Manchester Eats Festival – The Experience

Man oh man was it hot on Saturday when Claire and I trekked out to Heaton Park for the Manchester Eats Festival. But was it worth it? Hell yes.

Manchester Eats Festival - entrance

It was around lunchtime when we strolled through the entrance and we were hungry! Luckily for us the festival was big but not overwhelming so we had plenty of choice.

Manchester Eats Festival - festival

We started by having a stroll around on the hunt for lunch. We mainly spent our time taking photos of things we wanted to come back for on the way out to take home. A strategy that worked out perfectly. The festival was busy but not too crowded – mainly down to the football being on (Yay England!). But something that I wasn’t expecting was that they had set up TVs dotted around with lots of seating so you could actually watch the game. Claire and I stopped at them every so often to keep an eye on the score but we were on a mission.

Manchester Eats Festival - candyfloss

Our first stop was for a drink at Calyx. Their watermelon, apple and hibiscus flower mocktails were to DIE FOR! It was the perfect thing for the hot weather. So refreshing.

Manchester Eats Festival - pineapple

As for lunch itself, Claire spotted Cottonopolis’s Japanese offerings so how could we say no? Claire had a Chicken Kaarage Bao bun with kimchi, I had a Katsu Chicken Burger and we split some okonomiyaki fries.

Manchester Eats Festival - katsu chicken burger

Completely stuffed, we wandered some more in search of something a bit more alcoholic. For once I hadn’t driven so I could have whatever I wanted.

Manchester Eats Festival - football

Claire being a big gin fan was instantly drawn into the gin garden where she had a cocktail from Tappers. She said it was delicious. I will take her word for it as I don’t like gin!

Manchester Eats Festival - spirits

Manchester Eats Festival - gin

I do however like Pimms…

Manchester Eats Festival - pimms

Manchester Eats Festival - signpost

It was getting hotter by the minute so we sat in front of one of the TVs to drink our drinks. Perfect timing for one of our goals! Come on England!

Manchester Eats Festival -chilli

Manchester Eats Festival - fried chicken

Then it was time for dessert. Claire was fascinated by the concept of ice cream rolls so we visited The Ice Alchemists. They whipped up Manchester tart flavoured ice cream rolls and it was definitely true to taste. I might have had a little nibble.

Manchester Eats Festival - ice cream rolls

Earlier on we had spotted something new in the dessert world so I had to make it my dessert choice. Milky Stax are a new company who specialise in hot pressed ice cream buns. Delicious brioche buns filled with ice cream. Kind of like a doughnut or ice cream sandwich. I definitely enjoyed mine (vanilla ice cream with chocolate chip cookie crumble on top) – the portion was just right and I loved the contrast between hot and cold. I hope to see them around again!

Manchester Eats Festival - ice cream sandwich

By this point we were pretty tired and hot so it was time to put our foldable shopping bags to good use and go round buying everything we wanted to bring home with us. Did I mention how much I like being employed full time again? It was mainly sweet treats and booze I bought and I regret nothing. Since Topher couldn’t come I had to get him this chocolate I spotted at In Truffle We Trust. He loved it and I also loved the pecan pie chocolate I got for myself. Delicious.

Manchester Eats Festival - chocolate

Overall both Claire and I had a great day. Food, drink, sunshine and England getting through to the semi finals! Thanks to Manchester Eats Festival for providing our tickets. I hope you’ll be back soon!

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Having A Good Night In With The Telly

Are you on the lookout for a quiet night in? Do you want to have some time alone or curled up with your family on the sofa, just having a relaxing time? Well then now’s the time to block out an evening and turn the TV on; there’s nothing like losing yourself in some mindless drama that’ll have you gasping and frowning at every plot twist possible!

In a world of streaming websites and instant downloads, it can feel like the TV no longer has anything to offer. But in a world full of rushing, nothing beats a night of just vegging out in front of your flatscreen with a hand in the popcorn bowl and pajamas you don’t mind feeling lazy in! So here’s a couple of ideas on how to have a good night in with your telly when you really need it. 

night in

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It’s a little slice of paradise for any kind of lifestyle!

Build a Good Sofa Fort

If you’re going to be lounging for a good while, you’re going to need something constantly comfortable to lounge on or in. And that means preparing the sofa: get plenty of blankets out of the closet, get some cushions, and pile everything up or on the floor (get another chair for good measure).

