Although January has felt like the longest month in history, I also can’t quite believe that it is February on Wednesday! When did that happen? I’ve had quite an enjoyable January (which makes a change) but I’m also excited for what the rest of the year has in store.

1. Brunch and Catch Ups

If you follow me on social media, you might notice that I went for a slightly boozy brunch on Sunday with a girl I used to work with at Altrincham Market. If you’ve never been to the market, it’s an open plan dining room, with food stalls around the edge (some of which have won awards) and it’s a really chilled place to go for some food. Luckily Rosie got there first and managed to get us a seat, which usually proves quite hard  (although someone did basically eat a pie sat on top of me…) and we spent about 3 hours in there catching up and eating amazing food (and drinking prosecco!) We both had the steak benedict from Tender Cow, which is as good as it sounds, and I’ll definitely be back for more.

2. Manchester with Hannah

Speaking of catch up’s, I spent most of my Saturday with my girl Hannah (from Hannah gets hench) just wandering around Manchester, drinking tea and eating incredible cake. We also got to see the Terracotta statues outside Selfridges in Manchester and may have been told off a few times for almost pushing them over when we were taking selfies… We spent a couple of hours just wandering around the different parts of Manchester and chatting, and I remembered all the reasons that I love living in Manchester. We also stopped off at North Tea Power, and Chapter One, which is my new favourite place to go for tea and cake in the city.

3. La La Land

On Friday evening, I went with my friend Sarah to see La La Land, and have pizza at Croma. I’d heard mixed reviews about the film, but a couple of close friends said I would really enjoy it, so I decided to take their recommendation over everybody else’s… and they were right, and I loved it! I thought the cast worked really well together, and for someone who isn’t the biggest Ryan Gosling fan (I know, sacrilege) I thought he played the role really well and was very engaging.

4. Charity Talk

On Thursday afternoon, we had a lunchtime meeting with a charity called Business for Society, who help out local homeless charities in the Manchester area by pairing them with businesses who want to do their bit. Just before Christmas, I started to feel as though the homeless situation in Manchester especially, was getting a bit out of control, and after hearing the talk from the CEO, it felt as though I was not alone in thinking this. After the chat, we had a discussion about how our company could help out, and I’m excited to be involved.

5. Rejuvenate

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I had been invited to the Rejuvenate clinic in Manchester to have a complimentary treatment. At the time of my consultation, it was just after Christmas, and I was feeling a bit sluggish, so I went for the slimming wrap. I won’t give too much away as I’ll be doing a full review in the next couple of weeks but the whole experience was really enjoyable, and Leena was lovely to sit and chat to and made me feel completely at ease.

6. Cake at Chapter One

It wouldn’t be a weekly love post without the staple food that makes up about 90% of my diet… cake! As I mentioned, we visited the adorable Chapter One just outside the Northern Quarter on Saturday, and I’d never heard of it, or even seen the little cafe. It’s set inside an independent bookstore so there were books everywhere, as well as a fireplace, comfy seats, fairy lights, and quirky bits and bobs. I said to Hannah that it reminded me of  Alice in Wonderland because you just don’t feel as though you’re in a city centre because it was so chilled and peaceful (picture at the top of this post). They didn’t have as many cake choices as other coffee shops in Manchester, but we did go at 4pm and found the jaffa cake, which was honestly one of the most squidgy, orangey, delicious cakes I have ever eaten! I am a huge chocolate orange fan, but I think even if you weren’t you would have enjoyed this. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it!

xx

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Maybe I’m not the best person to write this post, as there are some days where I find myself not changing out of my PJ’s, struggling to pay bills on time, and having to YouTube things like how long to boil an egg for and what all the different lights on your dashboard mean (I’ve also burnt pasta once, but I try to tell myself that all the best chefs started somewhere…) I think as you become an adult, your priorities and outlook on life begin to change. Once you start realising the value of the things and people around you, you appreciate it’s not spending all your money on new clothes, staying out till 4am and having the latest beauty box subscription that give you happiness; but it’s the memories you create, and the people you make them with.

I’ll hold my hands up and admit that it’s taken me a good few years to realise that sometimes spending a night with loved ones on the sofa brings much more contentment than drinking too many jagerbombs and regrettably sending too many drunken snapchats to 90% of your phonebook. With being an adult comes a whole host of responsibilities, but it also means that we have the ability to indulge ever so slightly now and again and what would life be without treating yourself? With me and my other half hopefully buying a house in the near future, one of the things that I have been looking at is a new TV and in particular the Ultra HD 4K TV by Panasonic.

If you haven’t seen this bad boy, get yourself down to a showroom. Not only is the HD quality unreal, the HDR (high dynamic range) delivers images closer to how we see the real world and how filmmakers envision their creations, which sounds pretty cool and futuristic to me. The overall design is beautiful as well, and the features such as the adjustable pedestal make it perfect for any home and surface.

At the moment, as I am trying to save every little penny for our deposit, spending a cosy night in has become my favourite pastime, especially in the winter months. Also, with Hygge becoming all the rage recently, I’m sure I’m not the only one opting to spend more time indoors with good food and good company.

