Manchester Metrolink Emoji Quiz

My son is currently very into public transport, so one of the things we’ve been doing this summer is texting each other emojis to get the other one of us to guess the tram stop. I admit, it’s not a game that everyone will enjoy, but it’s one we have had a lot of fun with! We enjoyed it so much, I made a note of some of our favourite ones and I’ve made this Manchester Metrolink Emoji Quiz.

The image below has 26 Metrolink tram stops in emojis, how many can you guess correctly? For the answers, just scroll further down.

Manchester Metrolink Emoji Quiz

My son really likes the Metrolink and has made a video of him exploring some of the Metrolink network, which you can find here.

According to the Transport for Greater Manchester website, the Metrolink is the UK’s largest light rail network, with 99 stops across seven lines. Approximately 7.2 million miles are ‘clocked up’ across the network each year by their fleet of 120 trams, which currently cater for more than 41m journeys. The network opened in 1992, with just 20 tram stops between Altrincham and Bury, and since then it has grown, and continues to grow. Future lines include a possibly extension from East Didsbury through to Stockport, and tram-trains to Bolton and Wigan. The Trafford Centre line is the latest addition which opened in 2020.

Here are the answers…

  1. Dane Road
  2. Sale Water Park
  3. Exchange Square
  4. Cornbrook
  5. Anchorage
  6. Ladywell
  7. Bury
  8. Harbour City
  9. Westwood
  10. Holt Town
  11. St Peter’s Square
  12. Sale
  13. Newhey
  14. Exchange Quay
  15. Weaste
  16. Roundthorn
  17. Market Street
  18. Heaton Park
  19. Whitefield
  20. Prestwich
  21. Firswood
  22. Victoria
  23. Cemetery Road
  24. Queens Road
  25. Parkway
  26. Navigation Road

How did you get on? Some are tougher than others. This is a fun game to play with the public transport fan in your life, I know we have occupied ourselves for hours this summer with it. Let me know how you go on in the comments!

Purezza Manchester – Vegan pizza in the NQ

We were invited guests of Purezza Manchester. All opinions and images are our own.

Over the weekend, the boy and I went to the soft opening of Purezza Manchester; a new vegan pizza restaurant on the corner of High Street and Thomas Street in Manchester’s Northern Quarter. The boy was excited because it was pizza and I was excited because I’m lactose intolerant and I normally can’t eat pizza without a generous side of lactase pills.

Purezza Manchester - Vegan pizza in the NQ

This new restaurant is part of a small chain of vegan pizza joints up and down the country. Purezza suits its spot in the NQ; it’s smart but quirky, with a set of swings and a cow seat available downstairs for Instagram posing.

On its soft opening Saturday night, the restaurant was buzzing, and there was a small smattering of families, as well as groups of friends and couples on dates. Something for everyone! For those with under 10’s in tow, there is a kids (under 10) menu where they can eat for free. Again this is all vegan and my boy (a confirmed carnivore) opted for the vegan pepperoni. The kids’ drinks were a choice of lemonade or cola, he opted for cola. I’d have welcomed some juice options on there, but that’s just a niggle.

Purezza Manchester - Vegan pizza in the NQ

I chose The One and Only, Parmigiana Party – a generously topped pizza with a red tomato base with smoked mozzarella, aubergine parmigiana, crumbled sausages, topped with a dusting of nutritional yeast. On the side I had a rocket and sundried tomato salad and we shared a portion of giant cheese filled doughballs. The doughballs were the best I’ve ever had, and that’s saying something!

Purezza Manchester - Vegan pizza in the NQ

The pizzas come with a choice of bases; wholemeal, hemp or gluten free. We went for the wholemeal and it was a good choice. Not a single bite of our pizzas felt like we were taking the healthy high road. It was just very good pizza made vegan. Even the boy gobbled down his vegan pepperoni and said he’d have it again; always a good sign from my slightly particular son.

Purezza has an interesting drinks menu. It’s been a while since I went out and showed myself a good time, so I treated myself to a Ginger Amaretto Sour; a lively mix of amaretto, ginger juice, lemon and agave. It was so good I had to have a second one just to be sure.

For pudding we just had to share the chocolate pizza. This is definitely a sharing dish and one only the brave or the very hungry could tackle alone. It’s essentially a huge puddle of melted chocolate on a pizza base, topped with some vegan ice cream. It was excellent, if a bit much on top of our slightly greedy main courses.

