I shouldn’t be left alone with my thoughts as I end up going from a sprightly, joyous little creature to a sullen and sad excuse of a grown up within moments. Having so much going on at the moment is really difficult to understand. I can’t explain what’s going on in my head, and I also don’t understand what is happening in my head. I think I’m ok, but then I think I’m that far from ok that I don’t know how I’m going to be ok again. It doesn’t make sense. This week, I have really had to get my bum into gear. I’ve got blog post content that needs to be shared before my Christmas content, and all my Christmas content needs to be photographed and planned. I’ve been working my little socks off, which has kept me busy and brought back the passion that I have for writing. Whilst trying to organise another at home photo shoot for one of my posts, I had a thought. Instead of dressing up and putting on a full face of makeup to show off my gorgeous lounge wear set, why not show you it being worn in it’s natural habitat. Glasses on, not a scrap of makeup. This is me.

Happiness planner pour moi grey marl loungewear

Happiness planner pour moi grey marl loungewear

Happiness planner pour moi grey marl loungewear Ugg scuffette

Happiness planner pour moi grey marl loungewear  ugg scuffette

If I could live in lounge wear, I would. In fact, any lounge wear that is suitable for leaving the house to nip to the shop is all I need. My laundry basket is literally made up of pjs and joggers as that is the majority of what I wear around the house, and I relish getting home from work and putting on fresh pjs before sinking into my marshmallow bed and letting go of the day. I’ve recently been trying to work through my Happiness Planner, as I’ve had to start a new one. My last one ended up being victim to some very angry thoughts and deep pen scrawls, so apologise to it profusely. My new navy planner, courtesy of Joanie Clothing, couldn’t have come at a better time. A time where I want to share my feelings to a journal to help me work through my issues.

Sitting in my big chair in my bedroom, I can get comfy with Thomas, my planner and sit and wind down in my cosy lounge wear. This set is by Pour Moi, from UK Lingerie and the grey marl bottoms and oversized belted cardi are so cosy. Too warm and cosy to wear in bed, they are ideal for wearing around the house.I love the design of the Pour Moi cami but I am disappointed that the cami length is a bit short, especially when it’s for us busty girls. It means that I need to wrap my cardi a little tighter around me, which isn’t a bad thing. With it being so cold at the moment, I want to be warm constantly. Just give me some lounge pants and a hot water bottle and I am a happy bunny indeed. There’s nothing like being warm and comfortable to make you feel safe and protected. I cannot bear it when my feet are cold, so being able to slide my feet into my Ugg slippers from Amara Living is like a little slice of heaven. It’s been quite a few years since I last owned a pair of Ugg Scuffette slippers and I didn’t realise just how much I missed having furry slippers in my life. Oh yes, more fur for me. I think I have fur attachment issues.

Happiness planner pour moi grey marl loungewear

Happiness planner pour moi grey marl loungewear

Happiness planner pour moi grey marl loungewear

Happiness planner pour moi grey marl loungewear ren and now for sleep

Happiness planner pour moi grey marl loungewear  ren and now for sleep

The only other issue that I’m having at the moment is my sleep. I have been trying so many things in order to get a good nights sleep – no technology, relaxing scents in my room, essential oils. They all have been working to an extent and now I’m managing to fall asleep with ease. My only issue now is that I’m having fitful sleeps in which I’m having horrifically vivid dreams where I am waking myself up, jumping bolt upright in a cold sweat. I have spoken highly about my love of pillow sprays, and I am flying through bottles of them from various brands. The newest one to hit the nightstand is the Ren & Now for Sleep pillow spray which is so relaxing. Using relaxing essential oils such a lavender and Frankincense, then blend is traditional but it’s proven that it works. Lavender is especially good for alleviating tension and anxiety which is just what I need right now, whilst Frankincense to relax your mind. I am quite liberal with my pillow spray, and I also like to spray some in the corners of my bedroom to envelop me as I lie in bed.

It’s been quite refreshing to show the side of me that I wouldn’t usually share on my blog. Makeup free, au naturel and just as I am. Life doesn’t need to be a polished editorial magazine, with a glossy curly blow, an expensive foundation covered face and perfect nails. My nails are bitten from stress and anxiety, I’ve made a total mess from ripping the skin around my fingers. My hair is still tinged green and needs a good cut and shape, my brows need taming and tinting. My stretch marks on my boobs are visible, my rolls of fat are there, but do you know what? This is me.

*Contains PR Samples and/or Affiliate Links

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It’s been just under two months since I went through on of the most difficult situations that have occurred in my 35 years. Two months in which I’ve not really managed to understand things, nor compartmentalise things. The logical side of me can’t make sense of it all, yet the erratic side of me feels like things are too erratic. It’s a very odd situation to be in, and for want of a better word I feel discombobulated. And lost. Totally lost.

Anoushka loves

2017 has been an absolute horrific year for me. It’s brought to me situations that I’ve not been able to deal with, as well as changes in my life, and of course, that big Grandad shaped hole that has been left in my life. It’s been quite tough as someone who is usually so level headed and logical has suddenly become so irrational and disjointed from the world. I’m drinking more than I should, I’m sleeping more than I should and I go through each day wondering just how long it is until bedtime. I’ve lost the care that I once had for my self presentation; my hair, nails and even my home. My blog has slipped, my lust for life has dwindled and it’s because I have this sense of loss. I don’t feel that I belong.

To an outsider, it’s probably quite easy to say ‘but you don’t seem lost’ or ‘you’re always out with friends’, which to an extent is true. I try and keep things as normal as possible. It’s nice to keep things as normal as possible. I want to be around my friends; they’re the people who love me for being me, without judgement, and they make sure that I’m ok. They know when I’m not quite myself, and they can read the signs that I need a gentle nudge to snap me out of the glazed stare I’ve fallen in, when I get so engrossed in thinking of things, I literally am miles away.

As a sociable person, it’s something that I am finding really tough at the moment. I feel that my once bubbly persona has been overtaken by the need to be around just one or two close people and I don’t want to stray from my security net. The ‘How are you doing’ answer has gone from ‘yeah, great’ to ‘I’m ok’ and I can’t even tell how long I’ve just been ok for. I am ok, but I want to be better than ok. I want to come home from work and not just want to get in bed and hibernate. I want to have some lust for life again, rather than going through the motions. I don’t want to be reliant on medication. I don’t want to be reliant on 12 hours sleep. I want my verve and vigour back, my zing and zest, to be the life and soul of the party again. I want to go for a drink, without it ending in me sobbing in a corner, or getting angry for the reasons that I can’t explain when I’m sober.

I recently had a good chat with my Dr, and the things that can be addressed are being addressed. I’ve also been referred to speak to someone unbiased and impartial who will hopefully help me make sense of this jumble of thoughts and feelings that are swirling through my body. I want to be able to understand, and make sense of things. To feel like I have a grip on life and all it has to throw at me rather than cowering under the covers and hoping that it will go away. I need to feel motivated and wake up each morning, looking forward to the day ahead rather than going through the daily grind until I return home and can hide under my blanket in a clean set of pjs. I didn’t think that at 35, that life would be so hard.

Maybe I have been exceptionally lucky over the years in that I’ve been able to deal with the tough stuff that is thrown at me, and maybe this is just something that is going to be the making of me, but what I do know is that it’s been really quite difficult to grasp. Maybe 2017 just needs chalking up as a shite year and that 2018 will be my year. Hell, I may even send out one of those cheesy Facebook statuses on New Years Eve to say how it’s going to be my year. All I do know is that I will get through this, and I can get through this. It’s made me realise just how important certain things are in my life; my family, my friends and love.

