The Allotment Vegan Eatery – First Impressions

The Allotment Vegan Eatery, located on Lloyd Street, makes fine dinning simple and relatable (and gluten free too). As soon as you walk in it feels welcoming and cozy, even though it’s quite spacious.

We visited early on a rainy Monday to take advantage of the Eat Out To Help Out scheme, which they are continuing through September. I really liked the simple and natural feel to decor and layout. There is an extensive drinks menu offering juices, bottled soft drinks, beer, teas, cocktails and wine.

Small Plates

My bloke’s tiny dish was too tiny to eat out of properly but he found the Edamame Salad, with kale, chilli, spring onions, soy and tamarind dressing was really refreshing.

I found the little boats made from Chicory leaves to be the perfect way to eat tenderstem broccoli with black olive tapenade, toasted hazelnuts and pumpkin and pomegranate seeds. A unique combination which worked really well.

Large Plates

My bloke likes a good risotto but he’d never tried a beetroot risotto with ricotta before. This dish had a lovely flavour but both the maple glazed beetroot and the ricotta were similarly sweet, so it needed another salty or sharp flavour to break them up and help define them both.

I ordered the ‘fish’ and chips. Wow, we’re those chips big and crispy! The minted peas had a subtle flavour which was just right and the homemade tarter sauce was a perfect accompaniment. The ‘fish’ was made from banana blossom which had a texture similar to shredded duck and tasted strongly of lemon. The batter had a nice crunch but the fish was crying out for some kind of salt but there was no salt and pepper on the table, a trend which is becoming more common I’ve noticed.

Dessert

There were only two desserts so we ordered one each to share. Blueberry Cheesecake and a Hazelnut Slice.

The hazelnut slice base was made of crushed hazelnuts, with a thick layer of salted caramel praline, topped with solid Belgian chocolate ganache. The portion of this delicious desert was so big I was glad I was sharing it.

The base of the blueberry cheesecake was made of crushed pea cans and almonds, topped with a vanilla and blended cashew filling, topped with blueberry and chai seed compot. Such skill must have gone into making this as it was wonderful!

The inclusion of fresh fruit and ice cream with both deserts was a nice touch and lifted their flavour, rather than just being sweet deserts.

One thing I have to mention is how uncomfortable the wooden chairs are if you don’t have any back fat. The next day a part of my spine actually felt bruised! There is a settee (which was taken) and I noticed other metal chairs when we were leaving.

Service was timely and friendly although we did arrive early and it got a lot busier later. We wouldn’t eat there again unless it was for a treat like a birthday as we found it to be too pricey for our budget but I can understand why, as it’s evident a lot of thought, skill and care goes into the food.

🖤✨Chrissie✨🖤

Monthly Roundup – August

I’ve taken screen shots from my Instagram to remind me, and show you what I’ve been up to this month.

Skincare and Haircare

I cut my curly hair using tips from Brad Mondo and tips from various natural hair vloggers to style my 2C curls.

I changed my contraception so got quite a few hormonal spots and this Body Shop Tea Tree, Skin Clearing Mattifying Toner was invaluable; as was The Ordinary, Lactic Acid which very gently and naturally exfoliates.

Now it’s the end of August and my skin has settled so I’m using Neal’s Yard Remedies Orange Flower Toner and Orange Flower Moisturiser everyday to keep my skin all glowy and nourished (along with the The Ordinary Lactic Acid twice a week).

Food, glorious food!

Me and my bloke spent our Tesco vouchers on Pizza Express (who will be going into liquidation next month apparently) and order two ‘new’ veggie pizzas and all of the salad.

To take advantage of the governments ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme we went to Ruyi Vegetarian Restaurant. Amazing!

I’ve gotten back into the fake meat brand Vivera and have been making simple stir-fries. Like these Vivera Shwarma Kebab strips with rice and pea and sweet corn and Jamaican Jerk BBQ sauce.

The hot weather made really reduced my appetite so these mezze/tapas style bowls were great to nibble on.

Style

I’ve had purchasing a Nirvana tee at the back of my mind for decades and this month I found an official pale pink one. Cute and grungy!

I got sick of buying summer shoes that were either too flat and bad for my shitty joints or too heavy or that flew off my feet going down stairs. I bit the bullet and bought Crocs. I actually think these look pretty bad-ass as they remind me of late 80’s/early 90’s street style. Here’s my full review of Crocs.

I still think the simplest thing to wear is a maxi dress. Hides a ton of sins and all you have to choose are shoes and then a jacket/cardigan for evening.

