Stop the car!!!!! Moments 

I live in such a beautiful part of the world, it’s easy to photograph. I have so many moments where I am screaming “stop the car!!!” And leaping out to take a photo. 

Tonight’s sunset was a truly beautiful one! As I drove from my house to my mothers I had to jump out of the car and take some pictures!!!

The clouds were so low but the sun was still so strong that it wasn’t total coverage fog, it was the same as when you are flying on a plane through the big fluffy cottonwool ball clouds. Like they had just fallen from the sky and landed on the hill sides. I wish I could have taken more photos but I was alone 😦 but here’s what I could get safely. 😁😁

A trip to Edinburgh, crazy few hours. 

My husband works all over the UK. August is one of the busiest months of the year so he is often working over the weekend. When he told me he was headed up to Edinburgh for the day Saturday, I took the opportunity to spend some extra time with him but also take in the sights. I took my 14 year old niece along for company too!!

Our alarm rang out at 4am, I started to regret my decision and wondered how much could I really get done in a day….. Maybe staying in my nice warm bed would be a better choice?!?  The traveller in me screamed NO!! Get up lazy bones!!! 

So up we got and made a half hearted attempt at making myself look presentable, we bundled into our car and off we went on the three hour trek!!

Once I shake the sleep off and start to feel more human less Zombie, I really love this time of day. Watching the sun rise in our beautiful countryside is always worth being awake at stupid o’clock. 

Once we arrive in Edinburgh, I start to feel excited!! I have been before but never in summer. The smell of the yeast and malt that fills the air instantly transports me to Christmas time which was the last time we were here. I am reminded of gingerbread latte and twinkling lights. This time we had the Fringe and Tattoo atmosphere. It gives the city a totally different and exciting feel!

My earlier blogs will tell you that this year we are trying to lose weight and get fit. The lose weight is going ok, the get fit …..hmmm not so well!! I mention this because we park the car near the job, and I say … “It’s ok we will walk into the centre!!” Off we go! We follow the well sign posted tourist attraction signs. Forty minutes later we are standing below the castle and my face is resembling a tomato!! Three miles down already and it’s only 8.40am!!

There is a great mix of high street shops and boutiques here. I love it. We are coming back in October for a week so will be looking forward to spending some more time exploring the shops. For this day however it was about cramming as much into the hours we were there as possible and remembering I am with a forteen year old who may not like the same things as me. 

After giving the fourteen year old an appropriate amount of shop time, where I felt incredibly old as most of the styles were from my teenage years in the 90s so if the fashion has come around again …. I must be old lol!! Moving swiftly on!!!!

We had only a couple of hours left and I had read somewhere that deep in old town was in fact the grave of Tom Riddle the name that inspired one of my favourite authors to name a villain in her book …. Voldemort in Harry Potter. I am such a massive fan so of cause we had to go see!! By this time we had clocked up seven miles and the old hips were singing a bit, did we let that stop us?!? Of cause not!!!!!

After another couple of miles, we arrived at Greyfriars Kirk and its famous gravestones. It wasn’t just the appeal of the famous grave. 

It was also my addiction to graveyards. I don’t know why but I find something so beautiful in the old headstones, some lavish and well crafted almost transport you back to that time. I love the history in those old graveyards and this one had some great examples. Including the caged plots that prevented body snatching and grave robbing. 

There is a folk tale that within Greyfriars that it has a poltogiest oh and a ghost dog called Bobby, the poltogiest can be found in the oldest part of the graveyard. Locked up only accessible if you pay to go on the tour, a fact that has me a little skeptical, and when we reach this section there are plastic skulls with lights for eyes on the entrance and I am not convinced. Either way I had a chance to snap and image through the gates without being attacked!!

We passed the last hour before being picked up here, it was peaceful and interesting. I snapped a couple of great pics and though brief, our time here made my excitement for our return trip in October much higher. Edinburgh has so much more to share with me. Can’t wait!! 


Sunsets and sunrises! 

I am not an early riser! So this love of sunrises is conflicting. My alarm goes off and I am instant filled with a dilemma. On the one hand – I want the shot, on the other hand – I want my sleep!! 

Early bird catches the worm and all that!! I have some fab shots from various places, early morning here often means fog and I LOVE LOVE LOVE these shots more than anything. 

Here are a few 🙂 

What are your favourite shots that you take? 

Tourist in your own town!

I am very fortunate to live in a beautiful market town. Barnard Castle in the North East of England. 

While the world has some truly awesome sights to share with us, I can get my tourist fix on my own doorstep. 

