Posted on October 6, 2016
Coffee, it’s a biggie for me. I will go out of my way for a good coffee, engineer meetings to take place in favourite coffee houses (‘hello Toast House‘) and will travel substantial miles when away from home in order to ensure that my daily cup is going to tick the satisfaction box for me. It’s not rocket science but it’s surprising how many places serve up average.
Quarmby’s Deli and Coffee House serves a GOOD coffee. According to Will (Mr Quarmby), that was the starting point; if they could get the quality of their coffee right, everything else would follow… and it has.
Quarmby’s, Sherrif Hutton (on the outskirts of York), is in a perfect ‘corner shop’ location attracting a real mix of locals and passers-by. During our time there, cyclists, business folk and ladies-who-lunch all stopped to reside in the feel-good setting that husband and wife team, Emma and Will, have created.
Being able to cater for the increasingly varied diets and demands of consumers these days must be quite a challenge for eateries. Quarmby’s clearly has a bent towards healthier eating and I would bet that few people would be able to visit and not be thoroughly satisfied. Our meal was first class; quality ingredients and food combinations made every mouthful something to linger over. Though neither of us ‘do’ desserts, both did quite simply because up on the specials board they looked too good to miss… and they were! I savoured the marmalade and chocolate pannetone pudding all the way home.
Finest local Yorkshire produce is available for purchase for those wishing to extend their experience further. There’s a real sense that this is a deli for the people, by the people and should we be in this neck of the woods again, we will definitely return. Find out more about Quarmby’s here.
Posted on July 7, 2016
Gallery walls are a great way of creating a bespoke feature in the home and are so easy to do yourself. The wall below was both painted and dressed in a day with zero additional expense.
Rooms with high ceilings can sometimes be hard to style. Unless you have big art pieces to use, photos and pictures can look lost. A gallery works especially well in this setting in making use of the space. The wall below was bare for months (yes along with the filler!); so in an inspired moment, the ladders came out and I decided to begin by painting it dark (Farrow and Ball Hague Blue).
Curating your gallery should be easy. Unearth pieces you own that don’t have ‘a home’ (as I did here), then lay them out on the floor to get a feel for positions. 3D items look great, a string of lights adds a whimsical touch and personally think you can’t beat a bit of sparkle against a dark wall.
A little shelf is also useful as you can change the look by adding candles, a small vase of flowers, whatever you fancy throughout the year. The shelf can be positioned anywhere on the wall but I wanted it more-or-less central, so it became my starting point when it came to hanging the other items.
You may find as you start that you need to readjust slightly as you see things on the wall for the first time, but just go with it. Some pieces like a mirror, that you want to use practically (i.e. at eye-level) will naturally determine the position.
The end result will be 100% unique and bespoke to you. As I said earlier, nothing new was purchased for this wall, but now it’s finished, I like the different components involved. If you’re struggling for what you use, consider these as a starting point:
Something with Text
Piece of clothing
At the end of the day, your wall can be added to and taken from, so if you only have a few pieces, start there; allow space for it to evolve and enjoy the process!
If you want to know more about styling your home, you can get in touch with me here at The Butler.
Posted on June 24, 2016
Posted on May 12, 2016
Earlier this week, (the day the sun shone for the first time and we could finally liken it to a Summers day), it felt only right to rearrange my work schedule and take off outdoors. Having passed Strid Wood many a time on the way to Burnsall and Grassington, I decided to stop this time and explore.
Thought I hadn’t planned to blog about my time, I so enjoyed the hours there and wanted to share. The outdoor buffs among you will enjoy and probably already frequent these parts – I’m just last to the party… again.
Strid Wood is part of the Bolton Abbey Estate. In short, a walk from the main car park at Bolton Abbey along the river or through the woods, eventually brings you to the Cavendish Pavillion ↓…
Strid Wood is a walk further on from that. Keep going and you reach Barden Bridge.
My day began at Strid Wood car park. There’s an entry fee (Bolton Abbey Estate entry) but I evaluated it was worth paying for the day I had. A small tea rooms with outdoor seating provides an alternative watering hole to the other potentially busier eateries at Bolton Abbey.
Strid Wood to Barden Bridge is under a mile. It is easy terrain and runs along the river.
There’s an aqueduct you pass through en route – don’t mistake it for Barden Bridge if you don’t know what you’re looking for as I did.
Barden Bridge ↓ is a great spot to take a break by the river. There is also a small car park, outside of the Bolton Abbey Estate for those not wanting to pay the entrance fees. That said, I think you’d be pushed to get a spot so save the hassle; park, pay and get on with the day. Sitting here with a book was sheer tranquility.
There is then a path that winds the other side of the river all the way past The Strid to the Cavendish Pavillion (about 2.3 miles). This walk is absolutely beautiful and so picturesque.
Bluebells adorned the banks and the sunlight danced in and out of the trees.
It’s hard to capture the light adequately here, but through these tall tall trees, it was simply magnificent.
Though we’ve visited Bolton Abbey on numerous occasions, the Cavendish Pavillion is as far as we’ve ever been; it’s always a fun walk for the kids and a reasonable circular route. Parking at Strid Woods could easily be its own day out and gives the option for a separate circuit. I visited Monday morning when the dog walkers and… shall we say ‘older clientele’ were enjoying their strolls so didn’t see any children on my travels and thought it’d be a perfect circuit to run next time!
Happy gadding people!
