Duck and Waffle

Special occasions call for a very special breakfast.

Now this special occasion could be a birthday treat or a toast to exemplary news, but for us it was a Saturday, we were in London and we were very hungry.

And if that doesn’t deserve a very special breakfast, I just don’t know what does.

Duck and Waffle had been on my radar for far too long, but was always just out of reach. Notoriously popular and so almost impossible to book; I was thrilled to have made a reservation for the only available space at 9:30am on the weekend of our getaway.

We rose early from our space-like pod (the new premier inn hubs, seriously – you have to try). And set off on the uncharacteristically quiet streets of London; giddy with sleep deprivation and  hunger. We arrived at Heron Tower and took the elevator, watching as London slowly woke up around us as we flew forty stories high.

After timidly walking through the restrooms of the restaurant, we were quite uncertain as to whether we had come to the right place – until the tell-tale smells of sizzling sausages and toasted slices of thick farmhouse bread assured us we were on the right track. Finding the maitre d’ stand, we were taken to our table and left to pick our jaws off the floor.

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The view, was quite frankly spectacular.

Drinking in our surroundings, we admired that vast impressiveness of London Town, which almost glittered in the early morning sunshine.

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Ordering up a Flat White and a hand-pressed OJ (sadly I think the only hand-pressing this orange juice saw was to get the lid off the bottle…) We drank them slowly as we mused over the menu and it’s decadent offerings.

After much deliberation, J plumped for the Ox Cheek Benedict.

A generous stack of slow cooked ox cheek, topped with two perfectly poppable eggs, and piled onto a toasted waffle, finished with lashings of hollandaise and siriacha.

Filthy rich and full of flavour down to the very last bite.

I opted for the restaurant’s namesake.

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A plate of simplicity…but a sensation of flavours when devoured.

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The duck impeccably tender and gloriously juicy under it’s coat of crispy skin, fried egg softly salted and pleasingly yellow, the waffle light and chewy – combined together and drizzled liberally with mustard maple syrup, it was truly magnificent and certainly worth naming your 40-story-high eatery after.

After eating our weight in golden platefuls, we continued to ponder the view as we psyched up to return to earth for another day of adventuring.

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If you’re looking to add a bit of magic to your visit to London, or are looking for a break from reality as a local, Duck and Waffle is open 24 hours a day, serving delights for whenever you’re looking to enjoy some escapism (it’s also a terrific for a spot of people watching).

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Bookings can be made 3 months in advance so I urge that you do so; walk-ins are welcomed if you fancy your chances, you just might have a little wait on your hands.

Anyway, enough waffling on from me! Happy Eating.

Extra Fries and Exercise

What if I told you, you didn’t have to be a size 8 to be happy?

I know, mic drop right?

What if I told you happiness couldn’t be found in a number?*

*unless that number was 2-4-1 on your favourite patisserie snack in M&S

I witnessed the power a number can have over some people a few evenings previous; when, asking a friend if she wanted to join me and my other half for an impromptu pizza date, I was met with the reply of:

“No thanks babes, I’m almost at a comfortable size 8.”

I was shocked, and even more than shocked, I was sad. If your life is getting postponed until the day you can snuggle into a dress size you deem more worthy because you think it’s going to make you happy  – I’m sorry to tell you, you are frightfully mistaken.

Ask anyone battling an incurable disease, a young girl stuck in hospital, a well-lived elderly living out their last days in bed, NONE of them will be thinking of the day they managed to hit 8.8 stone on the scale, or be fondly reminiscing about the time they could zip up their size 8 jeans with ease – not if either of the previous were a battle of sacrifice of a family roast, mimosas on a friend’s birthday or a naughty impromptu Ben & Jerry’s in your car, (the latter being one of my favourite evenings spent with fellow food fan, Chloe Pringle).

These people long to LIVE, a privilege we forget won’t be around forever.

I was discussing this topic with my beautiful friend Christy one evening over a G&T. She had met me after a shopping trip and had bought a pair of beautifully supple, carnation coloured trousers which I admired with love-heart eyes. Taking a glug of her drink, she freely exclaimed; “I’ve accepted I can’t be a size 8 anymore, it just doesn’t work for me. My bum and thighs are happiest in a size 12 and that’s just how it is.”

