LUXE PEOPLE >>
Lee Dancy is the founder and MD of Barking Mad. She set up the business in 2000 when she needed someone to care for her beloved Dalmation Bronte. Buying my Barking Mad business has been life-changing and I have been inspired by Lee’s vision. I bought my franchise in 2005 and winning the HSBC Franchisee of the Year in 2014 was definitely a highlight for me.
LUXE PLACES >>
For a weekend > I absolutely love the Lake District. I first went with Brian and we made the decision on that holiday to buy a house together and five years later in 1997, we got married at the beautiful Langdale Chase Hotel by the shores of Lake Windermere. Now we are a family of four and have fallen in love with glamping. It’s our yearly tradition for a fun, relaxing family weekend away.
A long holiday > Before the kids came along, I was always a fan of long haul trips to Thailand, Malaysia and Hong Kong. Our honeymoon was in Australia. Although I love travelling to exotic places, since the kids came along, a nice beach holiday in Majorca suits us better.
As a treat > As I run my own business, I work all year round arranging holidays for dogs. I absolutely love my business, but having a day off is a lovely treat. We all need some family and friends time to unwind and recharge our batteries.
LUXE RELAX >>
Best food > I love to start with nibbles such as olives, crisps and houmous. My main meal would be salmon (or any fish) and a big pile of salad. Then something sweet for pud. I have to confess that I often raid the kids’ Haribo and chocolate stash… shhh don’t tell them!
Best wine > I used to love red wine, but I gave up alcohol during ‘dry January’ two years ago and never started again. My favourite tipple nowadays is a tall glass of lime & soda with loads of ice.
Best Restaurant > I am taking my ‘Barking Mad’ team to the Alnwick Treehouse Restaurant for our Christmas meal. We have worked hard this year, so this will be a nice treat for us all. The setting is so beautiful.
Perfect weekend > We’ll start the day with a family breakfast and then have a lazy PJ morning. Then we’ll pack a little picnic and snacks, get our wellies on and take a walk from our house down to the river. The kids will collect pine cones, sticks and flowers and then plodge in the river. We’ve done it so many times and it never gets boring.
Downtime means > Watching TV, reading on a regular evening, or meeting the girls for a girls night out. I love to talk and there is nothing better than spending time with my best friends talking and laughing.
Best telly > I love Corrie and this year I watched ‘Bake Off’ for the first time and was hooked! I also love Homeland on Ch4.
Best book > I like psychological thrillers and recently read ‘I let you go’ by Clare McIntosh. We’re reading Roald Dahl to the kids at bedtime and have just finished Charlie & the Chocolate Factory. I’m looking forward to reading Matilda.
Best sounds > I love Madonna, Coldplay, Ed Sheeran and Jess Glynne. Brian has a massive, varied music collection and we have music on in the house and office all the time.
LUXE SHOP >>
Best shopping city > I’m torn between New York and Barcelona. Both cities are fab to explore on foot, or you can easily get around on the underground if your feet have had enough. Shopping abroad holds far more appeal than shopping at home.
Favourite shop > I like Debenhams, M&S, Next and White Stuff.
Retail treat > I would splash out on beauty products by Liz Earle. I have been using the Cleanse & Polish for years and like practically everything from the range. Their nude lip gloss is a fave of mine.
Luxe party >>
A memorable night out > would be with the girls. We have been friends forever and we love to catch up for a nice meal, lots of chat and laughs and a few bottles of wine (them, not me).
Perfect party > I love to get together with all of my family, friends and kids and have a great party. There is always fab food as all of the husbands are fantastic cooks and there is always music and dancing. The kids all play brilliantly together and it’s really relaxing and fun.
Perfect night out > See above ‘perfect party’.
Best outfit > I’m most comfortable in jeans and a top. Simple!
Dinner date > My husband Brian, of course.
Your Luxe thing in life >>
In 2004 we sold our house in Newcastle, left our jobs and moved to the country, set up our own businesses and had two beautiful children. We live in a lovely farmhouse surrounded by fields and sheep. I’m very grateful for our new life. It’s not at all ‘luxe’, but we love it.