Thursday, 8 June 2017

Viking Arty Party at King Street Townhouse, Manchester


A few weeks ago I finally got to attend an event I'd been super excited about for some time!

Organised by Viking Direct, their day of arts and crafts - dubbed the Viking Arty Party promised to be filled with mini classes taught by expert crafters. With my wedding right around the corner, I was very pleased about trying my hand at some useful DIY skills!

All hosted at the fabulous King Street Townhouse Hotel, in our own private room with a roof terrace on an absolutely gorgeous day.

Above image by Matt Chappell

Modern Calligraphy with Artsynibs

This calligraphy class with the incredible, Joyce was the one I was most looking forward to and my favourite of the day. I'd had a mini class with Joyce before at a blogger event I'd organised and I was super keen to pick up more tips from her before writing out my wedding invites!

As part of our session, we were all given a set to take home from Manuscript, containing a pot of ink, a nib holder and three different styles of nibs. After Joyce's first session, I'd bought some supplies of my own to practise with but I'm really enjoying using this set! It's really good value to buy and I'd highly recommend it to anyone starting out with calligraphy, it even contains a little beginners guide.

Even though I'd done this before, I have to admit I struggled a little at first! Once I got into it with some expert advice from Joyce, I found my wording was looking a lot better.

Notebook Customising with The Crafty Hen

Next up was notebook customisation with craft collective, The Crafty Hen. This one was definitely a nostalgic experience, reminding me of school homework at the beginning of term when we were tasked with covering our exercise books - just like back then, the decision of what materials and colours to use was a tough choice!

Plans for my notebook quickly became a bit ambitious and I really struggled to finish it on time! Fortunately I was able to give it a final flourish with some gold leaf foil.

I used various shades of coloured card, attached with double-sided tape, finished with some vintage-style wash tape.

I was really pleased with how my notebook turned out and it's given me plenty of ideas for creating our own personalised guest book at the wedding (if there's time!).

Block Printing with The Crafty Hen

My last crafty session of the day was with Stacey, also of The Crafty Hen. Stacey showed us how to create our very own rubber stamp, all from a simple eraser!

She told us that for creating a rubber stamp, the simpler the better. Thinking I was going fairly safe with a cloud design, I still struggled to get the print effect just right.

We decorated plain office folders with our designs - an easy way to brighten up something everyday.

Above image by Matt Chappell

I really enjoyed this event; something a little different with lots of lovely people and new skills being learnt! I can't wait to try out some of these new crafts in prep for my wedding next month.

Thanks for having me, Viking!


Friday, 19 May 2017

Opening of Italian-inspired Cafe Bar: Enzo


As you might well know, I can't get enough of Italian food. So when I heard about a new Italian-inspired eatery opening in Manchester city centre, I couldn't wait to check it out!

The concept of Enzo is an interesting one - Italian-influenced food, combined with the laidback cafe bar culture of Australia. I think this is actually just what Manchester needs! There have been many times I've found myself looking for a drink and bite to eat in the late afternoon but not necessarily looking for a full-on restaurant or busy bar experience - or even just a good cup of coffee, when the likes of Costa and Starbucks feel completely uninspiring.

Introducing, Enzo!

Enzo Prosecco
Multi Coloured Pizza Light Up Sign
Fresh Pizza Manchester
Fresh Dough Manchester
Fresh Dough Pizza Manchester
Handmade Pizza Manchester
Fresh Handmade Pasta Manchester
Freshly Made Cakes Manchester

There for the launch night, we were served a selection of pizzas to try from the broad menu. All fresh-tasting, soft with crispy edges and with a huge selection of toppings on offer; my favourite was definitely the Ndjuja - created with dolcelatte cheese, spicy nduja sausage, toasted walnuts and rocket!

We also got to sample one of the pasta dishes which I was secretly hoping would be the Pesto Genovese! Handmade penne pasta with the freshest homemade basil pesto with toasted pine nuts. This was divine!

Washed down with a few glasses of prosecco and ice cold bottles of peroni, the mains were definitely a hit.

Afterwards we were pleased to get to try Enzo's famed coffee (worth the hype) and some samples of the homemade cakes.

Freshly Made Coffee Manchester
Pizza Sign Manchester

There's something about Enzo that feels so brilliantly unique. The passion behind everything presented is easy to see. Finding out more about the restaurant, they make all their pizzas, pasta and cakes fresh - every day.

The coffee, too, is fantastic. Freshly ground, Italian and presented with flair - a far cry from most of the chains lining Market Street.

The decor feels vibrant, yet relaxed in style - making this a great place to meet friends over good food and drinks.

It's hard to believe that something like this exists so centrally in the city. Located on Fountain Street, it's well worth straying away from the hustle and bustle of Market Street to find!

Have you tried Enzo yet?


Sunday, 14 May 2017

Aperitivo Time at Salvi's Cucina Italian Manchester


Summer seems to have risen its head (finally!) in recent weeks and longer light hours in the sun always gets me in the mood for after work drinks!

There's something about sitting in the sun and enjoying a drink that slows the pace of life and melts away the stresses of the day.

Having been to Italy and seeing firsthand how the Italians do late afternoon drinks - relaxing outside, gathered around small tables with friends, enjoying a glass of something cool and small, fresh snacks - bringing a piece of this Italian tradition to Manchester would be a dream, right?

