Lovely bit of social content from Dover Police. I defy you to watch this and not smile! Goes to show you don’t always need a huge budget.
|all i want is cake and love|
|geekery, manchester, fashion, food + fun|
February 27th, 2015
Lovely bit of social content from Dover Police. I defy you to watch this and not smile! Goes to show you don’t always need a huge budget.
January 31st, 2015
Late in November Degustabox sent me my first ever box, which I was very excited to receive. You can see all the goodies that arrived below – I even did a vine showing the unboxing.
— Joanna Halton (@joannahalton) November 7, 2014
In the box there were products from Special K, Blue Dragon, Get Buzzing, Enhance Drinks, Kent’s Kitchen, Solo, Dr Oetker, Bear, Brioche Pasquier, Jelly Belly and Benecol Greek Style Yogurt voucher. Lots to go at, which is why this post is a little delayed as I only just finished using everything! If you’d like to see the full list of all the products and their blurb, you can on theinfo sheet.
Next up, we wanted something for brunch. A quick scour of the Internet and we settled on Creamy Tarragon And Pancetta Mushrooms On Toasted Brioche With Watercress – we used a mixed bag of salad instead of watercress to jazz it up a bit. Delicious.
Sticking with a brioche-y theme, I thought I’d try my hand at chocolate bread and butter pudding. Degustabox included a couple of recipe suggestions in the box and this one seemed like a good one to try. I swapped out the pecans for walnuts as they were a bit cheaper – I also shoved some Nutella into some of the swirls…because of reasons.
Next up, brownies. I remembered this remembered this recipe from a cookbook I had as a kid. We already had most of the ingredients because of the box and the bread and butter pudding – we waited a couple of weeks to cook these because we’d had to get through the first pudding!!
We ate the Get Buzzing bar and Bear and Jelly Belly sweets while out on a bike ride. Good for a quick boost when you’ve been out and about.
Finally, I made some filthy, gooey and delicious cookies using a recipe from Gabriella Manchester. They were too tasty, I had to take a few into work so we didn’t eat them all! For as with the other chocolatey recipes I used the Dr Oetker chocolate – I had to get some Dr Oetker bicarb and vanilla extract (which I bought) too actually – they have a good range in Tesco.
Also, the Benecol yoghurt was lovely and went down particularly well with the other half who is more of a yoghurt fiend. I still have a couple of things left to try, but wanted to get this post up as it was becoming biblically long!
It was a fun experience and encouraged me to do more cooking and baking than I’d usually do, especially using ingredients I might not have bought of my own volition. I’d definitely think about getting it again.
If you’d like to try your own Degustabox, just use the code QCICX which gives you a £3.00 discount when registering.
December 13th, 2014
Back in November I was lucky enough to be invited along to the launch party of the Baltic Cellar with a couple of friends. The invite promised a night of fire, vodka and various grilled Baltic delicacies – how could I refuse?!
I’ll be honest with you, I wasn’t really sure what to expect so I checked out their website. Any apprehension I might have had was allayed by the following description: ”Where traditional Baltic, Polish and Russian food is hand-crafted to your plate. We bring the essence of the Baltics to Manchester, with our traditional shashlik grill, warm interior and friendly staff. We hope you enjoy.”
On arrival at the event we were met with glasses of bubbly and a contortionist who performed a, quite frankly, unbelievable routine.
Next we were seated and provided with a fantastic looking starter platter of different meats, some fruity shots and an entire bottle of vodka! We truly were being spoilt and the menu seemed to suggest that more treats were in store.
On to the main course and we had an array of grilled fish, a platter of each of the main courses and the most scrummy chicken shashlik. The chicken along with the Beef Stroganof was probably my favourite, but to be fair it as all amazing!!
The pudding platter was a another triumph – apologies for the photo missing a couple – we couldn’t wait to tuck in! If you do go, I’d highly recommend you try the traditional honey cake, it was absolutely gorgeous.
As the courses came out, we were informed that it’s traditional to complete each course with a shot. There was lots of drinking theatre including a vodka birdhouse you had to knock on to get a drink, a pyramid of luminous shots, flaming shots and a glass AK-47 filled with vodka! It was lots of fun and we were very merry by the final course
All in all it was a fantastic night, brilliant food, fabulous hosting and something a bit different than the usual. I’d definitely recommend you give it a try.
