Wanderlust: UK Days Out - Dunham Massey, (Stamford Military Hospital) Cheshire

Though this blog mostly has a focus on food, I thought some of you might me interested in occasionally hearing about some of the trips I make. These posts are more of an indulgence on my part, so please do excuse them.

"Sunday is funday" has become one of my recent mantras, as weekdays are jam packed at the moment, with most of my time being taken up with running my business and blogging. Not that I'm complaining, I love being busy! However in order to maintain sanity and productivity, breaks are necessary. 

This time of year is especially beautiful, with vibrant autumnal colours and, if you're lucky, crystal clear and crisp days. As long as you're well wrapped up, outside is most certainly the place to be when the sun shines in November.

Last sunday we decided to take advantage of the beautiful autumn weather to explore the House, Garden and Deer Park at Dunham Massey, a National Trust property just outside of Manchester, near Altrincham. 

We spent most of our visit wandering through the Deer Park and successfully spotted quite a few Buck and Doe very close to the main house, it seems you don't have to wander far to see them.

The house was built in in the 1730s by George Booth, 2nd Earl of Warrington and later became a First World War auxiliary hospital from April 1917 to January 1919. 

Currently the house has been transformed so that visitors can experience the Stamford Hospital as it once was. There are also some interesting pieces of furniture and other items on display in the house, including an intact 18th century library.

The photo's below chronicle some of my highlights from the day out. I hope you enjoy them!

This buck was casually taking a break right by the stables in front of a large crowd of admirers.

Gold and Diamond Pocket Watch, 1859 and pieces of string kept by Lady Penelope Stamford, c. 1930.

View of the house entrance

Spot the Deer!

Entrance from the stables and colonial statue
Deer slaughterhouse 

Wanderlust: Paris, July 2014, Part 2

This is my second post showcasing some of the places I visited during my summer trip to Paris (Part 1 can be found here.)

Autumn is probably my favourite time of year, the season's earthy palette seems so vibrant in the low autumn light. Part of me still craves the heat of the sun and I find myself wishing to return to Paris and the glorious weather we had. Next year perhaps!

During our July trip, we packed rather a lot into the six days we were there. One of my favourite hidden gems that we stumbled upon was the Cite de l'architecture et du patrimoine, the City of Architecture and Heritage. This architecture museum comprises of both permanent and temporary exhibitions, which covers a large chronological span of buildings, from ancient to modern. 

Much of the permanent exhibition is taken up with full size plaster replicas of building facades, columns and rooms. My favourite section comprised of replicas of early church interiors which were used as exhibit spaces for modern sculpture and furniture. As you can see in the picture below, the modern forms looked pretty alien in their ancient environments!

ecclesiastical architectural details.
During one of my wanders I stumbled across the beautiful window of Faucon. Apologies for the reflection in the image, I think I was just mesmerized by the chocolates and macarons. Somehow  all food in Paris, even in small bakeries, looks both wildly decadent and enticing!

As we were staying in Montmartre, it would have been inexcusable not to visit the Musee Montmartre, which is also surrounded by the Renoir Gardens. The permanent collection is composed of paintings, posters and drawings by some of Montmartre's leading artists, including Toulouse-Lautrec, Modigliani, Kupka, Steinlen, Valadon, and Utrillo. 

Just below the gardens is the only surviving vineyard in the city, which has existed since the medieval period.

 On the swing in the Renoir Gardens

More idyllic garden space

The musee d'orsay has to be on every tourist's list when visiting Paris, the museum collection mainly comprises of 19th century and early 20th century French art. 

During my visit, I was particularly bowled over by the temporary Van Gogh exhibition, "Van Gogh / Artaud. The Man Suicided by Society" Based on an essay by Artaud, an artist in his own right, the exhibition explores Van Goghs place in a society which rejected his work - 

"Challenging the thesis of alienation, Artaud was determined to show how van Gogh’s exceptional lucidity made lesser minds uncomfortable.  Wishing to prevent him from uttering certain "intolerable truths", those who were disturbed by his painting drove him to suicide. "

The Pompidou Centre is another mecca for art lovers visiting the city, the modern art museum boasts a unique building and the views from the top are particularly spectacular, as you can see below!

During my visit there were two stand out exhibitions, the first being on the work of the architect Bernard Tschumi, who drew inspiration for his designs from many other mixed media sources, including the movement of actors on film. Tschumi was particularly interested in movement and movement within spaces.

The second temporary exhibit which blew me away was the video installation "The Clock" by Christian Marclay. The Clock is a 24 hour montage of thousands of time related film excerpts which are edited to be correspondent with the time during the film. (e.g the 3:10 to Yuma scene which talks about the 3:10 to Yuma, is shown at 3:10 exactly.)

