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Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Christening Day Dresses with House of Fraser

Last year was the Year of the wedding, this year it's all about the Christening. I've been looking for the perfect dress that will see me through them all. House of Fraser got in contact with me asking if I'd like to review a dress from their site just at the perfect time. 

I've just been to my first of the year this weekend, I've another one next month and there are 4 more new babies in my social circle, with a couple more due later in the year I know I will be going to at least 3 more Christenings before the year is out.  

It was also nice to have a handy photographer in the form of my lovely friend & I remembered to ask her to take some pictures while we were at the Christening. 

I'd chose this dress by Samya in a botanical bird print. The dress is two layers and is on the website for £32 which I think is a really good price for a dress for a special occasion.

At the last minute I decided to wear leggin as the weather forecast was a bit mixed and I was impressed that the underskirt was thick enough so they didn't show through. The dress also has a half elastic waist band at the back which makes it easy to wear and a side zip which I didn't find till about 9pm! 

I'd ordered a size 22 and feel the 24 would have been a more comfortable fit but this didn't feel uncomfortable. the top looks a but twisted as I hadn't straightened it after being sat down for a couple of hours. 

I love the colours in the dress making it prefect for spring and summer and I'm already planing to wear it for the next Christening in June. 

A big Thank you to HoF for providing the dress for review and as always all opinions are my own. 

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Clock Tower Rochdale

Sometimes those adverts you see on Facebook prove to be very useful. Last week my mum saw one for Clock Tower Dining Room inside Rochdale Town Hall. 

Clock Tower is only open Monday to Fridays till 3.30pm at the moment but I really hope its a success and they open for longer hours and at weekends. 

Luckily for me I'd booked Monday off work so we decided not to hang around and go, rather than just talking about going (does anyone else do that?) 

We decided to go earlier to have a look around as it's been quite a while since either of us last went to Rochdale.

The town is undergoing major renovation and from what you can see they've worked really hard and it's going to look fantastic.

We were a little early and made the most of the sunshine by stilling in the memorial gardens, looking across to the Town Hall.

Inside its a really beautiful building and I was in awe at how nice it is. My local town hall has been derelict for years and is now being turned into a cinema!

I really didn't know what to expect from Clock Tower, I think I was expecting just a cafe with red velvet type conference chairs. What we found was a dining room worthy of a 5 star hotel.  

I have to say we were blown away with the over all look of the room, everything from the linen table clothes, beautiful decorations and pieces of art was perfect. There is an elegance about the room which has a contemporary edge without feeling out of place with the rest of the building. 

There is a good selection from breakfasts served till 11am including full breakfast and a Welsh rarebit that might be worth booking another day off and setting off early for. 

The lunch menu is a nice mix of sandwiches, wraps, ciabatta and a couple of platters as well as Jacket potatoes and not forgetting 3 types of afternoon tea (standard, champagne & G and Tea). Not forgetting a wide selection of cakes. 

Our afternoon started with tea for two and a decision to be made. Sandwiches or afternoon tea?

I went for the ploughman's sandwich. Lancashire Cheese, roast ham, with salad and apple chutney. This was really tasty. The chutney was delicious and the bread and salad were very fresh and well put together.

My mum went for the steak and onion ciabatta and she really enjoyed it. The coleslaw was also really nice and very well received by both of us.

Although the sandwiches were very filling and we didn't need anything else the call of the cakes won and with a special offer of tea (or coffee) and cake for £3.50 it would have been rude not to.

We went for Lemon Drizzle and St Clements. I honestly can't pick a winner. You're all my favourites!

Someone on FB comments that the cake looked really small, I can assure you it's my dodgy photo skills both pieces were very generous in size and I couldn't finish my portion

Every member of the team were friendly, helpful and polite. While picking my cake I was speaking to who I'm assuming was the manager or duty manager and she was impressed we'd travelled so far (25 mins on the tram - I would travel further for good cake)

I wish them every success and think it's just what Rochdale needs.

