Chaophraya – Thai Restaurant – Manchester

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It was the Blokes birthday recently and he chose to go to Chaophraya (named after the longest river in Thailand). We’ve always found the decor, the atmosphere, the food and the staff to be lovely so it’s always been a treat to eat there. I was a little disappointed there were no gluten free beer options and that they only had Singh beer on offer but the cocktail menu more than made up for that. The Banana Daiquiris were as amazing as they sound, although the Bloke wasn’t quite as keen.

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I’ve always appreciated that the chefs at Chaophraya know how to cook veg so it’s almost al dente but not a challenge to bite. They also use the lightest tempura batter and make surprisingly thick pancakes which taste more like comfort food, rather than part of a starter.

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We have started our own trend of ordering a starter or a big main salad, as a side that we can both share. The shredded papaya salad with peanuts, veg, lime, chilli and sugar sounded appealing. All of the flavours combined to make it the tastiest and most refreshing salad I’ve ever eaten.

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We both love the creamy, spicy Masaman curry but they had it with lamb on the menu so we asked if we could have a veggie version. They said no problem and even asked if we wanted to include tofu. We also ordered coconut rice as we thought it would go well with the curry and the lime flavours in the papaya salad, which it did.

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Note: In some areas of the restaurant they have soft banquette seating and some are much lower than average chairs with no back support. So depending on your needs, it’s worth noting when booking if you want to sit at the many tables and chairs.

Chaophraya

19 Chapel Walks, Manchester M2 1HN
T: 0161 832 8342
E: manchester@chaophraya.co.uk

Chrissie

Monthly Roundup – Feb & March

FEB

I’m going to start off with ‘Our Day’ as we call it because it’s around Valentine’s Day but it doesn’t HAVE to be on that exact date. We went to our favourite Asian vegetarian restaurant for traditional dishes, contemporary dishes and as many of the amazing mock meats we could fit!

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For Autumn and Winer and lets face it, most of spring in the UK I’ve taken to wearing JJH – Jumper, jeans and heels. For warmer days I pick a light knit with a wide neck, looser boot cut jeans and strappy heels. For colder days a chunky oversize knit, skinny jeans and high heeled ankle boots.

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After a busy afternoon or a night out at a gig, I’d be pretty useless the next day. I was being defeated by simple things like opening bottles, getting dressed and combing my hair, and also saying sentences which went around in circles without any point because I was really brain fogged as well as fatigued and utterly uncoordinated. So I sat down and kind of forced myself to think of 10 Reasons Why I Love My Wonky Body. The post got so many positive responses, from gentle encouragement to people saying they totally empathised and I’d made them feel better.

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I have to confess, in the 80’s I loved bumbags or fannypacks (for peeps in the US). Now the trend has been recycled into the more fashion friendly ‘belt bags’. So here are 12 Belt Bags for Spring.

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I also blogged 10 No Nonsense Life Lessons as it’s taken me a while to figure some of them out and I wished I’d have know all of them in teens and twenties.

Me and the Bloke celebrated Shrove…Pancake Day this year and made some rather substantial pancakes by adding too much flower – oops! We have them in the traditional neutral/savoury way, with lots of sugar and lemon.

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I always get flabby over winter from over eating and hibernating but I figured while the weather is cool I should get my butt moving now, before the weather gets too hot in Spring/Summer. I’m pretty pleased with the result, although those shiny nylon type of leggings act like cellophane (saran wrap) and do a lot of the work aesthetically!

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MARCH

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What a top night! The supporting band was Afro Cluster (reminds me of a retro hair product) who’s sound I’d describe as funky jazz hip-hop with a fantastic MC. Charles obviously knows his Northern Soul, trad soul and funk as he’s been doing this for over a decade now but I loved that he threw in three of Stevie Wonders funkiest tunes. Band On The Wall were lovely when it came to reserving me a banquette (as part of their disability accommodations) so I didn’t have any anxiety over standing in pain or passing out with heat fatigue.

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It snowed!!! Yes, as you can tell, I love snow. This is my view from the living room window. Rather Narnia-esque isn’t it? ^_^

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I’ve finally found a dairy-free chocolate and nut spread which tastes like Nutella, better actually! Here’s my review of Meridian Cocoa & Hazelnut Butter.

