Leeds

Leeds 10km Run

I did it!  I completed the Leeds 10km!

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It was tough at times, it was very hot and we were under the direct sun for much of the run.  The last 200m was quite enjoyable though, I’d run through the finish line of any race!  I’m very glad I did this, I feel like I’ve achieved a goal that a few years ago I would have thought impossible for me.  I also raised over £200 for St Gemma’s Hospice which supports people with terminal cancer.  And I got a little medal!

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I signed up in December (or possibly early January) when it all seemed very far away and tried to start my training.  It was difficult to know how much training to do, but a 10km is a walkable distance and I was running about 5km a few times a week so I was in better shape than a lot of people.  Winter was cold and rainy, and there’s an annoying lack of street lights where I live. I managed to maintain a reasonably consistent regime.

I struggled in Spring as the weather was still terrible, with regular heavy rain but slowly increased the distances I was running and did a few 10km before the race.  I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to go the distance.

In the run up to the big day I felt that there was a lack of information coming from the race orgnisers.  St Gemma’s sent me a fundraising pack and said the event organiser (Run For All) would send my race pack.  My ‘race pack’ turned out to be my bib (the race number I needed to pin to my top), with no accompanying letter or instructions.  Two days before the event I received an email from them with some more details about when to arrive and where to go.  But, to me, that’s too short notice.

For the most part it was fairly obvious, but we had been split into three groups based on estimated finish time and each group had a different assembly point and start time.  In the ‘green’ (slow poke) assembly area there were many reds and blues hanging around and people didn’t seem to have got the message about the different groups.  We were also told to get to our assembly points at 8:45am, but we didn’t cross the start line until 9:40 and it was never clear what you were supposed to be doing for those 55mins.  After going to the toilet there wasn’t much to do but stand in the hot sun.

Leeds 10km

I feel like I’m complaining a lot, these are small issues but they annoyed me.  As a first time runner I needed some more clarity in what I was to expect on the day.

But I am very glad I did the run.  I got my medal, and a goody bag with some protein bars, cheapo chocolate, and protein drink all courtesy of ASDA, the chief sponsor.  We were also given a free T-shirt. No fitbits though, shame.  I received a tank top to run in from St Gemma’s so that’s what I wore on the day.  Once that’s gone through the wash I’ll frame it along with my medal and bib.

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Things to do in Leeds

Some nice things to do in Leeds.

Royal Armouries
The Royal Armouries is a free, council run, museum themed around weaponary!  Guns and knives feature here from hunting weapons to fighting.  It’s on the waterfront and it might take some searching for but on a sunny day it’s a nice area to hang out.  It’s council run so there’s always something that’s broken but still enough to occupy an afternoon.  It’s got a fun shop and a rubbish cafe.

Arts Cafe
A nice cafe that does good fries and was one of the few places you can get a Coke Float in Leeds, however now they look at you like you’re crazy if you ask for one even though it’s still on the menu!  It does a good line in contemporary British cuisine, and a has a curious range of cakes in slightly mad combinations of flavours that I’ve never tried!

Roundhay Park
A large park that has two lakes that people often walk, run, or cycle round.  There is also Tropical World where they have some birds, reptiles, spiders, and meercats.  It’s an odd mix perhaps but you pay about £5 entrance fee so who’s complaining!

Corn Exchange
The old Corn Exchance where, one assumes, corn was exchanged…Anyway the building is one of many lovely buildings in Leeds (if you look up above the tacky facades at street level) and now full of shops.  A few years back it was full of alternative shops but they were booted out when they needed more money to repair the roof.  The,  ill-conceived, plan to replace them with restaurants during a time of economic depression did no pan out and the place was largely empty for a long time.  Now there are some nice vintage shops, a good hot dog place, and a place to buy all you incense you could want.  They also have craft and vintage fairs from time to time.

Pizza Express
Next to the Corn Exchange is my favourite Pizza Express, which is my favourite restaurant! I assume they are common elsewhere, they are definitely a chain as there are 4 in Leeds. They all do the same food but the Corn Exchange one is the nicest building and has the nicest decor in my opinion.  Boyfriend likes the one nearer the Train Station, and we both dislike the one amongst the shops in Leeds centre.

Outside Leeds:

Saltaire and Salts Mill
20 minutes on the train from Leeds is a small but hilly town called Saltaire. Saltaire was built by Sir Titus Salt (best name ever!) who was a 19th century mill owner and troubled by the pollution and poor living conditions in Bradford.  He built an entire town to house his workers and their families, which was quite remarkable.  Now the old mill is an art gallery dedicated to David Hockney, it is really the biggest book and art supply shop around and worth a visit.  The cafe is good too.

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Touring UK- Leeds

Well I live in Leeds and I do occasionally see tourists coming out of the train station on my daily commute, or when we travel we see people landing in Leeds Bradford Airport, and I often wonder why on Earth people would chose to visit here!  Thinking about it a little though there are worse places you could visit!

