I love living in the city, everything is so close by, there are so many options when it comes to coffee shops, restaurants and bars and you never run out of things to do… unless you’re broke (LOL). However there just aren’t enough green spaces in Manchester so we decided to take a break away from city life and head off on a road trip to the Lakes ‘n’ Dales to explore the countryside and get some much needed fresh air. 

Our plan? To stay 2 nights in an incredibly cosy and homely cottage in Low Bentham, pull on our walking boots, clip in the dogs lead and discover some stunning walks.

On the way from Manchester to Low Betham we stopped off at Williamson Park, Lancaster. It’s known for the iconic Ashton Memorial based in the middle of 54 acres of park land. The weather may have helped but the park was beautiful with huge open spaces, a butterfly house (which we couldn’t go in with the dog), Meerkats (which we spotted In an enclosure whilst walking through the woods), a café and shop. So it pretty much has everything you would need to spend a day there along with a couple of kids play parks… and a few elderly ladies with dogs on their electric scooters. We must have walked for just under 2 hours, exploring the memorial, trekking through the woods and strolling through the open park land with the frozen over lake.

From there we made our way to the cottage in Low Bentham, just at the Edge of the Yorkshire Dales. We wanted somewhere to stay that was in-keeping with our rural weekend. So the box was ticked when we came across ‘Sunnybrook cottage’, a renovated 2 bed stone cottage with a wood burning fire, incredibly beautiful open stone feature wall and private garden and parking/garage.  
The photos on the Airbnb don’t do the cottage justice but what I also didn’t expect was a surprise planned 3 course dinner made up of my favourite meals which my boyfriend had planned for our anniversary and the host, Rebecca had kindly made from scratch ready for us to prepare. Along with this was a bottle of prosecco, fresh bread from the local bakery and home-made plum jam which was delicious! The thoughtful touches from the host definitely made our stay that extra bit special! 

Our plan for our first day was a trip to Windermere to meet up with a friend for a pup-date. We took a mini hike up to Orrest Head Hill with the dogs which has incredible views of Windermere on a clear day. We then went to visit the Laura Ashley Hotel which is stunning, dog friendly outside and has the most incredible view across the lake however, as it’s winter there was unfortunately no seating outside for us to get afternoon tea! Luckily the great thing about Windermere is that as it’s such a dog walking tourist town, a lot of pubs and cafes are dog friendly so we stopped off at The Angel Inn just at the top of a hill. Dog friendly both inside and outside and serves a mean ass sandwich

After a mini hike and lunch in Windermere we then took a 25 minute car ride out to Sizergh Castle Estate, a National Trust stately home and gardens at Helsington, Cumbria. Rather than exploring the gardens (dogs aren’t allowed in the house) we took the nature trail which led us over incredible wide open fields, across a farm, through a quiet woodland, across a sheep path and up into the hills with incredible views. The estate also has a café and shop so again is another great place to spend the day. There are multiple walks which you can pretty much get lost and still end up on another trail. 

After exploring the quaint town of Low Bentham we wanted to find somewhere on the way back to Manchester where we could finish our long weekend away with our last ‘big’ walk. We found Towneley Hall on the map which is about 45 minutes from Manchester and has stunning historic house and 400 acres of beautiful parkland. There’s also a dog friendly café and shop which made it a great pit stop on the way home!

Beki Xo
Photo credit: wallflowerkitchen.com 

My Top 6 Vegan Pinterest Recipes 

One of the best things about being plant based is experimenting with new recipes, trying new foods and discovering some mouth watering alternatives. 

Before switching to a plant based diet my lunches largely consisted of a meat based sandwich or wrap and my evening meals where pretty much chicken and vegetables in some form. I think it's fair to say that I stuck to the same old british meals.

But now I'm finding that I'm more inspired in the kitchen. Creating my previous home comforts with plant based alternatives and discovering new vegan recipes that have become a staple to my weekly breakfasts, lunches and dinners. 

Now, aside from the small pile of vegan cook books I have on my kitchen island. Pinterest is doubtlessly my go to place for new vegan recipes. Whether I fancy something in particular or want to discover something new, everyone knows it's the best collaborative place for recipes but vegan recipes in particular. 