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Now the weather is getting milder (utterly indecisive) for Spring, I’m moving toward my trusty 90’s grunge look as the layering is so practical, plus, it’s more socially acceptable than going out in PJ’s.

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Eeeh, pie! For too long it has been a case of No woman, No pie, so for British Pie Week we accepted an invite to Pieminister on Church Street – which is quickly becoming my fave city centre street. I chose Wild Shroom pie; mushroom and asparagus in a creamy white wine sauce and the Bloke chose Saag Pie-neer; pea, paneer cheese, potato, chilli and mango, both with mash spud and gravy, of course (£7 for one).

The pies were amazing, pastry not too flakey, not too stodgy, with perfectly balanced flavours. I loved the mash but the Bloke thought it a little over-worked. He liked the gravy and I thought it would go perfectly with any pie on the menu but, for me, it didn’t taste savoury enough. Pieminister also offer three gluten free options but it depends were you go for your pie (pub, cafe, restaurant) as they aren’t available everywhere.

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It would seem that I’m going grey early, or rather, gold. My nearly black hair has been getting lighter and lighter, as have my pale green eyes, which are now a golden-amber shade. So does that mean I’m going to be a golden oldie? Haha! Sorry.

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I was sent this Hempz body moisturiser which has the scent of banana, which is just heavenly! It contains pure hemp seed oil, an absolute saviour for dehydrated, under nourished skin. It also contain Shea butter and ginseng to sooth skin (I used it after shaving my legs and it didn’t irritate them) and vitamins A, E and C to protect against environmental damage.

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We are growing a chilli plant, well it was three chilli plants but we killed the other two somehow. I was going to give it a name but the Bloke advised me not to get too attached, going off the overall survival rate.

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These Violife dairy free (and vegan) cheese slices taste like Kraft Cheese Slices but better. I’ve been melting them onto nachos in the microwave for 40 seconds for very melted on with salt and pepper or 20 seconds which is like that sweet, gooey, cinema cheese.

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I decided to check out Peacocks, a brand I used to love in my 20’s. They’ve gotten even better. I bought, beautiful lingerie, an initial cup, an initial makeup bag, a rose gold (and very sturdy) charging lead, and the most blinging hand-warmers and beanie I’ve ever seen. Everything I bought is well made, well fitting, reasonable priced, not to mention, very pretty!

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For anyone who is too old or just too damn cool for an easter egg, I did a little post of Dairy-free Chocoalte Treats for Easter.

Chrissie

Monthly Round Up – January

I’ve not posted that much this month, mainly because January is a bit bloody meh. I’ve only been averaging three hours of daylight with me being a night person, so not exactly motivating…Well, motivating me to turn on the TV and order takeaway!

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At the start of Jan I compiled a post of quirky motivational quotes – one for each day of the month. Some of my own making and other unclaimed one’s that I’d seen pop up on social media several times.

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I lost one of my snowflake earrings my Ma bought me (totally gutted) but found these beautiful one’s on Etsy by Pretty By Susan Jewellery. They were wrapped with such care, like a little gift.

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My only beauty review this month was Human + Kind Dry Hair Conditioner. What a wonderful start to the new year for my hair!

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I cannot justify spending money on tiny plastic unicorns, especially when I can’t tell which one I’m going to get as they are in blind boxes. Toki Doki notebooks on the other hand… ^_^

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I’ve slowly gotten into the habit of just accepting myself in piccies, rather than asking “Do my eyes look expressive/big/kind enough? Is my smile even?” Yes, I do have exquisite ‘resting bitch face’ and the photo often looks like it should be a meme captioned with a sarcastic ‘Yeah, right.’ or ‘As if.’ but it’s my face and I like me, so I guess I should like my face too – unintentionally disdainful expressions and all.

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I’ve been searching for some glam black heals with a bit (ok a lot) of sparkle for months. They were all either too high, too narrow, too slip on or too open toed. Then I found these in a wide fit and in the sale at New Look. I incorporated them into a sports-luxe outfit, with black straight-leg pants with a sporty beige side stripe, a velvet look rose-gold strappy top, black cotton cardigan, a metalic cross-body handbag and big hoop earrings. See bellow…

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To celebrate being together for just under a decade – but not sharing one tiny abode, which would drive us both nuts – me and the bloke went out for a meal. With lots of fun things planned in the next five months and having no money tree or generous genie tucked away, we decided to use up some vouchers to do what we’ve always both loved doing together; indulging in delicious dough, cheese and chocolate cake at Pizza Express.

