Bobbi Brown UK

Thomas – My Pet Story #Ad

When I moved into my own house back in 2008, I had no intention of getting a pet. I was flying around the world, enjoying my free time with friends and loved ones and trying to build a home from scratch. Being away for sometimes five or 6 days at a time meant that I didn’t have the adequate time to invest in nurturing a small life, and constraints of where I live meant that I didn’t have a garden or the facility for an animal to head outside with ease. It was a definite no to having an animal, and I did really well for just under a year.
Fate does play a part in how I came to be the owner of Thomas, my cat who has become so well known that even my friends ask me how he is. In the September of 2008, my now ex boyfriend mentioned that his Mums cat had a litter of mixed black and white babies. Back in 2008, camera phones weren’t nearly as advanced as they are now, but when I saw this grainy image of a little black cat with bright blue eyes, I let my sister know immediately. She was thinking of getting a new addition to her family, and when she saw the kitten, she jumped at the chance.

Thomas - My Pet Story

Thomas - My Pet Story

Thomas - My Pet Story

Thomas - My Pet Story

Thomas - My Pet Story

Thomas - My Pet Story

At 8 weeks old, baby Kitten came to my house ready to be collected by my sister that evening. I spent the whole day with this tiny little baby, who I absolutely fell in love with. When he fell asleep on my chest, purring away, it started to make it more difficult with the thought that he would be going to his new house. Off went baby Kitten who was lovingly named Tallulah, a pretty name to match a pretty girl.

Tallulah was a boy. After a trip to the vets and confirmation that she was going to grow up male, her name was switched to Lucius. Baby Lucius loved his trips to Aunty Anoushka’s whilst he was a baby, where he would stay from Friday night up until Sunday. Attachments were forming, and although a lot of these attachments were Lucius’s claws on my silk curtains, he made me laugh with his little personality.

After a particular long weekend at mine, we came to the decision that Lucius was going to stay for good. It was too late. I had fallen in love with his little furry face, the love that he showed me and just how much his little personality was developing. By the time the newly renamed Thomas was mine he was just 12 weeks old and we had such a bond.

Setting myself up to be a pet owner whilst I was flying the world was something that caused a lot of organisation. Thomas took holidays with his Granny whilst I was away and luckily there was never any periods of time that were longer than a week where I would have to leave him. Further down the line, and with Thomas being a house cat, I came to a great solution where my neighbour would babysit him so he could stay at home in his own surroundings. This calmed him down a lot.

Thomas - My Pet Story

Thomas - My Pet Story

Thomas - My Pet Story

Thomas - My Pet Story

 

Thomas - My Pet Story

Being a protective mother, I wanted to make sure he was looked after properly. Thomas has had all his injections and boosters, and he even has top level pet insurance to cover him for any eventuality. I went with Petplan Pet Insurance for the best cover. The amount per month that is taken for the premium is minimal and it gives me such a peace of mind to know that he is covered. Especially as he loves to frolic around on the balcony, whilst trying to hunt bugs and flies.

Thomas has really changed my life. He’s not just a pet and he really is part of the family. I love nothing more than getting home from work, curling up on the couch whilst my little boy comes and curls up with me. He has such character and personality that he makes me laugh with his antics each day.

Thomas isn’t just a cat, he’s more than that. Friends even ask how he is! He loves to get involved with blogger mail and he is the most loving little boy. I couldn’t imagine my life without him. He’s 11 this year and so I still have many many years with him. I’m so grateful for that day when fate came knocking because we really do make the perfect pet partnership.

Do you have any pets? Tell me some of the funniest things that they do in the comments below.

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Achievable ways to factor healthy eating into your 2018 Plans

Even beyond the season of new year’s resolutions, many of us are looking at 2018 with a goal of improving body and mind. While you might have already seen my advice on getting active, it’s just as important to make sure you’re eating well. So where to begin?

