Category Archives: Manchester

7 Things to do in Manchester – Summer 2017

Over the last few weeks I’ve been studiously jotting down some fun things to do in Manchester over the summer 2017 holidays. My list seems to go on forever, so it’s time I wrote it down properly and shared it with you, dear reader. As ever, if you have any more suggestions for summer fun, please comment below!

A Summer of Victorian Entertainment for Children and Families at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House

Elizabeth Gaskell’s House is throwing open its doors this summer to the world of the Victorian children at play. Every Wednesday in the summer holidays, a range of activities will take visitors back in time to when the Gaskell’s daughters would have played in the House. Highlights include circus skills, Victorian theatre and costumed actors with a Victorian craft to take home for each child.

There’s so much going on at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House this summer, visit their website for more information and to pre-book for special events

intu Trafford Centre turns fairy tale dreams into reality with Princess-Sing-Alongs

A whole host of beautiful princesses from fairy tales are set to descend on intu Trafford Centre this summer. Every Tuesday join one of their Princess-Sing-Alongs. Wannabe Princesses (and Princes) are invited to join a host of beautiful princesses for a sing-along in the Main Dome of the centre every Tuesday at 11am, 12pm, 2pm and 3pm.

Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and Snow White will be performing at the centre, welcoming fans with the chance to sing along to their hearts’ content.

7 Things to do in Manchester - Summer 2017

Manchester BookBench Trail

Manchester City Council and the National Literacy Trust have joined forces with Wild in Art to bring their iconic BookBench sculptures to Manchester. The BookBenches will be displayed in cultural hubs, leisure and shopping centres across Manchester. Families will be able to discover the BookBenches by following a trail and complete quizzes and activities as they so do. Many of the venues will host reading-themed events throughout summer 2017. Visit the website for details about the trail.

The Lowry, Salford Quays

This August The Lowry hosts an incredible selection of family shows. In the Quays theatre they have a month long run of Room on the Broom (Tue 1 – Sun 27 Aug), the well-loved classic The Jungle Book (Tue 29 Aug – Sat 2 Sept), and in the Lyric theatre you’ll find the kooky clan from The Addams Family (Tue 29 Aug – Sat 9 Sept).

The Lowry will also open its doors on Sat 5 August from 10am until 4pm for a summer 2017 Open Day, with free activities that enable visitors of all ages to explore the venue in a completely new way.

7 Things to do in Manchester - Summer 2017

Digital Skills for all the family in Cheshire!

Drop in and get making at these free and family friendly hands on workshops at different Cheshire East libraries across the borough. Choose from – Animations in Minecraft, Build an Infrared Detector Circuit, Interactive LED art and PatternBeats.

Not forgetting “Crewecraft” – a festival of all things Minecraft in Crewe – join one of five public interactive sessions where you can build a part of Crewe’s heritage.

Full information on venues, dates and times and how to book your free place for all these workshops – http://www.shift-digital.co.uk/events/

Kids’ Cookery Camps with Food Sorcery 

Kids aged 7-14 years can book a place on on one the Food Sorcery Kids’ Cookery Camps this summer. The workshops help kids gain the confidence, skills and independence they need to get cooking. 

Chef Jason gets the kids prepping, cooking and eating tasty, nutritious food in a fun and friendly environment. He teaches timing and safety in the kitchen and encourages creativity with flavours. The menus will vary, but there is always be a vegetarian option available and special diets can be catered for if discussed in advance.

For more information, visit the Food Sorcery website.

Summer at the Museum of Science and Industry

The Museum of Science and Industry is always a hive of activity over the summer. This year is no exception – there’s plenty to keep your family occupied! From cheering your team on at the Science Showdown, to getting your game face on at Power Up! What about tinkerering and creating at MakeFest too? With their special events and exhibitions; as well as the usual halls of fun and a steam engine ride – they’ve got everything you need for a fun-filled, family day out.

Visit the MSI website for full listings.

7 Things to do in Manchester - Summer 2017

Picture:  © Jason Lock

These are just a few of the many, many things to do in Manchester over the summer. You can catch up on our plans for the summer holiday on our summer bucket list. But if you have any other suggestions for things to do, please comment in the box below!

Have a great summer 2017!

Preview: Refract at Waterside Arts Centre, Sale

Long time readers of this blog will know that I’m partial to a spot of culture and the arts. I’m a great believer in encouraging my son to enjoy them too, which is why we often go to the theatre, or visit a gallery, or do something to broaden his creative horizons. This summer Refract is coming to the Waterside Arts Centre, Sale. It’s a ten day summer programme bursting with experiential performance, music and events to challenge visitors of all ages to see things differently.

