Beauty Review: Makeup Revolution Focus and Fix Brow Kit

The main reason I started writing beauty stuff on my blog is my obsession with trying new products. The latest mascara, the ‘wonder’ eyeliner? Yep I’ve bought and tried them all. So it will come as no surprise that with the beauty blogger hype over Makeup Revolution it was only a matter of time until I succumbed to my curiousity and bought something. I was quite controlled though and only really crumbled when I saw the ridiculous price of the Focus and Fix brow kit. I never do anything with my eyebrows and have been searching for the perfect fool proof product to give them a bit more shape and fullness. At just £2.50 I had nothing to lose.

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The kit is very similar to the Chanel Le Sourcil De Chanel with its three shades of powder, mini brush and mini tweezers. It is missing the mini brow brush but has a fixing wax instead, something I find much more useful. I went for the dark kit as I have quite dark eyebrows but I was worried that this would mean any mistakes would be harder to disguise.

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I actually prefer the brush in this kit to the one in the Chanel kit as it is that bit softer making it easy to work with. The tweezers are a bit pointless to be honest, they aren’t sharp enough to get out the pesky little hairs and if you I was plucking my eyebrows properly I’d use my normal sized tweezers anyway.

The powder shades compliment each other well and are really blendable so, if none of the shades match your brows perfectly, you can create your own colour by mixing them. I find the lightest and the middle shade the perfect colour for my brows as the darker shade is a bit too warm for my eyebrows. When I used that shade they had a slightly orangey tinge which I obviously didn’t want. The pigment is also good with just a couple of swipes in each pan to get the desired coverage and shape on my eyebrows. The thing I love about this kit is that you can work with the powder to get the perfect shape, touching it up as you go, then once your ready top it with the setting wax to keep it in place. I find this allows me to mess about removing bits easily before committing my face to the shape I have created, a huge selling point for brow virgins like me! And at £2.50, if you aren’t sold on it, you haven’t lost that much. I mean the Chanel palette is £40 and I have that in my makeup case because my mum bought it and decided she didn’t like it… that’s one expensive mistake.

Now if I can ignore the pretty eye shadow palettes before my road trip….

This item was paid for in full. This is my honest opinion of the kit and I only wish my Mum had seen it before she saw the Chanel one.

Guest Post: Foot Pampering With Footner Exfoliating Socks and Scholl Velvet Smooth Night Mask

Footner exfoliating socks 

Footner exfoliating socks (not pictured) are basically bags of ‘friendly acid’ which you place on your feet, after applying Vaseline to the areas where you do not want shedding, pop your socks on top to ensure a tight fit and leave for an hour. After rinsing you wait for the peeling and shedding of the rough skin to begin ( a very dramatic process by the sounds of things), this happens around 10 days later.

I had never come across a product like this before, which promises to cause the complete shedding of all rough skin, and was a bit worried that it might be too strong for my not-actually-that-bad-feet.  Then I had a thought, there is one person who is always complaining about their feet, never far from a pumice stone, and constantly looking for the miracle foot softening product….my mum!

So away we went, applying Vaseline and popping on first the exfoliating socks, than a normal pair.  The next day I actually left for a holiday and so waited eagerly for any news from mum. Unfortunately the updates I received were not good, as mum told me that ever since the treatment her right foot had been itchy and had a sore and nothing had happened to the left! I got home to a very sorry pair of feet. We had to submerge her right foot into warm salt water to ease the itching and soothe the sores. Nothing had happened to the left apart from some shedding of the thin ski, none of the actual hard skin was removed.

We have decided that this reaction will be one of 2 reasons; 1. It is due to the little patch of ‘but no one has said it is athletes foot’ (her words) hidden in between mum’s toes, on the right foot. This is the most likely as the instructions do specifically warn about this; however it doesn’t explain the lack of action on the left. Another reason could just be that mum’s feet just do not get on with the product.

Online reviews hail this product as nothing short of a miracle for sorting out their feet, so if you do suffer I would recommend checking it out, although our experience wasn’t great, lots of other peoples have been. Remember; check your feet thoroughly beforehand!

