I love travelling to new places and this year I’ve been lucky enough to tick some cities off my bucket list, explore new places in the UK and make memories where I’ve been before.

Today I’ve rounded up 17 of my favourite travel moments from this year.

1. Visiting Oxford

One of my best friends was living in Oxford at the start of the year, so a couple of us went to visit her in January. It was really nice to spend time in a UK city that I’d never visited before, with people that I love spending time with. It definitely started the year making me want to explore more places.

2. Dinner By The Docks At Sunset

Back in February, I went to see Strictly Come Dancing at the Echo Arena in Liverpool. Half of my family are from Liverpool, but it had been a few years since I had spent any time there. I took an afternoon off work and went over with my family. It was a gorgeous clear day, and I remember feeling really content whilst watching the sunset over the Albert Docks before the show.

3. Travelling On The Eurostar

I’d been to both Paris and Brussels before, but both times I flew. Back in March, Jordan and I went to Belgium on the Eurostar, and the whole experience was so seamless. There are no luggage restrictions, you can take liquids (and more importantly, alcohol) to drink on the train, and the journey flew by. I would definitely recommend the Eurostar if you’re going to either of these destinations.

4. Exploring The Old Town Of Bruges

As I mentioned, I’d been to Brussels a couple of times before, so when we went to Belgium, most of our time was spent exploring Bruges. Bruges was completely different to the capital, but there was still so much to do. I loved walking down all of the cobbled streets, sipping fruity beers while we people watched and our boat trip along the canals.

5. Admiring The Views From The TV Tower

The TV Tower was something I didn’t know existed until we landed in Berlin – Geography has never been my strong point. Once we had got our bearings on the first day, we made sure that a trip up to the top was on our agenda. I’m so glad we did it before the views were amazing, and we were up there just as the sky was changing from day to night which meant the sunset was amazing.

6. Seeing The Berlin Wall In Real Life

The East Side Gallery had been on my travel bucket list for as long as I can remember, and I really enjoyed walking down the side of the river looking at all of the murals along the way. It’s crazy to think that the wall only came down a few months before I was born and that people lived in complete segregation up until then.

7. Visiting The White Island 

When my friend Emily suggest Ibiza for her hen do, I pictured booze cruises, rowdy tourists and everything in-between, but in reality, Ibiza was nothing like that. It exceeded all of my expectations and became one of my favourite trips ever. We had amazing company, great food, and incredible memories from our three days there. I especially enjoyed walking up to the castle through the old town and visiting Formentera island.


8. Watching The Sun Set Over The Eiffel Tower

One of the memories that stands out for this year is when Hannah and I went to Paris back in June. We were there to celebrate my birthday and leaving my job and had such a memorable few days. On the first evening, we were there, we were on a boat trip going past the Eiffel Tower just as the sun was setting and it was so beautiful seeing everything lit up by the golden rays.

9. Drinking Wine On A Roof Terrace

What says Paris more than sipping on wine on a roof terrace? We researched some of the best places to go when we were in Paris, and this terrace came highly recommended in the 15th Arrondissement. I remember watching the sky turn purpley pink, and the Eiffel Tower lighting up in the distance and feeling incredibly happy about my new chapter.

10. Getting Dressed Up For Royal Ascot

Jordan and I went to Royal Ascot back in June, and it was my first time attending the event. I had seen some of the fashion on TV previously, but that doesn’t do it justice of how amazing everyone looks in their posh dresses and suits. I really enjoy the atmosphere of the races and seeing the Queen topped it all off.

11. York Chocolate Story

I was lucky enough to be treated to a chocolate workshop at the York Chocolate story and brought Jordan along with me for a day out to York tied in with celebrating his birthday. We learnt all about the history of chocolate, sampled different types, experimented with colouring and flavours and got to make and decorate our own bar.

12. Chester Races

A little closer to home, a group of us went to Chester Races in summer, and I had such a fun day out with loads of my closest friends. Chester is one of my favourite places to visit in the UK, and it’s a bonus that it’s so close to home. Getting dressed up and day drinking is definitely one of my favourite things to do – plus it means I can still be in bed before 10pm!

13. Bingley Live Festival 

For my friend’s hen do back in September, a group of us travelled over to Yorkshire to the Bingley Live music festival. We were greeted to some late summer sun and spent the day playing games, listening to music and sunbathing. It was such a great weekend, and one that I will remember for a very long time.

