Last weekend, I met my friend Charlotte, who I used to work with, for brunch at the newly opened Mackie Mayor in Manchester. If you haven’t heard of the quirky-named establishment, it is Manchester’s latest addition to the foodie scene – think rustic-style venue, complete with resident vendors, low hanging lights, exposed brick and paint-splattered walls, and you’ve got it.

Mackie Mayor is the sister project of the popular Altrincham Market, which has been on my doorstep for the last three years, so I was excited to see what it had to offer: I’m a big fan of open-plan markets as well, having a bit of choice when you’re eating out and the whole community feel of these kinds of places so I was up for giving it a go.

Conveniently located at the top of the Northern Quarter (on Swan Street, a couple of doors down from Band On The Wall, to be exact) you could easily walk past this place (unless you’d seen the hoardings up for the past 12-months) but the grade two listed building is somewhat of an industrial-esque spectacle inside.

If I’m honest, I knew what to expect as I’d followed them on Instagram, and had seen a few people’s pictures popping up over the last week, but nevertheless, I was impressed. I walked in from the street entrance, and the first thing I noticed was that there wasn’t a ‘Mackie Mayor’ sign to say I was in the right place – luckily I saw ‘The Snug’ from the inside, and people were arriving at the same time as me.

We met at 11:30am, which was just as breakfast was finishing, and half an hour before brunch was starting at 12pm: That gave us enough time to drop our bags and coats off and have a wander. As I mentioned, I’ve lived near Altrincham Market, since it opened back in 2014, so I kind of knew what to expect food-wise. There were a couple new additions, but it was nice to see some familiar faces.

We got a coffee, which was delivered promptly to our table (I went for the Castlefield brew tea) before deciding on where we were going to eat. I was in two minds about whether to get a pizza dot on 12pm, from Honest Crust, but I refrained as the fish bar, Fin, had caught my eye (no pun intended…)

As we’d been there for about 30 minutes before placing our order, that had given us enough time to have a nosey at what was on people’s plates. As a self-confessed millennial girl, I knew my only option was to get poached eggs, and their option came with sourdough toast (again eluding to my basic-ness) and rainbow trout, which I am a huge fan of, but have never had on a breakfast dish.

We waited about 15 minutes for the food, which I thought was reasonable for how busy it was getting, and it was brought straight to our table. One of the things I love about Alty Market and Mackie Mayor is the fact they keep up topped up with tap water, which, if its the weekend before payday like this one was, is enough to keep you happy and hydrated.

The food itself was delicious – the trout was a welcome accompaniment, and a nice alternative to smoked salmon, which I usually would have gone for. The whole dish came with a side salad, and the portion size looked quite big when it was put in front of me, but it was actually just the right amount.

As we were leaving, we had a quick look upstairs where there was more seating available and took some pictures before wandering into Manchester.

Compared to Altrincham Market, I like the fact that it is bigger and there is more seating, and also that you don’t have to leave the building to go to the toilet. Although there are most of the same food stalls, there were a lot fewer families here, and it was more for the twenty and thirty-something market. There were also people starting to drink wine and beer from the two bars that occupy a stall there, and I can only imagine it is a lovely place to go for a drink after work or on the weekend.

Overall, I would highly recommend coming here because the atmosphere was great, and the food was delicious – definitely, go to Fin if you’re looking for something a little bit different. Although Altrincham Market is a lot closer to home, I would 100% make the effort to come into the city centre to go here again.

Have you been to Mackie Mayor? What did you think? 


xx

This week flew by in the blink of an eye and now we’re at Monday again – how on earth does that happen so fast?

I’ve still been battling a chesty cough this week, but I’m feeling much better than I was last week, so here’s hoping I’ve seen the last of it.

These are all the things that I was loving last week.

1. Nails

I made the decision at the start of the month to book an appointment for the last week of October, just before payday to get my nails done, as I knew I wouldn’t have the money around that time (plus I’m a sucker for a marketing email…) I went for a navy blue as I thought it was quite wintery, but not as festive or red or green, which I’ll probably go for next time around.

2. Dog Sitting

After I had my nails done on Tuesday, I went to my friend’s house to dogsit for the night. She has a gorgeous sausage dog called Bruce, who was adorable and just wanted lots of cuddles. I took him on a couple of walks around the block, but mainly just snuggled with him on the couch watching TV and eating the delicious curry she had very kindly left me for dinner.

