It’s been 27 years since my first, first day of school. Since the first of many photographs were taken of me stood proudly in front of my front door, school bag in hand and straw hat atop my head.

Screen Shot 2016-09-06 at 15.04.24

A lot has changed since then, but it got me to thinking about the things parents all over the country will be saying to their children as they embark on this huge life event. It made me think about all the life lessons I learnt in those few days, months and years and how I still us them today.

Life Lesson 1: Be Nice To Everyone

This might seem incredibly insincere and near enough impossible, but let me tell you a little something my wonderful grandfather told me when I was about 6 “People will always remember the feelings they had about you the first time you met”. At that age it seemed a little full on, but as a grown ass 30-year-old it’s so very true.

So whilst I’m not saying you have to fake smile at everyone when you first meet, or force them to be your best friend, being nice to EVERYONE when you first meet them is a sure-fire way to not only retain relationships it’s also a wonderful lasting memory to leave with someone.

Life Lesson 2: Learn to Compliment Sincerely

I am the queen of this, have been my whole life, so much so that my mum says she learnt it from me as a kid. As an only child on many a camping holiday I had two choices, play alone, or make new friends & you know the best way to make friends? Be nice to people and give them a genuine compliment.

Mum jokes that as a kid I would meet new adults and the first thing I would do would be complement their hair, or lovely tie and without fail I would be their favourite human and they would without a doubt remember me.

I know this to be true because some 25 years later a friend of my mums remembers me telling her how pretty her necklace was, a necklace she wears to this day and says often thinks of a little bright-eyed 5-year-old telling her it looked like treasure.

Nowadays I am the first to tell someone how amazing they look, but not in general terms that can seem insincere, I find something that I genuinely like about them, not just their looks either, maybe something they’ve written, something they’ve said. Think about how it feels when someone compliments you, why not share that feeling, chuck those compliments around like confetti!

life lessons school taught me

Life Lesson 3: You Don’t Always Have To Be Right

Ouch, this is a stinger, and my least favourite. I LOVE being right, but more than that I HATE being wrong.

I remember being sent to stand outside the classroom during a french class when I was around 8 years old because I simply wouldn’t accept that simply saying English words with a faux french accent made the words French! Outraged I was, and boy did I let my lovely, patient French teacher know about it.

Lesson I learnt, sometimes I’m wrong and that’s ok, there’s no need to fall on my metaphorical sword every time!

Even now I’m not great at having my thoughts, opinion, judgements questions, but I’m learning to at least keep the incandescent outrage inside rather than say everything I think! Case in point an uncomfortable conversation with a client I remained entirely calm and serene face to face, then stomped around the house being mad on my own. Professional to the very end!

Life Lesson 4: Life Won’t Always Be Fair

People will be picked before you for teams, the same person will ALWAYS get the lead role in every school play, the boy you love more than life itself will prefer your friend.

20 years later and being overlooked for promotions, losing out on freelance work, liking a boy who doesn’t like you back, still stings like a bitch but you know what I survived it back then and I survive it now.

The best way I’ve learnt to deal with it, be genuinely happy for the other person who got the promotion, don’t mentally wish ill fortune on the freelancer who won the client and for the love of god don’t waste hours tearing myself apart trying to work out why the boy doesn’t like me, chances are Em, he just likes the other girl more, it’s that simple.

Life Lesson 5: Don’t Fight Other People’s Battles

I learnt this one the hard way, many a detention was spent writing lines after jumping to the defence of someone else, and whilst the ‘bad guy’ and the ‘victim’ walked off into the sunset, I was left being bollocked and staring at chalkboard, repeating lines for a weeks worth of lunches.

Same happens now, people can fight their own battles, unless I can offer support/counsel or effectively help a situation I keep my beak out! No good comes from being everyone else martyr, believe me!

All it ever got me was middle finger blisters from my Berol handwriting pen!

Life Lesson 6: Nothing Is Ever As Bad As It Seems

Lord I tell myself this as much now as I did as a teenager. It’s not the end of the world and in the famous words of orphan Annie (I played Grace in the school adaptation, missed out on the lead, of course!) “the sun will come out tomorrow” and you know what it does.

Nothing is ever as bad as you think it is, whether it’s being caught playing hookie from school or cocking up a client brief. The best thing to do is own your mistake, take responsibility and do what you can to put things right. Mental self-flagellation does no good, it fixes nothing and simply leaves you feeling even worse.

