The Lowry Bedroom

A little reminisce…..

Where do you go to spend some time with your partner before baby is born or infact whenever the fancy takes you? A five star hotel that’s where.

When I put my cast out for a localish babymoon to mark our last date night before baby two arrived several hotels got in touch (how lucky am I?). Since our last visit to a ‘Leading Hotels of The World’ in 2013 in the form of The Landmark London we’d been craving to stay somewhere else from the prestigious selection so when The Lowry Manchester got in touch we accepted their kind invitation.

So the date was set for Friday 24 July (31 days before due date) and Tiffany Rose the gorgeous maternity and nursing brand were sending my dresses of choice, well a woman has to look good no matter what stage we are in our lives.

We were so excited bags were packed in advance (a first for me). We wanted to make use of every minute so even the school run had been sorted so I didn’t have to get up and rush to get me plus one ready (being 34 and a bit weeks pregnant was depleting my energy lots).

So the 24 of July arrived and so did my little baby boy! (another story). H2B contacted the hotel and spoke to the concierge and explained that alas we wouldn’t be reviewing that evening. My hospital bag was my overnight hotel bag so check me out on the hospital ward with a slinky nightie (yes I was heavily pregnant but I looked fab so slinky and hotel worked but slinky and hospital post C Section, not so much).

Fast forward a few months and we finally made it to The Lowry!

After a car journey from Durham to Manchester we were ready for a lovely evening. The sat nav kept wanting to take us to the rear of the hotel where there is no parking so I’d advise you take a quick look at google to navigate where you need to be. One side of the hotel is classed as Salford and the other Manchester and it’s a hop skip and a jump from Spinningfields where I’d pre signed us up for one of their yellow discount cards.

I must admit that the exterior of the hotel didn’t do it for me in terms of grandeur but I was looking forward to going over the threshold.

Check in: This was seemless. Five star hotels are no longer stuffy and pompous like they were in the past, we definitely agree with the Lowry’s tag line of ‘Where things happen for the modern luxury generation’. The Lowry Hotel went through a full refurbishment in 2015 and was looking good!

The room: We checked into our superior deluxe corner room.  As we entered the room there was a walk in wardrobe on the left and a bathroom on the right. One step further and there was an orange chaise longue in front of floor to ceiling windows (of which I tweeted about immediately).

The bed was massive and conducive to having a little cat nap. The pillow and duvet were just right.

The mini bar: I was a bit peckish so H2B popped to the local supermarket to buy some supplies as we saw the five star prices of the contents. It is really well stocked but be mindful of the potential midnight feast.

The bathroom: If you are a lover of gigantic bathrooms then this isn’t the place for you ‘compact and bijou’ is what you will find. There was a good selection of toiletries by Aromatherapy and I loved the squishy bathrobes.

Breakfast: In the morning we headed to the River bar and grill for breakfast. A hotel stay can be completely ruined if this isn’t good. A fabulous selection of buffet and a la carte was available.

The buffet was adorned with cereals, breads, pastries, cheeses and some of the best smoked salmon I’ve had in a long time alongside the traditional ingredients of a full English breakfast.  My H2B bumped into someone whilst at the buffet and I heard him say, ‘after you Mr. Bridges’, yes the magnificent Kevin Bridges was at breakfast along with Romesh Ranganathan. H2B loves a bit of celeb spotting alas I of course had to trump him. As he was telling me about Mr. Bridges I lifted my head only to see the legend that is Ian Wright on the opposite table sporting a fabulous pair of moccasin slippers. H2B was beside himself and the appearance of one of the Neville brothers made his day.

The art: Around the hotel were some fabulous artwork and this gallery changes on a frequent basis.

Super touch: The Lowry staff knew that we had a baby and thought we’d be bringing him along for the weekend too so a cotbed with teddy had been placed in the room. It was so lovely but I must admit we got housekeeping to remove it. Teddy made his way into our suitcase though and sits on Luke’s drawers.

Thank you for a lovely stay with celebrity spotting included.

 

 

 

International Women's Day Easyjet celebrates the day with an all female flight and ground operating crew.

easyJet takes to the air with all-female flight and ground crew operation in celebration of International Women’s Day.

EZY8275 left London Gatwick this morning bound for Madrid with a female Captain, First Officer and four female cabin crew.

The flight was captained by Kate McWilliams, 27, the world’s youngest female commercial Captain and co-piloted by first officer Sue Barrett. Cabin Manager Laura Marks was supported by three female cabin crew; Natasha Baker, Charlotte Carr and Nuria Belda Marco.

The flight was operated on easyJet’s special A320 aircraft named after renowned female aviator Amy Johnson.

Several female ground staff were also involved in getting the easyJet flight boarded and away from stand including;

Gate Agents Helena Curley and Ewa Alhutayfi – performing Boarding checks and procedures for each flight and pass final customer figures to the TCO and Captain.

