Jessops Photo Festival Manchester

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The Jessops Photo Festival running from  31st July – 20th August visits Birmingham, Glasgow, Basingstoke, London and kicks off in Manchester!

Thursday 31st July 10.00 – 14.00

Seminar with Damian McGillyCuddy – Portrait Session on the streets of Manchester.

For more details and to reserve a free place visit Jessops Photo Festival or 0844 800 4444 or email events@jessops.com

You Can Be A Feminist & Let A Man Take Charge

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A women who wants the right to equal pay, the right have kids and a career or just the career, the right to sleep with who she wants, the right for her opinion on important issues to be heard, and who wishes the same for other women, is a feminist.

I applaud and support women like this.

However, you can take proving you are strong and independent a little too far.
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I was a fairly tough chick who never used to show her emotions – well not the vulnerable ones any way. “Don’t hug me! If you hug me I might cry.” “That’s ok.” “Piss off!”

I would struggle for ages with something fiddly before begrudgingly asking for help.

I was rubbish at accepting advice, especially from a man because that would mean I was admitting I was weaker.

I was an idiot!

It’s ok to let your guard down…

Like a million women out there, I go all giggly when a handsome bloke catches me off guard with a genuine compliment. I appreciate men offering me their hand when I’m walking down a slippery slope. When I’m cold and a dude puts his jacket around my shoulders I’m really happy. Not just because of the warmth but because of the gesture. When I feel poorly or blue a big bear hug from a lovely bloke cheers me up because I feel cared for.

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I’m not remotely petite and girly but I love having a big bloke make me feel like I am.

I know I can look after myself most of the time but when walking home at night or when there’s a spider in the bath I want to be protect by a manly man.

When I’m doubting myself or having an emotional wobble I want to be held and told by someone bigger (and older) than me that it’ll be ok because they are there.

I appreciate good old fashioned chivalry and for a man to make me feel safe and special and to spoil me sometimes.

When we want that kind of male support it doesn’t make us weak or hypocritical. It doesn’t mean we are all just lost little girls that NEED men to control and rescue us. It’s simply that, it feels fantastic when you can let yourself be vulnerable enough with a man to admit you want help or reassurance and to accept it. Blokey bear hugs are the best!

Beauty Review: Barry M Cor Balmy!

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Cor Balmy Tinted Lip Balm Barry M

 

Cor Balmy Tinted Lip Balm Barry M

Purple! My ultimate lip colour. I have stains, lip gloss, lipstick in various purple berry colours. I had to dump my go-to purple lip balm as it contained an ingredient I’m mildly intolerant to and I’ve been searching for an equally good cruelty free replacement for around 6 months. Imagine my joy when I came across this shade Currant Bun!

Cor Balmy Tinted Lip Balm Barry M

This has a conditioning core meaning my high maintenance lips never dry up and always remain smooth.

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One quick slick gives a hint of colour and two heavier slicks give a fantastic depth of colour. Impressively, even after the gloss has worn off my lips still have a stain of the colour on them.

I use my arm as a tester because everybody’s lips are a different depth of colour. But honestly, when I took a close up my lips they either resembled two lillo’s stacked up or when I pouted, they appeared ridiculously sexual. There was no in-between!

So I shall be stocking up on these as (with all Barry M products) it’s reasonably priced at £3.49.

 

Stuck in a Shoe Rut & Kicking The Habit

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“Stuck in a shoe rut and can’t get out of it” so Bono sung, or something like that that. We are all guilty of knowing what suits us and what is practical and pig heatedly sticking to it, shopping trip after shopping trip. Browsing online and almost subconsciously selecting styles we already own three or four of.

As regular readers will know I have a major thing for big chunky boots so when I came across the Spartoo webisite I automatically clicked on women’s mid boots. I was spoilt for choice there were so many to put on my mental wish list. Then I paused and imagined my friends saying “More boots, seriously?”

 

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Ok so I justify my boot fetish by saying I can’t walk in heels (conveniently forgetting that it’s all about the block heals, right now). I have a big stride and walk quickly so I rarely get pumps or ballet flats as they tend to fly off my feet! Fair enough. But surely I didn’t walk around bare footed before the boot fetish started?