Lifestyle

In the crazy hot weather I’ve been wearing these sandals from Newlook, drinking Rockstar blueberry energy drink, using this light and fruity perfume from Eden and ( even with my limited concentration span) flew through My Sister The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite.

The households charity shop donations for the second quarter of the year: A crazy wide pair of linen trousers, a face scrub you have to mix from powder (I managed to spill the first pot everywhere), vest I’m now too big for, too small jeans, a teeny-tiny dress from Japan, shoes which I’ve had over a decade and worn out.

Tips on How Not To Be Constantly Late and a fun checklist to see How Basic Are You?

Listened to

80’s pop and bluesy rock.

Watched

Snowfall about the start of the crack epidemic in early 80’s LA, like a mixture of Breaking Bad, The Getdown and The Wire.

Canada’s Drag Race, love Priyanka!

Galdem (on BBC iPlayer) about women making it in the UK grime scene.

Read

My Sister The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite.

Don’t forget to like, comment or subscribe! Xxx

🖤✨Chrissie✨🖤

First Impressions of Ruyi Vegetarian Restaurant

Finally visited Ruyi Vegetarian House (Withington) who do delicious vegetarian and vegan food, specialising in mock-meats.

They are doing the #eatouttohelpoutscheme during the week.

The general standard of cooking was fantastic and the staff (even though they were so busy) were so attentive. Really relaxed, friendly atmosphere too.

I ordered: Peking Ribs (lovely), Salt and Pepper Tofu (quality), Mixed Veg (subtle seaweed flavour).

My Bloke ordered: Peking Ribs, Satay Chicken (amazing) and Stir Fried Mushroom (lovely).

They’re moving to Chorlton very soon, which is a very trendy and unique place to be. I do think it will be such a shame for this part of Withington that another veggie/vegan place has gone, along with the closure of Boho Utopia cafe recently.

🖤✨Chrissie✨🖤

Monthly Round Up – July

Style

I’ve mostly been wearing this combo or these pants with the-dye tops. I’m all about clashing prints this summer.

I bought these adorable and very unique Freda Kahlo earrings by Wilderness from Sour Cherry, who are located in Afflecks and they also have an online shop.

I’ve been wearing this outfit (shrug, maxi dress, black gladiator sandals) the few times we’ve been out and about.

I posted about Items of Clothing That Seem Ideal in Theory but…

Hated my heavy, long fringe in the heat so gave myself a short choppy one instead.

Food

After reading that Pizza Express will be slowly closing branches permanently from September my Bloke used up his Tesco points and treated us to a meal. We thought it crap that the rocket didn’t come with the mozzarella and tomato so we ordered that as well. We also ordered three 14″ pizzas which were amazing. A spicy, smokey one with aubergine, peppers and humus (added after cooking); a slightly sweet one with sultanas, black olives and red onion and a cheesy one with garlic.

I tried Aldi’s No Steak Bake which had the loveliest flakey pastry and a mince sauce that was so rich it would have suited a Spag Bol better!

Did a comprehensive Cupboard and Fridge Shop at Ocado (didn’t realise they have Follow Your Heart Cheese unfortunately). It’s all gluten and dairy free apart from the pepperoni which has milk in the flavouring.

We visited V Revolution. I had this cheese burger with bacon, slaw and onion rings. My bloke had the burger between two doughnuts which he said was very tasty and not as weird as you’d think. Okay…!?

I’ve started putting chilli (fresh, or oil, or sauce), spring onion and crushed roasted peanuts on everything. So refreshing for summer!

Skincare and Makeup

If I Could Only Use One Skincare Product this is what I chose and explained why.

I blogged about my Lifestyle Tips for Maintaining Healthy Skin.

Unpopular Opinions – Makeup Tag was surprisingly fun to join in with. Spotted on Just Geeking By.

Lifestyle

I posted 20 Tips for Living a Greener, More Sustainable Lifestyle

Another tag which I find by the lovely Heather over at Just Geeking By was The 90’s Tag I was a teen in the 90’s so this was so much fun!

The last tag I joined in with was The Daily Gratitude Tag – Home Sweet Home

TV

Limitless – a spin off from the film staring Bradley Cooper. A guy who’s on pills which expand his mind consults for the FBI. Light and entertaining.

Preacher – About a preacher, a con-woman and a vampire ft. God and a murderous Saint. Totally nuts!

Films

The Avengers films – Never get bored of these.

Captain America – Kinda boring.

