Category Archives: Manchester

Skincare: Experiencing Fractional Mesotherapy

If you’ve never heard of Fractional Mesotherapy before, don’t worry, neither had I. That was until a few weeks ago when I was invited along to the Rejuvenate Skin Clinic in Manchester to try one of their treatments.

I could have played it safe and had a nice pampering facial, but as I’d turned 40 a couple of months ago, I was happy to step out of my comfort zone and try something which could make a real difference to my appearance. 

Fractional Mesotherapy is where a tailored cocktail of active ingredients including vitamins, peptides, hyaluronic acid and collagen are microinjected into the skin to plump out and smooth areas of concern.

If you cut through the big words, basically they take a dermapen with several sterile fine needles inside and then stamp and circle your skin with it. This makes fine channels in the skin so they can push the vitamins directly into the dermal layer. Yes, it does sound a bit odd, but I was prepared to give it a go.

Fractional Mesotherapy

I arrived at the Rejuvenate Skin Clinic on Swan Street, just on the outer fringes of Manchester’s Northern Quarter and was greeted by Leena, the Clinic Manager. She gave me a tour of the clinic and then we settled in the Fractional Mesotherapy treatment room where she talked me through what the treatment would involve.

I’d seen lots of before and after photos in the clinic (and there a lots on the internet too, looking at them has become a bit of an addiction), so I was excited to see how I would look after the treatment. Leena explained that the treatment had “minimal downtime” which means that my face should look a bit pink for a few hours afterwards but look normal within a day or so.

Fractional Mesotherapy

My treatment began with Leena having a really good look at my skin to see where my problem areas were, I told her where I was most concerned about and she focused her attention on the parts of my face which needed it. 

She then cleansed my skin and began the stamping process on my forehead. It wasn’t that bad and not painful. It was a little uncomfortable in parts, more so across my forehead, but I guess there’s not much fat and muscle underneath my skin there. Leena would stamp or circle an area with the needles and then gently massage in a vitamin serum she’d mixed up for me based on my needs. The idea is that this helps to stimulate the natural production of collagen, making the skin look and feel fresher and tighter.

Just before and just after my Fractional Mesotherapy treatment.

Just before and just after my Fractional Mesotherapy treatment.

The micro-needling lasted around 45 minutes and whilst I was glad it was over, I would be happy to have it done again, so it really wasn’t too bad. It was never painful, just a bit strange feeling. To calm my skin after the treatment I relaxed for ten minutes with a cooling saline mask which did feel very soothing. 

For the rest of the day my skin was quite pink, the next day it was a lot better, and it was only pink in the areas where Leena had focused her attentions on. You’re not really allowed to use soap, make up, moisturisers or other products on your skin for a day or two afterwards, but I was given some of the serum to take home and rub in, which again was very soothing. At no point was my skin sore or bothering me in any way, it just looked a little bit pink in places for a few hours.

Fractional Mesotherapy is good for dark circles, fine lines and wrinkles as well as scars and stretchmarks. It is very much a non-surgical treatment which you can use to give your skin a boost a few days before an occasion. They recommend a course of several treatments for you to be able to see real results in the long term.

Fractional Mesotherapy

Two days after my Fractional Mesotherapy treatment

I had one treatment, but I was delighted with the results. After 48 hours my skin looked tighter, it glowed and my fine lines were less noticeable. My skin wasn’t dry, but it was perhaps a little thirstier than usual, but I followed the aftercare instructions to the letter and I’m very, very happy with the results.

Would I have Fractional Mesotherapy again? Yes I would. It’s not a pampering treatment, and not something I’d choose if I wanted a relaxing treat, but it is a real alternative to botox, fillers and other surgical options. Several of my friends have commented on how good my skin looks since my visit to the clinic too.

Fractional Mesotherapy

I thought that the staff at Rejuvenate Skin Clinic in Manchester were friendly and professional, they were knowledgeable about the treatments and they prepared me well for something that was a little out of my usual comfort zone. The clinic was scrupulously clean, everything was sterile and Leena made sure to wear gloves throughout my treatment.

Rejuvenate Skin Clinic in Manchester offers a range of treatments and therapies for a range of skin conditions for both men and women. It’s a comfortable, discrete clinic, 5 minutes walk from Market Street and it’s somewhere I would very happily go again for further treatments.  

