food posts

Love Thy Neighbour Manchester – Review

January 9, 2018

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After visiting the original Liverpool branch of Love Thy Neighbour last year – where the waitress, unfortunately, spilled coffee all over my jeans and didn’t apologise – I had to check out the Manchester offering that opened less than a month ago in Chorlton. I even wore the same jeans.

Gorgeously kitted-out with its Instagram-ready aesthetic and health-conscious menu, Love Thy Neighbour is the brunch spot to have on your radar. Whether you’re looking for an oat milk peanut butter hot chocolate, or a buddha bowl; you can tick off every delightfully wanky food fad in a mere couple of hours at this place.

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Let’s start with the coffee, as it was a damn good place to start. After hearing the hype about matcha lattes and spotting one on the menu – I had to give it a go. Served picture-perfect and at an ideal temperature; the matcha latte is definitely one that I’d opt for purely for its alleged benefits, as it had a slightly bitter aftertaste and tasted a bit like, er, chalk.

After necking a metric shit-tonne of water and revelling in my virtuous matcha choice, I went balls-deep for the new health-kick bad boy on the block: the turmeric latte (can someone please tell me how you pronounce turmeric – despite being on the planet for quarter of a century – I’m still lost).  This was a winner. Subtle enough not to hugely deviate from your usual latte (and yet hopefully benefit from those anti-inflammatory properties), the turmeric latte is a great alternative for chai latte lovers as it offers that rich creaminess without making you need a lie down after it. Tip: opt for oat milk.

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When it came to the brunch itself, I went with a spin on the coconut-creamed mushroom bagel: switching out the bagel for two poached eggs (soz, am a low-carb loser). Splitting a side of smashed avo with my friend Kara to round it off, this was a great portion size and wasn’t ridiculously expensive. In fact, my share of the bill only came to £15 including tip, which for two coffees and a breakfast in Chorlton – where you can buy hand-sized plants for upwards of £50 – is pretty damn reasonable.

The food was nice, but I didn’t taste any coconut milk on the mushrooms and – if I’m being honest – it didn’t really deviate that far from something I could’ve rustled up in my own kitchen. Next time, I’ll be more adventurous and try a smoothie bowl – Manchester freezy weather permitting.

The good news is, nobody spilled any coffee on me and the wait staff were far more pleasant than their Liverpool counterparts, phew. I’ll definitely be returning to Love Thy Neighbour sometime soon and indulging in that turmeric latte fix again. Also, there’s a shop two doors down that sells cat trinkets and treats – highly recommended.

Have you checked out Love Thy Neighbour in Manchester or Liverpool? What’s your favourite thing on the menu? Hmu @Ebzo.

You Have Body Image Issues? But You Post So Many Selfies?

April 8, 2016

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If I had a pound for each time somebody asked me this question, I wouldn’t be claiming Universal Credit, put it that way. Assuming that you’re a frequenter of my blog, you may have happened upon a post which outlines my history of eating disorders and poor body image. If not, I would politely recommend you have a gander at the first post as this has a lot to do with the BDD I have surrounding my face shape.

Ever since I can remember, I’ve always been quite the ardent selfie-taker. Ever since I can remember, I’ve always vehemently despised the shape of my face. If you’re (un)lucky enough to be close to me, you may have had to endure a drunken Ebony sobbing over the fact that “no matter how skinny I get, my face will always be fat” around the 3am point of a night out (sobs, sniffs and chip breaks edited out for concision). If you’re a friend of mine on Facebook, you’ll find that the vast majority of my tagged photos are of me artfully perched next to a friend, selfie pose initiated, always the one in control of the camera – a stark lack of normal group shots or candid snaps.

For this, and the fact that I post at least one selfie to my Instagram a week, people seem to assume that I’m vain and utterly besotted with my own reflection. My exes have thought it, former frenemies have thought it, even my own mother thinks it – despite watching me physically shrink myself through my eating disorder as a teenager, in a futile bid to burn off the biological shape of my facial bone structure.

I wish this was the case. I wish that every time my nan gleefully brandished her camera and declared it family photo time, I could happily oblige without the fear of subsequently looking at the image and wanting to quite genuinely take a knife to my own jawline (or lack thereof). I wish I could be less uptight and not beat myself up for days after seeing pictures from a party, ruthlessly berating myself for not having the dainty heart-shaped faces of my friends. I wish I could let boyfriends take cute candid pictures of me without getting in a psycho tizz if I look like a glorified moon adorned in red lipstick. I wish my head would let me spend more time caring about things that actually fucking matter in the world.