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Scholl Velvet smooth night mask

From the good to the bad, the Scholl velvet smooth night mask was a hit with both of us. The thick and creamy formula is massaged into the feet before bed, then its mix of Pro-vitamin B5 and Vitamin E work to give you noticeably softer feet by morning. A lot less hassle than the socks, this can be an easy addition to your night time routine to keep your feet in tip top condition. In theory, this product would partner well with the exfoliating socks, keeping the new skin baby soft. For me and mum though, this little tube works wonders enough so that we do not feel the need to seek more extreme measures!

Love Megan x

Beauty Review: Mel Millis Organic Phytonutri Qi Energising MM Face Peel

The words ‘face peel’ still fill me with dread. I was reassured following my ultimate facial at Skin Health Spa where I came out with my skin perfectly intact but something at home? That fear certainly came back when Mel Millis asked I fancied trying their new face peel!

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The packaging screams luxury. The plain black box wrapped in a ribbon oozes class whilst inside, nestled in shredded paper is the product and a muslin cloth used to wipe away the peel.

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Mel Millis’ philosophy is fairly simple. No parabens, petrochemicals, artificial colourings or fragrances, mineral or palm oil, formaldehydes, alcohol. Basically most of the products are vegan friendly and made using only the freshest, purest and nutrient rich organic ingredients possible. Even the pretty paper bag the product was in can be used. Mel Millis recommend you tear it into pieces and plant it as it’s infused with wild British seeds. So not just do you get a product you also get something that will last a lot longer and looks pretty in your garden too.

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Onto the product itself; the Phytonutri Qi energising MM face peel. How can a product made using completely naturally have a ‘peel’ effect that it claims to? I was always under the impression that harsher chemicals would be needed to get that kind of effect.

This product isn’t vegan friendly due to using honey. It also contains glycolic acid obtained from muscovado sugar, beta carotene, vitamins K and B obtained from sea plant extract. It claims to strengthen and remineralise the skin whilst plumping fine lines and wrinkles. A bit of citrus oil is also added to help leaving the skin refreshed as well as smooth and energised.

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The application is pretty much the same as applying a regular face mask. Smooth it on, leave for 10 minutes then remove with the muslin and finish by spritzing the face with a mist tonic and apply moisturiser.

I found the peel quite hard to apply to my skin and it tended to form clumps in random areas rather than go on smoothly like a face mask. I could really feel the muscovado sugar and, as I was trying to smooth it onto my face, it really helped to exfoliate my skin allowing the other ingredients to sink in more efficiently.

I was expecting the mask to set but it didn’t. I was quite glad actually as it meant, when it came to removal, I could once again feel the exfoliating properties of the sugar. I was also expecting my skin to feel really dry due to all the exfoliation but the end result was quite the opposite. The little white spots I can get on my forehead had been dramatically reduced, the dry patches on my cheeks had gone and I had a lovely healthy glow about my skin come morning. Call me suspicious but I wasn’t expecting the ’energised’ results promised but boy, did they deliver!

This product isn’t cheap at £48 a tub (50ml) but despite it being difficult to apply a little really does go a long way and it really is one of those products that you could just use when you really need a pick me up. I’m definitely a fan and can’t wait to add other items in the range to my Christmas list.

Have you tried any of the products? What do you think of them? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

This product was sent to me for the purpose of this review which is an honest and unbiased opinion from using it.

Play With Google Play

When considering a new phone this time around I was adamant I wanted to move away from the iPhone. I’ve been an Apple girl for as long as I can remember but the dreadful battery life and constant ‘call failed’ messages when trying to have a conversation just got too much to bear.

Now with a three week road trip around the States and other travels in the planning to take into consideration it was time I thought about my mobile provider too. I’ve been stung by ridiculous roaming charges a few too many times to remember then I saw the amazing marketing campaign for Three‘s #HolidaySpam. With impeccable timing Three promised to let me use my minutes, calls and data allowance abroad, in the States. This seemed like such a no brainer considering I’ll be driving thousands of miles and already have an addiction to my Spotify account. Who needs CDs when you can stream your music straight into the car for free and not have to listen to the same album track over and over again?!

