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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July 2018

July has been a bit of a whirlwind month for me, as has August so far hence the delay in this post going up!


The month began with Max, his parents and their friends all having a cute garden party. It was all very sweet with some delicious nibbles and drinks being passed around alongside great company and conversation. The 28 degree heat and glorious sunshine definitely played a part too!


Getting to see Erin and Gina is a dream as of late. When I left school at 16 life took us all in very different directions, and the 7 years that have passed have been difficult in a sense of trying to see each other or even having time to send messages between ourselves. But this Summer has been amazing for being able to see them, and I am grateful for our patience over the past 7 years that we managed to persevere because being able to see them semi regularly has been super rewarding!
We take it in turns to host nights, and I was in charge this time! Vegan pizza & ice cream, wine, board games, gossip and catch ups, it’s like no time has passed at all.


The wonderful Angela dyed my hair but you can read all about that right here.


The journey to Huddersfield began and I decided to stop at Manchester for a little catch up with Amy and Sara which was lovely!


With the World Cup in full swing we went to watch the semi’s at Corner (a fave cute find Huddersfield) with so much hope for the England team but we were left feeling totally deflated when we lost. We did however have a great evening, throughout the whole world cup the general spirit of the nation was so surprising and uplifting!


The weekend was spent enjoying the sunshine, drinking cold coffee in Espresso corner and pottering around town. We got to see The Incredibles 2, which definitely lived up to expectations, I felt like a big kid all over again! Afterwards I wished that we had watched the first one directly beforehand, but regardless, it was a great watch and I really want to see it again.

I planned a surprise date night for Max on my last evening in Hudd. Whilst he was at work I tidied the house top to bottom, pre-ordered Dominos, got out some freshly washed pj’s, lit some candles and poured two gin and lemonades. Once he was home from work the pizza arrived and we put on his choice of film, ‘Captain America: Civil War’ (not a bad choice but not quite ‘Clueless’…) and snuggled up into bed and just had the most chill evening we have had in a long time. It was lovely just to see Max truly be able to relax after months of hard work!


Erin told G and me of a pub quiz in one of our fave local hangs, so we headed down and absolutely bottled it if I’m totally honest hahaha! But it was such good fun, we did come 3rd so at least we weren’t last and we had such a laugh and a much needed catch up.


My parents took me out for a meal at a local tapas restaurant. Now, this was a big deal for me, two things terrify me when it comes to eating, 1. Public eating, and 2. Tapas. This was a big, emotional hurdle for me but the world didn’t crumble around me and I didn’t implode so that’s a massive step forward! But moving onwards…


Erin, G and I went to ASK Italian for a catch up and I ate exclusively vegan, which is something that I’ve been wanting to do for a while. As I have previously mentioned, I am in eating disorder recovery and I am on a very strict eating schedule currently. I have been vegetarian for a while, but skip out on dairy to try and help control my endometriosis better. I’d love to go vegan but it’s not the right time for me in my recovery, but eating out I do challenge myself to eat vegan!

I had the most beautiful customised vegan pizza with peppers, mushrooms and olives and a delicious glass of wine!

It was the perfect time for a good long catch up and we spent hours upon hours chatting which was much needed for all three of us.


The next day was a long car journey up to Huddersfield, in an attempt to move Max from one house to another with his parents. We took a break and went to Halifax again for the day, it was an odd combination of blue skies, 30 degree heat and sunshine, mixed with random bursts of thunder and lightning rain storms!

I was worried John (the cat) wouldn’t be about especially with the weather being so bad, but he pulled through and came to say goodbye, which broke my tiny heart, I love him so so so much and I firmly believe that he always knew when I was feeling down, he would always pop up whenever I was having a bad day. I know it sounds crazy and kind of cheesy but that street cat was my absolute fave and always cheered me up!

Of course it would be torrential the weekend of moving house, but we managed to get it done over the two days and felt very accomplished whilst sat in the new house eating Chinese food and having a good catch up with Joe and Chris.


After a couple of days of settling into the new house, we jumped back on a train and I went straight into work, before packing for 110 Above Festival.

This festival is really special to me, Max and I have been going for the past 3 years, the first year we attended by chance, whilst we were looking for something to do over our anniversary weekend, we loved the line up so had a bit of a ‘yolo’ moment and we haven’t looked back since!

But that will have a whole separate other post, so you’ll have to keep your eyes peeled for that one!


Some July faves…

Album / Playlist: The 110 Above Festival playlist on Spotify to prep me for the festival at the start of next month!

Song: Another The 1975 track this month (soz, not soz) “Love It If We Made It”, major heart eyes.

TV / Movie: Started watching Ackley Bridge, was so sceptical at first as it just seemed like a new era Waterloo Road but I am really enjoying it so far

Place: I feel like my feet haven’t really touched the ground this month, so my favourite place this month would have to be the train!

