Enjoy the Dining with Distinction Christmas Lunch on the East Lancashire Railway #Review

Enjoy the Dining with Distinction Christmas Lunch on the East Lancashire Railway #Gifted

The East Lancashire Railway is a volunteer organisation, run through passion, determination and sheer grit keeping part of Britain’s railway heritage alive and steaming!

At the Bolton Street Station stop at Bury you can immerse yourself in the traditional age of steam and learn all about our historical industrial heritage.

Now, one noticeable point, from the moment you arrive everyone is welcomed with plenty of smiles and open arms, it literally makes your heart melt.

Whistle blown, so all aboard, one of the beautifully restored Pullman carriages, for the experience of a lifetime, a fabulous festive Feast on one of the East Lancashire Railways Steam hauled trains.

The East Lancashire Railway Dining with Distinction service team know how to pull out the stops with all the bells and whistles. Expect only the very best with crisp white lining, luxurious furnishings.

The Christmas Lunch is just under a 3 hour steam hauled journey through the picturesque Irwell Valley. Included is a sparking glass of fizz on arrival and a super scrummy 3 course meal with mince pies along with tea or coffee.

Furthermore, if you would like to organise any additional extras, to add onto your package, to make your journey even more spectacular, such as flowers, a bottle of wine, champagne etc the team are more than happy to help.

The glass of welcome fizz makes for the best start and the winter warm vegetable soup, with bread roll and butter was wolfed down…delicious!

Cosy and snug in your First Class Pullman carriage, enjoy a hearty roast lunch with options such as Turkey and the lush Brie and cranberry parcel with all the trimmings and lashings of gravy.

Christmas vibes all round, with lovely snowflake decorations embossed onto the window and even the Christmas crackers are included.

Making the experience even more sweet, we indulged in a Christmas pudding with custard, mince pies all washed down with coffee and tea, simply divine.

Then just as I thought things couldn’t get any better, the team arranged an extra enthusiast’s experience, I actually got to ride the actual steam train…my excitement I can tell you was hard to contain for sure.

In the heart of the operation, the engine room, it was privilege to meet the guys who volunteer their time and work hard to provide this unique and authentic experience.

Genuine, authentic, passionate team energy and camaraderie, that felt warmer than the fire, brought tears to my eye – tears of joy of course!

The East Lancashire Railway is a home away from home, we left with full tummies, even fuller hearts and memories to last a lifetime.

Now you will have to be very quick for 2022 availabilities, but don’t be disheartened as for 2023 The East Lancashire Railway have a full schedule of themed dining train events such as Red Rose dinners, Lancastrian lunches, afternoon teas, murder mysteries and of course fabulous Christmas lunches and dinners.

May I take this opportunity to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas.

Thank you for reading 😊

Melanie xx

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Breakout Manchester Escape Rooms Experience: Detectives vs Zombies #Review

Breakout Manchester Escape Rooms Experience: Detectives vs Zombies #Gifted

Manchester city centre, Church Street located in the busy eclectic Northern Quarter, is the destination of Breakout Manchester who offer an exciting Escape room Experience.

While we waited for our games master, our team prepared strategy and game plans to ensure a smooth and speedy breakout.

The Detective Agency

Benjy our lovely Games Master explained that Harry Dene, the world’s greatest detective, and our closest friend has got himself into a pickle to say the least. 

Spending most of his time dedicated to a specific case, but the dedication has led Harry to madness and now he has gone one step too far by taking the law into his own hands in order to solve the greatest case of his career.

Hello, hello, hello…what’s going on here, then? As his closest friends, my team turned up at Harry’s office to try and help. However, things had already escalated and gotten much worse, so with Harry nowhere in sight it was up to us to solve the case to help Harry. 

Word of warning Harry has certainly used his detective skills and is extremely good at hiding his secrets, so get your thinking caps on!

Analyse the evidence, uncover the truth and crack the case, good luck detectives. We nearly broke out, missing out by literally seconds – hence hiding behind our boards in shame on the photo line up lol, but the real question is can your team crack the case!?

Now, you have all those new found detective skills, you can use these to defeat the zombies and save planet earth in the Zombie Lab Escape Game.

Zombie Lab

Zombies are roaming the streets, no one is safe, and the only hope for the world is an elite group of scientists who have got together to find a cure.

Warmly welcomed by our games master Timothy he explained the games process and demonstrated the specific locks, and that we needed to look for the test tubes, making things easy and simple to ensure a smooth game flow.

There is only one problem, according to recent rumours the scientists have all allegedly been eaten the flesh-eating Zombie monsters, but thankfully the cure has been safeguarded.

