Brunch at North Star Roast, Leeds

Best Brunches in Leeds City Centre

Brunch has become my favourite meal – it has most of the same food and drink elements I love about breakfast, but without the requirement of getting up early in order to enjoy it. For me there’s no better way to start the weekend than rolling out of bed after a lovely lie-in and catching up with friends over pancakes, bacon and endless refills of tea and coffee.

There no shortage of choices if you’re looking for brunch in Leeds, but if you’re indecisive (like me) so many options can just make it harder to choose. So where can you find the best brunches? These are my five favourite places in city centre to get a brunch that sets me up for the weekend. Continue reading

Leeds Diary Dates: August 2017

Well. July was A MONTH. My big change was that I left my job at a company I’ve been settled in for 3 and a half years, and threw myself into a Digital Marketing Manager role at an agency. Agency life is fast-paced and exhausting and so, so different to client side, but I’ve been leaving work every day with the biggest smile on my face and that has felt awesome. I also had a packed weekend in London sailing dinghies down the canal and dancing all night, and booked myself a solo weekend in Krakow for this month which I cannot wait for. But what’s going on at home in Leeds? Continue reading

Casa particular in Vinales, Cuba

Top Tips For Staying in a Casa Particular

Throughout my Cuba trip I stayed exclusively in casa particulars, and I cannot recommend it enough. While hotels are impersonal and relatively expensive for Cuba, casa particulars are basically homestays where you stay with locals and get to benefit from their knowledge and advice. It’s also a great choice for responsible tourism, as your money is going directly to locals instead of large hotel corporations.

While we’re talking money, staying in a casa particular is also cheap! We paid around 30 CUC a night (roughly £20) for a double/twin room with private bathroom and air conditioning, and a generous breakfast is added on for 3-5 CUC per day (£2-4). Included in this price are, in our experience at least, beautiful Cuban homes to stay in and amazing hosts who will go above and beyond to help you with anything you need, and see you off to your next city with a big hug! Continue reading

Book Reviews | June 2017

As some of you may know, I’m currently doing a reading challenge to read 40 books in a year, after falling way short of my 52 books target last year. To be honest this year is going pretty abysmally too – at the halfway point of the year I’ve read 14 books, about 6 behind schedule, so I have some catching up to do if I’m going to make it to 40 by the end of the year.

In the meantime, this is my 6-month mark review of the best books I’ve read in the last three months (yes I know it’s a bit late – I’ve been busy!). And what I have lacked in quantity, I have certainly made up for in quality… Continue reading

Leeds Gin Festival 2017

A Night at Leeds Gin Festival

Those who know me will know that gin is my go-to drink of choice, and that over time I’ve become a bit of a gin snob. I love trying new brands and going to tastings, so when Gin Festival came to Leeds it was basically my ideal night out.

The festival brings together over 100 gins across four bars in one venue, with some brands attending in person to do masterclasses and free tasters, so it’s a fantastic opportunity to try out some top quality gins that you won’t stumble across in your average pub. I’ve found some of my favourite gin brands at events like this and Gin Festival was no different! I have a preference for light, fruity gins so if you have a similar palate, this is what I recommend you try. Continue reading

Leeds Dock

Leeds Diary Dates: July 2017

Can someone tell me how we’re halfway through the year already? It feels unacceptable that it’s July, especially as the weather recently has been distinctly un-summery. Instead of breezing around in floaty dresses, I’ve spent the last fortnight cowering from the rain under my slightly broken umbrella that is way too frail to cope with the winds around Granary Wharf.

That’s not to say there haven’t been some bright moments in June – I attended a fab rum event at Call Lane Social for Leeds Loves Cocktails, tried out the spectacular brunch at Ham & Friends, and went to The Botanist this week to taste a few highlights from their new summer menu. The best day of the month was watching one of my oldest friends get married – the venue was amazing, my friend looked the happiest I’ve ever seen her, and everyone spent a large portion of the day sat outside in the hot sunshine getting slowly drunk. It was perfect.

So what’s coming up in July? It’s actually looking like a fairly quiet month in terms of stuff I want to go to, which actually suits me just fine as I have a new job and a weekend in London to keep me entertained. Here are a few things I’d like to show my face at… Continue reading

Statue in Plaza del Carmen, Camaguey, Cuba

3 Ridiculous Stories From Travelling As a Woman in Cuba

I’ve always been fairly lucky as a a female traveller. I’ve rarely encountered hostility or harassment as a result of being a woman with the audacity to travel without a male chaperone, and while women shouldn’t have to feel grateful for being left alone to go about their business…that’s not the world we live in. So I have always appreciated my good fortune.

But in Cuba, things were a little different. For a start, there was the catcalling. This happened to varying degrees depending on which city we were in, but at its worst it seemed that every corner we turned there was a new shout, and we hated feeling forced to look at the ground, to pull our jackets across our chests and make ourselves smaller. But there were also the more subtle things – the men in bars who would not take a hint, the unsolicited advice, the slightly incredulous “So it’s just the two of you?” comments. It wasn’t the majority by a long shot, but more so than anywhere else I’ve been I encountered men (‘not all men!’) who just didn’t seem to want to believe that two adult women could travel around without any help. For the first time in my life, I felt like travelling was a feminist act.

If you’re still not convinced, let me tell you a few little stories about my experience as a woman backpacking in Cuba. Cringes guaranteed. Continue reading