This weekend, I travelled up to Leeds to meet up with two of my original Disney friends, Laura and Erica, for #eatLeeds2016 (we love a hashtag) – a weekend discovering the best food and drink the city has to offer. After a bit of a false start – I got on the wrong train – I was ambushed at Leeds station with bear hugs and squeezes, and we caught up over lunch at one of Laura’s favourite tapas restaurants, La Rambla (more of this later).
Oh, you know the story I’m sure. Way back in 2009, when I was living in Ireland and blogging about our strange new life in that green, alien place, an email dropped into my inbox that actually changed my life. Would I like to come on a trip to Walt Disney World with a group of other parent bloggers from across the UK? Well too right I would. And after establishing that the email was indeed from Disney and not an extremely creative serial killer I found myself spending the most incredible week of fun and laughter with a wonderful, diverse and creative bunch of women, each and every one of whom are still dear friends to this day.
We live so far from each other, so when we get the chance to meet up we always jump at it (plus Charlie is away on his first holiday with his friends at some festival in Barcelona and, frankly, I needed to think about something other than all the worst case scenarios swirling round my head. Plus – strange this – his Snapchat is currently full of selfies of two girls, so he’s either got lucky or he’s had his phone stolen. I’ll keep you informed.
After stuffing ourselves with loads of tapas, we headed to the Leeds Gin Festival (I know, can you believe that was on? A complete accident – no, really!):
You pay a small fee for entry, then you buy tokens for £5 a pop and each token gets you a large shot of any of the 200 + gins on offer, including flavoured gins, foreign gins… all sorts, plus a mixer and a gorgeous free glass (let’s not ask Laura who smashed hers and Erica’s). Plus there was live music, food and a great atmosphere!
After the festival, we wandered around Leeds, which is beautiful, went shopping, had a couple of drinks, then headed to Stockdales for another fabulous meal (full write up coming soon, with loads of pics), before heading back to Laura and Andy’s where Andy lit the chiminea and we sat outside chatting, playing Cards Against Humanity (have you? You must!) and sipping a bit more gin.
Laura’s house is LOVELY! The garden is so pretty… And her doggies are just gorgeous:
Look at the stained glass!
This is Jessie the labrador with her new friend, Cleo, a rescue Podenco who’s come all the way from Spain (we did move that rather dangerous-looking bit of wood, I promise):
She’s SO sweet!
The next day, we went for a hangover-defeating breakfast at this really sweet little café called The Terrace in Saltaire, before wandering down to one of my favourite places, Salt’s Mill (for some reason I didn’t take any pictures – but I put loads on Snapchat – you DO follow me on Snapchat, right?).
The area is just lovely – it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a Grade II Listed old textile mill building, which now has loads of interesting shops, galleries and a café. This village was built for the mill workers – each street has a lady’s name:
Later, we headed back into Leeds for a last hurrah in the shape of lunch at this absolutely incredible place called Trinity Kitchen. At the top floor of the Trinity Leeds shopping centre, there are loads of different food trucks and places to eat all under one roof. This is Rempah Fried chicken from Nasi Lemak Street Food: starting with tender chicken in a crisp curry batter, it was then layered up with spicy sambal sauce, sliced spring onion, red chillis and a delicious sweet and spicy pickled vegetable salad with chilli and pineapple and sweet potato fries. PHWOAR!
We ended on a high in the shape of a mad, colour-changing cocktail at The Alchemist in Greek Street. Witchcraft! You can see the full, bubbling, smoking weirdness over on my Facebook page!
Mahoosive thanks to my gorgeous buddy Laura for putting us up (and putting up with us) and arranging everything and to lovely Erica for all the fun and laughs (do check out Foodinburgh – it’s amazing). I’m already looking forward to Eat Leeds 2017 – I might need a lie down first though.