Pho Manchester visit

I was craving Vietnamese food and Pho was brought up after my housemate mistakenly assumed I was heading there (instead of I am Pho in Chinatown, on George St).

I looked at the menu online and saw they do a lunch deal from 12-5pm on weekdays, so I thought it was worth a try.

Unfortunately, I faffed about getting ready and made it to Pho just five minutes late 😦

Missed the lunch deal (£9.95 for a main and starter- menu here) but oh well, I’m sure I’ll be back for food next time.

I decided to get the Phở chín– tender beef brisket slow cooked in broth (£8.75). According to the description on the site: Phở, (pronounced fuh) is the Vietnamese national dish; an aromatic & delicious rice noodle soup served with a side plate of fresh herbs to add as you please.

Phở chín- tender beef brisket slow cooked in broth, vietnam food, food, vietnamese, soup
Phở chín- tender beef brisket slow cooked in broth (£8.75)

Extra toppings like tofu, brisket, mushrooms etc. can be added on for £1/1.75.

I was quite glad to see that the beansprouts were served raw, as is traditional- too many places boil them before and it loses the taste and crunch.

It came with the usual other herbs: mint, coriander(?), chilli- I would have loved to have more coriander and mint, personally, but I think that’s an issue that you could settle by asking the servers for more.

The broth was quite flavourful but just a tad saltier than I would have preferred- still excellent and nearly just like the phở I had in Vietnam years ago!

I think when a dish is taken out of its country of origin, it can be replicated well, but somehow there is a little essence of something that is lost.

There are so many factors: water, ingredients, etc., but I think Pho Manchester does a pretty good job replicating this Vietnamese dish.

Pho’s website says: our broths are made in each restaurant by slowly simmering bones for a good 12 hours & it’s this authentic preparation that is key to phở retaining all its goodness & developing its own distinctive tastes & aromas.

Is there any wonder that this dish is Gordon Ramsay’s choice of a last meal? It is warm, savoury, intense, and filling (I could gush adjectives all day)- one of my favourite comfort foods.

I got Cà phê sữa đá (Vietnamese iced coffee, £2.80) to accompany my main, and when it first came, the coffee was really watery, weak, and barely had any condensed milk in.

Cà phê sữa đá, Vietnamese iced coffee, manchester, vietnamese food
Cà phê sữa đá (Vietnamese iced coffee, £2.80)

I didn’t want to seem like I was being fussy but I didn’t want to waste it- I spoke to the server about it and she sorted it out for me right away without any fuss.

The second try was perfect, good strong brew and sweet without being too cloying. Kudos for the fast and excellent service!

I will probably update this review when I come back for a second visit with thoughts about starters and desserts (eyeing the Gỏi cuốn [spring rolls] and Chuối chiên [banana fritters])

Granted, I’m a bit disappointed there isn’t much variety in desserts aside from ice cream, since a lot of their sweet desserts e.g. Chè Bà Ba, Chè Chuối, are flavourful and easy to replicate: sweet potato, banana, coconut milk make up the base for many of these and would really allow patrons to experience some local desserts that are popular at night markets and street stalls.

I was initially quite wary about visiting this restaurant since many restaurant chains claiming to do “authentic” food end up doing lots of ~fusion~ dishes catered to local tastes (not that there’s anything wrong with that, since that is the majority of their customer base, but it’s sometimes a little disappointing).

Pho has lots of good veggie or vegan options too (e.g. Phở chay: tofu & button mushrooms in a veggie broth), which is quite good for the diet-conscious who struggle to find variety while eating out.

Try great food that’s delicious & isn’t packed with calories at this popular @cornexchangeMAN eatery @ManchesterPho https://t.co/6skOw4rQ4k

— I Love Manchester (@ILoveMCR) January 24, 2017

They gave me a cute postcard with the bill and now I feel like I need to visit Pho in every city just to collect them LOL. Sneaky marketing hahaha

pho, manchester, uk, postcard, cute, journal

Pho Manchester postcard

***
Food: Very Good.
There is a lot of variety but would love to see more dessert options. Food is pretty authentic.
Service: Very Good. The staff were very friendly and helpful when I requested a replacement. Sometimes it can be difficult to get their attention even though there are a lot of staff standing around just chatting to each other.
Wait time: Around 5-15 minutes. Food was served very quickly and drinks immediately, so I did not feel like I was waiting around with nothing to eat. When I went the restaurant was nearly empty so no waiting around.
Affordability: Very Good. The prices are reasonable but if you are on a student budget i.e. in debt and scrimping to make ends meet, go for their lunch deal (£9.95, 12-5pm on weekdays).