Refract runs from Friday 21st July to Sunday 30th July, and brings together a carefully curated programme of arts, music, performance and thought provoking wonders. With highlights including performances from inside a giant bird’s nest and inspirational theatre on a trampoline, thought-provoking and intimate shows inside a static caravan and interactive gaming on a mega scale.

Preview: Refract at Waterside Arts Centre, Sale

We’ve picked out some unmissable performances from the Refract:17 programme. But you can find out more about the full programme of events here.

BBC comedy stalwart Jan Ravens is previewing her brand new Edinburgh Fringe Show on 21st July. Enjoy an evening of stand up with Jan Ravens where she will be impersonating The Queen, Kirsty Wark, Fiona Bruce, Theresa May and many others.

Join acclaimed comic poet genius John Hegley (22nd July 7.30pm), for an evening of laughter. Local legend John Hegley is one of the country’s most innovative comic poets. He has several best selling volumes of poetry to his name.

Other Refract delights include Dylan Thomas’s timeless masterpiece, Under Milk Wood and Waterside favourites Comedysportz, plus drop in activities for all throughout the ten days.

Music lovers will be in their element at Refract this year, with Salford starlet Ren Harvieu appearing on 22nd July as well as Eduardo Niebla on 24th July. Bringing in the Blues, King Pleasure & The Biscuit Boys kick off the party on Friday 21 July with one rocking night of jazz, swing and blues. Not forgetting The Shee, The Demon Barbers XL and Nick Cope’s Family Songbook

Preview: Refract at Waterside Arts Centre, Sale

There’s something a little different for little people too.  Flock to Flit, Flap, Fly; An extraordinary squawking adventure set inside a giant bird’s nest. With live music, audience participation and birdsong, follow a young bird’s frantic and funny journey towards independence.

Enjoy a charming and comic tale complete with clangs, boings and unbearable hope to make our spirits soar with Anyday. This bouncy trampoline based theatrical performance is bound to put a spring in your step! Get one of your five a day with Goblin’s Peter and The Wolf featuring musical vegetables and puppetry in this hilarious performance. Tiny tots might enjoy Aleena’s Garden. Join lovely Aleena tends to her garden from the first days of spring to the short snowy days of winter.

Preview: Refract at Waterside Arts Centre, Sale

Smartphone addicts will love WiFi Wars.  Not only are mobiles and tablets welcome, they are an essential part of this live interactive comedy game show.

For older kids and young adults (and maybe not so young adults too) there’s Mobile.  Part theatre and part life lesson about class in modern Britain; this intimate, visual and powerful show is staged inside a caravan. Explore your sense of home, belonging, aspiration and the realities of social mobility.

There’s really something for everyone at Refract this year. With lots of free and low cost activities, performances and shows for visitors of all ages. It’s a real community arts festival and it’s all happening directly opposite the Sale Metrolink Tram stop. So it’s very easy to get to from wherever you are in Greater Manchester.

Full listings and information are available on the Refract website.

North West Bloggers – We Love Manchester

I am part of a Facebook group called “North West Bloggers”. There are over 500 bloggers from across the whole blogging spectrum in the group. We all have at least one thing in common; we are from the North West of England. Many of us live or work in Manchester, those who don’t live here know the city fairly well.

The shockwaves from the bombing on 2nd May 2017 were felt across the North West, and throughout the UK and beyond. Many of us in the group knew, or knew of people injured in the bombing. Some of us knew people who died that night. All of us were shaken by the tragedy that night.

In the days following the atrocity, several members of the group wrote blog posts expressing their shock and sense of loss. Others wrote about their pride for their city, some shared photos of their bee tattoos and experiences visiting the memorial in St Ann’s Square.

There was a feeling, a suggestion in the group that we should bring all of our blog posts together in one place. This is that place.

If you’ve written a blog post in remembrance of what happened, or perhaps a blog post celebrating the city of Manchester, please do join in the linky below.

Rules:

Please add the linky button below to your blog post (just copy and paste the code onto the bottom of your blog post).

Please do try to leave a comment on some of the blog posts. Also please feel free to share, tweet, stumble, whatever every click, like, love or share helps your fellow blogger.

Please feel free to Tweet me your link and I will happily retweet it.

I reserve the right to remove any blog posts which are not in the spirit of this link up.

