Top 4 Places To Run In South Manchester

Fletcher Moss Gardens

A beautiful botanical garden and park with playing fields situated in East Didsbury. Great for more than just running  truly an oasis from the hustle and bustle of Manchester.

Possibilities: Endless. Fletcher Moss is an awesome place to do so many different training sessions. There is a flat cinder loop that is perfect if you want to run laps, or do intervals. There are also some hills that aren’t too steep, but long enough to hurt. Not only are there the paths within the park, the park also connects to the canal. The canal is pretty cool for those of you that like to run for miles without having to take a sharp turn or run in repetitive loops.

Obstacles: Due to this park also having a botanical garden and being in Didsbury, it does receive a big footfall. If you go at peak times expect dogs, children, families and joggers. I would recommend going quite early, or a bit later on during the weekend if you want a smooth run. In terms of puddles, on the cinder loop you may have to swerve one or two but your new shoes will be relatively safe on the loop. The canal and other connecting paths are prone to big puddles, so avoid wearing your best shoes…

Chorlton Waterpark

A green spot with no concrete in sight. If you’re really brave you can even dip a toe into the murky depths of the pond.

Possibilities: The waterpark is full of opportunity. There are a number of hills dotted around the park. The loop around the water is a great place to run. This loop is quite nice because it is undulating, so it challenges your body a little more than just running on the flat. If you venture further into the park you will reach the canal and on the other side of the canal you will find more running trails.

Obstacles: This park gets even busier than Fletcher Moss. Not only are there dogs, families and bikes; There are also running groups and bootcamps. Again, just play around with training times and find when works best for you. This park can get quite a few puddles, especially on the path and the canal.

Fallowfield bike path

A great little spot to run when trying to avoid cars and traffic lights.

Possibilities: Initially limited, because the path is just a straight line, but if you use your imagination you can create so many different sessions. The path is slightly undulating, especially closer to the Fallowfield side. I prefer the path for a quick run, it is nothing special, just a relatively safe place to run away from the roads.

Obstacles: The bike gates can be annoying if people are going through them at the same time as you. There are a lot of cyclists if you run during rush hour, this isn’t really a problem and it’s quite nice to run where there are other people.

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Hough End Playing Fields

A big grassy field for when you’re feet are sick of the concrete.

Posibilities: You can create various loops for intervals etc. and/or steady runs. I wouldn’t travel from afar to run here. There is a leisure centre with a gym and pool, there is also a little fitness station, which may be useful for circuits.

Obstacles: During football and rugby season, the fields can be filled with people on Sunday mornings. Other than that you may see a few dog walkers and horses, but they have never been a problem. The grass can also be very bumpy, especially during the off season for football, as they don’t cut grass often. The only real issue with this field is that it can become incredibly waterlogged.

5 Reasons to visit Salento.

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I only heard about Puglia after scrolling through websites to find the cheapest flight to somewhere with sunshine.  Puglia is what we’d describe as the heel of the boot which is Italy.  Salento is the Southern part of that region.  The strange thing that I’ve found is that barely any of my UK friends have heard of Puglia, let alone Salento.  Now that Ryanair fly there, I think that things may change.

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Here are 5 reasons we should, or perhaps should not, be telling our friends about this hidden gem.

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The Beaches

The water is perfect, cool enough to refresh you from the constant heat, clear enough to see the white sand beneath and silky enough to feel like you’re entering into a dreamworld.  There is every type of beach you could ever want; grottos with turquoise waters; White sandy beaches that stretch on for an eternity with crystal clear water; rocky areas to scuba dive; Rocks and Piers to jump into the deep blue sea for a thrill. For all the geography nerds out there, if you visit Leuca the Adriatic and Ionian seas meet and at certain times it has been known to be able to distinguish between the two.

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The People.

In the vast majority of the areas we visited within Salento, the locals weren’t accustomed to meeting many english speaking tourists.  Most of visitors that we came across were Italians from the bigger cities. Due to there being so few foreigners most of the locals could not really speak English. Despite this, we never had a problem. People would always have time to stop and help you or just smile at you and continue to have a friendly sounding Italian conversation with you.