And that’s just how it was. Simple.

After a few more laughs, we downed our drinks and were met by her handsome fiancé who whisked her away for a meal.

But Christy was right, surely so long as we look comfortable on the outside – who care’s what the label says on the inside?

We interrupt this blog post to bring you this important message : NO ONE CARES.

So long as you’re healthy and happy, no one is bothered if the label in your pants says size 10 or size 16; no one’s gonna check, and you can sure as heck be positive that the general public is more concerned with the management of their own waistband rather than worrying about yours.

If I’m ever in dangerous proximity of having a wobble, or my brain tries to tangle the wires in my head to make me feel those desperately awful hungry thoughts again, I think fondly of the following phrase:

“Fuck it, it tastes good and I like it.”

These words were spoken by my other half’s dad, as we sat around a cheeseboard mid-quiz after a glorious Saturday consisting solely of laughing, day-drinking and eating.

The topic of conversation briefly sat upon the subject of weight loss and dieting before quickly transferring back to which cracker sits best with brie and who played William Roach’s third wife in Coronation Street.

After the girls firmly put the boys in their place after lightning round my mind decided to revisit this statement.

If your biggest problem in life is the fact that your jeans feel a little tighter when you sneeze, then I urge you to count yourself lucky. Of course, we’re all inclined to have a moan every now and again; about the size of our arse, how maybe it’s a little harder to do up our trousers on a Monday or maybe you just discovered that your arm has an extended jiggle 2 seconds after you stopped clapping.

Regardless; these niggles are part and parcel of life, that jiggle in your arm, that extra layer of love over your abs and that extra roundness of your butt were created when you were busy creating memories with your pals. It sure as heck wasn’t made lying on your bed, missing out on yet another occasion as you wait to become “skinny”, it was made when you were out living and that’s what makes your body yours.

I fear we’re living in an age where so-called “healthy-living” leaves people with an inability to have a life; diets, cleanses, programmes – all of which have restrictions that make life even harder to live. Is giving up everything really worth the thrill of saying; “Do you have this in a size 8?”

The thing about numbers, is that they’re infinite. There’s no end point and the limit most certainly does not exist (shoutout to my “Mean Girls” fans who got the reference). Pancakes on a Sunday morning with your family or pizza on the beach with your bestie is equal to good times recurring; but if you take food and good times out of the equation, the result is a pretty unremarkable life.

So what’s my point to this whole ramble? Don’t get so caught up on the numbers; sure they’re a great way to track whether you’re making progress if you have some unhealthy habits you’re trying to break, but please don’t be so hard on yourself.

You can’t fit in size 10 shorts forever, if you can – great! If you can’t, maybe go easy on dessert for a couple of weeks and see if they feel better, or add an extra workout to your week – if that does nothing, buy the size 12 and congratulate yourself on being the same size as Beyonce.

Life’s a journey begging to be lived, and you’ll never get a gorgeous bum by doing anything half arsed; so slather on an extra handsome portion of brie on your cracker, do some hard graft tomorrow and say; “Fuck it, it tastes good and I like it.”

Trust me, it’ll feel delicious.

Proove Pizza

Who doesn’t need a new pizza spot in their lives?

Especially when you find yourself horrifically without a table on a Saturday night when you’ve decided at the last minute that what you both fancy is a proper Neapolitan pizza, and you’ve exhausted all of your efforts in finding space at your usual favourites.

One must always have options.

Now, I must warn you, I can’t take much pride in my photos for this post, but I’ll do my upmost to paint a picture in your mind, so delicious you’ll be wiping the desire from your chin.

Having spent the day walking almost the entirety of Bollington’s canal side, we decided the best way to spend our worked up appetite was to throw some dough in Didsbury, at a pizza place we set our sites upon when our beloved Double 00 Zero was predictably booked up.

Whilst Double 00 Zero is charmingly casual, informal and communal, characteristics which closely resemble its home of Chorlton; the Didsbury pizza parlour takes on a more refined, sleek and organised demeanour, a perfect fit for Burton Road.

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We enjoyed a round whilst waiting for our table, taking a seat by the open frontage which looked out onto the. unfolding buzz of a warm Spring eve.

