Planning House has adopted a flexible approach to the working week to meet client need while accommodating family life. Helen Heward launched the Women in Planning network for the North East in February to provide a network which champions gender equality across the planning industry.


Luxe people >>

I have a fantastic, very supportive family. My two gorgeous little boys brighten every day. Regardless of how stressful the day has been, a bit of time spent reading stories or playing cars on the floor puts things into perspective.

Luxe places >>

For a weekend > Pas de la Casa in Andorra. I love skiing, but haven’t been for a few years since we had the boys. We definitely plan to go back once they are a bit older. It’s an ideal place with nice accommodation, right on the slopes and plenty of places to eat and drink too!

A long holiday > Disney World. It’s the most magical place on earth where everyone is a child, plus the weather is fantastic and there is just so much to do. I love driving over to Clearwater Beach when we are there, too.

A treat > A day at Rockliffe Hall Spa and a night in the hotel is a perfect way to recharge my batteries. A couple of drinks in the cocktail bar is always on the cards, too.

Luxe relax >>

Best food > I love risotto. There was a little restaurant I went to at university that did sundried tomato and chorizo risotto. I have tried making it myself but have never been able to make it as nice.

Best wine > I enjoy red wine, ideally with a cheeseboard, but my preference would always be a cocktail, or gin and tonic!

Favourite restaurant > We have been to the Stables in Wynyard many times. I think I have had everything on the menu and I have never had a bad meal.

Perfect weekend > Weekends are pretty busy with swimming, gymnastics classes, football and usually a children’s birthday party or two, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I enjoy a lazy Sunday morning with a pot of coffee and then maybe a walk to the pub for lunch.

Downtime means > A family day out. I love being outside, so a trip to the coast or somewhere like Stockeld Park is fantastic as there is so much to do. It’s all in the fresh air.

Best telly > I don’t watch much telly; I prefer boxsets that I can watch as and when. Although I do like a drama; I recently watched Luther which kept me on the edge of my seat! 

Best theatre > I do enjoy a musical and Jersey Boys is my favourite. I got last – minute tickets a few years ago to see The Producers at Sunderland Empire which was really good.

Best book > One Day by David Nicholls is the only book that I have read more than once – although I did have to put it down when I was on holiday once as I couldn’t stop crying.

Best sounds > I love John Legend’s voice. I went to see him the last time he was in Newcastle and he was even better live.

Luxe shop >>

Best shopping city > I honestly don’t think you can beat Newcastle. It has everything from little boutiques to department stores and quite compact with plenty of places to stop rest your feet and get a cocktail!

Favourite shop > Attitudes in Yarm usually has some really nice things in. I always come out with more than I intended to buy.

Luxe retail treat > For Christmas, Santa brought me some Demalogica Sleep Cocoon and I am obsessed with it. It smells and feels amazing!

Best buy > I would have to say my masters degree. I was really lucky as my parents funded me through university and I honestly think it’s the best money ever spent as it has given me a job that I love.

Luxe party >>

A memorable night out > My hen party in Dublin. We had a brilliant day/night out. There was fantastic atmosphere and people were so friendly! You can’t beat dancing to an Irish band drinking Guinness.

Perfect party > Since my husband and I bought our first house, we have always had a ‘Christmas jumper party’ the last weekend before Christmas with all of our friends. Everyone is in a festive mood and the perfect way to start the Christmas break.

Best dress > It completely depends on my mood, but I always like to wear super high heels when I am going out.

Dinner date > My husband and I went to London for the weekend and had dinner at Balthazar in Covent Garden. The food was great and I loved the atmosphere and art-deco setting.

Your luxe thing in life >>

Days out with my family. I feel really lucky living where we do as we have a fantastic coastline, lots of countryside to explore and bustling cities right on our doorstep.