Mother Shipton’s Cave and Knaresborough

Mother Shipton

Mother Shipton is England’s most famous prophetess. As well as making traditional remedies she had the gift of foretelling the future.Known to locals as a witch, because of her rather large crooked nose and bent back, she earned her living by telling the future of those that paid for her words.

Ursula (Mother) Shipton was born, on the night of a terrifying storm, in a cave on the banks of the River Nidd in Knaresborough in 1488. As Ursula grew up she studied the forest, the flowers and herbs that were growing around her and she began to make remedies and potions with them.

The Prophecies

Mother Shipton foretold many predictions, some of them more famous than others are as follows:

Carriages without horses shall go,
And accidents fill the world with woe.
Around the world thoughts shall fly,

In the twinkling of an eye.
Said to predict cars, telephones, internet, satellites and planes.

Under water men shall walk,
Shall ride sleep shall talk:
In the air men shall be seen,
In white, in black and in green.

Said to predict, submarines, hot-air balloons or planes.

She is also said to have foretold the Black Death of 1665 and the Great Fire of London.

Whether she existed or not is perhaps not really important, but she leaves behind a cave and one of England's oldest tourist attraction, which people have been visiting since 1630.

The Walk

Mother Shipton’s cave is a wonderful place to visit. With a children’s play area, beautifully landscaped areas to picnic in, wonderful carvings among the trees and of coarse the cave and petrifying well, there is plenty of things to see and do for all ages.

The park is unique and unspoilt. As you enter through the visitors entrance you are instantly drawn to how beautiful the landscape is and drawn into the natural beauty of the surroundings. Once you pay your entry fee, you are given a wristband. This entitles you to entry into Mother Shipton all day long, so if you exit at the end of the walk and go across the bridge to visit the Castle, you can gain entry again with the wristband. Before visiting the cave and petrifying well, you walk along the mile long Sir Henry Slingsby’s Walk, which runs along the bank of the River Nidd.

Walk along the River Nidd to Mother Shiptons Cave
Sir Henry Slingsby Walk

Witches and Wizards

Throughout the year Mother Shipton’s attraction runs events and we were lucky enough to visit whilst they were holding the Witches and Wizards; a transformation into a mystical and magical event for all of the family. Where we visited the Wuthering Woodland, got sorted into a school house and met magic teachers. The boys got given a trail to follow and had to tick off certain things that they did along the route. The best of all had to be the sorting hat, where the boys got sorted into a house. Once all of the lessons that included Flying and Potions were completed they were awarded with a certificate of graduation to be a qualified Wizard!

Apart from the Witches and Wizardry event there are plenty of sights to see along the route.

Sir Henry Slingsby Walk

The first would be the first bridge that you come across. This is the bridge that Mother Shipton had said “The world shall end when the High Bridge is thrice fallen” It has already fallen twice! eek!

Carrying on you will pass by the oldest building in Knaresborough, just across the River, The Old Manor House. You will then pass under the magnificent Viaducts which was built for the Railway.

As you walk along you will hear the roaring of water as you pass by the castle mill and weir. This place once made the finest linen in the country, but now it is luxury riverside apartments.

Knaresborough Castle mill and weir

The pathway leads up to an adventure playground on the right and some fallen down tree trunks that people can hammer in their pennies for good luck.

Surrounding the Sir Henry Slingsby Walk are some magnificent tall trees that are possibly over three hundred years old. As you walk through the tree lined pathway you get the sense of mystery but calmness. Although these spiders are quite creepy.

Mother Shipton

It’s not long until you pass by the natural underground lake, this is the spring that provides the well with its magical waters.

The natural lake is about a mile underground. As the water comes to the surface it travels along a narrow and of porous rock called ‘aquifer’ and a huge amount of minerals are dissolved. Which is just right for turning objects into stone. Following some steps down and passing through some doors we soon stood in amazement as we saw the petrifying well doing its magic by turning everything it touches into stone.