There is a lot in the North of England that often gets overlooked as most foreigners think only London exists.   The main selling point must be that the north is A LOT cheaper than the south in terms of accommodation, food, and pretty much everything!

A little note before we begin about Leeds Bradford Airport, if that is your port of entry, it is the most depressing place on earth.  It is small, cramped, and grey and a sad way to start your trip. There is no airport shuttle as such but one bus to take you into Leeds that swings through every half hour and takes 40mins to get into town.  It costs about £3.50 one way and since it’s just a regular bus you can only get a same day return, and you buy the ticket from the driver on the bus who will probably be grumpy because they always are.  A taxi will be about £25.

Welcome to the UK!

Once that’s out of the way you can enjoy Leeds!

 

 

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A Trip To Tropical World

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Jo Jo To- Venzuelan Street Food

Jo Jo To are hanging out in Leeds Trinity Kitchen but they usually work in London.  It’s Venezuelan style street food and it was pretty good.

I got a Dominoes Epanadas which is some kind of glorious fried pasty filled with Black Beans, Cheese, Plantain, Tomato, Wahsakaka Sauce.  Lots of cheese.

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Veritas Leeds

We went into Veritas in Leeds which is equidistant from the Art Gallery and also the chemist that boyfriend had to get his new asthma inhaler from.  I had been in beforefor a drink but not food, and we decided to pop in for lunch just after Christmas.  It’s a very nice pub, and the staff were all friendly as well.

I had a great veggie burger with chips, fancy salad (that I didn’t get around to eating), and some mango goo which was nice.  I also may have got goats cheese as an extra.  And they did a good green tea. It was about £10 and boyfriend got some meat thing.

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5 Best Veggie Meals

Etsu-
The bext Japanese food I’ve had was at Etsu in Liverpool. The yasai gyoza and yasai tempura followed by green tea ice cream.  I haven’t found gyoza as good anywhere else.

Liverpool

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Global Tribe Cafe

This vegetarian cafe in Leeds has annoying opening times; Mon-Fri 10-5 and Sat 10-6 making dinner trips there pretty impossible.  In December they are opening on Sundays and after a lazy morning boyfriend suggested we stroll down there.

It’s above a crystal shop which makes boyfriend very angry.  And has placemats which say ‘Dance like noone is watching’, which is my most hated saying.

Anyway, we took a sit and we were handed the Sunday special menu and the regular menu but the waiter didn’t tell us that we could only order from the Sunday menu and he just gave us the main menu for the drinks.  The Apple Love Mint tea was delicious.

I got the Rainbow Roast which was essentially vegan cauliflower cheese with veg.  The veg was good but I still can’t get along with vegan cheese.  Poor boyfriend though couldn’t order his first choice from the regular menu, and then couldn’t order either main from the Sunday menu as they had nuts in.  Strangely given that the cafe is desgined to cater to dietary requirements they didn’t label the nutty items on the menu we had to ask the waiter (who wasn’t super interested in our life-threatening allergy tbh).  So boyfriend got a cheese sandwich and the Thai soup (he got the soup because I told him to and he said it was the best part).

I’d go back again, not sure boyfriend will!

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Tharavadu- Leeds

Tharavadu is the hottest Kerala cuisine in Leeds- well it’s probably the only Kerala cuisine in Leeds, but it’s so hot we haven’t been able to get a table in there on the past few attempts.

Finally we had a Saturday lunchtime and the place was much emptier than we had seen it before.  Kerala is a state in Southern India, India is very big and full of variety.  Variety is the spice of life, and Indian food is very spicey.  But I managed to find something tasty and not-too spicey  on the menu, and reaffirm my belief that Indians make the best bread.

We got a starter of poppadoms, fried plantain, and something else tasty with pickles.  And for mains I got the Mutter Paneer (Cheese and Peas), and boyfriend got chicken curry, we shared plain rice (alas the more interesting rice had secret nuts in so boyfriend would have died if we’d had those), and a couple of Poori.  Poori are some kind of wonderful inflated fried bread pockets, boyfriend said it look like a puffer fish, and then he tried to stab it.

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It was very yummy, and we were stuffed so no dessert.  The service was good, although the decor had been undermined somewhat by the Christmas decorations- stars and garlands yes, pictures of Santa no.

 

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The Hepworth Wakefield

The Hepworth Wakefield. Full disclosure- I used to work here!  But that just means I know exactly how friendly and knowledgeable the staff are and how much they care about their work. THW

Anyway, this is an Art Gallery in Wakefield named for Wakefield born artist Barbara Hepworth and was built to house a bunch of her pieces.  But the current exhibition is sculptures by Caro, who died a couple of years ago.  His work is pretty cool, there’s even a sort of tree house thing that little kids can play in.

THW1

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