Mortal Engines – Film Set in the future most cities will have morphed into huge machines which move around and swallow smaller cities to survive but not all cities are as ruthless as this. Two young people fight to find justice and fairness. Based on the Mortal Engines Quartet books by Philip Reeve.

Super 8 – A film incredibly similar to Stranger Things before that series was created.

Youtube

Brad Mondo – Very honest, funny, sweet hairdresser who reacts to people doing their own hair and also does tutorials.

Music

Kate Bush album Hounds of Love; Fun Loving Criminals album Scooby Snacks; Lady Ice (fellow Mancunian) single No Silence; Nadia Rose single Skwod.

If there’s anything you want to ask me or to tell me, please leave a comment, I love reading them and replying to you!

🖤✨Chrissie✨🖤

How I Created My Blog – Name, Header, Theme & Signature

Name

I chose Vamp It Up Manchester as a pun on the expression Camp it up. I’ve always been quite alternative and a bit vampish over the years with my style, hair, films, TV and music and my attitude in general. Why be boring when you can Vamp It Up!

My social media is Vamp It Up Mcr which got confused with an abbreviation for My Chemical Romance a few times initially. That was cool because their fans were my type of people anyway.

Header, Theme & Signature

I found it really difficult to decide on a image for my blog header that reflected everything my blog was about and my blogs branding in general. As I run a lifestyle blog based in Manchester, covering street style, street photography and local events I choose one of my photographs of Manchester.

Three years later my blog had evolved to feature many international brands and it had many more international followers. I also wasn’t going out and about around Manchester as much anymore, even though I was still featuring local eateries, so I wanted something more generic but stylish.

I chose an image of rain on a window at night, which my camera had snapped by mistake. It was a quirky little accident but the rain looked pretty glittering gold in the street light. I love anything black and alternative but I also love gold, which is what I’d chosen for my blogs theme so it was perfect! It also inspired me to use this 🖤✨ as my signature.

Tone

For a few years I struggled with the tone of my writing. Trying to hard at being a writer I suppose. It came across as professional but cold. I realised the solution was to include more, well…me! I started including more personal posts, writing more in my own voice and being proper honest and having a laugh.

I think it really helps to bring your personality to your blog, after all it’s YOUR blog. Every blog needs decent editing and styling of course but people want to read blogs by people they can relate to on some level.

🖤✨Chrissie✨🖤

My Lifestyle Tips for Healthier Skin

A few months back I set myself a challenge to get healthier skin in just one month and I achieved it! Here are some general lifestyle tips, which have helped me to keep my skin healthy (along with that skincare regimen) since.

🖤 Cutting right down on foods which don’t agree with my digestive system for better gut health, like dairy and gluten (making sure I found suitable replacements).

🖤 Imagining I’m a big pebble in a river and letting the water (life’s stresses and problems) pass around and over me, while I remain stable and steadfast, rather than shaken up and disturbed. There’s a certain amount of ‘ What will be, will be’ attitude to this in order to not worry about or wring yourself out trying to get the ‘perfect’ outcome. The deep furrow in the middle of my forehead has actually relaxed and I don’t get indigestion from stress or feeling anxious anymore.

🖤 Keeping up my water intake and my salt intake so my body absorbs and uses the water properly, rather than it going straight through me.

🖤 Using a gentle cleanser (at least once a day) which includes T-tree oil to balance my skin and keep any blemishes at bay.

🖤 Realising when my skin is de-hydrated and needs moisturiser or dry and needs oil.

🖤 Still getting takeaway but from places that use a large range of freshly cooked ingredients like Eastern/Asian takeaways or including healthy mezze/tapas/a big salad with any junk food type meals.

🖤 Keeping my hair fastened back off my face when the front pieces are dirty or oily. Not touching my face and fringe as much. Washing my hands more often.

Simple but affective! What do you think?

🖤✨Chrissie✨🖤

20 Tips for Living a Greener, More Sustainable Lifestyle

TIPS ON LIVING A GREEN LIFESTYLE

  1. Recycle/Upcycle
  2. Reuse/Repair
  3. Buy organic
  4. Reduce plastic consumption (use wooden/fabric/glass/metal alternatives)
  5. Avoid single use plastic
  6. Support independent companies
  7. Buy local produce
  8. Campaign/fund raise for wildlife and nature
  9. Drive an electric car or cycle or use public transport
  10. Use cruelty free and natural skincare, selfcare and household products
  11. Buy from and donate to charity shops
  12. Sell quality items on Depop and donate the money to smaller charities
  13. Use fabric tote bags for shopping
  14. Grow your own veg (growing a little tomato or chilli plant or regrowing veg ends like lettuce on your windowsill counts)
  15. Avoid fast fashion as much as possible
  16. Get clothes altered and learn how to hem and use darts to alter size/shape (fairly easy but makes a huge difference).
  17. Buy your electricity and gas from Good Energy/Ecotricity
  18. Use the phone provider Eco Talk
  19. Turn off the light when you leave the room
  20. Wear another layer, rather than turning up the heating

Just do your best and don’t stress!

