Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Weekly Love #41


This week has been a lovely introduction to autumn weather, and what we can expect when the temperatures start to drop that little bit more.

October is one of my favourite times of the year for a number of different reasons, but mainly because I'm a home bird at heart and I enjoy spending time wrapped up in blankets on the sofa. This year, in particular, I'm going to try and incorporate more Hygge into my life and enjoy some home comforts.

Autumn Sun

This week, I've noticed how dark it has been when I've been getting up in the morning and how late the sun is rising. Although I prefer getting up in the light, the darker mornings have made some pretty incredible sunrises, which always makes my commute in the morning, that little bit more colourful.


Podcasts

It's been a while since I've listened to a podcast, but this last week I've been enjoying Emma Gannon's Ctrl Alt Delete again whilst I'm in the car. I really enjoyed Emma's book when I read it last year, and the podcast does not disappoint. I'm always up for discovering new ones, so if you have any you think I'd like, let me know in the comments.


WMHD

On Tuesday it was World Mental Health Day, which is a cause very close to my heart. Although I find it difficult talking about my struggles with anxiety, I always feel as though it helps to get some of my thoughts on paper, and I had some really lovely messages about the blog I wrote on the matter. Have a read here.


Homemade Pizza

On Wednesday, we decided to have a bit of a different meal and made homemade pizzas. This month has taken its toll financally already so we are trying to use up everything we have in the freezer before we do another food shop - that said, any evening that involves pizza is fine by me.


Friday Night Club

Last week was quite a crazy one. Jordan and I had planned to go out for dinner on Friday night, but instead, we cooked up a Mexican feast and stayed in instead. Although I love going out for dinner, especially for date night, sometimes you need to listen to your body and relax.


Crash Bandicoot

A bit of a random one to be included in here, but a love nonetheless. On Saturday afternoon, I went over to my friends flat to play the remastered version of Crash Bandicoot, which was a game I was obsessed with when I was a child. I didn't realise but we were playing it for over 5 hours - what a productive Saturday!


Crazy Pedros

It was one of my best friend's birthdays on Saturday night, and we went to one of my favourite pizza places in Manchester, Crazy Pedros - if you're ever in Manchester and never been, I would highly recommend it. The pizzas are crazy flavours, but delicious, and its got a New York pizza parlour vibe about it - the cocktails are pretty good too!


Brunch

When Jordan and I lived with my parents, we used to go for brunch all the time at a cafe in Altrincham called King's Court Cafe. The food was always amazing, so we decided to get out of the house on Sunday morning and have breakfast there. We sat inside, but the gorgeous autumn sun was shining and everyone seemed to be in such a good mood.


Walk

Because the weather was so gorgeous on Sunday, we made the most of it and went for a walk along the River Mersey into Didsbury village to a pub (also called The Didsbury). The walk took us about 45 minutes, but because it was so lovely and warm, it didn't feel long at all. I love living near such beautiful countryside.


Olive And Vine

After a couple of gins in the pub, the hunger started to creep in. There is a Mediterranean restaurant opposite The Didsbury, called Olive and Vine, which neither of us had been to but I'd heard really good things about. We went over and had some tapas to share, which was delicious and the restaurant itself was lovely: One we'll definitely be going back to.


What have you been loving this week?

xx

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Sunday, 15 October 2017

Travel | Italy Days 3 & 4


If you haven't caught up with the first instalment of my Italy travel diary post, you can find the Rome run down right here - now it's time to talk about what we got up to for the last two days of our trip.

We'd pre-booked our train from Rome to Florence, which was a good idea seen as it was completely full. The journey lasted about an hour and a half, and the views of the Italian countryside were incredible: I'd do the journey again just for that reason alone.

We were staying in another Air BnB in Florence which was about a five-minute walk from the centre. After getting off the train, we walked the 20 minutes to the apartment through the centre of the city. We were both amazed at how different Florence was to Rome, although some of the architecture was similar.

The Air BnB we were staying in was on a quiet road in a residential district, and the owner lived upstairs so it was really easy to get in touch. He showed us the best way to get around, and all of the sites to see. We quickly changed and went out for a mooch.

The buildings in the city reminded us both of Barcelona's gothic quarter and were much more dark and striking than Rome. We walked to the Duomo in the middle of the city, which was a dark green colour, and was breathtaking.

The thing I noticed most about Florence is the array of designer shops they had on offer - you could tell that people definitely fled to the city for this reason. We wandered about for around 3 hours and crossed the Ponte Vecchio to the other side before heading back to get changed for dinner.

We thought it would be nice to watch the sunset on the riverbank, so after a couple of glasses of wine in the apartment, we headed out to do this. We went to another bar before going for dinner in a restaurant that overlooked the main square.




The next day we woke up quite early to take in the views at Piazza Di Michelangelo. The walk up to the top of the hill took us about 30 minutes, but it was worth it. We took our time strolling back through the city before getting lunch and heading for the train to Pisa.

I didn't know much about Pisa, apart from its famous landmark. Our lovely Air BnB host picked us up from the train station and showed us around the apartment we were staying in, which was bigger than my first flat! He showed us the best route into the city, and what else there was to see.

Our first port of call was the Leaning Tower. The best thing about seeing it in real life was the amount of tourists trying to get the perfect snap. We wandered around the city walls and visited the Piazza Dei Cavalieri at golden hour. We saw the building that Galileo studied in, and wandered down the banks of the Arno river.

Although the pizza and pasta were out of this world in Italy, we were carbed out and decided to try and find an alternative meal for our last one. We settled on a restaurant down a little side street and had one of the best meals of the whole trip. I went all out and got a steak with Italian beans and roast veg and potatoes - it was honestly one of the best steaks I have ever had in my life!

