Antiques shopping in Leicester 

Antiques shopping in Leicester 

Antiques shopping can be really exciting, especially if you find the right places to look. Over the last few months, I’ve found some great antiques warehouses and shops in Leicester that are definitely worth a look.

I absolutely love searching for antiques. I think it’s the excitement of not knowing what you might find. Antiques shops hold such a varied array of knick-knacks and it’s hugely fun sifting through it all. It does take some patience, however. Some days you might find a handful of things you like, others you might not see a single thing. But, it’s such a good feeling when you find something that you fall in love with.

One of my favourite places to look for antiques is the Leicester Antiques Warehouse, situated on Welford Road. It’s Leicestershire’s largest antiques retailer and is host to a whole range of different traders. There you will find vintage pieces of furniture, taxidermy, curios and vintage clothing. Even Pink Pigeon have their own pitch there, which, if you’re unaware, is a popular vintage shop in the city centre. It takes a while to walk around, as there is so much to see, but it makes for an interesting experience. Everything varies in age, such as the cartoon figures they sell of characters like The Simpsons, that may only be a few decades old. Other things are very much older. This makes it the perfect place to go for whatever it is you’re looking for.

Myself and my boyfriend have had a few successful visits there, with our most treasured purchase being the oriental, hand-painted wall hanging you can see below. The detailed peacock was what drew me in to begin with. I am also a sucker for anything oriental/Japanese/Chinese. It’s a one-of-a-kind and I knew it was something that I couldn’t just walk past. Most recently, we bought some great taxidermy from there. A wonderful Pine Marten housed on a piece of wood, which you can also see below. Taxidermy can be a bit pricey, but we managed to get a good deal on it as it’s just slightly loose on its stand. Other than that, it’s in great condition and goes well with all the curious things we have in our flat. Leicester Antiques Warehouse is definitely worth checking out if you have a good amount of time on your hands.

Vintage Utopia, on Montague Road in the Clarendon Park area of Leicester, is a hidden gem. It’s a tiny place but they make the most of the space they have. There are things hanging off the ceiling and the walls are covered on all sides. Downstairs you’ll find their smaller items, like glassware and ornaments, whereas uspstairs houses their larger pieces of furniture. I found the most lovely framed butterflies in there once (see below), and although I have many framed butterflies, those ones will always be my favourite.

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Another great place for antiques in this area, also on Welford Road, is another small shop called Antiquey Things. It has the most wonderful oriental fan in the window and as a lover and collector of fans, this is what caught my eye. It really is a ridiculously tiny shop that’s crammed full of all sorts of things, but there are some wonderful antiques in there. There’s a little room at the back where the owner of the shop can usually be found. Every now and again I take a quick peek in. The only thing I’ve bought from there is a framed scorpion, but I still dream about that fan a lot of the time. Maybe one day it will be mine.

The final place on my list of antique spots is Kibworth Antiques Centre. This is a little out of the way from the other shops that I have mentioned, but it is worth the journey. The building you first enter looks small, but there is a large hanger behind it with 2 floors full. There are quite a lot of things at the centre that aren’t vintage or antique. Somethings are new but are made to look that way and others just have a vintage feel about them. However, don’t let that put you off. There are some items in there that are great little antique pieces. The second floor of the hanger is my favourite because it’s home to a random selection of antiques, from vintage clothing to taxidermy and books. One of the more quirky things that I have bought from there is a framed feather, pictured below. I love the simplicity of it and the way it is hung. It somehow seems to fit in nicely with the various items I have on the walls of my bedroom. You could easily spend a good hour and a half at the centre and you literally never know what you could find.

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If you’re just getting into searching for and buying antiques, the shops and centres I have mentioned are a good place to start. Once you’ve explored the best spots in Leicester, it’s always fun to have a rummage around other cities too!

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Kings of Leon @ Leeds First Direct Arena 

Kings of Leon @ Leeds First Direct Arena 

The Nashville foursome, Kings of Leon, have just finished a 5-date run of shows in the UK, promoting their latest album WALLS. I was lucky enough to grab a ticket for their first show of the tour in Leeds and I was definitely not disappointed.

I have loved Kings of Leon for as long as I can remember. I became aware of them through their second album Aha Shake Heartbreak and I was instantly hooked. Caleb’s screechy vocals paired with their signature raw guitar riffs were unlike anything I had heard before. From their iconic singles, such as The Bucket and Red Morning Light, to their lesser known songs, like Velvet Snow and Pony Up, I loved them all!

