I can’t believe we’re almost halfway through the year; where did the time actually go? That’s one of the reasons I’ve been loving writing these posts because I can look back on them and remember all the fun things I did in 2017.

This last week has been jam-packed as it was my birthday on the Tuesday, which meant seeing lots of different people and celebrating!

1. Takeaway

Well, it wouldn’t be a weekly love post without me talking about food, would it? Me and Jordan had spoken about going out on Monday evening as a pre-birthday celebration, but when it came round to it, I was still so tired from the weekend, that we decided to have a chilled night in. There is a sushi takeaway not far from where we live, which we’ve been to a few times, so we decided to treat ourselves to some food from here, which was a very welcome change to ‘whatever-we-have-in-the-freezer’ Mondays.

2. Band & Bean

On Tuesday night (a.k.a my birthday) I was invited to an acoustic event at Grindsmith in Media City. My friend Emily puts on these events to pair her two loves of coffee and music in a chilled environment. She and a group of others are very passionate about the Manchester music scene and discovering new artists, which is what this event was to promote. There were 2 bands and 1 singer, who were all amazing, talented individuals. We watched Tuscan Sun, Stillia and Hannah Ashcroft, and if you would like any more information, check out their Youtube channel and Facebook page.

3. Tattu

I want to do a full review of Tattu on here in the next couple of weeks, but I wanted to give it a mention because I had such a lovely time. On Wednesday it was my friend Sophie’s birthday so a group of us went to the Spinningfields restaurant which specialises in Cantonese food in such a beautiful atmosphere. We had a really chilled evening and I got to catch up with a couple of the girls who I hadn’t seen in a while, which was lovely.

4. Dinner With Parents

On Thursday evening, me and Jordan went to have dinner at my parent’s house. My mum has recently gone veggie so we had a Quorn spag bol, halloumi, garlic bread, a watermelon and feta salad (which was delicious!) and apple crumble for dessert. She definitely overfed us, but all the food was amazing, and it was nice to spend time with my parents at home, rather than go out for a meal.

5. Paris

On Saturday morning, Hannah and I flew out to Paris for a weekend break. We had such an amazing time. filled with lots of food, rooftop drinks, sunshine, boat tours, wine, croissants, wandering and everything else you are supposed to do on a city break. I even managed to film a few video clips so I might make them into a vlog! You can check out my Instagram (and Hannah‘s) to have a look at everything we got up to!

xx

Follow my blog on TwitterInstagram and Facebook!

It feels like it was months ago since Jordan and I went to Bruges when it was only in March, but I guess that’s the way that 2017 has been flying by.

We decided back in January to take a little trip mid-March as we knew that a house was on the horizon for us, and we wanted to have a break just the two of us before the chaos started. At the time the Eurostar was having a sale, so we started researching the places you could go to on the train, which turns out is only Belgium or France, and I’d already booked to go to Paris in June for my birthday.

I’ve been to Brussels before a few years ago and loved the city, but I wanted to go somewhere different, so we agreed on Bruges. A few of my friends had already been over the last few years and said it was such a beautiful place, making it an easy choice; plus, the chocolate and waffles were a big deciding factor.

Because the Eurostar we booked got us into Brussels at 7pm (and the train to Bruges was an hour on top of that) we decided to have one night and morning there before heading over. I chose a hotel that was relatively near the centre so we dropped our bags off and went for a wander.

We started at a bar called Delirium, which, if you’ve ever been to Brussels will know is quite an attraction. I had a mango Timmermans, and Jordan went for a Kriek (cherry beer) which quickly turned into his drink of choice for the whole trip.

After a wander round some of the Belgium chocolate shops in the Grand Place (tip – if you want to bring chocolates home with you, or just eat them whilst you’re there, go further out of the main square where the prices significantly drop) we went to an Italian restaurant on one of the side streets where they very awkwardly made us feel like VIPs in front of a full restaurant. We went for a couple more beers before walking back up to the hotel for the night.

The next morning we woke up early and went to find some breakfast, which turned out to be harder than anticipated – who knew Belgians were the only people in Europe who don’t love brunch? Although we did find quite a lot of bakeries, we grabbed a quick snack and headed for the train to Bruges (which was a double decker one and really really cool!)

When we arrived in Bruges, we jumped into a taxi to our hotel, Hotel Ter Brughe, and surprisingly made it there in one piece seen as our taxi driver thought he was a stuntman in a Bond film. When we jumped out, I noticed how similar the buildings were to Amsterdam, and there were even a lot of cyclists – when you look at Bruges on the map, it isn’t too far from Holland at all.

The one thing I noticed more than anything about Bruges is how different it was to Brussels. The whole pace of the city was much slower and much more chilled, and the people seemed more relaxed. The city itself is stunning: It’s a mixture of Belgian, almost gothic architecture, but feels quite Venetian with the amount of canals and river boats.

