We've had a wonderful September, haven't we? Not only has the weather been tropical, but there's been loads of great things happening in Leeds and the surrounding areas!
Roundhay Park is one of my favourite parts of our city. It's lush, it's green, and it's expansive with a beautiful lake. You feel like you've wandered into the woodland, and out into a beautiful meadow when you arrive - far removed from the chippies of Boar Lane on a weekend.
OnRoundhay Festival, sponsored by John Lewis (who'll be shortly moving into their new Leeds-based Northern flagship store), marked the first time in ten years that there's been a largescale event there! And it was aesthetically gorgeous. Upon arrival, everywhere around us was colour, and sparkles, and intrigue.
Strolling around the small but dense site, we found a children's area put on by Puffin Books, Leeds Indie Food heading up the stalls, Laynes Espresso serving coffee, the Ox Club, who'd been there since 5am, with their meat roasting over a firepit, Crabbieshack whipping up a mean tray of crabby fries, along with so many other visual, sense-inspiring spectacles.
It was a really lovely day, of sunshine, of drinks, of grub, and of music. I didn't catch James, the main headliner, but the Haggis Horns were super funky, Wolf Alice were incredibly impressive with what I'd describe as a kind of pop-infused modern grunge, and Primal Scream were a hoot!
The festival was primarily dotted with families, which makes sense considering its proximity to Roundhay and Headingley and the fact under 12s got in for free! But really there were people of all ages there, enjoying the weather and the creme de la creme of Leeds' cultural scene.
Good show, OnRoundhay. Hopefully see you next year!
Watch// Gun Nation, a Guardian documentary, is a sobering look at America's gun owners captured by photographer Zed Nelson 18 years ago for his book of the same name. In this 30 minute film, he returns to the Land of the Free to reshoot and re-examine his subjects. It's powerful stuff, especially in the wake of yet more public shootings in the U.S.A.
Listen// Songs I've been loving this week: Quadran - LFT// Gwen McRae - All This Love That I'm Giving// Snooks (Ford) Eaglin - Don't Slam That Door
Read// This piece by Lauren Laverne about why September should be the new New Year.// 'Being cute just made me miserable' by the always eloquent Mara Wilson on her days as Matilda.
Eat// Bossa Grill 2 Cloth Hall Street, Leeds. On Monday I went to it's opening, and WOW. Skewers of delicious meat that you're offered until you say stop, and a Gringo Juice strawberry infused cocktail after my own gringa heart.// Love Brownies, Ilkley. If you're ever in Ilkley, pop in here! The best brownies I've ever tasted in my life, all cooked in their own individual tins!
Visit// This weekend we drove over to Gunnerside, North Yorkshire, through Richmond and Reeth, and a village called Crackpot... Beautiful sights of rural pebbly riverbanks, a Working Smithy museum, topped off by drinking cappuccinos with caramel syrup from the stonewalled village cafe.
Sometimes during the day, when I disappear into a mind-adventure, I find myself thinking about this Sheffield dream house. It's a friend of mine's family home, and it screams of character - like a bazaar in the middle of the jungle. An abode that feels so lived in. A structure that resembles the Weasley's Burrow in Harry Potter. Living in a flat is lovely, especially where we live, but sometimes I find myself yearning for the comforts that come from a house. The carpeted stairs, a green garden, a green house even. Somewhere to settle in, somewhere to set up roots. This house, nestled in Nether Edge, screams of personality. Cries of community. Blends the woolliness of a Yorkshire landscape with slightly wearing, well-loved walls. Until my city centre days are over, I'll continue to daydream about this bountiful-with-bunting dwelling.
15 September 2016 • Leeds
During this hot and heavy heatwave I've been garnering for a trip to one of Leeds' suburban parks. Luckily, this weekend sees the John Lewis sponsored OnRoundhay Festival, the sister event of OnBlackheath in London, taking place in one of our city's finest green spaces.
