Based in Todmorden in the hills of West Yorkshire, Emma Lavelle is a freelance travel and lifestyle writer, photographer and content creator.
She’s a fierce advocate for slow lifestyle and her online journal, Field and Nest, covers simple and seasonal living, sustainable style, slow travel and regular updates on what she’s reading. Her photographic work evokes a soft, dreamy aesthetic, with a focus on nature, travel and self-portraiture. Earlier this year she launched Seasons, a series of mini print publications celebrating seasonal living, showcasing her photography and musings on enjoying a slower pace of life. She is also a regular contributor to publications including Stylist, Hotel Weekend, Rucksack and Planet Mindful.
As today’s My North guest Emma shares her favourite local creatives, shops, eateries and outdoor spaces that offer her the chance to slow down and truly appreciate her surroundings, authentically engage, and form meaningful, lasting connections.
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Favourite author? One of my favourite writers, Lara Williams, is based in Manchester. Her debut novel, Supper Club, was one of my favourite books of last year, and she also has a collection of short stories (Treat) and contributed to Outsider, a volume of short stories that I devoured this summer.
Favourite photographer? The Melias (James and Jo) are incredible photographers, based quite close to where I live. Their photography is just magical, and I often find myself lost in their Instagram feeling inspired.
Favourite artist? Java Bere is a talented illustrator living in the next town to me – her online shop sells a combination of her prints and cards, vintage finds and beautifully crafted homeware.
Most read blog? I love reading Jessica Rose Williams’ blog – she covers a lot of the same subjects as me (slow travel and simple living in the countryside) but also focuses her content on her beautiful cottage and her capsule wardrobe. I particularly enjoy her posts about moving to the countryside, as I made the move around the same time that she did.
Favourite shop? I work part-time as the Creative Content Manager for Altrincham-based interiors store Rose & Grey, so it makes sense that they are one of my favourite places to shop! Even if I didn’t work there, they’d be my go-to place for homeware – their velvet sofas, rattan cabinets and fun vases are my favourites. I also love browsing for gifts or treating myself at Form in Manchester’s Northern Quarter – it’s impossible to leave this shop empty handed! I’m a huge bookworm, and one of my favourite places to browse books is the bookshop in Salt’s Mill in Saltaire. I can lose myself for hours in there.
Most frequented arts venue? I love spending time at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, as I find it so interesting how the art contrasts or compliments the natural landscapes that surround it. I also love spending as much time outdoors as possible, so it suits me more to wander around the countryside in wellies enjoying art.
Favourite fashion brand? Nadinoo is one of my favourite slow fashion brands. Although Nadia is currently based in Oakham, where she has a studio and shop selling her beautifully designed garments, when I first met her she was based in Manchester’s Craft & Design Centre. I’ve been following Nadinoo online for years – I remember her printed dresses from back when I first started blogging. She now focuses on Shibuiwear – simple, oversized garments with subtle details.
Yakumama do a Big Colombian Brunch on a Sunday and it’s just magnificent – arepa, fried plantain, avocado, their own spicy beans and three amazing sauces.
Lazy weekend brunch spot? One thing I really, really miss this year is going for brunch in Manchester. I think brunch is my favourite meal of the day, but I’m vegetarian and also don’t eat eggs so it’s tricky finding the perfect brunch spot. Trove in Ancoats do a banging vegan brunch, as does The Koffee Pot. Closer to home, Yakumama do a Big Colombian Brunch on a Sunday and it’s just magnificent – arepa, fried plantain, avocado, their own spicy beans and three amazing sauces.
Restaurant for a celebration? My favourite place to eat out is conveniently located at the bottom of my street, inside my favourite local building. Yakumama is located inside the Old Co-op building in the centre of Todmorden, and is known for its delicious all-veggie menu. The rotating menu offers a selection of Latin America-inspired small plates – we usually get one of each to share. The drinks menu features a good selection of cocktails, organic wine and craft beers, and it’s just a great atmosphere inside.
Signature drink order? You will usually find me sipping a decaf espresso martini by the side of the canal in the small beer garden of Nan Moor’s in Todmorden. My friends opened the bar at the beginning of this summer, and it’s already become my favourite place to head for a drink. I also love the Fox & Goose in Hebden Bridge for a cosy glass of wine by the fire and the Golden Lion in Todmorden for watching bands and DJs with a gin and tonic in hand (oh, the memories!)
Staycation spot? My boyfriend’s family have a cottage in Kirkby Lonsdale, on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales, so we find ourselves staying there often. I love seeking out wild swimming spots or going on long hikes in the Dales or the Lakes while we’re there. I also have a soft spot for Morfa Nefyn on the Llyn Peninsula of Wales. I love camping there, wandering down to the Ty Coch Inn for a glass of wine and to watch the sun set in the evening – and enjoying a refreshing swim in a hidden little bay with crystal clear water.
Next trip? We’re heading to Northumberland and the Scottish borders for the first time at the end of November. I’m excited to explore an area I haven’t visited before. I haven’t really spent much time on the east coast, so I’d love to just enjoy the scenery and go on some long coastal walks. I’m also hoping to spend a night in Kielder Forest to admire the night sky.
All imagery © Emma Lavelle, used with permission.