Lifestyle

LIFESTYLE | My Introduction to Podcasts and I'm Hooked

Monday, October 16, 2017

As someone who is never on trend or with the modern world, I have only just discovered PodCasts. I have heard of them before, but I guess I thought of them as something you can only get with Apple products. I do have an iPod but to be honest I only use it to listen to the Radio. I have about 3 albums on it and I never ever plug it into the computer.


However over the past few months. Maybe longer, I lose track of time. I've heard and read a few people mentioning them and when I realise most PodCasts, you can listen to on their own respective websites and you can get android apps. I thought why not. 

I'm less than a week in and I've almost finished my third series. I know there are lots of different ones out there and I'm a little overwhelmed. I've only listened to True Crime ones at the moment but if you have a favourite let me know. I feel like I like things in a series rather than a weekly show. I'd like to be able to binge listen and I'm happy to listen to old things as well as new. 

I like that I can just listen and carry on with what I'm doing without having to watch a screen and I've found an App for my phone that lets me cast to my TV Via my Chrome Cast. I like doing it this way as not only is the sound better but my TV has the option to turn off the screen and just use the speakers which is good as I kept finding myself still looking at the screen. The app also has a sleep timer which you can set to switch the app off at the end of the PodCast plus it gives a few other options between 5 mins to an hour or the end of the PodCast. I use this in conjunction with my sleep timer on my TV when I've been listening to them in bed. 

Serial

I picked serial to start with as I feel like this is the one I've heard people talk about the most. It only took me about 3 days to through the whole series and I did enjoy it. I really like the woman's voice who does the PodCast and found the story interesting. 

S-Town

Again I picked this as I'd heard people talking about it and right from the start I was hooked, it's fascinating, strange and captured my interest from the very beginning. 

Phoebe's Fall

Facebook recommended and another true crime PodCast, I liked this was Australian rather than American and I think I fell in love with the victims Grandad. I've no idea what he looks like and he might be a million years old but I like his no-nonsense Aussie charm. 

Untold: The Daniel Morgan Murder

This time I went with British True Crime and I've still got three episodes of this left to listen to. If I'm honest, I'm not as taken with this one as the others. I do like listening to them revisiting old evidence but the crime happened 30 years ago and I feel like it's not capturing my attention as much

My Dad Wrote a Prono

When I started to listen to this I did so with the intention that I'd listen to one, feel a little bit prude and give up after 15 minutes but I'm hooked. I feel like I LOL IRL constantly whilst listening to this. I do keep feeling paranoid and double checking the sound is coming from my earphones and not my phones speakers but I'm on my 2nd day of listening and on episode 10. I don't think I've ever laughed as much at anything in my whole life. 




#30x30

FASHION | 30x30 2017 - Days 1 - 6

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Doing this 30x30 challenge makes me feel very organised. I have all my clothes in the front of my wardrobe with the longer items on the back of my door. It allows me to quickly pick what I'm going to wear and I've gone back to picking out the next days clothes before I go to bed. 

Days One to Six are often the easiest, it's all brand new and everything is clean and it doesn't matter what I wear as it ticks the items off the list. 

I've worn a few items a couple of times but it's been mainly the shoes and bomber jacket and sadly not every photo captures every item but I've tried to take video clips every day. I don't have one for day 2 as I deleted it by accident but this is a staple outfit so I will be wearing it again soon. 

So far I've also done quite well remembering to put my clothes in the wash so I'm not in danger of everything being dirty come week 3! 

I also need to apologise for the picture quality. I dug out an old point and shoot camera that could live in my bag and I'd have everything on one memory card but sadly it;s quality is shocking and I think I've killed the camera. Let's say a full bottle of water, my handbag, lots of ruined things, tears, the realisation I can't fix it. Worse things happen at sea. 

I also need to find a better place to take pictures. As the lighting at work is atrocious, but I can't think of any other full-length mirrors I've got daily access to, so you might have to put up with them. 


Day 1
  • Floral Yours Shirt Dress 
  • Black Encuentro Vest 
  • Matalan Leggins 
  • ECCO Boots
Day 2
  • H&M+ Stripped top 
  • Grey Bomber 
  • H&M Black pants 
  • Primark Flats 
  • ECCO Boots 
Two pairs of shoes as the flats live at work and I changed into them halfway through the day. This may be a theme of this challenge, I will only count both if I feel like I wore them for equal amounts of time. 

