FEBRUARY ROUNDUP


This month I...
  • Began the DW 40 days of fitness challenge
  • Attended the Branded Lab PR show and the M&S show
  • Watched Scandal and Homeland
  • Experimented with my new Canon EOS 1200D
  • Ate at Southern Eleven, Jamie's Italian and Brown's Brasserie 
What have you been up to this month?

SOUTHERN ELEVEN MCR

Southern Eleven has been on my wishlist of places to eat for ages, so we headed there on my birthday.. Initially I wasn't too impressed; there was some obvious tension between a few of the waiters, which resulted in us having to wait a little while for a table and having a grumpy waiter. However, our service wasn't at all slow and the food and atmosphere more than made up for our waiter's grumpy face.

We started off the night with a few drinks. L had the vanilla coke float, which reminded me of an alcoholic chupa chup, and we couldn't decide if we liked it or not. I had the Gin & Jazz, a sweet cocktail made from gin, mint, apple and a little too much limoncello for my liking. The cocktail menu had less than ten drinks on it and I'd definitely prefer some more classic drinks such as a Mojito. 

Our food arrived quickly, and we had a mixture of starters and sides with one main to share. We tried the jalapeño corn bread, which was crumbly and sweet, with a little after kick of jalapeño, and served with a yummy butter dip.. Definitely need to find the recipe for this. The mac n cheese is honestly the best I've tasted in Manchester, and I'll be going back for that dish alone. I had it as a side, and got so much for £3 that I can't wait to order the large portion. The suicide chicken wings are seriously hot, I can handle my spicy food but these were definitely out of my comfort zone. Nevertheless the chicken was tender and the sauce was tasty. L had the meat plate with pit roast chicken, Memphis style baby back ribs, 'slaw and sweet potato fries, which she loved. Highlights for me were the mac n cheese, sweet potato fries and pit roast chicken. 

What really set the night off for me was the live keyboard player. I don't know who he was but he had a fantastic voice, singing some of my favourite songs such as John Legend's All of Me and No Diggity by Blackstreet. I haven't been to a place that does live music in ages so it was a great treat for my birthday. Have any of you been to Southern Eleven before? Is it somewhere you want to try?

THE SUNDAY POST #8

001. I'm really looking forward to this week thanks to having three blog events and a night out planned next weekend. I'll be at the Branded Lab show, Manchester Blog Meet and Body Shop Detox event so hopefully I'll see lots of you Manchester bloggers around!
002. We visited my local pet shop today, as my friend was looking into buying a fish. The place is absolutely amazing with a huge variety of fish, birds and small animals such as hamsters. They also had a French bulldog puppy, and I haven't been able to stop thinking about him all day. He was by himself and he looked so bored, and so fed up of the people trying to crowd around and play with him. We've been looking into getting a French bulldog or a pug, but we haven't heard back from our landlord yet (probably his way of saying no!) I wanted to buy him there and then and show him what a real home is like. 
003. I've been taking part in the DW fitness 40 days of fitness challenge. So far tasks have included walking/ jogging 20 minutes extra and doing 90 squats with weights. The challenges are only little but they are all about fitting exercise in when you can, and beating your own personal best each week. This week I managed to hold a plank for 34 second which I know isn't very long but it's good for me!
004. Last night I had a few friends over to stay, we had a great night watching mean girls and gogglebox, making Mexican and Korean food and eating lots of yummy desserts and sweets. I used to have pyjama parties when I was younger, and this year I decided it would be a great way to celebrate turning 22. 
005. Make sure you enter my 500 follower giveaway.. You could win 2 MAC lipsticks and a MAC lipliner of your choice. It ends on the 18th March, so do enter, and good luck! 

