Showing posts with label out. Show all posts
Showing posts with label out. Show all posts

#GBBO Comes to Life #HBBakeOff

It's not every day where an email pops into your inbox offering to cover travel expenses to London. For a day trip. It's also not every day where you get the opportunity to bake alongside Ugne from the Great British Bake Off.

Holland & Barrett put on an incredible day for all my fellow Free From bakers where we would get the chance to bake an incredible Pecan, Apple and Pear cake that was completely vegan, gluten and lactose free! It was the Deliciously Ella recipe but we used cranberries instead of raisins to make it slightly more christmassy! 

The whole day was incredible, Ugne is such an incredibly lovely person and was so down to earth and an absolute pleasure to meet (and have a little gossip with!). She also really liked my cake, which was definitely a bonus! The whole day was hosted at Cactus Kitchens which is where Saturday Morning Kitchen is filmed and honestly, it was the kitchen of dreams (far better than my student kitchen). It was also very pinterest which was an absolute bonus.

Thank you so much to Holland and Barrett for inviting me - and if you're Free From anything, you can get all your go to ingredients here.

Rugby World Cup with Christy Towels

One of the only blessings of having my blog emails come straight to my phone is that I'm constantly able to reply to emails if necessary and I think I replied to an email about the rugby world cup in about ten split seconds.

Granted, it wasn't a final but it was the last game that England were to play and despite them being knocked out of the competition, it was something that I couldn't miss. So when Christy Towels sent me an email asking if I would like to attend the game at the Ethiad Stadium, I didn't think twice about replying with a resounding yes.

My brother leapt at the chance to watch the game alongside me and it was incredible. My dad has always been a die hard rugby fan so my brother and I were used to the game and knew the rules (sorta) but being in the stadium is far more exciting that simply having some screen time. 

It might sound rather cliche to say the roar of the crowd really adds something, but it honestly does. Being surrounded by thousands of mainly middle aged men, tipsy on overpriced beer, singing Swing Lo' Sweet Chariot, is honestly an experience not to be missed.

Although I have to say that one of the highlights (aside from England smashing it) had to be when one of the selfies that I took and tweeted ended up on the big screens. There is my fifteen minutes of fame gone and lost. 

Thanks so much for Christy Towels for the tickets. 

Manchester Cafe Guide #FlauntYourHaunt

[Left to right; top row] 1. Home Sweet Home 2. Art of Tea 3. Federal Cafe

When I was asked by Travelodge to come up with my guide to Manchester, I spent a long time thinking about what kind of things to include and I decided instead to list places to go that I deem worthwhile; in other words, my favourite cafes and restaurants. 

If you're looking for food...

Everyone who has lived in Manchester knows about Home Sweet Home. Famed for it's american style grub and uh-mazing milkshakes, it's a calorific haunt that is worth every penny. Not only is the food to die for but the cakes are on a whole other level so whether it's sweet or savoury, it's perfect for both. They do brilliant burgers and yet again I'll mention how wonderful their milkshakes are. 

Then we have a cafe in South Manchester; The Art of Tea is a lovely cosy establishment which is perfect for sitting with your laptop and does great food. Didsbury is full of brilliant cafes and the Art of Tea is almost always heaving. Great for light lunches and of course tea and cake.

And finally, my favourite place for brunch if I'm looking for a lighter option: Federal Cafe. An Australian cafe, it does amazing avocado based breakfasts with salmon and massive portions without breaking the bank. One word, yum.

For tea and cake...

For my mum's birthday, I took her to Opus One which is part of the Radission Blu Edwardian and does the most incredible afternoon tea. Pricey but for a special occasion, worth the money. It includes a wonderful variety of cakes, sandwiches and of course scones and cream.

If you're a chocoholic like myself, the Bonbon Chocolate Boutique is the ultimate destination. It's a tiny cafe in the Northern Quarter in Manchester but it does amazing hot chocolates (essentially just melted chocolate) and brownies and well, everything. Full to the brim with chocolate and if you're looking for a special present, you can buy chocolate truffles to go as well.

Sugar Junction is another lovely vintage themed cafe in the Northern Quarter. Reminiscent of a National Trust cafe, it's a lovely spot for tea and cake. Somewhere that your mum will love as much as you do.

Spa at the Midland Experience

First of all, I'd just like to apologise for the lack of pictures but unfortunately my camera lens steamed up and therefore wouldn't focus.

But onwards!

I was recently luck enough to be given the opportunity to take a guest to the brand new Spa at the Midland (which is essentially one of the poshest hotels in Manchester) and experience a treatment, lunch and the facilities.

Now, I wasn't sure what to expect as a spa day in the city didn't really seem to work out in my mind but I can assure you, that's what it is. The Spa is located on the lower ground floor of the hotel and it's mostly self contained which means you're unlikely to bump into a hotel guest whilst wearing your fluffy towel and slippers. 

So my mum and I set off, and were instantly transported into a world of relaxation from the muted walls and the soft music in the background, I was ready to relax. Both of us were given the opportunity to choose the music for the treatment room and then we were whisked off to the changing room, ready to experience the facilities.

