Eleanor Graceful

Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Food | Going Veggie With Tampopo

If you've followed my blog over the last few months (or have had to endure me talking about it...) you will know that I am on a mission to reduce my meat intake - I'm not saying I've ever going to be 100% vegetarian, but every little helps in my opinion.

A while back, I was invited to Tampopo to try their new menu with some of my blogger pals at their restaurant in the Corn Exchange in Manchester. I've been here a few times before, but it had been a while and the decor had changed quite and was a lot more authentic.

I joined Hannah and Liz and a girl called Sarah who I was sharing a table with, in the downstairs part of the restaurant. As she was vegetarian, we shared a starter which was a selection of different dishes including spring rolls, deep fried tofu, sweetcorn fritters and vegetable tempura. It was really nice to go for a different option than what I would usually get, and the vegetarian platter was definitely a good choice and something I'd 100% order again. If you wanted to order this, it would set you back £15.90, which is reasonable for the amount of food you get to try.

For the main, we both went for the spicy rebus noodle soup, which was yellow noodles, cherry tomatoes, spring onions, bean sprouts, sweet potato broth and a seasoned egg. I thought I would miss having meat in my main course, but the flavours were so vibrant and interesting, that it really didn't phase me. The vegetarian version cost £8.95 and with pork belly, it would have been £9.95.

Instead of having a dessert, we all opted for an Aperol spritz, which some may say a strange choice in an Asian restaurant, but nonetheless, it was delicious!

I love Tampopo and would recommend it if you're ever in the city centre because of the chilled atmosphere, the menu has something for everyone and the staff are so friendly and knowledgeable, which it comes to helping you with what to order if you're feeling a bit overwhelmed!

The next time I go, I will definitely look out for the other vegetarian options, because the soup dish I had had so many different flavours and textures in that I wouldn't have got to try otherwise.


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*my meal at Tampopo was complimentary. All opinions are my own. 

Monday, 18 September 2017

Weekly Love #37

And just like that, it's Monday again! How did the weekend happen so quickly?

I'm not one to complain though as I only have a three-day week until Hannah and I are jetting off to Italy for a long weekend, and I for one am in need of a holiday!

I spent two days this week recovering from a migraine, which wasn't how I wanted to spend my time, but I think it was my body's way of telling me to take it easy for a bit.

Regardless of that though, I still managed to pull together some of the things that made me smile.

1. Jamie Oliver

I've seen a few clips here and there of Jamie Oliver's new programme where he only uses five ingredients, and this week I got stuck in with watching some of the episodes I'd missed. You might not know that I am a big fan of his, and cooking programmes in general, and I might even get the book now seen as some of the recipes were super easy and looked amazing!

2. Work Lunch

On Friday, I found myself alone on my work table as most of my team were away. A couple of the girls from different teams invited me for lunch and we ended up going to The Alchemist in Alderley Edge, which was a nice surprise. I got a few starters with one of the other girls to share, which turned out to be quite a lot of food, but incredibly tasty!

3. Friday Evening

Because I had been cooped up in the house all week, Jordan and I decided to go for a Friday night outing to The Trafford Centre to get me out of the house. I had seen a coat in Primark the week before but they didn't have my size, and because there is a small Primark concession in Selfridges, I thought I may as well try there - and they had it! If you're wondering, it's a faux leather jacket, with a fur lining in black, and is so so cosy; it's making me cross my fingers for some colder weather!

4. Wedding

On Saturday, we made our way to a beautiful church in Chorlton for my friend, Siobhan's wedding to her lovely husband, Nick. The service was lovely, and the rest of the day was filled with so many happy memories with some great friends. I always love a wedding and seeing two people who are totally besotted with each other just makes my heart feel full.

5. Family Party

The morning after the wedding, I was feeling a little worse for wear, but I had told the bride  I would take her and her new husband from their hotel to their to her parent's house, so I knew I had to pull my act together. When I dropped them off, I ended up staying for a couple of hours, talking about the day before with all her family, and it was really lovely to see everyone again.

