Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Dinner at the Dockyard

Tucked away at the bottom of Spinning Fields is one of my favourite places to eat in Manchester – the Dockyard. Although it is at the end of Spinning Fields it is still only a 5 minute walk from Deansgate. It’s a fairly newish addition to the area, it first got some popularity in Media City and they then opened a branch up in the city centre in 2015. The d├ęcor is “industrial meets chic” and it’s quite a large venue. So one thing to note about the Dockyard is it’s big on craft beer. There is a huge selection of lagers and IPAs to choose from, enough for any craft beer aficionado. But for those who don’t like craft beer you also have your spirits, with a decent selection of Gin, Rum, Whisky, etc. So plenty of alcohol for all! Great news right?

Okay so now onto the food. Let me break it down for you, you have your sandwiches, your burgers and your hotdogs, and you also got your chicken wings, BBQ ribs and pies. Dockyard are actually quite well known for having a good pie but I’ve yet to try one! I have tried a few of their sandwiches and their burgers, the last time I visited I got the Smoker (pictured below) which is buttermilk chicken, crisp pancetta, smoked mature cheddar, beef tomato, baby gem, smoked BBQ sauce and chipotle ketchup on brioche. All of the burgers are serves with fries or sweet potato fries – I always go for sweet potato cos, y’know, I’m healthy (hemhem).

IMHO: If you’re looking for a great lunch at a great price (roughly around £7/8 a meal) then head on down there! They’re by the River Irwell and have a large outside seating area which is perfect for those rare warm sunny days we get in Manchester. 

Sunday, 19 June 2016

3 Summer Hair Care Must Haves

It’s summer time and even the Great British weather seems to have actually acknowledged this fact for once. Manchester has been blessed with sunshine on more than one occasion, albeit it at the expense of having storms. But with great weather comes great hair responsibility. So here’s a little post on my 3 favourite, must have hair care products that I use to get me through those warm humid days.

 1.    Aussie Festival Fresh Dry Shampoo
Well to be honest I haven’t been using Aussie dry shampoo for too long, I tend to buy Batiste Dry Shampoo, which works perfectly. Any dry shampoo in general is a must have for summer (autumn, winter and spring too). However I love love love Aussie haircare products so I decided to get this one a few weeks ago. There are some ranges out there that just do not agree with me and just make my hair worse. But Aussie shampoo has always worked so well and oh my god how good does it smell? Well this dry shampoo is no different, it smells incredibly fresh and flowery and does the job just right.

2.    Got2b Beach Matt Salt Spray
This one I have been using for years, it is one of my favourite hair care products. I have that awkward hair type that’s half wavy and half a frizzy mess. So to keep the waves tame and keep the frizz at bay I use this sea salt spray, just a few sprays on slightly damp hair whilst scrunching and the waves stay in place…woo. Another thing I like to do a lot is wait until my hairs about half way dry then put it in plaits overnight and then use this the next morning after I un-plait to keep the waves in places.

3.    Mark Hill Taming Anti Humidity Spray
This is a brand new product to me, I’ve only been using it about a week but it has already made its way into my must have list. It’s designed to do exactly what you’d think, protect your hair against the elements. Due to my hair being naturally half wavy/frizzy I often straighten my hair within an inch of its life then look in the mirror as soon as I get to work and it looks like I’ve just clambered out of a hot sweaty bed. This is nothing short of a miracle as it has so far managed to keep my hair straight all day!

What are your favourite/ or go-to hair products in summer? Do you use any of these?

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

It's Lunch o'Clock at...Bagel Nash

Well let’s just begin by saying who doesn’t love a good bagel? Exactly. No one. They are a thing of beauty. A marvellous invention. Circles of deliciousness topped or filled with scrumptious flavourful ingredients. Okay, now we’ve got that out of the way let’s talk about Bagel Nash. So they began in Leeds and now have branches across the UK, mainly up in the north. The one I visit, probably more regularly than I’d like to admit, is the branch in Spinning Fields in Manchester.

