Alpine Lifestyle Boutique

One of the things I love to do here on the blog is to feature local independent shops.  I believe they make our towns what they are by creating a truly unique experience.

Any of you perusing Living Etc in the coming weeks, will see Alpine Lifestyle Boutique which  has just opened right on our door-step in Ilkley.


The name’s a giveaway; though it’s a long way from the slopes, everything through the doors transports you a la piste via exquisite LUXURY homewares. Read More


Bettys Ilkley

Bettys IlkleyOur local Bettys is a place I love to frequent; their cakes and breads are simply divine and I’m always popping in to buy niceties for clients.  Synonymous with quality, prestige and all things rather splendid, it’s a taste of days gone by and a bit of a Yorkshire institution… a reliable jewel in the ‘White Rose’ crown (so to speak).  When friends or family visit from ‘down South’ or abroad it’s the kind of place you take them to, just for the experience!

Bettys Tea

Recently, Bettys, Ilkley has undergone a bit of a revamp – I popped in to see what they’d done with the place.

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Bettys Chocolate Desires

Gone is the dark, heavy wood and ‘in’ is a lighter, fresh ambiance which still keeps in tact, all we think of as ‘BETTYS’.  The Ilkley store is now instantly recognisable as on par with the Bettys at Harlow Carr, and I understand all the other five sites in Yorkshire have either been revamped or will be following suit in the coming months.  The refit has been undertaken by Thompsons of York.  Sustainably-sourced oak, cast bronze fittings and marble counter tops give the place a feeling of solidarity and fine craft.

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Whereas the coffee and tea counter felt off-limits before, you can now get up close to the goods, touch the beans and try before you buy in a new tasting area.

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Another new feature is a chocolate counter offering a selection of 20 varieties of handcrafted chocolates, available to buy loose for the first time.  The shop also offers a wedding and celebration cake consultation service.Bettys Chocolates 2Bettys Chocolate Peppermint CreamsBettys Chocolates 1 Bettys Patisserie Bettys MugsBettys Cakes 2 Bettys Shop

It’s great to see Bettys investing in their next season… it is one of the ‘irreplaceable’s on The Grove in Ilkley and I hope they’ll be with us for many more years to come.  Fat Rascal anyone?



Though chain restaurants can get a bit of the down-thumbing among small independents, the bottom line has got to be, does the space serve a purpose for the community and those it wishes to attract?  Carluccio’s opened in Ilkley this week and having received nothing but excellent service every time we have visited others in the area, (mainly Trinity Leeds), we were pleased to see its arrival on our high street.

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Three factors are usually at play when eating and drinking out.
1. Do I like the space/the place/the atmosphere?
2. Do I like the goods?
3. Do I like the service?
Tick these three boxes and you stand a chance of getting the bonus ball – customer loyalty.
Not many places will consistently get all three right. Any place you do visit knowing they tick box number one, can then let you down on the other two for all manner of reasons.
Visiting Carluccio’s on its’ second day open, the sun streamed in through the glass roof creating a warm welcome.  It’s a light and easy space to be in, (plus we’ve enjoyed other Carluccio’s) = box number 1 ticked.

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Suffice to say as we only had a drinks and pastry, this isn’t a review of the food, but to show you the space.  The coffee wasn’t anything I remember as particularly special but we enjoyed our time there and the staff were friendly.  (Hands-down the best coffee in Ilkley and the place that ticks all three boxes every time is still Toast House.)

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Carluccio’s is a safe bet…a good call.  We can already see us visiting it more than we did The Grove (which was there before) and we’ve always had great food and service in the past – what’s not to like?!

Visit Carluccio’s website here.

My Girl
This face though…

Ilkley Cinema

November 2015, Ilkley Cinema opened its doors.  Yes, right in the heart of our little town you can now find Europe’s Smallest Ultra 4k Cinema; with 56 plush seats, it’s the swish-est boutique cinema you ever saw!
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(The 4k bit means 4000 pixel resolution which in layman terms means it’s a flipping-good screen).
We like our independent boutiques here at Lifestyle Yorkshire and though was aware of the new development, had decided against featuring here on the blog thinking it was perhaps too local?  That changed the day we went and experienced it for ourselves.
 We visited on a dark Sunday afternoon on a day of extreme rain (not the same day as the above photos) and unexpectedly managed to get a park right outside (bonus!).  Hurrying in through the door the weather was forgotten as we walked into an environment akin to a bustling little restaurant.
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Large glasses of wine were being poured, people were ordering food, the decor was so well done and everything we experienced said ‘welcome’.
The ‘holding area’ is a good size and so charming – it made me wonder if people were just there to socialise never mind go see a film.
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Tickets can be bought online and collected over the counter (the same one at which food and drinks are ordered).
Once inside the auditorium it’s a class act.
The closest experience I can liken it to is an ‘Everyman’ cinema, (you sit on sofa’s and can have your food and drink brought to you as you watch the movie), but the experience at Ilkley Cinema is more intimate, and much more luxurious.
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We’d booked our tickets online, and though we’d never sit so close to the screen normally, the only seats available were on the second row, so we took them. Unlike the multiplexes – where you spend the duration moving your head from left to right to fit the screen in your line of vision, it was absolutely fine and neither of us suffered with neck ache!
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Tickets were £12 which, though at first may seem pricey to some, are absolutely fair.  There is no travel, no parking costs and it’s on the doorstep.  We didn’t eat or drink (dry January – oh the shame) but will definitely return where I’m looking forward to a nice white!
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Perhaps the most important thing in summation, is that Ilkley Cinema adds to the town.  It offers visitors something else to do, and it offers locals a new place to socialise.  By its nature it is NOT the same experience you would expect at a multiplex… it creates a sense of occasion and when we return, we will certainly spend more time there.
Screenings are 7 days a week – there are kids films (cheaper) on a Saturday morning, and even morning film times where parents of very young children can take their babies in without needing to be concerned if they make a noise.  I love the thought that’s gone into this place and trust that any of you who visit, will feel the same – well worth a visit!
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A Beautiful Yorkshire Autumn

