I've never considered myself much of a countryside person. I love the city - bright lights, blaring sirens and all. I grew up in a fairly urban part of Yorkshire and as soon as I was old enough, I was on the bus to York or Leeds every weekend. I've lived in the city (and now 5 minutes outside it) since I was 19.
But I have a theory that every Yorkshireman/woman has a soft spot for rolling hills, herds of sheep and not having a phone signal. Yes, New York has the Empire State Building, but when I spent the weekend in the Yorkshire Dales, I had an Aga. Here are some photos from my trip...
Front of the house - my brother Patrick and his girlfriend Hattie trying to get their wellies off!
We stayed in Raydale House, an amazing country pile a few miles outside Bainbridge in the Yorkshire Dales. There's nothing here but the house, the hills and the sheep - no phone signal, no wifi, no shops or people. It. Was. Blissful.
Wood burner in the kitchen.
No country house is complete without a creepy portrait to stare at you while you watch X Factor.
View across the valley from one sitting room.
The house is stunning - a huge stone cottage first built in the 15th Century then rebuilt in the 19th Century but with many of the original features retained. There's an open fireplace in almost every room, a claw-foot bath in one of the (many) bedrooms, cosy armchairs, walls and walls of books and nooks and crannies everywhere you look. There's even a hidden toilet, which my grandma used once then couldn't find again.
The Aga - think my mum's making room for one in her own house after using this beauty!
The wardrobe in mine and Rob's bedroom - exposed stone is my new house 'thing'.
Amazing Ruby Brown slippers c/o Sarenza - these beauties were perfect for padding over the stone tiles.
Sausages and bacon for breakfast
Rob and I arrived on Saturday afternoon - the whole family gathered at the house to celebrate my grandma's 75th birthday. The entire weekend consisted of eating, drinking, sitting, talking, sleeping and a small amount of walking and exploring.
Amazing view, presented to you by me!
Bram, worn out after the day's adventures. Well, she is 13!
Rob and I took so many pictures of stone walls. Obsessed.
None of the sheep were even remotely scared of us. They all regarded us with a look of utter contempt.
The views are beyond stunning - the house sits in a valley and has panoramic views of the countryside from all angles. You can sit and watch the sun slowly rise over the hill, then later see the sky turn pink as it sets again.
Bram and Harry were particularly pleased to see so many sheep loitering around. Naughty dogs!
Rather clean looking wellies...
Harry looking very pleased with himself after a muddy walk!
The family with a few exceptions - two cousins who left the night before and my sister Rachel, who's currently in Indonesia. We miss you, Rach!
It was such a wonderful place to spend the weekend and I didn't miss the city a single bit. In fact, I'm a bit annoyed that the city delivered me hundreds of emails when we finally rejoined civilisation. The only downside to visiting the middle of nowhere is leaving it again!