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I first purchased the night cream whilst doing some shopping in Aldi, I had previously read good reviews about it, and for a mere £1.99 I thought I would give it a go. This is an Aldi own brand so is pretty much only available from there, although you can probably find it on ebay.
The night cream comes in a small glass jar, similar to most night creams and moisturisers. The jar is quite heavy with a dark blue lid, and contains 50ml of the cream. The cream itself contains retinol complex, Q10 and has anti wrinkle properties. This is for all skin types and uses the latest scientific technology to care for and to protect the complexion.
Instructions for use are similar to any face cream, you massage it gently into clean your skin.
The lid itself unscrews easily, even with my small hands and reveals a thick white cream. This has quite a strong sweet flowery smell. It's quite pleasant although a little strong for my taste.
I use a small white dollop on my finger and gently massage it in with my finger, usually I do this a few times to completely cover my face.
It sinks into my skin quite slowly, taking a couple of minutes. My skin initially feels fairly wet, and even after about 5 minutes it feels slightly greasy. I've never found this a problem, it's not uncomfortable, and I think it's possibly part of the design as the cream says it keeps moisturising through the night.
The next morning my skin is left feeling soft and moisturised. So far I've not suffered with spots or anything else as a result of using this, although I should point out my skin isn't particularly sensitive.
I have to say I'm quite impressed with this little moisturiser, it makes my skin soft and moisturised, and unlike some more expensive creams I've used hasn't brought me out in spots.
So would I recommend this? Definitely, I'm only gutted I didn't discover it earlier.
About three weeks before christmas our kettle decided to break, it stopped switching on. As you can imagine this was a calamity, as a) I like a cup of tea, especially in the morning, and b) money was tight as we were busy spending it on presents.
I did however have some money on a love 2 shop gift card from Top cashback, and they accept it at Wilkos. So my husband and I went along to our nearest, and had a look at their choice of kettles. Our main priority was buying something cheap which would last us a few months, but would look ok. We had a discussion about their mid range offering, with me wanting a red kettle because it was a nice colour and £2 cheaper than the white, and my husband wanting the white. I wasn’t keen to spend more money just for a white kettle.
Then on the bottom shelf we noticed Wilko’s basic kettle for only £5, a bargain just before christmas (or at anytime). We compared it to the other kettle to see the difference, and it appeared to be smaller (or had a smaller box), but it held the same amount of water and was cordless. So we bought it.
This is a small white kettle, it’s pretty basic as you might expect. It holds 1.7 litres the same as most kettles, but when we compared it to our old kettle it is a couple of inches smaller. The difference appears to be they both say they hold a maximum of 1.7 litres, but the new kettle really does only hold that as the line is only maybe half an inch from the top of the kettle, the old kettle would have probably held nearer 2 liters if you filled it past the line.
It has a small plastic filter, for the water, one of those basic ones which clip in and then fall of, which ours has, it clips back in easily, but is a little fiddly. This is quite lightweight and easy to manage even when full. It only goes back on it’s cordless stand one way. The cord isn’t the longest in the world and is just about 2 foot, but it’s ok for us at it’s quite near to the socket. It’s a plain white kettle, and I would say it does look cheap, but it will go with most kitchens.
**Making a drink**
This is easy to fill, and the lid is on a hinge like most jug kettles. It clips back into place easily and with little effort. Filling the kettle up to full always feels to me a bit of an effort, and I think this is because the maximum is so near the top of the kettle. Having just measured it, it takes around 4 minutes to boil, which seems quite a long time to me, but I’ve never measured a kettle before so I’m not sure how it compares
I think this is a great, cheap little kettle.It may not look fancy, or boil in the quickest time, but it will help you make a cup of tea. I’ve now had it about a month and a half and it does the job, so I’m not planning to replace it anytime soon.
I would recommend this if you are just looking for a cheap kettle to get you by, or just starting out.
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This face mask is one of those tubes which has sat around my dressing table, well in a bag, for a while. I’m now trying to go through the things in the bag and on the dressing table as opposed to buying more.
About 2 years ago I went through a stage of buying a lot of Body Shop products as I was a member of their loyalty club, and this mask was one of the things I bought. Face masks are something I like to have, and use at least once a month, more if I remember and have time. Face masks help to clean out the impurities in your skin, and to generally improve the skin’s condition.