💚✨Chrissie✨💚

Daily Gratitude Challenge – Home Sweet Home

This is meant to be a daily gratitude challenge, created by Suzie Speaks but being the sporadic wench that I am, I’ll be dipping in and out of this so I’m not numbering the themes. I’ve also added categories so it wasn’t one big long waffle as I’m sure you know how much I like to wa….

Home Sweet Home

What style I’m rocking at home

No matter how much lovely ‘loungewear’ I own (including oversize cardigans) 80% of the time I wear a long dressing gown draped around my shoulders, cloak style. So I’m grateful I can do this at home.

The neighbourhood

It’s a mix of races and nationalities and has a much lower crime rate these days. There are independent takeaways, hairdressers and ‘bit of everything’ shops, with one small suburban shopping centre of chain stores and charity shops. Ooh, I like that as the tittle for an indie song ‘Chain stores and charity shops’.

Where is my home?

I live with my Dad but also spend time at the blokes and my Dad spends time at his Missus and then we both spend time at home together. There’s two floors so we still have our own space and he does top-up shops for me. I hate washing up, he doesn’t mind. He hates vacing up, I love it! We watch Dragons Den, The Apprentice, The Voice, Great British Bake-off and shout enthusiastically at the telly. I’m greatful that when their paths do cross, my bloke and my Dad get along well.

Yard or Garden

There’s a tiny but lovely back yard which is full of flowers, which I am so grateful to sit out in on a nice day or just to look at from the settee.

I moved to Cheadle Heath

Just as the 2008 (?) recession hit and many companies went into liquidation. Working as a temp came in handy…until it didn’t and I had to move back home. I still had a few good friends and I met the bloke a week later so it didn’t feel like I was stuck at home. I usually get a cab or bus into town (only 15 mins) from my blokes to go to gigs or for nice meals out.

The neighbours

The top of the street is like a little community where the neighbourhood kids play out together, which really reminds me of the street in the 80’s. At the bottom (my bit) there are more private people. A few usually give me a big smile and a wave and I’m getting better at recognising them out of context (a common Aspergers thing), like when we are at the local shops etc.

As usual, whoever wants to join in with this idea, please do!

How does this differ from your home and neighbourhood?

🖤✨Chrissie✨🖤

The 90’s Blog Tag

I knew I had to join in with this tag when I voted for it on Heather of Just Geeking By‘s Twitter poll. Great idea to let your readers vote, Heather!

Favourite TV Show

Queer as Folk, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, My So Called Life and Footballers Wives. Lots of box sets on VHS. I was a teen for the majority of the 90’s so I’d love anything that was ‘cool’ or ‘mint’.

Favourite 90’s Song

One cassette single I remember being played on repeat for an entire six week school holiday is Trouble by Shampoo about two girls in their late teens missing the night bus home.

What’s Going On by Four Non Blondes, Stay by Shakespeare Sister, then later a load of Happy Hardcore, Gangsters Paradise by Coolio and Breathe by The Prodigy.

Favourite TV Add

It has to be the famous Guinness beer surfer advert with the awesome track Phat Planet by Leftfield.

NSYNC or Backstreet Boys

In the UK it was Take That or East 17 (I preferred the latter but new all the words to every TT song) and then later Oasis V’s Blur (I went with Blur as I realised Liam Gallagher was/is a bit of dick. Alex James from Blur seems to be a bit of a snobby tw@tt though so, whatever).

Did You Collect Anything Back Then

Garfield stickers and shag bands (skinny rubber bracelets and if one broke it was meant to be a sign you’d get a shag soon – they were not intuitive AT ALL).

How Many Tamagotchis Did You Go Through

Two. A cute little dinosaur which turned into to a Tetradactyl and flew off the screen! I couldn’t be arsed with second and kept loosing it but people kept passing it on until it’d get back to me!

Favourite Video Game and Console

Sega Megadrive and Sonic the Hedgehog or Streets of Rage.

Favourite Cereal/Free Toy

There was one cereal that gave out big Casper (the film about the friendly ghost) stickers which glowed in the dark.

