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The Cheerful Chilli, Otley

It hasn't been an easy week. Stress levels have been through the roof and a lot of tears have been shed. Our old moggy has been diagnosed with a tumour in her spleen and in her intestines and she was not looking good. On Thursday she was so poorly that I agonized over saying goodbye to her at our next appointment with the vet. On Friday however, she was a different girl again - alert, hungry, bossy, noisy and almost back to normal. So for now, it looks like the treatment plan is working. After not eating for days she is now enjoying the luxury of roast chicken breast and double cream from our pudding bowl and I think she deserves it.

We all needed some cheering up too after last week's trials. I'd been meaning to visit this little hidden gem near the airport for quite some time and especially after reading about it over on my chum Manda's blog Tree Fall. A vegetarian tearoom and restaurant, The Cheerful Chilli is located handily next to the carpark for Otley Chevin Forest Park. Popular with walkers and cyclists, it's a bustling cafe and also a keen venue for weddings. The building is a converted farmhouse with courtyard garden and surrounded by cottage garden flowers - lupins, poppies and nepeta. Lots of which are in junk planters and little cracks in the stone walls. It has a lovely rustic charm as well as being very laid back and friendly. Bees and butterflies went about their daily business as the Boy and I enjoyed cake outside in the morning sunshine (although it was a bit chilly - June, what went wrong?). I can't recommend the cherry cheesecake enough with huge chunks of fresh cherry throughout the cake. The Boy had a slice of chocolate nemesis - like a big ol' chunk of the richest brownie. He loved it. Next time we'll definitely head there for lunch. You can see their menu on the website here. (And you can read my piece on The Cheerful Chilli over on This is Your Kingdom).

One thing that I have realised this week is to look for the things that give us a little happiness in difficult times. However small they are, it's important to acknowledge them. So after our morning cake break, we headed into Otley Chevin Forest Park for a bit of a walk and to take some photographs of the simple things. Being amongst nature always makes me feel better. 

The wildflowers have started to emerge, allbeit slowly. The meadows were alive with the glistening yellows of buttercups. If only the sun would have come out to play a little more. But it's amazing how a slice of cake, the beauty of a buttercup and being outdoors can make me so much more positive about things.