Tag Archives: life in a Northern town

Home sweet home


After a years of searching, 2 failed house purchases, and over 4 months of wrangling on this purchase, we are, finally, in our new home.

We have a lot to do, and I’m going to have fun making this place into a wonderful home for our family.

For now…I’ve a million boxes to unpack and an awful lot of cleaning to do!  Not cool, but worth it.

Thanks to everyone for your kind wishes over the past few weeks, and to the grandparents for wrangling two very excited small peeps over the removal weekend.

This quick and blurry snap was taken on Sunday evening whilst we walked the short path from our front door to our favourite park.  If a picture tells a thousand words, this is why we moved.


Oh….and a separate sewing room 😉

Life in a northern town – July 2016

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!




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 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.

The tyranny of a handmade wardrobe

Image from BurdaStyle

For as long as I’ve known him, which is nearly 10 years, the husband has been giving me a very hard time about the state of my wardrobe.

I’ve know women who have snuck bags of clothes into the back of the wardrobe and burnt the receipts in the vain hope of their other half not noticing that they’ve been shopping again.  I am not one of those women.

Neither am I one of those women who struggle to fit another thing in the cupboard and have no idea what delights lurk at the back of the closet.

Nope…I’m the girl with 6 things in her wardrobe and who, when an event comes up unexpectedly, genuinely has nothing to wear. I’m not even kidding!  I can wear a pair of jeans and 3 tops to destruction…and frequently have.  That’s why tumble dryers were invented!  And why hubby has been so frustrated with me!

Whilst I can in clear conscience say that during the early years of our relationship our finances meant that it was more important for the kids to be clothed well and for the husband to be kept in suits than for me to have an outfit for every event; or that, at 5 foot 7 and plus sized, clothes shopping isn’t the most fun because I sit squarely between standard and tall sizes and, well, everyone over a size 14 knows how tricky finding your size on the rack can be, these were really nothing more than excuses for not having anything to wear.

No. In reality, the single most significant contributor to the lack of clothing in my wardrobe is one small and seemingly innocuous phrase.

“I could make that.”

I could make that blue instead of lime green with pink dots. I could make that cheaper.  I could make that with a better fit.  I could make that better quality. I could make that and people in Bangladeshi sweatshops wouldn’t die so I have clothes on my back.

I could make that.

Except…I have 2 young children who have faced challenges due to the circumstances of their births.  Boy didn’t sleep through the night or past 5am until he started school.  It’s only in the last 3 months that he regularly sleeps past 6.30am. He used to sit and scream for hours on end.  Hours. I’m telling you…that makes for one tired mum!

Except…For the early years of their lives I was studying to finish my degree.  Then I was doing up the house.  And doing it again.  And now I’m studying to become an accountant.

Except…my husband works away from home all week.  He leaves at 6.15 on a Monday morning and gets home late on a Thursday evening.   It used to be Sunday to Friday.  This is bliss!

Except…I have a home to run and family and friends.


Now don’t get me wrong.  My life is exactly how I want it to be.  Well…apart from the husband working away bit, but we’re a team and it’s the nature of his work, so I’m not complaining.  And my kids are champions to have come through some much.

But adding to everything the desire to make every. single. item of clothing I wear. And for the kids too.  It wasn’t my greatest idea!

Let’s face it, though.  We are surrounded by people who do this.  Who sew fabulous garments one after the other.  Who have drawers full of beautiful handmade lingerie.  And stunning hand knit sweaters.

We are reminded that oftentimes the clothes we can purchase are made with the sweat and blood and lives of people who will never have the luxury of choosing whether their wardrobes are handmade, ethically produced and locally sourced. Sadly the tone is often one of reproach towards anyone who strays from this path.

I hasten to add at this point that I’m not advocating mass consumerism.  Regular trips to the shops is not my idea of fun.  I have never and will never purchase a thing from Primark.  £2 t-shirts cannot be considered a Good Thing for anyone.

I still want to get to a point where I’m making more than I’m buying. But let’s get real.  At the moment this ain’t gonna happen.

Over the last few months, however, as my thinking on this has shifted, I’ve been making a few strategic purchases.

So now, if the hubby wants to take me out to dinner, I’ve got a couple of nice dresses that do the trick.  Coffee with friends…jeans and a cute top.  Ditto cinema dates or a day out with himself.

I have cosy boots to do the school run and cute loafers for a lunch date.

It is wonderful.

I used my Wardrobe Architect knowledge to ensure that everything goes together. And something quite marvellous has come out of this.

I now have a very, VERY clear idea of what I want to sew. I know what it is I reach for in any given situation.  I know what colours garner the most compliments and what shapes I feel most comfortable in.

This has been a revelation.  Not only is this one less thing to stress about, but it’s also given me a plan for moving forward with my sewing.  I promise to share that soon in another post.

The moral of this story is that whilst the goal of a completely handmade wardrobe is a worthy and worthwhile aim, it’s ok if life prevents you achieving that right now.  It’s ok to cut yourself a little slack and shop a little.  Who knows…it might be as revelatory for you as it has been for me!


Last weekend we finally found time for a little outing to Hebden Bridge to take the hexie quilt to The Quilt Cabin to be long arm quilted.  It’s my first time using a professional long arm quilter so I’ll report back on that in due course.  It was also our first visit to Hebden Bridge.

I wasn’t prepared for just how pretty HB is.  It’s a enchanting former mill town full of independent shops, quirky cafes and restaurants, and charming little streets.  A river runs through the centre of the town and as the day was overcast but dry we spent a happy few hours wandering in and out of the shops and taking a hearty and warming lunch at The Blitz 1940’s themed tea room.  Hubby had oxtail stew, I had a steak pie…both were delicious.  The meal was rounded off with a bowl of jam roly-poly and two spoons. Heavenly on a chill October afternoon.  And the staff are simply delightful.

