York Theatre Royal and Colonnade Café Review

York Theatre Royal and Colonnade Café Review: May 2018

Taking a lead role in the theatre scene, for over 270 years, York Theatre Royal reopened in 2016 after a six million development.  Creating a state of the art 21st century theatre.

The bespoke décor, that combines traditional with the contemporary, while remaining sympathetic to the buildings original features, has created a warm, welcoming hub with an airy feel.

The Colonnade café was ideal for a pre-theatre bite to eat offering simple, honest and yummy homely food.  We chowed down on sandwiches, a lovely halloumi salad with a good handful of chips.

‘Did the Minster please you my lady?’…Even the tables had a sparkle and sprinkle of theatre on them with these charming little quotes.  Just as charming were the staff on duty, Adam and Simone, did a fabulous job of looking after us all evening.

For delicious deserts, we opted to go all out chocolate in light of York’s chocolate heritage, which included slices of the most divine dark chocolate & raspberry brownie, and the scrummy chocolate orange slice.

Our evening of attendance was when York theatre Royal Youth Theatre, one of the largest theatre groups in the country, presented Legacy.  Legacy, a production by Paul Birch, directed by Kate Veysey ‘We will change what we do.  We will change who we are.  We will change…Everyone’.

The Legacy production, with its mix of dialogue, along with the injection of upbeat music spurts, and strobe lighting, worked in harmony to create an exciting, engaging and entertaining production for both young and older audiences.

The organisation Legacy promise an elite service to erase your digital DNA profile and create a new “perfect” you all for a cost of course, but is the cost just a financial one?

The production seeks to explore this through looking at relationships, the impact of modern technology, media privacy issues, elitist inequalities and societal judgements.

For myself there was a synonymous connection, with the ‘blogger’ who featured throughout the production.  When termed by some as a blogger in a derogatory fashion, she continued to justify herself and term herself as an ‘independent journalist’.  Being both, I can see both sides of the spectrum.

What is Legacy, an organisation, media or both, when the lines become blurred, do morals too? With memory modifications, unethical sabotage, and sinister company misdealing’s, in the end you pay the ultimate price, legacy is your life.  Live your life, your way, and create your own legacy.

Such an enjoyable evening of theatrical talent which provided interesting content for later after dinner conversations.

Thank you for reading 😊

Melanie xx




City Cruises York Afternoon Tea Review

City Cruises York Afternoon Tea Review: May 2018

The King’s Staith Landing location, on the picturesque river Ouse in York, is where City Cruises York depart for their amazing Afternoon Tea cruise.

Their fully roofed brilliant boat will protect you from natures elements and allow you to sit back, relax and enjoy.

All aboard! Let Captain James Cook and his team of loyal skippers, sail you down the river Ouse in style, for a full 1 hour and 45 minutes, ship ahoy.

Onboard the setting was lovely with gorgeous gingham lemon and white clothed tables, blue covered seating and fabulous floral centre pieces.  I loved that the afternoon tea had been wrapped over in clingfilm to keep all your goodies fresh and fabulous.

While you enjoy your afternoon Tea, you will have the pleasure of listening to marvellous musical melodies along with some of the Captains commentary…and comedy.  As you can see, giggles and fun were plentiful…and so were the food offerings.

Afternoon tea included fantastic finger sandwiches, fruit scone with jam & cream, an array of dainty sweet treats, tea and coffee.  Also, you can add on prosecco, if you fancy getting fizzy with some bubbles.

During your sail, get your camera ready, and prepare to snap away, as you will see some sensational sights.  Bishopthorpe Palace is the stunning residence of his Grace the Archbishop of York.

The York Motor Yacht Club, landing ground and club, has some incredible vessels docked up for you to admire.

As if that was not enough you will see York’s rowing club, and the many bridges, with their elaborate delightful décor.

The Afternoon Tea on City Cruises York was a chic, classy and a charming way to spend an Afternoon in York.

