Blonde Happiness

A Travel and Lifestyle Blog between Manchester and Munich

Calling all fashionistas! Hobbs is back in Manchester. 
The last time I set foot in Hobbs was during the Vogue Fashion´s Night Out 2013 and missed it ever since. So I was absolutely delighted when the news of a new store opening has found its way into my blog inbox.

In my personal opinion I like the new store a lot more than the previous New Cathedral Street location ( Now Michael Kors). For some reason I always found it a bit too stiff and for some reason intimidating, as it was a just a long stretch of a shop flor. The team has chosen Manchesters prime location of King Street (no.1) just on Deansgate, which should get them a lot of walk-ins. Its super bright and airy with wooden floors as  you can see on the pics below. Don´t be mislead by the seemingly small space, the new store has a gorgeous down stairs area with more changing rooms (if you want a bit more privacy) and a chaise longue to try on the stunning shoe collection.

Before you lose yourself in the pictures of beautiful burgers listen: This is burger joint, as fancy and fitting it may seem, is NOT based in the Northern Quarter. I made this painful discovery after walking to the Tib Street NQ and then checking on my phone that it is actually on Tib Lane just off Cross Street. My stomach was growling at that point.

Filthy cow is probably a bit of a misleading name for a place that is so close to burger perfection without being filthy, greasy or overloaded with ingredients ( if you look for 820843 flavour combinations of odd topics don´t come here ). I would actually name this Holy Virginity burger. Or so.

This burger is a thing of simple beauty. It´s good quality meat ( probably the best in Manchester if you ask me- sorry Solita), a sturdy and slightly browned brioche bun with nothing but cheese bacon lettuce and tomato. And a small dollop of home made burger sauce. All for roughly 7 quid. Pair it with a can of soda and fries you have a perfect meal for a tenner. In the Manchester city centre. Amazing.

Die beste Reisezeit für Euren Florida Urlaub

Die spontane und ehrliche Antwort auf diese Frage für mich IMMER. Ich denke es gäbe kaum einen Tag an dem ich nicht sofort meine Koffer packen würde und die Reise nach Florida antreten würde. Das Klima ist generell subtropisch geprägt, die Durschnittstemperaturen fallen ganzjährig nicht unter 10 Grad Celsius. Wenn ihr euch ein Klimadiagramm mal anschaut (google) werdet ihr feststellen, dass es nur zur geringen Schwankungen der Max Temperaturen im Jahresverlauf kommt, d.h. ihr könnt auch im Dezember an der 30 Gradmarke kratzen allerdings im Dezember auch mal Pech haben und um die 5 Grad haben (allerdings nur wenige Tage).

Landeanflug auf Florida an einem September Nachmittag - Die Gewitterwolkentürme sind charakteristisch für die Jahreszeit  / Descend into Florida on a September afternoon with typical thunderstorm clouds
Die größten Schwankungen könnt ihr bezüglich der Regenmenge feststellen. In den heißen Sommermonaten regnet es täglich, wie in tropischen Breitengraden üblich meist gegen Mittag in kräftigen Gewitterschauern. Im Winter, Frühjahr und Herbst dürfte euer Urlaub also etwas trockener ausfallen.

Als ich nach fast 6 Monaten Blog Absitenz beschlossen habe mich stärker auf das Thema Reisen und Food zu fokussieren war auch schnell die Idee geboren einen kleinen Florida Travel Guide zu veröffentlichen.


Leider hat das Thema Florida hier auf dem Blog noch nicht den Stellenwert erreicht dem es eigentlich zu steht, obwohl es eines der Themen ist die mich über die letzten 10 Jahre wohl am meisten begeistert, geprägt und fasziniert haben. Vielleicht habe ich gerade deswegen auch gezögert diesen Teil von meinem Leben öffentlich zu machen und mit anderen zu Teilen. Dennoch wäre es viel zu Schade all diese schönen Erfahrungen undokumentiert zu lassen und nicht an andere Reisehungrige weiterzugeben. Während meinen jährlichen Trips konnte ich so viele Restaurants, Hotels, Strände, Shops und Rezepte ausprobieren die ich gerne, zusammen mit vielen praktischen Tipps und Bildern hier festhalten will.

This is a variation of one of my favourite recipes using some over ripe mushy bananas. Usually I tend to have a couple of them in my kitchen after the week and can never get over to throw them away. The recipe can be used to just make make the cake base and then change it with whatever you have in your cupboard. Instead of using chocolate chips you can use blueberries or nuts or any dried fruit you like.

