Riding Mill is a small village close to the A69 in Northumberland and incorporates the ancient hamlet of BroomHaugh which is where the fabulous stone cottage, Yew Tree is situated.

Opposite the Methodist Church, you can’t fail to notice the large Yew Tree growing in the front garden, pruned to ensure it doesn’t take over the street! The lintel over the front door dates back to 1699; this cottage has a real back story.

When you walk straight into the main sitting area from the front door, the open floor living space comprises the lounge and kitchen. Super comfortable and very traditional, my favourite spot had to be right in front of the very large fire place on the seat in front of the fire! The kitchen leads out into a really sweet yard, which in the summer I expect will be a lovely suntrap.

Upstairs, the master bedroom is wonderful. A large king size bed (comprising of 2 beds together with a mattress topper so no divide in the middle!) made for a really comfortable sleep. I’m normally woken up at 6am by the staff going to start their shift in the food factory near by, so the peace and quiet was wonderful.

There is another really amazing fireplace in the room and the high ceiling and beams make it a unique and comfortable space.
The en-suite bathroom has a powerful shower and is actually a ‘Jack and Jill bathroom’ meaning there is also a door leading to the other single room.

This is a really comfortable cottage. Recently awarded a Gold Award from Visit England, we stayed in all evening playing backgammon with the fire on. Mike’s response when I asked him what he liked most; ‘historic, comfortable, quiet and cosy’ and Yew Tree Cottage is all of those things.

If you’re in Northumberland to explore there are loads of fabulous towns close by. Corbridge was 6 minutes on the bus, Hexham is 10 minutes away on the train, Newcastle about 25. The train also goes straight over to Carlisle which means really easy access to the Lake District.

But we really love the Northumberland Coast. A 40 -45 minutes drive and you’ll be plodging in the North Sea.

Even though the cottage is only 30 minutes drive away from our house we really enjoyed our stay and would love to return.

Check availability and prices on the YewTreeCottageRidingMill website and follow Sheila Bull, the owner of Yew Tree and Apple Pie Cottages on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram too.

Sports kit from Aldi

A sentence I didn’t think I’d be likely to write is “I need some running kit”.

But high on the bucket list agenda for me and my dad is running the Great North Run.

We got signed up to run for Willow Burn Hospice  in Derwentside at the end of 2016. I paid dad’s entry fee as a Christmas present. I am a good daughter. We are DOING THIS. Our current conversations are about not coming last.

Anyway, I didn’t want to spend a fortune on running kit (why would I this is a nine month investment) and my cycling mad family swear by the sports kit in Aldi.

What I love:

The leggings are thick and comfy and have a zippy bit on the bum for change. They feel really nice to wear.

Ditto the yoga top. Comfy, seamless and wicks the sweat away.

I like the patterns and I really like the reflective running gilets and jackets. They’re really lightweight but will make sure you’re visible too.

The bras look nice on but there are two different styles so make sure you get the one that supports! The other one needs something else underneath.

I’ll be tracking our training progress this year on the blog. We can’t change our mind or give up as we have a commitment to our chosen charity.

And besides, the boys (Dad, my brother Stephen, and partner Mike) all cycled from London to Paris for the 70th birthday bucket list challenge (Dad’s 72 now by the way) so this running malarky is proper dad and daughter time.

I’m off to the gym.

Nic x

PS There will be a Just Giving page to follow.

Crock Pot for slow cookingThroughout my childhood, my mam used a slow cooker to feed us. I have vivid images of her peeling veg before she went to work and we ran along the street to catch the bus.

Fast forward about 28 years, and we’ve invested in a Crock Pot. (As I write this, the house smells delicious!).

Like everyone else, for us time is precious, work days are long, and convenience food is really, really easy. At least a couple of times a week we’ll buy off the shelf ready meals.

Crock Pot for slow cookingBut Mike loves to cook and does so as much as he can, so the Crock Pot is an exciting addition to our kitchen equipment. He’s busying himself downstairs as we speak so for tea I think there’ll be a sausage casserole on the menu.

I’m hoping the fact that essentially we’ll have made our own ‘ready meal’, means I’ll stop picking before I eat my tea.

And end to ready meals? We’ll see.

Nic x

P.S. If you have any great recipes for slow cooking, share them with us.

kiehls ultra facial creamI love Kiehl’s.

Before Christmas I bought a jar of off-the-shelf moisturiser from the supermarket. I’m over 40 and using moisturiser is now an essential. I’d run out of Kiehl’s and it was on my Christmas list.

The product in question smelled like 4 week old potpourri and was pink (I’m 41 I do not need pink moisturiser). So I returned to the said shop and bought another jar from a different brand. Which saw a repeat of the same situation. (What is it with pink, stinky moisturiser that costs nearly a tenner a jar?).
On my third attempt I bought some, non-pink, non-stinky, moisturiser for sensitive skin. But it’s thin, not at all creamy and I’m now using it for my feet.

Total spend waste = £28

Back to my love for Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream. It does not smell. It it not pink. You need use only a little on your face. It feels luxurious. If I use it on an evening, my skin looks lovely in the morning. It is more expensive (£24 for a 50ml pot) that the other three put together but lasts for ages.

I love all the freebies you get when you buy. I love the brightly coloured packaging.

But most of all I love that is really does what it’s supposed to, which is moisturise my skin. This little lot will last until my birthday in April, where upon I’ll encourage my nearest and dearest to buy some for me to get me through the summer.

And in the meantime, I’m off to try the Grapefruit body scrub as it sounds delightful.

You’ll have gathered that this is not a sponsored post!

Nic x

Jord watch and gift box

Buying beautiful items that are designed to last is an absolute joy. Never being a fan of throwaway fashion I love pieces that withstand the fickle fashion trends.

Step into the frame JORD wooden watches. Made by ‘artists, designers, marketers, and minders’ they are beautiful, different, classic and designed to last.

In a world where every second counts, having a beautiful timepiece on your wrist is a luxury worth paying for.

Undeniably, the JORD wooden watches are stunning to look at but I was as interested in their ethics; sustainability being at the top of the list.

In JORDs own words they are

‘Focused on creating timepieces that are modelled after a modern lifestyle. They value sustainability, efficiency, and experiential living.’

It took an age to chose the dark sandalwood and smoke watch to review. It’s so different to the white ceramic watch I’ve worn for years. The wooden box is a beautiful touch, presentation is important and the box looks fab alongside my trinkets and treasures but helps make JORD watches a great present.

jord watch

You can see from the images the clarity of the watch face and how minimal the design is. The watch case is thicker and the face larger than those I am used to, but it is comfortable to wear, chic and the wood even warms a little as you’re wearing it!

Taking care of the watch means using an oil to clean the natural wood. And storing it, using the box and keeping it out of extreme temperatures (hot or cold) is advised (don’t store it near a radiator or wet environment.

At £149 this watch is a reasonable price for an exquisite piece of craftsmanship. Even better, there is an amazing $50 discount if you’re shopping for a JORD watch for yourself using the code 16ML6XTHYN3. I’ve set my sights on the Frankie 35.

Nic x

Wood Watch Review