Women in Business: Maud’s House

More than once, Skipton has been named the best place to live in Britain. And the North Yorkshire market town just got better with the opening of a new lifestyle shop which I dare say will make folk even prouder of where they live and content with their lot in life.

Maud's House lifestyle shop, Skipton, North Yorkshire

Maud’s House has been opened by 25-year-old Hattie, who wanted to bring something new to Skipton and give a helping hand to small businesses and young designers.

Hattie has a background in design and illustration and previously worked for branding agencies in Leeds and as a website assistant for fashion brand AQAQ.

She’s been helped by her 26-year-old boyfriend Jonathan, a freelance illustrator working from the couple’s home in Saltaire, which they share with their “crazy” terrier Ralph.

The pair set up their own illustration and design studio, Little Tail, over a year ago, but Hattie has been looking for something else of her own to get her teeth into.

Community

She said: “I’ve always wanted to own my own shop, since working for my cousin at the age of 16, making printed artwork and chatting to the locals, to watching the AQAQ brand grow and develop into what it is today.

“Retail is a world which I love being part of.

“I love the sense of community you can create from having somewhere people want to spend time, sharing products with like-minded people and of course all the interesting people and friends you can make on a day-to-day basis.

Maud's House lifestyle shop, Skipton, North Yorkshire

Creating a brand

“I decided to create a brand, give it a name, a look and feel. What would it sell? And more importantly, where would it be?

“So Maud’s House was born, named after my great grandmother (and my own middle name), carefully designed by Jonny to represent the shop.

“Location was key. I didn’t want to open a shop in the city. I love the simple, slow life of the country and I wanted to open somewhere where I could settle in for a few years and really feel comfortable spending so much time in.

“We’ve always talked of moving to Skipton and settling down there – Jonny’s home town and my favourite UK market town – so it was a bit of a no brainer.

“For a while our plans were put to one side. Little Tail was getting increasingly busy and finding the right spot in Skipton was nearly impossible with leases being so expensive and business rates sky high.

“But one day I spotted a unit in the 14th century High Corn Mill, previously a vets, on the market for a reasonable price which ticked all the boxes. And here we are – what a whirlwind couple of months it’s been!”

Believing in yourself

The concept of a ‘lifestyle shop’ is completely new to Skipton, says Hattie.

“It is a risk,” she said, “but so far so good. I’ve had some wonderful feedback from the locals who have enjoyed watching something fresh arrive to town.

“It’s good to set yourself apart from the rest and believe in yourself a little to stock products that other people would like. It’s scary putting yourself out there but I’ve found it positive and rewarding so far.

“I carefully curate all the stock myself, sourcing homewares from Denmark and the Netherlands, while predominately supporting UK illustrators and designers.

“The shop’s initial line up of stock has included brands such as Scout Editions, Mast Brothers Ltd, Cereal Magazine, Bonbi Forest, Hilda Carr, House Doctor, Leitmotiv, Susie Purvis and so much more.

“It’s really important as small business owners ourselves to support and nurture other small businesses and recent graduate illustrators. We know how difficult it is to get your foot in the door and that extra step up whatever it is might be priceless.”

In the coming weeks Hattie plans to introduce more homewares, prints and books, and the online shop has now gone live.

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Need to know:

  • Maud’s House, 3 High Corn Mill, Chapel Hill, Skipton, North Yorkshire BD23 1NL
  • info@maudshouse.co.uk
  • 01756 799119
  • twitter/instagram: @maudshouseltd
  • photography by Giles Smith, used with permission

Crafty Fox Market, Leeds

Since having a baby I haven’t been able to get to all the events I used to, to share them with you on the blog. But, when the Crafty Fox Market came to Leeds this month, I put the baby in the sling and made a special effort to visit.

Crafty Fox say they “shake up the average craft fair”, usually holding their events for emerging designer makers and artists in London.

The two-day fair at the Black Swan in Leeds was their first outing in the north. It being held in a pub, the vibe was immediately different to other craft fairs I’ve been to. (No fusty village hall or knitted apple cosies here). As well as stalls there were workshops – on making jewellery and macramé plant holders – pizza slices on sale and a cool DJ.

Crafty Fox craft market Black Swan Leeds

Over the weekend there were more than 70 sellers involved, curated by Harriet from Leeds design store Chirpy. I was already a Chirpy fan, as you may remember from my post about Chapel Allerton, but Harriet had really done her homework – the standard of the stuff on sale was outstanding.

Crafty Fox craft market Black Swan Leeds Crafty Fox craft market Black Swan Leeds Crafty Fox craft market Black Swan Leeds Crafty Fox craft market Black Swan Leeds Crafty Fox craft market Black Swan Leeds Crafty Fox craft market Black Swan Leeds Crafty Fox craft market Black Swan Leeds

These were some of my favourite sellers on the day I visited.