I won’t lie, I’m glad I’m an adult and no longer have to go to school, but looking back I’m glad I see my time at school mostly through rose-tinted glasses.

I’d love to you know your favourite school lessons that you live by today, let me know below!

There are many things in this world that belong together, Ant & Dec, red wine & open fires, Netflix & chill are just a few of them, but the tastiest of all is brunch & champagne. If there isn’t a little booze with my brunch, then it’s no brunch at all.

champagne concept harrogate 11

So imagine my delight when an email landed in my inbox inviting me to a champagne brunch in my own lovely home town…I was a very happy girl, even more so because I got to take my lovely mum with me too.

champagne concept harrogate

champagne concept harrogate

The Champagne Concept in Harrogate has teamed up with Baltzersens to provide the most delicious brunch, if you’re a regular reader of The Life Edit or follow me on any social media at all you’ll know Baltzersens have a special place in my heart so finding out they’ve teamed up with a joint entirely dedicated to champagne lead to all out joy!

It makes me so happy to see two fantastic harrogate indies coming together to provide the locals and hoards of visitors with a real taste of awesomeness!

champagne concept harrogate champagne concept harrogate 9

I  went for the slightly healthier option of avocado on toast, with a topping of super crispy bacon! Utter joy I tell you! The coffee is also amazing, I’m all for taking my coffee black and it’s a real test of how great it is, I wasn’t at all disappointed by the coffee at brunch, in fact just look at my happy coffee face!

champagne concept harrogate

champagne concept harrogate

Mum went for spinach and poached egg on sourdough, although I was very, very jealous of the waves of heart-shaped waffles that surrounded us as everyone else ordered!

champagne concept harrogate

We were served a chilled glass of Roger Manceaux Champagne, I went for pink to start, and mum plumped for the brut, both of which we’re delicious and worked perfectly with our brunch.

The Champagne Concept don’t just sell champagne and spoil brunch lovers, they also specialise in champagne tasting sessions, which are a great way to discover new boutique champagnes, rather than relying on the supermarket for options.

champagne concept harrogate 1 champagne concept harrogate

I’m already planning my champagne tasting with the girls!

Their fabulous champagne tastings are the perfect gift for a newly engaged couple or a unique birthday gift idea for fizz lovers. You can book a group champagne tasting here.

The Champagne Concept was founded in October 2015 by Gemma and Laurence Page-Connolly, real Champagne fanatics who wanted to share with the UK the wonderful world of boutique Champagne.

Regular visitors to the Champagne region, Gemma and Laurence have discovered a large variety of boutique Champagnes that up until now have not been readily available in the UK.

Laurence and Gemma believe the best way to learn about boutique Champagne is to taste it!  On the 23rd October, the doors of The Champagne Concept opened in Harrogate, a unique Champagne tasting bar and bottle shop that offers informal Champagne tastings all day, everyday.

Be sure to let me know if you indulge in the Champagne Concept brunch!

There’s been a lot of chat recently about the raft of chains opening in Harrogate, and by chat I mean a bunch of epic ranting and raving about how shit chain restaurants and bars are. Whilst I’m a fan of a number of national eateries, I do agree with all my being that there is nothing better than independent foodie joints and as luck would have it Harrogate loves indie establishments and as fast as chains are popping up indies are hot on their heels

Here are just a few of my favourite Harrogate independents, the start of a series of indies I’ll be sharing the love for here on the blog.

Baltzersens & Norse

Baltzersens Harrogate

I could never tire of this place, the atmosphere, the staff, the well just about everything that Baltzersens is about.

Owner Paul may not have decades of restaurant credentials but what he does have it more heart that most business owners, whilst inspiring those who work for him to strive for better every time.

The menu during the day stays about the same, it features the most intense meatball open sandwich that is the perfect cold blustery day medicine. During the evening Baltzersens morphs into Norse, the most relaxed fine dining experience known to man kind. I was lucky enough to be invited to their opening back in March 2014 and let me tell you things have only got better.

Along side the stunning, ever-changing menu, they also host mind-blowing tasting dinners one of which consisted of 5o courses! Plus as an added bonus they offer discounts if you dine with them during the week!

Bravo Paul, you have a fan for life in me.

I recommend: Flat White, super sized waffle with chocolate sauce – how I started my 30th Birthday, so you know it’s god damn good!

Deanos

deanos indie restaurants harrogate

Find me another restaurant who creates personalised menus for your birthday, recreates desserts on what can only be described as a Willy Wonka level of awesome and nails every meal that leaves the kitchen and I will eat my hat.

