Category Archives: Places

Crafting with Carpetright

I would love to craft more, but the practical side of me hates the idea of crafting things for the sake of it. The perfectionist in me wants my crafts to look perfect, and the minimalist wants less stuff cluttering up the house. This usually results in crippling indecision, where I bookmark 19 craft projects a day and fill my online hobbycraft basket to the brim, but don’t actually make anything.

When Carpetright got in touch to invite me to a blogger crafting event at Chirpy, one of my favourite spots in Leeds, I thought it would be a good opportunity for a crafting kickstart to force me into action. Also cake was mentioned.

Artist Miriam Laville was leading the session, and she greeted us with some examples of items that could be crafted with leftover carpet offcuts – doormats, mirrors, planter pots and so on. Fully aware that my craft enthusiasm massively outweighs my craft ability, and hoping that I would manage to cobble together something I would actually want to display in my house, I decided to go low key.

I spotted a wide round tin and I thought it would be perfect as a little trinket display tray. I lined both sides with carpet so that both the surface and the contents would be protected from damage, then….that was it. I could have embellished with some bling or added more colour (and actually a lot of people seemed to think I should do so!) but I’m glad I resisted I finished pretty early but that just left me extra time to sample the goodies from Sunshine Bakery and check what everyone else was making!

I couldn’t believe my luck when we were all given gift bags containing extra goodies! The highlight was definitely a £10 Chirpy voucher, which I couldn’t wait to spend. On the way out I had a good poke around and left with a gorgeous Fawn & Rose necklace and a pretty glass candle holder – both pictured below!

In my old flat, I damaged a couple of window ledges by putting plant pots and vases on them that ruined the paintwork. I never would have thought of experimenting with carpet as a practical way to stop this from happening as well as a way to add an unusual texture or a flash of colour. Thanks Carpetright!

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6 ways to be more Danish

Yes, I know, there are lots of ways to be Danish, and we’re all meant to have taken our rose-tinted spectacles off when it comes to our Nordic neighbours. But Ant and I just had a long weekend in Copenhagen, and I’m obsessed. So here are some of the little ways I’d like to make my life slightly more Scandi.

Rethink your interior design

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Think white walls festooned with huge art prints. Bare wooden floors edged with rows of potted succulents. Candles everywhere – and by the way, mobiles aren’t just for kids any more. I could definitely take on board some of the minimalist, functional, everything-has-it’s-place principles of Danish design.

Stop complaining about the weather

Copenhagen is colder and just as rainy as Leeds, yet somehow the weather isn’t a daily topic of conversation. Also, when it’s raining, Danish people still arrive at their destination looking, on average, much more beautiful than me. I have a theory that this has a lot to do with coats and boots. Danish people wear a stunning variety of sleek coats and heeled boots, which also repel wind, rain, and the struggles of a daily commute (I assume).

Go green

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Fun fact: Over a third of Denmark’s electricity is generated by wind turbines. Another one: Denmark plans to be fossil fuel free by 2050. Danes love their recycling and they are gradually reducing the amount of energy they’re using. Add to this the fact that they cycle EVERYWHERE and you’ve got a seriously green nation. Am I likely to take up cycling? No, considering every which way seems to be uphill in Leeds, but I could significantly reduce my energy consumption and do more to support green energy.

Take the top off your sandwich

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It’s time to level up your lunch. Baring your butty’s contents means you need to think a bit harder about what you’re putting in there, which might explain why smørrebrød is one of the best looking snacks around. Beef, salmon, prawns, egg, pâté, chicken, beetroot: you name it, they’ll slap it on a slice of rye and pile on some salad, herbs and dressing. Alongside that, you’ll need a cup of really good coffee and a pastry. Whether it’s a sweet and sticky cinnabun or a fat, flaky fastelavnsbolle, you’ll be glad you didn’t skip dessert.

