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

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

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 22 – Seville Day 3

I am falling asleep as I’m typing this! Today has been so full on, incredible, but full on. We started the day by heading over to the fine art museum, which had some beautiful courtyards and gardens amongst the art.

We made a quick pit stop at McDonalds then grabbed a taxi to the Plaza, where we spent the majority of today.

After spending hours upon hours here, we went back to the hotel and napped (I think I spent too much time in the sun and it zapped me of all my energy)! We went out for pizza (which was incredible) then met up with Max’s family for a coffee, went to a stunning church with Max’s parents then stopped off for dessert on the way home.

Now just all snuggled up in bed, we are watching Disjointed on Netflix trying to drown out the noise of the festivities underneath us before getting a good sleep for another full day tomorrow!

M x

Day 21 – Seville Day 2

Today has felt like the longest day ever!

We woke at 9 but snoozed the alarm, I think we were so overtired last night that we struggled to properly sleep! Once we were up we showered, got ready and head out to the camera shop! Once Max got some film for his cameras, we stopped off for a coffee.

Afterwards we wandered into some shop that caught my eye, and I am so glad we did because I picked up the most gorgeous jacket from there for such a good price! We then turned the corner and watched / listened to an orchestra for a while which was so stunning!

We walked for a while through some rag markets then stopped off for some paella which was so tasty but came served with a crustacean on top (not sure how I felt about that).

After having a catch up with Max’s family, we all parted ways and walked about the part of town we were in. There were so many beautiful dogs so I was very happy haha! We came across a few things on this side of town before heading back through the shops…

As we spent so much of today wandering around and exploring, we spent the rest of the day just chilling at the hotel before heading out for (more) paella and sangria!

(this is the jacket I was talking about!)

We went back for another lie down haha then back out for cocktails with the whole group of us which was so lovely as we all got to chat about the different things we did today!

M x