About North West bloggers

North West Bloggers are a network of bloggers in the North West of England. We have parenting bloggers, fashion and beauty bloggers, business bloggers, Dad bloggers, fitness bloggers, you name it we have them in our group bloggers.

Tweet North West Bloggers for more information.

You can donate to the Manchester Just Giving Page here.

 

HodgePodgeDays

Manchester, so much to answer for (and all of it ace)

Mancunians are a pretty special kind of people. I know I’m biased because I am one, but its clear from talking to incomers to the area just how much this fine city gets under your skin. Manchester is a beautiful city, inside and out. Its people have more heart that they know what to do with and I’m blessed to have been born and bred here, and I’ve always felt that way.

Mancunians are a breed apart, different in outlook and temperament to their cousins in Liverpool and across the Pennines into Yorkshire. The rivalry may be fierce, but it is for the most part good humoured and affectionate. 

Manchester is an industrial city. It blossomed, bloomed and boomed during the industrial revolution and was known as Cottonopolis. From Manchester came the first passenger railway, the first computer and the invention of graphene. It was the birthplace of the Pankhurst’s and Karl Marx lived here for a time. We created a whole genre of music, and we’ve got famous actors, poets, writers and artists coming out of our ears. But what makes Mancunians special (apart from absolutely everything)?

Manchester, so much to answer for (and all of it ace)

© The Manchester Bee Company, 2017

We bloody love Manchester. We really bloody love Manchester. We’re incredibly proud of where we’ve come from and what a glorious, inclusive, cosmopolitan, historic, forward-thinking city it is. We love that we’re good at music, sports, science and the arts. We love our industrial heritage and our industrious nature. Manchester is awash with entrepreneurial spirit, we are grafters, thinkers and doers. We are rich in social history and compassion. 

Manchester is a city filled with many different kinds of people. City fans, United fans, indie kids, goths, we have a beautiful LGBT community who bring more to Manchester than I think even they realise. We have people from all over the world coming to live and work here. We have several huge universities and it seems that most people who come to Manchester to study never really go home again afterwards.

Mancunians are not generally intrusive people, but if someone is looking lost, upset or in trouble, we will step in and offer to help if we can. We are an incredibly kind people, sharing what we have with those we meet with no expectation of a reward beyond thanks.

We make eye contact on public transport, we talk to our neighbours and our neighbour’s neighbours. We’ll nod hello to strangers on the street. We rally round when people need us, we join together to show the world our collective strength. We are Manchester. 

Mancunian women have a reputation for being strong, some people call us battleaxes. Well, we are strong, we can be fierce, but we’d do owt for anyone and woe betide anyone who looked at our kids the wrong way.

Manchester is a diverse and wonderful city. Its people are full of good humour, with notable funny Mancunians including Les Dawson, Steve Coogan, Victoria Wood and Caroline Aherne, to name just a small handful.

Music has always been important to us, but we’re not *just* all about Oasis and The Stone Roses. The Halle Orchestra are resident here, and we have the world famous Chetham’s School of Music in the city. But yes, you’re right, we do love a bit of indie around here – Joy Division, New Order, The Smiths, Happy Mondays.

Tony Wilson is often quoted as saying “But this is Manchester, we do things differently here.” And we do.

We have beautiful green spaces, great parks, botanical gardens, wonderful architecture. We are a city and a people looking forward to the future, whilst embracing and taking pride in our industrial past. 

Pride is important to us. We are Proud Mancs. We’ve always been Proud Mancs. We are proud of our roots, our achievements, our attitude and our compassion. We are proud to be from this amazing city. This gorgeous, gleaming metropolis we call Cottonopolis. Its streets packed with history and hidden gems, its eye always on the future. 

I asked my friend Bob about what he thought made Mancunians special. He gave this lovely answer…

“Going to Love Train at the Ritz. Rubbing shoulders with goths and beardy old leather-clad rockers in Jilly’s back in the day. We’re such a strong community, even the venues have their own personalities. They come and go, Jilly’s and Hacienda have gone, but still loved and never forgotten. The city itself is our extended family. The City of Manchester stadium as the train pulls into Piccadilly. Beetham Tower on the horizon as the bus approaches Salford. It’s iconic from every angle and every time you pass a ‘Welcome to Manchester’ sign it’s a homecoming, whether you were born there or are adopted by the city, its people and its heart.”

Mancunians. We’re brave, bold, funny, kind, loving, we have heart and soul in spades. Int that right r kid?

