My Lifestyle Lately – May 2017


Obviously as I’m Mancunian there has been one big event for me which has separated May from any month surrounding it. The terrorist attack. I have so many things to say about this, how upset and angry I am, the social and religious politics, the possible ramifications and what actions could be taken now, but I’m emotionally exhausted by it so I won’t. What I will say is that the resilient and empathetic spirit of my fellow Mancs and the support from people around the world has been amazing. I’m actually writing this to the sound of The Courteeners concert drifting over from Old Trafford Cricket ground and they are doing a cover of Oasis’s Don’t Look Back In Anger, with all of crowd singing their hearts out. Aw shit, I’m filling up now. I really do love Manchester.

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Food & Drink

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Have you been drinking lots of water but still feel more thirsty, brain foggy or fatigued because of the heat? I’d give this a go. It tastes like blue ice pops (you can get other flavours like strawberry and tropical) and because of the aloe (i.e electrolyte) content, it hydrates better because our bodies use it more efficiently, rather than just rushing it through our system like it would with water.

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As the weather has been so warm I’ve only been able to manage very light meals. I’ve discovered that Original Sheese spread can be broken up and used as a creamy feta cheese alternative.

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I’m starting to see why people mistake me for a vegan but it’s actually my wonky body that can’t cope with dairy and egg white for gastro and auto-imune reasons. I miss having omelettes though so I was pleased to come across this. If you use it with a small amount of say, mushrooms and are sparing with the cooking oil and leave it alone to cook, rather than harassing it with the spatula, this comes out brilliantly! Unfortunately I was too hungry to take a photo of my perfect first time attempt. Then I fracked it up something terrible the second time – doh!

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At the begging of the month it was my birthday so me and the bloke hopped on a bus and then a tram and went to our fave Indian restaurant of all time, Lilly’s in Ashton-Under-Lyne. You can read my review of Lilly’s here. We also got a lot of takeaway which lasted us for around three days!

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I’ve been making cold mocha’s every evening so there is one waiting for me as soon as I get up. I actually take it back to bed with me. 1 heaped tspn dark cocoa powder (mixed with a little cold water), 1 heaped tspn instant coffee, 2 rounded tspn sugar, 1 tspn vanilla essence, a little hot water to mix, fill up beaker with unsweetened almond milk. Chill.

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I compiled a dairy and gluten free shopping list and reviewed each item to make it easier for people who are feeling a bit overwhelmed with this kind of dietary transition.

Fashion & Style 

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I put this Romwe wish list together right at the start of the month and managed to resist buying anything for myself. op

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It’s funny that in the same month that I’ve stopped approaching any brands, two brands have asked me to collaborate with them on Outfit Of The Day outfit reviews. However, the items (around six of them) are taking ages to arrive so those will be live on the blog next month. I’ve also ordered stuff from EMP, yet again and opted for everything to arrive together but apparently it’s not all available (even though they weren’t ‘Out of Stock’) so that hasn’t arrived either. Only just realised last week that my fave jumper works really well with my fave skirt, both of which I’ve had for ages, ha!

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Even though I don’t rent a place I can call my own, I still love compiling homeware posts every now and then like this In The Tropics one.

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I made a Stylish and Sensible Summer Shoes post because I like alteration and not falling over when I walk in summer.

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No, not me going for a job as a waitress at a sports bar but me melting in this fracking horrendous heat. My feet still get cold in the evening though due to circulation issues, hence the Uggs. I actually love this basic look but haven’t been brave (crazy?) enough to leave the house in it yet. I’m managing to keep weight on these days but my muscles tone is disappearing fast so I’m getting a cross trainer for less fatigued days (I’m being very optimistic here) as it will give me a whole body work out but the machine gathers it’s own momentum quickly so you can put as much or as little effort into it as you want.

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I’m a firm believer in wearing what you want no matter what size or firmness you are so I gathered together the 15 best shorts. There is a style here to suit everyone. I’ve bought the denim scalloped hem one’s from H&M and wear them with very sheer black tights and they look great! I keep meaning to get some black fishnet tights to wear with them and with my ripped jeans for a grungy feel (like I used to in the 90’s) but I keep forgetting.

