Memories, and Friends Old and New in Leeds

Six different trains, and four friends helped celebrate old memories and create new ones during a day trip to Leeds last week.

The trip to Leeds was made for lunch with two friends I had ‘met’ through blogging: Vicki (Honest Mum) and Katie (Pouting in Heels), and to meet for hot chocolate with Lea, my old boss and good friend.

Vicki, Katie and I have bonded through our blogs and on social media, and had been trying for a while to arrange to meet up in person. Vicki lives in Leeds, and Katie in south Yorkshire; I was a student in Leeds during the 1990s (International History and Politics, 1998). I hadn’t visited the city in years, and wanted to take a nostalgic trip down memory lane. Lea moved to Yorkshire for a fabulous new job last year, and I was delighted that we were able to meet up too.

The day began bright and early, with three trains to get me to Leeds. Katie and I had planned to meet at Leeds train station, but we met sooner than expected because my train stopped in her home town. We had some rather strange looks from fellow passengers as we greeted each other with an excited hug, and proceeded to natter non-stop until we reached our destination (in fact, we chatted non-stop until we parted again a few hours later!).

Kate and me.

Katie and me.

During my student days I lived in Headingley, so we headed up there to see what it is like now. Visiting Headingley again after so many years was good but strange: it’s the same, yet so very different. Some of the shops in the local parade are the same, but feels much more upmarket than my student days with more coffee shops and gastropubs (the same in most places, I expect!).

We wandered around the corner to visit Tetley Hall, which is the halls of residence I was fortunate to live in during the duration of my degree. Tetley Hall is set in beautiful surroundings: six Victorian houses (built originally by the Tetley brewery family) and a modern main block. The halls were closed and the land sold off in the mid 2000s.

From the photos I’ve seen on the university’s website, it seems today’s students prefer snazzier accommodation (with brand spanking new facilities, and en-suite shower rooms)! Tetley had great character, a friendly atmosphere, fabulous social activities, and a wonderful community spirit – I wouldn’t have changed it for the world.

Me at one of the entrances to Tetley Hall.

Me at one of the entrances to Tetley Hall.

The grounds. I lived in the Main Block (to the left of the photo) in my first and final years.

The grounds. I lived in the Main Block (to the left of the photo) in my first and final years.

Moorfield Lodge, where I lived in my second year.

Moorfield Lodge, where I lived in my second year.

Me, with Moor Grange in the background.

Me, with Moor Grange in the background.

At one point the properties on the Tetley site were planned to be demolished and new houses built instead. Luckily the local residents successfully opposed such destruction, and it all still stands, although in various stages of repair. The grounds in general are not as well-maintained as they once were, the main block seems to be boarded up, and the houses are being used for various purposes, with some of them undergoing renovations. I understand some of it is now being used as a hostel for asylum seekers.

While wandering around, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw this sign in a window: Hugo was nicknamed Hugo Boss by his nurses for his feisty behaviour. How remarkable that such a sign was there, in my old home, and facing outwards too. It gave Katie and I the chills, in a good way.

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Lunch was booked at the Olive Tree, one of Vicki’s parents’ restaurants in Headingley – just around the corner from my old halls. Vicki and I had met the previous Saturday at BlogCamp; seeing her twice in one week was lovely.

Vicki and Katie are wonderful, inspiring women full of energy and ideas. We had a fabulous time, eating, chatting and laughing. The time went in a flash.

If you live in Leeds and have never been to an Olive Tree restaurant – go! Now! Oh my goodness, the food is AMAZING! I love Greek food, but don’t get to eat it very often. We had mezze (shared dishes of all sorts of food) that was absolutely incredible. The waitress kept bringing out plate after plate of the most delicious dishes – some of which I’d never tried before. After several plates, the look on the faces of Kate and me when the waitress asked if we were now ready for the main course was a picture – we thought we’d already eaten it! We were absolutely stuffed, and happy.

A trio of blogging lovelies.

A trio of blogging lovelies (left to right Katie, Vicki, Me).

We were sad to leave Vicki, and Katie and I headed back to the train station. She to catch her train home, and me to meet Lea.

Lea and I hadn’t seen each other in nearly a year, and so had a lot to catch up on. She is a lovely lady; I am glad she is my friend, and not just a former boss. We share so much in common (besides our names!), and we chatted for more than four hours without noticing the time. I was so glad to be able to see Lea on my trip up north.

Lea and Me.

Lea and Me.

It had started to rain when we left the train station, so Lea and I had ducked in to the first café that looked inviting – it turned out to be a Hotel Chocolat café. Very nice it is too! We both had cake, and hot chocolates (mine was a salted caramel one), and I am happy to report it was excellent, so there is another place on the list in the quest for the perfect hot chocolate.

The day was long, but wonderful. Social media is fantastic for keeping in touch with friends, and making new ones, but there is nothing quite like meeting up in person.

