August was a fun filled month, where we firstly headed to York’s very own Comic Con!
On arriving at York racecourse, we were greeted with some fantastic costumes and didn’t mind the entrance queue, as it meant we could have a good look at all the amazing outfits that people had clearly spent a lot of time putting together for this marvellous day!
Once inside, it was apparent there was a lot to see and do, including special guests and interactive activities for kids of all ages!
It was a Geek Haven and Comic Con-er’s Utopia, with stall after stall of wacky wares and we found ourself in a Shooper’s Paradise, picking up all sorts of fabulous finds!
Our buys included some lego characters, Harry Potter jewellery, pixel art, coasters and more and we came away with lots of great purchases to put away for Birthday and Christmas presents too!
We particularly liked the White Fairy https://www.facebook.com/whitefairy.shop/, where we purchased quite a few quirky pieces!
This was our very first Comic Con and most certainly won’t be our last!
Comic Con returns to the Knavesmire next August and you can purchase advance tickets right now – https://www.facebook.com/YorkUnleashed/
If you can’t wait that long, head to Pudsey this coming November https://www.facebook.com/events/1408876052520212/?active_tab=about
The end of the month saw the 50th West Indian Carnival come to Leeds on Bank Holiday Monday and we were so excited to be attending our very first!
The traffic was strong into the City, but we managed to park the car and walk to find a spot by the roadside in time for the Carnival parade going by, where it would then culminate in Potternewton Park, continuing the Carnival vibes late into the evening, in a huge celebration of music, dance and colour, lots of colour!
The costumes were simply out of this world, showstopping pieces, lavishly adorned in sparkling sequins!
The Carnival floats all brought something different and unique to the parade too, each with their own flavour, flare and culture and as day turned to night, the parade turned into a party!
After the parade, we headed down to the Park, stopping for a boogie outside various houses along the way, where folk had brought the party and their sound systems outside!
I’ve honestly never seen anything like it, it was absolutely fantastic and there was a real sense of pride amongst the community too, sharing this experience and making many happy memories together!
The party continued late into the evening in Potternewton Park, where there was a stage with live music, fairground rides and lots more food and drink stalls to enjoy.
It was a thoroughly enjoyable family-friendly day out and we look forward with great anticipation to next year’s event!
Check out these stunning professional photos from the Parade, courtesy of Maria Spadafora and David Lindsay.
Monster veg owe a debt to bras and tights – that’s the best thing I learnt at this year’s Harrogate Autumn Flower Show.
I’m not going to spoil it for you – you’ll have to get along to star grower Kevin Fortey’s masterclass at the Kitchen Garden Theatre each day to get more secrets of how to grow the surrounding monsters.
And surrounded we were by examples of perfectly matched but huge beauty in the various classes – and the nightmarish gigantic mutants in the heavyweight classes, where anything goes.
There is always a flurry of excitement at high noon on Friday, with the National Onion Society weigh-in – although no records were broken this year.
The Harrogate shows are magnets for torrential showers. The clouds were black as we left the showground and it’s wet underfoot.
Other top tips if you haven’t been before:
Avoid the main indoor eating venues at peak time, as you won’t get a seat. Go for the cooked breakfast at the Yorkshire Cafe as soon as you arrive, then top up mid-afternoon.
Don’t forget the essentials: waterproofs, sunglasses and comfortable, flat shoes (no heels).
You can get cash back if you go mad from the information point in the Gardening Hall for a small purchase (the hessian bags are handy).
The nurseries and companies attending had the usual offers – you can make your entrance fee back in savings. Don’t take a chance and go back later, as it might be gone.
Use the plant creches run by the charity Perennial, so you don’t have to carry stuff around with you all day.
The Postcards from the Hedge exhibits, based around intrepid plant hunters of the past tied the show together, although the other half was amused at the life-size animals for each continent.
I always spend a lot of time in the Plant Nursery Pavilion – that’s where you’ll find the specialist nurseries and their displays. We arrived earlier than usual so it wasn’t as busy, meaning I could chat to experts and friends, old and new.
Great to see Plantagogo win Best in Show for their Heuchera/Tiarella display (www.plantagogo.com). Harperley Hall Farm Nurseries from County Durham landed premier gold with their alpine/perennials exhibit (www.harperleyhallfarmnurseries.co.uk).