“All it takes is a beautiful fake smile to hide an injured soul and they will never notice how broken you really are.”
— Robin Williams

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I have a particular food craving, and it happens quite frequently. It’s not a dish that is that easy to get hold of, and I have yet to find it on a takeaway menu close to home. I’m talking about the classic Pan-Asian dish, Pad Thai. My ultimate love in food. Just who would have thought that a giant dish of noodles would be the way to my heart? In Manchester, I know of just two places that do a superb Pad Thai, one of them being Tampopo. With the newest location of the restaurant at the Corn Exchange, I had to go and visit, and take my little flame haired beauty Hayley for a good old catch up.

Tampopo at Corn Exchange Manchester

Tampopo at Corn Exchange Manchester

Tampopo at Corn Exchange Manchester

Tampopo at Corn Exchange Manchester

Starting the feasting session with a traditional Tiger beer, we sat and perused the extensive menu, practically salivating at the dishes that were on offer. Now, although I love Pad Thai and knew that it was my dish of choice, I was tempted for a moment by the Katsu Curry and Chicken Massaman curry. I have found that Grand Pacific in Manchester create one of the finest Massaman curries, so I will definitely have to go back to Tampopo and compare. We had the sharing platter to start, which was a great choice as we could try several of the favourites from the menu. Spring rolls, corn fritters, sticky wings which fell off the bone, pork dumplings, coconut prawns and satay skewers, it’s a good job that we had an appetite. I don’t think that I could have picked a favourite from the platter but if I really had to to, I’d say the coconut prawns and pork dumplings come highly recommended. With a selection of dipping sauces, we got stuck in to the delicious flavours and mouth tingling spicy sauces.

I feel that I really need to express my love for Pad Thai somewhat. I don’t know whether it’s because of the sauce, the delicate noodles or the fact that it’s topped with chopped peanuts but there is something about this dish that I find incredibly comforting. It reminds me of a great night out I had in Mexico, where my dish was cooked fresh in front of me. It makes me feel satisfied, and I mean really quite full – so much so, that I couldn’t finish my plate in Tampopo. A simple plate of noodles, chicken and prawn and it’s just perfect.

Tampopo at Corn Exchange Manchester

Tampopo at Corn Exchange Manchester

The Tampopo Pad Thai was everything that I was dreaming of. Fresh, soft and almost translucent rice noodles, with beansprouts, egg, Asian greens and lime brought the most tantalising flavours to my tongue. The chicken was cooked perfectly, whilst the Asian greens had the slightest crunch to them. Chopped peanuts, served on the side, soon got mixed up into the dish whilst I twirled the noodles around my fork. Absolutely beautiful. Now, I will say, that although it doesn’t look like a huge plate of food when it’s delivered, I really struggled to finish it all, and I love my food. I was so full, that I had to pass on dessert, and that is really not like me!

I do have a Tampopo around the corner from work, the original venue in Albert Square. I must admit that now I have seen the menu for the express plates of Gyozas, that I am very much inclined to pop in and get some take out to eat at my desk. If you like Asian dishes, then Tampopo is a great place to head to, to try out some classic dishes at quite a reasonable price for centre of Manchester dining.

*Meal was provided FOC however my love of Pad Thai is my own.

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Well, as with all best laid plans, things get in the way and make me very very late with getting my content out for you. Although Gay Pride was celebrated over August Bank Holiday, there is absolutely no reason as to why I can’t share everything from that weekend to you now. After all, Gay Pride isn’t just a weekend thing, it’s an all year round thing and looking back over these pictures, I finally feel that I am in a position to do it all again. Hurrah! From what I wore, to what I drank, this is a little round up of one of the best weekends of my entire life. Are you ready?

Hair Preparation

On the run up to the weekend, I used my trusty L’Oreal Coloristas to colour not only my hair, but my sisters as well. Having had multicoloured hair for the past few months, I let the majority of it wash out before getting my roots done with Natasha at Barn It. She used the balayage technique to brighten my hair from the root, as well as giving me an all over pink toner. From there, I used shades Lilac, Pink, Peach and Mint green to colour random sections of my hair to give a mermaid/unicorn effect. I found that by taking individual strands, applying the colour and twisting them whilst they developed, that it picked up different tones for a 3D effect, and I was really pleased with the outcome. For my sisters hair, I separated the top section, and used the same colours to make a rainbow effect going from pink to peach, to lilac to mint green. My Sister loves to wear her hair up so I knew that this effect would be ideal as it showed all the colours and was very reminiscent of My Little Pony.
For the Saturday of Pride weekend, I used the Beauty Boulevard Stardust to add some sparkles and I’m really happy with the creations that I made.

The Very Late Gay Pride 2017 Round Up! Loreal Colourista wash out colour

The Very Late Gay Pride 2017 Round Up! Loreal Colourista wash out colour

The Very Late Gay Pride 2017 Round Up! Loreal Colourista wash out colour

The Very Late Gay Pride 2017 Round Up! Loreal Colourista wash out colour

The Very Late Gay Pride 2017 Round Up! Loreal Colourista wash out colour

The Outfit

For Gay Pride, I had to be comfortable. It’s two very long days of walking, standing around and getting trampled on as it’s so busy. My Saturday outfit was my favourite and although I originally had a different skirt and footwear planned, I changed because I didn’t feel as comfortable as I wanted. I wore my trusty denim skirt which is around 10 years old and has lasted so well. I teamed this with my Rock On Ruby Proud AF tshirt, a grey faux suede biker jacket and a pair of white Converse. For the ultimate in Gay Pride chic, I wore my amazing Barbie handbag from Prezzybox. I knew as soon as I saw this bag that I had to have it. It’s so me; kitsch and quirky and so over the top. My Converse were wrecked after the Saturday but it was so worth it.

The Very Late Gay Pride 2017 Round Up! Rock On Ruby Proud AF Prezzy Box Barbie bag

The Very Late Gay Pride 2017 Round Up! Rock On Ruby Proud AF Prezzy Box Barbie bag

Makeup

Using my Marc Jacobs Re(Marc)able foundation for a long lasting, full coverage base, and my Clarins pressed powder, my makeup stayed in place all day. For my eyes, the Urban Decay Full Spectrum palette combined with the Stila Magnificent Metals in Rose Gold Retro gave a rainbow look, topped with Nouveau Lashes Volume 2 lashes for a statement eye. On my lips, Beauty Boulevard Glitter Lips in Cherub; a kiss proof, party proof, long lasting glitter lip that was perfect for the day.

The Very Late Gay Pride 2017 Round Up! Urban Decay Full Spectrum Stila Magnificent Metals Nouveau Lashes

The Parade

Thanks to the Radisson Blu Edwardian Manchester, we had a prime position for the parade, right outside the hotel. We were treated to music from Gaydio Radio, easy access to the bar (and toilets!) and were able to watch the parade right up until the end. A perfect spot if you ask me, and I hope that we can stand there again next year to watch it.

The Very Late Gay Pride 2017 Radisson Blu Edwardian Manchester Gay Pride Parade

The Very Late Gay Pride 2017 Radisson Blu Edwardian Manchester Gay Pride Parade

The Very Late Gay Pride 2017 Radisson Blu Edwardian Manchester Gay Pride Parade

The Very Late Gay Pride 2017 Radisson Blu Edwardian Manchester Gay Pride Parade

The Very Late Gay Pride 2017 Radisson Blu Edwardian Manchester Gay Pride Parade

The Drinks

Before we headed out to watch the parade, we got in the party spirit by drinking Smirnoff cocktails. In the Love Wins Gay Pride designs, this years Smirnoff bottles are definitely collectable. I made Blueberry and Mint cocktails using Vodka and Lambrini Hey Blueberry and they were absolutely delicious as well as being very refreshing for what turned out to be quite a warm day.

