Sunday, 27 December 2015

119. This Is The End...

...Hold your breath and count to ten. Only I could start my final post with an Adele reference. I wanted to start off with being light-hearted before things possibly got quite philosophical and also, I have a habit of singing when someone mentions a lyric in everyday conversation. Anyway, after exactly four and a half wonderful years, it is time to say goodbye to The Life of a Mancunian Sheep. 

I finished education six months ago and have only really started learning about myself since walking out of the exam hall for the final time. I'm sure others will agree that whilst you are in education, you are in a comfortable bubble surrounded by your friends, academics and the routine of coursework, revision, exams and repeat. I bought my first car about six weeks ago and trust me, people are not lying when they say that you only begin to learn to drive once you're alone in your own car (in true Mancunian Sheep style, I am rambling but at least my posts will be consistent if not anything else). 

Essentially, what I am trying to say in a long-winded way is that I want to live life to its fullest and I believe that today, society wastes too much time sat on our smartphones/tablets/laptops with many seeking the approval of others through likes on social media and views on blogs and YouTube videos. Don't get me wrong, I am guilty of procrastinating far too much on social media as much as the next person but I want to spend my life watching great moments through my own eyes and not screens. I want to spend more time with friends and family, travel the world, run long distance for charity, pursue photography, better my baking, learn how to play the piano and so much more. At this moment in time, I feel that I am wasting far too much of my time on social media and even before the typical New Year Resolutions, I've been making a conscious effort to better myself as a person.

For the record, I will not be deleting this blog and will leave it up for as long as Blogspot allows me to host it, I have thoroughly enjoyed writing every word and taking every photo that I've posted. I'm sure I will go through the blog in the future due to nostalgia. A few days ago, the camera on my phone started playing up and I am actually seeing this as a blessing in disguise because it will force me to use my actual camera more. Humanity survived without blogs and YouTube for millennia and call me old fashioned but I personally still find scrapbooks, photo albums and diaries far more satisfying.

I would like to thank every single person who has ever visited The Life of a Mancunian Sheep for coming on this journey with me which has unbelievably lasted for almost half a decade. I would like to wish you all the best for not only 2016 but for the rest of your lives.

Take care.
Mancunian Sheep x

Sunday, 29 November 2015

118. November Favourites

Hello lovelies! I hope you've had a fabulous month. This may be my personal favourite monthly favourites yet because it's been a very exciting month as I've literally been waiting years for some of the things mentioned in this post! There's a bit of a theme this month as several people I love have made me super proud this month and I've cried a fair bit with happiness in all honesty.

1) Adele - 25. Unless you've been living under a rock for the past few weeks, you will be aware of Adele's highly anticipated return. Quite a few of my tears this month are because of this lady who is beautiful both inside and out. 25 has been described by Adele as a make up record whereas 21 was a break up record but that doesn't mean that 25 is not full of raw emotion and tear jerking songs. My top three tracks off the record are I Miss You, When We Were Young and Million Years Ago. I love the nostalgic feel of both Million Years Ago and When We Were Young but I Miss You is my absolute favourite because the instrumental is perfect as the drums and the backing singers just add to the dramatic lyrics. For those of you who watched the BBC One show on the evening of the album's release date will know the story behind Million Years Ago and it just shows how down to Earth and genuine Adele is and how she's not let all her success change her as a person. My favourite part of the show was when Adele surprised her impressionists, she's just so lovely and funny. Adele's my favourite artist and I was lucky enough to see her with my friend, Lauren, at the Manchester Apollo in 2011 and we were literally next to the stage. She waved at us and I almost died with happiness. Lauren and I also met one of Adele's support acts, the Grammy Award winning Civil Wars. This week, she announced that she's going on tour next year, how exciting?!

