Burgers and Steak at Black Dog Bowl, Manchester

Last time I featured Black Dog Bowl in Manchester, was when I had that Beer Butt Chicken (see the blog post here). Located down the 'bottom end' of Manchester, on the walk from Oxford Road round to Deansgate, Black Dog Bowl is one of those quirky places worth the walk from town. Not only are they responsible for the delectable food I am about to tell you all about, but they also have a bowling alley in the back of the restaurant/bar area.

I usually loathe bowling, as the alleys are full of snot nosed kids and stinking shoes, but Black Dog Bowl makes bowling actually... fun. With an intimate set of lanes and a bar which provides a whole host of tasty cocktails (with and without the Big Lebowski Theme) it's the perfect location to start a bangin' night out in Manchester.

Burgers and Steak at Black Dog Bowl, Manchester

So lets start with the Cocktails. To accompany our meal we probably shouldn't have gone for the milk based ones, as they can be a little filling can't they? When you're unaware of the gigantic meals you're about to receive though, this really can be put down as one of those occasions where ignorance truly is bliss. Now, forgive me for not remembering the names of these bad boys, as they're not on the main Dog Bowl website yet to jog my memory, What I can tell you though is that they were freaking delicious. The smaller glass containing a milky mix of Kahlua and Coffee with cream, whilst the larger glass was a coconut based rum beverage which made dreams come true.

Luckily, we did skip starters, as the portion sizes were generous to say the least. I don't know why this was so surprising to us? I mean, we all know deep down that ordering an 8oz steak is a good, yet filling choice on any occasion. But ordering it with a side of 'Whole Hog Fries'? Oh I really was living the dream.

Burgers and Steak at Black Dog Bowl, Manchester

The Whole Hog Fries came as a mixture of sweet potato and skin on fries, coated in cheese, bacon pulled pork and pork scratchings for an adding crunch. Jesus Christ I could have just eaten 5 bowls of these. The mixture of sweet potato and an occasional crunch within the gooey melted cheese and pulled pork was just amazing. One of those dishes that is a full on 10/10 would recommend. 

Not thinking this through, my steak did actually come with a side of fries anyway. I did try one or two so I was able to give a full review (winky face) and they were cooked to perfection. That lovely, slightly chewy skin on texture with a light seasoning. Yum. 

The main event was the steak itself though. Marinated with garlic and rosemary. this melt in your mouth meaty treat was, just... Oh words cannot describe. It was so succulent and packed full of flavour that the creamy peppercorn sauce didn't even get a look in. There's not much else I can actually say about the steak, apart from it was one of the best bits of meat I've possibly ever had. Thank you for being a part of my life, steak. It was a pleasure knowing you.

Coming back to the deliciously stacked burger up in the first image, this bad boy was listed on the menu simply as 'Steak & Bacon'. One could have not prepared for the ultimate patty party that arrived in front of us. A steak burger, wrapped in bacon with pit beans, cheese cheese and a dollop of delicious sauce made up this piece of culinary heaven. I always love when a burger is 'juicy' (if you've had the sliders at Almost Famous you'll know what I mean), and the Steak & Bacon from Black Dog Bowl was juicy AF. Amazing.

Despite specialising in Jewellery making as part of my degree, it's actually very rare that I will wear it. I'm not sure why though, as I do own quite a lot when I look in my jewellery box (which is currently just collecting dust). When Jon Richards got in touch to see if I'd like to feature the range, I knew the first thing I would look for would be some stacking rings. I'm obsessed with the idea of them! It was shortly after opening the website that I noticed these 3 tone rings and it was love at first click.

Combining the elements of a Russian Wedding Ring, which is usually three metals intertwined in to one ring; these stacking rings follow the same metal composition. With a silver, gold and copper tone making up the trio, they are delicately finished with some little faux-diamonds to add an extra touch of sparkle. 

To match the ring set, I also chose some rope/snake chain style bracelets in the same colours. I really like the fastening on these bracelets as it's a simple magnetic clip concealed inside a large bead shaped component! This makes them really easy to take off and put on, but it also a strong enough magnet to ensure they don't fall off. I often find bracelets fit way too big on my wrists too, but these are just right.

If I hadn't of seen the price of these beforehand, I would have assumed the rings alone would be at least around the £100 mark.. But the reality is that you can pick up the ring set and the bracelets together for much less than that. The bracelets and rings both cost a mere £20 for each set. 

You can find the Jon Richard Jewellery range in Debenhams stores throughout the UK,

SPRITZ: Your hair with a sea salt or texturising spray.
TWIST: The two side sections by your fringe backwards to the center of the back of your head.
SECURE: With three bobby grips.

TIP: Spray the bobby grips/pins with some texturising hairspray before you put them in your hair for added grip.

Every now and again I take a look in my bag and do a quick count of just how many lipsticks I'm hoarding in there. Apparently, as well as the 4 in the image above, I feel the need to have an additional 8 lipsticks in my every day bag. Totally normal behaviour, right? It seems a majority of these lipsticks are nude shades, with the odd bold one thrown in for good measure. As it would be very time consuming to feature all of them, here are my 4 most recent nude lipstick purchases.

Pop Beauty Permanent Pout in Pink Honey: I got this from work the other day (the pros of working for beauty websites prevails again), as it's a sister brand of the beloved-by-all Pixi Skincare. Not to be confused with the cult American lipstick brand ColorPop, these permanent lip pouts are a liquid formula which dry in a water resistant matte finish. I absolutely LOVE the shade and the finish once dry, however, I have found that when worn in consecutive days I do find my lips begin to dry out. An utter shame, but it's definitely a go-to lip product for nights out, as the minimal need to re-application is perfect for a night when drinking is more important than your lipstick maintenance. For 12 quid a go, the price is also pretty reasonable too.