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We were seated imminently, amidst a gaggle of first dates and friends sharing food and dived straight into mains (which was immediately regretted at sight of our neighbours Antipasti Sharing Plate).

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Diavola for J…

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Stretched dough, decorated with Nduja, fennel salami, chillies, San Marzano D.O.P. tomatoes and Fior di Latte mozzarella before being whacked onto a paddle and fired with 350 degree flames in their handsome wood fire oven.

“You know…” My other half considered whilst chewing thoughtfully on his dough crust; “This might be the best pizza I’ve ever had.”

A bold, but believable statement.

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Greens…for colour, and for me, the Calzone.

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A pocket of dough, stuffed with fennel salami, roast ham, roast onion, Fior di Latte mozzarella, parmigiano reggiano, & fresh basil.

Golden, chewy dough with a slight char to add to its charm; its contents gooey, with layers of cheese surrounding salty bites of meat and sharp tomato flavour.

Enjoyable, but my enthusiasm did not share my partners; finding it hard to break my loyalty to Double 00 Zero, I wanted my Calzone to be fuller, a pillow of plump filling and more besides, I’ve been spoilt with gargantuan portions that Proove’s tasty tidbit left me hankering for more…so much so, I just HAD to order dessert.

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Feeling adventurous, and hungry for more of the admittedly exemplary dough, I opted against my usual obligatory Tiramisu and plumped for a Pizza Dolce.

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Proove’s classic pizza dough, smothered with Nutella and topped with Salted Ricotta, rolled and served in delicious parcel form, branch-like and powdered with icing sugar.

Exceptionally naughty, but saintly enough to prompt a “hallelujah” chorus in your head, (side note : would be EVEN more heavenly with a sweet scoop of vanilla gelato).

 

Even Jacob found himself powerless to resist Proove’s Affogato.

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Simple Vanilla Ice Cream, served by the glassful, with a side of espresso ready to coat its sweet mouthfuls with a bitter bite.

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Whilst I originally apologised on behalf of my photographs for this post, I might have to revoke my earlier statement. I was bothered by the effect the restaurant’s lighting had on the pictures I took, but at second glance, I really quite enjoy the warming glow left by the gleam of the Edison bulbs, perfectly capturing the golden glow of an evening spent at Proove.

Whilst it might not have taken the crown for best pizza in Manchester in my book, it’s an undeniable pizza heaven right in the heart of West Didsbury.

Cottonopolis

A long Bank Holiday weekend positively begs to be celebrated with a good brunch.

With a friend’s birthday to celebrate and 5 girlfriends all miraculously free on the same day at the same time; we had arranged to meet at Cottonopolis in the Northern Quarter for a date that would combine a birthday brunch with the judge-less opportunity to get ridiculously drunk before noon.

Having only been to Cottonopolis previously for their remarkable sushi; I was excited to experience their take on the most important meal of the day. In a city where you can’t swing a sourdough without getting it slathered in avocado, I was hungry to try something with a little innovation and a bit more naughty that your average acai bowl.

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The restaurant itself is achingly cool; glowing lightbulbs, exposed brick, draped fabrics – all the usual suspects; but with an edge that makes this otherwise standard opulence in a grade II setting deliciously unique.

We ordered up quite the spread of food. To start (…oh yes, there were starters); the entire ‘snack’ menu.

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Beef and Quail Egg Nigiri

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Pork and Kimchi Dumplings

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Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Maki Roll

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Tomato and Bacon Skewers

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Sweet Potato and Sesame Hash Browns

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I could comment on each one individually, but honestly? Each description would be the same.

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A remarkable firework of flavour, every single one. A divine twist on sushi favourites and classic brunch bites.

At £5 a pop, I highly recommend giving each one a whirl; they’re also the perfect option if you’re someone looking for a lighter bite.

 

If our starters were the definition of a spread, the mains were somewhat of a banquet.

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Of course there are the fail-safes of Avocado Toast and Salmon and Eggs to appease the less adventurous; but on this particular day, bellies lined with courage from a mimosa (or three) we all opted for something a little more luxurious.

Steak and Eggs

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Steak, cooked perfectly pink; served over mushrooms atop sourdough with the most gloriously crispy fried eggs, dotted with chives.