So I thought I'd share My Top 8 Vegan Pinterest Recipes that have become weekly staples in my household! 

The Veggie Sausage & Sun Dried Tomatoe One-Pot Pasta

Photo credit and recipe:  www.thevegspace.co.uk

Photo credit and recipe: www.createmindfully.com

Photo credit and recipe: www.wallflowerkitchen.com

Cosy Butternut, Sweet Potatoe & Red Lentil Stew

Photo credit and recipe: www.ohsheglows.com

Vegan Red Pepper Pasta

Photo credit and recipe: www.lazycatkitchen.com

Sweet Potato and Kale Chilli

Photo credit and recipe: www.cookieandkate.com

Beki Xo
The Sparkling Spiced Apple Gin Cocktail

Nothing tastes more like Christmas than cinnamon, am I right?

This sparkling, fruity apple and cinnamon cocktail is filled to the brim with downright delicious flavours. The perfect cocktail to freshen your palette before Christmas dinner or give you that little pick me up nudge after you've indulged on your festive feast. It's the quickest and easiest cocktail to make that you can throw together without any shakers, makers and stirrers. 

The Sparkling Spiced Apple Gin Cocktail

50ml Gin
1 handful of fresh cranberries
Top with sparkling apple juice
1 Granny Smith apple
1 cinnamon stick

To make the cocktail look as great as it tastes I added a few cranberries into ice cube trays and froze them for a few hours to create festive cranberry ice cubes. If you haven't got time you could pop a few into the top of your drink just to add a little extra something.

Pour 50ml of your chosen gin over the rocks (Tanqueray No10, Caorunn, Blackwoods Vintage, Death's Door, Elephant, Greenall's and Tesco's finest aromatic gin are well paired with apple)

Add 1 cinnamon stick and a slice of apple

Pour the sparkling apple juice (Appletiser was my choice) over the cinnamon stick and top up the glass.

Stir the cocktail using the cinnamon stick and serve.

Beki Xo
The Rosemary Grapefruit Gin Cocktail (*)

Ableforth’s Bathtub gin is a high quality copper pot-still spirit infused with 6 botanicals; juniper, coriander, orange peel, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. The gin is developed using a method called ‘cold compounding’ in which the botanicals are infused in a base spirit in a copper pot still before being filtered out. This gives the gin it’s subtle bronze tint before being hand wrapped, strung and waxed.

Initially the juniper-rich gin has a smooth, earthy taste to start but finishes fresh and warm on the palette with the notes from the spiced botanicals creeping in.

Its overall taste is bold and can be carried strongly through other ingredients. Therefor when creating a cocktail I wanted something that would pair well with the gin.

The Rosemary Grapefruit Gin Cocktail

50ml Bathtub Gin
50ml Fresh grapefruit juice
Splash of Rosemary infuser
Top with tonic
Garnish with rosemary and grapefruit slice

Add a handful of ice cubes into the cocktail shaker.

Pour in 50ml of fresh grapefruit juice and 50ml of Bathtub gin
Add a splash of rosemary infuser (I used Junip Organics) and shake

Top the glass with a handful of fresh ice cubes and pour over the contents of the cocktail shaker

Top with tonic (Fevertree goes best)

And garnish with a sprig of rosemary and a slice of grapefruit

Serve and enjoy the fresh and earthy cocktail

Beki Xo

(*)As part of this review I was gifted the Ableforth’s Bathtub gin, however the recipe and all opinions are my own 

Dog Friendly Cafes, Bars & Restaurants in Manchester 

There's many things I love about Manchester but as a dog owner one of them has to be how dog friendly the city is (aside from the pesky Metrolink *shakes fist*). Most cafes, bars and restaurants now accept dogs but now shops and convenient stores are also allowing our little four legged friends to wander in too.

I'm always to tweet a place and ask if they're dog friendly so I thought I'd round up as many eateries and drinking spots I could think of and pop them into a dog friendly list/ map.

I'm going to be keeping the list and map as up to date as possible by adding any newly discovered dog friendly places along the way so keep checking back!

