Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Autumn Magic

I considered skipping past autumn altogether and just blogging about Christmas to get up to date, but I just couldn't bring myself to not document autumn in all its splendour! so bear with me even though it's so very late! 

We kicked off all the autumn fun with a trip to Old Melrose - for tasty cake and an adventure exploring the grounds - and everyone knows it's not autumn until a hay bale has been climbed! 

This strip of Birch trees at Bowmont Forest are always my fave, we took some same pictures in this exact spot last year too because I love how the browns and yellows contrast so starkly with the green on the other side of the path! Magic! 

Ella, ever my willing model! 

especially when 'hot cocits' are involved!

and oh how she loved blackberry picking this year! 

We met our friend Charli at Dawyck Botanical Gardens, near Peebles, one day - a place I had been wanting to visit for aaaages but man am I glad we waited til autumn to do it! The colours were amazing! 

Like this carpet of Maple leaves! unreal right?! 

She's too cool for school! 

One thing I feel strongly about is pumpkin patches! It has become another autumn tradition of ours! 
When Ella was one, we checked out Malpas Pumpkins in Chester, last year was the rather disappointing 'fake patch' at Brockbushes in Northumberland so this time around I definitely wanted the real deal! 

 Unfortunately the nearest real deal I could find was outside of Stirling, but it was totally worth the drive! I mean look at those pumpkin covered hay stacks! You can't dream it up!! 

Hello pumpkins!!

Ella got stuck right in and loved picking her own right out of the patch! She even pulled up a Turnip too, just to throw a bit of Scottish tradition in there as well! 

and there were plenty of photo-ops to keep mommy happy too! 

It was an awesome morning, followed by a little boat trip across the Lake of Monteith thanks to our friend very kindly lending us her Historic Scotland passes - thanks Katie!! Mainly because we needed somewhere nearby to walk Milo, but I was so happy to stumble across it! Ella was super excited to ride the boat...

and the little Island we explored once we hopped off the boat was so pretty! 

and Ella was crazy for all the acorn collecting she could do there - her pockets had never been so stuffed! 

We finished off an action packed day in Stirlingshire by visiting Stirling Castle itself.  I'm kind of embarrassed to admit I never actually went there when I lived in Stirling...because even if you're not a lover of history, check out those views from the top! 

and what 2 year old doesn't want to dress up like a queen/princess!! 

Monkey enjoyed exploring the grounds too! Everything is so beautifully kept! 

and a final peek at those views, and of these two who make my heart so full!

Then it was on to Halloween Hoopla!

Since the summer she had been talking about trick or treating, and about how she was going to be a minion! So we made that little dream of hers come true! 

and look how cute she was trick or treating with her friends! Our neighbourhood really goes all out (for the UK anyway!) and they got into the full swing of running excitedly between each house and picking their haul! 

The funny thing is Ella doesn't actually like 'sweets' so mommy and daddy ended up eating most of what was in her bucket anyway! but she did enjoy the chocolates! 

We also did our traditional 'scary-crow trail' in the villages of Ford and Etal across the border in Northumberland.  

They really make an effort, and while last year was mostly for me it was nice to see Ella getting so involved this year with her little friend Skye! 

The river in Ford always makes for such a picturesque spot, especially with all the autumn colours! 

We added a new step to the tradition this year - finishing off the fun with a free ice cream at The Milk Bar in Wooler! We always want to try this place but are usually driving past it on a Sunday after weekends away down south so have never had the chance before! When I saw they were offering a free ice cream for kids in fancy dress it was a done deal! The girls were delighted, and after finding a pumpkin spice ice cream flavour I was even more excited than them! It was a great little day out!

The biggest highlight of autumn...and probably even the year was our mini break to Pitlochry with our friends Charli and Hayden.  I had been dying to go there ever since I had seen Charli and Hayden's pictures when they had been there the previous autumn - the colours looked unreal, and I knew I had to experience it for myself! We had been talking about going for a while, but it was looking like it was going to be pricey and then unexpectedly Air bnb threw some free travel credit our way and next minute we were booked and off on our adventure! 

When this was the view that greeted us as we arrived in Pitlochry I knew all my dreams had come true! The colours surpassed even my own high expectations! 

This carpet of leaves under a tunnel of golden Birch was everything!

We always have the best adventures with Charli and Hayden!

I made Hayden pull over just so I could capture this view...because my Larch loving self could not have been happier!!

Even our Air bnb happened to be situated in some Estate and so there were some awesome woods we explored early one morning and the views there were amazing too!

We checked out the Hermitage after my friend Katie recommended it to us and it was one of the best places I've ever been in the UK!

 Seriously stunning beauty around every corner you walked! Even if it hadn't have been autumn, the broadleaf trees there are some of the hugest I've seen this side of the pond!

It was awesome! 

and a sunny blue sky day the next day in Dunkeld made us all leave wishing we lived in Perthshire! That place just has the best views! 

I'm thinking we need to make it a yearly thing - I cannot wait to go back! 

We finished off the weekend the best way that Ella knows how...stopping at a little ice cream farm!

and she even got to check out the animals and ever so friendly goats! 

In November we got to celebrate authentic Thanksgiving with our American friend Jeana! Can you tell Ella was excited about that?! 

Jeana had made props and her and Ella retold us the story of Thanksgiving! 

and then it was time for a game of pin the feathers on the turkey!

Jeana had cooked us up a feast, and even pumpkin pie - because everyone knows it's not Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie! I made rolo stuffed caramel cookie sandwiches because you can never have enough dessert! It was such a fun night!

and we spent an amazing fun filled weekend with my friends Tash and Lucy from Uni who came to visit us along with Dave and Aman and the gorgeous baby Oscar! 

I snapped some pictures for them - how adorable can one baby get?! 

Ella was thrilled to be spoilt with so much love! 

and we all loved checking out the festive treats and lights of Edinburgh!

We enjoyed a chilly but beautiful leafy walk around Bowmont! and warmed up back at ours with some chocolate peanut butter cup cream pie! We are already planning our next weekend together! 

That was a busy autumn! So glad I didn't skip it by!


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