living small: nyc inspiration

So tomorrow is move-in day! I can't quite believe it. I've spent the day packing everything away, and it's crazy how much crap I've accumulated over the years. I found gig tickets from 2006, a story I wrote in year 7 (which I was actually quite impressed with), along with my year 11 leavers shirt and so much more. 6 bin bags thrown out later, I feel cleansed. But so many possessions remain... And because our flat is very small - the perks of living city centre - we need to make the most of space. It's made me think of Manhattan apartments, tiny in size yet grandiose in charm, and their storage capabilities. Here's a few Pinterest inspirations (pinspirations??) and others of mine.

A Weekend In Liverpool (Day 2)

After an interesting first day we wake up at 9am, get dressed, and head down for breakfast. 

A Weekend in Liverpool (Day 1)

I’ve just seen a face, I can’t forget the time or place that we just met. She’s just the girl for me and I want all the world to see we’ve met. My fair lady Liverpool –  Capital of Culture 2008, land of the scouse brow, of football fans, merchants and musicians alike. Liv-ah-pewl. Land of my heart... 

Ribbledale Viaduct

I've been wanting to go see Ribblehead Viaduct for a while now, having seen it immortalised on Facebook or highly filtered on Instagram. It's a pretty spectacular sight. We drove and drove for what seemed like hours, stopping briefly at the Wensleydale cheese shop (naturally), before the Viaduct stood regally in the distance. 

House of the Trembling Madness, York

Rain slashes through the icy air, and our cheeks are a winter shade of pink. Lucy and I have met in York for, well, a couple of reasons: 1) so that she can buy clothes and 2) so I can see a friendly face. I always forget what a pretty place this city is. The cathedral looms over the Shambles like an off-white peacock. After strolling for a few hours, and chowing down on some Yorkshire grub, we venture upstairs into an oldy-worldy building. This is the "taxidermy pub," as Lucy calls it. And it's soon clear why! 

It's a little off-putting sitting right underneath this wall. Nobody wants a stuffed 
animal head landing in their cider on a Monday evening, do they?

The fire roars, the chit-chatter rings through the very cosy room, and the food looks AMAZING.

With a name like The House of Trembling Madness, how can you not want to visit this Tudor gem? Call in for a pint next time you're in York and get yourself the Viking Willy Salamis (what a name).

Sundaze #4

Man, oh man. This week has again been high on the nomadic scale. Living my life on the road (or should I say 'on the tracks' due to lots of train travel) has meant I haven't had my laptop with me which has made updating my blog midweek a little difficult! My frankest apologies for the hiatus. Anyways, I have some exciting news/ not-really-that-exciting-but-hopefully-interesting thoughts I'd like to share with you on this very chilly Autumnal Monday.

Thinking about: 

1) I am now a member of the Champion Up North team! I'll be writing for their Life section. This is really great because I'll get to review restaurants, scribble about coffee & the best places to booze, and essentially just explore more of Leeds, which in turn will feed into my blog. The two will go hand in hand. As you may have guessed from my previous posts, I'm really interested in Leeds and other cities in the North as they grow and become more and more devolved from our capital. On that note, did anyone go to the Yorkshire Awards on Friday? Look's like it was a party and a half with some fab winners. 
-----PS: If anyone has any recommendations for Leeds hotspots, I'm all ears. Comment on this post, tweet me (@pbthrones) or email me! Muchos gracias-----

2) After four days of EXTREME SUSPENSE, N and I have FINALLY found a flat. It's not 100% certain yet, as we need to go through all the admin stuff(/the boring bits) etcetera etcetera... but we are well on our way to landing our very own pad in Leeds. If things go to plan we'll be moving in on the 8th of November! How very exciting. As much as I love being in Ilkley, living in the centre of the city will make life so much easier. ALSO hellooooo decorating! OH. Ma. Gad. I can't wait. Fingers crossed everything goes smoothly. Friends, readers, fellow bloggers, please all cross your toes for me. 

