Win Tickets to Manchester’s Ideal Home Show and Eat & Drink Festival

UPDATE: THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED

It’s competition time!

Last year I went to Manchester’s Ideal Home show with Topher and we both loved it! So I was really excited when the organisers contacted me and asked if I wanted to attend and run a giveaway for this years event. Of course!

Tickets cost £12.50 in advance (£16 on the door) and children under 16 go free.

But this is a competition for 2 free tickets.

So what is the Ideal Home Show?

It’s all the inspiration you could ever want for your home and garden under one roof.

“Fresh ideas, trends and products for your home: from decor, fixtures and fittings, scrumptious food and this year’s latest garden tips.”

Walk through vendors and displays and let your imagination run wild.

Even Topher had a good time!

What is the Eat & Drink festival?

A brand new addition to the Ideal Home Show this year, the Eat & Drink festival is:

“A pioneering live experience celebrating the most innovative and delicious food & drink Manchester has to offer from its huge range of local artisan vendors. It’s set to be a feast for all the senses…Pop in to see the newest trends in modern cuisine, mixology, extraordinary tipples and street food.”

I think this is the bit I’m looking forward to the most!

When is it?

8th – 11th June

Where is it?

EventCity, Manchester

What’s the prize?

2 free tickets to Ideal Home Show, Manchester 2017 (these tickets also get you into the Eat & Drink festival) that can be used for one day only between 8th – 11th June.

How do I enter?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Terms and Conditions

  • Tickets are valid for one day only between 8th – 11th June
  • Tickets are for the Manchester event only
  • Winner will be contacted by myself and tickets will be posted out by the organiser
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Super Lunch at Jamie’s Italian, Manchester

Yesterday, Topher and I were invited to review the Super Lunch menu at Jamie’s Italian in Manchester. Having never been before I jumped at the chance. Italian food isn’t always a type of food that we tend to go for when we’re out of the house as we tend to cook a decent amount of it at home but it’s nice to try something authentic!

Jamie’s Italian is based at the top of Kings Street in an old art deco building that used to be a bank back in the day. I love that they’ve kept all the original features. There’s seating on both the ground floor and a mezzanine which I definitely want to come back to sit on as the view looks great.

Jamie's Italian Manchester

Jamie's Italian Inside

Jamie's Italian ceiling

The Super Lunch menu is available between 12pm and 6pm, Monday through Friday and gives you the choice between 2 courses for £12.95 or 3 courses for £14.95. We both went for the three courses and it was great value for money.  Topher said it was filling but light and I just found it filling!

Jamie's Italian menu

Jamie's Italian Diane

Jamie's Italian Topher

We started with a couple of Florence Fizz cocktails which contain Limoncello, pomegranate juice, elderflower cordial topped with Jamie’s Prosecco. Delicious! We’re both a fan of elderflower so we ended up ordering the same thing. I definitely wouldn’t mind another one of these!

Jamie's Italian Florence Fizz

I started with the Fritto Misto which was fried fish & squid tossed in fennel-spiced flour with a garlic & lemon dip. Being a big seafood lover, this was perfect for me. It was light and delicious. I especially loved the dip.

Jamie's Italian fritto misto

Topher cautiously picked the truffle tagliatelle for his starter. He felt that a pasta starter might fill him up too much for the main but he said it was surprisingly light so it was perfect. I snuck a little taste too and it was delicious!

Jamie's Italian truffle tagliatelle

For my main, I chose the oxtail tagliatelle. It was amazing. My only problem is that it filled me up a little bit too much (but this is why I normally just go for 2 courses at restaurants). Luckily Topher was on hand to help me finish! I would definitely have this again though as I cannot fault it on the flavours. I also like that they used oxtail instead of just beef – it made a nice change.

Jamie's Italian oxtail tagliatelle

Topher had Gennaro’s Chicken Club with skinny fries as a side. He said it was also surprisingly light and it was refreshing to have a burger that didn’t immediately fall apart when you bit into it. That seems to be a regular problem he has at other establishments. One bite and half the filling is on the plate! So he really enjoyed this chicken club. He especially liked the spicy ‘nduja mayo inside and also commented on how great the fries were. Usually fries can be quite greasy but these were perfect.

Jamie's Italian Gennaro's chicken club

So time for the finale. As soon as I saw the word brownie on the menu, I was sold. Though I was still full from my main, I forced myself to have at least half of this. Topher once again, kindly finished it off for me (the reason I’m marrying him, right there!). The caramelised popcorn was the perfect accompaniment to the brownie and salted caramel ice cream. I was left in a food coma after this but I regret nothing. I definitely need to return and have another one of these!

Jamie's Italian Epic Brownie

And just like me, Topher saw one word on the dessert menu that stood out to him and he was sold. Coffee! He had the affogato, which is an Italian dessert that consists of vanilla ice cream with hot espresso poured over it. He apologises, but he has to use the word “light” again to describe this. It was a nice end to his meal.

