Which is the better outdoors brand? Patagonia vs. North Face

Outdoors fans are really invested into their gear and gear choices, and you’ll find countless flaming replies on many forums around the web. Is North Face worth it? What are some good outdoor brands? Who makes the best rain jacket? Should you wear a North Face fleece jacket or a Patagonia’s better sweater?

Even if they are American companies, here in Yorkshire we get enough tourists and tourist hikers that bring that gear along; we’re always keen on exchanging our opinions and experiences, so we’ve asked around. Almost anyone has had a definitely great experience with at least one item of clothing; we’ve seen many jackets, backpacks, tents and other items that have suffered through season after season, hike after hike, and didn’t give in.

more “Which is the better outdoors brand? Patagonia vs. North Face”

How to Plan a Tea Party Bridal Shower | Bridal Tea Ideas

There is no doubt that planning a wedding is exciting and stressful for the bride, but it is also a very exciting time for all of the bridal party: a maid of honor, a bridesmaid or a mom of a soon-to-be-Mrs. As all of the little details come to their places, all of the bridesmaids have their gorgeous gowns and the dress for the elegant bride’s mother is ready for a final fitting, it is time to have some fun and organize a little party for your favorite bride. If you’ve got a bride that is the girliest of girly girls, and loves all things posh, then you might want to know how to host a tea party themed bridal shower. This is a very feminine event, it’s all about delicious tea, tiny cakes, sandwiches with no crust and all things dainty. more “How to Plan a Tea Party Bridal Shower | Bridal Tea Ideas”

Equip You Home Office on a Budget

It is easy to get caught up in the latest and greatest furniture and equipment for your office—you want it to look fabulous and make a statement about your success. But just make sure to never lose sight of your budget, or your cash flow could easy turn into a debt. Research and careful shopping can help you equip your office on a budget.  Here’s a list of the office furniture and equipment you actually need to set up a small or home office with tips on how you can get what you need without spending much.

basic home office

1) Office desk

Wrap around corner office desk units are nice in terms of office design, but can be pricey. Look first at auctions, surplus stores or your local newspaper or online listings for office desks at a discount. The advantage is not just price, but often a larger usable work surface. However if you really need something cheap you can try and build this DIY simple desk, for less than $200.

Want an even cheaper option? Go to a resale/thrift store such as Goodwill and pick up a used interior door. Refinish it if you like and prop it over two filing cabinets of the right height for you to sit and work comfortably.

2) Comfortable chair

A comfortable chair is the heart of a productive home office. You’ll spend nearly half your day on it; investing in a good one will make a marked difference to your work life. It is possible to find good used office chairs through your local online classifieds, or websites such as Amazon and eBay. Sometimes businesses go out of business and auction off all their office furniture, for instance, and surplus stores often have used chairs for sale. Just look carefully for wear and damage.

office computer

3) Computer

Choosing the best office computer can be a daunting task for the non-technical person setting up a home office. It doesn’t have to be however. Keep rule one of office design in mind, and buy the computer you need rather than the expensive model the salesperson wants you to buy. If you really only need a basic front desk type of office task PC, by building your own PC, you will save a bunch of money and learn a thing or three about the inner workings of a computer. If you go prebuilt, you will spend more money but have a more powerful computer capable of heavier tasks. It’s up to you and your needs.

4) Printer

Multifunction printers (combining printer, scanner, copier and fax machine in one) are a great way to save money and space in your small or home office design. Decide what features you want, and look for the multifunction printer that does exactly what you want it to do. Don’t pay for features that you won’t need, for example a fax machine. Also keep an eye on sales, as new models come out constantly, and older ones are sold at amazing discounts.

There will certainly be other items you need in your home office, depending on the type of work you do and how much space you have available. But if you use this checklist to get started thinking about the essentials, you are on your way to creating a streamlined and efficient home office on a budget.

Cafe Lento – Headingley, Leeds

Cafe Lento

(Published April 25, 2009) This photo shows the outside of Cafe Lento in Headingley, Leeds. Cafe Lento is a family business run by Richard and his daughter and they are proud to serve quality coffee (Lavazza Tierra) and home cooked food using local, seasonal and fairtrade ingredients.

Leeds / Headingley

The inside of Cafe Lento is a nice place to sit back with a coffee and relax with a paper. One wall is a well organised notice board for local gigs and Cafe Lento has both music and poetry evenings.

Cafe Lento
21a North Lane
West Yorkshire



Roller Girls at VQ 20th Birthday Bash Leeds

Picture of dancers on roller skates at VQ 20th birthday bash Leeds.

