Christmas preparations and celebrations started for us this weekend and I feel rather festive now! We have a tree, we have been to see Santa and we have been ice skating. On Saturday we went into Manchester to Spinningfields, not the greatest choice of day three weekends before Christmas, Manchester United vs Manchester Derby was the following day oh and X Factor was being held and screened live from Manchester. It was BUSY, BUSY, BUSY! But in a way that added to the excitement for Lil H and Diva G and there was a real buzz in town which overcame the cold and rainy wet weather we were out in.
First we went to Santa’s Storytime which was inside in a rather sweet grotto created in the reception space in Quay House, Manchester and Merseyside’s finest Elves welcomed the children, they sang to call Santa who arrived down the chimney – which was rather special! Santa read a story and then all the children got to have a chat with the big man himself and place their orders for the big day and gave them each a gift of a chocolate selection box. There were only about ten children there so it was nice, quiet and calm way to meet Santa and it only took 15-20 minutes in total, you have an allocated time slot so not endless queuing so great for little ones and parents!
We weren’t booked on the ice until 5:30pm, we had thought we would have a wander around Spinningfields and the Manchester markets but the weather was horrendous so we took shelter in *cough* All Saints for a new top and then Pret for a coffee before heading back to the rink to “boot up”. Spinningfields even in the rain was really pretty – the rink is that shiny because its got half an inch of rain water on it which didn’t make a difference to skating on it unless you fell over in which case you got soaked to the skin!
We had an hour of skating and whilst at first glance the queues for boots looked daunting they moved quickly, the skate hire process was straight forward and you could leave bags safely behind the boot counter. Diva G at 3yo managed OK with a “penguin” for support, Lil H loved it, we’ve been before and he really enjoys it, I am normally pretty good but I was nursing a major birthday celebration hangover and managed an epic fall – think Jane Torvill at the end of Bolero i.e. on her face on the ice!
It was fun, if you want to go be quick Santa’s Storytime is only on for one more weekend on Saturday 15th December 2012 with Storytelling sessions on the hour, 11am to 5pm with the last session at 4pm. Storytelling tickets are £5 per child. Ice Skating at Spinningfield continues through until the New Year, a family ticket costs £24 and hiring a penguin £5, we’d recommend water proof trousers or a change of clothes for children if it is or has been raining!
Our verdict – we really enjoyed being in Manchester and the Spiningfields festive market, we loved the lights, the atmosphere and the stalls of food & drink, it was lovely to have a wander around even though the weather was terrible it didn’t dampen our afternoon. It would have been an expensive few hours had we paid £10 for Santa, £29 for ice skating, £18 for hot dogs and £10 of hot chocolates and £10 for parking – call it £80 but in many ways it was a special way to kick of our Christmas. Thanks to Spinningfields and Echo PR for inviting us along to visit Santa and have a skate for review purposes.
How do you kick off your festive season?
Now term time is back, Lil H is now full time in reception so obviously I have spare time to invest in myself, right? Wrong! For starters Baby G is with me, I have a business to run, work to do and a house with a bottomless laundry basket to run. Should I ever get through that lot I’m sure I’ll be asleep rather than making a plan to do something I want to do for myself!
I’ve been very focused on Lil H with him starting school, but on him first full day in school I seized the moment, dropped Baby G off for some quality grandparent time and said yes to an invitation to experience a Day Spa package at the Radisson Edwardian Manchester’s Sienna Spa. The last two years has seen time with no children at all granted due to extreme sleep deprivation with it spent dedicated to some deep sleep or I have been head down, focused, power working for a client or developing my marketing & social services business. Today was different. Today was all about me.
The Radisson Edwardian is located in Central Manchester, near the Town Hall and the shopping delights of Spinningfields. So in the middle of the noisy hustle and bustle of Manchester City Centre is there really an oasis of serenity and calm? Climb the steps of the Radisson Edwardian, into the five star luxury foyer and head downstairs. The volume drops with each step, soothing aromas rise, peace surrounds you and its time to slow down and rest. A relax room with fabulous magazines, a white fluffy robe and slippers, I was set and it wasn’t difficult to succumb.
But first there was a treatment room with my name on it. First a facial. A flashback to days gone by for my face, this child free lady used to have monthly facials and treatments. I’ve had a facial since I had children. Haven’t I? I’m sure I have *wracks brain* I must have, surely? But I can’t recall when or where – so maybe not. I loved the treatment room itself, yes it was candle lit, aroma filled with soothing music but they all are but the low curved ceiling gave it a unique and cossetting atmosphere, I was very quickly “in the zone”.