Of all the cities, Pisa was definitely the quietest, but even for a Sunday night, the streets were still full of performers, locals and tourists, which gave it a good buzz. The walk home was very peaceful, even though we passed through the student district.



If I'm honest, I wouldn't rush back to Florence or Pisa: Although they were both beautiful in their own way, I felt as though a day in each was enough and we saw all the sites that we wanted to. I would, however, use the cities as a base to discover more of Tuscany, but overall I was slightly underwhelmed, especially with how highly regarded they both are.

That said, the trip was one of the best ever and Italy still holds the title of my favourite country in the world - I just can't wait to explore more of it in the coming years.

xx

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Friday, 13 October 2017

Travel | Italy Days 1 & 2


Last month, myself and Hannah went to Italy for a few days as a late summer break. I've been to Italy twice before, but Hannah had never been, so we decided to go to three different cities in the time that we were there - Rome, Florence and finishing off in Pisa to see as much of the beautiful country as we could.

We booked the trip back in January when it was more than ideal weather in the UK, and it was nice to have something to look forward to throughout summer.

I've decided to split this post into day 1 and 2 that we spent in Rome, and follow up with what we got up to in Florence and Pisa.


Day 1 & 2

We flew super early on the Thursday to Rome and arrived about 11am Italian time. After a coach journey to the centre, we decided to walk to the Air BnB because it was such a beautiful day, and stopped for pizza on the way, which was delicious. After meeting the host, we unpacked, freshened up and headed out of the door to explore the city.

I'd been to Rome once before about 4 years ago, and we were staying quite close to where we did the first time I was there so I attempted to get my bearings. After a wander around, we found a square called Campo De Fiori, and stopped to have some drinks - luckily, we arrived during the Aperitif hour, which is now my favourite Italian tradition: In brief, it's basically just happy hour, but the drinks are cheaper and you get given free snacks too, which is great if you constantly crave food, like me.

We spent a couple of hours moseying around the different bars in the square before walking over to Piazza Navona as the sun was setting. The square was super busy, and the beautiful Italian architecture glistened in the sunshine, making it the perfect backdrop for a few slightly tipsy snaps.

After a wander around the surrounding side streets, we walked over to a wine bar, which was recommended to us by a fellow blogger. We had to make our way through a crowd of people who were drinking outside (apparently indicating that the bar is enjoyed by the locals, always a good sign) and found a table just as a couple was leaving.

This bar was amazing: The walls were covered with wine bottles and they had cured meats and cheese on display. Because of the heat, I went for a chilled white wine and we got a charcuterie board to share between us, which was delicious, and made up feel incredibly fancy. We spent a couple of hours here talking to random people, enjoying our wine and watching the passers-by.

We wandered back to the Air BnB via a couple more bars and bought a gelato to see us through the 10-minute walk (I had Nutella and pistachio and omg so good...)




The morning after, I wandered to the nearest corner shop to get some supplies for breakfast and we chilled in the apartment for a bit. Last time I was in Rome, I didn't make it to The Vatican because of the queue, so we aimed to get there as early as possible - a decision that 99% of the tourists in Rome also took. We swiftly decided against queueing in the 26-degree heat and carried on to more sites.

Our first port of call though was caffeine. We found a really cute restaurant to have a coffee in before heading to the Trevi Fountain. As expected, it was teeming with tourists, but we did manage to get a couple of snaps after we elbowed our way through. We then walked to Piazza Navona for lunch and shared an antipasti board and a pesto linguine dish.

We found a little van selling Peroni for 1 euro which was an offer we couldn't refuse and carried on to the Spanish Steps, beer in hand. After a sweaty 138-step climb to the top, we took in the views before heading to the Colosseum: Luckily the queue wasn't too long!

After the Colosseum, we went back for Aperitif and got talked into having a Negroni, which, although is a traditional Italian drink, I don't think I'll be rushing back to. We walked back to the Air BnB and changed quickly before heading to the Trasvertere region of Rome, which was only about 5 minutes from where we were staying.

My recommendation if you ever visit Rome is to definitely check out this area. It had the vibe of Manchester's Northern Quarter mixed with the charm of 'real' Italy. There were so many fewer tourists, but it was still busy enough to give the whole place a buzz.

After a wander around the streets watching people dancing on the canal bank and finding bars that we definitely wanted to visit later in the evening, we settled on a pizzeria, which we both agreed did the best pizza we had ever had. As we are two of the most indecisive people, we chose two pizzas (Parma ham and steak with different cheeses and rocket) and shared them. The restaurant was heaving, but the staff were so attentive and lovely. When we finished dinner we went for a few drinks in a little bar with fairy lights outside before getting a crepe and wandering back along the canal bank.

The next day we had a bit of time in the morning before we needed to catch our train to Florence so we decided to go back to Trasvertere in the daylight and stopped for a coffee and some breakfast at one of the restaurants in the main square.


Overall, the two days we had in Rome were absolutely amazing. The city is one of my favourites because although it is a capital, you never feel rushed. Italian people have such a chilled way of life and its accentuated through the whole place and they always go out of their way to make you feel welcome.

Come back next week to see what we got up to in Florence and Pisa.

xx
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Tuesday, 10 October 2017

It's Ok To Not Be Ok


In support of World Mental Health Day, I thought I would share a bit of a mental health update with you all. If you know me or have been reading my blog for an amount of time, you'll know that mental health is something that affects me personally, and something I am a strong advocate for talking about.

For as long as I can remember, I have suffered from anxiety and depression, but only in the last few years did I do anything about it. When I was younger, I used to have feelings of being completely overwhelmed and powerless with life, but I always pinned it down to going through puberty, and I assumed that every teenage girl felt the same as me.