Coffee Shops

PORTER AND COLE - 124 High St, Manchester M4 5JY

EZRA & GIL - 20 Hilton St, Manchester M1 1FR

FOUNDATION COFFEE - Sevendale House, Lever St, Manchester M1 1JB

TAKK - 6 Tariff St, Manchester M1 2FF

ZIFERBLAT - 23 Edge St, Manchester M4 1HW

SECOND CUP MCR -  Arndale Centre, 100 Corporation St, Manchester M4 3AG

ANCOATS COFFEE COMPANY -  9, Royal Mills, 17 Redhill St, Manchester M4 5BA

NORTH TEA POWER - 36 Tib St, Manchester M4 1LA

THE KOFFEE POT - 84-86 Oldham St, Manchester M4 1LE

SUGAR JUNCTION -  60 Tib St, Manchester M4 1LG

ALABAMA'S - 10 Newton St, Manchester M1 2AN

ANCOATS GENERAL STORE -  57 Great Ancoats Street, Manchester M4 5AB


RUDY'S -  9 Cotton St, Manchester M4 5BF

PLY -  26 Lever St, Manchester M1 1DW

CRAZY PEDRO'S (dog friendly until 7pm) - 55-57 Bridge St, Manchester M3 3BQ


BREW DOG - 35 Peter St, Manchester M2 5BG

ODD BAR - 30-32 Thomas St, Manchester M4 1ER

THE GAS LAMP - 50 Bridge Street, Manchester M3 3BW

LOST IN TOKYO NQ -  8 Stevenson Square, Manchester M1 1DN

DUSK TIL PAWN -  Northern Quarter, Manchester M1 1FB

THE WHISKY JAR - 14 Tariff St, Manchester M1 2FF

SEVEN BRO7HERS - 3 Blossom Street, Manchester M4 5AF

PORT STREET BEER HOUSE -  39-41 Port St, Manchester M1 2EQ

NIGHT AND DAY CAFE - 26 Oldham St, Manchester M1 1JN

NO1 WATSON STREET - Great Northern Tower, 1 Watson St, Manchester M3 4EE

FRESS - 62 Oldham Street, Manchester M4 1LE

NIGHT & DAY CAFE - 26 Oldham Street Manchester, M1 1JN 

Bars & Restaurants 

CANE AND GRAIN - 49-51 Thomas Street, Manchester M4 1NA

TARIFF & DALE (upstairs only) - 2 Tariff St, Manchester M1 2FN

KOSMONAUT - 10 Tariff St, Manchester M1 2FF

PEN AND PENCIL - Fourways House, 57 Hilton St, Manchester M1 2EJ

BLUU - Smithfield Market Hall, Manchester M4 1BD

YARD AND COOP - 37 Edge St, Manchester M4 1HW

THE ABEL HAYWOOD - 38 Turner St, Manchester M4 1DZ

V-REV VEGAN DINER - 20-26 Edge St, Manchester M4 1HN

ALBERT'S SCHLOSS - 27 Peter St, Manchester M2 5QR

TROF - 8 Thomas St, Manchester M4 1EU

THE WHARF - 6 Slate Wharf, Manchester M15 4ST

SOUP KITCHEN - 31-33 Spear St, Manchester M1 1DF

COMMON - 39 Edge St, Manchester M4 1HW

THE OAST HOUSE - The Avenue Courtyard, Spinningfields, Manchester M3 3AY

COTTONOPOLIS - 16 Newton St, Manchester M1 2AE

THE REFUGE - Oxford St, Manchester M60 7HA

EL CAPO - 12 Tariff St, Manchester M1 2FF

ELNECOT - 41 Blossom Street, Manchester M4 5AF

THE PATRON - 42-44 Oldham Street, Manchester M4 1LE

Gourmet Restaurant 

NORTHERN SOUL - 10 Church St, Manchester M4 1PN



TIB STREET TAVERN - 74 Tib St, Manchester M4 1LG

THE ANGEL - 6 Angel St, Manchester M4 4BQ

CROWN AND KETTLE - 2 Oldham Rd, Manchester M4 5FE 

Know of a dog friendly location that need adding to the map? Tweet me @smocktofrock

Beki Xo
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