LIFESTYLE | April Highlights …

*This post includes a press trip, gifted items , a book signing and some affiliated links marked with an *

Good afternoon …

I enjoyed doing March highlights so much I’ve decided to make it a regular thing. Haha I know what you are thinking I’ll give it 3 months ! Have faith my friends , have faith !

So April has been and gone very much like March – like a whirl wind. Or as I referred to it last month like Zola Budd with diarrhea ! Can you believe it’s bloody May tomorrow.

So I started the month off with a night away with JD Williams. They invited myself and 2 others lovely ladies – Joanna and Rachel – to attend a cookery school held at Swinton Estate in North Yorkshire as part of their ‘try something new‘ campaign.

We Spent the evening at The Golden Fleece in Thirsk. A deceptive but very lovely hotel. It looks tiny from the outside but is like Dr Who’s tardis. It seemingly gets bigger the more you venture in.

It’s worth noting for any Gin lovers out there that the bar stocks a fabulous selection including my personal favourite Brockmans. These things are important !

The hotel rooms were small but very cosy with the most fabulous bed … ALL TO MYSELF ! I couldn’t wait to dive in . Pure bliss … but not before I had myself an impromptu photo shoot in my new pjs [ a gift from JD Williams ]

Breakfast the next morning was equally amazing as my bed .

Pastry for breakfast is always a very good idea don’t you think ? washed down with lots of coffee…

It takes half an hour to get from Thirsk to Swinton Estate, which is Seemingly in the middle of nowhere but is absolutely stunning.

Lots of beautiful scenery and lots of sheep. It’s not known as Gods Country for nothing.

I don’t tend to cook very often so it was a quite daunting prospect . [My friends thought it was hilarious … and I’m sure had my mum still been around she would have been thinking exactly the same ! ]

I needn’t have worried however because while it was informative and I learnt lots of tips , it was also very laid back, with lots of laughter.

I mean I made the food below … who would have believed it ?!

Full menu :

  • Roasted Butternut Squash Ravioli – I MADE PASTA FROM SCRATCH !
  • Saffron Risotto, Pan seared sea bass and Chorizo
  • Tiramisu

While we were walking the grounds I spied the new spa complex. WOW!

I think it definitely deserves a revisit with my lady friends. Hopefully just like Arnie “I’ll be back !”

SWINTON COOKERY SCHOOL is located at Swinton Park Ltd , Masham, Ripon , North Yorkshire HG4 4JH


I was kindly invited along to an event just last week at Whirlowbrook Hall to check out their wedding facilities.

Don’t get giddy people … I repeat don’t get giddy … I AM NOT getting married it’s purely for blogging purposes to share with you !

I made my way there with Prue who kindly offered to pick me up . I’m surprised we got there in one piece to be honest , our track record at finding places isn’t the greatest. Always fun though.

I have lived in Sheffield all my life [ give or take the Lincoln years ] and while I had heard of Whirlowbrook Hall I never really knew where it was located ! It’s another beautiful venue in a stunning spot. Perfect for weddings or any other celebration. The grounds would make an amazing backdrop for any photographs.

The first thing I discovered was that it is not actually a hotel as there are no facilities to stay the night. It is purely an event venue. Kenwood Hall which is also part of the Vine Hotel Group is available for guests wanting to stay the night.

What I hadn’t expected was to be sitting down for a 3-course vegan meal complete with vegan wine .

It was a very pleasant surprise … you all know I’m happiest eating.

I’m not vegan … I can’t imagine my life without some beef in it … but I would definitely order this meal again if the opportunity arose . It was delicious. I mean look at that pudding !

I think it’s great that Vine Hotels are taking the inniative and embracing this growing trend – a recent survey found that there are over three million people in the UK who now identify as vegans.

I guess I’m also proof in the pudding that you don’t need to be a vegan to enjoy vegan food

There are various food packages to choose from including Indian Buffet, Mexican Buffet, Traditional Three Course Meal and Afternoon Teas.

The Street Food package although not very traditional sounds incredible. For a more laid back, relaxed atmosphere it would be ideal.

WHIRLOWBROOK HALL is located at Whirlowbrook Park, Ecclesall Road , Sheffield S11 9QF

Tel : 0114 236 6142 or email to discuss packages in further detail


I’ve never been to a book signing before so wasn’t quite sure what to expect? It was such fun.

It’s Katie’s debut book and a lot of people including a few Sheffield bloggers [ below ] turned out to support her. What can I say we are all extremely proud.

It was a lovely evening. There was wine and the most fabulous cupcakes. Almost [ I said almost ] too good to eat!

Ive been delving into [my personally signed copy ] here and there; its a fabulous book full of relatable, uplifting advice and musings which you can read more about and purchase // HERE

I’ve said it loads but I’ll say it again “Congratulations Katie !


I discovered Ark Skincare via The British Beauty Box a few months ago and was very impressed by the brand.

Ark are an award-winning British skincare brand that treats skin by age and skin concern using bio active natural ingredients.

When they approached me directly to see whether I would like to try something else from the range I jumped at the chance.

I choose Skin Protector SPF 30 Primer from the skinessentials range. This is an innovative range of everyday products to suit men and woman , of all ages and all lifestyles.

Skin Protector SPF 30 – £36.00 *

I’ve been using the primer for around a month now and I love it.

It is very light and applies like a dream. It sinks in beautifully and leaves a great base for my makeup. By makeup that would be concealer and powder. As you know I don’t wear foundation so I can’t comment on how it [ foundation ] sits on the skin after applying this primer.

There are a couple of main points I look for when reviewing a product. These are :

Does it clog my skin up / break me out – No

Does my skin look greasy after a few hours – No

Is it cruelty free – Yes

While I have used products that were not cruelty free in the past it is something I’m trying to consider more in the future.

Does it contain an SPF – Yes .

I’m particularly keen to use products that have a combined SPF; I never leave the house without sun protection and the less products I have to layer up on my face the better. If I use too many products it WILL no doubt break me out. Less is always more in my case.

It’s a great product and I will be repurchasing. It’s a ‘good un’ , dare I say its my new favourite. While I really liked the Givenchy primer, this one is not as heavy which just pinched it for me

So that’s my April in a nutshell.

What have you been up to ? Do you have any recommendations of what I should be doing or visiting this May?

I love reading your comments, it makes an old lady happy !

Until next time

Tracey x

2 thoughts on “LIFESTYLE | April Highlights …

  1. Katie Portman says:

    Thank you for the lovely mention and for coming to my book launch! Said it before and i’ll say it again, it wouldn’t have been the same without you! x

    • lizandtracey says:

      Awww thankyou you Katie.
      I thought I’d taken more photos . I just have loads of cupcake ones!
      Must meet up soon and I bet you are still in cloud 9

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