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 exactly...it 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.

November 11, 2014

Live & Eat Pie

There is nothing better than a good ol' home made pie, apart from maybe one soaked in gravy with a mound of mash on the side.

Us northerners like our pies so it seemed only fitting that we try and find some good'ens!

Pieminster, it turns out, is the place to go.
I mean with a moto like that ^ who can argue.

Pieminster's a little place which insist on quality ingredients to make their pies taste even better. They started down South, but luckily for us, they migrated up North and there are a few scattered around the country.
We turned up rather near closing time on Saturday, plonked ourselves on some high stools, ordered a bottle of wine and perused the pie menu.
They have a fair few award winning pies so I'll warn you now...you might find it hard to pick just one. (Just a great excuse to go back again).
After a lot of debate and changing our minds a million times we finely decided.

Dan went for a delicious Wildshroom pie on top of a pile of creamy mashed potato.
It was stuffed full of wild mushrooms, asparagus and a white wine and cream sauce. 
I on the other hand went for Light as a Feta. A heavenly combination of butternut squash, feta and sundried tomatoes. 
With of course a side of gravy!!
With it being well after closing time and us being the only people in the restaurant we paid our dues thanked the staff and headed for a quiet drink before heading home..
Our quiet drink quickly escalated into a cocktail sampling evening at my new favourite place in The Northern Quarter, Noho.

The Noho signature was a particular favourite of mine. A cocktail with popping candy and glow sticks, could it get any better?
It's safe to say I was in my element. 
After an evening of fun and dancing we did eventually head home.
Not quite the quiet, chilled Saturday night we had first planned on! But aren't the ones you don't plan always the best?