The Very Late Gay Pride 2017 Radisson Blu Edwardian Manchester Gay Pride Parade Smirnoff Love Wins Vodka Lambrini Hey Blueberry

The Very Late Gay Pride 2017 Radisson Blu Edwardian Manchester Gay Pride Parade Smirnoff Love Wins Vodka Lambrini Hey Blueberry

So, all in all, it was a pretty spectacular weekend and one that has taken me considerable time to get over. All these frivolities and staying out late is not good when you are as old as me. However, I can’t wait until next year and I’m wondering if I can make it three nights out in a row this time! Did you go to Gay Pride in Manchester? What did you think?

*Contains PR Samples and/or Affiliate Links

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After being subscribed to several monthly services such as beauty boxes, magazines and Netflix, I have found a subscription service that has quite literally changed my life. A food subscription service that not only has made my life easier by not having to make my lunch the night before work, but one that is so simple and easy to use with no waiting around upon collection. Mealpal has hit Manchester and for those of us who work in the City Centre, well, it’s going to change things for you too.

Mealpal

Mealpal started off in London, and has since revolutionised lunch times for thousands of people. Using either the web or the Mealpal app, the ‘kitchens open’ at 5pm til the following 9:30am, and you can select your food outlet or restaurant and the lunchtime special. The app is based on a map, picking up your location and showing you the outlets near your office and the surrounding vicinity. With meals that would usually cost £6-£7 coming in at around £4.50 on the subscription plan, it has pretty much saved me a small fortune so far.

As I am a little bit obsessed with Chop’d in the city centre, I’ve been choosing them each day. It’s 5 minutes walk from work, and I can walk in and straight to the Mealpal sign in which they will hand over my meal without waiting in any queue to be served. During the plan, I’ve had everything from Katsu Curry, to Jerk Chicken Salad with mango dressing, and even a pizza from the local Cicchetti.

There are two plans available; a 12 day plan or a 20 day plan, which increases the savings. As an introductory offer for all of my readers, whether you are based in London or Manchester, my special code will get you three free meals as part of your plan. Terms and conditions of the plan will be advised when you join. The offer is running for two more weeks and will end on the 31st October.

If you buy your lunch daily, and hate having to decide where to go to beat the queues, then Mealpal is the one for you. What are you waiting for – sign up now and get three free meals. Free food!! Who could say no!

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Back in 2008, whilst working full time as cabin crew, I undertook one of the most demanding challenges of my life. For the next six year, I was to be a part time student whilst trying to travel the world. Exhausting, isolating and strenuous, it took an awful lot of discipline for me to work through my degree. Although the degree was part time over six years, I overlapped many of the courses enabling me to complete my degree in just 40 months. No breaks, no holidays, just consistent hard work. From working so hard to do this, alongside the support from my tutors at the Open University, I am no proud to say that I am Open University Alumni, with a Bsc Hons in Criminology and Psychology. I also have a minor study in Youth Justice, a diploma in Social Policy and Criminology and a certificate in Social Science, with a shed load of letters after my name. It’s amazing what you can do when you put your heart into something.

She's a Student again.... NCC Home Learning

I am one of those people who likes education and I like to further myself. Whether it’s from a degree or even with my blog, I thrive off organisation and deadlines. I like to feel some pressure as it means that I feel like I’m doing something with my life. After finishing University, I felt like I missed the pressure, and the deadline and most of all, the writing. Writing really is one of my heartfelt passions and whether it be writing lists, or writing a blog post on Lipstick, I love to express myself through the power of word. Through my blog, I’ve been exceptionally lucky to be able to experience opportunities that I probably wouldn’t have had chance to normally. One of these experiences has made me into a student again.

The NCC Home Learning site is similar in principle to the Open University. Distance learning, support of a tutor and working at your own pace to complete a course that is predominantly based online. When I got the opportunity to try out a course to see just how the NCC worked, I jumped at the chance.

Bearing in mind that I spent 20 solid months of my study with the Open University studying psychology, I got to a point where I found it interesting but I came to hate it with a passion. It probably will be a huge surprise to see that I’ve picked a course in psychology. I am a glutton for punishment. However, this course is combined with my other love of Criminology and my new course is a Diploma in the Psychology of Criminal Profiling.

I haven’t had chance to start it yet, due to the situation at home but I am chomping at the bit to go to Paperchase and buy all my new stationery ready for my new school year. As my course is a Blog opportunity, the only thing that I will not receive with my online course is tutor support however, this is available to paying customers.

Logging into the website for NCC, it is laid out in such a way that it reminds me of The Open University. Concise, easy to navigate and understand with the course materials ready to be read. Each module is clearly displayed with a section for an exam underneath each one, and upon completion of each module and exam, the course is complete.

NCC Home Learning

 

Now, of course, being a student again means that I get my NUS Extra card back so you know that I ordered that as soon as I had my log in details. Hey, I’m a student now. I need all the discount! Shame I can’t stay in bed all day instead of going to work!

If you have an urge to further yourself with some adult distance learning, I would say to look into NCC home learning. Not only are the courses a fraction of the price of The Open University, but a little diploma or NVQ that’s completed at your own pace will give you such a feeling of accomplishment.

I am going to try and share as much as I can about my course and each module I do, because I have a feeling that it’s going to be very interesting for any psychology and Criminology lovers out there.

Are you an educational nerd like me? What course would you do if you had the choice?

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Usually, when you decorate you are not under any real pressure to get the job done by a certain date. This means that you can take your time and do things at your own pace. However, every now and again you can find yourself under pressure and having to decorate a room quickly. Perhaps a friend or relative needs to come to stay with you at short notice, or you need cash fast so have to rent out a room. I have been wanting to update my house so much recently, and I have written several posts about this lately. There’s something so satisfying about seeing your house change for the better. I keep watching Instagram Stories and seeing so many beautiful house decors and I am getting really antsy about my nect challenge. I really want to tackle my living room and kitchen, and I think I might try and get my living room before Christmas but sometimes, it’s easier said than done. Regardless of why you need to get things done quickly, this post should help you. Below are some great ways to update a room in a morning. Maybe I could squeeze it in during my lunch hour!

Rent some furniture

Provided the room is in reasonable decorative order you may be able to get away with giving it a deep clean and renting some new furniture from a firm like Emblem Furniture. They will happily rent you an entire suite of furniture or just one or two items.

Touch up the paintwork

If the room still looks shabby after you have deep cleaned it touching up the paintwork may help. It does not take long to paint over any marks.

Repaint or use wall stickers

Using modern rollers and paints it does not take very long at all to repaint a room should you need to do so. Most one coat paints dry to the touch within a couple of hours. Provided the walls are not painted in too vivid a colour these one coat paints work really well. However, if the original paint is dark, or you have wallpaper on the walls, you may want to use wall stickers instead. They go up quickly and provided you buy the right type can easily be removed from painted walls.

Invest in some new artwork

If the walls are in good condition, adding some new artwork can work well. It is easy to find prints online or pick them up from local stores. Often, you can hang them on the hooks you already have.

Hang a mirror

Adding a mirror to a room can make it look bigger and create interest. If you hang it in the right place you can pick up the reflection of the garden or a nice view, which is a great way to brighten up a room.

New flooring

If the flooring in a room needs replacing laminate or lino products are potentially good options. They are both relatively easy to lay and you do not need any special tools to complete the job.