For 2 sandwiches, 2 tea's and 2 slices of cake it was £23.50 which I was more than happy to pay and I can't stop telling people about it.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Time to say Goodbye - MUR Powder

I bought the Makeup Revolution Pressed Powder quite a while ago now and I'm sure I mentioned it in a haul post but I though now the powder is no more I'd do a catch up / review of how I found it. 

The colour I bought was translucent and I don't feel like this was a true translucent powder it was much more of a light powder and I continuously changed my mind on how I liked it.

My favourite part of this product was the packaging. I loved how the powder swung out and that there was a large mirror on the outside of the cover part of the lid.

I'm not even sure how I broke this one. One day it was fine the next it had cracked (I'm assuming I dropped it) I was going to try and take out the crumbs but some how I tipped it out of the pan. As the product doesn't cost a lot I decided against repressing it. I've just checked and it retails for £2

Over all I did like the texture of the powder and it did set my make up well. I would be tempted to repurchase this again but in a colour more suited to my skin tone.

Have you tried this powder? What did you think? What powder do you use? 

Banyan - Corn Exchange Manchester

What feel like a lifetime ago now I ventured to Banyan in the Corn Exchange for some after work food and drinks and I enjoyed it so much I thought I'd share what I had. 

I was a little early and the weather was nice to I who wasn't drinking got myself a Gin & Tonic. They have special offers on these for £5 and have a few different gins of offer. I went for a Haymans gin but asked for Slimline tonic rather than the one that comes with it (more about that later)

What sold this too me more than anything was the glass. I love these balloon glasses and the lemon peel and blueberry was a nice addition.

xchange Manchester  

For starts I went fro the Tempura Prawns with Pak Choi - I was only expecting the prawns to come in the batter.  Everything was really tasty and we were talking about going back again for this dish alone.

For main course we all went for the skewers, I had Salmon with sweet potato wedges. I was really nice but I made the wrong choice. I really wish I'd gone for the chicken with house fries.

Instead of a dessert I went for a 2nd Gin and Tonic but this time I had it with the Lemon Tonic and it was really good. 

Banyan has a varied menu and a separate vegetarian and vegan menu which I think is a nice touch. What I also noticed was there were lots of plug sockets dotted rounds the seating areas and decent wifi (you do need to register for it but it was fairly quick)

They also have a couple of private dinning rooms on the lower levels and we had a little nosy at these as we went to the loo's they'd be perfect for a baby shower or a start of a hen do.

I was really impressed with Banyan and I would be happy to go back and hope fully will do soon.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Be At One - Bar Launch

My blogging game has gone off the rails recently and I'm slowly trying to get back into regular posting. I've just looked through my drafts and found quite a few posts that have been sat with pictures but no copy. I'm hoping these don't feel too out dates but in the view of openness and honesty I wanted to say these are from a while ago.

A good few weeks ago I went to the opening of Be At One bar, which is in Barton Arcade on Deansgate. Myself and some other bloggers were treated to cocktails and a first look of this incredible new bar (or not so new by the time I press publish) 

I arrived earlier than some of the other I'd arrange to meet and I didn't feel awkward waiting on my own as all the staff were friendly and had time to stop for a chat. The only thing I found awkward was the number of handshakes I gave. All the staff asked my name, gave their name and went in for a handshake. I'm not a handshake kinda gal, but I liked the element of introductions just not the handshake.

My initial reaction when I decide on a cocktail is to head to the Gin or Vodka sections, check the drink doesn't contain cream and  order but Be At One have a cunning plan to negate the element of rick in picking something you will like. As well as a page of the Top Ten Cocktails they have a wheel of choice. There is a selection of drink types, a selection of spirits for each style of drink and on the outside it gives you suggestions.

I tried three different cocktails and the Porn Start Martini was my stand out winner, It's like a grow up solearo.

The wheel helped me pick along with the top ten cocktails page, sometimes cocktails can be a little hard to pick. I often don't know what particular flavours will taste like or even what they are. Even what they will taste like together. A taste sensation or a complete flop, the wheel got my choices pretty spot on and got me out of my comfort zone and made me try something I wouldn't have picked by looking at the menu's alone. 