Purezza Manchester - Vegan pizza in the NQ

Would we go again? Yes, it’s a treat and a half for me to eat good pizza and not fret about taking my lactase pills. It’s also very good pizza. With the kids eat free option, my bill came to just £34; which for dinner, cocktails and a giant chocolate pudding (plus pizza leftovers to take home), made for a very reasonable night out.

Purezza Manchester can be found at 75-77 High St, Manchester M4 1FS for more information or to book, visit their website.

Taking a Zoom tour of Elizabeth Gaskell’s House

I was invited on a zoom tour of Elizabeth Gaskell’s House in exchange for a review. All images and opinions are my own.

In just 12 short months, Covid-19 has changed the way we live in so many ways. Previously I’d been entirely unable to work from home, I was fairly allergic to Zoom calls and wearing a mask was only something bank robbers ever considered.

Whilst it has been the most horrific year in living memory, the rise in the popularity of Zoom has meant that we’ve been able to explore places and do things we may never have thought of doing before.

Elizabeth Gaskell's House, Manchester

One evening last week I took a virtual tour of Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, and because we could Zoom in from anywhere, I was joined by people from far-flung places like New Mexico and Missouri in the USA, Australia, the Netherlands; as well as Sheffield, Sale and Stockport.

Elizabeth Gaskell was one of the UK’s most important Victorian authors. She wrote a number of novels including Mary Barton, North and South, Cranford and Ruth. In 1850, she and her husband William and surviving children moved to this beautiful villa on Plymouth Grove in Manchester. In this house she continued to write and play host to some of the most famous literary names in the Victorian age.

Taking a Zoom tour of Elizabeth Gaskell’s House

After Elizabeth died in 1865, the house on Plymouth Grove remained in the Gaskell family until 1913. It then stood empty for many years and fell into disrepair. The University of Manchester bought it in 1969 for use by international students; and in 2004 it was acquired by the Manchester Historic Buildings Trust for the princely sum of £1. They then raised the money needed to restore it. Exterior renovations were completed in 2011 and the house is now open to the public. Except there’s a pandemic on, so its doors are closed for now.

Thankfully the good people who run Elizabeth Gaskell’s House have taken things online and they’ve fully embraced the Zoom meeting. Over the last few months they’ve put on a busy programme of online events, ranging from book groups and readings; to recitals and online talks. I joined them last week to take a virtual tour of the house.

Taking a Zoom tour of Elizabeth Gaskell’s House

The tour was run by two incredibly knowledgeable volunteers; Diane Duffy, a researcher and tour guide, and volunteer, Anne. It was very well done. We all Zoomed in at 7pm and we were welcomed by Anne who asked us all to mute ourselves and turn out cameras off before we began. We were urged to use the chat function to ask any questions and there were lots of opportunities to do so.

Using a PowerPoint and a range of photos, Diane took us on an hour long tour of the ground floor of this Grade II listed house. We explored the Morning Room, William’s study, the Drawing Room and the Dining Room which was also where Elizabeth used to write her novels and letters. Diane told us all about the house and the family; with lots of anecdotes and little details about them all. I felt almost as I knew them by the end of the tour.

Taking a Zoom tour of Elizabeth Gaskell’s House

Whilst the house is closed to the public, they are taking to opportunity to restore Elizabeth’s bedroom. We had a quick glimpse of this, but it’s made me keen to visit in person when I can to see it in all its glory.

The online tour was a fantastic way to visit the house; especially if you don’t live in Manchester or plan to visit soon. It cost just £10 which is excellent value; the amount of information and detail we were given has made me want to delve deeper into her life and read more of her books.

The online tours are a great way to support this historic house. We are living through trying times and their income from visitors has been very much reduced. The £10 gets you an hour long tour with a very knowledgable tour guide and  10% off purchases in the online shop.

Taking a Zoom tour of Elizabeth Gaskell’s House

I’ve visited Elizabeth Gaskell’s House before for a craft afternoon, which was fantastic. I’d been meaning to come back and take the tour again. This has whetted my appetite to return and take the tour in person. I fully recommend these online tours, they’re a fabulous thing to do on a rainy lockdown evening.

