I mean, I was there for less than an hour, I had food from one stall. Could it be as good as I thought?
Luckily, my positive review left me with plenty of volunteers to join me on a return visit.
And, being just over a month since the opening, the next cycle of street food vans had taken their place inside. Currently selling there are Fresh Rootz, Bessie the Caravan, Bang Wok, The Cauldron and The Mobile Diner.
Unfortunately by the time we arrived (around 7.30pm) Bang Wok had sold out, and by the time we’d finished our mains Bessie had shut up shop too, taking her delicious-looking cakes with her. This was something I noticed on my last visit too, when I got there around 7pm. So if you’re wanting to have your pick of all the independent street food vendors, it’s probably best to aim to arrive no later than 6pm, otherwise there’s a chance they won’t have any food left.
Influenced by friends in London who rave about the Vietnamese chain (Trinity Leeds is their first venture outside the capital), I was keen to have my first taste of Pho.
I opted for wok fried noodles with chicken and prawn, while one of my friends had vermicelli noodles with prawn. My dish altogether was a little too small for my appetite, but the beansprouts and vegetables were fresh and crunchy. Warning: that pot of sauce they give you that you instinctively pour over your food because it looks like it needs it? It’s really hot.
Although I’d been yearning for Pho for some time, I found myself disappointed and wishing I’d gone to the Fresh Rootz van in front of me, as I very nearly did.
Perhaps my disappointment was exacerbated by envy, when I saw my two other friends returning from Chicago Rib Shack with a set of baby back ribs each.
My friends’ verdict was that the food was really tasty and they and I still loved the look and feel of the place, even though (as you might expect) there were fewer people around and a bit less buzz.
I’ve been crushing on varsity-style letter sweatshirts for some time, helped in no small part by this outfit worn by one of my favourite American style bloggers.
Neal’s Yard is one of those brands that I buy to treat other people but rarely myself.
Passing a shop always causes me to gape in at the beautiful royal blue displays. So I jumped at the chance to go to a blogger event at the Leeds store in County Arcade.
So it’s probably a few months off yet, but we’re beginning to think about how we might renovate the kitchen.
As I’ve said, we’re hoping to have all the upstairs rooms done by the end of this year, and are expecting to get started on the downstairs next spring, when we’ve saved up a few pennies, straightened out the house a little and had a bit of a rest.
Like the bathroom, the kitchen suffers from being small in size and stuck in the 1970s – it even has a serving hatch giving access to the dining room!
Currently we have a through lounge and dining area, with a separate kitchen. We’re planning on building a wall and knocking one down, to create a wide dining kitchen along the back of the house and a separate lounge.
All well and good, but the trouble with knocking down walls in a kitchen is you lose wall cabinet and therefore storage space. And when your kitchen is tiny anyway, well, you could have a problem if you don’t plan it properly.
We don’t have anything as luxurious as separate utility space, so we’re going to have to find room for a washing machine and a dishwasher as well as the usual essentials: sink, cooker, fridge. There’s a big back window and a door in the side of the house that we won’t be able to budge. It also has a few awkward corners and pipes.
One way or another, a lot to work round and fit in. Hence the thinking ahead!
Here’s how it looks now. Ah, the familiar brown 70s kitchen. Horrible isn’t it? Is it even worse than the blue bathroom?
I’m one of 30 bloggers taking part, and we have to create a Christmas decoration with a generous hamper of materials sent to us. We stand to win £250 in Country Baskets vouchers, plus a donation to a charity of our choice.
While we could use our own crafty bits as well, I chose not to because there was plenty to go at in the box I was given and, well, unfortunately most of my crafting supplies are still stuck in the loft after the move. However I did make good use of the cardboard box the hamper came in and the hessian inside protecting the contents!
I’ve wanted to make a festive wreath for ages, so that was the first thing that came to mind. And here’s the finished project!
US brand J Crew is just arriving on UK shores, opening its first London store this month.
With it, us Brits are beginning to take notice of its awesome First Lady, creative director Jenna Lyons.