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I decided to vicariously collect some urban apparel by putting together 12 Street Style Hoodies, all of which I’d wear myself and all of which are fairly affordable from the high street.

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More ‘Funny’ but Very Earnest Things I Said and Did as an A-typical Kid. If you have a sec and want a giggle and/or think you might identify with this.

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I made a fantastic peppercorn sauce by mistake! I combined 4 tspn dairy-free cheese sauce powder with 300ml almond milk, a teaspoon of nutritional yeast, salt and a lot of pepper.

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At this point in my life I’ve decided, unless my accessories are literally attached to me, then I can’t be responsible for not loosing them. I keep my handbag under my coat when walking through the city at night and love how versatile, cute and practical cross-body handbags bags are, so I selected 16 of the best.

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To help my conscience and the condition of my skin, I decided to try Zads vegan takeaway in Chorlton. I really want to say it was fantastic. It was not. For every positive, I found there was a negative (in my opinion) so fair-to-middlin I s’pose. If you live in the South Manchester area, please check out my review of Zads, then order something from them yourself and see what you think.

 

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Chrissie

Best of My Alternative & Urban Lifestyle 2017

January 

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Best footwear – Iridescent Nike ID with my name ‘Wench’ on the back.

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Best Chinese/Japanese/Thai Eatery – Lotus, Wilmslow Road, Withington, is a vegetarian family restaurant serving an amazing choice of mock meats and fish as well as traditional EA dishes.

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Best Cruelty-free Face Serum/Moisuriser/Oil – Eden’s Semilla Serums. If you have an uneven skin texture or your skin is dry/combination or you are seeing signs of ageing, then these two serums will leave your skin noticeably plumped, hydrated and balanced all day.

February

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Best Stationary – I bought this diary from Paperchase as I loved the colours and the layout. I decided to use it as a ‘Best thing today’ or ‘happiness’ journal where I write down anything positive that happened that day, even if it was just getting creative in the kitchen for lunch.

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Best Dairy-free Snack – These Ten Acre crisps taste amazing! I had three people insisting that they read the ingredients because they just couldn’t believe they were dairy free. Gluten and MSG free too.

March

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Best Cruelty-free, Temporary, Hair Dye – Manic Panick (the one in a tub) has a thick consistency which means it’s really easy to dip a tint brush into and apply, without getting it every where. It comes in every colour you can imagine and is gentle on coarse/dry/damaged hair. It started out a deep teal colour and has now faded to this after around 12 washes.

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Best Place To Buy Affordable Jeans – Matalan. Yup, for real. They do various fits with several styles in each. I chose a skinny, mid-rise style. Even if if you have a food-baby the next day it doesn’t matter because they stretch to fit, which also means you can wear them for ages before they go baggy at the knees and need washing.

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Best Cruelty-free Mens Skincare – My Bloke loves Bull Dog Original range because it doesn’t have a strong scent and is cruelty free with no unnecessary ingredients so it’s very simple yet effective.

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Best Place For Omnivores and Vegetarians To Eat Together – Zouk. I was invited to try their new menu and found that there were enough choices to keep me satisfied and the food was of good quality and cooked well. There’s also a little cocktail bar with a wonderful menu. I can imagine most groups of friends being happy here.

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Best Smoothie/Blended Drink Recipe – I will share this with anyone who will listen LOL Rice Milk/Soy Milk, Heaped tbl spn peanut butter, Medium banana, Maple syrup/Golden Syrup. Add Bournville choccy powder (mixed with a little cold milk first) to turn into a Snickers smoothie.

April

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Best Cruelty-free Nail Polish – I love the original colours and finishes that Zoya offer. I’ve also found that it’s very gentle on my brittle nails and last as long as other ‘long wear’ polishes which are double the price.

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Best Manchester Outdoor Space – Fletcher Moss. Is a beautiful landscaped garden filled with flowers, trees and a pond, with a little heather garden to the side. They have toilets (very rustic) and a cafe. Stenner Wood is right behind if you want to feel like you are in the countryside for a little while.

