Everything to do with my local town.

Newton-le-Willows Heritage Trail Grand Opening


Exciting Few Days

OK, so just a little diary entry today as over the last few days we have had some lovely and exciting news come our way.

Firstly my fab work friend told me she was expecting another baby… I couldn’t be more thrilled for her. I am not particularly a baby person myself, but oh to revel in the joy of someone else’s good news is, in itself joyous.

Also I went to my 3rd Viaduct Violets (Women’s Institute) meeting and we had SUCH a good night. There was a talk from the Mayoress of St Helens about the history of the WI, which was just inspiring.

Then we had a talk from a guy that owns his own chocolate shop in Tarpoley. He told us about the history of chocolate and demonstrated how to make chocolate hedgehogs!

At the WI today we watched these little guys get made. ??

A post shared by Lavender Lemonade (@lavlem) on

We had a brilliantly funny night and we even had a group photo taken!


Can you spot me?

But the most exciting news we have had is that our most lovely friend Miss Elizabeth Fox is coming to the UK in June/July for a holiday and *drum roll* is coming to see us!!! I honestly couldn’t be more thrilled. She is one of the nicest people I have ever met and as Alabama and Newton-le-Willows aren’t exactly around the corner from each other, we don’t get to see each other as often as we would like.

In fact, in the last 10 years or so, we have only seen her 3 times in person. The last time was in 2015 when she came as part of her France trip, we had a fab time:

Hurry up June!!

James & M in 2014

But to take it back to the start of the week, the first amazing thing that happened  was that one of our other American friends James turned 50 and so in the middle of an ordinary Monday afternoon M got to call his friend in Alabama and wish him a Happy Birthday. Isn’t technology wonderful.

So all in all it was an happy few days.

G x


Feeling a little better

Today is Wednesday and I think the foggy fog of illness has finally lifted. Both M and I have been poorly for the last few weeks and we are frankly sick of it! My intention was to actually go into work today, but when I woke up my body was doing this:

Which as you can see is gross. So I have spent the day resting and even had a lovely visit from my dad. Ace.

I always hate the first couple of months of the year, but thankfully things seem to be whizzing by and I noticed today that buds have appeared on the tree at the bottom of our garden – now that is a sign of lovely times ahead.

Also, I went to my second meeting of the WI* last night and we had such a lovely night. I went along with Tilly (who you can also find at Lavender Lemonade) and we were treated to a talk about the history of hairdressing by a local legend. Some parts of the talk were as daft as they were funny – but there was no doubt it was entertaining. The best bit by far, were the lovely ladies that attended. Everyone was so friendly and we such a giggle. Long may that continue.

Right then, I’ve a little more Downton Abbey to watch before M comes home from work and I will have to go and make sure I have got clean clothes ready for work!!

G x

* The Women’s Institute in Newton-le-Willows is actually called the Viaduct Violets. We meet the 3rd Tuesday in every month at St Patrick’s Social Club here:

Membership is £39 for the year or if you just want to come along and see what you think, a visitor membership is £4. You just have to be over 18 and female.


Lactose Intolerance – Week 3 Update

So, I blogged a couple of weeks ago, that I had recently discovered I was Lactose Intolerance, and I just wanted to let you know how it was going. The good news is, it’s going well.

The doctor told me to basically cut out all lactose  and then re-introduce certain things to see what I could or couldn’t tolerate. So I didn’t have any cow’s milk for 2 weeks and then last weekend, we went to Costa Coffee. I hadn’t had much to eat and so we decided to have a sandwich, which was a problem. EVERY sandwich, without fail had cheese on it and without an alternative, I decided to give one of them ago. I had a sausage sandwich with cheese on top with a cup of tea with skimmed milk.

On the ride home from Tesco I started to feel a little unwell and then within 30 minutes of getting home I was running to the loo. So what was the culprit?

  • The Cheese?
  • The Milk?
  • The Flapjack?

Oh didn’t I say, I had a flapjack too, which had dried fruit in it. Any of the 3 could have caused me to be poorly, I am tempted to avoid all in future to be safe.

But apart from the Costa incident, I have been free of any issues. I’ve basically stopped having all sorts of milk containing products and so far so good. I have also started trawling through different supermarkets for dairy free alternatives, concentrating initially on M&S and Tesco.

