Introducing : Tangled up in Blooms #Mcr

Good morning all! It’s been a while since I posted on my blog but I am back to bring you news of an exciting newcomer to the Manchester independent business scene.

Introducing Tangled up in Blooms! Just look at that gorgeous website.

 

A unique service delivering beautiful fresh blooms to the city of Manchester, set up by the lovely Nikki. We met up a few weeks ago, on my birthday in fact! – and she hand-delivered a stunning and unique wildflower bouquet to me. What struck me was that the blooms were the sort you’d never find in a supermarket flower section, but that deserved to be celebrated and admired. I’m more of the wild and wonderful type when it comes to floristry anyway, versus over manicured blooms.

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Chrysanthemums need little protective nets!

The bouquet contained Eucalyptus, Chrysanthemums, carnation and Ranunculus – plus some other Heather-like foliage I don’t know the name of! It smelled great, and the Chrysanthemums looked stunning once opened up fully.

 

So how does it work?

Well, Every Monday morning, Nikki trots off to the flower market while we are all still tucked up in bed to select the blooms for her weekly bouquets. Each week, there are 2 seasonal bouquets at either £25 for a standard bunch or £35 for a double bouquet. Neat, eh? Check out her Instagram feed for that week’s beautiful blooms.

This not only includes delivery but a donation to Manchester based homeless charity Mustard Tree. Supporting a good cause, and also a local business!

To make things even more convenient, TUIB offer subscriptions so a lovely bunch will arrive every week, fortnight or month on a day of your choice.

Use code VDAYLOVE for 15% off a Valentine’s day Bouquet.

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Bundobust – Indian Vegetarian Streetfood Comes to Manchester

I was kindly invited  last night to one of the two private launch evenings for another Manchester Newcomer, Bundobust. Not being massively familiar with the Leeds food scene, I hadn’t heard of it before, and had to take to Google to suss it out!

Bundobust is, in four words, Delicious Indian Vegetarian Streetfood. You won’t find any meat options on their menu, though you might rejoice (should you be the unlucky carnivore) to see their wide range of craft beers on tap.

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it took us a little while to find it, located in the basement beside a Subway on Piccadilly (the corner of Portland street by Piccadilly Gardens), though the entrance once spotted is pretty cool. You descend beneath a purposefully ‘Hinglish’ sign stating “Welcome Please”, into a cool, long subterranean restaurant, split by booths and long tables and benches. The furniture and fixtures are a pleasant mish-mash of reclaimed 90s breezeblock, woodchip and glass panes, alongside new orange leather-look booths and fresh formica-style tables. Not to mention the really cool custom Bundobust Hindi posters – I need to get me one of the Beehive ones…

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We ordered 4 dishes and some rice, settling for Bhajis, Punjabi Khadi, Tarka Dhal, Chole Bhatura. I chose a half of their craft beer, Bombay Dazzler, which pairs really well with the spiced Indian food due to the presence of cardamom et al.

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The food was served in card pots, the same material as coffee cups, and you use plastic cutlery and paper plates that are laid ready in the centre of the table. I did wonder if these were recyclable at all, as this restaurant would generate rather a lot of waste otherwise!

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VERDICT

Manchester is already lucky enough to have a Mowgli, which in my view is a “level-up” from Bundobust in it’s interior style, the manner in which food is served (metal tins and proper plates, versus plastic cutlery and paper plates and serving pots), and for the fact they offer both vegetarian and carnivore menus.

That said, I enjoyed Bundobust. It was effortless in it’s interior style- I could see myself enjoying a drink or two over a light lunch at the weekend – they offer a 2 for £7 lunch menu. The music was fun and energetic, I loved the orange & mint colour scheme and the eclectic fittings and decorations. The staff were really friendly, and the loos get a big thumbs up for their amazing tiling!

thanks to  Simon at I Like Press for organising the evening.

 

 

Leaf Manchester – Pudding Club Review 

Hello everyone! 

For those of you based in or near Manchester, or even those of you who frequent Liverpool’s Bold Street, you must know about Leaf.

Leaf is a tea room with a difference. There are no chintz fabrics in sight here (though it has its place, don’t get me wrong), and tea is not it’s only USP. 

Gin specialist, tea retailer, and events space, Leaf has something for everyone, not to mention delicious food and white marble tables a blogger could drool over. 

See?

The team at Manchester’s Leaf, found on Portland Street in a spacious high ceilinged space with industrial and scandi vibe decor, kindly invited me to attend their inaugural Pudding club! 

What it says on the tin – pudding club is a must visit for those with a sweet tooth. Five – yes , five! – courses of pudding! Not only that, each dessert is matched to and served alongside a specially picked Leaf tea. 