I had a good chat with Craig House Cacti, who also won Premier Gold and the Alice Bailey Challenge Trophy at what will be their last Harrogate Show. I so nearly bought that £25 Agave victoriae reginae!
The Floral Pavilion hosts the country’s biggest exhibition by specialist gardening groups, NAFAS (National Association of Flower Arrangement Societies) and the highlight, more than 5,000 autumn blooms, including chrysanthemums and dahlias – and they didn’t disappoint. It’s almost a sensory overload with flowers as big as your head.
My buys this year? I went with tulips in mind and did stick to my plan, with 90 red and yellow Kaufmanniana and Griegii bulbs for £15. I regretted not buying a giant Amaryllis bulb last year, so bought an absolutely huge Orange Sovereign for £15, both from Harts Nursery of Congleton, www.hartsnursery.co.uk.
You’ve got to have an impulse buy (it would be rude not to) and mine is a baby Aloe americana from Pip’s Cactus from East Lothian for a bargain £4. Yes, I know how big they get.
The other half, for his sterling duties as chauffeur and photographer went on a pie, cake and beer spree in the food hall.
As ever, a cracking experience – roll on the Spring Show in April!
Visit www.flowershow.org.uk or call 01423 546157 for more information.
For results and a monster veg picture special, visit www.mandycanudigit.com.
The Whitby Regatta is most likely the oldest Sea Regatta on the North East Coast in England and this year saw Whitby welcome the 177th Regatta to it’s picture-perfect shores once more!
We headed across on the Sunday with friends, with two small children in tow, so were looking forward to a fun filled, family day out and we weren’t disappointed, as there was something for all ages, at this long established traditional event.
Arriving early afternoon, we parked up near West Cliff and headed down to the activities.
The coastline was adorned with children’s entertainment, rides and fairground stalls along the top of West Cliff and unsurprisingly our little people headed straight for these, so we split from our friends whilst the kiddies had some fun.
A little further along we found Tuby’s Vintage Commercial Vehicles, before making our way over to Spa Green.
Here we found a “Spit & Polish” Classic Car Rally along with the White Rose Capri Club, with cars covering all the Capri range from Mk1 to Mk3.
There were prizes awarded too for the best ‘Original Vehicle’ and the best ‘Restored Vehicle’ along with the entrant’s choice for ‘The Car They Would Most Like To Take Home’
Here’s just a few of the Classic Cars we saw!
Nearby, we caught a glimpse of the RPM Bike Trials that were happening around the Royal Crescent. The trials demonstrated some fabulous tricks and stunts, featuring feats of balance, control and daring as the pro stunt team performed and entertained throughout the day!
On we went, taking in some wonderful Arts & Craft Stalls amongst the Regatta Market on the Archery Green; “A whole area dedicated to local traders and craft stalls housed in marquees with some al fresco stalls too” and of course stopping to purchase some little trinkets from the delightful Rosie Meadows – Pop-Up Shop & Vintage Tea Room!
Their tent was in a prime location on the edge of West Cliff, facing towards the great man himself, Captain James Cook!
The 7ft 6 inch high, bronze statue was presented to Whitby in 1912 and has stood proudly observing over the bay of West Cliff ever since, although we don’t think he was intended to wear a Seagull for a hat, as captured in this picture!
Captain Cook, born James Cook on 7th November in 1728, moved to Whitby in 1746, becoming apprentice to John Walker. When Cook was not at Sea, this is where he resided and today, the house is now the Captain Cook Memorial Museum.
The smell of sea air and much talk of fishing had reminded us to take a break for lunch, so we re-grouped with our friends down in the Fisherman’s Wife Cafe on Harbourside, before being dragged away to the amusements by the littlies to work off our lunch with some arcade filled fun!
When we were all 2p machine’d out, we headed over to the harbour opposite Fish Pier to take in some of the boat racing, as after all, that was what this great event was first and foremost all about.
The great sportsmanships and competitiveness and the wonderful Whitby community spirit were all out in force and the atmosphere was pretty electric down by the harbour, as we had arrived just as the last Mens race was coming in!
