This time last year Leeds Indie Food Festival was just about to begin for the very first time, fast forward 12 months and it’s back and bigger than before, whilst staying true to the heart of indie.

Last years events inspired my foodie views and introduced me to so many fantastic people, places and things that have made my taste buds infinitely happy.

To kick of LIF16 Mum, Amy & I headed to Laynes Coffee at Sheaf Street Cafeteria where Sarah from Noisette Bakehouse teamed up with Izy Hossack (a favourite foodie blogger of mine) for a brunch of simplicity and wonderment in equal measure.

sheaf street cafeteria Leeds

Since mum took the awesome step to become vegetarian on January 1st I have been on a mission to find places for us to eat that don’t lazily only offer vegetarians risotto or bloody mushroom pasta, there is so much more to veggie & vegan food and Sarah & Izy know that all too well and prove the point with mouth-watering dishes that not only refuse to miss meat, they are better for their absence.

I was thrilled with Amy text me to ask me to be her plus one for In Defence of Plants, and even more thrilled when I managed to wangle a spot for mum too!

Leeds indie food festival in defence of plants vegan brunch ideas

Just look at the dishes on that menu, things I would never think to pair together, that I would never have thought would taste like heaven.

We each ordered, mum went for the Dill & Potato Waffles, I opted for the Chickpea Crepe & Amy went for the sweet option of Oat Pancakes and it only seemed right to have a sharing side order of sourdough toast with Chickpea Smash.

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For me the best part of eating aren’t simply the flavours, but in fact the textures and the pairing of ingredients and how they inspire me to want to recreate the dish at home. I think all of us felt exactly this way when we tucked in to devour the edible art in front of us.

Did I mention that the food is not only vegetarian, but vegan in fact, and I, on the other hand am most certainly a carnivore so find most meals are lacking if there isn’t some meat in sight. Let me tell you, I tried all of the food on the table and not one of the dishes would or could have been improved by meat, as you can see from my entirely cleaned plate!

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I’ve never liked Tofu, it’s a strange thing that I can never seem to cook well, it always ends up in tasteless cubes and are avoided at all times. However, my brunch came with tofu smash, which was made from silken tofu flavoured with turmeric and lord was it good, so good in fact that I quizzed one of the chaps at the event for the recipe which he kindly offered up and I will be recreating it at home as an alternative to scrambled eggs as it has the same fluffy, rich texture and flavour.

I don’t think my words can do justice for just how wonderful this meal was. I’m in the midst of a shuffle around in the way I eat and the food I tasted and the conversations I had have added fuel to my fire of desire to eat with more consideration and consciousness.

Huge thank you to Sarah for reminding my mum why she has changed the way she eats and why I’m learning to embrace meat free eating. Mum left so inspired by Sarah that she’s heading down to Bath next weekend for a cookery course with Anna Jones.leeds indie food festival vegan food noisette bakehouse 8

Finally we ended brunch with super duper tasty cookies, no dairy, no gluten, yet all about the taste.

The most perfect start to Leeds Indie Food Festival, huge thank you to Sarah for being awesome and I cannot wait to come back and try more tastiness!

I’m not sure I will ever become vegan or even veggie, but what I have now is a much better understanding of the breadth of possibilities meatless food can offer. What I plan on doing, on the back of this brunch, is not always to build a meal around the meat, it won’t always work, but I’m going to try.

You can still get your mitts on Leeds Indie Food Festival passports as well as find out about all the incredible wealth of events happening in the city.

I have a list as long as my arm of events I will be going to, food I will be eating and if you want to keep up with my Indie Food Festival escapades you can follow me on Snapchat

desert island discs

I fucking love Desert Island Discs, it’s a pleasure I will never feel guilty about. I listen to the podcast everywhere I go, I’ve laughed, cried and been inspired by the wonderful humans that have been a part of it. I may never get to be interviewed on Desert Island Discs, so I thought, hey I know what I’ll share my desert island discs on here!

If you haven’t ever listened to Desert Island Discs, two things; 1. have you been living under a rock? 2. don’t panic instead go and download the podcasts and settle into the joy. It goes a little like this; person of interest goes into a studio chats with interviewer, these days that interviewer is Kirsty Young, about the prospect of being cast away to a desert island.