View from the Pompidou looking to the hill of Montmartre and Sacre Couer

View looking towards the eiffel Tower.
Our good friend Kathryn said that we could not go to Paris without visiting Sainte-Chapelle, the medieval gothic chapel situated at the heart of the city on the Île de la Cité.

The chapel is considered to represent the pinnacle of gothic architecture and was commissioned by King Louis IX of France to house his collection of Passion Relics, including Christ's Crown of Thorns. It was completed in 1248 and is literally awash with stained glass and beautifully ornate detail. 

We visited at the weekend, therefore the chapel was very busy and we had to queue for around half an hour. It may therefore be worth going during a quieter weekday morning! However the building is an absolute jewel, the colours inside as the sun hits the windows are dazzling. Therefore it is and an absolute must, just be aware that there are building works currently taking place and currently the rose window is obscured.

Finally, a little bit of street art for you

I wonder where the top of the stairs lead.... where is the man going with his briefcase?

Autumn Kitchen Wishlist

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The nights are drawing in and I have even started contemplating putting the heating on! It's official, Autumn is here. This time of year I like to dine out on stews, soups and hearty pies and maybe sneak in some comforting puddings! In order to celebrate the change of seasons and help reflect the transition happening in my kitchen, I have put together a little Autumn kitchen wish list. Obviously some are more realistic purchases than others, (even though somehow £120 for a stag mounted on a bit of glass seems totally reasonable in my strange mind!)

I hope this gives you some inspiration for your autumnal kitchen ventures!

1. Lakeland One-Cup Coffeemaker, £16.99 - I think this would be a great and simple way of getting your morning caffiene hit! It does both tea and coffee at the press of one simple bottom.

2. Culinary Concepts Stag Cake Stand, £120 - It's a stag. On a cake stand. Beautifully pointless, and that's why I want it so much!

3. Warwickshire CountyShaped Chopping Board by County Chopper, £120 -  They aren't exactly a steal, but these chopping boards are made right down the road from me in Hull and come in the shapes of 47 counties! As I am feeling slightly homesick, the Warwickshire version would be perfect. I think these beautiful hand crafted chopping boards would also make great Christmas gifts for that annoying person who already has everything...

4. Rituals Serenity Hand wash, £10 - I love the Rituals range in general and am an avid fan of their body products. This hand wash has my favourite scents of Sweet Almond Oil and Indian Rose. It would make a perfect addition, popped on the side of the kitchen sink, helping to make washing the dishes that bit more bearable!

5. Bettys Christmas Fruit Cake in a Tin, £18.95 - Whilst I fully appreciate that Christmas is a little while yet, good Christmas cakes will keep! Obviously anything from Bettys will be top notch and as I do live in York, it felt wrong to exclude it. Remember, the tin can also be reused long after you've scoffed the cakefor my

6. Lakeland 1 Litre Pudding Steamer, £14.99- This item is both a bit more practical and affordable. I am a huge lover of steamed puddings, especially those of the treacle variety! This will also come in handy for making a classic Christmas Pudding. The 1L capacity also means you will have enough to feed a fair few, unless you plan on having a date night in with just you and a comforting steamed pud.

7. Hotel Chocolat Chilli Drinking Chocolate, £8.50 - Hotel Chocolat seem to have redesigned their hot chocolate packaging of late, lets hope that they are still as good! I have always particularly loved the combination of chilli and chocolate, especially in a warming drink. This will be perfect for long winter nights spent curled up under the duvet (where I am currently, no intention of leaving unless the house is on fire.)

I hope you have enjoyed my little indulgent list! I will of course keep you updated with the stag-on-glass acquisition situation. It's a toss up between paying the bills and having that little beauty tucked away somewhere. Because of course at £120, you don't expect me to use the damn thing!

Let me know if you have any further ideas for my autumn list, or if you have any of the above items and want to rate/slate them!

An Update in Pictures

Just to start off the week, I thought I would give you guys a bit of a visual update of the past week or so. Monday's can be a bit of a shock, so text is at the minimum to make things easy and simple! Don't worry though, I've got some lovely recipes and reviews coming up for when we have all got over the start of the week shock.

Just before I break out the pics, I'm sure everyone is aware that our old friend Google Readerwill cease to exist next Monday!  If you use GR to follow Audacity of Food, I recommend you also follow on bloglovin, just to make sure that you don't miss out on any new posts.

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A platter of Italian goodness so large, I cant even get it in the photo!

Cappuccino at The Attic in York - the most amazing coffee place ever

Preparing for my first Fromage Friday featuring Cornish Yarg

Cappuccino and Mocha at Arden's

First sneak peak of Kevin's Mocha Madness

Brie and Caramelised Onion Chutney Pannini at Arden's

I really recommend the Cioccolato Fondente at Strada

Some local Yorkshire produce at Neugate Market in York

I put this at the bottom as it's not strictly food related, but as I have had some requests for a picture of...

Myself just before Graduation Dinner and Summer Ball