The Spa itself is surprisingly big and contains an indoor pool, a jacuzzi/ hot tub, an experience shower where you can select what type of weather the spray mirrors, a salt infused steam room and finally a rock salt sauna. They're all incredible and it's a bonus that there's no phone signal so we were able to completely shut off from the world.

We both opted for a back massage which involved a standard massage, a mud mask, exfoliation and leg massage - brilliant! It was an hour long but it went so fast! But the best part - we were then taken through into a relaxation room full of hanging pods (see picture above) where we helped ourselves to tea and a macaron! 

An extra bonus was the lunch where we chose the Superfood menu which was surprisingly filling and so delicious! The only downside was that we were served cous cous despite the menu saying it was quinoa - but no biggie!

Overall, the whole day was incredible and I was ridiculously close to falling asleep I was so relaxed. It's a wonderful place to go for the day and just escape from the busyness of the city! The whole experience was wonderful and I felt like jelly afterwards which is always a good sign!

Would you be interested in trying a spa day in the city?

Snowy Spa Day with Holland and Barrett

A couple of weeks ago I was fortunate enough to be invited to a bloggers spa day at the Hale Country Club and Spa with Holland and Barrett for part of the publicity for their Weird & Wonderful range!

We were picked up from the city centre in the morning and driven to a snowy spa where we were greeted with a delicious berry smoothie. We were then taken to treatment rooms where we all had an incredible deep exfoliating back massage and a facial. I have never felt as relaxed as I did in that moment - I was so close to falling asleep but the potential embarrassment of that situation gave me the gusto to stay awake (but barely). My skin felt ridiculously soft when we came out and all I wanted to do was stay still and refuse to move ever again.

Body feeling like jelly, we moved onto the incredible thermal rooms and outside infinity pool where we sat for about an hour gossiping. It was glorious. There is something incredibly surreal looking out onto the surrounding snow covered fields. 

It was an unbelievably zen day and the delicious lunch of halloumi and tuna tempura sushi set hunger at bay as we indulged.

The day was unbelievable and a massive thank you to Holland and Barrett and everyone who organised the day!

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The Christmas (Canal Boat) Cruise with Greggs

Since the UK Blog Awards nomination and shortlist, I've been getting quite a few emails inviting me to events and such but none surprised me as much as a Greggs one! Greggs as in that rather well known baker that does the most incredible sausage rolls (and pastries in general) in the world and being a Mancunian, I've had my fair share of Greggs.... But this post is a bit late in coming, mainly due to a combination of scheduled posts and technical issues involving me losing my photos and then sighing with relief that my friend had copies.

What was incredibly lovely about the event was that I was invited to bring a plus one which meant that one of my good friends (of whom often helps with various bits for my blog) was able to come along and I think that has made me a little bit more appealing to be friends with!

The boat set off at around lunchtime and we were greeted with drinks and got to meet the lovely PR people involved and then of course, we got to eat!

What was lovely is that it was exactly how it would come in the shop. We got those little paper bags with our Stilton and steak pastry and the sandwiches were straight out of the packet. It made it so much more authentic and we knew that we were trying the same products you get in the shop!

One of the highlights was the festive bake which was basically christmas dinner wrapped in pastry which are two of my ultimate favourites. But of course the desert was incredible - the donuts looked like christmas puddings and the gingerbread christmas trees were divine! 

It was a lovely event and such a unique one! The team on the boat were also lovely and we all came away with a cute personalised stocking, mince pies and elf hat. It was a great day!

Have you ever been to Greggs? If you have, what's your typical snack choice?

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Getting Crafty with Laura Ashley


On Sunday, I was fortunate enough to be invited to a Laura Ashley craft day at RosyLee in the Northern Quarter and it was interesting to say the least. I'm not a craft whiz and even my baking comes at a push (you wouldn't believe how long it takes to get my baking right) but crafting is definitely not my forte.

Walking into the room, I was greeted with my worst fear, the rows of sewing machines (which I can't use) and slowly had to face the fact that I was going to have to try and not sew my finger- but we'll get back to the sewing...

It was honestly so much fun - they divided the group in two and half of us went off to make origami gift boxes and little bows, the other off to make present sacks.

I was in the origami group. We were all handed square cutouts of Laura Ashley wallpaper and were then talked through how to make the box - we're being sent more detailed instructions and as soon as I've sent them, I'll include them in this post. There's a picture of my box above - these were quite therapeutic to make and if I can successfully make one, so can you! 

Then we went onto the sewing... This was eventful. I only managed to sew both sides of my present sack together twice which is definitely a bit of an accomplishment really. I'm quite proud of the final result of my present sack!

The whole day was brilliant, and I thoroughly enjoyed it and I'm glad I wasn't the only person there who can't even sew a button! Thank you so much to everyone who organised it!

If you want to have a look over at some proper pictures of the event, head over to the Laura Ashley blog.

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