Wednesday 23 January 2013

Livebait, Manchester

Last Thursday Beth and I ventured out into the snowy night to sample the delights at Livebait. A long time fixture on the Manchester dining scene, Livebait has been on my "to eat" list for ages. I wasn't disappointed. The staff who greeted us were warm and welcoming and the service throughout the meal was absolutely impeccable.

Whilst perusing the menus, we ordered some olives and some bread and dukkah (no, I'd never heard of it either) to nibble on. The dukkah was an absolute revelation and every time I've eaten bread since I've been devastated not to have a delicious little pot of spices to dip it into. The olives were also AMAZING. I am a huge olive fan but these were some of the best I've ever had.

I couldn't resist ordering the whitebait for my starter. It reminds me of childhood holidays to Cornwall and Devon and, conversely, of eating in the pub at the end of my road in Cheshire as a little girl. These were great. Crispy, well seasoned little morsels of fishy joy. They didn't really need the accompanying aioli but I obviously ate it anyway. Turns out I'm a big fan of aioli too. B ordered the squid, which was served with a fiery ginger and chilli dipping sauce. Delicious.

Next up was the main event: lobster. Anything that requires four implements in order to eat it is absolutely fine by me. We ordered one grilled Nova Scotia lobster and one lobster thermidor to share between us. Both were served with a fresh little salad and some fantastic chips. Having never been lucky enough to have a whole lobster before I have little frame of reference BUT this was superb. Both the lobsters were pefectly cooked and very well seasoned. The thermidor just edged it for me. Cheese. Butter. Yes.

Poor fella. Not a very dignified end at my clumsy hands.

You may be wondering how on earth we managed to eat all of the above and still have room for two huge (technically meant to be shared) desserts. Well, my friends, we like food. A lot. I in particular do not know my limits and will eat so quickly in order to finish a fantastic meal that I will be rendered immobile when the food actually hits my stomach some 20 minutes later. Fun times. Greedy times.

The trio of desserts was fabulous. Lemon posset with raspberries, vanilla cheesecake with honeycomb and caramel and a tiny little apple crumble with custard. Just gorgeous. I only had a taste of the cheesecake but can confirm it is well worth a visit to Livebait just for that. The cheeses were also great, with the smoked cheddar and candied almonds being a particular highlight.

I can't comment on the wine (23 days dry, AHEM) but B certainly seemed to enjoy the glasses she had. I drank a litre of sparkling water instead. Rock 'n' roll, baby.

We had a wonderful time at Livebait and really couldn't fault it. It's a lovely space and, when we went, it was far too quiet. It deserves to be busier, even on a snowy, cold January night. They're even doing a 50% off food offer until 7th February so I urge you to go and gorge yourself on deliciousness.

Disclosure: Beth and I were guests of RBG, as organised by Manchester Confidential

Sunday 13 January 2013

Sunday looks like...


A late start (for me) followed by an attempt to get my winter-ravaged face back into some sort of decent condition. A lazy morning of blog reading, taking the bins out (glamourrr), a healthy breakfast and then a trip to the Malmaison for brunch with my friend C. I was lucky enough to win brunch for two on Twitter and it was absolutely amazing. Not pictured: Salmon, caesar salad, cream cheese stuffed peppers, mustard new potatoes, chorizo, croissant, bread, cheese. Oh, and an ice cream sundae. My Slimming World healthy eating took a bit of a hit today to be honest. Oops.

I also took my Mustard shopper bag for a spin to Tesco (again, glamour!) and confirm that it's definitely better and infinitely more stylish than the ratty old bag for life that usually inhabits the bottom of my handbag.

I wore my trusty Office Nighthawks and I'm still so utterly in love with them. So comfortable and bright and I just feel like clicking my heels constantly whilst wearing them. I have ruined about 12 pairs of tights by wearing them though. Damn my incessant need to sit with one foot underneath me at all times. The Pilgrim necklace was sent to me by those lovely folks at Very and, whilst it's not my usual style at all, a bit of bling felt quite appropriate to wear to a fancy brunch.

It's just started to snow here and I've just settled down on the sofa (wearing fleecy joggers, oh yes) with Mannequin on the tv and a cup of green tea at my side. Perfect.

Disclosure: I was sent both the bag and the necklace but received no further compensation for this post

Sunday 6 January 2013

New: January

I'm not usually a big in-person January sales shopper (are they still called January sales when they begin before Christmas, as they seem to now?), given how averse to huge crowds of  bargain-hungry people I am. However, online sales are fine by me and I'm actually pretty pleased with the things I managed to snag this year. I refuse to call this a "haul" post, given how much I hate that term but I guess it actually is one. Thrifty January (February and March) has now commenced though, so there won't be any new purchases for a while.

Hi Tops, brooch and cross print leggings (now sold out but similar here) - Topshop
Red boots - Office
Leggings - River Island
Shirt - Paisie via Pretaportobello
Tights - Topshop, Pamela Mann and Gipsy
Black heels - Jeffrey Campbell

Did you manage to grab any bargains?

Wednesday 2 January 2013


Happy New Year!

Whatever you did to bring in 2013, I hope you had a fabulous time. I ate, drank and was very very merry with The Soldier and some lovely friends (who only went and got engaged! Amazing!) at Neighbourhood in Manchester. Verdict: great steak, lovely cocktails, ropey service. Worth a visit though!

However, now January has arrived it's definitely detox time. Christmas was lovely but I feel more bloated than a very bloated thing and it's time to get my act together. I started back on the Slimming World plan today (water, fruit and green tea are my newly-reaquainted best friends) and I'm also taking part in Cancer Research's Dryathlon. Yep, no alcohol for the whole of January. I know that everyone is on their uppers somewhat in January but if any of you would like to donate a few pounds to a very worthy cause, then you can do so at my Just Giving page. It would, of course, be hugely appreciated.

I don't want to make resolutions this year as I never stick to them BUT there are a few things that I'm aiming for. I want to finally get to my target weight, I want to save more than I spend on non-essentials (Thrifty Helen is back in full effect) and I want to complete a 10k race in under an hour.

Have you made any resolutions this year?