It's been far too long since we caught up! I feel like a lot has happened since my last Sunday post, both with my life and with this blog.
Firstly, it was my 22nd Birthday on Monday. It was a bit of a weird one as it didn't really feel like a birthday! I wasn't allowed the day off work and I was super-tired so it sort of passed like an ordinary day. Although a very good friend of mine came and met me for lunch at the Alchemist. It was really lovely to catch up with her on my birthday, although I wish I'd been able to stick around longer. If you'd like to see what I got you can check out my post here. It's a bit of a strange feeling to be properly into my 20s but I feel as though my life is coming together finally!
As you may have noticed there have been some big blog changes around here and whilst I wrote a proper post on it, I thought I'd update you. I've had my final, finishing touch added (I've decided Wordpress migration is an adventure for another time...) which is the header. I wanted to keep my layout clean whilst adding in a touch of personality and I think these illustrations do the job perfectly. I contacted Maddy from the blog Unstitched after seeing her illustrations on phone covers and she put together these images for me based on my blog. They're just so 'me' it adds the bit of individuality I'd been after. Also, I'm pleased to report that all my re-directs have now kicked in and my Google rankings seem back to where they were before the URL change. A lot of people on my original post said that this was a big concern for them changing their blog name. Whilst it damaged my traffic in the short-term I've seen a big boost in followers since my re-brand and also since recovering this traffic to my older posts through Google my stats are better than ever! All in all I'm so pleased with and proud of my blog since making these changes and it was absolutely the right decision for me.
Another big thing that happened was that I had Shingles! I'm seriously one of those people who is never ill outside of feeling a bit sick or having a migraine for 24 hours. I started to develop a rash down one side which I thought was an allergic reaction, however after a visit to a drop-in centre I was told it was Shingles, which is why it was so painful. It sounds like something people don't get any more but it's actually a re-emergence of the chicken pox virus, which meant I had to give my boyfriend a wide birth as he'd never had it. It was absolute agony for a couple of days but after that I was more or less fine, it's just left a bit of an ugly scar!
Also, retrospectively quite hilariously, I planned a full week of blog posts all about going on holiday only to end up changing the date. I'm going in mid-July now as my mum was really concerned the weather wouldn't be nice enough in Dubrovnik for the last week of May. It doesn't bother me but now I'm itching to head off somewhere sooner. My latest idea is to go with my boyfriend on the train to Paris as he lives in St. Albans near the Eurostar. I also have a good friend who has been over there since August and I've kept wanting to go and catch up with her but there never seemed to be enough time or I didn't have enough money. But now I'm determined to get enough of both and make it happen! I haven't been there since Disneyland Paris about 15 years ago and I can just imagine all the Sephora and French pharmacy skincare I could pick up...Not to mention a lot of wine and cheese...
I've decided I really want to get into some hobbies I used to enjoy, like craft and baking. I could honestly spend hours (and hundreds of pounds...) in Paperchase. We have such an amazing store in Manchester and I'll definitely be checking out the teashop if I go in with a friend at the weekend. The arts and crafts floor is just amazing! I picked up a few bits, pictured above. I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do with it all but I like the idea of some of these bits in blog photos. I guess I'll probably wrap the 'J' in some of the tissue paper. I've actually already ended up framing the cream and gold polka dot tissue in the frame and I also added in the quote insert from the Stila palette I got for my birthday. Quite a crazy idea but I kind of like it, you can see the finished result on Instagram. I really love the photo frame especially as I have a mix of antique gold and copper details in my room and this is somewhere in-between, pulling the two together. It now sits atop my Muju drawers, which I've recently re-arranged as I just can't stop moving around my set-up!
Another place in Manchester I find myself spending a lot of time in these days is the Northern Quarter. I feel as though despite all the years I've spent in Manchester I'm still discovering new places. I had never visited the Teacup Kitchen, though not through lack of trying! We'd always got there too late to want to wait for food or were on the wrong side of the NQ to make the trip. However I did manage to go twice this past month and it was so lovely! The selection of tea and cakes is just amazing and it was well worth the wait. Also my workplace had a big bar crawl where I discovered some bars I never even knew were there! I feel like we're so lucky in Manchester to have so many amazing shops, bars, cafes and restaurants in such a compact area. I love supporting independent businesses and rarely find myself visiting chains when I go out for food, as most places in the Northern Quarter are really reasonably priced.
Do you have any recommendations on where to get pretty craft supplies, stationary and home wear?