We’ve been in Leeds for over two months and I am continually delighted that we decided to move here. I’ve got our house set up now, and although still quite spartan, we have enough creature comforts and essentials to make it feel like home.

We live in a village called Chapel Allerton, which is a short bus ride north of the city centre. One of the things I love most here is the scale and compact-ness of everything. It’s a 2 minute walk to the bus stop. It’s a 12-15 minute bus ride to the city centre. It only takes 20 minutes to cross the city centre on foot. But oh, what’s packed into that city centre! Torontonians know how sprawl-y and elongated Toronto’s neighbourhoods are – take a look at BlogTO’s neighbourhood map. I’d wager that the city centre of Leeds manages to cram in all of the same shopping, eating and drinking experiences into its downtown core’s warren of streets, pedestrian walkways and covered arcades. Many of the shopping streets have been pedestrianised to make wandering around even safer, especially for a woolgatherer like me.

Do you want to shop for clothing – name brands? They’re all here. Do you want to visit cheap’n’trendy clothing stores that probably make H&M lie awake at 3AM? They’re here too. Do ye miss Winners? TK Maxx will do just fine. Ooh, are you fancy? Plenty for you too. Do you want to comparison shop mobile phone plans? There’s a shop every 20 feet or so. Or pop into a grocery store to pick up a few things, or some wine? Are you hungry? Want a coffee? Tea? Scone? I seriously haven’t had a single need/want that couldn’t be dealt with in Leeds. And that’s not even discussing the myriad of pubs dotted absolutely everywhere.

I haven’t actually done much shopping beyond getting things like towels, frying pans and wine glasses, because the Canadian dollar is still shit at the moment (and likely to remain so), but when the day comes that I do want to go shopping for real, I have a pretty good idea who has what, and at what price. In the meantime, window shopping is my cardio.

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