Friday, 27 January 2017


The Shambles 
The city of York is such a beautiful place to visit - either for a day if you're close enough, but better still, a great place for a weekend away.  With superb architecture telling the story of a city rich in history and culture, York offers something for everyone, whether you love to shop, eat, or simply soak in the historic and charming atmosphere.

We can only begin to touch on some of York's most famous landmarks as there are way too many to mention in just one blog post.  However, most people when visiting York head to the Shambles, York's oldest and most picturesque street and the best preserved Medieval street in Europe with the upstairs windows in each building virtually touching across the road!

The Shambles originated from Flesshammel, meaning "around flesh" since this was originally a street of butchers' shops, where animals were slaughtered and sold over the counter.

Now of course it is full of tourist and quirky shops and the butchers have long since departed, and be warned that in summer, you can barely stroll along the narrow 15th Century street for tourists, but it was perfect early on on this winter day.

Of course a visit to York would not be complete without a visit to the famous Minster - but please be aware that entry is not free of charge - unless you are a resident of the city or are attending church services. This is because is costs £20,000 a day to run the minster, and the charges go directly to the running of this fabulous building. Check times before you visit as the Minster is often closed for tourists at certain times if there are special events.

Even so, it is such a stunning building that is something not to be missed - you could actually spend a whole day here alone as there are visits available to watch the stonemasons, the glaziers, to climb the tower, as well as take part in special activities.  The Minster even has its own police force!

Our pictures (above and below) were taken outside St. William's College, built in 1465 originally as a college for the chantry priests at the Minster, who prayed for their deceased benefactors.  Apparently drunkenness was a huge problem in those days, which so embarrassed the Minster officials, that they were given their own residence.

The stunning building is now owned by the council and is used for private hire, events and weddings. I had the pleasure of holding a dinner there some years ago and can tell you that it is gorgeous inside - with beautiful timbered walls and a fabulous staircase - though I didn't see the reputed ghost which allegedly walks the halls!

So onto our outfits for the day... Anne C is wearing a favourite boiled wool coat from Chesca which she has had for some time, but which is still available; teamed with black straight-legged jeans from Canadian designer Joseph Ribkoff, which is not easy to source in the UK (bought on a cruise).  Her handbag is from Betty Jackson at Debenhams, but is no longer available. Rose gold drop earrings from Simply Devine.

Anne H's outfit is a combination of a lot of tried and tested favourites, so apologies for being boring.  The coat was purchased in the Byondonline sale a couple of years ago and is style of cut she favours.  The jeans were purchased in the John Lewis sale and were featured on a previous post here.  The handbag is from All Saints and was a Christmas gift, while the snazzy boots are from Kurt Geiger and are the KG Spider boot, available in the sale. 

The scarf is from COS from a few years ago and the jumper dress is a recent COS sale purchase.  It has been a great buy for this chilly weather and is not too bulky for wearing under a coat.   

York Minster 

No visit to York would be complete without a stroll around the shops!  Anne H managed to find an outfit for a summer wedding, which will no doubt feature later in the year.   Stonegate is another lovely old street, which lies above an old Roman road.  Apparently it got its name as the street where the stone was carried up to the Minster during construction - brought in by river from limestone quarries in nearby Tadcaster.

The street became home to trades allied to the minster, including goldsmiths, glaziers and printers, later moving with the times to house apothecaries, corsets and breeches! 

Guy Fawkes is one of York's most famous sons, whom our British readers will know all about - but for our overseas visitors, he plotted to overthrow the government with the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 - still celebrated today on the 5th November - though goodness knows why we do, since he was a potential murderer!

A celebrated and skilled soldier, he was born in High Petergate in York - where his home still stands today as a small hotel and restaurant serving delicious traditional English food.
Red House Antique Centre
This stunning building is The Red House Antiques Centre in Duncombe Place, which was built in 1700, originally as a home for Sir William Robinson, the Lord Mayor of York.  Now an established business, occupying 3 floors with 10 showrooms with up to 60 dealers, it is a haven for antique and curio hunters. 

St Mary's Abbey ruins, York Museum Gardens

There are several museums in York, which as well as telling the amazing stories of the city, also have visiting exhibitions.  Check each website or the Visit York site for the full list.

Our favourite Museums to visit: 

The Chocolate Story, detailing the city's production of chocolate, Castle Museum, with its street of Victorian shops, the Jorvik (Viking) Centre - which re-opens in April following a devastating flood in 2015, the National Railway Museum (a must for train buffs), the Yorkshire Museum, and York Art Gallery.