Reading: Above is what I've been reading! Bedsit Disco Queen by Tracey Thorn, member of the band Everything But the Girl. I'm not very far through it yet but Thorn has a very charismatic, naturally engaging way with words as she (so far) navigates us through her post-punk/bedroom beginnings. 

Listening to: Who else but The Beatles? This weekend I took a trip to Liverpool to see the sights, visit the museums, and generally soak up the culture of a city that is ingrained so absolutely in my very being. My Mum's side of the family are all from there, and my Dad now lives there with his girlfriend. Yes, I'm an honorary scouser! Ha ha you do not want to hear me try and attempt (massacre, more like) the accent. 

It's crazy walking down the cobbled streets of Mathew Street, with John, Paul, George and Ringo's faces forever emblazoned on the walls, to imagine what it would be like to be such a hometown hero. Imagine a road named after me in Brighton... Imagine a museum dedicated to me... Imagine all the people, living life in peace (yooo-hooo-oooooo)... I'll be writing a post very shortly where I'll go into a lot more detail about my lurvely trip.
My favourite Beatles song would have to be either Here Comes the Sun or Something. Big fan of Georgie over here. What's yours?

Some links from me to you:
For everything Leeds go to Leeds-List

Happy Monday xxx

Sundaze #3

Okay, so I've failed a bit with this whole Sundaze thing. BUT I'm back! Here's the third installment of my weekly round-up. Grab a cuppa and have a read.

Thinking about: This week I've been thinking about blogging and what it means to me. I've been doing a lot of blog-oration (blog exploration... I like to make up words) recently, and I have to say, some of the ones I've stumbled across seem a bit... dare I say it... boring? A kind of lifelessness that stems from solely focusing on giveaways, promotions, and the like. That's not to say that I'm not open to working with brands -- I'm definitely PR friendly -- but I feel if you're going to work with companies it has to be done correctly, otherwise it can completely dilute a site. Not targeting anyone directly in the slightest, just an overall feeling. Christina from Paperbagblog wrote a really good piece about becoming disillusioned with blogging  and what it's becoming. I guess the great thing about blogging is that it provides everyone with a voice and a platform for self-expression, but that's also the worst thing... every lady, man & cat (just imagine a cat's blog for a minute, meow) seems to have a blog these days. How, then, do you make yours STAND OUT? I think it's like anything in life, really. When you love doing something, it shows, and when it shows, people are drawn to what you're offering. So with this blog I'm just going to write about what I want to write about, and hope that people like it! But if they don't, that's okay. 

Reading: A really nice thing (well, one of many) about staying with my grandparents is the abundance of broadsheets that glaze the breakfast table. I've never really thought much of the first meal of the day previously. Obviously I'm a fan of cereal and an utmost devotee to the British fry up, but I also really like sleep - scratch that, LOVE sleep. If you know me, you'll understand how my time with my breakfast bowl is usually one of swift annulment, followed by running out the door highly stressed, mascara streaked across my eyebrows, because of pressing the snooze button threes times too many. So, it's a pleasure and a privilege to leisurely read the news at G & G's while munching some Country Crisp. Sometimes I get stewed rhubarb, too - beat that! 

This morning, I opened the Sunday Times magazine to see Katie Glass' piece staring back at me, crisp and alert, witty and poignant. "New York is a city where I dance through the city to its beat," she sings in the Big Apple's praise, "you're allowed to want everything here -- and you don't have to be ashamed of it." Her writing reminds me of my first weekend in NYC, which I wrote about in more detail here. I remember feeling like I could be anybody there, like I could bounce from fire escape to fire escape, stroll through the streets, like I was playing the lead role in the film of my life right there and then. Unlike the the films and TV shows that perpetuate the myth of small-town America -- high school dramas, in particular -- New York lives up to its glamourised media representation. It is the city that never sleeps. It is the concrete jungle where dreams are made of. It is the unabashed American capital of ambition. Contrasting it to Britain, Katie artfully declares "what it has, that we...lack, is an optimism, a belief, an outspoken pride that its OK to want more for yourself and to not be ruled by politeness or your past..." Maybe we all need to embrace the Empire State of Mind.

