Showing posts with label places to visit. Show all posts
Showing posts with label places to visit. Show all posts

5 December 2014

The German Christmas market in Leeds

Every year, the Christkindelmarkt, or the German Christmas Market as we like to call it, comes to Millenium Square in Leeds. It's one of the most established Christmas markets in the UK, and it's an absolute must to visit if you're anywhere near Yorkshire.

I've made it to a bit of a tradition to visit it at least once every Christmas, and even though it looks exactly the same every year, it's a great way to get into that Christmas spirit, and munch on lots of nice food.

The traditional wooden stalls make you feel as if you've actually travelled back in time, and they create a really festive German atmosphere. 

There's something for the whole family, including a twinkling Christmas carousel for the little ones...

... and an Alp Chalet for the ones who feel in the mood to party! In here, there are yodellers, other German musicians, lots of beer and mulled wine, and of course some lovely traditional German food. However, if you're looking to get in to this part of the German Christmas Market, you have to be prapared to queue for quite a while as it's extrenely popular.

The rest of the market consists of authentic German stalls (over 40 of them!) where you can purchase everything from classic german salami and other delicious pieces... sweets, bakeware, etc. There is a stall where they sell those yummy marshmallow filled chocolate pieces on a wafer (what are they called?) in tons of flavours - it's like a dream come true!

When it comes to their served food, I always go to the stall that sells potato pancakes served with cranberry sauce. It's absolutely mouth watering! This year, I even followed up with a gigantic crepe filled with nutella and banana pieces. *drool*

But if you're not there for the food there are still plenty of stalls selling other glitzy pieces.

You can find everything from pretty handmade candle holders, to carved wood items, crystals, and jewellery.

So as I've already mentioned - there really is something for the whole family at Christkindelmarkt in Leeds. If you haven't been this year already, I can really recommend you to go and soak up some Christmas feelings, and feast your eyes on all the delicious food and pretty sparkly things. 
The market opening times are Monday-Saturday 10.30am-9.30pm, and Sunday 10.30am-6.30pm.
Hurry up though! The German Christmas Market is packing up to go home after the 20th December!

6 October 2014

For the Love of Food - street food festival

 On the last weekend of September, the food festival 'For the Love of Food' came to Leeds. It was all set up on Millenium Square in the heart of the city, and it sure was a different experience.

 With street food from all over the world including Scandinavia, Asia, the Caribbean and more, there was something to suit everyone's taste. There was even speciality food that doesn't belong to a certain part of the world, but that would work anywhere - the one I'm thinking of in particular was a stall that served smoothies out of donated fruit and vegetables that were going out of date, that would otherwise just have been thrown away and become landfill.

The different street food companies are all part of a competition, and they tour England to gain votes to win an award for Best Street Food. You can read more about it on For the Love of Food's website

I was really amazed by all the different stalls, with the unique decorations and quirky and unusual menus. All companies had something really unique with their food - either ingredients wise, or the way they were cooking it.

How about this funky street style caravan from Fresh Rootz for example? Doesn't it look unique, if anything?!

Myself and my other half, whom I visited this food festival with, tried a few different dishes - one being this slow cooked venison in a flatbread from The Moocher. Their unique thing is that they cook their food on an original Sankey Army Field Kitchen. It looks delicious, and it was - except for the insanely hot scotch bonnet sauce that almost made me cry!

Being from Sweden, I was extremely curious of what they would serve in the Nordic Street Food stall, and I hurried over straight away...

I almost screamed with joy when I read the menu and saw that they served chanterelles - a sort of mushroom that is classed as a delicacy, and that only grow up north. Me and my parents used to go out in the forest and pick these mushrooms every autumn, but unfortunately they don't grow in England. If you're lucky you might find them in Scotland, but nowhere near the same amounts as in Sweden. 

The wrap looked and tasted absolutely delicious. Very fresh flavours, with sour cabbage and soured cream as well as the chanterelles. I was in heaven!