Memory: Getting to see my lovely Erin and G, it makes the world of difference when I’m stuck at home.

Accomplishment: This will have to be going for tapas and not having a total meltdown! A big F you to my eating disorder and a big step forward in my recovery!!


This month was lovely, intense, hard, and all the emotions in between, balancing the socialising, travelling, full time working, weekly hospital appointments and regular flare ups, it’s all getting a bit much!

So please in advance accept my apologies for the potential lack in posts over the next month or two. I’m about to hit a very crucial point in my eating disorder recovery process and I need to give it 110%, so I’m possibly going to have to put the blog on the back burner for the foreseeable as my recovery is my main priority right now.

I hope you all had a beautiful July and I will see you soon,

All of my love as always,

Journaling Maddie 

xxxx

,

June 2018

June has just involved a whole lot of back and forth between Manchester, Huddersfield and Birmingham but I wouldn’t change it at all!


The month kicked off with Toby Burton’s EP launch at The Parish in Huddersfield. Toby is the first artist that Max and I worked with for In Session so we naturally wanted to go and show our support. The gig was great and we picked up one of his EP’s, although you can listen to it on Spotify and I’d really recommend it because he is such a talented songwriter and performer.

The following day Max and I got the train into Leeds to spend our Wagamama’s voucher and have a wander around the record stores. There was a cute dog on the train back so obviously that day was a 10/10.


I went home and started a new job, just a Summer job picking up a few hours here and there at my mom’s office doing odd jobs and filing, but it’s been keeping me busy whilst at home which is always a plus.


Jumping in the car with Max’s parents to spend a bit of time with them in Huddersfield was lovely, before getting on the train to Manchester to see Taylor Swift at the Etihad. Honestly I’d never been a big fan of hers but seeing her live has changed my opinion highly! I happened to go by chance, but if you ever get the opportunity to see her I would beyond recommend it and I’m looking forward already to when she next tours again!

Back to Huddersfield the following day, I spent the beautifully sunny afternoon with Max and Peter, having a drink in Greenhead park and a good chin wag. We also walked by Max’s new house that he’ll be moving into next month so it was good to get an idea of the area he’s living in.

Once again, back on a train to Manchester, this time with Max, to see Haim at the Apollo, and it was incredible! I saw them last in 2014 at Glastonbury and I was obsessed, so it was amazing to see how much they’ve changed (for the better) over the years. They played a good amount of their old songs too rather than just the whole of the new album so that was refreshing!

The following evening was spent in A&E due to my worst endometriosis flare up since my surgery last September. It was a bit disheartening that this has happened again, however the doctors were lovely and very understanding, I was prescribed a lot stronger pain relief and they gave me a clear plan of what to do if this pursues.

A few days of bed rest was made better by meeting up with Max, Chris, Henry and Matt after a training day for their new job (suddenly ruined by me being sick in the toilets *classy* and having to go home).


Back to Manchester again but this time to walk across the city with some amazing people for Crohn’s and Colitis UK. The weather just about held dry, and it was just lovely seeing everyone again and being able to raise some money and awareness for a really important cause.

You can find more information as to why we did this walk, and donate money too, here:

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ibd-warriors-walk-it-manchester-2018


We had a chill few days in Huddersfield, Max took a couple days off work too which was really lovely as we got a proper chance to have some us time and relax a little!

Our 4th anniversary rolled around and we celebrated with a lie in, a walk into town fuelled by coffee, and an evening date night at Lala’s Indian (incredible, 10/10 would recommend).

The following day was spent pottering around The Piece Hall in Halifax, but I’m going to do a whole other blog post on that so keep your eyes peeled for that coming soon!


I went back to Birmingham but only two days at work before going to the caravan in Bournemouth with my parents and Lady. This was Lady’s first time at the caravan, but also her first ever trip to the beach and seaside!

(It should be noted that I’m currently writing this in 30 degree heat, on the veranda of the caravan with a beer in hand – cheers!)

She has been so good, I was worried at first because she’s so nervous around other dogs, but I think as it’s a whole new place to her she’s just focussed on taking it all in rather than crying at other dogs haha.

The weather has been incredible, as previously mentioned, so each day has been spent trying to get out and do stuff as early as possible to avoid being out in the heat of the day, chilling during the middle of the day then going to the beach for a walk in the evenings.

Honestly I wasn’t sure about coming away, as much as I adore spending time with my parents, like every twenty-something, I need my space too, but this has been a perfect combination of the two which has been very pleasant and not at all suspected.