For more information about Elizabeth Gaskell’s House and their online tours and events, visit their website.

*apologies for the not great photos which were taken of my laptop screen. The house is stunning in real life and not at all blurry.

11 places for Outdoor Adventure in Manchester

Now that spring has sprung, the fine weather is making us want to go outside and be in the great outdoors a little more. We don’t mind getting a little adventurous either, so I’ve put together a list of some of the most exciting places for outdoor adventure in Manchester.

10 places for Outdoor Adventure in Manchester

11 places for Outdoor Adventure in Manchester

Debdale Outdoor Centre, Gorton is a huge outdoor activity centre run by Manchester City Council. It has an exciting range of activities to try, and something for almost everyone. There’s everything from dinghy sailing, windsurfing, canoeing and kayaking; power-boating, rock climbing, abseiling, hill walking, gorge scrambling and orienteering.

Venture Out are based in the grounds of Burnage Rugby Club, on the banks of the Mersey in Heaton Mersey, this adventurous holiday club really makes the most if its location. With activities each week that are a mixture of team building, nature handicrafts, outdoor sports, bushcraft, forest school, nature games, canoe trips, there are lots to do for adventurous kids to get stuck into.

Adventure Now is based in Worsley Woods, not far from the Trafford Centre. They offer a range of different outdoor adventure sessions. From axe throwing to archery; quad biking to air rifle shooting; throwing angels, crossbows and bushcraft; there’s something for every adventurous type! Read about our archery adventure here!

Carrington Riding Centre is based just a few miles south west of Manchester in the Mersey valley green belt. Their facilities include one indoor school and four, all-weather, rubber surfaced outdoor floodlit menages with viewing facilities and fully stocked café. During school holidays they offer a range of activities for both children and adults 

Go Ape! Rivington near Bolton is just the place to explore the forest canopy on an exciting treetop rope course. There’s also a thrilling 200 metre long zip wire over the edge of the Rivington reservoir.

Helly Hansen Watersports Centre in Salford Quays is the ultimate urban watersports venue. Choose from a wide range of activities and courses including; sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, canoeing, climbing, raft-building, bell-boating, wake-boarding, Open Water Swimming, power-boating. It’s a cracking venue and great for all the family!

Treasure Trails – for outdoor adventures as a more sedate pace, Treasure Trails maps are available to download. There are all kinds of trails and a large number around Manchester. It’s a great way to find hidden gems wherever you are.

10 places for Outdoor Adventure in Manchester

Treetop Trek is in Heaton Park, Manchester and is an aerial adventure completely encased in nets. Visitors aged 3+ can bounce, run, jump and slide in complete safety without the need for a harness. You can read a review here.

We Are Adventurers! Chorlton is a forest school where you can go for holiday clubs or parties. We’ve been several times for parties and woodland adventures. It’s brilliant fun and we all absolutely loved it. You can read our write up here.

Trafford Watersports Centre in Sale Water Park, offers water sports taster sessions where you can try kayaking, canoeing, windsurfing or sailing. Book for lessons or hire kayaks, canoes and katakanus. If you don’t fancy getting wet, there are lovely walks around Sale Water park to be had, as well as fishing, bird watching or other activities.

Geocaching is where a container holding a number of items is hidden at a particular location for GPS users to find. Coordinates are posted on the Internet and geocachers have to seek out the item. It’s great fun and great for all the family. If you want to get involved, google Geocaching in your area.

Those are eleven great places to go outdoors in Greater Manchester, lots of different things to do for people of all abilities and fitness levels. What are you waiting for? Go forth and adventure!

If you enjoyed this, you might want to check out these 20 family walks in Manchester.

11 places for Outdoor Adventure in Manchester

23 Places to Craft with kids in Manchester

Children love doing crafts, but it can sometimes be a messy business. We do quite a lot of crafts at home. Sometimes it’s nice to go somewhere else to do a craft; especially if it’s a craft beyond your own skill as a crafty parent. Even better, someone else gets to do the tidying up! I’ve picked out 23 places to craft with kids in Manchester; there are probably many, many more, so if I’ve missed any, please do comment below.

21 Places to Craft with kids in Manchester

23 Places to Craft with kids in Manchester

Minikin Emporium, Sale – I love this place. We’ve been going since my boy was a baby and we’ve made so many lovely things there. They also do imprint jewellery, which is such a lovely memento.

