The Hungry Girl's Guide to Manchester: Part 1

Federal, Ziferblat
Bonbon Chocolate Boutique, Luck Lust Liquor and Burn
Since I'm a bit of a foodie and self-confessed connoisseur when it comes to Manchester's cafe culture, I thought I'd start a series on my blog introducing to you some of my favourite places to eat in the city, particularly in the Northern Quarter region.

1. Federal: This is a relatively new addition to the Northern Quarter which can be found just opposite the Arndale Market. If you enjoy breakfast foods then this is the place for you, with the menu featuring delicious twists on classics such as eggs, muesli and French toast, plus they make a mean banana bread! Not only that but the coffee is incredibly smooth and perfectly Instagram worthy- it's practically a work of art!

2. Ziferblat: Like Federal this cafe hasn't been around for long, although it's certainly becoming very popular. The name 'Ziferblat' actually means 'clock face' in Russian since this place has an interesting concept. As opposed to paying for the food and drink you consume, you pay-as-you-go for the time you spend there, costing just 5p per minute. Ziferblat have a wide selection of cakes, biscuits and cereal available as well as various beverages, although the only downside is the fact you have to wash up after yourself, but considering it's so cheap you can't really complain. One of my favourite aspects of Ziferblat is the numerous board games they have lying around, so if you fancy a game of Cards Against Humanity or Jenga with your cup of tea then I highly recommend this place. 

3. Bonbon Chocolate Boutique: If you're into artisan chocolate or simply want to satisfy a sweet tooth then you'll love Bonbon Chocolate Boutique. The Latin-American style hot chocolates are easily the best I've ever tried and are both rich and silky smooth with a variety of flavours, my favourite being salted caramel. The cafe also sells a selection of fine chocolates and cakes infused with interesting flavour combinations. Although the place isn't ideal for larger groups since it is rather tiny, this just adds to the ambiance and the cafe's many quirks.

4. Luck Lust Liquor and Burn: From the brains behind Almost Famous this place is perfect if you love Mexican food as much as I do. Being a vegetarian I've never eaten at Almost Famous, but Luck Lust Liquor and Burn offers a variety of dishes to suit all needs, be it a street food style snack or drool-worthy burrito from the Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas inspired menu. Definitely one to visit if you're in town!

5. Common: Common is one of my favourites in Manchester and a regular hangout for me since I'll admit I'm a little bit addicted to their chilli cheese fries. Located on Edge Street between Ziferblat and Home Sweet Home (another fond favourite!) Common is a bar serving up delicious good-value food to appeal to any craving, ranging from hearty salads to tacos or burgers. It's difficult to miss since it's always plastered with amazing artwork and murals  that change on a regular basis, and I hear their DJ sets and quiz nights are great fun as well.

Urban Decay Naked Basics Dupe

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I recently popped into Superdrug to repurchase my holy grail Collection Lasting Perfection concealer, when I noticed they had a 2 for 3 offer on all Collection products. I was on the market for a new mascara so picked up their Volumising Mascara (as mentioned here) as well as this Eyes Uncovered nude palette, which I believe is a new addition to drugstore shelves. I have been lusting after Urban Decay's Naked Basics palette for the longest time, so when I spotted similarities between the two I had to get my hands on it.

Firstly I'll begin by talking about differences between the two products. While the Naked Basics palette is purely matte, Collection's counterpart features solely shimmery shades, so if you're looking for a more matte eyeshadow look then I wouldn't recommend this product. Furthermore the colour pay-off isn't quite as pigmented as Urban Decay's eyeshadows, however if you build up the colour and use an eyeshadow primer then you can easily achieve the desired look.

Despite this the shades in both palettes are almost identical, with both featuring six nude eyeshadows that are ideal for an everyday look. The hues range from pale metallic shades to more earthy brown tones, and they blend very easily and give a pretty decent colour pay-off. Although the Naked Basics palette is a tough competitor due to Urban Decay's renowned buttery formula, this is a great alternative to the 'do-it-all' palette that wont break the bank, costing a minuscule £3.99. At less than £1 an eyeshadow they are definitely worth trying out, and there are two other colour variations in the range look that equally as beautiful.

February Favourites

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1. Primark P.S. Love nail polishes: I've never tried any of Primark's makeup range before, but when I popped in recently with a bit of time to kill I found myself in their beauty section. I decided to try out some of their nail polishes, which usually retail at £1, but were reduced to only 80p in my local Primark- an absolute steal either way! The formula isn't the best I've tried as I found my nails started to chip after around three or four days of wear, so in future I'd apply the polish with a base and top coat, but at such a low price it's hardly something disastrous. What really impressed me however was the budget friendly price and vast selection of colours and finishes, which is why I decided to include this product in this month's favourites. If you want to update or experiment with your nail polish collection without breaking the bank then I highly suggest you stock up on these! Have you tried any other products from Primark? If you have any you recommend then please don't hesitate to let me know in the comments!

