Belfast is the place I love most in the world, it is my home and without it I don’t think I would be the person I am today. I think people underestimate how a place can shape you, how it ignites passion, helps you grow and inspires creativity.
Belfast has changed so much over the past several years and is truly unrecognisable from the city I remember as a child, the food, coffee, tourism and new business and enterprise have made it one of the most amazing up and coming cities to visit. So I have put together a list of places, things and people I love in Belfast.
I will also say here and now (in my best Belfast accent ) That this post is not sponsored by anyone, it isn’t advertising or supported by any of the shops brands or people mentioned, it is just places, people and things we love in the City I call home.
I don’t think it will be a shock to anyone that I like to eat, I have always said I will try anything once and you can’t say you don’t like it if you haven’t eaten it. We eat out in Belfast quite a lot. We love Slims Healthy kitchen, it is guilt free (most of the time) and I love the amazing variety they have in both food and shakes. I always end up getting order a side of haloumi because it’s amazing and Neil says I love a bit of squeaky cheese!
We also go to Five guys for a not so guilty treat…. since it opened we have been a little obsessed. We went to one in Time Square when we were in NYC on honeymoon last year and to be honest the one in Victoria square is just a good! I usually order the single cheeseburger with all the toppings because it’s epic where as Neil is a little more reserved with his toppings… I will say if you are getting everything on it, grab about twenty napkins as I always end up having mustard on my face… I actually think I ended up with it on my ear once, but that’s a whole other blog about how much of a messy eater I am.
We also go out a lot for Brunch as it is our favourite meal of the day (who doesn’t love brunch?!) our Number one stop for brunch is Established which is on Hill street Belfast at the corner of Talbot Street (Behind St Anne’s Cathedral) . I think if Neil and I could live there we would, their coffee is outstanding, their food is phenomenal and their cakes are out of this world, a must visit for any coffee lover coming to Belfast. They also do a special weekend brunch one sweet and one savoury. Their Instagram is filled with food inspiration and serious coffee porn. I genuinely couldn’t recommend it highly enough and they sell lots of stuff to recreate your coffee experience at home.
Another food place we just adore is the national. Again we go here for brunch a lot and it is fantastic, they have an amazing variety of foods and I usually go for the pancakes with cream cheese and compote with a side of sausages To say it is sheer perfection would be an understatement.
We do genuinely love eating out in Belfast and there are so many new and exciting places to choose from, from the Cathedral quarter to Titanic quarter, Botanic to Dublin road Belfast has it all. We love the variety, the markets, the home-grown and sourced produce, it all makes it so much more special.
Neil and I are coffee fanatics and we do enjoy the usual chain coffee shops. Costa, who do an amazing white hot chocolate (which isn’t coffee, but their coffee is beautiful too) we go to Nero a lot as Neil loves their mocha coffee and peach croissants. Our favourite however would have to be Starbucks
As cliché as it sound Starbucks is the place we have always gone, at the early stages of our relationship, we would have gone to Starbucks for a coffee date and lots of long talks and laughter. There is a song by Taylor swift called blank space which has the line in it “got a long list of ex-lovers” which we misheard as “gotta love those Starbucks lovers” so it sort of became a little phrase we use, that we are starbucks lovers. On our wedding day Neil and I decided to after the ceremony in Belfast city hall and the photographs in Botanic Gardens that we would take a detour to Starbucks in Bangor before heading to our reception in Holywood county down.
Wedding day Selfie on our way for a Starbucks
We walked into Starbuck’s in our wedding attire, dressed in my wedding dress and Neil in his suit we ordered two s’mores frappuccino. It wasn’t until afterwards that I realized how odd we must have looked there were people going to Tesco to do their weekly shop and here we are a bride and groom hitting up Starbucks for a cool drink on what was a hot May 13th. When Neil went to pay for them the barista said they were on the house and congratulated us on our wedding day, Again… another reason to love starbucks. I did joke about putting the dress on more often and going for coffee but I think I would have ended up having my picture around all the starbucks of Northern Ireland!
Aside from the usual coffee haunts we recently bought a Belfast coffee Map which we have been using to travel around different and new coffee shops to explore what they have to offer. Two of note that we loved were kaffe O on Botanic avenue which had beautiful coffee and a great food selection to go along with it, The general merchants on the Newtownards road has gorgeous coffee and the staff are amazing… random story, but when we got there I lost a button off one of my vintage shirts, not having a spare one I just had to find it, I ended up having three members of staff and four un-suspecting diners searching for it until it was found! The relief!
