Wreath Workshop at Chirpy

wreath workshop at chirpy

There is something very satisfying about making something, isn’t there? So much of what I do is so intangible; my day job exists entirely in the online space and my main hobby, this blog, is the same. I think that’s why I enjoy cooking, baking and knitting. At the end of your endeavours, you have something to show for your work. Crafting is the same. I am not very skilled at crafts, but I am enthusiastic and I love the feeling you get when you have finished making something – even if that something is slightly wonky or doesn’t look anything like the picture. So when Katie suggested an evening of Christmas-themed crafting at Chirpy, I was there in a flash. 

wreath workshop at chirpy

wreath workshop at chirpy Chirpy is an adorable little design shop in Chapel Allerton and is definitely worth a visit – we’ve picked up numerous prints for our walls in there and it’s a lovely place to pick up gifts and cards. Their aesthetic is very cool and modern, which I love – so many gift shops are a bit frilly for me, but Chirpy suits me down to the ground. I’d heard about their workshops before but never got my act together, so I was very pleased that someone else suggested it! 

wreath workshop at chirpy

wreath workshop at chirpy

Upstairs in the shop was a cute little space just perfect for a group to do some crafting. With a little bit of Magic FM on the radio, some biscuits on the table and a cup of tea in hand (in a stylish mug, of course), the scene was set and we were ready to get going. Our task? To complete a fabric Christmas wreath in two hours! 

wreath workshop at chirpy

It was a relatively simple craft – tying pieces of fabric around a ring until it was all covered, with plenty of help from Agnis on hand for advice and adjustments. After a brief explanation, we gathered our fabric strips and got to work. The simplicity was actually part of the joy – whilst it’s fun to learn a new skill, this was a lovely, relaxing Friday evening craft with plenty of time to snack on Haribo and chat. The hardest part was choosing colours and trying to perfect that ‘messy but not too messy’ look. 

wreath workshop at chirpy

You’d be surprised how time-consuming the task was – with half an hour to go, most of us had only got halfway round the wreath so we doubled our efforts and managed to finish in time – with a few seconds to tie on some sparkly baubles for an extra festive effect. It was amazing that, with the same pile of fabric on offer to everyone, no two were even remotely alike. Creativity, eh? It’s pretty neat. We were all proud of our wreaths, and I think everyone had that warm fuzziness that comes with having made something with your own two hands that you wouldn’t be embarrassed to have hanging on your door (or wall, in our case). When we stepped out into the dark and cold, it felt like an evening very well spent! 

wreath workshop at chirpy

Chirpy have lots more Christmas craft workshops coming up, and do keep an eye out for their more general crafty workshops at other times of the year! 

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An Evening at The Fat Faced Cat Supper Club

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I’m sure I’ve told you before how much I love supper clubs. It is a long-standing dream of mine to run my own; we’re hoping to buy a house in the next year, and a proper dining room is high on the list of priorities for this very reason. Two of my favourite things are eating delicious food and making friends, which make pop-ups and supper clubs pretty much my dream evening activity. With every one being different from the last, they’re a step up from the restaurant dining experience, and some of the best food I’ve ever eaten have been at events like this. 

So when I saw that The Fat Faced Cat Supper Club had some tickets left for their dinner on Saturday, I couldn’t resist. I roped in a willing friend and happily paid my £25, before telling everyone I knew exactly how excited I was about the menu. Spicy pig’s cheek doughnut? That is the stuff of dreams, right there. 

Pea Pancake with Pancetta and a Poached Egg

This wasn’t my first time dining with the Fat Faced Cat. I was invited a few month’s back after meeting the host at another foodie event. My over-riding memory of that evening was just how damn good the Popcorn Cockles were (happily, they made it back on the menu this time around!) and how full I was by the end of the evening. We sat down at around 8 and didn’t stop eating until gone midnight; never have I had so much good food. So this time around I prepped myself beforehand by eating almost nothing all day, ready for the feast that awaited. 

