Tag Archives: life in a Northern town

Life in a northern town – July 2016, part 2

Today is the first day of the summer holidays.  We’ve had a slow start to the day. The kids are having a water fight in the garden.  We’re still alive at lunchtime.  It bodes well for the rest of the holidays.

Two weeks today, with a bit of luck and nobody playing silly buggers at the last minute, we will be moving house.  Even though we’re having the place professionally packed for us, there still seems so much to do.  I tidied away my sewing machine last night.  I’m not entirely sure if it will come out again in this house, and just how quickly I’ll get it unpacked in the new house.

Number 2 makes me ever so slightly anxious.

But I will have a lovely and spacious sewing room in the new house so it will be worth a little while without sewing.

Won’t it????

I will get some lovely photos of George soon and share them with you.  But till then, this little face will have to do!


We weren’t planning on getting a new puppy until after the school holidays.

Sometimes it’s good just to throw the plan out of the window!

We had a dance competition for The Boy at the weekend.  Note to self, when travelling over an hour from home to the competition venue at 7am in the morning…it really helps to pack his dance shoes!

Number 9 is Reason 876 why I love The Husband. He drove back home to collect the dance shoes.

The Boy won.  Again.  First place for quickstep and for jive in the 6-7 year old age group.

With his lovely dance partner

With his lovely dance partner for the day.

I may be ever-so-slightly ridiculously proud of him.

His success may have prompted his sister (who is equally talented as a dancer but decidedly more work shy) to up her game.

I’ll leave you with my current favourite pictures of my wee man.  I’ll be beating the girls away with a stick in a few years!



Life in a northern town – June 2016

I cannot believe it’s a month since my last post! Life here has been so unbelievably busy that the days are just flying by.  Thankfully it’s all good busy, but it’s busy nonetheless.

The house move is progressing.  Hopefully not much longer now.


The kids are dancing up a storm so dance classes now take up quite a bit of our time.

I’ve had a very, very big birthday.


I’ve finished the first year of my accountancy qualifications.  And passed.


And I’ve been knitting and sewing, but haven’t got a single finished garment photo for you yet.



I’m hoping to get time to take a breath and get some photos soon.  I’ll try not to take another month to do so!

Where to go?

Okay, my lovelies.  I need some advice.

It’s a not very well kept secret that I have a rather large birthday looming and although Paris was our first port of call for birthday celebrations, circumstances are conspiring against us (in a good way) to prevent this from happening.

So that’s my 51st birthday celebrations sorted. *wink*

However, The Husband, because he’s a superstar, has offered a bit of a jaunt and some fabric shopping as an alternative.  Of course I’m in for that!

So now I need to decide where to go. I’ve narrowed it down to Harrogate or Birmingham.

Harrogate….because Fine Fabrics and Betty’s, of course.

But Birmingham has the markets and Guthrie and Ghani.  And we could go on the train and both have wine with lunch.  There’s also the library which I’ve read has a super sewing reference section, so I could also have a browse and audition some new books for my home library. (I cannot remember who blogged about this recently, but if you know please do share and I’ll credit appropriately.)

So what do you think?  Which should we choose? And do you know any other great places in either city for food, yarn and fabric?


Tomorrow it will be 7 years since Pa passed and Button came into our lives.


So much has happened since then.  We now have Boy too. Hubby and I have been together for 10 years and married for 5. Both Button and Boy are succeeding against all the odds. They are doing well at school and with their dancing.  They are kind and joyful and healthy. We have wonderful family and friends. We have our own business. We will soon (hopefully) move to a beautiful new house.  I have a degree and am retraining for a new career.

We have so very much to be grateful for and proud of.

And I know Pa would be very proud of us too.


Today I’ve bunked off all the things I should be doing to escape, quite literally, to the hills. Pa always called Lancashire ‘God’s Country’. He had a point. I need to take a breath, reflect, regroup, make lists.

Tomorrow Ma and I will have lunch and remember.

And it turns out that I was right 7 years ago.  I still miss you, Pa.  We all do.

A little getaway

“I wandered lonely as a Cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and Hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden Daffodils;
Beside the Lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.”

William Wordsworth, 1804

Living just over an hour from Windermere in the South Lakes, you’d think we’d spend more time there.  But life gets in the way and we haven’t had a break here for too many years.  We rectified this over the weekend, when we escaped for two childfree nights to celebrate The Husband’s birthday.

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With daffodils fluttering and dancing on every verge we arrived at The Hideaway Hotel in time for tea and cakes and spent a blissful two days and nights relaxing with hot stone massages, gentle walks, excellent food and comfy beds.

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The Hideaway Hotel

Hooked Fish Restaurant

Wild & Co. Restaurant

This post was sponsored by Nana, Grandma and Grandad, without whose fabulous sleepover services this trip wouldn’t have been possible.

