Tag Archives: Leeds

Meanwood Valley Urban Farm

A week or two ago, Holly and I took a trip up to North Leeds. We had a dental appointment but thought we’d make the most of the day while we were in the area and show Holly where I’d spent my childhood.

We started our day by visiting Chapel Allerton. We called into the Sunshine Bakery and bought some of their exquisite cupcakes as a little treat.

Following the dentist, we went to Meanwood Valley Urban Farm it is such a wonderful attraction, particularly good if you have small children. The farm is an educational centre for young people who have learning disabilities or who have struggled to engage with the education system.

Holly and I loved our afternoon there. We had a hot meal together which was reasonably priced and delicious. The cafe and farm shop have a relaxed feel about them. However the service was incredibly friendly and efficient.

The farm is very interactive and Holly was able to feed the animals which she really enjoyed. There are gardens and a coppice wood also to explore. It only cost £1 for me to visit and Holly’s admission was free. I’m sure that the farm will be a lovely perk after visiting the dentist in future.

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Jamie’s Italian Leeds- a family friendly place

Last weekend, Mark and I visited Leeds to do a bit of shopping. We arrived around lunch time and as Holly was starting to get hungry, we needed to make a decision on where to eat. We walked up Park Row and Mark suggested that we try Jamie’s Italian.

I’d heard and read many mixed reviews about this restaurant but as with most things in life, I like to make my own opinion.

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As we entered, there was a man on the right making fresh pasta. I thought this was a very clever selling point. He’s visible from the street and gives you an idea of the quality inside. We were half expecting it to be too busy and were surprised when we were offered a table immediately. There are steps leading up to the restaurant. The the floor manager offered us the lift or alternatively she asked if we wanted her to carry the pram up the steps. We were shocked, we’ve found that since we’ve had our daughter, busy restaurants can often see a family with a small child and a pram as a nuisance. Well that is the way we have been made to feel.

Our waiter asked us if he could take our pram and store it away. He brought us a high chair for Holly, which was very clean (if you’re a parent you’ll understand how rare and important that is!) The waiter was very friendly, he took the time to talk to Holly and asked if we needed anything for her. Hula was mesmerised by him and flirted with him every time he walked past the table.

The restaurant is smart/casual or relaxed with an air of quality. It had a diner type menu which was quick and easy to read. As it was lunch we didn’t have a starter. Mark had the pappardelle meatballs and I had a burger. One of the complaints I’d heard was on small portion size. I felt this was untrue. The portions were appropriate and we both felt satisfied following the meal and didn’t eat again till later that evening. I wonder if we are getting used to expecting very big portions in this country. We both enjoyed our meals very much, the food tasted fresh and was beautifully cooked. We both had a coffee which was rich and of good quality. The meal was £15 each. We thought that was good value for a lunch in Leeds.

Although the food was delicious, it was the whole experience which made it enjoyable. We were served our food within about 15 minutes of sitting down, we liked the decor and charm of the old building but most of all the service was second to none. They made our little family feel very welcome. We’d definitely recommend it!

Family Day – Tropical World

Life can become incredibly busy sometimes and it’s quite easy to forget to take time out for you and the ones closest to you. Therefore, Mark and I have made an oath to have a “family day” at least once a month. This means that we keep the day free and plan to do something that is “Holly” centred.  This can sometimes take a little researching due to the weather.

However, Mark suggested that we take Holly to Tropical World. This worked out really well as it was very chilly when we woke up and I didn’t fancy staying outside all day.

Tropical World is situated in Roundhay which is North East Leeds. Growing up in North Leeds, our family used to go there all the time. It was weird taking Holly. Never did I think that I would be taking my own daughter one day.

The exhibit is separated by zones these are dry/arid, nocturnal and tropical it reminds me a bit of that television programme “Crystal maze” that was presented by Richard O’Brian. You can see a variety of different animals, reptiles, birds and insects (thankfully most of them behind glass). The butterfly house is the main attraction. There is quite an impressive collection of different species of butterfly which freely fly amongst the visitors. It’s quite amusing to watch people nervously ducking and diving to avoid the butterflies. Having said that, I had a small panic as one landed on my face (this amused Mark). Holly was very comfortable in the company of the butterflies and watched intently as they fluttered by her.

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There is plenty to see and it only takes approximately 30 minutes to go around all of the exhibits. This is quite a relief when you have a small child, mind you we didn’t read every piece of information presented to us. For a longer day out, you can visit the gardens that surround Tropical world and Roundhay Park is only a stones throw away.

Whilst this is a  lovely attraction, we have visited a similar place on the Isle of Anglesey. We found that the staff on Anglesey were more involved with visitors, teaching about the exhibits and bringing some of the animals out of their enclosures and handling them. You’re kind of left to just get on with it at Tropical World and are cattle prodded through a series of walkways and corridors which aren’t particularly wide in some places for prams and wheelchairs.

Although there could be some improvements, it’s a good day out for children of any age and there’s a fantastic gift shop for a wide price range. At the moment, they have a large selection of Eric Carle “Very Hungry Caterpillar” merchandise which we bought a couple of things from for Holly’s birthday.

We met up with some friends and went to The Roundhay Fox for lunch.The food was really good and reasonably priced. However, although we were told that our food would take 30 minutes after ordering, it felt like much longer than that. The high chairs were also filthy and I struggled to clean off the dried on food. There was also no fastenings on Holly’s to secure her in. Despite this, I’d like to visit again perhaps at a less busy time and enjoy some of their cask ales in front of the coal fire.