This is what chanterelles look like when they're fresh - bright orange-yellow, and they smell amazing. I was so close to grab the whole basket and just run off with it ;)

We walked around the food festival for a couple of hours, and it was so lovely just taking in the atmosphere; the Caribbean music that blasted out from one of the stalls and filled the whole square with its rhythm, the fantastic smells from all the food being cooked, and the general noise from happy people munching on food.

I'm loving how it's so trendy to be environmentally friendly nowadays. This is what the people behind The Cauldron says about their company;
-“All our power is supplied from the solar panels on the roof of the van. And all our packaging is 100% compostable. Our mission is to prove that fast food CAN be delicious and ethical and give the towns and beaches in our corner of the world a taste of something different from the usual fish ‘n’ chips and frozen burgers.”

We tried the pulled pork wrap from The Cauldron, and it disappeared so quickly that I didn't even get a chance to take a photo of it. I guess that's the best feedback they can get ;)

We were very happy with our little day out in Leeds at For the Love of Food festival. It was a lovely day, and something different to do. If this festival comes to your city it's definitely worth visiting! Even if you're not hungry it's worth it just for the atmosphere.

The only thing we thought could have been different is that we would have liked to see an option of half sized portions, so that you could have gone around and tried more food without getting too full. Something to think about for next year, perhaps?

30 September 2014

A visit to Kosta Boda Art Hotel in Sweden

Kosta Boda Art Hotel spa
This summer I was lucky enough to visit beautiful Sweden, and I spent some time in the county of glass - a part in southern Sweden known for its glassworks and glass art. 

I ventured into the deep forests of Småland and had an overnight stay at the amazing Kosta Boda Art Hotel in the heart of the county of glass. The hotel, which was built in 2009, is a spa hotel as well as an art hotel, and all guests have access to the indoor and outdoor spas.

Kosta Boda Art Hotel
When entering the hotel you're met by various beautiful pieces of art in the reception, and everything you see is available to buy. Although, if your wallet can't handle the giant exhibition pieces there is a smaller glass shop for decorative and collectable pieces, as well as an impressive outlet shop just across the street.

Kosta Boda Art Hotel glass bar
Kosta Boda Art Hotel is also famous for its stunning glass bar, which has an underwater feeling to it. The photos don't really do it justice, but you have to visit it to experience its true atmosphere. The well-respected Swedish artist Kjell Engman has contributed to the design of the bar, and several of the art installations around the hotel. Himself, along with six other Swedish artists, have also designed the actual hotel rooms in their own unique styles - no room looks the same as another one, which makes your stay even more exciting. 
You can read about the different artists here.

Kosta Boda art hotel room
The room I stayed in was designed and decorated by Kjell Engman, and his style is inspied by the animal kingdom (especially the sea), as well as music. All of his rooms have a glass guitar hung up over the bed, and the vases and other smaller glass pieces in the rooms are all from his collection - and just as with the pieces in the reception these are all for sale.

I was also lucky enough to stay in a room overlooking the outdoor pool - gorgeous!

kosta boda art hotel decorations
There's was an underwater theme in my bathroom, with the sink being the same shape as the swimming pool in the spa, decorated with colourful  little glass fish.

kosta boda art hotel exhibitions
And talking about the spa - as I mentioned before there is an indoor as well as an outdoor spa at Kosta Boda Art Hotel. The outdoor spa has a hot tub which you can use all year around, as well as a large swimming pool, and the indoor spa has a sauna, a steam room, a relaxation area, a hot pool and a normal swimming pool. Although saying that it's a "normal" swimming pool doesn't do it justice - it was designed by Kjell Engman and actually has an underwater glass art exhibition in it. Now, I'm not going to tell you what it is, but you're just going to have to visit the hotel and see for yourself ;)

I really enjoyed my stay at this hotel and found all the different areas and exhibitions really interesting. The hotel may be located out in what feels like the middle of nowhere, but I promise you you'll keep occupied, and you will definitely not be bored.

