World Adventures: Manchester Food + Drink

As promised, here, for our second World Adventures post, is my food and drink recommendations for Manchester. Where to even begin! Just reading this is gonna make you feel full. Not hungry, full. We were so full all weekend we could barely drink a pint! Just too much liquid. All the vegan food we had was absolutely amazing though! We also found a few favourite pubs around the Northern Quarter. Everything we went to was less than ten minutes walk away from our Airbnb. We’re now big fans of the Northern Quarter! Let’s stop this chit chat though cos we’ve got a lot to get through!

Go Falafel

Dude, best falafel in the North West. Without a doubt. It saddens me every day that I haven’t found a better one in Liverpool and I’ll keep looking. But for now I’d rather pop on a train when I’m craving insanely tasty deep fried chickpea goodness. Get a wrap or get a bowl, you literally can’t go wrong.

Pasta Factory

My first time at the pasta factory. It’s an authentic Italian restaurant with fresh pasta made in the kitchen. And a surprising amount of vegan options. I got a creamy, pesto, courgette spaghetti. Was fucking divine. Note to self: you will not need a starter, even an innocence breadoilolive combo. Also try the red Coca Cola, really good.

Little Aladdin

Dude, where to even begin with Aladdin’s. It’s a little kebab looking shop with plastic seats that turned vegan a while back. But don’t let your prejudices cloud your judgement. This place is no bullshit. The curries are amazing. There’s cheesy fries and burgers and wraps and homemade brownies. The people are always very friendly. Great value. And I’d definitely recommend the tofu/falafel wrap combo.

The Koffee Pot

Our apartment was literally on top of this place and people always looked like they were having a great breakfast inside! We finally caved on the Sunday and went in. They boast a different cooked breakfast from all four corners of the U.K., Danny can recommend the Scottish. The vegan breakfast was great though, could have done without the vegan black pudding but that’s just me!

V Rev

This I’ve known about for ages and just figured it wouldn’t live up to the hype. I was, of course, wrong. Burgers don’t come with fries, if you want to leave with your jeans closed I wouldn’t add them. I got a Jimmy Pesto which was buttermilk seitan, cashew pesto goodness. Such delicious goodness. Also loads of cocktails. Just go.

Castle Hotel

Probably my favourite pub of the weekend. Can be a bit of a squeeze if busy but if you get a seat you could stay all night. Nice atmosphere, dingy in all the right ways. Open late and even had mulled cider on! It was Christmas like, but still! Also has a venue room where live bands play.

Crown & Kettle

This place is a must if you love cider cos they have a cider bar! Yeah. An entire bar for cider. It’s bliss. There’s also lots of games to play. It’s a nice circular pub with a few nooks to sit. Just a lovely chilled out vibe, definitely recommend.

Shakespeare Pub

This one we honestly ran into to avoid the rain. I did appreciate the name though. It ended up being quite cute, aside from the loud drunk people next to us at three pm. But it was pay day weekend and the week before Christmas so what can you expect? Nice little place.

Sinclairs Oyster Bar

Right round the corner from Victoria station, this small and very old pub is a delight. Small selection of drinks but cheap. Lots of chairs and little hidden areas. We spent hours here just playing cards. Very relaxed.

And there you have it! I’d love to know your Manchester recommendations. Next week we’ll be jumping on a train to Birmingham!

Hey Now – The Regrettes

the book buying ban: pt.2 + conclusion

I promised last week to update you on my 2018 book buying ban so here’s part two and the conclusion!

If you remember, my last update was June and I’d bought five books so far. That still left seven to play with to keep under my one a month goal. So for the remaining six months of 2018 I bought SEVEN books! I actually did it! I only purchased twelve books in an entire year. I’m as surprised as you. And I’m bloody happy with myself. Let’s get to the books:

Oxfam, Liverpool

I’d literally been avoiding this shop all year because I always find excellent books there and I didn’t want to be tempted. But it got to August and I had a few minutes whilst I waited for a couple of friends and I just figured yeah, I could buy a book. So I bought two.

Hot Milk – Deborah Levy: I’ve heard this one floating round the internet so decided to pick it up.

Trumpet – Jackie Kay: I read this in uni and absolutely loved it. I got it from the library though so decided to grab my own copy and do a reread soon.

Oxfam Books, Dublin & Secret Bookshop, Dublin

Fast forward to September and I found myself (as I do many times a year) in Dublin. It would have been rude not to go to my two favourite bookshops. Don’t you think? Oxfam Books is self-explanatory, it’s an Oxfam shop completely stocked with books. Always an amazing second hand find here! The Secret Bookshop is one we stumbled across a few years ago and now always find time for. Walking down a small corridor you find yourself in a basement-type treasure trove filled to the brim with new and used books. There’s even a record shop at the bottom. Could spend hours in here, definitely one to check out.