Crispy Duck Leg with Waffle and Fried Duck Egg

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A true sight to behold, ridiculously photogenic and eye-rollingly tasty. Cut a sizeable forkful of duck (and be sure to get some crispy skin on there), a chunk of waffle and dip into the sunshine yellow yolk for a divine journey to flavour town.

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If my own plate hadn’t been so heavenly, I might have just been jealous.

Speaking of which…

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Wagyu Brisket and Poached Egg Crumpet

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Whilst perhaps not the prettiest of plates; these little doughy stacks of dreams were a melting pot of rich, savoury goodness; the wagyu beef succulent, tender and almost sweet whilst the crumpets sank deliciously, heavy with flavour. The hollandaise and yolk comprising a wonderful marriage to add extra luxuriousness.

We devoured the lot, satisfied with our efforts to stuff ourselves silly and feeling blessed that we could slip into a Sunday food coma with no fear of becoming subject to the dreaded Smonday feels.

As you can probably gather, I highly recommend a trip to Cottonopolis. While I fully advocate you try them out for an unforgettable date night; their brunch is seriously something special and not one to be missed.

They get busy quickly, so book and arrive early to get as much enjoyment out of the bottomless brunch as physically possible!

What a way to spend the weekend!

Tariff and Dale

Manchester in the sunshine is simply glorious.

Smiles are more rife than hay fever, wool coats which were worn just last week are replaced with loose linen and camisoles and restaurants open their bi-folding windowed doors, allowing life to spill onto the streets in a deliciously “summer fete” fashion.

I was working away one Friday when my phone pinged with a message from one of my dearest friends.

“Weather is too good to work! Can you meet for lunch?”

Normally when working I have some concoction ready and waiting in tuppawear to wolf down when I have a moment; but Sacha was right, it seemed EVERYONE had given up working for the day that late afternoon; and since my tuppawear had been unceremoniously left in my fridge at home and I had not yet gotten around to seeking a replacement, my rumbling tummy wholeheartedly agreed.

I grabbed my bag and dashed out into the Northern Quarter, whose moody streets were now drenched in sunshine and slowly filling with loose-tied, off-the-clock workers who too had decided to take advantage of the arrival of an early Summer.

I met Sacha and Nikki at Tariff and Dale; having only spent evenings drinking good G+T’s and playing bad games of pool there in the past, their menu has always been somewhat of an intrigue, and today seemed as good as any to take it out for a spin.

Drinking in the menu (as well as a thirst-quenching Hendricks), we ordered a veritable feast of everything that caught our eye.

Wild Mushroom Arancini

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Show me the word “Arancini” and I am quite literally powerless to resist. Stuffed with mozzarella, chimichurri and crowned with rocket above a bed of homemade pesto; its outer coating crackles with golden crunch, perfectly sealing a rich, gooey centre. 3 per portion, it’s a handsome plateful for just 6 squidly and rivals against many bonafide Italian’s in Manchester.
A classic Margarita pizza on sourdough base.
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Can we just take a moment?
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For a place with such a diverse menu, we didn’t expect great shakes (or slices) from T & D, mediocre at best or maybe even Pizza Express standard; imagine our pleased as punch faces when this little miracle arrived, cooked till Neapolitan perfection, unable to hold its own and dripping with all manners of cheese.
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A dreamy concoction which received moans of approval from three of Manchester’s most critical pizza snobs and a total steal at just £8 (go on a Friday lunchtime and you can enjoy unlimited slices of the stuff for £9!)
And last, but certainly not least, the Fish Board.
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Smoked Mackerel Pate, Haddock Fish Fingers, Smoked Salmon & Caper Berries, Buttermilk Marinated Squid
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A harmonious symphony of fresh fish and a glorious combination of flavours and textures. Crisp chewy bites of squid; silky portions of smoked salmon and divine crunches of fish fingers which uncovered the fluffy white flakes of haddock.
At £18 per board, I found this a little overpriced for the portion size, but I suppose fairly accurate of the cost of fresh fish in Manchester. Combining this along with our two other dishes, the bill was remarkably reasonable – making us question why we shouldn’t be lunching this way on a more weekly basis.
Manchester gets a handful of summer days at best, so I hope you’re able not to waste a moment when the sun decides to present its happy self. This city and its towns are brimming with opportunities for you to uncover, so if you find anywhere (almost) too good to share, please let me know!

