Day at Leeds Waterfront Festival

Sometimes there are days (though they’re not that common) when I think, yes, I have this parenting thing nailed.

We had one such day recently, when we decided to have a day out in Leeds for the Waterfront Festival.

It was much like life on summer weekends pre-baby: we got a little dressed up, we took the train, we had a few drinks, we sat outside bars in the sun.

But the baby was with us – it was his first train ride – and it was lovely to have his company. He was hardly any trouble and we returned home victorious that being a parent does not need to stop you doing everything.

Although being a parent did go on to stop me sleeping for most of the night, as is usual.

It filled me with confidence that our summer camping holidays and the month-long European road trip we have planned are doable and travelling with a baby may even be relatively stress-free. I think we are gonna be OK.

What I wore. Mint green jeans, embroidered peasant top What I wore. Mint green jeans, embroidered peasant top

I don’t get a whole lot of time for meandering around clothes shops these days so I while I was doing my supermarket shop the other day I grabbed this peasant top with black, pink and turquoise embroidery from George at Asda. Continue reading “Day at Leeds Waterfront Festival”

House tour: garden ideas

Having shared with you the progress we’ve made so far on the back garden, I thought I’d also give you an insight into my inspiration and ideas for how I’d like some of the space to look when it’s finished.

In my mind, the garden has three areas: the decking; patio; and lawn and flowerbeds.

Perhaps the part that is most pre-occupying – and usually at the forefront of my thoughts when browsing Pinterest – is the patio. Maybe it’s because I feel this area has the most potential prettiness, and it should be the hub for fun summer evenings spent with family and friends.

It will be a fairly square space with a curved outer wall. I picture built-in seating with removable cushions, surrounding a fire pit-cum-barbecue.

I’d like climbing and trailing plants, strings of festoon lights and outdoor mirrors to create a feeling of extra space*.

Wood seating area and festoon lights in garden Garden seating area under pergola with climbing trailing plants climbing plants around garden seating area (2) wood seating, outdoor cooking area, black wall built in garden seating grey render and wood garden outdoor mirror garden festoon lights (2)

I’ll be pretty happy if our patio ends up resembling any of these lovely outdoor spaces! You can find all these images and more garden ideas on my Pinterest board. Continue reading “House tour: garden ideas”

House tour: back garden update

Do you fancy a little update on my house renovation and a look at how things are going with fixing up the back garden?

I’ll be honest: progress has been a little slow, what with having a baby three months ago and breaking off to do work inside the house over winter. My husband started on the back garden last year, but he broke off to finish the hallway and do the nursery, which is close to being completed. I’m looking forward to showing you the baby’s room; it turned out nothing like the ideas I had in my head at the beginning of the year!

I’d love to be getting stuck in and helping him with these projects, but I’ve had to take a back seat over the last year because of being pregnant, and now looking after the baby. I’ve still been very involved in the design and planning though and I’m so pleased at how everything has come together. I’m never sure whether these ideas in my head will come off and look right in real life!

Here’s a reminder of how the back garden looked before. You can read more about our plans and some of the problems we’re having to overcome, and see more ugly photos in this post.

back garden before photos (4)

The next photos were taken after a few weeks’ work. You can see he’s done some of the clearing and built a retaining wall for the decking to sit on. Continue reading “House tour: back garden update”

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. Continue reading “Women in Business: Maud’s House”

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. Continue reading “Crafty Fox Market, Leeds”

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”

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