For many centuries people believed that the well had healing powers and they used to carry their sick/dying relatives across the water in order for the magical, mystical waters to miraculously cure them.

The boys and I spent most of our time here, just watching the water fall down into the well. We were mesmerised by the natural beauty of it. I think we saw every shade of green going.

Behind the petrifying Well there is a wishing well, that is said that if you place your right hand into the water and make a wish then it will come true. We placed our hands into the cold, fresh water and made our wishes. You can not wish for money and obviously if you tell it to anyone it won’t come true.

Wishing well at mother shiptons cave
Making a wish

To the right of the wells is the cave itself. Looking around the cold, grim cave Its hard to believe that once a young woman gave birth to a baby in it and that baby would then make this place her home and sanctuary.

At the back of the cave is Mother Shipton herself

A statue of what Mother Shipton is believed to look like

Could imagine what it was like to spend your days in the dark, surrounded by the cold stone?

Once exiting the cave and well area, you can go back the way you came in or continue to end of the walk which is where the Museum and gift shop is located. Inside you can see a selection of items that have been petrified by the well and turned into stone.

I visited Mother Shipton cave and well as a child with my family and it has always been a place that, if visiting Yorkshire, I would take my boys back to experience. Mother Shipton’s is situated along the banks of the River Nidd in Knaresborough. The town is a beauty in itself and really makes a great day out for all ages. The area is unique and unspoilt and I have never seen anywhere so picturesque as here.

It is definitely a place that, hopefully, we will be visiting again.

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BBC ANNOUNCE MORE TOP NAMES FOR ITS FIRST EVER FAMILY FESTIVAL

Taking place on August 3 to 5 at Croxteth Country Park in Liverpool, CBBC Summer Social is the biggest ever kids event, and the only festival to give 6-12year old’s and their families a unique lineup of CBBC favourites, alongside a host of international music acts including Union J, Johnny Orlando, Matt Terry and Mackenzie Ziegler.

CBBC Summer Social is being organised in partnership with Liverpool City Council and forms part of Liverpool 2018 – a year of projects marking a decade since Liverpool was European Capital of Culture.

Max and Harvey, Sophia Grace, KIDZ BOP and more were recently added to the line up.  Having previously announced a range of international music acts including Union J, Johnny Orlando, Mackenzie Ziegler and Matt Terry alongside CBBC favourites Mr Tumble, Swashbuckle’s Cook and Line, Andy Day, and Sam and Mark, to name a few, brand new festival CBBC Summer Social has added a second wave of incredible artists to an already jam-packed line-up.

Needing no introduction, teen music sensations Max and Harvey, who’s refreshingly fun and authentic sound has connected with listeners across the globe racking up over four million followers on social media, have been announced for the festival. Having previously been nominated for “Muser of the Year” at the 2017 Shorty Awards which garnered over 6million total views, the singer songwriter duo’s performance is guaranteed to be a festival highlight.

Speaking about their appearance at the event, Max and Harvey said: “We are so excited to announce we’ll be heading to Liverpool this summer with CBBC!! The line-up this year is crazy; Johnny Orlando, Sophia Grace, plus so many more, and we can’t wait to see our fans. It’s going to be a legendary weekend!”

Other acts announced include online star, Sophia Grace who has three million followers on YouTube, kids’ music phenomena, KIDZ BOP, and popular Britain’s Got Talent dance act, Merseygirls, who’s energetic stage show will certainly not be one to miss.

Also joining the bill is the world famous BBC Philharmonic who will be bringing a full orchestra to the event, introducing a young audience to classical pieces in a family friendly setting.

West End and Broadway hit, Shrek the Musical, has also been added to the bill.  The theatre adaption with a feisty Princess, a lovestruck Dragon and all the charm of an Ogre. Preformances are sure to bring the magic of the big screen.

