Sunset, Manchester

Oh Manchester, you really are the gift that keeps on giving. Every week, there’s a new grand opening of a new bar and restaurant and I’m not complaining. Gone are the days when a new nightclub opening was the place to be and the distant memories of being stood in a never ending VIP line, shivering my wotsits off can stay in the past. I am so much more in my element by indulging in a good meal with a few glasses of vino and a cocktail or two. Thankfully, Manchester is the place to be and my bustling metropolis contains some real hidden gems. 

With the rise of living crazy lifestyles as seen on Instagram and tailoring decor around your most lusted after pins on Pinterest, I think that Sunset Manchester have literally nailed it with their interior design. Blush pinks, copper and rose gold. Marble touches and white wooden seating with neon light fittings, it’s an actual dream. The attention to detail is superb and it’s a perfect place for afternoon drinks as the sun goes down over the Mancunian skyline. 

Australasia, which is situated underneath Sunset, is the parent bar and restaurant and has been a firm fixture in Manchester for several years now. The bar and terrace which is now known as Sunset, has been subject to other names across the time it has been in Spinningfields, however I do feel that they have hit the nail on the head with this rebrand. Australasia are known for their pan-Asian cuisine which has been taken into Sunset with a focus on light bites and small platters, with the introduction of their Bento Box, which also comes as an afternoon tea with dessert. 

I had the signature mixed bento box which comes with nine pieces and a bowl of Miso soup to start. Presentation, as expected was absolutely beautiful and again, the attention to detail made it feel very special. Freshly grated wasabi, dipping plates and soy sauce in copper decanters. Gold chopsticks, should you wish to use them, and an ice cold glass of Sauvingnon blanc to hand. The miso soup was perfect and surprisingly, although it contained mushrooms, I had no issue with them at all. Made with dashi, seaweed and greens, it was an ideal, lightweight and warming starter before digging into the bento box. 

I do feel that whilst the bento box was spectacular to look at, a few of the dishes lacked taste and flavour and were in need of some seasoning. That being said there were some dishes that were delightful and that I would definitely have again. The sushi was fresh and tasty, and the pickled salad was a particular favourite. The broth served in the traditional style kettle was also a personal favourite of mine. Warming, comforting and tasty. I did find that the tofu dish wasn’t to my tasting and whilst I found a lot of the dishes needed seasoning, the deep fried rice cubes were overly salty. The noodle salad was quite bland but in comparison, the sesame topped chicken was a taste sensation on my tongue. 

I would be very interested to go back and try the menu again, especially now that it has been open for some time. The service was impeccable, the setting was picture perfect but maybe there was a bit more style over substance on the occasion that I visited. 

Have you been to Sunset? What did you think?

Sunset, Manchester
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Interior Design For Extroverts

Do people describe you as quirky? Do friends say they love your personality? Is your dress sense utterly different to everyone else on the street? If you answer yes to these questions, then you’re an extrovert. Congratulations and welcome to the club! Okay, it isn’t a scientific test but there’s no doubt that extroverts are a little out there in everything they do.

So, your house shouldn’t be any different. Properties need to imbue the characteristics of their owners. Otherwise, they don’t have any personality. Someone like you would rather live on the streets than in a dead, cold, bare home. You’d probably make a better go off a cardboard box and some old newspapers!

However, the chances are you don’t want to go overboard and create a Willy Wonka-style colour scheme. Subtlety isn’t your strong point, but there are boundaries. To stay true to your extroverted ways, it’s essential to channel your inner qualities, the ones which are the most important to you as a person. Here are the ways to do it without going OTT.

Pick A Colour, Any Colour

The different shades and hues throughout the house will dominate the style. A scheme is vital for bringing different elements to life and making the interiors seem bubbly and vivid. Introverts do this by choosing neutral colours such as creams and whites and eggshell. They like to be delicate and restrained when they pick up a paintbrush. Extroverts are different.

The odds are high that your favourite colour isn’t black or white or anything neutral. Instead, it’s probably bright red or sky blue or sunshine yellow, something which is bright and shiny. So, use this to your advantage by decorating with your favourite hues. Look how the room underneath uses baby pink as a focal point. It also mixes a deep purple into the style perfectly, which adds an amazing contrast.

The Bloggers Bedroom Copper Blush Pink Pale Grey

Remember that whatever the colour, you can fit it into a scheme. All you have to do is think about the matching shades and how best to make it stand out while being seamless.

The Material Palate

Homeowners fret about the colour palette because it seems as if it’s the most important thing. After all, it brings life to the room and turns a house into a home. As a result, the material scheme goes out of the window. In fact, most properties stick with leather sofas and armchairs for cleaning purposes. They might be a rug on the floor, but it’s an afterthought. Well, it isn’t for extroverts.

Materials are a powerful weapon as they add texture to space, and that makes it more dimensional. It’s as if you can feel the fabrics on your face as soon as you walk into the room, like an interactive video game. Plus, the contrast is excellent too. Therefore, don’t stick to one or two materials – include as many as possible. This is a fantastic tip because you’ll find that plenty of features are different. For example, you can’t have a leather floor so the furniture will mix with the flooring right off the bat. Talking of wood, exposed beams are an excellent way to make sure there is contrast. Just give them a once-over with a deep stain to make them cosy and homely.

Last but not least, don’t forget the tiles and granite. The room below mixes the warm woods and fabrics with the cold kitchen countertops to great effect.

Art Attack

Do you remember the kid’s TV show from the 90s and early 2000s? Well, all you Art Attack fans can dig out the pencils and paintbrushes and put them to good use. Nothing says extrovert better than personal drawings and paintings. Even if you can’t draw, there is nothing wrong with trying to create something from scratch. All you need to do is throw colour on top of colour and see what happens. At the least, it will fit into the scheme.

Anyone who doesn’t want to channel their inner Lowry can buy artwork. Naturally, your instincts will take you towards the quirky stuff and you should go with your gut. But, remember to keep the overall style in your head. Choosing things which don’t match ends up looking cluttered like you threw it together in hope rather than expectation.