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I would stagger around blindly in summer if it weren’t for my sunglasses. Some of these are off-the-shelf but some are designer so they should be widely available in options if you need prescription lenses like I do. I suggest getting polarised lenses to decrease glare if you are light sensitive.

Random Stuff

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As a fellow geek I decided to join in with the The Geeky Girl Tag after I enjoyed reading other bloggers answers.

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I wrote this post as I wish my parents would have come across something like this when I was a kid as they and they and my paediatrician and my teachers where clueless as to why I was struggling so much and therefor how they could help me to help myself. Actually my Paediatrician barley noticed. *giant face palm* As a child I was very aware that I was different. Things didn’t come easily to me, yet the other kids magically seemed to instantly know what to do and how to do it, without constant mishaps. As a teen I realised I had a rather different thought processes going compared to my mates as well a lot of the time. Like what is the point of over analysing the way that cute guy said “Hi” to you for hours. Just be glad he said it and maybe even have an actual conversation next time. Reading something like this would have made me feel a lot less like an alien from another planet.

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I made a Funko Pop! of myself, which I’m pleased with.

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May has been Ehlers Danlos Syndrome awareness day, which is so important as it’s one of the most misunderstood and miss represented genetic disorders out there. I’ve been given a verbal diagnosis of EDS but several Rheumatologists are still refusing to put it in writing on my medical records. Preferring instead to say instead “Christine is having it that she has EDS” er, I’m ‘having it’ because I was TOLD that I have it FFS!?!? It’s important to mention that all of this stubborn ignorance and arrogance from specialists (and I do use that term lightly) makes dealing with EDS so much worse as it’s a constant battle with people who’s actual job it is to know better. It really does make us emotionally exhausted and just adds to all the other shit we have to deal with. I’m so lucky to have received support from an amazing online community of fellow zebra’s here, otherwise I would have been questioning my own sanity.

Beauty and Skincare

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I reviewed e.l.f. Studio Tone Correcting Powder and Studio Flawless Foundation and was impressed with both products. In fact their foundation was the best I have ever used!

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I arranged my lipsticks in colour order and had a general makeup clear out. I just kept on buying the same 3-4 shades of lippy over and over again, having forgotten that I already own them. I’ve thrown out any shade that needs mixing with another to create the colour I bought it for in the first place and any lipsticks which are either too drying or slide off after ten minutes. Same with foundations as I don’t have the time, storage space or patience to have to mix several together to get the right colour or consistency. No more making-do with crappy makeup.

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I reviewed Soap & Glory Perfect Ten Shadow Palette but wasn’t that impressed with it for some unexpected reasons.

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I finally found a use for my old metal heart cage. Storage for all of my mini’s and free samples.

Well that was quite a catch up! Let me know if there was anything you found interesting.

Chrissie

 

Veggie review – Lilly’s, Ashton-under-lyne

The Bloke asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday and I suggested going to Lily’s vegetarian Indian restaurant, which he was chuffed about. It’s in Ashton-under-lyne so that meant a bus and a tram (in rush hour) but it was totally worth it.

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We were struggling to decide what to have from the amazing menu so we decided to order the rest as takeaway. To start The Bloke had Bhel Puri a mixture of puffed rice, potatoes, chick peas, crushed puris (fried bread), onions and tamarind sauce. For a change I didn’t get any kind of Puri and chose Aloo Tiki instead, deep fried potato patties with spices. These arrived with a dairy free spicy mint (?) sauce after the waiter inquired wether I was having dairy or not.

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I then decided that it was my birthday so I’d treat myself to dairy after all and went off menu, ordering the Special Sizzler for my mains. A heated pan of fried onions, paneer cheese, green bell pepper, a meat substitute which tasted similar to bacon and a vegetable I thought might be parsnips but forgot to ask. I ordered two puri on the side. I love them so much I could eat them without sauce just for breakfast! The Bloke went for a Vegetable Jaipuri of mixed vegetables, paneer and cashews cooked in an Indian sweet and sour sauce, with Pilau rice on the side.