WOOD

Thursdays are the new Fridays; or at least that’s what I tell myself as I blow my fringe upward away from my newly glistening forehead – the result of which is from seeing JUST HOW MUCH the bill has come to after my friend Dariane and I dine at WOOD on a Thursday evening.

Because what other excuse could there be for spending over £55 per head for two courses and a pair of G&T’s?

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Wood has been on my agenda ever since I heard word of its arrival following my Masterchef obsession circa 2015. A brief tease of the original menu sold me completely, as I waited for the perfect occasion to excitedly embrace a reservation.

Whilst there’s no shortage of fine dining restaurants in Manchester, there’s something about WOOD which combines homely-ness with sheer luxurious opulence. A far cry from Bunny Jackson’s Juke Joint situated next door, WOOD is worlds away from the norm and excels in a warm welcome.

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Sinking into our buttery soft, leather booth; the friendly staff buzzed around us, tending to our every need; taking our coats, detailing the menu and fixed us with a handsomely large gin, (the most important of the lot arguably).

Before ordering, we were presented with two perfectly plump buns of freshly baked bread. Still warm from the oven, the soft bites were simply heavenly when combined with the same ratio of salted butter to bread.

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Having poured over the menu previously that day; we eagerly placed our orders and awaited excellence.

To start, Wild Mushroom Raviolo cooked with sage, chestnuts and pangrattato.

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Texturally pleasing; the rich, flavourful filling was hugged by soft, slippery bites of its pasta case and crisped by a crowning crumb. A simple concept, executed marvellously, I’d have gladly eaten a trough of it.

Beef Carpaccio, which seems to be off the menu presently; regardless, it was a total delight and masterfully presented.

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On to mains, neither of us could resist the Halibut and neither of us could quite bring ourselves to share, and for very good reason.

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The most spectacular dish.

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A perfectly cooked fillet of halibut, lay atop a bed of tender stem broccoli. Smoked mussels dance around the plate, led by the enticing crunch of sweet pistachio nuts, all of which is bathed lightly in an outstanding jus-esque cream sauce.

So rich but so delicate, a show-stealer and day-maker.

We were coaxed into a side of Woodland Salad – which did it’s job providing extra greenery, but was no supporting role to this dish.

Whilst I had no desire for dessert, Dariane settled upon the Yorkshire Rhubarb and White Chocolate pudding .

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A fanfare of flavours and artistically built plate. Refreshing, sumptuous and sweet.

When it comes to fine dining, this ever-growing field seems to have new establishments popping up like mushrooms overnight; alas WOOD is a restaurant which I believe will grow and flourish with the city.

We have been spoilt somewhat in recent years, as talent increases; the opportunity to dine out lavishly is more obtainable at a more cost effective price. Dining venues such as Mackie Mayor, whilst not necessarily the same experience or quality, but arguably flavour and value mean that we’re able to get a taste of innovative and exciting dishes without worrying whether our card might get declined.

This being said, I feel WOOD should most definitely be experienced by all, while personally it might not be in the price bracket I feel most comfortable in; there is no denying the craftsmanship nor the excellence behind the dishes and those which create, cook and serve them.

If you do decide to indulge, book here, and be sure to tell me how you get on. Trust me, you wood’nt want to miss it.

*Interior photos taken from google (I was so immersed in the food I totally forgot to take them myself).

 

 

 

 

Flower Cup

Spring is sure as heck taking it’s time before it decides to present it’s blooming lovely self.

But until then, I’ve found the sweetest of spots, positively bursting with botanical delights and floral decor to satisfy your appetite for Spring, but the best part of this oasis? It also dishes up a bangin’ brekkie.

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Stepping in from the down and out weather with its uncertain temperatures and grizzly grey clouds; Flower Cup is every bit as adorable as it sounds and is a welcome breath of fresh air.

Greenery flurries itself from every nook and cranny of the cafe; succulents poised dramatically in the shop front, enticing passersby in to take a closer look.

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We found ourselves a sweet spot, and immediately ordered up some necessities.

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Taking our time to mull over the offerings, the menu is every bit as colourful as the neons that decorate the space (and the ladies that work there – sidenote: Jess, our waitress was an absolute Aussie delight).

