Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.

Monday, 21 August 2017

Weekly Love #33

And so it's Monday yet again, and I can't quite believe how fast these weeks are going by, but autumn is my favourite season, so I for one am happy to welcome the colder days and beautiful colours.

Plus I've got loads of exciting plans in September that I've been looking forward to for ages, so thats something to look forward to.

1. Salon Success

On Tuesday afternoon, I came home from work to a parcel from Salon Success. The parcel included a range from Kenra and a personalised beanie hat. I love receiving parcels from Salon Success because they are always such good quality, and allow me to try brands that I never would have had the chance to ordinarily, and I've never been disappointed by the quality of them all - and the hat was an added bonus too!

2. Pizza Thursdays

After a pretty stressful couple of days at work, I had started to become a bit under the weather and feeling sorry for myself. Being the absolute babe that she is, Hannah suggested that we should have a chilled night in and get a pizza takeaway. I met her in Chorlton, and we went to one of my favourite pizza places, Double Zero. We got a couple of pizzas to take away plus the antipasti board which I had last time I was in there - it's safe to say that most of it was eaten on the car ride home.

3. Altrincham Market

On Friday evening, Jordan and I decided to go for a couple of drinks and some food at Altrincham Market. It's one of my favourite places to go at the moment, even though it gets ridiculously busy on the weekends, but I love the atmosphere and that you never know who you'll bump into (Altrincham is a small place!)

4. New Boots

One of the things I've noticed about my wardrobe is that I tend to wear the same thing no matter what season it is, and add tights where necessary. With this in mind, I thought it was about time that I invested in a new pair of black boots because my last pair got a bit tattered when we moved house and to me, they're a wardrobe staple. I went for this pair from Boohoo in black, and got 20% discount too, so they only ended up costing me about £22!

5. Topshop Dress

On the same topic of new clothes, one of my goals for the month of August was to find a dress for my cousin's wedding last Saturday. I searched online for ages because I didn't have time to go to the shops, but I didn't find anything I liked. When me and Jordan were in York, I tried on a floral wrap dress, from Topshop, which I think is a great style on me because it hides the fact I have bigger hips. I didn't buy it when we were in York, and regretted it since, so I treated myself to it for the wedding: It's one of those styles that I think I'll be able to get away with in autumn too!

6. Family Lunch

As I just mentioned, it was my cousin's wedding on Saturday in Huddersfield. My Dad drove me, Jordan and my Mum across and we met up with my Nan and a few other members of my extended family for lunch round the corner from the church. A lot of the wedding party had come up from London (where the groom is from) so it was really nice to get to know them before the ceremony started.

7. Wedding

Now onto the wedding - it was amazing! My cousin looked absolutely beautiful, and as soon as we left the church, the sun started shining, which meant we could have the drinks reception outside. I really enjoyed the whole day and spending time with my Dad's side of the family, which I don't often get to do because we're all spread out so far across the country.

8. Sunday Morning Walk

After waking up with no hangover on Sunday, Jordan and I decided to go for a walk around the park opposite our house to clear our heads before the week ahead. It was a really lovely morning, and we ended up walking about 6km without even realising.

9. Superbad

Jordan mentioned to me the other day that it was 10 years since Superbad came out, which is one of my favourite films. We decided to have a chilled Sunday after our walk, and watched it in the afternoon after getting all the boring chores out of the way. I forgot how much I loved the film, and it was such a nice way to switch off on a Sunday.

10. No Makeup Days

For the past few weeks, I've been trying to give my skin a break on one of the weekend days and not wear makeup. As I had the wedding on Saturday, I thought it would be better to do it on Sunday, and I've found that my skin really benefits from having a break every now and again.


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Friday, 18 August 2017

My Current Skincare Favourites

Well... It's been quite a while since I spoke about anything beauty related, hasn't it? That's not to say I'm not still obsessed with skincare and makeup, but I've been focusing more on food, travel and lifestyle content, with a few beauty posts thrown in here and there for good measure.

Today I thought I would share some of my current favourites - the products I'm going back to time and time again. I'm 27 now and this year I have tried to heavily invest in more upmarket skincare products to slow down any signs of ageing (because apparently, I should have started worrying about that when I was 25... who knew?)

1. Liz Earle - Cleanse & Polish £14.50

This is one I mentioned on my Weekly Loves back in May, and since then I have been loving using it. I use about one pump and spread it evenly over my face and eyes. Not only does it smell really fresh, but the consistency isn't too thick, which I've found with other cleansers. I leave it on for about 2-3 minutes and then take it off with a muslin cloth that I've run under warm water. I usually use a micellar water after this to make sure every last bit of makeup is off my skin.

2. Botanics Triple Age Renew Facial Oil - £11.49

I picked this up in the Market Street Boots store at the start of June and I've been using it every night after cleansing and toning. The one I have is slightly different to the one I've linked, but from the same range. I never used to be a fan of oils as my complexion can get quite oily itself, but I've found my skin absolutely loves this. Boots usually have offers on Botanics as it is their premium beauty brand so I would suggest having a look in store over shopping online.

3. Origins Drink Up Intensive Mask - £24

This is a product I only use 1-2 times a week after picking up at Hamburg airport back in December and I'm only about halfway through. This is quite a thick mask to leave on your skin overnight, but it does the trick at supplying a high level of moisture and it smells amazing. At first, I wasn't too convinced by it but now when I use it, the next morning my skin feels so nourished and smooth.

4. Clinique All About Eyes - £27

This is a product I did a lot of research into when I noticed my under eye bags getting worse. I'm not a great sleeper, so, unfortunately, I have to spend quite a lot on under eye creams and concealers. I got this one for my birthday after it was highly regarded in Marie Claire and I love it so far. I've noticed my circles have slightly reduced, but the product itself is really nice to apply in the morning and before bed. The consistency is a sort of gel, but it absorbs quickly and doesn't leave the skin feeling greasy or sticky which I've found with some competitors.

5. Nivea Peach Shine Lip Balm - £1.95

This was a very spontaneous purchase after my lips seemed to be quite sunburnt one summer day and I love it. I have a handbag full of different kinds of lip balms but I keep going back to this one at the moment because it smells so fruity and has a slight coral tint to it if you're not in the mood to wear lipstick.

I hope you enjoyed this slightly different post than usual!
What are you skincare favourites?


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Wednesday, 16 August 2017

8 Reasons You Should Start A Blog

I've been blogging on and off now for about six years, and I can honestly say that I would be lost without my little corner of the internet.

For me, blogging is much more than putting words on a page; it's about expressing myself, sharing the things I love and sometimes its a place to get my head straight and re-focus.

I've always loved English - at school I took both Language and Literature, at university I studied it, and I have always written as part of my job. I won't lie and say that sometimes writing doesn't come easily to me, but it has always been something I have enjoyed so much, and something that I hope to continue into the future.