My month ended the best way possible, Max came home for the weekend and I got to see Erin and Gina too! It’s so difficult trying to find time to see the girls, as they live here and for the past two years I’ve not left Manchester for longer than a week (until now). But even now that I’m back we all still have so many commitments, Gina is smashing it at work and Erin is somehow balancing working full time and being in a really cool band, playing festivals all Summer! So it is really treasured when we do get to spend time together, especially because it is so few and far between.


It wouldn’t be a monthly without some faves so here goes:

Album / Playlist: My role at work means I basically lock myself in a room for hours on end sorting files, which can send you a lil stir crazy as I’m sure you could imagine, so I needed some motivational music to get me through, and the album I am constantly going back to is “Death of a Bachelor”, which is a massive revisit, however the more I think about it, it’s definitely in my top 5 albums.

Song: Although June has been the month of all months for new releases, The 1975’s new track “Give Yourself A Try” was top of my priorities and it did not disappoint!

TV / Movie: I binged hard on TV this month after all of my deadlines were out of the way, but my favourite has to be Hollyoaks, it has covered so many important topics these past few months and it’s amazing to see the hard work and dedication put into portraying them excellently and accurately.

Place: The caravan, it’s the home of a million of my childhood memories and I love being in my 20s and still enjoying it and making more memories!

Memory: Taking my gorgeous doggy for her first seaside holiday.

Accomplishment: Getting into the swing of having a job again!

Journaling Maddie x

March 2018

I swear once January is out of the way, the year just flies by!

The first half of March was massively taken over by 2nd year deadlines (fun fun fun!), and I’ve since got all of my results for the year so far and I’ve done p. well so I’m happy!!

Trav turned 25 (official old man), and Amy hosted the most incredible surprise birthday party for him at Cane and Grain in Manchester NQ. It was so nice to see everyone and Max came over too which was great fun! A night of cocktails and good music, before going home (of course with a detour to McDonalds) and having a great nights sleep, feeling refreshed the next morning! The four of us spent said following day watching crappy movies on Now TV and went for a little walk just to get out of the flat.

I have become obsessed with Sims, it is official.

I’m making the most of playing it now while I’ve got a couple of weeks before I need to throw myself into uni work again. The best part is, we all play it, so evenings in our flat are completely unsociable!

I hopped on a train to Huddersfield to spend the weekend with Max, which was lovely, as always! Sara video called us on Friday night and we had way too much fun with the filters you can get on Facebook video chat.

Max took me into his work to show me some recordings he’s been working on for In Session. It’s such a bittersweet feeling being sat in his work place office which is a recording studio. I went to college and studied music technology and I honestly intended on going to uni to follow my dreams of being a live sound engineer or working in a studio as a producer, but instead decided to follow the management route. Going to see Max in his workplace makes me somewhat jealous that I’m not doing the same, but on the other hand I’ve gained so much managerial knowledge over the past few years that maybe one day I will be able to combine the two – who knows!

As always, we grabbed coffees at Espresso Corner. Sunday was spent in Marsden (a neighbouring village), having a wander around and grabbing Sunday lunch at Mozzarella (10/10 would recommend).

Bonus pic of a cute dachshund in a car at the train station:

Amy got her hair cut and I was a good pal and went with her for emotional support haha. Also the hairdresser had the most beaut boots I’ve ever seen.

Term 2 finished and I honestly can’t get my head around that. I get a couple weeks off before term 3 but before I know it second year will be over and I’ll be graduating in a years time!

I WENT HOME!! I can’t actually remember the last time I visited home, so it was really chill to just have some time alone. I got the hair chop that I’ve been wanting for the longest time – it feels so good to have it all gone!

My best friend, Erin, is in one of the coolest bands around (I may be slightly biased, but not too biased as they really are freaking incredible) and they pulled off the most insane single launch at the Sunflower Lounge in Birmingham! I honestly felt like I was 16 again – reliving Saturday nights at the Sunny watching some cool bands. Odd mix of feelings of nostalgia and feeling really, really old.

My parents very kindly brought me back up to Manchester, so I showed them around where I’ll be living from September, and I am so glad that they love it – particularly my mom!

I jumped on a train to Huddersfield to spend a couple days with Max & have some quality time together. We watched Zootropolis, started Greys Anatomy from the beginning (Max hasn’t seen the whole thing), went to a gig at a new venue called Northern Quarter (getting serious country western vibes), baked brownies and had cuddle time.

Let’s talk about TV. Teen Mom UK and Teen Mom OG have come back this month with new series (if you say that you don’t watch any of these you’re either lying or you need to start watching them), some great films (Pitch Perfect & Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates) have been floating around on catch up, and so much more trash TV (Five Star Hotel, Celebs Go Dating, Our First Gay Summer, Izbia Weekender etc. etc., I’m sure you get the drift!). I have lost count of how long Amy & I spent catching up on all of these shows whilst bashing out our work for term 3.