Full menu hereLunch menu here.

Opening hours:

Monday to Friday: 12pm – 11pm

Saturday: 11:30am – 11pm

Sunday: 11:30am – 10pm

Tel: +44 0161 464 9779

Directions:

Edit:

I went back for a second visit for the lunch deal and was not disappointed by the spring rolls- I highly recommend getting the peanut sauce with it- it reminds me a lot of peanut satay sauce I usually get in Singapore hawker centres (oh, how I miss cheap hawker fare) and it was sweet and salty- very flavourful and was a perfect addition to the herby, tangy flavours in the spring roll.

My taste buds were in overdrive and I kept making all these ridiculous sounds, it tasted that good. There were so many flavours going on and I love how there was a perfect balance of greens, noodles, and they didn’t scrimp on the prawns like most places usually do.

I would probably go in for the spring rolls alone since it costs £4.95 and for 4 servings, I wouldn’t mind paying that. The size may be a tad smaller compared to I am Pho (in Chinatown) but given the proximity to the Arndale/Market Street it’s quite easy to pop in for a quick pick-me-up after shopping.

The Pho broth was not as good this time around and I was mildly disappointed given how much I sang its praises on my first visit. Also, real talk- why do they use ramen spoons for Pho?? The spoon was absurdly big, awkward to use, and entirely from the wrong cuisine. 

You use one of these:

 

 
Not this???
 
 
Hoping they change it soon because I couldn’t properly drink the soup off the latter (since you don’t actually drink the ramen broth, that makes sense) and the noodles were too slippery and went everywhere.
 
Pho- sort something out please. Replacing the spoons will only cost you a couple hundred quid, please get rid of the ramen spoons and donate them to Shoryu or Wagamamas or something.
 
#rantover

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Olay Total Effects 7-In-1 Day Cream (SPF 15) and Night Moisturiser

I’ve been using this product for about three months now, and I’d like to blog a little about it.

I ran out of my trusty The Body Shop Vitamin E Moisture Cream, and I didn’t want to buy it again at full price without any sales being on. I came across this range by Olay on Amazon (I honestly spend too much time on there) that was going at a discounted price of £13.50 for both the Day and Night cream, and I jumped at the chance since I’ve heard great reviews about it.

Olay claims that the cream is unscented- though I find the day cream does have the strong smell of sunblock to it (sniff it at a sample counter and you will know what I mean)

I like the night moisturiser a lot more because it’s lighter on the skin- the day cream leaves my face feeling very sticky and oily, which I guess is due to the fact I’m not used to wearing makeup or product on my face.

The day cream is good under foundation and I find it does help to even out skintone. It stings a little when I get really bad hormonal acne during the time of the month.

I found that with regular application of the day/night cream, my acne subsided somewhat for 4~5 weeks, which was quite a pleasant surprise for me as it’s not really something that the product is advertise to help with.

The acne was back with a vengeance after that, though (and also partly due to stress and my itchy fingers), so I would say it helps with acne for the first few weeks of application.

It will not help with hormonal acne, though, but it does leave your skin feeling moisturised and refreshed. I much prefer the night cream and confess to skipping the day cream on hot days even though I know I should have something with SPF on!

ba3a7-tumblr_inline_mi7t0pdd4v1qdlkygLikes:

tumblr_inline_mpl4nskDvl1qz4rgp Moisturising effect

tumblr_inline_mpl4nskDvl1qz4rgp Helps with acne for first few weeks

Dislikes:

tumblr_inline_mpl4np1jA61qz4rgp Strong chemical smell (day cream)

tumblr_inline_mpl4np1jA61qz4rgp Oily and sticky feeling (day cream)

Overall Rating (3.5/5)

3 and half

The Body Shop (TBS) All-In-One™ INSTABLUR™ Universal vs TONYMOLY Egg Pore Silky Smooth Balm Primer Comparison

Long long ago, (five to six years ago), no one used this magical thing called a primer. Now, it has become just another oh=so-very important and crucial and definitely, hands-down, one of the most needed things in your makeup routine. (read this in a slightly sarcastic tone for full effect)


Alright, so last year, The Body Shop has launched the

ALL-IN-ONE™ INSTABLUR™ UNIVERSAL

Sounds really promising. Lighten up on the Trademarks, guys.