14. Laughing At Our Drink Choices In Rome

I have so many amazing memories from Italy, but one that really stands out for me is sitting with Hannah in a bar after we’d been laughed at for ordering Negroni’s and we couldn’t understand why. For those of you who don’t know, a Negroni is a traditional Italian drink comprising of gin, vermouth and Campari, with no mixer (we didn’t realise this at the time…) I just remember having the take the smallest sips and not being able to keep a straight face whilst the waiters sniggered at us getting progressively drunker.

15. Listening To Beautiful Music In Florence

On the evening that we were in Florence, we had dinner next to the Duomo cathedral, whilst a quartet played beautiful classical music near to the restaurant. One of my favourite things to do is sit outside to have dinner, and with the amazing backdrop and beautiful music, it was up there with one of my favourite memories.

16. Seeing London Friends

I love visiting London for work, but I love it, even more, when I can tie it in with seeing my friends who live down there. Last time I had a conference, I tied it in with seeing two of my friends and visiting some cool bars and restaurants. London is one of those places where you can go to a million times, but there will always be a new place to visit, and that’s one of the reasons I love it so much.

17. Brighton Beach

Brighton is by far one of the coolest places I’ve ever visited, but the thing that stood out to me the most was the beautiful beach. There’s something about a pebble beach that is really pretty, and I really loved people watching – everyone seemed so happy to be by the sea.

Have you been to any of these destinations? Where have you enjoyed visiting this year? 

xx

I won’t be that person that says how is it November, but please be aware that I most certainly am thinking it. But I love winter, so for me, this is a good time of the year.

The clocks have gone back now which means the sun starts setting before I’ve even left the office for the day, but it’s also meant that I can get my knitwear out, which is my favourite time of the year. And you know what’s just round the corner…


1. Buy Jamie Oliver’s New Book

If you’ve been anywhere on social media, chances are that you’ve seen Jamie Oliver’s ‘5 Ingredients’ book popping up all over the place. I’m not a huge lover of cooking (more of eating) but anything that requires only 5 ingredients is right up my street. I have a tendency to buy cookbooks and never use them, but this is one I can see taking a firm place in the kitchen for the winter months.

2. A Seamless Come Dine With Me

On Saturday evening, I have my friends coming round for ‘Alphabet Come Dine With Me’. My letter is Q, and as there is only one country starting with that letter, I’ve had to get my thinking cap on. I won’t write what I’m going to make in case any of them read it on here. It’ll also be the first time that most of them have been to the house since we bought it, and I’m excited to play host.


3. Heading To The Christmas Markets

November is officially the start of Christmas in my eyes, and also when the markets around the country start. We’re lucky that Manchester really does Christmas markets well as they are on the doorstep, but I’d quite like to visit another city this year.


4. Getting Tipsy At The Gin Festival

This month is also when Jordan and I will be heading to the gin festival at Victoria Baths in Manchester after I bought us tickets back in August. He isn’t the biggest gin fan but has enjoyed all of the flavoured ones that he’s tried so far. Victoria Baths is such a cool venue for events as well so I’m looking forward to going back.


5. Finally Getting My Blog Redesigned

In October, I finally took the plunge and paid for my blog to be migrated over to WordPress. It’ll be happening at some point in the next couple of weeks, and it also means that I’m going to have a new template soon too – make sure you come back to see what’s changed.

6. Attending Lots Of Fun Blogging Events

I’ve really kindly been invited to a few blogging events this month, which I am really looking forward to. Some are with brands I’ve worked with in the past, but some are completely new ones, which is always exciting.


7. Catching Up At My Friend’s Birthday

This month it’s one my oldest friend’s birthdays, and she’s celebrating it in one of my favourite UK cities, Chester. She lived there for years and I’ve visited so many times so it will be nice to go back and celebrate with her in some familiar places.


8. Learning Lots Of New Tips At Stylist Live

In a couple of weeks, my mum and I will be heading to Stylist Live. If you haven’t heard of the event before, it is run by Stylist Magazine and is a mixture of experts, comedy, food, interviews, fashion, beauty and loads more. It’s at the London Olympia, which I’ve been to before, and it’s a great venue for what I’m sure will be a really cool event.

9. Returning To London

The week after, I will be heading back to London to see my friend Louise who has recently moved into her new house. I’m not sure what we’ll get up to when I’m there, but I’m really excited to see her and her new place, and finally meet her cat, Finchley.


10. Head To A We Blog MCR Event

It’s been ages since I’ve seen my fellow bloggers at a We Blog MCR event, and I only have to wait a couple more weeks until I’m reunited with them. We haven’t been told loads about the event, just that there’s going to be a guest speaker, which I’m sure will be incredibly useful.

And that’s it for November.

What are you planning on getting up to this month? 

xx

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