Jamie's Italian affogato

So bellies full, we left and immediately started planning when we’ll return! Jamie’s Italian also offers an evening menu deal so that’s definitely next on the list for us to try.

Have you ever been to Jamie’s Italian?

*Our meal was complimentary but as always, all opinions are my own. 

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4 Manchester Restaurants I Want to Visit

Is it just me or as the Manchester Food Scene exploded?

There’s new restaurants and cafes everywhere! It just makes me realise how behind I am with how many new (and not new) places I’ve tried. So in order to get my thoughts together, here’s my list of 5 Manchester restaurants I haven’t visited yet that I really want to.

Bakchich

Manchester Restaurants -Bakchich
I don’t know whether it’s my excitement that I get to go to Jordan this year when I didn’t think I would be or I just haven’t found an outlet to get my Arab food fix yet but this Lebanese place is top of my list. After discovering them on Instagram, I can’t stop drooling at all the photos. Give me all the shawarma!

Plus they have labneh! It’s hard to describe labneh to people but it’s a dip that I love more than hummus and that is a huge statement. It’s a running joke in my family that I’m a labneh monster every trip to Jordan just because I can’t seem to find a decent version in the UK. Will this be the end of my hunt? Fingers crossed.

Bundobust

Manchester Restaurants - - Bundobust
I love Indian street food. So I have no idea why I haven’t visited but this needs to be rectified soon. I keep seeing other bloggers visit and their photos look amazing. Looking at the menu online I don’t see anything I wouldn’t want to try and how great is is that everything is vegetarian?!

They’re based in Piccadilly which is super accessible so I really don’t have an excuse now! Get me to Bundobust.

Rudys

Manchester Restaurants -Rudy's
After hearing nothing but good things about Rudy’s, my interest has definitely been caught. I don’t tend to gravitate towards pizza when I’m out but this place looks pretty special. The menu is simple but something tells me that’s a really good thing. Eventually I’m going to be paying a visit one way or another.

El Capo

Manchester Restaurants -El Capo
Mexican food is just amazing generally. I may be slightly biased right now since it’s just before lunchtime and I’m craving a burrito but I don’t care. El Capo’s tacos look awesome and I officially want just about everything on the menu (apart from the pork of course). Plus they have mac and cheese as a side so they’ve stolen my heart. So damn hungry right now!

And with that – please excuse me while I go eat my lunch and plan which of these places I’m going to visit first!

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#Datenight at The Printworks, Manchester

With Valentines Day coming up, there’s the usual wondering of what to do, where to go and who you’re going to spend it with. Luckily for me, I was offered a package called #datenight at The Printworks which involved dinner, drinks and a film at Manchester’s The Printworks.

#datenight at the Printworks - Printworks

Ever since I came to Manchester over 10 years ago, The Printworks has been an easy option of dinner and a film with friends, other halves and family when they’ve come to stay with me. It’s been awhile since I ventured into The Printworks what with there being so much choice for food now in Manchester and also getting Cineworld passes.

I think my main reason for forgetting about it though was thinking that I’d already tried every restaurant inside. How very wrong I was! Over the years there have been many restaurants that have come and gone and there always seems to be an option that you won’t find everywhere. Which is why Topher and I chose Busaba.

Busaba

#datenight at the Printworks - Busaba exterior

With only having branches in Manchester, London and Liverpool, it’s safe to say that a lot of people will not have tried this Thai restaurant before. Topher and I love our food as you know but we’ve only ever been to one Thai restaurant. That had to change!

#datenight at the Printworks - Busaba interior 1

#datenight at the Printworks

First of all, I love the layout of Busaba in The Printworks. Set over a few floors, there are lots of levels and nooks to sit in which makes it feel very private. Definitely different from a lot of restaurants where you’re practically sharing a table with strangers. I would absolutely recommend the atmosphere for a Valentines meal. It’s a large restaurant and there were a mix of people inside including small children and yet it felt cozy.

#datenight at the Printworks - Busaba menu

#datenight at the Printworks - Busaba table

So lets get onto the important bit – the food! I can tell I’m going to like a place when I’m struggling between what to decide. If everything looks amazing, I’ll be back as I have to try everything!

#datenight at the Printworks - Topher at Busaba

#datenight at the Printworks - Diane at Busaba

We started with drinks, a whiskey plum sour for me and an asian mojito for Topher. Both delicious but we agreed mine was the best! We also had some spicy wok tossed cashews to nibble on.

#datenight at the Printworks - Whiskey Sour

#datenight at the Printworks - Asian Mojito

For the main meals, Topher had one of the specials; Wild Black pepper venison. He said it was delicious and so nice to see venison that wasn’t in a pie!

#datenight at the Printworks - Wild Black pepper venison

My main was the Mussaman Duck which was duck on the bone with potato, peanut, star anise, cinnamon and onion, served with jasmine rice on the side. All my favourite things! Without a doubt it was one of the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten.

#datenight at the Printworks - Mussaman Duck

We decided not to have dessert this time as we were pretty full but I’ll be back to try the sticky black rice pudding as that sounded amazing.

