For my birthday weekend, Danny & I stayed in Manchester’s Northern Quarter at the (almost brand new) Cow Hollow Hotel. For a night of cocktails, cake and Netflix, it was the perfect destination. We arrived in the afternoon and apart from a coffee pit stop headed straight to check in. If you’ve seen the website then you’ll already the interior of this place is insane. Every detail has been considered and for me, that just made it heavenly.
The entrance is bright, the décor beautiful and the staff are amazingly friendly. After a very swift check in process and welcome, we filled in a breakfast notecard (time, beverage choices etc.) and were shown to our room. With the summer weather we are having it was great to have some cooler temperatures inside, plus we slept beneath the ground floor and that helped with both noise and heating (I was worried with it being a Friday night, but it was lovely and peaceful). We stayed in Room 2; the room itself had a modern finish, with a rustic twist. The bathroom opened through two-barn style, white painted doors into a copper finished, slater stone tiled bathroom. The waterfall shower head and ornate oversized mirrors added a touch of luxury, whilst the high ceilings really opened up the space. We stayed in a Standard King Room but you can go Deluxe if you would like a little extra floor space.
The large double bed was super comfy, and rested against an exposed stonewall behind the headboard. Inside we found a flat screen TV with Netflix (ready to go), a Bluetooth speaker, sparkling and still water as well as a few other little bits and pieces. After being handed our key (along with a little bag of sweets, which I happily enjoyed), we headed down the hall where there was a coffee machine at our disposal. Day or night if you needed a cup of tea or a hot chocolate, which for me is definitely a bonus, I popped on my slippers and had my drink in 5 minutes (or I sent Danny to go get it for me). Inside the room you have the bar menu with it’s drinks (as you can get these delivered to your room), a useful stuff card (like the Wi-Fi password) and even one that tells you about all the freebies included in your stay.
Between 6-8pm there were Prosecco and nibbles on offer at reception / the bar area. However we skipped this because of the hotels location, there are so many cool bars on your doorstep. I’d wanted to go to Allotment for quite some time and it was worth the wait. Danny opted for a few ginger beers (not being a big drinker), whilst I tried a couple of cocktails. First up we had the ‘Lemon Sherbet Swizzle’, very refreshing and sweet it was definitely needed on such a sunny afternoon. Then I had the ‘Nutella-tini’, now this really knocked my socks off, sprinkled with hazelnuts it was so smooth I could have easily had 4 or 5 but my bank balance might not have thanked me for that.
Once back at the hotel I stopped by their bar to try one of the cocktails with the help of Danny (who picked for me), a ‘Daisys Gin Cherry’ which was pink and lovely. Then back in the room we decided to order some food for the night and had seen that Pizza Express offered some exciting veggie options, just down the road. A bonus is if you get food delivered to reception, with a note to say which room you are in they’re happy to bring it to you. Our Vegan Giardiniera was delivered in just 20 minutes (from ordering) and it tasted pretty damn good too! We made our way through some comedies on Netflix, made the most of the room’s facilities and then at 10-11pm the next ‘free stuff’ item arrived. This was such a cute little added touch, you have to let reception know and they will deliver it to your room. It’s a crate style tray of glass bottle milk and cookies! It made me feel a like a little kid getting a birthday treat, or when you used to leave cookies and milk for Santa at Christmas.
The rest of the evening was spent watching movies, and luckily the hotel is far enough from Piccadilly gardens that we didn’t really hear too much outside noise at all. I have to say this is the first time I’ve stayed in a hotel in Manchester before and it does make the whole process easier, to get up and go straight out rather than the pain of traveling in was a welcome change. I noticed a few food places to try as well on the walk around the hotel, including Alabama’s who do phenomenal shakes and pancakes. We actually went there the next day but I don’t want to overload this post with information.
Breakfast was delivered at 10am exactly (when we asked for on our note card at check in), again on a beautiful little wooden tray. Two brown bags tied with bows, accompanied by cute brown paper take out cups. As we delved inside we found fruit, pastries, granola, yogurt and sugars for our coffees. Once we had finished and tided away our stuff it made sense to head out into Manchester for the day, although I would happily have stayed in bed. It was honestly absolutely brilliant, I couldn’t think of a more perfect birthday night in. Talking to Danny I think we will be staying again nearer to Christmas so we can spend a day exploring the markets, drinking hot chocolate before heading back for a festive film night (which I know he will hate, the scrooge). Looking forward to seeing you again soon Cow Hollow.
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That’s it I’m 25. It’s mad to think how much my life has changed in the last year alone, never mind the last 5! This post however, isn’t about what’s going on with me over the next few months, that will come later. Rather about some of the cute birthday gifts I got and my favourite bits and pieces.
First up, my new Thomas Sabo charm club bracelets. I love jewellery to be meaningful because I like it to express my personality, like my Posh Totty pieces I got at Christmas do. When there's a reason behind a piece of jewellery it's made meaningful, and a charm bracelet can be a great way to express that. I've wanted one for a while, having had a Truth charm bracelet in college, but I didn't want to fall into the Pandora box. Instead I'm now a member of the TS charm club, the first was a quirky beaded bracelet with a hiking boot charm attached (for obvious reasons this is the perfect charm for me). Absolutely love how different this piece is and I'm obsessed with the charm. Second I have a more classic silver link charm bracelet, this one has three charms on it. The first an aeroplane (because I love to travel), next a mix tape (this reminds me of Guardians of the Galaxy) that captures my love of all things 80s and last (but not least) a lobster claw holding a pearl which reminds me of Danny (he has a pet lobster in case I haven't already mentioned that). I know what I'll be asking for this Christmas now...
