Saturday, 15 November 2014

Fake Birthday & Joint Celebration in Leeds

As I mentioned previously, while I've never lived in Leeds, studying there for 18 months and working there ever since has given me a soft spot for the place; I have a lot of time for the city.
And now that two of my best friends live there, I have even more time for it.

So when my best friend Robyn - who has recently started working as nurse in Leeds, invited me up for a few day I wasn't going to refuse. Not least because we both had something to celebrate (I've just passed my first year of my PhD with "highly positive comments" from the reviewers - and Robyn's not only just cemented a very high First Class for her BSc in Nursing, but that very morning she'd been officially registered as a nurse!) and just to top it all off it's my birthday next week - but as everyone's working on the day (typical), I figured that this would serve well as a fake birthday.

Cue two days of catching up, shopping, gossiping, drinking, eating fancy food, girly times, and - in my case - dying horribly in one of my most favourite bars in the city (I'm glad I'm not going back to that bar for a while... but let's not think about that).

It was so lovely to see they'd got the birthday decorations up in time... ;)
I arrived into Leeds at 11am having gotten the Edinburgh train from Sheffield. I love that train because it's so quick (gets to Leeds in 40 minutes!)... but it also annoys me because, well,  in 6 weeks of catching it, yesterday was the comfiest journey yet:

I dropped my stuff off at Robyn's and we hit the shops, admiring the incredible Roxymas Christmas decorations as we went. It also quickly became apparent that our visit had landed on the day that they were switching on the lights... which did not help my theory that they were clearly all for me. (I'm kidding. Obviously. Kind of... ish).

After spending a small fortune on beautiful clothes at New Look, Robyn took me to a lovely little cafe/restaurant by the City Hall: 2 Oxford Place. It's a gorgeous, quaint place to eat and drink and boasts a menu that's entirely gluten free. We each had a Rekorderlig with lunch (I was not expecting the pear one to be that delicious) and ordered our food: Robyn had aubergine curry, while I had a broccoli and Stilton risotto... which was bright green:

After lunch we mooched around a few more shops before giving spending money on actual things up as a bad job in favour of spending it on drinks. So we headed over to Carpe Diem. I've been there once before last year with Sadie (my best friend from uni) to celebrate getting my funding offer from Manchester. It reminds me of a bar that we used to frequent in Rotherham before it shut down to be reincarnated as a nightclub down the road. I used to love that bar - so I do rather like Carpe Diem.

So Robyn and I took advantage of the 2-for-£7.50 deal and had a few drinks. After the first round, we were in full celebratory swing, as it was then that Robyn had her First Class grade for her degree confirmed online. Here's the very moment...

So we had a few drinks there, meeting up with my other best friend in Leeds (Patrick), before heading over to North Bar to have some incredibly expensive (but incredibly delicious) cider. We were met there by Robyn's partner Moz and Robyn and I were able to confirm what we'd always suspected: That - political leanings aside - Patrick and Moz are essentially the same person.

Then around 11ish I managed to die horribly. I won't go into details, but massive thanks to the wonderful Robyn for looking after me, and also to the two women working at North Bar who were looking after me wonderfully as well. I really don't know what happened as I really hadn't drunk all that much over the course of the day, but I'm grateful to everyone who looked after me.

Robyn got me home and after a fitful sleep and one more bout of the poorlies, I was right as rain. Ish. Well, I didn't want to die anymore at least.

So Robyn and I had a lazy morning in, which included her very kindly painting my nails and us both having a good gossip and catch up ...and Robyn (and even Patrick over whatsapp) teasing me for dying horribly in a bar - though as Robyn was shocked to hear that that has never happened to me before, we agreed that it was good to get that milestone covered before I entered my late-twenties (gah) next week.

We then did a bit more shopping (I finally got a new handbag!) and had a carb-licious lunch at Pizza Express before I took an unbelievably crowded train home.

So dying horribly aside, this was a pretty awesome couple of days. While I don't think we'll be doing quite so much in such a short space of time again anytime soon, I'm certainly going to be making a point of going up to Leeds far more regularly than just when I'm working. Besides, it's quite nice to have a city where there's so much to do that's not all that hard or expensive to get to from Sheffield, and where two of my closest and funniest friends live.

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