You’re allowed to take 8 discs with you, and one presumes a record player or similar, along with one book of your choosing and a luxury.

Lark Ascending – Vaughn Williams

Let’s start with the saddest of the songs, it’s not the saddest song ever written by any stretch, but to me it takes me to a very strange place and time. It is one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever created, it’s one of those pieces of music that transports you away, to whatever place you want to be that isn’t right where you are as we speak.

We played this piece at my dads funeral, I know that sounds morbid to include it on my list but it’s not a song that I solely associate with dads death, instead it’s a song that I hold dear to my heart as it was his favourite piece of music when he was living.

My dads love for Classic FM has left a lasting impression on me, I listen to it whilst I clean the house, when I’m on long journeys, when I need him close to me.

It’s just shy of 15 minutes, and every second of it is filled with emotion. If you’ve never listened to it, I urge you to.

All Along The Watch Tower – Jimi Hendrix

I LOVE super hero style movies, I love the fast past and the interwoven stories, I love the power of the characters, the costumes but most of all I love the soundtracks that come along with them.

Every super hero movie I have ever watched has been elevated by the soundtrack, The Watchmen is one of the greatest movie soundtracks and this Hendrix number makes the film for me.

The opening line is magical…”there must be some kind of way out of here, said the joker to the thief” Hendrix is never not golden, he is always and forever. This track transports me right back to watching the movie for the first time and every time I hear it I get a superhero feeling inside, which I’m sure would be useful whilst stranded on a desert island.

You’ve Got The Love – Candi Staton

I’m gonna want to dance on the island I’m sure, it’s one of my favourite things ever, especially the kind of no one watching dancing I do in my kitchen that sends my dog loopy. This song has been one of my favourites since I first heard it 20 years ago, I was 6 and I loved it the moment I heard it and since then I have always held this close to my heart as the song that describes real love to me.

“Sometimes I feel like throwing my hands up in the air, I know I can count on you”

To me that is love, knowing that even if you throw everything in the air there is someone there you can place your trust in. It’s the kind of love I’ve never had, and despite being sharply bitter about love, listening to this song reminds me that although there isn’t a person like this in my life now, maybe on day they will be.

Then Florence and the Machine came along and released her own version and a whole new generation fell in love with this song. I was sad a little when it happened, I wanted to keep this song for myself, I felt like no one else should have rights to loving this song as much as me. Then two of my favourite people in the world danced to it at their wedding and it made the song even more special because it made me all warm inside knowing that other people search for the same kind of love as me. Maybe I’m not so different, and maybe there is love out there for me.

Pearls A Singer – Elkie Brookes

I’m fairly sure that near enough no one who reads this blog will have ever heard this song, and may have never even heard of Elkie. Elkie is a singer from Salford, she had a few awesome hits and won a couple of Brits, but that’s not how I found out about her because despite by mature state I wasn’t alive in 1977 when Pearl’s A Singer was released.

It came into my life thanks to my Uncle George, my dads brother, he was gay and fucking brilliant, in a time and place where being gay and fucking brilliant was not easy. He had Jack Duckworth glasses, lived in South Shields, holidayed with his wonderful partner Billy in Turkey and always brought me back Turkish Delights. His house smelt of camel cigarettes and Old Spice, he hugged me tight every time I saw him, he pulled coins out from behind my ears. By childhood was richer for him being a part of it.

I remember vividly the record player in his living room, I remember sifting through his extensive record collection and when he passed away I felt so bereft, he lived a life full of people and he died so sadly, alone and I wanted so much more for him. As my dad, mum and I cleared out his home I found Elkie’s LP and it was signed, on one of the many times my Uncle saw her perform. The LP takes pride of place in my office and I see it every day and it reminds me daily that I grew up with the most wonderful men around me.

Bring Me Sunshine – Morcombe & Wise

Everyone has heard this song. Everyone loves this song. If you are not one of the everybody who loves it you need to reassess your entire life!

You should hear this song and kick your heels up whilst basically tapping the back of your head with your opposite hand.