Overall we loved our visit. The atmosphere was perfect, the staff were lovely and the service was great. The prices were really reasonable and we will certainly be coming back with friends in tow!

#datenight at the Printworks - Busaba

So with full bellies we headed over to see our film.

Odeon

#datenight at the Printworks - Odeon

It’s been years since I came to this Odeon. It really brought back memories of my student days. We decided to see La La Land so we could see what the fuss was all about. I’ll be blogging this week about what I actually thought of the film so stay tuned for that.

Regarding the Odeon as a cinema, there’s not a single thing to complain about here. The venue is modern and clean, the range of snacks is great and the staff are helpful and friendly. The only reason we chose Cineworld over Odeon for unlimited tickets was down to the location in respect to our home.

I would definitely recommend a trip to the Odeon next time you’re in town. We had a great time.

Overall, #Datenight at The Printworks was a great way to spend an evening.

There’s nothing better than a classic dinner, drinks and a film for a Valentines, anniversary or just plain old Thursday evening. Topher and I had an amazing time and look forward to our next date night!

How are you planning on spending Valentine’s Day this year?

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Manchester Christmas Markets 2016

They’re here! The Manchester Christmas Markets have arrived. It felt like they had been open forever before we finally managed to get ourselves down to them. I would walk past them every Friday but Topher and I agreed to go together so I waited oh so patiently. I know it’s still November but I like to at least go for the first time before December and especially on a week day because it’s so much less crowded!

manchester christmas markets 2016 2

So this year, the Manchester Christmas markets have expanded even more to cover more areas of the city centre. I was pretty excited about this until we actually discovered that there where a hell of a lot of duplicate stalls dotted around. I guess they’ve been made bigger to spread foot traffic around rather than add more unique stalls. It’s not the end of the world but don’t kill yourself trying to walk round the whole city centre if you don’t need to. There’s plenty to see in the individual areas.

manchester christmas markets 2016 3

manchester christmas markets 2016 4

Anyway onto the most important subject of the markets. Food! Now I have to say that I’m not the easiest person to cater for due to not eating pork but I was determined to find something other than the cheesy potatoes or beef burgers that I usually get. Topher finds it funny that it’s not really down to religious reasons that I don’t eat pig, or even moral ones – it’s just something I do.

I’m half Arab. I’m not religious, nor is my dad, though that side of the family are on a range from devout Muslim right up to completely westernised. I was just brought up not to eat it and I don’t. I can’t speak Arabic and I don’t look particularly Arab (I’m so pale I look like a ghost next to my cousins) so it’s the one piece of culture I can cling onto I guess. And for those thinking “ermegawhd how can she live without bacon?!” I do quite easily. I tried bacon twice and both times I felt sick for the rest of the day. And I’m not a big fan of pork having accidentally eaten it a couple of times. And the last thing on this particular subject, nothing happens when I accidentally eat pig. In fact, “I don’t blow up if I accidentally eat pork” is one of my favourite Arab jokes to use on people. The reactions are a hoot!

Anyway, back to the hunt for food. There was a pretty decent selection this year. I saw chicken paella that the chorizo wasn’t mixed in but could be added on after and I also found the holy grail of options. Beef sausage hotdog. Topher was right on point when he said this was my reaction:

manchester-christmas-markets-2016-6

Very accurate. Anyway, with giant hotdog (and pretty tiny bun) in hand, Topher got a “currywurst” and we tucked in.

manchester christmas markets 2016 5

I enjoyed it though could have done without the chilli inside the hotdog. Luckily it wasn’t too overpowering! Topher enjoyed his currywurst though said it was on the small side so we went in search of the burger stall that we usually frequent.

manchester christmas markets 2016 7

It’s safe to say that he was happy with his choice! I went with a traditional mulled wine which was tasty though I sensed less alcoholic than previous years.

manchester christmas markets 2016 8

Watching Topher eat his burger, I was reminded why we always come to this stall. The meat is good, there’s lots of choice, the cheese isn’t cheap rubbish and there’s always a good selection of chutney’s to choose from. Definitely recommended!

manchester christmas markets 2016 9

manchester christmas markets 2016 10

So with full bellies, we walked all around town before stopping off for dessert. Of course! Usually I frequent the mini pancakes stand but this year I wanted the whole thing so we headed to one of the crepe stalls. Topher got plain Nutella and I picked Nutella with banana so I could at least say I’d had some fruit that day!

manchester christmas markets 2016 11

Delicious as usual, though I broke my plastic fork. They could really use some of those forks that have a knife on the side of them – have you ever seen those? They’re amazing!

manchester christmas markets 2016 12

And of course it’s not a trip to the Christmas markets without a stop at the chestnut stall. How is there only one of them? It’s always in St. Anns Square and I never see them anywhere else. Am I missing them?

manchester christmas markets 2016 13

Yum!

manchester christmas markets 2016 14

So after that it was time to head home and peacefully slip into a food coma. Perfect!

Do you have a Christmas Market where you live? Have you visited yet?

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