Read Katie's column here (for a small fee)

Here are some blog links that have been aiding me in my New York pining:

And here's the house from the Royal Tenenbaums, somewhere I visited during my stay. The ultimate Manhattan island pad.

Anyone got any NYC blogs that they'd recommend?

Watching: I went to see Gone Girl the other day at the cinema. I was super excited about its release after voraciously reading Gillian Flynn's book in all of three days, face so firmly implanted in its spine that it took me a little while to come back down to earth after finishing it. Have you read it? Jeez Louise, is it engrossing! For the first time in a long time with a book, I COULD NOT put it down. Did he kill her? Did his Dad kill her? Who bloody killed her!? Oh wait! A MASSIVE PLOT TWIST. It had me on the edge of a variety of seats. Fast forward a week and I was sat down at Teesside cinema, ready to be blown away by David Fincher's stab at the most popular novel of 2012. Yet, I just wasn't...? Maybe it was because the twists and turns in the plot were fresh in my mind, or maybe it was because Rosamund Pike wasn't the Amy I'd expected - who knows? I think my main problem with it was the 2D nature of the characters. Amy is the Ice Queen trope, a crazy bitch who deserves her husband's indiscretions. Nick is a bit dull. The book takes great pains in fleshing out their relationship, especially the beginning, so a lot of the later action and characters' motives are more understandable. I guess you'll never be able to achieve what you can in 500+pages of fiction in 2 hours of films. I guess Hollywood's still apprehensive about showing women as ACTUAL PEOPLE, with flaws and quirks and all that jazz. The film's definitely worth a see as a piece of cinema -- the mood, music, etc all combine to create a great thriller-- but, for me, it doesn't compare to the addictive quality of the book.

Wearing: Yesterday I went to the Vintage Kilo Sale as part of Judy's Affordable Vintage Fair in Holy Trinity Church! I'd spent the day flyering for Belgrave Music Hall's first birthday and Street Feast which was a jumble of amazing sights & sounds. Did you go?

This was the calm before the storm! Anyways, after I'd finished and grabbed a famous mackerel bap from Fish&, I headed to have a peek at some bargains. I managed to get a load of stuff for super cheap, including a beautiful blue coat, a bright yellow cardigan (mourning summer by wearing sunshine tones), a bag, among other things. SO so chuffed with the coat - it's a stunner. 

The next Vintage Fair is on October 25th! Check it out in Leeds or other destinations all over the country. 

Happy Sunday xxx

The Blog North Awards

This week I've felt a bit like a nomad, hot-tailing around the North of England.  

My adventure started on Monday night, with Naomi and I going over to Cocked Hat farm (great name, eh?) for Sof's birthday. It's been bloody ages since I've seen Sof, what with her living in Wales and working in Manchester, and me having had quite the hectic nomadic summer. It's always lovely when you haven't seen certain friends in a while to know that everything's always exactly the same when you do. And that's what was so nice about Monday. Just like the old days: old friends convening to drink wine, eat cake, laugh, and reminisce -- but this time also with boyfriends and family and little ones (not ours by the way, still a bit young for motherhood).

Cocked Hat looks a lot different from when we were sixteen, six years ago, drinking beer and getting ready for the year 11 prom. I wore a rather slinky blue dress (which makes me cringe now!) that I ended up having to get sewn into by Sof's lovely Mum because the cheap zip broke. Now, they've extended the house and there's a massive dining room/ lounge snuggled on the back of it. Out of the windows you can see the horses and sheep, the green of the fields that surround this haven of memories. 