3. Kiehls Event

On Thursday evening, Jacinta and I went to the Kiehls event in Manchester, in collaboration with MTV’s ‘staying alive’ campaign. I’ve worked with Kiehls before, and I think the work they are doing to overcome HIV is brilliant, and I am very honoured to be an ambassador for the cause. The night was held at Viva in Manchester and included live performers, beauticians and mingling.

4. Shopping

On Friday evening I felt as though I needed to get out of the house after quite an intense week, and went to the Trafford Centre for a bit of retail therapy. I ended up buying a few beauty bits that I’d wanted for a while, and had a look round some of the autumn-winter collections – I was in knitwear heaven!

5. Brunch

On Saturday morning, I met my friend Charlotte at the newly opened Mackie Mayor in Manchester for brunch. We had just missed the breakfast slot, so instead, we had a coffee and waited until they had changed to the brunch/lunch menus. The food was lovely, and the company even better – going out for brunch definitely puts me in a good mood for the weekend.

6. Catching Up

After I had finished in Manchester, I went round to my friend’s house to have a chilled afternoon watching old music videos and chilling out. I’ve had quite a busy couple of months, so it was nice to have an afternoon with no specific plans, and it was definitely what I needed after not feeling great.

7. Pamper Evening

Following on from being at my friends, I decided to give myself a pamper evening at home on Saturday, using some of the bits I had bought, and some old favourites. My skin definitely thanked me for it, and I spent most of the night watching old TV series in bed surrounded by candles.

8. Coffee Date

I met up with a couple of friends on Sunday morning for a coffee and cake (always cake for breakfast when that’s an option…) at Altrincham Market. It was a beautiful day and we sat by the door taking in the gorgeous autumn air. It was a nice, chilled morning with them both, catching up and meeting my friend’s new boyfriend.

9. Pumpkin Carving

After being at the market, I met up with my mum, and we went over to my auntie and uncle’s house, which is about 40 minutes away. Lots of my family were there for lunch, and we started carving pumpkins afterwards – I have to admit, I didn’t last long. I love spending time with the kids in my family; they always make me smile.

10. Seeing My Nan

Once I’d seen my mum’s side of the family, I drove over to my Nan’s house to spend the evening with her. She was a little bit under the weather so I tried to cheer her up. We watched Children In Need and my uncle and his girlfriend popped over, which was a nice surprise as I hadn’t seen them since my cousin’s wedding in August.

What have you been loving this week? 

xx

Manchester is, by far, one of the best foodie destinations in the UK. From Japanese fusion to roast dinner fondue to burgers buns made from a doughnut to artisan markets, there’s something for everyone.

Today I am going to be discussing my 13 favourite food places in the city I call my home.


1. Best for pizzaDouble Zero

I’m lucky enough to only live 10 minutes from this Chorlton eatery, and I can firmly say that it is without a doubt, one of the best pizzas I have ever had. I’ve eaten in the restaurant, had takeaways and very kindly been treated to a complimentary meal, and every time it has been delicious. Definitely one to try if you enjoy antipasti boards and woodfired pizzas.


2. Best for Mexican Lust, Luck, Liquor and Burn

Nestled in the Northern Quarter, this place is probably not one that you would associate with being a Mexican restaurant, but amazing all the same. I’ve been to here more times than I can count, and every time I’ve loved it. Yes you might have to wait a while for a table because it isn’t the biggest, but with the bar downstairs doing great cocktails, you’ll soon forget all about it.

3. Best for burgers Solita

I have to admit, a burger isn’t my first choice when it comes to eating out, but I’ve visited a fair few places in my time to say that Solita is definitely up there with being the best. I’m not a huge fan of gimmicky burgers, but Solita has a good mix of the quirky and classics. It’s been a while since I’ve been, but even so, I have memories of it being the best.

4. Best for experienceSapporo Teppanyaki

Definitely not the cheapest Japanese meal you will find in the city, but the experience itself is worth the money. If you’ve never been to a full-on teppanyaki restaurant, this one is definitely a good choice as they cook the food in front of you. I went here for my 18th and have been back many times since. It’s a great place to get a group together or just go for a different kind of date night.

5. Best for GreekSokrates Taverna

A little bit out of the city (5.7 miles to be exact) lies Sokrates Taverna in Sale town centre. Although I went here a couple of times when I was younger, it’s only recently that I rediscovered how great the food actually is. The choice is extensive, and the platters are amazing value for money – definitely worth the trip south.

6. Best for Spanish Evuna

There are a couple of these restaurants throughout the city – one at Great Northern and one in the Northern Quarter – and they are always heaving, which to me, is always a good sign. I love tapas as I like to be able to try lots of different food at once, and although the menu isn’t what you would class as the cheapest, the food is amazing and so worth the money.

