As well as editing two blogs, I have a full-time day job. I work for Shoot The Moon, a digital design and photography agency, in Ancoats, Manchester. The majority of our clients are in the food and drink and hospitality industries but a few, such as the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital Charity, are not.

Sweet Mandarin’s Crispy Chilli Pork


Many Hands Fundraiser

For the past few years the charity has run the Many Hands campaign, which challenges businesses to fundraise through innovative initiatives. This year the funds will support The Children’s and Adolescent Mental Health Service at the Hospital. High-profile entrepreneur Theo Paphitis, of Dragons Den fame, is supporting the campaign for the seventh year running.

We love the charity and are in awe of everything they do, so this year we decided to join in with the Many Hands campaign ourselves. First, we had to come up with a fundraising idea to pitch to Theo. We wanted to do something that would make use of our skills and talents to ensure that we could raise the £1000 required to qualify for the pitch. This is how the recipe book came about.

Pen and Pencil’s Chickpea Curry


We Have A Cunning Plan

We formed a committee with a member of staff from each department; Account Management, Brand Communications, Digital Design, Social Media Marketing and Photography. A few ideas were batted about and one thing we were sure about was that we wanted a community-focused endeavour. We are based in Ancoats and have seen the area rise, phoenix-like, from a neglected, scruffy part of the city into the vibrant, creative environment it is today. We wanted to harness the local enthusiasm and creativity and produce something that exhibited the area to the rest of the world.

The recipe book was born. It would utilise all our skills and showcase all the amazing, independent eateries within Ancoats and the neighbouring Northern Quarter.

Established eateries, including Yard and Coop, The Abel HeywoodCottonopolisKettlebell Kitchen and Sweet Mandarin didn’t hesitate and jumped at the chance to be featured in the cookbook. New restaurants including Canto and NAM, both of which have opened in Ancoats this year, joined in the fun. Elnecot, recent winners of ‘Best New Restaurant’ in the UK and ‘Best New Restaurant in Manchester’ in the British Restaurant Awards 2018, also joined the line-up. We were cooking on gas, so to speak.

Seven Bro7her’s Stack


A Labour Of Love

That was back in February and for the last nine months we have worked our metaphorical nuts off to bring the book to life. In the end, we managed to gather recipes from over 20 eateries and even a tea emporium. We then invited their chefs, cooks and baristas into our studio, where they prepared their dishes, so that our award-winning photography team could shoot them in all their luscious glory. Our snappers were ably assisted by top food stylist, Clover Hutson, who made each dish look like a work of art. I have to mention our wonderful printers, Entwistle, who generously donated their services to produce the book.

In order to donate as much money as possible to the charity, we decided to run a Kickstarter campaign to cover the production costs of the book. It was a nervous, nail-biting time wondering if we would reach our target, but the good folk of Manchester got behind the campaign and at the end of it we received hundreds of pounds more than our target figure, meaning we would be able to donate even more money than we had originally hoped for.

In October, the draft copy was ready to go to print, so we set about arranging a launch event to thank everyone for their help. NAM, the rather wonderful Vietnamese bar and restaurant in Ancoats, offered to host the evening and gave us their downstairs room, as well as providing a very generous spread and drinks. We sent out invites to our Kickstarter backers, our production partners, the press and the restaurants involved. The response was fantastic and the evening was a huge success. The charity came along and showed a film which demonstrated how much the donations mean to them and the work it enables them to do with the children. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

Elnecot’s Honey Panna Cotta


Buy The Book

The book is now on general sale through Amazon, (see the link below), so you too can cook the Ancoats and Northern Quarter recipes in your own home for only £10.99 plus p+p. The recipes themselves are easy enough for any level of home cook to prepare, so don’t worry, you don’t need a Michelin starred chef in order to cook up a feast. There are veggie and vegan recipes included, so no one gets left out. The book also makes a fabulous gift for the foodies in your life. Just saying. So, please order, help the charity and cook amazing food. Enjoy!

