It’s finally happened – I’m actually starting to feel festive (maybe still too early for some of you). I think the mixture of going down to London with doing some Christmassy posts on here has definitely sped things up, and there are lots of exciting things to come which I’m looking forward to sharing with you all.

But before that happens, I’ll talk about everything I was loving last week.

1. Jake Shoes Launch

There’s been a lot of local buzz around the newly opened Jake Shoes in Altrincham for the past couple of weeks, and I was lucky enough to be invited to the launch on Monday evening. It was a really fun event with some people I knew, and some that I didn’t, and I even won a free pair of flip flops – shame its November and I live in Manchester!

2. Carmex

This week I bought myself a new Carmex after losing mine a few months ago. As someone who suffers from chapped lips all through the year, I find its one of the only things that helps them, plus its strawberry flavoured, which makes it even better.

3. Home Cooking

This week has felt like such a wintry week, which is one of the reasons I’ve been craving home cooking so much. We managed to whip up sweet potato and chickpea pies midweek and spent Friday evening throwing different spices in a pan to make a curry, which was delicious. I’m definitely enjoying cooking a whole lot more.

4. Lunch At My Parents

On Thursday lunchtime, I nipped to my Parent’s house, which is around the corner from where I work, to have lunch with them. It’s always nice to be able to catch up with them in the week now I no longer live there, and the free lunch was even more of a treat.

5. Self Care Night

I’m not sure whether its the cold weather, or my mental health taking a bit of a battering in the last couple of weeks, but its made me into a bit of a hermit, which I am a-ok with. On Thursday evening I was feeling a bit down in the dumps so I decided to have a bath, put on a facemask and just relax without having to think about anything and it was pure bliss.

6. Ren Samples

When I saw my Mum during the week, she gave me a couple of Ren skincare samples that she had from a recent order. One of them was a scrub and the other was a mask, both of which I’ve tried and have really enjoyed. Ren is one of those brands that I never gravitate to in the shops, but one that I really enjoy using when I get round to it. I might treat myself to a cheeky pre-Christmas order.

7. London 

On Saturday, I went to London to see my friend Louise as a pre-birthday celebration. We ate at Cereal Killer Cafe, got lost in Seven Dials and went to Winter Wonderland which made me feel so festive. I love visiting London, and it was really nice to not be down there for work and be a tourist.

8. Festive Day

Following on from the festive-feel of my London trip, I had a couple of blog posts to write for brands on Sunday which meant that I spent most of the day in Christmas jumpers, doing Christmassy things – including getting my first hot chocolate from Costa in a festive cup.

What have you been loving over these last few days? 

xx

Top marks for creativity on the title eh?

Anyway, tangent aside, back to today’s post.

I wanted to dedicate a whole blog to Stylist Live, what the hell it is, whether it’s worth the trip down south and what I personally thought of it. In short, Stylist Live is an event hosted by Stylist Magazine in London, this time at the Olympia, which brings together brands, speakers and a whole lot of inspiration.

You might know Stylist Magazine from your commute (it comes with the Metro newspaper if you live in Manchester and the Evening Standard if you live in London) as it is a free publication full of travel, lifestyle, beauty and fashion articles. I’ve been reading Stylist for a few years now, one and off, and have a subscription to their daily sister newsletter, Emerald Street. For a free magazine, I think it’s brilliant, and the content in it is completely relevant for the average working woman.

When my Mum suggested a few weeks ago that we should go to Stylist Live, I thought, why the hell not – I love London and I love the magazine so it sounded like a pretty win-win situation. We bought the Silver tickets which meant that we got access to one of the shows on the ‘Thrive’ stage and entry into the rest of the festival.

We arrived in London mid-morning and headed over to the Olympia on the tube (stopping at Westfield in Shepherd’s Bush for a quick Christmas shop) before heading on the overground to the venue. I love the Olympia as a venue as it is so grand, and I thought it was the perfect place for this as its only getting bigger every year.

