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Dining Out In Derbyshire

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Lunch at Meynell Langley Gardens

I don’t know if it was the stillness of the air, the steel grey sky against the vibrant hues of the autumn leaves, or just that warm feeling inside when you buy out the time to enjoy a leisurely lunch that I experienced. I travelled past the now free flowing Markeaton island; or at least it […]

Dining at the Izaak Walton

When James and Amanda Keay bought the Izaak Walton (named after the famous author of “The Complete Angler”) in March 2014 it was a definite case of head and heart coming together. The head part was the fact that this was a great business opportunity to restore the Izaak Walton back to its former glory, […]

The Horse & Jockey – Wessington

Thursday is ‘veg box’ day! Many months ago we embraced the spirit of the eco culture and decided that a weekly, organic veg box would be a great idea. The fridge and the larder were not at their usual ‘straining at the seams’ capacity and so it was with great bravado I announced that I […]

The Holly Bush – Marehay

The Holly Bush at Marehay has always been a favourite haunt for good pub food. David and Lorraine Hilton, veterans in the ‘pub running’ industry, have, since buying the Holly Bush in 2009, continued in their tradition of providing honest to goodness food and drink at very reasonable prices in a very friendly and homely […]

Eating at The Sea Fish Restaurant – Ripley

I just love it when somewhere that you visit regularly yields a hidden surprise. Having often called at the Sea Fish Restaurant, Cromford Road, Ripley on late nights of press week to enjoy the excellent fish served there I have never looked beyond the take away counter, so asked to visit and sample their lunch time […]

Dining at The Bulls Head

Set in the rural village of Denby, and on the doorstep of Derby and Ripley, The Bulls Head has been under private ownership for the past twelve months. During this time its reputation for serving good food at an affordable price has grown and grown. To the rear of the large car park is a […]

Dining at The Elaichi – Belper

Thinking back, it must have been 30 years ago when Susan and I, fresh with the knowledge of what a good curry should taste like, took our two young nephews on their first outing to an Indian restaurant for an evening meal. We parked our tangerine Datsun Sunny on piece of wasteland in a dodgy […]


Walking In Derbyshire

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Walk around Butterley

While this is intended to be used along with a ride on the Midland Railway from Butterley Station, it also makes a reasonably all-weather walk along the delightfully rural corridor that separates the industrial areas of Ripley and Alfreton. Quite short, it is only three miles long and there are no steep climbs on either […]

Grindon and the Manifold Trail

Of all the beauty spots in the Peak District, this western corner where it merges with the Staffordshire Moorlands is one of its hidden gems. The pretty village of Grindon where the walk starts, is little changed from a time when most of its cottages were the homes of agricultural labourers, when farming was more […]

Walk from Ilam Hall down the Manifold

Tucked away on a tree shrouded bend of the River Manifold, Ilam village was built in the 1830s on the instructions of Jesse Watts-Russell. The original Victorian houses forming the village still echo the fairytale image of the settlement, built at a time when skilful labour was cheap. It was also a time when people […]

Walk around Ashover

Ashover and the upper reaches of the Amber Valley has always been one of my favourite walking areas. Surprisingly it is not all that well walked, maybe it gets overlooked by its proximity to the Peak District’s moors and dales, but it does deserve to be better known. As an indication of its lack of […]

Walk around Wirksworth

This is probably the shortest walk I have taken. Although only 2½ miles or thereabouts it is full of historical interest and if, like me you do a bit of exploring, then it can become an all- day walk. Directly from the start, the walk enters the realms of Wirksworth’s lead mining history.  The stubby […]

Walk Cutthroat Bridge

The rather macabre title of this walk across the Derwent Moors links back to a grim day in 1635 when a traveller was found with his throat slashed from ear to ear.  Amazingly he was still alive, but unable to speak and tell his rescuers who he was. Possibly he was a merchant making his […]


Derbyshire Lost houses

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Lost Houses – Oldcotes

On the vast, exuberant and lavishly decorated monument in Derby Cathedral to Bess of Hardwick is an inscription, lauding the late Derbyshire grande dame, which includes the lines: ‘This most illustrious Elizabeth, Countess of Shrewsbury, built the houses of Chatsworth, Hardwick and Oldcotes, highly distinguished by their magnificence.’ In fact, this is only some of […]

Bradshaw Hall Eyam

If one parks one’s car in the car park in the centre of the historic village of Eyam, one cannot help but noticing the untidy and folorn ruin of a building, the remains sporting some low mullioned windows, the whole enveloped in weeds, nettles and a couple of small trees. Or at least that was […]

Lost Houses – Hasland House

Hasland is one of the many outliers of the Manor of Chesterfield, and was long held by the ancient family of Linacre, under whom it was, in the 15th century, tenanted by a cadet branch of the Leakes of Sutton Scarsdale. Thomas Leake of Hasland, for instance, was Bess of Hardwick’s maternal grandfather. After the […]