Amazon Link –


Ancoat’s General Store’s Matcha Lattes and Drizzle City Bakes’ Cakes



You Yube




Photos: © Shoot The Moon and STM Photography. Do not reproduce without permission

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Giggle Knickers

Stress incontinence. We’ve all been there. Whether through childbirth, obesity, our lifestyle choices e.g. smoking, or simply because of ageing. You laugh, cough or sneeze and do a little wee. It’s embarrassing, it’s upsetting and it’s inconvenient. Stress incontinence is a pain in the bladder. No more jumping up and down on trampolines for us. It isn’t normal and shouldn’t be accepted and you should seek medical advice for your symptoms.

In the UK alone, 1 in 3 adults, that’s over 3.5 million women, are living with this condition and the taboo’s surrounding it. From the moment we start being potty trained we are taught that we have to stay dry, to hang onto our wee until there is a toilet available. But what if we can’t simple hold on? What do we do if our leakage takes us by surprise?

The NHS recommends lifestyle changes such as losing weight, stopping smoking and cutting down on our alcohol and caffeine intakes. I have to say, since I stopped smoking cigarettes my bladder incontinence has improved, mainly because I now longer spend my waking hours coughing like a ship’s stoker. They say we should do pelvic floor exercises. Who, like me, does so many pelvic floor exercises that in theory they should have bladder muscles of steel, yet still leaks? There are surgical solutions and medications available but only as a last resort.

So, what do most of do? We turn to sanitary products. Panty liners, pads, Tena Lady’s and the like. Britain is the highest consumer of sanitary products in the EU. In 2018 it is estimated that we will consume 4.1 billion sanitary towels alone. Around half of those will go into landfill and unbelievably, the other half will be flushed down the loo, to end up in our rivers and on our beaches. Nice.

However, there is a solution at hand. A few months ago, I took part in some discussion videos based around the menopause, for a company called Esteem, who make clothing for ladies experiencing menopausal symptoms. Whilst there I met a lady called Anne, who along with her business partner Judith, runs a company called Giggle Knickers, making eco-friendly, washable knickers that are designed to securely hold onto those little leaks, whilst still keeping you dry.

Anne and Judith originally met 20 years in Henley, whilst both studying university courses. Anne was from Manchester, a mother to five and a teacher, while Judith was from London, also a mother and had a career in the fashion industry. The two became firm friends and vowed to work together at some point. That point came when one of them had had surgery and couldn’t find any suitable post-op underwear. Judith decided to try and design something that she wouldn’t be ashamed to be seen in, that was economical and at the same time kept you dry.

The next couple of years she spent researching and developing the product around the kitchen table and eventually she cracked it. Underwear that is comfortable, made in high quality cotton yet because of its hi-tech, protective panel, keeps you dry by pulling liquids away from your skin and holding on to it without pooling.  The patent pending core that she developed is designed to comfortably hold up to 30ml or 6 teaspoons of liquid. The core itself is not bulky, it feels like panty liner thickness rather than a sanitary towel, so it is lightweight and discreet.

Once happy with the prototype, Anne came on board and they started to source manufacturers. Initially they tried to find someone in the UK to make them. They even approached the knicker firm, Kinky Knickers in Manchester, who had featured on the Mary Portas TV series, Mary’s Bottom Line. Unfortunately, for the volumes involved, British producers proved too expensive and so they turned to China. Being ethically minded, they ensured that the factories they use operate in an equally principled manner, to ensure that workers have safe working conditions, are treated fairly, paid a fair wage and that no child labour is used.

In the meantime, they began a Kickstarter campaign to fund the initial production and off the back of that, they were asked to appear on Dragon’s Den. Eventually, armed with a business loan, production commenced and the first batch of knickers went on sale in November 2017.

It is early days yet, so Giggle Knickers, like Henry Ford’s Model T, only come in one colour…black and in one design. However, they come in 5 sizes, from UK 4-6 to UK 18 and cost £12.99 per pair. As business builds Anne and Judith aims to produce more colours and signs. They also want to develop a men’s range. Giggle Knickers, is a company that wants to benefit as many people as possible, so 20p from every purchase is donated to the Free A Girl India charity, which aims to fight against human trafficking and the commercial sexual exploitation of children.

Giggle Knickers are available online, direct from themselves, with 20% off orders of 3 pairs or more.

“Don’t let a trickle stop your giggle.”


Photos: © Giggle Knickers. Do not reproduce without permission




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