Certificate from Barista Class at 200 Degrees North

4 Fun Classes to Take in Leeds

Do you ever miss your school days? No, me neither. But that doesn’t mean I don’t miss learning, having all that dedicated time when you were not only encouraged but expected to be filling your brains with new skills and information. But learning doesn’t have to stop when you leave school – here are just a few of the ways you can pick up a new talent and have loads of fun along the way.

Barista School at 200 Degrees North

I recently attended the Basic Barista Class at 200 Degrees North and had such a fun afternoon. One of the cafe’s coffee experts took us through a really interesting presentation about the history of coffee, the production process, and how 200 Degrees roast their own coffee beans here in the UK at their Nottingham site. We then moved onto the coffee-making, and after a short tutorial were let loose on the espresso machines to brew our own cups and try our hands at latte art. It turns out baristas are very skilled at making this look easy; I couldn’t manage to create more than a lumpy blob. Luckily I still got a certificate to take home at the end of it!

Creative Classes at The Bowery

Got a thing for arts and crafts? The Bowery in Headingley is just the place to hone your skills, or learn a new one. They run 6-week courses on a wide range of creative skills including sewing, drawing, creative writing, jewellery making…the list goes on. I hear they used to offer a photography course, which I am really keen to get on if they ever bring it back. If you don’t want to commit to a 6-week course, they also hold individual workshops which give you a nice taster of what the longer courses entail. All classes are limited to a small number of people and have expert tutors, and considering most of your materials are included the courses are incredibly good value for money.

Gin Tasting at Lazy Lounge

It took our gin expert until halfway through the Lazy Lounge tasting to realise that he’d got mixed up and started serving us wine measures instead of spirit measures for our tastings, and while I can’t guarantee he’ll make that mistake again this is still a very generous tasting class. You start at the founding of gin with a sample of Bols Genever and move through the history of the spirit, tasting about ten gins along the way and snacking on sandwiches and cake in a vain attempt to soak up both the gin and the facts. The staff really know their stuff and deliver the most entertaining history lesson I’ve ever had.

Lazy Lounge gin tasting, Leeds

Yoga Classes at Yoga Hero

I’ve tried a couple of times to get into yoga and always left classes feeling frustrated with unhelpful teachers who seemed to have no time for beginners. However Yoga Hero comes so highly recommended that I’m feeling inspired to have another try.┬áThe website advises Yoga Essentials or Unwind & Relax for beginners, but they also have a range of specialist classes, pilates, and roga which combines running and yoga. I’m most interested in yoga at Northern Monk Brewery – do you think a post-yoga beer is included in this?

Have you taken any fun classes or workshops in Leeds? Tell me about them in the comments!

Endings & Beginnings

As I write this I’m sat in a cafe, doing something I’ve never done before; taking two days off work just to do nothing. No holiday, no visits to friends, no plans at all except reading books, quietly working through some life admin and recovering from an intense week. A week of extremes, of mourning and celebration, of endings and beginnings.

During the week we said our goodbyes to my grandma, a warrior of a woman who was such a force of nature the universe saw fit to name a storm after her in the week that she died. In contrast, I then spent the weekend with the other side of my family watching my cousin get married and sharing in the start of a new phase of his life.

It strikes me how reflective this is of life, where sadness and joy can so often exist side by side. The loss of my grandma feels like the end of an era; she and my grandad, the people I think of as the heads of my family, are both gone, and in marking the end of their lives I also acknowledge the start of mine without them. When I wrote about my word of the year in January I chose ‘change’ as one of them, and as the year progresses I feel so strongly that big changes are approaching. It’s an exciting feeling, but is tinged with sadness that these changes, and all the other major milestones waiting for me down the line, will go unobserved by two such significant people in my life.

It can feel strange to move on after a death, when each step forward takes you further away from the point where they were last with you. All we can do is face the changes head on, embrace the new people and moments that flow in to fill the empty spaces and accept that for every ending, a beginning is not far behind.

Leeds Diary Dates: March 2017

March is here, and that means the start of spring is within reach – can you feel it coming? February has been a horrible month for me personally and I’ll be glad to see the back of it; the hard part is by no means over but I have some great things coming up that I can look forward to and I’m trying to add more to that list. When I’m going through a tough time my instinct is to shut everyone out, put my head down and crawl through it, but it’s time to pick myself up and start letting people back in. With that in mind, does anyone want to accompany me to some cool events in Leeds this month? Continue reading

For the Love of Print

At times like this, when life is hard and my reality feels a little too hard to face, escapism is key. Browsing flights, looking at job adverts in far-off cities and binge watching US teen dramas are all part of this coping mechanism, but nothing soothes me like curling up under a blanket with a book.

As an avid reader who always likes to have a book to hand and packs several books for every holiday, you’d expect me to have leapt on the Kindle bandwagon. But I’ve never been keen. Yes they’re super convenient and I’d save so much suitcase space, but for me nothing outweighs the comfort I feel when I open a paperback. I love the feel of the paper between my fingers, the musty smell of the pages, the beautiful cover designs. Continue reading

Leeds Instagrammers - Uneven Edits

5 Leeds Instagrammers You Need To Know

Ever since I started travelling I’ve loved to take photos, and the rise of Twitter and Instagram have done nothing to curb my addiction. Nowadays I spend most of my life in the same city, but luckily Leeds is incredibly photogenic and I’m never short of beautiful things to capture. Of course I’m one of the amateurs, and I love to stalk the feeds (just their feeds, before you call the police) of photographers around Leeds who really capture the feel of the city. Here are five of my favourite Leeds Instagram accounts you should be following. Continue reading

Leeds Diary Dates: February 2017

Is it really February already? January is my birthday month and for the first time in a long time I turned a year older on a Saturday and got a work-free day of presents, cakes and treats from all my loved ones. But to be honest I’m never that sad to say goodbye to January; it usually means saying goodbye to my post-Christmas slump, sale season and the worst of the winter weather. February, on the other hand, is looking like a good month… Continue reading

Street in Ljubljana, Slovenia

City Break Destinations I Fell in Love With

Ever arrived in a city and felt immediately at ease, confident that you’re absolutely in the right place? I hope you have. All famous cities are famous for a reason and have amazing things to do, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder and everybody has their own places that they love the most, that fit them perfectly. I’m lucky enough to have found more than one of my ‘soulmate cites’; these are the weekend break destinations that are most special to me. Continue reading