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Having already made my mind up that Three were the provider for me the next task was to try and decide which handset I wanted. Having very little understanding of Android I asked several people and managed to narrow my choice down to either the Samsung S5 or the Sony Experia. Both are good looking phones. One, I’m told, has a better camera whilst the other has better sound. I’m still not entirely sure why I went for the better sound having whinged for ages about needing a decent camera in my phone but after an hour (yes a full hour) of deliberating in the shop I went with the Samsung.

I have to tell you I have not been remotely sorry by this decision. Even when I saw how pretty the new iPhone is. The size of the Samsung S5 is perfect for the amount of Twittering, Facebooking and blogging I do on a daily basis with the battery lasting three times as long as my old iPhone.

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One of the main differences is getting used to Play Store rather than iTunes. I love that I don’t need to download a huge file to my laptop like iTunes and the amount of updates it seemed to need to work properly always took ages to download. That doesn’t happen with Play Store although I hadn’t really played with it much other than downloading the apps I use on a daily basis.

So when Three offered to send me a Google Play voucher to spend I jumped at the chance to fill my phone with weird and wonderful things I wouldn’t normally consider.

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With my trip edging that much closer I thought I would try to download some things that would be useful on the 12 hour plane journey. Play Store is really easy to navigate with lists of the most popular free and paid for apps listed neatly. I love this idea as it meant I could browse what other people were downloading without having to search for something in particular.

Hitting the games first I was transported back to my youth when I saw The Sims 3 available. I was addicted to this game as a kid forever finding cheat codes to triple the amount of Simoleons I had earned to build bigger and better houses with the best gadgets available. Now I have it in palm sized form on the go!

I also spotted Facetune having seen it on Twitter a fair bit recently, who doesn’t want an app to enhance their selfie? This one will certainly come in handy on my trip as will Afterlight to enhance scenic photographs I snap on my travels.

Thinking about my waistline and how I’ll combat the giant American portion sizes I also spotted the Deliciously Ella app. I love this lady’s blog and I’ll be able to jump back into clean eating on my return with these yummy recipes.

Getting well into games and apps I then noticed that I can download magazines straight to my phone. How did I not know this before? As my Kindle is perfect for transporting hundreds of books around with me I can now do the same with magazines! Amazing for the traveller who is trying to pack light. They are not cheap and I don’t think I would buy them for my phone on a regular basis (I do love the glossy look and feel of a good quality magazine) but for going away, this is perfect. It’ll also mean I’ll have more room on my tray table for a glass of fizz and some snacks. So far I have gone for UK and US Cosmopolitan, Top Sante, Marie Claire, Women’s Fitness and Women’s Health. Imagine how much they would weigh in my hand luggage?

So there you have it. Within half an hour I had nearly spent my £25 voucher but I have had a good tour of the Google Play Store and what it can offer to me. There’s also movies, TV shows, music and books to get stuck into. Something tells me this isn’t the end of my Play Store journey and this makes me love Android even more. Apple who?!

What apps do you have that I simply need to download?

Thanks to Three for providing the Google Play voucher for the purpose of this review. I feel it important to point out that I was approached by the PR firm separately to me signing into a contract with Three. This was totally my choosing and I have paid full price for this service. My opinion of both the Three service and the Google Play voucher are honest and unbiased. May I take this opportunity to apologise for the #HolidaySpam and selfies I subject you to in the coming months.

