Thursday, 17 May 2018

The Way We Shop

I hadn't realised how long it had been since I last posted on here <hangs head shamefully> and apologies that my first post on here in a while is a wordy one - but I was watching the breakfast news this morning and they were reporting on the story about Mothercare and it got my brain ticking so much so I felt compelled to come on here and jot.

50 Mothercare shops are to close, with the potential loss of 800 jobs. Something the newsreader said made me question everything I (possibly naively) thought about the retail world.   The example related to expectant parents choosing a pushchair - they go in to the physical store, garner the knowledge and expertise of the staff, test out the pushchair, wheel it around for a bit, see if it fits in their car and then leave empty handed and purchase it from another retailer online that doesn't have a bricks and mortar shop...

It shocked me. I knew people did it, but hearing it still made me pause mid porridge mouthful and stare at the TV. It dawned on me the enormity these actions were now having.

The change in peoples shopping habits over the last few years seems to now be physically manifesting itself on our High Streets/Town Centres and there's no doubt it is going to change the face of retail forever, possibly irrevocably, and I'm interested to know what the long term impact of this might be.  Could those who've never shopped like this soon be indirectly forced to shop this way by the actions of the majority?

 A million thoughts and questions are now whirring round my head and I'm struggling to make sense of it all...  Are shops now transitioning in to 'showrooms'?  A place where people 'try before they buy'?  Does everyone shop this way now? Is it generational? What will the future of the high street and the towns they are in look like? Will we miss the shops if they go or are they now surplus to requirement? etc etc etc

I've always been a 'physical shopper' - I love the whole shopping experience; the atmosphere, the social interaction, and let's be honest, the instant gratification and thrill of walking out of a shop with a bag of goodies. On the other hand, I also completely understand the convenience of buying online.  In our time pressured lives we don't always have the luxury of 'browsing'.  Our schedules are hectic and physically going in to a shop in town can take 10 times as long as clicking a button.  But then you have to wonder whether receiving the knowledge of an expert and road testing something before you buy it means in the long run it is worth taking the time to visit the retailer and buy it from them. If they weren't there, what would you do?

Something I notice in my day to day 'shop life' is that although a town centre doesn't solely revolve around shops, cafes and restaurants, these places provide an invaluable asset to the community as a whole.  For some people, going in to a shop is sometimes the only social interaction they may get on a regular basis.  Similarly, for many of those who work in retail, they choose to do it because they love face to face human contact. They love passing on their knowledge and helping people make a decision that's right for them. What a sad world we would live in if we were to lose this.

I am hopeful that we will never get to a point where towns only have empty shops, but this change in direction certainly makes me worry that we might be heading the wrong way down a one way street. 


Your response to my Instagram Stories poll has been enlightening, thank you!

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Nora's Bigger Nest


The first hit...

At the beginning of January this year, we embarked on an exciting new chapter for Nora's!

Following a good few years of 'ummming' and 'ahhhing' we decided to extend the size of the shop by knocking through in to what was our store room!

Several months of planning, four weeks of building work (plus a significant amount of dust) later, we're beyond excited to bring you a sparkly new Nora's!

Here are a few pictures of our journey from the start...

 We hope you like the bigger space we have created and we're really looking forward to welcoming you all!

Our Store Room (looking tidier than ever before...)

The wall coming down...

Building the floor up

Ceiling lowered and new stud wall
Almost done...!
Ta Dah!


So there we go. The next chapter begins...

Thursday, 26 February 2015

A Winter White Wedding

Let me start by saying that Colin and Suzanne are an amazing couple.  They have been customers and friends of Nora's since we opened, they have helped us grow, both professionally and personally and anyone who has met them knows that they are the definition of lovely! So, when they asked us last year if we would help them decorate their wedding, we jumped at the chance to be a part of their most special of days.

Their brief was simple...'lights and candles' being the main thing (clearly they shared our passion/obsession for twinkles!) and Suzanne wanted to stick to a classic palette of white and cream for the flowers.

They had chosen the stunning setting of The Priory Church of St Mary & St Cuthbert in Bolton Abbey to become husband and wife, with a celebration to follow at The Devonshire Arms Country Hotel down the road from the church.

Bolton Abbey Priory Church has always been one of my favourite churches, I always feel full of love when I'm in there, plus the surroundings are pretty magical! We sometimes take for granted what is right on our doorstep don't we?

