Over the weekend we took a family trip to our local Jamie’s Italian in Harrogate. It’s the second time we’ve visited with the 3 kiddos (and we’ve also had a grown-up, adults only meal here too). Every time we go, we always enjoy the experience and it’s good to know you’re in a family-friendly environment when you’re eating out, where kids are valued as much as the next customer. And while Jamie’s is a branded chain with branches now nationwide, I love the way each one has been given a really bespoke feel with an individual interior design that’s special to each venue. Harrogate is a great example as you’ll see from some of the original artwork on both levels of the restaurant and the outdoor terrace (although I have to say the Leeds branch also has the most stunning floor and ceiling!).
The other day I was kindly invited along to the Betty’s cookery school, based here in Harrogate where we live. That in itself would have been worthy of a little happy dance but I had the added pleasure of watching a demonstration by non other than Nancy Birtwhistle, the winner of this year’s Great British Bake Off. My mum thought I was very jammy, I can tell you!
I am a big fan of Betty’s and Bake off, and clearly I’m not the only one as I joined an excited group waiting to meet the special guest. Meanwhile, the most delicious canapes made on the premises were served, including an amazing cup of cauliflour soup with truffle oil (of which I could have eaten a whole bowl).
I appreciate that post title is a little confusing for a Tuesday. Also, do you now have that song by the Cure in your head, as I do? – you’re welcome!
I love Fridays because Greig works from home and as I’ve recently mentioned we’ve begun a ritual of having lunch somewhere nice together (especially if we time it right and Bea is asleep). Fridays are when I get a little break. I don’t have to do the school run, I can have a slow morning and actually think about what I want to wear rather than shoving on the first thing that comes to hand. Last Friday, that happened to be my new cashmere sweater (which was an absolute bargain, reduced to £12). There is a lovely selection of affordable cashmere in TK Maxx at the moment by the way, including labels like Antoni & Alison and Gharani Strok – go, stock up!
On Sunday, which felt like Saturday because it was a bank holiday, we decided to brave the rain as I couldn’t stand being indoors any longer. Actually, it started off fine and then we got caught out in a big downpour. I was expecting the kids to moan a bucketful but once they were wet they just sort of got on with it, which was surprising. Florence was breaking in a new scooter and therefore impervious to the weather and Charlie was using my umbrella to do this crazy kind of Singing in the Rain routine (even though he’s too young to have seen the film). And as for me, I was testing out my lovely new mac, which has to be the silver lining to the recent rubbish weather. Actually it has a yellow lining, which is ace. We took the long route into town, along the beautiful Harrogate Stray and partook of some of my favourite activities, namely peering into posh gardens and daydreaming about what it’s like to live there. And then, because the heavens opened again (and Bea had conveniently fallen asleep in her pushchair) we legged it to the nearest restaurant for a coffee and some food.
Oh yes, a restaurant dedicated to meatballs has just opened up in my hometown! But as the name suggests, these are not mama mia Italian-style but proper northern meatballs, which you can order with mash, Yorkshire puddings or even spaghetti if you prefer. There are lots of different sauces to choose from too, so you can really make your order bespoke. We took the kids to this place recently on the spur of the moment, which is a bit of a gamble as we only ever eat out if it’s a tried and tested, family-friendly place. But it turned out to be a lovely treat. The kids loved the food, the staff loved the kids, Greig loved the beer and I loved the interiors – bingo!