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The coffee is handcrafted and intensely satisfyingly.

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The brunch menu is a veritable feast of classics gone rogue with colour and charm as the starring roles.

Needless to say we were both mighty chuffed with our selections.

The Flower Cup Breakfast for J.

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Crispy rashers of bacon, fried egg, Sriracha beans, tomatoes, avocado and a wedge of raggedly cut  toast.

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Wedge on that!

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Crisp on that!!!!

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A superior upgrade on your average Full English, the rich, silky avocado comprised with crisp bites of salty bacon – a complete and utter joy of a mouthful when drizzled with the nectar of the sunshine yellow yolk.

For me, the Breakfast Tacos.

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Soft Shell Tacos stuffed with crispy fried egg, chunky mouthfuls of halloumi, a peppery handful of rocket, fresh, smooth flavours of avocado, a juxtaposition against the zingy kicks of Sriracha Mayo.

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Even Jacob couldn’t resist getting it for the ‘gram.

Two per portion, it’s just the right amount to satisfy your morning growl (although you might be tempted by a little extra somethin’ somethin’ if you’re a greedy girl like me…)

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You’ll find Flower Cup within the walls of Chester; no reservations, but you’d do well to get yourself in as early as possible. Within an hour of opening there were no seats to be had as it quickly becomes the brunch spot for locals and tourists alike.

I absolute adore Chester, if you ever find yourself in this glorious city, be sure to leave yourself with enough time to stroll around the historic Watergate Row level shops, bob in to the breathtaking Cathedral and definitely make sure you stop and smell the roses…or the Spider plant, depending on where you brunch.

Cafe 19

First impressions can be tricky and are often made in haste. But isn’t it quite wonderful when the negative thoughts you had about somewhere turn out to be deliciously wrong?

If you live in Manchester, I’m almost certain you will have passed by Cafe 19. Found on Lever Street, on the very cusp of the Northern Quarter, this eatery-come-bar-come-cafe leaves a lot to be desired from its outer shell.  I had been to the opening and was intrigued by how it had been getting on since it’s launch 12 months ago; a lunch break with one of my best friends seemed like the perfect occasion.

From the outside, Cafe 19 looks a little basic, a little 90s (but more Byker Grove than F.R.I.E.N.D.S), with very little of its personality shining through.

Step over the threshold however and discover a charming nook; with cosy armchairs, spacious booth seating and exposed Edison lightbulbs warming the light, bright, friendly space.

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The menu is simple, but cleverly crafted with a mixture of home comforts and classic lunch-time pleasers. Eager to eat, we placed our orders at the bar and nestled back into our booth to catch up on the latest.

We giggled and gossiped, cutting in between each other’s sentences as though we hadn’t seen each other in years rather than just a week, excited to enjoy an impromptu golden hour of each other’s company.

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In no time at all, our dinner arrived. Cajun Chicken Panini for Em, and for me…

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Something a little more gram-able…

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An open bagel, toasted and smothered generously with fresh, smashed avocado; grilled halloumi and poached eggs. Sun-dried tomatoes and a balsamic reduction danced around the outer rim of the plate for added finesse.

The outcome was sheer perfection. Nothing too challenging admittedly, but executed excellently with extra care taken to enhance the flavours of the core components of the plate.

Should you find yourself in need of some midday sustenance, Cafe 19 is well worth a second look. A relaxed setting with speedy service; no need to book, just show up with an appetite and your bestie and good times are guaranteed.

 

Body Type : Enjoys Pasta

It was a casual Wednesday evening; I was searching my wardrobe for a pair of trousers I knew I didn’t own to go with a shirt I most definitely couldn’t afford, in an attempt to seamlessly and affordably transition my wardrobe for spring and summer. 

After deciding that I did not own the type of clothes I wasn’t even sure that I wanted, and had exhausted all online avenues to try and find the “key pieces” which were going to make up my ultimate capsule wardrobe; (that would save me money in the long term, but initially I’ll probs have to spend £500 getting it just how I like it to then decide that I JUST HAVE TO HAVE that super trendy PVC skirt before realising that PVC was a mistake that I made last year and what on earth had changed in the past 5 months to make me change my mind?)

I digress.

