Thursday, 30 June 2016

Getting my burrito on - Changos, Manchester

I don't know if I've expressed my love for the humble burrito on my blog before, but if not, today is the day. I bloody love them. When made correctly they are filling, tasty and full of goodness (well partly). Depending what you choose as your filling, the accompaniments of rice, beans, salsa and salad with sauces and guacamole for good measure all complement it brilliantly.

Like I say, I'm obsessed. When I was down in Manchester recently for work I stumbled across a right gem in my world of Mexican food. Changos isn't a chain, just the one restaurant nestled on Oxford Street in Manchester, offering home-made, flavoursome and nutritious Mexican cuisine at a great price. I must admit, it's colourfully designed interior drew me in and when I realised it was a burrito bar I was rushing through the doors.

Changos Burrito Bar, Manchester Oxford Street Review

Changos Burrito Bar, Manchester Oxford Street Review

Changos Burrito Bar, Manchester Oxford Street Review

Stopping for a quick but late lunch, I decided on a medium chicken burrito filled with all the good stuff. I accompanied it with a guava Jarrito which is a popular brand of soft drink in Mexico that is naturally flavoured. Everything about the experience at Changos was brilliant. There was a lot of choice when making up my burrito, although I turned down a few items, I still came away with a good-sized burrito.

My lunch was delicious, full of flavour with all the different aspects working together. The guava drink was unusual but very nice. I definitely want to try other flavours from Jarritos. When I'm in Manchester again, I'll be seeking Changos out again for another burrito, even maybe a side of nachos. Go all out with the carbs!

Has anyone been to Changos? Who else shares my love of burritos?
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Saturday, 18 June 2016

Girly chats and yummy snacks at No.34

Middlesbrough is going through a revival right now. New independent shops and eateries seem to be opening every week which is absolutely fantastic for us Smoggies. Before we were limited to a select number of place to eat but now we have the pick of the town with new cupcake shops, burrito takeaways, micro pubs and many others popping up. Recently I noticed a little bar snuggled against a collection shops near my house. 

As I was due a catch up with one of my friends, I suggested we try out this bar and indulge in some cocktails. We went along to No.34 Cafe & Bar on Saturday night at 7pm (it opens at 6pm) and settled in for the night.

No.34 offers a small menu of delicious nibbles to keep you company whilst you work your way through their great cocktail menu. The cafe is small and quaint with a very rustic interior with lots of wood and metal, which I'm a big fan of. The staff were very attentive and came over straight away to see what we wanted. Luckily we'd both been looking at the menu online and knew exactly what we were going to order.

No.34 Cafe & Bar Marton Middlesbrough Cocktail Review

No.34 Cafe & Bar Marton Middlesbrough Cocktail Review

No.34 Cafe & Bar Marton Middlesbrough Cocktail Review

No.34 Cafe & Bar Marton Middlesbrough Cocktail Review

No.34 Cafe & Bar Marton Middlesbrough Cocktail Review

No.34 Cafe & Bar Marton Middlesbrough Cocktail Review

To drink, I went with their signature cocktail the No.34 which was Prosecco with violet syrup and parma violets around the rim, whilst my friend went with Girls on Film which is like a Passionfruit Martini. I was in love with the No.34. The violet went perfectly with the Prosecco and the parma violet rim was such a nice little touch. 

To eat, we picked their No.34 sharing board which included a bit of everything. There was pate, a selection of cheeses and meats as well as salsa, bread and olives. There was a good amount of food that filled us both up and kept us picking at it all night.

For our second drink I chose the Strawberry Daiquiri as it is a personal favourite and my friend chose the Mojito. These were both lovely, but I didn't feel I got a lot in mine so for my next (4) drinks I chose to get the No.34.

We had such a chilled out night chatting, drinking and eating. No.34 turned out to be the perfect backdrop to our girly catch up. Although it seems to be in a random location, situated at Marton shops, it is certainly worth visiting and trying out their menu. No.34 also opens as a cafe during the day serving all types of yummy food that I'm yet to try! I'll have to venture down one day for some grub.
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Saturday, 4 June 2016

On business in Antwerp

Working in PR and Marketing, I've been to my fair share of events, award dinners and exhibitions. They're a lot of fun and you meet some great people whilst getting new ideas for future work. All of the events I've been to have been located in the UK but as my job has shifted and I've been undertaking all the event organisation within the department, I had the opportunity to go out to Antwerp in May! As exciting as it sounds to go to Antwerp, unfortunately I didn't see a lot of the city. I can tell you the whys and wherefores of the expo hall, but that's about it... I did see a Cathedral but it was night time...


Going away with work is always a funny one as its not for pleasure, it's not the people you'd chose to go away with and you're on the clock 24/7. Having said that it can be a lot of fun being in a new city, meeting lots of new and exciting people and generally having a blast promoting your business. 

The exhibition we recently attended was Breakbulk which is basically all about bulk and project cargo. If you don't know what these are imagine ships bringing in grains/powders (bulks) and also large machines/structures (project cargo). All interesting stuff I'm sure you'll agree. It was our first time there for a long while and I'd organised all aspects of it which was pretty scary for me. Having it be in a foreign country was a worry for me as I didn't have the comfort of knowing the culture and the language so had to get everything on point so that I had no panics.


When we arrived (after successfully getting all the transport - booked by me, and checking into our hotel- booked by me again) I was so pleased with our stand, it looked fantastic and it made me all fuzzy inside knowing I'd put it all together. The show went brilliantly and I was quite chuffed in my own self confidence being able to speak to so many people about what our company does. I wasn't too good on the techy parts but that's what our commercial guys were there for!


We had some lovely food whilst in Belgium (not in the Expo Centre, that was pretty dire, although there was a stand making fresh pizza which I took advantage of on the second day) although non of it was Belgium... We had burgers one night, you know how much I love burgers, and Italian another where I had the best dessert of my life. Like you go out for food and have dessert but then you're like, yeah it was nice but not like amazing. But this was AMAZING. It was a chocolate ice cream shell coated in coco powder with a layer of vanilla inside and inside that was a gooey chocolate sauce. Heaven.

Being away by myself, but with the team, gave me another nudge of independence. It just showed me what is possible when you plan plan plan and then it pays off! I hope that other things I organise are just as successful as I've got quite a few in the calendar coming up!
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