Something which works very well is printing off pictures and sticking them on the wall. Not only is it arty but it’s the ultimate way to show off your personality. Nothing says you more than memories of the good times with your loved ones.

Shop Off The Beaten Path

It’s easy to point out the ways to channel your extroverted personality, but it’s not simple to execute the plan. The problem is the high street – it’s full of shops which are the same. Go into B&M or B&Q and you’ll find everything from similar kitchens to tins of paint. How can you show off your personality when there aren’t any shops which sell the right products?

The answer is by shopping off the beaten track. Go online and you’ll find loads of suppliers which tailor towards non-conventional styles. At Unique Vanities, there are bathroom fittings and fixtures you won’t find in general stores. Simply Bamboo has flooring options which are exotic and affordable at the same time.

As a well as online shops, head to the vintage boutiques. They’re a little more expensive, but they do have cool knick-knacks which scream “I’M AN EXTROVERT!”

Don’t Listen

It sounds ignorant, and it is to a degree, but extroverts shouldn’t get bogged down with conventional wisdom. It’s okay for generic personalities, but you’re anything but. All it does is to remind you of the reason why you’re an extrovert and how much you hate the establishment.

Use magazines and websites and YouTube videos by all means, but pick and choose your favourite aspects. Then, put them together in a smorgasbord of eccentricity. Go with your gut rather than the status quo.

Hasn’t your stomach done you proud in the past? So why question it now?

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3 Grass Roots Ways to Make a Positive Impact on the World

A lot of people out there are very fixated on the notion of making the world a better place, and at first glance, this seems like a positive and noble ambition. The problems when you consider that the world is very complicated, and that’s often impossible to know what would be “best” for a given individual, let alone nation, from an objective perspective.

On top of this, many of those who seek to make positive change in the world do so from a strictly political ideological angle, and are likely to start thinking in broad, universal slogans, rather than to address things in a more holistic and grass-roots way.

Making positive change in the world is possible, of course, but you’re generally much better off thinking of things in terms of the small and local, rather than the big and global.

Here are some grassroots ways that you can start making some positive changes in the world.

Take up a career that you can be proud of

If you’re anything like the ordinary person out there in society, you can expect to spend a significant chunk of your life at work. This means that if your job is something you hate, and that makes you feel bitter and ashamed rather than proud and satisfied, you’re not likely to easily offset that with positive actions elsewhere.

By taking up a career that you can be proud of — something that leaves you with a real feeling of accomplishment, and a sense that you’ve done something meaningful — you can rest assured that you’re making positive contributions to the world on a regular basis, even if they’re small ones.

Doing a masters in school counseling online, for example, could be your opening to directly improving the lives of hundreds of school kids over the years.

Work on being the kind of person you would like and respect

People are affected most by the example you set, and not by the things you say, or even by the political actions you take. If you want to make some positive changes in the world, your first step should be to become the kind of person who you like and respect, so that others can follow your example.

If, on the other hand, you experience chronic self-loathing, you can reasonably expect that something about the way you’re living your life isn’t in alignment with your valued and with the kind of person you’d want to be.

“Liking” yourself more also isn’t just a matter of deciding that you’re perfect the way you are. It’s a commitment to growing into being a better person, and living a life more in line with your own values.

Focus on creating more and consuming less

There’s nothing wrong with “consuming”, whether that means food, entertainment, clothes, beauty products, or other consumer purchases.

There is a problem, however, with living a life which is solely dominated and determined by consumption. When you are just a consumer, you add little to the world. When you are a creator, on the other hand, you add lots.

Whether working on your blog, creating a new business, or volunteering your time, try to create a bit more and consume a bit less.

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How To Cosy Up Your Bedroom For The Coming Season

Anoushka Loves

After a beautiful summer, with the onset of September, thoughts slowly begin to turn to the new season – shops are filling up with ankle boots and new coats, there’s a drop in the temperature and spiced lattes start making an appearance in the coffee bars. Autumn brings it’s own seasonal delights, and one of them is being able to cosy up in our bedrooms, take advantage of Autumn decor trends and enjoy a little comfort. Here’s how to get ready for the new season and create a warm, welcoming bedroom perfect for those nights that are drawing in…

Get Your Insulation Right

Before moving on to cushions and candles, make sure that your bedroom is cosy by checking that it’s well insulated. Check and drain and underperforming radiators, look into double glazed window repairs if needed, and kit out your room with well lined curtains or insulated blinds. You want to eliminate any draughts or condensation. You can also check the floorboards and use filler to get rid of any gaps where cold breezes can creep in.

Invite In Some Colour

Colour can have a significant psychological impact on our mood, so creating a cosy interior can be down to introducing some warm, rich colours to your room. Try red, deep yellows and oranges, or if that isn’t your vibe, millennial pink can also be surprisingly warm and restful. Combine these colours sparingly with neutrals for the chicest effect and add touches of copper or rose gold in your accessories.

The Bloggers Bedroom Copper Blush Pink Pale Grey

Add In Some Texture

Adding warmth to your bedroom can be achieved by layering textures to cuddle up in. Use it as an excuse to hit the shops for some new homewares and accessories. Fluffy rugs are a great way to physically banish chills and they look snuggly too – lots of soft throw pillows, a knitted or faux fur throw and softly piled oversize curtains will also give a cocooning effect. Silk is also a rich texture to use, and playing with these varying fabrics in the same or tonal colours gives a really plush, expensive look to a room.

Cast A Glow

Lastly, go to town with beautiful scented candles – scent is also powerful to evoke a mood, and woody or spicy toned fragrances or creamy vanilla are ideal as the nights get shorter. Make sure that you choose soy candles or pure beeswax so that you aren’t releasing harmful chemicals into the room. You could also try an aromatherapy diffuser with LEDs. Consider introducing some beautiful lamps too – these cast a much cosier light than overhead fixtures, and give you a chance to introduce more colour and texture with the lampshade. You can further enhance the candlelit effect by adding in some beautiful mirrors, which will bounce back the light and create some gorgeous effects. Don’t be afraid to make the most of reflective surfaces such as mirrored glass trays as well, as these will also add interest.

