November 25, 2014

Bangers, Bacon and Teepees at the Christmas Markets

I've held off for as long as I could. But it's official. I'm in complete Christmas mode. I know it's still only November but just one month of Christmas just isn't long enough!

Laura came to visit and it seemed only fitting that we do the one thing Manchester does best..the Christmas Markets.

Manchester is renowned for its Christmas Markets and this year is no exception.
This year they are bigger and better.

So on a bright, sunny Saturday afternoon we bravely braced the crowds and went for a mooch. 

It wasn't long before the smell of all the delicious food got our tummies rumbling. What we found was probably the best bangers and mash ever.
If you venture away from the main run of Christmas Markets into Spinningfields there is an ice skating rink, and just behind it tucked away are a few gems of street food stalls. One of these being Bangers and Bacon.
We got tubs full of mash, I went for sundried tomato, and juicy sausages all swimming in gravy, topped with crispy onion.

Hearty, warming and utterly delicious! If you go to the Christmas Markets you have to go and find Bangers and Bacon!

After letting our food go down we decided it was time to play, Helter Skelter style!
We joined the long queue of kids, ascended all the way to the top and then came spiralling down in true style. It was so much fun!
All that playing left us thirsty so we headed over to the Teepee at The Oast House to have our first mulled wine of the year.
We cosied up by the fire, sipped our mulled wine and realised that it was exactly a year ago that I was down in London visiting Laura, and we were doing exactly the same festive things!
How time flies.
There's something about snuggling up with a hot drink by an open fire that you just can't beat! It's all very Après-ski, which is making me even more excited to go skiing in January.
After a hot cider we ventured back outside to find the sun had completely set and the twinkling lights looked even more magical.
We headed back into the midst of the Christmas Market crowds to see Santa lit up in all his glory.
The smell of fresh pancakes and waffles filled the air and as much as we tried (we really didn't try very hard at all) it was just something we couldn't resist.

Two waffles covered in white chocolate and nutella later...

Umm so good.

That evening we came home, dolled ourselves up a bit and headed out to The Liars Club for some cocktails followed by a bit of dancing at Revolution de Cuba.
A fantastic weekend with one of my favourite people ever!

November 18, 2014

Surprise Birthday Celebrations at Albert's

We celebrated Hazel's birthday with a few too many Zombies and a lot of chocolate cake on Saturday night. We danced until late and ended the night eating late night falafel and hummus. Standard.

But to pay homage to the actual day that Haze was brought into the world we had to do something a little bit more special. After all, she deserved spoiling!!

Not fancying heading into town again, but still wanting there to be a good atmosphere on a Sunday evening, we booked a table at Alberts in Didsbury. With the help of her wonderful boyfriend we managed to get her there more or less unsuspecting of where we were going.

Wine ordered we toasted to Hazel and perused the menu.
As it turns out, Albert's do a cracking deal on a Sunday. A set menu, 2 courses for £15.95 or 3 courses for £17.95.

We dipped in and out of it and started with fishcakes,
pan fried king prawns smothered in a garlic, chilli and lemon butter,
leak and potato soup, which unfortunately I wasn't that fussed about as it was a little bit bland.
and a big garlic bread to tear and share.
I'd say the fishcakes came out top in the starters.
We regaled stories from the night before. Which turned out to one of the most fun nights we've had in  ages. There was a lot of salsa dancing, a few rounds of limbo - how low can you go!! - and general just fun and laughing all night long.
Before we knew it mains had arrived,
I went for Seabass with King prawns which more than made up for my slightly disappointing starter. It was absolutely delicious.
A few stuck to traditions and went for Sunday Roast's which we're apparently excellent.

As one last surprise we sung a final happy birthday to the beautiful birthday girl!
As the birthday candle was blown out, the rest of the desserts arrived.
Considering we had only come with the intention of ordering a Tuna Niçoise salad (they're amazing here) we hadn't considered dessert as an option..until we saw the menu and couldn't resist.

We ordered gooey sticky toffee puddings, ice cream sundaes and chocolate volcanos with honeycomb ice cream!
As you can imagine, they were all incredible!!!

Completely full to the brim, the kind of Christmas dinner full, we managed to make our way home before all collapsing on the sofas unable to move, stuck in huge food comas.

It was such a lovely way to finish an amazing weekend.

Happy Birthday Hazel!!

November 13, 2014

Exploring Salford Quays

With Dan here it gave me an opportunity to explore Manchester a bit more with my favourite companion. One slightly grey afternoon we ventured out to Salford to have a wander around the Quays. Alongside the BBC HQ and the Coronation Street cobbles there are plenty of bars, restaurants and places to wander around.
Our first stop was the Lowry.
There's currently a BAFTA photography exhibition on at the moment, showcasing actors and actresses who have won or been nominated for BAFTAs.
Lowry's actual work I find quite hard to appreciate but these are a couple of his paintings..
Seascape was by far my favourite.
Can't really pin down why just was!
I've seen shows at The Lowry in the past and I must say that I much prefer it as a theatre venue than an art gallery.

After The Lowry we continued our journey over the bridge to The Imperial War Museum.
This was a lot more fun!
There's lots to see and do and it's great for a day out, for both adults and kids!
This thing here ^ is actually a piece of debris from the Twin Towers 9/11 attack which I found quite poignant.
Whereas this fascinating piece, 'Enter Ghost Exit Ghost, The Genie' by Bashir Makhoul represents "the temporary nature of settlements, dwellings or encampments that are a common product of war and conflict across the world. The humility and fragility of the cardboard boxes, which will warp and adapt over a period of display, reflects the life of refugees on the move."
After having a nosey into the BBC HQ seeing if we could spot anyone we went for a drink in one of the bars along the Quays before heading back to the other side of Manchester!

I love exploring different parts of Manchester which I rarely venture to and Salford Quays is definitely great way to pass time on an afternoon.