2. Collection Volumising Mascara: I'm incredibly impressed with this mascara and its ability to transform my sparse and stumpy looking lashes into something resembling a pair of falsies, especially for such an affordable drugstore product. Technically it shouldn't belong in this post since I've only been using it for a few days, but I love it so much that I had to share it with you. It has all the properties you would want to find in a mascara, making my lashes look longer and thicker, as the name suggests. The product has a plastic brush, which I wouldn't usually opt for, but I cannot rave about it enough. Alternatively if you are looking for a product falling into the high end bracket that will make your lashes look amazing then I urge you to take a look at the Moonstruck 3D Fiber Lashes. The product contains natural fibres to create the illusion of false lashes, creating incredible thickness and volume- enough to make anyone do a double take!

3. Maybelline 24hr Colour Tattoo in the shade 'On and On Bronze': I already owned this product in the shade 'Everlasting Navy', but I found the colour really difficult to wear and pull off, so it remained relatively untouched. I kept seeing Estee talk about this specific shade so finally bit the bullet and decided to give the product a second chance, and can put my hands up and say I have no regrets. When I say I'm impressed that's a huge understatement. It is a cream eyeshadow and glides onto the eyelids seamlessly, either for an all over eye look or as part of a smoky eye. It is super easy and quick to apply, so I've worked it into my day-to-day makeup routine and found that it lasts perfectly from the moment I put it on from the second I remove my makeup. The name of the product certainly isn't a misnomer (although I'm not sure I can vouch for 24 hour longevity!).

4. Strawberry Fruit Hearts by Fruit Factory: I don't usually include snacks in my monthly favourites posts, but there's a first time for everything! Despite feeling like an oversized child when I eat these I cannot get enough. Coming from someone with a major sweet tooth I can honestly say they make a great, slightly healthier alternative to sweets for when you're craving something sugary. Perfect for a mid-afternoon snack fix!

5. Yummly app: This is also a new feature in my favourites posts, but since getting my new iPhone 6 I've been delving into the world of apps and trying new ones. I often find myself stuck in a rut in terms of the meals I prepare, so I downloaded this app one day when I was feeling particularly uninspired. What I love most about it is that you can tailor it to your own tastes, including information such as specific diets, allergies or simply foods you dislike. After entering these details the app will filter out any recipes that wont appeal to you, recommending some tastier dishes depending on your tastes. You can browse through the recommended dishes, search for your own using key words, and save any that catch your eye. The app is ideal for those of you who enjoy cooking but are lacking in the imagination department, plus it's free in the app store!

6. Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion: I received a few samples of this eyeshadow primer with my Naked 3 palette, and they seem to be lasting me quite a long time. Since trying this product I haven't looked back, so much so that it just feels wrong when I apply my eyeshadow without it. It creates the perfect matte blank canvas for applying product, making it last all day with no creasing whatsoever. I'll definitely have to pick up the full sized version once this runs out!

7. My trip to Dundee: For those of you that don't know I'm currently in a long distance relationship since my boyfriend started university in Dundee in September. While on half term from college I decided to go up to Dundee over Valentine's weekend because we hadn't seen each other since Christmas. It was lovely to see him, enjoy each other's company and go on several date nights together, so it was definitely a highlight of my month! I planned to do a disposable diaries post featuring photos from my trip, but unfortunately I completely forgot to use my camera while I was there, although there are a few photos over on my Instagram that I hope will suffice.

Seeing Faces

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Jumper: Choies | Shorts: H&M | Coat: ASOS | Plimsolls: New Look | Necklace : ASOS (similar here) | Watch: ASOS (similar here)

After seeing this jumper on I Dress Myself I couldn't resist picking it up for myself. For the time being I've been pairing it with these pleather shorts or my staple ripped skinny jeans, but I think it would look amazing with a skirt similar to that worn by Yanin in the post above, or with a pair of black cropped culottes. I'm loving the culottes trend at the moment but unfortunately I've yet to find some that suit me, so I'm still on the hunt for a pair. If you have any recommendations then please let me know in the comments below! 

Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb Dupe

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Along with pretty much all of the Thierry Mugler scents, Viktor & Rolf's Flowerbomb is one of my all time favourite perfumes and has become somewhat of a signature scent for me. Up until recently I was wearing it on a daily basis, although when my bottle started getting emptier I went on the hunt for a cheaper alternative, stumbling across Zara's Black Peony. The latter retails at around £5 for 30ml, while Flowerbomb is a steep £50 for the same sized bottle. I was rather sceptical at first considering the huge price difference, but I was pleased to find that the scents are practically identical.