Update your fixtures and fittings

Even simple things like renewing your lighting fixtures and window coverings will make a huge difference to the look and feel of your room. However, if you want to fit new lights, you really should hire an electrician to do this job for you.

Add some plants

House plants are a great way to brighten up a room. They are good for your health too. If you would like to find out which houseplants are the best at purifying the air in your home and are the easiest to keep, just click the link.

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As I sit here and write this post, I am feeling the effects of the weekend. August Bank Holiday weekend is synonymous with Manchester Gay Pride, and every year, the entire weekend is just amazing from start to finish. I spent the bare minimum amount of time at home and end up walking through my front door at 6am, feeling less than fresh. It’s a good job that it’s only once a year! One of things I love about Manchester Gay Pride is that it is like a festival; stages and arenas with amazing headline acts, food stalls set up around the village, and some fab merchandise to celebrate the weekend. At the bottom of my stairs, there’s quite a pile of rainbow coloured things, I’m not entirely sure what they are but I see a garland and a whistle in there!

Raving with Rennie - Manchester Gay Pride 2017

Spending so much time outside of the house means that there needed to be plenty of options for me when it came to food. I love my food and I love trying different dishes, especially when they have a little something extra than the general burgers and hot dogs that you see all the time. It’s also very easy to just grab a box of fries or a pizza, but I struggle when eating out due to being lactose intolerant. I’m not going to lie, if I see something that really takes my fancy, or the choice is limited, I will do what I can to avoid the dairy but sometimes it’s easier just deal with the consequences later.

One of my must have handbag essentials which has come in so handy this weekend is a pack of Rennies to keep in my bag. Although I know that I have a lactose intolerance, the symptoms that I do get are very similar to indigestion; acid reflux, heartburn, bloating and trapped wind (awful, awful symptom) and generally feeling uncomfortable and very full. Not great when all you want to do is dance around and have a few sociable beverages. There’s nothing worse than being away from home and feeling uncomfortable, especially when there’s so much to see and do.

Raving with Rennie - Manchester Gay Pride 2017

Raving with Rennie - Manchester Gay Pride 2017

Raving with Rennie - Manchester Gay Pride 2017

Raving with Rennie - Manchester Gay Pride 2017

Raving with Rennie - Manchester Gay Pride 2017

Raving with Rennie - Manchester Gay Pride 2017

Raving with Rennie - Manchester Gay Pride 2017

Sunday night’s performances were absolutely incredible and watching Louisa Johnson, who I have got a new found love for, was fab. When Clean Bandit came out, the atmosphere was absolutely electric. It was like the whole village was jumping up and down to the music. Now, that wouldn’t have been great if I didn’t have my Rennies.

Just to make you feel hungry, take a look at some of the fab food that I’ve spotted this weekend. if I could have cheese, I’d be diving head first into the cheese toastie. Oh, what is life. Ah well, back to getting over this very indulgent weekend!

This post is in collaboration with Rennie, but all opinions are my own.

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After the success of decorating my bathroom, I have been walking round my house picking holes in every room and looking at what needs doing next. The decorating bug has well and truly bitten me and I am getting more and more excited by home and interior magazines. Who knew I could be such a house loving person? I really want to decorate my kitchen next but funds are limited and I cannot bear the thought of having to rip it all out to start again. The walls, the shape of the kitchen and all those pipes to work around fills me with dread. When I first moved into my house, the kitchen was brand new and although it is sleek and in keeping with my style with its dark beech cupboards and sleek silver handles, I want to change things so it looks more shabby chic and vintage, but with a modern and clean feel. In collaboration with Solid Wood Kitchens, we have put together three easy ways to update the existing cupboards to make a new and improved space. Sometimes it’s just easier to work with what you’ve got!

There are a number of different elements that make up your cooking space – one being your kitchen cabinets. You’ll no doubt want your cabinets to have the capacity to store all your essentials, but it’s likely you’ll want them to look good from the outside too. So, if you’re not convinced yours are currently looking their best, here are three easy ways you can give your kitchen cabinets a much needed makeover.

1. Replace the door frontals

If installing an entirely new set of kitchen cabinets is out of the question, you could simply replace the door frontals of your existing cupboards instead. Not only is this a cheaper way of overhauling the look of your kitchen space, there is much less fuss involved too. You can simply take off your current doors and replace them with new designs.
When it comes to choosing cabinet doors, make sure you keep your overall kitchen design in mind. For example, if you’re going for the farmhouse vibe in your cooking space, why not choose traditional, shaker style designs? Usually constructed from thick, solid oak, these doors are the epitome of timeless shabby chic, and as solid wood kitchen cabinets point out, this door design can help add warmth and flair to your kitchen space.

Lifestyle - Updating My Kitchen

Lifestyle - Updating My Kitchen

2. Swap the handles

If you’re after a quick, inexpensive way to give your kitchen cabinets a new lease of life, why not swap the handles? This is simple to do yourself and it can help improve the overall look of your cooking space.
Especially if you’ve picked out new door frontals for your cupboards, make sure you go for designs that will complement your theme. For instance, if you’ve gone for sleek, high-gloss cupboard doors, you might like super slick, brushed metal style handles, while petite, rustic-looking knobs are perfect if you’ve chosen frontals with a shabby chic finish.

3. Install under-cabinet lighting

To really up your kitchen cupboard game, you could install some under-cabinet lighting. These illuminations are designed to sit underneath your upper wall cupboards, emitting a warm, subtle glow of light throughout the room. Aside from enhancing the look of your cabinets, the brightness can help create a homely, inviting atmosphere in your cooking space too.
There’s no denying that giving your kitchen cupboards a makeover is a great way to enhance your cooking space. Whether you decide to add new door frontals and handles or you go for some super cool under-cabinet lighting, you’re guaranteed to improve the look and feel of the whole room.

Three very simple ideas to bring a whole new lease of life to my kitchen. I’ve been looking at under cabinet lighting and I think that even this one small and inexpensive step will make such a difference to the ambience in the room, plus it saves having to keep switching on the ceiling light each time I pop in to put the kettle on. Which is a lot lately. Have you got any ideas for improving your kitchen space without spending too much money? I’d love to hear them!

*In collaboration with Solid Wood Kitchens

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Although I am biased as Manchester is my hometown, I do think that it is one of the best cities for getting involved. There seems to be a huge community spirit and since the Manchester attack in May, I feel that we have become an even tighter knit place to live. Simple things like walking through the bustling streets seems to be more friendlier, with strangers smiling and showing just how tight we are in our town. With the Manchester Gay Pride festival fast approaching, I for one, am getting very excited for the weekend. It’s the only weekend of the year that I start planning 11 months after the last event. This year, the focus on Manchester is even stronger and the Gay Pride event is not the only thing that is happening. Right next door to my work building is the Radisson Blu Edwardian Hotel, in the iconic Free Trade Building that dates back to 1853. One of the most beautiful buildings in Manchester, it has had it’s fair share of tragedy, where it has been bombed, abandoned and now rebuilt to home the 263 bedroom hotel. Situated inside the Radisson, Opus One restaurant plays host to a great Afternoon Tea, and with National Afternoon Tea week having just been and with the Gay Pride festivities just around the corner, the Radisson has devised a special Afternoon Tea menu paying homage to Manchester.