I also got a Kate Spade bracelet, I already have two bangles but this understated silver piece is a completely different style. It has four gems in the band and a slider, embossed with the spade symbol. With Kate's recent passing this makes it even more special to me. I’ve forever loved her quirky fashion sense and she was the queen of statement pieces, I'm sure her brand will continue to thrive.
Now let's get to the sweet stuff, my Candy Kittens and Hotel Chocolat. These are a few of my favourite things! I love vegan sweets and a mixture of watermelon, blueberry and peach (my absolute favourite), were delicious. I got a few selectors from Hotel Chocolat mostly dark chocolate (with rum centres) and some strawberry puddle buttons. Safe to say I’ve done nothing but eat the last few weeks. Holiday and birthday calories don’t count right?
I also got a pair of gorgeous baby pink Nike suede trainers. I love my footwear and these are a perfect spring/ summer shoe. I’m running out of space in my bedroom but I’m sure I’ll find a place for them. My other trainers are more gym or outdoorsy in style, so these will be great for more formal summer days out and will look cute with a dress or denim skirt.
My vinyl collection continues to grow, with the latest addition of the Baby Driver Soundtrack. I absolutely adore this film and the music even more. I plan to have this on repeat throughout the rest of summer. Bellbottoms! If you haven’t seen it I would definitely suggest you do (I’ve been on a bit of a film binge lately both on Netflix and at the cinema), even if it’s just for the awesome music! I’ve been tempted by a lot of soundtracks lately so I’m sure soon I'll be needing a bigger bookcase for these.
Then we have the pick and mix stuff (not sweets sadly), these include a lot of little goodies I got on my birthday. We have some more Instax Mini Polaroid film (as I’ll have run out again before long), some new Topshop underwear (there was a SALE on so I got lots of pieces from there) and my first ever Tsum Tsums, a Marvel selection including Thanos, Rocket and Drax. Finally I recently sold my old Olivia Burton rose gold watch because I wanted to try a new style, I'm so glad I did because I got a silver mesh Olivia Burton with a much smaller face. It works perfectly with my new jewelry collection, so I'm sure it'll be a new permanent fixture on my wrist.
I do love birthdays because they give you an excuse to eat cake for breakfast, and drinking cocktails is a must. They also give me a time to indulge in something I love to do! Last year I was climbing Snowdon, this year I spent the night in a swanky Manchester hotel with Danny.
I love to celebrate because we’re never guaranteed the next one (as depressing as that sounds) and it’s important to enjoy these moments. Make the most of the time with people and appreciate the little things. Whether you're throwing a huge party for all your friends or just chilling with a film and your fella. I’m excited to see where my 25th year will take me, hopefully Italy, Australia and Canada (to name a few). I also would like to be halfway to buying my own house this time next year but that's for another blog post. I'm sure I'll still be writing here in my little corner of the internet, whatever happens.
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Hello everyone (or anyone who reads this), todays post is short-ish and sweet because I'm busy working my way through Barcelona bits and bobs. I thought I'd do a short post of my five summer favourites! Items I have picked up over the past six weeks, let’s take a look…
1. First up (although technically two purchases), I visited the Skinny Dip Sale. On this occasion I was looking for a purse after the inside zip broke off on mine, (I also needed to downsize because I have too many cards) and there was an adorable one for just £8! (This embroidered piece was reduced from £20) I am a sucker for embroidery because it just feels like better quality, plus the floral toucan design makes it a summer essential.
My browsing didn’t end there, when I noticed a bag I wanted a couple of months back, now just £14 (marked down from £36). This ‘Out of Office’ embroidered straw bag also screams summer holiday. Unfortunately, I didn’t have it in time for Barcelona but I’m sure there will be plenty of trips to the beach, and another getaway on the cards, before the year is over. It’s a medium size that works for my everyday essentials, and includes a detachable shoulder strap. I love to make a statement with my accessories, so the typography on this is definitely my style.
2. Next up, I was browsing Instagram when I saw a product advertised by @SophieHannah – Electric Ink Skincare. I don’t really do much for my tattoos once they are healed, as I’ve never considered it to be important. I take care of my skin but Electric Ink has stuff specifically to restore inked skin so it looks fresh. I’ve ordered the Vibrancy gel serum and after reading reviews am excited to see the results. Watch this space!
3. TEEQ.CO are a made to order fashion company who specialize in little Disney inspired embroidered ranges, from Toy Story to Star Wars. I’ve wanted to order something for a while and finally gave in. I went for Stitch (obviously) the little blue alien looks even cuter in embroidery. Usually made on a blue jumper, I specifically asked for pink to make it extra special and it’s so cute! I’m looking forward to wearing this everywhere in winter.
