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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Indulge in your Football Fantasy at the Manchester Marriott Victoria and Albert Hotel #Review

Indulge in your Football Fantasy at the Manchester Marriott Victoria and Albert Hotel #Gifted

The Manchester Marriott Victoria and Albert is the perfect place to enjoy a business or leisure stay right in the heart of the city centre, with onsite facilities including a restaurant, bar and riverside terraces, so you are spoilt for choice.

Immediately on arrival not only do you notice the stunning Grade II property details and structure with many of the original wood beams and metal columns still in place which makes the place feel like a home away from home feel, but the staff warmly welcome you with open arms which is always welcomed.

Now, I mentioned about Indulging in your Football Fantasy at the Manchester Marriott Victoria and Albert, well excitingly the hotel now has a range of Manchester United Suites, including the marvellous Manchester United Trebble Suite.

This suite is all about the details and after a long travel it was nice to see a full complimentary tea tray with tea, coffee, bottled water and some biscuits too, so it was time to unpack, sit back and enjoy this super suite.

The football theme is standout, but not vulgar, and has been completed to create a classy theming including the cool wardrobe area, with bench, made to be a mock-up of a player’s fitting room, and with signed team shirts encased within glass style display cabinets, you know that you’re on the winning team staying in this suite.

The Bedroom is separately divided from the lovely lounge, that has a writing desk area, with a flatscreen television on both sides of the room, so ideal if you have children, as different programmes can be viewed.

Football design details are everywhere including the football pitch rug, subito picture, team cushions on the sofa and a display cabinet all of things football memorabilia related.  The ideal place to sit back, relax and enjoy a night or two away from home.

Slide the wood panelled door to reveal a beautiful bathroom, with complimentary toiletries and an illuminated mirror, again it has that players shower vibe and it the perfect place to refresh after a busy day exploring all that Manchester has to offer.

Now if all this was not enough, the lovely team decided to provide birthday beautifulness for my milestone 40th and gave us a winning welcome with a cute cake plate, personalised card and a bottle of fabulous fizz to ensure a celebration full of sparkles and bubbles.

The onsite Chop & Plant restaurant has something to suit every palate and I can assure you is well worth a visit.

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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.

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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.

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Manchester Marriot Victoria and Albert; The Manchester United Treble Suite #Review

Manchester Marriot Victoria and Albert; The Manchester United Treble Suite #Gifted

The Manchester Marriot Victoria and Albert is a striking Grade II building, located in the vibrant and happening Spinningfields District, right in the heart of Manchester city centre, the perfect place for both business and leisure.

The hotel has had a full refurbishment providing guests with a clean and contemporary environment with onsite facilities including a restaurant, bar and riverside terraces.

Warmly welcomed by the reception team, we could not wait to experience all this beautiful hotel had to offer. Excitingly the hotel now has a range of Manchester United Suites, the Manchester United Treble Suite was to be our home for the night, and the room defiantly had the wow factor.

Immediately on entering the room, the football theme is standout and has been completed to create a classy theming, on the right was a wardrobe made to be a mock of a players fitting room with signed team shirts encased within glass style display cabinets.

Take a seat on the bench and imagine that match day tension and those serious locker room team talks which hopefully result in a team win.

The Bedroom is separately divided from the lovely lounge, that has a writing desk area, with a flat screen television on both sides of the room and finished with a wall print of a very cool Manchester map. It is also nice to see the buildings original wooden feature beams sympathetically worked into the design of the room.

Football design details are everywhere including the football pitch rug, subito picture, team cushions on the sofa and a display cabinet all of things football memorabilia related.  The ideal place to sit back, relax and enjoy a night or two away from home.

Bathroom brilliance begins right here, slide the door to reveal a very cool team shower style hub that you can enjoy all to yourself, as you dream about your team scoring those wining goals.

Fully stocked with complimentary toiletries, offering an illuminated mirror and large mirror you can pamper in style.

Serious team talks require some refreshments and the Manchester Marriot Victoria and Albert have you covered with a well-stocked tea tray, including biscuits, so you can dunk them into your branded mugs., as you plan your time out in Manchester.

The onsite restaurant is the ideal place to fuel up and enjoy some liquid refreshments.  All the team are absolutely amazing and really do know how to look after their guests.