Achievable ways to factor healthy eating into your 2018 Plans

Be generous with portions

While there’s plenty to be said for the ‘grazing’ style of eating little and often, sometimes it does more harm than good, especially if it’s crisps and chocolate that you’re grazing on in-between tiny meals. Make sure you’re in the know about the smaller portions myths that sometimes go around.
The golden rule seems to be that limiting portion sizes should only actually apply to sweet treats or the junk food you might tuck into on cheat days. As far as healthy mealtimes go, just eat until you are full. It’s more energising to stock up on the healthy home-cooked meals three times a day than to reach for processed nibbles because you haven’t eaten enough.

Respect the plant proteins

Whatever your dietary habits, it’s safe to say that society’s recent fascination with proteins has taken off. And while there are more supplements, powders and bars to consider than you can count, the natural world has plenty to offer thanks to plant proteins.
These aren’t always as obscure as you might think, either. While soy beans are a vegan mainstay, top advice often also promotes peas, pumpkin seeds and almonds, which are all simple enough to get hold of and, perhaps more importantly, pretty tasty. Mix almonds and yoghurt for a snack that’s filling and healthy all at once.

Don’t make it about punishing yourself

A really interesting piece in the Chicago Tribune suggests that dieting can do more harm than good. One of the best bits of advice shared is to get back into the habit of intuitive eating. It’s explained that, over the course of our lives, we’re conditioned to clear our plates and eat set meals at certain times of the day. Intuitive eating is closer to what very young children or animals in nature do, eating when hungry and obeying the urges that come up. By eating when hungry, you’re giving your body what it needs.

Achievable ways to factor healthy eating into your 2018 Plans

Make your favourites count

Similar to the above, it’s not about beating yourself up to eat healthy. If you’ve got a particular favourite meal, by all means enjoy it. Just make sure you get some transparent insight into the nutritional value of what you’re eating.
Take the humble roast dinner as one example. Brands are doing their bit to not only make what they produce healthier, but also better communicate what their meals contain. You’ll find that much more easily in leading brands than a supermarket’s own brand, so the likes of McCain Season and Savour Roasts feature an at-a-glance overview of what goes into their goose fat roasts. That makes those indulgences much more fulfilling, because you know what’s gone where.

Less sugar, more multicultural meals

Even after its overview of how much sugar gets snuck into our favourite foods, That Sugar Film keeps a blog that’s full of expert advice. And while minimising processed sugars is a good idea, advice from nutritionist Jennifer Peters suggests that even our modern fondness for delivered meals isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
That’s because interest in world cuisine is growing, and that means cultures with naturally wholesome meals, like Morocco, Korea and the Mediterranean, are entering our diets quite naturally. In other words, broaden your horizons and you’ll likely find a fair few new favourite recipes that are good for you.

There are lots more ideas to share and talk about, and how best to approach healthy eating in 2018 is always a lively discussion. What advice would you pass along?

*collaborative post

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10 Totally Achievable Life Hacks to Adopt this Year

You don’t need to save the all-out, ‘New Year – New You’ philosophy for January, as there’s never a bad time to adopt some simple life hacks that are easy to stick to. I already try to keep fit and eat well, so it’s time to work on some other areas – you might want to try some too.

10 Totally Achievable Life Hacks to Adopt this Year

1. Have more phone downtime

As a blogger and Instagrammer I nearly always have a phone in my hand to capture my meals and life events, so it’s hard to switch off sometimes. After all, I can’t really follow the ‘no phones at mealtime’ rule. I’ve been reading about some other good ways to cut phone time though, one of which is to go phone-free after 9pm.

2. Get more sleep

This links in nicely to being able to switch off when it comes to bedtime. Getting a good night’s sleep is incredibly important to me and something that I plan on investing more time in over the coming months.

<img src="http://anoushkaloves.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/breaking-egg-flour-spices-407073.jpeg" alt="10 Totally Achievable Life Hacks to Adopt this Year" class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-11937" />

3. Eat more

Self-improvements and life hacks aren’t usually about eating more of anything, but that just makes it all the more achievable. There are always so many new things I want to try and new places to eat, so it’s time to tick some off my list.

4. Take the stairs

I have a real passion for food so I have to balance that out with a bit of exercise, but strict regimes never last and you end up throwing the DVD or putting the ab-cruncher in the loft. So, I’m starting easy and taking the stairs whenever I can.

