Autumnal Llamas

So after a fun packed weekend in London last week and catching up with lovely friends all this week, we decided to have a slightly more chilled weekend in Bristol.

Friday night was so domesticated, after food shopping… yep rock and roll… I made a humungous vat of chilli using a new mince I found when shopping called Lean & Bean. It’s a mixture of beef and haricot beans (60%/40%) and actually counts towards 1 of your 5 a day. It was so tasty! And only contains 4% fat and is much higher in protein than normal mince beef. I’ll be living off that for quite a while I think.

Saturday we decided to venture armed with cameras to Westonbirt, The National Arboretum. I was totally unprepared for the sheer scale and beauty of the place. It’s home to over 15,000 species of tree which are all handily labelled for the geeks out there like me. The grounds were established by Robert Halford, the Victorian owner, in the 1850’s. And is now managed by the Forestry Commission.  At first we thought we’d arrived too early for Autumn colours but we were soon proved wrong, and the sun made an appearance just at the right time. I got snap happy and took a total of 190 photos! I won’t bore you to death with them all so here are a few of my favourites. The second one is by far my favourite and couldn’t actually believe how well it came out. And yes, I am skipping in the third from last…

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These are all the unedited versions straight from my camera. The colours of some of the trees are insane and almost look like they’re painted on in some sort of Alice in Wonderland style.

They have recently installed a tree top walkway which does exactly what it says on the tin and gives you a whole different photography perspective on the place. It costs £6.00 for students to go in and £9.00 for regular adults for entry September – November. The fees reduce to £4.00 and £6.00 respectively during December-February. The money goes to cover the huge upkeep of the grounds. There are various trails and walkways all the way round with excellent disabled access. As well as a variety of cafes and places to eat.

You do have to be patient to get shots, especially around early afternoon. It’s very popular with visitors and attracts around 400,000 annually. But as the day went on it got much quieter. We were there for 4 hours and only covered about half of the place, they provide handy maps when you arrive so we headed straight to the most colourful areas. We’re planning to go back in Spring as apparently the magnolia, rhododendron and azalea displays are spectacular. And I really want to see the rest of the grounds!

If you have some spare time coming up I’d definitely recommend a visit, as it’s been so mild, the autumn colours are only just beginning to show and are far from their peak yet.

Once we were home, I had an awful IBS flare up. For the 4th time this week. So was in my cosy pyjamas by 8:30pm watching Netflix and writing. My llama supporter took care of dinner, chicken and pan fried seasonal vegetables, whilst I was at full drama llama levels. I sulked and watched a documentary called ‘Advanced Style’ on Netflix.

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It’s about a man in New York who photographs fashionable ladies in their more senior years for his blog. Which has been such a huge success he now has two books out and this documentary. I’m already a massive fan of Iris Apfel, the 95 year old fashion icon, interior designer and business woman, so this was right up my street. There is also a documentary on Netflix solely about Iris too. These ladies embrace every moment and every day is a fashion show, I really hope I have even half the life and soul they have when I’m their age.

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Sunday was the ultimate lazy day, lounged round in my cosy pyjamas all morning then went to Tesco to buy ingredients for a Victoria sponge. As I felt like turning my hoof to some gluten free baking! I also caught up on last nights Strictly whilst cooking and llama supporter watched the football in the living room.

I used gluten free plain flour as unfortunately they didn’t have any self raising in stock. To make it rise I used baking powder (the one I used you put 3 teaspoons of baking powder in for every 8oz of plain flour into your mix). The mixture came together quite thick so I added a splash of lactose free milk to loosen it before I put it in the tins. The baking powder didn’t disappoint, the cake came out very tall! But so light and fluffy! I sandwiched the two cakes together with raspberry jam and vanilla buttercream icing. Then topped it with fresh strawberries and raspberries. So far my most successful gluten free bake to date!

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We then vegetated on the sofa in front of the TV for a while back in cosy pyjamas after far too much cake! My llama supporter caught up on Casey Neistat videos and I finished writing this!

Next weekend it’s back to London for a vintage fair and hopefully some autumnal walks armed with my cameras.

Once again thank you so much for taking the time to read this!

K x

 

 

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