5 things to do during Whit week half term 2017

The Whit Week Half Term falls under the sad shadow of the Manchester bombing. I live 5 miles away from the arena, and we’ve felt the emotional reverberations of the atrocity. The mood is defiant but subdued. Everyone I know wants to stay at home, holding their kids close where they can keep them safe. But generally kids don’t always love being stuck at home and will want to do something over the half term regardless.

For us our half term fun will be had on the fringes of the city. Whilst I’m happy to visit the city centre myself; for the next week or so at least we won’t be going in as a family. I know we can’t wrap our children up forever. We can just make sensible, informed choices and get on with life and live it well.

If you’re keen to avoid the city centre with your kids for now, I’ve selected a few out of town things to do in Manchester over the Whit Week Half Term. I’ve not included them here, but there will be lots of things to do over the Whit Week Half Term in the city centre, at the Whitworth Art Gallery, the Museum of Science and Industry, and at the People’s History Museum. However you choose to spend half term, enjoy it.

Waterside Arts Centre, Sale

We will be going to see The Three Musketeers at the Waterside Arts Centre in Sale on Friday 2 June. Presented by The Three Half Pints;  Fresh from Justin’s House and Spot Bots, we will be joining CBeebies’ favourites in this hilarious new slapstick adventure of chivalry, swordplay and suddenly falling over!  For ages 5+

5 things to do during Whit week half term 2017

For ages 3+ catch Julia Donaldson’s famous book The Scarecrows’ Wedding, brought to the stage by Scamp Theatre. Running on Friday 26, Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 May. Scarecrows Betty O’Barley and Harry O’Hay decide to get married and Harry sets off for their wedding day essentials. This truly heart-warming adaptation promises wit, drama and wedding bells!   

On Thursday 1 June, Waterside will be screening Sing-a-long Trolls.  Bring the kids and sing your socks off to Trolls hits such as Can’t Stop The Feeling and True Colours.  Come along in Troll-themed fancy dress or costumes in bright rainbow colours. Prizes will be given out for the best outfits!  Tickets just £5 (or £2.50 for Family Club members).

Based on the fabulous new book by Steven Lee and with magic designed by Paul Daniels, Don’t Dribble on The Dragon is a spectacular musical adventure about growing up and the importance of family is the perfect feel good show.  For ages 3+ on Saturday 3 June.  Steven will also be signing copies of Don’t Dribble on The Dragon after the show.

Salford Quays Culture’s Summer Showcase

Over half term, endangered species from land and sea migrate to the metropolis of MediaCityUK, in the form of four gigantic sculptures for Quays Culture’s Unnatural Borders exhibition, which will run from Saturday 20th May until Monday 29th May. 

Four large sculptures represent endangered species – Polar Bear, Whale, Red Squirrel and a Bee. By day the sculptures tower over the public on large separate plinths. When the sun sets at 9pm they are illuminated with stunning visual projections, bringing a magical show of light and illusion to these 3D animals and their location. Day or night, these sound pretty awesome and worth seeking out, especially if you’re visiting Media City for other reasons too.

5 things to do during Whit week half term 2017

Catalyst Science Discovery Centre

Ok, so this means a bit of a drive to Widnes, but the boys go here often and they really enjoy their visits. This amazing science centre has three interactive galleries to explore as well as a stunning rooftop observatory. During this half term they have two interactive workshops for budding scientists to enjoy.

Ludicrous Liquids – A chance for young scientists to get some hands-on fun in the lab, experimenting with interesting and surprising liquids. How many colours can you get into your rainbow straw and do you make a lava lamp? Hands-on workshops at 11am and 2pm

Fantastic Plastic – One of their most popular hands-on sessions. Enjoy working with an amazing plastic material to make a keyring to take home. Hands-on Workshops at 12 noon and 3pm

For more information about the Catalyst Science Discovery Centre, visit their website.

Wythenshawe Community Farm

Join the Junior Farmer’s Club and learn how to care for the animals on the farm. Groom and feed Pip the friendly pony, feed and muck out the pygmy goats and collect the eggs from the chickens. Available on Thursday 1st and Saturday 3rd June from 1-3pm. The cost of the session is £10, for more information or to book phone 0161 946 0726.

Read about one of our previous visits to Wythenshawe Community Farm here.

Wythenshawe Community Farm

SHIFT Digital 

Over Whit week half term, Shift Digital will be running a series of free events in libraries and other venues in Cheshire. If you’ve got kids who are into coding, computers or science, it’s well worth taking them along.