Having viewed the menu, I realised one course was a no-go for me as a peanut allergy sufferer. Emma, the lovely general manager hailing from Liverpool, took great care of me and substituted my course with little fuss. 

First up came the star dish  from my point of view : matcha Tea doughnuts with a warm white chocolate sauce. The Matcha worked beautifully with the dough/batter (what do you call it?!) and the chocolate sauce was delicious!  

Matcha tea doughnuts

My husband, ever the sugar addict, favoured the pineapple soaked in rum and served with a rich caramel cream. 

Charred Pineapple with Kraken Rum

We also enjoyed courgette cake, peanut butter mousse (I had lemon & poppyseed cake instead for this course) and heavy rich chocolate truffles with pink peppercorns. At this point I threw in the towel! Those things were as big as they look. 

Peanut butter mousse, with salted popcorn

Chocolate & pink peppercorn truffles

Emma made a wonderful host, teaching us about tea and explaining the health benefits of the components. Her passion for her job was very clear and she was such a pleasure to talk to! 

Leaf pudding clubs are hosted once per month, cost an amazing £15.99 per ticket – keep an eye on their instagram or on their Manchester Listings for details of all upcoming events. They host bookclubs and music events, to name a couple. 

Show Leaf some love! 

Leaf Portland Street
Leaf Portland Street

Lemon & poppyseed cake

&other stories scent review 

Hello! I’ve not blogged in a long while, but a lot has gone on since my earlier post on my favourite bee items for the home.

Work work work!

Well I finally managed to get away for a holiday and thought I would share with you the bits and bobs I took with me. I enjoy going shopping for holidays, it’s extra special!

I had wanted to purchase a new fragrance but couldn’t justify spending over £40 – however  & other stories was on hand to help! They’ve opened in Manchester recently and I’m in love with EVERYTHING!

They have a lovely range of scents, available in eau de parfum at a very reasonable £26 (from memory), however they sell body sprays at £12 for 150ml, or a very reasonable £5 for a smaller bottle at 50ml.

I chose the super sweet and girly ‘Punk Bouquet’ and the more delicate, sensual ‘Floral Momento’.

Punk Bouquet reminds me immediate of heady candy floss laced with vanilla for a fun, punchy scent. Top notes are Almond, Tangerine, Green Apple, with a heart of Cyclamen, Tiger Orchid, Lotus Flower and a base of Vanilla, Tonka Beans and Tree Moss.

Floral momento is sweet, powdery Violet on a bed of bergamot.

I highly recommend all of their scents –  browse here.

Pictured is also a raw stone long necklace, from Accessorize and great value at £10!

Have you tried & other stories yet? Aren’t they amazing!

My favourite Bee Products

Hello everyone!

I’ve been really enjoying these bee-related products recently and thought I’d share them on here.

Treaclemoon are an amazing ethical brand, making really affordable bath &  body products in cute packaging, and available in your local Tesco.

Their honeycomb secret range reminds me of Crunchies and cake –  it’s deliciously scented and warming.

Paired with are two Library of a fragrance bee related scents, honey and beeswax. Honey is sold out I believe,  but take my work for it when I say it’s gorgeous and trademark sweet.

Bees wax does remind me of furniture polish, and for that reason would serve well as a room spray rather than a wearable scent to give a space that just cleaned scent!

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I already have one fantastic bee pin in my collection from the inimitable Manchester Bee Company but when I saw this one from Rosebud Casson  I had to own it! The wings are pearly and glittery and the gold and bronze detail on the abdomen is lovely.

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Finally, there’s this: this amazing Bee Mug from an artist Sophie Cunningham who knocks about at Maker’s Markets in Manchester from time to time. She’s absolutely brilliant, so check out her shop!

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I hope you enjoyed this post even half as much as I enjoy these bee items!

Love x

Gig Review : Cattle & Cane at Gulliver’s Mcr

This is something I normally post about, but actually I don’t care! It’s my blog (ner ner!)

Cattle & Cane were a band that I had been peripherally aware of for a number of years, but had never, for whatever reason, explored in any great detail. Purchasing three tickets was a reaction to finding their gig pop up into my email account from a music events round up mailing list, and with it being close to Christmas. The tickets were for my Dad, you see, as a gift!

I’d plonk them into the folk camp (if forced to by my own self-inflicted rigid Spotify categorisation laws) though that in itself would be a gross misjustice. They’re so much more than that.

The band is made up entirely of the Hammill siblings (except the drummer) and their close ties as a family drives perfect synchronous harmonies across tracks like ‘We were Children’ and ‘Home’ and the off-album track ‘Infant Hercules‘, penned about the industrial rise and fall of Teeside (their home county).