Beetroot, Goat's Curd and Honeycomb

When you go to a supper club, you have to be ready to make small talk. I always think small talk get a bad name. I LOVE small talk. I am perfectly happy to chat away about people’s jobs and how they came to Leeds and what their favourite restaurants are in the city and which other supper clubs they’ve been to. It’s fun. There’s always the awkward introduction stage, and then it’s like you’re all friends catching up over dinner. Being in someone’s home only amplifies that feeling, as does the wine. It feels cosy. 

Over our initial introductions, we sipped on cocktails (an excellent Old Fashioned) and nibbled on a seemingly never-ending parade of snacks – including the aforementioned popcorn cockles (salty, spicy, deep-fried – so damn more-ish), honey Sriracha popcorn (deliciously sticky with just a hint of heat), zaboca on crab biscotti (which everyone promptly forgot the name of halfway through the first bite – but was roundly declared excellent!) and candied bacon. 

Seabass Ceviche

We were then seated, more drinks were poured and a steady stream of dishes found their way in front of us. It took hours to get through everything, and by the end we were all unbuttoning trousers and declaring ourselves fuller than we’d ever been. I want to dwell on each dish because each one was absolutely gorgeous – from the crisp, sweet outer and spicy, meaty inner of the pig’s cheek doughnut to the fresh flavours of the seabass ceviche. The ‘main course’ (when you have 12, can any of them be main?) was a gorgeous, tender lamb with super-smooth mash and a fantastic balsamic sauce which cut through the richness perfectly. 

Strawberry and Pistachio Crumble with Basil Cream

The dessert courses may have been concocted with me in mind, so much did they play to my tastes. A fresh gin & tonic granita, served in a gorgeous copper cup, followed by the smoothest white chocolate and kaffir lime mousse (for real, the best I’ve ever had), and then finishing up with a strawberry and pistachio crumble, served with a basil cream. Basil and strawberry is one of my favourite combinations of flavours of all time, but sadly a few bites in my stomach protested too much – it really had had enough. I just about managed to squeeze in a truffle and a few sips of port, but, as predicted, the feast had defeated me. 

If you live in Leeds (or even if you don’t) and get a chance to grab some tickets to The Fat Faced Cat Supper Club, then you absolutely must go. I hope this little taster has persuaded you, because it really is one of the best ways to spend an evening. A little tipsy, a lot full of gorgeous food, chatting with lovely people. Not forgetting that absolutely beautiful cat, who makes a few appearances throughout the evening. And maybe watch this space for a supper club all of my own, one day soon… 

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Leeds Wedding Suppliers

leeds town hall wedding

PHOTOS BY JENNA WOODWARD PHOTOGRAPHY

 

Part of the reason why I wanted to share our wedding snaps on the blog is so I can show off the incredible people who helped make the whole day happen, in the hopes that someone else who is looking for wedding suppliers will stumble across my recommendations.

If you are planning a wedding in Leeds or Yorkshire, then all of these wonderful people and companies come with my highest praise so I hope you do check them out! 

Photography – Jenna Woodward Photography 

wedding flowers

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it a thousand times more, but hiring Jenna and Ewan to take our photos was the best decision that we made for our wedding. It was the first thing we sorted because I knew as soon as I saw her photos that I wanted Jenna on board Team Wedding! We are so thrilled with all of the photos (almost all 800 of them!), and I hope you’ll agree with how beautiful she made everything look! 

Wedding Dress – The Bridal Emporium 

wedding dress

Claire at The Bridal Emporium designed and made my beautiful dress for me, from a handful of Pinterest pictures and my vague ramblings about tutus and sparkles. She made the whole process feel really fun, and made my dreams of pink and sparkles into something beautiful and classy. Her shop is absolutely gorgeous, filled with vintage treasures and pretty pieces, and she is an absolute dream. My wedding dress was still one of the most expensive things that I have ever bought, but it was exactly what I wanted and I felt so much better giving all of that money over to Claire, who designed and made the whole thing herself here in Leeds, than I did to a big name wedding brand. 