Love To Craft MCR – This is a lovely craft pop up which runs sessions for kids and adults alike at various locations in South Manchester. They also do parties and have lots of kids craft ideas on their website.

The Art Garden at The Haworth, Accrington – The Art Garden is a craft cafe based in The Haworth Art Gallery in Accrington. It’s the most wonderful place, with lots going on for crafty types of all ages; but their messy and sensory play is brilliant fun!

Emily’s Paint A Pot – located in Manchester’s Arndale Centre, Emily’s Paint A Pot is a lovely place to drop in to spend an hour or two decorating pots together.

Bean & Brush Family Art Cafe, Sale – located in the heart of Sale, Bean and Brush is an interesting Art Cafe where you can try your hand at anything from painting pots to decopatch. The studio is stocked with all manner of pots and projects, so you can let your artistic side run wild. Create unique pieces for yourself or personalised gifts for friends!

21 Places to Craft with kids in Manchester

Pottery Corner, Chorlton – this is a lovely pottery painting place on fashionable beech Road in Chorlton. We’ve been to paint pots and to have our handprints done in clay. They run adult workshops and children’s parties too!

Brooklyn Pottery, Stockport – Pop in for some pottery painting, book a party or just go along for an afternoon with friends or family and paint some pots for friends or family.

Create It! Cheadle – this bright and cheerful craft cafe in Cheadle, offers Paint-a-Pot and decoupage activities for all the family. Whether you fancy a spot of ceramic painting or gluing and sticking with their fantastic Decopatch selection; you’ll find a great range of pottery pieces to paint; from useful items like plates and bowls to fun, decorative pieces like figurines, piggy banks and lanterns!

Kidz Kreationz, Altrincham – With Saturday Art Club and After School Sessions, Kidz Kreationz is the arty place in Altrincham for kids to hang out.

The Star Tree Studio, Littleborough – The Star Tree Studio in Littleborough provides high quality, fun, educational, art, craft & creative activities for children aged 6 months to 12 years old. They organise baby, toddler and pre-schooler creative classes as well as art and craft birthday parties. It’s a gorgeous place to drop into for a spot of art.

John Rylands Library, Manchester – this historic library runs all kinds of children’s craft activities throughout the year. For something a little different, a visit to John Rylands is a must if you’re in the city centre.

Cheshire Workshops, Tattenhall – Based in Cheshire, this craft workshop runs a range of craft workshops for children and adults alike.

Hatworks, Stockport – The Hatworks in Stockport has an ever changing selection of crafts for adults and children. This quirky museum has lots to offer, check out their website before you visit to see what’s on!

Sew Creative, Altrincham – If you’ve been inspired by the Sewing Bee, then you can learn to sew at one of the sewing classes held at Sew Creative in Altrincham.

A Place to Potter, Heaton Park Garden Centre – The Place to Potter is a cosy and creative hub specialising in pot painting, slime making, bear building and birthday parties! They also host workshops during the school holidays and toddler/pre-school sessions during the week. Check out the website for more info.

Brookside Pottery at Brookside Garden Centre, Poynton – Paint at pot as you watch the steam trains go by. This little pottery painting workshop in Poynton is great for birthday parties and crafty afternoons. Booking advisable!

Manchester Crafts & Design Centre – This gorgeous building is packed with independent craft makers and they also run a number of craft workshops, many of which are suitable for children.

Ordsall Hall, Salford  – Ordsall Hall in Salford is a great place to visit with kids, and they have lots of things going on, like arts and crafts workshops for adults and children. Have a look on their website to see what’s on.

Elizabeth Gaskell House – from Crafternoon tea for grown ups, to half term craft sessions for kids, there’s always something going on at this beautiful historic house in Manchester.

Whitworth Art Gallery – This wonderful art gallery in Manchester has an ever changing array of events and arts and crafts activities for all the family. For a delightfully different day out, keep an eye on the website for what’s coming up.

Fired Paint a Pot Café, Bury – Fired paint a pot is a friendly family focused pottery painting café and creative hub just 5 minutes walk from The Rock in Bury.

Paint A Pot, Radcliffe – this independent family run craft and ceramics studio in Radcliffe stock a wide variety of pottery from plates and cups; to fantasy figures with a choice of paint, foam clay and decopatch to decorate your items.