Set against the historic backdrop of the Grade II listed Croxteth Country Park, revelers can expect the very best of CBBC programming including immersive activity zones, theatre shows, interactive and inspiring art workshops, top class musical experiences, cool outdoor and sporting activates, junior discos, themed treasure hunts, gaming areas, character walkabouts, vlogger meet and greets, live appearances from the most popular children’s authors and much, much more.

Early Bird Tickets are on sale priced from £28*. To purchase tickets and for more information visit bbc.co.uk/cbbcsummersocial

*Please note, all ticket prices are per day. Booking & Transaction fees apply.

Line-up

Friday 3rd August

Featuring: Andy Day, Art Ninja, Bars & Melody, BBC Music Introducing in BBC Merseyside, Ben Shires, Clangers, Everton in the Community, Go Jetters Disco, Got What It Takes, Hacker T Dog, Johnny Orlando, Liverpool Football Club Foundation, Liverpool LIMF, Mackenzie Ziegler, Mr Tumble, Naomi Wilkinson, Opera North, The Pets Factor, Sam & Mark, Saturday Mash-Up!, The Next Step, Worst Witch. Yolanda Brown and more to be announced.

Saturday 4th August

Featuring: Andy Day, Art Ninja, Bars & Melody, BBC Music Introducing in BBC Merseyside, Ben Shires, Clangers, Everton in the Community, Go Jetters Disco, Got What It Takes, Hacker T Dog, Johnny Orlando, Liverpool Football Club Foundation, Liverpool LIMF, Mackenzie Ziegler, Mr Tumble, Naomi Wilkinson, Opera North, The Pets Factor, Royal Albert Hall, Sam & Mark, Saturday Mash-Up!, Swashbuckle, The Next Step, Union J, Worst Witch, Yolanda Brown and more to be announced.

Sunday 5th August

Featuring: Andy Day, Art Ninja, Bars & Melody, BBC Music Introducing in BBC Merseyside, Ben Shires, Clangers, Everton in the Community, Go Jetters Disco, Got What It Takes, Hacker T Dog, Johnny Orlando, Liverpool Football Club Foundation, Liverpool LIMF, Mackenzie Ziegler, Matt Terry, Mr Tumble, Naomi Wilkinson, Opera North, The Pets Factor, Sam & Mark, Saturday Mash-Up!, Swashbuckle, The Next Step, Worst Witch, Yolanda Brown and more to be ann

 

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Beeleigh Falls- Essex Walks

Beeleigh falls is one of the best kept secrets of Essex. A series of platforms, falls and locks, where the river Chelmer and Blackwater meet.

It’s no Niagara but it is definitely a little bit of paradise in Essex.

Last weekend, the family and I went along to explore the area. Nanny lives very close and although we have heard of the place we have never actually been there.

The sun was shining and we wanted to take the boys out for a long walk, so we headed on over to The Blackwater Rail Trail. A route that takes you along the old disused Witham to Maldon Railway Track. After walking along through the trees for about 20 minutes, we noticed on the map that we was close to Beeleigh Falls. Having no idea what it was that we were heading towards but the boys wanted to explore, we decided to make a detour.

We followed the path through Elms Farm Park, alongside the lake, where we saw the cutest dogs cooling down from the heat of the sun swimming in the lake.

We soon saw a sign for Beeleigh Locks pointing over a very old bridge.

The bridge crossed over the Chelmer and Bridgewater Navigation. The views down the river were beautiful. It was so green and peaceful.

Walking alongside the Golf Course we soon came to the first lock

Walking along the river brought back memories of when I was a child and walking along the canals where we used to live in Yorkshire.

Our afternoon leisurely stroll was turning out to be a perfect day out.

Just past the first lock and we could soon hear the gushing noise coming from the falls/weir.

We was greeted by the such beauty. Who would have thought that this natural delight was hiding behind the busy roads of Maldon, roads that we use all the time.

The water glistened as the sun shone down onto it. Reflections of trees and wild shrubs looked back at us as the gentle breeze rustled in the trees. There was every shade of green on the spectrum. It was calm and peaceful.

