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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.

 

Breton tops and scarvesOn a very rare night where we grabbed a couple of hours together to plan our blog, Suz and I started chatting about all the “rules” for 40 plus ladies and how mostly we ignore them all (Suzanne got VERY cross reading that she wasn’t to wear her maxi dresses anymore – ridiculous right?).

But as we chatted about how much we absolutely hate being told what we can and can’t wear, we started making a list of our own rules that we do swear by, many of which haven’t changed in the last 2 decades despite getting ‘old’. Here are ours. And of course we don’t expect you to pay attention to any of them and encourage you to wear whatever the hell you want.

Suz: ALWAYS wear matching underwear (always buy two pairs of knickers to every bra).

Nic: Own at least three pairs of great fitting, flattering jeans.

Suz: Every women’s makeup essential item – nude lipstick.

Nic: Invest in your hair with a great colour and cut from a hairdresser you trust

Both: Breton Tops; the more the better (and they aren’t just for Spring).

Nic: BIG silver hoops. Big.

Suz: Delicate jewellery with a couple of bold statement pieces.

Both: Own at least one red mac and lots of good quality coats.

Nic: Shoes. Loads of them. Can’t ever have enough.

Suz: Boots are the essential footwear.

Nic: Cross body handbag. Smallish so you can FIND STUFF.

Suz: Own 800 pairs of tights. Must have three pairs in reserve at all times.

Nic: No tights.

Suz: Oversized tote bag that DOES NOT look like a baby bag.

Nic: Best phone you can afford.

Suz: Mum on speed-dial.

Nic: Mini-break every 6 weeks.

Suz: Expensive moisturiser (Even if it doesn’t work).

Nic: Thumb ring, toe ring and nose piercing. All or any of them.

Both: Scarves. An easy and cheap way to change any outfit.

Suz: Little Black Dress.

Both: Don’t take any notice of people who tell you what you can and can’t wear because you’re a certain age or shape.

 

 

 

Dad and daughterFor his 70th birthday, my dad announced that he wanted to cycle from London to Paris. And so he did with my brother and fella to keep him company. When I mentioned that I wanted to support Willow Burn Hospice near Lanchester, County Durham, by doing the Great North Run, he decided he’d do it with me. He’s 72 now. “It’s on the bucket list” says he. “Ok” says I.

And that was that. His Christmas present was sorted; entry to the Great North Run.

For many years, when I was small, my family positioned ourselves at the bottom of my gran and granddad’s street in South Shields to watch the Great North runners, specifically my Uncle Alan, run past.

If you’ve never watched 10s of 1000s of people run past the end of your street it’s a real spectacle. People of all shapes and sizes and fitness levels doing a mammoth half marathon for whatever reason they have.

And this year, the Little Dad and Daughter team will be running (well not exactly running) on behalf of the magnificent Willow Burn Hospice which provides care for people with palliative and end of life needs.

Just to be clear, Dad and I are NOT runners. This will hurt. And neither of us have ever, ever run half a marathon. To start at the age of 42 and 72 respectively is daunting to say the least. But Willow Burn is an amazing place which really cares for their patients and families and well worth some considerable effort from us to help them.

We’ll be tracking our preparations, my attempt to stay fit for longer than a few months and how much money we raise too.

Nic x

And if you’d like to sponsor us, please do!

 

 

Sports kit from Aldi

A sentence I didn’t think I’d be likely to write is “I need some running kit”.

But high on the bucket list agenda for me and my dad is running the Great North Run.

We got signed up to run for Willow Burn Hospice  in Derwentside at the end of 2016. I paid dad’s entry fee as a Christmas present. I am a good daughter. We are DOING THIS. Our current conversations are about not coming last.

Anyway, I didn’t want to spend a fortune on running kit (why would I this is a nine month investment) and my cycling mad family swear by the sports kit in Aldi.

What I love:

The leggings are thick and comfy and have a zippy bit on the bum for change. They feel really nice to wear.

Ditto the yoga top. Comfy, seamless and wicks the sweat away.

I like the patterns and I really like the reflective running gilets and jackets. They’re really lightweight but will make sure you’re visible too.

The bras look nice on but there are two different styles so make sure you get the one that supports! The other one needs something else underneath.

I’ll be tracking our training progress this year on the blog. We can’t change our mind or give up as we have a commitment to our chosen charity.

And besides, the boys (Dad, my brother Stephen, and partner Mike) all cycled from London to Paris for the 70th birthday bucket list challenge (Dad’s 72 now by the way) so this running malarky is proper dad and daughter time.

I’m off to the gym.

Nic x

PS There will be a Just Giving page to follow.

Crock Pot for slow cookingThroughout my childhood, my mam used a slow cooker to feed us. I have vivid images of her peeling veg before she went to work and we ran along the street to catch the bus.

Fast forward about 28 years, and we’ve invested in a Crock Pot. (As I write this, the house smells delicious!).

Like everyone else, for us time is precious, work days are long, and convenience food is really, really easy. At least a couple of times a week we’ll buy off the shelf ready meals.

Crock Pot for slow cookingBut Mike loves to cook and does so as much as he can, so the Crock Pot is an exciting addition to our kitchen equipment. He’s busying himself downstairs as we speak so for tea I think there’ll be a sausage casserole on the menu.

I’m hoping the fact that essentially we’ll have made our own ‘ready meal’, means I’ll stop picking before I eat my tea.

And end to ready meals? We’ll see.

Nic x

P.S. If you have any great recipes for slow cooking, share them with us.