Last week, I was invited to try the ramen restaurant, Shoryu in Manchester’s Picadilly Gardens. The establishment, which is sandwiched between Pizza Express and Ask Italian, has been there since November and is the brand’s first venture outside of London. It has been widely recognised by those in the industry and has been recommended in the Michelin Guide in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

The restaurant is renowned for its Hakata tonkotsu ramen from the Hakata district of Fukuoka city on the southern island of Kyushu in Japan. The ramen consists of a rich, white pork soup (each pan takes over 12 hours to cook at a ‘rolling boil’… fancy!) and thin ramen noodles, topped with char siu BBQ pork belly, nitamago egg, kikurage mushrooms, spring onion, sesame, ginger and nori seaweed.

I absolutely love ramen and Japanese cuisine in general, and I’d only heard good things about this place from other bloggers, making me very excited to try it. When we arrived, we were greeted by Nelson, who asked us whether we wanted to sit where the chefs prepared the food or looking on the gardens: we went for the ‘theatre’ option as I love watching food being made.

We were given the set menu and the regular menu to peruse. The set menu cost £22 each and included a starter, main and cocktail, which I think is a reasonable price for the city centre, seen as a cocktail would have set you back £9-11 by itself. We both chose the seasonal passionfruit and vodka cocktail, because nothing says summery cocktail like passionfruit does.

For a starter, you could choose from either a grilled halloumi and shimeji mushroom or soy marinated chicken karaage bun, which we got one each of. I’ve seen these buns before, especially when I was in Berlin (strangely) but I have never had the pleasure of having one, and it was worth the wait. I can’t really describe the texture but it was quite a doughy and sticky bread bun with the filling inside – not the most appealing sounding, but amazing!

For the main we both went for the infamous Hakata tonkotsu ramen. The waitress told us we had made a good choice, and the main came as soon as we’d finished the starter. I’ve had a lot of ramen in my time; I used to go to Wagamama about twice a week when I went to university in Manchester, but this one topped them all. The broth itself was so flavoursome, and the ingredients were so fresh – we even got asked how hard we wanted our noodles, which was a change (apparently the traditional way is to have them quite al dente). Embarrassingly though, we both had to ask for forks instead of using chopsticks.

After the ramen, we were encouraged to try the Sakura & Azuki Chiffon cake, which was limited edition, and the chef’s favourite. I’m not exaggerating here when I say that it was the lightest cake I’ve ever eaten, and the cherry coulis was a welcome accompaniment. The cake itself was a regular sponge, with a sort of citrus taste running through and I would 100% eat it again.

Overall, I think Shoryu is definitely a welcome choice to the already ever-expanding Manchester foodies scene. The food was reasonably priced, incredibly delicious and the staff were so welcoming and knowledgeable about what you should try.

I will definitely be going back to Shoryu, sooner rather than later, and would highly recommend it.

You can find out all about the restaurant here.

xx

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Thank you to Shoryu who treated us to a complimentary meal for 2. All views are my own. 

This week has been one of the most up and down ones of my life. It started off which such tragedy but ended with so much love.

It still gives me some faith in humanity, that even in the darkest of times, people still try to find the light.

1. The Mancunian Spirit

After the heartbreak I felt on Monday evening, I’ve managed to feel a bit more uplifted throughout the week seeing everyone from around the city I call home, come together in such a magnificent way. From the floral tributes to the poems, to the I Love MCR signs everywhere: It really made my heart warm knowing that even through such a terrible act, no one will every break the Northern spirit.

2. Wedding Rehearsal 

On Wednesday evening we had the rehearsal for my friend’s wedding which happened over the weekend. I was so so nervous to walk down the aisle, so having a rehearsal really put my mind at rest that it wouldn’t be so bad. We also got to see the bride and groom’s parents and the church in general and it was a lovely way to spend the evening.

3. Dot 2 Dot Festival

On Friday afternoon, myself and a couple of friends went to Dot to Dot festival in Manchester. If you’ve never heard of it, it’s basically loads of different acts dotted around Manchester at different bars and venues. We started off seeing Honeyblood at Albert Hall, followed by Liv Dawson at Band on the Wall, then Confidence Man at Mint Lounge and Growlers at Granada. It was such a fab day and something that is a really good idea to see bands you never usually would and venues you might not usually go to. My favourite were Confidence Man who put on an amazing show and were an electro 4-piece with crazy, awesome dance moves.