Thank you for reading 😊

Melanie xx




Can You Escape? Operation Lone Eagle Mission York Review

Can You Escape? Operation Lone Eagle Mission York Review: May 2018

Have you got the key, can you escape?  Well make your way to Can You Escape York an impressive, innovative and immersive, escape room to find out.  Polish up on your spy skills, become super sleuths and take on the challenge of Operation Lone Eagle.

World renowned scientist Doctor Aquila Mind was left humiliated and embarrassed in the scientific community, as he went to collect a scientific prize for memory retention techniques, and then forgot his acceptance speech.

Now, his aim is to build a memory manipulation machine, that will wipe the memories, of the speech attendees, York and in fact the whole of Yorkshire.  His assistant has seen sense and is recruiting spies to locate the key to stop this devilish Doctor – the Torque bracelet.

Agent Shmagent aka Charlotte made her introductions and asked us if we would help defeat Doctor Aquila Mind.  Challenge accepted, we chose our agent names, for me “Agent Unlock” and team name “Team Can Do”, and dived in to defeat the Doctor, and restore good back to York and the whole of Yorkshire.

The game is a fabulous first class exciting high energy thrill right from the start, that will challenge your imagination, ingenuity, and intellect.  Armed with your clipboard and walky talkies, yes you read right I did say walky talkies! Locate the Torque bracelet, defeat evil, victory is yours and you will gain a place on the coveted Operation Lone Eagle leader board.

Save York, Yorkshire and Yourself, Can You Escape?  There is only one way to find out.


Thank you for reading 😊

Melanie xx



Bills Breakfast York Review

Bills Breakfast York Review: May 2018

Bang in the heart of historic York, Bills restaurant is the go to place for a hearty home cooked breakfast, to start your York Adventure the right way.  Beautiful fixtures and fittings, with a shabby chic rustic rich theme give the place that extra relaxed feel which allows you to sit back, chill and enjoy the atmosphere.

Katie our server made her introductions, and we both loved her. Quirky, cool, super chilled and relaxed, yet Katie still managed to deliver super service.  A genuine lady, with great chat and a real asset to the brand.  In fact all the York team were super stars as always!

Bills just got even more brilliant with their breakfast bonanza! Continental or classic, they have you covered.  We opted for a two-stage breakfast approach, beginning with a lovely large orange juice and a watermelon, peach and raspberry juice.

Mouth-watering Bill’s Granola Sundae which was packed with fresh strawberries, banana, pomegranate seeds, berry compote and some yummy honey.  The coconut porridge with berry compote and candied pistachios was a lovely lush start to the day.

Things heated up with the arrival of the hot stuff.  Plentiful potions, but feel free to add on extras such as potato rosti, avocado and baked beans.  Wash this wonderfulness down with a cup of fresh mint tea or a English breakfast served in this rustic teapot.

The brilliant Bills Breakfast included eggs as you like, Cumberland sausages, smoked streaky bacon, pesto roasted plum tomatoes, mushrooms and toast.  Also, the gorgeous Vegetarian breakfast with eggs as you like, pesto roasted plum tomatoes, mushrooms, tomato hummus, guacamole, basil, toast and lashing of sensational scrummy sweet chilli sauce.

Jump out of bed, head on down to Bills, and get your day off with a Big Breakfast Bang!

Thank you for reading 😊

Melanie xx



Grafene Manchester Dinner Review

Grafene Manchester Dinner Review: April 2018

Grafene is a unique cutting edge innovative restaurant and bar located in upmarket King Street in Manchester city centre.  Owners Paul and Kathryn, with a wealth of experience behind them, used this knowledge to bring Manchester a modern British menu, with food being locally sourced where possible, to all be enjoyed in a relaxed setting.

Décor is an mix of industrial, with earthy coloured upholstered seating, softened with fabrics, fresh flowers and amazing artwork.  All this along with the wide-open windows, that allows for masses of natural light, has brought the countryside indoors, vamped up with some city edge.