I´ve left the mascarpone topping out the shopping list, as it is not mandatory but adds a nice touch if you want to take them over to a friend or bring to the office.
Just buy a tub of mascarpone. Easy.

  • 225 g Flour 
  • 1 Egg
  • 90 g Sugar 
  • 4 Tablespoons Milk 
  • 4 Tablespoons Olive Oil 
  • 80 g chocolate chips 
  • 2 Large Ripe Bananas 
  • 1 Teaspoon of Baking Powder

First I tend to make the wet dough, mixing up the bananas, olive oil ( or any other oil you like ), milk and egg for a minute until its getting fluffy. Then I mix it with all the dry ingredients and a hand stir the chocolate chips in.

The dough makes roughly 12 cakes, after baking for 20 min at 200 degrees in your oven.

After cooling its time to just smother the top with mascarpone and add banana slices with a sprinkle of cocoa powder. I like using this simple topping as its super fresh, not sugary and stays quite in shape without adding any other ingredients.
You could also add some of your chocolate chips to it or some lemon zest.

Have fun baking!

Living only a four hours drive away from Italy and enjoying the vast influence of Italian cuisine in Munich on an almost daily basis I do know a thing or two about Italian cooking and food. The typical recipes of the Northern Italien Südtirol region, a few sentences in Italian and what a traditional Italian restaurant look like.

The assumed simplicity of the Italian cuisine has lured many into opening restaurant chains, that mostly serve Italian inspired pasta dishes and the odd tomato and mozzarella salad at most. Yet traditionally the Italian Kitchen brings a lot more flavour and variety to the table.

The Italian restaurants I´ve tried so far were setting the bar fairly high for this evening of the new menu launch of Avalanche. Rio Ferdinand´s Rosso is one of my favourite places to go for a new meal, yet it lacked the friendly, homely and cozy feeling I got accustomed to in Italy, with waiters ranging from just ignorant to arrogant. Just a stone´s throw away Croma and San Carlo are doing an impressive job at good quality food and atmosphere. 

For our blogger evening, the crowd was a good mix between all blog topics, from mummy bloggers to beauty, fashion and obviously food. The reception was nice and friendly, my coat was taken care off and I was handed a glass of wine. Good start. Having a quick look around, the kitchen offered an impressive display of fresh catch and some not so happy looking lobsters were waiting to be rescued from their imminent journey into one of the cooking pans. After a quick welcome drink, we were seated with a cooler of prosecco ( DOC quality ) and our starter was served quickly afterwards.
All tables were set beautifully, complementing the sleek white decor, that seems a tad bit 80s with the blue lighting at some times ( but hey every Italian bar looks a bit like that ). 

For starters we were offered a sharing plate of three different kinds of bruschetta: classic ( delicious fresh tomatoes! ), red pepper antipasti ( not too greasy, still fresh ) and one which I presume consisted of a paste of aubergine, artichoke and courgette. The salsa it was served with tasted slightly but not overpoweringly of sweet fennel. The fried rice ball (arancini), was crisp outside and yummy hot and flavorful on the inside. I could eat more of those. 

For mains we were presented with a Surf and Turf sharing platter. Sole, scampi, lamb and chicken were all to the point. Especially the lamb is to mention here, which certainly is among the best I´ve ever had ( and my mum does a pretty mean shoulder of lamb !). If there is one point of criticism here then it would be the peppercorn sauce. I get that delivering a high standard of sauce for 100 people on the night is tough and chefs are tempted to not do everything from scratch but a) the sauce was not even necessary as the quality of food was outstanding enough and b) you can ALWAYS taste an artificial flavour and c) it is not really an Italian.

Dessert was a trio of cheesecake, chocolate cake and tiramisu. The cheesecake was kind of tangy and not too sweet which I like, the chocolate cake was dense and full of rich dark chocolate flavors. I would have happily just had a giant slice of tiramisu here or maybe some panna cotta instead of cheesecake or profiteroles. 

What really made the evening for me was how absolutely professional, welcoming and attentive all staff were. The manager was not tired of checking on every table, making sure we were ok, but also clearing dishes himself. The waiters were incredibly friendly and provided top class service. 

If there is one thing I would like to pass on to the team of avalanche here, then its that food can be never too Italian, but it can certainly be to "international". Cheesecake and chocolate cake is not necessary when panna cotta, profiteroles and tartufo is your heritage.
Other than that this is certainly in my top list for Italian restaurants in town, now all I have to do is try their pizza!