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It’s lucky I find Indian sweets almost too sweet and that I don’t like the texture of Rasmali as it meant that I was able waddle slowly back to the tram stop around the corner. I have to thank the transport people for linking up my bus stop in town to my fave restaurant with a tram line and a ticket which costs only £3.80.

The thing which really clinches it with Lilly’s is not just the quality of fresh food or how clean the place is but how friendly the staff are and how considerate they are of dietary needs. The prices are also very reasonable so obviously it would have been rude if we had not left with seven takeaway dishes, two Battered Stuffed Chilli Peppers and 12 Batada Wada’s (chickpea battered balls of fluffy curried potato and onion). Hehee!

Maybe next time I’ll try some of their Southern Indian and/or Indo-Chinese options for a change. I’m sure if it’s made at Lily’s it will be wonderful.

Lily’s, 75-83 Oldham Road, Ashton, OL6 7DF Tel: 0161 339 4774

Chrissie

Zouk Tea Bar and Grill – Manchester

I was invited to sample the new Spring/Summer menu at Zouk Tea Bar and Grill  and as you probably know by now, me and the Bloke adore Indian food so we eagerly agreed.

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Zouk has a warm, welcoming and contemporary feel, with a sheltered terrace area with seating and hookahs outside. Inside is a small bar area for anyone wanting cocktails, mocktails, lassi or tea, rather than food. I can attest to their amazing mango lassi and Spring Fling cocktails. We were not so smitten with a strawberry based mocktail which we both agreed tasted oddly like savoury tomatoes! The kitchen runs along one side of the interior with tables and large booths on the other as well as upstairs. I liked how spacious and comfortable the dinning area was as I find that can massively add or detract from the overall experience, especially considering my disability needs.

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I’m always impressed when I see a restaurant has an open kitchen as it means the chefs are proud of the manner in which they cook their food and don’t have anything to hide. It was also nice to be able to see a large amount of fresh produce being used and fresh bread being made.

P1000501I’m always interested to see how many vegetarian options are on the menu at any eatery which has ‘Grill’ in the tittle. The already existing menu has a limited amount of vegetarian options, with an odd lack of very popular paneer, mushroom, daal or saag based veggie Indian dishes. The Spring/Summer menu will be available from April and will hopefully include a larger range of interesting vegetarian options.

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For starters we had Channa (chickpea) Masala, which was for me, a nice change from Channa Daal (although the Bloke would have preferred Daal) as well as Vegetable Pakoras. The Masala had the right amount of spice and the yoghurt gave it a rich texture. We were surprised that the pakoras, rather than being a mixture of gram flour and vegetables, were in fact individual slices of vegetable coated in a spicy gram flour batter. I liked how light these were and thought they were perfect as a starter.

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For our main course we had Aloo Gobi and Bindi Dupiaza with rice subtly flavoured with cinnamon. Aloo Gobi, a mixture of cauliflower and potatoes in a Punjabi style sauce is an absolute classic and this did not disappoint. The cauliflower was cooked perfectly, not too al dente or too soft. Bindi Dupiaza is an ochra based dish in a garlic, tomato, onion and green chilli sauce. This is usually not a popular dish among vegetarians as it’s so easy for the ochra to be over cooked to a soft slimy consistency but not at Zouk. The ochra was cooked perfectly and the heat in the sauce did not overwhelm the flavour but added to it. As vegetarians me and the Bloke always have to pay more attention to where our protein will come from, not necessarily in our starter but always in our main course. Zouk’s veggie mains had no protein! Although we left feeling full and content I was a little hungry again three hours later and was glad that I’d had a glass of thick lassi with my meal. Maybe if we’d have had a larger portion of Channa (chickpeas) for our mains instead of just as a starter this could have been avoided.

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For desert we had Mumbai Mess; a lot of cream topped with beautiful sweet but sharp raspberry sauce and a tiny bit of crumbled biscuit but no overall substance. We also had cold chocolate brownies which were pleasant but would have been better and probably gooier in centre if served warm. We then tried the cinnamon topped churro-style sticks served with chocolate sauce which were utterly delicious! I was a little surprised and disappointed that there were no popular Indian deserts on offer, especially at the lack of pistachio kulfi.