Candles in clear glass holders were used down either side of the aisle of the church to emphasise the dreamy, magical atmosphere -  we used a traditional teardrop shape for the pew ends at the head of the aisle and the alter arrangements at the front were in a soft yet structured style.  All featured mini white stallion chrysanthemums, beautiful cream Bianca roses and natural looking greenery to complete the contemporary but classical look Suzanne and Colin wanted.


Now, my Mum doesn't do a lot of trumpet tooting so I'm going to do it for her!  She qualified as a florist when I was a little girl and I can't tell you how much I love to watch her work.  Anyone who has seen a florist working on bridal flowers will know what I mean, it's mesmerising! Immensely intricate, delicate fingers gently creating a stunning miniature display.  Each rose is pinned in shape, each leaf wired and then arranged like magic so it looks effortless!  

Suzanne's bouquet was a formal posy of gorgeous Bianca Roses, Hypericum Berries and white Veronica.  Her bridesmaid (and beautiful daughter!) Melissa had a mini version of her mum's bouquet (but without the veronica flower.) 

Button holes for the chaps were a single rose framed with ivy and dotted with hypericum. 

The celebration room at The Devonshire Arms was a dream to decorate! Lots of ways to feature lights and candles! 

The C & S carnival lights were probably my favourite thing to do and were a total surprise for Colin and Suzanne, always a risk to do something unexpected, but thankfully they loved them!  


The centerpiece table arrangements again featured Bianca roses from the bridal flowers, stallion chrysanthemums, eucalyptus, ruscus and hypericum berries to complete the look and these surrounded a ribbed glass candle holder. 

We wrapped battery powered lights that looked like roses through some pretty french ruscus around the pillars in the centre of the room and hung heart shaped lights from the walls. 

Colin and Suzanne chose lots of special touches to make the day truly memorable, our favourite things were the individual 'Who's sitting here?' name tags they did for their guests - we decorated the crisp white napkins with a midnight blue satin bow (to match the bridesmaids dress) and a spring of fresh Rosemary (the smell from this humble herb in the room was incredible!) and tied on each tag as their place setting.

Mr & Mrs Watson

We're so honoured and proud that our first full 'Nora's Wedding' was for Mr & Mrs Watson! 
*Wishing you lifetime filled with love, laughter and happiness!*

Monday, 30 June 2014

Tour on t'bikes


This weekend God's own County plays host to the start of the greatest cycling event in the world.
Stages One and Two of the 'Tour de France' is coming to Yorkshire on
We've got some fun (and tasteful) mementos of this once in a lifetime event! Here's a selection of our favourites...
One Man & His Bike'
Limited Edition Map Print
Features a typical Yorkshire countryside themed silhouette with a chap on his bike bringing up the rear!
£50.00 unframed
Our bestselling tea towel!
Taken from a 1947 Ordnance Survey Map of Ilkley
Two prints from local designers commemorating the two stages of the Grand Depart. (The men on bikes are imaginatively made from different letters of the alphabet!)
£32.00 each unframed
Finally (after years of hounding!) the Yorkshire version of these fantastic Type Maps is now available!
£45 unframed
We love everything about the two bicycle obsessed chaps on this tea towel!  Can you feel the tension?
Two more cycling prints for bike lovers!
One is an anglo french amalgamation for the Tour and the other a fantastic quote from Fausto Coppi.
£32.00 each unframed 

Our little shop in Ilkley will be closed over the weekend of the 5th July & 6th July but we will be open until 7pm on Friday 4th July and we're also offering *FREE DELIVERY* on our website over the weekend. Just use code 'BIKES'

Monday, 3 March 2014

A Northern Light

Isn't it amazing how lighting can transform a room?  

I'm a great lover of lamps and candles and how a few carefully positioned ones can create a cosy and relaxed atmosphere especially in a living room or bedroom. I have lamps everywhere in my house and we very rarely use 'the big light' - drives my other half mad when it comes to bedtime and they all have to be turned off! 

I've always struggled to find beautiful lampshades and lamps that look just as lovely turned off as they do on, but when I saw these stunning illustrated parchment paper lamps, my heart skipped a beat.


Woodland Table Lamp - £56.00

Claire Humphreys is a Northern Lass born and bred, and her love of drawing and painting began at a very early age.  In recent years she took up graphic design, merging this with her hand illustrations she started to create unique and atmospheric images that initially were sold as cards, stationery and prints.  After several years of research her 'prints' were turned in to the most amazing lamps we've seen in a very long time! 

Claire's amazing lamps and candle covers have just arrived at Nora's - we're a little bit giddy about bringing them to you.   

Wild Hare Tall Lamp - £65.00


Candle Covers - £20.00