It was only as I got older and found my feet a bit more that I realised that some of the feelings I was having were not 'normal' (which is a term I use loosely, because who the hell knows what normal is anymore?) and I began to open up more.

I remember first going to the doctor and not really knowing what to say: I wasn't at a stage of crying myself to sleep with worry, but I felt so anxious day to day that I was cancelling plans, shutting out those closest to me, and keeping myself to myself - and because I was such a worrier, I was convinced that I was going to lose everyone because I was doing this.

It was a vicious cycle of wanting to feel ok. but not knowing where to turn in case people didn't understand or I couldn't explain myself. Anxiety is quite tough to deal with on a day to day basis and it only gets harder with the amount of responsibility you have of being an adult. Everyone's experience is completely different, but for me, even the simplest task can trigger it and I feel helpless.

Over the years, I have tried a whole range of things for my anxiety, including hypnotherapy, councilling, online chats and medication. Some days I feel as though I've made so much progress with my mental health, and some days set me back to square one, but I have my own ways to deal with it, and opening up is definitely one.

You may be wondering why I'm telling you this? Well, in short, it's because I'm not afraid anymore. I'm no longer worried about what people will think of me if they know I take medication; I don't mind if people know I worry and over-analyse every situation and I'm ok with people knowing something about me they might not have been aware of previously.

My blog has always been a place to share my feelings and a place to clear my head and I for one am all for breaking down the stigma that surrounds mental health issues. I know from personal experience how hard it is to talk about mental health, but our society is getting more clued up on the different issues and symptoms surrounding us, which seems like a step in the right direction.

There is no magic way to click your fingers and feel better - if there was, I'd be all over that. The first step is identifying that something isn't right (which only you will know), and if you've had a particular feeling for an amount of time, I would suggest seeking some professional advice.

Don't be embarrassed to talk; it's the first step to the acceptance that your mental health is just as important as physical.

xx
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Monday, 9 October 2017

Weekly Love #40


Although I might be on my own by saying this, I am really enjoying the darker nights already. October is such a beautiful month in terms of the autumn lighting and colours and it makes me feel so happy and cosy when I spend time indoors - this is the first autumn as well that we've owned our own house, which makes it even more special.

1. Lunch

On Monday, I fancied something a little bit different for lunch, so when the girls suggested going out to get a few bits from Tesco, I decided to get an avocado and have that on a bagel with some cherry tomatoes and feta. I'm quite bad with making interesting lunches for work, so it was a nice welcome change to have something a little bit fancier!


2. Wardrobe Clear Out

On Tuesday evening, I came back from work and decided to clear out my wardrobe and get some more of my autumn clothes out as the weather is getting a bit colder. I managed to get a whole bag of stuff together for the charity shop and there is much more order to everything now, which is a weight lifted off my shoulders.


3. Apprentice

It's no lie that one of my favourite times of the year is when The Apprentice comes back on TV, which was this week. I was out on Wednesday so I didn't manage to catch it on the night, but it is definitely something I'll be looking forward to for cosy nights in.


4. Catch Up's

I was working in Manchester on Wednesday as I was going to a conference in the afternoon, so I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to meet up with Hannah for a bit of a lunchtime catch up. We went for a Barburrito, which was delicious, and put the world to rights in the hour we had.


5. Byron

You might recall that I've mentioned on here a few times that my best friend is going travelling to South America and then NZ and Aus, and Wednesday was our final meal with a few of her close friends. We went to Byron Burger in the city centre, and it was really lovely to spend some quality time together before she jetted off.


6. Airport Goodbye

On that note, I took Laura to the airport on Friday to see her off on her travels, and although we both got very teary in the car (the fact that it was 4am probably didn't help...) it made me feel so proud of her that she is following her dreams and I can't wait to hear all about her adventures.


7. Brighton

After a few more hours in bed after the airport, Jordan and I took a trip to Brighton, which we booked only the week before. We had arranged to go back in August, but the dates didn't fall so well with me starting my new job, so we postponed it for a bit. I'm going to do a full post about what we did when we were there and why I recommend it as a UK trip.


8. Kiehl's Mask

My skin and the weather change don't go hand in hand together, and this year I've noticed it more than ever. I'd been using a Garnier clay mask when I felt as though my skin needed a bit more TLC, but I found one by Kiehls that I had kindly been gifted, so I gave that one a go. It is the Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Masque and I already love it.Kiehl'ss products are always so well made.

xx

What have you been loving this week?
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Sunday, 8 October 2017

Are We Nearing The End Of Celebrity Endorsements?


However much this does sound like the title of a dissertation, it is something that has been on my mind for a while. For the last few weeks, I have been inundated with adverts on my social media channels with celebrities endorsing products, that I will guarantee, they have never used.

Trackback 10 years ago... Celebrities were all over the place advertising drinks, cars, perfumes, haircare, makeup - the lot. They were used to maximise the impact of a marketing campaign and build brand awareness amongst consumers with their recognisability. But fast forward to the present, and these well-known endorsements are few and far between.

Back in the day, when we saw a face that we knew advertising a brand, the teenager in us would associate the familiarity with trust, and with that, we would more than likely purchase the product - easy for big brands to make a sale to susceptible youngsters who want nothing more than to fit in with the masses.

But now, with the more and more brands that there are out there, the harder it is for companies to get into our heads and influence our buying habits, even if they do use a celebrity to try and sway us.

Around eight years ago, something amazing happened to the way that we would purchase items for the foreseeable future - something that was so disruptive for brands, and something none of them knew how to jump on as it was happening - the YouTuber, Blogger hybrid, was born.

YouTube had been around for many years before this, but it was only in about 2009 when girls from all over the world started showing their ever-growing audiences what they had purchased - and the haul video as we know it, was born.

