Monday, 11 September 2017

After four wonderful years of calling Manchester our home, the time has come for Jack and I to pack up our bags and move onto our next adventure – London! I never thought that I would end up in London. Many people feel drawn to head down to London as soon as they can, but I never really felt that desire. After a lot of thought and discussion, it seemed that the pros outweighed the cons and that London was looking like the best possible option for both of us! We'll be closer to Jack's family, we'll be able to save a bit of money whilst living at home, and the career prospects in London are far broader than anywhere else.

With just two weeks to go until we move all of our belongings 200 miles down south, we've been visiting all of our favourite places in Manchester. Jack's brother, Joe, and his girlfriend, Evie, visited us this weekend and we truly took advantage of having guests to show around. On Saturday, we headed to Altrincham Market to have a nosey and grab a spot of lunch before moving onto Dunham Massey for a walk through the deer park. Saturday evening saw a phenomenal meal at Australasia, a restaurant that Jack and I have wanted to visit for as long as we can remember. A range of sushi and meat made for four very satisfied customers! Sunday saw a beautiful Sunday lunch at mine and Jack's favourite pub in Didsbury, The Met. Having always wanted to try their fish and chips, I decided to indulge and boy was I pleased that I did! We then waved Joe and Evie on their way back to our almost-home before taking a drive through student central for one final time.

The next time that you hear from me, I'll be living down south, having a brand new adventure in Landan tawn. I never thought that I would say it but I am extremely excited to give London a go, no matter how sad I will be to leave Manchester behind. Cheers our kid, you've been a treat. Thank you for teaching me who I am.


Sunday, 16 July 2017

The word 'summer' is used sparingly in the North West, with the sun often too shy to make an appearance and opting to hide behind the clouds instead. However, on the few days of the year that my sunglasses act as more than just a fashion accessory, Manchester is glorious. With a desire to explore new places in and around Manchester for the first summer that I have a car, Jack and I have discovered three beautiful new locations that I felt deserved a space on this blog. Each is more than worth a visit if you're ever up North!

Altrincham Market
A popular amongst lifelong Mancunions, Altincham Market is the most wonderful way to spend any Sunday. Full to the brim with stalls, a leisurely stroll could turn into hours of dawdling and window shopping. Whilst nosying around some of the jewellery stalls, I came across the most beautiful rose gold watch with a simple white face and a grey leather strap. After walking past the stall longingly two or three times, Jack kindly offered to put my mind at peace and gifted the beauty to me. Elie Beaumont watches can be found online here, but the stall that mine came from was selling it at a discounted price. The food hall was the most exciting part of the market by far! I was not alone in that thought, with the entire room packed, bumbling with people. The pizza was to die for and the coffee stalls surrounding us gave off the most peaceful aroma. If you're on the hunt for an afternoon of mooching and fantastic food, Altrincham Market is not to be missed.

Dunham Massey National Trust Park
If I were ever to be convinced to treat myself to a national trust park membership, Dunham Massey would be the driving force behind that decision. With a stunning hall, deer gardens that seem to go on forever and then some, and a flower garden that gives beauty a new meaning, it is the perfect place to spend a sunny afternoon. It even features its very own ice cream parlour with the queue stretching out of the door and onto the cobbled streets surrounding it. The gardens present some of the most spectacular flowers that I've ever laid my eyes on, making for a relaxing walk with magnificent views. Sitting besides the tranquil lake, I would have been happy to spend a lifetime watching the ducks swim by, happily quacking away at one another.

Fletcher Moss Park
Hidden deep within Didsbury is a not so little park that has stolen a piece of my heart. Able to visit throughout my three years of university yet unaware of its existence, Jack and I spent the most lovely Sunday afternoon there, strolling besides the canal and enjoying the beautiful scenery. With a peaceful botanical garden to explore and running parallel to a row of dream-worthy country cottages, it is the perfect option for a lazy, Sunday afternoon walk. Featuring a map next to the entrance of the park with three alternate routes to take, it even has the potential for a 5K run if you're feeling energetic!

Throughout the last few months, I've become accustomed to turning my Sundays into restful adventures, exploring all of the glorious sights that Manchester has on offer – the perfect way to unwind before the start of a new working week. Do you have any recommendations of parks or markets that we could visit? 


Saturday, 10 June 2017

As I sit here watching Happy Feet for the umpteenth time, I have found myself drawn to my blog for the first time in almost a year. It was never my intention to stop blogging altogether yet somehow this blog feels like a distant memory. Having a full time job has become my excuse for everything over these past twelve months; my excuse for a broken exercise routine, my excuse for weekend lie-ins, and my excuse for the silence on what was once my favourite corner of the internet. But here I am, tip tapping away on my keyboard as if nothing's changed, and I am finding solace in the realisation that I still have a voice that I so desperately want to be heard; whether just by my friends and family or by the whole wide world.