Stop saying please

Okay, this one’s a bit extreme. But this weekend I found out the Danish don’t have a word for please, and…. I kinda liked it. Even though part of me likes the idea of a word that’s pure social lubrication, aren’t there other ways to ask nicely? And with a decade of waitressing experience under my belt, I can promise you that just because someone says the word please, does not mean that what they are saying is polite. So whilst I won’t be dropping please from my vocabulary any time soon – Britain is so not ready for that – I will be thinking hard about other ways to make people feel appreciated.

Take care of your skin


The green philosophy definitely extends to the beauty department in Denmark. Brands like Rudolph and Olé Henriksen embrace natural luxury and organic ingredients. I’m not sure about the science stuff, but I do know that I’ve never seen skin like it. Every time we went anywhere, I found myself gazing at someone with high cheekbones and translucent skin in the corner; do Danes even have pores??

Are you still as obsessed with Scandi style as I am?

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Independent Christmas Shopping in Leeds

We’re blessed with all the high street chains we could ever wish for in Leeds, especially since the opening of the Trinity Centre, and it would be so simple (albeit crowded and stressful) to just stroll into the city centre, throw handfuls of cash at a few key shop assistants, and walk out with all the Christmas presents I could possibly need. And in fact, what with the length of some people’s shopping lists, and the eye watering costs that Christmas can incur, I wouldn’t judge anyone who did exactly that.

But, this year I’m trying to be careful about where I splash my cash. Whilst I’m not technically against large chains, I can’t help but feel it would be a shame if that’s all we had. Spending with our local independent businesses mean we maintain a wider choice of products, support British entrepreneurs and keep more money within our local economy. With that in mind, I’d like to introduce/remind you of a few local businesses that I’m sure would appreciate your business over the festive period.

Foodie delights

I know for a fact that if there’s anything my family like unwrapping on Christmas Day, it’s food. There are a plethora of Leeds indies offering hampers as gifts this year, packed with unique and carefully curated collections of the most delicious food and drink. Try Salvo’s for authentic Italian produce, Friends of Ham for cured meats, cheese and wine, Millie’s for Yorkshire food hampers and  even a gluten free hamper, or Hepworth’s Deli, who have a popup Christmas hamper shop in Queen’s Arcade. Other businesses to consider are George and Joseph for cheese, The Yummy Yank for cakes and other sweet stuff, or Market Delivered to get your Christmas dinner ingredients direct to your door from independent market traders.

The Yummy Yank's Top Treats

The Yummy Yank’s Top Treats

Handmade Heaven

Whilst I’d love to make all my own gifts, I’m very realistic about my (lack of) talent in that department! Fabrication Crafts is a social enterprise supporting independent Yorkshire makers, nestled in the Light shopping centre. They’re worth a follow on Facebook; they’ve been posting pictures of their gorgeous Christmas stock for the last couple of weeks. A bit further out of town, you’ll find Our Handmade Collective, a hub featuring crafts from almost sixty local makers. Both stores are packed with beautiful jewellery, cushions, furniture, cards, prints, blankets, home decor items and much more. There’s no better way to support local Leeds craftspeople.

Fine Design

Colours May Vary and Chirpy are my favourite shopping stops for arty types. Both have a gorgeous range of prints, cards, gifts and stationery, plus Colours May Vary stock books while Chirpy is your best bet for blankets, mugs and jewellery. Don’t forget, if you’re already in Chapel Allerton to visit Chirpy, you’re surrounded by some beautiful gift shops including Glasshouse Gallery, Radish and Armadillo Toys.

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Chirpy’s best gifts

Unique Experiences

Perhaps your intended recipient is a minimalist or a go-getter looking for experiences over possessions? We’re not short of fun things to do in Leeds. Tick Tock Unlock is a live action escape game that’s fun for all – review to follow! If I was just booking one thing at West Yorkshire Playhouse next year, it would be To Kill a Mockingbird; the Playhouse excels at atmospheric, swampy American drama. Animal lovers would love to feed the penguins at Harewood House, and fine diners might appreciate a luxury or pop-up dining experience. Keep an eye on Dinner at the Manor, Trestle, The Noise of Strangers and The Man Behind the Curtain – not technically a pop up, but certainly a special Leeds dining experience.

