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!

Leaving behind a legacy, what does that mean? When you no longer inhabit the physical world, what will your contribution to the world be, how will your existence be defined?

I don’t plan on having children, I’m an only child and have no cousins the same age as me. That means that once I depart the physical world, many moons from now hopefully, there won’t be a wash of people who will remember me, talk about the person I was and the things I did.

A morbid thought you may think, but in fact it’s one that spurs me on to write more, to photograph more, to leave behind a mark on the world that will allow complete strangers to feel as though they knew me.

leaving a legacy

I guess that was the reason I started a blog all those years ago, as an outlet, but also as a way to document my life to allow my thoughts, beliefs and ramblings to live on past me.

Last Sunday I met with Keith Moss, a renowned street photographer who shoots in black and white and yet manages to bring to life the souls of strangers. I was invited along to a 4 hour session with Keith, in the quite frankly outstandingly beautiful city of York along with a handful of other intrepid, photo snapping bloggers, by Inntravel.

The purpose of the day was simple, learn from the best, soak up every ounce of photography knowledge as possible from Keith, and that is what I was expecting, to leave with a few more skills and a little more confidence. What I left with meant so much more.

After learning all about aperture, shutter speed, depth of field and ISO in the shadow speckled gardens of York Minster, Keith challenged us to put into practice what he had taught us.

In passing though he mentioned that if we wanted some one-on-one advice he would hang around at the cafe we met at. Never one to miss an opportunity to nerd up I suggested I treat him to a coffee in return for some more detailed advice, and that is what I got, although not about photography, about life.

leaving a legacy

Keith is a complicated character, guarded at first glance and yet he knows more about human behaviour than anyone I’ve ever met. He says he can tell within seconds if a stranger will allow him to take their photo. He knows this from a reciprocated raised eyebrow, or sideways smile. He knows how to read people’s faces because it’s the thing that kept him safe growing up, being able to decipher who might want to do him harm.

So we found a little spot, and sat on the pavements of York and we talked, we talked about life, about love, about leaving a legacy behind and the pain that comes from sharing creativity and not receiving the feedback you want in a world where the admiration and acceptance of others is held in such high regard.

Keith gives no fucks about whether people like his work, and I don’t mean he doesn’t care about his work, far from it. I mean he doesn’t create for the benefit of others, he creates because it’s how he communicates, it’s his currency, it’s what gets him up in the morning.

I’ve felt lost with blogging in the last 6 months, I’ve changed and grown up in a lot of ways and have found my ‘voice’ is apparent less and less in this little corner of the internet. Interestingly I think deep down it boils down to the simple fact I don’t want to talk about mascara and mud masks like they are my passion, I want to talk about life, about sorrow and joy, about learning to live in the best way possible.

When I started Em Globe Trotter, my first travel blog that’s all it was, no product placement or ‘blogger’ pictures, instead honest words poured straight from my heart, through my fingers and into digital reality. It healed me, it helped me grieve, whilst I don’t miss the grief, I missed that feeling of accomplishment that comes from writing something that matters, even if it only matters to me.

I lost myself in comparison, in trying to keep up with the Jones’ of the blogging world. Gone were the witty, sarcastic yet considered words and in their place, sponsored posts, products shot with peonies and marble backgrounds.  There’s nothing wrong with blogs who do that, I adore blogs who do that, but I’ve realised that’s not what my place on the internet is for. I want more than that and I want to find a readership who want that for me.

With all this in mind, there will be the odd product post, the odd collaboration with brands, but rather than feel tied to creating content to boost things, I’ll be writing to boost me, my sense of well-being. I’ll be writing to leave behind a legacy, a truthful legacy, that I had words to say about the world, that I wanted to write with the conviction and heart that the authors of books I devour and articles I admire.

Keith realised within moments of speaking to me that I was on the verge of crying whilst stood in those gardens talking about shutter speed. I hadn’t said anything, no one I was with knew that Father’s Day is another day that I try my best to hide away from, but there we were, stood chatting on a day I no longer get to share with my dad, and he knew, his words were simple. He asked me what I loved, I smiled and said my dog and he said

“But you could so easily cry and I know it isn’t because of the love you have for your dog”

How can someone who doesn’t know you, who’s never met you, know enough about you to see through the smiles about my dog and realise that behind it is sadness?

So here is what I learnt

  1. I don’t want to take ‘blogger’ photos anymore, I want to take photos full of soul and heart that say more than the words that surround them
  2. For every post I do about a product or brand, I will do three about life, love, culture, travel, things that nurture the soul, more than empty the bank
  3. I will stop looking at stats, in fact I have removed the statistic dashboard from the front page of the back office of this blog, out of sight out of mind
  4. Striving for the perfection I perceive in others will never do me any good. So rather than compare, I’m going to do my own thing and be proud of it

Nothing ground breaking it may seem, and yet to me it’s been the start of a wave of change, not only in the way I take photos (I can actually use all the functions on my camera, at last) but they way I write and the mark I leave.