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Zouk is a place I would look forward to visiting on a Friday night for their extensive range of cocktails. It’s a place we would be happy to visit with a group of friends if most of them ate meat. It is not a place we, as vegetarians would specifically choose to visit ourselves, unlike other restaurants in central Manchester which cater for both diets more successfully. We may change our minds when viewing the full Spring/Summer menu so I will keep you updated.

Chrissie

My Lifestyle Lately – January

I thought I’d start this up again as it’s a nice way for you to get to know the person behind the blog and it’s a nice way for me to remember what I’ve been up to.

Lotus Vegetarian Kitchen

Me and the Bloke celebrated new years eve by visiting Lotus a vegetarian restaurant in Withington which is often overlooked due to it’s location. We love it there, the food (which includes the most amazing mock meats) is superb. Then we came home and watched The X Files and Grimm and enjoyed an awesome firework display by a neighbouring family from the comfort of our sofa!

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The Bloke cooked us a New Years day meal which was even better than Christmas day’s with Quorn roast, al dente green beans, carrots, broccoli, sprouts, mashed potato, Yorkshire puds, stuffing, roast potatoes and veggie sausages.

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You know those thrifty programmes where they tell you to look in your parents or grandparents loft (attic) where you will almost certainly find hidden treasure? Well not exactly anything of value but I did find this vintage rucksack which would be perfect for festivals. Weirdly, no one has a clue how it got there!?

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I’ve added to my collection of the weirder kind of Funko Pops and bought Deadpool, The Cheshire Cat and Alien. As you can see Deadpool is the only person looking figure in my little collection.

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 I love it when it gets all foggy at night and makes everything under the street lights look all eery.

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I was emailed by vegetarian restaurant 1847 offering 50% off, yup half price! So obviously wanting too support Manchester veggie eateries we thought it rude not to book a table.

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The Bloke managed to get these cool shots of the beautiful super moon and I (using the same model of camera) managed to take a big fuzzy orange blob which I won’t bother showing you lol

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I’ve been trying to drink only gluten free beer lately but my local Coop run out so I bought this Brewdog beer (which isn’t one of their gluten free ones) instead. It’s the most fruity and refreshing beer I’ve ever had. Such a shame it isn’t one of their gluten free offerings.

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I’ve discovered an online shop called EMP which apart from stocking some amazing rock chick apparel also do Funko Pop! and other random cool stuff. I’ve been in need of a mug for ages so bought this kawaii version of Deadpool.

So to some up my purse is a bit lighter and my belly is a lot fatter ^_^

Chrissie

Bundobust Indian Vegetarian Restaurant & Bar – Manchester

Bundobust has arrived in Piccadilly supplying us hungry Mancunians with vegetarian Indian street food and craft beer. The name comes from an Indian-English mash up of the words collaboration and riot, which the decor and food suggest – in a good way! The Owners Mayur Patel and Mark Husak have created a simple canteen style space with a lot of personality where you would feel comfortable nipping in by yourself for lunch or with a large group of friends for cocktails.

Bundobust Manchester review

Bundobust Manchester review

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A lot of the furniture is made from recycled wood and the cutlery and food pots are made from vegetable cellulose which is biodegradable – genius!

Bundobust Manchester review

This giant skylight adds so much atmosphere and natural light, even on a rainy day.

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Even though I like the privacy of booths, there is something rather humbling and honest about sitting next to your fellow man on a wooden bench, tucking into tasty food together.

Bundobust Manchester review

The menu is traditional, yet original and inclusive of Southern and Northern Indian street food, with dhal, dosa, bhaji and chaat. I was surprised to see an ochra dish, a burger option and a dish with bhaji in a warm yoghurt sauce, things I’ve never seen on an Indian menu in Manchester before. There are vegan options and a surprising amount of gluten free options to choose from as well.

Bundobust Manchester review

I went for the aforementioned Bhajji pot and a Chaat pot consisting of samosa pastry, crispy noodles, chickpeas and sauce. The Bloke collected a paneer and mushroom kebab which was smothered in the most wonderful combination of sauces and also the Puri with tamarind sauce and crunchy dry noodles. The flavour combination in each dish worked perfectly together and the dishes we chose seemed to all compliment each other, so we mixed and matched throughout our meal.

