Friday, 30 October 2015

#SleepWellShopWell with Premier Inn Manchester Piccadilly


So last Friday I spent a fun-filled evening with some of my favourite local blogger girls, Propellernet and The Front Row Society.

Also joining us for the weekend was the beautiful Megan of Pages by Megan, who we've definitely missed on the Manchester blogging scene since she moved to London!

We were welcomed into the fabulous, well-located Manchester Piccadilly Premier Inn as our base for the weekend; ideal for a girlie night of eating and drinking, followed by a day of shopping!

Premier Inn Manchester Piccadilly

After making myself at home in my comfortable double room (i.e. throwing jewellery, clothes and shoes across it) and a swift touch up to my hair and make up, we headed out en masse to The Front Row Society's choice of restaurant for our meet - San Carlo Fumo.

Wow. Wow. Wow. The restaurant was just incredible! Fumo is relatively new for the San Carlo group of Italian restaurants - I've actually never been to the main San Carlo restaurant in Manchester so I didn't know what to expect at all!

We were lucky enough to try pretty much everything on the menu (seriously, all. the. food.) as everything was shared. Some of my favourite courses among the many were prosciutto and fried dough sticks, mozzarella salad, spaghetti with clams, rib eye steak and obviously, pizza. If the never-ending first and second courses weren't enough, the meal was topped off with huge bowls of ice cream to share; seriously good.

Throughout the meal we chatted about our experiences with blogging and got thinking about some really interesting topics thanks to some thoughtful conversation cards provided by The Front Row Society. Sometimes when us bloggers meet up, we forget to discuss the one thing we all have in common!

Even though I could have quite easily crawled straight into bed and slipped into a food-induced coma at this point, the night was still young so on to some bars we went! A few of us headed to Lammars for some cheesy tunes and a dance. Clearly getting carried away, I lead the remaining stragglers to my favourite weekend haunt, Hula where myself and three of the girls (including the PRs - yes!) were out until 3am.

(Drunken bed selfies were an interesting find the next day...)

I won't lie; getting up for breakfast at 9am was a struggle. I thought I wouldn't be able to stomach any food but after spying the appetising hot counter, bacon and hash browns were calling my name!

Suitably saved from death by hangover thanks to Premier Inn's stellar brekkie, it was off to hit the shops with my blogger pals Frankie and Emma.

We were kindly given a gift voucher for Manchester Arndale shopping centre as well as a handy map with Megan's top Manchester shopping choices. Megan's choices echo my own, picking out some of the best-loved high street chains at the Arndale centre, as well as quirky and independent vintage shops in the city's Northern Quarter.

Manchester is really hard to beat for shopping. We've got a choice of amazing high street flagships and are lucky to have a plethora of unique and interesting independents. The Northern Quarter is usually my port of call for everything from finding vintage treasures, grabbing a coffee and a slice of cake, to a full-blown night out into the early hours.

Megan's choice of Northern Quarter stores like COW, Oxfam Originals and Pop Boutique are firmly among my favourites too. I also love to shop for vinyl in the Northern Quarter since getting a record player for my birthday a few years back - for a dying form of music, there are quite a few great independent record stores in Manchester.

So what did I spend my voucher on? I put it towards a stunning faux fur gilet from River Island that I fell in love with - it will be making an appearance in an outfit post soon, I'm sure!

Have you ever shopped in Manchester? Where do you like to go?


Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Style By Portobello Monthly Vintage Boxes


In this post, I'm excited to announce that I'm working with an exciting new start-up as a Style Ambassador.

Style by Portobello is a brand new concept in monthly subscription boxes. In these unique packages, you receive a handpicked selection of vintage accessories direct from London's famous Portobello Road Market.

For £35 a month, you'll get a selection of carefully chosen accessories which could include jewellery, scarves, bags or belts direct from the market by SBP's expert vintage stylists. You can even give them details about your own personal style to help them tailor your boxes to you.

Naturally I told the guys that I love blingy gold 80s stuff! Let's see what I got inside box number one...

I'm so pleased with my first Style by Portobello box!

The bracelet in particular, I love. It's a chunky gold tone chain with huge brightly coloured jewel chains - a real show stopper! I actually never buy bracelets for myself - I have no idea why; for some reason I just seem to be more drawn towards necklaces and rings, so it's great to receive something I love but wouldn't necessarily buy for myself.

My other item is a cute little gold clutch - it's really unique and unusual but totally wearable.

I think the nice thing about receiving the package is that it really is like receiving a gift from a good friend who knows your style.

I was actually having this conversation at the weekend; that when I shop for myself, I end up mostly buying practical clothes and accessories that are versatile enough to wear for work too and it all becomes very middle of the road. Very rarely do I spurge on things that I absolutely love.

These boxes would definitely make a great gift or a special treat and because the subscription can be cancelled at any time, they can be ordered as a one off.

How do you feel about putting your style in the hands of experts - is the SBP box something you'd like to try?


Sunday, 18 October 2015

Italy Part One: Milano


Wahhh my Italy travel posts are so overdue! It's been 6 weeks (wow) since the boy and I got on a plane to Bologna, ready for our Italian adventure.

We've both wanted to go to Italy for ages but it always seemed a little out of reach and if we were going to do it, we were going to do it right - and by right I mean eating and drinking as much as possible, all the while soaking up as much Italian magic as we could fit into seven days.

By happy accident, or idiotic mistake (however you want to look at it) we ended up travelling to three differnt areas in the north. We originally wanted to head to the Amalfi Coast, but we weren't sure as the flights available were neither cheap nor convenient. I found some flights to Bologna for half the price on Ryanair and excitedly booked them, thinking we could just travel straight across to the coast; a vast mountain range had other ideas...

With the trip up to our preferred seaside destination on the north west coast taking a good few hours on the train, we decided to break up the journey by staying in Milan. Enjoy part one of my Italian travel posts!

First Outfit
Sunglasses - Prada via Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet
Long stripe top - Ragged Priest
Leather/suede backpack - Oasis
Velcro sandals - Vagabond

Second Outfit
Choker - New Look
Lace-up front dress - Glamorous

We only stayed in the beautiful city of Milan for one night, though we felt like it was just enough. Milan is a city which is heavily centered around fashion and shopping and even though I didn't have the cash to blow in the likes of Dolce and Gabbana, Prada and Versace, it was amazing to window shop these gorgeous glossy boutiques.

We mostly just wandered around, taking in the beautiful architecture and soaking up our first experience of an Italian city. We wandered through one of the city's parks, got gelato (pistachio and coconut scoops, yum!), drank coffee, ate fresh pasta and admired the incredible cathedral in the centre - Duomo di Milano.

If we'd stayed longer, I would have definitely liked to pay the small fee to take a tour inside the cathedral. The Duomo di Milano is absolutely breathtaking from the outside, with its powerful presence over the city and stunning detail covering every inch. I can only imagine that inside is just as impressive!

And if I'd had the budget, I would have loved to blow it Prada's flagship store in the Gallerie Vittorio Emanuele - the historical glass roofed arcade by Duomo. I'll have to make do with my Prada sunnies for now!

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