There is a tree-lined street, quite close to home, which is quite unremarkable for many months of the year. During autumn, winter and summer, it is the epitome of suburbia- typically used as a cut through (much to the annoyance of its residents, I’m sure). However, in April, it becomes extraordinary and a delight to drive through on my journey home. For the blossom trees begin to sprout shoots then bloom and flourish until we reach May, when the boughs reach out to create an almighty floral archway of blossom. This street reminds me of new beginnings, which sums up my April nicely: suburban to start with and in bloom at the end.
So here we are, at the beginning of May, with a timely published Afternoons and Coffeespoons post. What did I say at the end of last month’s review? I guess those podcasts really are doing the trick.
Without further ado, here’s April in review.
Holmes Mill, Clitheroe
Midmonth, John and I found ourselves spending a sun-drenched Sunday afternoon in Clitheroe. Quite by chance, we decided to visit Holmes Mill – a converted mill which now homes a food hall, restaurant, beer hall and hotel. Truth be told, we’d headed in the direction of ice cream to make the most of the abnormally warm weather. What we discovered by chance was a a ‘Brides Up North’ wedding fair. It was so timely and welcome I couldn’t say no (although John might have, given the chance).
As we’re getting married abroad, unsurprisingly, nearly all of our wedding suppliers are Slovenian. Nonetheless, the Holmes Mill ‘Brides Up North’ event was a great source of inspiration and offered slightly different vendors to what I’d seen before – not as quirky at The Magpie Wedding Show but not as mainstream as The National Wedding Show. We discovered beautiful calligraphed bohemian wedding stationery adorned with gold leaf and ink splatters, a wedding photographer with images so bright and colourful we couldn’t help but stop and talk about his work and how could I forget, we happened upon a prohibition themed gin bar which made us reconsider our budget to try and include gin into our big day.
However, it was the Bowland Food Hall that was the real star of Holmes Mill. Showcasing the best of Lancashire produce, Bowland Food Hall provides a haven for foodies. Open 7 days a week, the food hall is divided into key areas to provide a platform for local, independent producers to sell their wares. On a strict wedding budget, I’m sad to say I made no purchases but definitely took advantage of the food samples put out for us – well, it would be rude not to!
Glamping with Hidden Valley Yurts
As I mentioned in March’s ‘Afternoons and Coffeespoons’ post, April was the month which would see me undertake a digital detox when I was invited to spend a week without WiFi at Hidden Valley Yurts, South Wales. Alongside Gina of Culture Bean, we discovered our mobile signal was better than expected throughout the entire trip – however, with the picturesque rural setting to be explored and the outdoor activities that had been planned for us, this thankfully allowed no time for technology. I’m currently drafting a post of my experience there, but spoiler: it was amazing.
The Winslow Boy at The Lowry, Manchester
I’m lucky that a month rarely passes without a visit to the theatre and in April, I attended the press night of The Winslow Boy at The Lowry, Manchester, with my mum as my plus one. Although it’s based on a real-life event in the Edwardian era which impacted on the judicial system, I had no knowledge of the story before which could be a little surprising as I studied law and had to learn, what felt like, a never-ending list of case names. This meant I had no pre-defined ideas of the show, no assumptions and was free to let the storyline wash over me. You can check out what I thought in my review, here.
On the last Saturday of the month, John and I went to Sheffield to see Tokio Myers in concert because John had expressed an interest in seeing more classical music. I feel I should explain. Years ago, on our first trip to Vienna, John booked tickets for us to visit ‘The Mozart Haus’ to see a string quarter perform the music of its namesake. I didn’t think watching a string quartet in Manchester would have the same feel, so I booked tickets for Tokio Myers on a whim thinking it to be a good mix of classical and pop.
Oh, how wrong I was. If you’re a fan of Britain’s Got Talent, then you will have undoubtedly seen Tokio perform ‘Clair de lune’ and ‘Bloodstream’ which, being honest, negates the need to buy tickets to see him live. For me, Myers lacked any real stage presence and it felt like he was going through the motions until he finally reached his few hits. A bit repetitive and not something I’d recommend.
Which brings me on to something that I would recommend, Brocco on the Park. As a blogger, if you’ve endorsed somewhere that’s been compensated, I think it’s important (assuming you get the chance and money allows) to return to these places as a paying customer. So we did just that and returned to the boutique hotel which you’ll remember as the boutique hotel from ‘How to Spend 24 Hours in Sheffield‘ when I visited with Erica. I just knew John would like it too and it felt like the perfect place to relax after being apart for almost a week.
It’s just over three months until John and I get hitched and we’ve still got so, so much to do! If anyone tells you wedding planning is a joy, I’m here to tell you now: it’s not. It’s like parenting a toddler: difficult, demanding and requiring lots of energy and organisation to be successful. I’ve well and truly fallen into the trap of Pinterest.
The beauty is that you don’t have to commit to one idea, or even one theme, nor do you have to make timely decisions so I’ve been pinning with wild abandonment (as an aside, my Pinterest views have rocketed from 2.6k – 11k a month!) It all sounds positive, but the negative side is that decision making has turned into bit of a ‘mare because I want it all! With the clock ticking and the restraints of an abroad wedding – it’s time to stop pinning and commit to ideas. If we could create this gorgeous example from Holmes Mill, please…
Remember how I started this post saying how April had literally bloomed for me? One of the most enjoyable events of the month was visiting Yorkshire’s food capital, Malton (a place I hadn’t even heard of until it was brought to my attention!) I discovered a thriving Yorkshire town that has been dragged back to life by its community to put it firmly on the map as a foodie’s paradise! If you happen on any of the town’s traders social media channels, you’ll see their sense of community echoed there too.
The end of the month marks Malton’s ‘Food Lovers Festival’ – a celebration of Yorkshire’s finest produce and cooking. If you were planning a visit, you can expect delicious street food, informative food talks, celebrity chefs, talks – a foodie extravaganza. The event runs on Saturday 26th & Sunday 27th May. Time to get planning!
With 652 miles of the UK explored, it’s fair to say April was a busy month! I’m looking forward to a slightly quieter May starting with my nephew’s second birthday party and of course, more wedding planning.
How’s your month been?