I'd also like to give a mention to the bar staff, it was very busy, cocktails take a while to make but for the most part I got serves fairly quickly by the same member of the team each time. That introduction process worked for me as he remembered by name and my time waiting at the bar was fairly quickly. ( I almost wrote in a timely manner!!!!) It was worth fighting my way through the crowd to get to the same point at the bar each time! 

One more special mention to the bathroom, I'm always fascinated to see how places decorate / layout the loo's and I was very impressed. I may have even oooo'd I know I was impressed as I took pictures! (Yes I know, no one else was in at the time)

A big thank you to Be At One for the invite, the drink were complementary but all opinions are my own. I can't wait to go back with a few of my friends. 

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Slimming World Lunches

I had a wobble for quite a few weeks and last time I posted about my Slimming World journey I was in major wobble mode but I'm 97% back on track. 

I decided to start a new Instagram account to chart my progress but thought I'd share a few of my photo's on here as well. 

I get into food ruts, where I have basically the same meals for weeks on end and right now I'm back in a rut. 

I thought looking back might inspire me to make something different and I think its good to record some of the things I've enjoyed eating. 

I'm trying to use my syns as part of meals rather than as snacks. 

Since I started recording my food on Instagram I've taken 100s of photo's so thought I'd just post my lunches on this post. 

Morrisons BBQ Chicken, lettuce, Cucumber with Uncle Ben's Savoury Chicken rice

Morrisons Sweet Chill Chicken, mixed salad and cottage cheese

Home roasted ham with salad & Uncle Ben's Spicy Mexican rice

Slimming World Branded Carrot and coriander soup with some home made crustless quiches 

 Crustless Quiches with a Sainsburys greek salad

Pastrami salad with Uncle Ben's Golden Vegatable rice

Chicken Salad with Uncle Ben's Spicy Mexican Rice

Chicken Salad with Uncle Ben's Savoury Chicken rice

Slimming World Tomato Soup with a kingsmill sandwich thin

Tuna and pasta with mixed salad

Morrisons BBW Chicken, mixed salad and cottage cheese

Greek style cheese and salad

Morrisons Sweet Chill Chicken, mixed salad and cottage cheese

Tuna salad

Ham Salad

As you can see I seem to stick to a variation on a theme. I really enjoyed the crustless quiches so I will be making those again very soon and I'm now officially out of Uncle Ben's rice so I'm going to try and give that a miss for a couple of weeks.

I started to add it in as I've been having my HxB as my breakfast. I can be 100% on plan until I've had my tea and then I just want to eat and eat so I need to come up with some ideas to keep me on track post 7pm.

Tell me what you make for lunches, we have a microwave at work but no other cooking facilities.

Friday, 6 May 2016

Sugar Moon Birthday Surprise

Birthdays seem to come round quicker and quicker each year. My next birthday is tomorrow? How? It only seems like two mins since the last one. 

I'd booked today off work, mainly just to chill out and do nothing but we did pop out for a while. As I was unlocking the door the postman was a few doors down and shouted, excitedly I've got a parcel for you. Ok Mr Over excited postman, I'm only expecting the next You Beauty box and believe me that really isn't that exciting! 

Ah ok Mr Postman, this does look quite exciting! I'll forgive his enthusiasm and join him in feeling excited. I used the biggest knife we've got to burst through the tape and ooo'd all the while. 

I'm a sucker for pretty packaging and if you tie something up with brown paper and butchers twine I may love you forever. Which is exactly how these Sugar Moon Brownies arrived. 

If you then fill said brown paper and twine with Salted Caramel Brownies and post them to me for my Birthday I may well love you for ever and ever and ever.

 So while my birthday isn't until tomorrow it would have been rude to have waiting to try them. A huge thank you to my lovely friends Rebs who sent me this amazing birthday surprise.

We ate the brownies as they were but you do get a sheet of paper listing the ingredients which mentions microwaving them for up to 15 seconds and serving with icecream (Hello!). It also says they will keep for up to a week in an airtight container or you can freeze them for up to a month. 

