Nicky Valantine, aged 45, was born in Burncross and moved to Grenoside when she married her teenage sweetheart. She remembers a happy childhood, but her mum died when Nicky was seven. She only began to accept the hidden effects of loss when diagnosed with post-natal depression after her daughter was born – which is one of the many issues she now helps others conquer through coaching. She left school at 16 to join Debenhams on a YTS, before spending 24 years with the civil service. She volunteered for redundancy at 42, retraining as a performance coach, training and styling inspiring people to achieve a balanced life.
I’m no music buff, more a ‘best of’ person, but I love the buzz of the Tramlines music festival, which brings people together to dance, have fun and create lifelong memories. My favourite memory was Reverend and the Makers playing on Devonshire Green in the rain. It was the first time I’d let my daughter do this kind of thing on her own and we met up later. She was soaking wet and still smiling. Not sure if she liked the music, but she loved the atmosphere and the freedom. It’s Sheffield at its best.
My son and I usually call on the way to visit my sister. We get out his bike or scooter and walk along the path towards the play area, divert to feed the ducks, and stop at the runners’ warm-up area and try the equipment! I grab a coffee at the café before we hit the play area. Of course, I join in on the swings and roundabout!
I’ve just found Cocoa Wonderland in Ecclesall Road and I’m in love! The window is tempting enough, then you step in and the smell is divine! The chocolate selection is amazing and when you go in the back, it’s what I’d imagine sitting in back parlour to be like. The hot chocolate is delicious.
What a mix, shops, bars, cafés… and now M & S! Last summer I enjoyed eating at the Graze Inn and shopping at Lizziz. It’s all a change from my first trip 20+ years ago when I’d only look in the window of Alicia Kite and go to Pizza Hut! Now you can buy cards from The Design Studio, wander towards Sharrowvale Road where you can have cup cakes in Fancie and then pop into the lovely Tiara for a special gift. The lady is so helpful and creative.
Cole Brothers/John Lewis
While I enjoy the delights of Meadowhall, my heart belongs to Cole Brothers, or John Lewis as we know it today. I’ve gone there from being a young girl, always treated to cake with my grandma. As a teenager, I bought my own coffee and quiche with my first wages from a Saturday job. The team know their stock, give great advice and serve you well, which is really important to me as a personal stylist.
I was introduced via a friend who told me it was very different to what I call sports centre yoga. Kundalini yoga is ‘the yoga of awareness’. I go to the awesome Shaura at Yoga Love. After a busy week helping others by personal and team coaching and, of course, being a mum, it’s a time to rebalance and reconnect. If someone had told me two years ago I would be combining bodily movement, breath and mantra, in a group and enjoying it, I would have said ‘no way!’
The food at this Richard’s Smith restaurant in Crosspool is perfect every time and the service is spot on. There is a warm buzz about the place that lends itself to meeting the needs of large group to an intimate two.
Elsecar Heritage centre
Living in north Sheffield, the centre is not far away. Over the years it’s grown from steam railway station, museum, antique centre and café to add bespoke shops and Playmania indoor play centre, which serves homemade food and great coffee. I’ve spent many a day with both my daughter, now 17, and son nine.
I’m accepting all that being single in Sheffield has to offer! So far I’ve found Soyo are holding a match.com singles night on February 8 and I’m linking with the terrific Cathy Hinsley who runs the popular, growing Single Social singles event company.