Skin glowing I headed back to the changing rooms donned my swim suit and headed out to the pool with jacuzzi, sauna and steam rooms. What first? Having walked past the gym and fitness area twice already and so far my morning had consisted of reading magazines and lying down, the invitation to ripple the still waters of the empty pool was too good to turn down. 30 minutes of lengths later and it back to relaxing a spell in the steam room and the jacuzzi. Almost 1pm and lunch felt like a good idea. I’d taken the recommendation of the Club Sandwich from the team and my goodness I know why – check this out for a sandwich!
So having undone all the benefit of my 30 minutes of lengths and then some (but it was oh so worth it!) I was glowing, up to speed on the latest trends thanks to Wallpaper magazine, I was no longer wearing my shoulders like earrings they were back where they were supposed to be. I floated out of the Radisson Edwardian, back to the school gate and back to my life but an improved glowy me. I liked it. A lot. It was great, thank you very much to the team at the Radisson Edwardian Manchester’s Sienna Spa for looking after me so well. I thoroughly enjoyed my day and I spied this really great value for money offer on their website if you too fancy a bit of a pamper. I’m so going for another visit!
October Mix & Match Spa Special.
During the month of October take advantage of our Fabulous Spa Special. Your Spa Day up to 5 hours in our Health Club Facilities, plus a light lunch.
You also get to choose a combination of three of the following treatments:-
20 Minute Back, Neck & Shoulder Massage
20 Minute Express Facial
20 Minute Foot and Ankle Massage
File and Polish on the Hands
File and Polish on the Feet
This offer is available Monday-Wednesday only. Mix and Match Package only £60.00 per person
0161 835 8964
Offer ends October 30th 2011. Must quote “Mix and Match Spa Special” when booking
Sienna Spa & Health Club located at the Radisson Edwardian Manchester, Peter Street, Manchester, M2 5GP
Tel: +44 (0)161 835 8964
Yes indeed we did! A couple of weeks ago we were invited along to the Legoland Discovery Centre at Barton Square at The Trafford Centre in Manchester to review the new attraction. Lil’ H and I went along with our best mates Lil’ T and his Mum to check out what was there to discover. Here are the headlines:
- We had a great fun packed three hours
- We didn’t queue once for anything
- As a half day out I’d rate my experience as 9 out of 10
- If I’d paid full price I’d rate my experience 7 out of 10
- Highlight was 4D cinema
- Low light was Kingdom Quest ride being out of order
- Lil’ H loved it and has asked a number of times to go back
- I will definitely go back and am considering buying H an annual pass
We arrived about midday on a sunny Friday in term time and it was quiet and when I say quiet I can honestly say we did not queue once for anything, nothing, not even our coffees! So H & his buddy T are just 3 years old, both own lots of Duplo, neither of them have shown any interest in playing with their own Lego collections prior to arriving so this could go either way at this point. Arriving is all part of the experience, I won’t spoil the details but there is a nice welcome experience with “Professor Brick” introducing everyone to Lego and the Centre. Then you’re off under your own steam into the attraction, first stop was Kingdom Quest which is a “ride”, its a short, 2 minute think ghost train-esque carriage with laser guns to shoot at the interactive computer screens to defend the spiders, skeletons and trolls and save the Princess and her Dragon. If you queued for any length of time I think you would be miffed. Mummy’s view was that the boys were with the wrong parent – it was one that was meant to be with Daddy! H & T loved it and wanted to go on it again, we should have gone back on the ride straight away as there was no queue and unfortunately the ride broke down shortly after. Instead we headed off into MINILAND where North West attractions are created in minature in Lego Manchester United’s Old Trafford, Urbis, Blackpool etc. The fireworks projected onto the wall were the highlight for the boys here.
After MINILAND you are in the main area of the Discovery centre with the other elements of the attraction leading off it, there is a cafe/coffee shop area, the Fire Academy soft play tower which was great and one that our 3 year olds could negotiate through independently. The helter skelter slide was put to the mummy test though! The Lego Racers area was very popular with H and T, here is everything you need to build racing cars with ramps, slopes and tracks with starting grids to test them out. We spent a lot of time here. The Duplo Village along with tonnes of regular Duplo had house brick sized soft bricks to build with. H and T completed the Duplo Toddler Challenge to build a tower as tall as themselves, identify five Lego animals and sort Lego by colour. They both have their certificates signed by the Master Lego Builder in their memory books.