Seating includes intimate tables for two, booths for larger gatherings with friends or family, and a discreet private dining area, that is offset from the main room, which gives the feeling of privacy without being cut off from the atmosphere.

The worlds first 2D material Graphene, was first isolated by Manchester University, and this has been the inspiration behind the name Grafene.  Paul sees this new scientific innovation, to be synonymous with Grafene’s ethos.  Paul states, “Grafene is our food and drink interpretation of this exciting new chapter in Manchester’s rich history, and of the excitement and energy there is around its possibilities for science and technology.”

Zack, our server made his introductions, and he was first class, a natural.  Good vibes, a warm welcome and looked after us throughout the evening.  Even though there was not a mocktail menu, the team had no problems shaking me up some marvellous mocktails, including a virgin mojito and a beautiful berry mix up.  Adopting an environmental approach, by using paper straws, made enjoying these drinks even more sweet.

We opted to go full Vegetarian, as if a chef can do veggie then he is a keeper, and I can tell you Head Chef Ben Mounsey delivered.  To start, both dishes, Beetroots, granola, spinach, nasturtium, verjus, and the Cep, consommé, truffle, enoki, buttermilk, both beautiful with good earthy, but clean flavours.

Mouth-watering mains, that disappeared of the plates in record time, included the Artichoke, rice, preserved lemon, leeks and the Cauliflower, croquette, Szechuan, white cabbage, nero.  Two seriously sensational superb plates of paradise.

Divine, delicious and delightfully indulgent desserts included the Mint chocolate brownie, mousse, oil, parfait and the ‘Sally Cinnamon’, popcorn, nimixtilised melon, granola.  Both dishes interesting, innovative and inspiring.

The ambiance and atmosphere were on point, fine dining without feeling stuffy.  Flavoursome, flawless and fabulous food delivered with five-star service in a relaxed professional Manchester style.  Grafene, Greatness and Gorgeousness!

Thank you for reading 😊

Melanie xx



Novotel Manchester Centre Review

Novotel Manchester Centre Review: April 2018

Located within an enviable postcode, near to all the main transport hubs such as Manchester Piccadilly & Oxford Road train stations, the Novotel Manchester Centre, is the ideal place to enjoy all of the city action, from a convenient and central 4 star base.

Make your way through the revolving doors, into the bright airy reception area, and prepare to check in for a sensational stay.  Make use of the interactive touch screen system that provides helpful tourist information.

Executive rooms immediately have that wow factor, focusing on your needs to provide a relaxed experience.  An open plan arrangement, with a super cosy comfortable bed, with amazing artwork above the bedhead, a flat screen television, and a cleverly designed modular bathroom.

The adjoining lounge area, with a second flat screen television, comfortable sofa, relaxer chair set within a Manchester city artwork background scene, along with a Nespresso coffee machine, Bose Ipod dock, complimentary broadband, and mini bar stocked with water was an ideal place to kick back, relax and chill out.

Bathroom brilliance comprised of a tastefully combined bathroom built within the room in neutral colours, which included a fully enclosed stand up power shower, separate toilet area, a spacious sink area and plenty of mirrors to beautify yourself.

The over sink marvellous mirror was fully illuminated with the additional extendable mirror, that also magnified, which took the faff out of getting ready for the evening.

Additional complimentary bathroom goodies included the fabulous Fairtrade Shampoo, shower gel, body lotion, conditioner and soap.  Also, essentials such as a comb, dental set, shaving set, shower cap, vanity set, shoe shine sponge and a sewing kit which definitely cuts down on the baggage, and the need to pack extras.

Fancy a workout, well pop on your fluffy robe and slippers, included within your executive room, and head on down to their modern fabulous fitness centre to let off some steam.

Relax, refocus and recharge in the sauna and steam room, with towels and water already provided you can have a little you time without any stress.

Why head out into the city for dinner, when you already have the excellent Exchange Food and Drink Lounge on the ground floor of the hotel.  Unwind in a casual setting, and only a 1 minute lift ride away.