Once I’d picked up a bar of chocolate to fix my sugar craving, we went to the Beer Museum, which, if I’m honest, wasn’t massively impressive. You’re given an iPad to go and learn about the history, but mine stopped working half way through, and I enjoyed the tasting side of the experience much more. With your ticket, you get to try 3 Belgian beers and have the option to buy more, which obviously we did…

After the Beer Museum we had a wander around the shops, and took a beer for the road: I’m a massive fan of Belgian beers from trying them over here, but the real thing just tastes so much better.

We decided on a burger restaurant to have dinner in, but before that, we visited Bar2Be which was recommended by a friend. I’m so glad we went here because firstly, the outside bit of the bar was right next to the canal, secondly, you got to try 4 different beers for 10 euros, and thirdly, those beers were so good! My favourite from here was a coconut beer, which usually I wouldn’t have gone for, but it was amazing; we also got a little side of salamis, nuts and cheese.

After dinner, we went to another bar overlooking the canal and had a really lovely evening just watching the world go by. I have a thing for eating and drinking outside by the water, so this really was a great evening.

On the second day, we had breakfast at the hotel, which was a mixture of pastries, cooked breakfast, bread and cold meats. After going back for a 4th or 5th plate, we decided to have an hour to regroup (i.e. not throw up…) before we went out.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a fan of a walking tour as I feel you get to see a lot of the city that you wouldn’t on a tour bus, and learn about the history of the everyday people. I’d googled in advance the best one to go to, so after a mosey around a few shops (and a cheeky lunchtime beer) we headed to the meeting point.

Funnily enough, our tour guide was from Yorkshire, about an hour away from us, and was absolutely lovely. The tour lasted about 3 hours, but the time flew by. She pointed out that the chocolate shops that have a cocoa bean outside are the best in the country, and as we’d walk past a couple, we went back to them to pick up some goodies. They were slightly more expensive that the other ones that we had visited, but the quality of the chocolate was unreal.

Still on a sugar high, we decided to go to the chocolate museum, which I really enjoyed and would highly recommend. We learnt all about the history of chocolate and the origins of different types and watched an expert make truffles at the end of the tour, which we got to try as well.

After getting ready for dinner, we wandered through the streets just as the sun was setting, and it was truly picturesque. We went to a traditional Belgian restaurant and shared a double portion of stew with dumplings and fries, and it was delicious. Afterwards, we stopped at a waffle truck and ate them walking down the canal with a beer.

On the final morning, we had breakfast at the hotel again, packed up and left our bags with reception before heading out. We had seen the boat tours the past couple of days and decided it would be the perfect time to go on one in the early morning sunshine. The tour lasted about 45 minutes, and we got to see so much of the city from a completely different angle.

After the boat tour, we walked over to the Huisbrouwerij de Halve Maan brewery, where they produce Brugse Zot, one of the most popular beers in Belgium. I’ve done a few brewery tours in the past, and this was up there as being one of the most informative and interesting. The beer we got to try at the end was really nice, even at 11:30 am.

Because the brewery was really close to the Beguinage gardens, which is home to the Benedictine nuns, we went for a walk around the daffodil-filled gardens, which was so peaceful. After another waffle and a stop in a chocolate shop to buy presents for our family, we walked back to the hotel and jumped in a taxi to the train station.

After an hour train to Brussels and a two-hour Eurostar back to London, we found ourselves back in the UK after a lovely little break.

I would definitely go back to Bruges in a heartbeat – it was so magical and tranquil and perfect for a few days away (especially if you love beer and chocolate!)

xx

Follow my blog on TwitterInstagram and Facebook!

After everything that has happened over the last few weeks, it was getting harder and harder to find things to be happy about – but life is all about being resilient and overcoming negativity with a positive mindset and I will strive my hardest to continue to do that.

1. Vegan Dinner

On Monday night, my friend Emily came round for dinner. She is vegan, so I was panicking about what to make, but we decided to have a big salad, tortillas, hummus, crusty bread, roasted nuts and bits of fruit. It was nice to have something different for dinner as I’m trying to cut my meat intake down anyway and lovely to catch up with her.

2. Spontaneous Visit

On Tuesday afternoon my friend Siobhan messaged me to say she was in the area. She moved to Chester back in April and I haven’t had the chance to go and see the new house and vice versa. She came round for food and wine (and cake that I happened to have baked spur of the moment) and we got to talk for a few hours about the move, jobs, and her upcoming wedding, which was nice.