This was such a new way for consumers to see what clothes and makeup looked like on actual, real-life girls and not 6-foot tall, size 4, airbrushed-to-the-max supermodels. All of a sudden, the fashion and beauty industry had to take these new 'influencers' into account and try and get them on their side to promote their products.

At first, a lot of these new YouTubers were happy to accept clothes and makeup for free in exchange for an honest review on their channels, but as the industry got bigger and bigger, a lot of them realised that they could make a living by doing this full-time.

However, because of the uncertainty surrounding the blogging industry, a lot of brands didn't see a future in this and continued to endorse their products with celebrities; but they soon realised that the average twenty-something is much more likely to buy a dress from a face they know and trust, who, at the end of the day, is a twenty-something themselves, telling them the honest ins and outs of a product.

Do you remember back in 2016, where Scott Disick pasted the instructions of what a brand wanted him to write into his Instagram caption? Or when Daley Blind broke the illusion that he actually liked and purchased his new Adidas shirt instead of being paid to advertise it? Brands are now just telling their endorsers what to write showing that the celebrity has no interest in the product whatsoever, as long as they are being paid to talk about it, which makes the blogging industry even more refreshing.

For the past few years since I have been a part of this industry myself (albeit, on a much smaller scale) I have noticed that Bloggers, YouTubers and Instagrammers all have so much more sway on what the 14-30 year-old market is buying because they are people just like you and me.

With the introduction of Instagram stories and the ability to add in links to the products you are wearing (the 'swipe up' links that you can only do if your following is more than 10,000) as well as YouTubers linking every product they are talking about in their videos in the description box, it is becoming even more accessible for us to purchase these items in a quick and timely manner - because as a generation, all we ever talk about is our lack of time - so anything that is made quick and easy for us, we love.

To me, celebrity endorsements have been dying out for years, as the evolution of consumer's buying habits continues to change. We are no longer drawn to Pantene because Ellie Goulding has nice hair; we no longer want to buy L'Oreal because Penelope Cruz looks flawless, and we longer want to shop at Iceland because Kerry Katona told us how cheap it was - that one was a long-shot anyway.

As consumers, we are more likely now to make our own decisions, instead of being swayed by a face we know. We're not stupid: We know the amount of choice there is out there, so we want to make an informed judgment instead of jumping on the bandwagon.

The honesty and relatability of the everyday girl talking about Topshop Joni jeans, the latest Naked palette and which foundation is the best for night's out if much more appealing than air-brushed celebrities on our TV screens who have probably never picked up the product in their life.

Maybe I'm wrong; maybe one-day celebrity endorsements will make a comeback: But in my eyes, the new generation of influencers are becoming the celebrities that we recognise and trust, and it's only a matter of time before we see social media taking over another part of the world.

xx
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Friday, 6 October 2017

Food | Comptoir Libanais


Last week I was in London for work for a few days as I was attending a conference at Olympia. I really love London because of the amount of choices for food and drink, and this time was no exception.

After we finished the conference on the second day, I met up with a friend for a couple of drinks before deciding where to eat with my manager and work colleague. We had our heart set on Dishoom, but apparently, there is little hope of getting a table if you haven't booked, so we decided on Comptoir Libanais instead.

I'd heard of Comptoir before, as we had used them to cater a work event and they have a restaurant in Manchester, but I'd never been. I absolutely love Lebanese food, and this restaurant describes itself as a real experience of middle eastern cuisine, so I was pretty excited to try it.

We went to the restaurant in South Kensington as it was the closest to the hotel (side note - if anyone wants to treat me to a London pad, this is where I'd like it to be...) When we walked in, I was amazed at how bright and colourful it was, with gorgeous patterned tiles and an almost Andy Warhol inspired mural to a woman on the wall. After I researched into it, the picture is a vintage photograph of Arabic actress, Sirine Jamal al Dine who has become the beacon of the brand.

We were seated straight away, which was impressive because it was a Thursday night in a busy area of London and the waiting staff were so friendly. The menu was quite extensive, but I loved the amount of choice they had including wraps, mezze boards and tangines.

Obviously, we went for drinks first, and I had a vodka Roomana, which was pomegranate and orange blossom lemonade with vodka and it was delicious. For food, I started with halloumi and tomato (£6.25) which was amazing, but then again, when is halloumi not... and for the main, I went for a chicken taouk (£8.50) wrap which came with a side salad and pickles.

The food was so tasty and the service was really quick. I was really impressed with the whole experience and the ambience of the restaurant and how lovely and knowledgeable the staff were. I will definitely be going to the Manchester one now!

xx
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Monday, 2 October 2017

Weekly Love #39


Happy October everyone!

Like the rest of the UK, I really can't believe that it's already the 10th month of the year - but I've got some plans this month to look forward to and I'm a true autumn lover.

I spent most of the last week trying to figure out what day it is after coming back from Italy for one day and heading off to London with work, but I'm not one to complain about going all over the place!

1. Coming Home

As much as I had one of the best trips ever to Italy, I was so happy to get home on Monday, especially seen as I was quite sick in the morning. I love travelling and taking little trips throughout the year, but I will always be a home bird at heart.


2. Sushi

Because I was feeling sorry for myself on Monday and we didn't have any food in the house, we had a sushi takeaway from one of our favourite places. We always seem to get a feast when we order from there, and I was half expecting to have some to take to work the next day, but who was I kidding really?


3. London

On Wednesday, I found myself on the 6:30am train down to London for a conference at Olympia. I love trips to London, and it also meant I got to catch up with two of my friends who lived down there. I went to Meat Liquor on the Wednesday night with my friend Louise and then to a rooftop bar, which made me feel very fancy indeed.