Thanks, you guys!  We love you. 

Mothering Sunday

It’s Mothering Sunday here in the UK, and I’m sitting here replete from a posh pub lunch with the family.


Today, of all days, it’s easy to remember just how blessed I am.

My children are fit and healthy.  They attend an amazing school with fantastic teachers and wonderful friends.


We are surrounded by family and friends and have time to spend with them.

Our home is warm and welcoming. We have good food and plenty of it.

They have a Daddy who loves them, is present in their lives, and works hard to provide for them.

We have books and toys and games and pens and paper.  We can walk in the park, ride our bikes and dance.


So today, as I’m surrounded by the people I love most in the world, I’m counting my blessings.

But I’m sparing a thought for those not as fortunate as I am.

And raising a glass to mothers everywhere, and wishing them the best of times this Mothering Sunday.


It’s agreed then.  I’m going to jot down my sewing thoughts and plans so I’ve got some sort of written record of them and, hopefully, I’ll feel a little more motivated to actually get some of them in the wardrobe!

But before I do that I thought I’d take a wee step backwards and lay the foundation with the stuff that driving my plans for the year.   Namely, my priorities for 2016.

I haven’t made any New Year’s Resolutions this year, because frankly, I don’t have the bandwidth for that kind of pressure at the moment.  But there are four main areas of my life that I want to tackle, other than the obvious ones of keeping the family fed, watered, educated and alive by the year’s end.

So here we go!



Unless you’ve been living under a rock or should’ve gone to SpecSavers, you can’t help but notice that I’ve packed on a pile of weight over the last 12 – 18 months. This was triggered by a change in medication that prompted a huge and rapid weight gain that has proven particularly tricky to lose.

This has partially been due to menopause (can I just say here that I loathe and detest menopause.  Hot flushes…I’m looking at you in particular!), but also partly due to recurrent chest infections last year necessitating repeat doses of steroids and antibiotics.

All this means that I’m starting the year feeling uncomfortable in my skin and determined that this year will be healthier.  I’m focussing on the health in the hope that the slimmer will follow.  Health has to be the focus.  I was ill for nearly half of the year last year and I’m not doing that again.  Also the amount of steroids I’ve been ingesting are detrimental to bone density, which I can’t afford to lose any faster as I get older.

So here’s the plan:

  • I’m eating predominately gluten and sugar free.  I did this for about 6 weeks last year and lost weight but more importantly gained energy and slept better.   It’s not that difficult to do.  I don’t feel deprived.  I just need to be organised.
  • Move more.  I’ll be honest that I loathe exercise.  I’d rather be knitting or sewing. Or, truth be told, cleaning the oven.  I just have to suck this up and do it.  I’ve already added a little gentle yoga to the mix, but not enough, and Hubby and I have started to learn to ballroom dance with the same guy who teaches the kids.  But I need to find more ways to up the movement ante.
  • Top of the movement list (other than yoga and dancing) are swimming, pilates, Zumba and weights.  I need to bite the bullet on a gym membership and get my arse in gear. 



This is the year we are moving house.

It’s going to happen.

It has to happen.

Half of our life is in boxes.  We have outgrown this little house of ours.   I’m longing for a dedicated sewing room and an office for the hubby.  And the tidier more organised home that this will bring.  Both of those things are carved in stone as “must haves” for the new house.

Our little home is back on the market. I’ll share more when there’s more to tell.

With a bit of luck and a fair wind we’ll be in our new home for the summer.   Watch this space.


I’m currently retraining to be an accountant.

This is the funniest sentence I think I’ve ever typed.


Of all the jobs I ever thought I’d do, accountant never even entered my head. And retraining as I approach 50 is something I never thought I’d do.  But my husband’s business needs an accountant and we might as well spend the money on training me to do it than keep paying someone else.  That’s the whole reason for having our own business. We’re working for the benefit of our family, not lining someone else’s pockets.

So accountancy training it is.

It turns out I’m pretty good at it.  That’s coming from my tutor not me.  But I’m immensely proud of the work I’m doing on this course and the results I’m getting.

So this year I intend to pass my AAT Level 2 and commence my AAT Level 3.  It feels good to be supporting my family in a more tangible way than food/drink/cuddles/clean clothes, even though they are undoubtably all they really need and want.

But this…this is good for me!



With the house on the market and life in boxes I have limited access to my sewing supplies, BUT I will still be sewing.

It’s been a long slow road to get to the point where I know what I want to sew, what I need to sew and what actions I don’t want to repeat in my sewing life going forward.

My next post will start to lay out my thoughts, rationale and plans.  With some specifics on patterns and fabrics.

What do your plans for the year look like?