I spoke with these 3 girls a couple of times during the evening at the Victoria Quarter in Leeds shopping district.

Another photo of the roller girls at the 20th birthday of the VQ here in Leeds. The girl on the right wanted in on the photo, why not!

Bee Bole at Home Farm Temple Newsam Estate

Bee Bole
(Published July 24, 2009) This picture shows a bee bole with skep in the alcove, this being on the home farm at the temple Newsam Estate, Leeds.

Prior to the development of the modern beehive in around 1850, bee boles were the only practical way to keep bees here in the British Isles. The weather was just too bad so people used these bee houses to house their bees for the honey and beeswax.

In the days before sugar bee keeping was very common, also the wax was used for making candles, tithes/rents sometimes being paid in honey and or beeswax.

Bee boles are found across the whole of the British Isles. Other names were bee holes, bee shells (Cumbria), bee keps (Cumbria), bee niches (Derbyshire), bee walls (Gloucestershire), bee houses (Yorkshire), bee boxes (Kent).

This bee bole is not an original but was built by the Leeds Beekeepers Association on the Temple Newsam estate. In recent years, hikers like visiting old bee boles.


Black Prince Statue – City Square, Leeds

Black Prince statue in Leeds.
Black Prince Statue in Leeds.

This statue of the Edward of Woodstock (15 June 1330 – 8 June 1376), better known today as the Black Prince fairly dominates City Square in Leeds, directly opposite the Queens Hotel.

Edward was the eldest son of Edward III king of England and Philippa of Hainault, he was invested as prince of Wales in 1343. He was a popular and gifted military leader but dying a year before his father he never became king. Edward married Joan (fair maid of Kent) their son became king Richard II of England.

As a military leader he won several notable victories against the french during the 100 years war, including the battle of Crecy at the age of 16. Later he led the English against the French at Poitiers 1356, when desipte inferior numbers they again won the battle.

Decorative Tiles Seen in Leeds

Decorative Tiles Leeds City Centre
(Published by Paul on March 26, 2010) “I passed these decorative tiles on the wall of a building above a shop in Leeds city centre and could not resist taking photo and posting a little about them.

I must have passed this building many times in the last few months and cannot understand how I missed them before now. Perhaps they were covered up, the building looks newly decorated at least on the outside.

Leeds was at one time a centre for decorative pottery, having the Burmantofts pottery. These tiles have a vaguely classical theme, with a diaphanous female, a bust and the words Wedgewood, Minton, Worcester and Doulton, these all being famous potteries producing table china. I guess this shop on Commercial Street, Leeds was at one time a shop selling tableware.”

John Speed – A Brave Man

PS John Speed Leeds Memorial
Picture of memorial to PS John Speed on Kirkgate in Leeds.

(Published on July 29, 2011) “I never knew John Speed, he was a police officer, a sergeant here in Leeds and in 1984 he was shot and killed when he went to the aid of a colleague who had just been shot and wounded. This happened near the Leeds parish church on 31st October 1984 and today a marble memorial stands testament to the bravery of an unarmed officer who long before health and safety became an issue died in the service of the public.

The memorial was unveiled in a ceremony in 1986, the police never caught the man responsible and living in the city back then I remember it was a big story then.

Later when the investigation was going nowhere I was visited by a couple of officers who came to my home to ask me if I had done it. The police back then had decided that because it was someone with a firearm perhaps the killer had been in the forces. There was a problem with that theory, I had won a shooting competition, in a joint services competition. So yes I could have handled a gun and shot the officer but the killer shot at 3 officers, wounding one, killing one and missing the 3rd. I said sorry but dead men tell no tales, when they left they were not amused.

The killer of John Speed, David Gricewith, was only identified as the gunman after his own death, more than two years later in a police chase after an armed robbery.

My uncle was for many years a police officer and when I was a boy we lived across the road from the local police HQ so I knew quite a few policemen and women. In those days being a copper was about nicking the local ne’er-do-wells and the oath taken by officers included the words “without fear or favour, affection or ill will”. Upholding the law was a lot simpler back then in the days before ACPO and political correctness gone mad.

In my book all three officers on that day in 1984 were brave men, armed with nothing but a warrant card, a wooden truncheon (that had not really changed since Victorian times) and a uniform.”




North Leeds Charity Beer Festival

Picture of young woman at North Leeds Charity Beer Festival.

