About gratitude…

It struck me as interesting that in our Valentine’s Day cards this year, my husband and I both said the same thing to each other.

“Thank you.”

I think we’re kind, caring and openly appreciative of each other most of the time. But this was the first time we’d both felt moved to put those words down on paper, at the same time.

And on the day that is supposed to be all about love, and passion.

I wondered if it was something I should be worried about. Was it the right thing to say, on Valentine’s Day? I quickly came to my senses.

I mean, on Valentine’s Day 14 years ago I might have bought him a karma sutra calendar. But we’ve been living in each other’s pockets for more than a decade now. Things change. Habits change. Priorities change. Love has changed (and got stronger).

We have so much to thank each other for, this year more than ever – so there should be no shame in saying it. Continue reading “About gratitude…”

Three years on: our transplant journey

Today I’m handing over the blog to one of my best friends Emma, who has written here before about her seriously ill three-year-old son, Freddie. A few months ago he underwent a liver transplant and today – three years after being diagnosed with a rare condition – is having further surgery.

“If you read my other two blog posts you will know I get some comfort documenting and sharing the emotional rollercoaster we’ve experienced since Freddie was born.

It’s good for me to reflect on what’s happened and there have been some significant changes.

My last post – two years since Freddie’s diagnosis – talked about how living with childhood liver disease had become more bearable, and how I felt as a family we were coping pretty well and could see some light at the end of the tunnel.

That changed abruptly. Continue reading “Three years on: our transplant journey”

10 reasons to visit Fodder, Harrogate

Have you heard of Fodder? I was recently introduced to this Yorkshire farm shop and café, and it went straight on my ‘visit soon’ list.

Having read what they’re all about and had a browse of their website I vowed to pay a visit the next time I’m in the area.

Fodder can be found at the Great Yorkshire Showground in Harrogate, North Yorkshire.

Fodder farm shop and cafe, Harrogate, North Yorkshire Fodder farm shop and cafe, Harrogate, North Yorkshire Fodder farm shop and cafe, Harrogate, North Yorkshire Fodder farm shop and cafe, Harrogate, North Yorkshire Fodder farm shop and cafe, Harrogate, North YorkshireHere are my top 10 reasons to experience Fodder.

  1. 85% of its stock is local produce. Food so fresh is better for your body and the environment.
  2. They work with over 300 Yorkshire farmers and small producers. That’s a lot of local businesses and families they’re supporting. They buy direct from the farm, paying farmers a good price, but sell at a price that’s affordable to ordinary people.
  3. They’ve won dozens of awards for their sustainable building (it’s one of the greenest in the UK) and the quality of their food.
  4. Anything that is good enough to eat but not good enough to sell goes to the Harrogate Homeless Project. All profits go to the Yorkshire Agricultural Society, a registered charity.
  5. From the shop and café, you can enjoy views of Yorkshire’s lovely Crimple Valley. If you don’t have much time to spare, you can grab a meal or drink from Fodder on the Hoof, a converted 1960s Airstream that sits in the car park.
  6. As well as food, there are local crafts and gifts, and cards. And if you can’t make a trip you can buy hampers and vouchers online.
  7. The Fodder Loyalty Card gives you points for every £1 you spend.
  8. The website has a host of recipes using ingredients that be bought from the shop – perfect for amateur and stuck-in-a-rut cooks like me!
  9. They have regular events like tasting sessions where you can go along and try new foods from Yorkshire suppliers.
  10. The shop and café have gluten-free options.

So, shall I see you there?

*written in collaboration with Fodder, but content and opinions my own

Review: Keelham Farm Shop taste box

On Sunday morning I ate chocolate and marshmallows. And I did it for you, readers.

I was reviewing a taste box from Keelham Farm Shop, one of the many farm shops that have flourished over the last few years, especially in Yorkshire.

For many of us, it’s becoming more and more important to know where our food comes from. We want a different shopping experience that supports local growers and producers and prioritises fresh, tasty food.

Keelham Farm Shop is a family-run business with shops in Skipton, North Yorkshire, and Thornton, Bradford, stocking food and drink from more than 400 Yorkshire producers. I’ve been to the Skipton one and it’s lovely. Continue reading “Review: Keelham Farm Shop taste box”

DIY lace-up shoes

Lace-up shoes have been around for a while now – and I found that it’s actually really easy to make your own pair as you’ll see from this DIY.

I picked up these leopard-print flats for £7 in Tesco a while ago and although I loved them they just wouldn’t stay on my feet. Did not look cool walking in them.

Adding laces made them on trend, pretty – and practical! Continue reading “DIY lace-up shoes”

Spring summer 2016 wish list

I have consulted friends and the internet and drawn up a list of things I think I need for the baby. (Let’s meet back here in a few weeks and we’ll see how much of that crap I actually used).