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Perfect street food at reasonable street food prices. Portion sizes are decent-to-large and such good value for money. The range of craft beers, gluten free beers and creative cocktails on offer are really impressive.

My favourite place to get good value-for-money Indian food was always This & That, now it’s Bundobust food and a gluten free beer please!

Chrissie

*I attended the pre-opening of Bundobust as press and therefor did not pay for food or drinks. This does not bias my opinion in any way. Honest as always.

Pastel Goth Inspired – Outfit of the Week – Version 2

Pastel goth fashion

The first time I tried this outfit I wore 90’s style goth tights which were pretty opaque on the bottom, then had a black band and then were less opaque with a black line going upward, creating a grungy faux suspender pattern. Due to the camera flash making them look real, they made my outfit look less ‘relaxed pastel goth’ and more ‘Rocky Horror Show’! So I’ve worn totally opaque tights this time lol

Pastel Goth Sweater – Similar here @ Bajues Best

Quilted Faux Leather Skirt – Similar here @ Miss Guided

Black Opaque Tights – Similar here @ Next

Patent Ankle Boots – Similar here @ asos

Chrissie

It’s My 3rd Blogversary! Thank You ^_^

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An absolutely mahoosive thank you to everyone who has been with me since the start or found this blog a while ago or have just discovered it. Your comments and likes have spurred me on to keep blogging and have been the highlight of my day when I’ve been having a bad one. Your support and enthusiasm has made me feel like I’m actually good at something when Dyspraxia has made me feel otherwise. You have made me laugh (with you, not at you), you’ve been as excited about geeky things, urban things and cruelty free things as I have and really made me think about life with your observations and advice. You are all awesome!

It is so strange to think that three years I finally took peoples advice and started a little unassuming blog. A blog which turned into something that a lot of lovely strangers actually started to follow and commented on and then some of my fave brands which I’ve used for years started to gift me their products to review and invites started arriving for blogger events, meals and cocktails!

The most surprising thing however, is that I’ve actually kept this up for three years and yes, people leave but new people follow every week. When ever I’ve felt bored because of illness or Winter weather or I’ve felt lonely, this has been a little sanctuary that I can visit, with a cuppa and snuggly wrap around cardigan, which always makes me smile.

To anyone who’s followed this blog for a long time, I appreciate you putting up with the early days of back-to-front structured sentences (thats how my thoughts sound in my head) and under or over exposed photo’s. I never realised that as a blogger I would become a copy writer, an editor, a photographer of all sorts of subjects, a photographic editor, a creator of layouts and an organised (gasp!) person capable of meeting deadlines, tagging and scheduling blog posts and the owner of several busy and successful social media accounts. Phew!

To anyone reading this who isn’t a blogger, why ever not? Give it a go, what have you got to loose? Even if you only get a small amount of followers, you will still have a creative journal of your life and maybe learn some new skills along the way.

Now give me some cake!

Genuine thanks from the bottom of my heart

Chrissie

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Making blogging events look glamorous since 2013.

Dinner at the Metropolitan – Didsbury

On Friday we decided to go for a drink and then for a meal. We visited The Metropolitan as they have a chilled atmosphere in the pub and a nice restaurant offering several interesting and well considered veggie options.

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I wish I’d have known how nice the outside area was before now, as we’d have visited regularly over the Summer with cocktails from the incredibly well stocked bar. As you can see, I was eyeing up the cakes from the moment we sat down in the restaurant lol

Starters

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Goats cheese and chive hash brown with apple puree and mixed leaves. This was absolutely lovely. The apple puree really complimented the goats cheese and was a nice twist.

Mains

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Asparagus tagliatelle, asparagus spears, Gran Moravia cheese, white wine & asparagus sauce. I very rarely see a mains with a white sauce as a veggie option so I was really looking forward to this, so much that I started eating it before remembering to take a piccy – oops! The sauce was delicate and well balanced and the asparagus was al dente just the way it should be. The only addition I would have added were pine nuts possibly. 

