Year: 2015

Winter Proof Ourselves

The days are shorter, the winds have picked up and the air is mild and moist for the time of year. Winter is here and everywhere I go people are sneezing and snuffling. So a better way to fight off colds and germs has set me on a mission during this Twixtmas time. Even though I have had the flu vaccination, my immune system is not at its best, so I do need to keep healthy and ‘snot free’ in the most natural ways. GP and TV presenter, Dr Hilary Jones has developed a 10 point action plan to help winter proof ourselves this season. Dr Hilary says “The degree to which winter impacts negatively on our health and wellbeing is clear. The study found that Brits are three times more likely to say they felt ‘run-down’, tired or fed up over the winter months than they were to feel content with themselves and their health.” Apparently we Brits are twice more likely to reach for chocolate than we are to turn to vitamins, fresh fruit …

A Hug in a Mug

Christmas is a funny time of year.  It is a magical time for sure, but it’s a bit of an oddball too. And sometimes amongst the busyness of it all, I feel the need for a hug. A mug of Winter Spice tea can just give me that warmth when I need it, to rest and simply be thankful for what I have and share that with others where I can. I make this hug by gently brewing a pot of Winter Spice tea, heating up some milk, and then into my mug I add half brewed tea and half warm and frothed up milk. And to sweeten I add a good size drizzle of honey. The spice is satisfying and warm. The tea is robust. It’s delicious! I hope you all can live from a place of being thankful, lay the best table you can, share some of your heart and gratitude will bestow love. Have a Peaceful Christmas G ∼♥∼ G

December in the Garden

Today will be the darkest day of the year, with daylight lasting for just a few hours. It feels like the days can’t get any shorter – and it’s true. Today will be the shortest of the year – the winter solstice. The solstice marks the moment the sun shines at its most southern point and has been celebrated by pagans for thousands of years. Many of the traditions now associated with Christmas had their roots in winter solstice celebrations – including the Christmas tree. The world might look pretty grim now, but remember: longer and sunnier days will soon be on their way. A damp garden Its been so mild and wet this month, with no bright, crisp December days, and it’s definitely not enticing to get out and have a garden sort out. In My Garden Colour from my winter flowering clematis. The goose is happy in her snug corner………. I’ve popped some indoor hyacinth bulbs on my hall table to brighten the December gloom. In Your Garden Not only will your garden …

Christmas Gifts

It’s less than two weeks to the big day. How are all your Christmas plans going? If you’re in need of ideas I’d like to lend a hand with selecting a few pressies that are sure to create a buzz on December 25th. In Harrogate recently I came across a couple of foodie ideas. The Cheeseboard, on Commercial Street (which is an arcade of independent shops from butchers to chocolate, to cakes and crafts, well worth a visit just off the main shopping area), has an amazing selection of local cheeses. Wensleydale being my favourite to go with the brandy fed Christmas cake. As they say in Yorkshire, ‘A rich fruit cake without Wensleydale cheese is like a kiss without a squeeze’. They also they do hampers by post, but hurry!! Just across the road is a chocolatier, the Harrogate Chocolate Tree, selling the most delicious ‘handmade on the premises’ chocolates. You can buy their boxes, bars or these special domes as Christmas pressies…too too tempting. They have invited me to go back in the …

A Night Out in Leeds

Dinner and theatre night out with my daughter in Leeds???? Well, I wasn’t expecting this, just round the corner from The Grand Theatre at the bottom of the Grand Arcade sits Zaap Thai Street Food. A Saturday night in Leeds, and a packed Thai restaurant that looked like it should be in the back streets of Bangkok, a chaotic place packed with people and life, Thai signs everywhere in a jumble of gaudy colours, and an open plan kitchen crewed by a group of Thai chefs flinging noodles around in woks. Zaap Thai Street Food is brilliant. In Thailand, street food is an art, and there are small carts that expand into micro restaurants on every street corner. If you have spent any time at all in Thailand or Indonesia, and you quickly realise that these little street restaurants, nothing more than a stove on wheels and a collection of ramshackle tables, offer up the finest food imaginable, for pennies. The range and diversity of dishes is astonishing, and the quality of dishes difficult to comprehend. This …