 

Of course, this is by no means an exhaustive list. I’m really feeling the Leeds independent love, so please go ahead and share your favourites in the comments. Also, don’t forget Small Business Saturday on the 6th December, a whole day dedicated to supporting your local businesses just in time for Christmas.

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30by30: Walt Disney World, Florida

Maybe it was a bit of a cheat, putting this on my 30by30 list, because it was already fully booked (although not quite paid for!) when I wrote my list. But I had a little feeling it might be a highlight of my pre-30 years, and I was right!

Part of the reason I enjoyed it so much might have been because Ant and I were in serious need of some time together. Ant had had some big work projects on and my nights off had been few and far between – in fact, I was working right up until midnight the night before our  5.45 am start to the airport. This meant it wasn’t until I cracked open my first G&T on the train (yes, at 7am – I’m a NERVOUS FLIER, okay?) that the holiday feeling really kicked in.

That feeling didn’t leave me once for the entire two weeks. I’ve never had a holiday where I felt so completely cut off from home, from household bills and work worries and changing the cat litter and putting out the bins on a Thursday night and remembering to lock the side door before we go to bed.

The whole entire stay was just magical. I knew I would love it, but honestly, you should have seen me grinning like an idiot and waving at the characters in the parades. You know, the underpaid actors in well-used Mickey Mouse costumes? Yeah, those guys took me right back to being six years old.

We just had the best time. We held hands at the fireworks, we talked for hours over amazing food, we giggled at Mr Incredible’s dance moves, we screamed on Expedition Everest, we made plans under a sky full of stars and we promised ourselves we’d come back some day.

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British Musical Fireworks Championships, Southport

I’ve no bonfire to post about today, since I was stuck at work last night instead of out celebrating with the rest of Leeds. However I’ve been saving up a little post about fireworks…

Last month, I had a little trip across to Southport for the British Musical Fireworks Championships. Yes, that is as awesome as it sounds.

Each year seven companies put on a display of about fifteen minutes, set to music, over three nights of the weekend. For the last four years, Ant and I have attended the three Saturday night displays, after his mum and dad invited us along. Over the years our party has grown; now, both our families attend, and this year ten of us wrapped up warm for the festivities.

For me this year was the best yet, and we saw three genuinely creative, original displays. There’s just something about fireworks – not the screechy rockets or the deafening bangs, but the sparkly bursts and starry twirls – that makes me tingle, and the synchronisation to music really adds something to the experience. A couple of videos, to show you what I mean, but sincere apologies for the poor cinematography!

 


I didn’t get a video of it or even a particularly good photograph, but my favourite moment of the whole night was set to music from the Phantom of the Opera, and the creators of the display (Sirotechnics, who actually went on to win) designed a curtain made from fireworks, which opened to reveal the Phantom’s mask. Such a wow moment!

There can tend to be a bit of waiting around, but it’s getting more efficient every year, and there are food and drink stalls as well as a live band, this time.

Because of refurbishments in King’s Park, where the spectators usually watch the displays across the lake, the competition was moved to Victoria Park this year. This meant that instead of everyone being huddled up being passive aggressive about the limited personal space allowed for in King’s Park, we were all able to spread out a bit and enjoy things a bit more. I’m not sure whether this is a permanent change of venue, but I will say that I thought it made the whole experience more family friendly. It was less crowded, and there was space for families to be able to sit together and enjoy the view without constantly worrying. Under 5s are free and adult tickets are between £5 and £7 (more if you want to splash out on seated tickets) so it’s actually quite an affordable evening out – less than a cinema trip.

