Places To Go in Yorkshire: Saltaire

I love Saltaire! It's a visually stunning model village, formed in the 1800s by a man who grandly went by the name of Titus Salt. He wanted to build somewhere away from the smog of Bradford, a kind of industrial utopia for himself and his mill-workers deep within the luscious countryside of West Yorkshire. 

How to get there:
It's only just over 10 minutes from Leeds on the train, so it's perfect for a daytrip! We awoke on a sunny Autumnal day and decided to make the journey by car which took roughly half an hour or so.

Where to visit: 
Our first point of call was Robert's Park, voted one of the best green spaces in the country. It's colourful, with beautiful architecture dotted around it, and provides a great place to sit and watch the river as it tumbles and thrashes. From here, you can also view Salts Mill as it stands regally across the way. I've previously been inside and checked out the David Hockney iPad drawings selection, as well as the lovely ground floor shop - but alas, as the rain loomed threateningly overhead we decided we'd call a raincheck on it! After wandering around, we headed to The Boathouse Inn for a packet of crisps, and china cups of tea. We had to sit outside because we had a doggy with us, but it allowed for a spectacular view of the water (and the ducks). I hear that they do a cracking roast!

Where to shop:

Where to eat: 

Why should you go?: 
Here's some photos to persuade you if you're not already convinced...

Leeds Rum Festival

If you've never been in Leeds Corn Exchange you're truly missing a trick! That roof... One of the wonders of the world? I think so! This weekend was the first annual Rum Festival in our city, held in the bottom of this glorious building. There was rum, there was hubbub, there were some DJs who popped brimming shots into our hands, there were masterclasses, there was more rum... It was great! I would've liked to see more of a festival vibe though, with perhaps more seating areas or cocktail samples... But it was fun, and though it caused a sore head the next day due to it being the gateway to a night on the tiles, I can definitely say I've now increased my knowledge of Jack Sparrow's favourite drink!


Victoria Gate

It feels like the construction of Victoria Gate has lasted a lifetime. The vision of men in high-vis jackets, and the sound of building work has been a constant fixture of that area of the city centre for months and months and months. But finally, it's finished. In two days time the gates will open, and in the droves of shoppers will flock. Yesterday I was lucky enough to have a sneak peek around the consumer heaven, and the architecturally interesting new Northern flagship John Lewis. Here's some photos I took on the tour - have a little nosey! 

The Power of a Phonecall

I love phone calls. It's a little weird, mainly because I've always been better at writing than speaking. Writing is a way of expressing myself that I can take time over, that I can eloquently use to alleviate the bubbling stress of my frenetic feelings by crafting the perfect Hello. The perfect Sorry. The perfect Goodbye. I can throw alliteration in there, and make words rhyme within sentences, and feel like everything fits.

But phone calls have kept me sane. Not confrontational or dramatic ones, but everyday phonecalls. The ones that make you forget the distance that separates you. The ones where you fill each other in with the boring details of your day, because otherwise you'd never know the intimate corners of each other's domesticity. You'd never know that small thing someone said on that day that caused a cross journey home. You'd never know what they were having for dinner (unless of course they 'grammed it). You'd never know the delicacies of the mundane. The beauty in the mild. The sparkle in the run-of-the-mill. 

As I put my phone down, I smile. Feeling like I'm right there with you. 


5 Things I'm Excited For in Leeds

1) Leeds First Ever Rum Festival 
Saturday 15th October from 12pm to 5pm 

At the Corn Exchange this weekend I'm super excited for the Rum Festival! There'll be a cocktail bar featuring brands such as Re'Al Syrups, Havana Club, Appleton Estate, Santa Teresa and Rumbullion. There'll also be masterclasses, live music and DJs, alongside local Caribbean food.

2) No/Gloss Film Festival
22nd - 23rd October

Read my full preview of this here! It's going to be an amazing event!

3) Leeds International Film Festival LIFF30
3-17 November 

This year, Jim Jarmusch's new work Paterson will open the festival, while Toni Erdmann, the jewel in 2016's Cannes' crown, will close it. Last year I was lucky enough to go to lots of screenings during LIFF29 - I loved getting to journey around Leeds to the different venues, and seeing all sorts of amazing films! Can't wait for this.

4) Beacons Metro
26th October - 8th November

Dinosaur Jr., Margaret Glaspy, NAO, Fucked Up and more... It's going to be a great week for music in Leeds! Also it's only £50 for an all inclusive ticket, lovely stuff.

5) The Exorcist Outdoor Cinema plus Halloween Disco
Friday 28th October

Last year I saw the Nightmare on Elm Street in Kirkstall Abbey as part of Sneaky Cinema, and though it was very chilly it was a definitely worth the October alfresco screening. Super spooky and lots of fun! Go this year if you get a chance.


Paperback Thrones' Picks: No/Gloss Film Festival

No/ Gloss Film Festival / 22nd - 23rd October 

No/Gloss began in Leeds in 2012,  in order to actively support and showcase underground films and independent film-making. Of course it fit right into the DIY scene of our city. This self-professed 'no-frills film festival' is the perfect antidote to the glitzy, slick set-ups of many of the world's leading events for cinephiles. Oh, and this year it's partnered with Northern Monk Refectory if you weren't otherwise convinced to go!

Where is it?
No/Gloss Film Festival is taking place at Canal Mills, an old stunning warehouse.

What's on?
 I like that this festival is on for two days with two screens. It means that you're able to ingest so much more of the cinema offered, while enjoying the quality of the curation. The films in question vary in length, though most come in around the 15 minute mark, and come from all kinds of countries, from the U.K. to the Netherlands, Canada to South Korea. 

