A couple of years ago, Ben and I started getting in to watching vloggers – mainly Disney ones, particularly Tim Tracker who is really the king of Orlando YouTubers. But we’ve recently begun to branch out our repertoire of vloggers, not only watching Disney ones, but also family, lifestyle and travel vlogs too. And while watching the travel ones recently, I realised something: we live in a really beautiful area with lots to see and do.
I mean, I kind of knew this before, but it’s become more and more apparent to me as I’ve got older that the place we live is not one to be taken for granted. Seeing other travel vloggers coming to North Yorkshire just to explore it at first surprised me – why would you come to my rainy, often dreary home?! But watching them look on in awe at the ancient walls of York or the green fields that I pass by in the car every single day, I realised that, really, I should be paying more attention to these things too rather than searching the rest of the world for beautiful things.
And so I’ve decided to try and use my maternity leave wisely. It’s a well known fact that most babies love being taken out in the fresh air for a walk, so I’d planned to do plenty of this anyway. But I’m now trying to plan those walks around different places, rather than just down to the market square of our town. I wanted to show off some of the places that you can easily get a baby to and around, whether you’re using a pushchair, pram or baby carrier. First up, Byland Abbey and the nearby village of Coxwold.
If you haven’t got the time or inclination to watch the video (because, don’t worry, I didn’t get videos before!), I’ll just go through a basic overview of Byland Abbey. These old ruins were once a pretty spectacular monastery, founded in 1135 and home to more than 30 monks, although they could apparently fit up to 100. It was once described as ” one of the three shining lights of the north”. If you have a stroller that’s made for the outdoors, you can easily get it around here on a good day – the grass is kept short, and you can get around much of the building avoiding steps and stones.
Today the Grade 1 listed building stands in ruins and is owned by English Heritage who maintain the property. There has recently been work to restore some of the Rose Window, which was the inspiration for the more famous Rose Window in nearby York Minster, and the main church area is currently fenced off for more restoration work to restore other windows and remove damaging vegetation. If you’re interested in seeing more views of the abbey, I’ve shared more photos here.
Once your walk around the abbey is over, you can pop into the tearoom across the road or into the nearby village of Coxwold. This has its own history that dates back nearly 1000 years – a quintessentially British village, with an ancient church, a disused station, an old pub, Shandy Hall – once home to novelist, Laurence Sterne – and Newburgh Priory, where we got married, just down the road. For a small North Yorkshire village, that’s a lot to see and do!
And finally, onto the outfit! This is another breastfeeding appropriate outfit with a pair of dungarees by a brand that are a fast favourite among nursing mamas: Lucy & Yak. I can’t remember where I first came across the brand, but I do know that my friend Charley absolutely adores them and that now I’m seeing them all over the internet. Not only are they fun to wear (who doesn’t love a good pair of dungarees?!) and excellent for breastfeeding access, they’re also a sustainable and ethical independent brand.
Lucy and Chris began selling tobacco pouches made from old clothes, followed by vintage clothing out of a travelling van called Yak, but their passion was to create their own designs, so they travelled the world in search of someone who could help them, and here’s where Ismail and his team of tailors comes in. From a first run of just 30 pairs of dungarees, designed, modelled (by Lucy herself) and photographed in India, to where they are today, everything has been working towards their core values of creating beautiful high quality clothing with fair working environments and pay for those involved in the creation and having a positive impact on the environment. They are very transparent with the entire process, from how their fabrics are created (which you can read about here) to what the factories they use are like – they’ve upgraded the working conditions with new factories that are clean, light and cool. All this really comes across with not only their clothing, but even the way it arrives – inside a biodegradable postage bag, you’ll find your dungarees wrapped in a beautiful material bag that is 100% recycled from old clothing and can be reused.
Striped Top: Collectif | Dungarees: Lucy & Yak | Trainers: Converse
So the big question – what do I think of my Lucy & Yaks? Honestly, I love them! I decided to take the plunge into purchasing my first pair when they had a “last chance to buy” sale. I was wary of paying full price for my first pair as I wasn’t sure they’d suit me – they’re quite different to my usual fitted style of clothing. But now I’ve tried one pair, I’m ready to go back for my next at full price. I think it’s important to support small businesses like this one by buying their products at the price they’re worth so that they can continue to sustain themselves – if no one bought the clothing at its full value, they wouldn’t be able to continue making them!
I’m finding the brown a little tricky to pair with other clothing, to be honest. This blue and white striped top works well, but any other ideas? I would have chosen a different colour – navy or black maybe – as a staple pair, but I do like these ones as a stylish piece. I’m excited to keep trying them out with different tops and layers…although I went very ruthless on my wardrobe this weekend, and I now have less than 15 tops to my name! I’m kind of starting again from scratch!