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Chapter 4 - April

Updated: Apr 24, 2023

“Springing into April with gratitude and love” Charmaine J. Forde

I think April in the UK is a truly special time of year. Finally, after those long winter months, the days are getting longer, the temperatures are beginning to rise and nature is starting to come alive. And from the countryside to the coast, there’s plenty to enjoy; everyone can start to enjoy the fabulous outdoors again after being tucked away during the colder months. As the days get warmer and the sun shines, the countryside turns a lush green and wildflowers start to bloom. There’s nothing quite like a stroll through the countryside, taking in the sights and sounds of nature.

This month I’m remembering:-

Lots of parties! As ever, the previous month just flew by and I am feeling a bit exhausted by the whirlwind of dinner and birthday parties that we have been enjoying. We have just returned from celebrating my father’s 80th birthday. We had a huge family lunch, and, although none of us are quite sure where he’ll be going on it, we all gave him an electric bike that he was utterly delighted with!

We also had a solid month of dinner parties which was a lot of fun! Now that our splendid kitchen is finished, we have been inviting all the people we owe dinners to. There were quite a number of years where I was too embarrassed to have anyone in our old kitchen, so paying our dinner party debts has been a fun, if tiring, exercise!

This month I’m recommending:-

In addition to all our socialising at home, last month I was also busy out and about and, as a result, I have some fabulous recommendations to make.

A few weeks ago, I organised a lunch in Leeds for fellow bloggers who are local to Yorkshire. We went to The Cut & Craft in the Victorian Quarter and had a delicious meal with amazing service. Cut & Craft is new to Leeds and specialises in crafting delicious seasonal dishes from locally sourced produce. They have an in-house butcher and flagship flat-iron steaks, crispy chicken wings and 100% British burgers which all looked sensational! The atmosphere is stylish and relaxed, and the staff were extremely friendly and attentive. There is a sister restaurant in York and I highly recommend The Cut & Craft for a vibrant and delicious meal with family and friends.

As a special treat for Mothers’ Day, we had a really lovely Sunday lunch at The Lime Tree Inn in the village of Great Ouseburn, near Harrogate and York. Nestled “between the Yorkshire Dales and Moors”, The Lime Tree Inn is a family-run country pub with seriously yummy food. We all had the Sunday roast which was fabulous and the service was also brilliant. The pub had a great atmosphere and so if you are looking for a good roast in the area, then I can highly recommend it!

My final recommendation is of a slightly different nature. I recently enjoyed a cheeky facial at the beauty bar in Clarins in John Lewis Leeds. The facial is about 45 minutes long and only costs £26; I really think this is the perfect way to relax and treat yourself if you're popping into town. You can book online or in person at the counter; the perfect little pamper!

This month I’m still buzzing from:-

March also brought some fantastic opportunities, and I am still buzzing from the wonderful events and people that I met and worked with.

I just been working with the fabulous Positive Influence Agency, who are a social media company based in Harrogate. I presented at an Instagram course about content creation and explained how I started using Instagram and how I now make money from it. I had such a fantastic morning and met some wonderful women from Harrogate and nearby. Doing something like this really pushed me out of my comfort zone as I haven’t done anything like giving presentations since I was a teacher many years ago, but it was a wonderful experience.

Another new experience for me has been working with two podcast series; Life of a Limitless CEO, a podcast the “tells the real, raw & relatable stories from self made women in business who live & love their life”, and Ask Charlie, who has a podcast about making “your busy house a happy home”. I had the total pleasure of being invited by both to be recorded for podcast episodes which will hopefully go live in the next few months. Having to speak without much preparation before was such a good experience and something I have never done before. I will keep you posted on when they are ready to listen to!

I have also just worked with the amazing Laura Fawcett again whilst organising an event with Mint Velvet in York. At the event, we had a range of models who wore the clothes from Mint Velvet’s new collection. Laura is so talented in styling for different shapes and sizes and I have learnt so much from her. Charlotte Tilbury were also there to give a demonstration using their new products and to answer questions about how to apply them. The event was a huge success; everyone left with amazing goodie bags and after having a blast.

This month I’m looking forward to:-

Easter! After a busy March, April, of course, brings Easter and with it some fabulous family time with the children. The school holidays are always a tricky time for me to get any work done and it will be nice to be forced to slow down a little. We are going down south to stay with my sister, where we all love going, and I hope that the excitement of their cousins will keep everyone busy so that I can get through at least a little of my work to-do lists!

My eldest daughter Phoebe decided that she didn’t want a birthday party this year. So instead, we are going on a special trip, just the two of us, to Paris! James and I got engaged there 12 years ago and I haven’t been back since, so I am very excited. I booked the Eurostar and hotel quite a while ago and this 2-day trip to Paris is actually costing a lot less than a party would! I am just organising the finer details of our trip now and cannot wait to have some very rare and special one-on-one time with my gorgeous girl.

In addition to some lovely time with my wider family, we also have lots of lovely Easter celebrations planned. A trip to Grantley Hall is one that I am the most excited about. Grantley Hall is one of my most favourite places in Yorkshire; this elegant hotel and spa is situated in the breath-taking countryside of North Yorkshire and offers a range of luxurious facilities including a private cinema and a range of fine dining. This visit, we are going to be trying out their Bar & Restaurant Eighty Eight, which we have never tried. Eighty Eight is set against an ornamental Japanese garden and offers a “unique fusion of Yorkshire produce and far Eastern flavours”. The food and cocktail menus look fabulous and I can’t wait to give it a try.

This month I’m enjoying:-

As many of you know, I love flowers and arranging them to decorate my house is a great joy of mine. April is one of the most beautiful months in the UK, as it’s the time when many flowers come into bloom; flowers such as tulips, daffodils, daisies, roses, and lilies are all bursting into life and their bright colours, sweet scents, and long-lasting blooms, these flowers can really bring a garden to life during the warmer months. Check out these great tips from the Royal Horticultural Society for what you should be doing in April to your gardens and flowers.

This month I’m eating:-

As well as all the flowers and foliage, April in the UK is also the month that seasonal produce also really starts to get going. Vegetables such as asparagus, lettuce, spring onions, and purple sprouting broccoli are all ready and delicious. Lamb is also in season at this time of year to be roasted or made into a delicious stew and seafood fans can enjoy fresh mackerel, crab, and lobster. Fruits such as rhubarb and gooseberries are also in also now in season, meaning this is a fabulous time to be enjoying the best of British produce – maybe I should carry on with my dinner parties!! Take a look at BBC Good Food for some more seasonal recipes and ideas.

I hope you are all as excited as me for April and everything that it brings; school holidays and a break over Easter, and the delicious foods and beautiful flowers. Have a wonderful long Easter weekend and don’t forget to keep an eye on my Instagram, YouTube and blog to see what I am getting up to this month.

Love Caroline xx

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