The #BeeProud Manchester Afternoon Tea Menu was a much needed post work treat, that although I had every intention of eating the lot, I actually came away with some cakes in a box. I actually failed at completing it, and I am so disappointed in myself. However, all was not lost as Salted Caramel Cheesecake in bed was a worthy treat. I took my friend Anushka with me for a good old catch up and to put the world to rights, whilst we had incredibly attentive service from our waiter Nick. Sitting down at a cosy table for two, we were served with glasses of cold and sparkling prosecco, decorated with a strawberry whilst we chose from the two Afternoon Tea menus; the Traditional or the more male orientated. Traditional it was, and whilst browsing the menu, I couldn’t wait to get stuck into the Manchester inspired pastries and cakes.

Pride Week - The Manchester Afternoon Tea at Radisson Blu

Pride Week - The Manchester Afternoon Tea at Radisson Blu

Pride Week - The Manchester Afternoon Tea at Radisson Blu

Pride Week - The Manchester Afternoon Tea at Radisson Blu

Pride Week - The Manchester Afternoon Tea at Radisson Blu

Pride Week - The Manchester Afternoon Tea at Radisson Blu

Pride Week - The Manchester Afternoon Tea at Radisson Blu

Served on a traditional Afternoon Tea cake stand, the lower tier held a selection of finger sandwiches; Honey-roast ham with wholegrain mustard mayo on brioche bread, Scottish Smoked salmon with lemon butter on rye bread, Rare roast beef with horseradish mayo on sourdough bread and Cheese and red onion on soda bread. The roast beef was so succulent, I could have eaten a full plate of them. I was really excited for the scones, they came out whilst warm, and there’s nothing more satisfying than a warm scone with jam and clotted cream. I’d taken my lactose tablets prior to the tea, so I could enjoy some cream without getting the side effects, but my god, it was so worth it. A choice of a plain scones and raisin scones were available, and I had to take my plain scone home for later.

I was most looking forward to the top tier. I mean, just look at it! Decorated with the #BeeProud hashtag in chocolate sauce, the top tier held the most delicious salted caramel cheesecakes topped with popcorn and spun sugar decorations, Manchester Eccles cakes, Traditional Manchester Tarts as well as a bumblebee inspired shortbread. I must admit, that I still get a warm fuzzy feeling seeing the Manchester bee everywhere. It’s become our symbol and it makes me feel very proud. I finished my tea with a cup of the sharpest, richest black coffee which gave me the boost I needed to get myself and my full stomach home!

The Radisson Blue have really used the inspiration of our historical city and the Northern flavours to create a fun and exciting Afternoon Tea, that is just that little bit more special than others at the moment. It’s available at the Radisson Blu Edwardian Manchester until the 31st August and I would suggest booking for a weekend visit. Priced at £22.50 for Afternoon Tea and £29.50 for the Afternoon Tea with Prosecco, it’s a great treat. You can see the full menu here, and you will not be disappointed.

*Afternoon Tea provided FOC but all opinions are my own.

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Everyone knows just how much I love my Thomas. So much so that he even has his own Instagram page to update everyone of his daily goings on. He’s a clever little cat and with him being a house cat, he has such a personality that has enabled me to be able to teach him little tricks. He knows how to wake me up, to make himself heard and he will even play fetch. What a clever boy. When I saw that Whiskas, (which happens to be Thomas’s favourite brand for his daily dry food), were running a Kitten Kollege, I thought this was an absolutely perfect way to showcase just how clever my cat is. With many people getting involved in Kitten Kollege, and some hilarious kitten behaviour videos on YouTube, I couldn’t wait to get grading Thomas on his tricks. It’s time to go back to school Thomas!

PE

There is definitely no denying that Thomas is an agile little cat and he can fly through the air with ease when it comes to catching rolled up balls of tin foil. He loves to climb up high and jump onto the top of cupboards and walk across the top of the door, swiping at my head when I come too close. I often find him contorting himself into some strange positions when it comes to taking blog photos. Kitten gymnastics? He gets an A* for that!

Whiskas Kitten Kollege with Thomas!

Whiskas Kitten Kollege with Thomas!

Geography

Thomas is a house cat and although he has never shown any signs of wanting to be an outdoorsy kind of kitten, he does like to go for a run around on the balcony. I have no issues with playing outside, because he knows when I’m asking him to come inside, just as he knows exactly what number house he lives at! Another A* for Thomas.

Home Economics

For a cat that doesn’t like water, Thomas sure does love it when I say it’s time for a shower. As soon as I say the magic word, he likes to sit in the bath and wait for me to turn the tap or shower on so he can drink the running water. But, as soon as the water touches him, he’s out of there like a flash. B for effort.

English

He will never be able to speak, but just how cute does he look next to my Hello sign. He’s just adorable. He could do better and learn to miaow back when I say hello. Must improve – C.

Whiskas Kitten Kollege with Thomas!

Whiskas Kitten Kollege with Thomas!

Music

Morning is when the dawn chorus starts. Have you tried to get ready for work whilst the cat is singing to you? It’s like I can’t get a word in edge ways. Thomas loves to chirp at me whilst I walk down the stairs ready to feed him a bowl of his morning Whiskas with chicken Kitten food and a fresh bowl of water. He literally sings for his supper, or breakfast. Another A* for being so clever.

Thomas has been my fur baby for nearly 9 years. In fact, he’s 9 at the end of this month and I wouldn’t change him for the world. I’d love to introduce another cat into the house but I would definitely be asking for trouble. He’s the man in charge. In the meantime, I will just have to satisfy my kitten addiction with the Whiskas YouTube channel. It’s just adorable.

Also, the old adage definitely goes. Never work with kids, or animals. Getting shots set up on a cat photo shoot does not work!

*This post is in collaboration with Whiskas, but all opinions are my own. Thomas gave consent to being featured and you can check out the YouTube Channel for more Kitten Kollege fun, as well as the Whiskas website for all the yummy cat food for kittens!

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Are you putting together your bucket list? Here are thirty items that you should add.
1. Take a Helicopter Ride
If you’re a fan of flying, you can enjoy some awesome helicopter experiences in London, including learning how to fly one yourself.
2. Skydive
For adrenalin junkies, there’s nothing more trilling than jumping out of a plane to add to your bucket list!
3. See the Northern Lights
A beautiful sight to behold, you’ll never forget one of nature’s great displays; the Aurora borealis, which occurs most commonly in the Arctic region.
4. Visit the British Museum
Located in London, the British Museum is one of the most popular in the UK and showcases hundreds of wonderful exhibits where you can learn more about the history of the British Empire over time.
5. Take a Road Trip
Whether it’s with friends, family, or even on your own, there are hundreds of stunning roads to get behind the wheel on worldwide. Ditch the airline ticket for your next trip and drive instead!
6. Travel Alone
Pick a country, and take a trip there by yourself. Travelling alone will help you get in touch with your independence and force you to make new friends whilst giving you plenty of much needed alone time.

30 Bucket List Items to Swipe Immediately

30 Bucket List Items to Swipe Immediately

7. Learn a New Language
There are several great reasons to learn a new language today, including better job prospects, increased social opportunities, and simply for the fun of it.
8. Get a Tattoo
Permanency can be a scary thing at times, which is why many people are afraid to commit to getting a tattoo. But, thanks to modern technology you can now have tattoos removed, so getting one is a great experience to have even if you do change your mind later.
9. Dine in a Top Restaurant
Experience exquisite food and perfect service at one of the best restaurants in the world.
10. Live Abroad
Explore the culture and heritage of another country by becoming a resident there for a prolonged period of time.
11. Face a Fear
What are you scared of the most? Make facing and overcoming one of your biggest fears a major bucket list priority.
12. Party in Vegas
It’s a once in a lifetime experience!
13. Bungee Jump
Do it for charity, for fun, or just for the photos.
14. Get a Pet
Sharing your life with an animal can provide you with company, laughs, and more meaning in your everyday life.