This warming mineral face mask promises to self warm, deep clean and is a kaolin clay treatment. It also contains cinnamon and ginger oils and algae, all of which are designed to purify, invigorate and cleanse your skin. This currently retails at £10, and I think I paid around the same price.
This comes in a plastic squeezy tube, which stands on it’s lid. It’s quite an attractive tube, in grey and beige colours (not the green as pictured), and contains instructions and information about it. It’s quite a heavy tube, which you might expect for something containing clay. The tube itself is very flexible, meaning it is easy to squeeze, which is a good thing.
This says to use on clean wet skin, and to leave it on for about 5 minutes. I typically use it in the shower, so I only leave it on for around 3 minutes.
In the shower this always feels wet on my face, but I still find it does a good job, and is easy to wash of.
For this review I’ve just put some on, having first cleaned my face. I’m sat on my sofa.
First impressions are this goes on a lot easier in the shower, when my face is very wet. It is also very hard to get out of the tube, and I find this each time I use it, not because it’s dry from being sat around, the clay is just too dense for the hole it comes out of. In the shower when my face is very wet this slides on easily, but out of it I found it a bit sticky and thick to apply, although it covered my face well.
This does have a pretty instant and noticeable warming feel. It also quickly starts to dry, although it doesn’t dry rock hard like some face masks. Even after a few minutes it is still flexible enough that you can smile without feeeling like your face is going to crack up.
It has a slight smell, which to me is slightly sweet but I can also get a subtle smell of clay. The warming sensation continues throughout using this, it’s just slight and I find it quite pleasant now I’m used to it.
I found this quite hard to wash of at my sink, and I had to grab a spare flannel to scrub it of my face. This isn’t a problem I usually have in the shower
My face is left feeling soft, if well scrubbed. I can still slightly smell a lingering smell of it on my face.
I think this is an ok face mask. In the month I’ve been using it it has left my face feeling clean, and soft. My skin isn’t particularly sensitive, but is prone to be oily with spots. This has slightly helped, and I’ve always found it gentle on my skin.
I don’t think I’d buy this again, not because there is anything wrong with it. I just don’t feel that it is special enough compared to other masks of a similar price, plus if it’s this hard to get out of the tube when half full, I can only imagine how hard it will be when nearly empty. I also think I prefer the more fruit based face masks.
That said if you like warming clay masks, you should give this one a try.
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I'm quite late coming to the female lynx party, and while I know women who will happily wear there partners lynx that was never me. When I first saw that they had brought out a female version, I was curious, but not curious enough to try it with the high price tag. It currently retails for around £3.29 for 150 ml, I'm used to paying more like a pound to two pounds for a deodorant. I bought mine as part of a gift set which had been reduced to around £2 for the deodorant and shower gel.
Lynx attract for her is a similar size and style to the male version except it's pink. The can is quite short and fat, it has a twist lid instead of a removable top. To use you simply twist the top revealing the spray push button and press it. I have quite small hands, but I still find it easy to use.
I find the scent quite fresh and feminine, it is quite a sweet slightly flowery smell, but is fresh at the same time. Personally I quite like the scent, it's pleasant without being too strong.
I use this most days, including at work, which at the moment is a nice toasty 43 degrees upstairs. I find this does a good job of stopping me from sweating too much . I usually spray under my arms a couple of times when I get up, and it's rare I need to worry about it again,
Would I buy this again, bearing in mind I'm quite fickle when it comes to deodorant brands. Yes I think I would, although it would probably have to be on offer, although that really goes for any deodorant, I am pleasantly surprised by this one though, especially as I didn't initially expect much from it. But I like the smell, and I think it lasts well, meaning it's surprisingly good value.
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Cadbury caramel nibbles are one of my favourite treats. They are available in most shops, and retail for around the two pound mark, although I usually wait until they are on offer for a pound. It cuts back on my chocolate in take, as well as saving me pennies.
They are a small round chocolate treat which come in a medium sized resealable bag, which is designed for sharing, although like many treats in recent years it has shrunk so you won't be sharing too many. The packaging is easy to recognise as it's bright blue and yellow with the Cadbury's Dairy milk logo, these are part of a range of chocolate sharing products made by cadbury.