With a few finishing touches in how you dress it, you really can alter the mood of your bedroom and give it a much more intimate and cosy feel for the coming colder weather.

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5 Items Under £10 Every Woman Needs In Her Suitcase

The solo female travel market is booming and there are loads of products out there catering to women travelers. However, which ones are useful for a woman on the go? Fortunately, we have done the shopping for you. Whether buying for yourself to help you on your next adventure or looking for a gift for a travel-loving friend, check out this list of five super useful items that every woman needs in her suitcase. Best of all, they are all under £10! So treat yourself, a family member or a friend with one of these useful travel items.

Light and easy to use, this digital hand luggage scale will help prevent you from paying extra for overweight luggage that low-cost carriers charge you a fortune to travel with. No more stress weighing your suitcase when checking in for your flight. It’s easy to switch between pounds, kilograms, ounces or grams. A hook and strap holds your luggage securely while the weight is displayed clearly, even in a darkened room. We’ve been there too, trying to weigh ourselves and our luggage on the bathroom scale. Never have that problem again!

Europe, America and Australia, wherever your journey takes you, this travel adapter makes sure you can get power to your devices, curling iron, whatever you need. The different components fit neatly inside each other and weigh next to nothing, making it easy to pack and carry in the free travel case included. The simple design makes this universal adapter kit trouble free for years of use. Unlike adapters with moving parts, there is nothing to wear out, become damaged or broken.

Great for on the plane, train or in hotel rooms, this contoured sleep mask is a must-have for any girl on the go. This sleep masks completely blocks any unwanted light so you can sleep undisturbed. Because of the raised dome shape, your eye makeup won’t be disturbed while you catch some z’s and you can arrive at your destination looking fresh and rested. Soft, comfortable fabric and a strap that stretches easily for maximum comfort are two customer favorites about this domed sleep mask.

Use this kit of all natural supplements before, during or after travel, or all three. Avoid travel fatigue and fuel your body. Your skin will be hydrated, your blood sugar will be stable and your energy will be balanced so you can make the most of your trip. Conveniently packed individual sachets, Fly Me will be your go-to travel kit. Don’t worry, it’s suitable for vegans and is dairy, soya and gluten free. Even shipping is free within the UK and all products have a 30-day money back guarantee.

Make sure your devices are always charged by bringing this power bank, the handy charge device that works with any phone or tablet. This model allows you to charge multiple devices through mini USB and USB connections. Slim and easy to pack, the Tech Power 2200 Power Bank will keep your device charged and ready for use no matter where you are. Perfect for travelers who go to remote locations without a power source but still need their phone.Remember to be safe when you travel and do not share your details with anyone who does not need to know them. For help as a solo female traveler, check out Jozu for Women, a platform that helps make travel easier, safer and more fun than ever. Now go conquer the world, girl!

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3 Reasons Your Blog Isn’t Making You Any Money

Starting your own blog is a great hobby to do in your spare time but if you put enough work in, it’s actually a great way to make money. You could use it to make a little extra on the side but if you’re successful enough, you can earn a good living from it and be your own boss. But making money out of a blog is easier said than done and even after months or years of hard work, you might find that you’re still not bringing in that much money. The good news is, there are a few common reasons why you’re not making money and you can usually solve the problem pretty easily. This is why your blog isn’t making any money and what you can do about it.

Anoushka Loves Stock

It Costs Too Much To Run

This is a big one. People often underestimate how much it’s going to cost to keep their site running and all of the money they make goes right back into website maintenance and upkeep. If you’re bringing money in but not making a profit, have another look at your website cost. It might be that your hosting fees are too high or you’re paying a website building service to carry out maintenance and they’re charging you over the odds. Shop around a bit and see if you can find any better deals for hosting. Another common reason is that you’ve got too much going on and so you need regular updates. If you simplify things a little, it will be a lot cheaper to run and you can start to keep some of that money you’re bringing in.

You Don’t Have Enough Traffic

There are 2 main ways that people make money from their blog; advertising and collaborations with companies. Usually, the advertising revenue you get is based on how many people are visiting the site or even how many people are clicking on the ads. If you don’t have that many visitors, you’re not going to make money. You also won’t be getting opportunities to do paid reviews of products if you’ve only got a small readership. There are some simple ways to make your blog grow by boosting your SEO strategy or advertising yourself better on social media. If you can start bringing in more traffic, you’ll soon start making more money.

You’re Not Focused On Your Audience

Blogging started as a way for people to share their lives with other people that might be interested. For a blog to be successful, it’s important that the writer has a distinct personality that comes out in the posts but you need to be careful. If you’re just doing it as a hobby, it’s fine to write about yourself all of the time but if you want to make money out of it, you need to think about your audience more. What do they want to read? If you aren’t publishing articles that your readership are interested in and you’re just writing about yourself all of the time, you aren’t going to keep those readers.

If you can avoid these 3 big mistakes, you should be able to start making some real money from your blog.

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Becoming a Girl Boss

Girl boss is perhaps one of those things, like mompreneur. A word that really annoy some people but inspire others. However you feel about the words, the thing itself is fantastic. What could be better than a group of strong women going out there into the business world and starting something for themselves? Giving themselves the chance to earn their own money, grow their own business, work flexibly around their families and other commitments, have the perfect work-life balance and even employ other strong women. If you are interested in becoming a girl boss, here’s what you need to do.

Photo Credit – https://unsplash.com/photos/yWPi5Iaiohw

Find Your Business

You might already have an idea of what kind of business you want to start. Or, you might not have the slightest idea, just an urge to do something. Fortunately, you’ve got plenty of options. Think about whether you want to open a brick and mortar store or office or run your business online. Often online is easier as there are fewer startup costs, and remember, you can always add a store later if things go well.

Then, think about your passions. What are you good at? What do you love doing? And, perhaps most importantly, what do you enjoy, that others would pay for? You could offer real-life services like cleaning or hair and beauty. You could provide online services, like writing or web design. You could start a blog, or set up your own photography firm, or you could open an ecommerce or brick and mortar store, either selling your own products or those sourced from elsewhere. When it comes to starting a business, your options are endless.