Revlon Ultra HD Matte Colour in Seduction: I only bought this as every time I went in to any high street store this particular shade was ALWAYS sold out. I'm not sure if it has been featured by someone particularly influential, but the lack of availability somehow made me need it more. The range has been praised for it's long-wearing finish so I knew I'd have to invest at some point anyway. One lunch time I just so happened to grab the last one on the shelf in Superdrug and parted with my £8.99 and went on my merry way. The longevity is great and the finish is almost satin, rather than matte. I do find that this shade is so similar to my actual lips that it's hard to evaluate the exact duration of wear, but I can say that it's the ultimate 'your lips but better' product.

Born - Seduction - Pink Honey - Looking Buff
Illamasqua Rose Gold Lipstick in Born: Ugh, the day I got this I went to take blog pictures and somehow dropped it, snapped the actual lipstick from the packaging. Gutted ain't the word... Anyway, I managed to warm it with a hairdryer and stick it back in, but the aesthetic is simply not as wonderful as when it was brand new *sigh*. This is the perfect every day lipstick both in formula and shade, as the dusky pink warmth to an otherwise standard nude, adds a nice touch of colour to my lips. It slicks on easily in comparison to other Illamasqua formulas and manages to keep my lips slightly moisturised throughout the day. 

Seventeen Mega Matte in Looking Buff: These bad boys are only £3.49 in Boots at the moment and despite having more lipsticks than the store itself, I couldn't resist the offer. These are ultra matte lipsticks in a range of colours that apply easily to your lips. This shade is on the darker side of the nude scale, but as my lips are apparently the same colour as most nude shades anyway, that's a good thing. The lipstick-to-cup transfer is minimal, which is always a reassuring sign of a long wear formula. I might nip back some point for more....

It seems that whenever I wear anything from Primark I get a few compliments on my outfit that day. I could literally dress from head to toe in the most garishly fashionable outfit in the world and no one even looks at it. But make minimum effort with a £10 Shirt Dress from Primark and outfit comments will head my way throughout the day.

I picked up this particular shirt dress from Primark a few weeks ago. On the hanger it looked like a shapeless and kind of drab garment. Once I popped it on and added a slim belt though, it seemed to transform in to such an effortless and comfortable choice for a summer day. The length is also perfect for days when you forget to fake tan/shave your legs!

The shoes are also from Primark a few months ago. The heel height is perfect for every day wear and I surprised to find they were real leather for the £14 price tag.

Primark really is a bit hit and miss with the seasonal transition and I'm finding myself really having to dig and give less appealing clothes a go, in the hope to find something snazzy. I think I was lucky with this outfit, but have you picked up anything good lately?

For the last month or so I have been suffering from really dry skin on my face. I've not changed any products and I've been drinking a shed load of water, but for some reason my complexion keeps appearing really dry and flakey. In the morning it's not as noticeable, but as the day goes on, my foundation seems to suck the moisture out of my skin and it becomes a weird, cakey, dry mess. I look like a really poor quality extra from The Great British Bake Off.

In times of skin need, I always head back to French Pharmacy brands. Vichy. La Roche Posay and Avene all base their formula's on thermal water from sources in France. Each brand is tailored towards specific skin needs and are renowned for their products which help to prevent and soothe skin conditions. 

I first discovered French Pharmacy brands when the dermatitis on my fingers flared for the billionth time and I wanted to avoid using steroid creams. Now I have a massive bottle of Avene Cleansing Oil on my sink, which I use as a hand wash and my dermatitis stays controlled by making this one small change. I really can't fault these skincare brands for helping specific skin needs.

Of course, since I have a specific skin need for my dry, dry face, I took a look at some of the new products from these brands over at Escentual. Alongside the new Vichy Quenching Mineral Mask, which I have been eyeing up since it was launched, there's also the new Avene Tolerance Extreme Mask and La Roche Posay Toleriane Ultra Overnight Serum. Granted, you won't need all three of these skincare wonder kids to soothe and solve your dry skin, but I've been rotating all 3 and my skincare woes are now at bay.

Out of all three products, the one I was most looking forward to was the Vichy Mask. It smells deliciously fresh and reminds me of watermelon! You simply apply a thick layer and let it work its magic for 5 minutes and then massage the remaining product in to your skin. My face feels instantly soothed and the next day I have a lovely plump feeling to it. As it's a gel formula it's also perfect for my particular complexion - which can be spot prone when I use heavier cream formulas.

Saying that though, as a weekly skin-thirst quencher, the Avene mask also has a big part to play in solving my skin woes. As mentioned, I already use products from the Avene range for my dermatitis and their fuss free approach is perfect for those after a long term solution. The new Tolerance range prides itself on only using 7 key ingredients which makes it incredibly friendly for allergy prone and hyper sensitive skin types. 

Finally, the La Roche Posay Ultra Overnight is taking inspiration from the Asian skincare craze of overnight masks, and does the skincare magic work whilst you sleep. I was expecting this to be slightly thicker in consistency, but it's very lightweight and absorbs fairly quickly really! If you want to wake up in the morning feeling like P Diddy, but with a complexion to rival a ripe peach, then give this one a whirl. I've also found it soothes spots as well as dry skin,  helping to get rid of redness by the next morning too.

If you fancy trying any of these, Escentual always have great offers on their French Pharmacy brands and at the moment appear to have 20% off EVERYTHING on site. You can't say fairer than that!