Here's my top 5 of what's on:

1) The Hollywood Shorties (USA) 
Sunday Screen 2 Block 2 3pm-4:24pm

 The Hollywood Shorties is a documentary on the birth of organized sports in the American little people community. Beginning in the 1950s and rising to prominence in the 1980s, the Hollywood Shorties were a basketball team, the first of their kind and unique in the history of little people athletics. Formed from an insular community of recognizable-but-typecast actors in—wait for it—Hollywood, the team began simply as a rare outlet for little people to gather publicly. As the team’s athletic skill increased, so did its membership and so too its popularity.

2) The Red Umbrella Diaries (USA) 
Sunday Screen 2 Block 1 12:13pm- 1:52pm

Seven sex workers from different backgrounds come together to share their stories live on stage in New York City on one very special night. A crowdfunded documentary, it was directed by David Kornfield – nine-time Emmy award winning producer and director specializing in documentary and digital content with over 13 years experience in the film and television industry.

3) Eddie (U.K.) 
Saturday Screen 1 Block 1 12:00PM – 12:15PM

 A suspense drama with a black comic streak, dealing with the terrifying and extraordinary in a uniquely British way – not so much ‘guns blazing’ as ‘putting the kettle on, and pretending none of this is happening’. Alone in an underground facility deep below the mountains, a tired researcher performs endless tests on Eddie, his desperate, mute test subject.

4) The Truants (U.K.) 
Sunday Screen 2 Block 2 4:46PM – 4:58PM

Two teenage boys break free from school to embark on a dangerous adventure, as they truant their way across the threatening industrial landscape which surrounds them. Using improvisational techniques, street-casting and non-professional actors, the film promises to portray an honest reflection of a working class childhood, with a strong and pertinent moral message.

5) Busking Turf Wars (U.K.) 
Sunday Screen 1 Block 2 4:18PM – 5:31PM

For Steven Lockmoore, busking is a way of life. He’s worked hard for his place on the street and is passionate about the community he is a part of. But his world starts to slowly unravel with the emergence of a rival busker, Paul Adrian, who is invading Steven’s turf. Steven has to go on an exploration of what is important to him and what it means to be an artist following your dreams.

What else can you do at No/Gloss?
For the budding filmmakers, there's a couple of film panels/ workshops happening at the Festival, one all about Production Budgeting and the other about DIY distribution. After the films end, there's a Northern Monk after party to look forward to! Because independent film definitely goes best with independent beer.

Pizza Loco will be serving up their signature pizza from their pizza train! Manjit's Kitchen will also be offering amazing Indian street food, with veggie and vegan options. 

Where can you get tickets?
Here! Go, go go!

Things I've Learnt About Anxiety

With today being World Mental Health Day, I felt like I needed to write something. I hope it makes sense, and I hope it flows, though sometimes these things feel completely senseless, don't they?

In my life I've lost a lot of time and energy to anxiety. I feel something akin to grief for those lost hours. The physical manifestations of the psychological have previously so often overtaken me, that I've also grieved for the clarity I felt before it hit. Is that the right word? I don't know, though the idea of it having the impact of an earthquake with tremors and aftershocks fits extremely well, I feel.

It's interesting to me how something can be so life-altering, so effecting, so much like a lens that changes the way we see and feel the world, and yet be so invisible to others. We can smile, we can laugh, we can say we're okay, but, out of embarrassment and out of pride, we can often hide how we truly feel.

Almost all of us to some varying degree will experience elements of anxiety, depression, or other forms of mental illness in our lifetimes, and almost all of us will struggle with it. That's why today is so important, and why it's so encouraging to see so many people breaking taboo while breaking down walls by discussing and dissecting mental health. The more we talk about it, the more we can learn from ourselves and from others.

Over the years, I know I've slowly learnt to be kinder to myself. I've learnt how to not be overcome by things that would've previously engulfed me. I definitely don't bear the definitive answers to the healing process, in fact I don't know much. But I wanted to share some other things that I've learnt, for what it's worth:

- When you need to rest, rest. Take a bath, read a book, have a nap. Look after yourself. I find when I'm feeling particularly anxious that a long walk with a podcast in my ears helps to relieve it. Also, importantly, sleep! Sleeplessness, for me, is a vital component in exasperating my symptoms. Get into bed early, listen to something to help you drift off if you have a racing brain, or use the Headspace app  to help you relax before you put your head on your pillow.

- You don't always need to go that social occasion. If you know something's going to require a lot of mental energy, and you're not up to it - don't go. If you know you'll feel a lot worse after it, don't put yourself through it. Stay in, relax, don't hurt yourself for fear of what others will think. There will always be other nights out you can go to, and other daytrips. Your mental health is much more important than, say, a drink in the pub.

- There's power in vocalising your pain. Though it might sometimes feel like the hardest thing to do, talking it through will help. It's easy to get lost in your own mind, isolating yourself away from people who most of the time will be able to relate in some shape or form. I can't count the amount of times I've been saved by having best friends that I can turn to and be honest with about how I'm feeling. You need supportive people around you.

- Someone can look okay, but that doesn't always mean they are. It never hurts to ask someone how they're really feeling, and truly listen.

- Create. Pick up a pen, or make something. Channel your frustrations and your pent-up energy into something productive that will get you out of your mind and into your body.

- It's okay to take medication. If something helps, it helps. There's no shame in that.

- Eliminate the fear, and be kind to yourself. Fear feeds the flames, which fans the despair and the feeling that things won't get better. You are not your anxiety. You are not your struggles. You need to recognise that your mind is poorly, and adopt healthy habits to help it and to help you be your best self.

Most of all though, remember to be kind to yourself.



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