I think it's pretty important in life to be comfortable enough in yourself to enjoy spending some time on your own away from your friends, family and partner. There's something quite special about taking yourself out on a solo adventure, getting to make lots of decisions and do exactly what you want, when you want to.
So I recently decided to book a day off work and happily take myself off to my new favourite city, Leeds. Like my last trip to Leeds, I decided to fully enjoy my day by blogging on my iPhone rather than lugging my camera about.
The main purpose of my trip was of course to shop, so I made sure I arrived in Leeds before 10:00 am which seemed a little mad when it involved getting up earlier than I normally would to go to work but it was completely worth it just to have some quiet time in the shops before they got busy.
I've said it once and I will say it again, I love the shopping in Leeds and it's fast becoming my favourite shopping destination.
My first stop of the day was of course Primark where I went a little crazy with the statement necklaces. They have the most amazing collection at the moment and I couldn't pick which one I wanted so ended up with four. When they're all priced between £4 and £6 it's hard to resist.
I also finally bought this gorgeous pastel blue "leather" jacket that I've had my eye on for quite a while. I've tried it on every time I've been in but on each occasion my sensible head made me put it back. This time though I knew the time had finally come to make it mine and I'm so happy it's come home with me because it's beautiful. It cost £25 and it also comes in pale pink and, new in store, teal and hot pink.
The beauty with solo shopping is you can spend as long as you like in the changing rooms. I will admit I sometimes spend forever in there, it takes me ages to get changed and I usually try each outfit on more than once. It's nice to be able to do that knowing you don't have someone waiting for you outside. It took me forever to try on this lovely jumpsuit from Dorothy Perkins. It was in the sale at half price and I couldn't decide whether to get it or not. In the end it went back on the rails though I have been regretting it a little ever since.
My favourite place to window shop in Leeds is definitely the Victoria Quarter with it's luxury designer shops. I love to press my nose up to the glass of Mulberry and Michael Kors and take a look at the handbags.
This trip I decided to wander into Harvey Nichols for a coffee. Sometimes it's nice to grab a drink somewhere with plush surroundings rather than heading into a coffee shop. The top floor houses a lovely little bar complete with an outdoor roof terrace. I had a great time people watching whilst drinking my latte.
Probably my favourite thing about a solo shopping trip is that I get to choose where I go for lunch and this time I knew I wanted to head to Le Chalet, a lovely little French Bakery and Tea Room hidden away in Leeds Banking District. I ordered the Galette Complete, a classic French dish of pancake made with black flour, topped with an egg and stuffed with cheese and ham. I really enjoyed it and I will definitely be back to check out the afternoon tea next time I'm in Leeds.
No trip to Leeds is complete without heading in to the beautiful Trinity for a look round the shops. It's such a stunning building and I do wish I could pick it up and move it to Newcastle.
As my lunch was served with salad I saw it as the perfect excuse to stop for some gelato at Joel Deluccis who offer a wide variety of delicious flavours. I opted for cherry and custard and, as much as I wanted a giant cone coated in chocolate, I decided to pick the more modest single cone.
Angelica for a few cocktails we headed to Arts for some dinner.
Arts is an intimate café bar and restaurant, a short walk from the train station. Being eager beavers we took advantage of the early bird 2 courses for £12.50. I enjoyed Beer Battered Haddock, with the hugest Hand Cut Chips I have ever seen and Crushed Minted Peas.
This was followed by Coffee, Cherry and Chocolate Bakewell served with Sour Cherry and Amaretto Sorbet. Being a huge fan of every single one of those flavours I was stupidly excited about trying this dessert. It felt like it had been invented just for me. Unfortunately the only tastes I got were Chocolate and Cherry - the Amaretto and Coffee were very well hidden. That said it was still delicious and I enjoyed every mouthful.
All too soon it was time to hop on my train for the short journey back to Newcastle. Yet again I left wanting more and I think Leeds might be the perfect place to do my Christmas shopping.