Describing fragrances is not exactly my forte, although a quick Google search informs me that both comprise of sweet, florally jasmine notes with musky undertones, which I can definitely vouch for. Both scents are incredibly opulent and uplifting, and I've received a ton of compliments when wearing them- it's nearly impossible to avoid additively sniffing your wrists. The only downside to Black Peony is that it doesn't quite have the same longevity as Flowerbomb, although aside from that you'd never guess that one is only a tenth of the price! I'll definitely be repurchasing Zara's much more purse friendly alternative for a long time to come, rather than forking out an extortionate £50 whenever a bottle runs out.

Turtle Neck

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Jumper: Zara | Boots: Ark Clothing | Bag: Zara | Necklace: gifted

Those of you that follow me on Instagram may have noticed how often I have been wearing this outfit recently, as I have been practically living in it since picking up the boots and jumper some time last month. The pieces combined make for the perfect go-to outfit as it is super comfortable and easy to wear, and I've been loving the way it looks with a few rose gold accessories thrown in for good measure. 

I had been coveting a pair of thigh high boots for ages, yet it seemed as though all the reasonably priced ones were selling like hot cakes, so I was delighted to find these beauties still in stock while browsing the Ark website one day. Unfortunately they aren't exactly helping with my shopaholic tendencies as I find myself constantly planning outfits around them, particularly while scrolling through the 'new in' section of Asos. I think I may just have to purchase a few a-line skirts and playsuits to pair with them, as inspired by Amy from The Little Magpie's recent outfit posts- she never fails to look amazing!

I'm also selling a few bits and pieces over on my Depop account, including some clothes from American Apparel, so feel free to take a peek if you're looking for a bargain!

Sarah xo

IWOOT Valentine's Event

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Photo credit: Garry Flinch (Flickr)

I was recently invited to attend IWOOT's Valentine's Day blogger event for the launch of their new seasonal products at Propertea tea rooms in Manchester. I decided to bring my friend Iffa along with me as we were long overdue a catchup, and we had a lovely time seeing and trying out some of the products IWOOT has to offer, as well as taking copious amounts of selfies with the selfie sticks we were provided with (you may have seen some of the incriminating evidence on my Instagram). Favourites of mine included the sense deceiving Aroma R-Evolution Kit, the ingenious chocolate shot glasses I was lucky enough to receive in my goody bag, as well as the array of novelty mugs on display, to name a few. IWOOT have a vast range of quirky and unique products on their website which would make the perfect gift for your significant other this Valentine's Day, so I urge you all to take a look if you're still on the hunt for something thoughtful and unforgettable. Whether your loved one has a penchant for gadgets, homewares or food and drink, they have something tailored to every taste imaginable! 

Sarah xo

Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat 'Pillow Talk' Dupe

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I don't know about you but I'm always lusting after new products, some of which fall into the high end bracket and are difficult to justify purchasing considering I'm not always certain I'll get along with them. Since I'm not always up for splurging on the latest eyeshadow palette or lip product, I always appreciate a good dupe and reading recommendations for alternative drug store products. I thought I'd try something new out on my blog and introduce a series of posts talking about dupes for pricier products that I've come across, so if you're anything like me and would like to try out some cheaper alternatives stay tuned!

While these particular products may not be an exact match, they are pretty similar and the cheaper option would make for a great alternative for those of you on a budget. After seeing all the recent Charlotte Tilbury hype I decided to pick up one of her 'Lip Cheat' liners in the shade 'Pillow Talk', although after trying it out I quickly realised how similar it is to Rimmel's 1000 Kisses lip liner in the colour 'Spice', which I already had in my makeup collection. The formula of both of these products is amazingly silky smooth and glides on seamlessly, leaving behind a matte finish which looks great on its own or acts as a resilient base for other lip products. Although both are a gorgeous nude shade, 'Spice' is ever so slightly darker with a few warmer undertones, but compared to the £16 'Pillow Talk', at £2.99 a pop you can't really go wrong. Both lip liners have excellent staying power but I would say 'Pillow Talk' lasts a little longer on the lips, although I suppose it's expected for a high end product.

If you're on the market for a similar shade to 'Pillow Talk' then I'd highly recommend this Rimmel alternative. Despite a few differences for a mere fraction of the price you can't really complain, and both lip liners are perfect for achieving a 90s inspired makeup look that everyone appears to be rocking right now. Let me know if you have tried either of these or have any other dupe recommendations, as I'd love to hear about them!