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Escape Reality Manchester Ritual Escape Game #Review

Escape Reality Manchester Ritual Escape Game #Gifted

Scare, spook and spectacularly unusual happenings are the order of the day over at Escape Reality Manchester.

Warmly welcomed by the team, as always, but things soon turned dark and ritualistic.

Escape Reality Manchester Ritual Escape Game Review 1a_edited

My friends and I decided to take a well-earned trip to a remote village in Europe.  During a pub pitstop we overheard some of the locals saying that they have seen strange happenings from the forest.

Late night flickering lights and strange chanting from the forest seems to be causing a stir.  Not scared of adventure, we decided to delve further…

…but was that the right thing for us to do, as we are locked deep within the cabin we located.  Looking through the windows petrified figures in black hoods, that belong to a strange demon revival cult, need our sacrifice to achieve their demonic goal.

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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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Enjoy some Rest & Relaxation with the Rena Spa at the Midland #Review

Enjoy some Rest & Relaxation with the Rena Spa at the Midland Review: September 2020 #Gifted

The Rena Spa at the Midland hotel Manchester is now welcoming back day spa guests, for indulgent decadent luxury spa experiences, to relax, unwind and enjoy some much needed you time.

Jordan and all the spa reception team always provide the loveliest of welcomes providing your spa introduction, treatment choices and of course fluffy robes and cosy slippers to make your spa day that little bit extra.

Rena have a range of super spa packages including the Indulgence which includes a 50-minute treatment, a glass of champagne, a light lunch or afternoon tea and a £10 gift voucher to spend on spa products.

The wet facilities include a relaxation pool, swan neck fountain and what spa day would be complete without a few bubbles with their wonderful Jacuzzi.

Once government regulations allow the steam room and sauna will also re-open to give you even more facilities to enjoy.

The Rena Relaxation suite is a whole world of escape, float away in pods, contemporary modern hub chairs or enjoy one of the private rooms all logistically designed with safety and social distancing in mind.

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Breakout Manchester Church Street The Emporium of Magic Escape Game #Review

Breakout Manchester Church Street The Emporium of Magic Escape Game Review: May 2020 #Gifted

Exciting times are ahead for Breakout Manchester, they may have said bye and closed the doors to their original Town Hall site, but they still have two Manchester city centre locations including High Street and the brand-new Church Street site.

Warmly welcomed by the delightful Dave it was good to be back and the whole set up at Church Street is impressive and has been designed with safety in mind.

Spacious, plenty of designated seating areas for you and your team to plan and prepare for your exciting Breakout mission.

Get your team and wands at the ready and be prepared to swish and flick your way out of this spellbinding escape adventure The Emporium of Magic…

Looking for rare magical artefacts, spells and potions, well The Emporium of Magic is the place for you.  Also, if recent rumours are to be believed the alchemist has been mixing a magical potion which will give unlimited magical powers and see the unseen.

Creeping into the Emporium after hours, my team and I look for the recipe, but one problem our break in triggered a spell that has trapped us inside.

Now we had no choice…whip up the potion brew in order to escape, as without it we will be locked within the Emporium forever.

Thumbs up or down, we manged a big thumbs up, as we escaped question is can you!?

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Healthy Fast Food at Leon Restaurants Manchester Piccadilly #Review

Healthy Fast food at Leon Restaurants Manchester Piccadilly Review: March 2020 #Gifted

The three musketeers, Henry Dimbleby, John Vincent and chef Allegra McEvedy, aka the founders of Leon Restaurants, have combined their wealth of knowledge and skills to take the world by storm with their fab fresh fast food philosophy and started their own foodie revolution.

A light bulb suddenly goes off in your head and you realise how much time you spend travelling and eating on the go.  Fast food need not be unhealthy thanks to Leon and with their stylish and relaxed environment you can enjoy #FastFoodFabulously

Lovely Leon staff at Manchester, including Errol, Chris and the team make your experience warm and welcoming.

The range on food on offer is impressive such as a vegan Love burger with vegan cheese that can also be made gluten free.  A Korean chicken burger again with the Gluten free option.  Why not add on a side of lush Leon baked fries.  There’s also a huge range of sauces so you can get a bit dippy!

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