Join Shift for Superhero Sewable Circuits on Wednesday 31 May at the Electric Picturehouse, Cross Street, Congleton. Make your own light up superhero mask. Learn the basics of e-textile sewable circuits and stitch light up LEDs onto felt to customise and create your own design. Ages 7+ FREE Places limited – to book call  01260 270908.

Minecraft fans should go to PatternCraft at Congleton Library on Tuesday 30 May  – 10am-12noon / 1-3pm. Go along and create 8 x 8 punchcard designs; feedback your card into the reader and by the magic of python code converting the physical holes in to binary files of 0’s and 1’s, build it on a minecraft map. Drop In – FREE – All Ages Call 01260 375550.

At Holmes Chapel Library on Thursday 1 June 10am-12noon / 1-3pm, learn to program the Micro:bit LED display and create interactive bitmap art that responds to movement and button presses. Ages 7+ FREE Places limited – to book call  01477 689550.

The full SHIFT programme – including talks, workshops, professional training, tech meet ups, art installations, family events and drop-in coding sessions – is listed on their website: www.shift-digital.co.uk

We hope you have a great Whit Week Half Term. If you’ve got any ideas for other fun things to do, please do mention them in the comments below!

We are Manchester. This is The Place.

Scrolling through Twitter on Monday night, I was already tucked up in bed when a minute after the Manchester bomb I saw a tweet saying something was going on at Victoria Station. We often get these “I heard a big bang, what was that?” kind of tweets in Manchester, so at first I didn’t think much of it. But I decided to dig around Twitter to see if there was anything else in it.

Within minutes it was apparent there was a real situation unfolding at the Manchester Arena. I got online and started chatting in a Facebook group with some friends, all of us scrolling and searching for info. We all hoped against hope that it was a popped balloon, that it was a speaker which had exploded, that no one had been hurt.

We all stayed up, screenshotting and sharing statements from Greater Manchester Police. We checked as far as we could that people we knew weren’t there. We realised in the darkness of our early hours chat that this was deliberate, this was timed for maximum impact and it was designed to hurt children.

The swear words and tears flowed. This was our city. Our beautiful, cosmopolitan, inclusive city and someone wanted to hurt our children. It was about as low an act as it could be. We couldn’t do anything but re-tweet and share information. Helpless and despairing we all went to bed at 3am knowing we would wake up to terrible, terrible news.

Tuesday brought a whole range of emotions. Anger, pride, sorrow, love, anger again and fear. We all hugged our little ones close, were extra vigilant when we were out and about. They started to give names to the dead and the missing. All young, vital, full of joy and promise. I’ve wept for every one and each of their mothers too. 

We heard tales of bravery. We were scared and brave and bold and devastated in equal measure. We watched the vigil. We wept with pride, passion and sorrow when Tony Walsh known as Longfella, a local poet and Mancunian legend read his poem, This Is The Place. 

We are broken. 

Less than 48 hours after the attack I am numb. My heart is broken for the children and families caught up in this atrocity. My heart is broken for my friends who are sat by hospital beds with their poorly babies. My heart is broken that someone could do this to my city. My home town. To our children. To our people.

I love my city. Manchester gets under your skin and flows through your veins. It fills your heart with pride. I’m a Proud Manc. I could never be anything else but a Proud Manc. Those who want to divide us will only ever unite us further. 

This is Manchester. We are Manchester. This is The place. Our place.

We are Manchester. This Is The Place.

Take That Wonderland Tour – VIP Day with Key 103

I’ve been a Take That fan for 27 years (27 years, just let that sink in). Take That are currently in the middle of a huge UK tour of their Wonderland album. I went to see them at the Manchester Arena and took along my friend Liz along for the ride. We were there to experience a fabulous day of hospitality at the Manchester Arena with Key 103.

Our hospitality package included two Take That tickets, access to the Prime Experience hospitality area – the View Bar and a glass of champagne, pre-show dinner and drinks at Zouk, plus a chance to meet the Key 103 team at the Arena to see them presenting live on air.

Take That Wonderland Tour - VIP Day with Key 103

The Manchester Arena is incredibly easy to get to, we just hopped on the tram in Didsbury Village and got off at Victoria Station. We wanted to pick up our tickets early and to soak up some of the atmosphere. There were around a hundred people already queuing at the doors at 3pm, the numbers grew in the hour or so we were there. We met up with the Key 103 team who were broadcasting live from the arena and keeping the crowd entertained, which just added to the air of anticipation and excitement. 