The treats themselves are about the size of a ten pence piece, although they are a little bit thinner, with a little blob of chocolate on top.
They have dairy milk chocolate on the outside (the real thing it says so on the packet) and caramel on the inside.
These are one of my favourite chocolate sweets, as I find them a nice size for sharing with my husband. I also think that the blend of chocolate and caramel is just about right, not too chocolatey and not too sweet. I enjoy the taste, and often feel that just a few of these are enough to satisfy me, although I do not have much of a sweet tooth.
Like most chocolate sweets these are full of fat and sugar, but as an occasional treat I recommend them.
So, British social realism and urban grit anyone? This winner at the London Film Festival says there is more to come. First time director Tinge Krishan certainly thinks you need some more. We don’t but why not. Middle-class directors love to write and depict East London how they see it and they rarely get it right, even when they come from those streets. Junkhearts tries it best but more of the same, only Eddie Marsan’s lead performance its savior. Actors like Marsan have to give 100% to these projects as they are no leading men and so this type of movie that puts the food on the table.
Ex soldier Frank (Marsan) is haunted by a violent past in Northern Ireland. He lives alone in his East London council flat, only PTSD for company, drowning his nightmares with booze and daytime TV. His successful and attractive single mom daughter Christine (Romola Garai) has disowned him and currently trying to care for her daughter and dyeing mom amongst her chaotic lifestyle of parties, guys and social drugs.
Marsan stumbles into the equally chaotic world of Lynette (Candese Reid), a pretty black girl who is everything his daughter isn’t, a young rough sleeper in Soho. Despite Franks misgivings, he offers her a place to stay, which she soon exploits by inviting her Irish boyfriend Danny (Tom Sturridge) around, who is low level drug dealer and hangs with a like wise chavy crowd. He is soon threatening an already vulnerable Frank as the flat becomes a drug den and Lynette starts using again. Frank knows this will only end one way and sets about making that happen, not wanting to lose another sweet girl at heart looking for a father to protect her.
It’s not bad but only really watchable for Marsan’s performance, excellent at these types of unbalanced roles. It is a character study and no more. Marsan is not going to be in a romcom any day soon. Let alone a leading man. He was good in Tyrannosaurus with Olivia Colman and Pete Mullen and very funny in Worlds End. But he generally plays serious roles and a haunted moon face made for pathos and loneliness on film, his performance in The Disappearance of Alice Creed his best so far. Young Candese Reid is good alongside and enjoyed sending up the ‘Sarf’ London accent.
It’s violent at times but the gritty stuff more cartoon than reality. We have seen it all before. It’s a bit of a muddle at times and somewhat ambitious in its attempt to pull so many strings together. We get that he is a soldier suffering post traumatic stress disorder but not quite sure why his daughter and mother would disown him at his time of need. I mean The Troubles was a good thirty years ago and so unlikely he would be still so unstable. I wonder if the Asian British writer and director got too timid and shied away from it being an atrocity in the Iraq War at the last. Saying that it’s plausible and worth a crack at a script on an illness that is believed to hit one-in-four returning troops. In America the military are so ashamed of the high numbers of PTSD that they try to hide it by denying veterans the right treatment. What soldiers hate most of all on the battlefield is seeing crippled and damaged soldiers allowed to return to the combat arena, a reminder what awaits them if they sign up for another tour or two.
I bought these green tea with lemon tea bags a while ago during one of my many health binges. Green tea is good for you as it contains antioxidants which are good for your body. Clipper promise that their tea is natural, uses un bleached bags and is a fair trade product. These sell currently for around 1.29. They come in a green box and there are 25 tea bags in a box. Inside the box is a foil insert to keep the bags fresh. To use you place the bag in a cup then add boiling water and allow it to infuse for around one to three minutes. I usually leave mine nearer the three minutes, as I think this gives a better taste. This produces quite a nice lemon tea, it is slightly sweet but also slightly tangy if that makes sense. I enjoy drinking this tea as I find it quite refreshing. I also quite like the sweet tangy taste. I also like the fact that the green tea is better for me than black tea. I think this tea has a nicer flavour and better quality than the shops own brand green tea bags that you can buy, I base this on the fact I have tried both types and I prefer the taste of these clipper tea bags. There is not a lot in it, if I am honest just a personal preference for these bags, and a feeling they taste better. In conclusion if you are looking to become healthier I would definitely recommend these bags.