Bring Me Sunshine is the cheeriest of all songs, it reminds me of dancing with my Poppa in his kitchen whilst my Gran sang along. This song is the epitome of my childhood and every time I hear it I grin from ear to ear, whilst there is a little tear in my eye, feeling sad that this wonderful man is no longer in my life.

I’ve done nothing in my life the way that he would have wanted me to, I dropped out of uni, didn’t get a ‘real’ job, have quit and restarted so many things so many times but you know what he would have been beyond proud, I’m the eldest grandchild and I may have been his favourite!

Thrift Shop – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

I know all the words to this song, it’s a ridiculous song that makes me so happy. It reminds me of Amy and her exceptional rapping skills that are so very unexpected and yet perfectly joyful! It reminds me of mum smiling along to it, of long car journeys and me making her laugh so much whilst I car dance like a buffoon she had to pull the car over.

There is nothing special about this song per se, but it is simply brilliant and you need to listen to it. The lyrics are utterly ridiculous and we all need that in our lives sometimes.

Starlings – Elbow

I am truly, madly deeply in love with Guy Garvey, it was his Desert Island Disc episode that pulled me back into my love for the show.

His voice is majestic, whether he is talking on his radio show, or singing in my ears on the train home or best of all filling a stadium with his poetic majesty. Guy Garvey you are my soul mate, we’ve never met, we maybe never will, but just so you know I’d make a cracking Mrs Garvey!

Listen to anything at all by Elbow, but definitely listen to Starlings, it begins with the most intense crescendo, the lyrics roll of Guy’s tongue like a tidal wave, is perfect, it’s magical, it’s the best.

Sit with me a while
And let me listen to you talk about
Your dreams and your obsessions
I’ll be quiet and confessional

The violets explode inside me
When I meet your eyes
Then I’m spinning and I’m diving
Like a cloud of starlings

Darling is this love?

Remedy – Adele

Sarah and Amy, this one is for you both. For the three of us to be honest, it’s our song. We saw Adele together and we all shared an experience that for the rest of our days we will talk about.

I won’t go into too much about the reasons for this song being our song, but it is and if I was a millions miles away from all my loved ones and friends, this song would bring me back to earth and to a moment of utter perfection.

“I promise you will see, that I will be your remedy.”

Desert Island Book

I’m gonna be cheeky with this one and take a box set of his books, if it exists. Mitch Albom, he has written so many books that I go back to time and time again. Tuesday’s With Morrie is the first book I read after dad passed away and I was laid on a beach in Florida and I felt myself begin to heal.

Desert Island Luxury

It would have to be unlimited paper and pencils, to write, to doodle, to occupy my mind and you never know I might actually finish writing my bloody book!

I would love to know what discs you would take with you if you were cast away?

I think we all need a little time with ourselves to re-address where we’re at, what we’re doing and where we’re going and start making life changes for the better. The quote below is from Dolly Parton, a woman I greatly admire, it really resonates with me and I realised I was all about making a living, and was forgetting to make a life.

life changes

I love my life. Let me put that out there loud and clear, I live a charmed life, in a place where I’m surrounded by countryside but mere moments from a hipster coffee shop. I live with my perfect if a little manic rescue staffy Lexi and I do a job that makes me immeasurably happy.

Despite all of this, despite the good on paper life and contentment I felt, I hurtled towards burn out and spent three weeks getting over what started as a cold and ended up as strep throat. The reason the illness dragged on so much…I was working 80 hour weeks. Which I must admit if you work for yourself may sound familiar. Add into the mix that I have clients in the food and drink industry and normal working hours can go out of the window, and let us not forget my lovely blog that you are reading now, that takes time. I also teach, and try to have a social life!

However, whilst working almost the entirety of the bank holiday Easter weekend I realised I was doing this whole life thing wrong. It led me to a conversation with one of my girl friends when I found myself in tears with the worst case of FOMO (fear of missing out) whilst I watched everyone else gallivant through the weekend and I was working or sat alone at home.


make your bedroom a haven

It’s precious, we’re told all the time. It vanishes in an instant and before you know it, its bloody April!

More and more often I was working until 3 in the morning, and blaming it on insomnia, without realising that actually I had fallen into a self-fulfilling cycle of bad sleep exacerbating my insomnia and round and round I went.