My photos are slightly better than my videos (thank goodness):

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In other news…

Have you seen this horrific listing for a haunted doll on ebay?

Chirpy Store in Chapel Allerton will now take your clean unwanted bras and pass them on to a charity that delivers underwear to women in developing countries.

The National Media Museum have written this cool blog about their BFI Mediatheque.

I’m loving this basic biscuit recipe from Rachel Allen which makes delicious cookie dough, and you can add just about anything to them for rich crumbly cookies. So far I’ve added raspberry jam and flaked almonds; next time I’m giving chocolate chips a whirl.

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Chapel A: New Kids on the Block

This weekend was the Chapel Allerton Arts Festival, and whilst work kept me from catching much of it, I did pop into Chapel A today to see what was going on. I didn’t go into the actual festival as I’d eaten and jazz isn’t particularly my bag, but there were a couple of shops I have been meaning to visit. Also, there was a book stall selling 5 books for £1 and that’s just not an offer I would ever let go.

First stop was George & Joseph, a new cheesemongers that’s recently landed on Regent Street. They only opened on Friday, and this is their first permanent home – they’ve been doing farmer’s markets and the like previously. The shop is so pretty with pale green frontage and shelves packed with cheesy paraphernalia, but the stars of the show are in a chilled cabinet and labelled so you can get a good look at them all.

I loved examining all the different options, but I have to admit I knew when I walked in what I was after – a nice soft goat’s cheese, as I had a hankering for a big goat’s cheese salad. Although George & Joseph specialise in Yorkshire cheeses, the one I plumped for was the Fivemiletown log, from the Fivemiletown creamery in Ireland.

I couldn’t wait to try it, and sampled a tiny bit when I got in. It’s absolutely perfect – pulsing with flavour, really tangy but with a creamy texture so that it melts like butter. It was gorgeous and I’m sure it won’t be long until I’m back at George & Joseph to purchase something else – I’ve got my eye on their Yorkshire hampers as Christmas gifts.

Next up was Chirpy, a design and gift store that isn’t new at all, but I’ve tried to visit three times since they opened almost a year ago and been thwarted by summer holidays or trade fairs or by not checking the opening times before I set off!

It was well worth the wait, and I’ve already fallen in love with about ten framed prints and all the notebooks, along with some amazing little nail transfers and several mugs. I limited myself to a little card and gift to send to my Envelope Club recipient this month, but more on that in another post. Everything is made by independent UK makers and designers, and it’s the kind of stuff you can buy as a gift feeling confident you’ve got something a bit different but really stylish.

I spent about half an hour in there just browsing and kept finding new treasures hidden on a low shelf or in a dresser drawer; it really is such a lovely pace to browse and I felt so welcome in the shop, left to my own devices. (Don’t you hate it when you’re the only one in a small shop and you’re being watched the whole time? Totally didn’t have to worry about that.)

If you’re interested in crafts, keep an eye on Chirpy’s twitter page for info about workshops, where you can learn skills like decoupage and jewellery making.

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That’s right, all this lot for a quid!

These gems might become two of my favourite local shops from now on. What are your local must-visits? And have you grabbed any book bargains lately?

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Leeds&me on tour: Plymouth

I often find it difficult to keep in touch with people. Partly because I’m quite shy, partly because life gets in the way, partly because I’m guilty of taking my friends for granted sometimes. An exception, though, is two friends that Ant and I met when we spent time travelling in 2009. Morbhen lives in Edinburgh, we live in Leeds and Matt lives in Plymouth but we’ve all made the effort to keep in contact and meet up a few times. It’s an odd friendship, based on just a couple of intense days together in Fiji, packed with memories and in-jokes and experiences that only the four of us share, but it’s more than just nostalgia that keeps us in touch.