For more information about Fractional Mesotherapy or the Rejuvenate Skin Clinic in Manchester, visit their website.

Rejuvenate Skin Clinic, 11 Swan Street, Northern Quarter, Manchester, M4 5JJ Tel: 0161 819 5555

I was an invited guest of the Rejuvenate Skin Clinic in Manchester. I received this treatment in exchange for this blog post. All images and opinions are my own.

We're going on an adventure

Spa Days: The Spa at The Midland, Manchester

Over the weekend my husband took me to The Midland Hotel in Manchester for a romantic weekend to celebrate my birthday. My gift from him was a night in a suite, a nine course meal in The French and some time in The Spa at The Midland. It was not the worst present I’ve ever been given. The boy did very well.

The Spa at The Midland

I am VERY fond of a spa day. Sometimes I will go to a spa for a treatment or two and then chill out in the thermal rooms, sometimes I will just go for a swim, a sauna and a steam. I find thermal rooms are very good for my back (I have chronic pain), the warmth of a sauna or a steam room really eases my old bones, so a spa day isn’t just a nice treat, it’s like therapy. 

As a guest at The Midland if you just want to use the spa, all you do is phone the Spa Reception and they’ll book you in for a time. This is so the spa doesn’t get too busy and noisy. If you’re not staying in the hotel, then you’ll need to book a spa day, there are a range of options on their website.

The Spa at The Midland has won a whole host of awards including Best City Spa Break Manchester, Best City Spa Day Manchester and Best Hotel Spa Manchester. The Spa at The Midland has also been named as ‘Best City Spa’ in The Candis 2016 Spa Awards. It is very good.

Take the lift to the lower ground floor and open the door to the spa, the smell of soothing essential oils permeates up the corridor to the spa reception. We were greeted by one of the staff, given a fluffy towel, a robe and slippers and directed to the changing rooms.

The Spa at The Midland

The communal changing rooms are a little on the small side, but if they only have small numbers in at a time it shouldn’t be an issue. The changing area has showers as well as an area where you can dry and straighten your hair.

I headed straight for the pool area, taking a shower before diving in. The shower has three different settings, and is a bit of an experience in itself. The cool misty shower is great after the sauna. 

The pool isn’t large, but it’s big enough to do a few gentle laps before sitting in the jacuzzi. The jacuzzi is very warm, it was too warm for my husband, but the bubbles pummelled my back in all the right places so I did spend quite a lot of time in there.

There is a small sauna and a steam room tucked away near the tropical shower area. Both rooms are probably big enough for 4 or 5 people but no more. I really enjoyed both rooms and I would very much like to go back and spend some more time in them. There is something very cleansing about having a sauna and a steam, I’d recommend it, especially if you suffer with aches and pains.

I didn’t venture into the relaxation room, but hubs spent quite a lot of time in there, he made himself a herbal tea, found a restful corner and promptly fell asleep. I do enjoy a relaxation room after I’ve had a treatment, they’re good places to chill out in whilst you come round after a massage or facial. Or if you’re my husband, a great place to have a nap.

The Spa at The Midland

We spent a couple of hours enjoying the pool and thermal suites before heading back to our room to get ready for dinner. We are talking about coming back for an afternoon of post-Christmas relaxation in the New Year. We didn’t have the time to try out any of the treatments on offer at The Spa at The Midland, but that is something we will look at for our next visit.

The Spa at The Midland also has a gym, a number of treatment rooms and a cafe to enjoy when you visit. I’ve been to a lot of spas and this felt very luxurious, it was clean, the lighting was soft and relaxing and the staff were attentive without been obtrusive. I enjoyed my couple of hours in the spa very much and I’m looking forward to our return.

For more information and more detailed photographs (I didn’t take any photos inside the spa for obvious reasons), visit The Spa at The Midland website.

Now We Are Six: We Are Adventurers Birthday Party

Over the weekend the small boy (who is not so small these days) turned six. This year his birthday fell on a Saturday, so we decided to throw him a party on his actual birthday, and I’m so glad we did.

Over the years we’ve had a couple of Rhythm & Rhyme parties, a couple of soft play parties and a brilliant party on a Steam Train. We like to try and do things a bit differently if we can, so we defied his instructions and booked him a “We Are Adventurers Pirate Party”. This outdoor party in a forest school was a bit of a gamble for a boy with a November birthday, but it massively paid off.