If you’re looking for a sweet treat to make, my favourite banana bread recipe can be found here – and let’s face it, it has to be ever so slightly better for you than a regular cake because it has fruit in!

We’ve also started watching the newest season of Suits once again. If you aren’t aware of this series, I would highly recommend you give it a go. It is very fast paced, but also quite comical and makes you feel very intelligent when you watch it, even though it’s all lawyer-talk (which I’m pretty sure is the technical term.) I definitely prefer bulk watching it as you find yourself so invested in the characters that you just want to know more, and it’s been a while since I’ve felt like that with a TV programme.

Although I may be slightly late to the party, I think that nights in with the people that mean the most to me will be what I fill most of my weekends with in 2017. Plus, when we actually buy a house, I might not have the money to do much else!

xx

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1. Blogging Friends Meet Up

On Tuesday evening, I met up with two of my blogger friends, Holly and Katie, who I hadn’t seen in what felt like a really long time, We all had ideas that we wanted to bounce off each other for our blogs and just in life in general. As Holly runs the We Blog MCR group, I know she would have loads of exciting things coming up in the next few months, and we weren’t disappointed! We went to the Laundrette in Chorlton Green – a place specialising in cocktails and cards, the ultimate way to my heart – and opted for a table outside under the heaters (and my under a blanket!) I went for a strawberry puree, vanilla milkshake concoction (picture on my instagram – search @eleanorgraceful) with a sachet of popping candy, because I have the ultimate sweet tooth.

2. Jimmy Carr

One of my Christmas presents to my boyfriend was tickets to see Jimmy Carr, and it finally rolled round! We saw him at the Stockport Plaza which is a really beautiful venue in the centre of Stockport, which suited me better because it saved us driving into the centre of town. I’d seen Stephen Merchant there a few years back, and I really enjoyed the more intimate venue – don’t get me wrong though, we were pretty far back; the last thing I wanted is to be picked out in the crowd! He did a mixture of his old jokes with new ones, and it was just a great way to spend a midweek evening.

3. Alphabet Come Dine With Me

On Friday evening, I went to my friend Alison’s house for an evening of come dine with me. This is something we have been doing for the last 2 years where we all get together and one person cooks for the group – and to make it extra exciting, we go through the letters of the alphabet. As I couldn’t make the last get together, there were some of the girls that I hadn’t seen since June last year so it was a really good evening for catch ups and great food! The letter for this time around was O and the country was Oman. We had a white fish and pomegranate salad to start, spiced chicken and onion and garlic rice for our main and a sweet spiced tea and figs for dessert. As an after dinner drink, we also had something that tasted even better than Baileys, hard to believe I know. It’s always a great way to sample new cuisines whilst seeing old friends!

4. Bridesmaid’s Day

One of my best friends is getting married this year in May, and I am lucky enough to be one of her bridesmaids, but as we hadn’t had a proper reunion with the other two bridesmaids as well, we decided it was about time to tie all the loose ends together for the wedding day. We went to Sugar Junction in Altrincham and I opted for the sampling trio of cakes, and a scone, which I shared with my friend Sophie. The cakes we chose were chocolate orange, black forest gateaux and lemon and raspberry sponge, and they were all delicious. We spent the afternoon talking about the wedding, houses, jobs whilst drinking prosecco, and it was really great to spend some quality time together. (Please ignore the stupid face I am pulling but it was the only picture of the 4 of us!)

5. Everyone Knows This Is Nowhere – Alice Furse

I started reading this new book at the start of the week and I am already loving it, and finding it quite hard to put down before bed. It was recommended to me on Twitter after I finished Emma Gannon’s Ctrl Alt Delete (which I would also recommend) as being quite similar. In a nutshell it is about a girl who has finished university and starts working in an office admin role, which she hates. I find her character really relatable, and I can’t wait to finish it off hopefully next week. If you’re looking for something that is very down to earth and relatable, I would suggest this.

xx

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Over the winter months my skin has been… how shall we say… less than perfect. I’ve found many more dry patches than before, it started itching in places and I was breaking out all over my chin. I kept putting it down to the weather, but I don’t think this was the only culprit.

I follow a lot of beauty bloggers and YouTubers, and one thing they always talk about is the importance of a serum in your skincare routine, morning and night, without fail. I first heard this on Caroline Hiron’s channel, but I thought it was going to be one of those fads that never sticks around for long, so I didn’t take much notice. Fast forward a year, and here I am, raving about my own little discovery and it even got a mention in my first weekly loves post.

Being the ripe old age of 26, I’ve decided that this year is going to be my year to start using anti-ageing creams (I actually spoke to a skincare expert a couple of months ago, who said that the age to start doing this is actually 25, so I’m a bit late to the party, oops!) After trawling the shelves of boots for a good hour, I returned to my trusted Botantics brand (Boot’s own) and opted for their All Bright Radiance Serum.

