Jake Shoes Review

I’d love to begin this blog post with a happy birthday shoutout to Jake Shoes, an independent shoe retailer based in the North West, with bases in Stockport and Manchester City Centre. they celebrate 40 years of business this year, staying strong when many small independents have been closing down. I support small businesses however I can as a blogger, and in the run up to Christmas, shopping small and local is more important than ever!

I’m rather sheepish to say that I didn’t get them a gift for their birthday, but instead they sent me a very generous gift which I’m sharing with you today.

These amazing Vagabond Chelsea boots!

Jake Shoes Vagabond Boots

Chelsea boots are a wardrobe staple, and I have to admit I’ve been hankering after a pair for a while. I’m rather fussy with boots – high street copies of real leather styles just don’t cut it, both visually and in terms of how they feel on your feet.

These Chelsea boots are real leather, and after wearing them in with extra thick socks I can envisage them being comfortable for years to come.

the elastic around the ankle is robust yet gives enough for me to tuck in my jeans. I love the rich tan colour of the leather, they are perfect for autumn days, and will carry me well into winter and spring with the durable heels and soles. They are available in various other colours and styles, too.

I found them pleasantly neat on my feet – as a size 7 chunky boots make me feel rather stomp-y.

I styled them with my skinny jeans from Next and my zip grey tee from M&S.

I made my selection by using their new website, which is easy to navigate and filter down to style or brand of my choosing.

Jake Shoes Vagabond Boots Jake Shoes Vagabond Boots Jake Shoes Vagabond Boots Jake Shoes Vagabond Boots

Jake Shoes do their own designs as well, which you can browse on their website – I must admit I’ve got my eye on a few pairs of shoes at the moment!

Thank you so much to Jake Shoes for the opportunity to write for them. It’s always great to support Manchester Businesses, and see the Northern powerhouse growing.

The boots were selected by me and sent as a gift from Jake Shoes, however all opinions are my own!

Jake Shoes Vagabond Boots

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Lunya deli manchester

It’s arrived – Lunya Deli opens in Manchester

Although I embrace my current Manc situation and the Manc way of life, I spent 4 years of my life in Liverpool where I studied at University. Liverpool is so much smaller than Manchester, yet in spite of that has a lot going on within it’s condensed city centre.

Bold street is the Northern Quarter of Liverpool. It has one of the oldest China Towns in the UK; Students form a  sizeable portion of the population of the city, and cultures live happily side by side in the  form of restaurants and eating establishments as you might expect in any multicultural city.

Nestled behind BBC Merseyside HQ just off Hanover street was a Catalan Deli & Restaurant called Lunya. Me and Matt (boyfriend back then, Husband now) used to visit there as often as budget allowed, and we absolutely loved the food. The vibe was simple, unpretentious. They let the food do all of the talking.

Can you imagine our delight when we heart it was making the journey along the M62 to Manchester?

Lunya deli manchester

We were invited to attend their launch evening last weekend, and we rubbed our hands together with excitement, keen to revisit old favourite dishes and perhaps try new ones- after all, they were offering 50% off the bill!

Barton Arcade Manchester
Barton Arcade – a jewel often overlooked on Manchester’s Deansgate

The new digs in the Stunning Barton Arcade on Deansgate are perfect. Walking in, I immediately felt at home with the simplistic interior of warm dark red walls and dark wooden furniture. We were seated at the bar and placed a drink ordered before being taken to our seats in the dining area upstairs.

Lunya deli bar

We ordered a number of dishes ; Croquettes (a personal addiction), Ox Cheeks (by far the most beautiful thing in existence), Cuttlefish with black rice, Goats Cheese, and a deli platter featuring delicious cuts of Spanish meats and hard cheeses.

All food comes at different times, and no single dish disappointed us in terms of presentation or flavour. You can browse their menu here but I note that some of the Manc specials are absent.

As well as their expansive tapas menu, Lunya offers a variety of world-wide gins, beautiful Spanish wines and has a fantastic cocktail menu – here’s my passion fruit Mojito!

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Lunya comes along on the tide of a much welcomed culinary explosion in Manchester’s city centre in recent months, with the unveiling of eateries in the newly refurbished Corn Exchange alongside news of the expansion of well-loved Northern quarter restaurants into the Great Northern Building.

Not that Manchester could ever be accused of offering a lack of choice, it’s just that often one has to travel outside of the city to find the gems, when if you simply want to fall into the nearest place and be guaranteed a good meal, then the new openings will be sure to deliver just that.