We Are Adventurers Birthday Party

For the uninitiated, We Are Adventurers is a forest school, they have them dotted about in various locations, but there’s one a few miles from our house. The basic premise is a birthday party (we had 20 kids) would spend a few hours with a couple of leaders in the woods, building a camp fire, going on a treasure hunt, running, screaming and chasing each other through the woods and then building a pirate ship out of sticks they collected from around the camp.

We Are Adventurers Birthday Party

Parents didn’t have to be there, but a few stuck around and we all watched in awe as our kids had the time of their lives. It was brilliant. At the end of the party all the kids sat around the fire eating the picnic lunches I’d made for them, and they toasted marshmallows around the fire. There were lots of children being reluctantly dragged from the woods afterwards, and most of them were top to toe covered in mud, with the biggest smiles on their faces.

We Are Adventurers Birthday Party

It was fantastic. Before we’d even got home, the not so small anymore boy was asking for the same kind of party again next year. I think that’s a birthday wish we can grant him!

We Are Adventurers Birthday Party

We Are Adventurers have a number of different party options including Pirates & Princesses, Bear Hunt, Elves & Fairies, Robin Hood, Creepy Crawlies and Superhero Adventure. They also run holiday clubs and a range of other activities.

Prices for a We Are Adventurers party start from £12 per head and you can pay extra for picnic bags and goody bags (we did our own catering but they did the goody bags). For more information visit their website.

 

We Are Adventurers Birthday Party

We paid for our party in full and have not been compensated for this post. We just had the best time, so I thought I’d share how brilliant it was.

An audience with Astronaut Tim Peake in Manchester

On Saturday we set off an an out of this world adventure at the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry (known locally as MSI). We were part of a small audience with astronaut Tim Peake – something the small boy was beside himself with excitement about. 

Tim was there for a very special event, a trailblazer for the Manchester Science Festival. He was there to talk about his adventures on board the International Space Station. 

Tim Peake

Aspiring astronauts hoping to follow in Tim’s footsteps were able to hear him speak about his experiences in orbit and quiz the spaceman on what life is really like on board a space station.

Tim returned from the six month long Principia mission in June this year. During the mission Tim carried out a spacewalk and ran the London Marathon in space. His mission has inspired thousands of British schoolchildren to learn more about space – the small boy and his class grew some “space seeds” at school which had been sent from the International Space Station, and for several months we keenly followed Tim’s adventures in space.

As you can imagine, the room was filled with school children excited to see their astro-hero, the interviewers did a fine job of asking him about his adventures in space, illustrated for the most part by photographs which Tim had taken.

Tim Peake

After the fascinating interview (which was live streamed if you want to watch it for yourself) the audience of children were given the chance to ask Tim questions. There were some really good questions, but the one about space toilets really stuck with me. Apparently 90% of the urine is recycled into drinking water, with the remaining 10% being bagged up and disposed of in the trash.

Tim Peake

As an adult I was incredibly excited to be in the same room as Tim Peake, but the small boy, who is just 5 years old has now met someone who is a real hero. He will remember this day for the rest of his life, and I hope he will be inspired, if not to go into space, but at least shoot for the stars. As Tim says, there’s no direct route to being an astronaut, but working hard and having fun are a big part of the journey.

The small boy had managed to bag himself a front row seat for this audience with British Astronaut Tim. You can watch a short video of our morning below –

Tim Peake’s appearance in Manchester was part of a seven-date UK tour organised by the UK Space Agency and the European Space Agency and was the trailblazer event for the Manchester Science Festival 2016.

Manchester Science Festival 2016 marks the end of the city’s year-long role as European City of Science, and runs throughout half-term from Monday 20 October – Sunday 30 October.

You can read my preview of the Manchester Science Festival here.

Tim Peake

For more information and full event listings for the Manchester Science Festival 2016 visit their website.

Review: Y Fabrica – Californian & Mexican Diner

Last week the stars aligned and a much needed good thing happened – I won lunch for two at Y Fabrica in Didsbury. Y Fabrica is where the Mud Crab Cafe used to be, it recently opened following a total rebrand and now specialises in serving a colourful menu of Californian and Mexican food. I decided to take my husband out for lunch, we don’t get much time without the small boy, so we were looking forward to eating a meal without having to make small talk about Paw Patrol in between courses.