Bents Garden Centre – I love Bents, it has a superb craft shop and they do run regular craft activities and workshops for both adults and children alike. Keep an eye on their website for what’s on!

Have I missed anywhere? Is there somewhere near you which hosts family arts and craft activities on a regular basis? Please comment below so I can add them in.

23 Places to Craft with kids in Manchester

20 family friendly walks around Manchester

At this time of year, there’s something really nice about wrapping the family up and going for a winter walk. Being stuck in the house all day is a recipe for boredom and I know if I don’t get my lot out at least once over the weekend, chaos will ensue. Finding family friendly walks isn’t always easy, but where is good to go and easy to get to from Manchester?

Having a dog means we are out a few times a day in the park or down by the river anyway, but packing a flask and some treats, clambering in the car and setting off to explore somewhere a little bit further afield can be a fun but budget day out. If you’ve got buggies to contend with too, finding good paths to push a pram along can make all the difference on a country walk.

20 family friendly walks around Manchester

With the help of some other Manchester based bloggers, I’ve gathered a list of good family walks in and around Manchester, each with a little write up or review, so you know just what to expect when you’re planning your walk. Some of them are in and around National Trust properties, so if you’ve got a membership card, it’s worth checking and taking it with you.

20 family friendly walks around Manchester

Abney Hall – a lovely little walk, pond dipping optional. Cafe and free parking.

Alderley Edge – magical walks, huge views across Cheshire and beyond and a little bit of folklore and magic too!

Boggart Hole Clough – is a large woodland and urban country park in Blackley, Manchester

Clayton Vale –  is a natural wildlife habitat and a Local Nature Reserve.

Clifton Country Park – is a local nature reserve in the Irwell Valley at Clifton. Home to a fairytale trail!

Delamere Forest – managed by the Forestry Commission, there are recreational trails, a visitors centre and a cafe. There’s a nearby train station too.

Dovestones Reservoir – is on the very edge of the Peak District National Park and it a gorgeous place to walk with the family.

Dunham Massey – deer park, house and gardens. Lovely flat paths and lots to explore (National Trust).

Etherow Country Park – boating late, flat paths, cafe and good family walks to be had.

Fletcher Moss Park, Didsbury – woodland walks, a botanical garden, a nature reserve, a great cafe and walks by the river. What more do you need?

Jumbles Country Park – reservoir, wooded walking paths, a cafe and year-round fishing.

Lyme Park – (National Trust) deer park, hall, mill and a brilliant playground, miles of walks and a cafe!

Lyme Park 20 family friendly walks around Manchester

Macclesfield Forest – lovely woodland walks with views to match!

Rode Hall – snowdrop walks, bluebell walks and a regular farmers market, plus the best cafe ever!

Sandstone Trail, Cheshire – one of the most popular long distance walks in the North West.

Speke Hall – (National Trust) a Tudor manor house with a maze, woodland walk and gardens to explore.

Tandle Hill Country Park – is a large country park with woodland areas, sweepings views and a countryside centre.

Teggs Nose Country Park – explore the meadow, moor and woodland areas around the 380m high hill, ideal for walking and cycling.

Werneth Low Country Park – panoramic views are offered from this grassy hilltop, which also features a country park.

Yarrow Valley Country Park – 700 acre parkland with a lake, waterfall, adventure playground, cafe and a visitors centre.

I’ve made a map with every single walk I’ve mentioned above in it, so you can find everything easily. Just click on the map and away you go!

Don’t forget your flask and waterproofs, this is Manchester after all. Where are you going on your next walking adventure?

20 family friendly walks around Manchester

Review: Treetop Adventure Golf, Manchester

Last week Treetop Adventure Golf opened at The Printworks in Manchester. Being keen adventure golfers, we went along to check it out.

The Printworks is an entertainment centre in Manchester, near Victoria Train Station. We go to The Printworks quite a lot, there’s a cinema there and lots of bars and restaurants. The addition of the Treetop Adventure Golf is the icing on the cake for us; an afternoon playing adventure golf is an afternoon well spent as far as we are concerned.

