A boy, a girl and a bike

Bike fever has well and truly taken over in Yorkshire, with the Tour de France being here this week.

So I thought it fitting to share this lovely 1940s-style fashion shoot, visualised by West Yorkshire designers and photographed by Shelly of Toast of Leeds around Hebden Bridge, where the Tour will pass through on Sunday.

The shoot was inspired by the 1949 film ‘A boy, a girl and a bike’, starring Honor Blackman and Diana Dors, which was shot in Huddersfield.

A boy, a girl and a bike 1940s photo shoot in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire A boy, a girl and a bike 1940s photo shoot in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire A boy, a girl and a bike 1940s photo shoot in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire Read More →

Tour de France in Yorkshire

It’s 18 months since I stood in the snow outside Leeds town hall, watching a spectacular firework display celebrating the news that Yorkshire would host the Grand Départ of the Tour de France.

Now it’s upon us, and bikes are everywhere. On Saturday, the peloton will ride from Leeds to Harrogate taking in the Yorkshire Dales, before York to Sheffield on Sunday.

I love taking to two wheels, but have little interest in competitive cycling. I confess I’ve toyed with the idea of getting away from Yorkshire for the weekend, but the wish to be here and part of this huge event has gradually grown. Now I’m excited for the success I am sure we will make of it, to see our spectacular region showcased to the world, to watch everyone enjoying the celebrations around it and for the feel-good factor and boost for Yorkshire that – I hope – is sure to follow.

Buttertubs Pass, Yorkshire, Tour de France route 2014

// the winding roads and stunning views of Buttertubs Pass, Upper Wharfedale / image Welcome to Yorkshire //

We’ll be in Skipton, where my sister-in-law lives. It’s a spectator hub and the tour will be passing through on Saturday. My dad is a volunteer ‘tour maker’, bless him (they’ll be the ones in head-to-toe garish green) – he always regretted not completing his application to be a ‘Games maker’ at the 2012 Olympics.

If the buzz has been a slow burn for you too, there are still ways to get involved. Read More →

Ask Her Friends blogger panel

It’s that time again – this month’s gift ideas from the Ask Her Friends blogger panel is live!

If you remember from last time I’ve recently joined a host of my favourite bloggers on this panel, and each month we choose a selection of gifts. And the best bit is if you hop on over to the June blogger page and vote for your favourite blogger choices you could £50 to spend at Ask Her Friends.

This month the theme was summer, so I chose things for trips to the beach, picnics and garden parties.

Few things could be more summery than this delicate bee necklace. I can imagine a trip to the beach with this colourful bag and pretty notebook, jotting down some thoughts on the world. And the mojito maker? A vital part of your garden party kit.

Ask Her Friends June blogger panel gift choices

1. Four Piece Mojito Set by Whisk Hampers, 2. Wax Print Tote Bag by Mefie, 3. Pink Flamingo Notebook by Nikki Strange, 4. Honey Bee Necklace by Cinderela B, 5. Pomegranate Rose and Peony Bouquet by Appleyard.

Don’t forget to go and vote for your favourite set of picks to be in with a chance of winning £50 to spend at Ask Her Friends.

What do you think to my choices? What things represent summer to you?

Joules summer festival style

I’ve said before that I love how the number and range of festivals has grown in the last few years.

When I was a student in the late 90s, it seemed like it was all – Glastonbury, parting with £200 for a weekend in a cramped tent, braving a mud bath and revolting portaloos – or nothing. That probably explains why I’ve never quite got round to going to a ‘big festival’. Never quite the right time.

Now, there’s a festival to suit pretty much everyone, and they’re a lot more accessible. More than likely there will be one in or near your home town, and it might even be free.

I like my festivals a bit more varied than just music – good food too, perhaps some outdoor theatre or comedy – and I prefer a laid-back, all-ages-and-types crowd. I like to camp, but with proper facilities and a little off-site, where rowdiness often ensues – but only when we want it to.

I’m just about to go to Grassington Festival in the Yorkshire Dales, where we spend a few days each year, we’re probably going to Edinburgh Festival Fringe (does that count?) in August and I’m thinking Festival No 6 in Portmeirion looks cool and is conveniently dated in the middle of our next two week holiday. You might remember I spent a day last year at Galtres and I’m tempted to return now I know Morcheeba are headlining.

When I saw this video made by Joules it reminded me of the kind of festivals I like. Read More →

What I wore: printed jumpsuit

This could be the world’s comfiest jumpsuit.

Perfect for summer days, it has a boho black and white print and is cool and light making it good to travel in while fitting for hanging out at camp, in the pub or at a garden party or gig.

I wore it for our family’s recent gathering at Cloughton Station and it saw me through several hours of eating, drinking, sitting outside chatting and playing silly games.

I’ve been wanting some Wayfarers for ages, so this gorgeous tortoiseshell pair have been stuck to my face since I got my hands on them.

What I wore: black and white print casual jumpsuit, denim jacket, Ray Ban Wayfarers, tribal print backpack Read More →

Cycling Cloughton to Ravenscar

One of the (many) great things about staying at Cloughton Station, is that – unsurprisingly for a former train station – it’s right on the former Scarborough to Whitby railway line.

The train line opened in 1885 and closed 80 years later. It’s now a peaceful track leading walkers, cyclists and horse-riders on a 21-mile trail never far from the coast through North Yorkshire’s North York Moors National Park.

