Favourite Things: Ashlea McConnell, MK MD

Just before the outbreak of Coronavirus and the subsequent Lockdowns, I was invited to contribute to the Sheffield Telegraph’s ‘Favourite Things’ section.


Now, as the world starts to reopen and we are no longer restricted to the confides of our living rooms, I thought it was worth dusting off what made it onto my list!


Sheffield Hallam and the University of Sheffield

As a Sheffield graduate I fall into that category of ‘people who came, and never really left’. Aside from a short stint down in Cambridgeshire I have been Sheffield based since I finished uni in 2005 and still have a core group of friends which I made whilst studying.


The vast array of students that Sheffield attracts contributes to the city’s vibrancy and the pool of talented young professionals is ever increasing!



I used to attend with friends, then with my (now) husband, and in recent years I have taken my children. Not many festivals that allow that sort of progression, and I have even bitten the bullet and purchased a family ticket to attend the main event in Hillsborough too.


Local press 

I work in PR, so I suppose I should say that, but the press in Sheffield is just so different to other media outlets across the country. They genuinely want to champion their own and, whilst they have to report on the negative, there is a real interest in the success stories within the city – including growing businesses, thriving communities and successful schools.


Meadowhall Shopping Centre – and shopping in general 

A client of ours for many, many years, but also a great jewel in the Sheffield City Region crown. Whilst creating jobs and providing access to some fantastic brands, Meadowhall puts on regular events that are great for all the family and, most importantly, it’s a great place to shop – with everything you could ever need housed under one roof, what more could you want?!


It’s also great to see increasing investment in the City Centre, and several great little out of town retail parks popping up including the likes of Fox Valley and St James Retail Park.


The (rapidly improving) bar and restaurant scene

I can’t say it’s always been good, but it does seem to have grown up with me. There is now something for everyone, from the ever evolving offering in Kelham Island which boasts Cutlery Works, Kelham Kitchen and Peddler Night Market (amongst many others), to the new city centre arrivals including Kommune, and when you want to treat yourself to something a little fancier there is the likes of VeroGusto.


I’m also a huge fan of Domo in Little Kelham which I think brings something quite unique to the City.


Sheffield Theatres 

I regularly take my girls to one or other of the venues that form the Sheffield Theatres group, and have seen all sorts from ballets to pantomimes and plays. Sadly, Covid has impacted the arts massively, but just before lockdown we did manage to see the ‘Worst Witch’ play, ‘Standing at the Sky’s Edge’ and ‘The Wizard of Oz’!


All absolutely phenomenal performances.


Sheffield’s greenery credentials

One of the reasons I chose to stay in Sheffield was because of the green space on offer. We have some of the most stunning scenery in the country on our doorstep, as well as some really lovely, large and fun parks to explore – which I confess I only really discovered when I became a mum!