being a tourist in your own city

The best way to explore the city you live in is to have friends or family from elsewhere to come and visit you…

Last weekend my two childhood best friends came up from Birmingham to visit me in Manchester, and in typical Maddie fashion I was panicking about planning out the perfect weekend for them, but really I knew they’d be happy to do anything so long as we got to have a good gossip!!

A trip to my closest coffee shop, Esquires, got us fuelled up on tasty salads and avo on toast ready to brace a very rainy and windy Manchester.

What was supposed to be a slow wander around the Arndale (I’m kidding, there’s no such thing on a Saturday lunch time) quickly turned into getting caught up in the Halloween in the City celebrations, surrounded by a marching band performing Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and dancers on stilts dressed as all things spooky. Although slightly overwhelming, it really reminded me of the spirit of Manchester and the reason I fell in love with this place 3 years ago. I adored how busy it was, how wherever you looked there would be something else equally as captivating going on.

We walked around until the cold felt too bitter, and headed back to my place where we gossiped and listened to the busy roads around us but felt as cosy as could be in my new student room.

As evening fast approached, we braved the cold and made our way over to V Revs where we were greeted by the most extensive vegan restaurant anyone could wish for! I’ve been before hence why I decided here for the evening meal, but was still worried that my vegan bestie wouldn’t be as impressed as I was…boy was I wrong! Never have I ever seen someone so conflicted as to what to get off a menu, because she just had so much choice which is unheard of for the modern day vegan who loves to eat out but are usually restricted to a couple of choices. After much deliberation we ordered food, took in the décor and got real life heart eyes over the odd dog that came in with their owner.

When the food arrived my vegan bestie couldn’t quite believe what she was eating was vegan saying she felt like she was cheating her veganism (she wasn’t – the whole restaurant truly is vegan!!). So I felt accomplished if I am honest!

The evening ended with all four of us cooped up in my room playing Manchester edition Monoply (obviously), and for the first time in a long time I lost…but moving swiftly on (not a sore loser I swear…).

Sunday morning with friends over means going out for brunch, right? We ended up in the same cafe as the day before, indulging in breakfast and coffee, feeling super cosy indoors despite the drizzly weather outside.

We took a walk into town and stopped by the Halloween in the City celebrations once again, this time it was a dog parade! From what we could see it was cute but I wasn’t wearing my glasses (shock), and then the heavens opened so we ran home instead and just had a big old chill out before it was time to catch their train home.

I loved having my friends here for many reasons. How bloody amazing does it feel to see two of your closest friends after time apart?! When they left I actually felt a little homesick, which is weird because generally speaking I don’t miss Birmingham, and for the most part whenever I’m there, I want to be back in Manchester!

Having them over made me make the most of a weekend for the first time in forever. My weekends usually consist of either being in Huddersfield or Manchester, getting uni and house work done, and getting a hefty food shop done. But taking time out this weekend, and still managing to do those things too made me realise that I need to start going out and enjoying this city that I’m living in, because in all honesty, I adore it here, and I won’t be here for too much longer which does truly break my heart.

What is your favourite thing about the place that you call home? Mine has the be the hustle and bustle of Manchester. For me it’s the one place that you can really make yourself into who you want to be, there’s no judgement and you can really live life how you want…

All the best,

Maddie

xxx

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23before23 #9 Going to a New Place – A Day Out In Halifax

As much as I would love to be on a plane to a hot country, sunning it up and exploring a tropical island, that just isn’t the case! Instead I am making the most of exploring the beauty of England this Summer time.

 

Just 20 minutes away on the train, it’s odd that I’ve never thought to visit Halifax before now!

 

Halifax is a little West Yorkshire town, known for the Piece Hall and it’s beautiful historic architecture.

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The Piece Hall

Stepping off the train, the Piece Hall was at most a five minute stroll away, and was striking to set my eyes upon when we turned the cobblestoned corner. The majority of the day was spent pottering around the Piece Hall, weaving in and out of all the little shops.

 

Loafers is a coffee and record store, basically mine and Max’s two favourite things under one roof, so that was a great start for us! There was also a teeny baby sausage dog in there too which made the whole situation even better. After a coffee and listening to some records, we moved on around some of the other shops, mooching around, looking at some beautiful vintage clothes and the homeware pieces of my future dreams, before popping off to a cafe for lunch.

