Besides those scrooges who believe Christmas is merely 12 days of celebration, I'm pretty sure the rest of us are preparing for the festivities and may have even - shock horror - finished Christmas shopping already. I love this time of year despite the lack of daylight (and the constant need to have a quality street in my gob) so I've been thinking about plans to celebrate in the coming months.

I've pulled together a list of things to see and places to visit in and around Leeds, in the run up to December 25th. Let me know if you've any plans to go to these particular events, or if you're not from Leeds, if you've some traditions that you'll be keeping yourself!

Note: Those that require tickets I've linked for you too. You're welcome.

Leeds Christkindelmarkt - Millenium Square

10th November - 24th December

Every year in Leeds, people plan this into their calendars for catch-up coffee, a post-work night out or to stock up on cinnamon pretzels and bratwurst. This year though guys, it's open from today TILL CHRISTMAS EVE. I kid you not, we have over six weeks to enjoy the delights in the city centre so you'll definitely get chance to head down.

It's completely free to get in. Just bring some cash for the beer hall (if your group is 18+), some tasty German treats or kids rides if you're heading out as a family.

Christmas Tree festivals

My mum loves a good Christmas tree festival. If this is a new concept to you, the premise is usually a local event, where different groups or individuals decorate a tree in order to represent their part in the community. Think a butcher's tree covered in felt sausages or a Girl Guides group with a disco themed tree and trefoil star etc. These trees are then displayed together somewhere in the village/town/city and either a small fee is charged for visitors or often, it's just a donation.

Otley holds one of the most popular in Leeds but do find out if there is one local to you, usually with a church or community centre etc. It's something a bit different and far more personal so check them out or even take part with your own tree!

The Hepworth Wakefield Christmas Market

24th, 25th, 26th November

Having been named Art Fund Museum of the Year in 2017, there's been a lot of excitement around The Hepworth this year. It's the last weekend in November so you've no excuse not to finish gift shopping here, well before the Christmas rush.

There's a huge array of art, crafts and it's the perfect place to find independently sourced food products for the festive season. It'll be well worth the visit for the hipsters (ahem) and there's also activities for the whole family, so kids will be more than welcome and certainly not bored here.

Hidden Christmas Market - Kirkstall Abbey

I bought tickets for myself and David last year and it was honestly one of the best decisions. Unlike most Christmas markets, it was hugely relaxed, not at all too busy, had a selection of beer and cider and the setting of Kirkstall Abbey is incredible. 

This year the Sneaky Experience team have planned a Grimm's fairytale theme so you can be guaranteed to have some fantastic entertainment and decor. They do impressive afternoon events for the family or, if like me you're going for the mulled everything, events after 6pm are 18+ only. There's free parking across the road or it's easily accessible by bus from the city centre.

Magical Lantern Festival - Roundhay Park

This is another well received festival in Leeds, residing at Roundhay Park (easy to get to from the city centre or free parking.) It's the perfect event to visit in that awkward week between Christmas and New Year because the festival runs until the 1st January.

Not only is there a visual delight of the lanterns and light sculptures themselves, there's also entertainment, fairground rides, food and more. An ideal excuse to wrap up warm and head out in the city.

Let me know if you're heading to any events, or any MUST-SEE ones I've missed out!




Is it too early to get into the festive spirit?

If your answer is no then:

a) We can't be friends


b) You're wrong

Calligraphy and pens with Christmas decorations

Following a Christmas-themed crafty party with Viking last month, I've been fully on board with it and I am SO ready for the snowy season.

I was kindly invited along to the #VikingArtyParty (check out the hashtag on social media for some sneaky extra pics!)  at Lambert's Yard in Leeds. From some impressive calligraphy to Christmas cracker making, we got the chance to take part in lots of crafty things using Viking products, as well as tucking into tasty festive food and sipping on mulled wine. 

Group of bloggers block printing at Lamberts Yard

Block printed files and folders

Glitter card from Viking

Christmas cracker making with Viking


Myself and lots of wonderful, creative bloggers tried our hand at block printing and making Christmas crackers from scratch with Tea and Crafting. Jane and Maddie were both lovely (and patient, thankfully!) and helped us out with the festive themed stationery.

I loved the calligraphy session with ArtsyNibs in particular and I've actually still been practicing! I've got a selection of Christmassy themed statements I'll be doing on gift tags on presents for family and friends this year.

We were even gifted a present on the way out, in which I was thrilled to find some of my own crafty bits and some festive, metallic pens - perfect for those gift tags I wanted to make in December. Safe to say we all left feeling particularly merry and ready to embrace Christmas ERRYTHING.

Bloggers chatting and drinking at Lambert's Yard

Christmas presents under a tree

Thanks to Viking and Search Laboratory (and the ever lovely Jennie!) for the invitation and for getting me into the festive spirit (early) this year.

All wonderful photography by Matt Chappell.



Disclaimer: I was invited to this event free of charge and gifted items, however all opinions are honest and my own.

LITTLE MIX AT THE ARENA with first direct //

I love to be at the forefront of a good music concert and depending on who you currently bank with - you could be too. Leeds is lucky enough to have it's own arena; a 13,000 seat venue to rival the best of them and it's all sponsored by first direct.

The bank offer lots of perks when you sign up with them including special treatment when visiting the arena. I was lucky enough to be invited along as a guest to the Little Mix concert (to which I replied very quickly of course!) and get the full first direct customer experience. 

Little Mix on stage

After skipping the masses of people queuing by entering via the VIP entrance, we had access to The Black & White lounge where you're free to grab a drink and get drunk relax before the music starts.

Little Mix are well known for their rise to fame on the X Factor, being great role models for their younger audience by representing women positively (salute, salute) and their all-round girl power. They're super fierce and having seen them once before with my 10 year old goddaughter - who was ultimately jealous I got to see them AGAIN - I knew we'd be in for a treat.

I met the rest of the group who were all lovely and of course, shared the same love for the girl band. The main box we were seated in meant we had a prime spot to watch the show, we were treated to a tasty Mexican platter during the support acts and possibly best of all, there was glitter galore.

Glitter station at the FD Arena and Little Mix gig
Selfie of glitter face

With hits like 'Power''Hair' and of course a sassy encore of 'Shout out to my Ex', we all had a fantastic time and I would always recommend their show for a girls - or guys! - night out (they're playing again this month if you're interested - check out the arena event listing)

Bloggers and press at Little Mix concert in Leeds
Little Mix on stage

It was great to get a glimpse into what is available as a customer of the bank and the 'black magic' cocktails certainly weren't bad either!

Take a look at what you'll get for free with first direct at a concert - and lots of further information on how to switch - on their website. It's worth thinking about who you bank with and if these perks are up your street then it's definitely something to look into.

 Massive thanks to first direct and Branded3 for their invite and hospitality on the evening
- it was fab!



Disclaimer: I was invited to this event free of charge however all opinions are my own (because naturally, who wouldn't love a VIP Little Mix experience?)