Research the Market

Once you’ve got an idea, it’s essential that you do some research before you try to take it to the market. Is it something that could make money? Is there a lot of competition? Could you offer better prices or service? Think about ways to make your business different, and better. Spend some time researching the market and your target audience. Find out where they shop, what they want and who they are. Learn as much about them as you can, and you’ll be much better at selling to them.

Learn

Your audience and competition aren’t the only things that you need to learn about. You need to research accounting and finance for small business. You might want to take a masters of marketing so that you know how to promote your business effectively. You need to learn how to pitch to clients. You may also need to learn how to run a website and build social media followings. Learn as much about all areas of business as you can.

Write a Business Plan

Then, it’s time to write a business plan. Look at some business plan templates if you’ve never done this before and have a good think about where you want your business to go. Try to be realistic and include any factors that could inhibit your success.

Take a Risk

Then, you just need to go for it. Starting something for yourself is always a risk. But, eventually, you just need to stop putting it off and leap right in.

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Moving Out – #MyFirstRentalHome

As I’ve posted quite a few home and interior inspired pieces lately, I thought I would continue on the home front and share my experiences about renting my own home. Back in 2008, I took the plunge and rented my own home all by myself. No flat share, no splitting the rent, just me and the terror of having to do this all on my own. Looking back, it was probably the best decision that I have ever made and even now, I am still in the same house, a decade later. Although I had previously been in a flat share, the house that I’m in now is my first rental home and I have filled it with furniture and love. 

It’s really quite funny how the British are so adamant about buying their own home. In fact, within Europe it’s actually quite rare for people to own their home with many choosing to rent. Whilst some will say that renting is dead money, I don’t believe that in this day and age that I would be able to get back on the property ladder without making huge changes to my lifestyle and moving back in with my Mum whilst being rent free. At the moment, I have a secured tenancy with a very reasonable rate of rent and pretty much a free reign of what I can do within the house. I have zero plans to move at the moment and I’m really content with just me and my Thomas plodding along as we are.

The apprehension of moving into your own place is nothing compared to how happy I have been making these four walls my own. From the early days, before Thomas came along, I just remember how weird it was to be in  a somewhat strange house where I didn’t know the creaks and groans that went on in the house. The noise of the pipes in the bathroom really used to make me jump, and I always used to overthink being in the house alone.

These days, being alone in my house is my sanctuary. I have my own routines and rituals and I am happy to spend my days relaxing my house, surrounded by my favourite things. I take joy in soft furnishings and I have loved spending time carefully curating each room to my style. 

Moving out does not have to be scary and with my top tips, you can make light work of your first step to becoming independent in your own Home Let.

  • Save, save, save! Although I did the majority of my first rental by finding second hand bargains, I wish I had saved up some more money for homely items. You don’t realise how quickly costs mount up!
  • Check the Inventory. If you’re moving into a furnished house, make sure that you check off all the items in the house, and again before you leave. I had an issue in a previous flatsharewhere I had to fight to get my deposit back however as I had checked it all, I could prove that they were in the wrong. 
  • Remember the bills! Gas, electric, water, council tax, internet, rent. There are so many bills to look after when you move out. It really helps to have a clear guideline of what is going out, and if you can, get them to go out on a direct debit for the same day. It makes the rest of the month so much easier to manage
  • Housemates. I loved living with my housemate but we also had tough times. Having breathing space and doing your fair share around the house makes for a comfortable living space. Wine in the fridge always helps!
  • Set a budget. It’s very easy to overspend and I have found that setting a budget for food helps a lot. This means cutting down on takeaways but I also spend lots of time making delicious, nutritious meals that I can batch cook and freeze for later. 
  • Don’t feel under pressure. There’s so much pressure to have perfectly furnished homes worthy of Instagram. It has taken me a long time to put together each room, and still it’s no where near finished. I like my home projects. 
myfirstrentalhome

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Autumn Decor Trends

The seasons roll around very quickly. Although when you are baking in the sun or freezing in the snow, it might seem tog on forever, none of them actually last for more than a few weeks. There are only 52 weeks in a year after all, and four seasons to get through. With summer coming towards its end, autumn is next, and if you are thinking of decorating some rooms in your home before the winter sets in, you might like to know what the latest trends for home décor are.

Before you buy anything though, you should check out your local stores, and websites like  NetVoucherCodes.co.uk to see if they are offering any discount codes. These can reduce the costs of your new home décor. significantly.

Neutral And Simple

Because something is neutral in colour does not mean it has to look bland and uninteresting. You could have neutral coloured stripes on your window dressings, furniture that shows its wood grain and a rug made up of several coloured neutral squares to ensure that your home interior is impressive. Team these with soft furnishings that are gently patterned, and your room will be neutral and simple but can look amazing.

Gold

This is a trend that has come through from the spring and it is still very popular. We are not talking about walls, furniture or accessories, but carpets that are in a gold colour.

Black

No one would suggest that you have black walls, furniture or floors unless you’re feeling bold and you want to go for it. The black is used in accessories such as cushions, and shelving units. It does not have to be blocks of black either. Cushions and curtains that have a pattern including it will do the trick, It tends to team up best with lighter shades, and of course, best of all with white.

Pinks

Pinks have always been popular, but this autumn they are one of the favourite colours to use, Dusty and darker pinks are the ones to use as they add warmth to any room, They go particularly well with metallic finishes and darker greys.

Bold Shapes And Designs

These are being used for cushions, curtains, bed linen and all sorts of other materials, as you can see at https://www.checkfrank.co.uk/. Bold colours with different shapes and designs that make them stand out from the rest of the room. It is said there is only one rule to make this trend work, and that is that it has to have a modern look.

Navy Blue

After pinks, navy blue is the big colour for autumn this year. It needs to be teamed with other colours because of the darkness of its shade but does go very well with greys, white and even with gold. This is one colour that even the wallpaper manufacturers have produced a lot of this year, so take a good look around the wallpaper shops before deciding on which one to buy.

