Alexander’s Skipton

It’s been almost a month since Alexander’s Bar and Restaurant opened.  Last week I was invited along for ‘a taste of ‘.  It wasn’t what I expected.

The (impressive) website said ‘European inspired’… and my self-talk went something like “European…Skipton… ok then!”

I LOVE that “Wow” was the first thing we said once through the doors.

I LOVE it when a place does that to you!

The above view is the back of the property (from the road-bridge across the canal), the entrance is round the front directly opposite the castle.

A tiled parlour is a welcoming entrance to this Grade II listed building.  On arrival you’re greeted by a friendly face asking if you’re looking for drinks or have a reservation.   With booths and stools, this is a bar area by night and serves morning coffee and pastries from 8am.  A gelato bar is in the pipeline… (they’re big on gelato here).

Twelve meters of pewter bar runs along the walk-way from front of house to the back, attention to detail is what makes this environment so appealing – (or should I say a-peel-ing as the owners are PEEL Entertainment Group providing entertainment for many cruise ships round the world, hence the amazing screens!

The transition from the Edwardian front, to the modern feel at the back is effortless.  Colonial palm prints and gold pineapples (chosen long before they began trending) take you away some place, as does the food!

We have small plates (think tapas) and it’s seriously good food (halloumi fries?!  Genius!).  The chef wearing a flat cap (they all have flat caps on here!) sits at our table and chats with us.  We talk about the food but also about the challenges faced in opening and staffing a place like this given its location.  He isn’t about ‘the sell’ or trying to impress us and neither is our host, both are genuine, honest and open – I like that.

Outdoors is a ‘not so’ Secret Garden.  I’m a huge fan of al-fresco and this is a quality experience!  Landscaped terrace with patio heaters, huge umbrellas and glass awnings mean our unpredictable British weather isn’t a problem for diners.  The lower level overlooks the canal which is rather lovely and very Yorkshirey.

Whilst sat eating, my friend Sarah and I are talking about the people we’ll bring here and all the occasions this place will suit.  We had a great first experience, and I for one think it’s a beautiful addition to Yorkshire.

You can visit Alexanders website here – (it’s worth it just to see the fancy moving palm leaves part and the day/night pics!)

~O~

 

RHS Chatsworth Flower Show

Last week the RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) held their first ever show over five days at Chatsworth House.

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Terry’s Bar; Carluccio’s York

Last month, an invitation to the northern flagship store of Carluccio’s came my way.  Located on the premises of the legendary Terry’s chocolate shop and café on St Helen’s Square in York city centre, it is the largest and ‘most beautiful’ Carluccio’s restaurant to date.

Having already written about the Ilkley restaurant (purely because it happens to be our home town), I was inclined to turn down, however given the historical building that happens to be involved – accepted.

As part of the new site and exclusive to York, Carlucci’s have launched Terry’s Bar a new Italian cocktail and wine bar, it has undergone a detailed and meticulous refurbishment!  Sat supping our gin, we exchanged the thought that this doesn’t feel like a Carluccio’s… or indeed the UK for that matter – we could’ve be anywhere (and I like that!).

Recognise the dome above a la The Titanic movie?  Had we had more time, I would have taken more photos of the building because personally, that’s where the beauty lies.

Photo’s of other peoples’ food generally doesn’t interest me, so will keep these to a minimum.  Our hosts were excellent (Dominic and Sebastian are charm itself) though we had to wait half an hour for mains to be served which tarnished the evening somewhat having to promptly throw a spoonful or two of dessert down our necks before rushing out for the train.  Have fed this back to the team there who could only apologise – we’ve all been there, it happens!

 

Delays aside, will we return?  Absolutely (I have a thing for their paté)!  Most of you will know the Carluccio’s vibe so if you’re ever in York, would recommend a visit to this stunning building – if only for a G&T or two!

~O~

Rudding Park Spa

Last week Rudding Park Hotel (Harrogate) opened a brand new spa.  On time and on budget (rare!) the design team responsible have created an oasis of serenity in the heart of Yorkshire.  Invited to the stunning opening night party, here’s what I found.

From the moment the glass doors part, it’s sheer indulgence.   The pool can be glimpsed from ground level by visitors to Horto café and we’re told the water is from Rudding Parks own bore hole… I am immediately taken by the size of the whole facility – it’s impressively spacious.

Reception and shop

Lifestyle shop; some genuinely great pieces in here – was sorely tempted!

Horto Restaurant

Horto Café offers contemporary fine dining and is open to the public.  Guests to the spa can use Horto during the day whilst robed till 5.30pm.  There is a seamless transition from spa to café and terrace (shown below) which wraps round the indoor pool – (there’s plenty of loungers for sunbathing!)

Inside the spa there is everything one could wish for; the attention to detail and thought shown in each zone is exceptional.  As well as the expected treatment rooms, mani/pedicure bar and hair salon, there are four mind and sense zones (available to all guests booking treatments).

Upstairs is the Roof Top Spa with hydrotherapy pool, steam rooms, sauna, foot spas (and more); the pièce de résistance – The Spa Garden.

Luxury Steam Room

Hydrotherapy infinity pool

Owing to being blessed with such amazing weather, the party was held on the Roof Top Spa Garden, not too many pictures from here as it was full of guests so it’d be nice to return and see it in its natural state.

