05 November 2019

Festive dates around City Hall

I cannot believe it is November! I have absolutely no idea where 2019 has gone to - it has whizzed past in a flash. It's now the time of year where I am planning nights out for catch ups and celebrating the festive season. There's so much choice around Belfast but recently I have found myself more in and around the City Hall. I cannot wait to visit my top spots in November and December - and feel SO cute looking at the lights and tree! My top advice? Always plan ahead. All of the great restaurants book out so quickly especially the closer to Christmas and New Year so BOOK NOW!

Best for a day out with your Mum
Cafe Parisan has been a favourite of mine for a long time - plus the views of the City Hall are unbeatable! If you are out for a girly day with your mum, it's the perfect place to stop for lunch (or even better!) for afternoon tea. They are owned by the same company that own the Galgorm Hotel so their afternoon tea is really similar. Plus they have a special festive version!

Best for a family lunch
Feeding lots of people is always hard when there's varied tastes and dietary requirements. My go to for all occasions is Howard Street. It's a place I always go for business lunches, family dinners and even my Master's Graduation dinner. My favourite thing on the menu is their seafood pasta - literally my death row meal! 

Best for a girl's night out
It's been my favourite opening of 2019 (and now my regular place to hit!). Margot is the cutest basement bar with great cocktails as well as a stellar new food menu. The scallops and salt & chili chicken burger are to die for! It's super chic pub grub and the drinks menu matches. Try out their rose wine - one of my favourites! 

Best for a first date
Yugo holds a special place in my heart - mostly because I went with my friend to do a faux date before she went on a real date! It's a very intimate setting that's great for a first date - specially if you are sat up at the bar. Serving up Asian cuisine with an Irish twist, the mix of small and big plates makes it great for sharing! Their bao buns are an absolute treat!

Best for meat eaters
Ten Square Hotel has had a massive revamp (the Loft bar is INCREDIBLE! I recently hosted an event here and it was amazing). After the event, we went to eat in Josper's and it was beautiful. It's very modern and the food was fab. The steakhouse also does a fab Sunday Dinner option as well as catering for veggies & vegans alike. 

Please make sure to let me know if you take any of my recommendations by tweeting me at @GemmaLEBond 
21 July 2019

Respect my rules

Dress from New Look - shop it here

If like me, you've been glued to Love Island, you will have watched the drama unfold this week as Michael tried to win back Amber.... around the same time someone showed an interest in her. It's the tale as old as time - you become more appealing when you seem to be moving on. 
20 July 2019

Workwear essentials

Workwear - it's a subject that delivers fear in the hearts of many. It can be really hard to incorporate your personality into an outfit when you work in an office environment. I've worked in everywhere from a school to an office with 100 people on my floor. My considerations have always been the same - what's easy/durable/comfortable and fun? I've detailed my top picks of things that I pull out to make my work wardrobe hassle free. My top tip? Get organised! (I'll talk about this when I talk about how to 'rail' in a a separate post!)

27 January 2019

The final swipe

I've officially called off my Tinder search. I wish I could say it's because I met my perfect match but in fact, it's quite the opposite. I have so many friends who have met their other half on Tinder. Indeed many of them have gone on to marry their Tinder baes! I've had nothing but bad luck on the famous dating app and I know I'm not alone in this. Any prospects of relationships over the past 2 - 3 years have been pursued through friends of friends, people I already knew or on nights out, rather than through a dating app.
22 January 2019

A year of being a home owner

*this post is sponsored by SelfBuild Live 

Can you believe it's been a year since I moved into my house? I dreamed my whole life that I would own my own house but I never thought I'd be a home owner by 26! I always thought it would take me longer to save or that there would be a 'right time'. It turns out that there's no such thing as the right time and that saving was easy when I put my mind to it (ok... stopped ordering stuff online I didn't need!). 

15 January 2019

Big girls go to the gym too

If you’ve been following me on Instagram (@thatbelfastgirl) you’ll see that I’m trying to get healthier in 2019. It’s not about being slimmer or lighter but rather for my mental fitness. I really started to enjoy going to the gym in 2018 for the first time in my life. 

As a teenager and young adult I experienced some serious orthopaedic problems. It made exercise feel like a chore because often there was so many of the common exercises (squatting being one!) that I couldn’t do. In 2018 I found the gym to be a really great form of stress relief. As someone who has suffered with both anxiety and depression, I felt like I finally found a cost effective and fun way to manage my stress levels before things got to the anxious or depressed state. Part of this was due to going for one to ones with a personal trainer and learning more about the machine in the gym & getting a better technique. Going to the gym as a bigger girl can be intimidating. I was always afraid of the super buff boys with big guns and girls who could lift my body weight twice over! However, like most things in life, I’ve found that the reality was nothing to be worried about.
10 January 2019

Growing Pains

2019 came quickly, didn't it? 

2018 was the fastest year of my life. From moving house and job to my mum finally getting married, it was a steam train of a year that I couldn't slow down or get off. I felt like I changed so much. Where there is change, there can be pain but ultimately, growth. The growing pains I experienced in 2018 were nothing short of extraordinary. It sometimes has been the type of pain that you know is worth it because once you get over the initial hump, it's a great road ahead [e.g. buying my house] but there have also been painful life lessons too. Here's my 3 life lessons from 2018 that I'm carrying forward with me.