Then I would be shattered the following day, work 12 hours, sleep for a couple of hours and then start again for another 6! No good can come of this and if I’m honest it was not only affecting my health it was affecting my work and that is a straight road to ruin.

So now I have boundaries, up by 8am, eaten dinner by 8pm at the latest, work stops at 9pm unless at a client event, in bed for 11pm even if not going straight to sleep.

I’m 4 days into this and honestly, it is already making a difference, my insomnia is not as acute and the last 4 days I have worked an average of 12 hours per day, rather than 16 which is a saving in a week of 20 hours, TWENTY HOURS.


put your phone down at night

Anyone who knows me, knows my phone is attached to me as though I need it for life support. To be honest, I worry that I do feel that way about it. I felt like I needed it, I needed it to do my job and therefore had a plausible excuse for never putting it down. I’ve been known to fall asleep night after night with my phone in my hand, this is not healthy.

Part of my no-working after 9pm includes no phone in bed, I check snapchat *emglobetrotter* because it’s my favourite at the moment, then my phone goes on the floor on charge and I don’t touch it again until the app Sleep Cycle wakes me up. I have to tell you this app is a revelation, it wakes me up in a much better mood and the difference I have noticed in my waking experience is massive



The thing I have missed the most in the last 3 months, my friends. I miss them not because they live miles and miles away, I miss them because I didn’t make time for them. I didn’t make space in my life for the people who matter the most for me.

My beautiful god-daughter, I haven’t seen her since Christmas, CHRISTMAS, she lives less than 5 miles from me. I could cry with the shame I feel for this. She’s two and a half, she is growing so quick and I am missing it. Life changes, she changes and grows and I won’t get those months back. I want to be able to tell her stories of her childhood when she is older.

So the plan is simple, every week I will see at least one person I haven’t seen properly recently. I will take wine to their house, I will meet them for coffee, go for a dog walk, dinner, anything at all that gives me human contact, in real life, not digitally with the people I love.


I have to be honest with myself. This won’t always work, I won’t always get to bed on time or put my phone down bang on 9pm. But I will try, I will be honest with myself and if it becomes unmanageable I will sit down, as I did 4 days ago and I will revisit life and make the changes I need to ensure that life is for living not simply existing.

Life changes are not always easy, even when they’re the right things. Better, I have learnt though to be a little uncomfortable for a short amount of time, than live a life that doesn’t feel right.

I must do more than exist, I really want to thrive and I hope that being insightful about my life and the way I live it will help.

I would love to know if you’ve experienced this, have you had to re-address the way you live life? Let me know how you managed and made a difference for you

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I have a penchant for lovely things and the Michael Kors Cynthia has just been added to my collection.

michael kors cynthia

 Jo Malone Hand Cream | JK Rowling Very Good Lives | Ace Note Book | Whistles Card Wallet | Mac Charlotte Olympia Lipstick | Jo Malone Mini Fragrance | Memo Pad | Sony Camera

Over the years I have owned some truly stunning handbags, some of which take pride of place on my dressing table, some have been sold on to lovely new homes. However, hitting thirty I realised I wanted something that wasn’t ‘on trend’ and instead something that is classic with a twist, kinda like me *cough cough*.

Let me introduce you to Cynthia. The most grown up of all my bags, it reminds me of the beautiful bags my grandmother has always carried, almost unassuming whilst being utterly stunning with a hint of luxury with an enamel push click closing with the Micheal Kors logo discreetly embossed on it.

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michael kors cynthia 7It has both a chain-link top handle and cross body strap for versatile carrying options, which is perfect for those days I am carrying my laptop with me and like to be hands free with my bag. The top handle makes it super chic for classing up an evening outfit of jeans and heels.

There are a number of bags in the Cynthia range, they have a smaller version of mine but to be honest I like to have a fair amount in my bag and don’t like to risk altering the shape of the bag. Mine is 9.25 inches wide, 7 inches high not including the top strap & 2 inches deep.

It has one zipper pocket at the back which is perfect for change as I use this Whistles card wallet for everything else. However it also has 4 handy credit card slots too which mean I have all the room in the world for makeup, diary and even my camera.