If you’ve got kids, this is a great way to get them to pay attention to a documentary or something educational you want them to watch. Designing a whole fort around them, with lights even hung up on the ceiling and plenty of room to spread out with a colouring book, is a surefire way to keep their attention. Find yourself a quick tutorial here if you need some inspiration on your side.

Have Something to Watch

Well, duh. But make sure it’s something that you’re going to enjoy at the least, and never just let yourself channel surf; you won’t get the chance to settle in and get a good night’s kip out of the situation either. Of course this isn’t usually something that’s recommended for a good night’s rest, but sometimes you just fall asleep because of how you’ve been lulled into a dream from the TV in front of you!

Using a site like UK Air Dates, you can be on watch for some quality drama coming up in the Autumn, or you can see if your favourite show is due for a renewal anytime soon. Booking a night in with yourself is sometimes necessary, so make sure you know when you need to block out the weekend for some binge watching! Hey if it only happens rarely, it doesn’t have to be an unhealthy action!

Having a good night in with the TV is something people take for granted; a lot of people do it naturally and without thinking, but sometimes moments like these are best saved up for a productive lifestyle. So now’s the time to book yourself 12 hours or so to get your pjs on and have easy fun.

*This is a collaborative post

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Slightly Sweary 2018 Goals – A 6 month Update

Insert obligatory “omg how is it already July, lol, blah blah blah” here. And also “why is it so hot, why am I melting” etc etc.

So back in January I set myself some goals. Some pretty sweary goals. For once when I look back 6 months later I can actually say I’m not doing half bad. Here’s how I’m doing with my sweary 2018 goals:

Fuck the Target Weight – Get to Happy Weight

After a bit of a massive false start for the first 5 months of the year in which I got depressed and lumped another stone, I’m finally back on it. I did say that would happen though. Maybe not the extra stone bit but the getting on it in the second half part. I’ve rejoined Slimming World and am back at the gym. And Topher has joined me for both. We’re doing really well so far. Topher has lost 9 pounds and I lost 6 and a half. So here’s to the rest of the year.

Earn some fecking money

Well I got a full time job so that definitely fecking helped.

Stop farting around and book that trip to Japan

Booked! Topher and I will be off to Japan in Easter 2019. I’m so excited! So far we have got our flights and all of our hotels. And we’ve got a saving plan that’s a lot easier to achieve now that I will have a regular pay check. Woop!

Get rid of crap…like seriously you have way too much shit

So I’ve done a couple of car boots but apart from that I really need to get my arse into gear on this goal. Not sure if we’ll have time for any more car boots but now that we’ve got income we don’t have to rely on the cash. So I just need to give a load of stuff to charity and go through everything. Must do this – we seriously still have way too much shit.

Stop feeling so bloody inadequate – you are enough

My mental health has been feeling a whole lot better in this past month. I think mainly because I’ve eased back on social media and have just been focusing on myself and my new job. Now I can just do the things I love for fun and not have to worry about having to pay the bills with it. It’s a massive pressure that has been lifted and I feel so much more confident. It also really helps that my new colleagues actually see me as an asset so I should do the same. I am enough.

So I’m pretty pleased with how I’m progressing. I just need to make my space feel less consumed with stuff and then I’ll be able to breathe!

Did you make any 2018 goals? Sweary or unsweary. How are yours going?

slightly sweary 2018 goals

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Manchester Eats Festival 2018 – Heaton Park, July 7th & 8th *

Long time readers of this blog will know I am a massive foodie. I am also a huge fan of food festivals. Topher and I are lovers of Disney World’s Food & Wine Festival at Epcot but can no longer go as it’s during term time and he works in a school. Sad face.

Much closer to home I was also hoping the Ideal Home Show would be back to Manchester this year and bring it’s Eat and Drink festival along with it but my dreams were shot. Another sad face.

Enter Manchester Eats Festival

That’s right, Manchester has a food festival coming up! My food loving heart is overjoyed. Manchester Eats Festival is in Heaton Park next weekend (7th– 8thJuly), tickets start from just £7.50 and kids under 14 go free. I will be there with bells on. And trousers that have a stretchy waistband! Plus the weather looks like it’s going to be just as hot as it’s been in the last week or two. So don’t forget the sun cream!