30 Bucket List Items to Swipe Immediately

15. Volunteer Abroad
Humanitarian aid companies abroad are always looking for new, excited and motivated people to join their teams.
16. Learn to Surf
Catch some waves!
17. Swim with Dolphins
Swimming in the sea with dolphins is surely an experience that you’ll never forget.
18. Meet Someone Famous
Get your claim to fame!

30 Bucket List Items to Swipe Immediately

19. Write a Book
Is your head always buzzing with different ideas for stories? Are you great at giving people advice about their problems? If so, writing a book and having it published has never been easier, thanks to eBooks!
20. Ride a Gondola in Venice
Do it with your significant other for the most perfect and romantic date!
21. Climb a Mountain
There are several to choose from – Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, The Andes in Peru, Mount Everest in Nepal, or Mount Fuji in Japan, to name some of the most popular.
22. Learn an Instrument
If you love music, then why not start making your own?
23. Fly in a Hot Air Balloon
You’ll never forget the views!
24. Run a Marathon
Improve your fitness and make yourself proud by finishing a marathon. Even better, do it to raise money for a good cause!
25. Attend the Olympic Games
Get your ticket to this worldwide sporting event, held in different locations around the world every four years.
26. Learn to Ski
Take to the slopes – it’s great for your health and awesome fun!
27. Try an Extreme Sport
Take part in an extreme sport such as parachuting, bungee jumping, or kitesurfing.
28. Befriend a Stranger
Strangers are simply friends that we haven’t met.

30 Bucket List Items to Swipe Immediately

29. Plant a Tree
In a society where natural resources are being used more than ever, the world needs more trees! Trees are great for the environment, promote health, and give shelter.
30. Further Your Education
Don’t hold yourself back when it comes to getting a degree, learning a new skill, or taking a course.
What’s on your bucket list?

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I am thoroughly enjoying bring food reviews to you as it enables me to indulge in two of my favourite pass times; writing and eating. As I’m based in Manchester, the restaurants that I visit are in the local area and I do think that Manchester is fast becoming a real diverse place for all cuisine as well as having areas around the town that are absolutely thriving. It’s no secret that I love Spinningfields, and you would find me here more often than say the Northern Quarter. I have written about Artisan Bar and Restaurant before, however the menu has since been updated for summer and I had to go and try it out. A glorious summer day outside, the coolness of the interior of Artisan gave us much need relief from the burning sun, and a chance to catch up with my Sister-in-law.

I don’t know what it is about the sun, but it makes me want to drink a big glass of rosé over ice. It’s not a usual choice, but I started off the afternoon with a glass of a Garnacha Rosada. I had previously browsed the menu online so I knew what I wanted when it came to both starter and dessert, but I did look again just in case I had changed my mind. Sticking with a classic baked Camembert with a bacon crumb and crisp flatbread. I took my lactose tablets beforehand to make sure I could digest it easily. I’m still a sucker for melted cheese, especially when mixed with bacon. I don’t think there was a single morsel left by the time it came to clear the table. The cheese was perfectly ripe, oozing and delicious without any sign of a bitter after taste. The crisp flatbread made light work on scooping out every morsel, and although it was quite large was a starter, I had plenty of room for my entree. Claire ate the braised chorizo with Cipollini onions, cherry tomatoes and granary bread. I only had a small taste of the chorizo, but it was cooked beautifully, with the oil from the chorizo flavouring the tomatoes and permeating the granary bread.

Artisan Manchester Summer Menu

Artisan Manchester Summer Menu

Artisan Manchester Summer Menu

Artisan Manchester Summer Menu

Artisan Manchester Summer Menu

Again, when it came to the main course, I had already pre planned which dish I wanted but after hearing our server describe it, I didn’t even look at anything else. Going for the salt and pepper St. Louis belly pork rib with Asian slaw, Kimchi ketchup and a side of summer greens was the best decision I made that day. Belly pork is one of those dishes that jumps off the menu and I find that you don’t see it very often in restaurants. I do think that Artisan have made an great addition to the menu with this. The belly pork was cooked so well, that I had no difficulty in sliding the meat from the bone. The crackling was succulent and crunchy, with the meat so tender that it fell apart in my mouth. The Asian slaw that accompanied the meat was the pinnacle. Crispy slaw, with crunchy chopped peanuts and sesame seeds, it was light and fresh. The Kimchi ketchup brought a whole new meaning to taste sensation. Several times through my meal, I had to stop as I had an explosion of flavours in my mouth and I couldn’t work out what it was. Combined together, it was incredible and probably the best thing I have eaten in a long time. The next time I go back, I wouldn’t even look at the rest of the menu and go straight for the belly pork. Claire indulged in a medium rare rib eye steak with fries, which was cooked just how a medium rare steak should be cooked. The fact that we were pretty silent whilst eating spoke volumes.

There’s always room for dessert and I was torn between the lemon tart and the chocolate meringue. I chose the chocolate meringue with banana, Chantilly cream and salted caramel whilst Claire had the chocolate and hazlenut brownie with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce. I was actually quite pleased to see a meringue that wasn’t packed with summer fruits, which although lovely, gets to be a bit boring after a while. The meringue was made with chocolate and was one of those huge meringues that you struggle to chip into delicately, sending shards across the table. The salted caramel and banana combination made the dessert very light, ideal with it being the third course, and although it was very sweet, the saltiness of the caramel took the edge off somewhat. I only had a small bite of the chocolate brownie, and I think that Claire enjoyed it as it was gone in minutes.

Artisan Manchester Summer Menu

Artisan Manchester Summer Menu

Artisan Manchester Summer Menu

Artisan Manchester Summer Menu

Artisan Manchester Summer Menu

Artisan Manchester Summer Menu

Finishing off our meal, it would be rude not to squeeze in a cocktail, before heading out into the 30 degree heat of Manchester. The Cherry and Coconut Sling jumped straight out of menu to me. I adore cherry and I’m having a love affair with anything coconut at the moment. Maybe I’m dreaming of holidays or something? Cherry preserve, Appleton V/X, Koko Kanu, thyme, lime juice & coconut water blended together over ice and garnished with twisty orange peel and a sprig of fresh thyme. Fresh, fruity, not overly sweet nor strong in the sense that the alcohol can be detected over the flavours of the cocktail mix. A wonderful refreshing cocktail to round off the afternoon.

As I continue with my quest of trying out all the Sunday roasts around Manchester, I will have to come back to Artisan to sample their offering. I may try a different meat this time. After all they do have pork and after that tasty slice of belly pork, I can only imagine how good it will be. Artisan is located on the Avenue at Spinningfields, open daily.

*Meal and drinks provided free of charge however all opinions are my own

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Continuing in my quest to sample all the Sunday roast dinner offerings in Manchester, I’m taking us on a journey to the Grand Pacific in Manchester. Although Grand Pacific only opened in March, it has certainly carved it’s place when it comes to dining and seeing fully booked restaurants week in, week out. When I experienced Grand Pacific for the soft launch in March, I did mention how I would have loved to experience it again but during the day, when it’s full of casual diners rather than press and food reviewers. That chance came as myself and Keeley were invited along to try out the classic Sunday Roast menu back at the beginning of April. You know me and my meat, I couldn’t have turned that opportunity down. A 2pm table was booked for us and during the bright light of day, I found Grand Pacific to be a very different experience.

