With summer fast-approaching, here’s a guide on where to go and what to do in the Leeds area.
1) Restaurant: Turkuaz House.
Situated in the delightful village of Rawdon is Turkuaz House, an authentic Turkish and Mediterranean restaurant. Recently my friend and I stumbled across this hidden gem and quickly found ourselves enticed by the delicious and varied menu. There was great service, fantastic food and a much-appreciated outside seating area suitable for the hot days of summer. It was an all-round success and a great alternative to the usual Weatherspoon’s beer and burger offer! Other places to try closer to home: The White Swan Pub and Kendall’s Bistro.
2) Café/Bistro: Mrs Atha’s Coffee & Tea house.
Mrs Atha’s family-run Coffee & Tea House has the perfect combination of good coffee and interior décor to make every customer believe they have either travelled back in time, across the seas to New York or even through the countryside to a rural retreat. Dim lighting, books, large armchairs, wooden benches, vintage cutlery and good music create a pleasant and unique atmosphere. The food delivers on taste, quality and price, with particular emphasis on the quality! There is also a good range of gluten free cakes and vegetarian options. Next time you’re having a quick coffee, long-overdue luncheon or your parents are in town, this is the place to go! Other cafes: Dare Café in Headingley and Hyde Park’s LS6.
3) Best salon for summer body: Millie’s Beauty Salon.
It’s already time to start wearing lighter jackets to uni and sporting vest tops over knitwear, sunglasses are ready and waiting in handbags and bare legs are just around the corner. Summer encourages friendly BBQs, yummy ice creams, sunbathing, laying in the park with magazines and drinking fruit cider – resulting in lots of Instagramming! It also means that we have to make sure our legs are looking lovely and spend the majority of summer trying to achieve the ‘natural tan’ look by investing in tinted moisturiser and slapping it on every night. Millie’s Beauty Salon has the answer. It doubles as an organic food store (perfect for if you get peckish!), has extremely friendly staff and offers a wide range of treatments for great prices and fabulous results. With summer around the corner it might be time to book in for a wax and a spray tan!
4) Fitness: Pole Dancing.
If we are pampering our bodies for summer, let’s make them worth pampering for! Trying (and often failing) to achieve the much wanted summer body is a life-long battle. Chocolate eventually creeps its way into our cupboards and finding oneself out for lunch and gorging on chips and alcohol in the sun is a regular occurrence. Constantly reminding yourself to go on ‘that run’ three weeks in a row and doing ten sit ups once a week in hope you will have smokin’ abs isn’t really going to achieve much. A friend and I decided to tackle this problem by signing up to a 6 week pole dancing course. Pole dancing or vertical fitness is an excellent way of keeping fit and toning up, as well as being extremely fun! Numerous places in and around Leeds now have pole dancing facilities. But don’t be afraid to venture outside of the City centre where often a 3 minute train journey can lead to much cheaper classes. Try: Ztudio in Morely.
5) Summer Drinks: Smoothies and Frappuccinos.
It is very easy in the summer months to lay back with a beverage (or five) and soak up the sun’s rays in style. This summer mix it up with day-time drinks that don’t break the bank and reduce your alcohol intake slightly. Smoothies are delicious, healthy and thirst quenching (plus you can add vodka if reducing your alcohol intake isn’t the aim!) and potentially even whisk up your own at home. Frappuccinos are best for the mid-shopping coffee breaks, a steaming mug of cocoa won’t stop you sweating but a caramel frappuccino might do the trick. Plus they come in an exciting variety of flavours and taste great.
6) Summer Nails: Sky Blue and Baby Pink.
Nothing can compare to that feeling of freshly painted nails and summer endorses the prettiest pastels. Navy blue and deep maroon were winters finest but now blossom is on the trees it’s time to ditch darker shades and embrace summer’s fresh new look. If you’re not a nail connoisseur but enjoy painted nails then opt for higher end brands such as Crabtree & Evelyn for longer-lasting quality. Why not also try Shellac or gel nails that are an alternative to nail varnish lasting for approximately two weeks and can be found for as cheap as £15 in Leeds city centre. Places to try: Millie’s Beauty Salon, Hind, Mint.
7) Hobbies: Art Classes.
An absolutely fabulous way to accomplish something different this summer is to sign up to something new. New hobbies are exciting and help us keep active and enthusiastic when it is easy to slip into a slump and become boring. Students especially fall into the trap of waiting for evening to come and alcohol to flow before becoming sociable and events normally consist of nights out and hangover days. Art classes are a brilliant way to break the routine, are extremely good fun (especially if no-one is particularly blessed at art!) cheap and a great way to meet new people. Leeds Art Group meet in Headingley once a week and teach basic techniques to beginners. No previous experience or talent is required (thank goodness) plus it’s an informal and fun session.
8) Embrace your surroundings: Yorkshire walks.
One of the best things about Yorkshire is the countryside. As summer approaches it encourages us to acquire awkward caps and edgy sunglasses which we will inevitably regret in years to come, and prance off on into the countryside with a group of friends and a picnic basket of Sainsbury’s sandwiches. Most great walks around Yorkshire are easily-accessible and range from a country ramble for the beginners to larger mountains for the experts. Plus for those without a car it’s extremely easy to hop on a train to the nearest village. Popular with students and easily accessible is Ilkley. A short train journey away beholds one of Yorkshire’s greatest attractions: Ilkley Moor. An excellent site for walking to accommodate all, exceptionally pretty countryside and panoramic views, Ilkley moor ticks all boxes and promises a fun day out. So instead of sitting in Hyde Park drinking, change it up and hop on a train!
9) Summer style: Crop shirts, polka dots and white dresses.
This summer ditch the jumpers and knitwear for some classic casual pieces to update your wardrobe. Crop shirts are American Apparel’s new favourite and come in a variety of prints and pastels to stay in-keeping with the summer theme. Team with jeans and a jacket or high waisted shorts.
Polka dots are never truly out of fashion but they’re making a big come back this summer in the form of playsuits and high waisted shorts. Easy to dress down with denim and sandals or throw on heels and get a clutch for a night time look.
White is this season’s colour: shirts, wide leg trousers and of course the backless white dress. Perfect for holidays and end of year balls. Show off your back and your tan in this summer staple!
10) Summer Events.
Leeds is an extremely diverse and busy city; as a result it is holding some fabulous events in the summer months. The Tour de France, the world’s greatest cycle race, kickstarts in Leeds city centre. This is a fabulous opportunity to support those taking part. Other events include Leeds Half Marathon, taking place in May and Leeds Food and Drink Festival in June. Time to celebrate the end of exams and enjoy yourself by taking part in new and exciting events!