After getting a shot next to the shimmery gold wall, we headed inside to our first talk, ‘Meet the women shaping the wellness industry’ with Annie Clarke (Mind Body Bowl), Pandora Symes and Claire Missingham. They spoke about the importance of taking time out of your body schedule for yourself, which is something I really want to take on board for 2018, and the secret to intuitive eating, which I am totally on board with after reading up on what it is.

When the talk had finished, we had a wander around the stalls which were a mixture of brand activations, fashion and beauty and an amazing Kikki K stand, where I reaffirmed my love for slogan stationery. I loved that there was a mixture of brands that I’d heard of with some new discoveries and the overall flow of the exhibitions was really well curated.

The second talk we went to was ‘How to break into an industry you know nothing about’. The speakers were Pippa Murray (founder of Pip and Nut), Steph Douglas (from ‘Don’t buy her flowers’) and funeral director, Poppy Mardell. I thought this talk was absolutely brilliant: All of the women came from completely different background to what they ended up doing but found a gap in the market to enter.

Pippa used to work in theatre production when she realised there was a lack of variety in the supermarket for another kind of nut butter and came up with Pip and Nut. Steph had just had a baby and was inundated with flowers from friends and family to only be overwhelmed with keeping more things alive, and thought there must be better presents for new mums so she created a place for people to buy more thoughtful, rather than traditional, gifts for a whole host of different occasions.

The one that stood out to me the most though was Poppy Mardell: Her story really struck a chord with me, and I thought she was so engaging and such a natural speaker to a quite large audience. She started her career at Sotheby’s Auction House, working her way up to senior auctioneer, when both her parents became ill. After seeing a conveyer-belt-similarity in the male-dominated, funeral business, she decided to give it a go on her own. She developed a product that was more affordable, personal and simple, yet gave the family a beautiful service for their loved one.

This talk was incredibly heartfelt, and I thought the women chosen all had really interesting stories of how they became their own boss even though they were on a different career path. It just goes to show that anything can happen when you least expect it and that you might find something that you are so passionate about, that you are able to turn it into a career.

The next talk we had was with The Step Up Club about how to get the most out of your career, learning your worth and be the ultimate Girl Boss. The session was taken by Alice and Phanella, who run the program ‘turn your life around in a year’, and had some really good tips for knowing your rights in the workplace as a woman.

After this talk, we caught a little bit of ‘Reclaim the week’ which I really wanted to see as Emma Gannon and Anna Whitehouse (Mother Pukka) were on the panel, who I’m a huge fan of. They both had really interesting takes on the importance of work-life balance and how having a side hustle is incredibly valuable when your career path isn’t as creative as you might like.

One of the things I was really looking forward to during the day was the fashion show. I was following the Stylist account on Instagram throughout the day and caught some of the updates of the show, which is where we went next. We managed to get seats on the second row (can I coin the term s-row?) which gave us such a brilliant view of the catwalk. All of the outfits came from high street stores, which was refreshing as it was actually things we could afford.

The last time I was in London at the Olympia in September, my friend went for a drink at the Kensington Roof Gardens, which is just down the road, so I suggested we have a wander there before coming back to the exhibition a bit later on. We got there just as the sun was setting, which gave such a beautiful sky to admire from up high, and they have real life flamingos, which was just really surreal.

When we got back, the last talk we went to was ‘The influencers we can really trust’ with Hannah Witton, Alice Liveing and Jayne Crabbe, where I fangirled about seeing Hannah Witton in real life. They all came across really down-to-earth, and it was interesting listening to the talk as a blogger myself, and how they come across in the online world.

We had to leave shortly after this talk to get our train home back to Manchester, but by this point, my head was so buzzing from the great talks and industry experts we had listened to, and I felt so motivated after being in the presence of such inspirational women.

Overall I would highly recommend Stylist Live, whether you’re a blogger, working in the online work, or just want to feel in touch with your career, mind, body and attitude towards life.

xx

Have you been to Stylist Live before? Would you recommend it? 

One of the great things in life is discovering new places, but there has to be something said for going somewhere you’ve been before that has that familiarity element.

Living like a local in another city seems like such a fun thing to do, and today I’ve compiled a list of all the places I would love to go back to that I’ve visited through my life.