4. Comptoir

On Thursday evening, after a very hectic two-day conference, our team headed for some food and drinks in Kensington, close to where we were staying. I asked my friend from work for recommendations as she used to live down there, and we ended up going to Comptoir Libanais, which was absolutely delicious - a definite recommendation from me, plus the restaurant was so cool inside too.


5. Pamper

After a pretty busy couple of weeks, I was feeling as though I needed some 'me' time on Saturday and ended up booking a massage and to get my nails done as a bit of a wind-down. Although I preach that having some time to yourself is incredibly important, I'm pretty rubbish at actually doing it for myself.


6. Leaving Do 

On Saturday evening, my best friend, Laura, had her leaving do at The Con Club in Altrincham. It was a bittersweet occasion as I'm so happy that she is living one of her life's dreams by travelling the world, but I am also going to miss her so much, and it finally hit me that night that she is really going. Despite that fact, it was really nice to catch up with some of my friends who I hadn't seen in a while.


7. Pet Show

On Sunday afternoon, Jordan and I went to the Family Pet Show at Event City to gaup at cute dogs and cats. We went last year and it's such a feel-good day out and no one cares about you playing with their pets, which is always good for me who loves animals.


8. In-Laws

After the Pet Show, Jordan and I went to his parent's house as it was their anniversary and his Dad's birthday. I always enjoy catching up with them and hearing what they have been up since the last time I saw them, plus they had a couple of boxes of Thornton's chocolates on the go, which were perfect with a cup of tea!


What did you get up to last week?

xx
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Sunday, 1 October 2017

October Wishlist


I had to remind myself that I was doing these blogs as a regular feature at the start of the month because my brain couldn't quite come to terms with the fact that it's already October.

I had a great September - it was full of fun, friends and family, which always puts me in a good headspace for the darker days and countdown to the end of the year.

1. Invest In More Candles 

I'm one of those people who find it quite hard to switch off in the evening and just relax,  but I feel as though now the evenings are getting darker, and when the clocks go back, I want our home to be as cosy as possible, which definitely gives me an excuse to invest in some more candles. I really enjoy the smell of rose, lavender and similar scents to that, so I think this month I will definitely be spending more time teaching myself to wind down.


2. Explore A New City

Next weekend Jordan and I will be heading to Brighton, which is a place I've always wanted to go. I love having no plans in a new place, but I also really enjoy being recommended places to visit or where to go to eat as it takes some of the strain of trying to find somewhere good - so if you have anywhere you think I'd like, let me know.


3. Say Goodbye To My Best Friend

If you read my last wish-list you'll know that one of my best friends is off on her travels next week around the world. It is something she has always wanted to do, and I'm so happy she has finally had the chance to do it and I can't wait to hear all about it along the way.


4. Watch A New Film 

I'm not a film person - never have been, never will be - but with the nights drawing in and it getting significantly colder in the UK, I think I'll find myself spending more and more time at home, and one of the things I really want to do is curl up with a glass of wine and lots of snacks whilst watching something new. I do have quite a short attention span when it comes to films, but I'm going to put in extra effort to find one that me and Jordan both like.


5. Start Thinking About Christmas

When you think about it, we only have two more paydays until Christmas, which means I am going to have to start thinking about what I want to get for people and have a look round the shops for some presents before the mad rush starts.


6. Celebrate My Best Friend's 30th

One of my other best friend's is turning 30 this month, and although we don't have a plan set in stone yet, I really can't wait for our group of friends to all be together again. Although I'm not a massive fan of celebrating my own birthday, I do really enjoy celebrating other peoples.


7. Get More Motivated To Blog

At the moment, I've been in a bit of limbo when it comes to blogging and a part of me really wanted to have a clean break for a while, but that just wasn't an option. I love writing, and this slice of the internet gives me so much headspace from my everyday life and I'm hoping that this month I will be able to put some more time and effort into writing some new and exciting posts.


8. Research A Christmas Trip

Last year was the first time I had done a trip abroad just before Christmas (to Hamburg) and I loved experiencing the different culture and traditions and it's something I want to do again. This month I'm going to price up some different options and hopefully have something to look forward to soon.


9. Dust Off The Slow Cooker

Jordan and I invested in our slow cooker about three years ago, but we haven't used it since the start of the year. As we both work fulltime, I want to start making recipes in our slow cooker so we don't have to think about what to cook for dinner as it will all be done by the time we get home - plus it makes the house smell amazing.


10. Have People Over

At the moment, I am toying with the idea of having a Halloween party at our house, as I just want an excuse to host all my friends coming over. We've had such a busy summer that we have never really found the time to have our group over, and a lot of people haven't been round to the house since we bought it, so I think this would be a great excuse - plus, what 27-year old doesn't love to dress up?


And that's my October wishlist for you. What are you hoping to achieve this month?

xx
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Saturday, 30 September 2017

Why I Deleted Instagram


A couple of weeks ago, I deleted Instagram off my phone.

Not a big deal for some, and it probably shouldn't have been such a big deal for me - but the truth is, I was getting so tired of putting so much time and effort into a channel where I was getting very little back and it was exhausting trying to keep up with 'the race'.

You may have heard a few bloggers recently talking about their engagement on Instagram and how it's gone down over the past few months quite dramatically. I'm not a tech expert, and to be honest, I don't think there has been any set in stone reason as to why it has been happening, but I know that the dreaded algorithm is fast becoming an annoyance for the majority of the blogging world.

If you aren't aware of what the algorithm is, in a nutshell, it has meant that posts are not in chronological order. Instagram uses data collected from your usage of the app to give you a feed that it thinks you want to see.

Ever wondered why your best friend's posts have stopped showing up on your timeline, or why you keep seeing the same people over and over again? It's because Instagram has decided that's what you want, when in reality, it probably isn't.

It's a funny one really.