It was plain to see how much the Regatta and the sport of rowing itself had inspired this fishing resort in absolute abundance and it was a pleasure and honour to be a part of, popping our proverbial Regatta cherry as first timers to this sensational Sailing event!
Our trip wouldn’t be complete without a voyage on the high seas, well a mini one at least!
We boarded the Bark Endeavor, a smaller scale replica ship of Captain Cook’s Endeavor and set sail out of Whitby harbour on a half hour trip, taking in the stunning scenery and beautiful coastline.
We also learned some interesting history and facts on Captain Cook and his Ship and some sea shanties too, but alas, no rum, arrrr!
As afternoon turned to evening, we headed back up to West Cliff where the big kids, AKA the adults had a go on the swings and the children enjoyed Zorbing in large paddling pools. Not at the same time I might add, please always play responsibly!
We even managed to come across some sort of Morris Dancing Tournament happening along West Cliff on our way back to the car.
Now this was thoroughly entertaining, not only because of the Morris Dancing, but mainly because we, along with other definite tourists on our side of the bank, didn’t have a clue what was happening!
A Gentleman involved came over and explained it all and it sounded a hoot and looked like lots of fun!
Each team were completing their routine simultaneously at four corners of a grassy area on the promenade side of West Cliff.
Throughout the routine, team members were not allowed to lose physical contact with one another. During the process, one member would swap out of each team and go into the centre of the “pitch” where they had to eat something (we couldn’t see clearly, but guessed it was something spicy or unpleasant, much like a bushtucker trial, but perhaps not as gruesome!) until it was all gone from their mouthes, then they could return to their team and the next member swap out and so on, so it was a race to the finish as this intriguingly bonkers game played out!
Quite a spectacle, which I must say, left me coming away wanting to try my hand at Morris Dancing!
En route back to the car we spotted this lovely little memorial community project…
…and a selfie with a Bee! #BeeHappyWhitby
No trip to Whitby would be complete without a visit to one of our favourite Fish & Chip Shops and this time we opted for Trenchers.
After moving the car a bit nearer towards town and taking a short stroll back across the Swing Bridge, we’d certainly worked up an appetite at the Regatta.
It was a lovely evening as we walked along the waterside towards the restaurant and you could certainly smell the freshly caught fish in the air, as we passed all the fishing baskets on the waters’ edge.
We were served promptly after being seated and ordering, as we were just in time for last orders and were delighted to be greeted by a rather large, but very yummy looking piece of fish and chips, along with the sides and extras we’d ordered, it was a feast fit for a King and Queen and the perfect end to a perfect day!
Whitby Regatta dates for your diary next year are: 11th, 12th & 13th August 2018
View hundreds of professional photos from the Regatta on Facebook:
Finally, we’ll leave you with this stunning photo of the Firework display over Whitby Abbey on Monday night, courtesy of Laurie Smithie. Check out her stunning website for this and more!
We’ve enjoyed a scorching number of events in our glorious county over the course of the Summer and here follows a round up of some of our favourite events and places we have visited.
In July we attended the 159th annual Great Yorkshire Show in Harrogate.
The weather was kind to us after raining heavily on Day 1, but the sun shone on us for most of Day 2, which in turn, brought the crowds out in their usual spectacular forces to this quintissential Great Yorkshire event!
Like we had done for the Spring Flower Show, we again took our friend who was a GYS first timer and as expected, he had a cracking day and was bowled over by just how much there was to see at the show!
Here is a map showing the sheer scale of it all!
As we arrived early into the afternoon, we knew we had a lot of ground to cover!
This time we entered the show through a different entrance and almost instantly, stumbled upon a stall I buy exercise shorts from each year, so of course, took the opportunity to stock up on some new material!
As we weaved our way up one of the main avenues in search of food, avoiding many a pushchair along the way, we caught a swift glimpse of a sheep shearing competition underway just to our right, as we had entered near all the animals; cattle, pigs, goats and sheep.
We soon found food in the way of a small food tent with various stalls and wares, smelling delicious and looking oh-so inviting! This tent was very busy and in true British style, there was an orderly queue working their way into the tent and around it in a loop.
With the sun blazing down outside and the fire from the grills sizzling away inside, it was rather hot to say the least!
We made our choices and queued for our goodies, before retreating outside to cooler air to enjoy our lunchtime snacks.