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Best Cruelty-free Household Product – Beauty Kitchen. I know a lot of people who wouldn’t dream of using beauty products tested on animals but never consider getting CF items for around the house. Gentle on sensitive and/or dry skin with a beautiful scent this organic hand wash is a winner.

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Best Alternative Online Shop – EMP have branched out from rock/goth wear, band merch and geek pop-culture to also include urban style. Honestly, I could browse it all day. Some clothing items can be a bit pricey (depending on the brand) but they have little twists of originality, are of high quality and the sizing charts are the most accurate I’ve come across.

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Best Dairy-free Easter Chocolate – Choices, found in Holland & Barrett and supermarket free-from isles – if you are lucky. Remember those white mice you used to get as a kid? Well this is 100% better!

May

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Best Spirit – Dark rum in general of course but has to be Sailor Jerry, followed very closely by The Kraken. SJ took it for their perpetually creative labelling.

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Best Unexpected Bargain – I got bored while my bloke was in the army surplus shop and found this tiny vest on sale! I chopped the neck out slightly so it was more flattering.

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Best Tidy Solution – I used this pretty box a prezzie came in and an old watch tin a friend gave me to store the makeup that I use daily. I’ve chucked out anything that really wasn’t working for me and the rest (very similar colours to what’s here already or party makeup) is in a transparent wash bag under the sink. So much quicker to see what I’ve got and where it is!

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Best Indian Eatery – Hands down has to be Lilly’s in Ashton, Greater Manchester. They have an extensive but comprehensive menu of the most delicious vegetarian food. From hearty traditional dishes to quick street food for lunch and creative combinations of ingredients on their Indo-Chinese menu, you will want to visit several times to try it all.

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Best Cruelty-free Makeup Brand – Elf. Every single one of their product I’ve used has worked perfectly for me. Products are true to how they’ve been shown/described on the site, they are easy to apply and long wearing. Worst goes to Soap & Glory – just ugh!

 June

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Best Charity Merchandise – This One Love Manchester jumper I bought for the survivors of the Manchester Arena bombing. Obviously being a Manc this is very close to my heart but I genuinely love the graffiti style of lettering.

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Best Cruelty-free Shampoo – Weleda, Calendula Shampoo and Body Wash. Rarely have I come across a shampoo that is so gentle on my coarse frizzy hair as this. Some ‘natural’ shampoo’s I’ve used have left my hair matted and feeling like straw but I didn’t even need conditioner after this! As usual I just oiled my hair when it was still damp and left to air dry. Perfect.

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Best Full Vegetarian or Vegan Eatery – V Revolution. Creative American-style fast food, which is surprisingly healthy and tastes of individual ingredients, rather than salt and ketchup. Order a White Russian cocktail for a glass of heaven.

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Best Energy Drink or Snack – I had to go with Rockstar as they taste like fizzy pop, rather than that sickly, slightly medicinal thing other energy drinks have going on. I fill a drinks bottle with 2/3 energy drink, 1/3 water and a pinch of salt and sip it when I’m flagging to keep my energy and electrolyte levels up. One bottle usually lasts me two days.

July

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Best Cruelty-free All Round Moisturiser – Faith in Nature Coconut Body Lotion. I use this on my body and my face as it’s thin enough to sink in quickly without being oily.

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Best Accessory – I’ve looked at so many pins from various places this year. This Milk & Moon one was thoughtfully packaged and the gold and black theme looks classy rather than cartoonish, which is what I wanted.

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Best Book – Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor (YA Fiction) is the perfect blend of fantasy and every day, which escalates to serious proportions. Easy to read, with engaging characters and a plot which could lead literally anywhere.

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Best Funko Pop! – I have to go with The Cheshire Cat from (the modern) Alice in Wonderland. He’s so quirky-cute and makes me smile every time I notice him. Plus the fur and stripe detailing is really well done.

August

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Best Cruelty-free Skin Treatment – Murad Radiance Peel has transformed my skin from being dull, flakey and hopeless to being smooth, radiant and able to absorb moisturisers, serums and oils.

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Best Book I Would Recommend – I do love The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern but the first part of the book, before the two main characters even meet was hard going for me. However, I thought the rest was wonderful and utterly absorbing.

