Saturday, 13 May 2017

Take Refuge on Mondays

Do you like Mondays? I bet you don't. But isn't that strange? Monday's are after 2 days off so it should be the day we are most well rested - we should feel good on Monday's. Granted most of us are heading back to work, but in a job that the large majority of us chose to take so must not entirely loath the work. So Monday's are the day where we feel good and go back to something we chose - so why are they universally resented?

Well this Monday I broke with that and had the opportunity to enjoy my Monday! A friend was in town for work and therefore we caught up in the evening. I like having the chance to take people round Manchester as it gives me the self indulgence of going to all my favourite places.

So we went to Refuge. I hadn't been to refuge yet but I had heard nothing but good reviews. Plus, I used to live in that part of town and the Palace (recently renamed the Principle) is hands down my favourite building in Manchester. I used to see the red glowing neon PALACE sign on the tower and know that home was in reach. Unfortunately the neon red sign has been replaced with white PRINCIPLE but I might just forgive them because of how much I enjoyed Refuge.

I arrived uncharacteristically early and even though a large group of middle aged women dressed to the nines went into the public bar just before me, there were enough bar staff so that I immediately got served. I took my G&T over to one of the many sofas and tables scattered about the large room and contemplated what on earth the party I followed in was for.

Monica joined me and we had a good chat about life as girls catching up are prone to do. She was tickled pink by the change she got from £10 for two glasses of prosecco and I reminded her that she was not in London and more.

We had intended to just have a drink and then move elsewhere for dinner but we were enjoying ourselves in the aptly palatial setting and found it had gotten rather late. We tentatively wandered round to the dinning room and were immediately seated by the hostess. While en route to our table we walked past an indoor winter garden with actual trees. This place manages to walk the impossible line between impressively extra and sophisticatedly understated with a flare I've not seen anywhere else in Manchester - I was enthralled.

We ate fabulously. Steak, fresh tuna, fries, veggies, and possibly the best dessert I have had in a very long time: Pear and hazelnut tarte tatin with espresso custard. This was recommended by our excellent waiter and while I was apprehensive at first I now am disappointed when eating any other meal. All washed down with a carafe of wine and change out of £50 for the entire bill - is there any surprise that this place is now my favourite?

Afterwards we went to Cloud23 and continued to discuss lives, loves, and laments while surveying what seems like all of Manchester. It was one of those nights that you imagined your 20s would be but have usually been disappointed. So I urge you to take refuge on Mondays.


Sunday, 7 May 2017

NEW SERIES: I'm naff at....

I am all these things

If you're anything like me you're always trying to improve yourself but without much direction, focus, or discipline. For example I am currently I am trying to get into running, restyle my bedroom,  watch my macros, sell off/donate my clothes to get a more modular wardrobe, re-start sweat with kayla, and maintain this blog! And all of that is while still having a full time job, keep a house, and have time for friends and boyfriend. Understandably I am failing. Hard. How on earth can I do all of that at once? I am the cover girl of biting off more than I can chew and have always been. But I tell myself it's ok to find something hard because I will just try another and see if that is easy - surprisingly its not. This means that I chicane between things and generally don't achieve very much.

However, I know many very talented people who seem to have mastered something that I haven't been able to come close to, and I'm actually remarkably naff at. Therefore I have asked them how they do it - why did I not think of this before?! So over the next few months keep a look out for guest writers posting how they manage not to be naff at things and then I will spend the following week trying to copy them. Hopefully if I uni-task these things over that week combined with their case study of how they do it, I might be able to incorporate them into my life.

There will be guests writing about all types of things I would like to be better at; food, life, sport, learning, all sorts! Hopefully be the end I should be a semi functioning adult with a variety of interests and skills. I can't wait. Keep an eye out for them coming soon!