Crafty Fox craft market Black Swan Leeds The Primrose Parasol Crafty Fox craft market Black Swan Leeds The Primrose Parasol Crafty Fox craft market Black Swan Leeds The Primrose Parasol

// witty, fun phrases on embroidery hoops by The Primrose Parasol //

Crafty Fox craft market Black Swan Leeds Paly Glass Crafty Fox craft market Black Swan Leeds Paly Glass

// terrariums and pretty wild flowers in delicate metal and glass frames, by Paly Glass //

Crafty Fox craft market Black Swan Leeds

// I loved the fox and badger bunting made in Sheffield by The Owlery //

Crafty Fox craft market Black Swan Leeds Red Paper House Crafty Fox craft market Black Swan Leeds Nook North Crafty Fox craft market Black Swan Leeds Nook North Crafty Fox craft market Black Swan Leeds Fawn and Rose

// unique handmade jewellery by Red Paper House (top), Nook of the North (middle) and Fawn and Rose (bottom) //

Crafty Fox craft market Black Swan Leeds Plewsy

// lovely North Yorkshire graphic designer Plewsy //

Crafty Fox craft market Black Swan Leeds Maggie Magoo Crafty Fox craft market Black Swan Leeds Maggie Magoo

// everyone loves a good cactus these days! prints, textiles and stationery by Maggie Magoo //

Crafty Fox craft market Black Swan Leeds Kate Broughton

// wildlife-inspired illustrations by West Yorkshire’s Kate Broughton //

Like I said, I was really impressed with the talent and high standard of the creations at this craft fair. I felt all the makers deserved to make a good living from the things they create but I know it’s often hard for independent crafters to do so. I hope they got some extra sales from being part of Crafty Fox, who I hope will come back to the north soon.

What do you think?

10 uses for deckchair fabric at home

There are few things that evoke British summer time like the traditional deckchair and its iconic fabric.

The wooden chair and its multi-colour stripes are as much part of our seaside holidays as beach huts, knotted hankies, piers and Punch and Judy.

Seaside deckchairs

But there’s no need to restrict deckchairs to the beach. A cheery deckchair can brighten up a garden while conjuring a scene of outdoor relaxation. And indoors, the bright colour combinations make the fabric perfect for using in summertime décor or homes with a touch of bohemian style. Continue reading “10 uses for deckchair fabric at home”

A new ‘mum’ wardrobe?

The other day I opened my wardrobe doors and decided I hated pretty much everything inside.

When I was pregnant I didn’t buy much or pay a great deal of attention to what I was wearing: I had a few necessities and work and casual outfits that I wore in circulation (and was completely bored of after eight months).

A few weeks after the baby was born I decided that, after not really buying clothes for the best part of a year, I was back in the game big time and subsequently went on a fairly big (for me) shopping spree.

One of the things I bought was this pink stripe patch shirt from Zara, which I wore for my first night out with the girls, when the baby was eight weeks old. I teamed it with a pair of white jeans and these super-cool black and white geometric mules, which I bought last summer. I think they look like they could be by Sophia Webster – but I actually found them in Matalan.

New mum wardrobe! Zara pink stripe patch shirt, white jeans, geometric shoesNew mum wardrobe! Zara pink stripe patch shirt, white jeans, geometric shoesNew mum wardrobe! Zara pink stripe patch shirt, white jeans, geometric shoes

Continue reading “A new ‘mum’ wardrobe?”

Review: Leesa mattress

Being a new parent, sleep is at a premium. It’s something I spend a lot of time thinking about, hoping for and looking forward to.

My husband and I are asked how much we’re getting, we talk to each other about whether we’re having enough, and we want to know whether other couples with babies of the same age are getting more or less.

Getting as much uninterrupted shut-eye as possible is pretty important to being a happy parent, I think. A good night means I have the energy and patience to feed and entertain the baby the next day, my husband can go to work and not fall asleep in meetings – and we have enough left in the tank to pay attention to each other at the end of a day.

It must be hard to come across a couple who have exactly the same requirements of a mattress, and we’re no different. We will often have a different amount and quality of rest from the same bed – he suffers with a bad back so likes a firm surface, while I like it softer (but not too soft. Goldilocks, moi?). While our current Ikea mattress is fairly new I’ve never particularly looked forward to sleeping on it; it’s a bit too hard for me.

So when Leesa got in touch offering one of their ‘one-size-fits-all’ mattresses for review, I was intrigued and more than a little sceptical it could suit us both. They say their mattress has been designed to fit the needs of all sleepers, and they’re so sure you’ll like it that they offer a full refund if you’re not sleeping better within 100 nights.

But after sleeping on it for a week or so, there’s no way this mattress is going back. In fact I decided that after the first few minutes. Now I really look forward to getting into bed each night. It’s what a bed should be. It feels indulgent and rejuvenating.