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Best Impromptu Selfie – I took this while I was waiting to get ready for a night out and liked it so much more than the one I took when I was ready! Check out my sexy owl PJ’s lol

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Best Alternative/Urban OOTD – I usually like to mix alt and urban style but I decided to go all out rock festival with this one for Summer.

September

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Best Surprising Food Combo – Edamame and Avocado. Followed closely drinking Tia Maria with seaweed/miso/Chinese flavoured food. Try it ^_^

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Best (Gluten Free) Larger – Peroni has always been my fave larger for how light and refreshing it is, and now they’ve started doing a gf one, which is just as good.

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Best Everyday Look – I love this outfit because it’s practical, flattering and represents the Gorton girl in me with the hoodie and big sparkly hoop earrings. I can also take my hoodie off and have a nice top underneath for evening.

October

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Best Place To Buy Lingerie/Nightwear – Boux Avenue make THE BEST bra’s. Pretty but comfortable and in a flattering range of styles and colours. Their night/lounge wear is also really lovely.

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Best Gluten Free Pizza – Pizza Express by a mile. They also have other great gf options and are very understanding of dietary requirements.

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Best High Street/Drug Store Cruelty-free Makeup – Well, Topshop makeup is new to me as I’d never used it before. Affordable, great colour payoff, easy to apply and stays put. I’m really impressed!

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Best Dairy Free Choccy – Sarelle is like a Fererro Rocher but with sweet dark chocolate, rather than milk. This is a decent sized choccy bar but it still isn’t big enough, ha!

November

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Best Cruelty-free Party Makeup – Barry M, Matte Me Up lip linner and lip paint. Metallic, yet oddly matte this is actually really wearable for anyone with an olive-dark skin tone. I think if you were paler, you would be making a much bigger statement with it.

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Best Fashion Trend – Apart from Rosegold – which I’ve always liked since I was a 13 year old looking at jewellery in the Argos catalogue – it has to be knitwear with subtle corset and grunge detailing, mainly fraying, large gaps in the crochet and random lacing.

December

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Best Veggie Sweets – Made with real fruit juice, these Organic Mini Fruit Bears by Biona are possibly the tastiest sweets I’ve ever tried. Everyone I know who’s tried them – loved them.

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Best Tech – Nokia 105. You can drop it, accidentally sit on it, play different versions of Snake on it, it’s a petty retro colour, it has a torch which is actually effective, it’s really light weight, no scally will want to rob it off you and you will only need to charge it twice in your life time. Bargain!

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Best Cruelty-free Lipbalm/Skin Saviour – I know that I could just buy a big cheap jar of coconut oil from the local market but Dr. Organic is organic (duh), contains an SPF 15 and is so handy to carry around. One of the very few things that makes any noticeable difference to my lips at all.

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Best Healthy Convenience Food – This veggie sushi from Tesco is as tasty as it is pretty.

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Best Homeware – I love the duck egg blue colour of this Tesco blanket and it is unbelievably soft! I live in it now – we are one.

Best Alternative/Independent High Street Shop – Aflecks, Tib Street/Oldham Street (established the year I was born – a fact which I love). This giant maze-like building s an Alladin’s cave of independent shops. I don’t know any other place where you will find quality fancy dress, vinyl records, American candy, vintage clothes, Japanese imports, band merchandise, a vegan shop, a cute cafe, a clothes embellishing and customising service, retro toys/collectibles, rave/rock/urban clothing, cruelty free makeup and hair dye, along with piercing, tattooing and hairdressing studio’s.

I hope you enjoyed my alternative 2017 awards!

Chrissie

Monthly Round Up – December

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Me and my Bloke decided to try both christmas menu’s at Greens on two consecutive Mondays. We were not disappointed, but then we never are. I loved their Xmas decor, the food was inventive, made with quality ingredients and cooked to perfection. Just don’t ask them for an iced coffee, unless you want a rather indecisive luke-warm offering.

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I reviewed these gf, nutty, chewy Atkins bars.

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I haven’t been feeling the happiest of bunnies lately (not relating to the festive season) so the Bloke bought me a few sweet goodies…At the same time I was buying myself some lol

I went to V Revolution to show my support as they have recently opened again after some awful flooding. I ordered a sheese and facon burger with slaw on the side and loaded fries. I also had the best iced coffee I’ve ever had!