I doubt they will last a week in my house and that has nothing to do with the quality of the product. It's birthday week, all the food all the yums. I also wouldn't subject these delicious squidgy slices of heaven to the depths of hell that is my freezer. Not even the freezer drawers want to be in there! 

I was so excited this afternoon and I tweeted and instagrammed everything. Suagr Moon tweeted me almost instantly, which is amazing. I love companies who interact and you can really get a sense of how much they love their product.

I have been looking at other flavours and I quite fancy trying the chocolate orange ones next, then maybe the toasted pecan ok all the flavours.

While I've been writing this post I may have placed an order for a box of the chocolate orange ones for my mums Birthday which is next week.

Saturday, 30 April 2016

BlogOnUk 2016 - Ice Breaker

BlogOnMSI is in the morning, I've probably left this a bit late but better late than never!

Share a recent picture of you - A selfie I took today. I'd just had my hair done. it won't look like this tomorrow!

If you had to describe yourself in three words…….
Fat (It's ok I like the word), Just me.

How long have you been blogging and what made you start?

I started my first blog in 2008 This is the first post, that blog hasn't been updated since 2012. I started it as part of a photo challenge called HSMS. I didn't really know what a blog was but as I say in that post I wanted to start a photo blog so I did. 

I then set up a second blog which was about weight loss, then about 4 years ago I discovered Plus Size bloggers and deleted all the weightless posts and roughly six months later I set up a new Gmail account and rebranded to become Seeing Spots. 

What was your favourite TV program as a child?

We've recently been talking about kids TV at work and I have a long list. Programmes that stick out are Clarissa Explains it All, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, The Queens Nose, Art Attack (but not the big picture)

Something interesting you might not know about me is . . .

I'm not a parent blogger. (ok so not interesting but it's a question I always get asked at Blog on, no I don't want children and as Laura always says it's not a parent blogger conference) 

What is the weirdest food you have ever eaten?

This is a tough one, I guess my weird food combo of choice would be fish 'n' chip crisps dipped in choc dip chocolate. Don't knock it till you've tried it. 

What was your biggest fashion faux pas?

As a child of the 80s/90s pretty much all of it, I had a velvet floppy hat in an attempt to be Six from Blossom. Shell suit, it was very tasteful black, pink and green. Cycling shorts with a pink neon stripe worn with a black tshirt with neon people on the front very similar to the CBBC logo of the time. 

What are you pet peeves?
Lateness (Ahem yes I know this post is going live less than 24 hours before BlogOn)

Who would be your 3 perfect dinner party guests (dead or alive) and why?
Another tough one, I don't know I'm not overly sociable. I think Freddie Mercury would be one, The Queen and maybe Rylan Clarke. 

We always play a game whilst watching come dine with me what would you make if Lizzie and Pip came for tea? 

If they made a movie of your life, what would it be about and which actor would play the part of you?

People always say I look like Beth Ditto, I'm not sure if this is just fat girl blindness but I'll admit to fangirling when she followed me on Instagram. 

If you could live in any sitcom, which one would it be?
Melissa and Joey, I want Melissa Joan Hart to be my BFF

Name a famous person you have met
The last one was probably Lisa Riley, but I did see Audrey from  Corrie trying to park her car outside work a couple of weeks ago.

Which social media platform best describes your personality and why?

Instagram, I'm a very visual person.

What picture do you have on lock screen on your phone / computer?
I don't think I've ever changed the lock screen on my phone, I don't really see the point and I quite like the one that came with my phone. 

How many pairs of shoes do you own?

I'd say 50ish pairs (probably more)

What period of time from the past would you most like to have lived?
I'm not sure really, maybe the 1600s or to be a teenager in the 80s

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

I'd love to go to South Africa or back to Australia now I'm old enough to appreciate it and I'd also like to visit my cousin in NZ. 

What is your guilty pleasure?
Say Yes to the Dress.

What is your favourite tipple?
GIN! (girls, drink, feck, nuns)

If you had a magic lamp and a Genie, what would be your three wishes
Patience to accept lateness
The skills to be tidy

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