Guest Post: Alima Pure Luminous Shimmer Eyeshadow Review

Hey guys!
Let me start by introducing myself, I’m Vicky and I blog over at Vixen Fashion I’m 22 and study Fashion Design and Technology at MMU! I jumped at the opportunity to do a guest post for Keeley as I have never done one before so please read my post below and check out my blog for similar stuff!
I was sent a really cute sample of Alima Pure Shimmer eyeshadow in Paris to try by Keeley.
I know it’s a sample but the pot is just so cute!! The little bird on the front with the shimmer behind it is lovely, I couldn’t wait to give it a go so I got straight to it!
I started my normal makeup regime, foundation, powder and bronzer, then I wanted a sticky substance for my eyelids as the eyeshadow is so shimmery and light it needed something as a base. I didn’t have anything like this in my makeup bag so I mixed a dash of lipgloss and a dash of foundation and this worked perfectly!! I then applied the eyeshadow, I used my finger for this as I didn’t have a brush handy and I didn’t want it to go everywhere!
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After I applied the shimmer I lightened my brow arch with a light gold Ted Baker shadow that I already own, I softened the shimmer with an orange Ted Baker eyeshadow and then applied my mascara in the normal way.
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I really like the eyeshadow as it’s very glam! I don’t think I would use it on a normal day to day regime but for going for dinner or a night on the town I really liked it! I would definitely look into the product and the other shades so that I could purchase a full tub!!
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Hope you enjoyed my post!
Peace & Love
Vicky xx

Solita Launch Didsbury Restaurant

As I sit writing this I kind of know it is pretty pointless. Most Manchester food bloggers don’t both reviewing Solita anymore. A well-established restaurant in the Northern Quarter serving some of the best burgers in the North West, Mancunians know it is good. So good it doesn’t need reviewing. So instead of reviewing its new sister restaurant in Didsbury I thought I’d share Carl’s beautiful photographs and tell you a bit about it instead.

solita1 Solita Didsbury, Manchester

Co-owners Franco Sotgiu and Simon Pogson opened the Northern Quarter restaurant in 2012 with the aim to deliver an American grill with a dash of Italian flair. Known for their social media presence and great way of engaging with their customers through Twitter, many attendees of the Didsbury launch party had won their places via a Twitter competition, Solita have moved South with their new restaurant taking the large premises previously housing Cibo and La Tasca.

Solita Didsbury, Manchester

Franco explains, “We’re excited; at last we’re almost here. We took our time, hoping to get it just right. We had to completely gut the kitchen and the interior has been transformed. As for the food –we’ve added to the menu, which we know is loved in Manchester but we wanted to add a lighter touch too. Of course we’re looking forward to bringing our burgers south of Manchester, we have some exciting new ones to reveal as we open.”

Solita Didsbury, Manchester Solita Didsbury, Manchester

Having visited when the site was La Tasca and Cibo I can attest to the changes that have been made. The whole place seems much lighter with some beautiful lighting, neon signage and colourful artwork. Manchester illustrator Stan Chow, official illustrator of New Yorker magazine, has provided some incredible bespoke commissions and Manchester graffiti artist Russell Mehan has designed a Manchester themed 10 metre wall mural. To compliment these amazingly colourful pieces the seating is luxurious with studs of colour. There are banquettes, booths and regular tables and chairs providing a huge choice of seating as well as a south facing alfresco dining terrace to watch the people of Didsbury pass by.

Solita Didsbury, Manchester Solita Didsbury, Manchester

The menu echoes some of the favourites found on the Northern Quarter menu such as the Manc-Hattan and beautiful grain fed Angus steaks. Whilst I’m not reviewing the food I did get to visit during the training week ahead of the opening. I opted for one of these steaks and I’d definitely recommend it. Soft and buttery meat at its best.

Solita Didsbury, Manchester

As well as these firm favourites you will also find the lighter touch, as explained by Franco above. Charcoal grilled chicken, grilled fish and the day and seafood skewers provide something a bit different for Didsbury residents as does the new jaffa cake ice cream pie with Grand Marnier sauce. I tried the latter too; and if you’re not a Didsbury resident? You need to hop on the tram and try it too.

Solita Didsbury, Manchester

The previous restaurants at this site just haven’t managed to use the space to its capacity. It is a large site, now with 120 covers, but Solita have the kind of cult following to keep this place full most nights. And judging by the Twitter feed this is proving to be the case.  I’d recommend you book but they do keep some tables back for walk ins, I just wouldn’t want you to be disappointed. And trust me, if you are turned away due to being full, you will be.

I visited Solita, Didsbury during the training week. Food was complimentary to anyone attending but we paid for our drinks. This was available to anyone who booked. All views are honest and my own opinion. Thanks to Carl Sukonik for the photographs.