Style

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12 of the Cutest Christmas Jumpers because wether you are geeky, into your bling, have been a bit naughty or want to have a laugh, there is an crimbo jumper for you.

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I bought this duck egg blue super soft blanket for the sofa/bed from Tesco and keep resisting the urge to just walk around wearing it lol

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I’ve always adored rose gold as I think it really flatters my pale olive complexion so I just had to make a Rose Gold Wish List.

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Now I’m in my 30’s I seem to be appreciating more traditional decorations and festive style. So here’s my traditional christmas.

 

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All of my old cocktail rings are either looking shabby or have gotten lost or broken over the years. I always treat myself to a little prezzie each year and so I chose this, also from Tesco Direct. *NOT a promotion

Lifestyle

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I tried to start a thing on Instagram and Twitter where you post your #bestworstphoto of yourself with the reason why. This is mine because I look a lot bigger than I actually am due water retention and I don’t like my teeth (and chewing gum) showing – BUT I love that I was having a good laugh on a rare night out with old friends and was totally in the moment and not posing.

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Here is mine and my bloke’s small but shiny tree ^_^

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My lips do not produce anywhere near enough natural oils and are constantly dry and peeling. This is the only lip balm I’ve found which makes a lasting difference to them for at least half of the day. I must have a lot in common with a coconut! I’m going to start using coconut oil at home (for my dry frizzy hair as well) and save this for when I’m out.

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This started off as a general Christmas film post but I realised they were all from the same decade. Here are my Favourite 90’s Christmas Films.

 

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My health at the moment? One day functioning – one day recharging, seems to be working well.

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Me and my Bloke have made an early New Years resolution to support independent brands and crafts people/artists so I bought him two handmade mugs (only one featured) from Old Sun Pottery.

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Here’s me and my Dad in our festive jumpers. His is a giant Rudolph face (which he got from a charity shop for £3.00) and mine is a polar bear (wearing sequin antlers) and a penguin who have crossed the globe to share one giant sparkly christmas jumper together. D’aaaaw!

Merry festivities!

Chrissie

 

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Not using this little dude until after crimbo as he’s my bathroom decoration.

 

McCall’s Organics – A Great Resource for Dairy-free & Gluten-free Vegetarians in Manchester

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McCall’s Organics is located on Church Street, where the family have been trading since 1920! They stock fresh fruit and veg, baking goods, snacks, veggie pâté, veggie ready meals, fresh bread, spreads, healthy drinks, cruelty free beauty and household goods, dairy free cheese and chocolate.

Usually in a small-ish shop I have to really search to find anything gluten or dairy free and have even been so pleased to find something that I haven’t noticed it contained meat! McCall’s stocked every single veggie free-from thing that I usually buy, apart from the Genius brand, which I can get from any supermarket anyway. It was like someone had made a shop just for me!

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Here is my shopping, you might have noticed I’ve reviewed some of these before. I would have gotten more but this is all I could carry. (clockwise in a spiral sort of shape) Eat Real Quinoa Chips in Sundried Tomato and Roasted Garlic; These are so tasty and perfect for scooping up humus or guac. Free and Easy Tomato Soup; I’ve really missed Heinz cream of tomato soup and this is fairly sweet with a lovely thick consistency. V Pud, veggie black pudding which, although not perfect, is very recognisable as black pudding and very tasty. Vio Life Pizza Cheese; Not only does this melt well and grate well but it actually tastes of pizza! Bouja Bouja Hazelnut Truffles; Little sweet choccy truffles with a light dusting of bitter choccy on the outside (best kept in the fridge so they don’t go too gooey). Kingfisher Toothpaste (they stock various flavours) which is cruelty free of course. Free and Easy Vegetable Balti is a spicy vegetable stew type of curry, which is great with rice but surprisingly filling on it’s own. Weleda Calendula Shampoo and Body Wash for kids but I love it as it makes my course hair incredibly soft and shiny. Organic Smoked Tofu; I like this fried with white onion and yellow sweet pepper, with added salt and pepper. Faith in Nature Soap, which helps to balance skin, rather than dehydrating it. Ecoleaf Aloe vera Handwash (not seen), which is antibacterial, cares for skin and only has a subtle scent so perfect when cooking.

What are your favourite free-from and cruelty free shops?

