YORK TEA & CAKE GUIDE: Mannion & Co.

Sorry this tea and cake guide hasn't quite been a weekly occurence, I've had exams, and waking up at 7:30am (which is early for a student!) every morning, and then working all day in the library hasn't exactly been fun, or left me much time to do anything else, let alone blog. But, without further ado, here is round two of my "York Tea and Cake Guide".

I have a bit of a confession to make here, I didn't actually have any of the cake, it was lunch time, and I was looking for something a bit more substantial to fill my ever rumbling tummy. That having been said, I did have the standard hot chocolate, which came with little marshmallows on the side, perfect for dropping in my hot chocolate (or throwing them at the boyfriend...). The hot choocolate was delicious and plentiful, coming in a tall glass frothy and sprinkled with cocoa. The food here is amazing, coming on rustic pottery plates and almost always coming with a little glass jar of chutney. The cakes look amazing too, and  I have often seen them served on a big wooden platter as part of Mannion's afternoon tea and cake special, which next time I go back I am definitely trying!

Mannion is the perfect little place for a lunch time date, family get together, or lunch with friends. With mismatch table and chairs, sloping walls and creaking wooden floorboards in the little room upstairs, Mannion really is a unique and special place, and a must visit if you're ever in York!

The Monochrome Garden

York is a beuatiful place to live. With large parks, an array of medieval buildings, and the Yorkshire Moors not far away, York's really got everything. Recently me and the boyfriend spent a relaxing Saturday afternoon eating out, strolling around the shops (where I may have bought one too many things...), and running around York's Museum Gardens, watching the boat race and chasing pigeons (ok, I admit I was the sole pigeon chaser). Although the sun wasn't shining, it was still a reasonably warm Spring day, so I took the opportunity to start training up the boyfriend in the art of blogging photography. This was his first time taking photos for my blog. He knows how stiff and unnatural I am infront of the camera, and was just a tad frustrated at my lack of model-like qualities. It probably didn't help that I was more interested running around chasing pigeons, and determined to climb a tree in a short dress, than helping him. For a first attempt, with a girlfriend as unphotogenic as me, I don't think he did too bad, he even managed to capture me going all gooey eyed over the wedding I could see taking place at the other end of the gardens. Plus the much needed practice creates the opportunity for many more days out (and pigeon chasing...)
Dress- Primark (Kids)
Jacket- Urban Outfitters (similar)
Boots- New Look (similar)
Jumper- Topshop (similar)
Scarf- Vintage
Bag- Primark
Rings- H&M (similar)


During my second term at University my work load almost doubled, which meant most of my days were spent cooped up somewhere reading, alone, with little human interaction, other than when I looked out the window. It also meant I had less time to bake, and less time to socialise, particularly with my boyfriend, who I was feeling I only ever saw in lectures or drunk. So we came up with a plan. "Tea and Cake Friday". Every Friday, after our lectures and seminars had finished for the week, we'd take the afternoon off, venture into town, and try out one of York's many individual cafes and coffee shops. It occured to me after our second tea and cake adventure, that whilst we were trying out all these delicious cakes, pancakes and hot chocolates, I was missing the perfect blogging opportunity! And so here it is, Hopes Gone's guide to the best of York's cafes and coffee houses.

Cabra Verde is just down from the post office and opposite York's Museum Gardens. With deep purple walls and a long galley shape, Cabra Verde is small but perfectly formed. The most inviting element has to be the wooden board of cakes you can see through the window, and that is situated on your right as you enter. On this particular afternoon, Cabra Verde was quiet, with just one other couple drinking coffee and buying cake throughout our time there. Reasonably priced, the lemon cake was delicious, and decorated with white chocolate flakes (which in my opinion make everyhting taste better). The hot chocolate wasn't the best I've tasted, but far surpassed anything I could've made at home myself. The boyfriend had a beef and horseradish sandwhich (he isn't really the cake addict like me), which from the mumbles I got between mouthfuls he seemingly enjoyed. The only negatives was the slight peeling of paint on the wall behind me, scuffed from chairs repeatedly hitting it, and the curt, yet still polite manner of the server behind the counter (I'm a gal who likes a good natter with staff). That having been said, Cabra Verde provided a relaxing and quiet afternoon, and the plethora of cakes on offer, combined with their salad and tapas bar presents something for everyone, sweet-toothed and savoury loving alike.

