"You cannot beat the atmosphere" of Sheffield's Parkruns

After giving birth to her first baby just before the start of the first UK national lockdown last March, Sarah Howard was inspired to help others to have a calm and positive birth experience, whatever the circumstances.

Thursday, 25th February 2021, 12:00 am
History teacher Sarah Howard runs Thrive Birth and Baby courses to help parents-to-be calmly navigate the most crucial moments.
History teacher Sarah Howard runs Thrive Birth and Baby courses to help parents-to-be calmly navigate the most crucial moments.

She set up her small business, Thrive Birth and Baby, after qualifying as a hypnobirthing instructor with the Calm Birth School.

Thrive Birth and Baby classes are currently running online and each course includes comprehensive birth education to empower parents-to-be with the knowledge they need to make informed decisions.

The course will also equip expectant mums and dads with tools and techniques to stay relaxed, positive and in control throughout pregnancy, labour and birth.

McGilveray's at Fox Valley in Sheffield combines fantastic food with industrial décor.

Originally from the Wirral, Sarah moved to study history at the University of Sheffield in 2007 and never left. She completed the Teach First graduate scheme here in 2010 and has made the city her home.

As well as supporting parents-to-be through her business, Sarah also still teaches history.

She lives in Ecclesfield with her husband and their 11-month-old baby and these are a few of the things she loves about Sheffield.

Park Run

I started running in 2018 and ran my first 10K race that December. Pre-pandemic, the best way to prepare for races was a weekly Park Run. It is something I have missed over the past year.

These free 5K runs usually take place every Saturday morning in parks throughout the city. They are very well organised by a dedicated group of volunteers.

You cannot beat the atmosphere of lining up on the start line with lots of other runners! Each runner gets a time and there are leader boards in different categories, but it is up to you how seriously you take it.

My favourite is at Rother Valley, as it is a great flat course with unbeatable views of the lake. I also love the atmosphere of Park Runs at Hillsborough Park, which has become a favourite place of mine for a walk with the pram and a takeaway coffee from Molly’s Café and Deli.

Park Run is a great way to start the weekend feeling energised, and I will be the first on the start line when they are able to happen again.

Fox Valley

We have loved exploring the north of the city in recent years, and it has a lot to offer. One of my favourite places to visit is Fox Valley in Stocksbridge. As well as a variety of shops and the Independent Quarter, there are some great food and drink options.

Zorro Lounge has a lively and relaxed atmosphere, perfect for a Saturday brunch.

I was really pleased when the Bridge Bakery opened last year, offering a tasty range of fresh bread, cakes and pastries, and its own Yorkshire-roasted coffee.

The food at McGilveray’s restaurant is delicious, with very generous portions. The decor has an industrial feel. A special touch is the arrangement of umbrellas on the ceiling – a nod to Samuel Fox, the umbrella-maker who founded the steelworks in 1842. It is perfect for celebrating a special occasion.

Kelham Island Museum

As a history teacher, of course I must include a museum. My favourite in Sheffield is Kelham Island, which tells the story of the city’s industrial past through the Victorian era and both World Wars, showing how steel has shaped people’s lives.

The archives are jam-packed full of interesting objects, pictures and other materials. When they run the huge River Don engine, the whole building shakes.

A visit can be rounded off nicely with a stop at Island. This café bar in the buildings of the museum is one of Kelham Island’s hidden gems.

Sheffield Yoga School

I am really missing group exercise classes, and particularly the relaxed atmosphere at Sheffield Yoga School.

A visit to this oasis of calm in Walkley is the best way to spend an hour. The yoga for pregnancy classes were a sanctuary for me whilst I prepared to have my baby, and I hope to be able to join one of their range of classes again in person soon. Classes are currently running online.

For more information on Sarah’s pregnancy courses, see thrivebirthandbaby.co.uk.