Monday, 1 May 2017

Literally every damn hour - Water Challenge Week 4

This is technically the end of week 5 not week 4 of the water challenge which sets the tone for the post. I got bored of it. Yes, I started to see skin improvements last week and that's great but I have been busier the last fortnight and therefore haven't always been able to log my water consumption. For example, drinking 3 litres a day means drinking 200ml every hour I'm awake. Literally every damn hour. Who has time for that?! If I was in a 2 hour meeting yes I can take a bottle of water and sip my way through but I work in an operational role which means I am not at my desk that much in a day. Anyway, I got bored and more than that I started to resent the full water bottle on my desk at 5pm meaning I failed to consume my target water for the working day. I still think that I have increased my liquids to over 2 litres each day but I truly doubt of I ever hit 3 litres at any point in the last 14 days.

So against my 3 goals:
  • reduced snacking - FAIL. Maybe people who found they weren't stacking as much were just so full of water they were masking hunger? I think I snacked just as much as before.
  • increased energy - INCONCLUSIVE. I don't think I had a huge increase in energy levels. They may have gone up a little but not massively. I think more I was getting up to pee more and therefore while I was up I may as well do x, y, and z. So maybe I was more productive which gave the illusion of more energy? Not sure.
  • improved skin - WIN. I do think my skin is less oily. It has been 5 weeks so I have been through my full hormone cycle and haven't had much of a breakout this month! My pores are the same size but lets not expect miracles. Less oil and dryness has been a very welcome shift.
So in conclusion: more water is good for skin but 3 litres is impractical with my personal lifestyle. Has anyone else tried this? How did you get on?


Thursday, 20 April 2017

Vino & Vinyasa @ Foundation Coffee House

@fdncoffee instagram
I did something new this week. Well actually, I did two things that I have done many times before but I did them together for the first time.

Vino & Vinyasa! An hour of vinyasa yoga followed by (not accompanied by) a large glass of wine. It's a new event held at foundation coffee house. Have you been to foundation? It's one of the most northern quarter-ey places in the northern quarter and is rapidly becoming one of my favourite spaces. While the nearby Aflecks is the fabulous pinnacle of sensory overloaded alternative culture, foundation is the calming epitome of a newer bread of Scandinavian inspired minimalistic style combined with a menu to match the meticulous d├ęcor. Their fruity kale smoothie is a personal favourite for virtuous days and their gin selection is for the other days!

I am usually more of a pilates kind of gal being a scientifically person and prone to the giggles at silly names. However, this time I think yoga was what I needed. Marley from Vida Yoga guided us through some fairly dynamic yoga which I found myself concentrating quite hard on! I like to push myself in most things so I found myself pushing to be as flexible as the person in front of me and as balanced as the person next to me. My mind has been pretty full recently and the combination of being fairly lousy at yoga and a brain full of thoughts created a little bubble of clarity - why do I have to try so hard at everything? Doing the basic triangle pose is fine, I don't need to extend into the bound version. Likewise with what was in my head. Once I stopped trying to extend into mental bound triangle pose it got a lot calmer and more enjoyable.


Wednesday, 19 April 2017

CLRCFF - I'm excited

@clrcff Instagram

Is your newsfeed full of clear coffee? Because mine is, and if yours isn't then I am slightly concerned about what google knows about me. If you have missed it it's THIS. So Jesus may have turned water into wine but CLRCFF has created a way to make coffee look like water. Apparently the idea came from the coffee addict owners being annoyed at coffee stained teeth. This is an issue, combined with a healthy red wine habit, which is apparently costing me £300+ at the dentists to remedy - not that I've quite got round to it yet. I might have to swap bleaching my hair for bleaching my teeth. What is it with modern beauty standards with changing colours of things? Hair lighter, teeth whiter, skin tanner, brows darker, eyelashes darker, cheekbones lighter! Gah what's wrong with my natural blotchy pink complexion and my mouse hair? 

Back to coffee. Already articles have popped up in cosmopolitan, the independent, the huffingtonpost, and even a slightly scaremongering article in the sun. They are selling to UK at £5.99 for 2 200ml bottles or £14.99 for 5. Some of the articles comment that it seems expensive but at £3* a bottle and free delivery for the 5 pack seems a good deal. Starbucks is more than that, as is a large red bull (equivalent caffeine content and that comes with all the added sugars and gas in the world). So I've ordered some. The 2 pack for now but I'm excited. I will let you know when it arrives!


* a previous version of this post stated £2 - that was my math fail