Christina (Sof's Mum) made her speciality lasagne, an Italian recipe passed down to her, with a kooky concoction of ham, meatballs, other ingredients, but no bechamel sauce. It was very different from the kind I'm used to - the kind that comes in a plastic tray and takes 2 minutes to microwave. But, it was delicious!

 And that wasn't all. The cakes! Oh, the cakes. Hazelnut meringue with homemade lemon curd and cream inside, and a homemade strawberry cheesecake. Both D-I-V-I-N-E. I ate far too much. And drank far too much. And had some lovely jubbly bedtime heartburn to contend with. 

Then on Tuesday, Naomi and I woke up bright and early (feeling a little bit rotund) ready for a hefty day of house viewings . . .

...that were bloody cancelled. Such a pleasure to be called half an hour before, when you're obviously en route, to be informed it'll have to be rescheduled to 7pm. Then to another day. So we decided to blow everything off, go have a nice lunch and go to the cinema. Somewhere to kill time until our one remaining viewing at 4pm. 

We went to see Map to the Stars - have you seen it? It's the new David Cronenberg (of Cosmopolis fame) film and is a pretty scathing satire of the fickle world of Hollywood. Julianne Moore is INCREDIBLE as Havana Segrand, an aging actress who resembles a freckled, see-through-dress-wearing, even more warped, older incarnation of Lindsay Lohan. The plot is a little unwieldy, with many ends left untied, and also features a much too short --in my opinion-- cameo by Robert Pattinson (he so dreamy). His character lacked any sense of depth, really, but maybe that was the point?

We left the cinema feeling weird and trotted off to see the potential flat of our dreams. Ten minutes from town, it was in quite a good location but not quite right for us, and definitely not the right price. Alas, not the dream.  I think we've decided we're going to wait a little bit - keep looking, but wait for the quiet period to fully begin, and hopefully bag ourselves a really good deal, instead of an overpriced abode in a grotty neighbourhood. 

I don't really mind waiting that much because I've been staying in Ilkley with Granny & Grandad in their beautiful house. Ilkley is especially gorgeous in all it's Autumnal glory. Above is a picture of the Ilkley Betty's October window display; if you've never heard of Betty's, it's THE place for a Yorkshire dining experience, and the perfect venue for afternoon tea. 

Oh, and the Ilkley Literature Festival is on at the moment! I'm hoping to get myself to a few events, so watch this space.

When Wednesday rolled around it was time for Manchester and ... *drum roll* the Blog North Awards 2014. I spent the day with my pa, who was in West Yorkshire to visit the dentist (poor guy), then plonked myself on a train headed South. 

Recently, I feel like I spend my life on trains. But, I can't really complain. For some reason as soon as I'm aboard I seem to well with inspiration. There's something about sitting still, looking out the window, and taking in the vast countryside that especially makes the brain juices flow. I wrote Find Your Best Self on this train to Manchester, while nursing a 4 quid mini (and I mean, MINI) bottle of rose wine to calm my bloggy nerves. Maybe it wasn't the scenery but the booze that was the source of that post?

Arriving among the Mancunions, I looked out for 'a big wheel,' where I'd been instructed to take the bus from to the Deaf Institute, the setting of the bloggers' coronation -- part of Manchester Literature Festival . Hmmmm, I thought, if I were a big wheel where would I be? And then, a few steps later... aha!

 Shining in front of me like a circle of burning magnesium.

I clambered on the bus, and quickly scrambled off at my destination, ready to meet my poor poorly friend Anna who had valiantly agreed to still accompany me. And then, quite suddenly, I (quite literally) bumped into Stevie. 

Stevie is Nanon's (more on her later) mate from uni, and runs the fabulous Discotheque Confusion, which is an all-time favourite blog of mine, and definitely an inspiration for my own. Stevie's a very cool girl, with her finger held tightly on the Manchester cultural pulse. Anyways, we all headed into the ceremony, surrounded by gleaming colourful wallpaper, and to the bar where I bought some more wine (I had a v nervous, fluttery stomach).  Say hello to Dolly...