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I love skin-on sweet potato fries so ordered them as a side. The portion size of my mains and the side were so generous, I had to ask for a doggy bag for half of the fries!

Desert

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Lemon posset with lemon shortbread biscuits. This was delicious! Imagine the thickest, creamiest, smoothest cheesecake you’ve ever had. The biscuits were crunchy and buttery. I’ve tried a lemon posset and biscuits before at Greens restaurant and this was as amazing as that.

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The bloke ordered the same starter and desert as myself but chose sticky toffee pudding, toffee sauce and ice cream. He said it was perfectly cooked on the outside and slightly gooey in the middle and really complimented by the sauce and fresh berries.

The only negative aspect of the night was that every time I ordered a cocktail I had to wait ages for it to arrive and flag someone down to inquire about it. I ordered one straight after my starter and had finished my main dish by the time it had arrived! Oddly, later as I went to the bar I got served instantly and was asked by two more people if I was being served. Maybe best to go to the restaurant on a weekday instead!

Chrissie

 

A Spontaneous Kind of Day

Yesterday I spent the day with my Dad and then the Bloke treated me to a spontaneous tea at our favourite not-so-local The Greenfinch in Didsbury.

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I requested a gluten free Vietnamese curry (which is naturally vegan), we shared a giant cone of onion rings and I had this amazing watermelon cheesecake!

Chrissie

1847 Vegetarian Restaurant

I’ve reviewed 1847 Vegetairan Restaurant twice before, first in 2013 and second in 2015 but it’s such a great restaurant I think it’s worth a mention every time I visit.

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I was hoping to get a cocktail down me before my starters had arrived, as my body was a little tense and needed to relax, however the drinks order was taken with the food order and both cocktail and food arrived around the same time. Some might say this is an improvement on the way most restaurants take orders. I was surprised to see the only cocktails on offer were either gin based or vanilla vodka based so hating gin I ordered a vanilla vodka, rhubarb and Prosecco creation, which was sweet and really refreshing.

1847 Manchester review

For my starter I ordered aubergine rolls stuffed with buckwheat, soya yoghurt (which tasted incredible), parsley and sorrel. The bloke ordered the Spring Pie, puff pastry stuffed with smoked cheddar, beetroot, greens, marrow served with cress & marjoram pesto.

My first thought when our starters arrived was “Restaurants are still using slates?” and then “My god the high pitched screeching of cutlery on slate is physically going to be painful to me” but only two minor screeches ensued so it was totally fine. Both of our starters were well balanced, a little sweet, a little savoury and thoroughly enjoyed.

1847 Restaurant Review

With my mains I ordered an American chardonnay which was really quite different to any white I’ve tasted before, fruity and slightly biscuity. Such a change from crisp fruity wines.

I ordered my usual ‘fish’ and chips (halloumi cheese) with mint peas and lemon curd and the bloke ordered herb breadcrumb oyster mushrooms, sautéed asparagus and quinoa with a roasted garlic sauce. Yes he’s got into quinoa finally! We ordered a side of roasted vegetables, with the sweetest, flavourful radishes I’ve ever eaten. I really liked that the peas were al dente and not mushy peas this time but I also noticed the portion size of the halloumi had been reduced. As traditional fish and chips often come with a slice of lemon, I wished the lemon curd had a little more zing and less sweetness but that’s just my palette. The coating of the blokes mushrooms tasted so wonderful I should have asked what the flavours were.

1847 Restaurant review

The bloke ordered the 1847 brownie, which he really enjoyed but wished it were a little more gooey inside. He didn’t think the chilli brittle was strong enough in flavour until I told him if it were any stronger it would over power everything else. He’s such a chilli freak! I went for vanilla ice cream which was simple but beautiful.

I was incredibly impressed to see so many vegan and gluten free options included, often both together in the same dish. I stupidly forgot to ask for gluten free batter on my halloumi but I don’t feel bloated today at all, which is a nice change.

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1847 Vegetarian Restaurant, 58 mosley street (entrance on booth street), manchester, m2 3hz.

Tel 0161 236 1811

Monday-Friday: Midday-3pm & 5pm-10pm
Saturday: Midday-10.30pm
Sunday: Midday-8pm

Chrissie