Guest Post: Christmas Comes Early To Manchester With Eclectic Hotel’s Christmas Party

Christmas is my favourite time of the year by far. My parent’s house always looks like a grotto so I was gutted not to be able to attend the launch of Eclectic Hotel’s Christmas and New Year packages. Charlie stepped into a winter wonderland to see what they were all about…


Christmas Showcase at Great John Street Hotel

Yes, I said it. The ‘C’ word.

In truth though, this event took place in September, so you could say that at least I waited until the weather had turned a little more autumnal before I put fingertips to keypad.

I must admit, as I hurriedly made my way across an unexpectedly wet Manchester (really, how often do you get to say that?) Christmas really wasn’t on my mind. I was still wearing a summer dress, barely needed my cardigan and all thoughts of snow, turkey and Santa were locked in the mental box marked ‘Do not open til after Halloween’.

But as a lady who has organised her fair share of Christmas events, I know full well that booking early is better. I’ve often had Christmas dinner emails from venues in July.

Christmas Showcase at Great John Street Hotel Christmas Showcase at Great John Street Hotel

Today, Eclectic Hotels had opened their doors to a host of people to reveal their Christmas and  New Year’s Eve packages. And as I entered, I was greeted not only by a cocktail and a little hessian package, but by the sounds of Christmas swing from upstairs.

I could get into this.

Christmas Showcase at Great John Street Hotel Christmas Showcase at Great John Street Hotel

Upstairs, away from the bar, there were two definite themes -  Great John Street’s Christmas in New York saw the Statue of Liberty and pretty parcels under a Macy’s sign and the pale blue of Tiffany’s beckons from another centrepiece. The Christmas swing forms part of the package, along with Rockette, three course dinner and after dinner jazz.

Christmas Showcase at Great John Street Hotel Christmas Showcase at Great John Street Hotel

On the open mezzanine, everything had a little more spice – with the hotel’s Last Tango In Paris theme, where ostrich feathers and bright lights vied with the Moulin Rouge for attention. If you fancy this for your do, you can expect tango dancers, an accordianist and something funky for after your French themed three course dinner.

Christmas Showcase at Great John Street Hotel

And if neither of those float your boat, there’s a carnival theme with their Mardis Gras at On The 7th at Media City.

Christmas Showcase at Great John Street Hotel

Given Keeley’s future trip to America crawling closer, I think I know which one she would prefer.

As well as being able to sample in canape form some of the food that will form part of the packages, from prawn cocktail to sausages, and pretty desserts. And the cocktails were delicious, from a tall fruity gin number to a lovely fizz that had me going back for seconds.

As part of the evening’s fun, there was a competition. Inside our little hessian packages was Great John – a gingerbread man. The aim was to take a selfie with Great John (or ginge as I began to call him) in order to win a night in the hotel.

I spied people posing with Great John in mirrors, wearing hats and silly glasses, with cocktails and with the minature bottles of Jagermeister that were also housed in our gift bags.

Not really one for selfies (I do try to avoid them, who wants to see my mug?), I decided to take ginge on a tour of the hotel. He stopped on centrepieces, he got a little tipsy with the cocktails and on the way home he, well, he lost his head. Literally.

Still, he tasted good.

With two hotels in Didsbury (Eleven Didsbury Park, Didsbury House Hotel), the Great John Street Hotel and On The 7th in Media City, there’s a location for almost everyone whether it’s a corporate do or a private one. And their New Year packages sound fabulous.

I feel a bout of Christmas shopping coming on….

With thanks to Carl Sukonik for the photographs. This was a press event.

Workout In Launches With The Biggest Free Gym Class In The North West

This blog has allowed me to experience some weird and wonderful things; from eating sausages on TV and foraging in deepest darkest Rochdale for gin botanicals. A few weeks ago I was asked to do something just as weird and wonderful. I was asked to do a workout in the Orient at the Trafford Centre to celebrate the launch of a new online workout tool called Workout In.

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The Workout In concept is similar to that of Online workouts that you can do in the comfort of your own home meaning they are perfect if you can’t get out of the house due to having sleeping babies or if you simply can’t get to the gym in the morning before work. The main difference with Workout In is the webcam experience. You log in, select your workout and when you start your trainer can see you on the webcam of your PC or laptop. This seems like a much safer way to workout for beginners as your trainer can coach you on technique and posture to prevent injuries.