Visiting my blog today, I had one topic in mind: love. Living in Manchester for these past three weeks has been extremely moving and poignant, seeing everybody unite beside one another in a display of defiance against the hate that constantly tries to destroy us. We have shown the world that Manchester is STRONG and will not be defeated. The Great Manchester Run, my first ever 10k run, was an amazing event to be a part of in the wake of such a tragedy and the #OneLoveManchester benefit gig moved me beyond words. I have always believed that love can conquer anything and, Manchester, you have only furthered my belief.

Despite the government that will form as a result of the UK election this week, the election itself has also reaffirmed my belief in hope and love. With an incredible 72% of young voters taking to the polls and expressing their voice (opposed to 43% in 2015), I could not be prouder to be in that age category. I have never felt that my views and values fully align with any political party in the UK, but the last few weeks of campaigning has made me more passionate about the Labour party than I ever thought that I could be. Aspiring for change and the ability to make a real difference, I have actually decided to become a member of the Labour party! I definitely don't know all there is to know about politics, and my brain really struggles to follow economical debates, but I am excited to grow my political knowledge whilst supporting a party that I honestly believe can make a difference. Watch this space!

And with that, I shall bid you all ado. Here's to hoping that this blog will become more and more active as I am refinding my voice! And remember; hate is empty, may we choose love.

Essie: Petal Pushers & Now and Zen

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Being wrapped up in finding the perfect work wardrobe over the past three months has seen me add no new goodies to my make up collection. Work wardrobe accomplished and in need of some autumn shades for my nails, I headed to Boots to raid the Essie stand and was more than happy with my discoveries...

Sitting amongst Essie's autumn range for 2016, I sorted through and stumbled upon the most beautiful khaki green shade, 'now and zen'. Not owning any shades like it, there was no stopping me from running to the till, polish in tow. Having applied it to my nails this afternoon, it offers a fantastic, glossy finish alike all other Essie choices, and sits atop my nails as a subtle green with small hints of blue and grey. If you're looking for a muted shade to wear all autumn long, now and zen is definitely your gal.

Unintentionally, whilst rooting through Essie's staple collection, I found the perfect partner to sit alongside now and zen – 'petal pushers'. As a gorgeous not-quite-purple yet not-quite-blue shade, it seemed to compliment my original choice with such remarkable force. Having glanced at petal pushers on more than one occasion but always opting for others, today was the day that I decided that I needed to take the pretty Essie bottle home with me. These two beauties are the two autumn shades that you shouldn't give a miss!

What nail polishes have you been loving for the autumn so far? Do you have any favourites? Let me know!

Baking: Marble Cake

Sunday, 25 September 2016

After a year of consistently baking blondies whenever I was feeling a bit of a sweet tooth, I have finally tried something new! Using BBC Good Food's delicious recipe, I have now made two perfect, mouth-watering batches of marble cake that I would love to share with all of your beautiful faces!

First thing is first – ingredients! To create the most beautiful and scrumptious cake, you will need...

– 225 g caster sugar                                                             – 2 mixing bowls
– 225 g butter                                                                       – 2 mixing spoons
– 4 eggs                                                                                – 1 baking tray
– 1 tsp vanilla essence                                                         – the end of a fork/a skewer
– 3 tbsp milk                                                                         – 1 big knife
– 225 g self raising flour
– 3 tbsp cocoa (or hot chocolate) powder

Preheat your oven to 160 °C if fan assisted, or 180 °C otherwise. Add the sugar and butter to one of the mixing bowls and fluff together until it reaches a creamy consistency. One by one, crack each egg into the mixture and stir in. Add the vanilla extract and milk, and then finally fold through the flour until a cake batter consistency has been formed! Easy peasy, right?

Now comes the marble part! Split the batter between the two mixing bowls as evenly as you can and mix in the cocoa/hot chocolate powder to one of the mixtures. I've used Whittard's Luxury Hot Chocolate to do this in both of my bakes but any cocoa powder will do! I really want to try Whittard's Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate to see how big of a difference it makes... I'll let you know how that works out! Once you have one yellow mixture and one brown, dollop each colour in a checkerboard fashion into a tray lined with baking paper. I definitely had more vanilla mixture than chocolate by mistake, hence the overload of yellow in the picture above. I managed to make two layers with the mixture that I had, dolloping vanilla on top of chocolate and vice versa. Once your double decker checkerboard is complete, use either a skewer or the end of a fork to create a 'marble' effect on top of the cake. Pop in the oven for 45 minutes and wait for heaven to appear...

