Cathy Toogood (Editor)

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About me

I am an editor at Simonseeks and have worked as an editor and journalist in the north west for seven years. 

I first discovered my love of travel when I InterRailed around Europe on a minimal student budget. Trying to keep the costs down forced me to be more adventurous when choosing where to sleep and eat, and I ended up staying in the walls of the medieval city Montagnana and developing a taste for Limoncello in a backstreet trattoria.

Other travelling highlights include living in Ghana while working on a pro-government newspaper there, and helping to look after a three-week old monkey called Eric in Kenya.

No matter where I travel, I am always drawn back to the place I call home: Manchester. There is always something happening in the city, whether it is a food and drink festival or an international sporting event; the buzz of the place is addictive.

My Manchester

Where I always grab a beer/glass of wine: My local bar, Pi (99 Manchester Road, Chorlton, Manchester, M21 9GA), serves 12 draft and over 60 bottled beers, some great house wines and a good selection of pies (my favourite is the Heidi pie filled with goats cheese and sweet potato). The laid back and friendly atmosphere makes it a great place to sit, sip and relax.

My favourite stroll: I love temporarily escaping from the rush of the city in one of Manchester’s green spaces. Chorlton Meadows and Fletcher Moss Gardens in Didsbury are great places for walks and picnics.

The most breathtaking view: Visit Cloud 23 on the 23rd floor of the Hilton Manchester Deansgate and look at the whole of the city sprawling below you while you enjoy a cocktail.

The best spot for some peace and quiet: A friend recently introduced me to Marie Louise Gardens in West Didsbury. Just off the busy Palatine Road, this is a quiet retreat from the city that relatively few Mancunians know about.

Shopoholics beware! Where do I begin! Manchester is bursting at the seams with shopping opportunities – The Trafford Centre could easily swallow you up for a day, and Afflecks Palace offers plenty of quirky shopping opportunities. However, for me, the Exchange Square area is the dangerous place in terms of spending money. Here Harvey Nichols and Selfridges rub shoulders with smaller designer shops, plus the Royal Exchange Theatre Craft Shop ( – a great place for buying unique accessories – is just down the road.

City soundtrack: Manchester has offered up so much musical talent that my list of city soundtracks could be endless. However, Gomez’s ‘Whippin’ Piccadilly’ always makes me think of the city as does anything by Doves or the Stone Roses.

Don’t leave without...visiting Albert Square in the city centre and looking at the fabulous neo-gothic town hall. Sit on a bench in front of the impressive building and watch the world go by. If you visit the city just before Christmas, Santa will be perched above the entrance and a busy Christmas market will be in full swing outside.

My recent blog posts

I am pleased to announce that Richard Field is the third winner of our Travel Guide of the Month Awards with his guide 24 hours in Hong Kong - the best day of your life. Congratulations Richard, a £50 Amazon voucher is on its way to you.

 You can read Richard’s winning guide here: 

24 hours in Hong Kong - the best day of your life

All entrants who successfully named the city in our recent ABode Manchester competition were entered into a free prize draw.

The third Travel Guide of the Month nominations have now been decided. Take a look at the guides below and make sure that you vote to help your favourite win this month’s prize.

My expert information

Manchester (Greater Manchester, England, United Kingdom, Europe,

Two great football teams, its legendary music scene and a tempting array of shops attract visitors to Manchester every day. I have lived in the northern city all of my life and am addicted to the place; there is always something going on whether I am in the mood for an all night clubbing session or afternoon tea with friends.