November 1st, 2014
So a little while a go, I received and invite, it read:
“Calling all Manchester #CityExperts , foodies and science fans… you’re invited to join us for an experimental evening of food, drink and fun to celebrate the Manchester Science Festival.
You’ll have the chance to sample edible treats served in petri dishes, learn about molecular mixology whilst sipping on interactive cocktails and tuck into liquid nitrogen ice cream and edible mist.
What’s more, we’ll have world-renowned psychologist, Professor Charles Spence on hand to teach us about the multisensory science behind eating out. Come along to meet him and take part in his interactive foodie experiments.”
I took along the other half to the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) and we had lots of fun. There was a edible mist which you had to suck through a straw (from what looked like a small, illuminated space ship – top photo!), little Google coloured dots (you had to bite into them to reveal the taste within), various pipette/beaker/petri dish delicacies AND a steampunk ice cream maker, complete with edible white chocolate cups!!
They had a scrumptious cookie and salted caramel ice cream and a rather more adventurous port and stilton….that was an experience.
The talk by Professor Charles Spence was really interesting – apparently in the future virtual sushi may be a thing!
I also really enjoyed the talk and interactive cocktails by two mixologists who spoke about the science behind creating tasty drinks. At this stage they brought out a very bitter and sour grape fruit mix in a beaker with a smaller cup of salt water. Fascinatingly, the concoction was much sweeter and palatable once they were mix together – apparently as the salt water brought out the sweeter flavours.
All in all it was another cracker from the Google City Experts event team.
October 20th, 2014
I’ve decided, as and when something amuses me enough, I’ll share something funny I found online. This week it’s Elijah Wood and Daniel Radcliffe’s constant struggle against confused fans.
Then as a bonus, this little beauty where someone asked Daniel during his Reddit AMA, “What’s it like being compared to Daniel BoringCliffe?”
Genius. And to be fair Daniel’s response and the fact he’s previously seen it made him go up in my estimations.
October 6th, 2014
For a while now I’ve been looking for a good laptop bag. I know this is a quest of many tech ladies who wish to get their geek on in style. You’d think this should be relatively easy, but it’s not. Sure, you can find heavily padded, industrial, ‘IT department issued’ looking bags, but finding a bag big enough to take a laptop, charger/s, notepad and papers whilst still looking stylish is a challenge, unless you have a significant wad of cash to spend on a high-end label.
Last time I was ruminating on the subject of fashionable but functional laptop bags, I was considering the Rabeanco Tbc Laptop Bag and Zookie’s range. In the end I went for the Zookie Castle Rock Laptopbag Grey 15?, but over the last year, I’ve found it to be a bit too small for my needs (ranging from day-to-day at the office to hopping on trains and airplanes on agency business). Therefore, I’ve gone and plumped for the Zookie Far Away Laptop Bag 17 “ and bought it from Shopsuey (a cute little German fashion site). The benefit of this being that, not only did I save a few quid as it was reduced from € 249.00 to € 129.00, but it was beautifully wrapped and I got a cheeky copy of Glamour in Deutsch which was novel!
It’s a lovely bag and perfect for a day trip or overnight stay when accompanied with a handbag or travel bag, plus it’s so versatile you can dress it up with a suit or down for a casual look as demonstrated below. If you’re looking for form and function for your laptop bag, you’d struggle to find a better place to start than Zookie. They originally started with just two bag styles, but have now developed their range in an assortment of colours and sizes, so you can pick one to suit your mood and your outfit!
June 7th, 2014
Last Thursday I was lucky enough to be invited to Google’s Secret Supper, a reward for being a Google City Expert. We were invited to Chetham’s School of Music where we were greeted by some beautiful canapés and Aviatrix cocktails by The Fitzgerald (complete with little paper aeroplane!). After being shown through to the dinner hall in one of the beautiful rooms within school, all accompanied by live music from Rachel Hillary, we were seated to a delightful menu from the Disappearing Dining Club, as you can see below.
In between courses we were shown around the exquisite library within the school. This is the oldest library in the English-speaking world with an amazing collection of books and maps as a result. In fact, we were honoured to see the earliest map of Manchester, a fascinating artefact of which the photo below does not do justice. In its past, the library has been famously visited by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.
After the tour we created our own Eton Mess and listened to music from Thugs On Wolves – who were quite frankly brilliant and really well suited to the event. We got talking to some of our fellow City Experts which gave me the opportunity to try on Google Glass for the first time, which was fun.