Well, authentic small restaurant group, Salvi's has answered that wish with the launch of their new 'Aperitivo Time' menu!

Aperitivo Time Menu Salvi's Manchester
Salvi's Manchester Aperitivo Selection

The aperitivo is such an integral part of life in Italy and Salvi's aims to bring this tradition into their Manchester restaurants, offering up a traditional aperitivo such as classics like an Aperol Spritz, Negroni, prosecco or an ice cold Peroni - teamed with a selection of authentic Italian cicchetti, including Salvi's famous imported buffalo mozzarella, along with cured meats, olives, cheese and breads.

Italian Food at Salvi's Manchester
Aperol Spritz at Salvi's Manchester
Cicchetti Italian Snacks at Salvi's
Italian Cocktail Aperitivo
Italian Negroni Cocktail
Authentic Italian Cicchetti
Authentic Italian Cicchetti Snacks
Making of Aperol Spritz Cocktail
Italian Summer Cocktail Aperol Spritz

The opening night saw a huge selection of traditional Italian snacks, served up sharing style at the front of the John Dalton Street, Cucina restaurant.

We were also lucky enough to try a few of the aperitivo drinks on offer such as a classic Negroni, Italian-style mojito and my favourite, Aperol Spritz - a bittersweet, refreshing mix of Aperol, prosecco and soda, swirled together with an orange garnish and loads of ice.

For just £10 per person, you'll receive a refreshing aperitivo drink from the selection and a board full of carefully prepared, Italian deli snacks.

You can get your own slice of Aperitivo Time at Salvi's Cucina on John Dalton Street or the Corn Exchange Mozzarella Bar, Sunday-Friday 4:30-6:30pm - it's your very own Italian Happy Hour!

Have you visited one of Salvi's restaurants?


Sunday, 16 April 2017

Columbo Goes Gingham: Spring Trench


I sit typing this up on a gloomy Easter Sunday. While I'm far from glum about sitting on my arse eating ALL the chocolate, I'd held out a little more hope for a sun-soaked Bank Holiday weekend.

The weather recently has been difficult to predict - one minute it's glorious sun and the next, a torrential downpour. Well, that's just Manchester for you, generally.

Traversing the constant dilemma of 'what to wear', one item of clothing has been my saviour - the classic trench.

I decided some weeks ago that I needed some kind of light jacket; semi-smart, easy to wear and goes with everything. I settled on a trench coat and, resisting my usual safety blanket of black, I opted for this classic stone coloured mac from Next.

I think it might be my best purchase of the year so far!

Stone coloured Mac blogger
Stone coloured Mac blogger
Stone coloured Mac blogger
Stone coloured Mac blogger
Stone coloured Mac blogger
Stone coloured Mac blogger

Sunglasses - Moschino
Trench coat - Next
Cross-front body - ASOS
Deconstructed gingham midi skirt - ASOS
Boots - Vagabond

blogger ASOS deconstructed gingham midi skirt

I'm also really loving this gingham skirt from ASOS, it's ideal for the transition from spring into summer. I'm considering getting it in the new red version too!

blogger Moschino sunglasses

This post is a great example of the ever-changing weather. I didn't know whether to keep my jacket on, take it off, remove my sunglasses... at least my new trench is light enough not be be a nuisance when the sun comes out.

What's been your favourite buy of the season?


Sunday, 2 April 2017

A Pizza-Making Party at Pizza Express, Manchester


If you follow me on, well, any platform at all - you'll know that I LOVE pizza. I could live on the stuff, in fact.

So any event involving my favourite culinary pleasure is an unwavering, solid 'yes' from me.

Pizza Express invited me down to their newly renovated Manchester Oxford Road restaurant to try my hand at creating my own masterpiece with one of the chain's Pizza Making Parties*. I love cooking and learning new skills so this sounded like a great way to spend an evening!

To start, we were offered a selection of drinks including Peroni and prosecco to loosen us up for the pizza making! It was nice to chat to our fantastic hosts and the other guests over drinks and Pizza Express' legendary Dough Balls!

We were then armed with aprons and Pizza Express paper chef's hats while the table was floured, ready for the dough.

We were each given a perfectly proportioned piece of dough, ready for manipulation - after a little lesson in kneading and tossing from one of the branch's trained pizza chefs.

Dough rolled and rounded (I was surprisingly pretty good at it!), we transferred our bases into perfectly sized pizza trays and added a generous smear of pizza sauce.

An array of fresh toppings were brought out (including red onion, artichoke and chunks of juicy chicken) and while some of the guests created some fantastically weird and wonderful combinations, I'm classic when it comes to pizza and simply opted for hot pepperoni and some fresh red chilli.

Sprinkled with a generous amount of cubed mozzarella, all that was left to do was wait for our creations to come out of the pizza over, ready to eat!

The big reveal was better than we could've expected! Some of the pizzas, it has to be said, went into the oven looking a little questionable but the cooking process seemed to resolve all sins and everyone's came out looking seriously appetising!

My pizza was absolutely delicious - perhaps more so because I'd made it myself!

After we'd scoffed our creations, the team hosted a little award ceremony with some fun prizes. Naturally, I was given the 'biggest tosser' prize!

I'd definitely recommend one of Pizza Express' Pizza Making Parties for a special occasion like a birthday or hen party as something everyone can enjoy.

Have you ever tried your hand at pizza making?

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