4. I’ve had my Polaroid camera for 3 years now, I’m considering an upgrade because it goes everywhere with me. I recently took it to Barcelona and had to buy a new album for the prints (I’ve so many now). I’m showing it some appreciation this month as I’ve been stocking up for the trips ahead (more to be revealed). Amazon I always find cheapest with 20 prints for just £13!
5. Any creative, if you’re like me, will go through hundreds of notebooks in their lifetime. I’ve always preferred getting my ideas down on paper, making to do lists and taking handwritten notes in meetings. I dropped into Urban Outfitters over the weekend and found the GREATEST notebook (of all time perhaps). For just £3 I got this, it’s covered in illustrations of Tom Hardy holding puppies. My boyfriend even knew I wasn’t leaving without it, I only regret I didn’t pick up a couple more!
There you go, this month I’ve mostly been living out of a backpack so it’s nice to have a little splurge on a few pieces. The sunny weather has meant more time with my camera out and a few summer style pieces. I’m sure as we go into the second half of the year there will be more books, dog hoodies for Chewie and jackets added to this list. Plus before you know it, the Christmas shopping will be starting. Until then I plan to squeeze every last cocktail out of this summer.
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It’s been a mad couple of weeks and I’m heading into Manchester this weekend (for lots of 25th birthday celebrations), but I wanted to get this on my blog (I've got alot of Barcelona content to get sorted next week). I had mentioned previously that I’d been busy planning some exciting summer months, and here's my latest event – Rough Runner!
Last weekend Danny and I took part in a 15K obstacle race located at Arley Hall (or as I know it, Tommy Shelby’s house), in Northwich. Rough Runner is an obstacle race that takes its inspiration from Ninja Warrior and Total Wipeout (among other game shows). I signed us up a few months back and was pretty excited when it finally came around. A huge positive is that it is much more friendly to those of different fitness levels, as you can choose to do a 5, 10 or 15K route on the course. We went for the 15K because I'm used to running for long periods of time, plus this meant we could tackle all the obstacles!
I’m doing Tough Mudder again in September, but wanted to mix things up and thought this would be something a little different (plus it meant I could drag Danny along). I am already looking at events like X Runner and Wolf Run for next year, because there are so many different courses to get involved in. I honestly love getting down and dirty with my fellow mudders and even going it alone doesn’t phase me, because you don’t have to look far for a helping hand.
By 9am we were parked up and headed to the bag drop zone (which was free and manned so I felt safe leaving my stuff), before checking out the rest of the place. There was coffee, food, merch and all the typical stalls you'd expect. They were even handing out pre-race protein boost sweets that were quite delicious, almost as good as the protein peanut bars we had after the race (I took a couple of extra freebies home). We headed over for a safety video, far more entertaining than expected, then after a warm up and the Rough Runner pledge... we were off!
Although on a smaller scale than Tough Mudder, I was impressed with the set up. People were friendly and everything was clearer signposted, plus they even had music going on arrival and a photographer to capture all the action. The overall course was less hard going overall than I expected, although some of the farm ground was a little harsh to run on. It was about 9 miles with approximately 15 obstacles total, this meant you weren’t running for long before you had a challenge to tackle.
Your given a coloured wristband at check in, that corresponds with the route you do (5K was white, 10K was blue and 15K was yellow). This is so if you get lost along the way their volunteers can guide you back to the correct route, they do have coloured flag markers, but it's easy to miss them if there's lots of people.
The obstacles ranged from 'Nelsons Column', where you have to avoid volunteers dressed up as pigeons, trying there hardest to take you down (I know it was bizarre but hilarious, definitely reminded me of Takeshi's Castle). 'Ramp It Up', is a half pipe that you take a run at to climb up and over, with a few ropes incase you need a helping hand. 'Beam Me Up', this was a thin ladder like piece of scaffolding that you had to climb down, I ended up with my legs wrapped around it hanging upside down (definitely felt like Spiderman). 'Fearless Fall', essentially a long slip and slide so this was just a good laugh as we raced to the bottom. Then the moving obstacles like 'Swept Of Your Feet' and 'The Revolution' (think Total Wipeout), it’s simple avoid the moving arms or you’ll end up in the water (Danny learnt this the hard way). Finally the best part is at the finish line, ‘The Travelator’. You are presented with four lanes, they are all on an incline, the first three go down in speed but the fourth is known as 'The Lane of Shame'. This is because it actual takes you up instead of going against you, so if you're knackered by the end you can still make it to the top.
After running for 15KM, being submerged underwater, getting muddy and climbing over varying obstacles... we were obviously not as confident as we had been in the morning, when we first saw 'The Travelator'. However, that wouldn't stop me giving it a good go. We both fell flat on our faces on the first lane, it was already slippy and that meant I just lost my footing. I wasn't quite sure what to expect because I don’t usually jump on the treadmills in the gym, so falling at the first made me better prepared for the second. We managed to redeem some dignity on this lane, which we both made it up (as you can see in the above picture, Danny was determined).
I’d recommend everyone to sign up, even if it’s just the 5K. You could do it with work or friends and family! It’s only as hard as you make it, as there’s no obligation to do any obstacles you aren’t comfortable with. This was the first time Danny had done anything like this and I think for the most part he enjoyed it (apart from the getting soaked), it’s a good laugh and we definitely earned the takeout we had afterwards.