My team entered the lab with some trepidation, and rightly so as we too have now been exposed to the active zombie lab pathogen and have only 1 hour to save the world.

No pressure but can you and your team of ace detectives crack the case, good luck and what are you waiting for the clock is ticking.

Breakout Manchester, an engaging, exciting experience, the perfect activity for a fun and fabulous day out with friends, family and colleagues.  

Thank you for reading 😊

Melanie xx

My Top UK Escape Rooms #Review

My Top UK Escape Rooms #Gifted

Escape Rooms have been trending now for some time and the trend shows no signs of slowing down.  In fact, Escape Rooms are becoming more technical, magical and super cool meaning for us lucky game players, we get to experience immersive game play at its very best.

From Manchester, Chester, Leeds, Harrogate Liverpool, Birmingham, Edinburgh to London, I have been up and down the country to find my best Escape Room brands.  In no order, here you have my Top UK Escape Rooms…

Chester

Breakout – Excalibur

Breakout Chester is an amazing city centre Escape games brand with rooms such as Dark Magic – I highly recommend, along with Exchalibur.

Brave warriors, prepare to fight the fight, as myself and my fellow knights had been kidnapped from Camelot.  Being held captive in a tower whilst the intruders are disguising themselves as us.

The challenge was to find our way out of the tower, back to the round  table and prove our worth by being the true king by removing the sword from the stone…

Manchester

Escape Reality – Bank Job

Escape Reality, located within the Printworks in Manchester city centre, has a whole range of games to play such as Alcatraz, Enigmista, Tortuga Pirates, The Asylum, Legend of the Mummy and Bank Job.

We grabbed our elite squad of highly skilled bank robbers, as we were amongst the chosen few who had been challenged to infiltrate the security systems at the world’s most protected bank vaults. 

Escape with the diamond within 60 minutes or face life in prison! An exhilarating, exciting and entertaining experience, will your team diamond bank balance go boom or bust!

Escape Hunt – Escape the Wild West

Exciting Escape Hunt Manchester, located in Manchester city centre, is where all the action takes place, as they have a whole range of game themes including Doctor Who, Alice in Wonderland, The Last Vikings, The Last Samurai, Blackbeard’s Treasure and Escape the Wild West.

Howdy partners, the wild west tiny frontier town of East Victoria, has struck gold, so celebrations throughout town are rife.  Not everything that glistens is gold though, as with this news, the bloodthirsty Bill French Gang are riding their way into town to claim the gold and kill everyone in East Victoria.  You best get the gold, before it’s too late or you’ll be shot at dawn.

Breakout – Forsaken

Manchester City centre is the exciting location of Breakout, a fun interactive Escape room experience brand that is a must do.

Wandering further and further into the woody forest, we finally found our distant relatives’ cabin. Nestled in behind the trees, the cabin looked idyllic and tranquil, but as the night skies turned darker, the cabin felt more eerie.

Wood chopping sounds, creaks in the floor, we soon realised that things aren’t what they first seemed.  It appears we have been invited to a ceremony, that we never wanted to be a part of, but they plan to use us as their sacrificial object.

Now, its time to get out of these wooden walls of hell before it’s too late.  We just escaped, but do you dare to go down to the woods today to see if you can escape this scare spooked 5-star game?

Lucardo – The Prison

Lucardo Manchester city centre have exciting escape games such as University of Magic, Gem Runner and NEW for 2019, The Prison, an exciting, interactive and immersive escape game experience.  Including not just a full background story, but a continuing story development throughout your game play.

My gang of dodgy and underhanded criminals are down for being banged up into a Category A prison facility in Manchester after allegedly committing a series of crimes…of course we are innocent haha.  After a little convo and persuasion our connections on the inside are going to stage a riot providing the ideal opportunity for use to escape and get back to what we do best – crime!

We need to get out fast don’t get caught, as you will be banged up for life, think like Michael Scofield and Co from Prison break, this enabled us to smash it, but the question is can you?

Liverpool

Breakout – Spellbound

Liverpool city centre, the location for some excellent escape game play including themes such as Shipwrecked, The Heist, Cursed Carnival, classified, Sabotage, the Facility, The Detective Office, Warped, Outbreak and Spellbound.

Swish your wand and prepare to be spellbound, as a dangerous magical artefact has gone missing.  Summon your team of Witches and warlocks to find the artefact, before it ends up in the wrong hands.

It’s the Old Magical Academy annual school reunion, the ideal time for you to sneak into the school, enter the abandoned classroom and escape with the artefact orb in hand, as this time a detention could be deadly!