5. Enjoy more ‘friend dates’

Date nights are usually reserved for that special someone, but I’m planning on heading out on a few more dates this year with my closest friends. Next on the list is the Harry Potter Studio Tour, poking around the Gryffindor Common Room and finding out how they filmed the scenes at Hogwarts.

6. Make more food from scratch

So many foods taste better when you make them from scratch, it’s just about finding the time to do it. I’m going to start with one thing a week, like fresh pasta or a pie – and know that I’ll thank myself for it when I’m eating it.

10 Totally Achievable Life Hacks to Adopt this Year

7. Save money

I’m going to make a budget spreadsheet so I can save a bit more for a couple of treats here and there. I might not stick to it completely, but at least it’s a start! Making food from scratch is bound to help save the pennies too.

8. Have a clear out

De-cluttering is so satisfying that I find this one really easy, and anything half-decent will go to a good cause at the charity shop. The problem might be when it comes to the kitchen. I totally need every tin, utensil and gadget I have – honest!

9. Read more

I always seem to have an excuse for not picking up a good book, which is something that I’m desperate to change. Getting really lost in a fiction book is so cathartic; I can spend that new phone-free time to do it.

10. Learn a new skill

I haven’t decided what new skills to learn yet, but taking up a new hobby the perfect way to broaden your horizons. I might take up self-defence classes or go to more art galleries and learn about new and emerging artists.

What achievable life hacks would you recommend?

*Collaborative post

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The Beginners Guide To Getting Active

When the new year hits, it’s time to consider that spring and summer are once again creeping closer – bringing bare limb season with them. It’s never too early to prepare for warmer weather, especially when it means looking and feeling healthier too. If you’re a relative newbie to all things exercise, here are a few top tips for getting a little more active in the new year.

sainsburys TU

Try a taster session
If you’re not sure what type of activity you want to take up, there’s no harm in trying out a few tester sessions. Begin by speaking to your local leisure centre, as you can often try one of their drop-in classes or do a one-day trial at the gym free of charge. This is a great way to figure out what you like before you commit to a gym membership or training package. If you feel nervous about your taster class, or have no idea what to expect, have a look online to see if there are any video clips of similar classes to get a sneak peek at what you’ll be doing.

Broaden your horizons
There are so many options out there that you don’t need to stick to running on a treadmill or lifting weights – especially if neither are really your thing. Try a hip hop class, belly dancing, hot yoga, pilates, spin class, aqua aerobics or a combination of them all. If you’d prefer to get active in the great outdoors, look out for a local bootcamp course, take up cycling or even have a go at rowing or canoeing. The options really are endless – you just need to find something that fits your personality and that you’ll enjoy enough to stick with.

sainsburys TU

Invest in your active wear
Getting active means organising your workout wardrobe, starting with a good sports bra and working down towards dependable trainers. Women’s sportswear comes in all manner of shapes and styles, but if you really are a beginner you may not have the pieces necessary to help you work up a good sweat. Luckily the sportswear selection from TU has a huge selection of active-wear pieces, including jumpers, joggers, shorts, leggings and sports bras – the likes of which will have you feeling better about exercise before you’ve even started.

Make a schedule
Sticking with your new found activity can be difficult – especially if you’re not used to having exercise as part of your regular schedule. It’s a good idea to decide on a time of day you’re going to work out, whether in the morning, evening or even just a class once a week. Make it a priority by adding it into your calendar and ensuring you don’t make plans that overlap. Of course, if you’ve found a form of exercise you enjoy this won’t be as difficult.

Get a support system
Reaching your fitness goals will be a lot easier if you have a good support system working alongside you. Find friends who have the same goals in mind and who can exercise with you and keep you accountable. An easy way to do this is by joining a running club or going to a dance and aerobics class every week so you’ll meet the same regular people. Whatever you choose, there’s lots of ways you can make new exercise buddies and keep each other motivated.

There you go, a little beginner’s guide to getting active. Let me know how you get on in the comments below.