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Lunya Deli

Solita Prestwich Menu

SoLita Manchester – Prestwich Launch

This weekend my husband and I visited our newly opened and local SoLita restaurant- Manchester’s finest burger restaurant in my opinion. There appears to be a bit of an abundance of the super-junk-food joints springing up across the city, but to me, SoLita has managed to remain honest and unpretentious (Almost Famous goes just a bit too far for me to enjoy eating there).

What we like about it, is if you don’t quite fancy a burger there’s still a great selection of delicious dishes in the form of Chicken, Steak, Fish or otherwise that you don’t miss out!

For the first 2 weeks of service there is 50% off the food bill, so its a great time to try it out if you’ve never been, or even if you have! We ended up paying a mere £40 and I had two cocktails. The same price as  TGI Friday’s and at least two times as good.

The Prestwich restaurant is sleek and cool, while managing to blend into it’s surroundings – apart from the trademark neon logo in the window and the lego brickwork that is!

We ordered Ribs, Wings Rings and Things for starter to share (What it says on the tin – the things being corn on the cob), which was delicious, totally gluttonous and finger lickin’ good.

Solita's Ribs, Wings, Rings and Things
Ribs, Wings, Rings and Things

We each ordered a burger, my husband opting for their famous “Big Manc” burger, and me for the Jack Daddy, with Sweet potato crinkles – so delicious!

Big Manc Solita
Holy mother of burgers
Jack Daddy - Beef patty, sticky Jack Daniels sauce with onion rings and monterey Jack cheese.
Jack Daddy – Beef patty, sticky Jack Daniels sauce with onion rings and monterey Jack cheese.

And because evidently that food wasn’t enough (!!!!!) we shared the SoLita Vanilla Icecream Donut Sandwich! Warm chocolate sauce with dark chocolate chunks… delicious!

vanilla icecream donut sandwich
vanilla icecream donut sandwich

These Prestwich digs make their restaurant number up to 3, with the Northern Quarter and Didsbury restaurants,too. All I can say is, long may it reign. The food is delicious, the service was great, and it helps that I live so close by so I can waddle home after eating so much food!

Thank you, Solita! Take a look at their menu – what do you fancy?

neon sign "Pho"

What the Pho?

Hello! This one is a bit of a foodie post for you today!

I recently attended a launch event for the Manchester branch of Pho (apparently the dish is pronounced “Fuh”),a Vietnamese street food restaurant which has restaurants in London and Leeds. It was actually my first foray into Vietnamese food, so I was glad to have a seasoned foodie at my side in Roisin of Dromomania blog!

The Restaurant has opened within the iconic Manchester Corn Exchange which nestles between the Manchester Cathedral and listed Tudor pub Sinclairs Oyster Bar. I’m so pleased that this incredible listed Edwardian building, previously used as a trading hub within the powerhouse of the North that it Manchester, is being revived and will be filled with people once more. There’s loads of placed opening where you can go for somewhere to eat, outside of the crazy hubub of the Northern Quarter.

Anyway, back to Pho.

The decor was industrial, with touches of street-style. Filament bulbs, neon signs and simple wooden topped tables and benches,with the odd graffiti art on the walls and exposed pipework- an idea setting for a street food restaurant! We were seated on a long bench and the menu was explained to us by a lovely waitress. Every table is set with a variety of chillli sauces (proceed with caution), Hoisin Sauce and soy.

neon sign "Pho"

Table setting

I ordered;

Starters

Cánh gà – Seasoned, crispy chicken wings served with srirachia &a portion of Prawn Crackers to share.

Verdict : Delicious! I love crispy chicken, and this didn’t disappoint. however it was served with the same sauce that is on the table – a little more inventiveness wouldn’t have gone amiss.

crispy chicken wings at Pho

Mains

Phở đặc biệt – Tiger prawns, tofu & flash fried steak with garlic in beef stock (or some variant of this, as the menus vary from sites!)

my husband's dish - I can't remember what he had!!!
my husband’s dish – I can’t remember what he had!!!

Phở đặc biệt - Tiger prawns, tofu & flash fried steak with garlic in beef stock

Verdict : This was served with a plate of herbs and spices and chilis that I could add at my leisure. I chucked in some mint and chilli, and some of the other herbs. This was a nice touch, as the broth of this dish can be a bit flat. You slurp this with a large wooden laden and chopsticks. I didn’t find this difficult at all, and actually quite fun! There could have been more beef for my taste, and the sauce really lacked seasoning (even with my added herbs!) Fun to eat, though, and tasty nonetheless.