I’m getting back in the gym now to continue training for Tough Mudder, still mastering my pull up technique (as I don't currently have one). Plus I'm hoping to do some big trekking next year so it's important to keep my fitness levels up!
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Hey, so it's been a while... This last month I've been busy at work and hitting the gym pretty hard, plus planning some exciting things for June. Instead of trying to push myself to write content, I took a break, I've been exhausted for a few weeks and just wanted to focus on myself. However, I've got lots to share! I've been busy planning an action packed birthday month, starting with Birmingham Coffee Festival, I'm doing Rough Runner 15K next weekend, followed by a week in Barcelona (lots of content from that trip I promise, including some video stuff because I've been practicing my editing) and finally a weekend in Manchester with Danny (on my actual birthday). We'll be staying at the Cow Hollow Hotel, I've been so excited for this month to start and it's finally here!
BACK TO BIRMINGHAM
It's been 18 months since my last visit to Birmingham, I had a friend that used to live here so I visited fairly regularly. It had definitely been too long and what better excuse for my return than a Coffee Festival at the Custard Factory. After possibly too many cups of coffee (is there such a thing?) and a couple of vegan cakes, I hit some of my favourite spaces, camera in hand. (Read about my previous Birmingham trips here).
A BULL IN A COFFEE SHOP
I caught the train down from Crewe a little after 7AM (booking this earlier in the month meant it cost me just £14 return), the Coffee Festival didn't open until 10am, but this meant I could wander around an empty Birmingham city centre. I've never seen the place quiet before, when I've been around on the weekends it's usually buzzing with people. It was beautiful to wander around without the stress of bumping into anyone. Once I had finished awkwardly trying to film my very first ever vlog intro, something to look forward to seeing, I headed straight for the Custard Factory. Getting there early gave me time to photograph the Custard Factory and its amazingly quirky creative vibe. It's a collaboration of street art, graffiti, sculptures... seriously though, if you are into that sort of thing you need to check this place out! Not to mention the independent retailers and the people who run them, it was great to talk to individuals who make up this creative hub, whether they're making coffee, cakes or craft beer.
When the doors opened at 10am I quickly joined the queue, this was made up of more casual coffee fanatics (like myself), professional bloggers and writers, and people who ran other independent coffee shops. I love taking trips like this on my own because it allows me to people watch (unapologetically), and slip in and out of other peoples conversations unnoticed (Danny was working so he couldn't come with anyway). It also helped me to get some of the best photos I have in a long time. When I'm on my own I constantly have my camera on, because I don't have to be conscious of neglecting whoever I'm with. I've found recently I'm much happier behind the camera, as my confidence has grown I've learnt to embrace other peoples gazes. It usually leads to people asking me what I'm doing and that's a great way to meet new people and network.
Having worked as a barista over almost 5 years for 3 different coffee shops, I can certainly say I felt right at home. The smell of coffee brewing just takes me to my happy place. It's funny how a shared love for something makes connecting with people so much easier. I chatted to a few people, both those attending and those who were showcasing their products. One woman compared it to Amsterdam Coffee Festival, a few artsy looking types also had their faces hidden behind different sized camera lenses, another guy was doing some market research and I overheard a group of guys discussing the latest Doctor Who whilst casually sipping there cold brew. It was clear their was an exciting mix of people that you wouldn't normally all see together.
Over the last few years my taste has dramatically changed. I've gone from drinking black coffee (especially when dieting), to lattes. From semi-skimmed milk to coconut or soy, I've also quit adding any sugars (apart from the occasional shot of vanilla). The event catered to all tastes, but I found myself at the Alpro stand first. Sampling a golden soy latte (turmeric in case you were wondering) and a coconut cinnamon chocolate, both undeniably delicious. I followed those up with a stop at 200 Degrees, for a flat white with their blend described by the barista as 'strawberry shortcake'. It was strong, dark and definitely fruity. Next, living up to my expectations was the oat-some latte, oat milk is such a great alternative that works for me because I find dairy a little too sickly.
After an hour, I was practically buzzing so I switched it up with some cold brew coffee, and began collecting business cards and printouts for my desk at work. Living the life of a designer does mean I'm particularly sensitive to printouts, but thankfully there wasn't a poorly kerned logo in sight. In fact I was pretty impressed with the packaging for a lot of the products. I was starting to get hungry so I decided to look for a sweet fix, Big Fat Slab was the stall I ended up choosing. They had doorstop sized cakes that were all vegan! I treated myself to a dark chocolate flapjack, a dark brownie and the most delicious carrot cake I've ever eaten. It's safe to say there are none left now as I am writing this. OMBAR also caught my eye, with their offering of chocolate. The organic dark chocolate bars were beautifully packaged, with flavours ranging from lemon & green tea to 90% cocoa. I even got a handy tote bag which came in handy the rest of the day.
My last few stops included a latte art stand, where a very skilled barista was creating colourful patterns (clearly too pretty to drink). I observed the mini masterclass, it's something that I never quite perfected as a barista myself. The more I walked around the venue, I found coffee infused cocktails, offerings of homemade flavoured fudge and even reusable cups. From Cakesmiths to Hundred House Coffee, it's a good job the samples were small. After exceeding my usual daily dosage by about quadruple, I ventured back into the city centre.