 

 

The Deli had a great range of food (there were so many tasty veggie options too which was great!) and drinks, so we stopped off there for some lunch before heading back out to look around the rest of the shops.

 

 

A definite favourite shop of mine was The Yorkshire Soap Company. The soaps, candles and other sweet smelling products were so beautifully displayed, I just wanted to bring it all home with me! Max picked up a Mango and Lychee candle that smells so divine even when it’s not burning.

2aba7c0b-a64c-4b45-9c6a-232d599cee81Gin Lane Shop was another obvious fave as Max is a gin fiend! We browsed some bottles and had a really great chat with the guy who worked there who was super clued up on all the different gins that they stocked.

 

Underneath the shop, they also have a bar where they serve the gins that they stock upstairs, so naturally we had to give it a go!

 

Sat out in the sun that decided to peep out for a short while, I tried a Rhubarb Gin with elderflower tonic and Max went for Manchester Gin’s Violet Liquor coupled up with Mediterranean tonic, which tasted just like parma violets, so if that’s your thing then I’d definitely recommend for a trip down memory lane.

 

 

We of course couldn’t leave the Piece Hall without popping into the old-timey sweet shop Spogs and Spice, jars stacked high of all the traditional sweets you could imagine from your childhood.

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Finishing up in the Piece Hall, we weren’t quite ready to go home just yet, so wandered into the town centre where the cobbled streets are littered with shops, but also some lovely independent finds too. We ended up having a mooch around a record store which had such a good range of genres (of course, Max didn’t leave empty handed!) and was lovely to just have a good sift through.

 

 

The Piece Hall is a perfect day out for anyone and everyone, and I think that’s proven as when we were there, the place was full of people of all ages, kids with their grandparents, young couples, big groups of moms, dog owners and coffee lovers.

 

I would so highly recommend planning a day out there, especially in the sunshine because the building truly does glisten in the heat of the day!

 

Journaling Maddie xxx

February 2018

February has been a whirlwind of a month. It has been deadline after deadline, but finally I get a break!

I had a couple of crappy drs appointments at the beginning of this month but as always the pros outweigh the cons so I won’t dwell on this one here and move right on to some of the fun stuff!

The first weekend in Feb was spent at local venue Jimmy’s watching The Bright Black supporting YungBlud which ended up in a night out at HoldFast which is my fave bar in the Norther Quarter of Manchester!

The day after that I was rocking a hangover with Amy at the Principle Hotel, at their venue Copperface Jack’s, decorating for the third year uni ball. We spent all day there blowing up balloons and making the venue look pretty and meeting a spec, which was pretty fun and another thing to add to my events CV. From what I remember we spent our evening eating leftover lasagne, playing sims and cuddled up in many, many blankets in our freezing cold flat haha.

Max surprised me with a mid-week visit on his day off, so we went camera and record shopping (I got a De La Soul record and a Clean Cut Kid single for £8 altogether – bargain!), grabbed lunch at the infamous pizza hut lunch buffet and then had a nice quiet night in.

By some miracle, I got a first! Like an actual real life first at university. My first one at that too! It has defo been a confidence boost and a motivator for the rest of my assignments. I passed first year but my goal for second year is a 2:1, so watch this space!

A friend’s birthday resulted in last minute drinks at a local bar, which was a nice mid-week break from uni work.

To celebrate my first, Max was due to be taking me to the cinema to see The Greatest Showman, however he fell ill in the night, so we spent the whole day in Manchester Royal Infirmary (fun!), but thankfully he is okay and back on his feet!

I had to do a presentation, I hate doing presentations. But I think it went pretty well, and I am just so glad that it is over!

Max got the walking bug, so we went for a trek along Marsden Moors, which I think would’ve been more pleasant with sunshine and rainbows but we had rain, wind and freezing cold climates up until the last half an hour hahaha. But it was a lovely walk and an excuse to get out in the countryside, and by some miracle we felt fine the next day and ended up taking a day trip to Leeds (where I treated myself to some flash Zara trousers). A weekend full of dates which is rare for us but we really did just have the best time!

Jon waiting for us when we got back to Max’s
HumPit 

My wonderful best friend and flatmate Amy put on her first gig as Girl Boss, which was bloody ace and I really am so proud of how far she has come and everything she is achieving, and how she’s following her dreams, it is such an inspiration. (sop over, soz). My other beautiful best friend and flatmate (fellow blogger too – Specifically Sara) performed at the gig and she was absolutely amazing too! I feel so lucky to be surrounded by so much talent. We may or may not have ended up in Holdfast and then a karaoke bar afterwards too (and absolutely murdered S Club 7’s Never Had A Dream Come True – but it was all a good laugh)!