Taking inspiration from their local heritage, being allegedly located on the site of the first public telephone exchange, “The Telephone exchange” in 1847.  Décor is a mix of aged industrial chic with contemporary collections including telephone paraphernalia, open bulb light fittings, stripped wood, metal mirrors, bar style stools, cosy booths and soft plush sofas.

Take a seat at the buzzing bar and absorb the awesome atmosphere, while enjoying a range of wines, beers and cocktails.  Requesting an off menu mocktail, the team had no trouble rustling me up a delicious drinkie.

Delightful Daniel welcomed us, as we settled in for a relaxed evening of simple international cuisine.  Super scrummy starters of brilliant baked mini camembert with celery, carrot, bread sticks, and the sensational superfood salad with edamame beans, lettuce, pumpkin seeds, blueberries with generous amounts of avocado, went down a treat.

Mouth-watering mains included some yummy home cooked comfort food including the battered Haddock with thick cut chips, and a good dollop of tartare sauce.  Also, the sweet potato and spinach curry with rice and nann bread.

The delicious delightful desserts did not hang around along, Chef Chris’s chocolate brownie with chocolate sauce, salted caramel ice cream and strawberries was polished off in record time.  Along with the bread and butter pudding with custard, a proper yummy pud.

    It was also nice that both Daniel and Attila, who looked after us throughout the evening, showed a genuine interest and made effort to chat and provided a lot of laughs and giggles throughout the evening.

The wonderful welcome tray, that included some Strangeways drinks, Pringles crisps, and a Novotel Card, that featured an image of John Rylands Library, was just lovely, and much enjoyed while winding down on an evening in the relaxer chair.

The bedside station was useful with a reading light, usb charger ports, and ideal to chill out in an evening with a biscuit and a coffee from the in-room Nespresso coffee machine ready for a good nights sleep.

Head on down to breakfast and enjoy in a casual contemporary space with an array of options or like me dial room service for breakfast in bed, for some ultimate rest and relaxation.

Go all continental and order some fresh pastries, a vibrant fruit bowl, some scrummy porridge with syrup and fresh strawberries and some pure orange juice.  Enjoy in the lounge while catching up on the latest news, or in bed, why watch one television when you can watch two.

Feeling full on, why not order yourself a fully cooked English breakfast with bacon, bangers, mushrooms, egg, tomato, hash browns and toast.  Then wash it down with some English Breakfast tea. Catch up on work at the desk or chill on the sofa and enjoy.

What can I say…What a stay, perfect from end to end, four star genuine service.  Manchester Novotel Centre, thank you for a perfect mini Manchester city break.

Thank you for reading 😊

Melanie xx




Brown’s Bar & Brasserie Manchester Afternoon Tea Review

Brown’s Bar & Brasserie Manchester Afternoon Tea Review: April 2018

Bang in the heart of Manchester city centre, located on York street, is the brilliant and beautiful Browns Bar & Brasserie.

Built in 1901, by Charles Heathcote for Parr’s Bank, this beautiful red stone building is an opulent example of Edwardian baroque architecture.

Décor is an eclectic mix of marble, dark cherry woods, iron works, includes a picture-perfect piano, and the high ceilings provide a spacious airy feel.  The various nooks and crannies make this place ideal to have a few post work drinks, catch up with friends, chill with family or get cosy with a loved one.

Seated in this cute, cosy corner hideaway, we pursued the menu and ordered some sensational sweet treats in the form of an amazing Afternoon Tea.

The Vegetarian offering included a selection of savouries, the hummus crostini and delicious cheese & tomato mini brioche rolls.  The home baked scones with strawberry jam and clotted cream were delicious.

Mouth-watering mini desserts featured slated caramel profiteroles, chocolate brownie, chocolate slice sprinkled with gold dust and my personal fav the macaroons.

Take the Afternoon out, chill with the Brown’s and enjoy moreish, mouth-watering moments with their classic Afternoon tea.

Thank you for reading 😊

Melanie xx