Our number one place to go of recent times is not just all about the coffee, it’s about the Doughnuts! Guilt trip, which is in East Belfast No4 Orangefield Lane, Is just indescribable, their coffee is so beautiful, the shop itself is so unique to them, and the Doughnuts are just the biggest guilty pleasure … Guilt trip for a guilt trip ? seriously they are worth every bite and I recommend trying them all! We tried a vanilla frosting and a maple syrup with bacon the last time we were there… I have no more words.
The picture doesn’t even do them justice!
I do love a good wander around Belfast looking at the shops, from the usual high street brands to the new and unusual. I don’t even really think I ever go shopping with something I need, I usually just tell Neil we are going for a Belfast dander and off we go.
If shops were children I would have to say TK Maxx is my favorite one! I can’t begin to describe how much I love it and how much happiness a wee Tk Maxx run will bring me in life. From home wear to clothes, shoes, bags and accessories they have it all. I particularly love their Halloween and Christmas ranges as you always find something a bit quirky and unusual to add to my collection of Decorations.
I have found so many unusual little treasures in it and have really enjoyed many an hour searching around the aisles of TK Maxx… true story, I once visited 4 stores in one day in order to find a golden gnome I had seen in the store in Belfast, I didn’t buy it because, at the time , I had my hands full and I left without him. Me being me I decided two days later I needed to have him, so back I went and to my horror he was gone! … devastation came over my face, but I quickly recovered and off I went in search… To Boucher road then to Newtownabbey and finally Lisburn where I found him! As I say I am a TK maxx addict (I bought something in every store). That afternoon my Bank called to check the suspicious TK maxx activity on my debit card… I feel my gnome story was lost on the guy in the bank but it explained my visiting 4 branches of Tk Maxx in one day and I know full well if I hadn’t of found it in Lisburn I would have gone to more!
I must say I am every so slightly obsessed with Abigail Aherns Collection for Debenhams, I think I have three figurines, two candle holders, a wall mounted giraffe and 5 cushions… the woman is amazing. I have also recently bought a new addition to our collection for our living room when it has completed its makeover so watch this space!
Studio SOUK brings me so much happiness I always have to visit when I’m in Belfast
Another little gem of a store I just adore in Belfast is Studio SOUK, it is located in Anne street in Belfast and I have been obsessed since it first opened in castle lane. They have so many beautiful products from Northern Ireland, from candles, handbags, art, cups, tea towels, chocolate and mini Harland and Wolff cranes.. Who wouldn’t love it?
Some amazing people
As time has gone on we have met some amazing people in and around Belfast. Some of them quirky and some just simply amazing human beings who sell the most fantastic products my life wouldn’t quite be a fun without!
First up is the beautiful Sam mercer. She is a creator of rockabilly and pinup inspired accessories and she is truly wonderful. She has her store online and can often be found at St George’s market in Belfast on a saturday morning. She makes the most beautiful accessories and I have a few things of hers including earrings, brooches, shoe clips and my head scarf collection! She is one of those people who will brighten your day with the sound of her fabulous voice or even a smile of her always on point red lip… serious girl crush! I have followed her on instagram for a while and am in love with her passion and creativity in her business. She is a complete inspiration.
Next is a lady who is actually more a favourite of Neil’s but I just love her too. She is Neils hairdresser and her name is Norah Mcnally. Her salon is on the Newtownards road in Belfast at Ballyhackamore. Neil went their the first time purely for convenience as he really needed a haircut and by luck she had a free slot within the hour ( so we went and had coffee? … coffee? me?) and headed back for his haircut. Neil used to always get his hair done at the Barbour and it always looked the same and I didn’t like it (i’m a hair snob) Norah just has the most fabulous way about her, she is quietly spoken but very chatty, she is so friendly, always remembers everyone’s name and you never feel unwelcome in the salon. The other staff there are amazing too but Neil always sees her. She is becoming so popular that Neil has to make his appointments every 6 weeks and he makes them about 6 weeks in advance… sometimes more! She has really helped Neil on the personal grooming front, helping him to find a hairstyle that suits him, she helped him to neaten up his beard and showed him how to cut it to keep it neat and tidy, along with the eyebrow trim, moisturiser and hot towel it’s no wonder he keeps going back. But seriously she is one of those genuinely lovely people in life that you would talk about for hours and never have a bad word to say.
I could spend all day talking about the place I love most in the world and as my adventures continue I will keep you all informed of the little loves I come across during this adventure I call life.
Love Laura x