Artisan is one of those restaurants that just oozes cool. As soon as you walk through Spinningfields to it, it just looks really impressive and intriguing. Taking pride of place on The Avenue, the restaurant itself looks as big as it’s neighbour, but in fact spans across the whole first floor as well.

When you walk in through the ginormous glass door there is a bar downstairs, which in itself is quite big, but the restaurant is up another flight. The whole vibe of the place is quite industrial which is obvious when you get to the reception desk – a wooden table on a metal framework. The front of house staff will then lead you across a glass walkway where you can see The Avenue below and into the restaurant.

One of the things I love about the decor is the red festoon lights, huge lampshades, exposed brick and yellow neon signs dotted about – it reminds me of a trendy restaurant you would get in Brooklyn or something along those lines (not that I’ve ever been). Another thing I really like as well is the fact that the kitchen is all open plan so you can see the chefs at work. (The toilets are also pretty cool!)

We were seated by the friendly staff member and our waiter came over to introduce himself. He asked if we were looking at having cocktails (which obviously we were…) and recommended a grapefruit and berry, which Hannah ordered, and I had a strawberry and apricot crush.

After taking a few too many instagrams of the cocktails in our hands, on the table, on the edge of the table, together and separately, we had a look at the food menu. Because it was 40% off, we decided to go a bit crazy and order lots of different dishes and share – which is one of my favourite things to do going out for dinner.

 

I’ve eaten at Artisan a couple of times in the past – once on a Saturday lunchtime and once at brunch, and the food was great both times, so I knew to expect a good meal.

The food came within about 10-15 minutes which I was pretty impressed with. We went for a pepperoni and chorizo flatbread (which was basically a delicious pizza), baked camembert with potato crisps, a trio of salads and fries. I was really impressed with the quality of the food and the dishes were innovative in their own ways. If you were like us and unsure what to order, I would definitely recommend trying a few different dishes.

After the food, we opted for another cocktail instead of a dessert (I know, there’s a first for everything) but the menu looked lovely with a mixture of fruity ones with classics such as sticky toffee pudding and brownies. For the second cocktail, we both ordered the grapefruit and berry because I was getting major cocktail envy after the first.

If you can get yourself there on a Monday evening, the food is 40% off, which is a great deal in my eyes. They also have a free photobooth (which we may have forgotten about in our tipsy state) and you can win a bottle of champagne for your next visit.

I normally find it hard to motivate myself to go out on a Monday evening, but I really enjoyed starting off the week with an evening out filled with good food and drinks.


View Artisan’s website here

xx

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So no biggie but its only APRIL THIS WEEKEND – not that I’m panicking or anything…

Last week was so hectic and manic and it feels like a million years ago that I was sat in our gorgeous hotel in Bruges (blog post coming in the future!) writing my last weekly love post after stuffing my face with a 3-course breakfast.

But hey, that’s life, and I’m enjoying the ride!

1. Becoming A Homeowner!

I thought I had to start with this one seen as it was the biggest thing to happen in my life yet! But yes, WE BOUGHT A HOUSE! I flew back from Berlin a day early in order to pick the keys up with my boyfriend, and it’s lucky I did as our solicitor needed me to sign a form before we could do anything that day. There were a lot of phone calls and emails back and forth and as soon as I landed I was inundated with bad news and ways to fix it – but it all worked out and we picked our keys up in the afternoon. It was a very surreal feeling opening the door to our first home. We’ve had our family over to have a look and help us clean and move boxes, and my friend Sophie visited on Saturday. There is so much to do before we can live there (as we are yet to work the boiler…) but I’m so excited that it’s finally ours!

2. Bruges

I will be doing a full blog post on our time in Bruges and everything we got up to, but I wanted to mention it here because it was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to. As a self-confessed chocoholic as well, it was amazing to go to the home of the best chocolate in the world – their words not mine – but it was amazing! We bought back some truffles (the legal kind) but they didn’t make it past the train home…. oops!

3. Berlin

I’ve heard SO many amazing things about this city so I was really excited to visit. Me and my travel buddy Africa, flew out early Wednesday morning. We arrived to glorious sunshine and made our way to the hotel which was in the Mitte district. We quickly changed and headed back out to explore. Again, I’ll be doing a full blog post on what we got up to. Although we fit a lot in whilst we were there, I felt as though I could have spent at least another full day discovering more of the city – definitely a reason to book a trip back!

