You might remember my post a few months ago, about going to the beautiful Rosso Restaurant in Manchester, for the first instalment of the Blogger Dining Club, curated by Georgie Glass. I was lucky enough to be invited back again in December, this time to try Don Giovanni for their Christmas Showcase. It had been about a decade (wow…) since I’d last been to the restaurant, and in that time it’s been renovated and re-branded as one of Manchester’s best and the oldest independently owned Italians in the city.

I arrived at the restaurant and made my way through the very grand floor-to-ceiling glass doors and was greeted by the beautiful Holly and her adorable growing bump. After taking off my many December layers, I took in how festive and dazzling the restaurant looked in preparation for Christmas. A few more bloggers turned up, some familiar faces, some new, before we were seated at a gorgeous table towards the back of the restaurant.

The table was set out beautifully, with treats from Kiehls, Just Bee Water, Warner Edwards and Portobello Road Gin, with flower centres from The Flower Lounge in Didsbury.

We took some photos, had some lovely chats and catch ups and sipped on Prosecco before the first course came out. I always love pre-ordering my food because by the time the meal comes, I’ve forgotten what I asked for and it’s always a bit of a surprise without having to scour the menu again.

For the starter, I went for the Carpaccio Di Salmone, which was thin slices of smoked salmon, lemon oil, capers and dill. The amount of smoked salmon we were given was amazing, seen as in some places they can be a bit stingy with the portion – I’m looking at you, Northern Quarter brunch haunts. The capers and lemon and dill really brought the flavour of the dish out, and it was delicious. I’ve always been a big fan of fish, especially smoked salmon as it always feels like a bit of a treat as we never really buy it at home.

For the second course, I had the Ravioli Aragosta (lobster ravioli) which was incredible. It wasn’t overly fishy and had a hint of chilli, which was lovely and tasty. I’ve only had lobster only a handful of times, and this was by far the best and made me feel super swish and fancy when it came.

After the main course, we all chatted for a bit longer and took some photos of the beautiful surroundings before having a festive champagne cocktail which tasted of mince pies – very fitting indeed.

If you’re looking for an authentic Italian meal in the heart of the city centre, I couldn’t recommend this place more. The staff are incredibly attentive, the menu has original classics, as well as a few modern dishes for those who want to try something new and the setting is beautiful.

xx

My meal at Don Giovanni was complimentary. All views are my own. 

Happy Monday you lovely lot! We officially survived the first full week of work which definitely seems like quite an achievement and we even had some sunshine along the way to enjoy!

Here are all the things I was loving over the past week.

1. Meeting An Old Friend

On Monday evening, I went to Chorlton to meet my good friend Holly, founder of We Blog North for a bit of a catch-up. She’s due to have a baby in May, and I hadn’t seen her since I’d been engaged so we had a lot to talk about. I also got to have a look around her newly renovated house too, which was absolutely beautiful.

2. Lunchtime Walks

During our lunch breaks this week, me and a couple of girls went for a walk into Alderley Edge village to break up the day a little bit. We’re lucky that our office is in such a beautiful part of Cheshire, and we get to look at some pretty gorgeous houses on the route we took.

3. Shopping

On Wednesday evening, I went to the Trafford Centre to take some sale purchases back that I impulse bought after Christmas (bad idea!) I ended up having a little shop around and buying myself a spontaneous beret, which I’d wanted for a while and although I’m not sure whether I can pull it off, I’m going to go with it.

4. Girls Night

By the time it got to Friday evening, all I wanted to do was have some chill time with two of my favourite girls – I had my good friends Jacinta and Georgie round for dinner and a girl’s night. We had veggie burgers and sweet potato fries and had a lovely time putting the world to rights.

5. Leeds

I was invited to attend the Ice Lolly ‘Blog at the Beach’ event at Duke Studios in Leeds. I went with my good old blogging buddy, Lily, and we met some lovely people there, including finally being introduced to Queen Beady. The event was incredibly useful and it was lovely to be back over that side of the Pennines again.

4. Chilled Saturday

After getting back from the event on Saturday, Jordan and I had a well-earned night in doing absolutely nothing. We cooked vegetarian pies with some greens, and watched ‘Take Me Out’ whilst cuddling the cats. Definitely a great way to end a busy day.

5. First Newsletter

My first newsletter went out yesterday (you can sign up here for the next one) and the feedback I’ve had so far has been lovely. It featured blogs from some of my favourite people such as Sophie Cliff, Rhianna Olivia, Chloe Plumpstead and Sophie Rosie as I love sharing the work of other content creators.

6. Venues

On Sunday morning, Jordan and I went to the two venues which we have whittled it down to. It was nice to see them without it being an open day and being able to ask the owners all our questions, which there are a lot of. I’ll be posting my first wedding update at the end of the month, so make sure you keep an eye out for that one!