Trainers! Kicks! Sneakers! Once the go-to shoe for scalies and chav’s across the land, they are now vibrant, pretty or edgy fashion statements, worn by the likes of Rita Ora, Rihanna and Jessie Jay. I haven’t been in a trainer shop since I was around 16 for the simple fact that they intimidate me, being rammed with very young, painfully cool people. Nowadays I’d feel like someone’s misguided mum!

This is where the benefit of online shopping come in. Unlike unreliable clothes sizes I know I’m a steady size 7. I searched the Spartoo site hoping to find trainers that would suit my punky/alt/urban style – not much to ask then, ha! I found these three, which I thought were pretty awesome!

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Ok, so now I have a small obsession with high-tops!

Which ones do you prefer?

Note: I have been sponsored in shoes (the Vans high tops) for this post.
 

 

 

 

 

 

Moretti Gran Tour (Italian Beer & Street Food) in Manchester

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Moretti Gran Tour (Italian Beer & Street Food) in Manchester

Birra Moretti

 

I was really pleased to be invited to sample as much Birra Moretti (beer) and Italian street food – with a twist – as I liked at the Moretti Gran Tour, as I love beer and Mediterranean food! Taking place at the old Granada Studios the Manchester leg of this tour runs from Thursday 17th – Sunday 20th of July.

Birra Moretti Moretti Gran Tour Manchester

This is genuinely one of the nicest beers I’ve tried. Light, refreshing and not too hoppy. I fitted in three of these but I could have happily drunk them all night if I weren’t rapidly filling up with delicious Italian street food.

Pizza Pilgrims – Naples (lower East coast)

Thom & James Eliot toured different regions of Italy to gain their knowledge and rightly state (in my opinion) that any pizzeria should be judged on it’s Margherita.

Pizza Pilgrims Moretti Gran Tour Manchester

I was delighted to see they were using a traditional clay oven. It makes such a difference to the taste of the pizza base. From a choice of chilli, basil and garlic oil to dress my slice I chose the basil.

Pizza Pilgrims Moretti Gran Tour Manchester

The depth of flavour in the sauce was wonderful and the base so traditionally floppy that I ended up folding mine in half and eating it like a calzoni.

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My extremely happy pizza eating expression.

Cooking Cooks – Lombardia (North)

Tour around England bringing their traditional dishes with a modern twist to different events and festivals.

Cooking Cooks Moretti Gran Tour Manchester

Cooking Cooks Moretti Gran Tour Manchester

Cooking Cooks Ravioli Moretti Gran Tour Manchester

I once ate ravioli everyday for a month. I know my ravioli. I opted for Cooking Cooks butternut squash and caramelised onion ravioli which did not disappoint. It was so light and tasted so delicious that I went back for a second helping!

Gelupo – Emilia Romagna (Island off the East coast)

Gelupo Moretti Gran Tour

Gelupo Moretti Gran Tour Manchester

I decided to cleanse my palette so I visited the Gelupo stand. I’ve always wondered if gelato contains gelatine but it’s a miss-conception. Gelato literally translates to ‘freeze’ or ‘frozen’. I chose the blood orange sorbet which contained so much fresh juice it was like bitting right into the blood orange it’s self.

Pasta E Basta – Valle d’Aosta (North West)

Fabrizio worked in various successful kitchens in London before starting Pasta E Basta and visiting markets on his Vespa at 6am to source the best ingredients.

Pasta E Basta Moretti Gran Tour Manchester

Pasta E Basta Moretti Gran Tour Manchester

I’ve only ever eaten stuffed gnocchi before so I was excited to try Pasta E Basta’s roasted beetroot version. I’ve never been keen on blue cheese despite The Blokes best efforts to convert me, so I was taking a big leap of faith trying the gorgonzola sauce.

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All off the ingredients combined to make a wonderfully creamy dish of comfort food at it’s best. Considering gnocchi is made with potato, it was a surprisingly light form of pasta.

Arancini Bros. – Sicilia (The ‘ball’ the ‘foot’ of Italy is kicking)

The brothers trained under a first generation Sicilian chef to learn about arancini (various kinds of creative risotto balls), before going to London to hand cook it based on traditional recipes.

