A parenting & lifestyle blog written by Claire Chircop.

Food | Sunday Roast At The Botanist Trinity Leeds, UK.

A Sunday Roast has undoubtedly got to be one of my favoruite meals; I mean you only have to spend an evening at our house to realise Dan & I are the King and Queen of Sunday dinners, so when we do chose to eat out & indulge, it's fair to say that we're two pretty harsh critics! *Cue the pantomime boos*

Last Sunday we took some time out, ventured into Leeds for a bit of retail therapy & tootled our butts over to The Botanist for what Dan could only describe as a 'lit' Sunday dinner.

If you've been to The Botanist at Trinity Leeds, you'll know it has the cutest outside space and because it was such a nice day (where's the sun gone btw) we decided to make the most of it & park our backsides on the rustic wood & wrought iron benches.

There's something about eating outdoors that just feels so much better, even more so when it involves cocktails! Dan decided to go full throttle & have a raspberry Mojito whereas I was a little more sensible (it was 1.00pm after all) & had the raspberry, grape & elderflower cooler which was yummily refreshing.

The Botanist give you a choice of either chicken or beef when it comes to your Sunday roast, luckily for photo purposes we decided upon one of each. I opted for beef while Dan chose the chicken which was half a flipping roast hen! We thought we'd have a couple of thin slices of meat each so we were both absolutely buzzing with the portion size we received. Thumbs up to The Botanist! Popped on top was a home made Yorkshire pudding, but hidden under the meat was a shit tonne of stuffing, cabbage, carrots & crispy roast potatoes. What more could you possibly want? Cauliflower cheese? Oh wait, we got that on the side too! Best Sunday dinner ever!

... Apart from our own of course! Sorry The Botanist, but this King & Queen of Sunday dinners will not be beaten.

Have you been to The Botanist before? Where's the best place to go for a Sunday roast?


Beauty | Loreal Miss Baby Roll Mascara

Loreal can absolutely do no wrong in my eyes, I haven't met a product that I haven't fallen in love with yet, so I had huge hopes for the Baby Roll mascara... And thankfully it didn't disappoint! 

Baby Roll is available in four shades which I think is absolutely fabulous, and perfect for adding a splash of colour to your makeup look - In fact, they'd be amazing for Festivals!
I chose to go for the bog standard black, but you can also pick it up in teal, indigo & lilac *heart eye emoji* all of which I think would look totally beauts on the very tips of the top lashes. Writing this, I'm actually feeling the urge to pop down to Boots to pick up some extra shades. Eeek!

The packaging is really unique, a little cutesy if anything, but over all I think it works really well with Loreals' concept & it definitely stands out from the crowd, which is exactly what I'd want to achieve if I was a mascara packaging designer - I'm sure thats' not a job title, but hey ho!

I had high hopes for the Baby Roll mascara pretty much from the get go, even more so when I unscrewed the top to reveal a plastic wand, which I much prefer over a standard brush. The difference with the Baby Roll brush however, is that the plastic bristles wrap around the wand, a little bit like a helter-skelter which is not only fun, but has a very practical purpose in that it coats & curls every single little iddy biddy lash.
I give my peepers a little bit of help with curlers, but this mascara absolutely does its' fair share when it comes to curling the lashes & generally making tired old me look a little more awake. My lashes stay curled for such a long time, which admittedly is something I was a little dubious about, granted they drop towards the end of the day, but who's lashes don't? We can't be expecting miracles now can we ladies? 
There's minimal fall out for me, barely anything even after an 8 hour day shift. It's a fantastic little product & one I'll buy again from my favourite drugstore cosmetics brand. That being said, it's really easy to take off too, I've been loving the Boots Botanics All Bright Cleanser recently & that's had absolutely no trouble in removing the mascara.

I've really enjoyed using the Loreal Baby Roll, it's the mascara I'm reaching for day in day out and for the price I think it's absolutely brilliant! Have you tried Baby Roll before? Whats your favourite drugstore and high-end mascara?

Beauty | Affordable Skincare From Boots Botanics

Does affordable skincare really work? Is it really worth spending that extra money if you can find something more affordable that actually works? This is what I've been asking myself for the past few weeks as I've switched my skincare for something a little more purse friendly. Would you believe these four Boots Botanics products cost me a grand total of £5! Yupp, you heard me, five whole British pounds!

The packaging drew me in to purchase originally, but it's reading that the range uses the power of plants within it's products that really sealed the deal for me. After religiously using the 100% natural Antique Apothecary Athina moisturiser and falling hook line and sinker for it's plant based goodness, I certainly had high hopes for the Boots Botanics products.

To begin cleansing & to remove the vast majority of my makeup I've been using the Boots Botanics All Bright Purifying Face Scrub. The scrub contains tiny pieces of walnut shell and crushed apricot seeds which buffs away any flaky or dead skin, leaving the face feeling super smooth and refreshed. To keep the skin bright, Boots Botanics use natural AHA's & Hibiscus which not only leave the skin looking more radiant, but it also leaves a pretty fresh & floral scent too which is lovely.