Just a little bit about the Chocolate story - York was home to big brands such as Terry's, Rowntrees and Craven's. Rowntrees (pastilles, fruit gums, Yorkie bars, KitKat and Smarties) was bought by Nestle, and still has a production facility in York, while Terry's (All Gold, Chocolate Orange) was bought by the American Kraft Foods who closed down the factory and moved production to Eastern Europe, Belgium and Sweden. Cravens specialises in traditional sweets and was taken over by Cadbury's who then sold to Tangerine Confectionery, which makes Butterkist popcorn, Sherbert Fountain and Dib Dabs to name a few, and also has production facilities in York.

York Boat on the River Ouse 

York sits on the River Ouse, which flows from the River Ure in North Yorkshire to join up with the Ouse and the river Trent to form part of the Humber Estuary. York city centre is the subject of frequent flooding.  The Kings Arms next to the river, with its brick walls and simple decor records the flood levels each year - the worst being in December 2015, but river boat trips in good weather are also a must for the York visitor.

The 'Little Admiral' atop the clock at St Martin Coney Street 

Restaurants, bars and cafes can be found in abundance in York - too many to recommend. However, if you like something a little unusual for a coffee and a cake, try the Spurriergate Centre - the former St Michael's Church, now a centre offering counselling, prayer, shop, and a warm community spirit, which includes a cafe where the tables and chairs sit atop the gravestones of the long departed! (Probably worth a mention here that there are a number of ghost walk tours to be found in the city)!

We settled for brunch at Bill's Restaurant, with its quirky decor, delicious food and great atmosphere, where all the staff were exceptionally friendly! We're glad to see that they are expanding throughout the country with branches now in our local haunts in Leeds and Manchester.

Happy days!


Friday, 20 January 2017


Hello - Anne C here at the start of a brand new year - and definitely a new start for me in 2017!

This year I will be celebrating (?*?!) 46 years in the workplace - having begun my working life as a cub reporter on a local newspaper, moving into PR for a major blue chip company, then after taking redundancy, working as a freelance and taking temporary contracts.

At the end of 2016 for various reasons, I decided - at the age of 63 - that I wanted more out of life than just working in a corporate environment.  While I have certainly enjoyed much of the work I have done, I felt I had to do something less stressful, more fun, and most importantly, at my own pace, with more control over my lifestyle.

My dream as an 18 year old was to work in fashion journalism, but that never happened, and in hindsight was probably not a good idea for me then.  However, now I can be a little more creative and experimental, rather than conform to a certain way of dressing in suits!

Of course I still want to look smart but my plan is to have a little fun with fashion - and maybe I will make some mistakes along the way, but it's going to be fun trying out new styles.

Below are some of my first forays into a different way of dressing - and I'm not yet convinced I have got it right, but I'm going to enjoying trying out new looks.

This is my newest purchase from one of my favourite mail order catalogues, Kaleidoscope. Called a "coatigan" it is obviously a cross between a cardigan and a coat, and has been reduced in the sale. (New customers can also get an additional discount).  It is light but warm and comfortable to wear - slipping easily over a bulky bat-wing sleeves sweater, and in a camel colour with wine and black stripes, goes with virtually anything.

I have teamed it with stretchy stone chinos from M&S which I have had for ages, and a very thick poncho style cream sweater - which I will photograph at some point in the future.  The boots black suede with a rubber sole and heel are from last season but similar ones are available here.

The next outfit is a little more off the wall.  I work at the Knitting and Stitching show every year in Harrogate helping a friend with her business, and I have discovered a lovely stall called Emphasize selling unusual clothes.  I believe the owner has an actual shop in Essex, though he travels to shows throughout the country. Although originally it was for curvy ladies, he now has a range of clothes for all sizes - most of which are sourced from Italy, and I have been buying from him for a number of years. Unfortunately he doesn't have a website as he has only a few sizes in each item.

I am quite short (5'2") so not sure this looks right - but it is a two piece dress and top with a "balloon" hem.  The dress is full length but the oversize top is separate and can be worn over skinny jeans - and it hides a multitude of sins!

I love the funky outfit below - another full length dress, this time in red also with a balloon hemline, but worn with an unusual woolly tunic (affectionally called my Yeti outfit) which is short at the front and very long at the back.  This is also from Emphasize, and can be worn as separates with contrasting colours.