May 5th, 2014
I was recently contacted by the lovely people at Curry’s to take part in their blogger competition. All they were asking me to do was write a blog about my favourite blog and why. Relatively simple, no?
Apparently not! My first decision was that I was going to write this about the things I love and enjoy reading for amusement and relaxation. That’s not to say that reading about the world of social, technology and digital isn’t a passion or pleasure of mine, but there are so many differing topics, sectors, specifications and entertainment levels that it made it difficult to pick just one. I found myself swaying from Mashable to The Next Web to State of Digital. As they’re (and many more not listed!) all news sources for me, I found it difficult to pick an outright winner as they’ve all served me well at one time or another.
So, that’s when I went for fun. And again I struggled, I have a dear love for Refinery 29 for fashion, health & beauty, life tips and I also enjoy perusing indie bloggers such as my friend over at Sweaters and Sequins, but picking a *favourite* was like trying to pick a favourite song.
That’s when it struck me, Hello Giggles.
Ok, ok, it’s a bit of a cheat. It’s sizeable and it’s more of an online magazine covering a vast range of topics, but that’s sort of why I love it. Not to mention the fact it was started by three talent women, including the gorgeous and very much girl-crushable Zooey Deschanel. It feels like it’s been written by a team of bloggers who have extracted thoughts from my head and combines serious issues with joviality.
For example, upon my brief daily jaunt across its pages today, I’ve learnt five very important things:
That means Everything I Need To Know I Learnt From (yes, I had to Google it first time too). Aside from the fact it’s given me real nostalgia from a show I used to love growing up, it also has little gems in it such as:
As well as entertainment it tackles difficult societal issues and because there are a number of bloggers you’re able to get different points of view and analysis of topics. The site covers a range of topics including body issues, feminism, politics and many others.
It provides me with food for thought as well as cute animals,which brings me too….
This is crucial journalism.
DISCLOSURE: This blog was written for the Curry’s #WonderBlog competition for a chance to win a HP Envy Recline 23-m120ea Beats Edition (worth £999.99) or an HP Envy Rove 20-k014us (worth £799.99). Follow the hashtag to see other bloggers favourite blogs.
March 1st, 2014
Back on the 15th November we were lucky enough to be invited to the launch of Lucha Libre in the Great Northern complex.
Mushroom quesadillas, chicken and chorizo quesadillas, numerous meat or haloumi deliciousness and all in bite-sized, nibberlable portions.
Not content with one visit in a month, we were back again not long after (a couple of weeks, not the next day!) to sample a full dinner spread which was equally delicious. We went again last week the sweetcorn and burritos were awesome and the Sangria was a lovely way to wash it down – I think more places in Manchester should serve it!
Super tasty with a fun and relaxing atmosphere. I’d recommend you give it a whirl if you’re going to be near the Great Northern.
February 26th, 2014
Just before Christmas I fell in love with a bag. Ok, not in love with, but I’d convinced myself it was the perfect solution for all my everyday “lugging-my-entire-life-along-with-me” problems. Many women (I hope!) can empathise with the desire and motivation to find ‘The Bag’. Over time the requirements of ‘The Bag’ change, hence needed to buy more bags, but for me at this point the main points were that it:
a) Had to have a long strap so I could sling it across my body to run for public transport/important meetings/lunch
b) Need to have enough *sizeable* compartments to separate the inevitable trove that I tend to tow around with me
c) Be big enough to cart everything around, but no so big as to be cumbersome
d) Look smart and stylish enough to take to client meetings and other eventualities
In the Kate Spade Hamilton Heights Sloan I thought I’d found just this. But it wasn’t cheap – racking in at over $350 without shipping and customs.
So imagine my delight when I spied this little beauty in the John Lewis sale. The COLLECTION by John Lewis Sparky Shoulder Bag was made from leather, had three sizeable compartments and a slightly longer strap than the Kate Spade beauty. Then I saw the price. £60 reduced from £120!
It was a no brainer and has proved to be a great decision. It’s all the criteria I was looking for rolled into one – plus I’ve received several compliments for it from people who thought it was designer! True to John Lewis standard, it”s a fabulous combination of function and form with leather than belies it’s actual price.
Sadly (for anyone but me), I managed to get the last one, but they do a laptop bag in the same range if you’re interested.
The perfect bag hunt is complete…for now!