It’s true to say there would always be someone that would love to live where you do. For me I love USA. I would love to live a while in Manhattan and while this seems like a pipe dream, I can easily escape through the photos and blogs of the people out there sharing their every day lives with us through blogs and social media. 

The Internet has made the world a lot smaller. I get to see what a beautiful bagel artist (can’t believe there is such a thing but there you go) sharing multi coloured bagels and fillings, see the customers and the neighbourhood they have their shop. It makes me feel like one day I could be eating one of those whole enjoying the sights and sounds of New York. 

I like to think that somewhere, my clumsy words and photographs that I love to share so much would reach someone dreaming of traveling in Europe and England. That they may stand I front of the Castle here and think of my blog and Instagram. That would be awesome. 

I love nature. 

When I am our taking photographs with out a doubt it’s the landscapes and natural beauty that I love the most. 

History and architecture would be a close second. A couple of years ago I was fortunate to stand above the clouds as the fog rolled in. My husband, who had been driving back from a job, ran in to get me bundled me into his van and we chased the photo.  

It was beautiful. It was before I had bought my big camera so we used our phones as so many people do and then promptly forgot I even had the image. 

This week I have been home sick and trying to distract myself from the pain I have been sorting through my photos on my phone …. All 7000 of them 🙈🙈😂😂. I came across these images again. I am so fortunate to live in such natural beauty. 

This is what I love about blogs, particularly lifestyle ones that show how it is to live in different parts of the world. My shopping shoes and culture meter may need a top up from the city every now and again, I mean who doesn’t love a trip to NYC or Rome or London … Or even Derby. This is still true but nothing for me beats living out here in the countryside. 

Here are a couple of images from around here including the fog. 🙂 

Sunday’s Fundays

Sorting through the thousands of images I have on my many memory cards, I am so longing for another holiday. 

There is so much beauty out there and I want to see as much of it as I can.

I wonder how many of you are out there this Sunday evening wishing for a different Monday Morning.  

I had a great weekend spending time with my hubby before he left me to work away this week. The weekends are so precious to us, so Monday mornings and to be honest Sunday evenings are rough. 

Now as I edit a couple more images and make plans to share them with the social media. I wonder if one day that Sunday feeling with ebb away, on the Monday morning I wake up doing what I love all the time. Sharing beauty through images and art.


Washington DC and Philadelphia. 

Where else can I go, what will be our next adventure. Only we are truly in control of our happiness. Make it happen. 


Beauty and travel 

The summer time always makes me want to travel. Sunshine and blue skies always seems like a waste when you are rushing around working and doing normal life stuff. 

We don’t just stop to appreciate it. 

I am doing a bit of a push on editing some of my images in my spare time at the moment. We are very blessed to have travelled as much as we have and we still have so much more to do. I don’t know if I am ever going to be any good at photography but I love doing it so much it almost doesn’t matter. 

Dreaming of doing something isn’t enough. Dreams are a wonderful thing but I want to do it. Talk is cheap. Actions speak louder than words. It’s time for change in my life again. Losing my cousin this year should make us realise life is too short. It’s not always about the big things, it can just be taking that extra time to relax. We are here for such a brief moment of time. Will you look back and think, I am so pleased I stressed out about my job or will you remember the laughing and adventures. 

Yes indeed talk is cheap it’s time for action!! 

Itchy feet …… That old familiar feeling 

I left home at 18. It was the hardest and scariest thing I ever did but on reflection it was also the best thing I ever did. It gave me the courage to do things I don’t think I would have ever attempted if I had stayed in Barnard Castle.

It led to me traveling, I moved abroad, with a job offer, a plane ticket and £100 cash …… I just hoped for the best! It turned out to be amazing! But the only down side is, now that’s all I want to do, absorb as much of this beautiful planet as possible.

I am “settled” but I am lucky that my love of traveling has “rubbed off” on my husband Ben. If anything I have turned him into a monster! He no longer is happy with the package beach holidays by the pool he wants to see as much as possible!

The realities of being a grown up (I use the term loosely because I don’t believe I am that) mean that you have responsibilities, I think as you get older you are more aware of ties to your normal life and therefore the chances to pack up and go traveling six months at a time are limited. 

There are of cause pros and cons to both lifestyles things you gain, things you miss out on. So here I am trying to find a balance! Not every adventure involves a backpack and slipping off to Asia for half a year! While this is an amazing experience …’s such a long flight ….lol

Still….. every now and then I get this feeling, usually followed by frivolous spending!!! It’s one of the few things not having children has given us. The opportunity to just pack up and go (work permitting)!