Deano’s have been consistently awesome since they first opened, taking over the space where many restaurants had come and gone in the blink of an eye. Deano’s though is here to stay. Their tapas style approach to sharing small plates along side great big stacked burgers and steaks cooked perfect every time make it the perfect place for just about every occasion.

Sarah-Jane and Dean head up an award-winning team who make the whole experience that much more enjoyable. I was very proud to make them their first birthday cake back in 2012!

I recommend: Goats Cheese Brulee, Bloody Marys, Harrogate Sticky Toffee Banoffee Pie *disclaimer – you will never want to eat any other pudding every again*

Farm Bistro

farm bistro harrogate

Not sure I’ve ever described a full english as beautiful before, but there aren’t many other words that suitably convey my love for Farm Bistro and their excellent food.

Whether you’re after a healthy breakfast that feels naughty or a long lunch filled with flavour and delight, you need look no further. They have beautiful bread baked on site, cookies that rival the best I’ve ever tried.

Although the restaurant is nestled up a stairway behind a slim door, it is bright and airy, with a quirky yet homely decor and staffed by a team that couldn’t do more for you if they tried.

I recommend: Avocado on toast, massive mug of coffee & the brookies 

North Bar

north bar harrogate

“Leave the gun, take the cannoli”

Never thought I would get to say famous line outline, but as luck would have it North Bar sell awesome beer and awesome cannolis – two things I did not realise went so delightfully well together.

North Bar started in Leeds and we’re lucky enough to now have our very own in Harrogate.

With a raft of draught and bottled beers on offer, not to mention meat and fish boards and of course cannolis! If you like your ales and like a place that knows their shit, then North Bar is a must visit *rhyming not deliberate, but greatly enjoyed!*

I recommend: Whatever the bar staff recommend to drink and obviously a cannoli or two 

Major Toms

major toms harrogate

Pizza, beer, rum, old school games, chilled atmosphere, repeat as required.

Major Toms was and is a hugely welcome addition to Harrogate, which at one point was known for being a town or sports pubs or swanky wine bars, is now home to awesome joints like this.

The atmosphere is perfect, chilled out, great music and connect four!

They also have awesome quizzes, movie nights, live band and all kinds of other awesomeness

I recommend: Rum & Ginger, a pizza & a board game

Hoxton North

hoxton north harrogate

The best of London in the heart of Harrogate, pared back decor, eternally excellent coffee, heaps of wonderful things to read and best of all a whole team of people who do nothing but smile!

It’s one of the best places to steal yourself away for a few hours of reading, working or simply people watching.

Coffee comes in all shapes and sizes here, flat whites, lattes, espresso and cold drip. Something for everyone.

Even better news, the Hoxton North team are moving in to a new home, keeping their ace little hideaway on Parmilment Street, new place is down on Regent Parade and you can keep up with their plans over on Instagram, even the Queen has something to say about it…

I recommend: Flat white, all day long! 

Boss Burgers

boss burgers

Fuck me, they we’re the first words out of my mouth when I came up for air after annihilating my first ever Boss Burger and I haven’t looked back since.

Epic burgers, made with local ingredients, tasty sweet potato fries, good veggie options and as an added bonus they have delightfully handsome staff.

They deliver, you can eat in, basically you don’t need an excuse to try this place, just do it, you really won’t be disappointed.

I recommend: Smokeback Mountain & Sweet Potato Fries plus a pot of ice cream! 

Plus I have a baseball cap that I won from them, winner in all ways!

boss burgers

Stuzzi

stuzzi harrogate

There is a very clear reason that this place has a waiting list and rarely a spare seat in the house, it’s simple. They make utterly spectacular food, they are true to their mission which is bringing truly wonderful Italian food to the fine people of Harrogate.

There are no pizzas here, nothing that resembles a high street Italian chain, instead it’s like being in Italy, seriously. Stuzzi is the epitome of all the best aspects of Italy on our door step.

The staff know more about the food, drink and regions they originate from. Plus if you follow them on social you can feel utterly jealous of their travels for inspiration around Italy.

I recommend: basically whatever the staff suggest, however the sharing dessert board is something to behold

Coming Soon…

Walrus & Carpenter

Walrus & Carpenter Harrogate

Where Jakes used to be in town, there’s something new and exciting on its way. You can keep up to date with Walrus & Carpenter over on their Facebook and I’m sure there will be a review on here very soon!