We clocked one of our favourite homemade Cider stalls in here and promised to return later to buy a bottle on the way out, which we certainly did!
On we went, heading down to the Country Pursuits Arena and up to see the Birds of Prey, working Dogs and Ferrets, whilst of course making a pit stop at the Black Sheep Baaaar!
We admired Cattle of all varieties, from this beautifully painted Ceramic one, to the infamous Grand Cattle Parade in the Main Ring, as well as wandering around the Cattle stables at leisure, admiring all of the prize winners and different breeds. There were some real big beauties!
Further we explored, discovering a horse shoeing competition and a stunt act in the Main Ring, before darting off to see the epic, Tree Pole Climbing Competition, which this year saw some ladies taking part!
One of them was a little pocket rocket, usually working as a stable hand, she absolutely smashed the men’s times out of the park! #GirlPower #ThisGirlCan
Finally, we made it into the Events Centre where there were an abundance of stalls, laid out like an Aladdin’s Cave of the Home and Garden world!
Here were some of our faves, including the Cheese Champion!
The day was swiftly drawing to a close and we had time for a final sweep of areas we hadn’t yet seen, including a display from Bolton Abbey, Army boys and vehicles, the many stables of horses and the pigs, sheep and finally, a personal favourite, the goats!
It’s a fun filled day out for all the family with truly something for everyone, including a Discovery Zone for the children, Cookery demonstrations, Fashion Shows and more, at this one of a kind Farming and Agricultural Show.
We look forward with great anticipation for the 160th GYS next year!
See you there!
Check out our full album of photos from this year’s show, over on our Facebook page:
You spend the day exploring in the warm summer sun. Browsing the shops, sipping coffee in the shade of a friendly cafe. As the shadows lengthen, you amble back to the hotel for a long hot bath. You breathe deeply and look around. The beautifully arranged tiles. The spacious, minimalist bathroom. The luxurious, queen-sized bed. And you think, ‘why can’t my home be like this?’
Well, it can. The bedroom is the spiritual centre of the home. It should be your refuge, your sanctuary – the place where all your stresses can vanish at the end of a long day. There are a few key ways to transform this space into something worthy of a luxury hotel…
Secrets of a Sound Night’s Sleep
It all begins with the bed. Choosing a high quality mattress and soft fabrics is a tested way of making your bed a comfortable place to sleep well. Large, square cushions, satin sheets, and a mixture of fabric covers complete the luxury hotel feel.
Scented candles can bring back memories of happy holidays and relieve stress. Choose something that matches the season – light fruits for the summer, and maybe some nutmeg or spices for colder months. If you’re not sure about candle flames, sprays and diffusers can work wonders too.
Fresh flowers will also bring a bedroom to life. Plants boost mood and mental wellbeing, as well as throwing a lovely burst of colour into the room. Decorative plants are one thing, but try having fresh flowers in vases. Just remember to change the water to make them last longer!
A Mind Free from Clutter
Hotel rooms excel at creating a large amount of storage with a small amount of space. The key to this is efficiency. Look into getting bespoke fitted furniture to maximise your storage. By having bedroom furniture like drawers, dressers and wardrobes made to measure, you can get rid of unnecessary gaps and create a truly unique space for your home.
Furniture designers like Hartleys Bedrooms are adept at designing and fitting bespoke furniture that seamlessly slots into the room. So you can make the most of every square inch to ensure nothing is wasted, nothing is overlooked, but without the result feeling cluttered and cramped.
The Finishing Touches…
To put the final tweaks to your hotel ambience, use lighting to adjust the mood of your bedroom. Mix uplights, spotlights and lamps to create a warm, cosy atmosphere or something more sleek and modern. Don’t forget lighting at the bedside table either – elegant sconces look beautiful and let you relax with some bedtime reading.
Finally, remember that fabrics belong on the walls as well as the covers. If you’re looking for something dark, warm and wintry, consider heavy drapes for your windows. Want a bright summer vibe? Thinner curtains help bring the light in and create a sunny, airy space.
Ultimately, only you will have an idea of the kind of room you want and what will work with the space you have. But put a few of these tips into action and you’ll soon transform your bedroom from mundane into a beautiful, luxury room a hotel would be proud of.