3. Nails

Now I’ve firmly got the ‘having your nails done every 3 weeks’ bug (catchy…) I had booked my next appointment in back in May. I went for a pale peach colour, as I had already had pink and I hoped this would go with everything. We’re going to Ascot in a couple of weeks, and I’m hoping to wear a red dress so I didn’t want something that would clash or look too garish.

4. Voting

I know I probably lost followers on Instagram, Twitter, and friends on Facebook, but this election really took over my life this week. I can tell I’m beginning to sound like a broken record, but I felt so strongly that I wanted Labour to win and I wanted to have my say. Although the result wasn’t exactly what I was hoping for, I’m impressed by the campaign that they constructed, and the fact that 70% of under 25’s turned up to vote.

5. Homemade Brunch

As it’s my birthday on Tuesday, Jordan treated me to a homemade brunch over the weekend. As we’re still in the midst of paying bills, sorting out the rooms we still haven’t touched, and trying to make our house into a home, I sometimes lean more towards meals in than meals out. We had scrambled eggs on olive bread, with avocado and smoked salmon and it was delicious.

6. Junkyard Golf

I’d been meaning to go here since it opened months ago, but never found the right time. For our joint birthdays, me and my friend Sophie decided to have a night here and have some drinks afterwards on Saturday night. The course was really fun, the cocktails were amazing, and I even managed to come joint first, which I was pretty happy with!

7. Birthday celebrations

After we played mini golf, we continued the night at Refuge, which is another place I’ve been meaning to go to go for a while. It was very fancy in there, but still reasonably priced and we even ran into some old school friends and had a mini catch up with them. I’m never a fan of doing something huge for my birthday, which is why it’s nice to share it with a close friend.

8. Makers Market

On Sunday, Jordan and I ventured into Manchester to go to the Makers Market that was on in the Northern Quarter. It’d been a while since we could make it to one of them, and I’d missed being able to sample loads of different food. We also got some pre-birthday cake, which didn’t last long when we got home.

9. The Alchemist On New York Street

After we had raided the market of food, we decided to go for a little celebratory drink at The Alchemist on New York street, which isn’t far from the Northern Quarter. It had been a couple of years since I had been here, but it is one of my favourite bars in Manchester. If you don’t know much about it, think of OTT cocktails which come in measuring jugs, with quirky garnishes. I went for a strawberry colada, which was basically an alcoholic slush puppy.

10. Come Dine With Me

As it had been a while since our last ‘alphabet come dine with me’ I was really excited to see the girls and hear what they had been up to recently. It was my friend Sarah’s turn to host and she had the letter P and did a medley of South American countries – Puerto Rico, Paraguay, Peru and Panama. We had a chicken, avocado and sweet potato dish to start, followed by a plantain course, then a main of rice with melted feta, with steak and pork with a fried egg on top, and a dessert of pastries and a sweet potato cake. They were all really sweet as well and sang happy birthday and gave me some chocolates and presents. A very lovely way to end the weekend.

xx

Follow my blog on TwitterInstagram and Facebook!

Next Tuesday is my 27th birthday, which to me, marks the fact that I am officially a fully-grown, real-life adult (aka been winging it for the last 6 years).

I feel good about turning another year older. I feel like there is much more on the horizon for me this year, and I am excited about things to come; life is a journey at the end of the day.

26 was a hard year for me, yet there were some amazing memories that I will take away from it and cherish.

Here’s to turning 27, striving for positivity and all of the great things to come.

1. Two more weddings – this summer, my cousin and one of my closest friends are tying the knot and I can’t wait to spend quality time with some friends and family.

2. Paris – next weekend, Hannah and I are going to Paris for the weekend and I haven’t been since year 9 so I can’t wait.

3. Attending more blogging events – there are always more events during the summer months, and I’m excited to catch up with some of my favourite girls.

4. Ascot – if you know my boyfriend at all, you’ll know he is obsessed with horse racing. This year we treated ourselves to Ascot tickets, although I’m already panicking about what to wear…

5. Summer weather – hopefully, we’ll get some more sunshine!

6. BBQ’s – I’ve already got two in the diary, so here’s hoping for more.

7. Our house – I’m hoping that we can do some of the decorating and bits and bobs that we’ve been putting off for a while.

8. More UK trips – I’m really lucky to have been to some lovely places in the last year including York, Oxford and Cornwall, and I’m hoping to take more advantage of those on my doorstep.

9. Friends fest – I’m a massive Friends fan, even 13 years after it finished, so I can’t wait to go in August.

10. Concerts – so far I’ve got a couple of concerts booked to see some of my favourite bands. I’m hoping I can fit some more in too.

11. Hen do – for my friend’s wedding in September, we are hiring a huge house near York and going to a festival nearby where Kaiser Chiefs are playing.

12. Gin Festival – the one I went to in March are popping up all over the place, so I’d be eager to go back and sample some of the ones I didn’t last time.