 I realise how much beauty we have around us sometimes, I still have to give myself a kick up the bottom to get out and see what’s round and about – again NOT every adventure means traveling for miles, beauty is to be found everywhere if you look hard enough and I suppose that’s the point of this blog. Me proudly shouting to the world

“Look at where I live, isn’t it beautiful?!”

Here are a few recently taken shots and some from our travels near and far away, just because it is Friday and most of you will hopefully have time this weekend – GO HAVE AN ADVENTURE!!! Leave the SatNav at home, get lost, go down that road you might have wondered

“where does that go?”

Don’t worry about wifi or phone signal have a blast and then when you get home – Post me some pics 🙂

Follow me on FB, Instagram and Twitter 🙂 citygurlgonecountry

Rome Castle St Angelo
Rome Sunset
Coppola St Peters Basilica , Rome
Sunset, Lake District, England
Woodland near my house, looks Magical! I think there is a troll in there somewhere!
Inside the castle, Barnard Castle
View from the castle wall, Barnard Castle
Barnard Castle

High Force Waterfall, Teesdale.
Looking out of the castle, Barnard Castle
Yellow Cab, NYC.
Grand Central Station, NYC – early morning rush.
Memorial for 9/11, NYC.
Liberty Bell, Philadelphia.
Smithsonian, Washington DC.

Lincoln Memorial, Washington DC.

Top of the Rock, My husband photographing me as it turns out, while I am photographing him! sneaky! lol
Through Virginia, USA.
In the Blue Ridge Mountains, a beautiful farm!
Smokey Mountains.
Stormy day in my home town, start of a rainbow.

Sunset over Ulswater, Lake District, England.
Who’s that trip trapping over my bridge??

Until next time xoxo

An amazing weekend, starting with a random visit to Bowes Museum.

Barnard Castle is my home town, you have already heard from me a number of times that growing up in this beautiful little market town I longed to move out, I didn’t ever really appreciate where I lived, though to be fair show me a child that does.

I remember being involved in the bicentennial celebrations for the Bowes Museum and feeling a connection with the place, I romanticised the stories attached to it the most Famous being that John Bowes was building this mansion for this wife Josephine, sadly she died before it was completed she is buried within its grounds.

I viewed this beautiful building as a love letter, and I hoped one day to find someone who would love me so much they would want to build me something that wonderful, little did I know my prayers would be answered not in fact a house or mansion, but a man that can build Lego. Close enough!

Outside The Gates
Outside The Gates

I don’t want to make this blog a history lesson, the information about John and his beautiful building are public record and I fully suggest you taking some time to visit. I am particually excited for the exhibition coming to the museum in July for YSL the fashion house, Style is Eternal. To have this in my home town is beyond exciting to me!!

IMG_2751YSL advertising outside the museum entrance.

YSL advertising outside the museum entrance.

A little touch of city life coming to my home town. Fashion to me is art, there are some truly beautiful creations its more than just covering your body, it’s an extension of who you are and your personality. Who doesn’t like to dress up?!

Saturday morning my husband was having his hair cut down the road from this lovely building, so I decided rather than wander the street to visit the local coffee shop I would take my camera and get some shots of the building that was so important to my childhood.

I understand the attraction for tourists, who still flock to this museum it’s impressive especially as you first round the corner and there it stands.

I have always had an active imagination, even now as an adult when I people watch I wonder what is going on in those lives and often can start a story in my head. The Bowes Museum was full of possibilities for my imagination, not just because of the tragic love story at its beginning but the almost eerie exteriors lead my mind to create weird and wonderful stories.

A water feature under the steps to the entrance of the museum.
A water feature under the steps to the entrance of the museum.

This water feature would always scare me as a child, I believed this was a creature that had been stuck in this wall just waiting for a time when it would be free to roam the grounds and eat humans.

The story I made up……

At the time when John Bowes was starting to build this mansion for his beloved wife, there were disappearances happening in the town. Beautiful woman were randomly going missing, the towns folk were so scared that their daughters, cousins, friends would be next that they seldom left their houses, no woman was allowed to travel alone anywhere!

One brave girl who was deeply in love with a boy from a neighbouring town was so frustrated because it meant that she wasn’t able to visit her love and he was not able to visit her. She decided to seek the help of an old woman who was rumoured to be a witch, to ask her to find out what was happening and try to stop it.

The girl pleaded with the old woman until she gave in and cast a spell to reveal the identity of the kidnapper. It was a creature from the other side, half man, half beast. He had stumbled through a hole in the realities and was taking young women back to his world as his prisoners, the portal was right were the Bowes Museum would stand.