The Grand Pacific Classic Sunday Roast

The Grand Pacific Classic Sunday Roast

The building and setting is of course, still incredibly beautiful and well designed, but the atmosphere was so different. A Sunday afternoon brought people in who had been shopping, and wanted to grab a quick bite and cocktail at the bar, whilst the restaurant was filling up quickly. We were seated towards the rear of the restaurant, near the window and overlooking King Street. Attentive wait staff came over and served us very quickly for drinks and gave us adequate time to decide if we wanted to try the Sunday Roast menu or experience something from the main menu. We had our sights set on the Sunday Roast, which is priced per course. The menu back in April does differ from the one on the Grand Pacific website, where we had a more limited menu with just one starter and dessert, as well as the two choices of meat. It was almost a 1980s dinner party menu; prawn cocktail, Sunday roast, Sherry trifle. Taking the three course option, we sat back and waited for all the food to arrive. I absolutely love a Sunday roast.

There seemed to have been some confusion as the table service platter of roast beef was wheeled over to us before we had received our starters. The girl could not have been more apologetic, and this was swiftly rectified with the Prawn Cocktail starter arriving to the table. Now, if you read my previous review on Grand Pacific, I did sing the praises of the grandeur of the place but on a Sunday afternoon, I just felt that it was a bit grandiose and borderline try to hard. I felt like I should have been on the Titanic. Combined with the string quartet playing tunes that were slightly mournful, I honestly did feel that I should be selecting a fine Brandy to drink before I went down into the ocean in all my finery.

The Prawn Cocktail starter was served in a splendid ornate silver basket, that made it quite difficult to eat from. I had to remove the glass bowl from the basket to be able to get to the salad inside. Crisp, fresh lettuce topped with chopped tomato, with a generous serving of Marie rose sauce garnished with chopped chives. Four large king prawns hung from the side of the serving bowl, whilst a decorative piece of lettuce was stood upright at the rear of the bowl. On the serving plate, four triangles of what tasted like sourdough bread, and a lemon for zesting. You can see how the presentation is important here, and admittedly it does look very grand, and you can’t also go very wrong with a classic prawn cocktail. My only negative from the starter is how it’s served. I just found it quite fiddly to get the salad out and had to dismantle it.

The Grand Pacific Classic Sunday Roast

The Grand Pacific Classic Sunday Roast

For the second time, the table service meat platter was wheeled towards us, whilst we were served with fresh plates and napkins. I chose the beef, as usual, and two thick slices were hand carved in front of me. I do like my beef to be pink, and it was a perfect soft pink that tasted beautiful. Seasoned well, and not overcooked which is no mean feat if you are wheeling a table side platter around, it tasted a lot better than I imagined it to. Served with the classic Yorkshire pudding and a splash of gravy, I waited for the platter of vegetables to be delivered to the table.

To me, a good Sunday roast isn’t just about the meat, it’s about the vegetables. I don’t often get chance to make several different veg options so I don’t feel guilty by stuffing my face with all I can on a Sunday roast. The platter was served between myself and Keeley, with five different veg options; crispy roast potatoes, the butteriest mash, carrots, a selection of green veg and a bowl of cauliflower cheese. This is exactly what I expect from a Sunday lunch, and this is where the lunch at Neighbourhood fell short. Although between us, we didn’t polish off the entire platter of vegetables, we were pretty close to finishing it. It surprised me to see that the table next to us, where only person had ordered the Sunday roast, received the exact same amount of vegetables that we had served between two of. I don’t know if this is normal or if it was to do with the the lady at the table working for Grand Pacific. If it is, I would say that it would be very over facing to receive that amount of veg for one person.

The Grand Pacific Classic Sunday Roast

The Grand Pacific Classic Sunday Roast

For dessert, a Hibiscus and Sherry Trifle topped with raspberry sherbet and a floral garnish. Lemon curd créme fraiche tops Hibiscus and Sherry jelly; juicy, fruit and a perfect after dinner dessert. I think a trifle is very underrated and the Hibiscus jelly was a particularly pleasant experience. Slightly tangy, yet it worked well with the zest of the lemon curd créme fraiche, and the subtle tartness of the raspberry sherbet.

Ending my Sunday roast, a pot of tea served in a Grand Pacific branded teapot and matching cup and saucer. The attention to detail is second to none in Grand Pacific, and I do love the experience of being in the beautiful surroundings. I think that now it has been open a few months, that I do want to revisit again to see how things have settled down and fallen into place. Although the service was attentive, there were some minor issues which I don’t think is fair to bring to the blog, because I can appreciate that it was early days of Grand Pacific being opened and I didn’t have any cause for complaint at the time, nor do I now.

I’ve seen some incredible reviews of the High Tea, so I think I would love to try that out very soon. I’m sure I can find an occasion for High Tea and champagne!

*I was invited as a guest however all my opinions are my own.

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When an idea comes into my head about decorating, I usually pine over it without getting off my bum and making it happen. It usually comes down to money. I have champagne taste but lemonade budget and I just want everything to be perfect. There’s also the fact of my capabilities when it comes to decorating. I won’t ever be able to tackle the landing and stairs as the walls are too high and I don’t know what I’m doing, nor will I do the kitchen myself as there are pipes and cupboards and it’s all too much for me. I wasn’t planning on putting my bathroom project into a blog post but it seems that a few of you have got into a tizzy when I mentioned how I’ve used tile paint to freshen up my tiles. It’s going to be quite picture heavy but I will take you through everything and what I bought. Are you ready? Get a cup of tea and get ready for Changing Rooms!

Before

When I first moved in the tiles were blue, the walls had been stripped back to plaster yet there was still dark blue emulsion splashed across the window frames and the back of the toilet. The wooden panel on the bath was dark brown and the floor was a dirty grey underlay with nothing on it. My first decorating project back saw everything get painted white and a vinyl floor in a beech wood effect was laid. Chrome fittings and pink and lime green accessories accented the room.

Redecorating - The Bathroom Project

Redecorating - The Bathroom Project

Redecorating - The Bathroom Project

Redecorating - The Bathroom Project

Redecorating - The Bathroom Project

After

I’ve freshened up all the painting making it incredibly white and bright in the small space. Tile paint from Wilkos was used to bring life back to the tiles, white gloss for all the wood work, radiator paint to brighten the radiator and white emulsion for the walls and ceiling. It took me 4 days in total to do all the painting. I worked in a pattern of first coat tiles, woodwork, walls and ceiling and then carried out a second coat once dry. The weather helped in drying however it took me a while because of my own mobility. I also had to take into account filling in holes and letting that dry. The paint on the feature wall was done once I’d done two coats of radiator paint and that had dried. I gave the feature wall two coats of Dulux Urban Obsession matte paint. It’s the most gorgeous paint and although I was slightly worried about it being very dark in the room once finished, it doesn’t actually make the room look small or dark. I’m very pleased. I’m also very proud of my straight lines. I feel a huge sense of accomplishment right there.

I’ve still not managed to get round to changing the flooring as I haven’t yet found the right floor. There’s no need to rush this, and I won’t rush it either. When I find the right one, I will know. Once I’ve had new flooring laid, I will be adding an under sink cabinet to increase storage space.

Redecorating - The Bathroom Project

Redecorating - The Bathroom Project

Redecorating - The Bathroom Project

Redecorating - The Bathroom Project

Redecorating - The Bathroom Project

Redecorating - The Bathroom Project

Redecorating - The Bathroom Project

Tile Paint / Gloss Paint / Radiator Paint / Feature Wall Paint / White Emulsion

The Decor

I knew in my head exactly what I wanted when it came to decor and I didn’t know if it was going to work or not. I was browsing Argos, because I had seen a copper bin from Habitat which I needed and I spotted these ladder shelves. Designed to place on the floor, I took a risk and added them to the end of the bath where I have wasted space. After taking down the original shelf, I needed something to store my bathroom products on. I added some fairy lights and I’m so pleased with the outcome. I’ve dressed the shelves with the products I’m using the most and saved a space on the bottom shelf for my iPad to go for when I’m in the bath. Little touches like changing the plugs from rubber to stainless steel, and using a vintage filament lightbulb give a sleek and stylish finish.