One of the things I hear a lot is that people don't have time to blog, and even though I completely understand that sometimes it can feel like it's a lot to squeeze in when you work full time, once you get into the habit of writing, it will come naturally.

I've put together a few different reasons that I think people should start a blog, especially if you've been umming and ahhing about it for a while.

1. It Gives You A Place To Get Your Head Straight

After I had a personal tragedy last year, I found that having a blog and writing things down massively helped me to get my thoughts down into a post to process my emotions. I have loads of blogs that I wrote but never published from that time in my life, which are always good to go back to and see how far I've come. Emotions are hard enough to deal with day to day, especially when you feel so many at once, so writing them down, even if it would only make sense to you, is definitely a way to relieve your brain of the stress.

2. It Can Be A Creative Outlet

For a lot of us, our full-time jobs might not enable us to be as creative as we would like, so having a blog lets you tap into that side much more. Whether you want to try your hand at photography, creating graphics or just writing in general, having a blog lets you do all of the things that you might not get to day in and day out.

3. It Helps You To Be More Confident

When I first started going to blogging events, I was so shy that I usually would only stay with the person I went with, and very rarely broke free from that cycle. It was only until I was invited to events by myself that I couldn't have a plus 1 for, or my blogging friends were busy for, that I eventually came out of my shell a bit, and I am so glad that I did. I'm not saying its the easiest thing to turn up somewhere where you don't know anyone, but it is definitely worth it in the long run - and trust me, you won't be the only one thats feeling awkward to begin with.

4. You Meet Inspiring People And Friends

On the same topic as the last point, some of the girls I have met through blogging have become some of my closest friends who I see within the social side of my life and not in a blogging setup. Lots of the girls I know through having a blog our self-employed and run some amazing companies, which I find really inspiring, and I love following their journeys. It's always interesting to meet people who have the same passion as you for writing.

5. You Get To Try Things You Never Normally Would

At the start of the year, my blogger bezzie Hannah took me to an event with Magna Pass at Rock over Climbing in Manchester - somewhere I had never been before. Rock climbing is something I had tried as a child, but completely failed at, so I was intrigued to give it another go. I feel that when you start to write about things that you are passionate about, you get to try things with people who share your passions as well.

6. It Helps Build Your Transferrable Skills

I'm not saying employers are going to want you to know the different types of lens for your Olympus Pen (but wouldn't that be the dream job...) but for people in the Marketing, Social and PR world, skills such as writing, scheduling, social media and balancing time are key to excelling in your career - and it also helps if you know your way around the keyboard. Never be embarrassed to mention that you have a blog in your interview because it shows that you are passionate about something outside of work and that you are able to keep something going in your spare time.

7. You Never Know Where It Will Take You 

This is a really important one to me, because you absolutely have no idea where blogging will take you in the future. One of my favourite bloggers, Hannah Gale, only became a full-time blogger after she went viral after writing this post, just when she had quit her job. A very close friend of mine got her current job because her employer had seen that she wrote a blog and thought she would be a great match. I'm not saying that everyone catches their big break because of their little slice of the bloggersphere, but its exciting to think you don't know whats around the corner.

8. It's Nice To Be Proud Of Something

Without having a child to talk about, or a really cute animal to show pictures of, it's sometimes nice to have something that you're really proud of to tell people about. I know a lot of bloggers who have business cards to give out at events, and although I'm personally not at the point because my blog isn't as big, I never shy away from telling people about it and where I hope it will get to one day.

So there you have it, my eight reasons to start a blog. I hope you enjoyed them.

What do you think about them? Are there any others that you would suggest?  


Monday, 14 August 2017

Weekly Love #32

I can't believe it is Monday yet again... but I'm not complaining as I had such a jam packed week and saw lots of my favourite people, and it has put me in such a good mood to start the new week.

1. Pub Quiz

On Monday evening, a few of us went to go and do a pub quiz at Pi in Altrincham. It's been a while since I've done one, and I don't really have a specialist subject, but we managed to come first and all won £15, which is pretty good seen as it only cost us £2 to enter.

2. Porta

If you read this post last week, you'll know that my friend Rosie and I went for a catch up meal to Porta in Altrincham. The food was such good quality, and I really enjoyed catching up with her because it had been a while since we last saw each other. We went to the market for a glass of sangria afterwards which was much appreciated!

3. Power

Hannah bought me Power for my birthday in June, but I hadn't got round to starting it, so this week I made it my mission to do so. I'm really enjoying it so far and I can see why it has been so highly commended. Definitely give it a go if you're looking for a new read.

4. Nails

On the topic of my birthday, Hannah also treated me to get my nails done at Beauty Tonic in Didsbury, but I didn't really have an occasion to do it for. My cousin is getting married on Saturday so I thought it would be a good excuse to finally get booked in. I went for a light pink shade because I still don't know what I'm wearing, so I'm hoping this will go with everything!

5. Laundrette Lunch

On Friday I was working from our offices in Manchester, when someone suggested that we go to The Laundrette for lunch. My company have shares in this place, and after going to the Chorlton branch the week before and drooling over all the food, I was up for trying it. I shared the truffle mac and cheese and a rosemary garlic bread with cheese with my friend Alex and it was incredible. I'll definitely be back there all the time!

6. Didsbury Drinks

After work on Friday, I jumped on the tram to Didsbury to meet my friend Laura. We had a quick G&T before heading to a few bars down Burton Road. It had been a while since we had done it just the two of us, and it was really good to catch up with her and hear about her upcoming trip around the world. I always feel as though going out on a Friday evening makes the weekend feel a lot longer.

7. Bottomless Brunch

On Saturday morning, I headed to Neighbourhood in Manchester for Bottomless brunch with a few friends. We've been trying to book this in for ages, and this was the first weekend that the majority of us were free! It got messy very quickly, but the food and company (and unlimited prosecco) were definitely worth it and I can't wait to go back!

8. Karaoke

After becoming extremely messy quite early on, my friend Emily suggested going to karaoke to keep the party going. I won't lie, this part of the day is quite hazy, but the pictures made it look like we all had a great time. We went to Tiger Tiger in the Printworks, and it was such a good laugh, and good to reminisce about all of the drunken times I've had there over the years. My throat was quite sore the next day and the thing I remember most is putting a lot of Christmas songs on... Who else eh?

9. Friends Fest

As a massive Friends fan, I jumped at the chance to go to Friends Fest when my friend Sarah mentioned it back in April because I've always wanted to go to something to do with the show I grew up loving. Luckily the weather was bright shining sunshine and the whole experience was so much fun. There were sets from the program, the famous orange couch from the start and loads of food and drink stores from the show.

10. Nandos

One of my favourite things to do when we were younger was to go out for dinner on a Sunday in a way to prolong the weekend, and it's something I definitely want to bring back. Nandos have just opened a restaurant in Altrincham so I thought that would be the perfect excuse to go out for a meal with some of our friends.