It could be that none of these trends appeal to you or that you have fallen for one of the ideas. Whatever you decide to do with your décor this year, just make sure you have what you want, as it is you that has got to live in it.

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The 3 golden rules of creating a shabby chic haven

It’s no secret that the shabby chic look is a popular home decor choice – but how exactly do you achieve this level of cuteness and charm in your own property? In this blog, we take a look at the three golden rules of creating the ultimate shabby chic haven.

  1. Get your vibe right with vintage-looking furniture

Beautiful, intricately detailed furnishings are a must when it comes to nailing this decor theme. When you’re choosing pieces for your home, keep an eye out for the typical features, such as distressed finishes, rounded edges and carved detailing. If you’re not sure where to start in filling your home with vintage-looking furniture, why not tackle one room at a time?

For instance, you could start with your bedroom and pick out a classic style bed frame. An example is the Chateau Antique white painted carved bed from furniture experts Crown French Furniture. This model has a large, curved headboard and four individual legs, making it the perfect choice if you’re looking to turn your bedroom into a beautiful boudoir.

If you need inspiration on the type of furniture pieces you should be looking for, check out photo sharing platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram.

2. Stick to a soft colour palette

A soft, muted colour palette is essential if you’re keen to create a vintage vibe throughout your home. Ditch bold, bright hues in favour of fresh, neutral shades like creamy vanilla, rich ivory and pure white. Hues like this are ideal as a base, making it easy for you to add pops of colour into the mix if you want to. From duck egg blue, to mint green, to blush pink, there are an array of stunning, light-toned hues you could introduce to keep your shabby chic theme on point.

3. Pick out pretty patterns and prints

Shabby chic decor is all about embracing gorgeous patterns and prints. For example, dreamy, romantic florals are the perfect choice, helping you give your rooms an element of sophistication and charm. You could even go for petite polka dots or a sweet heart-shaped theme for a totally cute and kitsch vibe.

There are a number of ways you can incorporate these patterns throughout your home. For instance, you could go for printed soft furnishings, such as curtains, bedding or cushions adorned with your chosen design, or you could even go for patterned wallpaper. The choice is yours.

Achieving the shabby chic look in your home doesn’t have to be difficult. As long as your keep these three golden rules in mind, you should find that you’re able to create your very own vintage-esque haven.#

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Cabana, Manchester

As one of my favourite hobbies is eating, I am really pleased that Manchester has so much to offer by way of restaurants. I could literally travel around the world to try every cuisine, all without leaving the M1 postcode. I’ve been really enjoying getting out and about recently, and I have been making so much more effort to socialise and catch up with friends. I always love the time that I get to spend with Keeley from Phat Cupcake. We have a great bond and some great conversations. We took our latest catch up to Cabana in the Corn Exchange in Manchester for Brasilian influenced dishes and of course, cocktails.

Cabana only opened in Manchester just three years ago and whilst I went along to the soft launch, I have never actually eaten in there. Having perused the menu whilst at work, I had made my mind up by the time I got there. Walking into Cabana is like walking into a rainbow of colours and eclectic designs. From the stools on the wall, the booths that are surrounded by fairy lights and the flower walls, Cabana certainly is reminiscent of Brazil. Spread across two floors, I can see Cabana being an extremely vibrant and fun place at a weekend. 

The service from Mar was second to none, and from the minute that we walked in, she was attentive to our needs and made sure we had all we needed. Small touches like water on the table, an explanation of the menu and her recommendations from the menu made for a welcoming experience. 

I’m still not over my halloumi addiction and for the second time that week, halloumi has featured in my diet. The chargrilled halloumi with guava dip is affectionately known as ‘Romeo and Juliet’ in Brazil. The dip, although it looks a lot like tomato ketchup was a fruity yet savoury sauce. It gave the halloumi a little kick and totally transformed the plain cheese. I do think that the halloumi was missing something. The chargrilled taste did add to the flavour, but I feel that it was too solid and missed the warm, slightly melted texture that I love. That being said, I ate each piece with a thick coating of guava jam. Keeley tried the chicken croquetas; little balls of shredded chicken and spices with an delicious Malagueta mayo. The mayo was absolutely delicious and for someone who really doesn’t like mayo at all…well, I am a convert. 

Whilst catching up on the recent goings on, latest launches and who’s done what in our circle of friends, we started on the cocktails. As usual, Keeley opted for a Margarita. The frozen Margarita was served frozen, and the sugared rim was replaced with a rim full of  multi coloured sprinkles. I chose the Watermelon Basil Smash; Russian standard vodka, watermelon juice, watermelon purée and basil. The taste of basil in a cocktail really does enhance the flavours and I do find that I opt for drinks that feature basil. The cocktail was so refreshing and didn’t taste overly alcoholic. I could have drank several as they were that tasty. 

It’s not very often that I would choose a burger from the menu, but after reading the description for the Guava-cue Bacon Cheese burger, I was sold. British beef, tomato, lettuce, red onion, mozzarella, guava-cue bacon and mayo on a brioche bun with a side order of skinny fries and coleslaw.  When you don’t have burgers very often, it really heightens just how good they are. A juicy beef burger, cooked to perfection topped with the warm melted cheesiness that I wished for in the halloumi. The bacon was marinated and grilled that gave a sweet, savoury and salty taste. I did pull the bacon from the burger as I couldn’t cut through it, however eating it alone gave me chance to experience the taste fully. Crispy salad, guava jam and the brioche bun certainly gave it the extra flavours and I wolfed it down. I also really enjoyed the fries, again which is unusual for me as I don’t usually have them. The fries were topped with Brasilian steak house seasoning and the coleslaw was perfectly crunchy. Whilst I was enjoying a traditional burger and chips, Keeley went for a more traditional Feijoada Hot Pot. A twist on the Brasilian classic, the slow cooked dish was flavourful and packed with slow cook pork, sausage, rib meat and beef, sat in a black bean stew. Served with a side of Biro-Biro rice, sour cream, toasted farofa, potato matchsticks and a slice of orange to round off the the meal.