Day 3
  • Primark Black peplum top 
  • Black Encuentro Vest 
  • Grey Bomber 
  • H&M Black pants 
  • ECCO Boots 


Day 4
  • Big Lebowski Shirt Dress 
  • Grey Bomber 
  • Matalan Leggins 
  • ECCO Boots
Day 5
  • Black top with lace shoulders 
  • Burgandy bomber 
  • B&W Square-spot 
  • Primark Flats 
  • ECCO Boots
Day 6
  • H&M Jumper 
  • H&M Cat top 
  • Sainsburys floral jeans 
  • Primark Flats 
  • ECCO Boots 
I've had a really good first 6 days, I'm looking forward to the rest of the month. 

I have also decided to try and do this again in November, I am away at the end of the month, so I will just do it for the days while I'm here. 

Ideally, I'd like to do this for a full year next year or for as much of the year as I can manage. I have a plan which I've put in place for November already. I know, I know. You can tell I'm excited by this idea. I've picked out around 15 items for November and put them in a box in my wardrobe so I know where they are. (remind me!) Then I just need to decide on the last few things later in the month. 

My plan for the coming year will be to try and sort things out in the same way, as I take the things out of the box I will refill it with some things for the following month. This also allows me to free up hanging space. 

As the months go on I hope this will allow me to work through some clothes that I tend not to wear and I might try and mix it up and do things like a full month of dresses or only one colour. That might be over complicating it but there are things I can play with. 

I can tell from my first week (I'm doing this 6 outfits at a time to make it easier for photo collages) I will need to get rid of some of these items soon. A few of the tops are feeling a bit bobbly but I love them so they might have to be thrown away sooner rather than later. 

Lifestyle

Events | Festivities at the Hilton

Monday, October 09, 2017

I recently attended a blogger event at The Hilton hotel in Manchester, the event itself was in Cloud 23 and is somewhere I've wanted to visit for a long time. I have a slight fear of heights but a fascination with seeing Manchester from above.

I could have happily spent all evening staring out of the windows looking at the view.


There is also a little bit of a morbid fascination as I can see the Hilton from my office so it was nice to see it from the opposite view. I also might have taken some photos and sent them to our facilities manager. I know I hold my hands up as a geek. 


It felt a little odd celebrating and listening to Christmas tunes in September but I think my inner Grinch may have left the building slightly as it did make me feel all warm and fuzzy. Also, how sweet is this little dude.


We had a chance to try some of the party food that is on offer, I only tried a couple of things but they were both delicious. I had sausage wrapped in bacon and what I think was a mini Yorkshire pudding with beef and horseradish. There were a few other interesting looking items going around but sadly they didn’t quite reach me. 




I did wonder if this Giant NOEL sign would fit anywhere in my house. I know the answer is no but how cool would that be.



We also had a little bit of live entertainment, I didn't catch the name of the singer but he wasn't bad at all and if you watch my Random Wednesday vlog you might spot a bit of dancing (not by me!!) 


Sadly I didn't know anyone at the event and I thought I'd know a few people so I settled myself in a comfy seat and watched the entertainment. I also made it so a Hollyoaks stars Instastory! (My claim to fame!! I didn't know they were from Hollyoaks but someone from work saw me on it!!!)



If you have a head for heights then Cloud 23 is a great place for a festive party. I would really like to go for Afternoon tea as that is one of my favourite things to do (can we call it a hobby?)


Lifestyle

EVENTS | We Are Reeves - Blogger Event

Friday, October 06, 2017

A couple of weeks ago, I went to a blogger event hosted by Reeves at Foundation Coffee House in Manchester. 

It was a chance to get creative and try out some of the products, Reeves is a brand I felt like I'd heard of but when I checked their website nothing seemed familiar and when I mentioned this they said they had recently re-branded and google image search later made me realise I do know them and have used a lot of their products over my many creative escapades. I have to say I do love the new branding. 


We had a choice of three activities and I was happy to see a friendly and familiar face in Asma from Jet Set Chick we only seem to see each other at creative events but it was lovely to catch up with her. We were joined by two other bloggers Iwen from Mr Carrington and Kiran who I discovered is very local to me.



Coffee has to precede all activities for me at the moment and this might be one of the best flat whites I've had in a while. I also like it when coffee is served in a glass. Extra points!


I'd like to introduce Derek the succulent, he was my first choice when it came to picking one. The idea was to decorate the pot. I feel like he might have been a little big and had more paint on him than the pot at one point but I do love hi, (I might need to water him - how often do they need watering?)


Some of the paint supplied was metallic and myself and Asma were both drawn to this. I know I'm not very neat and decided to keep it simple.


I decided I'd go for a dark blue with a copper accent and I really like how it turned out. Simple but effective, even if I do say so myself.



I attempted two goes at the post card. The first time I tried painting but I'm not neat enough. Pencil crayons worked a lot better and I love the purple pencil I used on this.



I feel like I took my post card a little bit too seriously and some of the other efforts had been displayed and there are a lot of creative people in Manchester!






