A Love Letter to Manchester

Dear Manchester,

Only a few days ago it was our ten-year anniversary. I knew I was going to love you the minute I picked my university course when I was 16 (what can I say – I was prepared!). And when the day finally came in 2006 that I left my small town life behind at the age of 18, I remember seeing your skyline and thinking “adventure awaits.”

Being from a small town, I had never heard of Primark or Subway and I had only ever been on public transport a handful of times. So you were an adventure indeed. You can’t deny that you’re a little bit rough around the edges but it’s made me street smart in a good way.

I love that you’re vast, but not too big. I love that strangers talk to each other on public transport and the fact that everyone seems friendlier up here. I love that even though I know the streets like the back of my hand, there is always something new to discover.

I love the city centre, the Northern Quarter, Affleck’s Palace, MOSI, The Manchester Museum, The curry mile, The Arndale, The Trafford Centre and so many more things. I love that you’re affordable and you’re actually left with money to have fun here. There’s always something to do.

We’ve had rough times of course. You’ve destroyed so many pairs of my shoes that I’ve simply just got used to the feeling of having wet feet. And let’s let a moment pass while we remember all the umbrellas that held a similar fate. Not forgetting that I left you for 16 months while we gave southern living a go. But I like to think that that time away gave me a deeper appreciation for you. Why else would we come running back to you?

So many great things have happened to me since I moved. I’ve grown from a naïve young girl to an independent woman, I’ve met amazing people, found my home and I found the love of my life.

I could never say what may happen in the future, who knows if we’ll stay or go. Nothing is certain. But you’ll always feel just like home to me.

Yours Forever,

An adopted Mancunian

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MilkJam Manchester

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I think the Manchester Evening News hit the nail right on the head when they described MilkJam as a “Gluttonous pleasure palace”. That’s the only way I’m going to describe it from now on.

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Situated on Oxford Road as a pop up store, MilkJam is the home of three awesome staples; Ice cream from Ginger’s Comfort Emporium, cakes from BakeOrama and brownies from Lushbrownies.

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Yesterday, my friends and I found ourselves in Manchester city centre and nowhere near MilkJam. So naturally, we decided to make the journey (long and perilous it is not) across town to pay it a visit for the first time. It’s been around since July this year and I’ve been dying to go there.

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The cakes are ever changing from what I’ve read but I had an oreo peanut butter cake with doughnuts and caramel. My friends had bubblegum (the one with the dog face) and one that was chocolate and had a cherry pie baked into it! (not pictured)

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Now I must warn you sugar lovers, these are not for the faint hearted. The icing alone will send you into a diabetic coma. But I’m never one to shy away from a challenge. I’m glad I took it to take away! It was perfect for a Gilmore Girls marathon on the sofa that evening. Though getting up to go pick Topher up from work was definitely difficult!

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I was really happy with my choice. Though I’m always a peanut butter on everything kind of girl, I do usually find it sickening after a few bites. The sponge in this cake was very light and the perfect amount of sweet. The icing however, though delicious, finished me off! But as usual with anything sweet, I enjoy, regret and then in the coming days crave more. It’s a vicious circle but I’m totally ok with that.

Next time I have my eye on the brownies!

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Manchester Street Art

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As long as I can remember I have been fascinated with street art. Not the crappy graffiti with someone’s tag that you can’t even read, I mean the actual art. There is such a big difference between the two, at least to me. Manchester is full of street art and a couple of weekends I decided to go and discover some pieces in the Northern Quarter that I haven’t noticed before.

Last year I went on a photo walk where I found some amazing pieces that you can see here. This time, I wanted to find some more hidden works that I hadn’t noticed or maybe just stopped and photographed before. The above and below photos, I have known about for about six months. Since they are on the side of Common bar, which is right next to Ziferblat, I have seen them every week when I go to Freelance Fridays.

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Considering the one below is directly opposite the doorway to Ziferblat, I’m surprised that I haven’t noticed it before. I’m not sure if it’s because it’s newer than the other ones or if it’s just me seeing through it.

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Not street art in the same way as the others but I like the mosaic face on the corner of Carpenters Lane. It’s completely slipped my mind on who he is. And speaking of faces on street corners, is that Kevin Spacey on the corner of Hilton Street?

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I walk past this road every Friday and yet I’ve never noticed this piece. I kind of wish I had time to walk up and see what the rest of it looks like but I guess that will have to be saved for another time.

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I like that even this temporary scaffolding has been given a makeover. So much nicer to look at!

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And I know this is pretty much just an advert but I had to include it.