Faves so far

Marks & Spencer: Coconut Cream Dessert 

Amazing Flavour, like eating a frozen bounty bar (without the chocolate).

M&S Made without Dairy

Tesco: Lactose Free Milk 

These long life Lactose Free milk pods have allowed me to still enjoy a cafe at the weekend.










Actually so far the Arla Lactose Free milk is my favourite in tea. I’ve tried both Soy Milk (yuk) and Almond Milk (ok) in my brew, but the Lactose Free is the winner. Michael was very ver lovely and got me Oat Milk and Rice Milk from M&S to try, so I will give them a go over the weekend and let you know how I get on.

Finally,  I just wanted to say a huge thank you to Janine from ChouxChouxbedo for being to helpful and sending me lots of information and suggestions for alternatives as well as the lovely Jane, who is also LI and had a million suggestions and top tips! My favourite being that larger coffee shops that do Soy Lattes, don’t have LF milk out on their “milk & sugar” table, but apparently they will lob a bit of soy in your tea on request. Brilliant – pity it’s a bit minging!

I would LOVE  to hear if you guys have some tips or anything dairy or lactose free that you’ve discovered. Let me know in the comments, or you can email me via my contact page.


G x



Sankey Valley Walk

Today has been a lovely day in the Lysons household, despite the fact that my lovely husband M, is really not very well. He has in fact had a lingering coughy/cold thing for the last 3 weeks and this weekend the cough is doing it’s best to interfere with all our best laid plans.

However, after a little day of rest yesterday, we decided to get out and about today and go for a walk. We were toying with the idea of having a walk around Carr Mill Dam, but then we saw a tweet from our local councillor who was out along the Sankey Canal in Newton-le-Willows filming with a Google 360 camera and we had a change of mind.

We have lived in N-le-W for a couple of years and have ventured along the canal before, but not for a while. So we thought, why not?! We parked here:

There is a postcode on Google Maps, but we found that this didn’t work very well. BUT, if you use the postcode WA12 8RA  and that should take you close enough to pick up the brown sign which should point your right at the car park.

The car park is without facilities, but is free and right next to the very pretty and recently renovated bridge over the canal:

A photo posted by Jeanie Bell (@jeaniebeanieb) on

So we crossed over the bridge and walked as far as we could to the right, and even made it past the Nine Arches bridge. It was lovely to see all the paths much wider and settled since the last time we went and we had the most brilliant little walk. It was bloody FREEZING and we both had to wrap up, but I think I have said before, never the wrong weather, only the wrong clothes!

Anyway, we ended up walking a couple of miles:

and finished the day with a toastie at Costa Coffee. Brilliant.

So if you are looking for a little walk, I can really recommend the canal walk. Large paths and free parking, what more could you need? A little local jewel.
G x


I joined the Women’s Institute!!


I have pondered joining the WI for a little while as one started up in Haydock, where I used to live. It was a few years ago and for reasons I can no longer remember I just never got around to going. But I thought about it.

But my lovely friend Tilly sent me a message before Christmas to say that there was a WI starting up in N-le-W and did I fancy going. Now as it turned out I was working for the very first get together, so I had to say a sad no. However, utter joy as the real formation meeting was held last night at St Patrick’s social club and we decided to go along. I don’t mind telling you I was a bit nervous and put a shout out on Twitter to see if anyone else I knew was going, and lo and behold – there were a couple of the lovely ladies of Newton that were planning to go along.

Twitter has been a wonderful thing for me as it’s introduced me to a lovely community of people who have been just so welcoming and helpful.

So with the knowledge that there would be a few friendly faces, Tilly and I rocked up to be immediately greeted by such happy, smiling faces. We paid our fee and sat down on a table with one of the lovely ladies I sometimes talk to on Twitter. There ended up being a table of 7 of us and I  had a fab night. There was cake, a daft table game and lots of friendly chatter. The most splendiferous Cllr Jeanie Bell gave us an inspirational speech, which was both shocking and uplifting in equal measures.

She talked about many things, but in particular she talked about us being role models for the young girls in our town and I couldn’t agree more. Working with young people for a job and especially in St Helens, I would much rather people looked at the kind deeds, volunteering, strength and hard work that goes on by the women around them than anything else.

But back to the meeting. It started around 7:15ish and finished around 9pm. It went SO quick and it seems like they have lots planned for us over the next 12 months. I can’t wait.