The luscious Roundhay Park, one of the biggest inner-city ones in Europe. This is the first time in ten years that there's been an event there, and it's the first ever music, food and family entertainment festival to take place in the park! Fun fact: Michael Jackson, the Rolling Stones, and Madonna have all played here in years past.
How to get there?
The number 12 and 2 bus goes from New Briggate in Leeds City Centre to Roundhay Park every 10 minutes.
Bobby Gillespie's outfit Primal Scream are one of the acts topping the bill, alongside headliners and former Factory Records prodigies James, the immersive, incredibly talented Wolf Alice, Max Jury (apparently the hybrid of George Harrison and James Blake) and the Haggis Horns, who promise a live funk extravaganza.
What else can you do there?
There's loads to do for families! Under 12s go free at the festival, and Puffin Books will be hosting the family area. There'll also be a Village Green Sports Day will offer book-themed delights such as egg and spoon races and sack races, with prizes for kids who come dressed as a book character! For everyone else, there's a luscious array of food and drink in the John Lewis Food Village.
Now, this is the line-up I'm excited for! We've got the Ukranian Olia Hercules, cooking from her new cookbook Mamushka. We've got the Leeds Indie Food and Drink guys and girls who've curated their own stellar menu of some of the best culinary wizards surrounding our city! You'll find the Basque cuisine of Pintura, the Italian stallions of North Leeds pizza institution Salvos, York's The Star Inn the City's Matt Hunter, and Layne's Espresso! There'll also be Manjit's Kitchen, who I tasted at Beacons Festival, the impeccably named Piggie Smalls, and the Pizza Bus, most commonly seen outside Brudenell Social Club. My mouth is watering even thinking about all of this... Can I eat it all?
Where can you get tickets?
Here! Go, go go!
This Summer's flown by in a heartbeat. It's been a season of change, of sunshine, of not being scared to try new things. It's been nice spending weekends and weeks back home in North Yorkshire, soaking in the countryside.
The endless fields of corn that crunch under your feet. The turnstiles that have seen better days. The pure, unadulterated feeling of freedom that comes from the vastness of the scenery.
The people I've spent time with this Summer have been incredibly special. So have the opportunities which have presented themselves. The months have spelled the end of my time at the job I've held for almost two years, which is scary but it's time for a change. My life feels a little like tectonic plates at the moment -- shifting, and reforming. But it feels good. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: change can be good. It can be great.
A few weeks ago, we spent some time in a little village we're very fond of. I was reminded a little of California by the beaded curtains, and the climbing plants. The cows were obviously profoundly from Yorkshire, but the sunshine made everything feel new, and refreshed, as it has the power to do. West Coast rose-tinted lenses on the Northern landscape. I felt new and refreshed, my skin bronzed by its magical rays, and my eyes seeing for the first time in a long time the sunny-ness of the future.
In the words of Belle and Sebastian, I spent A Summer Wasting. It's wasted me golden.
4 September 2016
- Jerk Chicken at Carnival Bank Holiday Monday saw Leeds West Indian Carnival hit Chapeltown in Leeds. The parade was incredible, colourful and beautiful. We toured the stalls, and found ourselves a nice plate of jerk chicken accompanied by some rice and peas. I'll post more about it later!
- Edinburgh This week I headed to Edinburgh, to stay with Steph who I saw a few weeks ago. We roamed the city for three days. We drank cheap cocktails, listened to Scottish accents, climbed hills and caught up. I fell in love with it, and can't wait to return! Also, the coastline visible from the train en route was unreal.
- The season of knitwear The weather's getting considerably colder, which means only one thing... knits! Bloody glorious knits. Pass me the jumper, and I'll be in my element.
- Pumpkin Spice Autumn also means the CINNAMON BEAUTNESS that is Pumpkin Spice. I love pumpkin, I love pumpkin pie, and I love pumpkin coffees.
- "you never regret a wild swim": some wise words spoken to me by a friend, and which I discovered last Saturday was true. We went swimming near Hackfall Woods in North Yorkshire, and though it was icy cold, it was euphoric.