Harrogate based business The Kimberley Hotel gets a Twitter Boost from Dragon’s Den Theo Paphitis!
We are hugely honoured and immensely thrilled to have been one of Theo’s handpicked winners for this Small Business Sunday award last week.
We can’t wait to meet him and many more of the SBS Winners at the annual event in February!
A Harrogate based firm has received a business boost from Retail Entrepreneur Theo Paphitis.
Last week, the Social Media Manager at The Kimberley Hotel, which is a family owned business, tweeted Theo about their business during ‘Small Business Sunday’ and was one of six weekly winners to gain a retweet by Theo to his 500,000 Twitter followers!
The weekly initiative, set up by Theo in 2010, now has 1700 #SBS winners and supports small businesses in the UK.
Business and retail entrepreneur and self-confessed Shopkeeper, Theo re‐tweeted The Kimberley Hotel’s tweet to his almost 500,000 followers and as a result, www.kimberleyharrogate.co.uk has seen a surge of interest and traffic, more followers and an increase in sales. They are also profiled on the #SBS website (www.theopaphitissbs.com) that is exclusive to all Small Business Sunday winners.
The Kimberley Hotel said, “We’ve been in the Hospitality and Tourism trade for many years now, but with the increase in larger hotels in Harrogate, we strive to keep The Kimberley firmly visible on the Harrogate hotel map proving small businesses like ourselves can compete with the big boys! It is great to have support from Theo because he has recognised our hard work and helped spread the word about what we do to his following.”
Small business champion and Ryman Stationery, Robert Dyas and Boux Avenue Chairman, Theo Paphitis, said: “We are thrilled to welcome new #SBS members every week and highlight just how important it is to support our small businesses here in the UK. My vision is that everyone who has ever won an #SBS re-tweet from me becomes part of a friendly club; like-minded individuals who can share successes and learnings. The website and Shop #SBS will also give a valuable profile to the winners chosen and I wish The Kimberley Hotel every success.”
#SBS Winners now also have access to the exclusive members’ selling platform www.shopsbs.co.uk where hundreds of winners are already selling thousands of products, from unique gifts and bespoke furniture to pet toys or jewellery. It is another opportunity for the #SBS winners to turn tweets into sales.
Anyone looking for a re‐tweet from Theo should tweet him about their business on Sunday between 5 PM and 7.30 PM and include the hashtag #SBS. Six lucky businesses are re‐tweeted every Monday at 8 PM and then invited to enter their profile on the new website, attend the annual #SBS networking event and take advantage of the networking opportunities.
Now in it’s third year, the Tour de Yorkshire returned to God’s Own County, seeing Harrogate being made a finishing town once again for Stage 2 of the 2017 race.
After witnessing the spectacle of the race from previous years, we couldn’t be more excited to see it finish in Harrogate again!
This time we hoped for a fairytale finish, without the repeat performance of the heartbreak of Mark Cavendish’s fall from the Tour de France in 2014.
The whole county has gotten behind TDY again this year and the buzz in the air has been plain to see and feel in the run up to the race, with villages and towns adorned in blue and yellow bunting, flags and painted bicycles in honour of the race!
We truly are blessed in Yorkshire with some fabulous countryside and stunning scenery, providing a picture perfect backdrop for this huge sporting event.
As lucky as we feel to host such a wonderful event, we think the riders must feel equally blessed to be riding through such glorious landscapes too!
As Saturday arrived, it brought with it, dry mild weather, not too cold, not too hot, perfect cycling weather!
There was all sorts happening throughout the day in Harrogate, including a party on The Stray with big screens, live music, food and drink, craft stalls and cycling activities a plenty!
On Crescent Gardens, just outside the Valley Gardens, was a Street Food Festival, with global cuisine from quirky food vendors, a Prosecco van and glitter facepainting, inclusive with a DJ spinning some funky house to get everyone in the party spirit!
The whole family had come out for the occasion and it was lovely to see everyone coming together as a community, having a giggle and joining in the fun.
The first race of the day was the ladies race, with an amazing sprint and finish from Yorkshire born winner Lizzie Deignan.
The Peloton, or in fact any of the other riders were nowhere in sight, as Lizzie came powering up Montpellier Hill towards the finish line.