4. Wedding 

Obviously, the biggest highlight of the week (and year…) was watching two of my friends tie the knot on Saturday. The wedding was the most amazing and beautiful ceremony, and I’m so glad I got to be a part of it. I won’t give too much away, as I’m sure they’ll be loads of photos on Facebook coming up, but it was honestly one of the best days of my life. Wishing the happy couple all the love in the world.

5. Bank Holiday BBQ

To make the wedding celebrations last a bit longer, the Groom’s parents threw a BBQ yesterday at their house, joint with a 60th birthday celebration for the Mother of the Groom. It was really nice to get back together with close friends and family and reminisce about the day before. We also got the chance to wish the happy couple the best time on their honeymoon.

xx

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I chose to write this post after a few days reflecting on what happened in my home city of Manchester.

I’m sure you all know by now the atrocities that happened in the city on Monday evening and share with me a heavy heart knowing that something so horrible happened and so close to home.

I spent most of Monday night searching for updates on Twitter after hearing from my friend Hannah that she had just heard a bang from opposite her flat. At first, I prayed it was nothing serious; there were reports all over Twitter saying that a speaker had exploded at the Ariana Grande concert, but once I heard the word bomb, I couldn’t sleep.

Throughout the night I was searching for updates, but because there were different outlets saying completely different things, it was hard to get the whole story until the morning. I always thought that Manchester would be spared from all the atrocities going on around the world; call me naive if you like.

Unfortunately for a lot of us, we have had to grow up in a time where terrorism is a real threat to our everyday lives and it’s an unnerving thought. In the last few years, I can remember countless acts of everyday people losing their lives for doing nothing wrong, and it makes me so sad to think about.

I, for one, will never understand terrorism. It makes me sick to my stomach to know there are extremists out there who want innocent people to die, especially those with their whole life ahead of them.

If I’m being honest about how I feel about this whole thing, the only word I can think of is flat. It’s made me feel so helpless and low that this kind of thing could happen a) in general b) to children who were enjoying their favourite artist and c) somewhere I have been many times, in an area I walked through not only 2 months ago.

I feel as though there is only one way to deal with things like this – live your life how you always have, be cautious where necessary, but enjoy your time on earth. It’s scary to think that you’ll never know when your time might be up, so don’t spend it sweating the small stuff. Be thankful for all of the beautiful people around you who make you who you are and make your life so amazing.

In the last few days, I’ve been reading stories of heartache, agony, and loss, but also of undeniable courage, heroism and togetherness as we try to come to terms with what has happened to our great city. I have been so proud knowing that the city I call home, has such a beautiful spirit and incredible people who have all come together in a time of need.

“Manchester is a city, that thinks like a town, and feels like a village.” 

If this last year has taught me anything it’s that life is too short: It’s too short to hold grudges, not appreciate everything you have, to worry about money, not to take that holiday you’ve been dreaming of, to be in a job you don’t like.

Go and do the things that make you happy, because being happy should be your number 1 priority.

x

 

Back when I started this series, I always thought I might not keep it up because things get in the way each week and sometimes make it hard to sit down and write up a post.

Since buying a house, a lot of my time has been spent on that and the constant cleaning that comes with owning your own place – I mean really, how can two people and a cat make so much mess all the time?

I think what I’m trying to say here is though, even when life gets crazy hectic, I’ve always liked knowing I have these posts to look back on in the next few months/years later. It’s become a sort of online diary and I’m hoping that people are enjoying reading them too.

I’ve also decided to use fewer images on these posts because when I look at my blog sometimes, I think there is too many, so, we’ll see how long that lasts! If you’re looking for visuals of anything I do in the week though, you can always have a look at my Instagram.

And after that strange little intro… here’s what I was loving last week.