Review: Treetop Adventure Golf, Manchester

The new Treetop Adventure Golf is located on the second floor of The Printworks and whilst it is tucked away around the back, it’s well signposted. There are two adventure golf courses to play and it costs £9.50 per person to play a round, or £31.50 for a family of four. Some discounts and reductions are available, but you can check the current prices here.

Treetop Adventure Golf is aimed at all kinds of people, from families, friends and students. During the day when we went there were mostly families playing; but late at night I suspect it attracts a different crowd.

Review: Treetop Adventure Golf, Manchester

There are two courses to choose from – Tropical Trail or Ancient Explorer. In the interests of thoroughness (and because we were having a really good time) we played both courses.

We began with the Tropical Trail, it’s a lush 18 hole adventure golf course which takes around 30-40 minutes to complete. Each hole is well thought out, with bunkers and obstacles to contend with. There are also interesting things, like talking toucans and trees which comment on the quality of your golfing. It’s compact but well done. The boys absolutely loved it, especially when they got a hole in one; someone comes round with stickers so you can show off your golfing prowess.

Once we’d finished the first course, you can play the “19th hole”. If you hit the ball at the target you get a free round of golf, though that’s only for the successful player. My son won another round, so we decided to try the Ancient Explorer course while we were there.

Review: Treetop Adventure Golf, Manchester

Although we all really enjoyed the Tropical Trail course, the Ancient Explorer was our favourite of the two. The obstacles were a bit more challenging and it felt a bit like Indiana Jones golf, and who wouldn’t enjoy that?

The new Treetop Adventure Golf at The Printworks is brilliant fun. It’s well thought out, there’s a good bar where you can get drinks, snacks and small meals and it’s really family friendly. The boys absolutely loved it and they’re very keen to go back. I liked that it was indoors and warm, which makes a big difference at this time of year. If I could change anything, I’d add a par for each hole so you know how well, or not so well you’re doing.

Review: Treetop Adventure Golf, Manchester

It’s exactly the kind of thing I’d do with the boys on a weekend, or with friends or work colleagues on a night out. I think it’s a great addition to The Printworks.

For more information about Treetop Adventure Golf at The Printworks, Manchester, visit their website.

We were invited to play a round of golf in exchange for this blog post. All images and opinions are our own.

Crafternoon Tea at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House

Here in Manchester we are lucky enough to have a large number of historic buildings and houses. Hidden in plain sight on one of the busiest roads leading to the city centre is Elizabeth Gaskell’s House. The house is the former home of the famous author and her family. Her novels include Mary Barton, Cranford, North and South, Ruth and Wives and Daughters. I went along to enjoy a “crafternoon tea” session in the Servant’s Hall. Craft, tea, cake and a beautiful historic house – what’s not to like?

Crafternoon Tea at Elizabeth Gaskell's House, Manchester

Elizabeth Gaskell’s House have been running Crafternoon Tea sessions for the last few months. I’ve really wanted to go to them but I was a bit worried that my sewing skills were not good enough; but I need not have worried. I went along to try my hand at some Victorian Crazy Patchwork; a craft I’ve never heard of  before but one which is ideal for people like me who have fairly basic sewing skills.

The Crafternoon Tea sessions are run by talented volunteers. The Victorian Crazy Patchwork class was run by Margot, a very experienced and helpful teacher who provided everything we needed to create our own crazy patchwork. Margot began by talking us through, step by step through the process. One of the best things about Victorian Crazy Patchwork is if your sewing isn’t especially neat, it doesn’t matter because the stitching is covered by the fabric, making it ideal for beginners.

Crafternoon Tea at Elizabeth Gaskell's House, Manchester

Victorian Crazy Patchwork, Margot explained, was a style of patchwork which fine Victorian ladies would do to occupy themselves. They usually used scraps of silk from old dresses or from dressmaking to create colourful patchworks. I remember my husband’s Grandma having what I now know to be a Victorian Crazy Patchwork cushion.

Margot gave us all a pack including a template, a piece of calico and a notebook we could cover with our patchwork. There was a large bag of silk pieces on the table and we all selected a few pieces for our patchwork. We cut out our hexagon shaped centre pieces and stitched them onto our calico; then we cut pieces of contrasting silk and stitched them on. Sewing them so the stitches are underneath (this is hard to explain but hopefully you can get the idea from the photo below).