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Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Food | Porta, Altrincham

I love love love tapas: I've always been a fan. To me, there's nothing better than trying loads of different dishes and sharing them with your nearest and dearest.

When I found out a tapas restaurant was opening in Altrincham (my hometown) I was overly excited, yet, I left it until last night to actually make a visit. I've been to Porta in Chester and thought it was amazing (plus the location is right next to the Roman walls, which is just picturesque).

I've walked past Porta loads of times when it's been nice weather and people chose to sit outside which is one of my favourite things to do (it doesn't' take much to impress me...) Unfortunately, the Great British weather didn't want to play ball yesterday and it rained for the entire afternoon into the evening, meaning that we had to sit inside.

The restaurant itself is very quaint and authentic and smells amazing as soon as you walk in. I was meeting my friend Rosie there, but as I was the first, I thought it would be wise to get a table as it looked busy. When I walked in, I was greeted straight away by one of the waitresses who asked if we would be ok by the bar; obviously, that was fine with me, and only made the experience feel much more 'Spanish'.

We walked past the bar which was piled high with Spanish delicacies, and she showed me to our seats and handed over a menu. Although the menu wasn't huge, it had some favourites on - deep fried squid, patatas bravas, cured meats, the usual you would expect from a tapas restaurant. The price point was around £3-9, which for the quality of the food, is totally worth it.

I had a quick look at the drinks menu and ordered a glass of merlot, which was reasonably priced at £3.15. Rosie arrived shortly after and ordered a wine herself and we had a catch-up whilst perusing the menu.

The waitress brought her wine over and went through the special with us (marinated chicken skewers with tzatziki) and gave us a few minutes to decide what we wanted. Because the idea of tapas is to share a number of different dishes, we ordered six between the two of us and it was the perfect amount.

We went for the chicken special, patatas bravas, deep fried squid, chorizo and lentil stew, ham croquettes and manchego cheese with quince. The dishes come as soon as they're ready (which is exactly what I like #impatient) and it only took a few minutes for the first one to come.

Because the plates were quite small, I was worried that it wouldn't fill us up, but it really did. All the dishes were so homey and tasty, and even Rosie, who went to Barcelona earlier in the year, mentioned that it was the best tapas she had ever had, and I would have to agree.

I think with tapas, it's quite easy to get it wrong, especially if you go to a chain restaurant, so it was refreshing that every dish was perfect. The whole meal cost us £36, which I think is really reasonable for the size of the portions and the quality of the food.

If you live locally or are visiting Altrincham, I think it is definitely worth a visit. Have a read of the whole menu here.


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Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Life With Two Cats

I've officially made it - I have become a crazy cat lady. So I thought for International Cat Day, I would write a little post about our life now we have a new fur baby.

If you know me personally, you'll know that I have already been a crazy cat lady since the day we brought Simba home - to me, he has been like a fluffy child - but now, I feel like being 27 with two cats has definitely reached a new level of craziness...

Jordan and I had been toying with the idea of adopting another cat for a while, but we had never found the right time to do some research into what we wanted and what would be best for Simba.

After we moved out of my parents with him, I felt as though our house would definitely benefit from more cat toys all over the floor, double the cost in cat food, and bits of litter strewn all over the carpet... I kid... but I definitely thought that a little brother or sister for Simba would be a welcome addition to our little family.

If you know anything about cats, you will probably know that they are quite volatile animals. Simba has been the only cat for the last three years, and at times can come across as quite spoilt (yes, I'm still talking about my cat...) but he can also be the sweetest and cuddliest boy when he wants to be. He can be an affectionate cat, but always on his terms, but he always likes to be close to us and runs to the door when we get home, which I find quite sweet.

With me having a few days off between finishing my last job and starting my new one, we thought that this would be the perfect time to get him a sibling. When I was coming up to the end of my notice, I started getting in touch with local animal shelters to see if they had any kittens that needed rehoming. We decided to get a kitten instead of an older cat after speaking to vet who advised that this would be the best route to go down.

In my head, I thought that an older boy cat would get on better with a girl kitten, but apparently, this isn't the case; if anything, boys will get on better with boy kittens. I contacted the RSPCA in Macclesfield who said that they didn't have any kittens in their branch, but one of their volunteers had just taken in a litter of kittens which had three left, but they hadn't been to have their injections yet.

I spoke to the volunteer on the phone in the morning, and when Jordan had finished work, we drove over to her house to meet the little bundles of joy. I found this way so much easier to do because going into an actual animal sanctuary would have been too hard for me and I definitely would have left with more than one.

We met the three kittens, who were all adorable and so playful when we arrived. The volunteer told us that she wasn't sure which were girls, and which were boys because they hadn't been to the vet, which the centre had warned us about. We had to make a really hard decision as to which one to take, but there was one in particular who had been clambering all over us since we arrived, so we chose that one.

The car journey back was quite hard because there were lots of cries coming from the carrier and we had to pull over a couple of times to open it. From the squeals being quite high pitched, we assumed that it was a female kitten, and chose the name Luna when we got home.

We had made up our spare room for the new arrival, equipped with new blankets, a new bed, boxes (if you have a cat, you'll know) fresh litter and lots of new toys for the little angel. We kept Simba completely separate and took it, in turn, to sit with the kitten, whilst the other entertained our resident cat.

One afternoon, I took Luna to the vets myself, to be told that we had, in fact, adopted a male kitten, which took me by surprise, as I had it in my head that he was a girl - but after speaking to Jordan, we decided to keep the name - plus, I'm claiming that it's short for Lunatic, which he definitely can be...

Simba was intrigued as to what was behind the door, but he mostly got on with his normal perusal of the house, plus Luna was quite a quiet kitten, which helped. We swapped their blankets and toys over the course of 3-4 days so the scents could mix, and fed them on either side of the door - all of which we had read on various different websites. We also took Luna out of the room he was kept in and let Simba roam around it so he would recognise the scent of his new brother.

After a weekend of leaving Luna for longer periods of time by himself to play, we thought it was about time to introduce the two. If you are ever going to be introducing two cats, make sure that you do as much research as possible, but also have in the back of your head that every experience will be different.

Luckily (I say that flippantly...) our shower door came off when we moved in, and we had it lying about in the garage to eventually get put back on, but it came in handy for their first meeting. I'd read a lot of things saying that if there's hissing and swiping from the resident cat that it's completely normal because they see the kitten as an 'intruder' to their space, but Simba was more intrigued by him: We were also worried that Luna would be scared of him because he's such a big cat but he just wanted to meet him properly.

After a few more meetings through the shower door, we let them meet face to face by holding Luna and letting Simba sniff him. They were really good together and didn't hiss or fight and just wanted to get to know each other, which was the biggest weight off my shoulders ever because it could have gone completely the other way.

For the first few days of having them together, I spent a lot of time with them both in the house to make sure there were no fights, and on the first few days of me going back to work, we kept them separate until we got home.