Instagram used to be a place where you'd post your mirror outfit selfies, what you were having for lunch, or a group snap of you and your friends at the weekend - but now it's a platform where people are earning thousands per post, vlogging their daily activity, and collaborating with global brands.

When Snapchat appeared, Instagram introduced stories; when Twitter 'live' began, Instagram enabled the same feature; when Vine became obsolete, Instagram created Boomerang. All of these little updates have ensured that it stays the app at the forefront of the content world and shows that it will always tweak its interface to make sure it stays fresh and relevant and ahead of the game.

So why did I delete Instagram? 

Because it was getting me down. It was becoming a chore. I was constantly thinking about what to post next, worrying that I was losing followers, stressing that I didn't have enough variety on my feed, comparing my account to others, wondering why I wasn't getting as high an engagement as everyone else and that I was falling behind when everyone else was powering through.

The platform I used to love so much, that got me into photography, helped me meet new people, work with amazing brands and share my life on social media, just wasn't enjoyable anymore.

I was finding it impossible to grow my account whilst everyone else around me seemed to be beating the algorithm in their own way, whereas everything I tried was failing. I read countless blogs on it, watched videos and asked for help on twitter, yet nothing was working and eventually I said enough is enough and it was gone from my phone.

And did it work? 

100%

At first I found it really hard to not know what was going on in the rose-gold world that is Instagram, but the more time that went on, the more I actually felt empowered deleting my account - I was finally back in control.

And although I lost followers through it, my mental health massively improved in just that short space of time.

To some people, having a week off a social platform might seem like nothing at all; but when you share so much of your life online I was worried I would be forgotten.

I gain the majority of my unique blog visitors through Instagram (or, I used to at least...) so making the cut was quite worrying for the first day or so and I couldn't help but think that the traffic to my blog would die a slow death, but in reality, that hasn't happened at all.

Now, I have changed the way I think and go about Instagram.

No longer is it a place where I want to keep up with other people, share white-washed over-edited photos, or overthink my grid, but it's a platform for me to engage with my readers, share parts of my life that no one else knows about, and improve my photography skills whilst finally enjoying posting pictures again.

I've gone back to old-school sharing.

Maybe I will fall behind in the blogging world; maybe my photos won't be on the popular pages and maybe I won't win campaigns with the mishmash that is my life - but at the end of the day, does any of that stuff really matter in the long run if it means I'm happier overall?

I have finally found the right balance for me, and that's exactly what I needed.

xx
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Monday, 25 September 2017

Weekly Love #38


Last week flew by for me because I was only in work for three days before jetting off to Italy with my little travel buddy Hannah.

We had such an amazing time filled with food, drink and visiting all the beautiful Italian architecture. I even re-downloaded Instagram for the occasion (more on that in a post next week) so head on over there to have a look at what we got up to.

1. Banana Bread

Once again, this week I found myself making another banana bread in time for watching bake-off (basically just an excuse to eat cake!) For some reason, I buy enough bananas each week to feed a small family, so they always end up going a bit brown, and they only thing to do then is to make a delicious banana bread each week - at least I know the recipe off by heart now (I use the Mary Berry one if you're wondering...)


2. Candles

This last couple of weeks, the temperature has massively dropped in the UK, which has given me the perfect excuse to light an abundance of candles in the lounge. My favourite one at the moment was a birthday present from my lovely friend Laura which is rose flavoured and smells like Turkish Delight!


3. Rome

I couldn't write about my week last week without mentioning my trip to Italy with Hannah. We flew to Rome very early Thursday morning and made our way to the Air BNB we were staying in which was in the Trastevere area of Rome, which, if you're visiting, I would highly recommend staying in. The food was amazing, the drinks were flowing, and the company was the best.


4. Florence

After we had spent a couple of days in Rome, we went to Florence on the train. I was surprised as to how different Florence is to Rome (much more Gothic, rich and grand) and the vibe was a total contrast. We stayed about 10 minutes walk from the centre which was the perfect distance to wander the streets.


5. Pisa

We had one night and day in Florence before moving to our last destination of Pisa. Pisa was a lot smaller than both of the other cities and much quieter. We had almost a full day there and managed to see all of the sites within about three hours, which shows the size of it. We finished the trip off with a delicious meal and a couple of glasses of wine before our flight home.


6. Air BNB 

I've stayed in my fair share of Air BNBs over the years, but I wanted to mention the three that we stayed in in Italy. The first was in a really cool area of Rome, the second was an incredibly trendy loft, and the third was bigger than my first flat. All the hosts were so helpful and one even picked us up from the train station and dropped us at the airport the next day. I would always recommend staying in an Air BNB over a hotel because you get the extra space and experience the city like the locals do.

xx

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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.




xx

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

xx

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Sunday, 17 September 2017

Food | Bock Biere


You must know by now that I like going out for meals; it's one of my favourite things to do, especially when it's somewhere new.

Manchester is amidst the recent foodie movement, with new places popping up all the time and I for one love discovering new places in the city that is on my doorstep.

You may remember that Jordan and I went to Belgium at the start of the year, but one thing I don't think we made the most of was the traditional Belgium food (except the waffles and chocolate of course...)

When I found out that a Belgium restaurant had opened in the city, I was very intrigued to find out what that entailed. After a bit of research, we found out that they did a roast dinner fondue, which just seemed like the best idea ever. We booked it for last Sunday and I was so excited to try it.

The restaurant itself is about a 5-minute walk from St. Peter's Square station, and a couple of roads back from the town hall.

We arrived at the restaurant a few minutes early but were seated straight away. The decor was really cosy with a big log fire burning downstairs. We were shown to our table which was upstairs and was a table for 4 people, which I always prefer so you don't feel cramped when you're eating.