Posted by Paul on April 30, 2012, he wrote:

“Walking across the road towards the church of St Aidan yesterday I noticed signs up for a beer festival in the church hall so when I came out of the church I headed for the beer.

Anyone who knows me would be surprised to see me at a beer festival, I am not much of drinker but this was different this was a beer festival in Leeds. So for this blog I went to my first beer festival. This was I think no ordinary beer festival, it was a charity event organised by the Rotary Club of Roundhay Leeds in association with the Lord Mayor of Leeds. The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Coun Rev Canon Alan Taylor, wearing his other hat is also the vicar of St Aidan‘s.

If you look closely at the beer glass in the above picture there are two logos, the first being the Rotarians of Roundhay, Leeds and the other being Leeds Brewery.”









The Leeds Corn Exchange

From Nicola Haughian: A beautiful building with great history now being used to house local, independent retailers. This is a must-visit when in Leeds. Lots of cool shops with something for everyone such as vintage cameras, handmade jewellery, souvenirs of Yorkshire, vintage clothing, and much more. Also the coffee cart on the ground floor serves the best flat whites!

From Keith Batchelor:  The Leeds Corn Exchange is a stunning Grade I listed building, which has been a magnet for visitors for more than 150 years. It opened in 1863 as a bustling centre for the sale of corn, wheat, barley, hops, cake and flour. Today, the Corn Exchange is once again a thriving retail hub, with around 30 independent retailers trading under its spectacular domed roof.

Leeds City Market – Interior

From Tom Hodgson:  “Leeds Kirkgate Market is an icon of Leeds. One of the largest covered markets in Europe it is worth visiting just to look at the amazing late Victorian architecture. The market has had a hard time over the last few decades and has always been a step behind the trends affecting the rest of the city. The stalls range traditional family run butchers to ethnic food shops and most recently trendy street food stalls. There is a palpable conflict between the old and the new in the area surrounding the market and it remains (for the time being) a glance of a Leeds which is fading fast in the wake of large scale development and gentrification.”


Red Squirrel – 10 Years On

Peter Trimming is the man taking the photograph. On his flickr site there are quite some more pictures.

My stroke happened 4 years back. Today I am slowly getting much better. The car, is something from my past. My printer is something really useful, my stroke my right hand.

On my blog is Red Squirrel today. Today I watched Countryfile Autumn Diaries, with Keeley Donovan from BBC Look North. On that show Keeley Donovan talked Adrian Vass, Manager of the UK Squirrel Accord about the idea that could give the Grey Squirrel a version of contraception. Which is the 10 years on comes from.

Posted by Mark B on October 25, 2016.

Conkers on Woodhouse Moor

Picture Credit: Lorne Campbell / Guzelian

Students Kitty Harris (left),(22), and Ashleigh Hodge (23) enjoy a game of conkers in the warm weather on Woodhouse Moor in Leeds, West Yorkshire, on Friday. Both are studying at the University of Leeds.  This photograph is another from previous guest photographer Lorne Campbell who hails from Fife but now lives in Yorkshire.

The Wrens Hotel

The Wrens Hotel is a small gastropub on the corner of two of Leeds city centres busiest streets, close to the Grand Theatre. It is also a real hotel with a handful of rooms to rent.

The Wrens Hotel   61A New Briggate, Leeds, LS2 8JD 

A Happy Yorkshire Day


Yorkshire day.   Picture of a view of Ilkley Moor, Yorkshire.

A snicket by its proper name – a ginnel, if you use these two your definately almost here. Can include the following:

Snickleway (York)
Allee with an accent on the last e (Germany)
Lanes (Dublin)

New Pavilion Theatre – Morley

New Pavilion Theatre in Morley
New Pavilion Theatre

The New Pavilion Theatre in Morley was built as a Cine-Variety Theatre in 1911 with full stage facilities and fly tower, and an auditorium on two levels, Stalls and one Balcony. A major fire completely destroyed the backstage area in 1913, but thankfully the auditorium survived intact. The backstage area was then subsequently rebuilt and the building continued with live theatre and films until 1916 when the Theatre became a full time Cinema.

By 1929, with interest in silent films on the wane, the building reverted to live theatre again opening on Monday the 23rd of September.

In 1931, after having new cinema equipment with a rear projection room for talking pictures installed, the building became a full time Cinema once more, opening on Monday the 1st of June, and remained as such, albeit with alterations for Cinemascope and the installation of a front projection box in the rear of the balcony in 1956, until it closed on the 27th of July 1968.


Sunny Scarecrow

Picture of scarecrow on allotment in Leeds.