Over the first weekend of them having met, we decided to take the plunge and leave them in the house alone to do whatever they pleased and have done ever since. Although we have no idea what goes on when we're not there, they are usually asleep on the bed together when we get in.

Simba has always been a chilled cat, but Luna definitely keeps him on his toes (or paws...) and they play a lot together, which makes my heart melt because it's so cute! There have been a few times when we've had to separate them because Luna has so much energy and Simba just likes to relax now and again, but apart from that, they've really got on well and even groom each other when they get up in the morning. They have very different personalities, but I think that is why they have got on so well.

If you're ever going to introduce two cats, my advice would be to a) make sure the first cat is up to date with their injections b) do some research into what would be best for that particular breed c) read up as much as you possibly can.

And obviously, have as much fun as you can with it. It can be stressful at first, but getting a second cat was such a good decision and I am so happy we went through with it!


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Monday, 7 August 2017

Weekly Love #31

I've had an odd one this week. I started the week still full of a cold, but progressively got better until Friday hit and I got a horrendous headache - I know, woe is me.

But it was Jordan's birthday on Friday and we had a really love time together this weekend, which was welcome after a crazy week.

1. Nourish Lunch

On Wednesday, a couple of the work girls and I went to a cafe in Wilmslow called Nourish for some lunch. There used to be one in Hale round the corner from my parent's house, but it's recently closed down so I was excited to see what this place was all about. I used to also drive past the Wilmslow every day on my way to work, but I'd still never been. I went for a Cajun chicken wrap with a side of halloumi, and now every lunchtime I dream about cheese... It was really good and filled me up for the rest of the day.

2. The Drop

For Jordan's birthday meal on Friday evening, we went to a restaurant in Chorlton called The Drop (full review here). If you're a fan of Caribbean food, I would highly recommend it because the portions are huge, the dishes are incredible and it's not expensive either.

3. Laundrette

Before we went for the birthday meal, we decided to go to one of our favourite bars, The Laundrette in Chorlton Green and sit outside because it was such nice weather. I went for a blueberry gin mojito (great choice) and a glass of wine and the birthday boy had two pints. It's such a cool restaurant, and the vibe was so chilled because of the weather: Definitely one to try if you're in the area.

4. York

For Jordan's birthday, we had arranged to go to Brighton for the weekend, but with me starting my new job, we decided to put it on hold for a bit, and decided to go to York for a day trip instead. We've been to York loads of times before, but not since last Autumn, so I was really excited to go. We chose not to stay over because Luna is still a baby so we wanted to get back to him and Simba, but it was nice to do something different on a Saturday. The weather was perfect for it to!

5. Chocolate Workshop

As massive lovers of chocolate, I thought it would be a fun thing for us to do a chocolate workshop whilst we in York as part of Jordan's birthday celebrations. After researching it online, we went for one at the York Cocoa House. It was just us and another couple doing the workshop, but it meant that it was much more in depth. I'm going to do a full post on it in the next couple of weeks, so keep an eye out for a full review!

6. Breaking The Gin Virginity

When we were in York, it was so lovely and sunny that we decided to get a drink and sit in the Shambles market. I went for my favourite at the moment - a rhubarb gin with ginger beer with a garnish of strawberries from The Angel's Gin Bar - and Jordan enjoyed it so much that he bought one himself (making me feel better about buying him tickets to the gin festival for his birthday!)

7. Brunch

On Sunday morning, I decided to get up a little bit earlier and treat Jordan to one final birthday brunch in bed. I'm not the best cook, but I whipped up scrambled eggs on a bagel with crushed avocado and smoked salmon - one of his favourites. And let's face it - is it even a Sunday without brunch?

8. 'Spring' Clean

This is going to make me sound like I've aged 50 years overnight, but on Sunday morning, we had such a good clear up of the house and got so much washing and other errands done, and it has really put me in a better headspace to start the week. Just call it a spring clean in the middle of summer...

9. Sunday Walk

After spending the afternoon cooking, cleaning and cat parenting, we decided we best get out of the house for a little while, and went for a walk around Sale Water Park before heading to The Woodstock in Didsbury because they were doing 241 on Aperol Spritz (I won't lie and say I didn't have them both now...) It was a lovely way to finish the weekend off and we even ran into a couple of friends.

10. Arcade Fire

This week I've had quite a bit on at work, which has meant me having my headphones in, listening to music most days to get it done. I had heard good things about Arcade Fire's new album, Everything Now, so I decided to give it a go as I've been a fan of theirs for a while, and it didn't disappoint. Now I just need someone to treat me to tickets to see them next year!


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Saturday, 5 August 2017

Food | The Drop

As a lover of trying new food, Jordan and I celebrated his birthday at The Drop in Chorlton. I really enjoy spicy food, and absolutely love Caribbean cuisine, so it was a welcome change to the places that we usually go.

The only real experience of Caribbean food I have is Turtle Bay and a few different street markets over the years, but what I have tried, I have massively enjoyed.

The Drop is one of those places that you've probably driven past, but never taken any notice of: I'd only ever heard of it because it is on the same row of shops as one of my favourite pizza places in Manchester.

It started off in Chorlton, but they recently branched out and opened a second site in Altrincham, which I can't wait to take a few friends to, because the food was incredible.

When we arrived, the outside of the restaurant was full of al fresco diners, and there was a queue of people by the door (tip - if you want to try this place, 100% book it!)

We were greeted by a very smiley waitress who showed us to our table in the multi-coloured restaurant. We thought we would be able to stretch out because it was a table for four, but once we had put in our drink order, two more people turned up and squeezed in. For a Friday night it was absolutely packed, with people turning up and opting for takeaways because they couldn't fit anyone else in.

The overall vibe of the restaurant is really chilled, with everyone enjoying the ambiance and each other's company. There was no couple on their phones, families were laughing and joking, and people were talking to complete strangers because we were all sat so close - that may not be for everyone, but I really enjoy it. There was music playing, but we were able to hear each other no problem (which might be one of the adult remarks I have ever made...)

There was so much choice on the menu that we took a good 10 minutes before we decided what we wanted. In the meantime we had some drinks - a red stripe for Jordan and a cherry amaretto sours for me, which was divine!

We decided to get the Hench Drop Box with jerk chicken and peppered steak (it also comes with dumplings, rice, coleslaw, salad, plantain) with the jerk halloumi main (with the nicest and freshest pomegranate salad) and a side of dumplings because Jordan didn't think one would be enough (it definitely would have been...)

I thought with the restaurant being busy, the food might have taken a while to come, but it only took about 10 minutes, which is pretty amazing in my eyes.

I've eaten a lot of halloumi in my time, but with the jerk glaze and the mango salsa, avocado humous and pumpkin seeds, this was hands down the best halloumi I've ever eaten.