24 CUPS OF COFFEE LATER
The IKON gallery is a must see for me (it's free), I'm always interested in seeing what is considered modern art at their latest exhibits. It's a fair walk from The Custard Factory (I covered 9 miles in total over the day), but you do walk through the city centre, so there's plenty of stops you can make along the way. I passed street performers, bikers, dinosaur hedge sculptures and oddly enough a bunch of people kayaking (or canoeing, I'm not sure of the difference), in the river along side the longboats. The IKON had a digital themed exhibition on which was right up my street, it's always hard to describe things like this as every one will have a different opinion, but there are usually a couple of different exhibits on, so maybe one will take your fancy. I liked it, especially the first floor artwork by Langlands & Bell, titled Internet Giants: Masters of the Universe, which included pixelated typography and photography. It was a little abstract but I liked that it challenged your mind to make sense of what appeared illegible at first, my favourite piece read 'Your thoughts construct patterns like scaffolding in your mind'.
I stopped by the Bullring shopping centre for lunch and a little retail therapy. I prefer shopping alone because I'm definitely a browser, I love to take my time and try things on, which can be a time consuming process. With just a couple of hours until the train back I grabbed a quick milkshake from Eds (seriously yum), then hit some shops. There's no end to the options, whether you're looking for clothing, tech, a good book or a sweet treat, they've got you covered. I couldn't resist a stop in Victoria Secret, especially as there was a SALE on. I also have a mix of vinyl at home that I've picked up from Camden market (Queen - Don't Stop Me Now), Manchester record stores (The Stranglers) and occasionally HMV, who I bought Chvrches new album from just last week. The HMV here had such a large stock, I'm surprised I managed to just leave with Lorde - Pure Heroine. The Game of Thrones and Baby Driver soundtracks were very tempting indeed.
Reluctantly, I headed back to New Street Station with less than an hour to kill until my train back up north departed. A hot chocolate in Pret tied me over, while I updated Instagram stories and looked through my camera roll. The footage I'm happy with but it isn't until I start editing, that I know what works and what doesn't. There's usually a few standout clips but that's why it's important to film as much as possible. That way you can cut out the bits that don't cut it. It definitely was worth the trip and knowing now that it's pretty much like getting on the train to Manchester (an hour is easy to do), I will be planning more day trips into Birmingham. Maybe a weekend to Leeds and Sheffield too, because I just haven't seen enough cities in the UK. It's such a creative hub, with some great food spots and bars that I'm sure Danny would be happy to come check out with me (as long as I supply him with regular coffee).
I'm going to keep an eye out for future events at the Custard Factory. They do film screenings and artsy events, or even the christmas markets would be a treat to experience. Plus I've been meaning to check out the record festivals at The Custard Factory for ages and now I think the next one I will definitely be popping down for, but until then Birmingham...
Video Update Coming Soon.
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With the summer holidays approaching, and my trip to Barcelona booked! I've been guilty of a little SALE shopping recently. It's perfect because moving home has allowed me that extra money to treat myself again (I've really missed it!). I've rejoined my old gym so I can get some fitness classes in along with my running, just done a bulk order on Graze for some delicious protein snacks and I figured that with Winter behind us, it's only fair I update my summer wardrobe ready to show off all my hard work.
This month I've been obsessed with a few Instagram accounts, especially @mikafrancis, who is constantly styling Motel Rocks and it's made me fall in love with the brand. I've realised that I am a lot less conservative with my fashion choices now, which is most definitely a good thing. I buy a lot more clothes that have bold prints or patterns, and since I started hitting the gym many moons ago, I am more comfortable making daring fashion choices.
Motel Rocks just have so much style, it's a very bold brand, that I think are all about standing out from the crowd. The colours and prints are a graphic designers dream! It's literally made for me, there are a few items I'm lusting after (sadly some are out of stock in my size!), but they'll have to wait until next payday. I figured I would do a little haul of my collection so far, as I can see us being the best of friends in the future.
Unfortunately, with no festivals on the horizon, I have not quite managed to talk myself into one of the sequin numbers but I do have a holiday to shop for! It was far too tempting to resist, especially with the mid season sale, it's filled with summer staples we all need in our wardrobes.
First up swimwear, I am very fussy with this and being particularly self conscious I opt for swimsuits over bikinis. In the past I have gone for colour but don't usually try patterned pieces, that changed today with this stunning Amazona Off The Shoulder Swimsuit in Gypsy Heart by Motel. The design is truly beautiful with an aztec pattern and cutout, I thought it looked incredible (it was on a model in the photos remember). It was also just £10! I couldn't help myself. At £45 full price I might have been a little dubious because I don't get to use my swimwear all that often. I was surprised when it arrived how great the quality was, it also helped that the fit was perfect for my shape and I instantly felt comfortable.
I went with a size S (I'm usually a size 8 in Topshop if that helps) although this is classed as a size 10 on the website. Like most women I differ in size especially top and bottom, usually depending on fit I have to go for a 10 in some jeans (bigger bum problems) so I wanted to be safe. I'd say opt for a size up for most products. If you're an 8 or 10 then the Small should be a perfect fit. I can't wait to get in the pool now (hurry up June), I think it may be a little too much for a swim in my gym.