So there you have it, my first installation of indies in Harrogate, next month there will be more! If you have a favourite be sure to let me know in the comments below…

Blogging has introduced me to some truly inspiring people, Abigail James, Treatment Ambassador from Liz Earle is without a doubt one of those people.

You know when you meat a person who’s job is to help you feel and look better physically and they go so far above and beyond that, leaving you feel inspired as much well as invigorated. Abigail was that person to me whilst in the middle of draining house renovations.

I was invited to meet with Abigail and the super serene Liz Earle store in Victoria Quarter in Leeds, learn about the products and have Abigail’s healing hands give me a facial.

Liz Earle Leeds

If you haven’t been in to the Liz Earle store in Leeds, or any of them for that matter, I highly recommend it, simply being in them makes you feel more zen, add to that the hugely helpful and passionate staff and you are in the safest of hands. Unlike a lot of beauty and skincare stores Liz Earle isn’t sterile or hyper modern, instead it represents all that the brand represents, from the natural tones and scents to the comfy consultation rooms.

Liz Earle Leeds Usually when I have a facial it’s the only time I’m quiet, shocking I know, but I tend to just zone out and chill whilst my skin is pampered. However, being in the presence of facial greatness I couldn’t let the opportunity to chat with Abigail pass. Whilst I was expecting to only talk about products and techniques, instead we talked about well being, depression and dealing with stress.

Abigail has some phenomenal clients, who also live by the same ethos she does, be kind and considerate with your body and it will serve you well, something I am trying to live by.

My skin felt beautiful after the facial, I’m great at cleaning my skin but it’s never felt this clean without feeling striped or dried out, instead I was happy enough to go entirely make up free to my afternoon meetings, something I would never usually do.

Liz Earle Superskin

As well as the facial Liz Earle treated me to a swag bag filled with goodies. Their new range that has recently launched, I was lucky enough to try it all before it launched and having tried it for three weeks I thought I would share a few thoughts. Keep in mind I’m sharing thoughts as a skincare user not an expert, however I will include the science behind the products.

Cleanse & Polish™ Rose & Lavender Limited Edition

Cleanse & Polish™ Rose & Lavender Limited Edition

If you haven’t heard of Cleanse & Polish then I’m not sure where you have been, it is consistently one of the best selling and most loved cleansers in the UK.

Liz Earle regularly bring out limited editions of the Cleanse & Polish, but the Rose and Lavender one was so popular they have brought it back! *although as I write this they are sold out online, I think individual stores have stock*

What they say….

Featuring a harmonising blend of rose petal and high-altitude lavender essential oils, our classic cream formula has been enriched with a soothing and relaxing fragrance to leave you feeling restored and radiant, morning and night.

Our rich cream instantly removes daily grime and make up, even stubborn mascara, to leave skin beautifully smooth and exceptionally clean. Used with the pure muslin cloth, it lifts away dead skin cells revealing fresh, radiant skin. Naturally active ingredients include cocoa butter to soften, smooth and moisturise, while rosemary and chamomile tone and soothe.

What I say…

Regardless of the other cleansers that I use, this is the one I always go back to and the reason is simple. It’s the best, it cleans the skin & removes make up with out leaving your skin squeaky or dehydrated, it plumps the skin as it cleans and the limited edition Rose & Lavender has been helping with my insomnia thanks to its relaxing scents from natural oils.

I am still using the original one in the morning, but this version is a must at night, in fact I’ve even managed to get my mum into a habit of using the original one, and whilst she isn’t quite as strict with her routine as I am, we’ve both noticed a significant improvement in her skin.

If you’ve never used a cloth cleanser then try non other until you have tried this one.

Cleanse & Polish comes in 150ml + two muslin clothes for £20.75

Cleanse & Polish™ Rose & Lavender Limited Edition

Superskin™ Moisturiser – unfragranced for sensitive skin

Superskin™ Moisturiser Superskin™ Moisturiser

What they say…

This rich, luxurious, fragrance-free moisturiser for more mature or very dry skin contains a powerful blend of high quality naturally active ingredients to smooth, plump and replenish for healthy, rejuvenated-looking skin.

Containing high levels of GLA and rich in omega-3, Superskin Moisturiser helps prevent moisture loss and improves skin elasticity, while pomegranate flower extract and natural source vitamin E, both rich in antioxidants, help protect from environmental damage.