A perfect end to a countryside walk.

We have definitely found a new favourite place to visit in the future.

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Luxury Chocolate Workshop with Red Letter Days – Review

*****Warning – this post contains the word ‘chocolate’*****

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A couple of weeks ago I was invited along to a chocolate making and tasting workshop by Red Letter Days at My Chocolate. The event was being held at My Chocolate Shoreditch, London. Although, they do have other venues available in London, Brighton and Manchester.

The workshop was ran by two chocolate connoisseurs, one who did all of the demonstrating and one who was preparing the chocolate and utensils for us chocoholics to use on our chocolate making.

I arrived fashionably late due to travel problems, so when by the time I had arrived they were already 20 minutes into the first part of the evening, which was preparing your very own indulgent chocolate martini. I was greeted at the door and was directed to the sink where I washed my hands first and then shown to a table where a few of the other attendees had already began creating the martinis. I believe that were shown a technique called ‘wagging the tail’ where they used a spoon to drizzle melted chocolate over the martini glass to decorate it before mixing up the chocolate vodka in a shaker.

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It tastes as nice as it looked. Very much like Irish Cream. They were creamy, rich and one could definitely drink one after another. What a treat! Very much-needed after the train journey I had just encountered. The smell of indulgent chocolate wafted around the room

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Whilst we gulped sipped at our chocolate cocktails, we all stood around the demonstration desk and watched how to make our very own oil infused large chocolate button.

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We was guided on how to place the chocolate onto the paper and how to infuse it with flavoured oil.  The chocolatiers made a huge milk chocolate heart decorated with dark chocolate, using the ‘wagging the tail’ technique again and then using the other end of the spoon to create a marble effect. The expert made it look so easy!

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Back to the tables we went, ready to create our own masterpiece. I chose to make a four-leaf clover and infused it with lemongrass oil. The oil is very strong and only a couple of drops is needed to add the taste to the chocolate. It was very hard, but I resisted, not to lick the spoon, as we was going to be using them again to do the marbling

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I chose dark chocolate, as that is my favourite – the darker the better! The marbling wasn’t as easy as it looked. I think my finished button looked a bit like a toddlers drawing rather than an exquisite chocolate, it was definitely authentic and handmade.

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By now, the only evidence of our chocolate vodkas was the empty glasses on the table. They were soon replaced with a glass of prosecco.

Once we had made our chocolate slab, we was ready to move on to the next part of the workshop, Truffle making. Now I have attempted to make truffles at home before as presents for the children’s teachers and they were a nightmare to make, I had cocoa all over me. So, I was looking forward to this part of the workshop to find out where I went wrong.

We was shown how to make them first by the expert chocolatiers and a helper from the other attendees and then we was sent back to our tables. For this part of the workshop we had to get into pairs.

Firstly you mix the chocolate with double cream, stirring it quite rigorously until it starts to set and become thicker – this is your Ganache. Then you place it into a piping bag ready to pipe out little chocolate slugs or wizard hats on the parchment paper. Once all of the ganache has finished, you wait for them harden.

This part of the workshop brought lots of giggles to the table as we quickly became aware that out little chocolate ganache slugs looked more like little emoji poops. Although, It didn’t matter what they looked like at this point as they were soon to be moulded into truffles.

Once we got the hang of how to hold and pipe the bag, it was quite easy.

And once they were all done, our glasses got topped up by the very nice lady at My Chocolate with Yet more prosecco

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The evening was definitely activating our tastes buds – chocolate and booze!

The chocolatiers tutor was what really made the experience enjoyable, she was fun, humorous, interactive and full of chocolate knowledge.

Whilst we waited for the Ganache to set we was treated to a talk about the history of chocolate and how it is made. We also got to taste 90% chocolate. We was tested on our taste bud knowledge of recognising dark or milk chocolate and taught on how to feel and smell the quality of a chocolate. High quality chocolate should smell strongly of chocolate and the texture should not be gritty or waxy.