The Box Tree in Ilkley

There are few more exciting treats for a self-confessed foodie than learning you’re heading to Ilkley’s Michelin-starred restaurant, The Box Tree, to celebrate a friends birthday lunch. It was one of those wet November days, perfect to be tucked up in the Yorkshire Dales while continuing my Michelin Star journey through the county. The Box Tree sits modestly, like a small quaint cottage, on Church Street where it has been a dining institution pretty much since it first opened as a tea room in 1962, winning two stars in 1977 and still retaining one of those precious stars. The Box Tree matches its cottage-like exterior, with old-fashioned furniture, ornate armchairs and grand, gold-framed paintings on the wall in the ‘bar area’. A suited waiter swiftly took our coats and showed us towards a pair of cosy chairs where we were asked if we’d like some drinks. Not long after they arrived, a plate of six – three each – exquisite-looking canapes were presented – including a melt-in-your-mouth pink peppercorn macaroon, which had a hot peppery …

Annual Visit to Emma Bridgewater

I’ve been collecting mugs and plates from the designer Emma Bridgewater for quite a few years. Once a year, about this time we have what is now our mother/daughter visit to the pottery in Stoke-on-Trent. Emma adorns the iconic pottery with designs inspired by her love of sponge techniques, is married to co-owner and artist Matthew Rice, a lover of wildlife and architecture. Their pottery is made from cream-coloured earthenware – a traditional Staffordshire product which they make in their own factory in Stoke-on-Trent, the home of British pottery. Most of the production work is still done by hand, and all the pieces are individually hand-decorated, so every one is very slightly different – and their sponge ware is always signed by the person who painted it. There is an area in one of the old factory buildings, set up with mugs, paints, sponges and brushes to make your own Emma mugs to remember your visit by. After painting the mugs, the factory fire them and then post to you. Emma mugs, glasses and teapots …

Afternoon Tea at Wood Hall

There can be few better ways to spend a Monday afternoon in Yorkshire than sharing afternoon tea with lovely friends at Wood Hall, near Wetherby. As we turned onto the long drive, we could just glimpse the golden stone of Wood Hall in the distance. All that separates you is acre upon acre of rolling Yorkshire countryside. Originally built as a country escape for the Vavasour family, Wood Hall Hotel and Spa remains a place where today’s pressures seem an age away. Ever since the house was completed in 1750, it has been a place of peace and relaxation. Even today, the house stands next door to a Carmelite monastery, home to a silent order of nuns. From the moment we arrived, the house felt like ours to enjoy. We stepped into the Drawing Room, felt like kicking off our shoes and curling up with a book (We did meet each other at our village book club!). But we were here to celebrate a birthday and have the signature champagne afternoon tea. It was served …

November in the Garden

As the days get shorter and colder, my life has moved indoors and away from the garden. We have had a mild autumn up to now, but the past few days has seen plenty of rain to fill up that water butt. In My Garden In Your Garden If you haven’t already managed it, now’s the time for a general garden tidy up before the winter months. It’s also a great time to start thinking about colour and flowers to see you through the winter and spring. Hellebores can be planted in to the ground or pots for early winter flowering and are perfect in shadier spots. Get your spring bulbs in the ground. Go for a good mix of daffs and narcissi in different colours and sizes. Layer them up to create a beautiful effect when they flower. Again great in any beds or shady spaces. This is your last chance to deadhead and prune back so check all your flowers and plants and give them a bit of TLC. Prune any roses or …

October Food Round Up

Every month at Grey Goose Ltd is a busy one, and the very last week of October was no exception. This was one long seven day foodie experience shared with the dearest of friends. And in the middle of the week was the delight of an unexpected stay at the Nuffield hospital, a not too good an excuse to sample their food. The week started with a weekend sampling some long awaited delights of York. Firstly, a visit to The Star Inn The City which opened in 2013 on the bank of the River Ouse. They serve simple Yorkshire cooking with a taste of the countryside, and once again I was wowed by the masterpiece created by Andrew Pern. Dinner was superb and I will tell you more about the food and the friendly hospitality soon. Another spot on my much wanted to try places was afternoon tea at the Grand hotel. This sophisticated Edwardian hotel is set in the former headquarters of the North Eastern Railway, and was built in 1906 opposite the city …