13. Food festival – on that note, we always seem to go to a couple of food festivals over the summer which are a great way to support local businesses and try new cuisines.

14. Autumn city break – I’ve been looking at some different options for a short autumn city break. So far I’m leaning towards Stockholm or Copenhagen, so if you have any tips, send them my way.

15. Cooking classes – I’ve not been shy in saying that I really really don’t like cooking, so this year I am determined to learn some new skills, and maybe even try a cooking class.

16. Brighton – we’ve booked a little trip to Brighton for Jordan’s birthday, and I’m really looking forward to going, as neither of us have been before.

17. Christmas – I know, I know, it’s too early, but I’m already really excited for our first Christmas as homeowners.

18. Italy – I’m going back to my favourite country in the whole world in September, and I already can smell the pizza and prosecco.

19. 30th – three of my closest friends are turning 30 before the end of the year and I can’t wait to celebrate with them.

20. My Nan’s 90th – if any of you have ever heard me speak about my Nan, you know that she is a massive inspiration. On August bank holiday, she will be hosting the whole family for her 90th birthday and even sent us a save the date.

21. Scotland – two of my best friends are currently living over the border, so I’m going to make it my mission to spend more time up there.

22. Edinburgh – following on from that, I really want to go back to Edinburgh at Christmas, because it was just the most magical place.

23. Travels – two of my best friends are going travelling this year, and although I’m incredibly jealous, I’m happy they are following their dreams.

24. Motivation – recently I’ve felt so more motivated in terms of work, blogging and my overall life. Long may it continue!

25. Family – my family moved over here from America last summer, I’m looking forward to spending more time with them when the kids have their summer holidays.

26. Trying new restaurants – there are so many new restaurants popping up all over the place in Manchester. This year I really want to make the effort to try some of the new ones and stop going to so many chains. I’m starting with Tattu next week for my birthday.

27. Mental health – this last year has seen my mental health be totally rocked by a number of different events. I wouldn’t say I’ve been hiding it away, but sometimes it is so easy to push all negativity and anxiety to the back of your mind and not tell anyone. This year I am going to tackle it full on, make regular appointments with counsellors, be prescribed the right medication, and hopefully, find a better life balance.

xx

Follow my blog on TwitterInstagram and Facebook!

I never thought I would be sharing on here any political views, but recently, I’ve felt so passionate about this election that I thought it was about time I had my say.

I grew up in a middle-class family, in a wealthy ‘Conservative-heavy’ suburb, went to a grammar school, private college, and a red-brick university. To the outside out, it might look obvious who I would vote for.

The first time I could vote was back in 2010. As a confused 19-year old, I voted the same as my parents; Conservative. I had no interest in politics and not much changed when the 2015 election came around.

Fast-forward 2 years and I have now bought a house in a very pro-Labour area, I have read up on the manifesto, the other parties, some of my closest friends are activists, and I feel very strongly about protecting the NHS, schools and the police.

Although much of the Labour manifesto doesn’t directly affect me (I’m not paid minimum wage, at University, have children or work for the NHS) I still believe that electing this government will be better for the country in the long run and for my future generations. I’ve worked hard to buy a house, go on little city breaks and enjoy nights out with my friends, but I am not driven by money, and I wouldn’t want to live in a society that is.

So why am I voting Labour?

Well, firstly, because I believe that Jeremy Corbyn is the best person to run the country: He genuinely cares about the people, schools, universities, women, wages, the NHS, making amends where the Tories haven’t. He is also the lowest claiming MP when it comes to expenses, takes the bus and has been campaigning for a fairer economy for years.

Secondly, I agree with most points in his manifesto (which you can find here). Not only is he passionate about policing our streets, investing in schools, and providing free childcare, but he wants to ensure that mental health services are given the same priority as physical health, hospital care remains free and the nurse’s bursary is reinstated after the Tories scrapped it.

And surely I can’t be the only one who would rather drive than get the train because the prices are through the roof? Well, if you vote Labour, Jeremy Corbyn has vowed to cap fares, so we don’t pay more than other European countries.

During this whole election, one thing that has annoyed me throughout is the papers. If you go into a newsagent, you’re met with headlines about Jeremy Corbyn not being able to protect us, how he’s linked to Islamic extremists, how he’s an alcoholic, not fit to run the country etc. etc. But these papers are owned by millionaire tax avoiders, that will do anything in their power to dodge paying more money; and the thing that gets me is, the new tax on the country’s highest earners won’t even touch the side, and I guarantee none of them would miss it.

I’m honestly not telling you who to vote for, I’m just highlighting some of the reasons why I will be voting Labour. People fought and died for us to have the right to vote, so please use it tomorrow.

#ForTheMany #VoteLabour