The Good vs. The Ugly

Growing up, whenever we did something kind for one another, or for our parents, my Dad would always tell me 'You will get your reward in heaven' (even though he is an atheist through and through). Partly so we'd keep doing jobs as kids and never expect anything in return, but partly because doing these things was the right thing to do. This saying, and the way I was brought up in general made me a kind, caring (almost too caring), moral, and soft-hearted person. The saying itself has little resonence with me now (being agnostic myself), but the acts of kindness I carried out that caused that sentence to be uttered resonante with me still.

As a kid, this person I was becoming didn't seem an issue, but as I've grown older, this kind, moral and soft-hearted attitude I've developed has caused me to be knocked down quite a bit. People joke about being thrown into the 'big bad world' but from personal experience such a phrase makes perfect sense. That is not to say that I behave Saintly all the time, I don't. I am human. I've done some exceedingly selfish and wrong things, things that I repeat over and over again. But often enough the times where I am selfish, or I do something immoral or unkind leave me feeling guilty and sad. But for many people I have met, who do the selfish, or the immoral or the unkind thing, they do not fell this guilt, this unworthiness or sadness, and as a result they continue to act as such.

Throughout my teens I have cried, thrown up, had nightmares and been utterly miserable not only by the way I have acted, but the way people have acted towards me. However, I have always managed to turn the other cheek, to get back up and to go on doing what I believe is fair, is right, is kind. But recently, this "determination", or this "bravery" as my boyfriend refers to it, is beginning to waver. My entire moral, my beliefs in doing the right thing, in acting fair and kind are like a mound of precariously stacked plates. People keep removing plates at random, harshly tugging them out from underneath, not only making my tower of moral shorter, but also weaker, as the plates that make up my beliefs of kindness and soft-heartendness begin to totter.

I look around and see people who have what they want, who get what they want, and they do so by not working as hard, not trying to please others, and by going after what they what, regardless what others, especially those closest to them care or feel. It has me wondering, whether maybe my lifes attitude is wrong, maybe I should be being a little more selfish, a little less considerate of others and a little less caring. This is something my boyfriend has reiterated to me, as has my mother. I feel they've both become tired of me sacrificing myself for others, pleasing others and trying to be fair, then coming home, or phoning up crying that I've done the right thing and ended up worse off than those who acted on purely selfish motives. Even now as I sit here writing this I can think of a handful of situation this week alone where I have given up what I wanted for others, to make the situation eaiser, but made myself so miserable and angry in the process that I've phoned my Mum and lamented at her for over twenty minutes (if anyone's interested, she told me to march back there and say what I wanted, and voice my opinions outloud rather than locking them in the ever growing safe of such situtaitons I keep held up inside my head). But I just couldn't do it. On Wednesday, even when presented with the question "What do you want?" I couldn't answer, especially when I knew that what I wanted was also what other people wanted. It was as if the guiltiness I felt at the thought of being selfish, if just for thirty seconds, rose up inside me and took my words. Zipped and padlocked up my mouth, and threw away the key.

I'm trying to not loose sight of my beliefs, trying to stay true to my strong sense of moral and soft-heartedness, but I'm also beginning to realise that always trying to do the right thing, being kind and putting myself before others is making me miserable, and I have to take a stance. I have to go after what I want, regardless of whether others close to me want it to. I have to start putting myself first sometimes, and stop caring so much about whether doing what I want will make others sad. I'm going to start small, taking the biggest slice of the pizza, serving myself before my teenage sister, speaking up and saying 'I'd quite actually like that room too', or 'How about you pay for a change?'. Hopefully things don't escalate out of control, for although this whole post has been about trying to loosen up a bit, to take a stance for myself every now and again and speak up, I don't want to loose sight of who I am. I don't want to stop being fair, kind, and always thinking of others, for thats who I am, its who I've always been, and it was the way I was brought up to be (even if my sister shows a serious lack of the majority of these traits- I blame it on her being the youngest...)