Next up was a very daring purchase indeed, this Leandra Slip Dress in Floral Eyelash Lace Black by Motel. The detailing totally blew me away online. I'm not often a midi person but this was so delicate and feminine that I figured it was worth the risk. At just £15 it was another steal! A little warning though, this dress is VERY see through, it would be perfect over a swimsuit for a beach day or with a bodysuit underneath. Maybe it would even work with fitted shorts and a crop top but I definitely wouldn't wear it alone for a night on the town.
Again the size S fit perfectly, it's simple and easy to move in which makes it perfect for taking on holiday. I've paired mine with black heeled boots but I think sandals would also look incredible. It works for me tucked into a skirt or jeans as well and I have worn it out already for dinner with a waist belt on top, there's just so much you can do to it!
My next item was another dress, Roppan Slip Dress In Burgundy by Motel. I was drawn to the colour of this its burgundy but with a hint of pink (this was just £15). The satin slip reminds me a little of nightwear so I think it's perfectly cheeky for cocktails while in Barcelona. I've paired it again with my River Island black boots, (these do go with absolutely everything) to add a little more sophistication. It's light and summery, so doesn't stick to my body, I think that I'll be strutting around in this one paired with my cat woman shades whilst on holiday. Definitely taking advantage of the Barcelona backdrop for some style shots in this.
My last outfit was a two part one, I paired together the Elena Crop Top in Rib Knit Orange by Motel along with the Volta Mini Skirt in Black Wash by Motel. Now, I did go for a medium in the skirt (again just £15) as I find that some materials aren't very generous around the bum and better safe than sorry. The crop top I was struggling between the red and orange (both were in the SALE for £12), but in the end I went a little more out my comfort zone.
The jumper is so vibrant and matches my new backpack perfectly (a happy coincidence), teamed with my new grey leopard print Nike trainers (another SALE purchase), it's the perfect outfit for city exploring! This look is comfy and casual but definitely makes a statement. I can even make this work with tights and boots in the Autumn months, so there's no chance of this one going away anytime soon.
I wanted to mention the next item to buy on my list, Sanna Slip Dress in Solar System by Motel. I would have bought this already had it not been for the unfortunate OUT OF STOCK message I was shown when selecting my size. Not to worry I will be keeping my eye out, and there are plenty of other items in this pattern that i could choose instead, if I have no luck with this dress.
That's it so far my summer holiday shopping list. I'm very happy with this and I know there will be plenty more orders to come, but so far so good! Motel Rocks may be my new go to for festival and holiday wear, especially when there is a SALE on. Until next payday, It'll be quiet on the fashion front.
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This weekend, I put down my laptop for a change and went out for an evening in Liverpool with my sister. If I go out now it's less about clubs & shots and more about cocktails & good food. I find myself craving new things and experiences so I try not to eat at the same places, which often means looking at Instagram food posts, to see where people are going.
For this outing we booked a table at The Alchemist, I've been dying to go here for ages and it did not disappoint. Our booking was for 5:30pm (only thing was I forgot the Grand National was on as well so it was lucky we booked a table ahead of time), we arrived into Liverpool with the sun shining, which I couldn't quite believe and in 15 minutes we found ourselves at the venue.
The interior was beautiful but I was instantly distracted by the gorgeous menu design, sorry my Graphic Design nerdy-ness is rearing its head again. I mean seriously though the menus where all printed with these delicate, detailed illustrations. A mixture of skulls and butterflies, science and nature I must have been admiring these for at least ten minutes. The gold and cream tones just gave it this ornate look and feel, I wanted to borrow one but was sure they'd notice, maybe if I'm brave enough next time.
The drinks menu is particularly impressive, especially when it's displayed as a periodic table of elements. However, this table has some serious science going on behind the scenes to create these incredible drinks.
We started with cocktails because I had heard this was a must at The Alchemist, it was the main reason I booked to go in the first place. However, I wish I had done a little more research there were SO MANY choices it made it difficult. My first drink was a Lightbulb Moment - this contained Gin, mint, Ginger Beer and was the perfect accompaniment for food, it was light and refreshing with a spicy kick. The drink came frothing in a beaker mounted on it's own little tripod, I was waiting for someone to pull out a bunsen burner. Once the drink stops bubbling away it's safe to pour into the glass and enjoy, which I certainly did!
Next up was the Bubblegum Daiquiri, this was like any frozen daiquiri but I had never seen a bubblegum one before so thought I'd give it a go. It was pink and sweet (as to be expected), there was an addition of popping candy that made it stand out. You don't need desserts here, the drinks themselves are more than sweet enough, especially with options like Key Lime Pie, Solero & Screwball (all on my list for the next visit).
Finally we had the Red Dead Zombie, this was blood red, bubbling like some kind of witches brew. With dragonfruit thrown in, it looked both delicious and deadly. Again, you had to wait for the drink to settle and when it did, I realised that it was also glittery. This one had more of a kick with two types of rum & orange liqueur, it was certainly strong!