Paradise – Toni Morrison: I’ve loved everything I’ve ever read my Morrison so this seemed like a natural pick. I also knew this was part of a trilogy beginning with Beloved which I already own so I figured it couldn’t hurt to own the third one before the second, haha.

China Men – Maxine Hong Kingston: I read The Woman Warrior in uni and I thought it was so fascinating. I’d never read a Chinese American voice before and loved Kingston’s. I’ve never heard of this book but thought it sounded great.

The Divided Self – R.D. Laing: This I’ve vaguely heard of but I read the back and thought it sounds really interesting so picked it up.

Bookstop, Ennis

Since I apparently spend my whole life in Ireland, you shouldn’t be surprised to discover I was there in October as well. Oops. This time we were on the west coast in County Clare. We always make a trip to Ennis town if only to fill our hunger for a Supermacs veggie burger. But we were having a wander and found this bookshop we’d never seen before. Was a nice little second hand store with a great selection.

Everything I Never Told You – Celeste Ng: I’d literally just finished reading Little Fires Everywhere a couple of days earlier on our trip. So when I saw Ng’s first novel I had to buy it instantly.

Amazon (I know, I’m horrible)

I’m a traitor. Bar Kindle books, I haven’t purchased a book from amazon in about eighteen months. I don’t like what they’re doing to the book world but I just couldn’t find this book anywhere else. Please forgive me.

Catcher – Kalyn Nicholson: I’ve been following Kalyn on Youtube for a few years now and I just really like what she’s all about. This is her first book and a novel no less! I had to see what it was all about.

So in conclusion, the book buying band seemed to work a treat. It forced me to read books I already own and it helped me to slowly decrease my physical TBR. However, I wanted to do something different in 2019. A lot of the unread books I own are classics or books from the mid-20th century or earlier that, let’s face it, aren’t going anywhere. So I plan to read them slowly til they’re all complete. I’m still excited to read them all. But I didn’t want to be restricted to read a book that’s out right now and relevant just because I had bought all my books for the year. But I also didn’t want to go back to overbuying because that’s how I originally got into this mess! However, drunk at four in the morning on Christmas Day my brother cracked it. He said why don’t you stick to twelve books but every time you read one of them you gain it back. So it’s like a rolling twelve books. I thought about it for a second and realised, whoa, what a genius idea! So that’s what we’re doing! This year so far I’ve bought nine books (I know, the freedom got to me a little there!) but I’ve read three of them already so I’m back down to six books purchased. Get it? I’m excited to see where the reading year takes me. What does yours look like?

Happy reading!

re:stacks – Bon Iver

journal prompts pt.2

So kids, we missed two weeks there. Also, yeah, it’s a Saturday again but if we wait for me to remember to post on a Friday then it may never happen. That’s my bad. Anyway! Onwards!

It’s another quick self-care task this week to follow on from our intention writing. I want you to get comfortable with journal writing. Cos I think it can save you. It can keep you safe. It can challenge you. It can let you feel your emotions, whatever they are. But it can be hard to stare at a blank page and wonder where to start. Something about the vast expanse of blankness can either ignite feverish scribblings or completely clear the mind of all human function. Depends on the day. So following on from a post I wrote last year, here are ten more journal prompt ideas:

1. What are you not letting yourself feel?

2. What’s one of your most treasured memories?

3. What’s one thing you’d like to have implemented into your life a year from now?

4. A book review.

5. Today you wanted to dropkick everyone in the face. Tell me why.

6. Give a stream of consciousness a go. Don’t overthink it. Just write anything and see where it 

leads you.

7. Write about a part of your physical body that you are just in awe of right now.

8. A little gratitude never hurt.

9. Are you working towards your dreams? Tell me how you are or how you could.

10. What are you most excited for?

Happy writing, kids!

A Living Human Girl – The Regrettes

 

World Adventures: Manchester Books

So I want to start a new segment on my blog dedicated to travel. To my world adventures. Even when they’re just around the corner. Cos I think it’s fun to hear where other people have been. But also getting recommendations for sights and bars and food and pubs and bookshops (most importantly) is really handy. Also I just think it’s fun to be nosy sometimes. So here begins the world adventures. We’re starting small by just hopping over to Manchester (I’m from Liverpool for any of you nerds that don’t know).

In 2018 I challenged myself to buy only 12 books. Whether I did that or not is for a future post (I know, what a tease). But here I find myself in mid-December absolutely sure I shouldn’t be buying any more books yet wanting to explore all the excellent bookshops in Manchester’s Northern Quarter. Enter my excellent boyfriend, Danny. This little gem treated me to five, read em, FIVE, new books on our weekend away and I guess that’s why he’s the best person ever. Basically all we did on this trip was eat, drink and browse bookshelves so I figured I’d start with the books!

