I am very much enjoying having J at home with me this week, it's a treat for us to have so much child free time together and we're having fun going out and about. Today we went on the train to The City to do a little bit of Christmas shopping which is something of an annual ritual for me at this time of year. Having the Mister with me made it a different experience altogether, and also made me remember that we are both completely different when it comes to shopping.
Our first stop was a new shopping arcade which only opened in October, and wowsers, what an impressive thing it is. I wished that I had taken more notice of the outside of the building as it looks incredible from the pictures I've seen (have a look here to see what I mean). Inside was quite overwhelming, everything was just soooooo shiny!! So much gleaming, reflective, shiny materials, my eyes felt like they might just pop out of my head trying to take it all in. The floor completely did me in, those reflective zigzags made me feel like I was going to trip over any minute. The shops were all incredibly posh too, and were a little bit over the top for me, but then again I was kind of expecting it to be that way. Aside from wanting to just experience all the shiny new-ness, we actually needed to visit the new John Lewis store to pick up a particular gift.
I do have a soft spot for large department stores, there is something rather exciting about having access to so much beautifully displayed stuff on such a large scale. And I happen to love love love riding up and down escalators, it greatly pleases my inner child which I suspect is very much more giddy than is normal for my age.
I left J in the technology department and wandered across to the christmas department to gaze in wonder at the vast displays of ornaments. I had an urge to go and stroke household textiles on the floor below (I am inexplicably drawn to the shelves of fluffy towels arranged by colour), but J was having none of it. He shops like a missile - knows his target in advance and goes straight to it, acquiring it with the minimum of fuss and not a millimetre of diversion. I am the complete opposite, I am a browser and a wanderer and am so very easily diverted it's ridiculous. I have secretly decided to go back to this amazing store at another time and spend an age wandering and stroking, riding up and down through all the levels as many times as I can.
The older shopping arcades in Leeds city are just incredibly beautiful, and I love strolling around here.
I didn't see anyone else really taking in their surroundings, but to me it was impossible not to stand still and gaze about.
We were passing through this arcade so weren't shopping here as such....
.....but I couldn't resist taking some photographs of it looking so glorious and festive.
Ahhhh, gift shopping.....what can I say? I don't enjoy it all that much, and I'm not very good at it either. I picked up a few things from favourite shops for friends, and some small bits for the Little People. But ultimately, after going at it for 3 hours I felt drained and as if I'd failed somehow.
J suggested we use our last hour in the City to sit and have a drink rather than traipse around more shops, and I was so happy about that idea.
He took me to a place that he sometimes visits with friends - it's actually a hotel bar, but the fact that it's on the 13th floor makes it rather special.
The views from up here in the SkyLounge Bar are spectacular, so different from my green rural Attic view, but stunning all the same.
We ordered drinks and decided to sit outside on the narrow terrace which runs along the whole length of the thirteenth floor. Despite it being winter and the fact that we were so high up in the air, the terrace was sheltered and warmed by outdoor heaters above each table, and it felt absolutely lovely to be able to sit outside.
I was a bit naughty and ordered myself Hendricks gin and tonic to take the lingering edge off the shopping experience, gosh I really, really enjoyed that drink!
We had time before our train to have a little wander around this area which is a curious mix of historical and new, residential and commercial. It was interesting to see the canal boats here, and it suddenly occurred to me that this is the very same canal (the historic Leeds-Liverpool canal) that runs through my town.
Walking home from the train station along my own familiar stretch of canal this afternoon, I felt a surge of relief to be back. I do enjoy the occasional city visit and a change of scene every so often, but oh it is so so so nice to come home again.
More little snippets from the Attic....