1. New York

I went to New York back in 2008 on a school trip to the UN, and I’ve always wanted to go back. This year, I was looking at flights in December, but with buying a house and having a number of wedding and hen do’s, the responsibility took over me and I refrained. I would love to visit at Christmas and take in the city in all its glory.

2. Amsterdam

I visited Amsterdam as a celebration trip when I finished University. There were 5 of us who went in total, and we had such a fun time and still even talk about the memories to this day. There was so much of the city that we didn’t get to explore though, so on my next trip, I’d like to see all the sites that we missed – I believe autumn is a beautiful time to visit.

3. Lisbon

I went to Lisbon in 2014 with a couple of girls that I worked with. We went in November, which wasn’t the warmest month by any stretch, but the city itself was just stunning. Compared to other European capitals, it was much cheaper, but there was still so much to see and do. I’d love to go back in summer and visit the Time Out food market again and admire the beautifully tiled walls.

4. Barcelona

I went to Barcelona for my 21st birthday with a few friends and I remember thinking that I definitely wanted to go back there one day. We had about 4 full days there and crammed loads in, but I would love to go back and appreciate some of the sites that are off the beaten track.

5. Iceland

Iceland was one of the most surreal places I’ve ever been to in my life – but also absolutely incredible. I visited in June where it was sunlight for 24 hours (not something I’d recommend) so I would love to go back at the start of the year and hopefully see the Northern Lights.

6. Dubai

One of my closet friends lives in Dubai, which is why I went in the first place, but I ended up having one of the most fun weeks of my life. I visited with my friend, Phil, and we had so much fun going to brunch, quad biking across the desert and visiting the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. The next time I go, I would love a chilled beach holiday.

And there you have the 6 places I would love to visit again given the chance – donations welcome!

Have you been to any of these places? Is there anywhere you would love to go back to? 

xx

This has been one of my busiest weeks in a while, which has been great, but it also meant that I spent most of Saturday in bed with a migraine because I was doing too much.

This week I’ve still got some big things on, but I’ve decided to slow down a bit, take each day as it comes and hopefully be up to full health quickly.

1. Rosso Meal

You might have seen my post over the weekend about my visit to Rosso in Manchester (if not, you can find it here.) It was such a brilliant night that I wanted to mention it here as well. It was arranged by my friend Georgie, who did a brilliant job of bringing together such a lovely group of girls, with great food and an amazing goodie bag. I already can’t wait for the next one.

2. Salon Success Event

I’ve been lucky enough to work with Salon Success for over a year now, which is why I couldn’t wait to go to their Blogger Christmas Dinner on Thursday. It was my first Christmas event that I had in my diary, and I’ve been looking forward to it for a good few weeks now. I knew some of the bloggers there, but it was also great to meet some new faces too.

3. Stylist Live

I want to do a whole post dedicated to Stylist Live because I had such a brilliant day there and I wanted to share my experience fully. I went with my Mum, who also thought it was great. We got the train early Friday morning to London, fit in a little bit of Christmas shopping, and spent the day at the event, nipping out to experience the Kensington Roof Gardens too, which, if you haven’t been, I would highly recommend – they have real-life flamingos!

4. Inspiration

I get a lot of inspiration for my blog by my everyday life, but I felt like I was lacking a bit in the last couple of months. I don’t know whether it was the day in bed on Saturday, but I feel really inspired with the ideas I have for this little blog, and I hope that I can pull them off in the next few weeks.

5. Brand Collabs

On the same note, I’ve been really lucky to have been contacted by some amazing brands in the last fortnight who have given me free rein of the campaigns too – always a plus. I can’t wait to share these posts over the next month or so and get your feedback on them.

6. Brunch

On Sunday morning, I went for brunch with my good friends Sophie and Abi to Sugar Junction in Altrincham. I hadn’t seen either of them in a few weeks, so it was really lovely to catch up over some great food and coffee. I went for the avocado stack (because I’m basic as hell) and it was absolutely amazing.