She had a stong outright lead, checking back over her shoulder for oncoming competitors as she approached the finish line and seeing nobody there, ploughed on, pushing herself and what must have been by now, very tired legs!
With a cheeky smile on her face as she crossed the finish line, the Harrogate crowd went wild, celebrating Lizzie’s win with her and we felt so proud that the first winner of the day was British and not only that, but a Yorkshire-woman herself!
We loudly cheered and clapped her win as she took to the winner’s podium to receive her trophys, jerseys and flowers.
We have no doubt her favourite was the petrified glued-together Yorkshire Pudding trophy – Epic!
Next up was the men’s race a few hours later, giving local residents, visitors and tourists a chance to soak up the Tour de Yorkshire atmosphere and enjoy the day’s entertainment around the town.
As the men’s race drew closer, the crowds grew thicker, each one trying to gain the best viewing spot on the roadside as they awaited the culmination of Stage 2 on the finish line on Parliament Street.
It was around 5pm when the riders arrived in Harrogate and with only 1KM to go, the crowd were up for it and the noise was electric.
The final climb was heavy, with many cyclists fighting for their place in the race.
As the Peloton reached iconic Betty’s Tea Rooms, Men’s Stage 2 Winner, Nacer Bouhanni made his winning break and sprinted his way to the finish line. As the crowd cheered him on, banging their hands on the barriers lining the race track, Nacer crossed the line with his arms in the air, elated with his victory!
Swiftly after crossing the line, Bouhanni dismounted his bike and dropped to the floor, overwhelmed, taking in his win, whilst catching his breath back after a sensational, exhilerating and exciting Stage 2 race!
Sadly there were no Brits in the top 3 of the Men’s race, but that didn’t matter as we cheered on the winners all the same, with their thoroughly deserved collective successes of the day.
It had been another historic day of cycle racing and it wasn’t over yet as the Street Food Festival and Stray party were set to continue late into Saturday night!
We headed back to The Stray for a “boogie ‘n’ a bevvie” and a general wander.
On the way, I thought it was my lucky day as one of the race officials came walking towards us with a bunch of flowers, but the flowers passed straight in front of us and were handed to a lady walking nearby. She was a bit chuffed to say the least and although quietly disappointed they weren’t for me (who am I kidding, not even the OH buys me flowers), it was lovely to witness this kind gesture.
We enjoyed viewing beautiful Art on The Stray by Lucy Pittaway, one of which epitomised the stunning scenery with the cyclists riding through the brilliantly bright yellow fields along the Tour de Yorkshire route!
We had a good wander around the other stalls too and stopped to take in the awesome Yorkshire Water advert on the big screen. If you’ve not yet seen it, you simply must check it out, we love it, but then we are slightly biased!
There was some lovely live music and lots of fab things happening, with even more street food vendors and a bar here too, with live music happening late into the night, including a Robbie Williams tribute act!
They had ‘Specialized’ bikes to try out, with people whizzing up and down on them having a whole heap of fun. They looked beasty with fat wheels! I hear they’re the best in the biking world. I also hear you can buy a car for the price they are too, eek! I wonder if they do ones with baskets on for little old ladies in the making like myself!
We even got our pic taken in the official Tour de Yorkshire frame when we spent time chatting to some fab folk on one of the stalls!
On a serious note though, the Tour de Yorkshire has brought health, wealth, tourism and an injection of life into Harrogate and the positive impact it has had on the community is simply astounding.
More people than ever are now getting on their bikes and are inspired thanks to this race alone.
We’d also like to finish by giving a special mention to the official Tour de Yorkshire TV advert for creating such an inspiring film, proving you’re never too old to “Get on yer bike!”
If you’ve not yet seen it, check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qLHBYa5bntQ
For the full classifications, further results and TDY info, click here: http://letour.yorkshire.com/
We’re already looking forward to Tour de Yorkshire 2018 and hope you all are too!
We were so very excited to be returning to the Spring Flower Show in Harrogate once more this year after being frequent visitors for the last few years now!
We love it, it’s one of our favourite shows and we attend both Spring and Autumn editions as they’re just so fabulous!
This year was no different!