Do you have specific resolutions or simply some clear priorities?

It’s the most wonderful time of the year

I know it’s been a while since I posted a finished project, and I do have some to share, but, frankly, I’m sat on the sofa with the kids watching Christmas movies and relaxing and that seems like the best thing to be doing today.


There’s still stuff to do before the big day, but it’s the last minute stuff so it can jolly well wait.  Whilst the house looks like a grenade has gone off, most of the Christmas lunch is prepped and in the freezer.  Joy!


So, from our family to yours, we wish you a peaceful and fun filled Christmas, and a New Year blessed with health, happiness and love.


And if there is yarn and fabric in the mix, well, that will just be marvellous too!

A very Merry Christmas to you all.


Photos were take at Lantern Magic at Chester Zoo last weekend.  The rain couldn’t dampen our spirits.  If you get the chance to go, it’s a lovely adventure for small folk.

Dear Cafe Owner

Hi there,

I know it’s coming up to Christmas and you’re super busy, but I swear on the all the tinsel in Tescos, I’m losing the will to live with your shoddy offerings.

First up, can we talk about the tea.  I know that the cool kids are drinking a double frappa cinnamon snowflake with a candy cane twist, but I just need a really good cup of tea.  And by that I mean a hot beverage that tastes of tea and isn’t just lukewarm brown water with some milk slopped in it.

We’ve managed to put an Englishman in a B&B orbiting the earth.  Is it beyond the wit of man to serve an Englishwoman a decent cup of our national beverage.  In England? In a teapot that doesn’t spill the contents all over the table?

And speaking of cinnamon.  Can I let you into a wee secret?  I detest the stuff. Except for a cautious smidgen in an apple pie or Christmas pudding, of course.  But 3 teaspoons sprinkled onto a cinnamon flavoured ham sandwich.  Not so much.

So I’ll just take some toast.  Of course you don’t have gluten free, but I’ll take the hit because I’ve been wrestling bears avoiding little old ladies in John Lewis and I am, quite frankly, ready to gnaw the branches off of the upside down trees.  Ah….cafe toast.  Or, more appropriately, cafe toast and the lack of butter.

One little pat of butter does not cover one slice of bread.  It’s a mathematical certainty up there with e=mc2.  Or if the butter does cover the toast, we have another conversation to have, Mr Scrooge.  Please don’t make me get up again, fight my way back through the bears little old ladies to the counter to be told that you charge extra for extra butter. What happened to the season of goodwill?

What….you’re out of toast?  At 10am?  Oh, you’ve been busy? Christmas took you by surprise this year did it? In that case, do you have anything else that isn’t covered in cinnamon and/or isn’t stale?


Didn’t think so.

Bah humbug!

The Knitting and Stitching Show, Harrogate

Although the north of the UK has been battered by storms for the past week or so, last Saturday started off chill but calm as we headed off to Harrogate for the Knitting and Stitching Show.  The ‘we’ comprised Ma, her best friend Pauline, Hubs, and The Boy.  We set off early as we were meeting our friends Sue and Dave who were up from Surrey for the week and whom we hadn’t seen since our wedding, 5 years ago.

Our rendezvous was an Italian cafe restaurant opposite Harrogate International Centre.


Stuzzi is a complete find and highly recommended if you’re ever at a show at the HIC.  We had excellent coffee and pancetta or sausage on delicious bread rolls with homemade tomato sauce.  The Boy inhaled his doughnut and proclaimed it the best he’d ever had. Praise indeed as that boy loves his cakes!

Replete and happy, us womenfolk bade goodbye to the men and turned them loose on Harrogate whilst we headed off to the show.

It’s been 6 years since I last came here (I can’t believe how quickly time is flying) and things were very different to my last visit.

Whereas last time the queues for entry were halfway around the building, even for those of us who’d purchased our tickets in advance, this time we were in through the door in minutes.

Last time the halls had been jammed with folk and their wheelie trolleys, all anxious to get to the next stall and oblivious to who was on the receiving end of their sharp elbows.  This time the crowds were manageable and the whole atmosphere much more genteel.

Whilst this undoubtably makes the shopping experience much pleasanter, this can’t be good for the exhibitors.  Which might explain why there were fewer actual stalls than when we last visited.

Which has got me thinking.  Is the mega craft show (like Harrogate, Alexandra Palace, or the NEC in Birmingham) in decline?  Are the new specialist shows like Yarndale, Wool Fest or Wonder Wool Wales taking over?




Click on any of these logos to go straight to each show website.

These boutique shows seem to be happily maintaining theirs crowds and exhibitors. Or could it just be a North/South divide thing?  And if that’s the case for yarn, will we ever have niche events here in the UK for fabric and sewing too?

I’d be happy to hear your take on this.  What do you think?