Birmingham

Escape Reality – Iron Kingdom

Escape Reality Birmingham, located in Birmingham city centre offer escape games such as Alcatraz, Enigmista, Machina, The Asylum, Legend of the Mummy, Bank Job and Iron Kingdom.

Seven Kingdoms, the largest continent in the World, is home to seven Nobel families.  However, the Iron Throne in the heart of this Kingdom, has created conflict, war and bloodshed.

Now brave warriors, you must step forward into the fold and prepare to arm yourself and fight your way to victory.  Team Falcon fought through hard times and we rightfully become the heirs to the throne, but the question is are you going to contest this and bring your best game…you decide?

Escape Hunt – Our Finest Hour

Escape Hunt Birmingham city centre has games ranging from the Fourth Samurai to Our Finest Hour.  So, step back into 1942, a time the world is at war, intel has confirmed that the Nazi has developed superweapons that could literally wipe Britain off the map.

We were recruited as MI6 top agents to find and destroy this weaponry, within 60 minutes, reporting back to clue HQ with our successes. This is not the time to be distracted, focus and move onwards into victory.

Escape Live  – Time Machine

Escape Live Birmingham, under the arches, on Henrietta Street was the place where time didn’t stand still, as we prepared to time travel and be vortexed off into different dimensional parallel worlds.  Think cool retro quirky game play with various themes such as the 90s including Sega & Spice Girls.

You and your team must take Jamie’s prototype Time Machine, follow in his tracks and get him back, within 60 minutes, to present day before it’s too late, as he will be lost floating around different time zones for eternity.

Edinburgh

Escape Reality – Machina

Fountainbridge in Edinburgh city centre is the home to the excellent Escape Reality brand, offering games such as Jungala, Tortuga Pirates, Nosferatu, The Asylum, Alcatraz and Machina, you are spoilt for choice

Machina themed around science and the Machina experiment, ushered into a secret headquarters, we noticed something was odd, as scientists were disappearing and an increase in robots showing human traits.

On trying to leave, to report these strange happenings, the door is bolted tight, we are locked in with the rest of the team.  One question remains, will you leave victorious as a human or stay as a machine?

Escape Team Building – The Magical Emporium

Located on Morrison Street in Edinburgh city centre, Escape Team Building have The Magical Emporium escape game along with the detective style 221 Baker Street game a whole host of other exciting scape game experiences.

Marvellous, magical and mysterious, Wizards worldwide had been notified that, the dazzling and delightful renowned supplies shop, Garbo’s was suspiciously closed.  Suspecting Evil forces, it was up to us to use our magical mystical marvellous powers to investigate Ms Garbo’s disappearance and escape.  Question is can you?

Can You Escape – Operation Odyssey

Can you Escape Edinburgh city centre, has several escape games to play including an out of this world adventure with their space themed escape game mission: Operation Odyssey.

An out of this world, galactical space adventure for all you budding astronauts out there.  Lucky to become Space cadets, we embarked on our solar system star gazing mission on the International space station, but things soon took a drastic turn. “Houston, we have a problem, the escape pod needs to be fixed”.  Can you fix the pod and escape before time runs out.

York

Can You Escape – Operation Hero

An exciting, electric and engaging experience in the centre of York, escape room brand “Can You Escape?” provide you with the opportunity to play the Lone Eagle mission and also become a superhero legend in their new game Operation Hero.

Team name decided; Fire Foxes, and my personal superhero name chosen; Forkward Fire Flame, it was time to don the superhero cape and mask and prepare for a battle like no other.  Without giving too much away, this high tech filled room had gadgets and games galore to get your heart and mind pumping.

A truly unique, exhilarating and immersive “must do” experience right in the heart of York City. Are you a Superhero and Can You Escape?

Mind Lock – Valhalla

Located in the heart of York city centre, opposite Clifford’s Tower, MindLock Escape Rooms, offers a unique and immersive experience.  Games are designed for 2 – 6 players and offer a variety of fabulous fun themes such as Cluedo and Valhalla.

Feel and embrace your inner Viking as you take on the Viking Valhalla room.  Your strong army of Vikings have battled courageously to earn their right to be dining with the Gods in Valhalla, but upon awakening your hord are in limbo.  Please the gods, like we did, and crack the critical tasks to earn your place alongside them in Valhalla where Thor and Odin await your Viking army.

Harrogate

Clue HQ – The Betrayal of Cluetankhamun

An exciting, entreating and exhilarating escape game experience awaits in Harrogate centre.  Prepare to play The Betrayal of Cluetankhamun, as just over one month ago the long-lost tomb of Cluetankhamun was unearthed for the first time in over 3 millennia.