I’d been checking out the menu at Y Fabrica since it opened. I confess my eye was caught by the very decent looking cocktail menu, lots of tequila based drinks and with several twists on the classics, I know I won’t be happy until I’ve worked my way through the lot. My first cocktail port of call was the Mai Thai Ting – a classic Mai Thai but served with Ting, like Lilt but better. Fruity, refreshing and the perfect foil for what was to come.

Y Fabrica

Y Fabrica has a big selection of “small plates” to choose from – like tapas but a bit bigger and heartier; as well as bigger plates such as burgers, lamb tagine and fried chicken (amongst others). As it was lunchtime we chose a selection of small plates to share. It’s very easy to have a simple light lunch here, or order more small plates (like we did) and have a greedy Friday treat of a lunch.

Y Fabrica

We ordered the adobo pork belly taco with apple slaw, pico de pina and salsa verde and the roasted poblano and sweet potato taco with pickled red onion, refried beans and crumbled feta cheese.

On the side we had a Mexican pizza filled with black beans, avocado and mozzarella, topped with a fried egg (carnivores can have chorizo instead); guacamole and tortilla chips, grilled corn on the cob with chipotle mayo and Parmesan; tempura of calamari with black aioli and a stack of chargrilled sweet potato fries.

Y Fabrica

If you want a light lunch, the tacos are a great place to start. Each serving of two tacos is piled high with fillings. My roasted poblano and sweet potato taco was deceptively hearty and bursting with freshness. The taco packed a little kick which was in part soothed by the cool creamy crumbled cheese on top. It was very well balanced. Husband who gave up smoking and took up pulled pork instead, wolfed his down with the demeanor of someone who hadn’t had a hot meal all week. 

The Mexican pizza was a large tortilla, folded and filled with refried beans and avocado. It looked as pretty as a picture with the sunshiny egg on the top. I thought it was delicious, I’d love it to have a big handful of coriander inside the pizza – but I’m a coriander addict and I suspect if I asked, they’d throw some in for me.

Y Fabrica

Deserving of special mentions were the chunky sweet potato fries – chargrilled for a smoky flavour and tossed in some delicious but secret seasoning, I reckon these might be the best sweet potato fries in Didsbury. The tempura of calamari with black aioli was also a bit special, the light and crispy tempura had finely sliced chilli and coriander flecked throughout, and the black aioli made with squid ink looked appealingly arresting on the plate. 

Y Fabrica

I was by this point (remember, this was a supposed to be a light lunch) feeling a little drunk on food, but we were determined to have desserts. Hubs went for the caramelised apple and cinnamon burrito served with cream cheese. His sweet burrito smelt deliciously autumnal, of apples and cinnamon. Once he devoured it, he grunted with the kind of approval he reserves only for good puds. 

I opted for the peanut butter cookie ice cream sandwich with caramel sauce. I’d seen photos on Twitter of this highlight of the dessert menu and it did look awesome. In real life it was much bigger than I was expecting. Two freshly baked peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies, each around 4 inches in diameter, sandwiched with ice cream and caramel sauce. It was huge and I could only finish half, a fact which makes me feel disappointed in myself even now. If you like peanut butter, it is absolutely worth saving extra room for this ice cream sandwich, or sharing it with a peanut butter loving friend.

Y Fabrica

Replete, husband opted for a coffee and I had an espresso martini before we went our separate ways and back to work for the afternoon. We’d had an excellent, laid back lunch and some valuable quiet couple time together.

Our meal at Y Fabrica was really enjoyable. I’ve long felt that Didsbury really needed somewhere casual but grown up, a place where you can grab a taco or two and a frozen margarita (how I’ve longed for frozen margaritas in Didsbury).

The staff (shout out to the lovely Huw) were delightful, very helpful and keen to explain the new menu, recommending dishes along the way, and were attentive without being overbearing.

I’m pleased to see so many veggie options on the menu too. The food feels vibrant, fresh and healthy without being pious about it. I reckon I must have had about 800 of my 5 a day without even noticing.

It’s good to see the old Mud Crab Cafe getting a new lease of life as Y Fabrica, it’s even better that it’s round the corner from my house and has met my long hoped for wish of tacos and margaritas within walking distance. A good addition to Didsbury village, we’ll be back!