This time we all got together in Plymouth, a city I’ve never been to before. I loved how walkable it was, and the contrast between the different parts of the city. Much of it was heavily bombed during World War Two, so there are zones of boxy 1950s buildings, but areas like The Barbican by the harbour retain a quirky feel, kind of like York but by the sea, and a bit less posh.

As Matt is a marine biologist we couldn’t pass up on visiting the National Marine Aquarium with an expert in tow, and some fresh seafood was a bit of a must do, too. We’ve demolished some serious quantities of gin together in the past, so we took a tour of Plymouth Gin Distillery, and explored Royal William Yard, where we went to a farmer’s market and the most hipster bakery I’ve ever encountered. I’d recommend pretty much all of these things, if you’re ever down that way, and I’d like to come too, if you don’t mind, thank you!

I don’t think I’ve ever taken as many pictures as I did that weekend, so apologies and I’ll try to break them up a bit with explanations. If that sounds like your worst nightmare, I’d quit scrolling right about now!

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First impressions of Plymouth were pretty flipping good – the sun came out, there was a family film screening in one of the main shopping squares and when we got to the Hoe – the area at the waterfront – it was just about the most picturesque thing you could imagine.

Next up: the National Marine Aquarium. I’m actually pretty pleased with the pictures I got in there though they’re not the highest quality – everything was displayed in an amazingly photogenic way except for the octopus which apparently likes it pretty dark and gloomy.

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Most interesting fact learned from our resident expert: hermit crabs have rap battles to establish ownership of shells. (No, sseriously, read this academic abstract.)

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Not many pictures of the gin factory because you can’t take electricals in – you even have to touch a metal bar on your way in just in case you’re a bit static-y. The cocktails from afterwards were brilliant!

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By Sunday, when we went to Royal William Yard, the weather had taken a bit of a downturn…

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We retreated to the bakery in search of tea and cake. This place was unreal – a huge warehouse where you just pick up whatever you want off the trays, sort yourself a drink then remember what you’ve had and pay on the way out. So hipster it hurt me, but I LOVED it too.

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These ceramic eggcups were all we could find to drink out of. Yeah, I know. But anyway, this scone just below changed my life. I’ve already tried to bake a batch using their youtube recipes and they were a dream! The recipe makes about a hundred giant scones and it’s hard to divide down but it’s totally worth it.

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Leeds&me on tour: London

A couple of weekends ago I finally made it down to London to see my bestie Amy who’s at medical school there. It’s been a while since I saw her, and even longer since I’ve been to the Big Smoke, so we had a lot to do in two short days! We lazed on Clapham Common, ate great food at Bodean’s, avoided Wimbledon which was just down the road, gobbled crepes, walked along the Thames and even got a quick glimpse of Big Ben.

Ever since I saw this post on For Books’ Sake I’ve been dying to visit the Persephone bookshop in London. Persephone publish unloved, forgotten titles of the twentieth century, mainly written by women, and they sell them almost exclusively in their own shop. Each book has a matte silvery blue cover, lined with a different vintage print for each title, and you get a matching bookmark, too. Seriously, this place is like my spiritual home!

The books are £12 each and we’d just narrowed our selections down to 2 each when we spotted a small sign saying they were 3 for £30. Another book for half the price…rude not to! Then we’d finally picked a third one when the sales lady told us because we’d bought two or more books we could have a free cookbook! I picked one called Plats du Jour, which claimed to offer simple French and Italian dishes, and it’s already provided us with much hilarity. About the section on fungi: “This chapter has been written for people who combine an experimental approach to cooking with an interest in natural history.” For a salsa verde recipe: “Reduce the following ingredients to a molecular state using a heavy chopping knife or mezzaluna.” On poultry: “It should not be forgotten that a platter of oysters is the best prelude to roast goose.”