Now the girl who was so desperate to see her boyfriend decided to go herself and try to kill the beast, so in the dead of night when the moon was full so she had some light, she took her father’s axe and headed to the grounds. She was startled as she approached the gates by the old crone who begged her not to go, that it wasn’t worth it. The young girl refused and would not change her mind; she was so set on destroying this monster so that life could once again return to normal.

The crone knowing this was a lost cause, then gave to the girl a bag of herbs and a spell to seal the portal with the beast behind it and the two of them crept into the grounds.

Even with the moon light it was still dark, the building work had begun on the mansion so there were unusual shapes everywhere, the girl kept seeing things moving but just out of view, she turned in circles clutching the handle of the axe so tight she started to lose the feeling in her fingertips.

Then she heard it…… the snorting breathing sound close by, then she smelt it, wet vegetation with an underlying smell of sweet rotting meat her stomach lurched. She heard the slow footsteps behind her approaching, but when she turned nothing was there! The crone started to mumble under her breath and a bright light started to emerge from the centre of the grounds,

“There,” She said, “There is where the portal is, you must lead him there, I cannot go any further”

The crone fled, leaving the girl standing on her own clutching that axe, she decided to run heading for that light! The footsteps pounding behind her but the beast never showed himself. Standing on the very spot where the light was strongest she called to him,

“I am not scared, show yourself coward and meet your maker!”

She felt a hand on her arm, spinning her around she started to swing the axe and her other poised to throw the bag of herbs, stopping inches from her beloveds face.

“What are you doing here!?” she cried with relief “how did you even get into town….” She trailed off then she heard movement again, she shouted “We have to go there is a monster here!!”

“I came for you” he replied, running his fingers down her cheek, smiling even with imminent danger, he was calm “I wanted to see you!”

She tried to step back, confusion crossed her face, and she started to shake… it couldn’t be!

The smell of rotting flesh was too much to bear; it was so pungent she almost was sick, it was him she knew it right away her beloved was the monster she was chasing. She took two steps back, dropping the bag of herbs.

“No!” she cried, “Not you, it can’t be you” she tried to run but he held her tightly pulling her closer and closer into the light, closer to the portal and almost certain death.

“I must my love, you have to understand, and I need you all. Come with me” he crooned at her, his voice like warm nectar, and she wanted to go!

Suddenly she wanted to be there with him more than anything in the world; she had come here to fight for her love so why was she fighting him? The axe fell to the floor. She stumbled blindly behind him, closer and closer to the light.

Suddenly there was another bright flash of brilliant white light and swirling smoke surrounded them, and the image of her beloved disappeared in his place was the beast!

Through the smoke on the other side of the light the old crone started to chant, the beast screamed in pain and held on to the girl hard and dragged her onwards to the portal, she began to see the images of the lost girls on the other side, they cried and begged her to run. There was no turning back if she went through.

Like a slap to the face the spell was broken and she was screaming, she didn’t want to go with him, she pulled and pulled to free her hands! The croan’s shouting picked up in speed, not able to make out the actual words but knowing it was working as the beast screamed and started to lose his grip.

As they almost were touching the portal, hands reached out to pull him in, the girl managed to free herself of his grasp, the women on the other side held tightly to the beast pulling him closer to them. He turned to face the girl who had now joined the crone in her chanting, the smoke swirled and engulfed the beast and portal the cries were defining, mixed with the chants of the girl and the old crone. An explosive bang heard for miles around, a blinding flashing light and it was over.

In the spot where the beast and portal had been stood a stone wall, the only thing left was the stone face of the beast, who was struggling so badly to get to the girl he was now eternally stuck between two worlds, his face contorted in anger and pain.

The building went up around the wall, keeping the beasts’ stone face there in memorial to the lost women and their bravery. The young girl never left the town, she dedicated her life to making sure the beast never escaped from the wall until the time of her death……and even now she can be seen kneeling before his face, quietly chanting those words.

The End

That may the musings of a simple pre teen mind but visiting this spot on Saturday brought it all back, I had completely forgotten this story that I believe started as a creative writing exercise for school in a longer format, along with another one of a little girl who lived in the rooms at the top of the building and could often be seen peering out as we played below, that’s for another time =D

IMG_2841The roof where the story of the little girl came from. The window she looked out of.

The roof where the story of the little girl came from. The window she looked out of.

Some more of the photographs taken on Saturday.

IMG_2759 IMG_2831 IMG_2833 IMG_2834 IMG_2840 IMG_2830 - Copy IMG_2826Top of the gates at the entrance

IMG_2804 - Copy IMG_2814 IMG_2811 - Copy IMG_2812 IMG_2819 - Copy

Bye for now xoxo