MAC LIPSTICK AND LIPLINER REVIEW + 500 FOLLOWER GIVEAWAY

How I Wear has been running for almost two years now, and I'm so happy to have reached 500 followers. This time last year I had around 150 followers and no comment interaction on most of my posts. I post because I enjoy it, not just because I want to gain a big following, but it's always nice to see your work and content being appreciated. That wouldn't be possible without you guys and your continued support, so as a little thank you I'll be giving away two MAC lipsticks and a MAC lipliner of your choice. The giveaway will be UK only, and ends on the 18th March.

I love MAC lip products; their lipsticks were the first 'high end' beauty item I ever purchased, and looking for reviews online was what led me to discovering the world of beauty blogs and YouTube. The products pictured above are my current favourites, lipstick in 'Plumful' and 'On Hold' and liner in 'Brick'.

I first mentioned Plumful and Brick in 2013, and despite not loving Plumful straight away, I repurchased and now wear it almost every day. Plumful is a sheer dusky pink lipstick, with purple undertones. It's a Lustre finish, and so is quite sheer, making it the perfect everyday 'not-nude' option. On Hold is a pretty rosy pink, and it's a Cremesheen finish which means it glides on easily, and has a beautiful glossy and pigmented finish, which isn't at all drying on the lips. Brick is a deep red liner, and is creamy enough to be worn alone or under lipstick, and gives a darker intensity to reds, which I find really suits my skin tone. 

Which shades would you pick if you won? Let me know in the comments below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 

HOW TO ACHIEVE YOUR GOALS DURING LENT

If you're anything like me, you'll be stuffing your face full of pancakes today (lemon and sugar mmm), but also making plans about what you want to achieve during Lent. Traditionally Lent is a period of fasting for Christians, and so many people give up chocolate or alcohol for the forty days. You could extend this to other areas of your life, such as quitting smoking, social media or television. As well as cutting things out of your diet or life, you could form a new habit during Lent, such as hitting the gym, eating more vegetables or making an effort to spend more time with family. Think of it as a second chance on those New Years resolutions you gave up on January 4th. Here are my top tips on sticking to your goals:

001. Choose an achievable goal. Look at your New Years resolutions, have you stuck to them or did you give up after a week? If you vowed to hit the gym five times per week, and that didn't fit into your lifestyle, then re-evaluate that goal and pick something more realistic, such as going three times a week.

002. Think about the endgame. Yes it may sound like cutting something out of your diet for forty days will be hard, but think about how it will affect your long term goals. Half a pack of biscuits less each day will certainly help you shed that final stone. Spending less time on social media may help you sleep better and become more productive at work. Focus on why you want to give something up for Lent, not how hard it will be to give it up.

003. Prepare. Remember that old saying your teachers used to crack out around exam time: "Failure to plan is planning to fail." Well that applies to sticking to your goals too. If you're making a diet resolution clear out your cupboards, do a meal plan and a healthy food shop. If you have a big goal, break it down into smaller ones and daily to-do list. Tell your friends and family what your goals are so that they can't tempt you with whatever it is you're trying to give up.

004. Keep track of your progress. Grab a cute little notebook and jot down all your little victories. Didn't go out for a drink with your colleagues last night? Great, that means you won't be hungover and will get through your work twice as fast as them. Went to the gym? Brilliant, note down how it made you feel after and look at this whenever you feel yourself slipping. Equally as important is rewarding yourself. If you cut out television plan to do other things you enjoy but never have time for, such as taking a bath or catching up with and old friend. 

005. Don't give up. One slip doesn't mean that you have to quit, just accept that you made a mistake and move on. Evaluate why you slipped up, and try to avoid getting in the same situation again. For example, did you order takeaway because there was no food in the house? Make a better meal plan. Did you have that cigarette because you were stressed at work? Find someone you can call when you need to take your mind off things. Don't beat yourself up about failures, just try harder tomorrow. 

I'm giving up the three T's: Town, taxis and takeaways for forty days and participating in the DW 40 days of fitness challenge, you can follow my progress on twitter @nishKpatel What are you giving up/ resolving to do for Lent?