6. Cheese Festival

If you follow me on Twitter or have me on Facebook, you might have seen that me and Jordan went to a cheese festival in Leeds yesterday afternoon. We'd bought tickets a while ago, and I knew it would be a good cure if we were feeling a bit hungover. There was a mixture of hot and cold food stalls, and we made our way around them for a couple of hours. The same festival is coming to Manchester in February next year, and I already can't wait to go again.

7. The Girls

I had been after a new book for a while, and a few people had recommended The Girls by Emma Cline to me, and this week I ordered it from Amazon. I haven't read too much about it so it's a bit of a surprise, but I'm excited to give it a go!

8. NBA's

Although I couldn't make it to the Northern Blog Awards on Saturday, I am so happy they were such a success and I loved reading all of the tweets and seeing the photos from the evening - it was like I was there. And big congratulations to everyone who won an award; you're all amazing! I can't wait for next years already!


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Friday, 15 September 2017

You Don't Have To Be Wonderwoman

I had planned to post travel-related content today; I'm off to Italy next week, so I wanted to do some sort of wish-list, travel diary or what I'm packing for my trip.

I had planned it. I've even written most of it - but for some reason, my head is elsewhere this week and I decided against posting it.

Recently I've had something else on my mind, something that I hope a lot of you reading this will be able to relate to and something that I wanted to address. This is something that has been whizzing around my brain, not just in relation to the blogging world, but also in my personal life.

At the moment, I feel as though I am inundated with people portraying this Wonderwoman image as part of their everyday life; an image that is effortless; that takes no time at all; that is second nature, and I feel ashamed that I can't be one of them.

In my opinion, there aren't enough hours in the day to do all the things that we are meant to, to make us a more rounded person.

If working full-time wasn't enough, I constantly see girls in their gym gear all over the place talking about how they've only managed to fit in 4 hour-long workouts this week or were only able to meal-prep three days out of seven, or only been on two date nights this week; and then there's me who feels as though I've accomplished something when I tick something menial off my to-do list or don't burn my dinner.

Then there are the people who manage to cram in photo shoots, blog writing, brunch, lunch, drinks, scheduling posts and social media whilst taking care of a child, dog, cat, husband - the lot - into the weekend, and I wonder where they got the extra hours in the day from because I certainly need them.

I am well aware that social media isn't real life - I'm guilty of it too - posting a cute cup of coffee is much more aesthetically pleasing than a day old tuna sandwich, and although I don't adhere to a 'theme' on Instagram, I do try to make my pictures look as pretty as possible - but everything I do post, is an aspect of my real life.

At the moment, I'm finding it more and more exhausting to always feel as though I am in the shadow of these 'Wonderwomen'; to feel as though I am falling behind, and that my life isn't as pretty and pink as everyone else's - but maybe it's my own fault for comparing myself so much to those around me?

Does it really matter if I didn't spend £600 on a new camera lens? Or didn't get invited to a top, super-swish event? Or lost out on a campaign to another blogger? In the long-run, probably not.

But when you spend a lot of time in the blogging world, I feel like there are a lot of unwritten rules, whether it's having your posts written weeks in advance, your tweets scheduled or your images perfectly edited ready to click post, and sometimes it's hard to keep up.

And do you know what the worst part is? I bet half these people don't even realise they're doing it or making others feel the way they do because it's part of their life and most probably part of their personality.

Do people who tick all the above boxes even have time to relax and be human?

I got a migraine on Tuesday at work because I was so stressed out about this whole situation, and my mental health has taken a battering too because I feel as though I'm falling behind. I feel as though I'm failing because I don't have as many followers or subscribers or unique visitors to my blog every month - but in reality, every single person, every single blog, every single channel is completely different to one another and we shouldn't let the figures take away from the beauty of writing and creating content that we truly love.