4. Free Walking Tours

Whilst I was away, I managed to fit in a walking tour in both Bruges and Berlin. The first time I’d ever done one of these was in Dublin, back in 2015. They’re branded as ‘free’, but you’ve got to be a bit of a bad person if you don’t give them anything at the end. Both were so interesting and really informative, and it helped that they were both in English (sorry for the arrogant British-ness). I would highly recommend it over an open top bus tour, and you pay however much you think it’s worth – which I won’t lie, can be quite awkward when you’re the last!

5. Warmer Weather

Cliché, I know, but this weekend has just made me so excited for summer and wanting to make plans – not that I have any money now! On Saturday we took a break from unpacking and went to meet my friend Sophie and her gorgeous dog, Ferryn, in the park opposite the house and it was such a lovely couple of hours just catching up and basking in the sunshine. And I didn’t burn – result!

6. Proove Pizza 

On Saturday evening after moving everything about, painting and putting together a table, we realised we 1) had no food in and 2) had no energy to make food. I’d remembered that a new pizza place had opened a few minutes down the road so we took a trip there. We shared some bruschetta and I had an American. The pizza was done in a woodfire oven but so was doughy and delicious and I can’t wait to go back. If you’re ever in the area, definitely check them out. Website here

xx

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As soon as I say the word direction, I get S Club 8’s ‘New Direction’ stuck in my head – so bear in mind that when you read this, I’m currently doing some weird dance routine in my head which has nothing to do with the song…

Also, I wonder what happened to all of them?

Anyway… back to the brain dump.

I got a text a few days ago from a friend saying that she felt really lost and deflated right now, and even before I had finished reading it, I completely understood where she was coming from because I’m going through something similar.

April is a strange month because you feel as though everything that was unsettled at the start of the year should be showing signs of levelling out – but to me, that doesn’t feel like the case. If anything, it’s making me feel like I should have already done so much and achieved more than I have.

Yes, we’ve managed to buy a house within the first three months of the year which will be going through any day now, but I always knew that would come at some point in 2017, and don’t get me wrong, I feel like it’s a huge achievement to have under my belt and I’m very grateful in that respect.

I’ve also been on holiday twice, and have some great trips planned for this year, which I already can’t wait for and three weddings of people I love.

It’s more on a personal, work and blog level that I just feel a lack of direction.

The thing I struggle with most in terms of my career and blog is that I started out after everyone else. I went to university two years after I should have (for personal reasons) and I have always felt as though that has meant I’ve had to catch up with those who were the ‘right’ age when they were first employed.

And with blogging too. I started a blog originally back in 2010 when blogging was just taking off. I know if I’d stuck with it then I would be further along than I am now and maybe even be making a career of it.

I’ve worked hard to get where I am, but when I see people that are younger than me who have achieved more, sometimes I feel as though I’ve let myself fall behind or whether I’m in the right industry to progress quickly, or whether I should be doing something that is more worthwhile and that will help people, instead of making rich people richer.

And this is where I feel my life is losing direction.

I love blogging, I really do, but it always seems as though it will be just a hobby. One of my main aspirations in life is to work for myself and it would be my dream to have a blog that supports me, but right now I never see that happening.

Or maybe to own my own company or agency; but the market is so saturated with people all offering the same thing that I don’t know where I would fit in.

I thought 2017 would be a great year in terms of getting my shit together after such a rollercoaster last year, but right now I feel like it will be 2018 before I know it, and I won’t have achieved anything that I wanted to.

Please tell me I’m not alone! 

Most of the thoughts I have whizzing through my head relate to Instagram followers, and should I engage more on Twitter, but when can I engage on social media because I’m at work all day and is that why these ‘younger’ bloggers have a bigger following because they don’t work full time, or are still at uni and have the time to build their brand.

And should I ask for a promotion or will that look as though I’m being pushy? I haven’t been there long, but I know that I’ve done a bloody good job!

One of the things I really wanted to achieve for myself was to post more regularly on here, make a name for myself on the Manchester blogging scene and keep connecting with like-minded individuals and I guess there’s still time for that.

Although I’ve achieved it in some sense, I’ve got a long way to go as well – but hey, I’m 26… I’m in no rush!

Have you ever felt something similar? How did you snap out of it? 


xx

This week has felt so so long, but I’ve had an absolutely amazing time travelling with one of my favourite people. Going away is always one of my favourite things to do.

1. Spring

This is the first week it’s actually felt as though winter is buggering off, my car said it was 16 degrees, and I’ve noticed the blossom coming out on the trees; The warmer weather is definitely on its way! Another thing that is really getting me through to the weekends is the lighter nights, that will only continue to get lighter when the clocks go forward next weekend. Hurray!