No matter how full you are, there is always room for a dessert and a cocktail. Topping up my banned dairy intake for the day (thank god for lactose tablets), I went for the Peanut Butter and Jam sundae. It doesn’t look particularly great when served in all honestly but the peanut butter ice cream was pretty amazing. The guava jam featured once again within the dessert, and the sugary sweetness was brought out by the ice cream. The menu does state that the sundae does contain peanut brittle and peanut candy, however they were either not put in, or the amounts used were so little that it was difficult to distinguish these within the sundae glass. 

Keeley chose the Banoffee cheesecake topped with roasted nuts which I didn’t try but it looked great. I think by this point we were quite full, and the desserts weren’t appreciated as much as they should have bee. Three courses is quite a lot of food to get through sometimes! We managed to get through our cocktails with ease, however. The Jungle Fever cocktail that Keeley decided on was made up of rum, mango purée, lime juice and vanilla with gummy worms. The gummy worms on top were such a great touch that I was slightly jealous until I saw my Island Life cocktail in the coconut cup. Russian Standard vodka, agave syrup, apple juice, grenadine and raspberry & passion fruit purées made this cocktail taste like a grown up Um Bongo. Again, not overly alcoholic tasting and a really good palette cleanser after all the food. 

For my first full experience of Cabana, I was really quite pleased with what they have had to offer and I do think it’s a great place to call in for a mid day lunch whilst out shopping in town. I would also really like to experience upstairs when the cocktail bar is in full swing and the Island Life drinks are flowing on the 2 for £12 offer. 

Thank you to Cabana for inviting me down to experience the Brasilian flavour. All opinions are my own, however my meal was provided free of charge. 

Cocktails at Cabana, Manchester
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Make Mornings Happy

Nothing beats that rare occasion where you open your eyes first thing in the morning and feel happy. Not tired or grumpy or annoyed that you aren’t still asleep or put off by the fact it reads “Monday” on your calendar or dreading that meeting you have in the afternoon, but happy right from the get-go, as you leap out of bed, skip down the stairs and slurp on a nice glass of OJ ready to kick the day’s butt.

The Bloggers Bedroom Copper Blush Pink Pale Grey

The problem is: we all know this feeling is seldom. But what you might not realise is that it doesn’t have to be. That’s right. There are some scientifically proven ways you can be happier at dawn and, who knows, maybe even become a morning person over time.

So, without further ado, let’s get on with being happier people shall we:


A Boudoir Of Bouquets

Us girls love flowers, but there’s never a time we love them more than first thing in the morning. In fact, in a recent study, those girls that saw a gorgeous arrangement of fresh flowers when they first woke up showed signs of bursting happiness, reduced levels of anxiety, and were more energetic at work. We’re not saying you should swap your morning coffee for a bunch of tulips, but you might want to start sipping your coffee surrounded by them.

Sleeping On The Right Is Alright

We’ve all heard that a great mattress is important for a good night’s sleep. But there is something else you can do to enhance your happy feelings after you’ve been onto Mattress-Guides.net/dreamcloud-mattress-review-complaints and bought a top-notch mattress, and it’s called sleeping on your right side. The reason for this is two-fold. Sleeping on your left will put pressure on your organs while sleeping on your right will help you have more lucid and mellow dreams; the sort that dances around themes of love, joy and peace. 


Fresh OJ To Start The Day

Nothing is more of a tonic for tired eyes than a glass of sunshine. Think about it. Chugging down a glass of OJ is like chugging down the bright rays of sunshine, which has got to be good for your mood. But that’s not all. It’s also high in vitamin B6 and folic acid, and that stuff is known to help with depression, so imagine what it could do to your mornings. And yet there is one more thing: just the smell of orange, whether fresh or in essential oil form, can help with anxiety too. It’s the gift that just keeps giving.


Go To Bed Early

There is nothing cryptic about this one. Going to be earlier, even if it’s just an hour or so, will mean you are better rested, more alert and more optimistic about what the day ahead has in store. But that’s not all because when you lose sleep you also lose your sense of humour, and that’s no joke. So, if you want to wake up happy, call it a night at 9.30pm from now on.

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Sleeping Beauty – Leesa Mattress #AD

I have been through a lot with my bed over the years. It started when I started flying for a career and the need to have a better bed than the hotels that I stayed in was my priority. I’ve always been that person who has been able to sleep a lot and a fifteen hour sleep is not unusual for me. I have always been in the mindset that my bed had to be the ultimate in comfort, with beautiful bedding, plump pillows and stylish throws but most of all, the mattress had to be that support that I needed for my back and legs. Choosing a mattress is quite the decision and my last was a fancy deep pocket sprung affair with a memory foam top and came along with a hefty price tag. It did last, but only up until the 8 year mark which is the industry standard for mattresses. I was adamant that I wouldn’t be getting rid after 8 years but when I noticed that it was dipping in the middle and my bedding didn’t look smooth across the bed, it was starting to annoy me. When Leesa made contact with me to offer me a brand new mattress in exchange for a review, I practically bit their hand off. My new mattress has changed my life.

Sleeping Beauty - Leesa Mattress

Sleeping Beauty - Leesa Mattress

Sleeping Beauty - Leesa Mattress

Sleeping Beauty - Leesa Mattress

The last mattress I bought was a nightmare to get into my house. It was rigid and wrapped in its plastic outer and as a single person, I struggled to get it up to my room. When my Leesa mattress turned up in a box, I was so shocked to see just how small the box was to house a double mattress. I needed help to get it into my house as it is heavy but to remove the mattress from the box was relatively simple. When I lay the rolled up tube of mattress onto the bare slats of my bed, I honestly couldn’t believe that this would magically inflate into a double bed sized, deep mattress. I must admit that watching the mattress start to expand after removing the plastic was so fun and within minutes, I had a fully expanded mattress on my bed.