A less abrasive option to cleanse is with the Boots Botanics All Bright Cleansing Foam Wash which has a gel like consistency that lathers up quickly providing a gentle foam. The product removes makeup really quickly and surprisingly provides the skin with so much added moisture. It's a really beautiful product to use both morning and night as it leaves the skin feeling so refreshed and nourished. Reading the back of the packaging Boots Botanics states that it's products are tested on people, which I think it bloody brilliant & the absolute right way to do it. Hallelujah!

To remove any excess eye makeup I like to go in with the Boots Botanics All Bright Gentle Cleansing Cream. To be honest I picked this up thinking it was a micellar water, so was a little surprised when the product came out as a cream, silly me didn't read the packaging properly and even though it wasn't what I thought it'd be, I've really enjoyed using it. Being a cream formula I find the cleanser to be really nourishing to the skin. It's an added bonus for me that it removes impurities.

I'm not so great at using serums, truth be told it's always something I forget about when it comes to my skincare routine. I've been doing well with this one though, and  I think it's purely because the Boots Botanics All Bright Radiance Concentrate Serum looks beautiful on my bathroom vanity. The frosted glass bottle is out on display loud and proud makning me want to reach for it, both for my morning & my evening skicare routine. The serum provides the skin with radiance & the lightweight formula helps leave my face looking more supple and glowy.

I picked these products up for £2.50 each while they were on a buy one get one free offer, so only paid £5 for the four & after trying them, it's got to be one of the best fivers I've spent. Whats your go to skincare brand? What would you recommend? 


Life | A Luxury Stay At The Dog Friendly Ox Pasture Hall - Scarborough.

Luxury & dog friendly are two phrases that don't usually go hand in hand with one another, and to be honest it's something we've struggled with particularly when it comes to weekends away or holidays... That's where Ox Pasture Hall swoops in to save the day!

There's been so many times where Dan & I have either not gone away because we've struggled to get a dog sitter, or we've compromised on our accommodation to ensure we could have a puppy friendly, family fun holiday. It can be so exhausting trying to organise even just a few days away, it quite often takes the fun away from holidaying, so when Ox Pasture Hall got in touch asking if we'd like to stay with them, all three of us jumped (and one of us wagged our tails) at the chance! 

During the weekend Dan, Willow & I spent the long bank holiday break enjoying the countryside & indulging in a bit of luxury in the dog friendly hotel in Yorkshire. We wanted to make the most of what both the area & the hotel had to offer, and I think it's pretty safe to say we did.

Kirkham Priory & The River Derwent.

Setting off from Leeds & knowing that we'd need to stop off somewhere half way between home and Scarborough to let Willow stretch her legs, it seemed only natural for us to end up in Malton. After doing a bit of google research we found a super picturesque walk starting at Kirkham Priory and followed the River Derwent. I love walks like this purely because you just can't go wrong, there's been so many times where Dan & I have gotten peed off with each other because we're both so bad at map reading & quite often get lost, but with this one, it's a no brainer! 

The priory itself was beautifully quaint, only quite small in size, but you could easily spend an hour or two there, in fact it'd be the perfect spot to open your picnic hamper, lay down your blanket and enjoy a warm summers day. We however took a backpack & headed straight off for our walk. Walking away from the priory and back towards the main road, we took the immediate left and made our way down the public footpath with the river on our left hand side. The walk took us through green fields, wooded areas and farmers fields, all of which made for a really interesting walk.

It's so nice to get away from our usual walks in Leeds and do something a little different, I'd definitely recommend taking a few hours out & visiting Kirkham Priory.

Ox Pasture Hall.

We arrived at the hotel & were instantly hit with luxury... I mean, look at those gardens! I'd be living the dream if my house even looked remotely like this place, it's just stunning and was a complete & well needed treat for us.

The walk to our room began through a highly decorated, perfectly symmetrical garden where the main feature was a huge stone water feature and pond. A quick right turn took us through a paved courtyard with yet another water feature and some beautiful bistro sets perfect for sipping your lattes on a morning. The courtyard was home to around ten or so different rooms, one of which was ours; The Filey room.

The Filey Room.

We were instantly blown away by the fact that we were given a suite! A mother effing suite. And what a stunning suite it was! Before we could even take in the beauty of the room however, Willow had other ideas; her super sensitive nose has already sniffed out the complimentary desserts and she was off like a shot. We didn't clock onto what she was doing at first, but Dan & I quickly restrained her, honestly it must have looked like something out of a comedy show, it was so funny. And it turns out she was right, the tray of goodies provided were delicious, and we enjoyed everything before even unpacking.