I have had this nail polish remover for a while now, but have just started using it more as I have been wearing more nail polish. This comes in quite a solid plastic bottle with a screw top lid, and is available to buy from most discount stores for around 80 pence. It has conditioner in to help care for your nails. As you have probably seen in the picture the liquid is purple. The instructions tell you to wet cotton wool with it and then to gently rub across your nails to remove the polish. This has that strong horrible chemical smell which all nail varnish removers do. I have used this on lots if different nail varnishes, from Lycra to magnetic, and the one I have on at the moment a glitter one, as well as the more regular polishes. To use I hold the cotton wool over the open bottle, tip it up and then tip it back before removing the lid. I then rub over my nail, how hard I have to rub usually depends on the nail polish. It usually takes me maybe five to ten minutes of rubbing to remove my polish, although this does depend on the polish. I have to say I am quite impressed with this nail polish remover, it is cheap to buy and does the job of removing my polish quickly and fairly easily. Despite using this around once a week lately I have also had no problems with drying of my nails, fingers or skin, so there must be something in their conditioning claim. One I recommend.
Film only review. My latest rental was The Lone Ranger, I chose it as I was aware of the original and I thought it would be a fun film to watch. The Lone Ranger''s (Armie Hammer) story is told by Tonto (played by Jonny Depp) who tells the story of how John Reid first became the Lone Ranger. I found this meant the story was very much from Tonto''s point of view, and to me it almost seemed as if it was the Lone Ranger who was the side kick. For those of you who don''t know the traditional story is that The Lone Ranger is the hero and Tonto helps him! This felt like it was a long film as it is very slow paced, we seemed to wait ages for anything to happen. The best part of the film was the last quarter when the action speeded up, and it became quite funny, but unfortunately it was too little to late. The acting was ok, although the film does not show Jonny Depp at his best, he still played an ok part. The only noticeable music in the film was in the last quarter when they played the Lone Ranger theme tune which did add to the sense of action. The plot was generally ok, there were bad guys and good guys, but for me it was nothing special, and it felt too dragged out. In conclusion as you can probably tell I am not a fan of this film, it is just too slow, I think I should have stuck to the original.
This squash was actually bought for my husband at the same time as I bought the orange squash for myself from Asda. He chose it as he loves strong tangy flavours, as his taste buds are not great due to his nasal polyps. Having just finished my orange squash I wanted a refreshing drink in the hot weather and thought that as my husband had barely touched this I would give it a try. To be honest I did not really expect to like it, as I thought it would be too sour for me. I was therefore pleasantly surprised to find I really like it. It has quite a sweet lemony taste, more like a still lemonade. I only put maybe about a cm of this squash in my glass before adding water, and I find this to be pretty much perfect for me. In appearance this is clear with a slightly cloudy look. It has a sweet lemony smell as you might expect. This is a double concentrated juice and if I am honest I am not sure I am making it to the right strength, but it is perfect to me. I would recommend this squash to anyone who likes slightly sweet lemon flavours, strangely I just asked my husband what he does not like about it, and he said it is too bitter. I got him to try some of mine and he said mine was much weaker, so I guess it can be as strong as you like. I think this is a great cheap squash.
Laundry products are something that I tend to stock up on when I find them being sold cheap, they are one of the few products where I prefer to go for a known brand so I like to get a bargain. I do not actually remember buying these 3 in 1 pods, but I am guessing that they came from the shop I work in, and were most probably some kind of clearance deal. I am guessing this as I prefer using powder as I feel it normally is better value for money. These pods come in a nice plastic tub, with a flip lid which clicks back in place. They are 3 in 1 in that they clean (always good in a laundry product), lift stains (isn''t that part of cleaning) and brighten. These go straight into the drum of the machine, and you use one per wash or two if your washing is heavily soiled. There are various picture warnings on the box saying not to eat these or put them in your eye, as I was not planning to do either all is good. Using these I take one out and put it in the machine, then add fabric conditioner in the drawer and put the machine on. I usually wash at 40. So what do I think? Well I am not much of a fan to be honest. To start with I hate the feel of them, they are slightly soapy and I really do no not like touching them. Then there is the smell, it is really strong and soapy, and I am not at all keen on it. As for their ability to wash , well they are ok, stains seem to come out and clothes look clean, although if I am honest I do not feel their cleaning power is any better or worse than any other laundry product I have used. A look online suggests these retail at seven pound, which sounds very expensive, and I would only recommend these if you bought them on offer.
