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Jessica Rose Knowles Jessica Rose Knowles

A Girls Night Away!

When I asked my best friend Layla Anna Lee if she fancied a girls night away, a break from the children, a relaxing catch up, one night of freedom – Leeds, was not what I had in mind. She was adamant that we would have a fantastic time and since I spend my life arguing and losing to a 3 year old I don’t have any energy left to fight – and so it was agreed that’s where we were going.



A decent break has to start with a good journey and when I saw I was looking at a 3 drive I decided that I would take the train. The Trainline app is a firm favourite on my phone for this very reason – travelling by train can be an extremely relaxing way to travel; unless like me, you forget your headphones and fail to bring anything to read and end up spending 3 hours watching trees and contemplating what song they would play on my entrance if ever I went into Big Brother (I never want this to happen it’s just one of many random scenarios played out in my head.) It took no time at all to order my tickets et voila they were there – safely stored in my Trainline app thanks to Trainline’s new ticketless service.

trainline app


Once you arrive in Leeds they have snazzy new barriers that accommodate this forward thinking paperless travel and you scan your own barcode but back in Gloucestershire (where some people, myself included, still seem baffled by the arrival of the internet) I had to show my phone. Onboard, the train conductor carries a barcode scanning device. Its fool proof – just don’t spend all journey instagram stalking strangers and forget your phone charger or you’ll look like a right idiot when you arrive at the other end, battery dead phone, ticketless, and have to explain your sad story at the barriers…I imagine.

malmaison entrance


It was a quick walk from Leeds station to our hotel, Malmaison – this was the part of the trip I was most excited about – as we entered our chic ‘Mal Club’ room complete with Kingsize bed and welcome Malmaison chocolate I instantly relaxed. Malmaison always provides a consistent level of luxury – no matter where you are in the country. It’s perfectly positioned centrally in Leeds within walking distance of fantastic shopping and beautiful bars.

We decided that since we were up in Leeds it would be fun to watch the Leeds Rhinos play, so prior to the game we headed over to The Hyde Park Book Club a vegetarian cafe – a suggestion of Leeds Rhinos player, and vegan, Anthony Mullally.


Well no sooner had I adapted to the luxurious surroundings of Malmaison than I found myself in a converted petrol station amongst students eating, what would turn out to be, the finest vegetarian food Leeds has to offer. Since having Eddie I have mostly learnt about the benefits of a vegan diet through dinosaurs – think Brachiosaurus (huge beast of a thing that munched on leaves) and Anthony Mullally does nothing to dispel that.


At 6 ft 6 he is entirely eco friendly in his diet and ethics and after being vegetarian for a few years he turned vegan nearly a year ago. Whilst Anthony and Layla (who is also vegan) talked sports injuries, recovery, graphs, pea protein and veganism in sport, I tucked into a large vegetarian hot dog with jalapeños, onions and mustard and it was so very good I almost forgot I was in a (converted) petrol station.

hyde park book club

Anthony says the key to a balanced vegan diet is to do your research and to plan your meals in advance – he says it helps that his gf is also vegan as they are eating the same things at home. It was a very conscious decision for him to become vegan for both health and ethical reasons – hearing Anthony speak so knowledgeably and passionately about veganism it comes as no surprise that he’s been asked to speak publicly on the matter something he enjoys doing.

leeds rhinos game
That evening we headed to Headingley Stadium to watch Leeds Rhinos vs Salford Red Devils and the atmosphere was incredible; the Rhino’s mascot and cheerleaders opened the game whilst trumpets and drums performed KC and The Sunshine Band in the stands. Wrapped up warm, eating chips and watching the Rhino’s win by a whopping 44-2 was the end of a perfect trip to Leeds.

With thanks to
Trainline www.trainline.com
Malmaison Leeds www.malmaison.com
Anthony Mullally IG mullally91
Layla Anna Lee IG laylaannalee

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