Barns and Bowler Hats

Living on a farm in the North-East countryside has always left me feeling isolated, but on todays like today I can't help but love it. The sun was shining, the flowers were blooming, and there wasn't an escaped lamb in sight, making it just about the perfect Spring day! (If only I hadn't spent most of the day crying my eyes out over my horrible essay writing skills...)
The 70s trend is going nowhere this Summer, and inbetween suede skirts, denim and thigh high boots, the high neck is having a bit of a moment. This polo swing dress is made of the softest, most comfrotable jersey and is just perfect for throwing on on those days where you're just lounging around but want to look put together at the same time. The dress is quite simple, so I threw on a layered necklace and vintage bowler hat to add a bit of funk.

Now go, throw on a fedora and some sunglasses and make the most of the sun, I can just feel those April showers coming.....

Dress- Boohoo (similar)
Necklace- Asos
Hat- Vintage
Bag- Primark
Ring- Family Heirloom
Shoes- Primark

Inspirational Bloggers: Anna Swabey

One of the most amazing things about being in the blogging sphere, and sometimes the thing that is overlooked, is the people and blogs you discover. Recently I came across such a blog, by a young 23 year old called Anna Swabey.

In January 2015, Anna Swabey was diagnosed with a terminal Grade 3 brain tumour, and her blog Anna Swabey: Inside My Head not only follows her treatment journey, but also raises awareness about brain tumours. This incredible blog is not only imformative and heartfelt, but the gratitude that Anna feels towards her family and friends and family, along with her determination to leave her mark is amazing.

Not only is Anna writing this blog, but she is also organising a charity ball for the Brain Tumour Research Campaign (BTRC),a charity that was set up in order to raise awareness of the need for more research into brain tumours.

If any of you would like to learn more about Anna, and her fundraising, then head over to her blog, facebook page or the BTRC website, I have popped all the links down below.

Anna's Blog: Anna Swabey: Inside My Head
Anna's Just Giving Page
Brain Tumour Research Campaign Website
Anna's Facebook
Anna's Twitter: @braintumourblog

Thou Shall't Not Compare

 (Photo credits go to my boyfriend, who took this whilst I wasn't looking)
The 21st century has led us to question everything. Whenever we are on the verge of making a decision, we always question it, wonder if there is something better out there, and then proceed to go search for it. This never ending cycle of questioning, and looking for the best, has lead us to comapre everything; houses, clothes, grades, and even our lives. And when it comes to comparing every aspect of our daily lives, things can get sticky.

Comapring my life to that of others is one of my biggest faults as a person. I am forever comparing how hard I work with that of others, my achievements, and even my relationships and success, which often leads me into despair. No matter how hard I try I just can't seem to help questioning why even though I work harder than that person, they got better grades. Even though I try to do what is right, other, less self sacrificing people have it better. And why, even though I have been in a relationship longer, I know my boyfriend less than others in relationships. Not only does all this questioning lead me into despair, it leads me into the horrible feeling of jealousy, and I begin to come so sour that I dislike myself. What I don't understand is why I feel this need to compare? Why I can't just be happy with my own life, my own achievements, my own relationships.

Comapring yourself to celebrities is one thing, often these comparisons are unreachable and the likelyhood that we will even achieve or have what they have is slim. But when you begin to compare yourself to those around you, to your family, friends and class mates, thats when level headedness and acceptance gets thrown out of the window. My obsessive need to question and compare is beginning to affect my relationships and academic life too. My jealousy is perturbing and upsetting my boyfriend. The questioning of why my hard work isn't yielding the same results as others is causing me to give up, to not work and just say 'What's the point?'. All this has got to stop.

In a consumer and achievement driven society comparing our lives, our successes and our relationships to others is always going to happen, and in some cases, a little bit of competition is good. But when we start scrutinising every little detail of our lives, our successes and our relationships with others, when we start measuring out success against that of our friends and family, that's when it gets dangerous. So from now on I am going to attempt to be proud of myself, acknowledge when I have worked hard, and achieved something that is good for me, no matter what those around me are doing. I am going to stop comparing my relationship and just be happy that I am in it, I have a boyfriend who loves me, and that is amazing in itself, it shouldn't matter what other sprinkles and sparkles other relationships are getting on top. I am Hope, I am happy, and my life, although not perfect, is full and plentiful.