TCO (Turn Coordination Officer) Lynne Pont – responsible for the turnaround of the aircraft itself.

Headset Operator Catherine Sims – responsible for the safety of the aircraft during the pushback from stand onto the taxiway and in direct communication with the flight crew and Pushback Tug driver.

Fueler Lucy Gorna – responsible for ensuring that the correct fuel is safely loaded onto the aircraft and in accordance with the figure requested by the Captain.

Cleaners Laura Heron, Emese Lenkey, Sheila Monteith, Marie Claire Lynx and Alison Seth– responsible for ensuring that each aircraft is cleaned internally.

De-Icers Maria Carr and Bethany Woods – When required, responsible for ensuring that the critical surfaces of the aircraft are clear of contamination such as snow & ice, prior to departure.

PRM Officer Kirsty Butler– When required, responsible for assisting all of our customers with reduced mobility from their arrival at the airport, until they are on board the aircraft. This includes use of motorised buggies, and scissor-lift vehicles to access the cabin.

Speaking prior to departure easyJet Captain Kate McWilliams, said:

International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the achievements of women so we thought this all female flight would be a very fitting way to celebrate the achievements of the many women working in the aviation industry. There are more than 15 women who are making this flight possible today in positions from pilots and crew to gate agents and fuelers.

This year’s IWD theme is #BeBoldForChange to help forge a better working world which is more inclusive and gender equal. This year easyJet has set an ambitious target of increasing the proportion of its female pilots aiming for 20% of new intake pilots by 2020. The aviation industry is exciting and challenging and I firmly believe that there should be absolutely nothing to stop women from entering into a career in aviation.

The first woman to fly an airplane solo took off in 1908, only 5 years after the Wright brothers first took to the skies and most people will have heard of Amelia Earhart and Amy Johnson who are famous pioneers of the 1920s and 1930’s. Women have been involved in aviation’s history from very early on but since the war years whilst the total number of female pilots has steadily increased so has the number of male pilots, leaving the total percentage of female pilots largely unchanged at around 3 percent. It is hard to think of another high profile profession where women are  so under-represented so I would encourage anyone thinking about a career in aviation to do so – it’s the most rewarding career I could hope for.

International Women’s Day global campaign coordinator, Glenda Stone, said

easyJet is to be applauded for the way they have truly embraced the very ethos of International Women’s Day and are showing not only to their customers and industry, but to wider audiences, that women excel when there are no barriers to participation or involvement. International Women’s Day provides an important opportunity to accelerate gender parity, and here we clearly see the collective talent of women that inspires employees, customers, aspirational girls and many more.

Around 12 percent of Gatwick’s airfield team are women and Hayley Richardson, Airfield Operations Controller, was on hand to help guide the easyJet aircraft on the tarmac today.   Hayley said:

Working on Gatwick’s airfield is an exciting and rewarding job.  For obvious reasons our team has to maintain the highest professional standards and I really enjoy the responsibility.  I’d say the number of women I see working in other roles across the airfield is increasing and I would recommend a career on an airfield to any women who are thinking about it.

The activity is also being promoted on easyJet’s social media sites using a Female Pilot Emoji and  #FlyingHigh.

How will you be #BeBoldForChange this International Women’s Day?

 

cottage
When asked to review The Haybarn in Fryton, Slingsby, North Yorkshire by Gorgeous Cottages as a destination for ‘Posh Hen Do’s’ and ‘Girlie Getaways’ we were not prepared for the splendour to come.

We headed to York and found our way to The Haybarn, one of the Cherrygarth Cottages luxury holiday cottages. It was pitch dark when we arrived at 7pm. Upon opening the doors our jaws dropped and not a sound, not even a pin drop could be heard.

It was truly magnificent. Peace perfect peace but not for long.

We all headed off in different directions to explore the vast space.

There are four bedrooms and the photographs really don’t do them justice. The room I selected had a mezzanine bathroom with a sky light directly over the bath to watch the twinkly stars above. I was a little antisocial for a while as I drew the bath, filled with UK brand Molton Brown bubble bath and luxuriated in peace. Heaven, well I was the honorary hen.

The ladies explored the outdoor facilities and jumped into the hot tub and had a merry time drinking some bubbly, I joined them after my soak (looking a tad prune like) but didn’t want to miss out on all of the fun. Next we found the sauna and that gets a big thumbs up too. And so too came the games room for a spot of karaoke and a session on the Wii.

After the tomfoolery came dinner albeit a late one, so we all gathered around the lovely kitchen table and prepped, cooked, drank wine (we had just discovered the bottle already chilling in the fridge) and talked. Everything you could possibly need from a kitchen was right there.

If you didn’t feel like cooking though there was a great file with honest reviews of local pubs and eateries. The appliances in the kitchen were UK made too, Stoves and Dualit.

With glasses in hand we headed to the lounge were we lit the fire (already prepared for us) and talked some more. The sofa was huge with enough room for everyone.