Apply Superskin Moisturiser to face, neck and décolletage morning and night as part of your essential daily skincare regime.

Naturally active ingredients include precious cranberry, borage and rosehip seed oils.

Suitable for mature or very dry skin

What I say…

Abigail recommended I go for the unfragranced version *there is a neroli oil one* as my skin has a tendency to flare red easily and fragrance free made more sense to keep my skin happy.

Now although I am good at night time moisturising I must admit to being a little slack at remembering to moisturise in the morning, especially if I’m only working from home and not wearing makeup, so it has been easy to see the impact this has had on my skin.

My skin feels more elastic, that sounds strange I know, but I mean it feels more supple and as though it is healthier, with massively reduced dehydration and makes my foundation go on much smoother, whilst also not going patchy thanks to no more dry spots.

Superskin™ Moisturiser comes in 50ml jar and retails for £39.00 and is available online and in store.

Superskin™ Moisturiser

Superskin™ Eye Cream

NEW Superskin™ Eye Cream

What they have to say…

Slow the ticking, naturally, on the entire eye area with our luxuriously hydrating cream, enriched with our renowned Superskin™ botanical blend of rosehip, borage and cranberry seed oils, plus powerful naturally active ingredients selected to visibly lift and firm the delicate eye contour, while also reducing the appearance of puffiness and dark circles.

Paracress extract to lift and firm the delicate eye area

Pomegranate fruit and green tea extracts to lessen the appearance of dark circles

Alfalfa extract to ease puffiness

Suitable for all skin types

What I have to say…

My eyes are very grateful these 15mls of joy came in to my life. The texture is thick without being heavy, rich without feeling as though it’s sitting on my skin.

I have very dark under eyes naturally, regardless of sleep, although it has only been three weeks I have seen an improvement and lightening in my under eye area, as well as a firmness and reduction in puffiness. Basically all of the things it says it does on the tin.

I use around pea size of the product for both eyes, tap it under my eyes on the delicate skin, followed by gentle outward strokes to help with drainage to help reduce puffiness, just as Abigail taught me to.

It comes in 15ml bottle with a pump and retails for £31.50 and is available online, in store and on counters in the likes of Boots.

NEW Superskin™ Eye Cream

My skin is very happy at the moment, and although I have been eating appallingly whilst I’ve been kitchen-less, my skin hasn’t suffered.

If you’re a skincare lover like me, then I highly recommend following Abigail on Instagram and Snapchat (abigail_james) and reading her blog for all things health and well being.

* I was gifted the facial and the products but as always opinions are all my own and honest.

Harrogate is awash with awesome indies that I regularly frequent, and whilst I am pro indie lover all the way, there are a few chains that have my heart and Yo! Sushi is top of that list!

Whether grabbed in the airport or a long lunch to catch up with friends Yo! is a favourite, so when rumours began that it would be coming to Harrogate I was beside myself with glee.

Now, I’m not going to talk you through every dish I had, because firstly that would mean admitting how many dishes I have and secondly I honestly can’t remember I was ravenous so they were swiftly devoured.

I was invited along on opening day to the Harrogate Yo! and decided it was only right that my Yo! partners in crime Claire and Craig should come along. We’ve been doing Blue Mondays for years and usually had to traipse over to Leeds for it, but no that’s not longer the case!

yo! sushi Harrogate

The reason I love Yo! Sushi is simple, it’s tasty, fresh food is served on a carousel that surrounds an open kitchen, and who doesn’t love a little theatre whilst they eat, the range of dishes is so vast I don’t think even the keenest sushi fan could get through trying them all, and finally they have awesome staff who make the whole experience even more enjoyable.

Yo! Sushi Harrogate Yo! Sushi Harrogate Yo! Sushi Harrogate Yo! Sushi Harrogate

Favourites of mine that always make it from the conveyor belt and in to my tummy include first off, edamame beans with rock salt, Kaiso Salad which is made up of marinated mixed seaweed, edamame and carrots in a su-miso dressing, delicious!

Then it’s time for the hand rolls, delectable parcels made from seaweed encasing surimi, avocado, mayo and toasted sesame seeds, mmmmm.

Next up it’s time for Teryaki Beef, Duck Gyoza and if I’m feeling particularly naughty then a Katsu Curry too!

Yo Sushi is now open in Harrogate in the new development that was once Sunwin House, if you’re a Yo fan in Harrogate rejoice not having to trek to Leeds to get your fix!