Supporting small businesses

As you probably know, small businesses, especially those that haven’t been open for a year, are struggling at the moment. I’m also acutely aware that many people can’t afford to support them, but if you can, please do.

I had saved up to go on holiday this year, and as that’s not going to happen, I’m using that money to treat myself and support small businesses in the process. I wanted to write a post about these great people, in part because I feel helpless, and because they are awesome and spreading the word about them can only be good!

Plush is a wonderful cafe in York with three quirky rooms and an array of vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options. You can support them by ordering gift vouchers to treat your friends and give them something to look forward to. They also have an online store filled with cute homeware, beauty accessories and more. I particularly love this lamp!

And who knew a plant mister could be so cool!

Little Red Tarot has long been favourite place for tarot decks, oracle decks and related books. I recently treated myself to The Wooden Tarot and am enjoying getting to know it. She also has an online tarot course with 50% of profits going to Safety4Sisters.

I have not managed to get an online food shop which is frustrating but not essential as I am mostly tube fed. However, I do like wine and not being able to get any would be the same as most people not being able to get food they love. Yes I can live without it but it brings me joy, and flavour. Enter Field and Fawcett who are based in York but offer delivery.

Fox Lane Books have a stall at so many events I attend and I always look forward to seeing them and treating myself. With those events cancelled, they obviously aren’t able to attend and sell books. However, they have a great selection of books online, including signed copies! I am currently reading Cursed Britain and would highly recommend it. One of the things I really like about Fox Land Books is that they have books that I’ve not come across before and there’s a section for Kirstie’s favourite fiction which is a lovely personal touch.

Portal is an LGBTQIA bookshop based in York but offering online orders. There are so many interesting looking books including fiction, non fiction and poetry. I can personally recommend A Court of Thorns and Roses and Crooked Kingdom and am looking forward to working my way through more of their incredible looking selection. They also offer vouchers.

Before the lockdown, I was supposed to be getting a tattoo. Whilst it has been postponed, Vera Ickler, like many tattoo artists, is now offering prints and original artwork. Whilst my leg will remain inkless for a while, there is not need for my walls to!

Other ways you can support small businesses includes shopping on etsy, folksy and not on the high street. And there are of course many charities which need additional support right now.

Some recipes with your poetry?

Writing prompts


No bread and honey

To the family name, just

Granma’s bees, now Dad’s.



A hello today

Marking tomorrow’s goodbye





Equations untying pasts,

Predicting futures

Bit of a plug:

This weekend I went to the Women’s Holiday Centre in Horton in Ribblesdale. The house is an amazing women’s only space which really feels like home.  They charge on a sliding scale to keep it affordable and the cost includes the food that’s kept in the house (all vegetarian) and available for you to prepare meals with.  It’s about a 7 minute gentle walk from a train station and is nestled at the foot of Pen-y-Ghent.  It’s brilliant!  Go along on your own, with a friend or book the whole house like we did.

Whilst I was there, I also booked into a creative writing workshop as the one I did last year was wonderful. Really supportive, inspiring and positive.

Recipes from weekend

The weekend really played into the part of me that likes to cook for people.  ‘Recipes’ may be stretching it a bit but here you go…

Bananajacks (vegan)
A cross between banana bread and flapjack, hence the name!  In a pan, gently heat three handfuls of chopped dates with two handfuls of brown sugar. Once they start to melt together add six chopped bananas. Once melted into a sticky smoothish mix add as many oats as the mix will take. Bake in a greased tray in a preheated oven (180) for 15-20 mins.

Chocolate brownie (vegan)
Make this recipe but I would replace the sugar with brown sugar (I’m really rubbish at fully following recipes but brown sugar makes it stickier). If you can, add chocolate chips.  Once cool, ice with a fudgy buttercream chocolate topping – two tablespoons of (vegan) butter, 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder, a teaspoon of so of (soya/oat) milk and keep adding icing sugar until it’s fairly thick and stiff and when you taste test it, it doesn’t taste too greasy.

Chickpea, lentil and spinach curry (vegan)
70g red lentils per person
80g chickpeas per person
Lots of spinach
Per person, roughly: half a clove of garlic, half a teaspoon of… turmeric, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, ground coriander, garam masala, tiny amount of chilli powder (tip of a spoon)
Lemon juice
Fresh coriander

Fry garlic, turmeric, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, ground coriander, ground cumin, chilli powder into a paste. Stir in lentils. Add water to cover lentils. Keep stirring. After five minutes add chickpeas. You might need to add more water as the lentils absorb it. Once the lentils have cooked down (15-20 mins after putting them on), taste it. It might need a pinch of salt or some more cumin or coriander. Stir in spinach. It will wilt down a lot so you’ll need more than you think. Stir through a splash of lemon juice and some fresh chopped coriander.

Serve with rice, chapattis and yoghurt.  Reheats and freezes well.