7. Best for cakeHome Sweet Home

Another place with locations at Great Northern and the Northern Quarter is Home Sweet Home. If you ever need a sweet treat when you are in the city, you’ll find that and so much more at Home Sweet Home. The four-tier cakes are amazing and a thing of beauty as are the milkshakes, and the flavours change all of the time, which is always a great excuse to go back.

8. Best for ItalianVapiano

I’m really lucky to have worked with Vapiano on a couple of different campaigns, but even if I hadn’t, I would highly recommend them for their food. You are given a card and go to the ‘kitchen’ to order your food, which is made to order right in front of you using the freshest and tastiest ingredients. I’m a big fan of this way of eating!

9. Best for chickenYard & Coop

I’ve only been to Yard & Coop twice, but both time I really enjoyed my meal; if you’re thinking it is something like KFC, think again! I would never describe myself as someone who loves fried chicken, but their recipe is seriously delicious. They do build your own meals with your choice of sauces, and the price is really reasonable for the amount of food you get.

10. Best for LebaneseYara

Another one that is slightly out of the city centre, but totally worth the trip. Yara specialises in Lebanese and Syrian cuisine and is well known throughout south Manchester as ‘the’ place for that type of cuisine. It gets really busy over the weekend (so much so that they had to purchase the building next door to make a bigger restaurant) so my advice is book ahead of time!

11. Best for JapaneseShoryu Ramen

Shoryu specialises in Hakata tonkotsu ramen, which is a rich pork broth, cooked slowly over 12 hours and I can honestly say, has been one of the best meals I have ever had. The restaurant itself has been recommended in the Michelin guide for 4 years in a row; if that’s not enough to sway you, read my full review here.

12. Best for Indian Mughli

You’ll find this restaurant amongst about 100 more on the curry mile in Manchester, which is exactly what it says on the tin. I went to Mughli for the first time about 8 years ago, and it became my favourite Indian restaurant quickly. The food is amazing, the cocktails are so tasty and the staff are always so lovely. There is also a restaurant in Knutsford if you’re based further out of the city.

13. Best for brunchFederal

If you don’t already, you need to follow Federal on Instagram for the ultimate brunch goals every day of the week: Be prepared to wait a while for a table though as the queues are usually out the door. I’ve been to Federal a couple of times for brunch and both were, hands down, two of my best ever breakfasts – anywhere that serves dishes with a side of halloumi will instantly win me over. With a menu that changes each month, you’re sure to find something to tickle your fancy.

I always love to discover new places in Manchester, so please give me your recommendations if you have any!

xx

 

Edinburgh is one of those places that holds a special place in my heart, mostly because of the great memories I’ve made there over the years. I’ve been lucky enough to visit the city a number of times all at different times of the year, and winter, was by far, my favourite.

Today I’m going to be talking about the 12 reasons I think you should visit Edinburgh this winter.

1. Christmas Markets

If you know me, you’ll know that my Achilles heel is a Christmas market. I love everything festive, and Edinburgh does this so well. From the markets themselves (located literally opposite the train station) to the Christmas lights decorating the streets, there is always something to put you in the Christmas spirit.

2. Gin

Edinburgh is famous for a number of things, including gin! If you’re a lover of the spirit, then you’re in luck. The gin distillery is a great place to visit if you’re interested in how they make the gin, and you get samples of the different flavours as well (just maybe have a bite to eat first…) They also have an amazing cocktail bar too!

3. Sunshine

This one is a bit down to luck, but the last time I visited Edinburgh, we were greeted with three gorgeous days of winter sun, and the most amazing sunsets. Golden hour is always one of my favourite times of the day and it’s even more beautiful because of the stunning backdrop of the architecture in the city.

4. Food

As Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, the number of restaurants it has, including independent brunch places to worldwide brands, is up there with London and Manchester, meaning you’ll never go hungry. My favourites that we visited were Viva Mexico, The White Hart Inn, and The Boozy Cow.

5. Arthur’s Seat

If you’ve ever seen the film ‘One Day’ you’ll know of Arthur’s Seat – it’s basically the main peak of a collection of hills. It’s not the easiest of walks, but it also doesn’t take ages, so one to do if you’ve got the time: The views are also pretty amazing from the top.

6. Castle

Another place for amazing views is Edinburgh castle which is at the top of The Royal Mile, and looks out over the whole of the city – the picture at the top of this post is taken from up there. There is also Camera Obscura on the same road, which is a world of different illusions and interactive spaces.