2. Sir David Attenborough narrating Adele's music video for Hello. If for some absurd reason, you don't like Adele then you might as well skip my second favourite too because this video is the best thing since sliced bread, it contains two people who I adore. Please watch it, you won't be disappointed, trust me. I can't get over "The Lesser Spotted Adele". I sincerely hope that both Adele and Sir David Attenborough are immortal because the world won't be the same without them both.

3. Heidi. This month, we welcomed a new member to our family...

Yes, I've finally bought my first car and I am just so happy and grateful, alhamdulillah! We are quite lucky with the public transport links in Manchester but it's still far from perfect and especially in this weather, I like being in the warming presence of Heidi :') She's a Ford Focus Zetec/Titanium hybrid for anyone interested.

4. Chris (Simpsons Artist) - Motivational Quotes to Help You to be More Positive. I have followed Chris and his wonderful artwork and unforgettable stories on social media but to have something physical is brilliant. This book does exactly what it says and is like no other book. I highly recommend it as a Christmas present as it will definitely make your loved one laugh and smile which is all you can ask of a present.

5. Great Britain winning the Davis Cup - Regular readers will be aware of just how big an Andy Murray fan I am which is why it comes as no surprise just how proud I am of him, Jamie and the rest of the team for winning the Davis Cup for Great Britain after 79 years today. He's made history yet again and it's the perfect way to end such a wonderful year for Andy during which he got married and announced that he is becoming a father! Actions speak louder than words and the quality of tennis Andy has played over the past three days  and in fact, for the past decade, should silence critics such as David Lloyd. Well done and massive congratulations to Team GB! 

6. Paperchase foldaway shopper - Last month, a 5p bag charge was introduced in England so me being my super organised self decided to invest in a small foldaway shopping bag that I can keep in my handbag at all times. I don't mind paying 5p for a bag but as a biologist, I know just how damaging plastic bags can be to marine species. This bag was £4.50 but it is well made, folds up very small and has a handy hook so you can attach it to your bag or keys and never forget it. When I'm using the bag, I attach the pouch to it so I don't lose it. As it is a waterproof material, it's great in this awful weather and I like the psychedelic floral pattern too.

7. Next Suede Slippers - My feet are always so cold during winter so I treated myself to a new pair of slippers this month. I love wearing burgundy and these are as warm and cosy as they look. They have a strong sole with a good grip like outdoor shoes so you won't slip and they won't get ruined if you do have to nip outside in them. They are available in lots of colours so I've included a link to them. If you are thinking of buying these then I would say go a size up, I'm usually a size 6 in Next footwear but went for a 7 in these.

8. Accessorize Stacking Rings - I love wearing rings but one ring won't do and in summer, I bought a set of rings from Accessorize but wanted some new ones as I got bored of them. I admit I went a bit crazy and ended up buying three sets because they were just so nice and would go with pretty much any outfit as I opted for a silver set, a gold set and one with lots of different coloured gemstones.

9. Twinings Salted Caramel Tea - Salted caramel is one of my favourite flavours so I was super excited when I spotted this in Tesco and just had to try it. This smells absolutely divine and you can drink it without feeling guilty. It is perfect for this time of year! I made one of my colleagues a cup of this and she loved it too.

10. Meha Art and Design Manchester coaster - Fellow Mancunians and those of you who have been lucky enough to visit Manchester around Christmas will be familiar with the wonderful German markets that are here every year. I was after a nice coaster for my desk at work and this Manchester themed one seemed fitting for the Mancunian Sheep. As I mentioned in my previous post (which you can read here), I love supporting independent retailers which is why I will include the links for the artist who has designed this gorgeous coaster. I love the pops of colour and the intricate detailing of some of Manchester's best known landmarks like Malmaison. Meha's stall is just opposite the H&M on Market St and she's so lovely, definitely worth visiting her stall if you're after a unique Christmas present or treat for yourself.

You can find Meha Art on the following: FacebookTwitter and etsy.