The living area comprised of a small, but perfectly plumped and patterned sofa which sat alongside a dark wood coffee table and TV unit. The furniture throughout the suite was to die for, I love rustic & chunky woods in the home, give me that look over contemporary white interiors any day. I'd love to know where Ox Pasture Hall bought their furniture from, because I'd fill my home with it all day long!

The bedroom was humongous! It was super light and yet cosy at the same time because of the rustic style interior. The bed I believe was a King size, which let me tell you was a total treat! When you share a standard double with someone every night, sleeping in a King size gave us so much extra room! We both got to starfish!

And now onto my favourite room in the suite. The bathroom! If this isn't living the dream, I don't know what is! Even now I can't decide what the best bit was... Was it the double bath? The travertine tiles? The double counter top sinks? The overhead rain shower? Or maybe even the waterfall taps? I'm really not sure, but what I am sure about, is that the bathroom is absolutely bloody gorgeous!

The Grounds.

The hotel grounds were perfect for dog walking. Out the back of the building was a huge green field, decorated beautifully with dark wood pergolas, blossoming trees and stag statues. Willow loved the stag statues, It must have been her puppy instincts but she went straight up to smell their metal butts, it was so funny. We definitely had a few giggles about that!

Evening Preparations. 

Before visiting the dog friendly hotel in Yorkshire, I'd done a little bit of research and thankfully made the right decision in taking all of my bath time & pamper treats! Girl gotta make the most of that bath right? To begin my super indulgent pamper afternoon I cleansed with the ever faithful Body Shop Camomile cleanser & my new bits from Antique Apothecary, together they've been my go to skincare routine recently, they're the perfect pairing and have really made a difference to my skins appearance!

Sinking into the bubbles was absolute bliss & it so nice to take a bit of time out, especially after walking six miles earlier on in the day. My indulgence was mirrored with Willows, while I was enjoying the pamper, our little pupper was enjoying the carpet. We don't have carpet at home as all of our floors are wood, so she was absolutely loving the comfort of having a softer materiel under her paws - It was so cute!

The Five Course Taster Menu.

We headed down the the restaurant at 6:30 and were instantly shown to our table in the Courtyard room with and a glass of bubbly was popped in my hand quicker than you can say 'Ox Pasture Hall' - What's not to love!

For the evening meal we were prompted to have the taster menu, which if I'm honest isn't something either of us what have usually gone for, but I'm so glad that we did. It was so nice to step out of our comfort zones and indulge in food we wouldn't have usually tasted. Thankfully each individual course was to die for.

We were given two starters, the first being an onion mousse, which like I say is something I would never have gone for, but I was really pleasantly surprised. The mousse was served alongside crunchy granola bites and slices of refreshing Chinese radish; All the elements of the meal had totally different tastes and textures, but when put together were absolutely divine. Starter numero dos was mackerel rolled up in toasted home made bread served with tarte and celeriac textures - A yummy scrummy concoction.
Mains was my absolute favourite dish! Beef, which was served pink in the middle (the best way) with dauphinoise potatoes, carrots, pickled blackberry & the most delicious red wine jus.
As well as two starters we were also given two deserts. Woe is me right? We were given possibly the zingiest desert I think I've ever eaten, it tasted so blooming delicious, but it made me pull the funniest of faces - Thankfully Dan handled it a bit better than I did, so we didn't look totally mad. And if one dessert wasn't enough we were also given a selection of what I believe to be handmade chocolates to finish.

What a perfect meal! With perfect company! We're definitely more inclined now to step out of our comfort zones food wise, as we both enjoyed absolutely everything that was popped in front of us. It was delicious!

The Breakfast.

After a cosy nights sleep, we headed down for breakfast & were seated in the same dining room on the opposite table to where we were the previous evening. There were cereals, pastries and juices readily available which Dan & I of course went straight for. I love going away purely for the breakfast. Having someone else cook you your brekkie is really the most indulgent thing. After munching on Wheetabix & drowning ourselves in coffee we had two mighty full English brekkies popped in front of us. And how mighty they were! I'm not a breakfast conniseur, but it's funny how so many places can't do a good brekkie, but everything about this one from Ox Pasture Hall was amazing. It's a thumbs up from us!

Cayton Bay.

You can't go to Scarborough & not go to the beach! After doing a bit of research, we found that Cayton Bay, which sits just slightly south of the ever touristy Scarborough beach was the only purely dog friendly beach in the area, and boy didn't everyone know it! The human to dog ratio was insane, Dan & I were certainly in our element! We even managed to adopt ourselves an extra dog for the walk, for some reason a little terrier took more of a fancying to us then his own family. He kept jumping up at Dans legs, it was the cutest thing!

Last weekend is definitely one to be beaten! It was so nice to get away & spend some quality time together & I'll be forever thankful to Ox Pasture Hall for providing us with that.

Have you visited Ox Pasture Hall before? Can you recommend any other dog friendly hotels?