7. Old Town

Think of Harry Potter and you’re pretty much thinking of the Old Town in Edinburgh. Lots of independent shops painted in different colours lined by cobbled streets and market stalls. We stayed at the end of Grassmarket, which is one of the main streets in the old town with pubs, cafes and restaurants, and it was the perfect base to explore further.

8. Tea Break

After a long day exploring, you’re going to be needing a bit of a caffeine fix, and Edinburgh does traditional tea rooms and fancy coffee joints incredibly well. If you visit in the winter, you’ll need something to warm your insides.

9. Side Streets

One of the most beautiful things about Edinburgh is that you can turn off any road and be greeted by quaint little side streets. My favourite thing to do in big cities is to get away from the hustle and bustle of the tourists and experience different parts of the city that you usually might not get to.

10. Pubs

If there’s one thing that Edinburgh does right, it’s pubs. You’ll definitely be spoilt for choice when it comes to watering holes, but that’s never a problem in my eyes. The people of Edinburgh were some of the loveliest people too, who make you feel so welcome.

11. Light Tunnel

This was something I wasn’t expecting in Edinburgh, so it was a pretty cool surprise when we found it. The tunnel itself is situated on George Street in the New Town and is made up of 60,000 different coloured lights. There are also bars underneath it selling mulled wine and cider if you need something to warm your insides.

12. Traditional Food

No trip to Edinburgh would be complete without trying haggis, neeps and tatties, which will definitely warm you up on a cold winter’s day. We went to The Royal McGregor to try the dish and a place I would recommend if that’s what you’re after.

So there you have it, my 12 reasons to visit Edinburgh this winter.

Have you ever been to Edinburgh? Where would you recommend? 


xx

This week has taken it out of me a bit, and unfortunately, I have become ill after all of my efforts to ward off a cold; but misery aside, I’ve managed to fit as much into this week as I can.

1. The Botanist

Tuesday saw one of my team turning 30, which meant that we had something to celebrate by going to the pub. We’re lucky that we only work about a 5-minute walk into our nearest village where there are loads of lovely places to break up our day: Always a good way to brighten up a Tuesday.

2. Ezra And Gil

On Thursday, I was working in Manchester City Centre, when we decided to work from the Northern Quarter to have a change of scenery. We chose to go to Ezra and Gil which I’d never been to before. Although we only had coffee (and cake…) the food looked amazing. 100% going back for brunch!

3. Paul Smith Launch

On Thursday evening, I met my friend Jacinta for the launch of the Paul Smith store in Manchester. It had been a couple of months since we had last seen each other so we had loads to catch up on over lovely cocktails and amazing fashion. The store looked amazing, and it was such a cool event to be invited to.

5. Megan Ellaby

On the same thought, at the store opening, I met the gorgeous Megan Ellaby and her boyfriend George. If you’re not familiar with Megan, she is a blogger from Manchester, and I was a complete fangirl when I met her. She was so lovely and we had a really nice chat where I basically just sang her praises.

6. Birthdays

On Friday evening, it was one of my best friend’s birthdays so we had him round to ours. We had been out the weekend before, but I didn’t want the actual day to go past without doing anything. Because I wasn’t feeling great, we had him round to ours and had sticky toffee pudding and chilled out watching TV.

7. Saturday Walk

We decided to get some fresh air on Saturday morning to blow the cobwebs away and hope that my body just needed to get outside. We walked around Sale Water Park which is about five minutes from our house and it felt good to get some early morning exercise.

8. Bents Garden Centre

A bit later on Saturday, we went to Bents Garden Centre as they had a Christmas food market. We both got a Bratwurst followed by a crepe, which we ate whilst wandering through all of the Christmas displays, and it made me feel so festive. I’d never been to Bents before, but I’ve always heard people mention it, and it exceeded all my expectations – they had so much food and drink choice (including a tapas bar, which looked lovely) and loads of home stuff too.

9. Home Cooked Sundays

This Sunday, we decided to make a Thai red chicken curry in our slow cooker as we hadn’t used it for ages. We had to leave it for 6 hours, which was hard when the whole house smelt amazing, but it was worth it – we also whipped up some homemade flatbreads which turned out surprisingly well. I also decided to bake a banana bread because we

10. Makers Market

You might have heard me talk about the Makers Market on here before, but this weekend we visited the Withington one for the first time. It wasn’t as big as the other ones, but it still had all the best food options. I find it difficult to go anywhere and not spend money and ended up buying some smoked cheese.

What have you been loving this week?

xx