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’.

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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

Manchester Street Art & Stuff part 7

It’s been three years since I did one of these posts on this blog – three years! A few days ago me and the Bloke decided to go into town to get something to eat from V Revolution but we needed to work up an appetite first so we went for a wander…

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There was this guy standing in front of the cockerel when we wanted a photo so I said to the guy “Me and my bloke want a photo but you are literally cock blocking us.” He replied “Oh gosh, I didn’t even realise that erm, thing was there!”

Do you know any good places to find street art and things?

Chrissie

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

Banyan Restaurant, Corn Exchange

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Me and the Bloke decided to take Banyan up on their offer of an amazing 50% off for black Friday. We booked for mid-week as that was part of the offer and because we like to avoid the weekend crowds for quicker service and a more chilled atmosphere.

 

We found the decor to be that mixture of reclaimed industrial and practical vintage that every newish bar in Manchester displays these days. The lighting and furniture was soft and lent a nice coziness to the place. The tables were a decent size and not too tightly packed – very dyspraxic friendly!

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This Revitalise was the best mocktail I’ve ever tried, with blended kiwi, blueberry, raspberry, passion fruit, apple and lime. Wow!

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Oddly enough this is the first time I’ve tried hipster-bar-staple smashed avocado on toast. The edamame beans complimented the avo perfectly, like they were born to be together. Huge plus – the bread was gluten free and really nice. The Bloke was not impressed with his olives (in a very cute kilner jar) as they were cold, straight from the fridge but how else can you store them?

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I ordered the roasted veg and halloumi skewer, with sweet potatoes and tzatziki dip (you can choose your accompaniment and sauce) which I really enjoyed. The side salad was welcome and refreshing as well. I’ve never been faced with (whisper) too much halloumi before and gave the Bloke a chunk as I thought his red thai veggie curry – although delicious – wasn’t as substantial as it could have been.

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For desert the Bloke ordered sticky toffee pudding as he always does and said it was one of the best he’d ever tried (on a par with Greens in Didsbury) and I went for the salted caramel options as I always do. Salted caramel and chocolate torte which wasn’t gluten free but I didn’t care! It was beautiful, the perfect mix of salty and sweet. If it were a person I would marry it. We weren’t that impressed with the vanilla pod ice cream as it didn’t taste like traditional vanilla but more like an average block of ‘white’ ice cream you used to get from the ice cream van for 50p.

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The service we got was friendly and our server pointed out gluten free options for me on the desert menu but I have to say the pace of the service – although not quite glacial – was rather leisurely. This was mid-week from 7.30, with only two to three other tables occupied upstairs so I can’t imagine what it would be like later, on a weekend. I got an apology for how long it took her to bring the bill but it was no slower than the speed it took to get anything else that evening so I was barley noticing by that point. Banyan is not a place you quickly pop-in for a snack but rather a place where you go to kill time, apparently.

I was quite impressed with the value for money regarding the portion sizes as I’ve payed similar prices for much smaller servings. I’ve payed less for portions that are a similar size but the food wasn’t as good a quality, nor the dishes as interesting.

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Clear indications on menu of foods which are veggie, gluten free and ones containing nuts. (V) (N) (GF)

Gluten free menu available on request

Vegan menu available on request

Banyan, Manchester
Exchange Square
Manchester
M4 3TR

0161 832 4798

Have you been to Banyan?

Chrissie

 

V Revolution Manchester – Vegan Cafe

 

For the record let me state I’m a part time vegan. I do add honey to sweeten things if it’s already in the cupboard, I do buy leather shoes but also lots of pleather ones and I eat pizza with real cheese sometimes and fake cheese a lot of the time. Glad we cleared that up.

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The best way to describe V Revolution in the Northern Quarter is to say it’s a vegan version of a 50’s American diner, with a retro look and really creative junk food. There’s no juke box but the staff play seriously good tunes all day ranging from rock, hip-hop and dance. iPod’s on shuffle maybe?

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I think this menu is fab, even though it oddly lacks an option for fries or onion rings on the side. Me and the bloke chose the Barbecuban Missile Crisis which came with nacho’s.

The crispy onions (the little brown pieces) added a really nice crunch to what was a very tasty, slightly soft and incredibly slippy burger. The ‘cheese’ melted and tasted like regular cheese and the burger was a great consistency also. Both me and the bloke agreed it would have been easier to eat if the slaw was on top of the natcho’s rather than pilled on the burger. I liked the taste of the facon but would have preferred it fried so it was firm rather than floppy.

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There were four indulgent looking cakes at the counter but I didn’t get a slice as I would have preferred something a little lighter like a scoop of vegan ice cream. The staff had prepared lemon infused water and there were also a selection of teas available. I chose jasmine tea which was lovely and refreshing, the bloke chose of cup of builders tea and didn’t moan about the soy milk for once! I was able to stock up on a range of meat and cheese substitutes while I was there, which was really convenient!

Rating ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

V Revolution, 88 Oldham street, Manchester

Open 12.00pm – 6.00pm (except Tuesday)