What an amazing ceremony it was! Flashtag (slam short stories instead of poetry) were fantastic, as were the bloggers nominated for Best Writing and Best Personal Blog who voiced snippets of their work. Mollie Simpson was my personal favourite, reading cringey preteen/tween diary entries to the cackling crowd. 

Kate Feld of Manchizzle was a wonderful host! In case you didn't know already, I was shortlisted for Best Young Blogger. Sadly I didn't win, but it's okay because the lovely Lauren Vevers of thebellinijar did. Well done, Lauren! All in all, I'm so glad I went. It was fab to catch up with Anna and Stevie, and to meet some incredibly talented bloggers. There was a sweeping, warming feel of community blanketing the room, amplified by the serious wine flush that had turned my cheeks into beacons of beetroot. 

After the awards, I bid farewell to Anna, and headed into Manchester city centre with Stevie to meet Nanon. We went to a variety of different bars with her friends to celebrate a birthday, and I had one of the best evenings I'd had in a very long time. 

The next day, feeling hungover, we left Nanon's SWANKY new pad in the Northern Quarter and headed down the road to Koffee Pot, an American diner meets greasy spoon cafe with an urban Mancunion twist, for.. what else? A fry up! Beautiful and revitilising hash browns in tow.

Fat bastard brekky for me!

Above are pictures of Nanon's flat, of the wide all-encompassing windows, each fitted with individual temperamental blinds. 

It's weird, for some reason I've always written off living in Manchester - I've always only ever considered Leeds. But now, after perusing the perks of the Northern Quarter and seeing a glimpse of the cultural capital of the North, I'm.. well, CONVERTED. NQ, you'll definitely see me again soon. I need to give Leeds a shot first, though.

And so, now it's Friday. 

This morning I boarded another train and headed from Ilkley into the city for opportunites, and to find a place to curl up and think about the week I've had.

TRIVIA --- does anyone know where this is? It's a secret.

I've had a wonderful week, and I can't wait to get more and more involved in the northern blogging community. I also can't wait for the Blog North Awards 2015

This Northern nomad wishes you all a lovely weekend. 

PS: If you're a Leeds blogger or business, please say hello! I'd love to hear from you where your favourite spots in West Yorkshire are. I'm still looking for a personal landmark coffee shop - my own Leeds based Central Perk, if you will.

Find me on Twitter @pbthrones

find your best self

Find your best self. Take the train in the rain, eyes open wide as the scenery drains by if that's what gets your brain high. Do what you love. Don't waste time chasing signs of something that isn't to be. Set yourself free. Just do what you love. 

If you enjoy what you do, you'll be motivated to work hard, and when you really really work hard at something you'll become the best you can be. You'll be your best self. You'll fly to the top of the shelf. What else? 

Don't hang around with boys or girls who make you feel anything less than soaring. Don't hang around with people you find boring. Don't ever feel that you have to stifle your personality to get some company. They're not the right friends for you. You can't and won't shine bright with that crew.  Be with people that excite you, that ignite you, that share the nights with you, but also the days. Find those that won't stray when you don't feel your most happy self. Find those that can chat you round. Those that know you inside out and know what to say on those days where you feel like you're slipping away. They'll bring you back to ground. 

Romantically, don't let yourself fall for people who aren't falling over backwards to get tangled with you. They won't do. If they don't treat you right at first, they're not your fate. Hold on and wait for someone who won't question your traits, or make you feel self-hate. Someone who loves you for you. Someone who wants to sleep with you because no one else will do. Then you'll be your bedtime best self, too. You know all of this is true. 

Blood is thicker than water, but if you're a daughter of a mother who makes you feel sad, if you're a son of a father who makes you feel bad because you're not the right kind of lad... let them go. It's hard and it's tragic, but logic dictates you'll only ever be your best self without them. Never let them make you doubt yourself. Your lovely amazing self. Friends can be your best foundations. You can spend the best Christmases of your life with acquaintances that strive to know you and love you and show you. Who make you feel alive. 