Wedding Rings – Tiago Jewellery 

rings by tiago jewellery

This is the only non-Leeds supplier on the list but I wanted to give a little shout out to the company that made our wedding rings. Paul was adamant that he wanted a ring made of Sheffield Steel, and this was the only place I could find that could guarantee that the steel was Sheffield born-and-raised, as it were. He was obviously passionate about his job, and about Sheffield, and we got to meet his amazing dog, which made the whole process a total win. Our rings were exactly as we wanted them, and we couldn’t be happier. 

Wedding Food – El Kantina 

el kantina

I wanted our wedding meal to reflect some of our favourite food. Too often wedding food can be a little bland and forgettable, which is the curse of trying to cater for a large number of people, but I was adamant that I wanted something a bit more exciting. As we both love Mexican food, it was definitely a no-brainer. We initially approached our favourite restaurant, Pinche Pinche, to see if they could help us out but when that sadly proved impossible, we sought out El Kantina. They couldn’t have been more helpful and, having worked with our venue before, made the whole process so easy. The food was delicious and although I didn’t each much myself (having too much fun!), some people went back for seconds, which is always a good sign! 

food by el kantina

Wedding Cake – The Sunshine Bakery

wedding cake by sunshine bakery

For a while I toyed with the idea of making my own wedding cake, but in the end I’m glad I decided against it as our cake from Sunshine Bakery was totally delicious and super reasonably priced. They really are lovely in there, and made my dreams of a naked chocolate wedding cake adorned with fresh berries into a tasty reality. I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that I’ve barely ever eaten the cake at other people’s weddings, and most people I’ve talked to have said the same. People definitely got stuck into this one though, probably because it looked so gosh darn beautiful. If you’re after any sort of cake, I have no doubt that the Sunshine Bakery can sort you out! 

Wedding Cheese Cake – George & Joseph 

cheese cake by george and joseph leeds

What is a wedding without cheese? That was a question that I didn’t want to answer, so of course we headed to our friendly neighbourhood cheesemonger to craft us a wonderful, Pinterest-worthy cheese cake. It was made up of all Yorkshire cheeses, and came in at around £100 – which is a bargain for anything wedding-related. The cheese cake was one of the best parts of the wedding – everyone was raving about it, and it was almost entirely demolished by the end of the day. 

Wedding Venue – Left Bank Leeds

left bank leeds

If you’re looking for a slightly quirky wedding venue in Leeds, then I can highly recommend Left Bank. It really was beautiful once it was all lit up, and was so unlike the many marquees, hotel rooms and barns we’ve been in for weddings before. The team there were really helpful and had lots of contacts to make the decorating/setting up/catering process easy. The space was really flexible and comfortably accommodated our 120+ guests both day and night. The bar stocks local beers and organic wines, and were able to add some specific beers and spirits that we wanted without a problem. The ceiling was my favourite, it really is stunning, and the stained glass windows were a sight to behold. 

wedding at left bank leeds

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Our Leeds Wedding – The Party

wedding party 2

PHOTOS BY JENNA WOODWARD PHOTOGRAPHY

Okay, now we’re gonna get to the good stuff. As well as ‘it will be the best day of your life’, the other thing that people tell you about weddings is that it will go by in a flash. Oh boy, is that ever true. It felt like every time I blinked we had somehow skipped forward a couple of hours. From arriving at the venue to the final song felt like a surreal blur.

wedding party 1

wedding party 3

I was genuinely pleased as punch about how the venue looked all lit up – we’d set everything up the day before but it looked SO much better with everyone there, and with the fairy lights twinkling. As soon as we arrived, I quickly lost Paul as we tried to say hello to everyone – a nearly impossible task. It was wonderful to have so many people celebrating with us, and I couldn’t turn around without seeing someone else I hadn’t yet spoken to that day. It was magical and very slightly stressful – when everyone has made such an effort just for you, you want them to feel loved and appreciated. Plus, I really DID want to speak to everyone, and hug them and hear their news. I love how the lines between my friends and Paul’s has blurred over the years, and since we’re both so popular (!) it so often means that there are big gaps between catching up with people over time, and this was the perfect opportunity to see everyone that we loved! 