The Hench Drop box was also amazing. The chicken was chargrilled and really flavoursome, and the steak was so tender and fell apart. The next time I go I definitely want to try the saltfish with ackee, which is apparently one of their most popular dishes.

If you've never had plantain, it's essentially a 'cooking banana' but is used a lot in Caribbean food. The dumplings were a welcome accompaniment to soak up all of the juices from the halloumi and the meat, but they are incredibly filling.

Strangely though, my favourite part of the whole meal was the coleslaw three ways. I'm never a huge fan of coleslaw usually, but the way this was presented, and the ingredients, made it so tasty, and it really helped with the spice of the rest of the dish.

Overall I would highly recommend The Drop, and I can't wait to go back. The whole meal cost us around £35, which for the amount of food, is definitely worth it. But remember to book!

Visit their website here


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Friday, 4 August 2017

Living With IBS

I've spoken about my mental health on here a lot over the years, but something I've never spoken about in detail is my physical health. Overall, I would say I'm in quite good health - I eat a balanced diet, enjoy the odd drink, go to the gym a few times a week - but something that I've had a problem with for as long as I can remember is IBS.

Incase you weren't aware, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) affects the large intestine and can cause abdominal pain, bloating and cramps (and a few other symptoms that I won't go into). IBS sufferers are primarily women aged 20 and over, and it is generally believed that up to 15% of the world's population suffer from the illness.

I've been suffering from IBS since I was about 14: During that time, I've had good spurts which have been totally controlled by medication, but on the other end of the spectrum, I've also I've been hospitalised because of it.

The reason I chose to write this post is because recently, I've been in a bad period of it. For some, IBS is triggered by what they eat, but for me that's never really been the case. When I was at school, it was mainly caused by a lack of sleep and not really being in a proper routine; at university, I would say it was more caused by stress, drinking too much and my lifestyle but recently, I can't seem to put my finger on what is causing it.

The main symptom I suffer with is painful bloating: It's a really strange one - I can eat a whole meal and feel absolutely fine, but I can sometimes eat a piece of fruit, a bowl of cereal or even just a piece of toast and be so bloated that it physically hurts for me to move.

I've eliminated different things out of my diet (chocolate, dairy, alcohol etc.) tried medication prescribed by the doctor and increased my water intake, but nothing seems to help. At the moment, I am trying to eat a balanced diet, take regular breaks at work where I get up and walk about, and not slouch on the sofa after a meal; so here's hoping that something improves it soon.

In my last job, my manager suffered from IBS for years with similar problems to me, and he said the only thing that helped was having reflexology. I've never really thought about it too much, but it does make sense as everything in your body is linked.

I guess the point on this post is to raise awareness for something that a lot of people suffer from and to encourage you to get professional help if you feel as though something isn't right. It can be a long process trying to figure out what is causing it, and you might never get to the bottom of it, but it is so important to listen to your body.

If anyone has any advice or is in a similar position, please get in touch with what is working for you.


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Wednesday, 2 August 2017

August Wish List

So it's the start of August, and I'm just wondering if anyone can tell me what they did with July?

Anyway, back to today's post...

I'd been thinking for a few weeks about doing a post at the start of every month with things that I've had my eye on for a while or things I've been loving, and although I love watching and reading 'favourites' posts, I don't think they're for me.

I've done a few wish lists here and there over the years including beauty, fashion and homeware, so I thought I would do something a bit different: Instead of bombarding you with links and photos about things I'm lusting after, I've decided to do a list of things that I hope will happen and some mini goals I would like to achieve throughout August.

Although I'm never one who works to targets in my personal life, I think having some direction of where I want to be at the start of September will help me grow as an individual and help this blog develop.

1. Try a new restaurant in Manchester - would you have guessed that the first thing on the list would be about food? Probably! Every time I go into Manchester now, I feel as though there is always somewhere new to try, and I'm going to make it my mission this month to go somewhere I have never been before.

2. Find a dress for my friend's wedding - I have two weddings coming up in the next couple of months (my cousin, and a close friend) and I have been looking for a dress for a while but have yet to find out I like. I'm on a mission to find one that isn't overly pricey and one I'll get a lot of wear out of.

3. Work with a new brand - I've read a couple of posts recently about bloggers going to brands directly in order to collaborate with them, and it really resonated with me. I've been lucky to have had the chance to work with some great brands this year, but I definitely think it's about time to bite the bullet and made the first move.

4. Start a recipes series - if you know me, you'll know that I'm actually not a huge fan of cooking. Since buying our own house, one of the things I wanted to do was make more recipes to share on my blog, but I've yet to get round to it. This month seems like a good a time as any to start!

5. Finish a book - at the start of the year, I was doing really well with reading every night before I went to sleep, but with moving house, starting a new job, and trying to blog more, I've felt as though I don't have the time to do so. This month I'm going to actively make sure I have some down time before I sleep, and hopefully finish a new book.

6. Book a trip - I love discovering new places, whether it's a trip I've been dreaming of for years, a city break in the UK, or just a different part of my hometown and this month I want to book something to look forward to in the months leading up to Christmas.

7. Make plans with friends - quite a cliche one, but recently I've made so many good memories with my closest friends, and I really want it to continue.

8. Upload my billions of photos - this may seem like a silly one really, but I've still got over 500 photos that need editing and uploading to Facebook and my blog that are clogging up my phone (and have meant that I've had to upgrade to a different iCloud plan...) this month I'm definitely going to have a clear out - watch this space!

9. Insta stories - one of my goals for the year was to start vlogging properly; well, it's August, and I still haven't. When Hannah and I went to Paris back in June, I vlogged the whole trip, but I wasn't happy with the end result (I may still upload it in the future, I haven't decided). I'm going to take that as a test run and hopefully make a few by the time the year is up. To gain some confidence in this area though, I thought the best place to start was with Instagram stories.

10. Continue to enjoy work - I've mentioned to a fair few people how much I am enjoying work at the moment, and I really want it to continue for the foreseeable future. Not only is the job very suited to my skillset, the people I am working with have made me feel so welcome, and I haven't felt this content in a long time.

11. Up my fitness routine - let's just take a moment to appreciate the fact that I'm actually talking about fitness... but in reality, having a best friend who is a fitness blogger was always going to take its toll (I kid) but she has inspired me to actually mix up my routine in the gym. Back at the start of the year, I incorporated more weights into my routine, and I loved the feeling of getting stronger. Six months later, and I have completely lost that strength. If I'm being honest, I'm finding it harder to fit in the gym with my longer hours and commute, but it is definitely something I hope to get back on track this month.

12. Enjoy every day - I talk a lot on this blog about not sweating the small stuff, being positive and that life is what you make it, and this month I am actually going to take my own advice and listen to my body and mind. My anxiety has been all over the place this year as I've been through some pretty big life events, but now I finally feel as though I am on the right track, and I really want that to stay.

And that marks the end of my August wish list. Make sure you visit back in September to see how many of the things I actually managed to achieve.


