Sunday, 20 July 2014

Dining Al Fresco at Piccadilly Gardens Pizza Express

B and I were kindly invited along to dine at Pizza Express in Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester. Now, I've been to plenty of Pizza Express joints before (the St Andrews branch was frequently visited while I was at university) but none have been quite like this! We chose to sit outdoors and dine al fresco on this occasion, the warm Manchester breeze was too tempting to  miss out on, not to mention the beautiful view. The restaurant is set just at the edge of Piccadilly Gardens, right across from the Manchester Eye. On a sunny day like this it was easy to forget we were in the city at all.
Pizza Express Manchester Review
Piccadilly Gardens Manchester
After settling in our seats, we were promptly attended to by the super friendly waiter (hilariously tried to photobomb our olive money shot!!) who sorted out a lovely glass of rose and some of the yummy new Olives Marinate, which have pink peppercorns (which I avoided because I don't like the feeling of crunching into peppercorns!) in the marinate. Armed with snacks and drinks, we got well and truly stuck into the summer menu.
Pizza Express Olives Marinate
Pizza Express Olives Marinate Photobomb
JustRach Pizza Express Menu
A sucker for a good bruschetta, I opted for the Bruschetta Originale for my starter, as did B. It swayed from the typical crunchy bread you tend to get, and instead had a delicious, warm, doughy loaf with delicious traditional toppings.
Pizza Express Bruschetta Originale
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The sun was starting to hide away behind the clouds once we'd conquered our starters - it was lovely to admire the beautiful scenery whilst sipping on wine and awaiting our main course.

Of course, a trip to Pizza Express would not be complete without a pizza! I'm usually one to opt for something from the Al Forno choices, but I decided to go for pizza this time. Wanting to try something a little different I chose the Emilia, a brand new edition to the menu, featuring mushrooms, goats cheese, mozzarella and best of truffle oil. Yum, yum! It had a very earthy taste, definitely different from tomato based pizzas, but non-the-less delicious!
Manchester Eye Big Wheel Sunset Sky
Pizza Express Emilia Pizza
Pizza Express Emilia Pizza Black Truffle Oil
As a side we were recommended the polenta chips. I've never had polenta before, as far as I can remember, although I do recall my nonna mentioning it. The chips had an interesting taste, not unpleasant, but not something I can quite put my finger on either. The honey and mustard dressing they came with made them a delicious tangy accompaniment to my earthy pizza.
Pizza Express Polenta Chips
B was a somewhat typical guy and went for the Diavolo. Considering it translates as Devil in Italian, you can imagine what this pizza is like - spice on top of meat, on top of spice, on top of meat...
Pizza Express Diavolo Pizza
Pizza Express Diavolo Pizza Tabasco
The main event, for me, will always be the dessert! Life is all about pudding. I am obsessed with vanilla flavoured things. Most people see vanilla as a very plain flavour, but it's something I just can't get enough of - it's sweet, creamy, aromatic, heady and lingering. Naturally, when I saw that one of the new dessert offerings was a vanilla panna cotta, my decision was instantly made. I wasn't disappointed either, it was deliciously creamy and with a lovely strong taste of vanilla running throughout. Plus, I'm sure you'll agree it looks gorgeous - just feat your eyes on the speckles of fresh vanilla bean!
Pizza Express New Vanilla Panna Cotta
Pizza Express Vanilla Panna Cotta
B went for the tiramisu, being a coffee lover. He gives it the thumbs up (I'm not a huge coffee fan so I didn't try it) and I trust his judgement, so I reckon it was pretty good! It certainly looked delicious.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic
After devouring our puddings, with very full bellies we sat out on the front enjoying the last of the sunlight over the gardens and people watching to our hearts content.
We'd like to say a huge thanks to PizzaExpress for inviting us and to the brilliant staff who really made our visit a pleasant one, we were properly looked after!
Are you a pizza, or Italian food fan? What would your ideal pizza look like?

I'd love your comments and thoughts below, or: @justrachblog //

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Tag: Summer

The Summer Tag

Thanks to the lovely Kelly from Northern Roots (who is one of my sponsors this month, so do go and say hi) for tagging me! I've not done a tag in ages, but I really liked the questions for this one.

1. What’s your favourite thing about Summer?
The sunshine! I love a good blue sky sunny day and the feeling of the sun against my skin.

2. Do you have a favourite Summer drink?
Pimm's with all the trimmings, of course! Have you checked out my home recipe?

3. Is there a location you like to go to each Summer?
Not anywhere particular that I can think of, but I do love visiting National Trust spots, they're perfect for picnics in the lovely weather.

4. Favourite makeup look for Summer?
I love to look a little sun-kissed and as natural as possible in the summer. I always hope that a slight tan will do all the talking, so make-up isn't needed so much. I feel like I look so much healthier with a bit of a glow.

5. Dresses or skirts?
Dresses! I feel skirts can actually be quite restrictive. The more feminine and flowy the better :)

6. Sandals or ballet pumps?
I am a ballet pump addict and have been for as long as I can remember. I think feet are the weirdest part of the human body, toes especially, and I'm really only just coming round to the idea of sandals and open toed shoes. If I'm in a rush I'd always grab for the pumps.

7. Do you prefer to wear your hair up or down for Summer?
I don't like wearing my hair up at any time of the year, I look like a pre-teen with my hair in a ponytail! I often pin the front bits up at the side to give it some lift and keep it off my face.

8. Deep smokey eyes or bold lips?
I am rubbish at eye make-up. I'm a pro at mascara and I've just about cracked even eyeliner with a pen liner. I am atrocious at eyeshadow. I love a good bright, fun coloured lipstick for day time summery jaunts, or a bold red for nights out.

