Day Trip to Dartmoor

I love to explore in nature. I love the sound of a river or stream, I love the smell of the trees and the grass, I love the feel of the wind in my hair, and the sunlight dappling the leaves (ever is slightly– I am an autumn girl after all).

At the beginning of this year I decided I wanted to act on my desire to explore the area more; I wanted to get out into nature, I wanted to have picnics, I wanted to take day trips to nearby spots of beauty.

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Dartmoor is beautiful. A vast moorland, Dartmoor National Park is a place full of ponies, craggy landscape, rivers, forests and winding trails (according to www.dartmoor.gov.uk), so how could I resist?

My parents in law, my husband and myself bundled up into the car, just as the rain began to fall lightly, in a way that it only does in our part of Devon. We drove from our village, through those winding country lanes, to Dartmeet, where we stretched our legs, admired the soothing quality of the stream, and delighted in the ponies wandering about, completely ignoring the few humans that intruded on their patch of the Devon countryside.

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Dartmeet is the meeting of two parts of the River Dart, east Dart and west Dart. There is an ancient road bridge, which was built in the late 1700s, and a handy car park. It was blessedly quiet, apart from a man that had fallen into the river (changing sheepishly by his car, beside his smirking daughter), and a couple of others walking boisterous dogs. We drove further through the trees, until the land levelled out onto the wilder stretches of land, and stopped at a conveniently placed ice cream van on the way.

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Both the view and the ice cream were breathtakingly stunning (I really like ice cream, OK?), and it made me consider just how lucky I would feel if I lived on the door step of this wild beauty. My husband and I added it to the possible move list over dinner at Bistro Pierre (Royal William Yard, Plymouth).

I hope in the summer we can return with a picnic.

New Years Resolutions

I am a big believer in the power of a new day, a new week, a new year, and a crisp, blank page of a notebook unsullied by any ink or thoughts. So it won’t come as any surprise that I love taking the time between Christmas and New Year to write out my resolutions for the year ahead, and getting started on them as soon as I can.

I wanted to share my NYRs with you here, and hold myself accountable by updating you on my progress throughout the year…

  1. Unfollow anyone on social media that is posting about diets/eating clean etc. This is the first year in about 14 years that I haven’t started the new year on some diet.
  2. Have a shower and get dressed everyday. I’ve been living the pyjama lifestyle for too long…
  3. Eat dinner at the table with my husband.
  4. Pay off my credit card by the end of 2019.
  5. Complete and pass AAT Foundation Certificate in Bookkeeping.
  6. Make exercise a part of my daily life.
  7. Move to forever home.
  8. Have a glow up.
  9. Publish 100 blog posts on Country Made Girl.
  10. Start a feelings/creativity journal.
  11. Complete the second year of my five year memory journal.
  12. Go for a smear test.
  13. Change over to my married name once we move. I got married in 2014, so I really should have myself together now, but there you go…
  14. Go back to my ginger roots.
  15. Do a style overhaul. This might take a little time to save up the money, and find pieces that will become a part of my new capsule wardrobe.
  16. Get new glasses.
  17. Make time for my spirituality every day.
  18. Get my ears pierced.
  19. Get a tattoo. (Yes, I agree, I am probably having a mid-life crisis…)
  20. Finish writing that novel I have been working on, and find an agent.
  21. Start posting daily on Instagram.
  22. Start posting daily on Twitter.
  23. Try mochi. Blame the ASMR videos I watch at night on Instagram…
  24. Switch to eco pads.
  25. Make a new friend.
  26. Read and review all young adult books on the blog.
  27. Do mensa/IQ test.
  28. Write more poems.

 

Some of my resolutions are bigger, or more important than others, but I like to have ‘silly’ or smaller resolutions in with the bigger ones because I want to build momentum to keep going with them, and I also like to have fun.

What are your NYRs this year? What is your smallest, or most fun one?

A Bookworm’s Travel Bucket List

Hello, my name is Ashleigh and I am a bookworm. From a young age I found solace, hope and excitement, living in the pages of my favourite books, and apart from a short period of time in my life, I have never left the comfort of my favourite characters minds, hearts or shoes.

As we approach the end of the year, my mind naturally turns to what I want to do next year, and one of my prospective New Years resolutions is to travel more, and this time, not just in the pages of my books.

So here is a humble bookworm’s travel bucket list…

  1. Jane Austen Centre, Bath UK. Irony of all ironies that with Jane Austen’s dislike of Bath (along with Anne Elliot’s…) this small city should become the home of her work. One of my favourite books, Persuasion takes place, partly, in Bath, and as a past resident I was always excited to be able to go to places that were significant in the book, and think of her sullenly gracing the streets of Bath decades before I was doing the same. Despite these facts, I would love to return to Bath for a visit, seeing it with the eager eyes of a tourist, and visit the Jane Austen Centre for the first time…
  2. Bronte Parsonage Museum, Haworth, Yorkshire UK. Jane Eyre is one of my favourite novels, in much the same way for me as Persuasion; featuring a beaten down woman that is just in need of sunlight and a little watering for her to bloom. I also read Wuthering Heights, and some poems, and fell in love with the dramatic writing style of their time. It was only a few years ago that I discovered there was a museum, and since then I have wanted to go and experience the wilds of the Yorkshire countryside, as well as the Bronte Parsonage Museum. Everyone pray my husband reads this far and starts making these trips happen, OK?
  3. Beatrix Potter’s Home, Hill Top, Cumbria UK. Since I was a little girl I was delighted and entranced by the stories and the illustrations of Beatrix Potter’s books. The Tales of Tom Kitten, Jemima Puddle-duck and, of course, Peter Rabbit. Kittens and rabbits wearing clothes? I’m all here for it. Ducks with attitude problems? Delusions of grandeur? Yes, yes, yes. I think it’s this girlhood fascination with her work that makes me want to visit Hill Top so much, and hopefully be inspired by the idyllic setting.
  4. Harry Potter Studio Tour, London UK. Again. I went a couple of years ago, having received the tickets for Christmas from my husband, and I loved it. I would love to go again, now that Privet Drive is a part of the set (no longer just the door), and since the Forbidden Forest part was put in. I will also need to take about £100 of spending money (at least). Of course, I know this is very much linked to the films instead of the books, but how could I write a bookworm’s travel bucket list and not include Harry Potter?
  5. Lacock Abbey, Lacock, UK. Lacock Abbey featured in the Harry Potter films as part of the grounds of Hogwarts, and is such a beautiful location, that it has a place on my list. Lacock is near Bath, so I would have to combine this with a trip to Bath, but I think Hogwarts would be a worthy detour…
  6. Shreveport, Louisiana, USA. OK, so this might not happen in the next few months, but ever since I read the Sookie Stackhouse novels, which is the series the TV show True Blood was loosely based on, I have wanted to take a visit. I think when you spend so much time in a novel that features in a real place, it’s natural to long to go there, and overlap your imagination and the writer’s imagination with the real thing.

Is there anywhere that you want to visit from a book? What influences your travel bucket list?