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Monday, 31 July 2017

Weekly Love #30

This week was my first official week at my new job, which was both exhausting trying to get back into a routine, but also really fun - I definitely feel as though I'm part of the team, and everyone has been so lovely and welcoming.

1. Tampopo Event

If you read last week's post, you will know that I went to the Tampopo supper club in June, which was a great way of trying new dishes (post here) at their Trafford Centre restaurant. I was invited down to their Corn Exchange restaurant on Wednesday with some of my favourite blogging girls for an event to showcase some of their new dishes. I sat with a girl called Sarah who was a vegetarian and had ordered the veggie platter for us to share, which was delicious and inspired me to have a meat-free main. I'm going to do a full post on it with details of what we ate, so keep an eye out for that.

2. Turtle Bay

Sticking with the food theme, on Friday, some of the work girls invited me into Manchester for dinner, which I thought was really lovely of them. We decided to go to Turtle Bay in the Northern Quarter, which, if you know me, you'll know is one of my favourite restaurants. We managed to get there for happy hour, so enjoyed a couple of cocktails each - passion rum punch for me - and I had a burger for my main. A great way to start off the weekend!

3. PLY

After dinner on Friday, a couple of the girls had to get trains home, but I stayed out for a little bit longer as I had nowhere to be. We decided to go to PLY, which is round the corner from Turtle Bay, as they do interesting craft beers. We all went for a Juice Springsteen, which was a tropical flavoured pale ale (with a very interesting taste...) It was really nice to spend some time with the girls from work, outside of the office, and I hope it becomes a regular occurrence.

4. Chester Races

One of the things I look forward to the most is spending time with my friends, which is why I was so excited to go to Chester Races on Saturday. We'd been toying with the idea for a few months, and only booked the tickets a couple of weeks ago. We got the train at 9:45 am so we could go for brunch first at Carluccio's (which was delicious) and then went to a couple of bars before carrying on to the races. I personally didn't have any winners, but a couple of the group did. We had such a lovely day, and the sun even came out for most of it.

5. Current Favourite Song

It's not often that I'll mention a favourite song on here, but this week I have been listening to 'Two High by Moon Taxi' on repeat. I don't know what it is about the song, but it is one of those ones that I don't think I'll ever get tired of. It's been out for a couple of months (or so YouTube tells me) and I can't wait to hear some more stuff from them.

6. Topshop Dress

As I had the races on Saturday, and I have a couple of weddings coming up, I thought I better invest in a summery dress that I could wear to both. I chose this one from Topshop, which I had seen Lily Pebbles in on Instagram and I love it. I'm not a huge fan of having my arms out, so this was a great choice as it covered them up, and I love the blue colour and the floral print. Unfortunately, they only had the petite version available online, which is slightly short on me, but as I'm 5'4, I feel as though I can just get away with it!

7. Danone Yoghurts

I've noticed a few pounds creeping on in the last couple of months so I thought it was best to start eating a bit healthier. I was offered the chance to try the Danone Intensely Creamy yoghurts, and I am already obsessed. I'm not a big yoghurt eater, so I was quite reluctant at first, but these are much nicer than a regular yoghurt, and a lot thicker. I've gone for the blueberry and strawberry ones, and I can't wait to try the other flavours.

8. Sunday Walks

On Sunday, I felt like I had come down with a bad case of summer flu (a name I have definitely made up myself...) but it meant that I was very snotty, tired and achy. I thought it would be better to get outside, especially whilst the weather was nice, so we decided to go for a walk into Didsbury along the canal. Overall, we walked just over 10k, and although I was tired when we got home (and my feet were killing because I stupidly thought mules would be a good idea...) I was glad I did something productive instead of staying in and feeling sorry for myself.

9. Makers Market

One of the main reasons for the walk we did was to go to the Maker's Market in West Didsbury. We've been going to this one since it started in 2014, and this one was definitely the biggest I have ever seen it. We hadn't been to this one for a couple of months, so it was nice to go back to where we used to live. I love supporting local businesses and sampling the food, and because the weather was nice, there were loads of people with dogs, which is always a plus!

10. Three Pugs Gin 

On the note of supporting local businesses, one of the ones that I wanted to mention on here was Thee Pugs Gin. I won't lie, the reason I went over to the stall was that they had three pugs in a pen behind the stall and I'm only human. We got talking to the seller, who told us about the history of the brand, where it was based and how he brewed it. He gave us some samples, and I ended up buying a little bottle of it (which I can't wait to try with rose lemonade and strawberries). If you ever get the chance to try it, definitely do as it is much smoother than other gins I've tried!


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Friday, 28 July 2017

Beauty | Kiehl's Event

Today I'm going to be talking about the Kiehl's event I was invited to last weekend at their Manchester King Street boutique store. I met up with my friend Rachel before the event (from the blog Ode2Fitness) plus her baby bump and we wandered through a very quiet Manchester at 9:30am.

I've walked past the Kiehl's shop so many times (I used to go to college up the road) but I'd never actually been in. On arriving, I noticed how big and bright the shop was compared to some of the other branches I've been in, and there's even a treatment room downstairs where you can book yourself in for a facial (these usually retail for around £35, but for the month of July and August, you can get one for £5 - definitely worth it!)

We were greeted by Jane and Puneet who showed us around the shop, and let us take photos of all of the incredibly well displayed products. We were given a glass of bubbly (pineapple juice for Rachel) and some pastries for breakfast whilst we waited for the other bloggers to arrive.

For those who aren't aware, Kiehl's is an American cosmetic brand, which specialises in premium skin, hair and body care products. It started off on Third Avenue in Manhattan, New York, back in 1851, so to say they know a thing or two about the market is definitely an understatement. The currently have over 250 stores worldwide and over 1,000 points of sale, including their department store presence. In comparison to some of their competitors, Kiehl's have a very large male following, which we saw first hand in their Manchester store whilst we were there.

When I was invited to be an ambassador for Kiehl's Manchester, firstly, I was incredibly surprised - I wouldn't class myself as a beauty blogger of sorts... I've blogged about beauty here and there, but nothing too recently, but I am always up for varying my content, and I have admired the brand for a while; secondly, I was honoured to be part of such a big campaign that the brand are involved with - at the moment, Kiehl's have joined forces with MTV for their Staying Alive campaign which aims to fight HIV globally. Kiehl's have produced an avocado eye cream, which has been designed by Leona Lewis, and are donating £10 of every sale to the charity. The eye cream is really rich and smooth (from the bit I tried on the back of my hand anyway...) and would be a really nice addition to your skincare routine, whilst helping such a great cause.

We were talked through the history of the brand by Jane, and she mentioned some of the most popular products: We were very kindly gifted a beautiful box of Kiehl's goodies. After the introduction to the brand, Puneet gave us a run down of what Kiehl's Manchester are doing over the next few months, how we can get involved, and some of the competitions that are happening throughout August.