1. Liz Earle Cleanse And Polish 

Last week I mentioned I bought a few new bits in Boots, one of them being the Liz Earle ‘Cleanse and Polish’. I’ve heard hundreds of beauty bloggers rave about this, and it wasn’t until my skin had started to look a bit dull and lifeless that I actually thought I better invest in something. The girl working at the counter talked me through why it is good for you and the benefits of using it and even after a week, I am obsessed with the product. It smells so fresh and spa-like and already my skin is starting to look a bit better – definitely worth investing in. Shop here!

2. Nails

If you rewind back about 3 weeks, you’ll remember me saying that I got my nails done with shellac for the first time. I was really impressed that I had them on for over 3 weeks and only one came off (because it chipped and I pulled it away…) So on Thursday, I treated myself to another set for the wedding I am a bridesmaid at on Saturday. I got a pale pink because it was the closest colour to my dress, and I love how girly it is! It definitely makes me feel like I have my life together more when I have my nails done.

3. Shoryu

On Friday evening, I was invited to try the restaurant Shoryu in Picadilly Gardens in Manchester. I had only heard good things about this place so I was really excited to give it a go. The restaurant is quite small but intimate, and I didn’t feel as though I was cramped or anything (it probably helped that we sat by the window). I’m going to do a full blog review on it soon so keep an eye out for that. Visit the website here.

4. Beer Festival

On Saturday afternoon, a group of us went to the German Beer Festival in Manchester. We got there about halfway through the afternoon session and felt quite overwhelmed when everyone was already very very drunk around us. We had a few drinks then went back in for the evening session, which turned out to be a really good decision. The DJ was hilarious and had everyone dancing on the chairs and tables. Definitely, one I’ll be going back to next year.

5. Catch Up’s

On Friday afternoon after work, I met up with my friend Sarah for a quick coffee in Altrincham. She has just decided to go travelling for 8 months in July so I was very intrigued (albeit, very jealous) to hear all about her plans for that. We managed to also sit outside of a cute little cafe round the corner from my office called The Little Deli Company, which I also learnt is open till 9pm and does wine and cocktails, so I’ll definitely be back!

6. Overnight Oats

This seems like quite a lame thing to put on a weekly love post; however, I love talking about food and therefore thought I might as well put it in! I’ve gotten into the habit of having porridge for my breakfast when I’m at work, but last week I was getting bored of always having the same thing, so to mix things up (and use up the natural yoghurt that was edging closer and closer to it’s sell-by date) I decided to make some overnight oats.  I didn’t really measure the portion properly and ended up making enough for 3 days, and it probably would have stretched to 4 if I didn’t get so hungry in the morning. I used regular porridge oats and left them in yoghurt overnight (obviously…) and added in some blueberries. If you’re after something a bit more substantial in the morning, I would definitely recommend!

7. One Week Countdown

On Saturday it was officially one week until two of my closest friends tie the knot. I’m already gearing myself up for a day of tears, love and dancing and I for one can’t wait. It even looks like it will be the hottest day of the year so far as well!

xx

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Last month I was very kindly sent a Gousto box to review. If you’ve never heard of Gousto, it is a food subscription service, where you are delivered delicious ingredients to make some incredible-sounding meals that you usually wouldn’t have the chance to do so: It’s a great way to try new cuisines, sample new herbs and spices and get back into cooking.

I for one am not a massive fan of cooking: I get quite bored easily, end up eating most of the ingredients before anything has even touched the plate and my presentation skills are non-existent. So when Gousto got in touch and asked me to participate, I thought, why the hell not – I have nothing to lose!

I was offered the chance to chose two recipes from 22 on the website and have the box delivered straight to my front door: The great thing about this too is that the box is filled with ice packs to ensure your ingredients stay cold just in case you are not there to accept the delivery – although you can choose your delivery slot as well, which just makes life so much easier.

I found it really hard to choose because all of the recipes looked so good, but I went for the hoisin meatballs and Chinese sesame rice and Indonesian chicken rendang because they sounded hella fancy.

One of the things I really liked about the recipes is that the ingredients stayed in date for about a week so you weren’t in that much of a rush to make them.

I think out of the two, I preferred the chicken rendang because it was simpler to make, and tasted absolutely amazing; saying that though, the hoisin meatballs were probably the best meatballs I have ever had.

If you are interested in trying new recipes and gaining some confidence in the kitchen, I would definitely suggest giving these boxes a try because all the hard work is done for you.

xx

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