Redecorating - The Bathroom Project

Redecorating - The Bathroom Project

Redecorating - The Bathroom Project

Redecorating - The Bathroom Project

Redecorating - The Bathroom Project

Redecorating - The Bathroom Project

Redecorating - The Bathroom Project

Redecorating - The Bathroom Project

the bathroom project

Rose Gold Lightshade / Vintage Filament Globe Lightbulb / Stainless Steel Basin Plug / Stainless Steel Bath Plug / Ladder Shelves – similar / Silver Mirror / Chrome Towel Rail (similar) / Copper Bin / Copper Basket / Towels / Bathmat / Over Door Hooks /

The Essentials

My favourite part of redecorating was the final touches. A nice handwash, my favourite products and some fragrance layering. I knew I wanted Jo Malone to be the brand of choice for my fragrance of choice. I’ve really started to get into Basil & Neroli, and I found that the scent was giving me the feeling of being in a fancy hotel. I do like to decorate so it feels like a boutique hotel. I have issues I know. From World Duty Free, I got the Jo Malone English Pear and Freesia diffuser to complement Basil and Neroli, and they work so beautifully together. I also wanted a big Aesop handwash for the windowledge. My Mum thinks I’m crazy for spending £27 on a handwash, but there is a bottle of Carex on the side for guests. It’s only me who can use the Aesop! The skincare products on the copper tray are only the ones that I am going to use. There are no products for show this time. I’m being very restrained and trying to use things up. The same goes with my shelf products. I had to laugh when I was putting out my shampoo and conditioner. I had moaned about spending £50 or so on paint, yet my Aveda collection in the bathroom tops £200. I’m terrible!

Redecorating - The Bathroom Project

Redecorating - The Bathroom Project

Redecorating - The Bathroom Project

Redecorating - The Bathroom Project

Redecorating - The Bathroom Project

Aesop Handwash / Basil and Neroli Candle / English Pear and Freesia Diffuser / Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish / Clinique Take The Day Off / Evolve Face Mask / Votary Facial Oil / Eve Lom Cleanser / Philips Sonicare Toothbrush / Aesop Hydrating Mask / Foreo Luna 2

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I have decided that my ideal job would be to become a connoisseur of Sunday roasts. Could you imagine having a Sunday roast every single Sunday. It literally would make my life. The traditional Sunday roast seems to have taken a bit of a U turn, and whereas you could only get a plate of meat and veg in traditional carvery’s , it now seems there are a lot more restaurants in Manchester that are bring their versions of the cult classic dinner. I was invited along to Neighbourhood with some of my fave bloggers to sample the Neighbourhood Sunday Roast, and having sent in my choice of meat in advance, I was practically salivating at the thought of a lamb lunch.

I’m a huge fan of Neighbourhood, and since it has had it’s revamp, I love the atmosphere and vibe even more. It’s a great place for lunch, as well as for cocktails of an evening. Being surrounded by friends and having a good old gossip on a Sunday afternoon is nothing short of perfect, and it was lovely to finally meet bloggers who I had only spoken to over social media, such as Elsa from Else Eats. I do have to say that the service in Neighbourhood is second to none. Attentive wait staff made sure our every need was catered for, bringing water and topping up drinks as well as checking if we were enjoying our meal. I couldn’t be happier with the service that I received.

Sunday Lunch at Neighbourhood, Spinningfields

Sunday Lunch at Neighbourhood, Spinningfields

Sunday Lunch at Neighbourhood, Spinningfields

After having placed a pre order for lamb, I was a little disappointed to be told that the lamb was from the old menu and the new menu featured roast chicken or beef. Being a red meat fan, I chose the beef and was hoping that it was cooked to my taste – pink in the middle. As we didn’t order starters, we were brought a bread basket with a selection of accompaniments including a delicious olive tapenade as well as a green basil pesto dip. The pesto was my favourite and I’m sure I polished off nearly the full bowl with all the bread I was eating.

Service in between the courses was really quite speedy, and it was only a few moments from the wait staff clearing the table, to bringing drinks and then our Sunday lunch. This is where I have to be totally honest with you but when my roast first came out, I was actually sat waiting for the rest of it to come out in separate serving dishes. A slice of meat, two roast potatoes, a small amount of cabbage and carrot and a Yorkshire pudding was present on the plate. Now, I like to eat, and I may sometimes eat too much, but the portion that I was served was extremely disappointing for the £17.50 price. Having eaten at many restaurants who are offering Sunday Dinner, this is definitely the most expensive one for the amount of food that you receive. I was hoping that the food would redeem itself against the small portion, but sadly my potatoes were lukewarm and my Yorkshire pudding tasted stodgy like it had been overcooked and sat out for a long time. The meat, however, was delicious. Not exactly piping hot but enough to not warrant sending it back. It was cooked perfectly and considering it was a large slice of meat rather than several thinner slices like you would get elsewhere, it was cooked well throughout, with minimal fat, a tasty exterior and cooked medium rare. Boats of gravy were present on the table for those who wanted it, and although I enjoyed my meal, I wasn’t exactly overfull when I had finished. I would have preferred a big serving dish full of vegetables to be brought out as a side rather than the minimal cabbage and carrot that was served. Compared to the huge piece of chicken option, the beef was very much paling in significance, so it’s worth bearing in mind.

Sunday Lunch at Neighbourhood, Spinningfields

Sunday Lunch at Neighbourhood, Spinningfields

Sunday Lunch at Neighbourhood, Spinningfields

I had to have dessert and I opted for the Lemon Meringue. Served with fresh kiwi, mango and passion fruit, the lemon meringue more than made up for the main course. A thin butter biscuit base with a generous slice of tart lemon topped with delicious meringue that melted in the mouth. A great palette cleanser than rounded off the meal with just the right balance of zest and sweetness.

Throughout the meal, I was drinking Pornstar Martinis which from Neighbourhood are one of my favourite drinks. Sweet, tart, with just the right amount of creamy foam on top, with a flambeed passion fruit and a shot glass of Prosecco. I’m not sure which prosecco they use, but I did have a glass before I left.

When it comes to the food in Neighbourhood, I have never had any problems with any of the food that I have had in the past, but I feel that the Sunday roast is just lacking that wow factor, especially when there are restaurants surrounding Neighbourhood that offer a far superior meal, and for a more reasonable price. For example, Artisan which is directly opposite has a great Sunday roast that is £5 cheaper, whilst further down Spinningfields, The Refinery offers one of the best roasts that I have ever tried, which for the same price absolutely knocks socks off Neighbourhood. I do feel that if Neighbourhood want to succeed in the Sunday roast market they definitely need to up their game. For a comparison, I had lunch out of the city, and although I didn’t get a photo of the serving dish full of cauliflower cheese, green beans, carrots and broccoli, you can see that just from the initial presentation of the meat, potatoes, parsnips and Yorkshires, it certainly has the wow factor, and is even more impressive at just £9.99 for the one course.

Sunday Lunch at Neighbourhood, Spinningfields

Aside from that, I had an absolutely lovely time catching up with friends and it was a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon before heading home to go back to the daily grind.

*Sunday Roast was provided FOC, however all opinions are my own.

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