Made of three layers of foam; the dense core support layer for strength, durability and structure. The pressure relieving memory foam for body contouring and pressure relief and finally the cooling Avena foam that provides the airflow for a cooler nights sleep as well the bounce you need with a mattress. It has been unbelievably hot this past month that I have had my Leesa, and I have only slept under the duvet around five times. I cannot wait for it to get a little cooler so I can have some skin to Leesa contact without having a duvet in between!

After the hell I went through with my back, and the ongoing quest to make sure that I am supported, my new Leesa mattress has changed things for the better. I spend an awful lot of time in my bedroom as I still struggle with my couch due to how low it is. I find that sitting on my bed watching TV is a lot more comfortable and I can get off my bed so much easier. When it comes to sleeping on a foam mattress, I was a bit apprehensive at first. I didn’t know if it would be good for me or if I would be too supported when I sleep. What I have noticed is that where I used to flip myself around like a fish through the night to keep my back straight and supported has definitely lessened. I find that I’m held in position a lot more, and whilst I still have plenty of movement I have the added security of being moulded into place.

Sleeping Beauty - Leesa Mattress

Sleeping Beauty - Leesa Mattress

Sleeping Beauty - Leesa Mattress

Sleeping Beauty - Leesa Mattress

Sleeping Beauty - Leesa Mattress

It did take me a few nights to get used to having a full foam mattress. As my old one was just topped with foam, it didn’t have the firmness like my Leesa. Just like sleeping in someone else’s bed, or in a hotel, you need to give your bed chance to be your bed again. Since then, I can hand on heart say that my Leesa mattress has been the best thing that has happened to me. I’m sleeping like a log, I’m falling asleep when my head hits the pillow and when I’m using my bed to sit on, I feel supported which in turn helps my spine and relieves the tension of my damaged nerves.

Buying a new mattress is a big decision and should you not like it, you’re stuck with a very expensive outlay. Leesa have a 100 night sleep guarantee and should you decide that you don’t like it, they will pick it up and refund it for you. This extra peace of mind makes a huge difference, however I really don’t think you will need to use it. I am so happy with my mattress and I would not recommend any product, especially at this price, if I didn’t believe in it. I believe that my Leesa mattress has changed the way I sleep.

As part of this collaboration, I can save you £100 if you use my code ANOUSHKALOVES. In 8 different mattress sizes from a standard single to a superking size, your best night sleep is not far away with Leesa.

This post was created in collaboration with Leesa, who provided a Leesa Mattress for review, but all views and opinions expressed are my own. Affiliate linking is used within this blog post

Anoushkaloves.com

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Table Now + Manchester Smokehouse & Cellar

Being a blogger on the Manchester scene does mean that I can often be found in some of Manchester best restaurants and bars, trying many of the varied cuisines that my city has to offer. It does seem that every week there is a new restaurant or bar opening, and I adore being part of this vibrant, cultured city. I seem to have developed a bit of a taste for dining out, but this is a hobby that comes at a price. It’s not cheap to dine out, and my love of having a nice bottle of wine with dinner all adds up. Luckily, I have found a fantastic way to keep up with my dining habit but with a discount. Introducing TableNow.co.uk and the nifty little app that allows you to book tables at short notice, with a cheeky little percentage off the menu.

Manchester Smokehouse & Cellar

Manchester Smokehouse & Cellar

Manchester Smokehouse & Cellar

Manchester Smokehouse & Cellar

TableNow doesn’t just cover the Manchester area, but in fact the whole of the North West and with over 300 restaurants being featured, you will never be short of options. Covering weekdays and weekends, for a single diner or a group of 8, the featured restaurants are giving you offers such as buy one get one free meals, free desserts or even up to 50% off your bill. It’s such a simple but great idea. Signing up to TableNow is really simple. There are no joining or subscription fees after your three month free trial and the only thing you have to pay is a booking fee at £2.50 per person.

I booked into the Manchester Smokehouse and Cellar on a Tuesday evening at 6pm for 3 of us. This attracted a 30% discount off the bill and a total saving of £11 per person. I had never been to the Manchester Smokehouse before, so although I was trying out the service of TableNow, I was also extremely excited to be able to eat all of the meat that the Smokehouse had to offer.

As there was three of us, we decided to order a variety of plates so we could share. For our starter, it was a unanimous decision to order the Onion Bomb. If you have been to The Outback in the States, the Onion Bomb is just like the Bloomin’ Onion and my god, it was so good. Double deep fried with BBQ sauce, we were all in agreement that this is a brilliant sharing starter. We also ordered Texas Toast; two thick slices of toast topped with cheese, BBQ sauces, onion, chives and chilli as well as some Buffalo Chicken wings that were cooked to perfection. Crispy skin, moist and juicy chicken and easy to rip from the bone with a tangy blue cheese dressing. I could be mistaken that I was back in America and only needed a Bud Light Lime to take me right back.

Manchester Smokehouse & Cellar

Manchester Smokehouse & Cellar

Manchester Smokehouse & Cellar

We spotted The Big Smoke on the menu which is advertised for two to share or for one greedy guts. As there were three of us and we had already indulged in starters, we chose this with a side salad, you know, for health reasons. Whilst you imagine a giant platter of meat, I was not expecting the actual amount of meat that was presented to me that evening. Texas hand sliced brisket, candy burnt ends, baby back ribs, half a chicken, pulled pork, hot links (sausages), fries, pitmaster beans, corn on the cob, mac and cheese balls, pickled veg, garlic toast and finished off with slices of watermelon. This dish is not for the fainthearted. In fact, between three of us, we couldn’t finish it and we all suffered from the meat sweats. I needed stretchy pants and I even had to pass on dessert which is not like me at all!

With the savings that I have made by using TableNow for my dining out experience, I popped down to Superdrug the day after to treat myself to a new palette from Makeup Revolution and a cheeky coconut vanilla latte from Costa. Who says that I’m not good with money!

If you love dining out and want to make savings on your meals, then you should definitely check out TableNow.co.uk for some serious discounts at top restaurants. Thanks for having me Manchester Smokehouse – I will be back!