At the end of the day though, it's all well and good to be surrounded by those who inspire you, the ultimate #girlbosses but it's important to remember that you don't have to be Wonderwoman to be succeeding on your own path. Sometimes you need to celebrate the little achievements in your own life and not compare where you are to where someone else is.

Maybe I am overreacting to the fact that there are people out there who are better adults than me; further along the career ladder, having babies, going on amazing holidays, opening savings accounts and making their house a home - but when I think back to how I was this time last year, I'm pretty happy with how far I've come.

You can only do as much as you can do, and to be honest, that's more than enough x


Monday, 11 September 2017

Weekly Love #36

Hasn't it started to feel so much more wintery this week? I for one am happy that I can wear my fleecy PJ's without Jordan rolling his eyes at me, and have all our spare blankets on the bed.

Last week wore me out a bit and I felt like I might be coming down with something, or suffering from some lingering pollen, but like every other week, I powered through!

1. A Taste Of Porto

Last month, I was challenged by Monarch to create a recipe with the drink Port to celebrate their new flight route to Porto. A lot of the recipes were desserts ones, and even though I have the ultimate sweet tooth, I decided to go for a sauce. I really enjoyed researching the recipe and putting my own spin on it, and it was lovely to have something different for dinner. You can read the full post here.

2. Nails

As it's my friend's wedding this weekend coming up, I decided to get my nails done for the occasion. I went for a nude brown colour, as I still haven't 100% sorted my outfit, so I thought this would be a good compromise as it will go with most colours.

3. Sausage Dog Cuddles

If you know me well, you'll know that I am quite a big dog person (who owns two cats...) and on Thursday I went for a couple of drinks after work with a colleague, who brought her sausage dog, Bruce along. Although he was quite temperamental with the rain, he was so adorable and even sat on my knee for cuddles.

4. Work Birthday

On Thursday lunchtime, and Friday we celebrated one of our team's birthdays. There was a spread of cakes and treats, and we went to the pub at lunchtime, which is always a nice way to break up the day. I'm a bit fan of anything that means I can graze of sugary snacks through the day!

5. Move In Weekend

I'm not sure how many of you know who I work for, but the brand I work on is a student accommodation provider. On Saturday morning, I made my way into Manchester to help out with moving the students into their new accommodation. Before the day, I wasn't sure what to expect, and although it was a long day, it was actually really fun - plus the gin and tonics we had afterwards were quite the reward!

6. Surprise Party

After working on Saturday, I went over to Home Sweet Home at the Great Northern for my friend's surprise 30th. I got there a bit early to help decorate the room, which was behind a fake vending machine (sorry if anyone reading was planning a surprise party!) We had about an hour before she turned up, and I genuinely think she was surprised!

7. House Party

Because my Saturday wasn't busy enough, I went from the surprise party to my friend Sophie's house for a house party. Hannah and a few of her friends came too, and because it was her birthday on the Sunday, we celebrated it there with a caterpillar cake. I love a good house party, and these ones never disappoint!

8. Booking Italy

Over the course of the week, Hannah and I managed to finalise where we will be staying when we go to Italy next week. For some reason we'd left it quite last minute, but now it is all sorted, and it's time to start getting excited!

9. Bock

On Sunday, Jordan and I went to Bock Biere in Manchester for their roast dinner fondue - yep, you heard that right. Bock is a Belgium bar, and once we walked in, I felt as though we were back in Bruges. I won't give too much away as I want to do a full review soon, so keep an eye out for that.

10. Milkshake

After we'd finished at Bock, we went to meet Hannah and a couple of others at Northern Soul to spread the birthday cheer. Because we had had quite a lot of savoury food, I quite fancied something sweet, so we popped into Home Sweet Home in the Northern Quarter to shelter from the rain and went for a nutella and toasted marshmallow milkshake, which was divine.


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