Tag Archives: Manchester

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.

What we did on our holiday by Mr HodgePodgeDays

My husband is famously a man of few words, but he kindly volunteered to put pen to paper and write about what we did on our holiday this October Half Term. We stayed at the Sol Katmandu in Majorca, courtesy of Jet2 Holidays. It’s always interesting for me to see things from his point of view, but it looks like he had a good time…

Being self-employed has its ups and downs. I am my own boss and I answer to no-one, but on the flip side I am totally responsible for everything at work. If I ever think about taking a sickie, the boss knows about it straight away.

Because I work for myself, I’ve had to work some long hours recently to get things ship shape before our first family holiday abroad. Over the October Half Term we packed our bags and went on a family holiday to Majorca courtesy of Jet2. It was eagerly anticipated, especially by the little fella as it was going to be his first time on a plane.

On departure day we woke early at 4am as the flight was due to depart at 6.30am. We jumped in a taxi and headed off to the airport. The check in at the airport and passing through security was a doddle and soon we were relaxing in the departure lounge with a coffee and sausage butty.

We didn’t have long to wait before our flight was called and we made our way to the gate and boarded the plane. I did wonder at this point if the little fella would be a bit scared by it all, but he was happy as Larry and took it all in his stride. He loved the flight, especially the take off, and soon we were landing in Majorca which again put a big smile on his face.

Sol Katmandu Hotel, Majorca with Jet2Holidays

 

The transfer to the hotel was a breeze. We were staying at the 4* the Sol Kathmandu in Magaluf. The hotel was excellent, our only quibble was the lack of a balcony which we could sit out on, but I think everyone will always find something not to their satisfaction. 

After we’d unpacked in our room, the lad wanted to go exploring as he’d seen the three outdoor swimming pools on our way into the hotel and couldn’t wait to get in the water, and his dad couldn’t wait to get on a sun lounger.

What we did on our holiday

If you want to know what we did on our holiday, most of our days were spent relaxing by the pools; sometimes all of us splashing about in the water, sometimes Ben in the water with the new friends he’d made, while his parents topped up their tans, read their books and had a glass of sangria or two.

Twenty-four hours into the holiday, both my better half and I said that we definitely more relaxed in a hotel abroad than on our usual holidays in Devon. We usually go self-catering and in Devon we are the small boy’s only source of entertainment.

It was so nice to be away and to only have to think about when next to apply sun cream and not about the stresses of work, if only for a week. It was nice to spend time with my family, especially the missus, instead of rushing around badgering the boy to get dressed, or going back to work in the evenings to catch up with stuff.

What we did on our holiday

Here’s to our next holiday abroad, which hopefully won’t be too far away. Thank you to the Sol Katmandu for putting up with us and Jet2 for getting us there and back safely and efficiently.

-What we did on our holiday by Matthew, aged 41 and a half

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.

Win a pair of Cake and Bake Show Tickets (Manchester)

This November The Cake and Bake Show returns to Manchester and this year it promises to bigger and better than ever before. The show brings together 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.

Cake and bake show tickets

I am delighted to have two pairs to tickets to The Cake and Bake Show Manchester to give away. You can read my full preview of the show HERE.

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.

WIN A pair of Win Cake and Bake Show Tickets (Manchester)

To be in with a chance to win a pair of Cake and Bake Show Tickets (Manchester), simply complete the Rafflecopter widget below. Good luck!

Check out our other giveaways over on our competitions page.

 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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5.The winner will receive a pair of Cake and Bake Show Tickets (Manchester).
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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.

ParkLives Manchester: Body Conditioning in the park!

Yesterday I attended my second Walking Workout session at Fletcher Moss Gardens in Didsbury, Manchester. I was expecting a very similar session to last week, but due to the awful storm the night before and the unusually heavy rain parts of the park were flooded or too churned up with mud to use. So instead of walking we had a body conditioning session, and I can really feel it this morning!

I arrived at the Visitor’s Centre and waited for the instructor and other participants to arrive. Despite the dramatic storm the previous night it was warm, really too warm and I knew I would be a puddle by the end of the session. The park was partly flooded and some of the paths were slippy and not ideal. We went into the Botanical Gardens and the instructor decided that instead of a cardio session that we would do some body conditioning instead. 

body conditioning

She handed round some resistance bands, and in an area shaded by a wisteria covered pergola we worked our whole bodies in a series of exercises. Some were tougher than others. We did a lot of quite intense leg work and I think every muscle in my legs is screaming at me today.

It was a tough workout and she offered suggestions for making the exercises easier or harder if need be, and encouraged us to drink lots of water and stay in the shade. It was hellish hot and I was in part glad to not be walking around in the hot sunshine.