Being a huge fan of The Body Shop, I knew I had to try this out right away. I stopped by my nearest shop and the shop assistants gave me a good-sized sample of it and showed me how to use it.

My immediate reaction?

Wow, this feels (and smells a little) exactly like the TONYMOLY Egg Pore Silky Smooth Balm!

It smoothed over my pores, reduced the redness (temporarily) of my acne, and my skin felt smooth and silky to the touch.

After touching my face, I realised that the primer began flaking off and started coming off in bits, like eraser dust.

I left with my sample and brought it home for comparison, not quite sold on the idea yet.

After comparing the two products side-by-side and using them under makeup (heavy and light), I realised that the TONYMOLY actually worked as a better primer for your bare face and under light makeup, but faded the vibrance for heavy makeup (I guess so, since it wasn’t marketed as a primer in the first place)

However, out of the two, the TONYMOLY won hands down for lasting power, and it smoothed over my pores much better. It even smells refreshing, with a slight lemon scent that is not overpowering at all.

I have used the TONYMOLY on its own over moisturiser and no makeup for years now, and I love how matte it makes my face look, and I always get compliments on my skin when I use it (if you’ve seen the state of my acne, you’d know how amazing that is.

For people living in Asia, I would definitely recommend the TONYMOLY Egg Pore Silky Smooth Balm as a cheaper alternative to The Body Shop’s Instablur™ because it lasts longer, doesn’t flake as easily, and smells better without being overpowering. 

For UK consumers, you might find the Instablur™ more affordable, especially during 50%-off sales, but if you do stop by Korea or see a sale on Korean cosmetics (there is an online shop for Korean skincare products, but I can’t remember which one it is), I would definitely recommend the TONYMOLY instead, especially if you have oily/combination skin that would result in the Instablur™ flaking off really quickly.

Sally Hansen Fuzzy Coat (All Yarned Up) and Sugar Coat (Sour Apple)

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Bought these at a steal- only $6 SGD each! (Watsons sells both at $19.90)

I thought I’d be really really impressed by them both because I’ve heard so many raves online, especially about the fuzzy coat, but surprisingly it didn’t appeal to me as much as I thought they would.

All Yarned Up looks better on its own or over a nude colour for some reason.. I expected it to ‘pop’ nicely with a dark base but it wasn’t fantastic. I preferred it on its own. On a side note, this has got to be the most pungent nail polish I’ve had so far. When I opened the bottle I nearly choked up because I was so overwhelmed. I change my nail polish every week, so I’m pretty used to the smell already, but boy, this really takes the cake. 

Application was smooth and I did not need to go fishing because the bars are so dense, but getting them to distribute evenly is a bit of a chore as they tend to clump to one end and leave the sides kinda lacking. I think they would look better spaced out over a base but thicker if over a light base/ on its own.

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Sour Apple is exactly like a lumpier and more muted (less neon) ‘Highlight of my Summer’ by China Glaze, down to the chalky look. I swear they are colour dupes. I got Sour Apple hoping to chance the perfect mint green I was looking for, but was slightly disappointed again. I wanted something more green (I guess that’s technically not mint but a light green), but by all accounts this has been the most perfect mint so far.

Application was easy, took about 2-3 coats. Dried really fast and the texture started coming out only as it dried. It is pretty scratch-resistant, don’t add a top coat for this one or you’ll smooth out the lumps.

I’ve done a quick manicure featuring these two polishes (pardon my short nails, it was a school day) and Glittering Garland from China Glaze as a base for All Yarned Up as an accent nail. You’ll notice that the colour clashes a little but I couldn’t get All Yarned Up on its own, it wouldn’t show up as well using my lousy phone camera if so.

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What do you think about these two polishes? 🙂

Yay or nay?