The waiter recommended a couple of beers to us, and we went for a trio of smaller glasses so we could try a few different ones. One of my favourite beers was Bruge Zot, which we went to the brewery of when we were in Bruges, so I chose this for one of my choices.

We knew exactly what we wanted when we arrived so didn't need to have a look through the menu (just as an FYI, they also do a standard cheese fondue and chocolate fondue too!) The table next to us got the cheese one, and it looked amazing - definitely going back to try this!

The one thing I was concerned about was that there wouldn't be enough food for the two of us because it was a sharing board, but boy was I wrong. It arrived on a board with meat, potatoes and Yorkshire pudding waffles, with vegetables on the side.

And then the pot of gravy arrived...

It was served in a traditional copper pot with a flame underneath to keep it warm, and something to put the flame out in case it became too hot. It wasn't like normal gravy that we would make in the UK - it was a lot more herby and flavoursome. The meat was cooked to perfection, as were the potatoes and veg, but my favourite part had to be the Yorkshire puddings: To me, they are the best part of any roast dinner, and even better in waffle form!


Overall the experience of the roast dinner was very impressive. I'll definitely be back for another one soon!

xx
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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.

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

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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.

xx

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Friday, 8 September 2017

11 Reasons I'm Looking Forward To Autumn


Although we seem to be going through a sort of is-it-isnt-it-getting-sunny-or-just-cloudy-and-miserable-and-oh-look-rain-again time in the UK at the moment, the weather is definitely shifting more towards autumn, and I for one couldn't be happier about it.

I've always enjoyed autumn, and I've always classed it as my favourite season. I'm a big lover of Christmas, and so to me, September and October mark the countdown to the end of the year and yes, a lot of people say to me that it's far too soon to start thinking about it.

Here are my 11 reasons I'm looking forward to autumn:

1. The Colours

There's no doubt that autumn brings out some of the prettiest colours on the trees. Just before the leaves start to fall, we start to get gorgeous reds, oranges, browns and golds, and it makes for some gorgeous photographs.


2. The Lighting

There is something about autumn lighting that is so calm and peaceful, especially mixed with the changing colours of the leaves. I love that the evenings start to get darker too because it gives you more of an excuse to snuggle up and stay inside - this year I'll definitely be trying to incorporate more Hygge into my lifestyle too.


3. Crisp Days

One of my favourite things to do in autumn and winter is to get up early on the weekend, and go for a crisp walk when it's just getting light out. I for one don't actually mind the darker mornings - although it can play havoc when you think your makeup is blended to find out that, lol, it's not.


4. The Weather

For some reason, in the UK, we get some of our more mild days in September and October, which means beer gardens are a must when the sun shines. It's not as warm as summer, but it's always nice to be outside in the colder months - plus, most pubs and bars should have a few blankets lying around to get extra cosy.


5. Resolutions

For some reason, my brain still works academically and thinks that September is the start of a new year; but its not always a bad thing because it means I get motivated towards the end of the year, and feel like I've got a whole new lease of life.


6. The Clothes

One of my favourite things ever about autumn is the fact that it's finally acceptable to wear knitwear with every outfit. I love getting all wrapped up in jumpers, coats, scarfs and boots and I love the more earthy tones mixed with deeps reds and jade greens.


7. The Food

Autumnal food to me means comfort food and digging the slow cooker out of the garage. I can't wait to try some new recipes this year and spend time with my friends and family and some good old fashioned home cooking.


8. Halloween

Like any normal 27 year old (lol) I love dressing up for Halloween and going to a good house party. The last few years, I've had a really good time with my friends, but I think this year, it might be our turn to host, which I'm excited about - mainly just to decorate the house up pre-Christmas.


9. TV

As I mentioned before, one of the best things to do in autumn is stay in and get cosy. I always find that the best programs start in the autumn because people are going out less and less, and I for one can't wait for some new series to grace our sky box!


10. Bonfire Night

Where I used to live at my parents, we were opposite a big firework display and bonfire at the local cricket club, so got a front row view without spending £10 on a ticket. This year, our house looks onto a park where they again have a firework display (apparently it's what I subconsciously think about...) so I can't wait for that either.


11. Starbucks Red Cups

How cliché of me... it wasn't until last year that I tried a pumpkin spiced latte for the first time, and I loved it. I love that coffee shops tend to go into competition with each other over who can make the most festive and delicious hot drink with the cutest cup - as long as it's sweet and sugary, I'm in!


So there are my 11 reasons that I am looking forward to autumn.

Are you looking forward to autumn? And if so, what are you favourite things?

xx

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Monday, 4 September 2017

Weekly Love #35


The last week felt as though it went so quickly, which I guess is what 4-day weeks do for you, but I had a blast nonetheless.

With autumn on the horizon, the days are starting to draw in a little bit, which means that cosy nights in are definitely a must with hot chocolates and amazing home-cooked food and roast dinners on the weekend.

1. Cartmel Races

Jordan and I started off our week with a visit to Cartmel Races in the Lake District with his parents. They asked us a couple of days before, and I was panicking about what to wear, but it was such a casual day with loads of families having picnics and BBQ's so there was no need to dress up. It was nice to do something with our extra day off and spend time with his family - I even ran into my friend Kirsty who lives in the next village over, which was a nice surprise; what a small world!


2. Bake Off

Tuesday evening saw the return of The Great British Bake Off to our screens, and although I will miss the original line up, I really enjoyed it. I've always been a fan of Noel Fielding, and I think he was a great choice - plus the shirt...


3. Lunchtime Fun

This week I had some exciting lunches booked with my friend Laura at The Alchemist and a visit to my Mum and Dad's new flat, where she made me food, bonus! It's always nice to do something on my lunchtimes because it breaks up the day, and gives me something to look forward to when I'm slowly dying under a sea of data records.