Highlights of the festival include demos with top chefs such as Marco Pierre-White, Ed Bainesand more, free workshops, street food, a prosecco tent, food marketplace, gin garden and vintage fairground rides. Plus one of their exhibitors is Reds True Barbecue. I’m sold.

It’s perfect for going with your friends or you can even bring the whole family along. There’s something for everyone – whether you’re into your alcohol or you can’t stop talking about healthy living. I’ll be telling my friends with little ones about the free cookery class for kids – maybe they’ll end up with a master chef? There’s even something for the vegans so don’t let dietary restrictions stop you from giving it a whirl.

I can’t bloody wait. I’ll be attending with my fellow foodie Claire and hopefully we  If you end up going and see me around – come and say hi. I’ll probably have a mouth full of food but something tells me I won’t be the only one! Those who can’t make it check out my post about it in a couple of weeks.

Tickets for Manchester Eats Festival are available here.

Are you a fan of a food festival?

*Post in collaboration with Manchester Eats Festival.  All photos provided by Manchester Eats Festival.

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30 things I learned in 30 years

So I turned the grand old age of 30 yesterday. I never really thought too much about how I would feel when I got to my thirties – apart from sheer terror when I was in my teens and mild amusement in my twenties. I definitely thought I would feel a hell of a lot more grown up then I feel. Though I am getting there. One of the things I’ve learned is that everyone else feels the same. No one feels like a grown up. So I’m just going to go with it.

I’m happily married to a lovely man, I just started a great job, I have a house, nice car and cats, as well as family and close friends. I consider myself lucky. I consider myself happy and I consider myself content. For the first time I feel content.

So as well as having a lovely time in my real life, I figured I needed to mark this occasion on my blog in true blogger style.

So here’s 30 things I learned in 30 years. It’s a mix of funny and serious but it’s all true. Enjoy.

  1. Everyone is stumbling along in their own way – no one completely has their shit together.
  2. Don’t cut your own fringe…especially when you’re sad.
  3. I like things better when they are planned. That’s just me.
  4. You do you – everyone is focusing on what they’re doing too much to care about what you do.
  5. Just buy the expensive wok so you don’t have to keep buying cheap ones when they immediately get scratched.
  6. Never follow a man in a kilt – running joke between Topher and I when we were on our way to a Disney Halloween party and we got on the wrong monorail because we assumed the man in a kilt in front of us was dressed up for Halloween. He wasn’t.
  7. You don’t need to be 10 stone to be happy. Find your own happy weight and screw statistics.
  8.  Heels are not for me no matter how many pairs of “training heels I buy”.
  9. Don’t move to a new town without visiting it more than once.
  10. Listen to your parents more – you don’t know shit.
  11. 2 and a half hour commutes are bad for your health.
  12. You should really remove your makeup after a night out. I’m talking to you nineteen year old me.
  13. Double check bus times on the way to the airport.
  14. Don’t take a bus to the airport. Especially in a foreign country. Especially when you’re running late. Let me tell you about the time Topher and I missed a flight home…
  15. Pets make a home feel like home
  16. Google knows all. All my adult stuff I know is because of Google.
  17. Car tyres are expensive. Especially when you keep managing to drive over nails.
  18. Brown tape fixes a lot of things around the home.
  19. Accept help when it’s offered. Things will be so much easier if you do.
  20. You can’t fit an IKEA flat pack king size bed inside a Renault Clio – Optimism can only take you so far.
  21. Don’t go outside in Edinburgh in November only wearing a toga.
  22. Vegetables are actually pretty tasty when you cook them right
  23. You’re never too old to love Disney
  24. It’s so satisfying to have your own tool kit and be able to fix things yourself – with the odd Facetime call to your dad here and there.
  25. I can drive abroad. I can drive a 4×4. I can drive a mini bus and I can even drive the biggest van you can drive on a regular licence.
  26. Not everyone is going to like what you like. And that’s kind of the point isn’t it?
  27. The people who stick around through the good and bad are the best kind of people.
  28. If you have a polystyrene fight with a person with curly hair, you will win.
  29. Never do the food shop when you’re hungry.
  30. When I’m handed a kitten, I can’t say no to taking it home. – I actually was going to get 2 of Pickles’ siblings but the woman had already given them away when I arrived. He was the last one left and I was determined to have two kittens. But as soon as he was handed to me I took him home vowing to find him a friend from another litter.

Cheers to being 30!

30 things - Diane & Topher

If you had to make one of these lists, what would be on yours?

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