A team of explorers had the task of going into the tomb to find and recover the Cluetan Crystal which is said to have the powers of the river Nile.

However, the explorers are no where to be seen, so now it was our turn to take on the intrepid adventure, as the sands of time slipped away, we just managed to retrieve the crystal, but the question is can you?

Leeds

Tick Tock Unlock – Project Pandora

Location Leeds city centre, prepare yourself to take on the challenge of Tick Tock Unlock’s immersive and exciting Escape room experience.

We have since discovered a top-secret laboratory was running an experiment, to try and halt the ageing process making participants immortal, called Project Pandora.  For good reason the experiment failed all clinical trials. Now we found ourselves in danger, as locked in a cell within the laboratory, it was our turn to find the cure, within 60 minutes, before it was too late.

Previously, we have played Alice in Wonderland and Project Pandora which are sadly no longer available, but the good news is that they have have an amazing new games experience The Library of Broken Books which we can’t wait to try out.

London

Escape Rooms London Bridge  – Pharaoh’s Chamber A Cursed Tomb

Escape Rooms located right in the heart of London city at London Bridge has escape games ranging from Room 33 to Pharaoh’s Chamber A Cursed Tomb.

Think Egypt and do not get cursed, find the treasure and escape the game before you become mummified.

Exciting, excellent and immersive Escape Game brand, all worth a whirl for sure!

Thank you for reading 😊

Melanie xx

The Rena Spa’s Indulgence Spa Day at the Midland Hotel Manchester #Review

The Rena Spa’s Indulgence Spa Day at the Midland Hotel Manchester #Gifted

Ready for some rest, relaxation, and zen vibes well you are in the right place, as the Rena Spa located within the iconic Midland Hotel in the heart of Manchester City centre has all you need for some much deserved you time.

Offering a range of packages, The Rena spa has something to suit everyone.  We opted for the Indulgence Spa Day which included a 50-minute treatment, Afternoon Tea, a glass of bubbly, Robes and Slippers for use while in the spa.

The thermal areas are the perfect place to enjoy a dip in the pool, some jacuzzi time, sauna, steam room or why not enjoy some time under the swan neck water feature.  This may not be the fountain of youth, but it can certainly relax tension within those shoulders.

Treatments are a luxurious and divine offering at the Rena and there are a vast range of options such as the Vinosource Hydrating and Nourishing Facial, Divine Body Massage, Fleur De Vigne Candle Massage Calming Hand, Foot & Scalp Therapy Rose & Honey Harmony Facial, and my personal favourite the Caudalie City Living Contouring and Invigorating Body Wrap.

My lovely beauty therapist, who provided an amazing balancing and detoxifying treatment wrap, which involved gentle exfoliation with their crushed cabernet scrub, followed by an application of their contouring concentrate, designed to help boost the metabolism and ease away tension it also speeds up the elimination of toxins.

This is followed by an application of their vine body butter massaged onto the skin and then wrapped to cocoon the skin with hydrating. The experience also included a full scalp treatment for total relaxation.

After your treatment, while in a full relaxation mode, why not enjoy some post-treatment time chilling within the Rena zen area, a beautiful room with stylish seating, private chamber rooms and the free-standing pod units.

Now if that was not indulgent enough prepare to enjoy a delicious decadent Afternoon tea within the iconic Midland tearoom of course with plenty of beautiful bubbles. 

Christopher our server welcomed us with open arms and was a wonderfully friendly chap who made our day extra lovely.

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The Hilt York Axe Throwing #Review

The Hilt York Axe Throwing – Review: January 2020

Prepare to unleash your inner Viking warrior, arm yourself with an Axe and chop down your competition a peg or two.

The Hilt York offer an immersive, exciting and entertaining experience right in the heart of York city centre.

Alex and Josh York residents and founders of the Hilt aim to captivate the crowds, push boundaries and enable people to seek out adventure.

Right from the offset, the welcome, quality set up and authentic interiors provide a relaxed and realistic setting to conquer the Axe throwing challenge.

Yes, there was a safety briefing, but delivered with flair and finesse, so to keep you alert and on focus.

Additionally, on a serious note, the whole set up including type of axes used, blue chipped flooring, upper board panels and caging have been built for your safety which makes this Axe throwing session, as safe as it can be, so you don’t need to worry and can get ready to sling them Axes.

We loved every minute of our session, fun, informative and what’s not to like about hurling an axe threw the air at a target right?! There are even trick shots to be learnt, my personal fav the Gun Slinger – Pow!

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Gift a Thrilling Trick or a Luxury Treat this Halloween with BuyAGift – #Review

Gift a Thrilling Trick or a Luxury Treat this Halloween with BuyAGift – Review: October 2019

BuyAGift offer a whole range of Spooktacular packages perfect for your Halloween celebrations.