Who Was Your 90’s Crush Growing Up

Mel Gibson – don’t judge, he was fit in the Leathal Weapon Films! Oh, and Christian Slater and Bruce Willis.

What Was Your Fave Disney Channel Movie

We were too poor to afford a Sky dish.

Disney, Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network

I watched Sky at my mates after school. No idea what channel/network it was on. Pinky and the Brain, Anamaniacs, Rugrats, Hey Arnold, Sharky and George and Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Sister Sister.

Weirdest Fashion Trend

I know people think 90’s style was cool and alternative but in a rough high school that was considered weird. Halley Hanson sailing jackets. Why were a bunch of scally’s wanting those!?

What Were Your Fave Toys You Would Play With

A little Boglin (I made mine all punky with loads of piercings), a giant slinky, those smiley sunflowers with arms and legs you won at the fair and ‘plushies’ when they were just called ‘soft toys’.

Fave Early Morning or Saturday Show

Before school the nation would watch The Big Breakfast with Chris Evans, Johnny Vaun, Denise Van Outten and Paula Yates (and that chemistry laden interview with Micheal Hutchens from INXS). Live and Kicking was on a Saturday with Philip Scofield and a young John Barrowman as the Hollywood reporter.

Favourite McDonalds Happymeal Toy

I was grossed out by the texture of dead animal until I was 14 and even then only liked chicken nuggets but I do remember getting a mate (who’d just started working there) to pinch me a rare Rugrats chunky blue watch, haha!

Favourite Book

I hate horror films so naturally I progressed from Sweet Valley High to POINT HORROR! Teachers Pet and Freeze Tag were wicked!

What Would You Watch When You Got Home From School

Blue Peter (the days of Matt Baker trying boxer-size or Connie Huq jumping out of planes SAS style), then while eating our tea on our knee, would be the The Simpsons and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air with my Mam and Dad.

What Is The One Thing From The 90’s You Wish Were Available Today

My posse of around 12 mates, which included friends of friends that I was (nearly) always happy to see. They never singled me out as ‘the weird one’ even though I struggled so much with what I now realise is Dyspraxia, Autism and Hypermobilty Syndrome. They never asked how I could somehow be ditzy and witty or adventurous and clumsy all at the same time, they were just accepting and patient. I met some of them a few years back and they have changed…a lot -_-

Tag Your All It!

Anyone who wants to join in with this tag please do, seriously please, I love reading these things.

This has been so much fun and has really challenged my memory, seeing as I drunk copious amounts of alcohol every Friday night through most of my teens, I think I did rather well!

Which answers do you relate to….?

🖤✨Chrissie✨🖤

Life Lately – June

June has flown by, which is weird considering I’ve been out of the house a whole…one time! I’ve been very grateful for the, frankly shite, weather Manchester has had this month, as it’s been a well needed break from the crazy heatwave of May.

Pride Month

My love and respect goes out to the LGBTQ community as always, whatever your sexuality and however you identify. I’ve always been proud that I live in a city with year-round acceptance (in a general sense) and awareness. I think this is thanks to the The Gay Village, plus a great Pride Parade and festival.

Food

Been switching all month between having cups of tea with sausage and mash to having a cold beers and mezze.

Independent Artist or Business

GDBEE Art is by Geneva who makes the most gorgeous graphic art of women of colour. She’s also created the webtoon Hovergirls, about two alien fighting cousins who work in a coffee shop by day. The entire Hovergirls series is available to read on phone/device or PC.

Lifestyle

I’ve changed my bedroom from being the place where stuff gets dumped, into a place where I actually want to spend time. a) I’ve had a big clean and tidy b) I’ve brought in more storage c) Updated a dark toned LOTR poster to a lighter toned and very neat dragon canvas d) I’ve reduced the amount of Funko Pops and books/papers piled everywhere.

Reading

The Getaway Girls by Dee McDonald is roadtrip comedy about three rather different friends, all past middle age, who decide they are unhappy with their lot and want to start a new adventure through France and Italy. I’ll review it once I’ve finished reading. I’m a third of the way in and enjoying it!

New Fringe

I was sick of my giant wavy fringe which needed cutting constantly and was way too hot and wide. I watched Birds of Prey (which I loved, but thought the bad guy was just plain annoying) and cut myself a new punky, shorter fringe. Freshly cut it looks a little too perfect but it does naturally have a lot of movement and looks spikey if I apply styling putty.

Here is me as a kid in the 80’s with a very different kind of fringe lol

I hope you’ve all been finding things to make you happy, in these turbulent times!

🖤✨Chrissie✨🖤