Let It Grow

balcony plant life lavender vintage pot

This year I decided to try and grow some garden plants. We don’t actually have a garden, only a small balcony, but you can still do quite a lot in such a small space.

My track record with plants isn’t great, I once killed a succulent by over-watering it. Succulents are probably even easier to keep alive than cacti! Nevertheless I am determined to get better at this and to do my small part in keeping plants alive and thriving (and also bumble bees!).

Currently, we have a yucca plant, some lavender and a large pot containing a variety of flower seeds. I don’t know what any of them are but I know they are ‘bee friendly’; they were a Christmas present from a relative.

Something I didn’t know about growing new plants and flowers, is how exciting it is. When I first saw the greens shoots poking through I couldn’t contain myself. I counted 7 of them yesterday, there are now 20!

Here’s some photos:

I’ve planted the yucca in quite a large pot in the hope it will grow much bigger.
I’m using a nice jug to water them all. Not sure what to put in the spare pot yet as it’s very small! I’m thinking about some basil or another herb.

And here’s a photo of the large pot with the miscellaneous bee-friendly flowers growing in it from yesterday:

Look at them go!

I’m really excited to see what sort of flowers they grow into. Expect another update on my compact-sized garden very soon.

Iceland – On another planet

icy mountain with river iceland

I just accessed my blog to make some updates and felt the urge to blog, so here I am. Life is pretty good at the moment, both at home and at work. I’m generally feeling very content.

We went on a short holiday to Iceland last month so I thought I’d share some photos and stories from that today. Iceland – wow, that’s all I can really say. It’s an incredible country, and the people are so friendly (and efficient. My kind of place).

Here’s some photos from the trip:

The photos pretty much speak for themselves. We hired a car whilst we were there and I’d very much recommend doing this, it saved us a lot of money and it’s a very easy place to drive around, even when you’re not used to driving on the right side of the road.

On a couple of the days we were there we ended up driving through actual snow storms with very little visibility. At first it was a little frightening but that quickly changed to invigorating. You soon realise that in Iceland you’re actually very safe. There’s basically one road around the whole island, and all of the cars are suitable for the kind of weather they get there. Our hire company automatically upgraded us to a 4×4 free of charge because of the weather warnings – really good of them I thought, and we were glad they did because we drove through a lot of snow! The company we hired with was Blue Car Rental.

Oh yes, we also saw the northern lights! Very briefly, but we saw them. It was one of the most unique natural things I’ve ever witnessed.

For our next trip we’re considering Japan, it will take quite a bit of saving but we know we will both love it.

Back to it

advert banner times square new york

A photo from Times Square, New York

It’s been a very, very long time since I last blogged. 19 months, to be exact.

I’ve really enjoyed the break. In those 19 months I’ve become a far less stressed person and now have no intention of reverting back to pre-19 month blogging break me. But I’ve missed blogging. Or as my boyfriend put it, I’ve ‘missed keeping track of everything’.

It’s true! I love documenting, listing, recording and reflecting, and a blog is a great way to do all of those things.

Since the lad hit the nail on the head with exactly what it is I miss I’ve been trying to figure out what I want to write about. I’ve never ever stuck to one topic – just in the same way I’ve never stuck at one ‘thing’ in any area of my life.

First I blogged about my daily life, and books. Then it was travel when I spent two years backpacking on and off. After this I moved to Melbourne for a year, and my blogs morphed into being about setting yourself up in a new city and seeking out cool things to do.

Then I came home and started putting the same spin on the cities in my home country – places like Sheffield, Leeds and even Doncaster. I gave seeing these places in the same positive way I saw Melbourne a really, really good go, but ultimately it wasn’t where I wanted to be.

Eventually, I got a job in Manchester and put the same spin on my blog there too, but after a few months I became incredibly burnt out and bored with what I was writing. I was also fed up of having to mirror every blog I did with posts on Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook blah blah blah.

When I first started blogging, I didn’t even upload images to any of the posts and I miss that simplicity. I miss just writing for me, without even thinking about site analytics.

All’s well that ends well though, because learning about the promotional and analytical side did interest me and I was good at it. Fast forward to now and it is how I’ve ended up building a successful career in digital marketing. I’ve gone from freelancing and working part-time at a charity to managing and growing my own team in my current role at a big corporate company. Pretty chuffed with that to say the least.

Anyway, back to blog topics. I think what I’ve settled on is: How I Manage My Life. I mean things like living within my means, finding new ways to save money, learning to live in a more sustainable way. All stuff like that.

It’s exciting to be back!

Band and Bean with Matter of Sound

band playing a gig manchester

Last night I went to Band and Bean, a new live music night by Matter of Sound. The idea (loosely) is live music in a cafe, and it kicked off at Grindsmith Media City.

Music aside, it was really fun to work with the folk behind Matter of Sound for an evening. They were so friendly and welcoming, this really added to the good vibes the evening carried with it.

We had the pleasure of three excellent acts: Violet Youth, Dantevilles and Natalie McCool. Getting gigs right is difficult I think, they must take so much organising and planning and management on the day. What I enjoyed most about Band and Bean is how smoothly everything ran despite the occasional last minute change. It had a laid back but professional vibe – and you’ll be able to see this professional touch when they publish the video on their YouTube channel.

For now, here’s some photos:

Side note: how amazing are Natalie McCool’s sparkly boots?!

I’m already looking forward to the next Band and Bean, if you want to find out when it is you can follow Matter of Sound on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Rudy’s Pizza

rudys ancoats manchester

A Mancunian legend, one I’ve heard a lot about since I moved here: Rudy’s Pizza.

Tonight, I finally experienced Italy right here in Manc-land. It’s in an area of Manchester called Ancoats, which is just next to the Northern Quarter and a little bit more grown up. There’s been a lot of regeneration in Ancoats and it’s been done to a high standard – whenever I visit I start imagining myself living there in my own little flat.

You can’t book tables at Rudy’s and it is renowned for getting very busy very quickly, so we planned ahead by getting there half an hour before it opened. I recommend doing this because it paid off – we were seated and served drinks immediately, and got seen to first when the clock hit pizza time at 5pm.

The venue is very simple and makeshift – in a good way. If it hadn’t been freezing outside, I would definitely have felt like I was actually in Italy.

We ordered some drinks and crisps to keep us going, then went straight in with a pizza each and a side to share. Our side was green, meat, cheese, bread and oil – the classic Mediterranean combo. This kind of food makes me think of sitting by the sea somewhere warm.

The pizzas were equally authentic and SO delicious. The best thing about mine was the basil – so many times I order pizza in a restaurant and can’t really taste the basil, but here it tasted fresh and strong! Definitely how the taste experience should be in my opinion.

We rounded up with two scoops of cinnamon-ey ice cream each and then sat there for a good fifteen minutes feeling blummin’ stuffed!

I want to take my friends and family to Rudy’s because it’s got a great atmosphere and definitely the best pizza I’ve had in a while. What made it even better, was the bill. Between two of us, we had two alcoholic drinks each, a bowl of crisps, a pizza each, a side to share and a dessert each, and the bill came to just under fifty quid. Much cheap. Plenty value.

As much as I do love some of the similar pizza places in South Manchester, you would literally pay double that amount for the same meal.