Manchester Smokehouse & Cellar

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Life Admin – Top Tips for your CV

It’s been nearly twelve months since I have changed career and as I’m coming up to my one year anniversary of working with a fab team in a great company, it has got me thinking about how change has done me a world of good. I’m still in a bit of shock with just how much has changed in the last year and a half and it really does resonate with me that things are sent to try us. I’m trying to keep on top of things a little more these days, and this includes a bit of life admin. After searching for a new job, it made me realise that keeping my CV updated was one of those jobs that takes a few moments to do but makes such a difference when it comes to saving time. After all, who wants to write a ten year CV at the drop of a hat? I’ve put together my top tips when writing a CV, ready for any moments notice when looking for work.

CV life hacks

I have two current CVs; one solely for my past work experience in travel and customer service, the other includes my skills that I have developed since the launch of Anoushka Loves, which if you are a blogger you will know that covers a lot of ground. I prefer my CVs to be relevant to the job that I am applying for, and there would be no point in sending a CV that goes into my WordPress analytics and SEO skills to work in an unrelated customer service role. Whilst this isn’t something that most people would need to do, I do think that it shows a level of commitment to future employers that you have been able to keep it specific to a relevant job sector.

If you are unsure of how to write a CV, you can use a template to plan it out. This not only helps create a nice flow to display your skills, it also makes it easier to read and you can see where you need to add more information. My CV shows the company that I have worked for, the dates and a bullet pointed list of key skills that I utilised within the role. If it is a more technical job that you are applying for, you can add programs and software that you have used or any other important characteristic of your career history.

As a blogger, one of the biggest tips that I can recommend is proof reading. I do often fall foul of this, especially when I’ve over read articles, but there is nothing worse than seeing an article littered with spelling mistakes, poor grammar and badly constructed sentences. If you are unsure, ask a friend to check it over or use an online spelling and grammar programme, such as Grammarly to check this for you. Check your dates of employment do not overlap, and that your contact details are correct.

As mentioned before, I wish I had kept my CV updated. It’s very hard to briefly describe your past job roles, skill and to try and sell yourself when you are covering several years. Should you be a freelancer or change jobs often, it only takes a small period of time to list your key points and save it into your CV going forward.

The hardest part of a CV is making yourself stand out. As a writer, I find it very difficult to stifle my personality when it comes to constructing pieces of work, but a CV is not the place to show this. Save that for the interview. In your CV, you should be positive in the language that you choose. Be specific and relevant to the job role. Provide evidence of previous roles and sell your skill set. Research the new job role and look into the requirements that they are looking for. Make note of their company cultures and mission statements and utilise this to your advantage.

I do hope that these tips help you when it comes to writing you CV to find jobs in Manchester or around the area that you live. Do you have any top tips for CV writing and nailing the job application process?

*Collaborative post

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Six Reasons to Visit Amsterdam

With more canals than Venice, more bicycles than people, a notable number of houseboats and over 1,500 cafes and bars, Amsterdam is a city like no other. From art and culture to a thriving nightlife scene, there is much to explore and enjoy on an Amsterdam holiday. Have a look at this handy tourist information guide for lots more interesting and helpful material.

Six reasons to visit Amsterdam

1. Discover the Anne Frank Museum
The story of Anne Frank is one that has touched many and the Anne Frank Museum is one of the most profound reasons to visit Amsterdam. The secret annex in her Amsterdam home is the building which now forms part of the Anne Frank Museum, helping to bring her story to life.

During her two years of isolation, before she was arrested, she kept a diary that documented her life. While you can’t help but admire her spirit and bravery, her evocative story will bring a tear to your eye. Her diary was published in the Netherlands in 1947 and is considered to be a seminal read, worldwide.

2. Lose yourself at Rijksmuseum
Housed in a beautiful building that first opened for business in 1800, the Rijksmuseum has an Aladdin’s cave of artistic treasures which is the envy of many of Europe’s other galleries. In Amsterdam, the Rijksmuseum and Rembrandt, perhaps the most famous of the 17th century artists, go hand in hand. The museum has the largest collection of his work, including his most famous painting, Night Watch. This is a must-visit spot for art-lovers and a Mecca for Rembrandt fans.

3. Say it with flowers
For something really different, visit the world’s only floating flower market. Amsterdam’s floral extravaganza, housed in a series of barges that are moored on the canal, is truly one of a kind and should be high on your list of reasons to visit. You can buy tulips during the spring months and in December, the firs and spruces announce the imminent arrival of Santa. It’s a lovely way to spend a couple of hours.

Six reasons to visit Amsterdam

4. Feel like a king or queen at the Royal Palace Amsterdam
The Royal Palace Amsterdam is open to visitors, when the royal family is away. It’s a truly magnificent building, with some equally impressive works of art, including a huge canvas by Jacob de Wit, which tells the story of Moses and the promised land. You will be mesmerised by its beauty and the subject matter. The palace is also used for royal occasions, receptions and a host of other ceremonial occasions.

5. Explore Amsterdam’s canals
The Canal Ring Area of Amsterdam was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status in 2010. Today, you can take to the water on a glass-topped boat tour for an unrivalled view of Amsterdam. With so much to see, it’s worthwhile having the Amsterdam travel guide from Expedia on hand, to help explain things as you go along.

The kids will love it, in particular, when you tell them there’s a yummy Pizza Tour, featuring their favourite toppings, with ice cream to follow. When the sun goes down and the lights start to twinkle, there’s a romantic onboard gourmet experience to share with your special person. This will be the highlight of your trip.

6. Shop ’till you drop
From cheese emporiums to the ultimate in chic design, Amsterdam’s shopping districts might well have it all. If it’s luxury brands you’re looking for then De Bijenkorf is the place to go. Another high-end area is P.C. Hooftstraat, which is definitely worth exploring, for a slice of glamour.

For something a little different, check out the picturesque Nine Streets neighbourhood. Perhaps more lanes than streets, but nonetheless, the area is filled with small and authentic boutiques, restaurants and cafes. Or for an indulgent treat, get yourself along to Beethovenstraat to pick up some cheese, wine and handmade chocolates
What are your reasons for visiting Amsterdam? Let me know in the comments.

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