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Navigating the New Leeds

By Emily Ashton

Just as we thought we were coming back to live our best uni lives once again, Boris had other plans for us. The new restrictions that keep increasing each week have had a huge impact on everyone. As we head into the fourth week of this semester, it’s more important than ever to stay positive throughout this crazy time. I’ve put together a few suggestions of what you can do to make the most of this year, while remaining covid safe and sticking to all the current guidelines.

1. Going out with your housemates!

One of the perks of being at uni is that we live with our friends, so while a lot of people can’t socialise with their friends at the moment, we can! Make the most of having your friends in your ‘household’. Although there is a 10pm curfew, we are still able to go out to pubs and restaurants so make the most of this. Of course there are loads of good places in town, but you could also try somewhere in Headingley or Hyde Park as it’s a bit closer to home and probably not as busy if you’re worried about covid. Ecco pizzeria does amazing pizzas in Headingley, or how about Hyde Park Pub for drinks and pub food? If you would prefer somewhere ‘open air’ why not try the roof terraces at Belgrave or Headrow House? They have heaters and music on, and both offer food as well as drinks.

Remember if you’re going out a lot of places now need to be booked in advance!

2. Beaverworks events

If you fancy more of a reminder of what it felt like to go on a ‘night out’, Beaver works are currently running loads of events. From Bobby’s to Mixtape Project, and even a Halloween day party, there’s something for everyone. Most events start around 6pm, so you can have an early pres and head out for a social distanced boogie. We attended the first Bobby’s event in fresher’s week, and it was really well set up, with everyone sat at their own table and screens etc between each one.

3. Fruity bingo

If you’ve been missing everyone’s favourite cheesy night out, why not try Fruity bingo on a Friday at the Student Union. It starts at 6pm and combines bingo with Fruity ‘bangers’. You can win loads of Fruity merch (and who wouldn’t want that). Not to mention there’s 2 for 1 VKs - what’s not to like?

4. Chow down

Chow down started at Temple Arches in the summer. It’s a really cool way of bringing together independent street food, craft breweries, cocktails and music in a socially distanced manner. Although this was originally a summer event, due to its popularity they are now bringing out various events for their Autumn/Winter season. So far, they have announced Oktoberfest and Halloween events and have hinted at a Christmas event coming soon. Although these events are open air, there are plenty of heaters and coverings ready for the upcoming months. The Halloween event has food from Neon Cactus, Pizza Bus, On the Move and Project D, as well as music from the likes of HAAi, Tristan Da Cunha and many more. Combine this with tequila, cocktails and beers and we think they’re on to a winner. Check out their social media pages for links to the tickets!

5. Bottomless brunch

This is another food and drink related activity, but honestly, it’s probably the most curfew friendly thing you can do. What could be better than getting drunk at 2pm with bottomless prosecco then being home safe and sound before our 10pm curfew? There are loads of places offering bottomless brunch, and a lot of them even do additional student deals. Try Revolution, Turtle Bay or Revolucion de Cuba. Most of them are around the £20/£25 mark, which includes a brunch dish of your choice and unlimited drinks, usually for around 90 minutes – two hours. Let’s see who can drink the most in that given time… it could get messy!

6. ‘Come dine with me’

Has anyone else rediscovered their come dine with me obsession since it got added to Netflix? No? Just me? Okay... Well anyway, my housemates and I came up with the idea of doing a ‘come dine with me’ in the house. It’s just something a bit different, and is perfect if you’re not keen on going to pubs etc. Write down as many cuisines/themes as you can think of and have everyone pick out the hat. Cook a three-course meal from your theme, complete with drinks (it has to be done) and entertainment before scoring each other out of ten! You could have a prize or do it for fun, it will keep you busy and means you don’t have to cook for a few nights!

7. Seasonal activities

Not everything has to revolve around drinking and eating (although they are two of the best hobbies). We are approaching the time of year which is filled with holidays; Halloween, Bonfire Night, Christmas- it’s all coming up! It gives us something to look forward to in these weird times, so try and make the most of it. Do things you wouldn’t normally do, we’re all saving money from not going out so spend this money on doing some fun things that will make you happy. For example, you could go pumpkin picking at Swithen’s farm which is about a twenty-minute drive from Leeds. Or, arrange to do something Christmassy with your housemates like decorating a Christmas tree (but please wait until at least November to do this!). It may seem a bit ‘cringe’ or weird to some people, but honestly it will make you feel so much better - who isn’t happy at Christmas?

8. Nights in

This may seem obvious, but everything else aside the easiest and cheapest thing to do is just spend nights in with your housemates. You don’t have to make a three-course meal or carve pumpkins, just watch a film on Netflix or play a board game. Or even just have a CHAT. Don’t isolate yourself into your room, look after your own and your friend’s mental health. Make sure you spend at least an hour doing something you enjoy, with other people, each day.

Most importantly… stay safe. Make sure you stick to the rules and keep yourself and your loved ones protected. But this doesn’t mean you can’t have fun or make the most of this time, mental health comes first, and you should be making sure you are safe and HAPPY.

Image: Belgrave Music Hall