Posted on May 5, 2016
Banyan Leeds is the fourth ‘Banyan Bar & Kitchen’ to be opened in Yorkshire. Though you wouldn’t know from the exotic name, the ingredients are sourced from local suppliers; Banyan is very much a Yorkshire affair (and there’s 20% off for Lifestyle Yorkshire readers at the end of the post!)
Situated on the site of the Old Post Office in Leeds City Square, (directly opposite The Queens Hotel), it is in a fantastic location. Outdoor seating is always a must when the warmer temperatures arrive and there’s 120 covers to ensure not a moments rays will be missed.
Ahead of it’s launch on April 22nd I was invited to a blogger event which involved tasting bite-sized food and sampling cocktails. My taste buds were delighted!
The restaurant is split over two levels, downstairs has a simple industrial feel; upstairs is dark and decadent.
As the blogger event began, it became quickly apparent that they know what they’re talking about. From navigating the industry they’re in (hospitality/catering), to the details of the cocktails, wine and food… there’s thought gone into Banyan.
What results for you and I is a tantalising (and may I add, affordable) menu for breakfast, lunch, evening meal and late-night drinks.
Fussy eaters welcomed (my words not theirs); CEO Martin Wolstencroft reiterated the need to be on the ball with ever-increasing spectrum of dietary requirements. For example, at breakfast you could have a Full English, or pancakes. If neither of those is to your liking, there’s smashed avocado on toast, or you could go for Super Granola (No grains, no dairy, no gluten, no wheat, no sulphites)!
Our arrival drink, a pea and mint bellini.
Teriyaki belly pork. Am not a great lover of pork – these bites were incredible!
Crushed avocado & pea toasts. Crispy duck spring rolls. Vanilla cheesecake. Salted caramel and chocolate torte
When you’re left wanting more, it’s always a good sign. My return date to Banyan is booked for a few weeks time and am looking forward to full-sized meals, hopefully sat outside!
Banyan Leeds have kindly offered readers of LIFESTYLE YORKSHIRE 20% off. Simply quote LIFESTYLEYORKSHIRE20.
Posted on April 26, 2016
Situated next to the train station, The Royal York Hotel has always been a place we’ve walked past on the way to meeting family and friends in the city centre for a great day out. Hotels are places to stay and if you’re not going to be staying (or having a meeting), then there’s no reason to enter, right?
Time to change that old way of thinking…
The Grade II listed building has undergone a £15 million refurbishment; I was invited for afternoon tea and promptly fell in love with the place.
Recognised as one of the most architecturally significant railway hotels in the country (formerly The Royal Station Hotel), whilst the iconic exterior hasn’t changed much, the inside has undergone a rather epic transformation thanks to interior architects Goddard Littlefair.
Not only has it been both restored and modernised, but a new bar (Chapter House) and restaurant (Refectory Kitchen & Terrace) have been created. These two destination concepts will attract new business, ours included.
Whilst I could tell you about the afternoon tea we were invited to taste, I’d rather show you what really made us linger longer: the interior decor.
The sheer size of the building naturally lends itself to a lofty grandeur but the design aspects and furnishings incorporated with the refurbishing have taken 4 Star Luxury to another level.
Having not seen the ‘before’ I am relying on my Mothers’ word who tells me ‘it was all dark wood everywhere’. The photos below show the ‘Garden Room’; the afternoon tea takes place in here – the colour palette which adorns the Victoria architecture is perfectly balanced. Sage greens, softest greys and mauves’ accents of aged metallic’s and crushed velvets cohere without competing.
The afternoon tea was lovely and staff knew the menu inside out; however the most memorable food was the plate of savoury appetisers. The detail in the flavours was exquisite. What followed by way of the three-tier plate of sandwiches, scones and sweets, was too nondescript for my taste-buds.
As we sat among a low-level of hubbub, looking out over beautiful gardens onto York Minster, we couldn’t help thinking how calm and relaxed it was. We settled we’d rather that any day than queuing round the block as you might do in other well-known tea rooms.
We finished with a cup of hand-picked Jasmine tea from China, then took to exploring the hotels quiet luxury further.
A rather grand staircase ascends to the 159 bedrooms which have all been refurbished. Whilst we didn’t get to see the rooms, a fellow blogger has, visit Pouting in Heels’ Post to see the rooms here.
Things we noted; the staff were truly excellent and there was no sense of snobbery about the place. Some places you go and you’re not sure if it’ll accommodate everyone?… The Royal, not so – we felt right at home.
Chapter House bar and games room is open daily serving hot and cold drinks. Bar nibbles indulge in British classics such as black pudding sausage roll with HP Sauce, Fountains Gold toast with Branston, and Bridlington scampi with tartare sauce.
The Refectory Kitchen & Terrace (below) can be seen round to the left as soon as you exit the train station doors. It’s a fabulous space, seating 126 indoors with a further 35 covers outdoors… we picked up a menu and have already seen ourselves dining here in Summer… all we need now is the weather!
Will we return to The Royal York? Most definitely. Away from the bustle of the city, it will be the perfect place to get lunch and drinks in the most beautiful surroundings. I hope the hotel will continue to see much success and a return for the sizeable investment. Visit the hotel website here.
Posted on April 7, 2016
Our 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!
Recently, Bettys, Ilkley has undergone a bit of a revamp – I popped in to see what they’d done with the place.
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.
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.
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.
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?