G x

p.s. at the end of the meeting, the girls around my table all quietly admitted that we had been nervous about coming along…. but by that time, we sort of felt in it together, what a relief…..


Ok full disclosure – I don’t love exercise, I wish I did, but I don’t. I don’t do gyms and I haven’t yet found an exercise class that floats my boat. But I do love a walk. We had a dog until 2013 and lived in Haydock at the time and I knew EVERYWHERE to walk, but since I’ve lived in Newton I just don’t know the good places..

So I have a challenge to all the lovely people of N-le-W, I would love to hear your favourite places to go for a wander. Local or further afield….I really don’t mind… GO!!

G x



Being a shy show off

Me in 2008

I think that over a period of time I have realised I am a shy showoff. I have a blog and a YouTube Channel and only 2 weeks ago, I spent an entire afternoon walking around Newton Town Show asking strangers to dance in order to make a parody music video. Everyone was lovely, most people said yes and I did have a great afternoon.

For 7 years I taught ICT and this of course involves delivery classes to lots of groups of people and then more recently, my job involves giving many speeches to invited guests as well as speaking to groups of young people on a daily basis. So I do have experience of public speaking and of putting myself out there. But the confidence is made, not natural.

When I was a kid, I was very quiet and my mum would say to people all the time, “just leave her, she is happier just watching”. In fact, I remember being forced into going to a birthday party when I was about 10. The party was at a local social club and was for a friend of my younger sister. I felt very out of place as everyone else was a couple of years younger than me. When the magician on the the stage asked for volunteers and  for everyone to sit still, I remember sitting with crossed arms trying to look as uninterested as possible to slip under his radar… of course, he picked me. Mortification.

As I grew up, I was picked to play The Wicked Witch in a school production of The Wizard of Oz and then Snow White the year after. But I was still very quiet. In senior school, I had friends, but I doubt anyone would remember me – I just kept to myself and plodded through everyday. There was one pivotal moment though in music class, where Mrs Kelly was asking for volunteers to be in a drama and music production. I just couldn’t muster the courage to give it a go. I do feel that was a huge and defining, missed opportunity.

In 2016 I now have a YouTube channel which does mean I have to film in public and people often stare at me, I am sure wondering what the hell I am doing. The vlogging world hasn’t reached some  people and they can launch their WTF face at me regularly. It can be so embarrassing, especially in a public place to put yourself out there and do a thing that may draw all kinds of unwanted attention. I really have to tell myself that they will look at me for a second and then I will (probably) never see them again.

Of course, being on camera can dent my self confidence as I don’t always like what I see in the viewfinder. I am also perhaps 10-15 years older than some of the amazing vloggers that I watch and whilst my age is irrelevant to me – it’s hard not to compare.

In social situations, I often force myself to go and say hello to people, because otherwise I would stand in a corner avoiding eye contact (I have done this at many a meeting where I was supposed to be networking). I am very friendly, but find it hard to make friends – I guess no matter how confident I try to be, the shy part of me, is always a bit worried you don’t like me.

I saw Louise Pentland from Sprinkle of Glitter say something at VidCon that really resonated with me. She noted that she used to always say very negative things about the way she looked to herself, like looking in a mirror and thinking that she looked disgusting. She thought that she looked awful and everyone else looked amazing. I am sure a lot of us can relate. She tries now to NOT think or say nasty things about herself as she recognised that if one of her friends said it, she would immediately jump to defend. Good advice.

I am not the thinnest, most beautiful or perfectly moral person in the universe, but I do the best I can. I should eat less chocolate and exercise more, blah blah, but I try not to less my dress size define me. I try to be happy, but I do have bad moods and I try to be helpful, but honestly, sometimes I can’t be arsed.

I am a friendly person, with very few friends and I am working on that. I have been hurt so much, that it’s hard for me to know when to trust people – but I hope that doesn’t define me.

So my blog and vlogs are a way to express myself and in some ways I don’t care if people watch, as the creativity is the thing for me.  I find where I live now a very friendly place and certainly the Newton peeps on Twitter are so lovely and supportive. Yes, there are a million blogs and twice as many vloggers, but if I post something that either entertains and provides useful information to a few people, then that will be my legacy. Unless I accidentally cure cancer of course. Here’s hoping.

Gill x