Leeds City Wedding

wedding party 5

I managed to grab a canapé or two, was handed glasses of Prosecco by anonymous hands (thank you!) and then it was time to sit down for dinner. I was pretty excited about that – I’m a show off at heart and I knew that I had picked an absolutely excellent feast for everyone. Although I was so excited I could barely eat a thing (the tight dress didn’t help matters…), El Kantina did a stellar job serving up delicious Mexican food for everyone. I’ll be posting some details of suppliers on Friday, so do check back if you want something a little bit different for your party or wedding, they come highly recommended from me! 

wedding party 8

wedding party 6

wedding party 7

And then… the speeches. I think I felt every emotion in the space of half an hour. Long weddings speeches are THE WORST, right? Unless you’re the bride and groom, and are hearing lots of praise about yourself, for guests it is kinda dull, so I was strict on my speech makers – including myself. I managed to keep it together for the most part during my parents’ speeches, and through most of Paul’s. My own speech was more difficult – it is one thing for someone to tell you they love you, and quite another to tell everyone how you yourself feel about them. Thankfully I was followed by our fantastic Best Man, Ashley, who regaled the audience with tales of Paul’s drinking exploits (with some added details provided by Paul’s Mum!). 

wedding party 9

wedding party 10

Things seemed to move even more quickly after that, with cake cutting followed by bouquet tossing and first dancing all in fast succession. I was super pleased that so much of the cake (and the cheese cake!) got eaten, as I don’t think I’ve ever eaten the cake at someone else’s wedding, and, like with the Mexican food, I was pretty smug about my excellent food choices! My sweet niece helped me with the bouquet toss (the most pressure I’d felt all evening – it is difficult to throw something behind your head at the best of times!) and, although there was nearly a scrum, my lovely friend Cheryl reined victorious! I lost Paul just as the first dance was starting, but he turned up eventually and it was one of my favourite moments of the evening (as well as producing some of my favourite photos – that dress was made for twirling!). Seeing my gorgeous bridesmaids descending onto the floor halfway through the song was one of my ‘choked up’ moments, for sure. 

wedding party 11

wedding party 13

Leeds City Wedding

After all that, it really was party time! There really wasn’t enough time to dance with all the people I wanted to dance with or chat with all the people I wanted to chat with – including Paul! At one point I had to choose between the final call for evening food or Taylor Swift. Taylor won – I never did get to try the pulled pork cones we had! Before long, people were leaving and it was time to do it all in reverse and say goodbye to everyone. We were almost the last to leave, sparkly shoes in hand, and fell asleep as our heads touched the pillow. I wouldn’t change a thing. 

wedding party 12

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Our Leeds Wedding – The Ceremony

Leeds City Wedding

Leeds City Wedding

PHOTOS BY JENNA WOODWARD PHOTOGRAPHY

Since we’ve just got back from our honeymoon, now seems as good a time as ever to finally share our wedding photos. It’s a difficult thing to write about – it’s such a huge day and I want to do it justice without being schmaltzy and cliched. The thing is, our wedding went pretty much like every wedding in the history of time. We got ready, we said our vows, we got covered in confetti, we ate, we laughed, we partied. Everyone says that it’s going to be the best day of your life, and it’s impossible for it not to be. Everyone you love in one place, and you get to wear sparkly shoes. It doesn’t get much better than that. 

Nothing can prepare you, though. I’ve been to so many weddings, but it’s very surreal to be walking the aisle and saying those words yourself. I didn’t sleep the night before, I was too full of nervous energy, and with the hairdresser arriving early doors to beautify my bevy of bridesmaids, there was no time to waste. There was no risk that this bride was going to be anything other than on time! 