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Share the Joy linky at bodfortea.co.uk
Potty Mouthed Mummy

28 thoughts on “Memories, and Friends Old and New in Leeds

  1. lifeasourlittlefamily says:

    What a lovely collection of memories and such a nice way to look back on them. You look so happy in these pictures. I love that you have made some close friends through blogging too. It’s a great community isn’t it. I hope to see you for the next #CountLuckyStars on the 16th x x

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  2. thenthefunbegan says:

    How lovely! What a trip down memory lane . Maybe one day I will take a nostalgic trip to my old haunts at the uni of Sussex. Lovely to meet up with friends too – I bet Katie and Vicki are larger than life characters! I once stayed in the nicest hotel I’ve ever been to in Leeds – 42 The Calls – stunning. Xx

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    • Leigh Kendall says:

      Oh Vicki and Katie are wonderful women, so full of positive energy! Not been to that hotel, will have to check it out. Oh do have a nostalgia trip to your old uni if you get a chance – it’s fascinating xxx

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  3. Michelle Reeves (bodfortea) says:

    This is such a lovely post Leigh! Glad you had such a fun day with Katie, Vicki and your old boss. I completely agree with you about meeting face to face – and incidentally I can’t WAIT to meet you at BML this year (there’s going to be some serious group hugging going on, I just know it!) – and strangely it never feels odd hugging someone that you have only ever spoken to online! Thanks for linking up at #sharethejoy x

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    • Leigh Kendall says:

      Oh me too Michelle! So looking forward to a proper hug and chat at BML. Some SERIOUS group hugging! I know what you mean, yet it feels like we know each other so well yet we haven’t met in person. xxx

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  4. Mummy Tries says:

    Gorgeous post Leigh, I wrote something similar last week. It’s fab when blog friends become real friends isn’t it 🙂 Great that you’ve been catching up with old mates too. Lovely pics xxx #countingstars

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  5. lifeatthelittlewood says:

    It’s so lovely to meet up with blogging pals. Every time I do I’m so sad that I don’t live closer to everyone – that big, pesky stretch of water gets in the way! My brother and sister in law both went to Leeds Uni in the 90’s. It’s such a small world really, isn’t it?! Xx #countluckystars

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    • Leigh Kendall says:

      It’s so lovely, we get to know each other through our blogs and meeting up in person is brilliant. It is a small world, I may have known your brother and sister in law! Thanks for commenting xxx

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  6. Complicated Gorgeousness says:

    I studied in Leeds too (93-96) at Trinity and All Saints College in Horsforth and lived in Headingly for two years. I loved it. I might have bumped into you in the Skyrack of the The Oak ha. Glad you had a lovely trip down memory lane and caught up with friends. I went back last year and didn’t recognise the city centre at all. x

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    • Leigh Kendall says:

      Headingley was such a good place to be a student wasn’t it?! Such fun. Wouldn’t it be funny if we had bumped into each other…small world! The city centre has changed loads, quite posh now! Thanks for commenting lovely xxx

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  7. pottymouthedmummy says:

    sounds like a busy but very fabulous day! The grounds near your old halls are gorgeous! So jealous with your lunch with those two fab ladies, I adore them both. Thanks so much for linking to count your lucky stars xxx

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  8. Kiran Chug says:

    Oh lovelies, how wonderful! So glad you all had such a super day together Leigh. And while I agree that it’s great to keep in touch on social media – it’s also wonderful to see each other in person. Hope to see you soon too xx

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  9. poutinginheels says:

    Oh Leigh, it was a such a wonderful day! Was so lovely to finally meet you and it doesn’t half make me chuckle that we met on the train! Haha! Very funny but absolutely lovely.

    Visiting some of your old Uni haunts with you was also very special, and I will never ever forget seeing ‘The Boss’ sign. What a surreal and beautiful moment that was. I’m so thrilled that happened for you.

    Finally, lunch and the food! Didn’t we have such an amazing time with Vicki too? Love being in your company, you’re both very special women and friends. Here’s to more fun, (endless) chatter and plenty of laughs at BritMums. (Really need to sort my ticket!) Much love xxx

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    • Leigh Kendall says:

      It was wonderful to meet you at last lovely Katie! So funny that we met on the train.

      Thank you for coming on my little nostalgia trip. Oh, that Boss sign was just amazing.

      Lunch with Vicki was such fun. You’re both wonderful women and I’m glad you’re both my friends. So looking forward to more fun at BritMums! xxx

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  10. Honest Mum says:

    Oh darling, it was utterly wonderful getting to spend time together, and on two days last week too. I had so much fun with you and Katie and thank you for your kind words on the food, so glad you had a great meal. Wonderful going down memory lane with you too here, I got into Leeds uni but went to London but my friends who stayed loved it and Dad did his MBA there. Such a dynamic city to study in. Did you ever dress up in fancy dress or had that tradition started later. I see all the student dressed up doing pub crawls now and wish I was 18! Excited to see you both again at BritMums, much love x

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    • Leigh Kendall says:

      It’s amazing to meet you Vicki, after spending so much time tweeting each other. Funny how we ended up meeting twice in one week, eh? Meant every word about the food, it was incredible.

      Oh yes re fancy dress – the Otley Run in fancy dress. No quicker way to clear a busy pub on a Saturday night. Poor locals!

      So looking forward to seeing you again at BML xxx

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