If you want a post that looks 1000x fancier than mine, is funnier than mine and includes a photo of a cat’s bum, then you should definitely read Pauline’s post about the day! GO ON. DO IT!
Or, if you want a really emotional and beautiful post, go visit Holly’s blog. It’s so positive and lovely and I was smiling so much throughout!
When I started blogging, around ten years ago, I kept my real life and my Internet life very separate. I never posted photos of my face online, only used my first name and wouldn’t let bloggers add me on MSN when they asked (yeah, I’m that old). It was a mixture of not wanting people from my real life to see my funky Internet posts about skateboarding snails, and being too uncomfortable with my real-life self to let strangers on the Internet see me. If you read my Relationship with my Nose post last year, you’ll know that I’ve not always been the most confident with how I look (still not), and blogging was a way to make friends without having to show my face. I’m also very socially anxious, and talking to people through the Internet is way easier than having a face-to-face conversation with someone new.
Obviously, we had to go for food first, so we decided to meet outside The Pasta Factory. I was the first to arrive, so I made the most of the time by taking some photos of the outside of the restaurant.
Because I was so early, I had some time to panic about what might happen during the day. I started imagining various scenarios where I’d say something ridiculous or do something ridiculous, and I also had time to remember my sister’s message about how dangerous it is to meet “people from the Internet”. I’ll be honest, there was a moment during those fifteen minutes where I thought ‘shit, what if they’re not who they say they are? What if they’re actually Derek and Phil, two forty-year old blokes who like taking young women out for pasta?’ But, thankfully, none of these things happened, and PAULINE AND HOLLY ARE REAL!
Yes, they’re really real, guys! It was so strange seeing them both in real life for the first time. It was as though they’d both walked straight out of my laptop screen and into the real world. I couldn’t believe they were actually there! When we were in the restaurant I got a notification from Pauline’s Instagram and I was just like ‘OMG, Pauline is sitting next to me right now!’ It was so weird!
I was initially very nervous, so if I was a bit weird at the start, girls, please forgive me. The nerves disappeared as the day went on though, and it was like talking to people I’d known for years. Who says online friends aren’t real friends?
At The Pasta Factory, I ordered the ravioli di funghi in salsa al tartufo, which was amazing, even though I couldn’t say the name! Here’s a picture of it in all its glory!
Confession: I had to ask Andy what the weird black and white thing on the top was, because I was way too embarrassed to admit to Pauline and Holly that I’ve never had something so weird and fancy on top of my food. I didn’t eat it obviously, just in case it was like one of those rubbery flowers they put on Chinese starters. I think it was black truffle garnish, but Andy was just as clueless as I was.
While we ate, we talked about Pauline’s Gymshark addiction and Holly’s new house. It was so nice to chat IRL instead of through a screen, and I can now read Holly and Pauline’s blogs in the accents they were meant to be read in.
Once we’d finished eating, we got the waiter to take a photo of us inside the restaurant. He actually took about ten to guarantee we got a good one. He must have known we were bloggers!
Here’s one where I’m not even trying to look in the direction of the camera…
Down the road from The Pasta Factory, we found this:
We all had a go posing behind it. Pauline couldn’t see over the board, so her photo ended up being absolutely hilarious! As you can see, I stupidly put my hands round the side of the board, so it doesn’t even look realistic. What was I thinking?
After lunch, we went to Gino’s Gelato for ice cream. There were so many flavours to choose from, but I eventually decided on Kinder Bueno and Pistachio, which were hilariously plonked into the tub, so loads of ice cream dripped over my hand.
See what I mean?
The ice cream parlour was so beautiful inside though, and I could have honestly spent all day in there. Just look at the lighting!
We spent a bit of time looking round a few shops in Manchester. Holly took us to this really amazing bookshop where her brother works, which was filled with books about feminism, positivity and creativity, along with some really cute pins and decorative items. It was such a cute shop and I’ll definitely go again next time I visit Manchester. She also took us to Oklahoma, which sells some of the funkiest homeware I’ve ever seen. I’ve never wanted a set of lobster fairy lights so much in my entire life! They also sold some lovely flower headbands and crowns, which we had to try on!
Because we were tired from all the walking, we went to Piccadilly Gardens to sit down and chat. Somehow, we ended up sitting in what I can only assume is the drug dealer’s corner of Piccadilly Gardens. 100% would recommend if you enjoy watching suspicious-looking individuals walking round in circles and shaking hands for longer than necessary.
This didn’t bother us too much though, and we spent the rest of the day sitting in the sun chatting about high school, holidays and hackathons. I also got to listen to Holly and Pauline chat about being female web developers and it was honestly so inspiring. They’re both so talented and they’ve made me want to start learning to code again! So much so that I actually spent Saturday night re-learning the basics!
Also, while we were at Piccadilly Gardens, a pigeon decided to snuggle against my bag, causing me to jump out of my skin. I’ve never seen pigeons so brave!
We ended the day by having our photo taken in front of the fountain. I have since realised that sunlight makes me pull really weird faces, so if you want a reasonable photo of me, don’t take me into the sun!
It was such a fantastic day and I’m so happy that it happened! Holly’s just as lovely as she is on her blog and Pauline’s energy is amazing. They’re genuinely two of the nicest girls I’ve ever met and they’ve really made me appreciate this amazing blogging community we’re in. You guys are the best!
Also, thank you to everyone who voted for Italian food on Pauline’s Twitter poll. Italian food is my absolute favourite and I was so happy that I got to spend fifteen minutes stuffing my face with ravioli. Though next time could you vote specifically for risotto please, because I can’t bear to watch Pauline’s heart get broken by a waiter ever again. Where was the risotto?
P.S. Thanks so much to Pauline for sorting out the photos of us!