One of the main competitions is for you as my readers - for every one of you that donates £3 to the MTV Staying Alive campaign by texting KIEH99 £3 to 70070, you can pop into store and get a little goodie bag full of miniatures of some of their most premium products. Also, make sure you are following me on social media (twitter and instagram) as I will be promoting some more of their competitions.

After we had been given a run through of some of their store favourites, we were given a skincare consultation. At the moment with the weather being a bit warmer, my skin has been so dry, which showed up on the oil test that we were given (there was literally no oil on my cheeks, which apparently is a bad thing...) Puneet recommended me some products to try to combat the issues including the turmeric and cranberry energising radiance mask, the ultra face cream and the midnight recovery concentrate. We were given a bit more time perusing the shelves before taking some selfies with Mr. Bones, the brand mascot.

I am a big lover of brands that partner with charities, and I hope you will agree with me that this is a really great cause.

Thank you to Jane and Puneet for the lovely experience, and keep you eyes peeled on my social media channels for the upcoming competitions.


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Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Life Is What You Make It

Since 'growing up' in recent years (although, I am using that term loosely...) I have come to realise how much we as individuals are in charge of our own happiness. It's something that got me thinking, and questioning of all of the things that make me happy, whether I focus on the happy moments in my life enough, and prioritise happiness in general.

When we are younger, we rely on our parents to create the fun for us, and even when we get to school, our friendship groups usually have a big impact in terms of making plans and socialising.

University is a different barrel - you have to be outgoing and confident in order to create friendship groups, and try new things, go to new places, and generally, get out of your comfort zone. In theory, the only thing you have in common with people at university is the fact that you are both studying in the same place... but that's also the exciting thing too - you get to meet a whole new kettle of fish.

Once you've finished uni and enter into adult life, we become more and more in charge of our own happiness. All of a sudden, we aren't getting student loans, our bills aren't included and our friends are spread all across the country.

This is the first time that our life is in our own hands - no more parents, flatmates, lecturers: The start of having to think about where are pennies are going, saving to buy a house, having a baby.

But as we get more busy with life, it becomes increasingly harder to do the little things that used to make us happy; as much as we love it, life tends to get in the way: We have a whole new set of responsibilities.

The thing is, if we dwell on that fact, life becomes hard. It becomes really hard. Feeling as though you have no time is one of the worst feelings in the world - because it's simply not true.

Yes, we spend the majority of our time at work; but without it, we wouldn't get very far.

We still have early mornings for a breakfast date with your boyfriend, evenings off to spend sipping cocktails with your girls, and weekends to catch up with your family. When you start to prioritise your happiness into the free time we do have, your life becomes more fulfilled and you become more content.

I'm not saying you need to do something every evening in order to feel happy, but instead focus on the cosy evenings in as taking a well-deserved break, the new dish you want to try cooking as a chance to experiment in the kitchen, and having people over as a way to save money but spending time with those who mean the most to you.

If you start to focus on how tired and sluggish you feel, how you've got so much to do, but no time to do it, thats exactly how you're teaching your brain to think.

Yes there are always going to be other factors that influence how happy you are, but it is up to you how you go about these situations. If you focus on the negativity, then your mood will plummet. I've found it hard to change the way my mind works, and from time to time, things still do get to me more than they should; but once I remember that I am in control, and I am the only one who can warrant how much something is going to get to me, then it is much easier to get my life back on track and into a happy place.

Last but not least, I am always an advocate for having something to look forward to, whether thats a night out with your friends, a weekend away with your boyfriend, a family gathering or a trip abroad - having something on the horizon is definitely a way of making the most out of your life.

Life is what you make it.


Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Food | Tampopo Supper Club

Tampopo is one of those places that I've been going for years, yet I can't remember the last time I actually went. I remember going for our Christmas present exchange once; I remember grabbing a quick bite to eat before going to the MEN, and I remember taking advantage of their fantastic student offers when I was at university. But I'll admit - it had been a while since I'd been, which is why I more than happy to go along when I was invited to their supper club: If you've read my blog before, you'll know that I am a huge fan of Asian food too.

If you don't know, Tampopo is a chain of restaurants based in Manchester (and one in London) that serves dishes from East Asia (Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore & Indonesia) in a relaxed atmosphere. The word Tampopo itself is a Japanese girl's name meaning dandelion (which I thought was very cute!) and is also the title of a Japanese film about a woman searching for her perfect bowl of noodles - very fitting!

When Hannah and I arrived at the Trafford Centre restaurant, we were greeted by Claire, who showed us to a table at the back of the restaurant, where the supper club was taking place. She mentioned that they do the supper club as a way for people to try 5 or 6 dishes off their menu, with a drink, for a set price. They usually run them quarterly and they cost around £22, which, for the amount of food you get, is really good value.

We were also given a Lonely Planet guide to Japan, which I started reading as soon as we sat down because it is one of those countries that has always appealed to me. I would absolutely love to visit and immerse myself in a culture that is so different to what I am used to - watch this space! After having a quick look at the tasting menu (one for meat-eaters and also vegetarians) we both ordered peach bellinis, which were included in the deal.

The menu started off with a portion of pork gyoza and tempura fried vegetables on the side. Gyoza are something that I tend to order whenever I eat at this kind of restaurant, as I find them so tasty, but not too filling before a main meal. The tempura fried vegetables was something that I hadn't tried before, but I really enjoyed it - we had slices of pepper, baby corn and broccoli stems in the tempura batter which is a really light batter, and isn't greasy at all.

Next, we had chicken wings in a teriyaki sauce with pickled cucumber. The sauce on this was so sweet, but not at all sickly, which I find some teriyaki sauces can be, and the pickled cucumber was a welcome addition as a hint of something savoury.

After that, we had a chicken ramen with ramen noodles in a broth, which is something that I have had before at the restaurant, and it didn't disappoint. I really love having noodles in soup because it feels as though you are having two separate meals, and I love the fact that all of the flavourings from the meat and the veg goes into the sauce.

The next course was a sample of two different dishes - sweet potato katsu curry, and a portion of yaki udon. Katsu curry is probably my favourite Asian curry that I have ever tasted, but I had never had it with sweet potato before, and I would definitely order this over chicken next time. The sweetness of the potato matched the slight spicy twang from the curry sauce perfectly, and the rice is always good at soaking it up too. The yaki udon was very flavoursome, and I loved the hint of ginger on top.

The final course was a green tea ice cream, which I was very intrigued by when I first read it on the menu. I've had a green tea ice cream before, and wasn't overly keen, but this one tasted a bit different, and it was nice to have something sweet to end the 4 savoury courses, without it being overpowering.

I would highly recommend the supper club if you haven't been to Tampopo before, or if it has been a while since you have been because it gives you the chance to sample a number of different dishes that chance with every menu, which are talked about in detail by the staff members - for £22 as well its a really good deal.