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Working out in the Trafford Centre was certainly an experience but we got to try bitesized chunks of the different workouts that will be available. There is also the option to have a 1-1 session with your favourite trainer, just check their timetable and book your slot! It couldn’t really be simpler.

As someone who has recently got back into fitness I ran this idea past my Personal Trainer John who chuckled as the team at Workout In are actually based in the same building has his fitness centre! It is certainly a small world. He said the people are lovely and that there are some great trainers signed up to do the programmes but did have reservations, as did I. The website says you need no equipment for the programmes and there is no nutritional information on there at all. John is a firm believer in strength training with the right eating plan for the best results so I certainly wasn’t surprised when he mentioned this. I also think the sessions are quite pricey. At £8 per group class (when not bought in a bundle) and £15 per 1-1 session (when not bought in a bundle) the prices are not for those on a small budget.

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I’d like to defend Workout In and say they are very new. This concept has only launched in the last few weeks and I spy a blog being updated with some food advice so I’m guessing this may house more of the nutrition based information that John would be looking for. When it comes to the lack of strength training I’d recommend using this site alongside another form of fitness. I see John twice a week for group personal training sessions so, for additional classes during the week, this would be perfect for me. There are also yoga classes on the site which would be great for building my flexibility and core strength. You get a free class when you sign up and you don’t need to input your card details to register, not got much to lose really have you?

I was asked to attend the workoutout session at the Trafford Centre for the purpose of this review however anyone could have attended the session. This is an honest opinion of the site and concept.

Lights, Camera, Currys! A Blogger Photography Workshop At Manchester Photographic

Having started this blog some time ago it only seemed right to improve on my photographs and invest in a decent camera. Luckily for me my cousin (who made the amazing Northern Quarter vimeo which you can see HERE) was planning an upgrade so sold me his 9 month old Canon 600D for a bargain price. I’ve had it about 6 months now and, although I’ve been to a few photography lessons, it has rarely been out of automatic mode. Until now…

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The lovely people at Currys invited me and a group of DSLR owning bloggers to a photography class with Manchester Photographic to finally get our cameras onto the manual settings.

We started with a quick explanation of aperture, shutter speed and ISO before discussing the best stance and way to hold your camera. It sounds simple but I’d never really thought about it before. We were told that a hand under the lens when adjusting is the most stable, I’d always turns the lens from the side until the workshop!

I loved the ‘no nonsense’ approach and the easy to understand terminology. It made things much easier to get. Like the larger the fraction when looking at shutter speed means the quicker the picture with be. See the random ’jumping’ pictures above? It is the same picture using different shutter speeds. I can’t wait to set up my gorillapod and set my camera to a slow shutter speed to get the lights of cars passing in front of an old building.

Aperture was also much easier to understand; the larger the F number the in focus the picture will be. So when I want the outside blurred with something central in focus? I need a lower number. Get it? Yes, me too!

ISO I understood anyway. I live in a dark flat so I regularly have to bump up the amount of artificial light my camera needs when photographing products. The larger the number the lighter the picture will be but also the grainier it will appear. It really made me think that I need to get out and about more, even if I end up photographing items on the side of the canal to do it.

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We were then set a challenge… put into groups we were given a topic area and shown into Albert Square to see what we could do with the information we had been given. My group got ‘individuals’ which I, personally, think is one of the harder things to photograph. There were some great shots of children eating but obviously this isn’t something you should go around photographing without permission. I felt really uncomfortable at first but really got into my stride by the end of the session! Here are some of the better shots I got with my camera fully out of automatic mode:

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The Fosters Radler people were giving out free cans and I like the way they are wearing bright jumpers and only one of the reps is facing the camera.

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Both of these chaps were traders and explaining to prospective customers what their food and brands were about. Not only is it intriguing listening to traders but also to catch their facial expressions and hand guestures. Both are clearly passionate about their product.

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“SERVICE”! Two chaps preparing their dishes. I love the sign in the background of the first shot and the bright colours of the second.

