toasted tea cake, we set off on the snowdrop trail. Fortunately, the aforementioned bad weather hadn’t damaged the flowers too much. There were still one or two bravely standing. 😉

As snowdrops are small, dainty flowers, getting photos of them meant having to bend and crouch into all manner of positions. I soldiered on bravely, determined to find a perfect snowdrop to photograph. Snowdrops seem to be quite sociable little flowers though, they hang around in groups a lot.

Sigh. The sunlight was lovely and warm, it felt almost Springlike. We walked round admiring the scenery for ages, and then, I found it. The lone (ish) snowdrop.

And of course, once I’d found that one, another one was easy to find.

I think this might be my favourite photo. Yeah yeah, we’re supposed to avoid lens glare and all that, but I think it works OK.

And just to prove that the weather was good, here’s the obligatory arty architecture shot.

Didn’t use any filters, the sky really was that colour. More of that I think, please.

We headed back to the coach, and then on to a garden centre on the way home for a potter about, and to meet with a cat called Peggy, who was taken in by the staff and who now rules the place (as cats do). Then another longish coach journey home again, possibly with a bit of snoozing involved. *ahem*

Not the best quality pic, but I took it with my phone.

All in all, a lovely day out. 🙂

Grow Your Blog Giveaway – winner announcement!

The Grow Your Blog party was a great success. Thank you all for visiting my blog, and leaving lovely comments. I am still working my way round to people’s blogs.

And now, as promised, it is time to announce the winner of my handmade bracelet:

I counted 39 comments on the giveaway blog post, and used a random number generator to pick out a number…

And comment number 18 was left by… Jackie, from One Creative Cat. So congratulations, Jackie – I will be in touch with you shortly to get the details of where to send the bracelet.
And thank you all again for visiting – I look forward to chatting to you all again soon.