Have you met Jules? Known online as this is jules we share a name (yes Jules is also my nickname, as Julia is our other name…) and her photos make me feel at home in their familiar northern way. I am originally from Cheshire and still visit regularly, the moody north being an inherent part of my history and as much as I now call the sunny south home, I am a proud Northerner at heart. Perhaps it explains my love of rain too. Jules is also utterly charming and a joy to converse with, I’ll let her do the talking though…
Firstly, please introduce yourself…
I’m Julia – better known as Jules. I’m a Canadian-born Geordie who lives in Leeds, Yorkshire with my Welsh husband James, our baby boy Oscar and blue-feathered budgie Frankie.
Please tell us a little about where you live
We moved to Leeds from Cardiff just over four years ago, which is pretty unbelievable to me – the time has flown by and in some ways I still feel like Leeds is all new and I’m just getting to know it. It took a long time for me to settle here after we relocated in 2012 – but that was my problem and nothing to do with the city itself (I missed my friends and family in Wales and I longed for the sea!). Leeds is a fantastic, eclectic, bustling and multicultural city, with plenty going on and so much personality. I was a reluctant resident at first – but the city has well and truly won me over. It’s a great place to live. As an eternal renter, I’m used to moving a lot – and in the time we have lived here we have resided in four properties in different areas around the city. The current apartment – by far our favourite – has been home for almost two years, though it won’t be for much longer as we’ve outgrown it space wise now we have Oscar. Our address is right by beautiful Roundhay Park which is just a joy to have on our doorstep. With the latter in mind, we’ve been putting off moving, as for as long as we’re in Yorkshire, the location will probably never get as good as it is right now!
How do you usually spend your weekends?
Before Oscar arrived we were really lazy with our weekends. We’d brunch and lunch out and spend much of the rest of the time either at the cinema (sometimes we’d go on a Saturday and a Sunday!) or on the sofa watching films and boxsets. That may sound dull – but we loved it! And I quite fancied myself as a bit of a film buff. This year – I hadn’t even heard of half of the films that were nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards, so that shows how much our weekends have changed! Now they are for fresh air and adventuring. When you have a little one, for us at least, the worst thing we could do is to stay indoors. A change of scenery, either elsewhere in Yorkshire and occasionally a bit further afield, is almost always on the agenda. If we do stay local to home, the day will usually be spent walking in the park and frequenting local coffee shops for takeaway cuppas and pastries, to be slurped and scoffed on said walks as we go!
Could you recommend a great coffee shop or eatery near you?
If you’re in Leeds, my absolute number one place for coffee is Laynes Espresso on New Station Street. Order a latte and any of the brownies – so delicious! Mrs Athas Coffee & Teahouse on Central Road is also a winner, while the Tiled Hall Café at Leeds Art Gallery is stunning.
In Roundhay, Café Le Petit serves the best Greek salad I’ve eaten outside of Greece.
Have you any favourite places or secret spaces to share with us?
About a forty-minute drive out of Leeds is Ilkley, the loveliest little town to while away an afternoon. It has a branch of the famous Betty’s Tearooms and a wonderful (and very photogenic!) coffee shop called Toast House, where as you guessed it, toast of all kinds and toppings is the order of the day! A visit to Ilkley would not be complete without a walk across Ilkley Moor. The landcape is moody and gorgeous in the winter – but the best time to visit is without a doubt August when the moor is coloured purple with heather.There’s also a fantastic pub by the rocks on the moor called the Cow & Calf. In December go there to warm up after your walk with mulled cider by the fire.
If you are weekending away, where is your favourite place to go?
Anywhere by the sea! We fairly regularly go back to James’s home city of Cardiff, where we always undoubtedly fit in at least two trips to Penarth Pier. We used to live just a ten-minute walk from the pier and we took it completely for granted, venturing there perhaps just twice in a 12-month stint. Since moving away we literally cannot get enough of it, and talk wistfully of the future when we hope to move back there and live happily ever after.
We also love to journey up to my home city of Newcastle in the North East. Most of my family live on the coast, in and around the Whitley Bay area. If you’re in the region, Tynemouth is lovely to visit and has a brilliant market in its Metro station every weekend, while you can’t beat a walk along Longsands Beach – which is just as glorious as it sounds.
Thank you Jules for sharing a little about your weekends with us. Jules recently (well, 6 months ago) set up her own blog which is now one of my favourites, it is beautifully written, often candid and I absolutely recommend a read. You can find her via the links below.
Have a great weekend!