On the lead up to Christmas things always get pretty hectic. Last year was no exception. On the Thursday night I had double booked, but as I had committed to the Blogger Dining Club first, I cancelled my other plans and stayed loyal to my virtual and not-so-virtual friends. I finished work, but had to run some last minute errands in town. Of course I had to do them on a day when it was chucking it down. And of course on the day it was chucking it down I had to forget my umbrella at home. And of course the one day I was going out for a fancy meal after work I forgot to pack some spare shoes to dress up my work clothes with.
So when the time came to join the group at Don Giovanni’s, I looked like an absolute mess. My hair, my bags, my coat… all were soaked and as I walked in to a restaurant filled with Christmas parties my heart sank at how unglamorous I was. All those times Mo has lectured me about making an effort to look half decent, well I really wish I had listened this one time. But I had nothing to worry about as I headed to where the others were waiting at the bar and Georgie, our chief hostess, swiftly took my bags and coat and ordered me a drink (non-alcoholic obvs) to relax, assuring me I looked fine (lies but I appreciated the gesture) and that now that I was here I should just relax and enjoy.
And that, is exactly what I did. There were familiar faces and lots of new ones too. Some full time bloggers, some part-time bloggers, Georgie had got together a pretty great mix of talent and after lots of talk on how crazy December had been we all headed to our specially decorated party table.
Georgie and the team at Don Giovanni’s had done an exceptional job of putting together a magical looking table for us to spend the evening at. The flower decorations by the Flower Lounge were gorgeous and gave our space such a cosy feel, everything from the place cards to the menus had been thought out and beautifully arranged. We had some lovely gifts on the table too, few boozey treats – not my cup of tea for obvious reasons, some honey water from Just Bee and a gorgeous gift box from Kiehls. I’m not a beauty blogger, but I am currently going through a skincare upheaval so it was very much welcomed and I’m currently putting them to the test…
My seat was right at the end, and I enjoyed the company of new friends that night Donna (I’ve actually met Donna before but it was nice to spend proper time together), Alice and Laura. After gushing over our gifts, crackers and getting the photographs done and dusted, it was time to sit back and do what we were here to do. Try out the food. Well that and make new friends, but I feel we’d already accomplished that part.
I had been excited about my meal for days and I was right to be. For starters I chose the JC Octopus – Ricotta mousse topped with grilled octopus, pickled radish, micro basil and slow roasted cherry tomatoes. For mains I couldn’t resist the Ravioli Aragosta – Homemade ravioli lobster in a lobster bisque with a touch of chilli.
The octopus was probably the best I’ve had in the UK, coming second to what Mo and I tried at Ocana in Barcelona. It wasn’t chewy in the slightest, perfect texture and I loved the sharpness of lemon with the cherry tomatoes and ricotta. The homemade ravioli was equally as good, the portion was quite generous though so I was struggling to get through. I’ve mentioned before that there is no shortage of Italian restaurants here in Manchester, Don Giovanni was one that had slipped off my radar, which is quite surprising as I don’t work too far from it. But the service was fab, the food was good and the atmosphere was cosy and intimate. I definitely want to take Mo back for him to try the octopus. Literally can’t wait to eat that again!
The evening ended with some festive tipples and Georgie, bless her, had made sure that the bar prepared an exciting non-alcoholic treat for me to enjoy. It’s things like this that really touch me, when people go out of their way to make sure you’re accommodated. One of the things about being in the UK, wow drinking is a really big deal here. But thankfully being a non-drinker is becoming just as popular these days, meaning people like me who remain alcohol-free can still go out and have a lovely evening with friends without feeling left out. And you know what bloggers are the best bunch, because we all have so much in common! We’re all some kind of super cool girl boss. We’re all practically running our own businesses and we’re all trying our best to balance life and make a difference.
2017 was the year I realised that no matter how well or how little I know my fellow bloggers, I do genuinely love being around them. They motivate and inspire me to push forward and hey, it might seem like all we do is take pictures and chat on social – well in actual fact the good thing about blogger events is we all know the drill and we can help each other get all the important stuff out the way so we can sit back and do exactly what we did that evening… just enjoy being together.
Can’t wait to see everyone again next month 🙂
*** Big thanks to Georgie for inviting me to the Blogger Dining Club and to her and Don Giovanni’s for organising such a wonderful evening. Of course all pictures are my own, apologies for them not being so great again, I was having a real battle with my own shadow that evening as it kept ruining my shots! ***