We also ordered a good few sides to sample;

The morning glory went down really well, and was absolutely delicious! I love spinach anyway, and the dressing was divine.

Coffee & Tea

We ordered vietnamese coffee (Cà phê) out of curiosity, as it was served with delicious condensed milk! Actually quite a delicious Pick Me Up!

I also had a lemongrass and Ginger infused tea – a perfect digestif!

Service

Couldn’t really fault it. We were served in a timely manner, and when I asked for extra care to be taken with regards to my peanut allergy, the staff were accommodating and conscientious. I ate happy and safely! We were offered drink refills regularly (fantastic Vietnamese beer by the way!) and the staff were happy to talk through the menu and dishes when asked.

Bia Saigon at Pho

Overall, I had a great time at Pho, and would go again to try different dishes and stick with some favourites! Thank you for having me, Pho!

Bernese Mountain Dog

Lovingly Handmade handbag Charms by MisHelenEous

Cupcake charms

Hello all!

Very excited to share with you some beautiful and specially made hand-crafted items from the wonderful Mancherster-based MisHelenEous! Mascotted by Helen’s late beautiful border Terrier Whiskey, and now by the adorable puppy Heidi, MisHelenEous is about as British Handmade as British handmade gets. She’s a crafty one this one!

Are you a Radley lover? Ever felt marginalised because although you kinda like Scottie dogs you’ve always been more of a, say, Collie person? Look no further! Helen specialises in crafting bespoke pieces – handbag charms/keyrings of our favourite dog breeds. As a cat lover (and all round general animal lover really) Britain is a nation of dog lovers and we love our pooches than much that their iconography blends easily into our fashion and into our home furnishings!

I chose this Bernese Mountain dog charm, because I of the opinion that the bigger the dog the better – but if Beagles, Welsh Terriers or Chihuahuas are more your bag, she’s got you covered! These would make fantastic gifts for friends and family (sorry to remind you but Christmas is creeping up!)

Bernese Mountain Dog

bernese mountain dog keyring
hungry dog!
burnese Mountain Dog
Have dog, will travel

If dogs aren’t your thing, then surely a GBBO lover would appreciate this adorable cupcake? or perhaps this beautiful hand knitted rose brooch?

2015-08-15 09.54.03 cupcake handbag charm

CAKE!!!

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I never tire of saying that supporting small businesses is really important to me – these people are the foundation stone of our economy and of Britishness itself!

If you like what you see, or want to explore her other items (Doggie clothing, bunting and much more) please visit her Etsy shop or contact her on the details below!

misheleneous contact details

Disaronno Terrace at The Oast House w/ All We Are

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Hello everyone!

Yesterday evening I was invited to attend a special summer event held at The Oast House,  a beautiful rustic countryfarm-esque food and drink venue nestled in the heart of Spinningfields, Manchester’s financial district.

I was really excited for this,  as All We Are were playing a live set –  this trio, describing themselves as “Bee-gees on Diazipam” are really making waves in the music scene and I sense big things will come of them. I was lucky enough to get to see them perform at a small intimate gig at Manchester’s Deaf Institute in March of this year, and I jumped at the chance to see them perform here.

The Oast House is a really unique venue in Manchester, boasting a spacious open area with wooden tables scattered beneath a high-peaked canopy. This canopy came in rather useful,  as typically for a Manchester summer it began to pour it down! Guests were provided with big squashy outdoor cushions to furnish the steps around the periphery of the venue, lending it a cosy atmosphere all round.

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I could have drank so many Disaronno sours, too – So delicious!

At this event I also met with a fellow Manchester blogger,  DromomaniaMCR! Roisin was so lovely,  and while were waiting for the band we shared thoughts on all things to do with blogging in Manchester,  the North’s power house!

In spite of the terrible weather, All We Are rocked out a 45 minute set including ‘Ebb/Flow’, ‘Feel Safe’ and concluding with my favourite ‘Keep me Alive’. Norwegian Guro Gikling’s voice was absolutely on point all the way through, smashing out high warbling notes that seriously compromise spinal integrity. The handsome Irishman Richard O’Flynn took to the drums with zeal and energy, with Brazilian Luis Santos focused and zen-like as he created trippy echoing guitar loops and switched it up with the tambourine from time to time.

I was not disappointed with these guys, and would gladly watch them perform again and again.