Y Fabrica is at 747 Wilmslow Rd, Didsbury, Manchester. You can find Y Fabrica on Twitter.

We were invited guests of Y Fabrica (I’d won lunch for two). I was not asked to blog about my meal, but we enjoyed it so much I wanted to write about it and show off some of the nice pictures we took.

Preview: The Cake and Bake Show Manchester

This November The Cake and Bake Show returns to Manchester. This year it promises to bigger and better than ever before. Bringing the nation’s best loved bakers, chefs, TV personalities, cake experts and enthusiasts together under one roof in a celebration of all things baking. 

Coming to EventCity in Manchester from 10-13 November 2016, the UK’s only dedicated baking show promises to deliver a lip-smacking line up of celebrities, demonstrations and exciting new products.

The celebrity line up features some of our Bake Off favourites, as well as top chefs and patissiers including…

  • Nadiya Hussain – Current title holder of the 2015 Great British Bake Off and the nation’s sweetheart
  • Eric Lanlard – master patissier, author, cake boutique owner and cake maker to the stars
  • John Whaite – TV chef, author, cookery school owner and Winner of the 2012 Great British Bake Off
  • Rosemary Shrager – TV personality, chef, author and cookery school owner
  • Jo Wheatley –Winner of 2011 Great British Bake Off and author

Cake and Bake Show

In the Cake and Bake Super Theatre and Baking Classroom there will be baking and cake decorating demonstrations, where some of the best experts in the decorating world will be sharing their skills.

When not learning new skills, visitors can head to the bustling Exhibition and Market Stands for baking and decorating innovations from leading experts, as well as an array of delectable foods from the finest artisan bakers and producers in the country.

There’s plenty of fun for children too as this year there’s a new and improved Kids Zone where little ones can try their hand at icing and decorating sweet treats.  And don’t miss Roald Dahl’s much loved and ‘gloriumptious’ BFG, made by world record-holding sugar artist Jacqui Kelly and supported by Cake Decoration and Sugar Craft Magazine.

This year, the Cake and Bake Show has chosen Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity as their official charity partner.  The Charity supports seriously ill children in the UK.Cake and Bake Show

The Cake and Bake Show will be on at EventCity in Manchester from 10th-13th November 2016. For more information and to buy tickets visit The Cake and Bake Show website.

What’s On: Manchester Science Festival 2016

With the summer holidays now a dim and distant memory, the programme of events for the Manchester Science Festival 2016 has just been revealed. For ten days in October and throughout the October Half Term they have a jam-packed programme filled with fun and (mostly) free, hands-on family activities for all ages!

Produced by the Museum of Science and Industry and supported by Siemens and the University of Salford, the Manchester Science Festival 2016 runs from Thursday 20 October to Sunday 30 October.

Manchester Science Festival 2016

There are a whole host of events for all the family. Family highlights at the Museum of Science and Industry include: the Virtual Reality Playground for gaming fans and tech loving tots and teens featuring the very latest in VR devices, offering a unique and hands on insight into what the future holds; the Manchester Megapixel which offers visitors the chance to see themselves as pixels and to take part in a giant megapixel installation to be revealed in full on the Festival’s closing day; and Robot Orchestra Live where Manchester’s exclusive robot orchestra – formed entirely from recycled instruments, electronics and junk – perform alongside human musicians at the museum for the first time. This unique musical experience will be conducted by Graphene, a life-sized robot built by Manchester Science Festival 2016 Sponsors Siemens.

Across town, family highlights include the annual Science Jam at the media city campus at the University of Salford. Pop in over the Festival’s opening weekend for a chance to experience life among living machines and venture into a “forest of curiosity” where writers, poets and actors team up with scientists, naturalists, geographers and environmentalists to embark on an interactive journey of discovery.

Harry Potter Fans are in for a rare treat with The Philospher’s Scone. Enjoy an afternoon tea with a difference at Harvey Nichols Manchester. Enjoy miniature cakes and pastries inspired by the world of Hogwart’s most famous student as author and journalist Roger Highfield explains how magic really works. There will also be a screening of Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone. Fancy Dress is a must!