9. Favourite perfume for Summer?
I'm not one of those people who has loads of perfumes, in fact I'm quite the opposite, I just have one at a time - and I usually repurchase the same one for a few years too (creature of habit). Plus psychology tells us that familiarity of smell makes people trust you more, so I like to stick to the same scent. At the moment I'm on Calvin Klein Eternity.

10. Last but not least, favourite music for Summer?
Drum and bass, chill-out house with a sprinkling of dubstep thrown in for good measure.

I really enjoyed answering the questions in this tag, I feel like I got to write about some things you wouldn't have otherwise known about me! I tag some of my favourite blogs at the moment: Theodora, Lydia and Abby. I can't wait to see your answers! xo

I'd love your comments and thoughts below, or: @justrachblog //

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Friday, 18 July 2014

Blue & White: The Colour Combo of the Summer

JustRach Warehouse Spotlight Dress
Warehouse Spotlight Dress Details
Warehouse Spotlight Dress Back
Persunmall White Coral Clasp Bracelet
Persunmall White Coral Clasp Bracelet Close Up
JustRach Warehouse Spotlight Blue Dress
New Look White Wedge Heels
Quiz Jacket Warehouse Dress PersunMall Bracelet
Dress c/o Warehouse // Blazer c/o Quiz Clothing // Shoes: New Look // Necklace c/o oNecklace // Bracelet c/o PersunMall
Happy weekend! More importantly though, for me anyway, happy summer!! It is officially the start of the summer holidays for me, the shortest one I've had in years but I'm going to make the most of the time to relax before September rolls around again.

I've talked before about my love for a good white and blue combo, so I thought it was about time I showcased one. Bob and I went out for a lovely meal this week to celebrate the end of a very long year of hard work.

I popped on this gorgeous blue swishy number from Warehouse, which I hope you'll agree has the loveliest detailing at the front (I think that's my favourite part!) and a really pretty back too. It's very lightweight, so it's night and cool in this heat we've been having. I teamed it with all white accessories, which I think are perfect in the summer for really bringing out that little bit of tan the British sunshine offers. The white blazer is from Quiz and was perfect in the evening when it got a little chilly. The wedges are from New Look, I bought them last year for my graduation and they've been stored away since then - I think the cutouts are perfect for summer so this was a great opportunity to get them out again. To top it off I wore a lovely bracelet from PersunMall, which looks a lot like coral and really reminds me of holidays on the beach, and my little name necklace from oNecklace.

(Pssst - You can get 10% off oNecklace on Etsy using JustRach at checkout!)

What's your go-to summer colour combo?

I'd love your comments and thoughts below, or: @justrachblog //

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Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Etsy Lusts #1

JustRach Etsy Finds

I have an obsession with Etsy that I just can't deny. It's one of those sites that always leaves a burning hole in my pocket. Not only are all the things I find on there just perfectly quirky, but I really love supporting small, independent businesses. Power to the people yo! (Can't believe I just wrote that)

So each week I'm going to be coming at you with things that I feel I can't live without (which is everything I ever find on Etsy, so this is going to be a challenge!) Enjoy!

Since buying my iPhone I've been on an obsessive hunt for the most adorable, quirkiest cases I can find. This gorgeous floral number from CMBCollections has just been added to my lust list. Can't cope.

Moving house is high up on the list of "things going on in my life right now" - and while I'm clearing up rubbish, bleaching everything to within an inch of it's life, and painting what seems like a thousand walls - I'm daydreaming of all the beautiful things that will fill the house once the bare bones are ready. I really love these gorgeous cushions from EarthCadets, I just hope the pink ones aren't too girly for B! (Want to check out our house progress? Head over to FromTheLarksNest to keep up-to-date)

I adore temporary tattoos because I'm too chicken to have real ones done. I've posted about my SpiritInk ones before and I've recently come across these absolute stunners from Tattoorary. I can't believe the incredible detail they have. My favourite at the minute is these beautiful swallows! Just look at the shading. It's love!

Are you an Etsy lover too? What do you think of this week's lusts?
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Monday, 14 July 2014

JustRach hits 1000 Giveaway!

JustRach 1000 Bloglovin Followers
Wow, wow, wow! I can't quite believe that I've finally hit this milestone. If you'd have told me way back in 2010 when I started writing (really awful) blog posts about the rubbish that I got up to at uni, that one day I'd have 1000 people stopping by to read what I had to say, I'd have chuckled right at you! I won't go into all the soppy because the 4 year blogiversary strikes in August! You'll have to hold on until then to hear all about the history of JustRach.

For now, what I want to say most of all is THANK YOU. I'm not very good at this sort of stuff, I used to be, but for some reason I can't really find the words these days. More than anything else I could possibly say - thank you, thank you, thank you! I wouldn't be sitting here writing this post if it wasn't for each and every one of you. It's cheesy and cliche but reading the lovely comments you leave on here, and on SM, makes my day. Every time I get a notification that someone's read one of my posts, you can guarantee I've got a little grin on my face. 

This blog has seen me through a lot, and it's the interaction, warmth and support from you lovely readers that's kept me here year after year. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

I've decided that such a milestone simply cannot go by without a giveaway. It's going to run for 2 months because I'm in the process of making up a pretty nifty big box of awesome goodies. I will do a sly reveal of various items every so often - so keep your eyes peeled! As always the rules are simple, use the Gleam widget below and make sure you do all of the mandatory entries so you're not disqualified. It's open worldwide too! GOOD LUCK!

1000 Bloglovin Followers

I'd love your comments and thoughts below, or: @justrachblog //

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