Take That Wonderland Tour - VIP Day with Key 103

We had just enough time to jump in a taxi and head to Zouk in Manchester for a bite to eat before the concert started. Zouk, which is just off Oxford Road was a very nice, comfortable, contemporary restaurant which serves authentic and modern Pakistani and Indian cuisine. We’re both vegetarian and we were impressed with the range and quality of the food. I can also heartily recommend their cocktails, the Espresso Martini was the best I’ve ever had! We’ll both be going back and taking our friends!

Take That Wonderland Tour - VIP Day with Key 103

After dinner and buoyed by cocktails and Take That fan-girl excitement, we grabbed a cab back to the Manchester Arena. We dodged the queues and we were fast-tracked into the Prime Experience View Bar for a glass of champagne. As someone who hates queuing and standing around, entry to this bar suits me perfectly and it’s something I’d happily pay for again. A comfy seat, a pre-show drink and a toilet you don’t need to queue for are worth the price alone. 

Once we’d finished our drinks, we headed into the arena and to our seats. They were “the best seats in the house” and they were pretty darn good. We had an unobstructed view of the stage which unusually was located in the centre of the arena. We managed to catch almost all of the All Saints performance, which was fantastic. We’d forgotten how brilliant they were, they had us up singing and dancing, they were the perfect warm up for what was to come.

Take That Wonderland Tour - VIP Day with Key 103

I’ve been to see a lot of bands at the Manchester Arena, but this is the first time I’ve seen the stage in the centre of the arena. It really, really works. It means no one really gets a terrible view. Take That put on a real visual spectacle in the round; with amazing effects, brilliant dancers and dramatic acrobatics. It was at times visually jaw-dropping. But of course, the boys were what we were all there to see.

Take That may be 27 years old, with Gary, Mark and Howard all in their 40’s now; but they are still as energetic as they ever were. They played songs from their new album Wonderland, plus songs from across their back catalogue. Hits included; Wonderland, Pray, Relight My Fire, Satisfied, Greatest Day, How Deep Is Your Love, Back For Good, Patience and of course, Never Forget.

We sang, we danced, we did the waving our arms in the air thing to Never Forget and we had the best time. The. Best. Time. If you get the chance to go and see Take That on this tour, do it. Go. Go now and get tickets. It’s fantastic and you won’t regret it for a second.

You can watch some of the highlights from our fantastic afternoon and evening of Take That and Key 103 entertainment here –

 

I love going to see bands and live music in general. Going to see Take That as part of the hospitality package available at the Manchester Arena just made a great night even more special. It’s definitely something I’d look at booking again, especially if it was for a special occasion or celebration. 

Key 103 are the official radio partner for the Manchester Arena – Manchester’s premium venue for seeing the world biggest acts. Tuning in to Key 103, you’re guaranteed to hear more hits than ever. Key 103 plays all the biggest hits, all day long.

Note: We were invited guests of Key 103 and we were given the hospitality experience in return for this blog post.

Review: The Super Lunch Menu at Jamie’s Italian Manchester

This week I’ve noticed a hint of spring in the air. The evenings are much lighter, the trees are starting to get blousy with blossom and everything just feels a bit hopeful. With a spring in my step, I met my friend Bob for lunch at Jamie’s Italian Manchester. He’s moved away, so we don’t get to see each other as often as we’d like, so we were ready for a proper catch up.

Review: The Super Lunch Menu at Jamie’s Italian Manchester

We arrived at Jamie’s Italian Manchester, a huge grade II listed building on King Street in the city centre. Inside it’s imposing and grand, with dark wood and marble everywhere. It’s a beauty.

We were shown to our table and we checked out the Super Lunch menu. Since I was last in the menu has had an update to keep pace with the changing seasons. The super lunch menu is a hearty mixture of winter warmers and vibrant spring flavours. It’s keenly priced at £12.95 for two courses, or three courses for £14.95. It is available 12-6pm from Monday-Friday.

To start I plumped for the Tomato Bruschetta made with slow-roasted cherry tomatoes, buffalo ricotta, basil and extra virgin olive oil. I’m a sucker for ricotta, so this was a deliciously light start to the meal. My only tiny quibble was that the tomatoes still had some fresh from the fridge chill to them, I’d prefer them closer to room temperature, but that’s me being very fussy.

Review: The Super Lunch Menu at Jamie’s Italian Manchester

Bob opted for the Fritto Misto, crispy fried sustainable fish & squid tossed in fennel-spiced flour with garlic and lemon aioli. This was a hit, the aioli was perfectly garlicky and the delicate fish well cooked. There wasn’t quite enough squid for his liking, but the plentiful helping of chunky fish made up for that. This is a dish he would order again.