Firstly you get to choose which bagel you want from a selection of 9, including sesame, poppy, cheese & jalapeno and sun dried tomato and olive. Then you get to choose the fillings which can come from either the hot or cold menu. The hot menu contains choices like Brie & Bacon, Mozzarella & Pesto Melt and Gourmet Cheese Burger. I’ve not tried anything from the hot menu yet but they look so delicious they’re definitely on my to-eat list. The deli bagels have just as much, actually slight more, choice of tasty fillings such as Falafel & Hummus, Smoked Salmon Deluxe and Cream Cheese – this last one is the cheapest on the menu at only £2.50! Ever since I had a cream cheese bagel in New York I’ve grown a slight addiction to them, except in New York the amount of cream cheese they put in was ridiculous! The one in the picture is the Mediterranean Veggie Club which is cream cheese, grilled peppers, spinach, sunflower seeds & pesto. This one is £3.50 which seems to be the standard price, or £4.20 if you eat in as they have to charge VAT. They also have a meal deal on for £5.30 and you can grab a drink and a bag of crisps too.

IMHO: If you love a bagel, and as we determined earlier everybody does, then it’s definitely worth a visit. Not only are the bagels mouth wateringly delicious but the price is pretty delicious too. Especially when you consider its location in Spinning Fields where most drinks will set you back about by three months’ rent and your first born child. 


Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Albert Docks

Looking for a free (almost) and lovely day out? Then look no further then Albert Docks in Liverpool. After spontaneously deciding we wanted to go away on Bank Holiday Monday the boyfriend found us cheap last minute tickets to Liverpool - £4 each way! Great tip – get yourself a 16-25 rail card (if you’re 16-25 obviously) and you can get a third off your rail travels for a year. So on Monday morning off we popped, on a slightly less than lovely train, and within an hour we were at Liverpool Lime Street.

It was a beautiful sunny day, which goes completely against English Bank Holiday rules, so it was a great day to just absent-mindedly stroll around outside – I love a good stroll. Firstly we went around the Walker Art gallery (free) as this is right next to the train station (it currently has a Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood Exhibition who I love but you have to pay £7 to see that) and then we made our way down to Albert Docks. Such a beautiful and vibrant part of the city with a variety of buskers playing different types of music on every corner and ice creams vans dotted all over the place. 


There’s lots of shops and restaurants around the docks to go in, especially with the Liverpool One shopping complex right next door. We decided to work our way a little more into town to find some independent restaurants and also because the places right by the docks are a little overpriced for my liking. After walking up a hill in the sweltering heat for 20 minutes we got to a place I discovered on-line only to find out its shut on Mondays – unlucky! However there are so many places to eat out we quickly found somewhere just around the corner that did burger and a drink for £10 – if I remember the name I will put the link in, the burger was incredible!

Afterwards we wandered back down towards Albert Docks and visited the Museum of Liverpool which was really fun and quite interactive – and yes, free again! One of my favourite things in there was Hagrid’s motorbike from Harry Potter, I’m such a Potter head! With a couple more hours to kill until our train home we grabbed a milkshake then lazed about by the docks again fitting in a spot of people watching – one of my favourite past times. So there you have it, an inexpensive day out in an energetic city! I’m definitely going to make my way back to Liverpool, especially now I found out the train tickets are so cheap! Have you been before? Where would you recommend visiting while there?

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Byr-illiant Burgers

One thing you should know about Manchester is it’s pretty big on burgers. So when my friend came to visit and wanted to eat out I decided a burger is just what we needed. I’ve been to Byron Burger a few times now and I really like it. I got an email a few weeks back saying they had some new items on the menu which provided the perfect excuse to go back – someone has to do the research right?

So what’s new on the menu I hear you ask? Well let’s start with my burger. I went for the newly added Byronaldo (£10.95) which comes which crispy bacon, Fedar cheese, Bovril onions, crispy onions, bread and butter pickles and Byron mustard sauce. They cook the burger medium so it’s a little pink in the middle. I actually wasn’t expecting to enjoy this as much as I did. The burger was so juicy and all of the toppings complimented each other well making it truly delicious. This comes with a side of pickles but that seems pretty pointless as it has lots of pickles along the bottom of the burger anyway so I think that’s just to fill the plate as you are paying towards an upper price range for just a burger on its own. 