I got a call off my parents saying they were going to visit my sister for the weekend with my dog, so I jumped on a train to go see them for the day and it was so lovely. I really wish I could see them more but it just makes it even more special when I do! We went for coffee, some retail therapy, had lots of doggie cuddles and a good catch up.

How beautiful is my dog?!

My wonderful Max set up a company last year and this month I have been helping him pull everything together ready for the first release! Last month we recorded the insanely talented Toby Burton and the videos are coming out very soon so if you’re keen then you should definitely check out the In Session FaceBook page!

Album / Playlist: The 50 Shades Freed soundtrack ahhhhh !!

Song: My besties, The Cosmics, have released their song “Waste of Time” on Spotify so it has been on repeat!  

TV / Movie: I had about a month’s worth of Hollyoaks to catch up on so February has been taken over by that haha

Place: Lancaster – so pretty!

Memory: Not a great memory but they can’t all be fabulous, I had to take Max into hospital, this is my memory of February purely because Max never ever has to go to the hospital, I’m usually the poorly one so it makes a change and needed to be documented hahaha.

Accomplishment: Did I mention that I got a first?

M x

365 Days in Photos

Last year I set myself the challenge of documenting 365 days in photos on Instagram. I did this because I was stuck in a rut, feeling down and depressed, full of the January blues.

It was an incentive for me to get out of the flat whilst taking photos which is something I’ve always loved doing!

This definitely worked, I found myself exploring more of Manchester than I’d of ever imagined, even if it was just finding cute independent coffee shops in the Northern Quarter, or going the extra mile to find some cool street art to share.

I can’t quite believe that I managed to share a photo every single day for a year, but I got the desired affect so I couldn’t be happier – I felt less depressed and more motivated to go out and do/see something new!

Now that the challenge is over, I’ve decided not to do it again this year. Although I really enjoyed doing it, I don’t feel like I need it anymore at this moment in time! I’d love to document an important year in the future, but for now it’s back to aimlessly scrolling and uploading whenever I feel like it (probably not for another month or so now, I feel all Instagrammed out hahaha)!

I thought it’d be cute to share on here some of my favourite posts that I made over the past year and reflect on the good times, the hard times and the past 365 days!

 

The past 365 days have been amazing, and it has been even more amazing looking back through them and reminiscing!

M x

 

Day 25 – Seville Day 6, Christmas Day & Blogmas Is Over

Merry Christmas!!

I am stuffed full of paella and ready to call it a night! So not my traditional Christmas but I am proud of myself for doing something new and out of the ordinary.

I have had a wonderfully weird Christmas Day, an amazing time in Seville so far and I some how also managed to finally complete blogmas!! I was totally convinced I would fail but I managed to pull it out the bag haha. Now time to take a step back from the blog (until the end of the week haha) and have some much needed time away from my phone!

Hoping everyone has had a magical Christmas, however you’ve chosen to spend it!

M x

Day 24 – Seville Day 5

This is the most un-christmassy Christmas Eve ever!

The chronic illness flared up this morning so it’s been a long day for me. But it has all been so incredible, regardless. The only thing open on Christmas Eve here is the palace, so we booked in to go there, and spent all day wandering the grounds. It was the perfect weather for it too, beautiful sunshine and heat, but plenty of shade to hide in too (and consuming probably one too many americanos)!

I spent this evening with Max and his parents at a traditional Seville church. It was simply glorious, so grand and incredibly Catholic! We celebrated mass in Spanish, which Max’s mom loved as that is what she was brought up with in Latin America, so it felt pretty special being there and learning her tradition too.

I didn’t take as many photos today as I struggled with holding my phone with my joints hurting so much, but here’s what I’ve got:

M x

Day 23 – Seville Day 4

It has been another super duper long day! Started with a crepe and coffee, ended with a late night walk, and a whole lotta other stuff in between! A trip to the cathedral, a walk up 34 flights of a tower (and 34 back down again, oh my poor poor knees), sitting in the beautiful courtyard, pizza pizza pizza, wandering around some shops, heading to the mushroom, facetiming my parents from the top of it, cocktails, napping, dinner, and sangria!

Saturday, you’ve been wonderful.

M x