Next up was Covent Garden for crepes and gelato (from the amazing Venchi, which we fell in love with in Italy last year), a short break in St James’ Park then off to the Tate Modern, where I remembered how much I like Magritte and Picasso, and how much fun it is to flick my eyes across a row of masterpieces and instantly dismiss three of them because I don’t like the colours. You can do things like that in a place like the Tate Modern: there are so many incredible paintings, you can pretend they’re ten a penny and look down your nose at a few!

The gallery shop is always a bump back to earth, though, when I realise I can’t even afford the reproductions 🙂

Looking at the pictures I took, I was really drawn to steampunky cogs and wheels and interlocking geometrics.  Perhaps this means I like a sense of order and tidiness? (If this is true, it’s in my mind only, and definitely not in my house!)

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This lady is an opera singer who was performing in the lower courtyard at Covent Garden when we were there. She was amazing, and the acoustics were surprisingly good! The only downside was the man collecting donations for her – I assume he was on some kind of commission because he was very pushy and quite rude to some people who were just walking past and really not listening to her at all! I understand that the lady was there to make a living but as someone who also gets by thanks to tips, I accept that not everyone can afford to tip or feels comfortable doing so. Anyway the music was gorgeous, have a look at the singer’s website here.

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Leeds&me on tour: Birmingham

This weekend and last weekend have turned out to be completely different animals. This weekend: lazy breakfasts, a gentle meander round Yorkshire Sculpture Park, a barbecue. Last weekend: whistlestop tour of Birmingham and London, taking in an Olympic Party, a safari park, a gin parlour, parks, bookshops, the Tate Modern, and some theatre. All amazing venues in which to catch up with some good old friends! It was too much for one blogpost, so here’s the Birmingham instalment.

We were staying with friends for a couple of nights and one of our number had been out of the country for London 2012. We tried our hardest to recreate the experience for her, by spending Friday night watching the opening ceremony along with a rather brutal drinking game, and eating food from all the different Olympic countries. Representing France, I took chocolate macarons, a baguette and Camembert. Ant was Italy, and made pastries filled with prosciutto, asparagus and goat’s cheese, plus chocolate hazelnut cupcakes (too, too good) and some Prosecco. I can’t spell or even say either of the Brazilian treats, but I did learn a lot about the origin of some other foods. Pistachios: Syria (and various other Middle Eastern countries). Houmous: Lebanon. This was all accompanied by an incredible Lancashire hotpot, which obviously as a Yorkshirewoman I resented slightly. I kept quiet as I was vastly outnumbered by Red Roses, though!

Also, my team won the Olympic Quiz and was awarded a gold medal, which softened the blow.

The next day, after a rather shaky start we headed to West Midland Safari Park. I think we all had fairly low expectations, but it turned out to be much bigger than we thought. There was a park area at the beginning like a small zoo, with penguins, sealions (we watched the BEST sealion show), snakes, crocodiles, meerkats and more we didn’t get to see. Plus there are rides that we didn’t even get to look at!

Eventually we dragged ourselves away from this area to go do the safari proper, which was amazing! West Midlands Safari Park have the largest pride of white lions in the UK, and they’re absolutely stunning. They also have gorgeous white tigers, which look weird among all the greenery, like they should be prowling snow blown Alaska. On top of that there’s deer, zebras, camels, rhinos, cheetahs and of course elephants.

We finished the trip hot and tired, but we quickly changed, freshened up and headed out again to visit The Jekyll and Hyde, a bar in Birmingham. Downstairs is Mr Hyde’s bar, which sells sweet shop style cocktails like Turkish Delight and Cinder Toffee, while upstairs is Dr Jekyll’s sophisticated gin parlour, where we were headed. It was a gorgeous cosy room with table service and surprisingly reasonable prices – some of the cocktails were just £4 on a Saturday. It was such a great place to get pre-dinner drinks; really relaxed with incredibly knowledgeable service and absolutely delicious drinks. There are also some amazing novelty sharing drinks served in bowler hats, mini bathtubs and the like. They’re a bit pricier but I’d love to try one!