I went for the smooth leather and gold hardware, they do however do a textured leather and silver hardware, along with more spring like colours including coral and baby blue. As this is a brand new bag launch for Micheal Kors they’re sure to release autumn winter colours come the end of the year.

micheal kors cynthia options

michael kors cynthia

quay australia my girl sunglasses

michael kors cynthia

Quay Australia My Girl Sunglasses *sold out but they have other colours*
michael kors cynthia

One of the most important things to me when it comes to bags I use regularly is that they close and open easily, nothing worse than a fiddly bag. Cynthia closes with a push clasp hidden behind the enamel detailing and makes a satisfying ‘click’ when it closes, which makes me very happy!

All in all the Michael Kors Cynthia is an utter delight, add to the fact that I treated myself to a pom-pom to clip to the bag and I have to admit I think this is my favourite bag.

*also how cute is the I’m Kinda A Big Deal notebook, it’s part of a set my lovely mum got me from TK Maxx, for some reason she saw it and thought immediately of me! Shock!*

If you have any questions about the bag by all means leave me a comment

and I’ll do what I can to help!

Mac Charlotte Olympia Collection

Mac Charlotte Olympia collection has launched!

“Inspired by pinups, silver screen sirens and the bygone era of Hollywood glamour, Charlotte Olympia the British luxury shoe and accessory brand is known for a vintage aesthetic that embodies elegance and femininity with a hefty dollop of charm. Now, the unapologetically nostalgic allure of Charlotte Olympia is captured in a M·A·C collection of retro-glam colour, all packaged in Charlotte’s signature gold spider’s web and clear lucite.”

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I can remember the very first Mac product I ever bought was Brun eye shadow, it was my go to smokey eye colour. Since then I have dipped in and out of Mac, although I don’t buy a huge amount from the classic range, I am always tempted by the limited edition collections so when I found out they were collaborating with my favourite shoe designer Charlotte Olympia.

Mac Charlotte Olympia Collection Mac Charlotte Olympia Collection

I was over the moon to find out that the Harvey Nichols in Leeds is the only store in the North of England to stock the range, and as luck would have it Sarah and I were heading in for a mooch & gossip in Leeds and of course we had to stop to have a look!

We chatted for a while with Zara one of the fab makeup artists, who was rocking the most awesome red lip & winged liner, the most classic of all make up looks!

Mac Charlotte Olympia Collection Mac Charlotte Olympia Collection Mac Charlotte Olympia Collection Mac Charlotte Olympia Collection

I managed to limit myself to three products *for now* but I must admit that I would happily have every single piece of the collection.

I went for Retro Rouge Lipstick, He Said She Said Lip Pro & the Cream Colour Base in Golden Age.

I wore the lip liner & lipstick all day today and it looked as good 6 hours after I put it on, following 3 coffees, Easter Eggs and a hot cross bun!

Not to mention I got a whole heap of compliments, bonus!

Mac Charlotte Olympia The Full Range

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mac charlotte olympia collectionLipstick – Leading Lady Red (deep red matte), Retro Rouge (deep brown-red matte), Starlett O Scarlet (true red matte) £17
Lipmix – Red (primary red), Crimson (dark blackened red) £16
Pro long wear lip pencil – Kiss Me Quick (yellow-red), He Said She Said (brick red) £16.50
Cream Colour Base – Golden Age (metallic antique bronze), Sepia (dirty chocolate-brown) £17.50 Liquid Eyeliner – Nearly Natural (deep brown) £17.50
Pigment – Overdressed (beige with pearl) £17.50
Zoom Lash Mascara – Lofty Brown £16.50
MAC Studio Nail Lacquer – Old Fashioned (burgundy red), Good Old Days (white cream), To Have Or Have Not (orange red) £11
Mirror Compact £10
249 Eyeshadow Brush £23
204 Lash Brush £11
Makeup Bag £25
Blot Film £14
Eyelash Curler £17.50

All in all an utterly beautiful collection and one that I insist you get your hands on immediately. I’m sure this will sell out quick sharp and it deserves to! Bravo Mac & bravo Charlotte Olympia.