2. Artisan

On Monday evening, me and one of my fave girls, Hannah (from Hannah gets hench) went for dinner at Artisan in Manchester. I won’t say too much about the food as I want to do a full review in the next couple of weeks, but it was a really lovely start to the week. Sometimes when blogging events are on a Monday evening, I always think that I really can’t be bothered going all the way to Manchester; but I think when its something more low key, like a dinner, then I’m happy to make the effort! Plus the food was 40% off as well so who could blame us?

3. New Coat

Although I’ve been on a spending ban for most of this year, I’ve been after a leopard print coat for agessss. I was having a cheeky browse last week when I saw that this Topshop one had gone down to £30 in the sale, from £85, plus I had a £10 voucher so it worked out to be a relatively cheap purchase. I’ve only worn it once so far but I like the fact that it makes every outfit look a little bit more sassy! Plus its quite a light coat which means I can wear it through Spring but there’s also enough room to have a cardigan underneath if necessary.

4. Work Party

On Friday evening we had our 5th-anniversary party at work with about 30 guests. Although 5 years doesn’t seem like a lot, it was really interesting to hear how far the company has come and their plans for the future. We were treated to a meal at Earle in Hale where I had halloumi to start, monkfish risotto (which was incredible) for main and sticky toffee pudding for dessert, which I basically just ordered for everyone on the table because lol, prosecco happened and I have the world’s biggest sweet tooth.

5. Brussels

On Saturday afternoon, my boyfriend and I hopped on the train to London to get the Eurostar to Belgium! We spend the first night in Brussels as we didn’t arrive until 7pm and had the morning there as well. The Eurostar turned out to be a great decision because you can have two cases and don’t have to dispense all of your liquids into tiny bottles! I’ve been to Brussels once before a few years ago, but forget what a beautiful city it is. The Grand Square at night was gorgeous and being a lover of chocolate and fruity beers, I felt right at home!

6. Bruges

As I’m writing this, it’s Monday morning and I’m currently in Bruges (just like the film!) We arrived yesterday afternoon and came straight to the hotel. We spent most of yesterday wandering around, going to the beer museum and sampling different beers and eating chocolate. Bruges is such a different city from Brussels and I’m absolutely in love with it. It’s also much cheaper than the capital as well, if you were looking for another reason to visit and the food is amazing. It reminds me a lot of Amsterdam but much more calm and not as flat! I’m so excited to explore more today.

xx

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Or so the saying goes…

I am a northern girl through and through, which is mainly backed up by my inability to go more than two hours without a cup of tea, and a yearning to have cake at every opportunity.

I grew up in the North (Manchester to be precise) and I have never really had the desire to move further south than Nottingham – where I did a stint back in 2009 before realising that a particular university course was not for me.

Don’t get me wrong, I love London; I really do. I love the hustle and bustle of the city life; I love that you can turn a street corner and be met by little-cobbled mews streets intertwined within the main tourist spots and I love that every time I visit, I discover something new. And even when I was younger, I felt as though I needed to be there to get anywhere with my career.

But as it happened, I stayed up in Manchester, and I absolutely love it up here. I know one day I will move to a different city, but the North West is my home for now. So when The Car People got in touch to ask whether I would like to celebrate the beauty of the North, I couldn’t say no!

Here is my round up of all the amazing places in the North that I hope encompasses the beauty above the A50!

1. Manchester

Where better place to start? The city I have called home for almost 27 years, and the one I will be sad to leave one day. Manchester has it all; a great music scene, more bars than you can visit, a huge shopping centre, countless green spaces, quirky cafes, 5-star restaurants, a supportive blogging scene – the list is endless. Often described as the London of the north, you have everything within walking distance instead of losing the will to live on the tube.

2. Chester

Chester is one of those places that I’ll never get bored of going to. I’ve been more times than I can count, but I am always the one to suggest it. It’s less than a 30 minute drive from my house, but feels as though you’re somewhere completely different. The Roman walls, amphitheatre and beautiful ruins, make this city a must visit if you’re up north. And obviously being home to the races means that day drinking is always acceptable!

3. Skipton

I’ve only been to Skipton once a couple of years ago, but I fell in love. It was so quaint and peaceful, but had enough there that you wouldn’t get bored. And if you do get to visit in summer, there were a lot of pubs that backed on to the canal, making them a perfect beer drinking spot!