*Collaborative Post

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A Fresh Start

I never thought I would be so happy to see the back of 2017. A particularly bad year for me, with changes in my career, health and of course with the loss of my Grandad, 2017 isn’t a year that I will look back on fondly. The amount of situations that have been thrown my way have been extensive and I’m pretty amazed that I have dealt with them so well. Life going forward will never be the same as what it was, however I do feel that I have been shaped somewhat as a person. I’ve set myself some realistic goals for what I want to achieve – not resolutions, not things that I will beat myself up about if I don’t succeed and certainly not unattainable targets that will make me unhappy trying to reach them.

Lulu Guiness vaseline stationery diary ballpoint pen

Lulu Guiness vaseline stationery diary ballpoint pen

Lulu Guiness vaseline stationery diary ballpoint pen

The beginning of 2017 started my journey of change, and what a change it has been. At the end of February, my back finally gave way. I had always had underlying issues with back pain and sciatica but it was never anything as bad at the afternoon where it left me floored, and where I had to call the paramedics and police to break into my house to rescue me. From there on, I’ve been on a path of finding the right dosage of medication, and making sure I take it. I’ve gone from taking no medication at all, to up to 16 tablets a day. I think I’ve found an even keel now where I’m on around 10 to 12 tablets which suits me a lot better. Until they operate, my back issues will always be there, and although highly medicated each day, it still does go back into spasm and leaves me immobilised for a few days. Although managed, I am struggling a lot with the amount of medication I’m on and how drowsy it makes me, especially when trying to work but I have no alternative right now.

The change of career has been a blessing in disguise. I never realised just how much that this decision should have been made well over 12 months before but I just couldn’t admit it to myself. Having some much needed routine, a set pattern of shifts and a solid working environment has been a real game changer. Knowing that I won’t ever get called from work at 3am to come in makes a massive difference on my mental state. I’m sleeping better, I’m enjoying life more, and I’m not as on edge as I once was because I couldn’t plan my life. It’s also amazing to not have to pack a suitcase to go to work. Sure, I miss the trips and I miss the people, but I don’t miss the job in the slightest. Having a new office based career is also giving me the time to continue with my blog, and this year I want to reach higher heights and taking more control of my working life. Whatever that will be, I do not know yet, but I’m sure I will figure it out.

Losing my Grandad in September has been one of the most difficult situations that I’ve ever been placed in. Having never lost a close family member, I am struggling with the grieving process and how to logically deal with it. Maybe one of my issues is that dealing with it doesn’t need to be logical, and I should let it all out and let it go. I think that I do put a lot of pressure on myself to try and make everything normal, when in fact it’s far from it. I don’t know if this is due to having a bereavement or it’s just the state of my mental health right now, but I feel like I want to isolate myself away from everyone, I feel anxious after spending too much time with people yet I want people to ask how I am and feel paranoid when they don’t. It’s the strangest of feelings and I know that I worry my close family, and that they ask if it’s anything else that’s bothering me but it’s not. I just don’t know what it is. I don’t know if I ever will. I’m trying my best, but again I feel like I should be doing what my body is telling me to do, and not trying for other people.

Lulu Guiness vaseline stationery diary ballpoint pen

Lulu Guiness vaseline stationery diary ballpoint pen

Lulu Guiness vaseline stationery diary ballpoint pen

For the new year, I am not going to pin all my hopes on it being ‘my’ year, but instead I am going to use the next twelve months to achieve my personal goals. I won’t be jotting them down here because they are personal. That being said, there are two things that I really do want to share. The first may sound exceptionally selfish but I need to stop caring so much. Stop caring about what people think of me, stop worrying about letting people down and stop caring about the small stuff that shouldn’t have an effect on my life. In short, I will be taking Sarah Knight’s advice and reading her book ‘The Life Changing Art of Not Giving A F*ck’.

My second goal is to write. Write about the things I do care about, the things that make me happy. The things that I want to change and the things that I love. Write about me, what I’ve done that’s great, what I have succeeded in. Write things to look back on, to make me smile and to make me laugh. Write proper notes whilst completing my Diploma, write in my diary, write in my Happiness Planner. Write positive quotes on post notes and write about how I feel.