The burger I usually go for is the B-Rex (£10.50) which is what my friend went for after my recommendation. I think this is the best burger on the menu, there was such a big size difference between the two! The B-Rex comes with an onion ring, streaky bacon, American cheese, jalapenos, pickles, onion, BBQ sauce and mayonnaise. So this burger is definitely packed full of flavour - I’m a sucker for jalapenos and onion rings so it suits me to a tee. I have had this as a skinny burger (no extra cost) where you don’t have the bun but instead have a side salad. I love grabbing a burger with both hands and sinking my teeth into it, but this was a great alternative to cut down on a few carbs and calories and the side salad was delicious, not just a bit of lettuce on the side. I’ll definitely be trying one of these again when I don’t want to feel too bloaty.

As I’ve been here before I knew how filling the burgers can be and having a burger and a side on your own may be a bit too much. Hence my friend and I shared a side and as we were doing this for research (hemhem) we chose the new Bacon Cheese Topped Fries (£4.75). I’m not sure how they mix the bacon favour into the cheese but it works pretty well, the only down side I would point out is that they come in a small but deep circular dish so all of the cheesy flavour is top heavy on the fries, I think I would prefer them to be in a wider but shallower plate to spread the topping out more but it's not really a big issue.

We both had a soft drink with our meals which were £2.50 each. I really like how they are served in ice cold glasses which keeps the drinks cooler for a lot longer. We also asked for tap water (free), which comes in the same ice cold glass with a slice of lemon so I was happy with the drinks. One thing I have yet to try is a milkshake, I’ve heard good things and I’m a big milkshake fan but I’m always too full from the food. Maybe next time I’ll have to go just to get the shakes with no food.

IMHO: Okay so what do I think of Byron Burger overall? - I really like it. It’s in a good location on Deansgate and they have recently opened up a branch in the newly refurbed Corn Exchange. The burgers are cooked so well and there’s a good selection on the menu with an equally good selection of sides. And if you’re trying to be a bit healthier you can always go for the skinny burger! I think we roughly spent about £15/16 for a burger each, a drink each and a side split between us.

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

It's Lunch o'Clock at... Changos

For the next instalment in my series on where to lunch in Manchester I will be talking about the famous Changos. If you’re from Manchester you will most likely have heard about this burrito place situated on Oxford Road. They have a cracking lunch time offer which results in a long queue snaking its way down Oxford Road every Monday to Friday. I have been meaning to go to Changos for so long now but the queue is always too long by the time I get there. However I have heard so many rave reviews from friends that I had to give it a go.

So firstly yes, if you’re going to go for the lunch menu then expect to queue a little. I got there just after noon and I queued for about 10 minutes so it wasn’t too bad. However I have seen the queue be much longer which I guess is a good testament to the quality of food as there is a big choice of eating establishments nearby, it feels like there’s a new place popping up every week. Controversially in recent weeks there is a new burrito place called Chilangos that has opened up across the road from Changos – you can’t make this stuff up!

But back to Changos for now: what makes their lunch menu worthy of a long queue day after day in central Manchester? Well for one there is the price, at £4.95 for any medium chicken or vegetarian burrito, soda (bottomless) and nachos it’s a bargain. Especially when you consider the likes of Bar Burrito down the road who charge £5.30 for a small burrito on its own. And they offer free guacamole which seems like it should be a given but in most places these days they charge you.  But the main reason for the queue is the taste, they’re packed full of flavour and made with fresh ingredients making them a firm favourite amongst Manchester’s burrito lovers.

IMHO: I rate this high on the lunch list in Manchester, at £4.95 it’s a great offer. Obviously one downside is the queue so make sure you get there early. But as they say, all good things in life are worth waiting for!

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