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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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

April 2018

I feel like I say this in every single monthly, but wow this month has just flown by!

I don’t even know where to begin, April has been jam packed with a variation of everything I could think possible.

Uni has been getting me down, I just feel ready to be done with this year to be totally honest, I am really passionate about everything else in my life apart from uni at the moment haha. I know it’ll all pay off and help me with the direction I’m heading towards in my career so I just keep telling myself that. But with deadlines fast approaching, second year will be over before I know it – which can only be a good thing!

April has been a little bit of a head fuck (pardon my French). I feel like I spent this month having a constant battle with myself in my head, but I’m working on it, and I’m sure it will all get easier once deadlines are out of the way.

The month started with a sweet weekend with Max, making a Sunday roast, going to the cinema to watch Isle of Dogs (1 million percent recommend if you haven’t already seen it) and then going for cocktails with Amy, Travis and Chris at Slug & Lettuce.

Fast forward a few days to a boozy night with Amy & Trav at Dogbowl having a good old fashioned catch up!

(Spoiler alert: this month involves a lot of alcohol – as always!)

I spent a few days away with my family up in the Forest of Bowland, but I’ll skim over that as I will do a whole other blog post about that in a couple of weeks time.

Third term started back and boiiii is it intense, but I’ve already spoken a lot about uni, so moving swiftly on!

Amy put on another gig as Girl Boss (if you are Manchester based you should definitely check it out) and she smashed it as per usual, so awesome to see my best friend thriving in her career and living out her dreams!

I went to Leeds to see Alex, an old college friend, perform with his new band and he was so good – I felt like a proud mother hahaha. He created some visuals for it as well which is think is such a good idea, more people should do that for their gigs! It was so good to see him & Georgia too so that was a bonus.

The next couple of days were full on to say the least. The whole of Sunday was spent in the recording studios filming and recording a few tracks with The Bright Black for In Session, we are so proud of the outcome and I would really love it if you checked out our company and what we were getting up to! It was lovely to spend some time with the guys but to also do a full studio day which is something new for us as a company and great practice! We stopped midway through for some lunch and a beer which was a good way to wind down. After they’d gone we packed down and started prepping for the next day, which was on location at a beautiful independent coffee shop Espresso Corner, with fellow blogger (and also incredibly talented musician) Sara.

That was a totally different vibe to recording the full band in the studio, which was really interesting and a good challenge! The evening went by so fast, me and Sara had a good catch up, a quick stop off for food then on the train back to Manchester.

So there was like, a heatwave apparently, in Manchester for all of three days and it was freakin incredible! I went out bare legs, showing off all my bruises, sunglasses and crop topped and it was still unbearable (I am awful when it comes to the heat, get me some breeze though and we are all good). So yeah, the balcony has had a years worth of use in around 3 days after not being used for the whole of winter!

A few cocktails (again) with Amy, Trav, Sara, Grant, Chris and Max accidentally turned into a mini night out, but it felt good to let my hair down after long weeks at uni!

The Bright Black boys played a ma-hoooosive gig at the Academy, and it was so insane to watch! It was so nice to be out with such a big group of people all for one thing.

The next day we nursed the hangovers with a beaut Sunday lunch at Rain Bar (I honestly feel like I could have a whole section on reviewing the best Sunday lunches around Manchester haha), followed by a lazy afternoon in front of the TV.

A friend from home was touring with his band, so I couldn’t miss his Manchester show! It was a great night and I thought the band were insanely good!

I jumped on the train to Huddersfield to have a well-deserved time out! I spent a lot of my weekend cracking on with work but it felt good to be in a different environment.

Friday night was the last ever Hang The DJ, with some brilliant live music and a DJ set, accompanied with a great atmosphere it was a fab night, plus everyone else was sick apart from me so, small wins woo!

I didn’t take any photos of the night but I did wear my new purple flares so this seems to be the appropriate time to show them off:

We went to see Avengers and all I have to say is, you need to see it if you haven’t already.

A lazy Sunday strolling around Huddersfield’s Record Fair, Max picked up a Billy Ocean record that he’s been after for a while so it was a success, grabbing coffee and a catch up with Henry & Peter too made it the perfect Sunday to end this month!

Some favourites this April (soz, I totally forgot to do this last month, let’s just pretend that I did it yeah?):

Album / Playlist: So everyone else has been hating on it, but Sting and Shaggy’s 44/876 – what a musical combination!

Song: This is slowly becoming a section where I shout out pals music, so lets go with Midnight – The Bright Black

TV / Movie: A combination of the Netflix Original – Love, Hollyoaks who tackled a homeless storyline that I would recommend watching, The Lie Detective (great for binge watching), Jersey Shore: Family Vacation and of course the new Avengers!

Place: The Forest of Bowland, such a tranquil weekend away

Memory: 3 days of pure Summer heat and sunshine, engrained in my memory forever as we won’t get weather like this again for like another year probably

Accomplishment: Keeping on, keeping on, through some crappy mental health timezzz

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

New Blog?!

New Blog Friday, New Blog Friday, New Blog Friiiiiidaaaaaay!

Ooooo look at my fancy new blog!!

As a part of my 23 before 23 list that I posted over on Specifically Sara, I said that I wanted to be proud of my blog, so I figured that it was time for a fresh start.

So I am now simply just “journalingmaddie.com” (how formal of me).

We’ve had a little make-over (do you guys like the new layout?!), we’ve got a new posting schedule and a whole ton of sparkly content coming in your direction.

It’s time for Journaling Maddie to step up and I hope you all join me on the ride!

Journaling Maddie x

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

January 2018

January has been one helluva month!

I saw it in dancing in someone’s kitchen in Manchester with some amazing friends, drinking weird concoctions and having the best time! The following day was, of course, full of hangover so consisted of sleeping, watching Greys Anatomy and a walk as far as Sainsburys (2 minutes up the road).

From then on in, it kinda went downhill. I got sick (shock, eye roll, eye roll), went home for some TLC from my parents, and jumped right back into university and 4 deadlines!

In between all the crapiness there has been some fun too! Sara turned 20, we decorated the flat and celebrated with brunch, bowling and cupcakes, then the following weekend celebrated again (this time with all the boyfriends) with a buffet, Mr and Mrs and cards against humanity.

My dad also had a birthday and I was there to celebrate which was so nice as I missed it last year, so the four of us (mom, dad, me and Max) went for a curry and some drinks, it felt so good being able to spend some quality time with my dad (and my mom of course) because I honestly feel like he is my best friend.

I spent a couple of weeks apart from Max which was rough when we spent all of December, Christmas and New Year together, so it felt special getting to see him again and have a good old catch up!

By some miracle I submitted my first essay of second year, and am now well into reaching my next three deadlines! I feel good with how I’m doing so far, stressed, but it is going well!

I have done a lot more bullet journaling this month! I started using my bujo in December when I was planning blogmas, and I am currently daily tracking some habits to make sure I’m taking care of my self, drinking water, taking meds, going for walks and getting uni work done but also having down time too.

Here are a few snaps from this month…

and not forgetting this month’s favourites…

Album / Playlist: Simply Classic Hits Playlist (basically some great throwback tunes that you used to dance to at family weddings)

Song: IDGAF – Dua Lipa

TV / Movie: Greys Anatomy

Place: Manchester (obvs…)

Memory: Sara’s second birthday weekend with Max, Trav and Brad (I had not seen Brad for 7 months prior to this!)

Food: anything stodgy to be honest haha

Drink: peach fizzy water

Accomplishment: handed in first assignment of second year

M x