Their debut album ‘Home’ contains a mixture of uplifting and foot-stomping tracks that will have you imagining you were driving along a dusty track road in central America, not Teeside or Manchester!

Cattle & Cane were captivating, energetic and perfect in their harmonies, comfortable on stage and engaging with their very close knit fan-base (it seemed many had followed them from Teeside to Manchester!).

The venue was Gulliver’s, on Oldham Street, a renowned indie venue in Manchester’s Northern Quarter.

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Top marks, I look forward to tracking this band and watching them perform again soon. Learn more about them here.

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Manchester Restaurant Launches of 2015

Good morning readers. This post is a brain dump all about food blogger events –  please bear with me as I have a slight rant! It’s a bit of a round up of all my thoughts following a good season of foodie events to attend in the back half of 2016.

Manchester has been blessed with the arrival of a lot of new eating establishments recently, whether it be UK chains setting up shop here or Local Manchester restaurants branching out into new city locations. This is all positive stuff. A more competitive space and prices, more jobs in Manchester…

But one thing has been bugging me for a while and I have to get it off my chest.

Launch events.

The good, the bad and the ugly.

I’ve been to them all.

I’m always grateful to be invited to events held by restaurants opening in a new area, and they’re enormously important for getting the word out.

However execution is the key.

What do I mean? Well first, if you’re inviting people to experience a cuisine they’re never tried, or if your restaurant is supposed to have an exclusive,  VIP vibe, then to me there are ways that you can present the experience in its best light.

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Vapiano in the Mcr Corn Exchange

I’ve been to a restaurant launch  where they made bookings open to people who had registered interest, and the bill was completely covered. This meant people got the full dining experience intended by the restaurant, whilst allowing the staff to iron out any teething  issues in the service. The atmosphere was relaxed, the menu was fully observed and explored by visitors… The drinks menu was actually narrowed down to their house beer, which I ended up loving!

(I reviewed my full experience of Pho, Manchester’s Vietnamese Street food joint, here).

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A bowl of Pho!

This was done really well,  and I speak very highly of the restaurant in question to anyone who asks me about it.

Another couple of launches were free affairs too, but the focus was less food more drink. And I mean a lot of alcohol. I enjoyed my visit to Cabana Brasil, because who doesn’t like caipirihnas?

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Cabana restaurant front

Food was carried around on plates like canapés and whilst it was delicious I cannot help but think that this isn’t really the best way of presenting the restaurant and it’s ambience on a normal day. Not to mention the fact that I had attended with every intention of reviewing the food, and didn’t have an opportunity to photograph any food (unless it was on a cocktail stick…)

although I did take a moment to snap my Caipirihna before I drank it all!
although I did take a moment to snap my Caipirihna before I drank it all!

The party at this place really kicked off, people were dancing on tables…  They most likely had a great time, sure, but are they expecting that on a Tuesday lunch? Or a Saturday dinner service?! Not likely.

Another restaurant launch crammed the place full of so many people it was impossible to get anything to eat! What I managed to get seemed tasty, but I wasn’t won over by the ambience of the place as it didn’t seem to know what it wanted to be. Again, I was unable and unwilling to review this place and this visit, as it wouldn’t be a true reflection of a normal evening service.

Lastly, I wanted to mention the exception that proves the rule : Bakchich. Bakchich is a Moroccan & Arabic street food restaurant that was founded in Liverpool and has recently opened a branch in Manchester – (see blog post here for a more in depth review.) They cited the event as being specifically fo bloggers and would be themed around Afternoon tea, but Arabic Style. They looked after us really well, the service was excellent, and it delivered exactly what it said on the tin, in spite of this not being their normal style of serving up food, it gave me a great sample of the variety on their menu, and most importantly I didn’t go hungry!

Bakchich "spread"! As you can see we were well fed and not overcrowded!
Bakchich “spread”! As you can see we were well fed and not overcrowded!

In summary, if I was to advise a restaurant on a launch event I’d give them this check list.

  • know your audience : who are you targeting?
  • ambience : what vibe are you creating and how can you keep this as contact as possible.
  • Bloggers or public : if you invite a few bloggers, be prepared to compensate them, even if it’s covering the bill. If you’re event is public don’t always expect content to be pushed out automatically covering your launch!
  • Set up : if you’re going for a party vibe, make that apparent so less people leave disappointed (and hungry!)

Thanks for indulging me! We’re you able to relate to any of this? Leave me a comment below!