I’ve always been a fan of the Botantics range, as they use natural plant extracts, the products are easy to understand, and it doesn’t break the bank (if you’re interested in an eye cream, I find this one really combats dark circles). I’ve been using this serum every morning and evening since boxing day after cleansing and toning, and I already love it.

My skin feels softer and more nourished which is definitely what it needs in this weather. At first I was slightly reluctant to buy anything like this as I didn’t want to make my skin oily, or my makeup not to blend as well, but it has been the complete opposite, and my skin drinks it up, just showing how much it was crying out for something like this! I’m kicking myself for not trying a serum sooner – I’ve been converted

If you’re in the market for a new serum, or just want to try one that is slightly more on the cheaper side, I would definitely recommend this one. It also smells amazing, which is always a plus in a skincare product.

What other serums would you recommend?

Shop the product here

xx

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I’ve had a bit of an odd week this week. If you follow me on social media, you might already know this, but I’ve had quite a bad bout of anxiety and a small panic attack towards the start of the week, and I haven’t been able to shake off the feeling of uneasiness. Saying that I’ve been looking forward to writing this post all week to have a little think back to smaller things that have made me smile. So here we are at the second instalment.

1. Making a Calendar

I didn’t know what to call this one really, but yep, I made my own calendar. Well, I say made, I actually just downloaded it off the internet, printed it, and colour coded all my plans for the first 4 months of the year. These include social plans, family plans, blog plans, important dates, birthdays and holidays. I know how much of a lame-o I sounds right now (especially with just actually writing the word lame-o) but it has helped me feel so much more control of my life (especially with how I’ve been feeling this week) and I hope I can keep on top of it and have things to look forward to.

2. Getting Organised

Following on from the first one, I feel like this week I have really managed to screw my head on and get organised with making plans for blogging, seeing friends and family, trips away and work: I even started a bullet journal! Last week felt like a bit of a blur with starting back after the bank holiday, and if I’m honest, I sort of felt like I was still in holiday mode. But despite feeling incredibly anxious towards the start of the week, I’m ready to take on January and the rest of the year. I’ve noticed as well that there is a lot of positive posts already in the blogging world about the new year, which is nice and refreshing after 2016.

3. Seeing Old Friends

This Wednesday I went to my friend’s for dinner, with another friend, both of whom I used to work with. We hadn’t all seen each other since before December, and spent most of the evening talking about weddings, holidays and babies (one of  the girls is a new mum!) It was really nice to catch up with them both, and it’s one of my goals (see how I didn’t say resolution…) to spend more time with people I don’t get to see as often. We also had a shepherds pie with sweet potato, which was something I’d never tried before and loved! Definitely a winter recipe I’ll be cooking up this month.

4. Olympus Pen

Yes I did it, I finally bought an Olympus Pen, not that I have any idea how to use it, but I am officially the owner of an actual camera! If I’m being honest, it did come last week, but I stupidly bought the camera with no lens, so I then had to fork out more money for one to go with it… One of my blogging goals for this year is to learn more about photography and cameras, and I’ve already been in talks with a friend about doing a photography course in the next couple of months. I researched this a lot about what camera I wanted, and spoke to a few different people in the industry, and the Olympus Pen came highly recommended for those who are just starting out with their photography, which is 100% me… I’m even so much of an amateur that I took it out on the first day without the battery!

5. My Homeware Post

I don’t want to use this blog to talk about my own work, but it was more of the process of writing Wednesday’s blog that I loved. I’ve always been a lover of homeware and finding new bits here and there, and this was the first time I had ever done a homeware wishlist. It helps as well that hopefully at some point this year I’ll be a homeowner, and can maybe buy a few of the things on the wishlist (or if people want to surprise me with a housewarming present, I could get on board with that too!)

6. Oxford 

This weekend I took my very first trip to Oxford to see one of my best friends who is living there until the end of the month. Oxford has always been one of those places that has been on my list to visit, but I’ve never found the time to, so this weekend was a great excuse. We arrived on Saturday afternoon and spent the evening catching up, eating amazing food and drinking, and on Sunday took a walk around the city, which was just as beautiful as I imagined. The girlie weekend was definitely needed and I can’t wait for the next one.

7. My First Trip to Zizzi

Obviously, I needed to get something food related in here! Whilst in Oxford today, we went for lunch at Zizzi after we all seemed to be craving pizza. I’ve never been to Zizzi despite the fact I eat pizza about 4 times a week, so I was really looking forward to it. Although the restaurant was really busy, we got our own booth and spent over two hours eating and chatting in there and it was the perfect end to a great weekend with two of my best friends. And the food was amazing too (I had the Sofia Rustica – chicken, pepperoni, spicy sausage, chillies and rosemary)

8. We Blog MCR

This evening when I got home I had a message off my friend Holly who runs the amazing blog Holly Goes Lightly and is the founder of the We Blog MCR group which I am a member of, asking me to be the blogger of the week for the weekly newsletter. Although it isn’t quite being asked to Buckingham Palace for afternoon tea, it did make me smile, and ended my week on a high which is definitely what I needed – so thank you, Holly!

xx

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