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My Xmas Memories by Katie

Manchester born and bred Katie runs her personal blog, Katie Alice Lowe – providing an insight into everything from fashion and beauty, to local food & drink and worldwide travel.

It’s no secret that I LOVE Christmas, and I mean... LOVE. It’s 7th November and I’ve already watched a Channel 5 Christmas movie, had a mug of mulled wine AND started my Christmas shopping. I mean...what’s not to enjoy? It’s a season for family time, love, fun, joy and forgiveness.... Which brings me onto a little Christmas memory I’d like to share, and, the inspiration for this post.

Let me tell you about the time Billy ruined my chances with, who we like to call, The Brad Pitt of Manchester. Christmas 2016 - not too long ago by any means - my good friends Billy, Danielle and I are at the Manchester Christmas markets (a MUST go at least 5 times at this time of year FYI). We’re in the main bit of Markets at the town hall, in that bar (/hut??) where you can sit upstairs. We’ve got mulled wine & Bailey’s hot chocolate in hand. I spot my soulmate. He’s tall, dark and handsome and wearing a smart coat and light chinos. Danielle ask’s him to take a photo for us, good plan, Danielle! She’s a great wing-woman. So we end up sitting on the communal seating tables with him and his friend. The chat’s going great.. he’s smiling, i’m smiling.. surely this Brad Pitt look-a-like is about to ask for my number.. cut to Billy being ridiculous as ever, making a huge hand gesture and knocking a hot chocolate... ALL OVER BRAD. Great mood killer, Billy. Brad stands up in shock and I am mortified. The hot chocolate had left a huge brown stain all over his crotch. ON HIS CREAM CHINOS. My instinct told me to grab the nearest tissue and help wipe it off. Wipe his crotch. What was I thinking?!! I just wiped the crotch of the man I just met. Brad and his friend scurried off to clean up and NEVER CAME BACK. I’m red, I’m mortified, we’re all laughing.

I’ve only just forgiven Billy for ruining that moment for me. And that’s why I chose to take him on an early Christmas (it’s never too early) shopping spree with me to Manchester Arndale. I love the Ardnale for it’s vast variation of shops & how easy it is to get too. I always get the metro link into town on a shopping day so I can have a guilt free drink or 3 with lunch/post shopping drinks. Speaking of, I can’t wait for the food area to be open on the ground floor soon, too! We met at Gino’s deli in the morning. It’s brand new and I’m totally drawn in by the super ‘instagrammable’ (it’s all marble and turquoise-y blue) decor. The food was SO fresh, and my oat milk latte was perfection, too.

ONTO THE SHOPS. I’m not a girly girly when it comes to fashion but I do love all the sparkles in the windows at this time of year. Billy is the perfect shopping partner. He can quite literally shop til he drops and I’m inspired by his adventurous, yet smart, style. I’d like to dress like the female version of him, really. This shopping day was supposed to be the start of my Christmas shopping but the first thing I bought was a pair of Topshop boots...for me. FAIL. One for you, one for me? haha!! I did pick my mum up a gorgeous top up from Oasis, though - she’s the opposite of me and is a magpie for anything that glitters. I treated Billy to a new phone case for his brand new iPhone that i’m really jealous of, too.. because we’ve all just learnt how clumsy he is and no one wants that iPhone to be smashed into smithereens.

We went back to Gino’s for lunch because I just can’t get over how pretty it is. The one inside of NEXT has a great view too. We chatted to the Head of Wine (wtf how do I get a job with that title?!) and he joked that, in the evening, if you squint your eyes it looks a little like you’re in Manhattan. (spoiler alert, we went back at the end of the day for another glass of Italian Champagne and I can confirm... if you squint the lights look super pretty!). Billy and I joke that we’re the pizza connoisseurs because we always seem to stop at pizza places. Rudy’s on Peter Street being a top fave of ours. UNTIL NOW. Billy event went as far as saying it’s his new fave, he had the special pizza of the day.. which was some sort of salmon and rocket thing..... not my cup of tea, I like to stick to a margarita cause I’m basic like that.

Refuelled and ready to go, I nip into Supercuts and learn that they’re open 7 days a week!!! I wish I knew this on Monday when I was desperately ringing round all the hair salons in my area for a last min trim.

If LUSH isn’t the ultimate stocking filler shop then where is?! Everything about lush is just a divine experience for the senses.. even visiting their store. We were showed some product demonstrations by the lovely assistant...I wish I knew her name. Billy has never used a lush bath bomb before?! WTF? Can you believe that? I bought him one, of course.

We had such a lovely day together, full of laughter and all under one roof (although the beauty of the Arndale is that we could have ventured further into the city centre if we’d have wished), we stayed warm and had a lovely lunch (and drinks). AND NO ONE SPILT HOT CHOCOLATE ON ANYONE. Bonus. This is what Christmas is about for me. Spending time with loved ones, shopping, gift giving, and prossecco. <3