Following my short theme of sunny pictures here is another photo that I took last summer.

This is perhaps the least scary scarecrow that I have ever seen. I saw this scarcrow on some allotments in Calverley, Leeds. Whilst the scarecrow may not be scary it certainly fits in with sunny.

Church of St Thomas

This is the church of St Thomas in Stanningley on the edge of Leeds, which I visited earlier today.

I am not sure why I seem to have missed visiting this rather nice old church before, but I had passed it a couple of times over the last few weeks and so stopped off today for a quick look around. The church itself was locked and there was no one around.

St Thomas the church was built in 1841, or more likely completed in 1841 and consecrated that year in the presence of Dr Hook who was then Vicar of Leeds and the Vicar of Bramley in whose parish this then was.

The church itself was built in a Norman style with a tower and is today a listed building being Grade II.

The churchyard is rather overgrown but it does have some rather nice wildflowers, which in my view is no bad thing. It could perhaps do with some churchyard sheep or perhaps goats.

Sometime soon I will try to have a look inside this church.

Nicola Adams Gold Post Boxes

Picture of golden postbox in honour of Olympic champion Nicola Adams in Leeds.

The city of Leeds had two Olympic champions at the London games of 2012 triathlete Alistair Brownlee and boxer Nicola Adams. The Royal Mail decided to celebrate team GB wins by painting some of our iconic post poxes gold in their home towns.

Alistair Brownlee has a golden postbox in Leeds and Nicola Adams the winner of the first Olympic gold medal for a woman at boxing now has her very own gold post box in Leeds city centre.

The Royal Mail chose a post box for Nicola on Cookridge Street but if someone was looking for it I would say it was on The Headrow right next to the Henry Moore Institute and opposite the Radisson hotel, these being better known places.

I am not sure why the Royal picked this post box, it is a double post box and they also painted gold the less common franked mail post box that stands adjacent too. Each Olympic champion had a post box painted gold by the Royal Mail and also a postage stamp featuring them too.

The Hull boxer Luke Campbell got a hat trick with stamp, post box and also a telephone box too, this being due to the city having for historical reasons a different phone company run locally and decided to celebrate too.

Another athlete Laura Trott has 2 golden post boxes in separate towns, this being due to a mix up. When Laura made known her disappointment that the town she was born in (Harlow) got the post box rather than the town that she considers home Cheshunt Royal Mail painted one there too.

Gold Postbox Alistair Brownlee

Gold postbox at Horsforth Alastair Brownlee

Alistair Brownlee Olympic PostboxPicture golden postbox at Horsforth, Leeds.

Royal Mail decided to honour each Olympic gold medal winner by painting gold a post box near their home. Each British Olympic winner will have their very own gold post box and also will feature on a postage stamp too.

This post box is at New Road Side in Horsforth, Leeds and it was painted gold yesterday to celebrate the Olympic Gold medal won by Alistair Brownlee.

Shortly after I took the above photo several people were having their photo taken next to the golden post box. Royal mail post boxes have been their distinctive pillar box red since 1874 when the first new post boxes were painted that colour, but it took around 10 years to repaint the earlier ones.

Since I wrote this Nicola Adams from Leeds has won Gold! Nicola boxed and beat Chinese boxer and world number one Ren Cancan at the Olympics and has sealed her place in history winning the first womens Olympic gold medal for boxing. The gold win by Nicola takes the Yorkshire tally at this Olympics to 5 gold medal champions.


Treasures Revealed St. Aidan

Picture of detail of mosaic at church of St Aidan at Harehills, Leeds.

Paul wrote on this day: “Yesterday I revisited the church of St Martin at Potternewton, Leeds and then went to have a look at St Aidan’s church in Harehills. I lived in Harehills for around 1 year when I was a student in Leeds many years back, so I know the area pretty well. Although I had walked around the outside of the church of St Aidan I had never been beyond the locked door. I knew St Aidans was large form the exterior but it was quite a bit bigger inside than I had thought. Everything about St Aidan’s is on an almost Soviet era scale but especially the font and the pillars.

The one thing most people know about St Aidan’s is the mosaics by Frank Brangwyn, these were completed in 1916. Originally Brangwyn was commissioned to decorate the church with a painting, but he worried about the smoky atmosphere in the area damaging the work so he started anew and produced a mosaic instead. The mosaic in the apse shows scenes from the life of St Aidan and it like the church itself is on a grand scale. In the above picture can be seen a length of a mosaic on the stairway leading up to the altar with some of the main mosaic above and beyond this.”