Because of, well, all of the below, when I saw her sharing her 10 style commandments I sat up and took notice. And then I thought it only right to share them with you.
I’m always interested in blogger meets, as it’s good to meet others who share this strange pastime.
Last week I went along to one at Sheffield’s The Common Room, organised by Emma, who works for Forum Café Bars. It was a chance for her to introduce us to their six venues around South Yorkshire and the events and classes they run.
It was also an opportunity to show off The Common Room’s meaty menu. Meaty because their specialties are ribs, chicken and pork barbecued in American-style smoke pits, and because there are tons of dishes to choose from.
The menu is extensive and varied and they were clearly keen to show it off. We got to sample so much that the amount of food on the table was overwhelming at times. I’m not complaining, mind. Even after all the mains, I still managed to find room for most of a milkshake and a taste of cheesecake.
Early on we tried to log on to the wifi so we could tweet and Instagram our dinners (we are bloggers after all) and find each other in the social media world. The Common Room’s wifi name? Meat Sweats. Kind of says it all.
A couple of weeks ago – it was my birthday actually – we spent the evening at Illuminating York.
Billed as showing the medieval city “in a new light”, colourful images were projected onto some of its most iconic sites.
I enjoy going back, it’s like seeing an old friend: we lived in York a few years ago. I love its mix of old and new, tradition and vitality.
Illuminating York was quite magical at times. I like to see towns and cities diversifying their night-time culture from just catering for drinkers, and putting on events to draw in people of all ages (although it has to be said, the number of people looking at the Illuminating York artworks were outnumbered by those participating in ghost walks).
This year Illuminating York celebrated the contribution of York’s incoming communities, its Viking heritage and the 1,000 years since King Sweyn ‘Forkbeard’ of Denmark was named King of England.
Our enthusiasm for seeing everything though was hampered by our hunger, and husband’s exhaustion from working on the bathroom.
We took in a few key light shows – at Clifford’s Tower, St Helen’s Church, Jorvik Viking Centre, York Minster and the Treasurer’s House garden – before sloping off to a disappointing meal at Gourmet Burger Kitchen.
As it turns out, in terms of styling, the new bathroom doesn’t look anything like I planned it would in my musings before we moved in.
There are a few of reasons why not.
Firstly, regrettably, this is not a country cottage, Scandinavian chalet or the renovation project French barn I dream of putting a bathroom in one day.
Secondly, there are two people in our house and the other one is entitled to an opinion – especially as he’s the one doing the lion’s share of the donkey work (apologies for mixing animal metaphors).
Thirdly, sometimes it’s harder to start with a firm idea of what you want, then shop for it, than to go shopping and just go with what you like when you see it.
All three had an influence. When I asked my husband what kind of look he wanted the bathroom to have, he said (and he probably wouldn’t want me sharing this because it’s not in keeping with the masculine image) “something like a spa.” This didn’t help me visualise what was in his imagination because, as far as I knew, he’d never set foot in a spa, except when I dragged him in one briefly on our recent wedding anniversary.
While I was still semi-committed to white subway tiles on the walls, he found these in Al Murad. I can see now what he meant, and I have to agree it works. After that decision, many other things fell into place.
Things have been a little quieter on the blog over the last couple of weeks because we’ve been tackling the next major jobs on our house ‘to do’ list.
We’re aiming to get all of the upstairs done by the end of the year, so that means renovating the third and final bedroom and the bathroom.
You’ve seen the master bedroom and I would show you the smallest bedroom, destined to be the study, but it’s full of junk that has been displaced from other parts of the house that are being worked on.
Some people moan that bloggers only show the pretty parts of their houses, or themselves in full make-up and fresh from a manicure.
Well here’s our horrid bathroom, warts and all.
It’s probably been like this since 1973, when the house was built, and while everything worked fine its looks have been something of an embarrassment.
It was turquoise blue, the tiles were awful, the floor was lino and, well, the shower set-up was a little out of the ordinary. It’s also tiny but there’s not a great deal we can do about its physical size. The refurb won’t really make it big enough for the both of us, but we’re hoping that making it lighter and brighter will make it feel more spacious.