To try to save some pennies, and stop me drinking so much fizzy cherryade, which is clearly bad for me I decided to buy some squash. I had also recently purchased a water filter jug to try to drink more water, and I thought some squash would encourage me. I chose this when I was in Asda as at only 42 pence I thought it was worth a try. Mine is double strength concentrated squash. The instructions on the side of the bottle tell me to shake well before use and to dilute squash with nine parts water. Now I have no real idea how you judge that, but when I make my drink up I usually put about a centermeters worth into my glass and then add water from my trusty water jug. I find this to be about the right flavour for me, but then I do not like my squash too weak or strong I prefer it refreshing. My squash has a pleasant sweet orange taste, which is not too weak but I can still tell that there is water in it. If you are the kind of person who prefers a stronger taste then I am sure this can be achieved by adding more squash. My drink has a slight tangy, rather then orangey smell and an orange cloudy appearance. In fact it looks like squash. So would I recommend this? Yes I think it is a great product, it is cheap enough that you can add as much as you want to suit your taste, and has a nice orangey taste.
I have a large collection of herbal and fruit teas from various health kicks I have done in the past. One of them is this Asda''s Chosen by you lemon infusion tea. These come in a small cardboard box, similar to most herbal teas, and indeed most teas. A look at the ingredients on the box shows that these only contain one percent of lemon peel, the rest of the ingredients is made up of apple pomace, orange peel, natural flavourings, citric acid, apples, rose hips and sweet blackberry leaves. I can not help feeling they have bulked out the tea with cheaper ingredients, and as such they are not as good for me as the name "lemon infusion" suggests. The instructions on the box tell you to leave the tea bag in the hot water for three minutes, or five minutes for a stronger taste. Once brewed the taste of these lemon tea bags is surprisingly strong, with a lemony taste. It is quite a sharp taste which wasn''t entirely pleasant, but it is ok. The tea also has quite a strong lemony smell, but I am guessing that this is from the natural flavourings rather than the one percent lemon peel. So would I recommend these? Well at only around 79 pence for twenty tea bags these are quite cheap for lemon tea bags, but I can not help feeling that this is because the quality just is not there, so I do not think I will be buying these again, although they are ok for a cheap lemon tea.
When looking through my pile of books to read, I chose this book as it follows "The other Boleyn girl", which I read (and reviewed) a couple of months ago. I had originally bought it as I like historical novels, and Philippa Gregory is one of my favourite authors in this genre.
This novel follows the story of Henry the eighth's fourth and fifth wives, the court has become a more dangerous place since the death of Anne Boleyn, and King Henry has become something of a tyrant. At the start of the book Jane Seymour has recently died after giving birth to Prince Edward, and for reasons of state and the need for another son Henry is once again looking for a wife. For political reasons he marries Anne of Cleves, but soon he changes his mind and falls for her young maid in waiting Katherine Howard.
This book is slightly different to "The Other Boleyn" in that it is told from the point of view of three women, Anne of Cleves, Katherine Howard and Jane Boleyn (Anne Boleyne's sister in law). The book starts with the three of them in their respective homes, and then follows their progress to the king's court, and what happens during and after their time there.
I liked this book, although if I'm honest I found it more interesting than enjoyable. Whilst I knew the basic facts of the two queens, I hadn't really thought about how brief their marriages were, I also had never realised how young Kathryn Howard was, just 15 when she went to the court as the new Queen Anne's maid in waiting. The book shows how both women are pawns of their families, and the king's will. The third character Jane Boleyn also appears in "The Other Boleyn Girl", as she gave evidence against her husband and Anne Boleyn. In this book I found her quite a machiavellian character, who has befriended each of Henry's queens so that she can spy on them and help further the powerful Howard families' interests.