Learn from my experience: don’t get the Armistice unless you’re absolutely sure you like saffron and grapefruit (I didn’t!). Do ask for a bespoke cocktail. Just tell the server the flavours you like and they’ll rustle something up. Mine was rosé prosecco with raspberry, rosewater, jasmine and lemon juice – absolutely perfect.

Cheers!

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Sneaky Experience: 80’s edition

I’ve been following Sneaky Experience on Twitter for ages now and knew it was something I wanted to try. They screen secret films at secret locations with extra touches that add to the fun and make it more than just a pop up movie theatre. Their latest project, featuring cocktails, a roller disco and non-optional 80’s fancy dress, seemed like too much fun to miss out on so a group of us booked tickets and went along at the weekend.

Before any of their events, Sneaky will post a whole host of clues and instructions online, so you’ll want to connect with them on Twitter and Facebook. We had to choose one of three groups (opportunity, dreams or wellbeing), and were instructed to wear sunglasses and an ID badge ‘to easily identify fellow recruits.’ This, along with the fact we were greeted by military types in flight suits, tipped us off that the film would probably be Top Gun, and we were right!

The group we chose was opportunity, and it was definitely a good call. After being put through our paces outside, with salutes and marches, we were the first group allowed to get inside the venue, a TV studio on Kirkstall Road. This meant we were also the first ones to hit the bar! As everyone had had to make their way to the venue in broad daylight in various extremes of 80’s attire (I salute you, girl dressed as a Rubix Cube), there was an audible sigh of relief as we started sipping the cocktails expertly mixed by Twist Mixology.

Once I’d polished off my first Cosmo, I was ready to hit the roller disco! This was an absolute riot: I thought that despite having not touched a pair of skates in almost 20 years I would probably pick it up alright, but actually I was INCREDIBLY WRONG. Think Bambi times ten and you’re almost there! To add insult to injury, there were some blatant professionals whizzing around making me look even worse! I still had a great time though, despite my damaged pride, and I did avoid falling, which I’m chalking up as a personal victory.

Outside there was even more to do, with the Diamond Dogs hot dog van serving up great hot dogs (including one topped with pulled pork and one slathered in hot sauce and jalapeños), and The Marvellous Tea Dance Company selling retro sweets (Wham bars! Pink shrimps! Refreshers! Oh happy days) and cupcakes topped with flying saucers and the like. There was also a graffiti artist at work, a sale of retro video games and board games, and a volleyball court, as well as at various stages, actors in costume acting out scenes from Top Gun.

The film at this point seemed almost like a distraction from the fun, but nevertheless we settled in for the screening. I’d never seen it before, so wasn’t sure what to expect, but now I’ve watched it I appreciate what Sneaky do so much more! Top Gun is over the top and cheesy and the evening was matched with it perfectly. They always create an evening that’s perfectly in tune with the film, such as their screening of Nosferatu with live orchestra at Left Bank, or Indiana Jones at Temple Works. Every detail was chosen to complement the experience and make it a great night well worth the £12 or so ticket price. In that spirit, once the film finished the chairs were pushed aside and we danced the night away to 80’s classics.

I also loved the local slant put on the event. Enjoyed the roller disco? Hang on to the Leeds Roller Dolls leaflet on your chair. The food? From Yorkshire suppliers. The actors? Local volunteers. Crafts and art? From Leeds based artists. It was a triumph! We had a fantastic time and I’ve been telling everyone about it ever since. If you get chance to attend one of their events then don’t hesitate: they’re tons of fun. The night wasn’t perfect – I’d have loved shorter queues at the bar, for example, though the generous measures were right up my street – and there were a couple of technological hitches, but I say this purely in the spirit of honest feedback. Overall it’s a wonderful, unique experience and one that I’m sure will continue to get even better as it grows.
(Added bonus: I never got the Tom Cruise thing until watching Top Gun. The character’s a tool, but back in the day Tom really had it!)

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