Family Frights

Family Frights include a marvellous mysterious magical Harry Potter Walking Tour of London for Two, so make sure the Witches and Wizards of the family have their wands at the ready just in case he who shall not be named makes an appearance.

Make Halloween a family night out and enjoy a tour for two adults and two children and choose from one of the following ghoulish tours; The Haunted Lantern Tour (Warwick); The Eerie Shadow Tour (Coventry); The Witches Tour (Leamington Spa); Warwick Paranormal Adventure
or Coventry Paranormal Adventure.

London’s murky past hides some dark times, learn all about London’s historical spookiness with a pass for 1 adult and 1 child to the London Bridge Experience.

Adult Scare Nights

Crank up the scare factor and enjoy a frightfully fabulous adult Halloween night.

Trick or Treat this Halloween with BuyAGift Review B

Enjoy a whole range of terrifying activities such as the London Sweeney Todd Tour for two, Jack the Ripper Walking Tour for Two and the Haunted Pub Tour for two.

Halloween Treats 

Fright night too much, well take the scare out of Halloween this season and enjoy a Luxury Treat for two.

Indulge in some much needed you time and treat yourself and a plus one to a super spa package with BuyAGift.

The package includes a full indulgent spa day at the 5-star Radisson Blu Edwardian Manchester city centre.

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York Cocoa Works Chocolate Lollipop Making and Afternoon Chocolatada #Review

York Cocoa Works Chocolate Lollipop Making and Afternoon Chocolatada Review: October 2019

Sophie, founder of York Cocoa Works is a skilled and dedicated chocolate enthusiast.  Creating a bespoke, luxurious and quality brand, York Cocoa works offers a range of chocolatey experiences to suit all tastes.

When visiting York Cocoa Works it feels like family, as Michelle and her team are just as lovely as their chocolate treats.

The Chocolate Lollipop making was a simple, but fun experience which took me back to my childhood evoking memories of baking in the kitchen with my mum.

You are free to release your inner artistic and creative spirit and use the toppings to create your Lollipop Piece de resistance aka your marvellous masterpiece.

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East Lancashire Railway Mid-week Luncheon #Review

East Lancashire Railway Mid-week Luncheon – Review: September 2019

The Bolton street station stop at Bury’s East Lancashire Railway has a rich historic industrial past, with story’s telling of the drastic decline of the traditional railways, and the heart-warming heroic struggles, both past and present, to keep a dying part of Britain’s railway heritage alive for future generations.

The atmosphere on the platform is electrifying, as the steam engine pumps and churns, excitement and anticipation build, as you prepare to be taken on an amazing journey back to the Golden Age of Steam.

Step on the platform and enter a bygone era of transportation and travel, board the vintage train and embark on a special and sophisticated kind of travel experience.

The vintage carriages are perfectly presented, immaculate and are a real breath-taking beauty.

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Grange Live Gaming Birmingham Rage Room #Review

Grange Live Gaming Birmingham Rage Room Review: August 2019

Warmly welcomed by all the team, you could instantly tell they are all a close-knit family at Grange and just a brilliant bunch.

Over 18 and need some time out to de-stress, well prepare to go large, get into your navy-blue overalls to take on the Rage room experience.

Rage Room is not about encouraging rage and anger, but a fun, interactive activity that is an ideal team building exercise, allows you to de-stress or simply smash some stuff up in a safe environment.

Hannah our lovely host, made the experience even more enjoyable.  Hannah made us feel relaxed and created an electrifying atmosphere, you can clearly see her passion for this wild activity.

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Escape Hunt Manchester Dr Who Vs Alice: Worlds Collide and Alice in Puzzleland #Review

Escape Hunt Manchester Dr Who Vs Alice: Worlds Collide and Alice in Puzzleland – Review: May 2019

Get your game on at Escape Hunt Manchester city centre and prepare to become amazing Alice and help Dr Who.

Take on the challenge, step into the future and enter the offices of ChronosCorp HQ.  The location of Eccentric billionaire Alastair Montague’s commercial time travelling experiments which have caused a huge tear is both space and time.

Warning, warning earth beings, a tear in space and time has been detected and an army of Cybermen now plan to break through.

As the Doctor’s loyal friends, we put together our investigative minds to collect Montagues time related artefacts in the mass of the remaining prototype time engine.

Escape Hunt Dr Who Worlds Collide Vs Alice in Puzzleland Review 1_edited1The fate of the universe was in our hands, we powered up and the result was Cybermen deleted, but question is can you?

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