I had worked out that I could afford to buy everything with the first few pay cheques of the year.

Then – boom! – our boiler is found to be leaking gas and “beyond economical repair.” The three words no one wants to hear. After two weeks of shivering under duvets and throws, £1400 down and having felt a great deal of sympathy for those less fortunate, we’re back with a warm house.

What I think I’m getting to with all this rambling is that following the best laid spending plans doesn’t always work out exactly as you thought.

It’s good to save and plan, but it’s also OK to have a little of what you want, rather than just what you need.

I’m thinking ahead to spring and summer, when I hope the shock of the baby’s arrival has subsided slightly and I can be out enjoying the sunshine.

I won’t go overboard, just buy a few things for the new sunnier season. When (hopefully) my body has returned to something like its normal state. And I have all those days of not having to wear work clothes :)

Here are a few things I have my eye on for spring and summer.

Spring summer 2016 wish list

  1. Patterned maxi dress, £14.99, H&M
  2. Elephant rose gold necklace, £85, Daisy London
  3. But first, coffee sweatshirt, £14.99, Revl Apparel at Etsy
  4. Floral leather bag, £42, Topshop
  5. Minimalist print, £35, Habitat
  6. Wild and free baby bodysuit, £17, Sweetpea and Co. at Etsy
  7. Navy and cream espadrilles, £13, Forever 21
  8. Buttoned denim overall dress, £30, Forever 21

What will you be shopping for this spring summer?

Women in business: Haykin

Yorkshire PR girl Katy Barraclough has opened Haykin, an online store devoted to colour and simplicity.

I’ve been following Katy on Instagram for a while. I think I ended up there initially because she’s friends with one of my favourite Yorkshire bloggers, Lisa of Matilde heart Manech. I was drawn in by her adorable spaniel and perfectly curated images.

After a while, it became clear she was planning a career move and began posting pictures of pieces she’d found and loved. Then, a few days ago, Haykin launched.

Katy, from Ilkley, says she has had a “long-held love affair” with bold, bright colours and an affection for simple, timeless design.

So Haykin is a vibrant collection of homewares and style finds discovered around the world, with some brands making their UK début.

Katy Barraclough, owner of Haykin Continue reading “Women in business: Haykin”

How it feels taking maternity leave

Last week at work we interviewed for the person who will be covering my maternity leave. It’s starting to feel very real, now I only have about 5 weeks of work left.

The rest of the year stretches ahead of me like a desert, empty of the familiar but sometimes tiresome routine: alarm going off; the drive to work; dealing with tasks and problems I’m used to.

Several months being a full-time mum to a new baby will be full, of course, but I don’t know yet exactly what with.

On the one hand, I feel so happy and lucky that we’re here. I’m pregnant and in a couple of months we’re having a baby – what could be more exciting? On the other, there’s apprehension at the unknown.

I enjoy my job. It challenges me, works my brain, keeps me in close contact with important goings-on in the world.

Motherhood will be different. Maternity leave days will be centred around keeping my baby alive, well and happy. I will go to new places – the non-parent nightmare of ‘play gyms’, etc – and spend time with new people.

Will I adjust? Will I be a good parent? Will I feel defined by being a ‘mum’? Will it change me? Will I feel of less value? Will I ever have time to shave my legs? Continue reading “How it feels taking maternity leave”

House tour update: kitchen art

For 12 months after finishing the kitchen renovation, we’ve been reluctant to nail anything to its pristine, newly-plastered walls.

But recently we’ve accepted that, well, we live here now, will do for some time and that personal touches beat a perfect finish any day.

So recently we got some kitchen art and prints up; some old, some new.

(And it occurred to me I don’t think I’ve ever shown you the dining side of the room!)

Grey Ikea kitchen, wood floor, pendant light, Hockney art Kitchen art

Continue reading “House tour update: kitchen art”

What I’m wearing while pregnant

I’m getting pretty bored of my ‘pregnancy wardrobe’ now.

Probably because I haven’t added that much to it for wearing while pregnant. For the first few weeks I just wore normal clothes and now – with a little over two months to go – spending a lot of money on clothing a body in a temporarily changed state doesn’t seem to make sense.

Having said that there have, of course, been some new additions. A couple of absolute essentials for me have been a few pairs of maternity tights and leggings (I got mine from H&M). Over these you can throw skirts, tops, jumpers and dresses – like this, taken a couple of weeks ago before an afternoon out in Leeds with the girls.

Maternity fashion - Primark berry dress and leggingsMaternity fashion - Primark berry dress and leggingsI’m sorry about the rubbish photos, I’m blaming the winter light (and some laziness).

The dress is just from Primark; I bought it because of its loose fit and thinking the rich berry colour would see me through a few winter parties.

This is what else I’ve been wearing: Continue reading “What I’m wearing while pregnant”

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