Next week when the flood waters have receded I think the session be back to normal, part walking workout, part body conditioning. I did enjoy it and the soreness I’m feeling today is just reminding me what a lazy bones I’ve been this year. It feels good to be doing something again and I’m hoping I’ll start to see as well as feel a difference soon.

body conditioning

Not a bad view to have when you’re exercising!

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. 

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

ParkLives Manchester: Walking Workout (Week 1)

Now the small boy has gone back to school I have a bit more time on my hands to do things for me. This week I’ve re-started the 5:2 diet, something I did last year which worked for me, but then I was poorly and never got back into it. Another thing I’m trying to do is take more exercise. I’m back swimming again, which makes me happy, and after I’d spotted the “Walking Workout” on the ParkLives website I decided to give that a go too.

The Walking Workout is a free hour long fitness session for the Over 50’s. The keen eyed amongst you will have spotted that I turned 40 on Monday, so I’m still a decade off 50. However, the class is for the Over 50’s, people new to exercise and people like me who have health problems (in my case I have chronic pain, a very bad back and funny numb legs and feet). 

The ParkLives website describes the Walking Workout as “An Instructor led Health Walk designed to improve cardiovascular fitness.”

walking workout

I booked my free place and waited by the Visitor’s Centre at Fletcher Moss Gardens in Didsbury, Manchester for the instructor and other participants to arrive. We chatted about what the plan was for the next hour and then made a start.

We began by walking at a steady pace for five minutes, then we stopped to do some stretches and squats. Once we were warmed up we walked for a mile, alternately walking at a fast pace for one minute and a normal pace for 30 seconds. It was a very hot day and by the time we had finished our mile we had all worked up a sweat.

We walked at a moderate pace to the botanical gardens. The gardens have several sets of steep steps which we climbed three times, we then did some exercises to hone our balance and work our core muscles. It was all good, it was pretty hard work, though I’m sure the heat and humidity made it feel harder than it was.

I love walking, especially walking around Fletcher Moss Gardens which is a pretty special place anyway. Although we worked hard, I think exercising outside in a small group made it much more tolerable and interesting. Fresh air and exercise are always good for body and soul. 

walking workout

I did the Walking Workout yesterday and I definitely feel like I’ve had a workout. I’m not sore, but I can feel that some long forgotten muscles have been used, and for a few hours afterwards I was full of lovely post-exercise endorphins. I enjoyed it so much that I’m going again next week too!

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. 

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

Pub Crawls: The Didsbury Dozen

In a few days time I will be 40 years old. I do not fear this milestone, in fact I’m quite looking forward to it for one particular reason. It’s a bloody good excuse to do the Didsbury Dozen again – a famous, or infamous pub crawl.

I’ve done the Didsbury Dozen once before – on my 30th birthday and I’m keen to prove I’ve still got what it takes (which I have, I totally have).

Ten years ago Didsbury was quite a different looking place, pubs and bars have come and gone, some remain and will always be here I hope. This was the order I did the Didsbury Dozen in ten years ago…

  1. The Didsbury
  2. Ye Olde Cock
  3. The Famous Crown
  4. The Royal Oak
  5. The Fletcher Moss
  6. The Pitcher & Piano
  7. The Dog & Partridge
  8. O’Neills
  9. Saints & Scholars
  10. Cafe Rouge
  11. Hog’s Head
  12. Slug & Lettuce

Ten years ago after I’d finished my final pint of the dozen I ended up returning to my favourite pub, The Fletcher Moss to have one last drink for the road. I wonder if I’ll feel like doing that this year?

These days things have changed and there are a couple of decent pubs in West Didsbury I enjoy a pint in, so because it’s my birthday I’ve decided to start proceedings in West Didsbury and then pub crawl towards home in Didsbury village. 

This year the course I’ve plotted looks like this…

  1. The Railway
  2. The Metropolitan
  3. The Greenfinch
  4. Slug & Lettuce
  5. The Station
  6. The Stokers Arms
  7. The Dog & Partridge
  8. The Milson Rhodes
  9. Fletcher Moss
  10. The Royal Oak
  11. The Famous Crown
  12. Bourbon & Black

If the weather is nice there will be some excellent beer gardening opportunities and I’m hoping some of my oldest, newest, bestest and nicest friends will join me along the way. I’m hoping it’ll be a good day to remember and a nice way to round off my 30’s and herald my 40’s.

To make the most of the Didsbury Dozen it’s really important to be disciplined with yourself and your pub crawl team mates. It’s easy to find a sunny spot in a beer garden and not want to leave, or to spend too much time in one place. Someone needs to marshall the troops, check no one is cheating and that you’ve visited 12 establishments before last orders.

My tip is to start early, get three or four pubs or bars under your belt and then have a slow hour in a pub with a good beer garden. Then crank it up again. Stop for a hearty bite to eat to soak up some of the booze and then power through. 

I’ll let you know how I got on, but wish me luck and please raise a glass to the dawning of my next decade. Chin chin.

Didsbury Dozen