Alice’s is a quirky and colourful little tea room on St. Alban’s Road, just off the high street in St Anne’s town centre.
Themed around Lewis Carroll’s classic story Alice In Wonderland, you’ll find yourself surrounded by familiar characters, including my favourite the grinning Cheshire cat, and cute details like playing cards for menus and ‘Eat me’ labels on your food. Oh, and everything is upside down!
At a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, only afternoon tea will do in my opinion. A large pot of loose leaf tea served with china cups and saucers came alongside a selection of ham, cheese and tuna sandwiches with crisps and salad; scones with jam, cream and fresh strawberries; and mini butterfly cakes, millionaire’s shortbread, brownies, rocky road and chocolate crispies.
Alice’s is a real treat for kids – they’ll love the brilliant surroundings, colouring books and crayons, fantastic ice cream counter and magnificent milkshakes in flavours like Oreo and Maltesers.
Meanwhile, grown ups will be equally enthralled by the spectacular multi-coloured and multi-layered cakes on display around the tea room. See them for yourself on Alice’s Facebook page
Also on offer on the menu are breakfasts, sandwiches, paninis, salads and jacket potatoes and a good range of teas. The waitresses are friendly and attentive, and it’s evident that a lot of affection goes into running this tea room.
At £13.95 for afternoon tea for two that left us full to bursting, Alice’s is an inexpensive way to escape boredom and enter a mini fantasy world for an hour or two!
Fresh air, mysterious creatures and a magical story are all waiting to be discovered on the Mythic Coastline, from Cleveleys to Fleetwood.
I’ll start at the beginning… The Sea Swallow is a children’s book written by Gareth Thompson that brings to life the folklore and myth that surrounds this stretch of coastline.
The area is home to the Lune Deep, an underwater Grand Canyon created 20,000 years ago during the last Ice Age and home to a rich and colourful variety of wildlife, with captivating names like Dead Man’s Fingers and Mermaid’s Glove. But what else lives there?
Well you’ll have to read the book but you can see the setting for the story and some of the characters in real life by following the artwork trail along the seafront.
The trail starts at the junction of Kingsway and the promenade at Cleveleys (near the Anchorsholme border), with Shipwrecks, a memorial to all the ships wrecked off the Fylde coast between 1643 and 2008.
Next, and not difficult to find, is the imposing Sea Swallows monument standing tall at the top of Victoria Road West, etched with words from the book to fire up your imagination:
Down in Lune Deep Far below the sea Something sparkles Like sunken treasure. A strange boy is watching But steals away in a flash As the Sea-Ogre stirs And our story begins…
Continue your quest northwards and The Paddle, a huge wooden carving, can be found washed ashore a little further along. Who could such a ginormous thing possibly belong to? Read the inscription to find out…
You’ll need to keep your eyes peeled and your wits about you as you try to spot the stone Sea Ogre. Although he weighs 12 tonnes and his eyes burn bright red, he hides on the beach among the rocks and isn’t so easy to see. Hopefully you’ll catch a glimpse – if you have the courage to get up close.
The final character to be found on the beach is the Sea Shell, which holds ‘every sound and every spellbound secret of the sea!’ and rises out of the sea as the tide goes back out. It’s big enough for dogs and kids to play in too!
This brings you to Café Cove on the promenade but the trail doesn’t end there. Carry on along the seafront to Rossall Point and step inside the observation tower, which is built to look like it’s leaning in to the wind. Apart from fantastic views across Morecambe Bay available from the viewing decks, there’s also Sea Swallow inspired artwork and lots to learn about the environment.
The Mythic Coastline has been created by Wyre Council as part of a project to improve Wyre’s seafront and reveals an enchanting tale about this area of the coast, even to those who know it well.
Spend an exhilarating (and free!) afternoon following the trail – you won’t be disappointed.
Today has been a perfect sunny spring day for the Crafty Vintage Fair at Brockholes Nature Reserve near Preston.
Crafty Vintage brings together purveyors of vintage, retro and handmade clothes, décor, gifts, art, food, entertainment and much more, all with character you just won’t find on the high street.
Brockholes near Preston is a floating village set in 250 acres of wildlife habitat that is home to everything from birds and insects to otters and fish.
You might not think the two likely partners but Brockholes provides a beautiful open air venue for a fabulous event with a wonderfully uplifting vibe – it’s in the sights, sounds and smells and guarantees a good day out.
There’s a lot going on but it’s well organised and the atmosphere is laid-back. The stalls are vibrant and the creative bods selling their wares are a friendly and welcoming bunch.
A cup of tea (although if it had been a couple of hours later in the day it might have been a cocktail) in the sunshine while looking out across the water and listening to the mellow tones of a live vintage-style singer was a perfect moment.
Refreshments on offer included an absolutely huge pan of sumptuous-looking paella bubbling away alongside spicy Mexican street food, wood fired pizza and some of the biggest and most spectacular cakes I’ve seen in my life!
One stall I have to mention is Millie and Ruby’s Dog Bakery, a Lancashire firm that makes dog treats such as chicken and cheddar chick biscuits, peanut butter and banana bones and apple and cinnamon paw lollipups. They don’t add anything artificial nor do they use preservatives and many of their ingredients are organic and locally sourced. A great idea for dog lovers and of course our beloved pooches.
Brockholes also has its own restaurant, art and craft gallery and souvenir shop plus an adventure play area for kids, three different walking trails and wildlife hide.
Entry to the fair is £2 (kids go free) and it’s on again tomorrow (Sunday 19 April), 10am until 5pm.
I will warn you though that parking at Brockholes isn’t cheap – £3 for the first hour, then 50p for every 20 minutes thereafter, to a maximum of £6. Income from car parking goes towards conservation though, so it is money well spent. If you make use of the walking trails and play area as well as the fair, you could spend the whole day there. And it couldn’t be easier to find either – just off junction 31 of the M6. The Guild Wheel runs through the site, so you could cycle there too!
Crafty Vintage runs regular events throughout the year. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter for more details.