Getting “Shirty” in Harrogate, And Easing Into the New Year.
On a cold and frosty morning
In early January, we were desperate to escape the freezing temperatures and noticed a cheap deal to the Canary Islands. So, off we went! I will write a post on where we stayed in the coming weeks…..it was such a bargain!. Not posh but it did the trick and gave us some much-needed sunshine.
Just before we left, I decided to have a digital detox – so, no electronic devices apart from my kindle. Since then, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading the books I’ve stored up, and having some “time out”.
The new year is always a time to reflect. Our personal happiness is, of course, “relative” – and I think you will agree that, at this stage in our lives, it is so very important to be in a good place, emotionally. One thing which brings me fulfilment and pleasure is writing my blog. In my younger life, I simply didn’t have the time for a creative outlet such as this because of working full time and family commitments. So, I do hope that, in 2023, you will join me on this midlife journey for another year.
On my return from our trip, one thing I had to take control of…..was “the fridge”! All the Christmas treats were gone apart from a smidgeon of Baileys.
Hands up! I have eaten, drank and moved little over the last month or so. And, unfortunately, I caught a flu bug after Christmas, which resulted in me needing antibiotics for a chest infection. But, all good, now!! So, no excuses. I’m currently a week back into my healthy routine of daily walks and cutting out the treats, so normality has been resumed.
All healthy and delicious!
The new year is a great time for thinking about the things we want to improve in our “day to day”. This happened to me around a year ago when I decided to change my diet and tweak my fitness routine. There were a lot of factors which led to this decision. The most important thing was I simply wasn’t enjoying my diet and was simply “overweight” – which, of course, had a knock-on effect to the way I was feeling. Up until then, I had been a vegetarian for five years. My diet consisted of too many carbs and not a lot of protein. I had gained quite a bit of weight, by my standards, which was around two stone. I also found that I genuinely missed fish in my diet. So, I made the decision to become a pescatarian.
For me, this was such a great decision. I had also missed salmon and prawns so the new variation/choices to my diet was such an improvement. Around this time, I cut down on my sugar intake, too, which was tough, as I have such a sweet tooth. I replaced my usual bar of chocolate with a few low-calorie versions – which has worked!
Some of the “low sugar/calorie” options/treats that help with my sweet tooth craving!
I found that the motivation I had, and the continued encouragement I received from those around me, helped me to eventually lose the weight I had gained. This took me around eight months in total. And, a year on, I have been able to maintain this weight – give a pound or two. The maintenance of weight loss is, of course, the tricky bit. But, fingers crossed, and a year on, this newish routine is still working for me. And, most importantly, I’m enjoying it. Life is too short, don’t you agree? I’m not perfect – we go out socialising, meals out etc…I still have treats and a glass of fizz – I just do it in moderation…
The rooftops of Harrogate! This is the view from our hotel room.
In early December, we had an overnight stay in Harrogate, North Yorkshire. I thought I would share with you where we stayed and what we did, just in case you want to sample a beautiful piece of Yorkshire, yourself.
Harrogate is a great place to visit. It is a pretty spa town nestled in the eastern Yorkshire Dales. It is surrounded by market towns such as Knaresborough, Boroughbridge, Masham and Pateley Bridge. This makes Harrogate a great base for a small road trip if you really want to get to know Yorkshire and the surrounding area.
Bettys Tea Rooms
What We Did
This was a quick overnight stay and, unfortunately, it rained continuously throughout our time there. But, it didn’t dampen (pardon the pun) my short break at all. We took the weather in our stride and, luckily, the hotel and places we wanted to sample were within a short walking distance. So, this wasn’t a problem…….and, we had a large golfing umbrella which saved the day!
While visiting Harrogate, it is a “must do” to visit Betty’s Tea Rooms, which opened in 1919, can you believe? This was originally opened by a Swiss baker and confectioner who moved to England to establish his own bakery business. He didn’t speak much English, but, he was certainly skilled in his trade.
We shared a quick coffee and snack at Bettys Tea Rooms.
Betty’s cakes, chocolates and tea have been very popular since then. On arriving, we got straight in due to the pouring rain. This is a rarity as there is usually a queue around the block, with visitors eagerly waiting to sample the delicacies on offer. We got seated at a cosy window table. We didn’t want to eat much as were eating out later so shared a sandwich, French fries (chips), and a scone which were delicious, along with great coffee.
View from our window table at “Bettys Tea Rooms”.
In the evening, we had a few drinks in “Bar One”. There were lots of bars to choose from and this ticked all the boxes. We then popped into “Portofino” for our evening meal which I would describe as serving tasty, well priced, Italian food. Not high end but, again, no complaints.
The Yorkshire Hotel.
I would describe this hotel as “Olde Worlde England”. It is in the centre of town, minutes from “Betty’s Tea Rooms” and central for everything. The hotel offers on site parking. But, this is on a first come, first served basis. Luckily, we found a parking space right next to the front entrance, which was a relief, as it was still raining heavily! I found all the staff to be super helpful, friendly, and efficient during our stay. This was put to the test when we checked into our room. It wasn’t the best…..a very small double bed (basic) with no space around the bed. The view was, errr…. looking onto a rain sodden wall. I thought I would try telephoning Reception to see if there was any chance of a better room.
The Yorkshire Hotel – Looking very festive.
I got a lovely response – “yes, we will move you!”. So, we went down to Reception and got a key to another room. The replacement room was gorgeous. It was spotless, spacious and had a sumptuous, comfortable king-sized bed, so all good! It also looked onto the front of the hotel and all of the pretty Christmas decorations.
“The Pickled Sprout and bar” which is situated in the Yorkshire Hotel. We fully intend to try the restaurant when we return to Harrogate
The hotel has a restaurant called “The Pickled Sprout” which has good reviews. We had a peek at the menu and it looked very good so may try here if we return. At the end of our evening, we called into the bar for a nightcap. It had a good atmosphere and was surprisingly busy. As you can see in the photographs, the hotel certainly delivered on the Christmas décor, which made the atmosphere very festive. I would visit this hotel again, though I would try to stipulate the room.
What I Wore
We were visiting Harrogate for a meeting so “smart casual” was required. I wore a simple white fitted shirt – which is one of the most useful items in my wardrobe. I have an array of white shirts of all shapes and sizes. They are my favourite “go to’s”. I have recently purchased two new fitted white shirts from Marks and Spencer. They are so handy to throw on with jeans, midi skirts….certainly an outfit maker. I’m wearing my shirt, here, with my high waist grey pants from Zara which I bought, last October. They are so versatile, and still “current” if you want to check them out on their website. Zara also has an array of colours to choose from.
I’ve finished the look off with my woollen coatigan from “Mint Velvet” and, to keep me warm, my colourful snood which was a Christmas present from one of my sons and was “much” needed to keep the Yorkshire chill at bay
I hope you have enjoyed my post and you have had a good start to 2023 yourself. I’ll be back in a few weeks with another post.
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