A weekend in Manchester

For our anniversary we decided to spend a weekend exploring Manchester. It's somewhere we'd been a couple of times for the Christmas markets but never really spent time properly so it was nice to visit some new places, eat lots and even consider living there one day.

Manchester hotels - AbodeBest hotels in Manchester - Abode

I spent a long time looking for one of the best hotels in Manchester and eventually chose Abode, which is really close to Manchester Picadilly station. We opted for the comfortable room as we were only staying for one night and it was really reasonably priced with modern decor. The staff were friendly and the interior (originally a textile factory) was different to anywhere else i've stayed - I loved the main staircase!

Places to eat in Manchester - PLY pizza

We both love discovering new restaurants so finding good places to eat in Manchester was definitely a priority for the weekend! I usually go to Dough for pizza but i'd read lots of things about PLY so we decided to go there instead. PLY has become one of my favourite restaurants - they make the best sourdough pizza i've tried in a long time and their menu has lots of options including gluten free. We shared a 'Nduja and added extra chorizo - it was the perfect size to fill us up until dinner.

Brunch in Manchester - Moose CoffeeBreakfast in Manchester - Moose Coffee

For breakfast you have to try Moose Coffee. I chose Apple and Salted Caramel Pancakes which in true American style were huge and I ended up taking one home as I couldn't finish them! My boyfriend described his breakfast (the Mighty Moose) as one of the best he's had - it was perfectly cooked and really filling. Their coffee is also great (as you'd expect), i'd really recommend the cappuccino!

We didn't really make too much of a plan for what we wanted to do but we did a lot of walking! We ventured around the northern quarter and found some of the street art that is dotted around Manchester. There are also lots of little shops to explore including Oklahoma and Fred Aldous.

Street art in Manchester

As it was a Saturday night a lot of the bars were really busy so we actually ended up walking back to Brasserie Abode at the hotel for drinks which was perfect, again really nice decor, great service and the perfect way to end a relaxing weekend in Manchester.

Places we plan to go on our next visit: Home Sweet Home (for cake), Ezra & Gil (for brunch), Iberica (for drinks), Croma (for Italian), Pot Kettle Black (for coffee), Fig & Sparrow (for brunch), Tattu (for Chinese), Luck, Lust Liquor & Burn (for Mexican), Walrus (for lunch), Takk (for coffee).

Top 7 beauty products of 2017

It's hard to believe that this blog started out as a beauty blog as I can't remember the last time I wrote an entire post dedicated to the topic but I really wanted to share my favourites from last year (even if i'm a bit late for this!). All these products are genuine favourites and things I bought, tried and loved in 2017.

Beauty blogger 2017 favourites - This is Caz

Emma Hardie Cleansing Balm
This cleanser smells amazing, a bit like a spa treatment and that's the main reason why I fell in love with it. I got it in the M&S beauty advent calendar in 2016 and it's the first cleansing balm i've tried. It works really well on my dry skin and is great for removing the last of my makeup after i've used my micellar water. It is quite an expensive product but is one of those skincare products that is worth the investment, even if you only use it a few times a week as a treat - I will definitely be buying the full sized version!

Soap & Glory Speed Plump Moisturiser
I tried this moisturiser in one of the Soap and Glory Christmas gifts from Boots a couple of years ago and i've been repurchasing it ever since. I use this moisturiser every morning and it really hydrates my skin, has a light fruity scent and leaves a good base for makeup. Compared to some of the higher end moisturisers i've tried this is just as good and remains a firm favourite - it's usually on offer too so i'd definitely recommend it as a great affordable moisturiser.

Beauty blogger favourites - Barry M Gelly Nail Paints and MAC Highlighter

Barry M Gelly Nail Paints
I'm not one to go and get my nails done as it's something I enjoy doing myself so i'm a bit of a nail polish hoarder! The Barry M Gelly Nail Paints are one of the best gel effect polishes i've tried and the range of colours is perfect for every season. My current favourites are the classic red (Blood Orange) and the pinky nude shades (Rose Hip and Pink Lemonade). At £3.99 each they don't break the bank, they last around a week with just a few chips and there are always lots of new colours available.