Leeds City Wedding

Leeds City Wedding

The morning is a bit of a blur, if I’m honest. Usually getting ready for a party is my favourite part of the evening, especially when there’s Prosecco involved, but it’s hard to relax and enjoy it when there’s so much going on. The pressure for everything to be perfect is a problem for me at the best of times, but my beautiful bridesmaids did their best to calm me down and make sure I ate something. I was inundated with texts and phone calls all morning – some logistical, some sentimental. 

Leeds City Wedding

Meanwhile, across town, Paul was getting ready with his groomsmen before heading to the pub for a pre-wedding pint with the more punctual of guests! I really wanted the day to be filled with people at every opportunity, so I love seeing these photos of everyone gathering beforehand. 

Leeds City Wedding

Leeds City Wedding

Leeds City Wedding

A few finishing touches for me, including finally getting to step into my sparkly wedding dress, before we headed to the Town Hall ourselves. I originally wanted to walk – we were staying less than 5 minutes away – but the heavens opened just as we started to leave so taxis it was. The lovely people at the hotel lent me these cute umbrella, too, which definitely came in handy. 

Leeds City Wedding

Leeds City Wedding

Leeds City Wedding

Fun fact: in that photo, we’re watching my friend Steve valiantly hobble up the Town Hall steps in a full leg cast. He was a trooper with it the whole day – you’ll catch some photos of him dancing in Wednesday’s post. 

On arrival, we were ushered into a back room to wait for go time. I’ll admit to feeling pretty tense, especially with the registrar let slip that Paul was particularly nervous. We all practiced our walks and then the music struck up! I couldn’t stop smiling, and Paul couldn’t stop shaking, so we were a right pair. It’s a blessing and a curse that non-religious wedding ceremonies are so short – it definitely helps quell nerves but it’s also difficult to soak it all in. You want to remember all the details, but also you really want to get to the party so you can relax and actually talk to your new husband (or wife!). 

Leeds City Wedding

Leeds City Wedding

Leeds City Wedding

And just like that, we were married! All that waiting, all that planning, and it was done. I practically skipped out of the room, and exhausted my face from smiling as we greeted all of the wonderful people who had come to celebrate with us. A flutter of confetti, an efficient group photo and some posed photos later and we were finally ready to drink champagne and dance on the tables! 

Leeds City Wedding

Leeds City Wedding

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Harrogate Food Festival

Harrogate Food Festival 2015

Harrogate Food Festival 2015

Is there anything better than an afternoon in the sunshine, sipping Prosecco and grazing on delicious food? A couple of weekends ago, I was invited to Harrogate Food Festival at Ripley Castle – as a VIP no less, baby – and it just happened to be a gloriously sunny day, which worked out perfectly. 

I like food festivals that have a good balance between food-to-eat-now and food-to-eat-later. Too much of the latter, and it can be a little dull, and too much of the former and you’ve had all your fun within the first hour. There was a great mix of different vans and stalls, with plenty of different foodstuffs to try and buy, as well as some bars for a tipple or two. 

Harrogate Food Festival 2015

Harrogate Food Festival 2015

Harrogate Food Festival 2015

We sampled sauces and scotch eggs, drooled over pastries and piles of brownies. Emma was delighted when she spotted someone wandering about with a spiral potato, so we had to track them down immediately, and oh, how good they were. Half crisp, half chip and wholly delicious – particularly covered in salt and vinegar. 

Harrogate Food Festival 2015

We, of course, had to drop by Banh Mi Booth, and sample some of their piping hot pork dumplings. There was a wait, but it was so, so worth it – even if I did almost burn my tongue, so desperate was I to get them into my mouth. If you spot this gorgeous turquoise and pink van around and about, then definitely make a bee-line straight there. 