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Not street art but it looks like this wall once had a whole picture up there. Anyone have any photos of what used to be up here?

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Walking down the top end of Tib street, I realised that I had never been this far up before. Thank Affleck’s Palace for being so distracting! I was really pleased because I found these bird sculptures which are awesomely random. I need to look them up and find out who put them there.

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Also on Tib street were these beautiful frogs. I think these were my favourite of the day. I’m not usually a frog person but paint them on the side of a building and I’m there apparently!

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There are plenty of other works hanging around I’m sure. I pass about 3 or 4 in the car on the way home. Anyway, I had a great time being a tourist in my own city. Manchester, I love you!

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Mowgli

Since I went to India in 2012, I’ve been searching for something that can compare to the food I had there. As much as I enjoy a British curry, it’s great to have something a bit more authentic.

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Mowgli is an Indian street food restaurant that is in both Manchester and Liverpool. First off, it’s refreshing to see something start in the North – I was pleasantly surprised to find out that London doesn’t have a branch. As much as I love London, the UK doesn’t start and end there.

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My favourite thing about street food, whatever country it originates from, is that you get to try everything! Being someone who’s eyes are generally bigger than their stomach, I often find that the portion sizes of regular meals are too big for me and a lot of the time I like the look of other people’s food. Therefore street food is perfect to get a little taste of everything.

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So, to Mowgli’s menu. We actually went twice within a few days because we enjoyed it so much the first time. Topher and I first tried Mowgli on my birthday and then when my parents passed through Manchester two days later, we brought them to try it since they love Indian food. So what I’m showing in this post is a mix of the two visits we made.

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The very first things we tried were the Yoghurt Chat Bombs. They were essentially crispy bread puffs filled with yoghurt. Top tip – just shove the whole thing in your mouth unless you want to cover your front with yoghurt. These are not made to take bites out of! Topher and I thought they were tasty and something a bit different.

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When it came to ordering dishes, Topher and I skipped the rice and just ordered a load of different curries with some puri (flat breads) on the side. We were glad we did that as it saved us room in our bellies to try more curries. However, when my parents joined us, we got rice, as they prefer to pair their curries with it. It all depends on how much you like to eat.

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Things that we loved and had both times: Gunpowder chicken, Temple Dahl, Agra Ginger Chicken, Mother Butter Chicken and the Goan Fish Curry.

Things we tried that I definitely recommend: The Bombay Chip Butty, Maa’s Lamb Chops and turmeric chips and the Mowgli House Keema (this was my mums favourite!).

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For dessert, which I always make sure to save room for, when it was just Topher and I, we both had the Pink Himalayan Salted Caramel ice cream. Tasty! And then with my parent’s Topher and I shared the Chocolate Mowgli Cake and they had Mango ice cream. Also very tasty. When we go back I want to try the Gulab Jamun!

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If you’re gluten free or vegan, Mowgli have loads of options for you as well. It’s been such a long time that Topher and I have been to a place that we like this much. Here’s to the next time. I want to try the whole menu!

Have you ever been to Mowgli? What’s your favourite type of street food?

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Ideal Home Show Manchester

I had been to the Ideal Home show over a decade ago with my mum and the only thing I can remember about that is coming home with a popcorn maker. And almost coming home with a juicer.

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Since we now have a house of our own, I decided it would be fun for Topher and I to attend the Ideal Home Show when it rolled into Manchester last week. Topher wasn’t so sure. But he quickly changed his mind after seeing the amount of food stalls handing out free samples.

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Being the foodie’s that we are, we began in the food section where we worked our way through the various samples of cheese, wine and amazing chicken sausages.

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The garden section was particularly inspiring though I don’t think we’d be able to fit one of these gazebos in ours! We did have a giggle over this one as it reminded us of the Tiki Room at Disney World so subsequently we had the tune stuck in our heads for a little while afterwards.

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This pod seriously had some hobbit vibes going on. So of course Topher wanted one. He reckons we should just sell our house and live in one of these things. Even though it is literally only one room that you would probably plonk in your garden as some extra space for an office or workshop or something. 

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And of course it’s not the Ideal Home Show without seeing someone you used to watch on TV in the 90s. The minute Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen appeared and started advising you not to put your sofa against the wall, we swiftly headed in the other direction. Like our living room is big enough to put the sofa anywhere else! I think I preferred meeting Tommy from Ground Force last time.

Anyway, we managed to walk away without buying anything (like we had any money anyway!) but we did take some fun home décor ideas with us. Though I’m still skeptical about Topher’s idea to make our kitchen look like a Nandos…

Have you ever been to the Ideal Home Show?

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