Find a job that teaches you, not one that leeches every ounce of enthusiasm from your bones and makes you feel alone. Have healthy habits and don't worry about your weight - your appearance will change over the years, like the range of your peers, but healthy habits will inhabit within and spin you into something great. Greater than you already are, which is hard. 

Don't let your outside eclipse your inside. Don't hide from opportunities because you feel like you don't deserve them; you deserve them more than anyone else. Because, you are you. And you are beautiful. 

Find what makes you your best self and avoid situations and complications that bring out the worst in you. Find your best self and love it unconditionally. Once you do, you'll allow the best kind of other people to love your self, too. 


Come away with me for a little while. To a place that definitely needs some tender loving care. To a place that holds a grey-brick road that leads on down to the ocean. To a place where you can stand at the railings in your coat and your scarf and just breeeath.

Let's hop on a train from the landlocked green hills and head out to Redcar, to the nether regions of the North East. Let's walk through the quiet streets, cracked paint melting away to reveal the beige inner workings, past the cafes and the charity shops and the cars carrying tired looking passengers. 

Let's stroll past the derelict fish and chip shops, all the way to the shore. Wave hello to the waves and the white wind turbines blowing in the breeze. 

And then let's go home. Salt nestled in our noses,  we'll ride the tide back to the colours green and stone. It's been a fun day at the beach.

lauryn hill's got the ex-factor

Last week I sold my tickets for Ms. Lauryn Hill at the Manchester Apollo...

I bought them in a manic panic while wine-tinged in Croatia, thinking nothing of the hefty pricetag, because, I figured: this is bloody Lauryn Hill, the songstress of my favourite ever album, the Fugees frontwoman, a lady 100% one of a kind. 

'It'll definitely sell out,' I reasoned, 'so even if I don't want to go I'll be able to shift them easily.' Of course, at that time, in our apartment in Stinjan, I figured I'd have a house in Leeds by now. I figured I could venture to Manchester and then venture back - easy, piece of cake. 

But, the job search has not been fruitful, and the house search even worse. And so, when it got to the night before September 23rd, with my financial situation bleak, my friends in Manchester not so keen, and after reading the harsh critiques of Hill's sets in Brixton and Birmingham, I decided I had to sell up. As many were also trying to do. The stress of it all was searing. I genuinely believed I was going to be 80 quid out of pocket as the hours ticked on. But, THANK GOD, StubHub was my saviour and someone claimed them.

What went wrong, Lauryn?

One of the handful of queens of neo soul (big up Badu, too) released The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill in 1998. 16 years ago. And still, the album is as electric and resonant as ever. Every song is incredible. From the grooves of Every Ghetto Every City to the heartbreak heart-song of Ex-Factor, it's seamless and soul-infused and impossible to outshine. Hill didn't even try. Her semi-sophomore offering 2001's MTV Unplugged 2.0 featured some new material but divided critics. Since then, she's laid low. Well, musically. There's been plenty of controversies that have kept her name in the papers for all the wrong reasons. Last year she spent three months in prison for tax evasion, Wyclef Jean's autobiography shed light on their tumultuous love affair, and now, her reputation is being tarnished by a string of fan-angering (fangering?) shows.

In Stefan Schumacher's cocky It's Finally Time To Stop Caring about Lauryn Hill he emphasises how Hill's lack of output has presently made her culturally insignificant. Talib Kweli fights back in defence arguing that "when you pay for a Lauryn Hill concert you are not paying for her to do what you want, you are paying for her to do what she wants. She is not an iPod nor is she a trained monkey. She doesn't have to do her hits and she doesn't have to do the songs the way you want to hear them." Kweli raises a convincing point. Artists are entitled to free self-expression and part of Ms. Hill's decline has inevitably come from her struggle away from the imprisoning creative restrictions placed upon her by her fledgling success. Perhaps the lack of a follow up is a direct result of unfair intense commercial pressure. 