Sarah xo

Chunky Scarf

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Coat: Asos | Tee: Asos | Jeans: Topshop | Scarf: Monki | Boots: H&M | Watch: Asos | Rings: Asos

It's been quite a while since I last posted one of my outfits on here (around a year, if my Timehop is correct), but lately I've been bitten by the blogging bug and have been feeling motivated to upload outfit posts more often. After taking a break from blogging around two years ago I feel as though I subsequently lost my enthusiasm and felt really uninspired when it came to blogging, plus I lost a few followers and wasn't receiving the same feedback as I used to, adding to the sort of blogging rut I had fallen into. The mountainous amounts of college work I so often receive don't tend to help either. However, I've always been keen to get my mojo back and since it's the new year I'm going to attempt to upload my outfits more frequently and make time to blog, as my style has evolved quite a bit but unfortunately I've been unable to document it on here. I genuinely enjoy putting content out there in my own little crevice of the internet once I properly get into it, as it provides me with a creative outlet and I love interacting with you guys, so I'm going to encourage myself to make more of an effort effort and stop slacking. If I seem to disappear down another black hole and stray from my promise then please feel free to pester me to post! (Although I'm always posting on Instagram if you'd like more regular updates.)

I hope 2015 is treating you well!

Hugs and kisses, Sarah xo

December/January Favourites

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1. Naked 3 Palette by Urban Decay: This is an item I had been eyeing up since its release, however I could never justify buying it for myself so decided to ask for it for Christmas. I love how the pink toned hues look with my skin tone and hair colour, how buttery the eyeshadows are, how easily they blend, the colour pay off and longevity. Even the double ended brush that comes with it is incredible at creating more or less any eye look, and the bristles are extremely soft too. Essentially I love everything about the palette and I've used it almost daily since I received it. I'd never previously used any Urban Decay products, but I'll definitely experiment more with the brand, especially since I'm now coveting the other Naked palettes.

2. Nars Sheer Glow Foundation in 'Mont Blanc': This is another product I'd been hankering after for what seems like an eternity, and I'm so happy I finally have my hands on it. I'd consider it to be a medium to high coverage foundation, so it's perfect for those days when my skin isn't looking its finest. When applied with my Real Techniques sponge it gives a flawless, even coverage with a hint of radiance, as the name suggests. I can't recommend this foundation enough if you haven't tried it before- it's definitely worth the price.

3. Mac Satin Lipstick in 'Brave': I'm a little late to the party but I've finally jumped on the Kylie Jenner lip bandwagon, and I can hold my hands up and honestly say I'm obsessed. I find that when combined with Charlotte Tilbury's Lip Cheat in the colour 'Pillow Talk' this lipstick provides you with the perfect Kylie Jenner shade that everyone seems to want to achieve at the moment. I've never tried one of Mac's satin finish lipsticks before but I really like the pigmentation of it and I only need to reapply it once throughout the day, if that, which is a massive bonus.

4. Effaclar Duo by La Roche Posay: I'd seen this product being raved about all over the blogging world, and although I'm not usually one to buy into expensive skincare I decided to bite the bullet and pick it up on a visit to Boots. I have acne prone skin so I was sceptical at first, but I've really noticed a positive difference in my skin. It leaves the skin feeling matte but not dried out, and has helped to clear up any breakouts and even out my skin tone, specifically any red areas. Not only that, but it also works as a great base for makeup. I'll definitely be repurchasing!

5. OGX Renewing Moroccan Argan Penetrating Oil: This product is actually a repurchase as I've been using it for about two years, but I keep going back to it for good reason. A little goes a long way so a bottle usually lasts me around eight or nine months, so you definitely get good value for money! The instructions recommend you apply the product to towel dried hair, but I've found it to be just as effective on dry hair. My hair is very thick and prone to frizz within seconds of stepping out of the door, but this product works wonders and keeps pesky frizz and flyaways at bay without leaving the hair looking greasy. It normally lasts for the majority of the day, however I tend to keep it in my bag just in case I want to top up. It's one of the few hair products I've tried that actually works for my hair type, so definitely try it out if you're on the market for something frizz-taming.

6: The iPhone 6: I'm not even sure where to start with this one, as my love for the new iPhone is so vast I can barely articulate it. Sad, I know. I've had it for a few months and I daren't download one of those apps that measures your phone usage, as I'm sure mine would be through the roof. I previously had the Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini, and this is definitely an upgrade. I chose mine in the white and gold design and I adore the way it looks. I'm obsessed with its sleek design, speed, and last but not least crystal clear camera quality (as I'm sure you've noticed if I've spammed your Instagram feeds). If you want me to do a post about my favourite apps then let me know in the comments!

I'm also currently selling a pair of matte black 'Billie' Doc Martens in size 6 over on my Depop (click here), so if you're interested feel free to have a look!

Hugs and kisses, Sarah xo