Finally, the red two-piece tunic set is from my good friend Liz at Simply Devine in Tadcaster (although primarily a hat and accessories store, she does have a few items of clothing) and features a long sleeved tunic with a sleeveless jacket over the top.  Maybe it would look better unzipped, but is really comfortable to wear over leggings, or with thick tights and knee-length boots.  I have teamed this time with slouchy ankle boots from Pavers from 2015 but similar ones still available here.

I will continue to do some freelance work and hopefully since we now have more than 1000 Instagram followers, both Anne and I will be able to spend more time on our style and travel blog, experimenting with our "look" and writing about the great places we visit!

Friday, 13 January 2017


Anne H here, wishing you all the best for 2017. This seems like the perfect time to share some of my sale finds and Christmas presents with you.There are still some great finds in the sales and I didn't even venture to the shops until the end of last week and was impressed by what was available.  I didn't go mad but deliberately looked to add to my wardrobe staples of jeans and jumpers to see me through the cold winter months.  

My first stop was to COS where I found this long line merino wool jumper dress for half price.  I already have this in navy and have had a lot of wear from it, so was happy to add black to the wardrobe, particularly as it was only £40.  To wear it as a tunic, as I have here, I think you need to be relatively tall (I am 5ft 9 inches) but if you are shorter and want to wear it as a dress with boots then it is a perfect piece.  

As I was in the new Victoria Gate centre in Leeds I then popped into the John Lewis store on the hunt for some new jeans.  I particularly wanted straight leg and need a good leg length as I don't like them to fall too short.  Another sale find awaited me with these fabulous DL 1961 Coco Curvy Straight Jeans which were reduced to £90 from £144.  Still not cheap, but I am sure I will get a lot of wear out of them and I loved the colour and fit.  I don't know about you, but finding the right jeans is a real challenge, so I am really chuffed when I find a brand that is new to me and I am comfortable with.  I have teamed this with some velvet boots borrowed from my daughter's wardrobe and a lovely Labradorite Silver Disc Necklace featuring a hammered disc with a labradorite stone from The White Company that daughter Lizzy bought me for Christmas.  This is also now in the sale for £44.50.  

As I was raiding Elizabeth's wardrobe I also borrowed this lovely coat from Jigsaw, which she also featured on her blog here .  It is called the Magdalena Double Wrap Coat and is still available to purchase, although sadly it is not in the sale.  I just love the beautiful redwood tone and big patch pockets. I wouldn't normally fit Lizzy's clothes but she often buys coats in a larger size to accommodate big jumpers - so fingers crossed for this falling into my wardrobe later in the year.  

Another Christmas present is featured here - yes, I did very well and was incredibly spoilt- this fabulous handbag is from All Saints and is the Lafayette Large shoulder bag in Prune which is also now in the sale for £166.  It also comes in Light Caramel and Black and as All Saints put it - it is slouchy yet sleek and although roomy, will transition from day to night with ease.  One thing that strikes me as I write about the Christmas presents is how soon they drop into the sales - which is really frustrating and rather makes me wonder about asking for an IOU to spend in the sales, but that does take away the excitement of opening presents on Christmas Day. 

Next up is another sale find from COS with this cream cable knit jumper that was £55, reduced from £79.  It is lovely warm merino wool with a wide cable pattern and is a decent length on the body, which I think is the most flattering as I hate jumpers that ride up over the waist-line. 

I have accessorised with this pretty, sparkly, scarf from M&S which was a present from a friend.  It doesn't appear to be available any longer, but M&S can always be relied upon to have a great range of scarves in all colours.  I like to use a scarf to break up a high neckline  like this as it breaks the line which I believe makes me look slimmer - hope I am not deluding myself here!  


Friday, 6 January 2017


Wishing all our blogger friends and followers a very Happy New Year for 2017.  We are approaching the first anniversary of our blogging and have taken thousands of photographs during the past year. Obviously we choose the most flattering, but since neither of us are professional models (it shows!) we have binned twice as many as we have used.

However, since we don't take ourselves too seriously, we thought we would share some of our bloopers with you - Anne H mostly pulls faces while Anne C has a tendency to blink at the wrong the time.

Struggling for balance, I think on this one..

No she really wasn't saying THAT word!

Oooh lala!

Not sure who took this shot but I think Anne was shouting orders out (and by the way those trousers really don't go with the top, and I'm not so sure about the shoes either!)

Blinking heck ... or maybe the sun was in her eyes!

Give us a twirl, Anne

Looking a little lost....

Yes Anne, we can see it's a Christmas tree bauble!

Happy New Year everyone!
© Sensational Baby Boomers

This site uses cookies from Google to deliver its services - Click here for information.

Blogger Template Created by pipdig