Magma

Book Purchased: Devotion – Patti Smith

For the first couple of days of our trip we kept walking past this shop. Every time a different book caught our eye in their front display and we ended up stopping to look. Whoever curated that display, and indeed the entire shop’s catalogue, is a bloody genius. It’s quite a hipster little shop with a boutique feel. But as I say, could not fault the book choices. I wanted every book in there! From the Corbyn Annual to feminist non-fictions and from the illustrated Communist Manifesto to books on plants, it was bougie and spectacular!

Oxfam

Book Purchased: Dept. of Speculation – Jenny Offill

An oldy but a goodie. If you didn’t know that Oxfam stocks amazing books then literally where have you been? This one is no different, many secondhand gems. However the moment I saw this book I knew it would be mine. I read the Kindle edition when I was at uni in America and I loved it. This book is excellent. On further browsing there was about fifteen other books I would have had as well!

Paramount Books

Books Purchased: Aminal Farm – George Orwell, The Yellow Wallpaper – Charlotte

This amazing secondhand shop is only open the later half of the week so beware. It’s open til late though and blasts excellent tunes onto the street all day long. It’s a Black Books type of shop were there is so much to look at and you don’t want to miss a thing yet it’s overwhelming. Also you don’t want to piss anyone off. There’s ‘no mobile phone’ signs everywhere (literally Bernard) but the atmosphere is friendly and the collection is vast. When we made our purchase the guy also offered us a piece of fruit from a bowl at the register. How boss! I also found a lovely edition of Animal Farm for like £4 so how could I not?

Travelling Man

Book Purchased: Quiet Girl in a Noisy World – Debbie Tung

We happened to stumbled across this hidden treasure as we were walking to Chapter One Books. It’s literally next door. I’m not sure it’s a bookshop so much a geeky shop. I don’t know the technical term, but I mean no disrespect. I loved it! There was endless manga and board games and funko pops and merch. There was also I gigantic section of graphic novels and the like. I enjoy graphic novels but I don’t know much about them. Then I noticed this book by Debbie Tung and I was completely drawn to it! A quick flick through promised beautiful illustration. A shop I’ll definitely be adding to my favourites.

Chapter One Books

One little bonus was this wonderful cafe! We didn’t buy any books here although there are some on display that you can buy. We went there expecting more books to browse to be honest but we weren’t too disappointed. The staff were friendly, the coffee was good and the atmosphere was chill. Gave us time to admire all my new books! Would go again.

Pt.2 Coming Soon. (Featuring many ciders and vegan treats.)

You’re Not Alone – Astræa

July/October/November Wrap Up

If you’re wondering why this wrap up is such a mismatch it’s because I read one book in July and then didn’t finish a single other book til October! If you’re wondering why you’re only just getting this wrap up, well, I’m lazy. This can’t be news to you. Okay, let’s go!

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman

Totally worth the hype. I took ages to get into this book to be honest. The voice of Eleanor was just annoying me a bit, I didn’t care much for her attitude. But slowly and then all at once you’re sucked into her world and find yourself defending her to other characters. Endearing yet sometimes uncomfortable. Read it.

Little Fires Everywhere – Celeste Ng

My first Celeste Ng and I won’t be going back. Mysterious and intoxicating, this book had me sneaking pages whenever I could. A brilliant story of family and responsibility and privilege and drama. Another book that is worth the hype.

The Year of Magical Thinking – Joan Didion

A wonderful yet unapologetic look at grief. Sometimes I found Didion was downgrading other types of grief for the loss of a partner but I don’t know if this was her intention. If it’s not been your experience you can’t be expected to feel it. Aside from that, very honest, raw and interesting to delve into the endearing stories of her past.

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas – John Boyne

A much darker ending than I ever imagined even knowing it was a book about the Holocaust. I guess it shocks you into remembering and honouring everyone who lost their life in the concentration camps. A beautiful, innocent friendship between two boys set in a world arena too harsh for their eyes.

A Caribbean Mystery – Agatha Christie

My first Marple! How is that even possible? I much preferred it to the Poirot I read, please don’t come for me. I enjoyed Miss Marple’s voice and how she can read people even when they think themselves so above her. Of course I didn’t guess the end but I had a great time conspiring throughout.

Dark Days – James Baldwin

Everything I read by James Baldwin I end up loving. Part of the new Penguin Moderns collection, it’s a small book with three of his essays. A great intro to Baldwin’s non-fiction writing. Presents race in America in a very matter-of-fact, no bullshit kind of way. His ideas on race and education I found particularly fascinating. 

The Robber Bridegroom – Brothers Grimm

A little collection of short stories, a quick read and some unsettling characters. Too many stories ended in marriage though, who are we, a Shakespeare comedy? I’d have preferred something more fulfilling but maybe that’s asking too much of its time.

Seashore – The Regrettes