Image courtesy of Feathegills Emporium, Hebden Bridge

Image courtesy of Feathegills Emporium, Hebden Bridge

On our meanderings we stumbled across Ribbon Circus yarn and sewing shop. Whilst I chatted happily with the owner and some of the other knitterly customers, Hubby prowled the shop with a sharp eye and the next thing I knew four new lots of sock yarn were being rung up on the till.  The man is a demon!

This is what we came home with:

Sirdar Heart & Sole in “Happy Camper”

This is a new yarn for me so I’m quite intrigued to give it a go and see how it wears. One of the other customers at Ribbon Circus was knitting another colourway of this and it stripes up beautifully.  If she hadn’t got the sock out we’d have escaped without these two purchases.  Damn you, lovely knitting lady!

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Sirdar Heart & Sole in “Find Your Sea Legs”

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Juniper Moon Farm Herriot Fine in “Lakeville”

Another new to me yarn and the one I’m most looking forward to knitting. Whisper soft alpaca with the gentlest of halos and 25% polyamide for strength.  Saturated, heathered colours.  What’s not to love?  I think these will be a joy to knit as well as wear!


Juniper Moon Farm Herriot Fine in “Deep Plum Passion”


With such an overabundance of lovely sock yarn, not to mention projects for Button and Me, I’m really rather pleased that I’m already on the second of the Tannat socks.


Shall we dance?

Life is gradually slowing down a little here, which is a blessing.  Although we did manage to squeeze in one more day of madness at the weekend.

If you’re a regular reader you’ll already know that in June the kids started taking latin and ballroom dancing lessons.  They’d done ballet and tap when they were teeny tiny but had become very bored with that and so I’d let them drop out of lessons in the hope that it wouldn’t put them off.

They are huge fans of Strictly Come Dancing, and for the past couple of years have been pestering me for ballroom dancing lessons, but I’d been unable to find a class locally that catered for such small folk.

Serendipitously Ma SIL changed hairdressers, and the owner also runs a small local dance studio, Will Foran Dance.

Yeah…we signed them up pretty darn quickly, I can tell you.  And it turns out they love it, and they are pretty good too.  So much so that after only 3 months of lessons they attended their first competition on Sunday.


Boy was hugely worried about dancing in front of the crowd

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but thanks to the wonderful Will he soon started to relax and enjoy the whole thing.

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Button was in her element, of course!

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And managed to dance her way to a recall for the quarter finals, which we’d not even thought could happen and finished me off completely.  I was the most ridiculous and proud mummy…and very teary eyed the whole way through.  Oh, and there may have been shrieking!  Ooops!

So it seems I’m going to have to learn to sew dance costumes and dress hair.  And I don’t mind one bit.  Because not only are they having the most amount of fun, it’s also giving them a huge boost of self confidence…and, oddly, their concentration and performance at school has improved significantly too.

For all those reasons I’m happy to get up at 5am on a Sunday morning to drive to a venue.

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And for this….

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I do apologise for the crappy photos…but, honestly…I was a mess.  I was so proud and so nervous for them.  This was one of the occasions in life where I just wanted to experience it rather than worry about pictures.  Grandad was at work with the video camera.  Fingers crossed for good footage!


….and the living is busy!

So much going on here.  The kids are on holiday from school now for 7 weeks. Already we have a playdate with friends and sleepovers at grandparents planned. A week at playscheme will be a good break for all of us, as will spending the last week with friends in Bedford.  It’s hard to believe but when they go back in September Button will be in juniors.

Needless to say everyone is tired.  Boy threw the mother of all tantrums this morning and after 3 hours (I kid ye not) of yelling and stamping and tears and throwing toys around the place he’s finally asleep.  Button is enjoying the respite as much as I. Things will settle soon after a few days of chillin’.

Husband and I are shattered as, despite not completing the reno on this house, we’re thinking the best option might actually be to move!

I know….it was totally outta the blue for us too.  But our current home is teeny tiny with a garden the size of a postage stamp.  After a recent visit to our friends in Bedford and their half acre garden, Button would stand at our bedroom window wistfully wishing that we could knock the fence down between us and our neighbours.  Add in that we have need of a home office  and a dedicated sewing room and only one small room that could eventually be argued over and we decided it’s time.  Trying to sew, eat and run a business from the kitchen table is getting old! We’ve spent the last few weeks looking at everything on the market that remotely fitted the bill.  We think we may have found the ideal candidate. There’s another interested buyer so we may lose out…time will tell.  I’ll let you know as things develop.

So, as you’d expect, there’s not much creativity happening here.

A little knitting…..


This is Brooklyn Tweed’s Longfellow by Michele Wang which I’m knitting in Drops Alpaca in Navy (colour 5575) for Hubby.


There’s also a quilt to be layered ready for hand quilting:


And a new bag kit that I received as a birthday gift from my in-laws:


Mine will be red leather.

That should keep me occupied over the holidays.  I’m hoping to get a little time at the machine too.  I’ve two lots of fabric for shirts for Boy and the yellow blouse is going to be remade for Button.


I’m planning a version of her Liberty blouse, this time with a pleated front as per her request.

I think it will suit her more than me!

I also have a couple of makes that need photographing.  Perhaps we’ll have a day of nice weather soon and we can get out and about with the camera.

Priority for the next 7 weeks, though, is picnics and playing in the park.  Reading and drawing.  Visits to the zoo and museums.  Playdates and pyjama days.  Pretty much taking the days as they come.  Hopefully without too many meltdowns!  Either theirs or mine!

So posting will sporadic…I’m sure you’ll understand.  In the meantime I’m off to do some colouring with a small girl.  I’ll see you soon.