Time for Bedfordshire came upon us quickly and we all went off to our rooms, rather reluctantly. All the bedrooms were sumptuous but, which one to choose though? The seemingly largest room with the vaulted ceiling and wet room, bed two with mezzanine bathroom, bed three with Jacuzzi bath, walk in shower and mezzanine lounge area or bed four (mine all mine) with the second mezzanine bathroom? The beds were so, so cosy that we all found it difficult to wake in the morning.

For breakfast we devoured the food basket filled with cereal, eggs and bread. Yummy!

Outside, each cottage has a quiet, sheltered, south-facing courtyard garden with patio and barbecue area. The courtyards have been creatively landscaped to provide privacy for each cottage.

Would we recommend this for a Hen Party or a girlie get together? Without a shadow of a doubt.

This stay was organised by Gorgeous Cottages who can create a ‘Gorgeous weekend for stylish stags and well heeled hens.

Hope you have a Gorgeous Weekend soon.

Love

Suzanne x

Suz-and-Sandie

When I was a teacher, the holidays were planned for us. And let me say, they were always very much needed by the children as well as the staff!

Working for myself, I’ve made a conscious decision to stick to the school holiday timetable (without the six week summer holiday of course) but having a mini-break to look forward to every six weeks keeps me fresh and is just great I make sure we travel outside school holiday times.

Suzanne and I had the pleasure of attending the launch event of Barrhead Travel , an independent travel agents who have opened their first branch outside of Scotland in Intu Eldon Square, Newcastle. The staff were all super friendly, professional and knowledgeable, I’m looking forward to seeing what they can offer for a girl’s weekend away for us.

venice

Amongst all the nibbles and flowing wine, I found myself staring at the beautiful image of Venice on their wall, daydreaming about my next trip away, so far this year we’ve headed to Rome and have Nice to look forward too.

Amongst the guests it was lovely to catch up with Sandra Tang who is off on her own very exciting round-the-world trip in a matter of weeks (we really are VERY jealous Sandie!) she was also lucky enough to win one of the prizes on offer – a mini DFDS break. Suzanne had her fingers crossed for the Emirates flights, well who wouldn’t, they would have been perfect for a honeymoon! Suzanne has always loved to travel and realised she would be spending together forever with her H2B whilst travelling round the world. Although her plans are more moderate now having to accommodate two little ones taking time to travel will always be a priority in her life. STA used to be her agency of choice but Barrhead Travel is definitely more attune to the needs of a forty plus lady.

explore

Needless to say but we think it’s so important to take time out and travel, whether this be to the other side of the planet or just around the corner. To coin Nike – ‘Just Do It’.

Where are you heading to this year? We’d love to be inspired by your favourite trips.

 

The Carriage HouseEmbracing the peace and tranquillity of rural Northumberland in a property situated close to Morpeth in the village of Ulgham, The Carriage House is five star rated for self-catering accommodation and it proved to be a delightful home away from home, the perfect base to walk, cycle and explore.

On arrival, our host Dawn showed us into the large kitchen, dining and living space. With plenty of homemade fruit cake, tea, coffee, wine and fresh flowers on the bench, we knew we’d picked a great place to stay!

Dawn made sure we knew everything there was to know about the cottage and the appliances; we’ve reviewed many a place to stay over the last seven years, but can count the personal introductions on one hand. It makes a huge difference, no guessing how everything works and knowledge that there’s someone close by if you need anything at all.

Checking out the remainder of the cottage, we found two lovely bedrooms, both ample in size and both en-suite.

Carriage house bedroom

The master bedroom has a king size sleigh bed, ample hanging space and a spacious en-suite bathroom donning a lovely jacuzzi corner bath and a shower. Bedroom two can be either a twin or super king size bed which is handy depending who your travel companions are.

With leather sofas in the living room, TV, DVD player and digital satellite, there was plenty of space for two couples to settle down to entertain themselves in front of the lovely open log fire.

CArriage House lounge

Outside, there’s plenty of space to sit on a fine day and the fabulous hot tub is a unique addition – although during our stay it was a little too cold but maybe we aren’t as adventurous these days.

Everything you could possibly need is supplied in the accommodation, just pack your bags!

The Carriage House is the perfect base to explore the Northumberland beaches (read our walk along Druridge Bay to Amble), the Cheviot Hills, the market towns of Morpeth and Alnwick, and dozens of stately homes and castles.

We’d definitely recommend Barter Books in Alnwick, an old converted railway station and second hand bookshop. The village of Ulgham itself is small, but you’re on the coast within a five minute drive.

And if it’s lively you’re after, the cottage is around a 30 minute drive from Newcastle, the capital of the North East with extensive shopping, restaurants & nightlife.

Europe’s largest shopping centre, Intu Metrocentre is close by in Gateshead and drive a little further south to explore Durham with its’ simply magnificent cathedral.

Prices, availability and more information can be found here.

Nic x