Before we left I did attempt another decorative pot but I just painted it all copper! I have intentions to re-visit and add some blue to match the first one. This plant is called Jim. My friend said I should call him Vic (Reeves) but I went one further  and took it to Jim (Moir) Just because I like to be awkward.

A big thank you to the Reeves team for making it such a fun event, they also supplied pizza which I didn't try, I was too busy being creative and a GIF generator which again I didn't use but I did see someone use it with their dog and it was so cute. I felt like me, Jim & Derek couldn't match up to that in the world of GIF Generation.


Lifestyle

EVENTS | Gin Tasting @ Impossible Manchester

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Last week I went to a Gin Tasting blogger event at Impossible on Peter Street in Manchester. If you're of a certain age you will remember the venue as Bar 38, you may also notice a few subtle differences. 

I can also confirm my feet did not stick to the floor once. Our event was in the Gin loft and this felt like a very special place and I believe a lot, if not all the booths are booked until the end of the year. 
 

I loved looking down on the main bar area, I would like to have had a closer look at the decor but you know. Gin.


The Gin loft has a hunting lodge, ski lodge vibe and I loved the aesthetic however it was quite warm, but it made me think that it would be lovely to visit around the time the Xmas markets are on, it would be all warm and cosy.


I could see myself and my friends in a booth, sampling a gin or two each and I wonder if one of these lights would fit in my handbag! 


As well as booths there are also opening seating and a little nook behind the fireplace and they have used the shape of the building to their advantage to create this space. If you're not familiar with it, I've added a snippet from google maps



Before I talk about the gins themselves, I need to apologise for the photo quality. I'd forgotten my camera and used my phone. I was a little bit giddy and didn't check any of the photos while I was there and now I think I should have! but hey GIN!



I'm also wishing I'd taken lead from another blogger who took some notes as while I know the gins we tried, I'm not 100% sure which tonics went with each one. I do know a couple of them. I will try and remember to contact the organisers and see if I can confirm which tonic went with each one.



The tasting consisted of 4 gins and tonics to compliment them, the bartenders also gave us some history of gin in general and about each gin, it was a good and informative but sadly I was near the back and struggled to hear some of it so I won't try and re-tell what they told us. 


Our first gin was Beefeater 24, on the first sniff before any tonic was added it smelt like an aeroplane, this sounds silly. But I was transported to the inside of a 747. A slice of pink grapefruit was added and I think this was served with Double Dutch Tonic. Initially, I wasn't a huge fan of this. It had a little bit too much of a punch for my liking. I would be happy to have a single glass of this but I wouldn't want to own a full bottle. 


Our second gin was one I have wanted to try for a while and my friend who came with me has said this is one of her favourites. Monkey 47, this is a German gin and made in small batches. 

We had a slice of pink grapefruit and a small piece of lime peel in the glass and was served with Inca 1724 tonic. There are not enough heart eye emoji's to describe how much I liked this one. It is very smooth and light. It has a range of Blackforrest botanicals in its makeup and I think this might be the nicest gin I've tried to date. 


Thirdly we tried King of Soho with Double Dutch Pomegranate and Basil Tonic. I really liked this on the first few sips but my friends weren't too sure. Speaking to one of our bartenders, he said it might be the tonic and we tried a little bit of the tonic on it's own and it was very overwhelming. I described it as tasting like soup. Once I went back to my drink, I didn't like it anymore and I didn't manage to drink more than half the glass.

We have been talking about this gin at work and I'm not writing it off as one never to have again, I think I need to try it with a tonic that is more to my taste.


Our last gin of the evening was Whitley Neill rhubarb and ginger served with a slice of ginger and Fever Tree Tonic. This was very sweet, it also smelt and tasted just like Rhubarb and Custard sweets. It was very drinkable and it's a very fun drink. It provided us with lots of giggles, trying to remember the words to the Rhubarb and Custard cartoon theme song. 

My overall winner (not that it was a competition) was the Money 47. I am considering buying a bottle of this to have at home but I'm also trying to expand my gin horizons and there are a lot of gins out there. Impossible have 73  behind the bar and I may have started a list of gins I want to try. 


#30x30

FASHION | 30X30 Clothing Challenge - October 2017

Sunday, October 01, 2017

A fashion post, yes you are in the right place! It's where this blog started and after TCFF I feel like I want to start doing more posts about what I wear. 

I struggle as I don't have anyone to take my picture or a good place for a tripod or even to balance the camera so you might have to put up with loo selfies for the duration of this challenge. 

I've done this challenge 2 or three times before and always around this time of year(I think September or November - 30 day month and all that jazz) I missed September and I'm away in November. 