7. Wedding Fair

After seeing the venues, we went to the County Brides wedding fair at the Etihad Stadium (boo!!) to get some idea on the price of other things, and have a look at the exhibitors. I’ve only ever been to one wedding fair before, but I definitely want to go to more the closer we get to the wedding.

8. Tampopo

We worked up quite an appetite after all of the wedding planning during the day and I was lucky enough to be invited to try the new ramen dishes at Tampopo so we headed to the Trafford Centre to try them. I went for the Shoyu vegetarian option, and Jordan had the Tonkotsu, and they were both delicious. I love Tampopo as they always use the tastiest ingredients and the service is always so good.

What have you been loving this week? 

xx

Someone asked me last week for advice on how to deal with anxiety for one of her clients, and seen as it’s been a while since I’d done a post relating to my personal story, and with the new start to the year, I thought this would be a great time to share some of my advice if you are suffering with your mental health.

January can be one of the best, yet one of the most overwhelming times of the year, which can ultimately lead to quite an anxious period for some, myself included. Hopefully, these tips and advice will help you if you’re feeling a bit lost at the moment and give you some reassurance that you are not alone.

1. Don’t Be Afraid To Talk

When I was younger, I never spoke about my anxiety, and instead tried to deal with it on my own. I used to mix up the feelings I was having with hormones and assumed that everything I was going through was normal. It was only when I started to open up to people that I realised that I was suffering from generalised anxiety disorder, which prompted me to speak to a professional – one of the best thing I ever did. There are also a lot of charities aimed at helping people with mental health issues, such as Mind, Rethink Mental Illness and Think Twice, who all offer free advice.

2. You Are Not Selfish

Sometimes an anxiety attack can come out of nowhere and the only thing you want to do is be alone – that is completely fine. I’ve cancelled plans, some of them quite big ones as well, because my anxiety got the better of me and I felt as though I needed alone time. Up until recently, I used to be wracked with guilt when I did this, but now I have come to the realisation that I am not a bad person for needing some alone time, or feeling as though I am not up to something.

3. Medication Is Not A Weakness

When I went through a very tough time about 18 months ago, my mental health was the worst it’s ever been and I was prescribed medication to help with my anxiety and depression. I had been on a prescription before, but this time it was a higher dosage that I was advised to take daily. For months I didn’t tell anyone I took medication because I always felt there was a stigma around it, but since then, I’ve learnt you should never feel weak for trying to make things in your life better. If you don’t want to talk to your GP about it, you can always visit sites such as The Independent Pharmacy, who will diagnose your symptoms and give you advice.

4. Know Your Limits

From day to day, this one might change, but it’s important to know what your body and mind can be put through. There is something called the spoon theory, which is a metaphor relating to people with an illness or disability, and states that as a sufferer, you only have a certain number of spoons a day. Every activity we do takes away a portion of our spoons, and once we have no more, we have no choice but to rest and replenish them for the next day.

5. Mental Health IS Important

Just because you can’t see what is happening when someone is suffering with a mental health illness doesn’t mean that it is not as important as a physical ailment. There is a lot more talk now about mental health, and I think that’s great, but also, there is so much more that can be done and said around the topic.

I hope you found this blog helpful and if you would like me to do more on the subject, just drop me a line.

xx

(The main one being, don’t take outfit photos with a bobble on your wrist…)

After jumping on the Instagram bandwagon of doing my year in review, it got me thinking of all the important life lessons I learnt last year, and I thought this post would be a great opportunity to write them all down. I did a similar post at the start of last year, and it’s always nice to have something like this to look back on.

2017 was such a monumental year for me, so much more so than I ever would have imagined: I travelled more than I ever have before, I bought a house with my best friend, we added another little fur baby to our family, I quit my job with nothing else in the pipeline, I found a job I love, I made new friends, I cherished opportunities that were given to me, I started to plan a wedding and I tried to make the most of every day.

I’ve made a list of all of the things that I learnt along the way too, for you all.

1. It’s ok to put yourself first. It’s not selfish or indulgent but helps you be the best version of yourself in the other areas of your life, which inevitably, helps you to give back to others.

2. Prioritising time with your family should always be your number 1.

3. Your friends have always got you back. Sometimes it may feel as though you all have so much going on in your own personal life, or they may even live on the other side of the world, but when it comes down to it, they would give you the world.

4. The older you get, the more you don’t care what other people think of you. Focusing on yourself is key to finding happiness in your life.

5. Travel broadens the mind. Maybe a cliche, but 100% true.

6. Carrying a notebook around with you will make you feel like a super swish stationery goddess.

7. Finding a balance between work and home life is harder than you think, but incredibly important to keep you sane.

8. No one ever really knows what they want to do with their life. The majority of people are on a different path than they once envisaged, but it makes life more exciting along the way.