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The Places

If you have a car, it is possible to do a mini road trip of the region.  Salento is stunning. Filled with little stereotypical rustic little towns.  You’ll always find a church in the heart of the town. vintage fiat 500s and various other vintage Italian cars are driven around. My favourote vehicle to see on the road was the 3 wheeler piaggio’s driven by all of the farmers.  Drive anywhere and you’ll find something interesting – an old castle, a religious festival, a cute coffee bar – The simple things were usually the most beautiful.

 

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The Food

You can expect all of the fruit and veg to be fresh, ripe and tasty.  All of the restaurants will be using goods that are in season and produced locally.  Pasta shells, made in the nearby village and fish caught on the same day – Delicious!

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The Tranquility

Because there are very few foreign tourists, Salento wasn’t overcrowded.  There are certain beaches and areas that are in high demand, especially in August.  But most places are sleepy and traditional.  Siestas are very much a factor to take into consideration.  This being said, there are plenty of bars, beach parties and festivals to keep you entertained. Whilst we were visiting, the light festival of Santa Domenica took place.  Huge structures dotted with lights were erected to create an awesome light show accompanied by music. We had no idea what was really going on, but it was so cool.

#AllLivesMatter

Normally I keep my mouth shut when things go viral. Not because I don’t care, but because I don’t like to speak without knowing all of the facts. 

Once again #BlackLivesMatter is doing the rounds again. This is a disgusting thing to have to find trending so often. 

People don’t deserve to be treated this way.

Hearing these stories makes me realise how important the way we treat and inspire others is. 

I am proud to be part of DMSF that shows all of our young people that they can be whatever they want to be. No matter where they live, what colour their skin is or how much money they currently have.
Opportunity, purpose and big dreams is the only way young minorities are going to break the stereotypes. 

I’m not just talking about black people. I’m talking about anyone that has ever been stereotyped, labelled and misunderstood. That’s all of us then isn’t it.

Thank you DMSF for giving me the opportunity to create more opportunities.

4 Quirky Eateries in Manchester

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Black Milk Cereal Dive

Pizza and cereal are my life. I have been meaning to visit this swanky cereal cafe for a long time. Situated in Afflecks Palace, the place looks nothing out of the ordinary, apart from the wall filled with various cereal boxes. They sell ‘cereal cocktails’ – I decided to go for the American Dream, this contains an assortment of American cereals, m&m’s, oreos and roasted marshmallows in an edible, white chocolate bowl. At £6.90 the prices are waaaay steep, this is a good thing. A deterrent is needed to stop you from visiting the place too much. Diabetes and Black Milk definitely go hand in hand! The service was awesome, the place is a unique spot to have a real sweet treat. Eat responsibly, enjoy!

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Mowgli – Corn Exchange

The refurbished corn exchange is beautiful. There are so many restaurants I have yet to visit.  On my most recent visit I went to Mowgli. Yes it is a chain, so it’s a safe option. But I like the decor and relaxed atmosphere. I also really like the corn exchange in itself, so any excuse to eat there is a good one. The food is tasty, it’s almost like an Indian tapas restaurant. It’s nice to be able to choose so many little bits, the aesthetics were definitely the enticing factor for me.

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Home Sweet Home

The first thing that comes to mind when I think of this place is sickly cakes that are far too big and full of sugar. There is actually so much more to their menu than the crazy cakes. They have recently expanded and opened a new restaurant in Great Northern, Manchester. My favourite is definitely the original in the Northern Quarter as it is more intimate, however at times it can be claustrophobic and loud so the Great Northern is a good alternative for a bit more room. There’s an American vibe to the food. You definitely feel like it’s a cheat day. But if you want to over indulge every once in a while, this is a place for you.

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Kettlebell kitchen

Unlike the other three places mentioned in this post, Kettlebell will leave you feeling guilt free and satisfied at the same time. I chose a ‘kettlebox’, this is where you can you pick a base, a protein, a salad and sauce to make your own meal. Kettlebell is perfect for the days where you really don’t fancy cooking, but want to keep things healthy.

