Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Moving in and The Blogger's Guide to Manchester

And... I'm back online! Phew it's been a tough two weeks with no internet. Saying that it's been a tough two weeks in general! Yes we are fully moved in now and just about settled in. It's not been an easy two weeks, with endless boxes of stuff and limited storage space, realising that our Ikea sofabed came without screws, feet or instructions, discovering that we couldn't get Sky TV when it was one of the few things we didn't think we had to worry about, spending two weeks wondering why we couldn't get in the post room before realising we were trying to get into the wrong room... but it's not all been bad. Living with Phil is the actual best thing ever and I get excited to come home to him every single night. Plus my commute from my from door to my desk takes exactly 6 minutes. 
I know, I really am living the dream.
I know lots of you have been asking for a flat tour, and I absolutely promise I will do one, but at the moment while we're finally getting there with flatpack furniture and cupboard space, it doesn't really look "ours" yet. We haven't got our posters on the walls or any framed photos and we still need a few bits here and there to personalise it, so I want to wait until we're fully finished before I show it to you. There are a few photos of our flat on my instagram, but already I feel a lot of it looks totally different (and by that I mean the kitchen is nowhere near that bare!).

But it's not all been packing up boxes and trips to Ikea, it has actually been really nice to live in the city centre, and not just for my commute. I can't explain how much I love Manchester and living in the city centre is such a dream. Every day when I walk to work I'm so appreciative that I live and work in such a beautiful city, with so much going on. So many great restaurants, bars, museums, galleries, shops... Manchester really does have everything. I've been trying to discover all the little nooks and crannies recently that I've always been meaning to go to - my friend Natalie and I went to Chinatown last week to explore the Chinese supermarkets, and then a few days later took a trip to 8th Day Cafe, which is basically my spiritual mecca - full of health foods and big bags of lentils and all kinds of nut butters and treats. I also have been visiting a few old favourites too, in particular in the Northern Quarter.

The week we moved in was incredibly stressful. The flat was a mess - the floor covered in boxes and books and DVDs. Nothing seemed to fit in the cupboards but there seemed to be an endless amount of stuff we needed to buy. Everything from cooking dinner to going to the supermarket was weird and foreign and confusing. I was desperate for some normality.
Luckily, a few weeks previous I was asked to be a part of Millenium and Copthorne's Blogger's Guide to Manchester and was asked to choose one of my favourite places in Manchester and to write a review. I choose Common, the bar in the Northern Quarter where Phil and I had our first date, and I arranged to visit on the Friday after we moved in. When I received a call from the Ikea delivery guy an hour before we were supposed to leave I was starting to regret my decision to go out for a nice meal in the middle of the day, but it turned out to be exactly what I needed.
Props to Phil, Common is a great place for a first date. I remember the night before our first date looking it up online and thinking the food looked great but it looked a little bit too cool for me. I kind of still feel like that. If you've ever been to Manchester's Northern Quarter, I think Common is pretty much the epitome of that. It's definitely a bar that serves food rather than a restaurant that serves drinks - the bar is stuffed with pumps of local ales and the menu above the bar covers dozens of cocktails. The walls are covered in unusual art and entire walls are dedicated to beer mats from around the world.
Phil and I started a little tradition last year of coming here on the anniversary of our first date, but this was the first time I'd been on a day other than the 4th October! I remember last time I came eyeing up the veggie chilli in a taco bowl(!) but we had nachos to start and I thought I could be down for Mexican food overload (impossible). This time, however, I knew exactly what I wanted to order! 
Veggie chilli is one of my faves - it's up there with fishcakes and veggie burgers for the thing on the menu I will always, always order, and this one did not disappoint! I also love that it comes with guacamole, salsa and sour cream. Yum. Phil went for the Maple Bacon burger, which I have to admit, looked amazing:
(I got to eat his gherkin - how are their people who don't like gherkins?!)
Common is definitely one of the places I would recommend in Manchester - it's cool, fun and the food is great. It's also very reasonable and they always have deals on. However it does get very busy at weekends so get there early!
I'm really excited to see the finished article of the Blogger's Guide to Manchester - I'll let you know when it's available!
Unfortunately, my little blogging return was short-lived as I'm back off again now for a couple of days. I'm in London tomorrow for a work event, back in Manchester in the evening and then back down again to London for the weekend as Phil and I are going to see Les Miserables and then it's Phil's birthday on Sunday! I'm hoping to be properly back next week with plenty of blog posts - Phil's sister Suzie spotted a white wall in our living room I can use for outfit photos. Fingers crossed I'll be back in a blogging routine soon!