To find out more, visit the Tampopo website here.


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Monday, 24 July 2017

Weekly Love #29

This week was an exciting one for me because I started my new job and had some really exciting events and a little addition to our family.

It finally seems as though my life is on track after a hectic few months and I for one couldn't be feeling more positive.

1. Luna

I think now is the time to introduce the latest addition to our family; our new furry baby, Luna. We decided to get a new kitten a couple of months ago but didn't want to rush into anything so spent some time researching the best ways to introduce two cats, whether one gender would be better than the other, and talking to local rescue centres. When I was offered my new job, it seemed like the perfect time to get a sibling for Simba because of my longer hours, and not being able to get home as early. We eventually found our new little baby at the RSPCA in Macclesfield, and we are already in love. I can't wait to keep you all updated with how he is getting on.

2. Park Life

On Monday, my friend Phil and I went to chill in the park opposite my house because the weather was so nice. I decided to start my job a little bit later in the week, and he was also off work so it seemed like a no brainer. It was a really lovely and chilled way to start the week.

3. New Job

If any of you know me, you will know how much I really didn't like my old job - it just wasn't for me. I'm very much an advocate that you create your own happiness, and seen as we spend so much time at work, I thought it was about time that I felt happy and comfortable with my career. On Wednesday I started my new chapter, and I'm already so happy I took the plunge into something new.

4. Enzo Event

On Thursday evening I went to the Enzo pizza blogging event in Manchester for some carbs and fizz. At the moment they have two sites - one in Manchester, and one in Nantwich, but are planning to open others. I couldn't get there until after work but managed to wolf down some very tasty pizza and they very kindly boxed away some starters for me to take with me. It was such a cool, laid back place, which would be perfect for a quick lunch, or after work slice - definitely check them out if you're in the city!

5. Neighbourhood Relaunch

After the Enzo event, and in a slight food coma from eating so fast, Jacinta and I went to the relaunch event at Neighbourhood in Spinningfields. I love this venue because it is so fancy with coloured leather seats, flower walls and neon lights, so I was surprised to hear that they had renovated it - especially in such a short space of time since the last time I was there only a fortnight ago. When we arrived, we were seated at a table with some familiar faces and were able to sample the new food and drink menu - both of which were amazing. We got to try the mini burgers, sushi platter (which is definitely what you should order if you do go...) and a couple of the starters. They had a live singer too who was amazing, and the event was packed.

6. Kiehl's Event

On Saturday morning, I was invited to an event at the King Street branch of Kiehl's in Manchester. If you don't know much about the brand, Kiehl's is a premium skin, hair and body care brand and was started as a single pharmacy in Manhattan, where the store still stands today. I went with my friend Rachel (from Ode to Fitness) and we had such a lovely time learning about the brand, having a skincare consultation and chatting with other bloggers over breakfast. They invited us to test their latest avocado eye cream, which is in collaboration with Leona Lewis and MTV, where they are giving £10 from every pot sold to the Staying Alive Foundation, which helps those affected by HIV. I have a whole blog post coming on what it all means, and some great competitions and I am really excited to be an ambassador for such a great cause.

7. Danilo's Lunch

My friend Louise was up from London this weekend, so we had lunch at one of our favourite Italian restaurants, Danilos in Hale. The food was amazing as always, but I f t so sleepy after having such a big lunch! It was really nice to catch up with her and meet her family's new pug, Hatty, who was adorable. She even came to see Luna afterwards, as she is a crazy cat lady just like me!

8. Chilled Afternoon

After quite a hectic morning, Hannah came round to ours to catch up and have a chilled afternoon doing nothing. We haven't seen each other for a couple of weeks, so it was really nice to hear about everything going on in her life at the moment, and even better that we could just do it in the comfort of my living room watching Inbetweeners 2.

9. Uncle's Birthday

On Sunday, it was my uncle's birthday (and my twin cousin's birthday the day before) so we went round to his house for a BBQ to celebrate. I didn't realise how many people and family members there were going to be there, but it was amazing seeing everyone in one place. They always put on such a good spread for us when we go over, but this time it was even more incredible.

10. Wedding Pictures

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you'll know that I was a bridesmaid for two of my closest friends back in May, and yesterday I got to see their wedding photos for the first time. It was very emotional living the whole day again, and seeing all of the pictures just brought back all of the good memories!


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Saturday, 22 July 2017

Food | Tatton Foodies Festival

Last weekend, I was invited to the Foodies Festival at Tatton Hall in Knutsford. I've been to this particular festival a few times at Tatton, Harrogate, Clitheroe and Arley Hall, but hadn't been to this one for the last couple of years so I was excited to be going back - plus, you can never go wrong with a food festival.

The festival itself was started in 2006 by Sue Hitchens in Edinburgh who wanted to set up a fun, family-orientated festival in her hometown celebrating local produce but also allowing Michelin-starred restaurants the chance to share their recipes with a 'foodie' audience.

We were offered VIP tickets to the event, which normally retail at £38. Once we arrived, we were directed to a separate tent to pick up our wristbands. The wristband meant that we got a glass of fizz on arrival, free rosé, tea and coffee throughout the day and a recipe book.

We met up with a couple of friends who were also there, and went for a wander round, rosé in hand! The thing I love about food festivals is a number of vendors that you don't get anywhere else. We saw a Venezuelan BBQ, Yorkshire based halloumi and dark chocolate and fennel sausages, to name a few.

Throughout the day, there are chef demonstrations, baking tutorials and a drinks tent, where you can meet big names from bake off and Masterchef - I managed to quickly meet Candace, bake off 2016 winner, before she went to do her thing!

I wanted to try something random for my late lunch and went for a traditional Peruvian dish called Aji de Gallina, which was creamy chicken, rice and potatoes, seasoned very well, and incredibly tasty and nothing like I had ever tried before!

After having lunch, I felt as though I wanted to try the gin bar, so off we went to have a nosey and what was on offer. The brand was called the Gin Spot, and had a huge selection of flavours and mixers: I went for a Rhuberry gin and ginger ale, as it was the closest to what I had at the gin festival back in March, and I loved it.

As a self-confessed sweet tooth, after we had done a round of the hot and cold food stalls and had a few samples, I was on the hunt for something to satisfy my cravings. If you know me at all, you will also know that I am a huge fan of fudge, and made it my mission to be taking some home, which I did - malteaser and kinder bueno, if you were wondering.

If you were following my Insta stories, you would have also seen that there was a brownie stall where you could get hot chocolate sauce poured on top - absolute heaven - so of course, I got one of these too, and it was divine (salted caramel, obvs...)

The thing I really love about food festivals is the variety of choice on offer. I've been to a fair few markets in my time, but usually, they are much smaller, so it is interesting to go somewhere that is totally dedicated to food and drink.

If you get the chance to go to a foodies festival, I would definitely recommend going to check it out just for the atmosphere if nothing else takes your fancy!


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