4. York

If you’ve followed my blog for a while or have my on social media, you’ll know that York is one of my favourite places in the country. It reminds me of being in Harry Potter, and I love that there’s always something new to explore. The amount of old English pubs amongst unconventional cocktail bars make it a very popular destination for travellers from all over the world. And you can sit by the river and get merry. Plus they have the nicest fudge shop ever!

5. Keswick

Me and my boyfriend visited the Lake District this time last year, and we’ve always been desperate to go back and visit some new places. We stayed in Borrowdale, which was about 10 minutes from Keswick, and it was one of the most calming experiences I have ever had. There was little phone signal, which was actually a blessing, and we got to have some of the nicest food I have ever tasted in loads of different restaurants. Definitely somewhere I would recommend, and absolutely stunning scenery.

6. Knutsford

Only about 15 minutes from my house, but completely different to my nearest town of Altrincham. Knutsford is always somewhere I thought that rich, old, middle-class people lived (which they definitely still do…) and had nothing for cool, hip twenty-somethings, but some of the best nights out I’ve had have been here. It reminds me quite a lot of Chester but on a smaller scale and is home to the beautiful Tatton Park. There’s also a selection of different restaurants and bars, and you’re really spoilt for choice as some of them are incredible. There’s a monthly food market too, which is worth a visit if you’re ever up this way.

7. Chorlton

One of my favourite places south of Manchester is Chorlton, as it feels like a smaller version of the city but not as busy. Chorlton is one of those places that you feel you might need a beard and to own something from a charity shop to fit in, but even if you don’t, the amount of food and drink choices you have will keep you entertained. A short walk down the road is Chorlton Water Park, which is a tranquil paradise.

8. Lymm

I spent a lot of time in Lymm growing up as my Grandparents lived there so I will always have a special connection to the village. It is only a short drive from my house but is often overlooked because there isn’t that much to do there (although it has one of the best ice cream parlours I have ever been to). If you fancy a walk, it takes between 1-2 hours along the canal from Altrincham, and is worth it if A) you want to do something different and don’t mind walking in a straight line and B) it’s lovely and sunny!

9. Llandudno 

Llandudno is one of those places that you assume is just full of older people; I mean it is, but it’s also a really cute little seaside down. I went here a couple of years ago and ended up taking a wrong turn and driving up to the top of Great Orme, which is basically a giant hill for those of you who don’t know… but it turned out to be quite a great mistake as the views were amazing. They also had a toboggan at the top and a skylift which I definitely wasn’t expecting.

10. Conwy

Keeping on topic, last bank holiday, myself and a couple of friends took a trip to Conwy in Wales for the day. The thing I love about living in the North West is that you’re only an hour away from North Wales. I’d never been to Conwy before and only knew of the castle, but it was a beautiful little town and perfect for a day out. It definitely helped that when we visited it was glorious sunshine so we could eat ice cream on the harbour, but nevertheless, I’ll definitely be back there this summer.

11. Scarborough 

I ended up going to Scarborough by chance on a work trip a couple of years ago, and keep meaning to go back. Up until that point, I had only heard that it was the Blackpool of the east, so I wasn’t expecting much when I arrived; but after having a wander around by myself, I was actually amazed at how beautiful the seafront was. There were rows and rows of brightly coloured beach huts, and it was a great place to explore by myself. Although there were quite a few amusement arcades up and down the shore, it just reminded me of family days out when I was younger.

12. Peak District

Last August I did a 12-mile hike around Kinder Scout in the Peak District. I had never done anything like that before (and haven’t since) but it was a great way to see a part of the UK that I never had before. We jumped on the train from Picadilly to Edale and started the walk from there. Altogether it took us about 6 hours (maybe more, I’ve kind of blocked that bit out) and we had amazing weather for it which always makes the difference. There were bits where you have to scramble over rocks and other bits where you had to wade through mud, and I lost my trainer a couple of times, but it was definitely worth it when you make your way to the pub at the bottom!

13. Edinburgh

Last but not least is one of my favourite places I have ever been – the beautiful Edinburgh. I visited last Christmas and had been a couple of times when I was younger, but I just feel so in love with the city when I’m there. I think it’s because it has the hustle of being the capital, but turn off the main street and you’re in a different world. Edinburgh is definitely somewhere I would consider living one day – watch this space!

I hope you have enjoyed reading this blog about all of the places I think are beautiful up North. And as the saying goes, I can’t say I agree!

If you have any recommendations for places you think I would enjoy visiting, please leave them in the comments.

xx

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This blog was written in collaboration with The Car People.