Finding myself in such a situation,  I decided to surrender to my own indecisiveness and let the robots do the work (as ultimately, they would be taking over soon anyway). Logging on to a high street brand’s website – I opted for the “Online Personal Shopper Experience”, and proceeded to answer the questions it gave me. 

Height, hair colour, likes, dislikes – all completely capable questions; until the dreaded:

“What’s your body type?”

I gulped, what was my body type? I had no idea; my previous torments and battles with food and appearance had left me unable to objectively look at my body. My friend Sacha called me an hourglass; when I looked in the mirror I just saw a potato (an organic Maris Piper potato, but still a potato no-less).  

A male acquaintance told me that I was looking good earlier this week, a kind and no doubt sincere compliment, which my brain had immediately scrutinised and translated into meaning the exact opposite; but WHY?

Why, even when we’re complimented, do we believe that they’re is an ulterior motive, a hidden meaning behind the words which dissolve any confidence we may have built up? Why can we not see ourselves as others see us? Why can we only accept that negatives we hear about ourselves but when we receive praise, believe it to have a more sinister or negative underlay? 

It’s a cruel fate that as women, the majority of us will not be happy with what we’ve been given; ignoring our strengths in lieu of our subjected shortcomings.

“My legs aren’t long enough,”

“My tummy sticks out,”

“I hate my upper-arms”

Bullshit.

We must stop defining ourselves by what we aren’t and start celebrating what we are.

Don’t have the slender calves you wish you had? I’ll bet your thicker thighs supports a bum that resembles two perfect scoops of Butter Pecan. Your washboard stomach is probably the envy of many a woman while you’re busy worrying that your bust isn’t big enough. 

My sister has often said that she envies my legs, which, as an avid walker I manage to keep slim and toned with minimal effort; if you scale up however you’ll reach my arse which is all kinds of Kim Kardashian (minus the surgery and American Express Black Card), big and round and almost impossible to fit into a pair of jeans. My sister however, doesn’t see these angsts of mine; only her own. She doesn’t realise she has the most enviable waist and washboard stomach, both of which I would trade my entire stash of Mini Eggs for (if I thought giving them up would make any difference, I would, but it wouldn’t, so I won’t). My point is, we should be celebrating our individuality rather than ignoring these in favour of what we don’t have. 

While self-improvement should never be discouraged, it does you well to be mindful that life would be incredibly boring if we all looked the same, and I’m not just talking about women. 

Now, I can only speak on behalf of myself and my friends; but we’re big fans of the “dad bod”, none of us are arsed about rippling six packs, firm pectorals or defined quads; if you’ve got them – great! If you don’t, who the heck even cares. Love us and feed us because that’s all we really want. 

To define ourselves simply by a body type is both simple and complex; ultimately, the majority of us do fall into a category to help us accentuate our best bits, but that doesn’t mean if you discover yourself to be of Athletic or Pear physique that you’re pigeonholed to that one and only punnet. You could be a pear shape…that can run 5K in less than 25 minutes; you could be athletic…that eats a trough of pasta at least twice a week; an hourglass…that can deadlift 60kg.

I often describe myself now as someone who works out, but enjoys pasta. I am by no means fat, but use my love of food as fuel to push my body to run, lift and dance (badly). So if having a thigh gap or a smaller bum means having to sacrifice eating peanut butter m&m’s in bed with my boyfriend or splitting a tub of Ben and Jerry’s (followed by a chaser of gin) with my best friend after a particularly trying week; well you can keep them…I’d only have to buy new jeans anyway.

You are more than a shape on a child’s learning chart; you have depth and you have beauty which is found not only in the curves of your body, but in the laughter lines on your face, your quick wit and ability to bring a smile to your friend’s lips.

You will have qualities that will be envied by many, if only you could see them yourself. 

That’s why, if, like so many, you have been struggling with self-acceptance recently; if you’ve ever felt like you’ve wanted to change yourself whether it be your shape, or any exterior which goes beyond means of health; I want you to try positive affirmations. 

Start by complimenting yourself; just like you would your friends. Rather than focussing on the parts of yourself you’d like to change, praise the parts you love, both on the exterior and interior.

You only get one body, so quite hating it for what it’s not, and start loving it for what it can do, because while you might not be able to change your natural shape, you can change your attitude and happiness towards it; and happiness is truly one size that fits all.