7. Ideal Home Show

I was invited to the Ideal Home Show a few weeks ago, and it’s something I’ve been looking forward to ever since. If you didn’t know, my boyfriend and I bought our house together back in March, and I’m always looking for inspiration to make it feel more homey. The show also hosted the food and drink festival and the cake and bake show so we had a really nice afternoon wandering about.

8. Kosmos Taverna

If you know me, you’ll know I’m a huge fan of Greek food – I love the amount of different flavours they use and the fact you can have a bit of everything. We had the set mezze platter, which was three courses of pure deliciousness, and really well priced.

What have you been loving this week? 

xx

On Wednesday evening, I was lucky enough to be invited by my friend Georgie Glass, a very talented photographer, to attend the new menu launch at Rosso restaurant in Manchester. It had been a while since I’d been to a foodie related blogging event so I was really excited to catch up with some of my favourite girls over what I knew would be a great meal.

It had been a few years since I’d been there, and in that time they’ve gone through a multi-million pound revamp, meaning that the decor is beyond dreamy. They pulled on this girl’s Christmas-obsessed heartstrings by already having their Christmas tree up and beautiful decorations all over, including fairy lights, luminous stars and bauble wreaths, which only added to the already stunning backdrop. Even from the outside, the lights, grand entrance and architecture are your first indication that there will be a spectacle beyond the iron door – and that there is.

The first thing I noticed was how bright the restaurant was, but not overpowering in the slightest. The white interiors were really beautiful and gave an overall luxury feel to the place. There is a separate bar and dining area (with little alcoves for people to come and do work – a blogger’s absolute dream) a grand dome ceiling and stunning marble surfaces everywhere. The bar isn’t cramped at all either, which can be the problem with some of the restaurants in Manchester.

For the dinner, we were seated on a raised section of the dining area, in a stunning booth with white leather seats, enough for the group of us that there was without us feeling cramped at all. The table was laid out beautifully with gifts from Evelyn’s House of Beauty, Louboutin perfume, a ring from Brand Attic and a little treat from Hey Little Cupcake. Being the blogger cliches that we are, we immediately all got our cameras out to capture the stunning dinner setting and gushed over how good a job that Georgie had done.

I was lucky enough to be sat next to my partner in crime, Jacinta, and the beautiful Faye from The Fussy Feeder. I was also able to catch up with the founder of We Blog North, Holly Wood, and Spamella, which was lovely as I hadn’t seen either of them in a while, and Pam brought her little boy with her who was an absolute dream.

We were there to sample their new menu for winter, which is always music to my ears. The main course was tagliatelle con gamberi e pollo (egg pasta ribbons with garlic chicken, prawns, courgettes and fresh cream) and the dessert was crostata di mandorle (almond tart, pickled damson and homemade Garstang Blue cheese ice cream).

The main was such a delicious pasta course, nice and creamy and probably one of the nicest dishes I’ve had outside of Italy… and I’ve eaten A LOT of pasta in my lifetime: You can tell that Rosso is up there with their knowledge of true Italian flavours, and the dish was put together really well.

The dessert was an interesting one: Once I read blue cheese ice cream on the menu, I was immediately intrigued as to what that might entail. The tart was light and flavoursome with a puff pastry crust, and the pickled damson was a very welcome acidic accompaniment to break the overall sweetness. I couldn’t recall a time of ever trying damson before, but it really complimented the whole dish. The ice cream worked well with the overall flavour of the pudding, but I’m not sure I would have enjoyed it as much by itself.

Once dinner was finished, we had a group catch up and started talking about our Christmas plans which made me really excited for the season ahead. As much as I love putting Christmas music on as soon as it turns to November, I’ve refrained slightly this year, so it was nice to be eased into the festive spirit ever so slightly. Georgie did such a fabulous job with the whole evening, and it was nice to meet the team behind the food choices as well.

Rosso is such a stunning venue to go for a meal, and I would definitely recommend the food that we had. The ambience of the restaurant matches the sumptuous food that we experienced and I can’t wait for there to be more meet up’s coming up in the future.

Have you ever been to Rosso? What were your thoughts? 

xx

My meal at Rosso was complimentary. All views are my own.