Arancini Bros. Moretti Gran Tour Manchester

For the purposes of this review I sampled a small amount of the Porcini mushroom with saffron arancini with parmesan in the centre, which was a most indulgent gourmet snack. The Bloke also tried a little bit of this and a whole mozzarella and slow cooked tomato arancini but much preferred the former.

Note: The host of the event insisted everyone use traditional ingredients including the type of parmesan which contains a small amount of animal rennet. Not suitable for vegetarians.

My personal tour zigzagged all over Italy depending on how full of beer I was and what I fancied eating next. Cooking demonstration from each stand where announced by the DJ and started around every half hour, with a timetable also displayed on a board if you wanted to take a more geographical tour.

I had to get another bowl of gnocchi from Pasta E Basta before we left, but after slowly getting up from the long table I decided I might have over done it as I waddled out into the evening.

Tickets cost £10 for a Birra Moretti, two dishes, a coffee and a gelato.

 

Do’s & Don’ts of Surviving a Drunken Night Out

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Do’s & Don’ts of Surviving a Drunken Night Out

 

These are all learned from experience!

 

Do check the back of your outfit before you leave the house. A pair of knickers down one of your stocking clad legs is not a good accessory.

Do have something to eat 30 mins before.

Don’t let that food be curry or chilli. Fiery beer burps all night are not fun.

Don’t get so excited about going out that you lock your front door keys in the house and then have to wait an hour for a lock smith while wearing heels and a tiny dress on a winter’s night.

Do leg it to the local supermarket and start swigging wine while waiting.

Do check you have phone, money and keys before you leave…every place you go that night. So you don’t have to revisit them all again in reverse order.

Do write down mates and loved ones phone numbers. Put in your pocket/bra incase your mobile becomes stollen by children/out of charge/dropped in a toilet – again.

Do wear heels you can at least walk in. You’ll get refused entry if you appear wasted after falling onto the doorman.

Do a head count of mates when leaving/arriving – don’t accidentally count a random stranger.

Do write down the address of where you are staying if you’re in an unfamiliar area, along with the numbers of local taxi companies. Not everyone is lucky enough to find the same driver who dropped them off 5 hours earlier waiting at the local taxi rank.

Don’t attempt to climb up things or fit through very small things just to prove you can. Most fireman aren’t THAT sexy.

Do join in fun party games.

Don’t try to win extreme eating/drinking/spinning around a broom competitions if you plan to get through the rest of the night upright.

Don’t demonstrate handcuffs on yourself – especially self locking ones.

Do chase a group of fun lovin lads down the street with giant rubber phallus.

Don’t forget to check if they are underage and actually with their parents.

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Do have a laugh ‘dancing’ around a pole

Don’t let go mid swing!

 

Do kiss a sexy bloke.

Don’t kiss his (cunning) brother a moment later thinking it’s him.

Do programme your number into his phone with short description of you ‘black boots, red hair’ so he doesn’t mistakenly arrange a date with you, thinking it’s your mate he’s talking to.

Do keep your drink in your hand or in close eye sight.

Don’t mistake your drink for another that’s been spiked so you end up suddenly buzzing your head off.

Do carry a few safety pins for wardrobe malfunctions.

Don’t improvise with black bendy straws so your outfit looks like some bondage piece of art that GaGa would wear.

Don’t dance on a very small table swimming with spilt drinks unless there is someone sexy to catch you.

Do leave the club/bar half an hour early to avoid queues and put your name on a taxi rank list then go and get a takeaway.

Don’t get chatting to people in the takeaway for so long your pre-booked cabbie gives up and buggers off.

Don’t send a drunken sext to that bloke you like only to realise after quite a while that you’re communicating with his wife.

Do promise to phone your mates when you get home safe.

Don’t fall asleep on phone and dial everyone in your address book at 3.00am

Do take a glass of water to bed with you.

Don’t mistake it for your leftover glass of vodka. Bit of a shock!

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Do have a top night!!!

OOTD Rocking Country

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I’ve always liked a more relaxed rock chick slant on the country look – surprise, surprise. More Thelma and Louise – less Dolly Parton.

Earings – Peacocks (this season)

Shirt – Matalan (this season)

Rolling Stones tee – New Look

Skirt – George @ ASDA

Bag – River Island

Boots – Primark (this season)

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Photo credit: The Bloke