Onto the food, my sister never goes too exotic with her food choices, she knows what she likes. We shared some of the popcorn chicken nibbles that was served with a cajun mayo (absolutely delicious, just a shame there weren't more of them), we ate them so fast I didn't take a picture. Then for our mains, she went with the beef burger and a side of fries, it looked amazing when it arrived and she definitely gave it a thumbs up, the fries were hot & crisp whilst the burger was very juicy and perfectly cooked. I went for the Popquorn Fajitas, as I've been eating more vegetarian foods lately (I couldn't tell you the difference they tasted like chicken to me). This was served quite theatrically, on a hot plate, the waitress poured the sauce over the mixture of vegetables and Popquorn, then I was left to assemble my meal. It came on a large tray with a selection of mini plates including guacamole, salsa, sour cream, cheese & lettuce plus wraps on the side. I've never been quite so full, the selection was delicious and it meant I could build the wraps exactly to suit my taste and eat some of the vegetables straight from the hot plate.
There food menu was very varied too, there were plenty of vegetarian options and I am already craving the Katsu Chicken, Ramen Dishes & wish I had ordered the Macaroni Cheese Bites! I saw plenty of plates pass our table, each looking more delicious than the next. I may see if Danny fancies a visit next month...
My experience was amazing and I will definitely be back! Even if it's just to try and make my way through the amazing table of drinks. The place is perfect whether you want a sit down meal or if you just want a bar to go and have a couple of drinks.
We headed to the Underground Gin Society afterwards for a few drinks, which is right around the corner so definitely nip in there if you can. The bar is relaxed, and we found it to be pretty quiet which was a welcome escape from the madness building in Liverpool (which is to be expected on the weekend). The music was great and they even had some typography on the walls that I couldn't resist snapping on my way out.
I definitely think I need to start exploring Liverpool & Manchester again more, I used to visit nearly every week while at uni but you find working life makes it a little harder. I do have plans to try All Star Lanes in Manchester next with Danny! That should be happening in the next couple of weeks, who doesn't love booze & bowling (what a perfect combination), so keep an eye out for that review coming up!
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With the whole Australia hold up thanks to Chewies mishap (he's doing fine now), I was feeling a little blue. For me travelling plans are something I always have in place whether its 8 days, weeks or months in advance, I love having an adventure to plan for. I'm already making them for the next 12 months, Australia & Trek America 2019 are officially happening!! However, after the delay for my Australia adventure (October will be here before I know it), I couldn't help thinking my summer calendar was a little sad. This simply wouldn't do, especially with my Birthday being bang in the middle of the year, I figured I needed a new plan.
My sister who I travelled to Amsterdam with felt the same and so we agreed we both needed some sun. This led to a back and forth of where we both wanted to go, she wants beaches, I want cities, she wants sunshine & shopping, I want culture & sightseeing...
Eventually we came to a conclusion - BARCELONA!!!
We've just booked our next destination, and we're staying in a gorgeous 4 star hotel for the week (which I am majorly excited to shoot in). I couldn't be more excited, or more gym motivated! I'll be taking all my new kit including the camera and tripod. With a rooftop pool to check out, I'm bound to be shooting some sunsets poolside not to mention a timelapse of the city. There's some beautiful hidden spots a few of the bloggers I follow have kindly shared which will be the perfect escape from the crowds.
The city is a haven for architecture, history and culture, I can't wait to get on that plane in just 9 weeks time! It also gives me an excuse to do some holiday shopping, get some serious gym workouts in (Barcelona body in the making) and I've been looking on GetYourGuide.com at the activities we can start booking. The summer is looking seriously exciting, I will be turning 25 after we get back but I'm planning a little weekend escape closer to home for that. I don't think you can ever have too many plans, at least that's the way I like to live my life. Planning one adventure at a time...
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This is a hard post to write, particularly because it's emotional for me. My little trouble maker Chewie got himself into quite a bit of trouble indeed, last Thursday morning when I woke up, before going to work he seemed a little off. He wouldn't eat a treat or any scrambled eggs, he didn't go outside when I opened the back door... but my mum insisted he was probably tired and so off to work I went.
He wasn't tired, in fact he was in a lot of trouble. Over the coming hours, emailing back and forth with my parents, they decided to be safe and take Chewie the vet. His blood tests came back normal, so they decided to X-ray his stomach, this came back showing his stomach was full of something soft & spongey. The next step was an endoscopy, they didn't want to make him throw it up as they weren't sure of the substance so this was the last step to avoid theatre... Chewie inevitably ended up in theatre and the following few hours are some of the worst of my life so far.
My parents rattled their brains to try and figure out what had happened, what could he have eaten. After speaking to the vet it turns out that on Wednesday morning the dogs had been fighting over a shower scrunch (not sure where they got it from), my dad got up and took it off them after maybe a minute or two when he came out the downstairs bathroom. It was ripped up but he assumed since they were fighting over it they'd just pulled it apart. We had no idea Chewie had eaten some of it.
Accidents happen, and Chewie while I write this is over a week post op and he's eating, drinking and even tottering / bouncing around the house again. Stretching his little legs. My fur baby has six stitches on his stomach and the mixture of anger, sadness and happiness I feel has been exhausting. The last few days I barely ate, slept or even looked after myself, I couldn't leave his side because I didn't want to not be there if anything happened. I realise it sounds like he's my kid but it's not dissimilar to parenting.