Harrogate Food Festival 2015

Harrogate Food Festival 2015

By then we were beginning to melt into a puddle – it really was warm, even this far North! – so we decided to abandon ship, but not without a quick stop by the Northern Bloc van. They do the best ice cream around – this one was caramel & ginger, topped with white chocolate popcorn. 

Harrogate Food Festival 2015

All in all, it was a very satisfying day! If there’s one coming near you soon, then it’s definitely worth grabbing yourself a ticket! 

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My Current Favourite Places in Leeds

I have written about a lot of places on this blog, and tweeted about even more. Although my list of restaurants and bars to try in Leeds never goes down, I’ve made my way through a lot of them. Some I love immediately. Others I grow to love. Some I love for a while and then abandon when something shiny and new comes along. But there are some that are recurring favourites, revisited time and again – whether that’s for convenience (the fact that some are very close to my house is not a coincidence…) or simply because they’re just too good to ignore (Pinche Pinche satisfies both of these criteria). That’s not to say that I don’t love and wouldn’t recommend those places which haven’t made this list, but these are the ones I find myself going back to time and time again. 

1. Café 164

This cafe is located very conveniently right underneath my office and I am ever glad that it is! Everyone who works there is absolutely lovely, and they do a very good sandwich if you’ve forgotten your packed lunch. Plus, you can pick up an art print in the attached gallery, which is just a fun bonus. 

pinche pinche 2

2. Pinche Pinche 

My forever favourite restaurant in Leeds. Get the fish tacos. And the maragaritas. And the ceviche. And the lamb quesadilla. And the sweet potato fries. And the churros. And the tequila. And basically everything on the menu because it is JUST SO GOOD. 

3. The Pit, Chapel Allerton 

For quick after work drinks and hungover recovery. It’s a staple of our social life, and one of my favourite places for burgers in Leeds. Except I never get the burgers – I always have the Philly Fries because those things are like crack. 

Bunting at The Mustard Pot

4. The Mustard Pot 

The best beer garden in the city, and the perfect place to spend basically the entire summer. Pimms, bunting and every other English summer cliche, all in a very gorgeous pub that does a decent Sunday dinner and a good pub quiz. So happy to live around the corner from this beauty. 

5. Pintura

This tapas restaurant only opened a couple of months ago, but I’ve already been more times than old-standing favourites. It’s just addictive. Beautiful interiors, an extensive gin menu and delicious & surprising tapas. Not the cheapest, but definitely a good shout for girl’s night or a nice date. 

cielo blanco 2

6. Cielo Blanco 

Can you tell that I like Mexican food? This is a great option for a mid-week dinner – get the ‘street food’ option and order a whole bunch of dishes between you so you can try as much as possible. I love the fish tacos and the sweet potato fries. The caiprinha are pretty tasty, too. 

7. Belgrave Music Hall & Canteen

Going for a drink in town? This is always the first place I think of. It’s achingly cool, you can grab a slice of Dough Boys pizza with your drink, and the roof terrace is the perfect place to hang out. There’s usually something fun going on there at the weekend, too, so we find ourselves returning all the time. 

wine at seven arts

8. Seven Arts 

Another local bar, and a non-profit one at that. Seven is super relaxed and a lovely place to grab lunch if you’re hanging out in Chapel Allerton. In the summer they open up the windows so it becomes an inside-outside sort of space, which is lush. 

9. The Hungry Bear

A new one for me, but one I’ve been back to a couple of times recently – if only for their short ribs, which are totally more-ish. They serve hearty meals and beers they brew on site. This restaurant definitely deserves more recognition! 

10. Wasabi 

Not a cool hipster independent, but somewhere I eat at least once a week. Their sushi is good, and perfect for a lunch time treat. I could eat sushi every day, and I’m very glad that Wasabi has made it to Leeds! 