The sound that your chocolate makes when snapped is a good indication of the quality of it. Good chocolate has a clean, crisp, sharp snap when broken and milk chocolate tends to bend, because it contains more sugar and milk

After our little fun lesson in chocolate it was time to get dirty with the truffle making. On the tables was a selection of topping to decorate our truffles with; honeycomb, cocoa powder, coconut, salt, raspberry swirls, white chocolate swirls and berry dust.

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This was definitely the time to get creative, release the chocolate demon in you and dig in. First we rolled our ganache into a ball, then coated them in some cacao powder and then dipped them into more chocolate. Before they set I added some of the toppings. Some of our ganaches were a little on the small side so I added two together and at the same time pressed in some raspberry dust and salt into the middle as a surprise when bitten into.

We made quite a mess of our table

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But it was most definitely a sign of a good time. I really enjoyed the whole evening. We got to wrap up our chocolate creations in some cellophane and ribbon to take home. My chocolate goodies didn’t last long once I arrived home as they were eaten by all in the house. the chocolates were mouth-watering and tastes as good as they smelled

The whole experience lasts for about 2 1/2 hours . It’s a great gift for someone who loves chocolate or even as a hen party. I may add that we did not prepare the chocolate- temper it, as that process takes a while. We did the decorating and producing of the truffles, buttons and martini.

Currently priced at £98 for two people on Red Letter Days Website

I was invited along for the purpose of this post, no payment has been received

 

 

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Wind in the Willows Trail at Hanningfield Reservoir-Days out in Essex

Wind in the Willows is a children’s classic novel about small animals who spend their summer days boating on quiet rivers, going on picnics with large hampers of food and being lost in the wild woods. It’s fun, adventurous and very British- A classic tale of river life and friendship.

The novels begin with Mole, a peace-loving little animal, who decides to leave his burrow after being bored with doing his spring cleaning. He ventures down to river bank and soon meets brave Ratty, grumpy Badger and an unruly Toad.

Children and adults love Wind in the Willows as it represents a quintessential British summer. We all want to stroll down by the river, picnic on the banks, sail down the river in a boat and set out on journeys full of fun and adventure.

At Hanningfield Reservoir you can follow in Mole’s footsteps, follow the trail and discover the characters from the Wind in the Willows.

The boys love a bit of excitement and anything that’s gets them out within nature. They love trekking through woods going on adventures.

With a map in one hand and a crayon in the other they were ready to go off and search for the wooden sculptures hidden within the woods of Hanningfield.

The maps and crayons are available at the visitors centre for £1.

As soon as we had left the car and headed on over to the visitors centre they were greeted by the beautiful wildlife garden, which is the home to Ratty’s boat and Toad’s caravan.

Inside Toad’s caravan

After a little stroll around the peaceful garden we headed on over to purchase our maps. We were given a crayon too as next to every wooden sculpture there is brass rubbing squares that you can create a rubbing from on the back of your map.

The boys used their map reading skills to follow the trail and lead us to the fun, life-size characters that were numbered on the map. Teaching them navigation skills and direction.

I love watching the boys working together as they are normally squabbling with each other.

They were so excited when they found the first one set within the trees. Once they found the character they could also read the description about each animal under the square that you used fort he rubbing. Not only were the children having fun but they were also learning facts about the animals as they went.

As we walked along we also made our way over to Lyster Hide, where we could look out over the reservoir and watch the birds fly over or swim on the water.

The first on the trail was Badger

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Second was The Weasels

Third was Mole

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Fourth was Ratty

wiw ratty

And last was speedy Toad

wiw toad

There were also other sculptures to see that had mini beasts carved into them and picnic benches to sit down and eat your lunch at.

The whole adventure took us just over an hour, we didn’t rush around and spent time just enjoying each others company and the woods that surrounded us.

It was a lovely day out and would definitely recommend it. Parking is free but no cycling or dogs are allowed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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