It's mad to think just a couple of months ago he was coming into my life. The bond I have with him now means the world to me, and if anything happens to him (I know eventually, when he is grey and old we will part ways), especially because he is still just a baby, it would be devastating.
The whole thing has cost a small fortune (until I hear back from the insurance), which has made me a little skint this month. My plans have gone out of the window making me feel a little lost. I'm sure in another week I will have sorted everything out. With the flat move, waiting on my flat deposit money, travel plans, freelance work and then this it's been one hell of a start to the month. I'm looking forward to getting back on track next week.
I've finally moved everything back home, which means I can officially spend all my time with him outside of work, when I'm not at Danny's or in the gym. Australia looks to be on hold for now (working on new dates as we speak) so that's a bummer, but it's more important he gets better. He's sleeping 50% of the time, but I'm not surprised by that. Hopefully this time next week he will bouncing around a little more but until then, he's a very spoilt pupper.
Go follow @chewie_the_woofie on instagram for updates on how he's recovering.
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This month I have done a little more shopping than usual (thankyou freelance work). A little extra cash that I have spent on some new clothes, beauty products, vinyls and more. I've been very fortunate to be able to invest in my new camera & tripod. However, the stuff on this list is a little more frivolous, they're just things I genuinely wanted and treated myself to over the last couple of weeks!
Here I share with you 6 things I've bought this month I am obsessed with!
Hollister Beanie - I did a huge number of the Hollister SALE! I bought a bundle of stuff and saved nearly £200! This included some shirts, a dress, cardigan but the item I have used the most you'd find in the accessories section. My beanie collection currently stands at 6, I have a pink pom pom one, a colorado mountain hiking one, a 'Donut Worry' one by Katie Abey & more. I have a thing for collections, my hoodies and sunglasses selections have been building recently too! In the UK you can always use something to keep you warm (even in Summer). The bright pink beanie from Hollister is such a statement piece, it's very simple with a black label on the front and the Hollister logo on display, it's going to be seeing a lot of the UK this year, especially when I get chance to climb another mountain.
Topshop Depop Jumper - I only very recently started using Depop because I am a little cautious with buying from other people. Usually I save my money by shopping in SALES but the bonus with Depop is you can sell your stuff too, and search for specific sizes or keywords. It's good if you have a specific item in mind, I've bought vinyl and pop vinyls off here so it's not just fashion! My favourite find was a Topshop jumper I have never seen in the store, it's an aqua blue with dots of pink, orange and blue sewn in to the fabric. Hard to describe so a picture does it better, but in person it's the most gorgeous jumper I own and it'll be perfect for those cool summer days.
Warpaint Vinyl - I hadn't bought any Vinyl albums in ages, so I figured I was due a couple of new additions. This month I got a bright red coloured vinyl of Arcade Fires, Everything Now. Along with this I found the Warpaint Album, this is a double LP and the vinyl even has Warpaint etched into the vinyl. The album is stunning and I couldn't resist having the vinyl version it's just so much better than a digital copy, I love playing it in the background when I am working.
Manfrotto Tripod - Obviously I had to mention this! My camera is amazing but the real highlight is my tripod because this is going to seriously make a difference to my shots. Usually I would just go for the cheapest option but after the Media City Course with Alice I learnt how much of the editing should be done in the camera. You want to be getting the best shots you can not just saying I will edit / fix that afterwards. I don't mind a shaky look to my travel vlogs, but not on every shot as it makes it amateur. The tripod adds a professional finish and for shooting locations, landscapes or fashion. It'll be great to set it up and let the motion happen on screen not behind it.
Groot Pop Vinyls - Now my Pop Vinyl collection isn't massive, I only have 10 (and 2 were given as gifts). I don't buy many because if I started I might never stop! I've limited it to Star Wars, Stranger Things & Guardians of the Galaxy. I have Eleven & Hopper, Chewbacca & a limited edition Porg, but my favourite are the Groots. My Groot collection stands at 5 (and a starlord thrown in for good measure), I don't know what it is about these but I just love them and they stand proudly in my home workspace. There are a couple more I have yet to find but that's part of the fun!
Sanctuary Spa Beauty Sleep Face Mask - This month I also had to overhaul my makeup bag, everything was running out! I switched up my foundation, mascara and a few other bits, trying different products from Revlon (my go to cosmetic brand). However, I never use much skincare stuff, I always buy it and then after a week it sits in the bathroom. Whilst in boots I wanted something for my face, I luckily have pretty good skin but it pays to take care of it. I came across the Sanctuary Spa Beauty Sleep Face Mask, which you just put onto a clean face at night, go to bed and in the morning your skin feels refreshed.
For someone like me who can be a little lazy with the beauty stuff (mainly due to the work schedule and moving around over the weeknights), it's perfect. I can pop it in my bag so no matter where I am going I can use it and it's really made me feel like going natural to work, because I've noticed how much cleaner my skin feels.
We all need a little splurge now and then, whether you want to buy trainers, makeup or chocolate, don't deny yourselves a few little things because they can really make all the difference to your month.
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Aby, 24. Northerner.