MAC Soft & Gentle Highlighter
This highlighter has lasted me for years and even though it's more expensive than i'd normally pay it's the only highlighter I tend to reach for. I find that it is quite glittery but a tap of your brush before applying avoids you getting a completely glittery face and it's perfect for both daily makeup and nights out - it was part of my everyday makeup for almost every day of 2017!

Hugo Boss BOSS The Scent for her
I have so many perfumes that it was hard to pick just one but this is the one i've loved the most this year. It's an oriental fragrance that is quite sweet and I always get lots of compliments when I wear it. I love a lot of the Hugo Boss fragrances - the orange one is one i've repurchased a few times so I didn't hesitate to ask for this as a gift after I tested it. I'm also currently loving the Glossier perfume but i've only had it since Christmas so I didn't feel it was really a 2017 favourite - i'm sure it will appear on my blog sometime this year!

Beauty blogger favourites - M&S Rosie Lip Gloss and Max Factor Mascara

Rosie for Autograph Lip Glossy in Super Model Smile
This lip product is a 'my lips but better' shade, similar to the Seventeen Lip Shine in Beehive which was a blogger favourite a few years ago. Considering how much i've worn it, there's still lots left so it's well worth the £12.50 price tag and I love the rose gold packaging. M&S is not a place i'd go to for makeup but I got this in the beauty advent calendar in 2016 and it's become something I use almost everyday and will definitely consider repurchasing.

Max Factor False Lash Effect Epic Mascara
This mascara is one that not everyone will like, but I found once it had dried up a bit it was perfect and gave me huge lashes without much effort. I've tried a couple of new mascaras recently and in the end I repurchased this one which is why it made it onto this list! Max Factor are one of my favourite mascara brands and rarely let me down - they never seem to smudge or flake off and I also love the gold packaging of this one!

Afternoon tea at Harrods, London

I recently visited London for my friend's birthday and as part of the day, we went to Harrods for afternoon tea. We chose the Georgian Afternoon Tea which is served in the Georgian restaurant (surprisingly!) on the fourth floor of Harrods; a really grand spacious room with a piano player and decorated in a traditional way which makes it feel really British! 

There is a dress code - it's nothing too strict, we wore nice dresses as we were going into the city for shopping and cocktails later on but as long as you're dressed nicely and not in fancy dress you'll be able to enjoy dining in the restaurant with no questions asked!

The service was great - our waiter was really attentive and checked what we wanted before bringing out the first stands of food. He talked us through everything we were offered and answered any questions - as you can see the desserts were really delicately made so it was good to know what flavour each of them were!

Afternoon tea in London Harrods

The portions are really generous - we were asked a few times if we wanted more sandwiches or cakes but they're surprisingly filling! Unlike some restaurants you're able to take them home if you have any left so this makes it good value for money and you can bring a taste of Harrods home!

The dessert selection was lovely and each one was really unique in flavour, as well as looking great too! I took my time to enjoy each one and I eventually decided that the little mille-feuille was my favourite (on the far left of the above photo). Harrods regularly change the selection so i'd love to go back again to try more! My only criticism here would be the lack of chocolate! 

Afternoon tea in London Harrods

I really enjoyed the quiche in the savoury selection and the sandwiches were all flavours I liked too. We were offered more but wanted to save room for dessert! If you have any dietary requirements Harrods are really good at catering for this - they made sure my friend who has a fish allergy was able to choose an alternative which was no trouble.

Afternoon tea in London Harrods

The scones are served warm with plenty of clotted cream and a choice of strawberry jam, rose petal jelly or lemon curd - I loved the option of different jams which made a nice change from a traditional afternoon tea. To finish there's a little Harrods trifle served in a glass jar which I somehow managed to finish too! 

Overall I loved having afternoon tea at Harrods - at almost £50 (including a service charge) it was definitely a treat but I loved the atmosphere and the great selection of food on offer. If you're looking for luxury afternoon tea while exploring London, this would be a great choice with the opportunity to have a look around Harrods which isn't to be missed!

If you enjoyed this post, why not read my review of Afternoon Tea at Betty's Tea Rooms in York?