I found the novel interesting as Philippa Gregory managed to portray each of the women, in a way that showed they had little choice in what they did, and were just doing the best they could in the circumstances. The main parts of the novel are based on fact, although the way the women thought about what they did, and the friendship between Anne and Katherine is of course fiction. I think that like all historical fiction, there is a mixture of the truth with fiction, and I found this to be enjoyable. I didn't find this novel as enjoyable as some of the others written by Philippa Gregory, as whilst even the character of Jane Boleyn is sympathetically done, I found the subject matter quite uncomfortable as Philippa Gregory portrayed them living on egg shells for much of the time.
At the end of the novel there is a useful list of Philippa Gregory's sources, with a description of why she chose some of the plot twists that she did.
In conclusion four stars for a book that's good, but isn't one I'd rush to read again.
Once upon a time there was a kingdom called Northumbria that was ruled by King Aethelfrith, when he married to strengthen his kingdom, he renamed his fortress after his new wife Bebba (Bebbanburgh later became pronounce Bamburgh)*. At the time Bamburgh castle and it's king was the most powerful force in northern England, and Bamburgh castle would be one of the most powerful castles in England for hundreds of years until the vikings attacked around the 10th century. Bamburgh's prominence was such that it had links with early christianity through St Aidan who was bought to neighbouring Holy Island by King Oswald, who also became a saint following his death.
Th castle that stands today, has been rebuilt and renovated over the years, due to being attacked and neglected. For much of it's history this has been a royal castle, and was built and maintained by them as an important defensive fortress. Some of the main keep dates from around 1163 when the castle, had the great tower started for the sum of £4*, now that sounds a bargain although I'm guessing it was worth a bit more then :)
Today the castle is in owned by the Armstrong family, who bought it in 1894*, at the time Lord Armstrong of Cragside (see earlier review), saw it for sale in the Times and decided to buy it for £60,000*. He did quite a bit of renovation to the castle, as it was in need of it when he bought it. It's funny my first thought when I realised he owned both Cragside and Bamburgh castle, was why would you buy Cragside if you owned Bamburgh castle, but I now see it was the other way around :)
Bamburgh castle is probably the castle most recognised, outside Northumberland, unless you were watching Harry Potter (that's Alnwick castle), as it is the one on most advertising, due to it's magnificent appearance.
I visited on a windy day in February, the timing being because I had bought a Groupon deal for £12 for 2 people and it ran out at the end of February (I bought it in December, not realising the castle was only open on a weekend up to February). I visited with my dad one Friday, as that's the day we go out together :) Normal price is £9.95 for adults, £9 for senior citizens, £4.50 for children or £25 for a family (2 adults 3 children), so we saved £6.95 (my dad is a senior, not me :) )
The day we visited was initially windy but dry, and we really hit on as, as we were leaving a storm hit and it started to rain heavily. Bamburgh is on the Northumberland coast about 42 miles north of Newcastle, it's about 30 miles from us and took us about an hour to get there going up the A1 and then following the route across to the coast. On the way back we came the coastal route which took maybe 15 minutes longer, and this is considering we were taking it steady due to the weather.
Bamburgh castle is high up above Bamburgh village, overlooking the sea (150 feet above), and sand dunes. It affords great views of the neighbouring Farne islands, and Holy island, as well as the sea and beach. We parked in the council car park at the bottom, paying £1.80 for 2 hours, we chose here as we had visited the castle years before and remembered the parking above being limited. Walking up to the castle is quite steep, and at the top we discovered the parking has now been extended and there is a reasonable sized car park with all day parking for £2 :) Still I needed the exercise :)
The entrance to the castle is further up hill through a large gatehouse, with the ticket office being in the constable tower further up. From here you are outside the main section of the castle in the outer ward, the path is quite steep, and you can either follow it up, or walk along the battery (outer defensive wall) as we did. We chose this way so that we could admire the view of the sea, and the nearby islands, although it was quite overcast so we didn't get the best view. There are also lots of cannons along here :)
**The Outer Ward**
The battery, and path both lead to the outer ward. There are a lot of buildings here, although the castle grounds themselves are reasonably compact. The ground here is hilly, with the ground sloping rapidly down to the west ward. In the outer ward, is the old stables, which now house the toilets, and a cafe on the left hand side. There is also some stocks on the green, and a replica of the King's of Northumbria's royal stone seat (which I had a seat in). At the bottom of the slope is another gateway which leads into the west ward.