The aim is to pick out 30 items and wear them over 30 days. It doesn't have to be consecutive days but I try to do that where possible. 

Where the challenge originated, I can't remember but I know there are a few variations. If you want to be strict you include, shoes, coats, bags and accessories. I normally just do clothing but that can be quite easy. This year, i'm including shoes. I rarely wear accessories unless i'm going out and I only have one night out planned so I didn't want to take up 2 spots on something that will only be worn once. 

As I type it's 30th September at 9pm and I think I've got my 30 items sorted. I've just taken some very bad photo's and I plan to re-take these tomorrow in better light. This was as a guide so I could fill out my spreadsheet. Yes I love a good spreadsheet. I can't work out what 2 of the items are so I need to double check and I think I have one too many things but by morning I will have a full list. 

Things not included are coats, scarves, socks, tights (I doubt I'll be wearing them but just as a get out of gaol free card) accessories, gym kit. 

My other plan is to film a short clip of each outfit and make a YT video and I think I will do an blog update every 6 outfits (thinking nice Instagram collage) 

I'm also reserving the right to do a mid-month swap of up to 3 items. With the caveat being that the items haven't been worn previously as part of the challenge. 

Any unworn items at the end of the month go straight into the charity bag, anything uncomfortable, worn out or that I just don't like anymore need to be binned or charity bagged. 

In previous years it has been a good way of weeding out items I've not liked and it gets me wearing things I wouldn't normally wear. The Halloween top might be a bad idea but my logic is, that I can wear it under other things! (it may get swapped and I might have a non challenge day on Halloween (that might be a good idea!) 

What I would love to do is run this challenge every month, maybe not document it as details as this will be (or plans to be) but it would be an ace way of working through my wardrobe and having 30 items of clothing on the back of my door at all times would make getting dressed easier. 

I might have to play around with this idea and do something from January. I need to stop thinking out loud and show you my chosen clothes. 


1 Apples and Pears Black Dress
2 Navy Spotty Dress
3 Floral Yours Shirt Dress
4 Big Lebowski Shirt Dress

5 New Look Red Floral Dress
6 Yours Red Floral Top
7 Black top
8 Black top



9 Black Encurentro Vest
10 B&W Striped from Sainsburys
11 H&M+ Striooed top
12 Pep & Co Stripped top



13 Black top with lace shoulders
14 Halloween Tshirt
15 Burgundy bomber
16 Grey Bomber


17 Denim Jacket
18 H&M Jumper
19 H&M Striped long sleeve
20 H&M Cat top



21 Sainsburys floral jeans
22 ASOS Black Jeans

23 H&M Black pants
24 B&W Square-spot
25 Next Ponte Leggins
26 Matalan Leggins

I need to take a picture of the shoes
27 ECCO Trainers
28 Primark Flats
29 Black Boots
30 Tan Boots



Lifestyle

Food & Drink | Featherblade Steak - Manchester

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Last week I visited Featherblade Steak which is Just off King Street, on Booth Street in Manchester, with a work friend before we headed to a gin tasting event. More about that in a separate post.

We decided it would be sensible to have something to eat as it was a Tuesday night and in all honesty, we didn't know what to expect at the gin tasting (it was good).

Featherblade is a pop-up restaurant and it's selling point is "One cut. One Price. Ten quid"

Salted popcorn comes to the table while you decide and we were offered a choice of specials which my friend says is new, but we'd gone for steak and steak is what we got.


The steak was perfect, I had mine rare which is my preference but they do recommend medium-rare to medium (and the menu says not to ask for it well done or you'll spoil it!) The steak itself is £10 which feels like good value, we also had a discount code as my friend is a member of the VIP and I've just signed myself up. I'm not sure what the discount was but my gut feeling it was just off the price of the steak. She said they send regular offers. (I've had my first voucher and it was 50% off steak)


Sides are priced separately and I couldn't resist the mushrooms and onions, for me, it's favourite side dish with steak and I'm a huge fan of mushrooms and who could resist the dripping fried chips. Each cost £3 and they were big enough to share, and by share I mean the other person gets two different side dishes so you get the best of everything.


There is also a great selection of beers, wines, soft drinks and cocktails. My wine of choice was the semi-dry Pinot Grigio which was lovely and fresh and I would have happily had a second glass if it wasn't for Gin tasting.

While the limited menu choice might not be for everyone, I loved this concept. I get menu blindness when I'm faced with a large number of options and to go somewhere and not have to think about what I'm having or spend days pouring over a menu to find something to have. I'm not fussy (I am a bit) but getting those three choices in case they have run out of options 1 and 2 was eliminated and for that reason, I would recommend this to all my steak loving friends.

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