We were taking a friend along with us for their very first visit to the show this year and having never visited anything like this before and being very much a man’s man, he was somewhat apprehensive of what a day out at a flower show was going to entail!
It’s safe to say he possibly enjoyed himself even more than me, but more on that a bit later!
It was Day 3 of the Flower Show and we’d been blessed with the most promising weather of the weekend so far! It was lovely and warm in the yummy Yorkshire sunshine, but there was a definite brisk chill to air when in the shade, so we were glad of our coats, but when the sun did come out, they were swiftly off once again and in true British Summer style, we made the most of the afternoon rays!
After some tip offs and advice from exhibitors, visitors, bloggers and associates alike, we headed straight for the Gardening Hall to view the fabulous fashion and “HortCouture” on display by Jenny Gillies – a sensational fashion designer and exhibiton all the way from ChristChurch New Zealand! The Press shots we’d seen in the week leading upto the Flower Show of Jenny’s work were phenomenal and with me having a trip planned to New Zealand too, this was high up on my list of priorities to see.
On our way through the brand new Yorkshire Events Centre, we managed to do a swift half lap of the new Plant Pavillion for Spring 2017, taking in delightful Daffodils, brilliant Bonsai trees, sensational shrubbery and fabulous foliage!
We’d been advised to go see The Christchurch Collection as soon as we arrived at the show in an attempt to beat the crowds and get a good look.
Unfortunately it appeared everyone had the same idea, so we proceeded to play an awkward game of dodge the camera, as everyone frantically scurried to get their kodak moments, whilst snapping as minimal people as possible in the background of their photos, simultaneously!
It got quite comical at one point, with my friend standing frozen between a group of ladies and flowery dresses! I’m sure he was secretly in his element though!
Here are some of our fave pics, see them all on our Facebook page, link below.
After spending time soaking up the gorgeous designs by Jenny, we explored the rest of the Gardening Hall, stopping for a quick natter at the Visit Harrogate and Harrogate in Bloom stand and admiring the astonishing “Green Room” – a firm favourite with the Show’s visitors this year and a huge pink sparkly Stiletto! The pictures says more than we ever could. Simply STUNNING!
Exiting the Gardening Hall from the side entrance, we found ourselves at the start of the Show Gardens.
This was perfect, as next on our To-Do list was the Magic Roundabout inspired garden by Horticap; a charity providing education in horticulture for adults with learning disabilities in Harrogate & the surrounding district.
We’d seen pictures on Social Media and it was even better in the flesh. Not only was it visually magical, but it played music too, the Magic Roundabout theme tune of course!
It evoked childhood memories and made us feel happy and infant like once more! It was colourful, inspired and relaxing and was accessible for children and adults of all ages.
We were also able to see how Horticap’s work directly impacted in such a positive way on the people of Harrogate’s lives.
They had a big bench at the front of their garden where you could have your picture taken, which of course we couldn’t reisit and being nicknamed Dee, getting a selfie with Zebadee was a definite highlight of my day; big kids at heart!
On we went, viewing Askham Bryan College’s Award-Winning Garden, spending time chatting to them about the design and what certain pieces within it represented.
Being a Yorkie too, I was delighted to see them take a Silver Award for their stunning work!
Next up was Henshaws Arts & Crafts Centre’s Garden, complete with Simba the Lion, since Henshaws stands on the old Knaresborough Zoo site, where we were told that the residents of Harrogate used to say they could hear the Lion roar! Read more on what Henshaw’s has to offer here: https://www.henshaws.org.uk/what-we-offer/arts-crafts/visit/
Neighbouring Henshaws, was a lovely piece from the lads at HMP Kirk Levington Grange – Growing Reform with a concept garden entitled “There’s Water Under The Bridge”. My friend chatted to the Artyculturals (the gardeners’ collective name!), whilst I took pictures, where I particularly loved the spectacular hand welded trees! It was wonderful to see something so positive come out of their time spent at Kirk Levington Grange and we felt a great sense of pride for them as they truly outdid themselves and indeed did themselves immensely proud with their contribution!
We really enjoyed viewing the Brain Research Garden and spent time here chatting to the one of the team and her little helper, who was scurrying about handing out leaflets on the Research Centre and looked to be thoroughly enjoying herself!