Just over a week ago, I was finally able to see them play live at the First Direct arena in Leeds on 19th February. I had high expectations of the gig after patiently waiting for so many years to see them. But, they went far and beyond what I ever predicted. With a stage decorated with red velvet curtains, they walked on to open the set with The End, something they have been renouned to do in recent years at their gigs. It was a somewhat slow, intense start to the show, but it’s a song that highlights the strength of Caleb’s voice. They then kicked it up a gear with Slow Night So Long, McFearless and Four Kicks, which showed me just why they are one of the best live bands around today. They got the crowd jumping and singing their hearts out.

One of my favourite moments during the gig was the moment they played The Bucket. It’s a song that begins with an instantly recognisable riff and had everyone cheering with the first note. It reminded me of why I first fell in love with them and probably did the same for many others in the room. The joy I felt during that song is something that I will never forget.

During the middle of the show, the band had an acoustic section, starting with The Runner. The band left Caleb alone on the stage with just a single spotlight and an acoustic guitar. His voice was raw, loud and completely amazing. It’s such a beautiful song and it was a really beautiful moment. The band then came back and played Comeback Story, a surprise to hear and one of my favourites from Mechanical Bull. This acoustic part then ended with WALLS, which had the crowd bellowing out ‘when the walls come down’ throughout. A few minutes towards the end, the usually slow song became fast and heavy, the lights started flashing and the curtains came down. The band was now in full view for the rest of the gig.

Reverend, one of 9 songs they played from their latest album WALLS, was another highlight. It’s a strong song on the album and sounds even better live. There were some intriguing graphics displayed on the screens during Reverand and for the latter half of the show, such as eyes and lips, which supported all their new songs. Waste A Moment was another new one from WALLS that sounded brilliant live. There was the sense that the band was really enjoyed playing all this new material.

After around 1 hour and 45 minutes, the band ended the set with Around The World. The confetti cannons were released and the crowd was loving the upbeat end to show. I was sad to see them leave the stage. It was nearly a 2 hour set, with over 20 songs played, and I still wanted more! I would have loved to have heard Taper Jean Girl or Red Morning Light, but hearing more of their new songs instead was still amazing. It was an incredible gig and one that I wish I could relive all over again.

The band play two more shows in the UK in Manchester on 9th June and Sheffield on 10th June.

Tall Boys Beer Market, the best craft beer shop you will ever find

Tall Boys Beer Market, the best craft beer shop you will ever find

Tall Boys Beer Market, situated in Leeds’ Thorntons Arcade, is a craft beer shop like no other. It’s cool, it’s quirky and you’ll most definitely fall for its charm.

When I took my first trip to Leeds over a year ago, I had just been introduced to the beauty of craft beer. I was already aware of Brewdog and its classic Punk IPA, as well as a few others, but I was becoming interested in what more there was to offer.

Enter Tall Boys. A wonderfully unique beer shop hidden within Thorntons Arcade. It’s decorated with distinctive illustrations in its windows, including the words ‘good beer’, a phrase associated with the shop. Through looking in, you also get a good view of the delicious sandwiches they sell daily. What makes Tall Boys special is that it is not just your average beer place. It’s somewhere to drink, eat and socialise with friends.

Once inside, you’re greeted with a friendly face, someone who is always willing to help you out if you have a particular type of beer in mind. Craft beer can seem overwhelming at times. There are an endless amount of beers out there coming from an equally endless amount of breweries. But the guys at Tall Boys make your decision easy for you. They know exactly what they have on their shelves and exactly how each tastes. I have visited this shop several times over the past year and now that I am a fully-fledged lover of craft beer, it’s great to go in there and be surrounded by people who feel the same.

After you’ve chosen your beer (or several) you can sit upstairs in a wonderful space decorated with local artists’ work. It’s a bright room filled with lots to look at, as well as a plant or two. The room is always changing, with artwork being switched every few months, so it’s exciting to see what’s new every time I visit. My last visit was only a few weeks ago and they had filled one of their walls with wooden planters and beautiful greenery, as you can see above. It feels fresh and makes for a perfect spot to drink your beer.

At a time when supermarkets are cashing in on the craft beer movement, we now more than ever need to think about independents when it comes to buying our beer. Tall Boys regularly use the hashtag ‘support your local beer gaff’ on Instagram. It’s a wonderful statement to live by and if I had Tall Boys on my doorstep, I would definitely be in there as much as possible. It’s a charming little place that, like me, you will absolutely fall in love with!

You can find Tall Boys’ website here and their Instagram here.