Leicester winning the league, Euromillions and a girl that scraped her way through her first year of college.


I have never bought a lottery ticket. The lack of control doesn’t appeal to me. 

After shadowing the award winning barrister Tunde Okewale, the last thing he did was buy a lottery ticket. “I’ll probably never visit Bolton again, I should buy a lottery ticket.” I told him of my lack of faith in winning millions, he quoted the often used phrase “You’ve got to be in it to win it.”

No matter how much I disagree, I have to agree.

This isn’t just about lottery tickets. It’s about everything. Opportunities don’t just happen, you have to engineer them into motion.

No matter how cheesy it sounds, anything is possible. Fact.

Almost like ground hog day, the key message that Tunde would always refer back to is “If people say it’s too hard, that means it’s worth going for.”

Something that I have learnt, primarily through sport is to set goals. What do I want to do in 5 years time? What do I want at the end of the season? What do I need to be doing today?

Those of you that follow my instagram will have seen my post from a few weeks ago: “You may not see it today. You may not see it in two months time. But eventually you’ll look back and thank yourself for putting in the work and making it that little bit easier for the person you are today.”

This is something that has been very evident the past few months. Begin with the small things if needs be. Do the washing tonight even though you’re tired, you don’t want to wake up to a pile of dirty plates.

Curly hair, don’t care.

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My blog posts often portray that I seem to know what I’m talking about, who I am and what I’m doing with myself.

I actually don’t.

Especially when it comes to hair.

As you may have noticed, I have curly hair.

I generally have three hairstyles: a bun, French braids or out.

I would have more hairstyles, but I do not own a straightener, nor do I know how to straighten my hair by myself.

I’d often to wear my hair straight as a child, because all of my friends had straight hair and I was embarrassed of my big, fluffy hair. I then cut it all off, I’m not sure what the logic was behind that??

After years of trial and error I’d say that I feel more confident in my hair now than I did growing up.

It’s reassuring to see more young people wearing their hair curly in the media (Annie in the latest version of the film, Tip in Home, Amandla etc). My biggest natural hair icon as a child was Alicia Keys, I don’t remember seeing anyone else.

I hope that the next generation of curly and straight haired kids make the most of their pretty hair and feel confident wearing it however they want.

This brings me on to my next topic – dreadlocks.

I’m not sure whether any of you have watched the recent video, where a woman accuses a white man of cultural appropriation for having dreadlocks. This isn’t the first time this subject has been bought up, it’s just the most recent/viral.

I’m not going to delve much further into this topic.

Just two thoughts: I as a little girl would have liked to have seen more people wearing their hair in ‘canerows’ to help make me feel normal. I didn’t care what race the person was. Also, who cares? If a person is kind, then surely the way they dress/wear their hair is irrelevant.

I have bigger things to worry about. Such as revising for exams, world peace, walking my dog and combing my hair.

Clothes, hairstyles and music are about what makes you the person you are.

Goodnight x

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Top 3 Pizza Places in Manchester

I love pizza. Those of you that have been on a pizza date with me will know that I usually ALWAYS order a margarita. Why? Because it is almost impossible to make a bad margarita. Below, in no particular order, are three pizza places in Manchester that make me happy to stray away from my safe yet satisfying safety net of cheese and tomato.

Solomons Cafe Bar – Withington

Wholesome and homemade. Here, I pick pepperoni every time. The cheese, the sauce, the meat, the base – all equate to the ultimate feel good treat. These pizzas could almost be described as the love child of an American and an Italian Pizza; Not too heavy. Not leaving you feeling too guilty, but still giving you the satisfaction of a good cheat day.