From Cloughton, it’s just two miles to the Hayburn Wyke pub, a great place to stop for a pint or even a meal, with a big beer garden and a good-sized patch of grass for little legs to run around on.

From the pub, you can take a short walk through a nature reserve and down to ‘smugglers cove’ where a waterfall cascades into the sea. It’s as idyllic as it sounds.

If you can drag yourself away the cycle track goes all the way to Whitby, but we only had time to go as far as Ravenscar (about five miles away). Unfortunately sea mist obscured the usually spectacular view from the Raven Hall Hotel to Robin Hood’s Bay.

It’s a very steady climb all the way to Ravenscar but that does mean you can freewheel nearly all the way back, which we did, laughing and chatting and fooling around like we were kids, a sense of freedom rushing through our bodies like the wind in our hair.

Hayburn Wyke pub, Smugglers Cove, cycle route from Cloughton Station to Ravenscar Hayburn Wyke pub, Smugglers Cove, cycle route from Cloughton Station to Ravenscar Hayburn Wyke pub, Smugglers Cove, cycle route from Cloughton Station to Ravenscar Read More →

Cloughton Station, Yorkshire

A couple of weeks ago my uncle took us all away to North Yorkshire to celebrate his 70th birthday.

It’s typical of his generosity and love of his family and a good gathering that he’d do that. It’s just a shame the man himself was quite unwell over the weekend, because his charades demonstrations are legendary. Gestures done with such passion, energy and determination, he’s quite unaware why just one swoop of his arm has us in hysterics.

We stayed at this pretty special place near Scarborough. The former Cloughton Station house is a B&B and tea rooms, and alongside it is a converted train carriage (named Oscar) and goods shed, both offering self-catering accommodation.

By all accounts Oscar is a little creaky and cramped, but so much fun if you have train enthusiasts in your family. The Goods Shed is a big, modern space with three bedrooms.

The Mr and I were still feeling a little emotionally delicate but, in the bosom of my family, sharing stories and smiles under the evening sun, with cold drinks and food fresh from the barbecue, we healed a bit more.

B&B and self-catering accommodation converted from a station house, train carriage and goods shed. Cloughton Station, near Scarborough, North Yorkshire B&B and self-catering accommodation converted from a station house, train carriage and goods shed. Cloughton Station, near Scarborough, North Yorkshire B&B and self-catering accommodation converted from a station house, train carriage and goods shed. Cloughton Station, near Scarborough, North Yorkshire Read More →

Eclectic home store: RE

At the beginning of our recent few days in Northumberland we stopped off in the small town of Corbridge.

“We’re here,” I said, as we parked up in front of a rather uninspiring rural petrol station. My husband shot me one of his familiar “where have you brought us now?” looks.

But wonderful things are yet more rewarding when they’re hidden, unexpected, so good they don’t need to shout about themselves to every passer-by.

I’d come across this store a couple of times online and in magazines and have been waiting for a chance to visit.

Head down the alleyway to the left of the petrol pumps and you’ll find a converted workshop that is home to RE, a home accessories shop created by fashion design colleagues turned business partners Simon Young and Jenny Vaughan.

RE eclectic home accessories store in Corbridge, Northumberland | www.angelinthenorth.com

In the long hours the pair spent travelling for work, they would pass the time asking: if you had a shop, what would you sell? After several months, and increasingly serious answers, they found two large metal letters that became their shop’s moniker at a Paris flea market. RE was born in 2003.

If it must be called something, RE is a lifestyle store, but it doesn’t sit easily in a category or pigeon hole. As they say on their website, you can’t describe what you’ll find at RE, you can’t easily summarise its concept or shoehorn its philosophy into a paragraph. Read More →

Willow and Hall sofa beds

We finished our spare bedroom at the beginning of the year and, as I’ve said before, I’m struggling a bit with its purpose. Not that it needs one, particularly, but if you know what you want it sure makes kitting it out a lot easier.

It’s in good use at the moment as our makeshift living room because we’ve recently started renovating all of the downstairs. We’ve quickly become quite attached to it, actually: it’s at the back of the house so it’s private and peaceful with lots of sun and a rural view. Spending time here has made us not want to let it become a room we shut the door on and ignore, only to be used when guests come from time to time.

We need room for a couple of people to stay, but perhaps the room could have a dual purpose – an office area… or crafting desk perhaps?! Of course, demanding more of a room means better planning and more efficient use of space.

We recently threw out the spare bed which was well past its best, and instead of a straightforward replacement we’re thinking of a sofa bed. They have obvious space-saving advantages, meaning room could be made for a desk and a cupboard or two for files and my crafting supplies.

I’m not thinking of anything flash, just a simple, practical and comfortable design and not so big that it swamps the room. That’s why I like the look of the range from Willow and Hall, a new-ish company which prides itself on furniture handmade in Britain.

Willow and Hall sofas and sofa beds Read More →

Scampston Does Vintage

Now this sounds like a pretty perfect summer weekend to me: vintage stalls, live music, classic cars, picnics, cocktails and afternoon tea.

What if I said all this is happening in one place, at one of the finest regency stately homes in Yorkshire, and then that you can go for free. Would you love me?

Scampston Does Vintage organised by Britain Does Vintage is at Scampston Hall on 7 and 8 June. Sadly I’ve already got good plans, but I’ve got two weekend family tickets (admitting up to two adults and two children) to give away. They’re worth £58 each! (You could camp as well, for just a tenner).

These photos from last year’s event should whet your appetite.

Scampston Does Vintage at Scampston Hall North Yorkshire Read More →

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