Crafternoon Tea at Elizabeth Gaskell's House, Manchester

Around half way through the session we stopped and made our way into the tea room for a pot of tea and a slice of really good cake. The tea room is a lovely airy space with the original stone floors from Elizabeth Gaskell’s days at the house. It was the hottest day of the year so far and it was the perfect place for some cool respite from the temperature outside.

Crafternoon Tea at Elizabeth Gaskell's House, Manchester

After we’d been fueled by tea and cake, we returned to the Servants Hall to carry on with our crazy patchwork. It soon became clear that despite my best efforts, I wouldn’t be able to finish it in the two and a half hour craft session. Thankfully Margot let me take everything I needed to finish it at home. In fairness, it was ambitious of me to try to finish within the time. But I left armed with the skills and knowledge to finish off my work at home.

The Crafternoon Tea at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House costs £19 and includes everything you need to create your craft as well as a hot drink and cake. Keep an eye on their website for more craft and literary events. I do know they have a few limited places left on their Crochet Afghan Squares Crafternoon Tea on 17th May and Paisley Woodblock Printing Crafternoon Tea on 21st June 2018.

Crafternoon Tea at Elizabeth Gaskell's House, Manchester
My not quite finished Victorian Crazy Patchwork.

I had the most lovely relaxing afternoon. Even though I went by myself, the rest of the crafters around the table were all very nice and chatty. It was lovely to switch off and concentrate on sewing the patchwork and enjoy the peaceful and historic surroundings of Elizabeth Gaskell’s House.

Elizabeth Gaskell’s House is located at 84 Plymouth Grove, Manchester, M13 9LW

New Space Mission at Legoland Discovery Centre Manchester

Legoland Discovery Centre Manchester is one of our nearest Merlin attractions. We like to visit a few times a year, but we’ve not been since they refurbished last year. We’d heard that over Easter they’d launched a new Space Mission area and we were very keen to check it out. Plus there was the relatively new Ninjago area which we still hadn’t seen. Over the Easter break we swung by for an afternoon of Legoland fun!

New Space Mission at Legoland Discovery Centre Manchester

We were pretty impressed with the new layout of Legoland Discovery Centre. The cafe area had been tucked away in a colourful room of its own, most of the old favourites were still there. Mini-land had been improved with the Manchester bit looking more Mancunian than before. I especially liked the new Lego Media City building and the working tram trundling about.

As we rounded the corner to get into the main area, the boy spotted the huge Ninjago area straight away. There are a few Ninja training zones where lively kids can burn off some energy, so he dabbled a bit there, striking Ninja poses and generally getting stuck in. There’s a soft play area/temple and he disappeared in there for ten minutes, returning to us with a big smile on his face. There’s also a moving climbing wall which had quite a long queue, so we might have a go another time.

New Space Mission at Legoland Discovery Centre Manchester

Obviously apart from the awesome soft play temple, his highlights from that area were the huge Ninjago figures made of Lego and the free building area where he just let his imagination run wild. It’s excellent, really excellent. If you like Ninjago, you’ll love this. It’s perfectly thought out.

Time was ticking and we needed to go and check out the new Space Mission area. It’s a reasonably small space compared to the Ninjago area, but they’ve really packed everything in. You can build and launch your own Lego rocket, or drive remote control buggies and explore the surface of the Lego planet. There’s an animation desk where you can create your own Lego animations and lots more.

New Space Mission at Legoland Discovery Centre Manchester

I especially liked the space shuttle which takes off every five minutes. The level of detail is pretty awesome. We spent quite a lot of time looking at everything and exploring the area. The boy really liked the control desk and anything where he can just build Lego is always a hit.

Living half an hour from Legoland Discovery Centre Manchester, we really ought to visit a little more often. We’ve got Merlin Annual Passes, so it’s no bother to pop in for a quick hour of Lego fun, or a bit longer if we have the time.

If you’re local we can totally recommend the new Space Mission area and the Ninjago area is fantastic. Everything else has been spruced up for 2018 too.

New Space Mission at Legoland Discovery Centre Manchester

For more information about Legoland Discovery Centre and Merlin Annual Passes, visit their website.

Disclosure: We are Merlin Annual Pass Ambassadors this year. All images and opinions are our own.

What’s on in Manchester this Easter?