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It wouldn’t be a food and drink festival without people eating and these are some of the better shots of individuals I got enjoying their lunch. All three are surrounded by other people but I think I managed to focus on them so your eye is drawn to them in the photograph.

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Last but not least is my favourite photograph from the day. This is my friend Richard from Shake Moroc and Roll who happily posed with a burger from Bangers and Bacon after hearing what my task had been. Thank you Richard!

We ventured back for a quick demonstration of Light Room (which I will be buying soon, it looks awesome) and a look at some of the shots the other groups had taken. There were some amazing photographs and I am pretty confident everyone learnt something on the day.

Huge thanks to Manchester Photographic for the class and to Currys for arranging, I’ll definitely be back to do the night photography course so I can capture that perfect traffic shot!

This was a blogger event and I wasn’t asked to pay to attend. This is an honest and unbiased opinion, I understand my camera settings so much more and can’t wait to get snapping in the States next week.

Manchester Food and Drink Festival 2014

A highlight on any Manchester food lover’s radar around this time of year is the Manchester Food and Drink Festival. With its main hub in the beautiful Albert Square watched over by the Town Hall food and drink lovers can enjoy an array of street food and craft ales whilst being entertained by some of the best DJs and artists the city has to offer.

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As well as street food favourites you will also find Manchester restaurants selling their wares. Now many grumble at this seeing it as another way for the bigger players in the restaurant scene to make more money but it really is a great way to sample their food without having to go for a full sit down meal. This is much more informal and most also had specials just for the Festival itself.

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Favourites of mine in attendance this year were Splendid Sausage with their moreish wo-nuts, Mumma Schnitzel with halloumi bites that sell out every time I get near and Bangers and Bacon with their perfectly named ‘roast on a post’. Not being a fan of ale or beer I wasn’t expecting much from a drink point of view, other than the cocktails being whipped up by Blue Pig. Then I spied the cider tent….! Queue me launching into the tale of my pending West Coast road trip (I know I know you are sick of hearing about it) and the wonderfully patient bartender picking out a cider made in one of the places I’ll be visiting next month. Now that is what I call service!

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Whilst I am not an ale fan I feel I have to mention the competition that Thwaites ran to find the ale of the festival. A friend of mine Iain Devine of Drunken Butcher supper club fame invented an ale using Manchester based malt loaf Soreen to win a spot on the pumps. Like my favourite halloumi bites, this sold out most of the days I visited the Festival as well.

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As if all this isn’t enough there were also special events happening around the festival such as the Liquor Market ran by the Drinks Enthusiast encouraging visitors to try spirits they hadn’t before and the Big Indie Wine Fest which had a similar M.O. except with, you guessed it, wine. I didn’t manage to attend either this year but, if last year’s Liquor Market was anything to go by, I’ve certainly missed out. I’ll definitely be making sure I book my tickets earlier next year!

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The Festival has come to an end for another year as Autumn really descends, it is a real celebration of the food and drink scene in Manchester before the festive period is upon us. To really end the Festival on a high the winners of the Manchester Food and Drink Awards were announced:

Restaurant of the year: Manchester House
Newcomer of the year: Manchester House
Bar of the year: Manchester House
Chef of the year: Adam Reid (The French)
Pub of the year: The Dockyard, Media City
Food pub of the year: Eagle and Child, Ramsbottom
Coffee bar or tea shop of the year: Richmond Tea Rooms
Cheap eats of the year: Viet Shack, Arndale Centre
Best food and drink retailer: Epicerie Ludo, Chorlton
Best street food of the year: Mei Mei
Outstanding achievement: Tim Bacon (Living Ventures)

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We may not have a Michelin star but with talent, passion and drive from people like this, I’m not sure I want one. Make sure you visit next year and you better stay over whilst you’re at it; the ale, cider and cocktails won’t drink themselves! If you are looking to get the latest deals in Manchester, I’d definitely recommend the cheap yet cheerful Ibis Budget behind Piccadilly train station. It’s close to the Northern Quarter too…. Well if you are staying out overnight you may as well make the most of the rest this amazing city has to offer.

In collaboration with Ibis.


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