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me at Bakchich enjoying an Arabic coffee

Bakchich & Arabic Afternoon Tea

Last weekend I was invited to attend a blogger event at the newly launched Manchester branch of Bakchich, whose flagship restaurant can be found on the coolest street in Liverpool, Bold Street.

You’ll find it tucked down Chester Street, off Oxford Road, nestled in the heart of a buzzing student area. Keep your peepers peeled for this sign.

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The event was themed around Arabic afternoon tea, which was a very intriguing concept to me. I’m not overly enamored by British Afternoon tea. I prefer Cheese scones to fruit, and I’d take pie over cake if given the choice (I know I’m totally Northern, and proud).

We were greeted warmly by Gary, the General Manager, possibly (and I mean this in a highly complimentary way) the most Manc person I’ve met in a long while. Floral shirt button up the top, and rocking a haircut the Gallagher brothers would approve of (approval being some form of curt nod, following by an utterance of “Kid”).

After being seated and plied with Morroccan Tea (mint, green tea and a generous injection of brown sugar make up this delicious traditional brew, poured from a great height to generate bubbles), I took I few moments to appraise the interior.

You’ll find the staple beauty that are Morroccan tiles and prints, splashed across walls, floors and the menus in various guises and palettes; interspersed with burnished copper, filament bulbs and an urban vibe in the wall art and the tables and chairs.

What followed was a flurry of dishes being circulated between myself and my Husband and the other couple who had attended – well known and well loved Arabic, Moroccan and Lebanese favourites in miniature form – Shawarma, falafel, Lebanese Sausage, Halloumi, Manakeesh… As well as many other things I can’t recall the names of.

You can browse the full menu here.

One of the main highlights for me was actually the variety of soft drinks that were served – 3 different types of handmade Lemonades, blended with mint and limes, Rose, or pomegranate and orange blossom. They were all absolutely delicious, so fragrant and refreshing. None of the photos I took were very flattering but you will have to take my word for it that they looks beautiful, too.

The main delight of the event for me was meeting Amine (Pronounced Eh-min I believe, and apologies to him if I’ve spelled it wrong!). Founder of the restaurant, he served us many of the dishes and explained to us what they were, if they were vegetarian and what they were made of. He came to sit with is while we were enjoying our pastries and Arabic Coffee and we chatted happily to him about his passion for serving fresh handmade food. Amine was delightful, sharing our enthusiasm for Liverpool, where my husband and I used to live, and also sharing our joy that so many Indie restaurants are finding a home in Manchester.

His main vision, he said, was to make sure his food was tasty enough and also very importantly, affordable enough to have families dine with him as often as they chose. His menu is very reasonably priced; his food, right down to even the dips was clearly hand made with love and care, and his staff were friendly and welcoming.

Thank you to Amine for hosting us, we had a wonderful time – my husband was the happiest I have seen him in a while when that dish of pastries was placed before him!

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You can be sure we will come back, and I will tell everyone I know that Bakchich is delicious, and affordable.

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Feeling the Lebanese vibe

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A sweet creation retro sweets box

Xmas Gifts for a Sweet Tooth!

This post falls into so many categories for me, I’m so excited about it!

Firstly, SWEETS! Secondly, Small & Local & Handmade Business! tick, tick tick!

But seriously, this post contains two beautiful candy-related items from two different sellers which would make great Christmas gifts for a loved one or a friend – the best thing about it is that they won’t break the bank, and you’ll be supporting a small business in the process.

First up are these Retro sweetie boxes from A Sweet Creation, A Manchester confectionery seller who also specialize in events.

These boxes cost only £5 each, and can be ordered directly from their Facebook page by following the link here! Items come giftwrapped and with a blank gingerbread man tag to write out. They always respond super quickly to messages, so don’t hesitate to have a chat about placing an order.

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candy box!

Secondly, is a piece of jewellery almost good enough to eat!

If you have a female friend with a super sweet tooth and penchant for jewellery, then look no further than this ADORABLE miniature sweetie jar necklace, created by the very talented Caroline at Tiny Treat Boutique. Her pieces are exquisitely detailed and really reasonably priced. Go and have a browse of her Etsy shop for other pieces. You can get anything from hot dogs to cake! I chose this piece because I literally cannot resist a coconut wheel.

Tiny Treat Boutique miniature pick and mix necklace
Tiny Treat Boutique miniature pick and mix necklace

Tiny Treat Boutique miniature pick and mix necklace Tiny Treat Boutique miniature pick and mix necklace

The detail is incredible, and the quality is brilliant. I love wearing this piece, almost as much as I love Pick n Mix!

Want more Christmas gift ideas for Booklovers? Or for that person who has geeky interests, ranging from insects to video games? Check out my Geek Pinterest board!

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