The two week Easter break is looming ever closer and the “fancy a playdate?” texts are flying thick and fast. Two weeks is a lot of time to fill; my son needs to relax and chill out after a busy term, but he also wants and needs to do some fun things too. I’ve picked out some fun and interesting things to do in and around Manchester over Easter 2018.

Easter Egg Hunts

Local Easter Egg Hunts are being advertised all over Facebook. It’s well work keeping an eye out for what’s on local to you, but I’ve spotted they’re happening at Abney Hall in Cheadle, Didsbury Park, Wythenshawe Park, Heaton Park and lots more locations.

What's on in Manchester this Easter?

Elizabeth Gaskell House

Visit Elizabeth Gaskell House this Easter for some springtime fun. With Easter egg trails, Easter crafts, visits from our Victorian servants, and more throughout the Easter holidays.

The House is open from 11-3pm on Easter Sunday and on Wednesdays and Sundays throughout the Easter school holidays. For more information about what’s on and when, visit their website.

Museum of Science and Industry

There’s always so much going on at the Museum of Science and Industry, you could go at any time and find lots of things of interest. For space fans, they’ve got some real treats in store this Easter.

Space, the final frontier, is waiting to be explored this Easter holiday with activities and shows packed with more fun than an astronaut’s freeze-dried dinner. Families can make their own space mission patch, race DIY space rovers, and help decide which is the best space invention. Plus they can take a (virtual) trip from the International Space Station to Earth with everyone’s favourite spaceman, Tim Peake, in Space Descent VR. Then see his actual Soyuz capsule and spacesuit up close in the superstar display. And don’t miss the Soyuz demonstration to find out more about how Tim came home. With all this and more, any visit is bound to be ‘out of this world’.

Tim Peake science

Waterside Arts Centre, Sale

We always try to take a trip to the theatre during school holidays, so I’ve already booked tickets to go and see The Sagas of Noggin the Nog at Waterside Arts in Sale. They always have an interesting programme of shows and events on for all the family.

The Sagas of Noggin the Nog (on Tuesday 3 April at 14:30) is based on the original stories and films by Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin. A company of rather English Vikings tells a story in live action, with puppetry, live music and projection of clips from the original films in this delightfully different theatre show for families and Noggin the Nog fans. The show consists of two 35-minute stories with an interval in the middle.

On Easter Saturday catch a new spin on the classic tale – Red Riding Hood. Robyn starts to read the classic fairy tale and, frustrated with the story, she begins to tell her own version, featuring her beloved wolf at its heart and told from his perspective. He’s not big, bad or scary – he’s an all-round nice guy. And Red Riding Hood is not what she seems. The play is suitable for ages 7 and above and there are performances at 11:30 and 14:30.

intu Trafford Centre

The intu Trafford Centre has so much going on this Easter, it’s impossible to fit it all into a couple of paragraphs. As well as LEGOLAND Discovery Centre and SEA LIFE, there are lots of events for Easter 2018 in store.

There’s the Sylvanian Families Town Roadshow will take place at intu Trafford Centre from 10am to 5pm on Saturday 31st March. The character performances will be staged on lower Peel Avenue. Sylvanian Families fans and fashion lovers alike will love this free family event featuring the world’s smallest catwalk on Saturday 31 March. Throughout the day, children can watch their favourite characters singing and dancing or pose for photographs with them between the shows.

On Friday 30 and Saturday 31 March, Selfridge’s will be hosting an Easter Eggstravaganza for children ages 3 – 10 years old. There will be eggciting games, a delicious breakfast and the annual Selfridges’ Easter Egg Hunt.  For more information and tickets visit –

Plus John Lewis have a whole range of events on in store. In the toy section on Friday 30th, Saturday 31st and Monday 2nd April you can join in with story time; colouring for fun and Easter card making.

What's on in Manchester this Easter? Easter Eggs

Dobbies Garden Centre

I love a nice family breakfast at Easter, just before the onslaught of chocolate eggs!  Why not head down to your local Dobbies Garden Centre for a Family Easter Bunny Breakfast? Enjoy a delicious breakfast; then afterwards children will get to meet the Easter Bunny and receive a free Lindt chocolate bunny to take home and enjoy. These breakfasts are available from Friday 30th March until 2nd April and are £8.95 per child and £4.95 per adult. For more information, visit their website.

Have I missed anything? What will you be doing during Easter 2018?