Moving on to the mains, there were only two veggie options and only one I was able to eat, so that’s what I had, the Classic Super Food Salad, a combination of avocado, roasted beetroot, mixed pulses & grains, sprouting broccoli, pomegranate and spicy seeds with harissa dressing & cottage cheese. To say it was delicious is an understatement, every fork full was bursting with flavour, I couldn’t fault it and despite my initial hesitation over ordering this, I would do again in a heartbeat.

Review: The Super Lunch Menu at Jamie’s Italian Manchester

Bob plumped for the Italian Steak and Fries, marinated skirt steak, flash grilled & served with garlic butter, aged Parmesan, slaw and fries. This had a £3 supplement. The skirt steak was heavily topped with garlic butter with one side seared on the grill, Bob thought it was a good steak, though not the best he’d had. However, the skinny fries were perfect, crispy without being overcooked and a good portion size. I snaffled a few and they were good.

I was stuffed after my salad, but we were determined to do the new menu justice, so pudding was ordered. Choosing the light option, I ordered the Blood Orange Sorbet, which was topped with fresh mint and lime zest. It’s not listed as suitable for vegetarians on the Super Lunch Menu, but I checked and it definitely is. The sorbet was so good, it was just about perfect and the flavours in the citrusy sorbet were enhanced by the mint and lime, and it was only 72 calories too.

Review: The Super Lunch Menu at Jamie’s Italian Manchester

Bob still had some room, so he ordered the Epic Chocolate Brownie with chocolate sauce, salted caramel ice cream and caramelised popcorn. It looked spectacular, he kindly let me try a corner. I’m not usually a fan of brownies, but it had a lovely crispy top and it was a very, very good brownie. I loved the ice cream, but the popcorn was the winner for me. It was a fine end to our lunch.

We had both had a cocktail, soft drinks, a three course lunch and coffee and our lunch time treat came in at a few pence over £56. We both felt it was really good value for what we’d had. I’ve had lunch at Jamie’s Italian Manchester with friends a few times now, and never been disappointed and always impressed with the value and service. 

Review: The Super Lunch Menu at Jamie’s Italian Manchester

You can find out more about Jamie’s Italian Manchester and the Super Lunch Menu on the website.

We were invited guests of Jamie’s Italian Manchester. All images and opinions are our own.

Family Fun: Art On The Run, Sunday 21st May 2017

UPDATE: Art On The Run will now take place on Sunday 21st May 2017, 11am.

On Sunday 21st May the creative minds behind the Just So Festival, Wild Rumpus invite you and your family to take part in Art On The Run. Join them for a 5K dash through the newly regenerated LIVIA Forest in Manchester.

Combining a love of the arts, woodlands and exercising outdoors, Art On The Run is like no other. Race, run, scamper, chase, sprint, scurry, bound, dart, canter, gallop, jog, scuttle, trot or walk through the beautiful forest landscape, encountering surprising and fantastical large-scale art installations along the way.

With wacky warm ups, surprises along the way and crossing the finish line with some footstomping musicians; Art On The Run looks like it’s going to be a wondrous woodland experience and perfectly curious April Fool run.

All the forest paths are pushchair friendly.  The run should take around 35 minutes, or around an hour if you choose to walk the race. Dress up, dress down, dress however you want; but it wouldn’t be a Wild Rumpus event if you weren’t at least wearing funny bunny ears!

LIVIA Forest is part of the City Forest Park an initiative by City of Trees and the Forestry Commission. Their aim is to create a huge public park in Greater Manchester bigger than New York’s Central Park.

LIVIA Forest is part of the Irwell Sculpture Trail. It is made up of several community woodlands and nature reserves linking Clifton Country Park and Drinkwater Park. LIVIA Forest is host to a wide range of habitats and wildlife. It’s just a stone’s throw away from Manchester City Centre and a great place to spend a day walking, cycling or running.

Art On The Run sounds like a lovely event, regardless of your fitness level. My super-fit husband and sporty son will likely run the whole race, whereas I’m happy to enjoy a stroll through the woodland, enjoying the sights and surprises along the way. 

For information and to book tickets now visit www.artontherun.org.uk. Art On The Run will take place on Sunday 21st May 2017 (tickets will not be available to purchase on the day). Tickets cost £20 (adults), £10 (children).

 
Family Fun: Art On The Run, Saturday 1 April 2017

Five things to do in Manchester over February Half Term

The February half term is almost upon us (ours is 20-24 Feb 2017). I’m starting to plan some activities to keep me and the small boy busy. In Manchester there is so much to do, but here are five things to do in Manchester over February half term which have tickled my fancy.