Have a great week!

Charlotte x

Tuesday, 10 February 2015


Well the day is (almost!) here - Phil and I are moving in together tomorrow. I'm almost completely packed and the conservatory is full of boxes and bin bags and piles. 

I'm nervous, excited, stressed, panicky, relieved and everything inbetween. In some respects it feels like this big, scary, life-changing thing but more than anything else it doesn't feel scary at all - it just feels natural and exciting. I cannot wait to see Phil every day. For us to live together and really start our lives together.

The next few days are going to be stressful beyond belief. All the list-writing and box-packing and research I've done isn't going to prepare me for the days ahead. Things are going to go wrong. I'm going to get stressed and panicky and things aren't going to go according to plan. But at the end of it I'll be settled into our gorgeous flat that we've been giddy about since we saw it in December. With the bedding we chose together, pans and plates and cutlery that we picked the two of us, and the daft quirky bits we've bought each other in preparation for moving in together.

It's going to be a bit quiet over here for the next few weeks. We're sorting out our TV and internet this week but even then it'll probably be a few weeks before we have our internet set up.

Then I promise, promise a flat tour. And after that I'll hopefully find somewhere to take outfit photos!

Until then I can guarantee I'll be posting a bazillion photos on Instagram so make sure you follow me - @girlnextdoorfashion .

See you on the other side!

Charlotte x

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Everything you should know before you move in with me

Dear Phil,
We move in together in less than three days! I'm so excited! We've found our perfect little flat, bought a TV, picked bedding together and even set up a joint account. We've started packing, starting correlating our DVDs and everything is starting to get very real and exciting.
However, there are a few things I need to tell you. I might not be the easiest person to live with.
So to save you any initial shock I decided to put together a list of things you need to know before you come over on Wednesday...

  • There will be hair grips everywhere. In the shower. On the floor. In cupboards. In bags. In pockets. Everywhere. Except when I need one and I'll tear the place down trying to find one.
  • I'm kind of messy. In an organised-chaos kind of way. Everything will be in piles, but god knows what's in the piles.
  • I pick off my nail polish as soon as it starts to chip. I leave a trail of pink and red wherever I go.
  • I eat things way past their sell-by. If it looks alright and smells alright, it's probably fine (weirdly, I was the completely opposite before I went to uni, but that's what paying for your own food will do to you).
  • The shower will contain at least three bottles of conditioner. Two will be almost empty, but I won't quite be ready to commit to throwing them out.
  • I food shop like it's the end of the world. If I have two sweet potatoes left I'll be buying another bag. Only three tins of tomatoes left? Better get two more. And I can't go shopping without buying a tin of chickpeas. Heaven forbid.
  • I'm incredibly tight. I'll resent an extra £1 here or 50p there. As a result though I'm reallllly good with money. I just need some help loosening up a bit sometimes.
  • I won't buy chocolate and then complain that we don't have any chocolate.
  • I have no idea how often grown ups are supposed to change the bed.
  • I'm usually in bed by 9.30, and sleepy by 9. Staying up after 10 in the week gets me quite stressed out.
  • But I do get up at 5am to do my workouts. I'll try to be quiet.
  • I can't sleep in at the weekend. 9am on a Sunday is quite indulgent for me.
  • I have some pretty awful workout leggings that I wear for my morning workouts that nobody but my family has ever seen. They never leave the house.
  • I meal plan like a maniac. I can tell you on Monday what's for dinner on Friday.
  • Sundays are for long runs and food prep. 
  • My iPod is basically just emo from 2005. Let's listen to yours.
  • I am a hoodie and socks thief.
  • I will need you to be in charge of spider catching, dress zipping and necklace untangling. And also fixing anything that I break.
  • Our bed needs to have the decorative cushions added every day. Even though I swore as a teenager I would never have decorative cushions on my bed.
  • I'm always tired.
  • I carry a water bottle round the house at all times. I drink an insane amount of water. And every time you stand up I'll ask you to fill my bottle up.
  • I cry at everything.
  • I start clearing up after dinner before I've finished chewing. I can't leave plates and pans out overnight unwashed.
  • I sleep in my workout clothes for morning efficiency.
  • The freezer will be full of "emergency leftovers" but I'll find it really hard to resort to them even in case of a dinner emergency, in case a worse dinner emergency comes up. 
  • But seeing as I usually cook multiple portions of everything the freezer will fill up with little orange-coloured, indistinguishable bags. But they'll all be nicely labelled (at uni I got sick of defrosting a chilli only to find it was a curry).
  • I can't eat a meal without spilling something down myself. This is why I can't have nice things.
  • I'm obsessed with my sleep app and can only sleep to the sound of "sizzling rain".
  • I have really, really hot showers.
  • I wear things for as long as possible before washing them.
  • If I'm in the house, I'm probably wearing my dressing gown.
  • I will always be worrying about something.
Sure you still want to live with me?