29 June 2014

Appreciating the lakes and walks in Yorkshire

Just around the corner from where I work is Roundhay Park in Leeds. This is a very large park with lots of different paths where you can go for walks, or just hang out having picnics, etc. I try to take a full lunch break once or twice a week when I go to the park for a nice walk as a form of light exercise, and it's so lovely and refreshing. You never think of just going for a casual walk when you work in the city centre - then it's always about walking for the sake of making errands. But since I changed jobs in the end of last year and ended up being neighbours with this amazing park, I appreciate a good walk a lot more.

If you want to stay away from the crowd and the tarmac paths around the open green areas, with dogs and prams, you can choose to walk on one of the many paths through the forest arund the lake. This is my preference, as the forest makes me calm and reminds me of my home back in Sweden.

You really are spoilt for choice in this park - both when it comes to number of paths, and also the scenery. Having grown up by the coast I really miss the sight of open water, but I guess the lake in Roundhay Park helps a little bit. I just wish I could jump in for a swim!

Do you, just like me, appreciate a good walk in the nature, with good scenery and the smell of fresh water? If so, I can recommend having a look at Yorkshire Water's map of lakes and walks they manage around this area, which can be found here. Yorkshire Water is actually doing a brilliant job with upkeeping our lakes in Yorkshire, and they've just released Blueprint for Yorkshire - stating their plan for the next 25 years and how they aim to protect the environment.

I think it's great having access to water where you can stroll around - watching the wildlife, having a picnic, walking your dog... I think I'd go crazy if I couldn't do this. Sure, I still miss living by the coast and feeling the sea breeze on my face and in my hair, but the lakes around Yorkshire will do for now.

16 May 2014

Burger blind date at TGI Fridays in Leeds

Last week, I was invited to a ‘burger blind date’ at TGI Fridays.
“A burger blind date??!”, I hear you say.

The invitation said;
Do you lie in bed craving a relationship you can really sink your teeth into?
Are you looking for romance of the incredibly meaty variety?
We’ve arranged a line-up of our sexiest new handcrafted burgers who are all dying to meet you – but choosing your lover for the night won’t be as simple as love at first sight.
So I asked my dear friend Laura from the blog Top Style Advice if she fancied sinking her teeth into a juicy burger and come sip some cocktails with me, and off we went – not knowing what to expect.

We were welcomed by the lovely staff at TGIFridays in Trinity shopping centre in Leeds, and were offered some lovely mahooossive cocktails by some quirky bartenders who thought they could perform magic. To be fair they were really good at flaring, but I don’t know about the family lime trick with the shakers… anyway...
We were then sat down together with a few other bloggers and got presented our date candidates – the sexy burgers!
The menu was set out as a dating profile. It didn’t explain what was in the burgers, but it explained their personality, and you simply had to guess what might be in them and base your choice on that. For example, contestant #2 said;
Down south, everything’s better when it’s smooth... and I’m no exception. One bite, and you’ll be mine. I’m all over everything and I’d like to be all over you. (PS – Think you know me? You don’t know Jack.)
I really liked this concept. It’s cheeky, interesting, and it definitely brings a smile to people’s faces. The one I chose in the end was contestant #5, which said;
Bonjour. I bring a certain je ne sais quoi to this date. I’m rich, romantic and mysterious… but pour your sauce over me and Voila!! I’m Yours.

Based on this dating profile I guessed that it was a French inspired burger, probably with a red wine gravy to pour over it – and I was right! This burger was amazingly tasty. Soooo delicious!
I personally think the event was a success. The campaign was very well planned from the initial email invite to the actual event, and we all had a good time. As a fun memory we all had to pose for a #burgerface photo, which then was printed and framed for us to take home by the end of the evening.
Thank you so much TGI Fridays for inviting me along to this.
Oh, and happy Friday! :D
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