Slice – Northern Quarter

Stylish and sophisticated. Thin based, snack sized rectangles with a variety of bespoke toppings. My favourite is the proscuitto, buffalo mozzarella, rocket and tomato. The quirky toppings make you want to mix and match. Why have one, when you can have three?! Not only is the pizza ‘buono’, they also serve gelatos and coffee. I love this place because it leaves me with memories of my summer in Sardinia – Oh how I miss Italy…

23rd Street – Fallowfield

Sometimes you just want to get down and dirty. This is my go to, non chain takeaway pizza. Affordable and rectangular – yes please. It also looks really cool on snapchat… Not that that matters or anything! For those who prefer the more conventional circular pizza, they sell a mahoosive 20 inch pizza, that will knock you back in terms of any progress you’ve made in the gym that week. It sure tastes good though, so why not? The only thing that keeps 23rd Street from becoming the takeaway of takeaways is the fact that they don’t have curly fries. Hint hint.

Sugar tax is great, but does it really get to the root of the problem?

Those of you that know me know that I have more than just a sweet tooth. Some of you may even describe it as an addiction.

I’m sure I’m not the only one that can go overboard with sugar. If we are to class sugar as an addiction, will raising the prices of sugary food really do what the government want?
The whole notion of an addiction is that one will do ANYTHING to feed that habit.

Instead of a sugar tax, perhaps there could be government subsidised good quality sporting classes.

I have found that the more active I am, the more healthy I want to be overall. The more I train, the less I want sugar.

Two and a half months on from leaving a heavily subsidised athletics group and only now have I realised the cost of being healthy.

I paid £220 for a fun and challenging 8 week boot camp with Nathan Cockroft. It was the best thing I’ve tried out so far. As a student I wouldn’t be able to support that for a whole year; £10 for a one off hot yoga session; One of the cheaper classes I found was Thai boxing at £4. The only problem was that I’d have to get two buses to get there. Two buses that wouldn’t be covered by my bus pass, not to mention the time spent travelling. Time that I struggle to find after uni, coaching, waitressing and Netflix.

The sport I can do for free is great, I love to run and do circuits in the park. But following numerous attacks in Manchester parks on runners, I wouldn’t want to train on my own with that fear. 

We can’t be beaten by the bullies though. It is encouraging to read that there is a meet up in Fog Lane park this Saturday, as a response to a recent attack, to give sporty people an opportunity to train together.

At the end of the day it’s down to us. If we can’t afford a class, prioritise – Do you really need those expensive shoes? If the answer is yes, which it usually is for me. Stop complaining. Get a few friends together and go to the park. Do YouTube circuits. 

Do something.

I don’t know what to do with myself..


 2 and a half months on and I’m beginning to regret my decision.
The past week i have met with a few old friends. The conversation goes like this every time, them: “how’s running going?” Me: “I don’t run anymore, I just couldn’t find that hunger to run well.” Them: “I can’t believe that. You were so determined/dedicated/talented.” Me: “ughhhh.”

Maybe they are right.

I don’t know. Yes there is element of truth. Yes I do miss it. But there is more to me than that. What I do really miss though is the constant gratification that you get from running. Good races and bad races both make you feel really really alive. You have something tangible to respond to.

university is great. We have mocks, we get markers of where we are, but the adrenaline rush isn’t there. I find myself feeling bored.

So, I’ve decided to set myself a goal. Potentially a sporting goal. It needs to be something that will challenge me physically and mentally. If anyone has any ideas, please let me know!

Diane.

I love you Diane.

I remember when we moved back from Norway. I was so shy. You dragged me out and knocked on every door on our road to try to help me find some children to play with. At the time I was filled with embarrassment.

Now I’m just proud of you.

A few months ago you beat me in a race. A few people approached me suggesting that I should be embarrassed.

I was in fact filled with pride. Not many 20 year olds have mothers that can put themselves on the line in a race against their own daughter.

As a child I remember watching you do interval sessions in Alberquerque. You looked so fast, yet so easy.

15 years later and you’ve managed to evolve and be great in a new field, building up your own charity into something really special. Your work hasn’t just been recognised by me, but also by your peers IOD NW Director of the Year – yaaas!

You did good Di.

Thanks for inspiring me.