As you may know, for my day job I write for Skipton-based lifestyle magazine Aspire. It has a monthly circulation of 34k within Skipton and the surrounding areas and it’s a job I absolutely love. Each month, I am tasked with writing 6-8 features or promotions, plus a double page fashion spread and often, I’m lucky enough to be invited to review a restaurant. I edit almost everything else from contributing writers which includes legal, veterinary, gardening, interiors, travel, dental, beauty and health columns plus recipes and wine recommendations to name but a few. Because of this, I learn something new every day. Through my job, I have eaten at more pubs and restaurants than I could have imagined, traveled around the county and its neighbours and been a willing subject for accupressure, seated massage and reiki. I’ve met and interviewed many amazing local people, some promoting their business, some raising awareness for a charity and some who are simply remarkable enough to be featured just as themselves. From funeral directors to granola producers, kitchen designers to hairdressers, beauticians to opticians, I meet new people every month and it is brilliant.
I’ve had four appointments this week with people about whom I’ll be writing for our August issue.
One was at From the Source, an independent shop in Skipton specialising in eco-fashion and ethical gifts. The owner Paul is very kindly helping me with my fashion feature because it’s about eco-fashion and he knows so much. He’s remarkable because just last year, he lost his wife to cancer leaving him with their business and with their two little girls. He is, (I’d guess), younger than I am and I cannot begin to imagine his heartache, yet he carries on.
Another meeting was with an inspirational woman, Alice, who is fundraising by running numerous marathons in memory of her friend and work colleague who lost her life last year aged 38 to a brain tumour. She is well on target to raise £5k and along with more colleagues will complete the Three Peaks in September.
The third was with a mother of three Sarah, who had always dreamed of opening a sweet shop. Those sweet dreams came true but along with that came the nightmare that every parent dreads. Her middle child was diagnosed with leukaemia when he was 13. Thankfully he had a successful stem cell transplant and is now 16 and sat the same GCSE as my daughter on the day I met her. Of course she credits her friends and family with getting her through the dark days but feels her sweet shop gave her a much-needed focus. Who’d have though that sweets could save someone?
It’s amazing how many people go through truly life-changing experiences- the worst life-changing experiences- yet still they continue. And more often than not they are so generous. Paul generously gave his time to me to help with my feature, Alice gives so much time training for her fund-raising events and Sarah gave me three bags of sweets knowing there are three of us here at home and knowing my children, like hers, are sitting exams right now. I have thought of each of these people frequently since meeting and writing about them. They all live within a few miles of me and I am humbled and grateful, (for my precious family), in equal measures.
My fourth meeting was actually a working lunch at The Hedgerow, a gorgeous florist and cafe in the Dales village of Threshfield. I went with the other two members of team Aspire, Danielle (sales) and Jane (owner/director). Yes, there are only three of us plus our graphic designer and our HQ is Jane’s spare room.
My dress is several years old but I love it as much as I did when it was new. The colour, the mix of broderie anglasie and the scalloped hemline tick every box for me.
My earrings are by Danon and from my online boutique, Lizzy O. They are set with a Swarovski crystal and can be worn just as the crystal stud.
We sat among the flowers and gifts and had afternoon tea and Prosecco before I interviewed the lovely owners, mother and daughter Wendy and Heather. It was a treat for all of the senses.
It’s been a fascinating few days and I know I’ll never tire of saying I love my job.
Love Liz x
Red broderie Anglaise dress, Boden past season.
Snake print wedge sandals, Clarks, past season
*Red leather soft clutch bag, Kaleidoscope, £32
Double star ring in matt gold (also available in silver) £25 by Danon at Lizzy O
T-bar heart and freshwater pearl bracelet, £49, Danon at Lizzy O
Swarovski crystal ear jackets, £29 Danon at Lizzy O