3 August 2017

5 Tips For Dining Alone #TrulyScrumptious

As I have been talking about a lot on my blog lately, I am on a quest to be more adventurous in my single life.  You don't need to be part of a couple to have fun after all!.  I want to be able to go away on my own, be it a week's holiday or a weekend away.

A city break is something that I am comfortable doing alone and next year I am looking towards trying out a new city for some culture, shopping and new food experiences.  Liverpool!

Whilst I have my plans for the culture element of my trip; as ever, the thing that I am worried about is eating alone.  Having done my research, for the shopping and eating portion of my weekend, Liverpool One has everything that I need.  With over 130 places to eat, I am really looking forward to trying out places I have never been before.  I may be the one person in the UK that has never had a Nandos!

Having tried out eating on my own several times now when I have been out or away alone, here are some tips on how to dine out in style and still feel confident when you are out of your comfort zone. 

Don't Start Out With Dinner

The first time I dined out alone was for breakfast.  I had been on a business night away and was dying for some breakfast.  But alone?  In truth, breakfast on your own is easy and a great place to start.  The only thing people are concerned about at that time in the morning is getting their coffee and something to eat.  No one cares if someone is eating alone.  Their prime thought process is "Give me coffee!!!!!!!!!!!"

Lunch is the next step.  For that, take a little help.

Take Things to Distract You

When you are convinced that people are looking at you eating alone (even though they are more than likely not), you need something to distract you while eating your meal that is going to restore your confidence and reduce your stress levels.

Your phone is the number one aid that is going to help you but I always take a book with me or, if I have some work to do, a little netbook that I can work on while still having a bite to eat and maybe a glass of wine.

Wear Something You Feel Confident In

When we feel good about ourselves, we are more confident.  You don't have to go out wearing a ball gown, the outfit can be as casual as a pair of jeans flip flops.  Just make sure that you feel good wearing it.

Bring Along Some Affirmations

When you are shy, socially awkward and convinced that people are looking at you (even when they aren't) like me, sometimes you need a reminder that you really are OK.  Put a slip of paper in your purse saying "You are doing fine".  Put a reminder on your phone to come up mid way through your meal saying "Enjoy yourself, you are doing this".

The Big One

For me, the hardest and most challenging meal to eat on your own is dinner.  Friends groups, families and couples around you, it is a daunting process.  But try to look at it another way.  One of my friends and I's favourite pastimes is people watching.  You have a whole restaurant to watch!  Is she breaking up with him?  I wonder what those girls are celebrating? How on earth is that family managing to eat with all those children running around?

Use it as entertainment.  Looking down at your food and avoiding eye contact is what will actually make you noticed.

 You can apply these tips to any solo situation when you are out in public.  Make it so that at times when you are alone, you are not alone at all.  You have yourself.  There is nothing wrong with loving some time to yourself.  As those famous boys from Liverpool said:

Love is all you need.

*In collaboration with Liverpool One

1 August 2017

City Lights

When I was a little girl, I always said that I wanted to live in New York when I grew up.  I talked about it all the time.  City living, art, culture, shopping; the Big Apple lured me like a moth to a flame.

These days my dream has changed.  I am far too close to my friends and family to move thousands of miles away from them and the current political climes mean that living in America is nothing something that I would choose.  But city living is still something that I would like to do.

When typing my current address into address verification software, I often look at all the other places that I could be living.  What it is about always wanting what you do not have?  Country dwellers lust after the city lights, city dwellers long for the quiet of the country.  For me at a mid point between the two, the city still pulls me in.

Manchester is not too far away from where I live and it holds me in its heart.  The people are warm, friendly, open hearted and diverse.  The city itself has everything that I want.  Fabulous architecture, great places to eat, art, history and museums.

I love to visit Manchester for the weekend and soak in some culture.  Manchester Cathedral is an absolute must, whatever your religion or lack thereof.  I visited recently on a weekend away and the cathedral which was built in 1847 in a perpendicular Gothic style is a sight to behold.

If you are looking for a night out in the city, Manchester has it all.  I have been there many a time with friends and as part of a couple.  There is all something new to do or a new place to try.

Go have a cocktail at The Botanist, take in a show at the Opera House, have a wander in China Town or go and see some live music.  There are so many restaurants to suit different tastes and I love trying out new tastes and experiences. There are places that cater to you no matter what your budget and there is always a friendly welcome which is typical of the Mancunians. 

While city living is not something that I can accomplish at the moment, Manchester is the place that I would live and its heart and its people are the reason that I keep returning to it.

* Collaborative pieces.  Images are my own and from Pixabay