Charlotte x

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Finally February

No Sunday catch up today because I actually have outfit photos! Plus my week wasn't quite as exciting as last week!
It's February! Finally! I don't know about anyone else but I absolutely hate January. It's cold, it's miserable and you're thrown right into winter with no excitement for Christmas to get you through. February, this time around at least, is an exciting one. Phil and I move in together in just over a week, we'll be celebrating our second Valentine's Day in our own home (and by celebrating I mean cards and an M&S Dine in for Two), we've got Power Ballads night with our friends in a few weeks, and we're heading down to London at the end of the month to go and see Les Miserables on the West End and to celebrate Phil's birthday. And then it will be March, aka the best month, aka birthday month and not just mine - Phil's too, and four of my other close friends!
shirt - c/o Glamorous
skirt- Warehouse
boots- c/o Debenhams
necklace - Zalando
leather jacket - Boohoo
lipstick - MAC Rebel
I know, two blog posts in two days is rare for me, and I even photographed today's outfit too. I'm on a roll! As much as I moan about the winter, as it starts to edge towards Spring I suddenly get nostalgic for cold weather clothes and have to throw together as many outfits as possible before it gets too warm to wear them. Not that there's much risk of that at the moment - we've had so much snow here! 
I wore this outfit yesterday to go to John Lewis with my Mum. I've started to get really, really sad about moving out and leaving my parents which has completely overtaken my excitement about moving in with Phil at the moment. Don't get me wrong, I am absolutely so excited to move in with Phil, but I'm an only child and I'm incredibly close to my parents and even though I know it's definitely time for me to go, I am sad. So Mum and I had a lovely girly day in John Lewis yesterday. She treated me to a few things and we had a coffee and it was such a lovely day. I know I'll be home all the time but I am going to miss our Saturday brunch and shopping days!
Today I went out for a 5 mile run which was good. Parkrun was cancelled yesterday so I wasn't sure if I would be able to run but all the snow seems to have melted now so it was fine to go out. My pace wasn't quite as fast as last week, but it was still my fastest 5 miles! Then other than that it's been my usual lazy Sunday - I made soup for my weekday lunches yesterday, cut up all my veggies and apples for snacks, made some oatmeal raisin energy balls and houmous, and went to see family. I hope Phil is ready for my crazy-organised Sundays!
I hope you've all had a lovely weekend! I'm off to Phil's house for dinner and then I get a bit of a lie-in tomorrow cause we're moving offices at work so I'm working from home!

Charlotte x