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Pieminister Comes To Leeds

pieminister leeds 1

Sometimes restaurants just hit the nail on the head, giving the people exactly what they want. In Leeds, Reds True BBQ capitalised on a desire for barbecue which first arose a few years ago, and there were queues around the block. Trinity Kitchen fulfilled our love of street food and sitting indoors, and has been busy ever since. And now we have Pieminister, proving that all Yorkshire people really want is a good pie, some decent mash and plenty of gravy and they’ll be happy as Larry. It’s been heaving since opening a couple of weeks ago; partly due, no doubt, to the excellent opening deal they’ve been running, but also because the arrival of a pie restaurant was bound to cause a stir in the land of proper grub. 

pieminister leeds 2

Pieminister have built up quite the reputation, taking their pies to farmers markets, festivals and pubs across the land. And now they’ve brought their flagship restaurant to Leeds, rejuvenating a tired corner of the city centre with a fresh idea. Burger restaurants have become ten a penny, but this really is something new. 

pieminister leeds 3

The restaurant has that slight industrial feel that’s so in right now, with light-up signs, old school chairs and plenty of dark wood. It’s becoming a cliche, for sure, but if it works, it works, right? My only comment would be that some of the tables were a little close together – we were a little too near to the couple enjoying their pies next to us, which feels a bit awkward. It was rammed to the rafters though, what with the new opening and it being a Friday night, so that might not always be such a problem. 

pieminister leeds 5

For a restaurant that is all about the pies, the menu is actually pretty extensive. You can view it online, so I won’t list everything out here, but there are so many options to customise your pie dinner that it’s a little mind-boggling. We had to send the over-eager waiter away a couple of times because we still hadn’t chosen! Suffice to say, the fact that all pies come with gravy included is a definitely welcome addition – and the gravy itself was plenty for one pie. There’s nothing worse than a stingy portion of gravy. 

pieminister leeds 6

The pies themselves were exactly what you’d expect – delicious pastry, generous fillings and so filling you’ll need a nap afterwards. My choice of chicken, ham, leek and thyme was very tasty, whilst Paul was extra impressed with his beef and Brewdog beer number. I opted out of mash and went for a slightly avant-garde choice of mac’n’cheese on the side of my pie. The extra carbs definitely weren’t needed, but it had an interesting garlicky taste alongside the cheesiness, which I enjoyed. 

pieminister leeds 4

You could certainly stuff yourself silly here, and at a very reasonable price. The pies themselves hit around the five pound mark, and even if you pile on the sides you’re looking at a feast for less than £15. I would skip the cocktails (there are far better places to have them in Leeds, and they felt a bit like an afterthought) and go for one of the many different beers instead, and get stuck into a hearty meal fit for a Yorkshireman (or woman!). Everyone I’ve told about Pieminister since our visit has been dead jealous – and I can tell this is going to be a welcome addition to the Leeds scene! 

Disclaimer: We received a discount off our meal from the lovely people at Pieminister, but a review on my blog wasn’t stipulated in exchange – I just wanted to tell you all about these pies! Just be warned: wear stretchy trousers! 

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Crochet Workshop at Baa Ram Ewe, Leeds

Baa Ram Ewe Leeds

One of my goals for this year was to learn how to crochet. Being a child of the Internet era, I dutifully took to YouTube to find some tutorials – and found myself completely stumped. I knew that I’d need a teacher’s gentle guidance to help me stumble through the first few clumsy stitches at least, so it was with great fortune that the wonderful wool shop Baa Ram Ewe moved in just across the road from me a couple of months ago. Was it fate? I like to think so. 

Baa Ram Ewe Leeds

I roped along my friend Tash who, as a member of a sewing circle is far more crafty than me, and pottered along to the shop on a sunny Saturday ready to learn everything I could about crochet. If you like to knit or crochet, then Baa Ram Ewe is total heaven. It’s a dreamy place, stacked high with every colour yarn you could imagine and I could happily browse for hours, but on this occasion I had my mission. We were ushered into their back room, given our name tags and waited happily for tuition! 