Don’t get me wrong, there are days when I feel like a badass bitch and I do everything in my power to internalise the fact that I have a similar face-shape to Dita Von Teese, and she’s an internationally-renowned, bonafide bloody babe. However, even on those days, let somebody pull a camera out and watch how quickly my face contorts, or how I just magically disappear altogether.

So, where do these selfies come in? If I’m such a moon-face, why am I always whoring it out across my social solar system? Why is my Instagram curated solely of my meticulously vsco-cammed pouts, some vegan meal snapshots to profess how endlessly virtuous I am, and a bunch of personally relevant quotes/poems? Am I just completely vapid and shallow?

When I take a picture of my face/body/outfit on Instagram, I’m conforming to the social media standards of externalising my life to look all refined and rose-tinted-glasses, but I’m also striving to internalise a version of myself into my own head – one that isn’t the moon-face. One that has cheekbones and an actual jawline and a face that doesn’t look like it belongs to a podgy 12-year-old. One that hasn’t led me to starve myself or self-harm because I can’t handle the ‘reality’ of it. Given the nature of BDD, whereby I haven’t the frigging foggiest as to what exactly my face-shape actually looks like in person, I tend to use images of myself as a form of body-checking which, in turn, creates an internalised ‘reality’ of what I look like mentally.

By taking all of these staged, angled and filtered up-to-the-nines pictures, and surrounding myself with them – projecting them out to the world – they become ‘me’, and I can just about handle being that ‘me’. If I lived life with the gay abandon of most people who aren’t lunatics and let people take photographs of me here/there/everywhere, I would internalise myself as this fat, satsuma-shaped mess and my self-esteem would baseline, leading to my eating disorder’s immediate resurfacing. Whether that’s what I actually look like, or not.

It may seem delusional, bizarre or just completely fucking stupid, but it’s how I get by day-to-day and it’s just one of the mechanisms I use to help myself get out of bed. If anybody can relate, in any shape or form, kindly leave me a comment or hit me up on Twitter @Ebzo, cause I’m a tad concerned that I sound insane right now. But I beg of you: nobody ask me that fucking question again…

Review: Birchbox January 2014 Edition.

January 14, 2014

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Beauty subscription boxes are a funny one with me: all well and good when you’re in the zone of ordering one and getting excited for its dispatch, but an absolute tyranny of fear and often disappointment when you realise it’s choc-ful with a load of shite you’re not going to touch, ever. I used to subscribe to SheSaidBeauty boxes, but I got absolutely bored to tears with the products in there and realised I could put that £12 a month towards stuff that I’d, y’know, actually use – Christ, I could’ve been laden with Chanel skincare products by now – the amount of blue boxes I have in my room. Kudos though, those boxes are about the best thing that came out of my torrid affair with subscriptions boxes: those little babies come in handy! Anyway, yadda yadda, get to the point Nash. Recently, Birchbox contacted me and asked if I’d like to try out their January box and, being a curious cat and freebie creep that I am, I obliged. Worryingly: I’m not completely disappointed with what they sent me…

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  • Vasanti Detox Nutrient-Rich Purifying Facial Cleanser 20ml – full size (150ml) retails at £18

Christ alive, this product has to win the award for ‘Most Waffly Product Name’, if nothing else. I just tried this stuff and, given its undeniably highly nutrient-rich formula (we’re talking attributes packed with shea butter/fatty acids/grapeseed and omega 3), I’m either placeboing out of my arse – or this product has made my skin reasonably smooth. We’ll see if it helps shift these pesky breakout spots around my chin first, eh?

  • Radial Bee Venom Moisturiser 5ml – full size (150ml) retails (at a staggering) £150

Weirdly, it’s a little bit like Birchbox read my mind on this one. I have been trawling Holland and Barrett stores country-wide trying to get my hands on their Manuka Doctor bee venom moisturiser and, lo and behold, they throw in this far superior little number. Upon first applications, I had flashbacks to getting stung on the bum outside of Boots as a kid – terrifying images of potential allergic reactions and my face blowing up so much that my sizeable bottom lip just decided to combust. Fortunately, this did not occur – but the effects thus far (four days of usage) have been incredibly dull. I’ve had good skin days, I’ve had bad skin days. I wouldn’t pay £150 for that imbalance.

  • Benefit ThePorefessional 7.5ml – full size (22ml) retails at £24.50

I can’t turn my nose up at this product as a devoted lover of Benefit, and the owner of a quickly depleting original sample that this one will proudly become successor to soon. If you’re a beauty blogger, you should really already know how essential this piece is. Nice one, Birchbox.

  • Premae Anatomy Nutrients Instant Renewal Body Oil 20ml – full size (100ml) retails at £9.50

As a pale lady, with a tendency to resemble something on death’s door due to bad circulation, I tend to avoid body oils, as they only seem to exacerbate the problem. However, in the warm, sunny light of my yellow-tinted desk lamp, it looks pretty good on my arms, and they feel soft enough. The sunflower (mate, do sunflowers even have a smell?) and rosewood scent has got me longing for holidays.