All We Are on Set

 

All We Are on Set
Final song for the set, “Keep Me Alive”.

 

Posted by Thriftybloggeruk!
Want to ask a question? Leave a comment or Email me over at Thriftybloggeruk@outlook.com x

manbeeco

ManBeeCo

Manchester Bee Company
manbeeceThe worker bee was adopted as a symbol of Manchester during the industrial revolution, when it was leading the way for the rest of the country in mass production techniques. In fact, you can find bees everywhere in Manchester City Centre to this day!

ManBeeCo is a Manchester-based company(obviously) and they create cool items inspired by Manchester’s history, and the symbolism of the worker bee.

Anita, the busy Queen of the hive at ManBeeCo, very kindly send me this cool bee pin (I absolutely love bees, I was so excited about this!) and a custom hotel room key keyring- they offer a custom service to have anything you like written on one, and in a range of colours.

I opted to have something made that incorporated both my blog name and some of that good old Manc cheekiness. I think I managed to nail it with “Thrifty So + So”. Thanks Anita, it’s awesome!

If you’re lucky enough to live in Manchester, you can shop their items at the exclusive stockist the Royal Exchange Theatre Gift Shop, on St Anne’s Square!

custom keyring manbeeco

I absolutely love the attitude of some of the designs! It’s so Mancunian- If you’re a proud Manc then there’s definitely something here for you at ManBeeCo.

Visit their websiteEtsy Shop or Instagram page!

manbeeco bee pin
isn’t he adorable?!

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Thanks for reading xx

Last week in pictures

Ok, so I don’t normally like using selfies as a word in general – we’ve been taking photos like this since smartphones got cameras and they were never always called that! So I’ll stick with the rather archaic term ‘pictures’.

I’ve had a really turbulent couple of weeks and the storm is still passing so bear with me on the post quality side of things. I thought I would share 3 photos taken last week, where somehow I manage to look totally different in each one – I hope to look even more different still as this Saturday I am finally going blonde! Ok, not peroxide, just a few highlights, but understand this is a big move for a lifelong brunette.

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I’ve recently decided, after seeing the wonderful effects of black and white photos in my wedding album, that I should use it more. Sometimes cameras don’t always capture colour to the best effect, and in actual fact its the emotion that is more key to the image. I’m wearing a simple black long sleeved top from M&S with my Aubergine fox necklace (see my last blog post!)

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I’m still new to short hair – getting it cut this short was a big move for me as a girl that’s always had long hair, but I like it. It takes more maintenance funnily enough, and even here a month after the first cut it really needs cutting. I’m planning on going even shorter, around the jawline. I have a heart shaped face, I’ve learned after years of thinking I was oval, so I can embrace the bob wholeheartedly!

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I actually bothered to do my hair properly on Friday night! I was taking my husband out for a meal to celebrate…. well, just in general! We don’t always get the chance to go somewhere really special – we went to Australasia in Manchester’s snazzy Spinningfields – and I bought a indigo blue dress from Mango for the occasion. It wasn’t anything super flashy – a silky effect skater dress with a little missing diamond at the base of the spine – I always get compliments from my other half when I wear blue, and that night was just for him!

So next time I post I’ll either have blond hair and love it, or have green hair and be panicking! Get your tips ready girls!

Jess xo

Lunchtime wander – Photography, Umbrellas and Food!

I work in Salford Quays in the North West, and today has been the first rainy day for a while. Still the temperature remains around 12 degrees Centigrade – not quite coat and scarf weather, much to my disappointment (I like scarves, ok?!)

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Anyway, I popped out, and the skies were torn between sunshine and dark angry rain clouds – the visual effect is very striking.

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Tights / Emilio Cavellini | Shoes / Footglove Marks & Spencer | Coat / Warehouse 

I still soldiered on wearing my nice and thick wool coat from Warehouse, carrying my trusty Clas Ohlson Umbrella – seriously ladies, this thing NEVER struggles with wind and rain and has been going strong for some time. Fully extended umbrellas might not be as easy to carry around, but having gone through as many umbrellas as I have, trust me that this one is a steal and a treasure!!

To eat, I trialed out this really tasty Blueberry White tea drink, from Tesco. Really refreshing, and 150cals per bottle (500ml). I also couldn’t resist buying some Tunnock’s wafers – British confectionery at it’s finest, and I just adore the packaging. Now I just need to decide if I should eat 1 or all of them!!!!

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Happy friday everyone.