And voila! You'll be left with a beautifully marbled cake that tastes just as incredible as it looks. Definitely my new favourite bake, without a shadow of a doubt! Have you ever made marble cake? Can you recommend any different flavours I should experiment with? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Long Time, No Blog

Saturday, 10 September 2016

It's been a while! After a wonderfully busy and productive summer, I finally have a spare afternoon with nothing to do—what better a time to fill all of your beautiful faces in on the last two or three months!

Firstly, a massive apology to long-time readers of this blog. I have been a dedicated blogger for almost three years now, posting 2–3 times every single week... and yet my last post was back in July. Taking the leap from student life to working 9–5 has been a lot more hectic than I had originally assumed. All of my free time is spent with Jack, doing chores, seeing family and friends, and catching up on precious sleep. Even my exercise routine has seen a massive drop in the last few months! Despite not having the time to blog, I am really not complaining. I have had a wonderful summer—busy Kassi is happy Kassi! Here is the update...

Working 9—5: After seventeen long but rewarding years of education, the last three of which spent studying for a degree, it was finally time to take my first steps out into the big wide world of work. I entered it rather excited to tackle a new challenge and that feeling has stuck! Working as a copywriter/proofreader suits me down to a tee—getting to have daily debates about commas and phrasing puts a little smile on my face. One person's hell is another's heaven, right? I definitely appreciate my evenings and weekends so much more now than I ever did as a student but I genuinely prefer the hours. As a student, I was constantly worrying about deadlines and essays; I never really had a spare moment to breathe. Working 9–5, on the other hand, means that I can leave work at work and have a completely separate home life. So far so good!

Owning my own car: A recent development in the life of Kassi... I HAVE MY OWN CAR! Since passing my test three Septembers ago, I've never had the opportunity to drive. Nevertheless, with three years of non-driving behind me, I am finally driving in my own car. Commuting to work every day on the tram hasn't been a problem over the summer but, as the winter and dark nights are approaching us, I set myself an aim to have a car by the end of the summer. Luckily, my plan worked and I drove to work for the very first time yesterday! My confidence could definitely be improved but having a car outside my flat for the last week has definitely been a boost. After three years of public transport, how wonderful to see Manchester from a car!

Mine and Jack's flat: After a month or two of playing around with where we wanted the furniture to be and what artwork and accessories we wanted as our decor, our little flat is definitely our home. It's so lovely to be able to come home to my best friend and all of my belongings under the same roof! No more carting our things back and forth... it's a dream, I have to say. We've taken some lovely trips over the summer to IKEA, to both his family home and mine, and even across to visit a family friend in Wales. We couldn't be happier.

And there you have it—a rounded summary of the last few blog-less months. As I foresee a few quiet weekends on the horizon, I will definitely aim to be in touch a lot more than this summer has seen. How have you spent your summer? What activities have you guys been up to? Leave all of your updates below!

Sunday Thoughts

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Evening, all! This blog has been a space of silence over the last few weeks and for that I can only apologise. I'm still adjusting to graduate, 9-5 life but I promise that some fabulous posts will be coming your way soon!

I can honestly say that I am thoroughly enjoying my first ever full-time job and I have met so many lovely people over the last four weeks. After getting up at 6am and arriving home after 6pm, however, 'tired' isn't a strong enough word. Jack has been an absolute dime since I began working, having my dinner ready for me whenever I get home. I'm incredibly grateful to have such a loving and caring boyfriend to come home to at the end of the day. Not spending all day together anymore like we did at university, we cherish the time that we get together in the evenings and at the weekends (hence a lack of blogging and also a lack of exercise, oops). We took a trip to IKEA last weekend and visited the Trafford Centre this afternoon. It's so wonderful to live in Manchester with a car opposed to travelling everywhere by public transport. It makes such a massive difference! With the help of my dad and my brother, I'm hoping to have my hands on my very own first car in the near future! Commuting to work doesn't bother me so much in the morning as it wakes me up on my way to work, but coming home is the journey I dread every day. Despite not having driven since I passed my test back in September 2013, I'm actually really excited to get back behind the wheel! Although I'm sure I'll be incredibly nervous at first, it'll be such a fantastic feeling to have the freedom to go wherever I want to go whenever I want to go there! I had originally planned to dedicate a post to my graduation for all of your beautiful faces to see but it seemed to slip my mind... another oops from me. It was a wonderful day spent with both mine and Jack's families and was the most perfect way to celebrate the end of our university lives. I felt so majestic and 'VIP' in my gown—I never wanted to take it off!

I hope this has been a nice little round-up of the last few weeks! I do miss tip tapping away two/three posts per week and will definitely up my game as my working life continues. Thank you for bearing with me! What have you guys been up to just recently? Leave me all of your stories in a comment below!