My diary of choice this year comes from Lulu Guiness. Ticking all the boxes with the glossy coloured paper, week to view pages and a page for notes, it is ideal for my daily and blogging life. I am spending time making sure that everything I need to do is jotted down so that I don’t forget things, I know where I am up to and that life may become slightly easier. With my matching pen, notebook and even a gift wrap folder, I’m feeling decidedly extra this year. I’ve even got the matching Vaseline x Lulu Guiness beauty products.

So, to a New Year. May this one be pretty good to you.

*Contains PR Samples and/or Affiliate Links

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Christmas 2017: Spiced Apple Cake Recipe

A very quick post for you this evening. Yesterday I was asked about the recipe for the Spiced Apple Cake that I made. I shared it across social media and I mentioned that I had made it so it was entirely dairy free which means my tummy is happy. It’s also practically made of apples so in theory, it’s really healthy. I suppose that you could make this as a vegan cake by substitution the eggs with an alternative or using this quick alternative – 1-1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil mixed with 1-1/2 tablespoons water and 1 teaspoon baking powder per egg. I originally found the Spiced Apple Cake recipe on The Hairy Bikers, who I have grown to be a tad obsessed with as their recipes are so simple, but so delicious and I haven’t had a bad experience. As the recipe has been drawn up to include dairy, I have substituted the semi skimmed milk for soy milk. It’s as easy as that.

Spiced Apple Cake Recipe

Spiced Apple Cake Recipe

Spiced Apple Cake Recipe

Spiced Apple Cake Recipe

Spiced Apple Cake Recipe

Serves 12
Prep Time – 15 mins
Cooking Time – 1 hour

Oil, for spraying – I used Fry Light
750g Bramley cooking apples ( around 3 large apples)
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
Finely grated zest of ½ lemon
250g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground mixed spice
2 large eggs at room temp
100g demerara sugar, plus 2 tbsp for sprinkling on the top of the cake
200ml semi-skimmed milk ( I substituted this for soy milk)
100ml sunflower oil
½ tsp sifted icing sugar, for dusting

Set your oven to 190°C/Fan 170°C/Gas 5, whilst you prep a 23cm springclip cake tin by spraying oil on the base and sides and lining with greaseproof paper.

Peel and core your Bramley apples, before cutting into quarters and finely slicing. You want around 500g of sliced apples. Put in a bowl, mix with the lemon zest and drizzle with the lemon juice

In a mixing bowl put your dry ingredients and mix.

In a separate bowl, add your wet ingredients together and whisk until smooth.

Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients as you mix, making sure there are no lumps. Once all combined, stir in the sliced apples until they are evenly distributed.

Pour the cake mixture into your prepared tin, and sprinkle the two teaspoons of sugar across the top.

Put in the oven for an hour whilst you have a cup of tea and clean the kitchen.

Leave to cool for ten minutes before serving with a cream alternative such as Alpro Soy Cream.

Being ever the miss fancy pants, I had to get my gorgeous Hollywood Deco tea set from Marks and Spencers out, as well as my personalised Mary Berry Bakewear from I Just Love It. I love feeling fancy.

Spiced Apple Cake Recipe

*Teapot, cake plates and cup and saucer setMarks and Spencer

Tray, cake slice and cake tinsI Just Love It

Is this cake something that you would make? It’s absolutely delicious and so easy to prepare. As it is quite a moist cake, it should keep for a few days. Alternatively, you could freeze it and save it for a later date.

*Contains PR Samples and/or Affiliate Links

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This Is Me

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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Lost.

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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Tampopo at Corn Exchange Manchester

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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The Very Late Gay Pride 2017 Round Up!

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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A Food Subscription Service? Mealpal in Manchester

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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She’s a Student again…. NCC Home Learning

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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Lifestyle – Quick and Easy Ways to Upgrade a Room

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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Raving with Rennie – Manchester Gay Pride 2017

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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Lifestyle – Updating My Kitchen

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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Pride Week – The Manchester Afternoon Tea at Radisson Blu

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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