In the west ward there is a picnic area, 2 sites where they are doing an archeological dig (in summer you can watch them), the armstrong aviation museum, and an old mill. The museum is quite small, but we both found it really interesting with huge engines, and old cameras that had been used on planes. There was also a model of a spitfire, and a large gun.
The walls on this side of the castle give a great view of the village of Bamburgh.
**The Inner Ward**
Uphill is the inner ward of the castle, this has an inner curtain wall, from which you again get a great view of the sea. There are also the remains of the chapel, with a large bell. The entrance to the state rooms, and keep is here. There is one entrance, that is open as you actually go through the state rooms to get to the keep.
**The castle, and state rooms**
While you can't explore all the rooms, as there are private apartments above, the parts you can see are interesting. My favourite was the King's Hall, which is a beautiful room with a lovely wooden beamed ceiling which you can admire with mirrors that are provided. In here there was a lovely guide, who we had a nice chat with. This room has a minstrel's gallery at one end, and a lovely seating area (roped off) raised up at the other, the room is actually from the victorian times as it was renovated and designed by Lord Armstrong. In total I think there are about ten rooms that you can look around, including the rooms in the keep itself. Other highlights for me were the secret stairway in the keep's wall, the model of the castle, the well (dug through over 40 feet of solid whetstone), and the victorian hoover (I like my old gadgets :) ). There were a further two guides in other rooms, both of which were friendly and knowledgeable.
The keep leads to the shop, and from here you can visit the dungeon. This has several figures showing old torture methods, and was pretty interesting. Next to the shop there is also the archeological museum, which houses various finds from the castle's grounds. The exit opens back out onto the outer ward. From here we took some more photos before hurrying away as by this time we were over our parking time (not that we expected a ticket as Bamburgh is pretty deserted in winter), and it was bucketing down and windy.
**The cafe and shop**
We visited the cafe for a warming cup of tea during our visit. This is a nice room and the prices were reasonable, about £5 for a sandwich. The drinks were slightly more expensive, at around £4 for a pot of tea for two.
The shop has the usual range of gifts, as well as some local wine and foods. There is also a small art gallery, with some lovely pictures you can buy in the shop.
**So what did I think?**
We both really enjoyed our visit, the only downside was the weather as the views weren't as clear as we might have liked, and quite a lot of it is outside. However, as they say "every cloud has a silver lining", and the weather and time of year meant that there were only a few other visits so we could get some great photos without lots of people in them, and we had plenty of time to see what we wanted to see, as well as to talk to the guides.
The grounds and buildings are really well looked after, and there are plenty of signposts telling you where you are and what things are, which we found really useful. It is also possible to buy a guidebook or hire an audio tour, although we didn't bother preferring to discover things ourselves. As said inside there are also several guides, who are knowledgeable and friendly.
Bamburgh castle surprised me as when I visited it in the past I didn't really enjoy it, and my memory was just of lots of plates. I was left feeling that the best thing about it was the outside, but now I have been again I have completely changed my mind, as there is so much to see. From their web site I can see that they have won several awards, including one from trip adviser, and I can see why. Everything feels really well thought out, informative and welcoming, I can imagine that if I visit again in summer, while it would be more crowded you would still enjoy yourself, and it would be pleasant to enjoy a picnic overlooking the sea.
We spent about 2 and a half hours there in total, including getting a cup of tea in the cafe before going into the castle proper. We took advantage of the walk back down to the car park, to take some more photos of the castle, although by then we were pretty wet.
The castle has pretty good disabled access, including a separate cafe room, as the cafe entrance is upstairs. By it's nature parts of the castle are not wheelchair accessible, but a surprising amount is, and again this shows how much thought has been put into it, including tarmac paths which while steep provide a good surface.
The castle is also available for weddings, and wedding receptions, and if I wasn't already happily married I'd be tempted as it would be a great location :)
The castle is open everyday until the 2nd of November, 10 am until 5pm
For more information there website is http://www.bamburghcastle.com/index.php
*Bamburgh castle website