I LOVE LEEDS!
Now that I've got that off my chest let me tell you about my latest adventure to my new favourite shopping and foodie destination.
One of my closest friends Jenny was in the North last weekend so it seemed the ideal time to meet up for a quick catch up and shopping trip. Realising that Leeds was easy for us both to get to we quickly made a plan.
Firstly let me introduce you to my other new love, my floral print trousers from Tesco. I bought them the day before on a whim and they are amazing. Not only are they so cute and Summery but they area also really flattering and very comfortable. I'm pretty sure I'll be back again soon to see if I can find them in any other prints or colours. This was a perfect "Summer in the City" outfit.
Leeds is just over an hour away from Newcastle by train so I have been a few times before but for some reason this time the city really clicked with me and I realised how special it was. I'm beginning to wonder if I'd been walking about with my eyes shut on previous visits.
I was bowled over by the size of the Zara, we don't have one in Newcastle and the store in the Metro Centre isn't great so I'd more or less given up with it. I'm really excited that I now have Leeds to fulfil my Zara lusting. Unfortunately I didn't have a large stash of disposable money on this trip so I just walked around the store and mentally spent well over £1,000 on jackets and coats.
Speaking of indulgent window shopping, another reason to love Leeds is Victoria Quarter which is home to lots of luxury stores including Harvey Nicholls, Vivienne Westwood, Louis Vuitton, Mulberry and Kurt Geiger. I may have also had a quick nose through the window of Michael Kors as I strolled past.
Moving away from the fantasy shopping we moved into Trinity which I am completely in love with. It's the most perfect shopping centre, it has nice large stores, houses all of my favourite high street shops and is beautifully designed. The huge glass ceiling makes the mall really light and airy.
Being the "Queen of Primark" I obviously had to make a bit of time for a bargain hunt. The Primark might not be as big as the store in Newcastle, but it does have two separate stores so I was pretty happy with that. I didn't go too crazy but did get stupidly excited when I found this Little Mermaid Top (Simon later asked me why I wasn't wearing my new PJ top to bed and I think he was a little surprised to hear that my new purchase was in fact daywear and I would be wearing it out in public!).
My favourite part of Trinity, and the part that I'd quite like to pick up and carry back to Newcastle, is Trinity Kitchen. Forget your normal boring food court, Trinity Kitchen brings Street Food to the mall. Trinity Kitchen is made up of 7 permanent cafes, restaurants and bars that are joined by Street Food Traders that roll in their vans, wagons, trucks and sheds for a month long stint before they are replaced with different vendors for the next month. This means that you never know what to expect and get to try out lots of different foods.
We decided that there was no other option for lunch so settled down to some pizza at Pizza Luxe. I went for the Chorizo pizza which came loaded with Goats Cheese, Roasted Grapes and Honey. The base was really thin which made it a great meal for lunch.
After a bit more shopping Jenny caught a train home and I had a dinner date with my friend Kate who's lived in Leeds for many years.
We were having an early 5:30 pm dinner and were hopeful that we'd get in to one of the more popular restaurants in the city. However everywhere was rammed! I'd recommend that if you want to eat somewhere specific in Leeds, even if it is early evening, you will need to book a table. Leeds seems to be full of very eager foodies, and who can blame them when there's so much delicious food on offer.
In the end we managed to get ourselves into Mexican restaurant, Cielo Blanco, where we opted for the tapas style "Street Food Experience". We chose a total of 6 dishes for £11.95 each and had such fun looking through the menu. Not being experts on Mexican food I admit that we did have to spend some time looking up dishes on google but once we were fully informed we were pretty proud of our selection of tostadas, empanadas and market dishes.
A few of the dishes were on the hot side so we were thankful for our cocktails to cool our mouths.
It's always fun to move on to somewhere different for dessert so we chose to take ourselves to Roast and Conch at Hotel Chocolat that serves a cocoa based menu inspired by West Indian Cuisine. There are only two restaurants in the country so it's pretty great that one of them is in Leeds.
The dessert and cocktail menu is amazing and it took forever to make a decision but in the end I opted for the Rhubarb Prosecco Cheesecake which was a white chocolate based cheesecake with massive pieces of rhubarb and spiced biscuit base.
The perfect accompaniment was the "Pretty Pink" - muddled raspberries, cocoa gin and Prosecco top.
I loved it so much that it has left me wanting more, there's at least another three desserts on the list that I'd like to try!
I've decided that I will definitely need some more time with my Second City this Summer so am already planning to take an afternoon off work so I can join Kate for an evening of drinking in some of the city's beautiful bars.
Until next time Leeds!