Steam, Sweat & Spinners at MSI

Over February half term, experience the sights, smells and sounds of steam with thunderous steam engines demonstrations at the Museum of Science and Industry. Discover the steamy side of Victorian Manchester with Steam, Sweat and Spinners. Find out about the hard work and sweat which went into working in a mill and get hands on with our Goo in the Loo workshop.

Five things to do in Manchester over February Half Term

Join in with the Cotton Mill Circus story time. Work in a factory by day and circus by night and make your very own stories and tales with the magic lanterns workshop. Strike a pose in the Victorian photo booth or gather round the old Joanna for a good old-fashioned sing-along. Plus ride the 1830 Express find out how Manchester changed the world via an exploding balloon and a flying beach ball. There’s also a Victorian-style funfair in the upper yard – see the world from the top of the Big Wheel, win at Hook-a-Duck, and ride a magical carousel horse.

For more information about what’s on at MSI this half term, visit their website.

The Waterside Arts Centre

The Waterside Arts Centre in Sale (very near the tram stop) is one of my favourite places to visit with the boy. It’s easy for non-driving me to get to, it’s small but perfectly formed and they always have an interesting selection of things going on, from theatre, live music, workshops, films, comedy and much more. It’s all on their website.

Enjoy the timeless tale of the Sorcerer’s Apprentice on 17th February, brought to life with an irresistible blend of music, puppetry and storytelling. Or young ones might like Lolly Pops and Circus Props on Sunday 19th February, listen to the exciting stories of Lolly – as she runs away from the circus to embark on new adventures in the big world.

For older kids, who fancy a spot of CSIing this half term. Join experienced and professional forensic scientists in Forensic Science in Action. This is suitable for ages 7-11 and is on Monday 13th February, from 10am to 3pm. You bring the packed lunch and see if you can solve the crime!

Mini movie fans have two great films to choose from on Monday 20th February, with Shaun the Sheep Movie and Flushed Away. Not to mention Puppet Masters Return with Aardman Studios, running until April 1st. This fantastic exhibition is packed full of original props, puppets and production artwork from many of Aardman’s most famous films and characters. Entry is free.

Half term cooking kids club at intu Trafford Centre

The intu Trafford Centre is running daily cookery events for children during February Half Term. With different activities such as crepe stations, banoffee pie making, mocktail classes and gyozo-making sessions taking place at intu Trafford Centre every day, there’s lots to keep the kids occupied.

Five things to do in Manchester over February Half Term

With most of the activities taking place from 12-5pm outside Topshop, Upper Regent Crescent – it’s worth checking out the website to see what’s available and when. In addition to the food and craft activities, there are limited places on these free restaurant based cooking classes. Book a place and learn to cook WagamamaTampopo or Coast to Coast

All of the activities are free for all the family and are open to all ages. Visit www.intu.co.uk/TraffordCentre to find details of what’s on and opening hours.

Stockport Hat Museum

One place I’ve been meaning to visit for ages is the Stockport Hat Museum. It’s very much on the agenda this half term. The Hat Museum is an award winning museum with two floors of interactive exhibits, taking you on a journey through the history of Stockport’s once thriving hatting industry.

The museum is home to a recreated hat factory with 20 fully restored working Victorian-style machines. Not to mention a fantastic collection of over 400 hats from around the world. Over February Half Term try your hand at a different craft each day, including felt making, decoupage and easy lino print. Suitable for ages 7+. Booking essential. 

For more information about the Stockport Hat Museum, visit their website.

Media City & Salford quays

On a fine day the boy and I love a visit to Media City. It’s easy to get to on the tram and there’s so much to do there. From shopping in the Lowry Outlet, popping over the bridge to the Imperial War Museum North, exploring the Blue Peter Garden, watching a show at The Lowry or going for lunch somewhere. 

This February Half Term we will be heading over to Media City for the day, having some lunch, doing a spot of shopping and then going to The Lowry to watch The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show which will be on from Wednesday 22nd to Saturday 25 February.

Five things to do in Manchester over February Half Term

Media City and Salford Quays is a great place to visit. It’s largely traffic free so there’s plenty of space for the kids to run about and burn off some energy. There are more places to eat than I can count, and there are lots of interesting places to visit and things to do. My two favourites are The Lowry and IWM North, check them out, you won’t regret it.

What are you plans for this February Half Term?