11. Peep Show - My television favourite this month has to be Peep Show. The similarities between myself and Mark are scary and I'm gutted that this series will be the last one however, I can see why they'd rather end the show on a high just like Miranda did around this time last year. At least there are nine series that fans of the show can binge watch to get their fix of Mark, Jez and SuperHans. My favourite scene of the series so far has to be Sober Hans' juicing stag do.

I hope you've enjoyed this post. Let me know what your favourite song is on 25! Hope December is best month of 2015 for you all. 

Until next time, take care.
Mancunian Sheep x

Sunday, 15 November 2015

117. The Cake and Bake Show 2015 - EventCity, Manchester

Hello everyone, hope you're well. Regular readers may remember when I went to the Cake and Bake Show in March 2014 at Manchester Central (you can read my post from then here). Anyway, I went to this year's event yesterday with my friends, Sammia and Sean and it was at EventCity this time. There were less display cakes and a lot more stalls compared to 2014 which I was a little disappointed at if I'm honest because I feel as though the show's all about the money making now.

We set off at 11.45 am got there at about 2 pm because the traffic was insane thanks to the UNICEF football match, the Cake and Bake show, the Christmas shoppers at the Trafford Centre and a home show that was also taking place at EventCity. Some elements of the show remained the same as 2014 including the demonstrations and the stalls selling fudge but I'll get onto the fudge later!

This will be a photo heavy post and I'm sorry the photos aren't of the best quality because of people in the background, it was just so busy!

I loved these plants at the Dr. Oetker stand, so pretty!

There was a Great British Bake Off style competition and we're pretty sure there was a children's book theme.

Some entries were submitted by children such as this one, lovely to see the next generation of bakers.

I completely agree with this statement!

Me during revision season.

This cake won first prize and rightly so, I love the tree.

There were a lot of Alice in Wonderland themed cakes.

Little Red Riding Hood and the hedgehog are so cute!

James and the Giant Peach!

One of my personal favourites, can't think why, baa!

Snow White looks a bit scary but the dwarfs are cute.

The watercolour detail is absolutely beautiful.

I think Stitch has eaten too much cake!


My personal favourite #1

My personal favourite #2 - this cake defies the laws of gravity.

Sean and I were both very impressed by the spherical cake. This would be perfect for a Christmas wedding!

Dream wedding cake - I love the birds!

Luis Troyano, GBBO finalist 2014, doing an empanada demonstration. Sean told us that they're
 basically a Spanish version of a Cornish pasty.

Tamal, GBBO finalist 2015, did  a demo of his rose and pistachio Madeira cake. 

Who would have thought that you could make roses from apples?

Look it's Paddington! :D

Surprisingly, we didn't buy any cake because there weren't many stalls selling cakes and the ones that were, didn't have many. Sammia spotted a Halal sweet stall and because they're hard to come by, we all stocked up. The tubs were only £1 each so were a bargain. I like supporting independent retailers so you can find out more about Scrumptious Sweets here.

At the start of the post, I mentioned fudge and here it is...

Okay so there was a lot more fudge yesterday but a picture speaks a thousand words as it was so delicious that 5 bars went to 2 bars in under 24 hours. Pictured is Madagascan Vanilla on the left and Banana and Chocolate on the right. The fudge is produced by the Kilted Fudge Company and they had an offer of 5 bars for £10. The other 3 flavours I bought were Salted Caramel, Cookies and Cream and Millionaire's Shortbread. The Cookies and Cream was good but the Millionaire's Shortbread was heavenly. My Mum had the Salted Caramel so I'm not sure how that was. I spoke to the man at the Kilted Fudge Company stall and he told me that it keeps for 5 weeks in the cardboard box and 2 months if stored in an airtight container. They have some amazing flavours including Irn Bru and you can find the company's Facebook page here. You can place orders for Christmas until 3rd December and they have a next day delivery service! 

I hope you enjoyed this post. Let me know if you went to The Cake and Bake Show and what you thought of it. What was your favourite cake mentioned in the post?

Until next time, take care.
Mancunian Sheep x