Derbyshire is really not too far from home for us, so we went tootling off there with a couple of friends for the weekend. We stayed here for BandB and received a real welcome in the cold and dark - a roaring log fire, squashy sofas, bouncy big puppy and our host even laid on Scotland beating Australia at rugby! What more could we ask.
We'd spent a rather damp day at Chatsworth, but escaped the rain by touring the house, which was decorated lavishly for Christmas on the theme of candles and a Hans Christian Andersen fairytale. Here's some grainy photos which will help inspire your own Christmas decorations, no doubt!
As luck would have it, they were also having their Christmas market that day and if we had so chosen, we could have staggered up the length of the stalls drinking mulled wine, cider, eating award-winning sausages and Bakewell tart (more of than anon). One absolutely delightful stall (called Made in the Shed, but no web/shop link available sadly) were having their first outing. I adored everything the talented ladies had made: they had sourced some fabulous fabrics and made lovable big bunnies and teddies, dreamy romantic hearts of every kind and irresistibly tempting goodies of all sorts. I just had to make a purchase and (here I go again...) tell them that they were not charging enough for their goods. They all agreed that they had had sleepless nights worrying about how to price and insisted that it was impossible to charge realistically for their time. I have seen things not nearly so charming in CL and other magazines which are priced way way higher. Hmm, more food for thought! Anyway, not sure I can show my purchase to you, as it might be a pressie!
We must go back to Chatsworth, in the dry, so that we can spend some time walking around the extensive grounds and admiring the fountains and water features - but the main 'water feature' on Saturday was descending from the leaden skies. So we took off for Bakewell in search of Tart. And we certainly found some here! It's a tiny little place, behind the bakery, but it had the most mouthwatering Bakewell Tart in the world and worth a 2 hour journey just for that alone! But, no need, they'll even post them to you at home....
And, to my joy, Bakewell has some fantastic little independent shops and even in the pouring rain and dark, we had a delightful time dashing from doorway to doorway exploring. My favourite was Chalet home, which was a little cottage packed with Scandinavian and French things, all decked out for Christmas and smelling divine. More purchases made, I'm afraid!
I'm going to skip very quickly over the fantastic steak pie and great pint of beer we had at The George in Alstonefield in the evening - we all completely overdid the consumption, being full of Bakewell Tart already! And then Sunday with a Full English Breakfast at the BandB, the only thing for it was a walk from Milldale to Dovedale and back (in the rain) along the valley of the river Dove. Only five or so miles, so not nearly enough to walk off all the weekend's calories, but we got rosy cheeks and felt slightly less guilty!