We loved how they’d recreated sections of the brain within their show garden and they explained each coloured section to us, along with the corresponing plants for each section, so for example; Sight, there were many visually vibrant and colourful flowers; Movement, here there were lots of tall plants that waved and danced merrily in the light Spring breeze; Memory, plants like Forget-Me-Nots and Rhubarb which some will remember from their grandparents’ gardens!
The water feauture ball in the centre represented the brain fluid connecting all the sections together and keeping the brain alive.
They received a well deserved Silver award for their garden and we were delighted for them. This was definitely one of our favourite show gardens of the day!
By now we were getting peckish and since some of my family were also at the Show that day, we decided to meet up with them, so headed upto the Gardener’s Rest Cafe for some lunch.
After refuelling we picked up where we left off on a sort of cross roads where there was the Yorkshire Clothing Company, Brass Band and my favourite stand from last year, Robert James Ltd.
After picking up some regal Ryedale stock at the Clothing Company, it was over to Robert James for a quick natter and look at all the stunners on display.
Their work is out of this world and based on the well known characters of Alice in Wonderland, Wind in the Willows and Winnie the Pooh to name a few!
On chatting, we realised it had been a whole year since we saw them last and quite frankly were flabergasted, as we could remember their stand from last year as though it was yesterday!
View more of Robert’s work on his website at http://www.robertjamesworkshop.com/sculptures.html
On leaving Robert James, we made our way round to the Food and Drink and Craft marquees, but not before stopping for a glass of Champagne daaarling!
On entering the Food Tent, we were pleasantly surprised to see Andy from Urban Herbs at the front of the Marquee, where everyone had to walk past, ensuring he was seen by many! He was extremely chuffed with his plot upgrade and it was great to see his stall so busy! Andy regularly stays with us at The Kimberley when exhibiting at local shows in the area, but sadly wasn’t with us on this occasion.
We had a good natter for a good while and Andy kindly let us choose some more herbs to take home to our ever expanding herb garden. We chose some interesting and yummy sounding ones such as, Catnep and Lemon Curd Thyme! The latter was supposed to go nice with chicken and as a topper on cheesecake! We’ll let you know how we get on!
Time was no longer on our side and we had less than an hour to go until closing time and there was still so much to see! We continued around the Food and Drink marquee, sampling and purchasing Sloe Gin and Strawberry Vodka from The Little Red Berry Company, Fudge from the stall next door, Stateside Treats, Nuts by ViPnuts, Munchy Seeds and Black Smoked Cheddar Cheese, this was a goooood tent!
We finished our Food and Drink round with a sample from and a chit chat with Slingsby’s Gin whom we stock at The Kimberley. We can personally recommend their Rhubarb Gin! It’s going to be huge this Summer!!
Next up was the Craft Marquee where I usually purchase many a Christmas present, yes even as early as April, but with us running out of time we had a quick gander then made our way into the neighbouring Floral Pavillion where there was further Floral Art on display.
One of the themes Florists had been tasked with was “Hitched & Stitched”, incorporating a wedding theme into their floral bouquets.
Colleges were asked to produce Floral Bonnets on open or closed car bonnets with their own interpretation and design creating a Va Va Bloom vibe!
Movies and Fashion played a big part at this year’s Spring show too, with Movie inspired pieces like Titanic, Ocean’s Eleven and Gone With The Wind on display.
The Floral Art pieces took their inspiration this year from four big name designers – Vivienne Westwood, Versace, Ralph Lauren and Chanel and boy these did not disappoint.
As one of the last things to see during our day at the show, they’d been worth the wait!
We also enjoyed seeing the various music genres/decades interpreted as floral designs! Here are a couple of our faves!
For all the results, see here (don’t be put off by date, it is this year’s!):
It was sadly time to leave and although we hadn’t quite managed to see everything, we had done a lot and knew we would be returning in September for the Autumn Show, where we plan to do lots of Christmas craft shopping and see the giant vegetables of course, another highlight of the Autumn Flower Show!
For further Show highlights, see the official website: http://www.flowershow.org.uk/show-highlights
We’ll leave you with a link to all of our pictures over on our Facebook page and hope to see lots of you at the Autumn Show!
Get fit this Spring with this April workout from UK Outdoor Fitness in Harrogate!