In case you can’t already tell, this month has been a lot of back and forth for Max (mainly Max coming to Manchester, it somehow fell that I wasn’t doing as much travelling this month yay)!

Lydia came to visit with Tom and they ever so kindly took us for a day out at the Trafford Centre, I finally had a Wagamamas – I know, I am so late to the party – and it was so so good, I am officially on the bandwagon!

We had a long traipse around the shops and Lyd treated me to the most gorgeous Summer dress (so granny-chic) that I fell in love with, I can imagine myself in it, lightly tanned on the beach with a glass of Sangria (a gal can dream).

Cinema pick was mine this month – it’s super rare that I want to go and see anything – I kept seeing ads for Unsane, was really captivated by the story line, and the fact the whole thing was filmed on an iPhone intrigued me even further. We went to see it a couple of days ago and maaaaan was it intense! I would defo recommend it.

March has been crazy for me – I hope you’ve had a fabulous one!

Journaling Maddie x

October in photos

What a month it has been. Amongst the hectic vibes of starting second year of uni, I’ve somehow found time to see Max, get drunk, party and go to a couple gigs!

Me
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Jimmys with my best friend Erin for her gig
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The Bright Black @ Food & Drink Festival

Turning 22

I had been dreading this day for months and months. For me, turning 22 felt like I was about to hit a midlife crisis. I know it sounds stupid, to dread turning a specific age, especially when I am still so young, but for some reason I couldn’t shake the feeling!

I think turning 21 was such a big deal, that inevitably turning 22 would be the end of childhood and the start of adulthood & responsibility that I just wasn’t prepared for.

My birthday was last week, and I am so lucky that my amazing friends made the day so special for me. The day that I had been dreading since turning 21 was so incredible. Everyone knew the dread that I was feeling and I feel so blessed that nobody judged that and instead celebrated it with me.

This will now forever be a birthday that I will never forget – for all the right reasons!!

I now vow to not let a number rule my emotions or feelings.

My amazing friends in Manchester, specifically Sara, Amy, Travis and my boyfriend Max made such an effort to make an incredible weekend of my birthday.

On the Friday my boyfriend came to Manchester, we made food, had a couple drinks and just chilled out with Amy, Travis and Sara. Max also gave me an early birthday present of the most beautiful sparkly rainbow Doc Martens that I had been eyeing up since they released them!

Rainbow Glitter Docs

The following day, Max & I got all dressed up and went out for lunch at Alberts Schloss and it was simply incredible. Max had told them we were celebrating my birthday, so they brought over a complimentary glass of rosé prosecco and at the end of the meal a dessert on the house for me. It was the little attentions to deal that made it super special for me! It felt so amazing to have a proper date with Max too, it is so rare that we get dressed up and have time just the two of us!

We got back to the flat decorated with birthday banners and balloons courtesy of Sara and Amy! My mom provided some balloons but upon further inspection we realised she had brought “New Teenager” balloons by mistake hahaha but it certainly made me feel better about turning 22!

On the evening our friend Lydia came over and we did some tequila shots, had a few drinks then headed out to Soup Kitchen for a gig! It was so much fun, amazing live music with wicked company!

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Unicorn!

Me, Amy, Max and Travis then went off to boogie in Hold Fast which is my fave bar/club in the Norther Quarter. We had a dance, chatted to a load of people about getting old and had a big Happy Birthday sing-song at midnight which was so lovely and slightly embarrassing so I just hid behind my glass haha.

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Hold Fast with Travis, Amy & Max

When we got home at 2am, Max presented me with my birthday gifts and insisted I opened them right then haha. I received so many amazingly thoughtful presents, but my favourite was by far the last that I opened. Both of Max’s grandparents passed away, but most recently his granddad, and he has spend the past few months clearing out their bungalow. On a day where he was sorting out the loft, he came across one of his late grandma’s coats, a long black faux fur beauty, and immediately thought of me. When I opened this gift and Max told me the story behind it I instantly burst into tears (70% emotional 30% drunk haha), I don’t think I have ever received something so thoughtful or with so much meaning behind it.

The next day I woke up and I was 22! I made breakfast for Max and opened my presents off Sara, then off Amy & Travis too (they were all so lovely, and very glitter/unicorn-esque themed which is very me at the moment!). We then went for a Sunday roast to heal our hangovers at it was so damn incredible!!

All in all, I had an insanely good 22nd birthday, knowing now it was nothing to worry about, I vow to just enjoy every birthday that I’m lucky enough to reach and celebrate them with my closest people.

M x

August in photos – disposable edition

I took many many photos this month, certainly way too many to sift through to find my faves, so instead I got my disposable camera developed and decided to share the outcome!

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The Bright Black @ Rochdale Feel Good Fest
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max & i @ brownsea