Having hurled themselves around the Fire Academy soft play tower, built, raced, broke, built, raced, broke, built, raced, broke Lego cars for ages, completed the toddler challenge in Duplo Village it was time for a bit of a rest so we headed to the 4D cinema. Just so you know my expectation level for 3D movies was set a couple of decades ago with cardboard red & green glasses and Jaws 3! We were all so impressed, the 4D element comes from wind blowing, water spraying and snow (foam) falling, there are two films “Bob the builder” and “Spell Breaker” there are a couple of make-you-jump moments in “Spellbreaker” but our 3 year olds loved it. We went in four times, (remember I told you it was quiet and there were no queues!) Between shows we sat in the huge paddling pools of Lego making anything and everything. There were Master Builder Classes for older kids but being term time & school hours there were only a few overseas visitors there but they seemed to be enjoying their building.
We were making tracks unaware that there was another area to Discover, Lego Universe. This consisted of interactive laser beams on the floor that made noises when stepped on them and broke down a picture on a screen, this bit missed our toddlers who just found running around in a dark room with lights making noises just brilliant in its own simplicity!
The standard admission price (the price you pay at the door) at the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre is £13.95 for adults, and £10.95 for children. Children aged 2 and under go free. Online bookings receive a 15% discount and no booking fee. An afternoon ticket for admission after 4pm (the discovery centre closes at 7pm) is £7 for adults and £7 for children. An Unlimited Annual Pass is £95 for a family or £27.50 for a child with discount £5 entry for each accompanying adult.
Have you been? What did you think? Leave me a comment and tell me about your experience.
Lego is, please excuse the pun, a building block in my childhood. I really am looking forward to building stuff with Lil H, his imagination is developing at rocket speed now so I have no doubt we will have a great time! We have fun with Duplo but I really am desperate for him to get into the “proper stuff”. You know what I mean by proper stuff? The red, yellow, green and blue bricks that are 4×2′s, 2×2′s and the never enough of 2′s etc. The bright bricks that really, really, really are excruiciatingly painful when you tread on them in bare feet. The stuff that makes parents treading on it swear out loud, no matter how they try not to and wander off muttering under their breath because they can’t be cross with you for “quietly playing with Lego”!
Mr L’s family live near Legoland in Windsor and a visit there is on the “to do list”. However much closer to home (a little PR fairy tells me) at the Trafford Centre in Manchester, a Lego Discovery Centre is due to open before Easter on 22nd March 2010! That’s less than four months away and the other great news is that it is aimed at families aged 3-12years (that’s me! me! me!) or up to 36+ years young if like me you still love your Lego! Sadly my skills are rusty, in the Lego building halls of fame I am an amateur and would be seriously out classed should I have applied for the role as Master Model Builder – think X-Factor contest but in Lego. Indeed the lucky candidate who wins the appointment will literally be paid to build Lego models all day long. Yes, seriously, this job exists! Wanna be Kylie, Ryan Giggs, Terry Pratchett? But can’t sing, play or write? No fear! If you can build ‘em in Lego your ideal job does in fact exist!
I’m writing about this new opening because I am a North West girl and a big supporter of the regeneration of Manchester and its surroundings. We have some fab attractions and frankly living in the UK (until global warming really starts to take off!) the more indoor attractions for families the better. Its being opened by the guys who do Legoland (obviously, duh!) The London Eye, Madame Tussauds and Alton Towers. The Legoland Discovery Centre whilst the first in the UK, and they picked MANCHESTER, but of course, will be the fourth in the world. So I’m thinking they will have worked out what works, doesn’t and we’ll have a really great family day out on our hands. The Manchester Legoland Discovery Centre promises to be the best yet. Amongst a host of themed Lego attractions, it will host:
- ‘Miniland’ featuring key landmarks from Manchester and the Northwest including Salford Quays, the Blackpool Tower and the Lake District
- An interactive and immersive LEGO themed ride
- A 4D cinema where you can reach out and touch the stars
- Learn some building secrets in a Model Builder’s Workshop
- Birthday rooms for that special big treat! (FAB! Outsource for excellence I say!)
So that’s what I know about what’s coming from Lego in March, I will write more as I hear more, but for now I’m off to hone my brick building skills. Whilst writing this post I was tweeting about trying to find some Lego Kickers for Lil H, my tweet got misread as Lego KNICKERS, as in underwear, and I now appear to have started a Lego Knicker building contest! As a Wannabe Master Model Builder I am determined to win … if only I could find more yellow 2′s …