Crochet Books at Baa Ram Ewe Leeds

It turns out that Tash and I were the only real novices of the group, having never picked up a crochet hook in our lives. The others, most of whom identified themselves as grandmothers who wanted to pass on the craft to their grandchildren (#lifegoals), were there to refresh their skills rather than learn from scratch – with one lady crocheting almost a whole glove whilst we struggled with the basic stitches. We were not disheartened, though, and the teacher was very patient as we tied ourselves in knots. Although we were pretty much the only true beginners, she took us through everything – from different yarn types, to how to hold the hook and the first few basic stitches. 

Learning to Crochet at Baa Ram Ewe Leeds

It was a long day, and it was tough to concentrate the whole time. 6 hours of crochet is enough for anyone, but I am proud to say that I walked out having learnt enough to continue on my own at home, which is exactly what I was aiming for. The workshop definitely equipped me with the basic skills and knowledge, and I’ve since been using this delightful book to improve on what I’ve learnt. If anything, I’m slightly addicted and have temporarily abandoned my knitting needles to get stuck into some crochet projects. My first, dishcloths, was not adventurous but I surprised myself by making them extra neat (which, in knitting, took me years!) and I’m planning on a cushion next. 

Baa Ram Ewe Leeds

Baa Ram Ewe Leeds

If you’re a Leeds resident and into a bit of crafting, I would definitely recommend checking out Baa Ram Ewe’s workshops. The ‘How to Crochet’ class cost me just £40 for a whole day, including all the materials needed and a lovely little tote bag, which feels like a bargain to learn a new skill. They’ve actually got tonnes of options, and I’m tempted by their ‘Beyond the Basics’ knitting course, as well. Maybe one day I’ll be able to knit something that isn’t a square. A girl can dream… 

Knitted Elephant Tea Cosy at Baa Ram Ewe Leeds

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The Best Pub Gardens in Leeds

Bunting at The Mustard Pot

It’s almost pub garden season! I don’t want to get too optimistic here, but the sun is starting to make some appearances so it’s time to plan your pub trips. There’s nothing better than a British summer afternoon spent sipping cider in a sunny pub garden. It’s an institution for a reason. Here’s my pick of the best pub gardens in Leeds…

Belgrave Music Hall & Canteen

The roof terrace at Belgrave has to be seen to be believed. It’s uber-cool, with graffiti, beach huts and re-purposed seating. On busy afternoons, they pop on some tunes and open the rooftop bar (no more climbing stairs!) but get there quick because everyone who’s anyone is there.

The Mustard Pot

My favourite place for a summer afternoon – The Mustard Pot is a traditional pub garden in all the best senses. It’s picturesque, there’s usually bunting and Pimms, and plenty of dog-watching opportunities. I don’t think there’s anywhere else I would rather be on a sunny, lazy Sunday.

RARE

Like most other things about RARE, their beer garden bit of a surprising gem situated right in the city centre. It’s a little bit of escapism, where you can enjoy their innovative cocktails. Just don’t tell anyone else about it – it’s the worst best kept secret in Leeds!

Stew & Oyster

Right on the river, the outside space at Calls Landing gets full very quickly as soon as a hint of sunshine is seen. For a good reason – it’s a relaxing place to while away the time as you sip on a large glass of wine.

The Original Oak

Slap-bang in the centre of student central, The Original Oak has a sizeable garden where you can drink cheap beer and put the world to rights. The place to recapture your youth.

Nation of Shopkeepers

More of a courtyard than a garden, this little enclave at Nation in the heart of town is a cute place to while away a couple of hours in the sunshine. Pro tip: It’s also a pretty good vantage spot for Leeds Pride, when that comes around.

Angelica

Again, not strictly a garden – but the roof terrace at Angelica is one of the most perfect places to go on a sunny afternoon. Dress up, wear your biggest sunglasses and take advantage of the glam vibes with a fancy cocktail.

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