Chrissie

Kula Gallery ft RagPots, Northern Quarter, Manchester

Kula Gallery, located on Oak street in the Northern Quarter is a wonderful amalgamation of gallery and craft shop. They sell wall art, contemporary hand made jewellery, unusual mugs, mini terrariums, arm warmers and coasters.

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Several months ago Me and the bloke had walked past Kula on the way to get the bus home and noticed the mugs in the window but were in a hurry. So with Christmas coming up when I asked the bloke what he wanted he asked for ‘one of those mugs, we saw ages ago’.

Luckily he remembered where the shop was and they still had a lot for sale. We bought three in the end, two for the Bloke and this one (£15) for myself. RagPots is a pottery studio established by Richard Gales in 2016, located in Reddish.

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It fools the eye into thinking it’s almost iridescent with the use of light and shade and layering of glazes. I wish I had the skill to capture it better.

Kula, 7 Oak Street, Manchester, M4 5JD Tel: 07933311740

Ragpots, 270 Gorton Road, Reddish, SK5 6RN Email: info@ragpots.co.uk

Which independent shops are your faves to buy gifts from?

Chrissie

October Monthly Round-up

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I’ve added a few more halloween decs around the place. Black, white and neon green seems to becoming a theme lol

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Food 

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You can read my review of these dairy free delights here

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I’ve been having Genius dairy and gluten-free blueberry muffins for breakfast recently. They are so moist and full of blueberries, I think they are the best muffins I’ve ever eaten!

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The Bloke treated me to a meal at Pizza Express (my fave pizza place for my 5th Blogversary) and I ordered a gluten and dairy-free starter and main and then cheated on the desert. Here’s my review of the food and alternative gf and df options.

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As banana is my second favourite ice cream flavour after caramel I was so happy to find this dairy free (vegan) version of Chunky Monkey in Tesco. The dark chocolate and the nuts really do add a nice chunky texture.

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This is very similar to a dark chocolate Ferrero Rocher. I have to ration myself on these or else I’d just devour them in under a minute and then reach for another.

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Vegetarian and dairy-free sweets with a surprising flavour and texture. Here’s my review.

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Well there had to be some kind of pumpkin related spice somewhere didn’t there, ha! This smooth spicy soup also works well as a sauce for gnochi or dumplings or as a rich base for a homemade winter vegetable soup.

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Not the best lighting but then, not the best pizza either. This is the gluten-free option from Pizza Hut with a very thick, very dry base. I’m glad I ordered extra toppings otherwise the grainy texture of the bread base would have overwhelmed the whole thing. I’m glad they have a gf option but it really does need more work.

Style

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I’m so happy the weather is now cold enough a) for my chronic fatigue to not impact me quite as much and b) for me to wear my ‘One Love Manchester’ charity jumper.

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I put together this Halloween homeware board with clickable links of where to buy. Obviously items won’t arrive in time today but you might catch some bargains in the sale for next year.

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I bought two amazing (and much needed) balconette bras – one in light pink and one in turquoise – a cute cocktail glass key chain, lounge pants, polar bear slippers and a compact mirror from Boux Avenue. The slippers are really cozy and easy to walk in but the large size was too small for my size 7 feet! I had to remove their pompom tails and cut a slit down the back to get me feet in and out.

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These are the lounge pants. As I sit around the house a lot, I need to wear something more comfortable than jeans but warmer than thin pj’s bottoms. After getting sick of just jogging bottoms and leggings I found these furry things.

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I love animals but feel like my home could easily end up looking like a zoo’s tacky gift shop. So I put together Animal Accessories for You and Your Home and was very discerning with the lovely items I included.

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I figured seeing as I sleep well into the day, wake up at night, can be grumpy but also cuddly and love junk food, I’m already half racoon so I was delighted to find this racoon dressing gown from New Look.

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I compiled the best Autumn and Winter Accessories  with clickable links of where to buy each item. I literally have a whole cupboard for my A/W accessories.

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I’ve realised I was a little bit ahead of the fashion last year when I bought a jumper with corset style lacing around it. It’s a big cozy jumper but also feminine with the lacing and bows. It also doesn’t have a really slouchy (read cold) neck line, like so many of them do.