We have to respect musicians and their choices. But, at the same time, musicians have to respect their fans. If Lauryn Hill doesn't want to play her Miseducation songs then she should sing something else, perhaps fitting in original old hits in the encore. Don't tamper with melodies that are loved and adored by millions, and the only reason people are paying upwards of 50 quid (even 100 quid) for tickets. It would be a lot more acceptable for her to morph the songs if people were only paying a tenner for entry. You can't have it both ways - you can't be the diva and the victim. Why come onstage at 10:45pm when you're meant to be on at 8:30pm? There are no excuses for that level of lateness night after night.

There is no denying Ms. Lauryn Hill is transcendentally talented. Her recent cover of the Beatles' Something on David Letterman showcases her distinctive voice beautifully. It's still the same - I still love it. But, if you're asking fans to shell out a small fortune to come and see you, you have to be respectful. You have to cater, at least a little bit, to what they want to hear. That's just manners. 

Last year in Amherst, Massachusetts I saw Bob Dylan live. Every college kid is enamoured with his 1960's back catalogue as a melodic ode to being young and confused. Yet, there was no sign of 'Like A Rolling Stone.' Some of his famous songs got the live treatment but, much like Lauryn, they were changed so much they were unrecognisable. I'm glad I saw him, because he is... well, Bob Dylan, but the concert itself was something I wouldn't pay again to see. Hill, to me, seems the same. She will always be culturally, socially and politically significant because of everything she's achieved. But, in reality, she's not currently relevant enough to charge extortionate amounts for tickets without backlash. Especially when essentially putting her middle finger up to her fans.

Oh, Lauryn. It could all be so simple, but you'd rather make it hard.

The Agora, Leeds

I'm not very talented when it comes to time-keeping. More specifically, I have a habit of underestimating how long certain journeys will take me. And so, on Monday night, I sped from North to West Yorkshire and proceeded to gallivant across to Ilkley and then back to Headingley. It was stressful, sweaty, and of course, I was late. (Prospective employers, I'm not tardy for jobs! I promise)

I arrive at The Agora, stomach-rumbling and purse a little lighter from train and taxi fares, to meet Fu and Jess for some good Greek/Turkish grub. 

The decor's light and bright and breezy. It's got a really cosy feel. We sit in a booth by the window and gaze at the passerbys - students with shopping bags, young professionals, older locals. Headingley's a hive of activity. Looking out onto the dark Autumn night feels like when you're comfy inside during snowfall. We nestle in, and set about catching up. 

Fu and Jess are my lovely friends from Brighton. Jess is in her fourth year of uni here and Fu's on a pitstop before going to her Granny's in Guiseley. It's so nice to see them!

Because I'm late, and because they know how much I love prawns, they order my starter for me. At 12.95 for two courses Sunday-Thursday, it'd be rude not to take advantage of the culinary delights.

The sauce is really yummy, nice and creamy. The dish is like European soul food. 

Fu has the Greek salad. A classic. Other starters on offer include calamari, falafel, and lamb keftedes.

For my main, I order the Chicken Hydra which is chicken cubes cooked with white wine, fresh cream, mushrooms, onions & mustard. The poppadom crisps are a nice touch. It's a similar sauce to my starter, but what can I say, I'm hooked. I think the portion sizes here are on point - not too big but still enough to make me feel like I need to be rolled home.

Jess and Fu share the salmon dish and the veggie moussaka. They give them both glowing reviews.

I would definitely recommend The Agora. The food is really delicious, the ambience is relaxing. Sitting in the booth, I feel like we're eating five-star nosh in someone's upmarket living room - professional but with plenty of  laughter and wine glasses clinking. If you find yourself in Headingley, head to this restaurant. You won't regret it.

Take a peek here: