Wednesday, 31 January 2018

10 Date Ideas In Manchester

Manchester is a constantly evolving city, it’s a great time to live or visit here. There’s new bars, restaurants and experiences popping up all over the show.

Valentines Day is fast approaching and I’ve been trying to think of something to do. I started mentally writing down some options and thought why not share them in a post. I see people asking for suggestions on what to do in manchester all the time so hopefully it will be useful to someone.

Here are some of the things I am thinking of doing/have done before…

1. Junk Yard Golf

I never think of myself as competitive until I get put in a situation like this. The three different courses are made from pre-owned and pretty random pieces, given it an urban-hipster vibe. There’s mid-way bars on the courses to top up your drink. Junk Yard Golf is now on First Street, which is an area of Manchester that’s undergoing a big makeover with loads of bars and restaurants opening up. So you can easily pop out for food/drink afterwards.

2. Chill Factore

If you’re looking for something active why not try Chill Factore. I keep thinking about skiing lately, I really want to get back on the slopes, fake or real. I haven’t been here since I was in sixth form but I’d love to go back soon! At least until I can afford a lovely ski trip in the Alps.

3. Afternoon Tea at Cloud 23

This has been on the top of my to-do list for a few months now. Cloud 23 is located in the Hilton on Deansgate on the 23rd floor (has anyone else seen the film 23?). There’s a few different afternoon tea choices ranging from cream tea to free-flowing champagne afternoon tea. The food looks delicious and the views stunning.

4.  Cat Cafe 

Is there a more adorable way to spend an afternoon tea drinking hot chocolate surrounded by cats? You pay for your time spent there and prices include unlimited hot drinks. Sometimes they also do events like cat yoga or cat movie night, cute!

5. Table Tennis At Twenty Twenty-Two

This is one of my favourite bars in the northern quarter. It costs just £5 per half hour, except Mondays when it’s free! You don’t need to book beforehand, I’ve always just shown up on the day. The venue changes it’s decorations several times throughout the year so it’ll always look slightly different.

6. Dog Bowl

I used to go bowling all the time when I was younger, it was one of the few forms of entertainment I had growing up in my small town. The menu has a bunch of junk food like loaded fries (yum!) and burgers. 

7. Hotel Gotham

I really want to stay in Gotham but I just can’t justify paying to stay in Manchester while I live here. It’s quite fancy so will cost a little more than the others on this list. On their website they’re highlighting Valentines packages including a five course dinner or afternoon tea. 

8. Watch A Film At Home

Home has plenty to offer, including a contemporary cinema. They show some of the latest, classics and and independent films. I haven’t gone here myself yet but I know a few people who have and they have rated it. I’m such a film lover, I really need to pay a visit soon!

9. Escape Room/Break Out

I love these kind of things even though they’re so much more difficult than I expected them to be. Each time I have gone I have gotten out at the last minute after many clues! Both Escape Room and Break Out are good to go to, with different themed rooms with different difficulty ratings. This one is more of a group thing so maybe one for the double+ dates.

10. Axe Throwing

Yeah this one seems a little strange but apparently it’s fun. Whistle Punks found success in London and decided to open up shop up north too. It’s located in the Great Northern which is very central, so you’ll be walking distance from many of the best Manchester bars. Make sure you do the axe throwing before drinks though, could be dangerous otherwise. The place is set up like a shooting range you’d find in America, but they’ve switched the gun for axes, because why not!


Saturday, 27 January 2018

Book Up, Phone Down

I decided I have not been reading enough in the past couple of years. 

I love reading and used to read so much when I was younger, but then I got older and more tired and made up excuses to keep refreshing social media instead. Bad Laura.

So January came and in a cliche manner I am I decided to set a few goals, one of them being to read more.

I was already trying to read more by reading on the tram, so I tried to think of another time I could slot it into my day. Then the light bulb flickered on and I decided I would try to read each night before bed, groundbreaking I know. 

Basically I’ve been making sure I read for around 30 minutes each night at bed time, on Sunday to Thursday. As well as doing this I have given myself a strict no phone and no TV policy so I don’t get distracted.

I am usually awful at sleeping, I have been for many years. Sometimes I go through stretches where I can’t help completely crashing out on the sofa, other times I just lay in the dark for hours on end praying for sleep to come take me.

A lovely benefit to the reading/no phone combo is that my sleep pattern has improved massively. Not only am I getting a good 8 hours a night, I am also falling into such deep sleeps. I’ve never felt so refreshed this regularly.

There have been a few studies on phone usage before bed and according to one of them on the NHS website it can “delay and reduce sleep” and using a phone before going to bed could “damage your health” (there were some limitations to this study so it’s not scientifically completely proven).

One site says that the blue light emitted by phones/televisions/tablets can restrain the production of melatonin, which is the hormone that controls your circadian rhythm (sleep/wake cycle). Reduced melatonin makes it more difficult to fall asleep and then stay asleep.

Reading has often helped me to fall asleep. Studies have shown reading before you go to bed can reduce your stress levels, clearing your mind and making it easier to sleep. I’m currently reading a book on Egyptian history at bed time as it’s one of those books that is interesting, but not a omg-I-have-to-find-out-what-happens-next kinda book.

So not only am I hitting my January goal of reading more, I am also getting many good nights sleep! I would highly recommend putting you phone down and picking a good book up before bed. I’m not sure if it will work for everyone but I slept better from the very first night.

What books have you been reading lately?


Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Thailand Travels: My Route & What I Got Up To

Taking a trip to Thailand has been on my bucket list for about ten years now. 

One of my friends is currently on a solo adventure around Asia, which is hugely impressive and inspiring and also provided me the perfect excuse to finally book some plane tickets. I had never been to Asia so i was beyond excited to go and haven’t shut up about it since.

I found my flights on Sky Scanner and it was around £400-£450 for a return. I flew with Oman Air, with the connecting flight in Muscat. The airline was pretty good - lots of film choice, fairly comfortable and plenty of food (super important). 

It was the furthest I have ever travelled on my own, which sounds more exciting than it is. In reality I binge ate a lot snacks, had a movie marathon and took lots of naps.

The route we went on was Bangkok > Kanchanburi > Hua Hin > Bangkok. This gave us a good mix of city/rural/beach life.

We stayed in hostels for the most part. The hostels are on every corner and you can book them really easily through sites like Hostel World, each night was around £5-£10 each. We thought we’d treat ourselves on the last night so stayed in an Air BnB on the outskirt of Bangkok. Even this was cheap, I think it was something like £20 each for 4 of us.


A lot of people say bad things about Bangkok. I don’t think it is a place I could stay in for a while but I enjoyed my time there. 

The city is lively and bustling, there’s so much going on everywhere: tuk tuks weaving their way through the traffic, smells of food sizzling from the street carts, music pouring out of bars, crowds of people laughing.

I went to so many temples, including Wat Arun which is one of the more well known temples. We actually took a boat taxi down the canal to get there, boat taxis are so much better than land taxis. 

I  also managed to navigate my way down the famous Khao San Road on a Friday night, which was no easy feat. The is one of the most crowded and overly noises streets in the whole of Bangkok, but I feel it's something you have to tick off the list. Luckily there's a calmer but still lively street that runs parallel, this is where I spent most of my nights.


We went to Kanchanburi for the sole purpose of visiting Elephants World. This is an elephant sanctuary where the staff “work for the elephants, and the elephants not for us”. I cannot say enough how much I loved my time at this sanctuary. It was so lovely because we were just following the elephants around on their day, rather than them doing things for us. I am planning on writing up whole post on this place alone because I want to go into it in a lot more detail.

We also went to the bridge over the river Kwai. This is a historically and notoriously famous bridge; the construction was organised by the Japanese who used Australian, American and British troops who were prisoners of war. During the construction 13,000 prisoners of war died and an estimated 80,000 - 100,000 civilians also died. 

Hua Hin

So we wanted to fit in a bit of beach time in the trip, because you can’t go to Thailand without a getting a bit of vitamin sea. We went to Hua Hin because it was close to Bangok from. If you’re looking for a good night out then I would probably head somewhere else. Hua Hin had minimal night life and what it did have wasn’t exactly my scene.

The beach was just what we needed after quite a few active days. It was so relaxing to float around in the sea, take lots of silly photos and sunbathe while listening to podcasts. If you’re ever planning a holiday where you’re moving around a lot than I highly recommend you start in the most active place and end in the most relaxing. 

So that rounds up my small but sweet trip to Thailand. I feel like I haven’t even touched the surface and I’m already mentally planning another trip. Have you ever been, or is it on your bucket list? Where would you recommend going?

Saturday, 13 January 2018

I Don't Know What To Do With My Life

I am currently going through a stage in my life where everything is all a bit, to quote Phoebe Buffay, floopy. 

I do not know what I want to do with so many aspects of my life.

The last time I felt like this was when I finished University.

Growing up I always had direction in my life. I went to nursery, then primary school, then high school. I knew throughout school that I would head on to sixth form and eventually University. I knew what the next stage would be for the first 20 or so years of my life.

When University ended I felt like I was staring into the abyss, not knowing what to do (cue tiny violin).

I did know one thing: I wanted to move to Manchester. So I got any job I could get, which mainly involved call centre work (oh the joys of customer service), and scrimped and saved until I had enough money to move. Finally the day came when my partner and I packed up a huge moving truck, whacked Taylor Swift: 1989 on full blast and began our journey to the beautiful, albeit slightly wet, Manchester singing ‘Shake It Off’ at the top of our lungs.

Fast forward a few years and I am now starting to feel that familiar sense of what the hell should I do with my life - can’t I just eat garlic bread and watch Netflix forever?

It’s probably influenced by the fact that the new year has just begun, which is when many people start to set goals and decide on life changes they want to make.

Over the past few months I’ve come up with a whole bunch of ideas on what to do, decided against them, decided I wanted to do them again, stopped for hummus, started the process again, thought screw it and gone out for gin, then lay in the foetus position missing the days when my parents would make decisions for me.

What do I want to do with my career? My diet? My fitness? My lifestyle? This weekend? Tomorrow? For tea tonight? 

So I decided to head to the internet to find some inspiration (cos we all know the internet is a reliable source).

Here is a round up of some of the advice/messages I found that I thought were quite helpful.

1. Ask Yourself Some Questions

What are you passionate about? What is your dream job? Do you want to become an author of a long line of books or would writing articles make you happier? Do you want to work in marketing or do your skills lie in sales?

2. Take A Small Step

Although you may not be sure what exactly it is you want to do, you may have a general idea. If you’ve got something in mind then take a small step in that direction. Take the learnings from it and then take another step. Take the learnings from that and take another step. And just keep on doing that until you get to where you are happy to be.

3. Life Is Uncertain

We don’t know what is going to happen in life. I have been listening to so many podcasts lately where people are talking about how they got to where they are. A lot of the time they were heading in one direction when boom, an opportunity presented itself and they just went for it. We can’t always control everything so just go with the flow.

4. Stop Procrastinating

I am more than guilty of procrastinating, it’s so easy when Netflix auto-plays the next episode! Life will just keep on passing you by if you keep binge-watching a show. Make sure you set some time aside to follow your ambition.

5. Remember, Not Everyone Else Knows What They Want To Do

In this age of social media it can look like everyone you know is on track with their life plan and following their bliss. But as we all know, people don’t tend to put the less shiny parts of their life on Instagram. I know many people who seem so put together on social media but when I meet up with them I find out they’re often going through the same or similar things I am. 

6. Enjoy Where You Are Now

Not every day has to be a day of smashing goals. Sometimes it’s good to take a step back from worrying about the future and appreciate what you currently have. Whether that’s the holiday you’ve just been on or that lazy Sunday you spent cosy-d up watching a wholesome film.

I am going to use these to guide me through the beginning of 2018 and hopefully I will figure out what it is I want to do, or just appreciate what it is I currently have.

Do you feel you have everything figured out or are you a little lost too? If you know what you want to do what advice would you give for those who are looking to start on a new path? If you don’t know what to do then what are you doing about it? Can you tell me what to do please?

I’d love to hear about your plans in the comment section below…

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Photo Diary: Pen-Y-Ghent

I am currently sleepy, achey and quite happy.

I have just completed my first walk of the year, Pen-y-Ghent.

Though it is the smallest of the Yorkshire Three Peaks it was most definitely a challenge today. 

With the cold January weather the hill was covered in a blanket of snow and, in the shade, sheets of ice.

I thought the worst was over when I climbed up the steep rock face, then I started the descent and almost fell on my bottom a zillion times.

Despite the slipping and the sliding, it was a great day out and a pretty good workout. My abs are totally feeling it right now.

The views are also completely stunning and definitely worth the climb.

I’d love to get a few more walks in this year, potentially do the full three peaks again. If you know any good ones then please let me know in the comment section below.

I am going to get into my comfiest PJs and head to my warm and cosy bed for a very long snooze. Hope you enjoy the pictures...


Saturday, 6 January 2018

119 Films From The 90's To Watch

Two things I really love in this world are 1) sitting down and 2) watching a film.

I especially love doing them together with a bunch of snacks within arms reach.

Not too long ago I came to realise that some of my most favourite movies came from the same decade….the 90’s! No prizes for guessing, it’s in the title after all.

There’s something more relaxed and real about them than a lot of more modern films.

So here’s a round up of my favourite ones, a big mix of rom coms, animations, thrillers and more. There’s more from this decade I want to watch so maybe I’ll update it at some point.

1. Groundhog Day

2. Girl,Interrupted

3. The Mask

4. Runaway Bride

5. As Good As It Gets

6. Stepmom

7. The Truman Show

8. Forrest Gump 

9. Good Will Hunting

10. The Shawshank Redemption

11. Fight Club

12. Notting Hill

13. Jungle 2 Jungle

14. White Men Can’t Jump

15. The Man In The Iron Mask

16. Analyse This

17. The Craft

18. My Best Friend’s Wedding

19. The Green Mile

20. Reservoir Dogs

21. The Big Lebowski

22. Hook

23. Edward Scissor Hands

24. The Sixth Sense

25. Ghost

26. 10 Things I Hate About You

27. Independence Day

28. Pretty Woman

29. Titanic

30. Con Air

31. Terminator 2: Judgement Day

32. Se7en

33. Jurassic Park

34. The Silence Of The Lambs

35. Romeo and Juliet

36. Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas

37. Clueless

38. Being John Malkovich

39. Eyes Wide Shit

40. Toy Story

41. True Romance

42. The Nightmare Before Christmas

43. Miracle on 34th Street

44. Jack Frost

45. Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves

46. Armageddon

47. Ace Ventura: Pet Detective

48. Cool Runnings

49. Mrs Doubtfire

50. The Parent Trap

51. A Bug’s Life

52. Sleepless in Seattle

53. Casper

54. Mulan

55. Scream

56. GoldenEye

57. The Talented Mr Ripley

58. Anastasia

59. Beauty And The Beast

60. The Lion King

61. Office Space

62. Misery

63. Sleepy Hollow

64. Interview With The Vampire

65. The Devils Advocate

66. Space Jam

67. Baby’s Day Out

68. Face Off

69. Austin Powers

70. Beethoven 

71. The Addams Family

72. Babe

73. Death Becomes Her

74. The Birdcage

75. Shakespeare In Love

76. Sister Act

77. Hocus Pocus

78. Pocahontas

79. Twister

80. Kindergarten Cop

81. The Firm

82. The Three Musketeers

83. The Iron Giant

84. Urban Legend

85. Bicentennial Man

86. I Know What You Did Last Summer

87. Bean

88. The Hunchback Of Notre Dame

89. The Faculty

90. Stuart Little

91. Waynes World

92. A Little Princess

93. Drop Dead Fred

94. American Beauty

95. Mousehunt

96. The Commitments

97. Mighty Joe Young

98. Flubber

99. Lake Placid

100. One Fine Day

101. Sliding Doors

102. Idle Hands

103. Dunston Checks In

104. Mickey Blue Eyes

105. The Swan Princess

106. The Man Who Knew Too Little

107. Serial Mom

108. Ducktales The Movie

109. Fairytale

110. Picture Perfect

111. The Juror

112. Monkey Trouble

113. Apollo 13

114. Eyes Wide Shut

115. The Matrix

116. Four Weddings And A Funeral

117. The Object Of My Affection

118. She’s The One

119. Leon: The Professional
© Laura Lovette | All rights reserved.
Blog Design Handcrafted by pipdig