THE SUNDAY POST #7

001. Today has involved a lot of lazing around, reading Harry Potter on the kindle I received for my birthday. It's so light and portable, and always makes me feel like reading whilst out and about. I've been meaning to read GoT for ages, but the physical size of the books really puts me off so I'll definitely purchase them on my kindle. 
002. On my birthday I ate at Southern Eleven, and I'm pretty sure they do the one of the best Mac n Cheese's in Manchester (Home Sweet Home is also up there!) I also really enjoyed the jalapeño corn bread and sweet potato fries, but, be warned, the suicide hot wings really are lethal.
003. This week I explored Liverpool, and I really liked it. I had a few "is this city nicer than mine?" moments, but the minute I got back into Piccadilly I realised there is nothing better than coming home to Manchester. However I do feel that I need to explore Manchester more, as it's all too easy to take the same routes and do the same things day in day out. 
004. It's not a new song, but I still can't stop listening to John Legend's All of Me, his voice is seriously dreamy. Not listening to the radio means I always miss what's currently in the charts, what new songs are you all loving at the moment?
005. I feel like I've been eating out non-stop for the past few weeks, and I am so glad that Lent is coming up as it always motivates me to sort my diet out. I've decided to give up my three vices, the three T's: Town. Taxis. Takeaways. Every time I go to town for no reason I come back with things I don't need. I take far too many taxi's out of laziness, and takeaways for the same reason! I'm also participating in the DW 40 days of fitness challenge so follow me on Twitter to keep up with my progress. 

HEY I DON'T KNOW ABOUT YOU...

...but I'm feeling 22! Yes, that's right it's my birthday.. It's actually my first birthday without my dad here to say celebrate with me, and although that makes it a completely different day from previous years, my friends and family have worked really hard to make it really special for me. I've received some wonderful cards and presents, such as a camera and tripod, a kindle with all the Harry Potter books loaded on, aswell as some makeup and clothes. I'm heading out for dinner tonight and next Saturday I'll be celebrating with all my close friends. 
So whilst it's different, and whilst it's hard, it's not the hardest day I've faced since losing dad. Mum sent me some beautiful flowers and a card addressed from both of them, and they made me so happy and sad at the same time. Sometimes I feel like I don't stop and give myself time to sit and cry, and to remember all the good things about my dad. On my birthday he would always spoil me with flowers and chocolates, and for my 21st him and mum threw me a wonderful party. I'm really trying to remember that he always tried his hardest to make this day special and fun for me, and so I shouldn't sit around and mope, but instead be happy to have an extremely loving family and set of friends who will continue to make my birthday a wonderful day each year.

#RORBLOGSWAP

A few days ago I headed over to the Font on Oxford Road where the team behind Rock on Ruby had organised a blogger meet and clothes swap. In true blogger style we were greeted with cupcakes, sweets and a special Kiss From Ruby cocktail which was delicious! The decor was lovely; gingham tableclothes, bunting and plates of party rings made it feel like a proper party.

The idea was to take all your unwanted clothes and beauty bits, exchange them for Ruby vouchers, then tag the items up with your blog/twitter name and pop them on the rails for other bloggers to browse. After everyone had tagged up and had a drink or two, Holly announced that it was time to choose our pieces and there was a bit of a scramble as a load of fashion crazed bloggers descended in on pieces they'd been eyeing up. Luckily no one was injured and most people came away with all the things they wanted!

I took around ten beauty and ten clothing items with me, so theoretically I could have come back with 20 new pieces.. I came back with about eight items but I love them all, especially the time turner necklace thanks to Emma and the Kiko products, although I don't know who brought those! I also love the idea that my unwanted clothes and beauty bits have gone to good homes with other bloggers, or else were taken to charity after the event.