Manchester Science Festival 2016

Little explorers and crafty kids can partake in Artist Sundays and Big Draw at the Whitworth to create take home colourful art works inspired by the gallery’s collection; uncover the mysteries of space in the Big Science Telescope Show at Jodrell Bank; go Hunting for Infections at Quarry Bank Mill; Play with oversized orgami, twisted vines and massive paper sculptures at Nightshade at the Gallery Oldham; join in Messy Science at the University of Bolton and in the Science Spectacular at Manchester Museum; have a go at 3D modelling at Z-Arts or silver ring soldering at Manchester Craft and Design Centre – a mere handful of the many drop in and largely free activities taking place throughout the Festival.

Manchester Science Festival 2016

Manchester Science Festival 2016 marks the end of the city’s year-long role as European City of Science, and runs throughout half-term from Monday 20 October – Sunday 30 October.

For more information and full event listings for the Manchester Science Festival 2016 visit their website.

Review: Wagamama Spinningfields

Over the Bank Holiday weekend I hopped on the tram into Manchester in search of a good time and some noodles. The Metrolink had just that very weekend re-opened the St Peter’s Square tram stop, meaning visitors from the southside no longer had to schlep across town on foot, hallelujah. I met up with some friends and headed straight to Wagamama Spinningfields (via a cocktail bar) for a fix of noodles. 

We thought we would try a couple of healthy juices before our evening began in earnest. I opted for the “positive juice” containing pineapple, lime, spinach, cucumber and apple and my friend opted for the “repair juice” containing kale, apple, lime and pear. Both were delicious and even though they contained spinach and kale they were both sweet and vibrant. We very much enjoyed them.

Wagamama Spinningfields

At Wagamama you order and it all comes out of the kitchen when it is ready, so you may be given your meal before your companion gets theirs, which is fine. We’d asked for our side dishes to be brought out first as starters and they arrived consecutively. This meant we could enjoy each dish separately as we were sharing them.

wagamama spinningfields

Greedily we ordered three sides to share – Mushroom onigiri, which were balls of sticky rice with mushroom, deep-fried in panko breadcrumbs and served with a spicy chilli and garlic sauce. They were similar to the Italian arancini, but smaller and tastier. They were soft and moist on the inside, slightly crunchy on the outside and bursting with flavour. These were a real winner.

The yasai steamed gyoza were five steamed yasai dumplings, served grilled and with a dipping sauce. I have these almost every time I go to Wagamama and these did not disappoint. Our final side was the crispy fried squid dusted with shichimi and served with a chilli coriander dipping sauce. The squid was soft and well cooked with a fiery hit of chilli, but not enough to make your Gran cry.

Wagamama Spinningfields

Onto the main courses and my friend was keen to try one of the new dishes on the Wagamama Spinningfields menu, the duck donburi. A donburi is a bit like the Korean bibimbap. It’s a big bowl of steamed rice stir-fried with shredded duck and mixed vegetables. Served with a runny fried egg on the top and side of kimchi. It looked absolutely delicious and once the egg had been mixed in it had a beautiful texture. My companion loved it and tried very, very hard to finish it all. 

Wagamama Spinningfields

I opted for the yasai itame, a big fragrant bowl of rice noodles in a spicy green coconut and lemongrass soup with tofu and vegetables, stir-fried beansprouts, red and spring onions, bok choi, peppers, mushrooms and chillies, garnished with coriander and lime.

It was a bit like a Thai green ramen, spicy but with a tolerable level of heat for me. It didn’t skimp on the tofu and it was packed with vegetables. The broth was delicious, just thinking about it has my mouth watering now. If anything it was a perhaps a little heavy on the noodles for me, but I would definitely order it again next time.

Wagamama Spinningfields

For dessert we decided to share a piece of white chocolate ginger cheesecake. I rarely eat cheesecake, I think I’m still scarred from eating terrible frozen cheesecakes in the 80’s, covered in sickly sweet sauce and soggy defrosted strawberries, this was very different.

The base was gingery and crunchy, the cheese smooth and fluffy and it was served with a kick ass chilli toffee ginger sauce (pro tip, don’t dip your finger in the mysterious powder on the plate and lick your finger, it’s powdered ginger and will blow your socks off).

The restaurant was refurbished less than a year ago and is really fresh looking, there’s a large area where you can eat outside if you want. I like that it’s the kind of place I could happily go for a bite to eat by myself, with the small boy and his dad, or with a large group of friends. 

We had a very, very good meal, the staff were excellent; attentive and knowledgeable, recommending we try certain dishes and suggesting great beers to go with our meal. We’ve been Wagamama fans since the first time we visited one over ten years ago, Wagamama Spinningfields does not disappoint. 