9. A home-cooked meal, evening in and spending time with your favourite people will always make your heart warm.

10. Trying to keep flowers alive is easier said than done.

11. You don’t have to fill your evenings and weekends with plans. Although its lovely to have something to look forward to, a night away from the world can sometimes do you the world of good.

12. The more expensive something is, doesn’t mean its better.

13. You should never feel guilty for wanting some time alone or saying no to people. If that’s what your body wants, then you should listen.

14. You’re never too old to start something new.

15. You are an incredible, interesting, unique, human being with a number of layers to unearth to people.

16. Going for a walk, talking to someone or getting out of the house are not quick fixes for your mental health. Listen to your mind and make your own decisions.

17. Making your bed in the morning will really make you feel as though you have your s*** together.

18. There’s nothing like curling up with a good book and getting lost in your thoughts.

19. Saving money is much easier when you re-evaluate what are the most important things in your life.

20. Animals make the world a better, more lovely place.

21. There is kindness in even the darkest of places.

22. Nothing makes you happier than seeing your friends get married to their one true love.

23. Growing up in the digital age can be incredibly daunting at times.

24. When all is said and done, listen to your gut.

What were the lessons you learnt last year? 

xx

Although jumping on a plane and visiting a new city is one of my favourite things to do, discovering the U.K. is something I have always wanted to do more of.

I try to fit in a couple of trips to different cities in the year but with cheap flights, affordable Air BnB’s and amazing food on offer, sometimes going abroad seems like the best option.

This year I’ve made it one of my goals to explore more of the beautiful country I call home. Today I’m sharing with you the 14 places on my U.K. bucket list.

1. Scottish Highlands

Scotland was voted the most beautiful country in the world last year, and from the photos that were shared, it’s easy to see why. Scotland is one of those places that is so close to home, yet somewhere I’ve never discovered much of and I’d love to spend a good couple of weeks driving around.

2. Cambridge

Although I visited Oxford at the start of last year, Cambridge has always intrigued me for a visit. I’d love to learn more about the history of the university and take a boat down one of the beautiful canals – basically the Venice of the U.K.

3. Exeter

I’d never really heard anyone talk about Exeter until a few years ago when Hannah Gale did a vlog from there, and since then, it’s firmly been on my list to visit. Think cobbled streets, gorgeous architecture and big open squares full of bars and restaurants – sold yet?

4. Leeds

Although I’ve been to Leeds a couple of times, I really want to get to know the city better. I don’t really have an excuse seen as it’s only an hours drive from my house, so this year I’m going to make a real effort to explore some of the sights and meet the bloggers I follow from over there.

5. Cromer

You may have never heard of this place before, but a couple bloggers I follow are from this area and the beaches look lovely. Cromer is situated on the cost of East Anglia and you can even go seal spotting which is something I never thought possible in the U.K.

6. London

I’ve been to London a million times before, but every time I go, I always leave wanting more, and not been able to fit in everything I wanted to. I’d love to spend more time in the capital this year and cross some things off my bucket list once and for all.

7. Warwick

The middle of England is an area I’ve explored in great detail, and I’ve only ever been through Warwick on the train. I’ve always wanted to visit the castle and spend a bit of time discovering a place that is steeped in history.

8. The Cotswolds

I’m still not 100% sure what constitutes the Cotswolds, but everything I have seen and read has made it out to be the loveliest little collection of villages. I love quaint towns and independent shops, so it seems like the ideal place to visit.

9. Margate

I’ve only ever been south of London once before when we visited Brighton back in October, and Kent is one of those places that I’ve always had on my list to visit. Margate looks like such a beautiful seaside town with pastel coloured houses and a funfair. What’s not to love?

10. Bath

What says beautiful England more than Bath? I’ve watched a few videos on YouTube of different bloggers who have been there on trips, and it always looks so beautiful. I think Christmas would be an amazing time to visit.

11. Bristol

My cousin went to university in Bristol and speaks so highly of the city that it’s been on my list for a while. I’ve heard that it’s got a similar vibe to Manchester, which makes me instantly intrigued. Also, anywhere with an annual hot balloon festival is always going to be of interest too.

12. Beaumaris

Beaumaris is somewhere not too far from my house, on the coast of North Wales. From what I know, it looks like the most picturesque little place and is quite the destination for foodies.

13. Newquay

I’ve only been to Cornwall once before, but the natural beauty of the beaches amidst the gorgeous countryside completely captured me.

14. Portmeirion

The more I research Portmeirion, the more I am mesmerised that there can be something like that in the U.K. If you aren’t familiar, Portmeirion was created by Sir Clough William-Ellis in the style of an Italian village to capture the beauty of the country, but situated in North Wales. It’s also home to Festival Number 6, which has also been on my list for a few years to visit.

And there you have my U.K. bucket list – let’s see how many I’m able to cross off my list this year.

Have you ever been to these places? Where else would you recommend? 

xx

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