The Spa Garden is a thing of beauty.  Created by Matthew Wilson, colours used extend the seasons, there’s nothing ‘standard’ or ‘token gesture’ here… to relax among the carefully-planned use of plants, trees and foliage will, I’m sure, delight garden lovers.

The spa bath, sun deck, sauna cabin, shower and all you’d really need for a complete day basking in the Yorkshire sun.   The hotel can be seen in distance, the unwavering commitment to quarrying the same stone for the spa-build as the hotel was every bit worth it!  Quality exudes.  During his speech, owner Simon Mackaness shared some of the stories from conception to completion saying there had been 400 plans and 2000 revisions… In my humble opinion, they have not been in vain.

 

It was not till writing this post that I went to the spa website to get an idea on prices, I was pleasantly surprised.  Visit the Rudding Park Spa website here to find out more.

~O~

 

 

Crafthouse Leeds does Afternoon Tea

Every now and then, life presents an occasion for which a classic British afternoon tea is the answer.  Outside of what can be, the busier eating times of lunch and dinner, it affords a far more relaxed setting in which to indulge a little luxury.

Crafthouse, located in Trinity Leeds launches it’s afternoon tea tomorrow (just in time for Easter); earlier this week I took Miss P to a preview tasting.

As any no-sugar, no-carb person would, I think agree, if you’re going to break rank on regular dietary disciplines, it needs to be worth it.  This was!

The basic afternoon tea menu includes tea’s and coffee’s, with prosecco and Moet as optional extras.

One plate savoury, two sweet, I had wondered if Miss P would touch any of the savoury.   The ‘mini burger’ style Yorkshire ham and tomato chutney buns went down a treat and in the end she only left the smoked salmon and charcoal cones for me.

Unlike other rather bland afternoon teas we’ve tasted, the flavours at play were superb and visually it looks fantastic – no standard three tier cake stands here!

The sweet plates were a delight.  Raspberry tart, chocolate and praline torte (my favourite) and macaron were all simply heaven.  The scones too (which can be a bad experience) were perfection.

Our afternoon tea experience at Crafthouse was one we didn’t pay for.  It can be hard for any of us who read blogs, to know how genuinely authentic the author of a post is being if at all we have any idea whether or not they ‘got it free’.  As a result, in summation, I try answer two very simple questions; “would I pay for it myself and would I return?”   The answer is absolutely!

Afternoon Tea at Crafthouse is available Tuesday  – Saturday 2pm – 4.45pm.  Prices from £18pp.  You can visit the Crafthouse website here

~O~

Lend Your Voice

This International Women’s Day will undoubtedly attract more headline attention than ever before in the light of recent events.  Feminism debates & women’s rights are very much in the spotlight; to say we are living in interesting times is an understatement.  The world is changing rapidly and those of us who don’t actively seek to be frontline rallies of positive change can often feel there’s little we can do to really make a difference. Read More

2017 Reading List Pt 1: Personal Growth Optional

The power of applied wisdom gained through what we read and listen to, is potentially phenomenal.

Recently I referred to my latest reading in an Instagram post which resulted in quite a few people getting in touch to enquire further.  As a result, despite it feeling quite personal, I have decided to share the first four books I’ve been reading this year.

Good tea and a good book

Reading with the purpose of growing is an individual choice to UPDATE our ‘default settings’.  As with our personal phones, if we choose not to UPDATE, our ‘device’ can only ever continue to operate at the level of the original factory settings. It will still be the same amazing device, but we just can’t do anything new with it.

‘Human-being updates’ aren’t anything we are offered externally, so unless we deliberately seek out improvements, change is not going to happen.

With that said, here’s Januarys’ reading list.

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The Untethered Soul, Michael A Singer.

First read five years ago and then again at the start of 2017.  This book has been a game changer both times I’ve read it.  Highlights everywhere.  May just re-read in February!

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The Seat of the Soul, Gary Zukav.  

Appeared in the ‘you might like this’ at the end of Untethered Soul and will require reading numerous times, simply to take it all onboard.  Talks about aligning the personality, with the soul and learning to tune-in to the other senses we have that are beyond our five physical senses.  Need to be in the right head space for this book in order to be able to think and process as you read.

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A Year of Yes

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A Year of Yes, Shonda Rimes.

A little bit OTT for me but a fast-paced easy read.  Finished in just over a day.  Didn’t require much ‘leaning-in’ which was a good change after the above two books.  Not many highlights but an insightful read from the woman who is responsible for writing thousands of TV hours. (Writes the script for Greys Anatomy which is my guilty pleasure as and when I want to watch something).

You might enjoy if you want a gentle challenge.

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What I know for sure

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What I know for Sure, Oprah Winfrey.

Soulful book written in one-to-two page bite-sized chapters.  Another easy read but more relaxed pace than ‘A year of YES’.  Enjoyed identifying with Oprahs’ delight in the simple pleasures of everyday life.  Some little take-away pearls of wisdom from a remarkable woman.

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Bit of a different post this week, but given my passion for synergy in daily life, had to share as certainly the first two books, have shaped my January so much.

It’s worth remembering that our understanding of a book is such based on our lifes ‘ narrative at the time.  A book is never understood by two people the same according to our inner processing when the words leave the page and enter our being.  Hope you enjoy!

~O~

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