Last week I was invited down to the iconic fashion brand Brooks Brothers at McArthur Glen Designer Outlet in York to take part in a white shirt challenge. The challenge was simple, find a white shirt you love, then utilise the vast stores within McArthur Glen to style the white shirt my own way.

Since deciding to embrace a more masculine style, this white shirt challenge couldn’t have come about at a better time. What made the day even more enjoyable was spending it with Ally (Digital Diva) who LOVES her clothes and has a real handle on her own style which I hugely admire, she has the wardrobe of dreams!

I have to be honest, I haven’t stepped foot into McArthur Glen for years, however it used to be a family favourite for January sale shopping. After so long between visits I was thrilled to see many of the favourites still there, but also an array of fashion, lifestyle and interiors stores have opened, brands such as LK Bennett, The Kooples,  Kurt Geiger, Hobbs, Le Creuset & Michael Kors to name just a few. Even better though, they always have amazing items at a fraction of the normal price.

I hadn’t shopped in Brooks Brothers before, in fact I couldn’t have told you anything about them, however it was fascinating to find out they have dressed almost all of the US Presidents, and if it’s good enough for Obama, it’s good enough for me! If you want to know more about the brand heritage and history you can here.

white shirt mcarthur glen white shirt mcarthur glenwhite shirt mcarthur glen

To bring the joy of white shirts to more people, Brooks Brothers have created the White Shirt Bar, in a retro American truck. It was fabulous! Even better, this White Shirt Bar is travelling the country…

white shirt mcarthur glen white shirt mcarthur glen white shirt mcarthur glen white shirt mcarthur glen

The McArthurGlen x Brooks Brothers White Shirt Truck will be stationed at the following centres throughout the entire UK tour:

York 26 Sep – 09 Oct

East Midlands 10 Oct – 16 Oct

Ashford 17 Oct – 23 Oct

Bridgend 24 Oct – 30 Oct

Before we hit the shops we had chance to chat with Josie & Charlie, (FashionMumblr & Man About Town) who were both really fantastic, we chatted about everything from blogging woes to fashion loves, brands we adore and of course a token bit of gossip, which is a given for lunch times! One of the fab team from McArthur Glen snapped us all looking very happy!

white shirt mcarthur glen

We also got chance to meet and chat with Millie Macintosh, who launched the White Shirt Bar, she was really lovely to chat with, and wore the most fabulous shoes! We even had time for a cheeky selfie!

millie macintosh brooks brothers white shirt millie macintosh brooks brothers white shirt 1Back to the challenge…I went for an over sized mens shirt, having big boobs means fitted shirts are a no-go, despite what swathes of brands say! The quality of Brooks Brothers shirts are second to non, they are rich and dense whilst hanging on the body perfectly. They have sharp, firm collars and cuffs which give that crisp, classic style effortlessly.

I decided to style my shirt two ways; stylish & work ready and casual & down time

Before I headed off to the shops I decided on a list of must haves;

  1. white trainers
  2. a great scarf
  3. blazer or jumper


white shirt mcarthur glen

These three things are wardrobe must-haves, they are versatile and work hard, things I require from my clothes.

I will be telling you more about what I bought in my style post next week, so be sure to pop back to see how I styled the white shirt…

Tequila it makes me happy…

So Neon Cactus in Leeds might be just about one of a my favourite places so when they invited me and bunch of blogging babes down for a night of new cocktails and food, I was straight in there with Mexican bells on!

Neon Cactus LeedsNeon Cactus has been a staple in Leeds for seven years and it just gets better and better!

First up lets talk about the cocktails, we we’re spoiled with everything from shots of tequila followed by passionfruit coolers to slushies and even a cheeky Vimto cocktail!

Neon Cactus Leeds

Neon Cactus Leeds Neon Cactus Leeds Neon Cactus LeedsIt wasn’t just the drinks that went down a storm, the new menu options did too! I’ll choose Mexican over just about every other world foods. I think mostly that’s due to the carbs and cheese that are almost always present!

We had packed full tacos that packed an absolute punch, quesadillas that I would happily have snapped the other bloggers hands off to get to! We also had some wings, which we alright, nothing to write home about, although credit to the sauce they were doused in which was delicious.

Neon Cactus Leeds Neon Cactus LeedsThe thing I loved most on the night, like every night I’ve ever spent in Neon Cactus and that’s the awesome music, which was all down to the DJ, who kindly shares his sets which means my next house party will be insanely good.

Neon Cactus know how to do atmosphere, the right music, great interiors and brilliant staff!

Everything you need to know about the food and drink is right here with the menu for food & cocktails. You can also get Neon Cactus on Deliveroo if you live in Leeds city centre…I’m REALLY wishing I lived closer!

I had such a great night and it was so fantastic to catch up with Ally & Laura, and see some other familiar faces including Kellie, & Ellie!

Even snuck in a selfie session with Laura!

Neon Cactus Leeds

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.

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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.

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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.

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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 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 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…