I can’t thank Keith enough, I know he hoped to inspire us creatively and boy did he, but he left a mark on me that has altered me beyond words and for that I can never be grateful enough.

So once the life altering conversation happened I took some rather splendid photos, I’ve started to create a more considered style of photography that I truly hope others will appreciate, but if they don’t fuck it, it makes me happy. Here are just a few of my favourite photos from the day…

leaving behind a legacy leaving behind a legacy leaving behind a legacy leaving behind a legacy leaving behind a legacy leaving behind a legacy leaving behind a legacy leaving behind a legacy

I had to end with this fantastic photo of this chap trying to take a selfie with his pooch. I noticed him doing it and asked if he minded me capturing it and he smiled and said he felt a fool but he knew it would make his wife laugh, perfection.

It’s been a hot minute since I last talked about life on here, there’s been a lot of pretty things, not a lot life thoughts and that’s not the purpose of this blog. This is the first post in I don’t know how long with one solitary image, rather than the aesthetics of it I want to words to do the talking.

A few weeks ago I headed down to London to the IRL Panel event with Emma & Laura, since then I’ve fallen in love with listening to Emma’s podcast, Ctrl Alt Dlt, where she chats with other humans who thrive on the internet. Emma is a breath of fresh air, it’s so lovely to hear an English voice talking about the wonderful world of blogging, social media and general internetting.

I’ve just listened to episode 15 with Liv, and it resonated with me, the post I had originally written with this title was a rant about how false bloggers lives appear and the impact that has not only on viewers bank accounts but also on their sense of well-being and even self-confidence. Internet inadequacy is a thing, a thing I didn’t think I would struggle with and yet here I am writing a blog post about it.

I stand by what I was going to write, and I have included some of the planned post below.

I’m renovating my lovely home as we speak, new bathroom already in and kitchen imminent, the planning and research that has gone into the renovations has been almost all-consuming at times. Where once I would have turned to interiors magazines, I have instead found myself digitally sifting through blogs and using them as inspiration.

comparison is the thief of joy

Every time I’ve found something I love on a blog, Instagram or YouTube video I’ve followed up and found the items I love online, mostly from places like Madewell, Made, Dwell and the most popular West Elm. I love the pieces, the stunning book cases, the desks and dressing tables that make me swoon, and leave me feeling very deflated when I see the price tags. Internet inadequacy at its finest.

I don’t want to seem as though I begrudge anyone, blogger or not, lovely things, simply that the aspiration to ‘live like a blogger’ rather than just dress and makeup like one is reaching fever pitch.

Look at the wealth of bloggers bringing out ‘lifestyle’ books, sharing intimate insights into their lives.

My struggle, how intimate are they really?

I don’t expect bloggers to share every aspect of their lives, to share the dirty dishes, the unmade bed or the fights with their loved ones. What I find hard though is as a 30-year-old, I feel inadequate reading a lot of these blogs, blogs run by girls in the most part who are significantly younger than me. My home will never look like the pages of a magazine and I am ok with that, so why am I not ok with it not looking like a bloggers home.

It’s not just the home hauls, or even the products they have, it’s the stunning photography, the wonderful comments that are left on the blogs they write and the photos they share, it’s the people I see them being. I feel inadequate, and that is tough.

I’m sure I’m not the only person to feel this way, it’s in my mind just the next logical step on from feelings of unattainability told by glossy magazines of the lives of celebrities.

Liv & Emma talked about the reality of social media and blogging, about the realness of what is shared online. Liv talks about how she uses here Instagram as more of a business page, and the reality of her life, the drinks with friends, the pj nights on the sofa with her boyfriend would be spoilt somehow by stopping them to capture the moment to share with the world & I guess that’s what made me change my outlook a little on the whole ‘bloggers made me do it’ attitude I have been experiencing recently.

Liv says something so unbelievably poignant “if I went for afternoon tea and didn’t share a picture of it, did it really happen?”

More and more I find myself agonising over the next photo to share on my Instagam, is in ‘on brand’, does it fit with my pre determined aesthetics, will it help me intrigue more users and in turn inspire them to follow me and digitally high-five me by double tapping my picture?

I think to myself, should I have a theme to my Instagam, white background and fresh colours?

Then I’m sad for even thinking about that, for thinking that I need to curate my life online to such a degree. I think maybe to balance how I feel about others I need to be the one with the ‘real’ feed, with the honest blog posts about the reality of life, not just the shiny parts.

Honestly, I’m at an impasse, I love the internet, I love the freedom to write and create, but I don’t like some of the effects it seems to have on me.

I don’t want to feel inadequate because I don’t have marble backgrounds, an olympus pen camera or a West Elm book shelf.

I would love to know if anyone else has felt the same, and more than that I would love to know the blogs you read, videos you watch, instagrammers you follow, that make you feel inspired and as far from inadequate as humanly possible.