Leesa mattress review Continue reading “Review: Leesa mattress”

What I wore: denim dungaree dress

Since I have the rest of the year off work (sorry not sorry) on maternity leave, the demands on my wardrobe are different from normal.

All this ‘leisure’ time (for want of a better phrase that accurately describes being a mum rather than doing my in-many-ways-less-challenging day job) means what I’m wearing for most of the week has changed.

And while often that’s leggings and old T-shirts, as the whole summer stretches ahead I’m in the market for stocking up on some new clothes for the warmer weather.

This denim dungaree dress is a new addition that is suited to the unpredictable British summer. Add a light T-shirt and flat sandals or wedges it’ll see you through sunnier days, or throw it on top of a long-sleeved top and add a pair of trainers on days when the sky is cloudy and the temperatures cooler. The denim is fairly thick so you could actually wear it most of the year, with tights and boots.

I like the indigo denim, crossover straps, rose gold buckles and buttons and – of course – the pockets! What is it about dresses with pockets that make them so great?

Denim dungaree dress Denim dungaree dress Denim dungaree dress Denim dungaree dress Denim dungaree dress Denim dungaree dress

// denim dungaree dress, £48, Oasis c/o House of Fraser / breton stripe tee, £16, Warehouse / tan suede lace-up sandals, £14, Primark //

Continue reading “What I wore: denim dungaree dress”

Things to do in and around Pateley Bridge

After blogging about the cottage we stayed in on our first family ‘holiday‘ – a few days in Pateley Bridge – I wanted to let you know about some of the things you can do in and around this pretty North Yorkshire market town.

Pateley Bridge, Nidderdale, North Yorkshire, Yorkshire Dales Pateley Bridge, Nidderdale, North Yorkshire, Yorkshire Dales Pateley Bridge, Nidderdale, North Yorkshire, Yorkshire Dales Pateley Bridge, Nidderdale, North Yorkshire, Yorkshire Dales

Here’s what we got up to. Continue reading “Things to do in and around Pateley Bridge”

Our first family break in Pateley Bridge

Recently we went on our first family ‘holiday’. It was just a few days away in Yorkshire, but still a noteworthy event.

We stayed in Pateley Bridge near Harrogate in North Yorkshire, which is in Nidderdale, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Staying at The Gamekeeper cottage, we were not likely to forget that.

Found a mile-and-a-half along a bridleway, I don’t think I’ve stayed in a more tranquil spot. There’s a babbling brook in front of the 230-year-old cottage, and its back garden is fairytale-like: you climb winding steps to reach a patch of lawn with unspoilt views of the rolling Yorkshire countryside, a rope swing and, beyond the dry stone wall, only the local sheep to disturb your peace. The cottage and its garden are in a shooting estate and pheasant, partridge and deer are often seen. There are rugs, picnic blankets and a barbecue for guests to use.

The Gamekeeper holiday cottage, Pateley Bridge, Nidderdale, North Yorkshire, Yorkshire Dales. Rent from Gorgeous Cottages The Gamekeeper holiday cottage, Pateley Bridge, Nidderdale, North Yorkshire, Yorkshire Dales. Rent from Gorgeous Cottages The Gamekeeper holiday cottage, Pateley Bridge, Nidderdale, North Yorkshire, Yorkshire Dales. Rent from Gorgeous Cottages The Gamekeeper holiday cottage, Pateley Bridge, Nidderdale, North Yorkshire, Yorkshire Dales. Rent from Gorgeous Cottages

Continue reading “Our first family break in Pateley Bridge”

Appreciating all the small things

These hits of sunshine we’ve had some days lately have really helped me appreciate the every day, small things.

On one such day I took a walk to my friend’s house: she lives about an hour away. I’ve been walking as much as possible since having the baby, getting out with the pram, taking in some exercise and fresh air. It’s a sure fire way to get him to drop off to sleep ;)

The route I took that day was an unremarkable route in an unremarkable town, but being on foot made me see the beauty in the things I drive past routinely. I kept my phone in my back pocket and pulled it out to snap every so often.

Have you ever done this? Taken the time and made the effort to see your local area from a new point of view, through a fresh pair of eyes? Continue reading “Appreciating all the small things”

Baby boy’s wedding outfit

Buying clothes for your baby is one of the most fun things about being a new parent.

I haven’t actually bought very much yet because we’ve been gifted and given so many outfits. This generosity means baby probably has enough clothes to keep him going until he’s at least one. But this summer we have a family wedding to go to so, of course, a shopping trip is required – for him and me.

It’s going to be trickier than usual choosing an outfit for myself. I will need one that will deal with the not-quite-back-to-pre-pregnancy body shape, the demands of breastfeeding and the barn/marquee/field location.

And the baby will need something smart to wear too. We’re prepared to spend extra to get something special to match the occasion – and it’s an opportunity to dress him in a ridiculously cute outfit! Continue reading “Baby boy’s wedding outfit”

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