Bath & Body Works PocketBacs- Vanilla Berry Sorbet, Sweet Pea, Fresh Picked Garden Herbs and Apple Blossoms, Midnight Pomegranate

I’ve been lusting after these for so long, but they weren’t available in my country :((( so, I decided to take a leap of faith and join a spree, and got five bottles! I’ve already given away the other two before I thought of taking photos, but that’s fine because the other two have colours that don’t quite match! *colour-anal photographer here*

Anyway, the ones I got were (from L-R): Sweet Pea, Vanilla Berry Sorbet, Fresh Picked Apple Blossoms and the other two are Midnight Pomegranate and Fresh Picked Garden Herbs.

I should add that I got these for their scent and not for bacteria-busting purposes, so don’t expect me to review about how much it helps me to keep my hands clean blahblahblah… BECAUSE I DON’T USE THEM ON MY HANDS! (whoops)

My absolute favourites are Vanilla Berry Sorbet and Fresh Picked Garden Herbs (which I gave to my bf)! Vanilla Berry Sorbet reminds me of a very sweet and sexy smell, and I love it! It might be a bit strong for some people though, but for that same reason it lasts longer and lingers beautifully on me for hours and hours!
I might be a bit biased because it’s the scent I’ve been looking for for like forever since I smelled it on my classmate and she refused to let me know what it was >△< so HA, I got it anyway! (I can’t use it in school because of her though 😦 )
Fresh Picked Garden Herbs is a sweet, fresh, clean scent with a bit of a spicy tinge… And it’s subtle yet strong- I really can’t begin to describe it! I keep stealing it back from him to use so technically it’s still mine haha ≧▽≦ did I mention how much I love spicy scents?!

I had high expectations for sweet pea because I’ve seen raves about it in reviews, but it was too strong and sweet and floral and I hated it. It lingers too long for my liking because I don’t like how it smells. Doesn’t work well with my body chemistry so I’m thinking about giving it away.

Fresh Picked Apple Blossoms is a nice, inoffensive scent. It’s pleasant enough, but not something that would make me go ‘WOW!’ It doesn’t smell like apples. I have no idea how apple blossoms smell like though.

Midnight Pomegranate is just a intense sweet musk. Meh. It’s like a muskier, edgier version of sweet pea. Too old for me.

So that’s it for my very short review! If you haven’t realised yet, I’m switching to short posts I can type out on the go since I’m so busy right now 😦 hope you guys support me all the same!

Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure™ in Choco-Latte (240)

I can’t love this enough!!! 
I bought this on Qoo10 for 4 SGD, a total steal given that Sally Hansen is a pretty reputable brand 🙂

Choco-Latte is similar to Butter London’s ‘Tea With the Queen’, in fact it might be a pretty good dupe but I haven’t done a proper comparison yet because I tried Tea with the Queen at my friend’s house! The colour is sort of a pinkish dark beige, I think some people call it a tan instead of a nude but it’s a perfect colour for any occasion! (except parties maybe)

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In fact, I feel it applies better than Butter London!! 2 coats to full opacity, no air bubbles at all, no streaking, no lines showing up. It is my most manageable polish so far, and I couldn’t believe my eyes when I first tried it. I don’t know if it chips easily though since I haven’t left it on long enough.

Credit must be given to the fan-type brush- it applies the polish really nicely and reaches all parts well, so I don’t need to struggle to fill the sides because the brush fans out and applies it just right. *squeal* I can cover my whole nail in two strokes! I used a thinner first coat but it was nearly opaque even then, and one more coat to get it just right 🙂

The polish dries really quickly, which I’m grateful for because I’m such a klutz and always mess up my nails minutes later. I topped this with Sally Hansen Dry Kwik Nail Colour Dryer, which I feel really helps. Other people might beg to differ, judging from the reviews I seen. You either love it or hate it, apparently- and I’m in the former group! It contains mineral oil that helps with the drying process. Some people dislike it because of the oiliness, but it keeps my cuticles healthy and protected 🙂 it’s more runny than a polish so as long as you are careful it shouldn’t be too messy!

I might buy another bottle of this as a spare because I can definitely see myself using this a lot 🙂 Or other polishes from this range. Again, I love the brushes from this collection!!

Choco-Latte is a good choice for everyone, and it flatters mid-toned people like me quite well! The darker nude makes my skin tone look fairer, but even pale-skinned ladies can do no wrong with this- treat it as a camel/ tan shade for an everyday, no-fuss mani- perfect for work and other formal events too!
(Sally Hansen should hire me to promote this range hahaha. Hint, hint.)