Happy to share what ultimately makes our little corner of Yorkshire so beautiful with you this week ~ the incredible landscape!  The Autumn has matured and though this past few days have been nothing but grey – that past two weeks has seen some amazing skies and magical sunsets.

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Ilkley from White Wells Cafe

As you may know, I like to go out gadding up on the moors in Ilkley, so although there are many places in Yorkshire I could share if I had the time to go photograph them – we’ll just have to make do with the majority of these been taken from home… Enjoy.


Quiet morning on Ilkley Moor


The last seconds of the sun


Harlow Carr looking vibrant as ever


A climber begins his descent on Cow and Calf Rocks


Early morning in Scarborough


Ilkley Tarn



Sleep Sunday North Bay, Scarborough


Recently, I have returned home from a few big cities aware there was an absence of the changing season.  Clearly, Autumn is what it is here in rural Yorkshire because of the incredible trees which offer so much by way of richness of ever-changing colour… I wouldn’t swap it for the world!


My training ground


COVET…We’ll take it all

Covet, Ilkley, is one of those places you visit and then leave wishing you had a blank canvas of a home, in order to just start over and fill it with ev-er-y-thing!

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Tucked away in a corner of the main car-park in Ilkley Town Centre, (at the back of Bettys!) it is a favourite lifestyle place of ours to visit for a few reasons.

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COVET is hard to describe, it is very unique and almost undefinable.  It’s a place for people with eclectic style and that’s all part of Lorraine’s (owner) vision for the place, who has both amazing taste and clearly buys widely.

A rather a natty little shop that sells just about everything, it is a place you can pick up a great present, (for under a tenner), or an outlandishly huge feature mirror and spend a small fortune if you so choose.

From cutlery, crockery and glassware to bespoke rugs, bedding, chairs and lamps, you can buy things for the home; both useful and unusual.   And there’s storage solutions… lots of clever storage solutions.

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Another reason we love COVET is because it also sells womens’ clothes, yet because you wouldn’t primarily think of it as a clothes shop, it has an under-the-radar feel about it…sort of like, ‘would you look at that, I just made a clothes purchase’… effortless!

What’s more, bespoke Fair Trade hand-made bags, jewellery, perfume, bath robes and scarves…

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Finally, COVET’S effortless, understated yet highly-tasteful appeal extends to the customer experience walking round the shop; you can browse without feeling pressured in a very tactile environment.

COVET is a place to pop-in when you have both something and nothing to buy and every town needs one of those!

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Gorgeous cosy changing room!

You can visit COVET’s online shop here.


Herbert and Stella ~ it’s a love story

After a two-week Easter break I’ve been eager to get writing again and share with you a post I’ve had waiting in the wings about a gorgeous local boutique.  Those of you with kids 0-7yrs in your world one way or another, it’s a must-know about if you don’t already.
Herbert and Stella is a children’s clothing and toy boutique in Ilkley, West Yorkshire which also sells everything through its online shop.
It reminded me of ‘The shop around the corner’ from the film ‘You’ve got Mail’ when I first discovered it… Bit of a ‘where do I start’ place, because there’s so many lovely things that catch your eye when you enter.
The shop is owned by the beautifully-spirited Christine who, with no experience of running a shop, decided to open on a whim after struggling to find the kind of clothes she wanted to dress her daughter in when she was born.  Three years on the shop has grown, Christine stocks more brands year-on-year, with a ever-increasing online clientele.
The brands are diverse.  Locals and Grandparents popping in to buy ‘a something’ for the grandkids, especially love Frugi, Lily and Sid and Mayoral.  Visitors from Leeds, York and up-and-coming nearby towns go crazy for the quirkier brands seen on the celebs kids like Beau Loves, Bobo Choses, Bang Bang Copenhagen, Mini Rodini, Molo and Soft Gallery all of which have a huge online (almost cultish), following.
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Clothes start at newborn and go up to a size seven.  As for the toys… we’re all big kids at heart right?
Herbert and Stella appeals because it is a shop born out of one persons style of love.  Whenever a place is that – people cannot help but be attracted!
Visit the shop in Yorkshire or online here.
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