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So I create this post and then notice this month’s Cosopolitan magazine has done the same edit with so many similar jackets. Here’s me thinking I’m being original, ha! I used to wear a puffa for many years as a teen and it’s seriously like wearing half of your duvet.

Lifestyle

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I’ve been blogging for 5 years. Everyone has said “Wow, I can’t beleive you’ve been blogging for five years!” but I feel like it’s something I’ve always done. Probably because I had a photo blog on the sadly defunked Blip Photo for a couple of years before and kept paper journals (with glued in collages, postcards and ticket stubs etc.)  all of my life before that. Thank you so much to every one for reading, liking and commenting. It puts a smile on my face everyday.

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Here’s the first Outfit of the Day post I ever did. I was determined I wasn’t going to use a bedroom mirror with a load of clothes piled on the bed in the background, so I grabbed my Nikon and dragged the Bloke into his communal garden instead!

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The light is getting worse and worse for taking piccies now the nights are drawing in and when I use in door lighting, everything looks too yellow – gah! Anyway here is my review of these lovely scented soy candles.

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October is Dysautonomia awareness month, which is very important as it’s often overlooked and not recognised by Dr’s. Basically it’s when a persons autonomic nervous system doesn’t automatically regulate what it is meant to. For me this includes not regulating my heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, appetite, digestion and temperature properly. It also doesn’t signal to me what’s going on until I’m really really hungry, hot, tired etc. It also means that I barley sweat (unless I over increase my salt and water intake) and I’m not capable of shivering to keep warm – ever. Unless a symptom is incredibly severe it’s just up to the person to keep an eye on everything themselves – quite a task for me, given my memory and concentration probs but I’m getting there with the help of the Bloke and my Dad.

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Activewear, athleisure, whatever you want to call it and however you want to use it, here’s some of the most stylish and user friendly items out there.

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I’ve been giving myself and my avatar a bit of a makeover lately.

Beauty

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It’s been fairly quiet on the beauty front this month as I’m trying to cut down a on the amount of makeup I buy, unless it’s a staple product I’m renewing like concealer or nude/brown lipstick or it’s something Metalic because shiny! Here’s my review of Topshop eye colour and matte lip bullet.

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Speaking on cutting down, I wanted to get one nail poilish in a subtle pretty shade which I could wear everyday and which would go with everything, which would last. Read my review to find out if Nails Inc Gel Effect worked.

Which genre would you like to see more of on Vamp It Up Manchester?

Chrissie

What is the Point of Blogging?

I know many bloggers wonder ‘What is the point of my of my blog?’ along certain points of their blogging journeys. My blog started off as a personal blog – personal between me and the city of Manchester and what I got up to in it, featuring festivals, eateries and news. Then I turned it into more of a magazine/lifestyle type blog with reviews and then I started mixing in more personal posts to do with my health because I wanted to share all that I’d learned to help other people who were as confused as I’d once been.

I’ve now decided that I don’t want to involve that side of things in my blog anymore. I spend far too much time thinking of my health (mental, physical, emotional, neurological) as well as the lack of understanding I’m getting from the medical profession and the huge amount of understanding and help I’m getting from other people with the same chronic illnesses/conditions/disabilities/disorders and what I need to do to move forward…Literally.

I prefer having this blog as a little ray of light to dive into and to take my mind off of all that sh!t and I want it to be a place for other people to do that to. At first I used to throw everything at my blog but since I started to attract brands and review their items/services, I started to automatically questioning ‘Is my own silly thing worth a place on my blog or should I just put it on Instagram instead?’. The funny thing is, my engagement on Insta is great, I don’t just mean followers (772) but the comments and the laugh that I have with the same people, sometimes everyday, is really lovely. I also like how quick and spontaneous posting to Insta is, where-as I have to really be in the mood to write a blog post.

The thing is, I actually prefer Instagram for those reasons. So, I’m going to keep my blog going with all of the usual content like style, veggie food, restaurant reviews, cruelty free beauty and I’m not going to lower the quality either, but I’m now going to throw a lot of shorter more regular posts up such as geeky things, or little things which have brightened my day, social commentary and quick book reviews etc. After-all, It is my lifestyle blog, rather than an online magazine so I want to make it reflect my actual, everyday lifestyle more. All the lovely bits!

How’s your attitude to blogging changed?

Chrissie