I was excited to find out that I won the raffle, as I never win anything. My bag contained goodies from Dottie Rocks Designs, Cocoa Brown Tan and Rock on Ruby. The event was a great chance to catch up with some lovely bloggers I've met before (Gail and Laura) and meet some new faces (HayleighJen and Alex) as well as a chance to meet the lovely Holly in person at last! Go and check all their blogs out, as they are all lovely ladies.

If you haven't heard of Rock on Ruby, where have you been? Run by Holly and a small team, ROR create slogan sweatshirts, t-shirts and accessories at great prices. I love the #ROCKTHEGYM range, and the blogger collection, which I've designed a sweatshirt for. I'll pop up another post about the clothing I own from ROR. 

I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a #RORBlogSwap every season!

THE SUNDAY POST #6

001. I started watching Scandal, and I'm already hooked. I love Grey's Anatomy and How To Get Away With Murder, so it's only natural that I love Scandal, which is also written by Shonda Rimes. If you haven't seen it already, start watching, if only to lust over Olivia Pope's wardrobe!
002. Breakfast this week has been all about porridge and golden syrup. Mmmmm.
003. Yesterday I went to a blogger clothes swap hosted by Rock on Ruby. I took around ten items of clothing and ten beauty bits with me, and came back with much less but they are all things I truly love. I also won the raffle which contained some fantastic goodies from Rock on Ruby and Dottie Rocks Designs, as well as some sweets and beauty bits. Keep your eyes peeled for a post about the event later in the week!
004. A huge congratulations to my friend Amy, whose blog Amy Elizabeth turned one on Saturday. I love reading her lifestyle and beauty posts, and I know you will too so get on over and follow her!
005. This week I've been getting my blog on.. I've got some great ideas for posts so I've been scribbling down lists and writing a lot. Now I just need to find a good day to take the shots to accompany them. Recently I've been feeling so uninspired with my blog photography, and the lack of natural light really isn't helping. On the plus side it's bound to get lighter soon and then hopefully I can get really creative.

HANDMADE BURGER CO MANCHESTER

Handmade Burger Co. came to Manchester last year, and has since become one of my favourite places to go for an inexpensive and yummy meal. Because I don't eat beef, places like Almost Famous don't appeal to me, as they only have one chicken or one veggie option on the menu. That's why I love HBC as they have over 40 different types of burger on the menu, and less than half of these are beef.

I love the option of having my burger bunless, it's great if you can't always finish your meal, or if you want a lighter/ gluten free option. Some of my favourites are the 'chicken, avocado & bacon', the 'greek' and the 'brie & cranberry' which I only let myself eat around Christmas! I always get cajun onion rings and a shake too; both are delicious. Next time I go I'll try a veggie burger like the 'falafel', which looks really yummy.

Have you been to Handmade Burger Co? Let me know in the comments or tweet me @nishkpatel

THE SUNDAY POST #5

001. February can only mean one thing.. It's my birthday month! I usually head out for a nice dinner and some drinks with friends, but I feel like doing something completely different this year. Any suggestions?
002. Yesterday L and I went to York for a day trip. Despite having to buy gloves halfway through the day to keep out the cold, we had a lovely day. We explored around the Minster, the Shambles and Clifford's Tower and enjoyed a great pub lunch at the Punch Bowl. We had dinner at Strada - highly recommend their chocolate fondant for pudding! 
003. Don't ask me why, but recently I've been pinning a lot of interior and garden ideas. Most students enjoy the carefree years of student housing, but I cannot wait to have my own place to do up the way I want. Follow me on pinterest to see all of my future ideas 
004. This week I discovered Fitgirlcode, the perfect site to get your exercise and clean eating motivation back during the cold winter evenings. Whilst I haven't been to the gym at all this month, I've been working out a lot at home and I'm planning on adding two visits per week to the gym in February. 
005. I started back at uni after exams this week, and I'm really enjoying my new modules. I think it's because I was finally able to pick some that I was interested in. It's really scary to think that I'll be graduating in summer, with absolutely no plans as to what to do next!