4. Bakery

On Friday, a couple of the girls and me went to a renowned bakery in the village where we work for a Friday and payday treat. The bakery itself is gorgeous, and the food is all homemade and smells incredible. We decided to go for some pastries as a little treat, which were delicious. I went for a hazelnut slice, which tasted like a giant Ferrero Rocher.


5. Kasabian Tickets

On Thursday morning, I managed to get tickets for me and friend to the Kasabian concert in November. I've already seen them once before, and had such an amazing time that I've always wanted to see them again, so I'm already really looking forward to it.


6. Hen Do

On Saturday morning, I drove over to York for my friend Siobhan's hen do. We were staying in a big house, which was decorated with some questionable inflatables and loads of pictures of her with all of her friends over the years. It was really lovely to meet some of her friends that I'd heard so much about, and the setting was amazing and there was even a hot tub that we all went for a drunken dip in.


7. Bingley Live Festival

After dressing up as a hippy as soon as I arrived on the Saturday, we quickly had some drinks before heading over to Bingley Live Festival. The drive took about an hour and a half from where we were staying, but the sing-a-longs and prosecco made it feel like much less. The weather was incredible, and a lot of people commented on the effort we had put in for our fancy dress. The headliner was Kaiser Chiefs, who were amazing, and the whole day was so much fun.


8. York

On the Sunday after the festival, a few of the girls who were left went into York for a wander and to go to the Hilton for afternoon tea. If you've been reading my blog for a while, you'll know how much I love York as a place, so it was nice to experience it with my friends. The afternoon tea was also amazing and really good value seen as it was at the Hilton.

xx

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Friday, 1 September 2017

September Wish List


It's the start of September (already!!) which is one of my favourite months of the year and it means that autumn is just around the corner but also time for my next wishlist.

I really enjoyed writing the last one, and you guys seemed to enjoy reading it so I'm going to try and keep this up as a regular feature.

The great thing about September is that it seems to be slightly warmer than August, but not as cold as you would think here in the UK, which makes for some gorgeous autumnal days and it's a great time in my eyes on the run up to the end of the year.

I've got some exciting things planned for September, including the wedding of one of my best friends, which I can't wait for and a little trip away at the end of the month.

1. Update My Wardrobe

Autumn to me means chunky knits, jeans and big scarves, but also a time to invest in some key pieces for the upcoming season. I love getting wrapped up (I think it comes from absolute hatred of being cold) and going on long walks, or snuggling up in a beer garden, and I can't wait to see some of the collections the shops bring out!


2. Bake More

With our charity bake sale at work meaning that I baked the world's amount of cookies, I remembered how much I enjoyed baking, plus having the bake off start again gave me a whole new lease of life in the kitchen. This month I definitely want to start to bake more and develop my skills in that area, and maybe finally open one of the many cookbooks I own.


3. Research Italy

At the end of the month, Hannah and I will be taking a little trip over to Italy. We're starting off in Rome and making our way up to Florence and then Pisa. Although we're only there for a short amount of time, I want to make sure we both see the sites we want to and expose ourselves to as much Italian culture as possible. If anyone has any recommendations or blogs, please send them my way!


4. Go On A Long Walk

Because August was such a busy month for me, I felt as though we didn't have enough time to get outside and go for a walk in the countryside. We're lucky where we live that we're only about a 20 minute drive from some beautiful parts of the country, and this month I would love to go and explore a bit more.


5. Catch Up With My Family

Although I saw a lot of my Dad's side of the family in August, its been a while since I saw the other half of them, and I think this month we will all put in the effort to have a bit of a reunion.


6. Try A New Cuisine

Although Jordan and I went to Belgium back in March, we didn't have much traditional food (except a lot of chocolate and beer). I've been invited to try out a restaurant called Cafe Bock in Manchester, which I'm really excited about, and if we get the chance, I'd love to try another cuisine which I never have before. The meal we're trying out is the roast dinner, which is basically a fondue style that you dip in gravy, which sounds pretty amazing to me.


7. Celebrate Birthdays

This month I've got one of my closest friend's 30th birthday, and a lot more others to celebrate too. I love celebrating people's birthdays with them, and I'm going to make it my mission to make sure they have the best day possible.


8. Support The Northern Blog Awards

Although I won't be able to make it to the Northern Blog Awards as I'm at my friend's wedding, I can't wait to join in the hype on social media and hear all about what people are wearing. I know my friends over at We Blog MCR have done a fantastic job of putting the award show together, and I'm already excited to see the photos from the night.


9. Attend The Blogger's Blog Awards

On the topic of blog awards, myself and Jacinta will be heading over to Leeds at the end of the month to celebrate the Blogger's Blog Awards with some of my favourite girls, hosted by Hayley. I couldn't make it last year so I'm incredibly excited to be able to go this time round, and finally put some faces to names.


10. Enjoy My Friend's Wedding

A bit of an obvious one, but one I thought I would mention nonetheless. This is my 3rd and final wedding of the year, and I'm sure it's going to be such a fun day. I've known Siobhan and Nick since the first days of their relationship and have seen it blossomed over the years, and I can't wait to see her walk down the aisle.


11. Celebrate The Departure Of My Best Friend

At the end of the month, my best friend is having a leaving do because she off travelling in October. Although it will be such a sad occasion, I really want her to have a great night with her friends and family and a really good send off - and I'm going to try really really hard not to cry!


12. Explore Leeds

I've got two trips to Leeds planned this month, which I'm really looking forward to because it's a place that I've heard so many good things about. I know a lot of people who I'm friends with in the blogging world are from Leeds, so if any of you lovely ladies are reading this, please send me some recommendations.

And there you have it, my September wishlist. I hope you enjoyed reading it.

xx

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