Wagamama Spinningfields, 1 Spinningfields Square, Manchester, M3 3AP

We were invited guests of the restaurant, but all images and opinions are our own.

ParkLives Manchester – Stay and Play at the park

Last week we visited our local park – Fletcher Moss in Didsbury and took part in one of the ParkLives Manchester activities “Roaming Rangers“. We’d had a lot of fun and as soon as we got home we booked ourselves in for another activity, this time “Park Fun Stay & Play”.

We arrived in good time and we met the Stay and Play leaders down at the Bug Hotel. There is a little area which has been set aside to encourage wildlife and birds. There was a craft gazebo and some games and other activities to do, so we explored our options.

Parklives Manchester

First to fascinate the small boy and I was the giant jenga which we quickly managed to knock down, but not before the boy had shown off his excellent jenga-ing skills. After a little gentle persuasion I managed to get him to tackle the hurdles, something which he loved and wanted to do over and over and got me to do it too.  

Once we’d spent some time hurdling we were given a Nature Scavenger Hunt to do, this was lots of fun, especially in the nature reserve bit of the park. We quickly managed to find a clover, a stick, some flowers and some birds. After some hunting I found some paw prints in the mud and he found a couple of feathers. It was lots of fun wandering around, trying to find the things on the list and talking about nature.

Parklives Manchester

There was den building and lots of crafts going on, but the boy (who had hurt his leg and been to A&E that morning) was tired and not really in the mood for doing too much, so we watched the den building and decided to take inspiration from the nature crafts and maybe do some of our own at home later. 

ParkLives Manchester offers free and fun activity sessions across the city and is now in its second year in Manchester. There are a huge range of activities available, from multi-activity fun camps for families, walk to run sessions, buggy fit and more.

There are hundreds of activities listed on the ParkLives Manchester website and you can quickly and easily book yourself in for an activity session in advance. I wonder what session I’ll book us onto next week?

For more information on ParkLives Manchester, or to book and activity visit the website.

ParkLives Manchester – Free Activities for Kids

Whilst I was searching online for things to do with my five year old over the summer (preferably free things to do), I happened upon the ParkLives website which is a partnership between Coca-Cola Great Britain and Manchester City Council.

ParkLives offers free and fun activity sessions across the city and it is now in its second year in Manchester. There are a huge range of activities available, from multi-activity fun camps for families, walk to run sessions, buggy fit and more.

I had a look at what was on in my local park, Fletcher Moss in Didsbury and found there were a few weekly activities to keep us entertained over the school holidays. Plus when the boy goes back to school I can take part in some of their free exercise classes – perfect!

ParkLives

There are hundreds of activities listed on the ParkLives website and you can quickly and easily book yourself in for an activity session in advance. I booked us in for a “Roaming Rangers” session on what was a very lovely sunny day to spend wandering around the park.

On arrival two lovely ladies gave us a map, a checklist and some basic instructions for an afternoon or orienteering. There were 14 checkpoints around the park and we had to find them all and wrote down what we found at each one. Some were easier to spot than others and I wasn’t sure if he would be able to hold his concentration long enough to find them all, but I was wrong.

ParkLives

He was in charge of map reading, which in practice meant he held onto the map and would point at the next number we needed, whilst I read the map and pointed us in the right direction. The trail was quite long, I was wearing a Fitbit and I think we covered around 3k which is quite far if you have little legs.

There were lots of families out enjoying the sunshine and following the trail, plus there were a couple of other fitness groups on walks and doing other exercises around the park, it was lovely to see and everyone was friendly and looked like they were enjoying themselves.

ParkLives

All of the activities are designed to get people moving and our “Roaming Rangers” session certainly did that. Although it was a pretty long walk (especially if you factor in the walk to and from the park) the small boy loved it all. He couldn’t wait to find the next checkpoint and to tick it off the list, in fact he was quite disappointed that we finished it and he wanted to do it again. 

If you’re looking from some free family fun over the school holidays (and beyond) then it’s well worth checking out the ParkLives website to see what’s available in your area. I’ve made a promise to myself to do something active with me and the boy for the next four weeks, so keep an eye out to see what we get up to next week!

For more information on ParkLives, or to book and activity visit the website.