  • Itsu Miso Soup 25g sachet – full size (6 pouches) £11

After recently embarking upon a vegan adventure (that is, slightly less dramatically, after doing a month last year – I have decided to go vegan since the New Year), I’m looking for all the vegan friendly nosh I can sniff out. Not sure why that sounded quite so dirty, but we shall continue… I haven’t tried this yet as, after my last packet of Pop Chips that I picked up at an LCM show got devoured this afternoon, they will be going into my emergency food stash. Sounds nice enough to me, anyway. Not sure I could afford to keep that habit up though, so I’m kinda hoping I’m not a fan…

  • Philip Kingsley Moisture Balancing Conditioner 20ml – full size (250ml) £19

This looks remarkably like toothpaste, and I just squirted half the tube up my nose trying to find out what it smells like for you. I hope you appreciate this, guys. It smells pretty high class – but a little too Chanel No.5 for me: absolutely lovely, but not right for my juvenile twenty-year-old self. Good call though guys: I’ve just ran out of Herbal Essences – cheers.

All in all, I’m pretty pleased with the box. I’m half-tempted to opt in for the next one just to see if they manage to pull it out of the bag twice in a row, but I’ll keep you posted on Twitter about that. Everyone else though: what’s in yours this month? Are you happy with it? Link your reviews below!

Pretty Little Thing’s Manchester Bloggers’ Dinner.

April 29, 2013

My word – where to start? Despite the fact that I don’t harbour a complete wealth of knowledge surrounding bloggers’ events (I’ve sheepishly ventured out to one or two, thus far), I’m going to boldly put this out there: This could’ve arguably been the best blogger event that the North West has seen in a long time. I’d just like to say a quick thanks to Zelta, Hayley, Umar and Adam, a) for inviting me and b) for putting together a brilliant afternoon – and ahem, a free bar.

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This Month’s Fashion Events: in the North.

April 8, 2013

And many more!

Fashion events in the North, as you know if you’re unfortunate enough to live here too, are usually so few and far between that they sneak up like a good buy in a Topshop sale. They’re also inexplicably difficult to discover, unless you’re in the Fashion/PR/Marketing industry, generally due to a lack of coverage and a lack of an obvious ‘HELLO WE POST NORTHERN FASHION EVENTS’ Twitter page. This narks me off, no end, as I always seem to miss out on stuff and end up finding it popping up all over the Twittersphere weeks later so, before we all start emigrating to London – I’ve done a little research and here’s a compilation of events (generally in the Manchester area) that I’ve spotted coming up this month:

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Ebony Plans A Detox – Something A Little Different.

April 2, 2013

I’ve recently been on a documentary binge and one of the most poignant ones I watched was ‘Hungry For Change’; a film centred predominantly around American nutrition (or lack thereof) through anecdotes of people who had either turned to juice detoxes or started incorporating juicing into their diets. I would strongly recommend you give this a watch if you think that you’re not treating your body properly: it’s surprisingly influential for a Netflix find. Give it a watch!

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Unmasking The Facemask – With Lush.

October 20, 2012

I recently got asked to do a post about facemasks, as I’m a keen lover of Lush’s amazing range and facemasks are often just dismissed with the stereotypes of either giggly tweens at a sleepover or frantic ageing beauties clinging to chemical peels – a far cry from the natural and skin-loving products on offer today.

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Leeds Haul and the Evils of Travelling.

October 2, 2012

Today I went to Leeds to grab a Nando’s with a friend and pick up my laptop (nearly a month after I left it in @whenflowersfall‘s car boot after London Fashion Week). It’s been a lovely day, I managed to switch my studded iPhone clutch from Urban Outfitters, which I really wouldn’t recommend that you purchase, for the following reasons: when I went to buy the first one in London, the cashier recommended that I picked a different one as the studs looked like they were about to fall off – which I did and secondly, to add salt to it, the one I actually bought shed two studs within 3 days of taking it home – then my boyfriend dropped one of them under the floorboards trying to fix it, bless him. Yeah, steer clear of it anyway – it looks very cool but unless you don’t fancy taking your manicured paws off it for one whole second, I’d leave it on the shelf. Sorry Urbies…

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Ebony. 25. Manchester.
Marketing Manager who likes to mouth off on here about stuff she cares about. Expect mental health, Borderline Personality Disorder, and reviews - from restaurants, to books, to fashion. Talks to cats more than people, but seemingly has a lot to say.
ebonylaurenn@gmail.com