Derwent Bank at Darley Abbey

Last month I wrote of an extraordinary house designed by the Derby amateur architect, banker, tax official and serial Mayor of Derby Alderman Richard Leaper (1759-1838), Mill Hill. Poor Leaper’s oeuvre has suffered rather badly from 20th century demolitions, however, so I thought we ought to look at another of his lost houses whilst the […]

Lost Houses – Barbrook Edensor

It is unfortunate that the first really substantial house that Sir Joseph Paxton built was knocked down in the early 1960s, for today, I suspect, it would be greatly valued as an early example of the architectural talents of this highly talented man. It was built for himself, was grade II listed, but, when it […]

Lost Houses – Abbot’s Hill House

It is very difficult to imagine, when looking at Derby’s Babington Lane with its endless tail-backs of ’buses, that less than a century ago it was virtually rus in urbe: the countryside in town par excellence. Indeed, the last owner of Abbot’s Hill House, that stood for just on two centuries between Babington and Green […]


Female Products - Tried & Tested

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Tried & Tested – Benefit Cosmetics

Wow Factor with Benefit Cosmetics Most Glamorous Nudes Ever. World Famous Neutrals Kit £23.50 Why We Love It! World famous neutrals most glamorous nudes ever is the no.1 selling eye shadow item in the UK. These rich, illuminating eyeshadows in award-winning creaseless creams and NEW longwear powder shadows make going glam beyond easy! The universally flattering […]

Tried & Tested – Estee Lauder

Double Wear Stay-in-Place Powder Makeup SPF10 £33 8 hour staying power. Flawless all day. This worry-free powder makeup stays fresh, looks natural and won’t change colour, even through non-stop activity. Glides on silky smooth, stays on comfortably, without feeling dry. For a continuous flawless look, without touch-ups. Bronze Goddess Powder Bronzer £33 Silky and luxurious. Natural, shine-free […]

TIGI Catwalk Haircare Review

Look Good Enough for the Catwalk Your Highness Shampoo For body and movement Features: Sweet almond oil, glycerin, conditioning agent (polyquaternium-10) Benefits: Enhances volume and body whilst delivering weightless moisture. Helps defend against statics and flyways. Designed to be colour safe. Headshot Conditioner For chemically treated hair Features: This intense reconstructor, with ingredients that penetrate the hair fibre, […]

Lipomassage at Prestige Beauty

Prestige beauty is a very stylish and visually opulent salon that dominates the Market Place in the very historic and popular, up and coming town of Belper. The entrepreneurial owner of this fabulous establishment, Susan Basile, has spent over 16 years in the industry and has a wealth of valuable knowledge within her field of […]

Tried & Tested – Liz Earle

We are a Great British beauty brand founded in 1995. Passionate about all that we do, we create products that really work for all ages and skin types by harnessing the potent powers of the finest quality naturally active ingredients. Orange Flower Botanical Body Wash £12 200ml Containing uplifting citrus aromas, this gentle body wash […]

Tried & Tested – Clarins

Restoration Time with Clarins Extra-Firming Day Wrinkle Lifting Lotion SPF15 £57 Helps to lift, firm and define Perfect for women in their 40s and above, this day lotion with sun protection offers an incredible feeling of comfort and gives a ‘lift’ effect upon application for immediate beauty results. Day after day, it helps to reinforce […]

Featured Articles

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Some Islands In The Channel

For a long time the idea of a visit to the Channel Islands has attracted me.  The only previous links were when a refugee Guernsey boy was temporarily evacuated to us during the war, but I must confess that my knowledge of that time is a little hazy.  So when we saw the advert in […]

Merseyside Maritime History

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Three Gardens in South Wales

The coal barons of South Wales made their wealth from the sweat of miners delving deep beneath the wild moors of the Rhondda and surrounding valleys.  The waste from their efforts was built into synthetic mountains of glistening slag that eventually snuffed out the lives of innocent children. Some of the mansions paid for by […]

Riber Castle Rebirth

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Lady Arbella Stuart

Derbyshire’s would-be Queen of England Hardwick Hall – ‘More Window than Wall’ was four-times married Bess of Hardwick’s crowning masterpiece.  An ambitious woman whose successive marriages had left her the richest woman in England after Queen Elizabeth I. She planned her ‘New House’ at Hardwick to be a palace fit for the Queen of England; […]

Nottingham Galleries of Justice

In his third visit to Nottingham’s historical features, Brian Spencer finds that although the Galleries of Justice are not exactly suitable for anyone a touch squeamish, it gives a fascinating insight to the way crime and punishment were dealt with not all that long ago. In order to experience what it would have been for […]