How I Spent New Year 2016
I find New Year a bit like Marmite. There are times when I love it – planning fitness regimes, thinking about life plans, making goals etc – and times I hate it – making plans for the night, the cost of the night, avoiding the urge to stay in, eat crap and go to bed at 9pm. Regardless of how you feel about it, a New Year marks a new start.
For the past three years that the beard and I have been together he has planned New Year activities, and he’s done it very well. The first year we were together we went to Amsterdam, the second was Paris and last year we stayed local in London. To prove that I could also arrange things (successfully, might I add, if his birthday was anything to go by), I decided to plan this year.
I booked the hotel back in June because I had an idea of what I wanted to do and I didn’t want to leave it to last minute and have to go for a crappy hotel. I booked a room at the Abel Heywood in the Northern Quarter of Manchester, which, after research, was a decent location and in reach of everything you could want/ need. The hotel was lovely, it’s right next to an NCP which is discounted as you’re staying at the hotel next door. The rooms were smallish, but still had everything we needed including a wardrobe, tea and coffee facilities, shower, sink, toilet etc. The staff were lovely, but the main selling point was the food at the pub it is located in – it was incredible. For some reason, the booking only included breakfast on one day (I still don’t get this) but there was a ridiculous amount of choice including warm and cold options, and service was always with a smile. The food was so good, we decided to also have dinner here on New Year’s Day as well. There was a lot of food consumed this weekend.
I found out there was a Hard Rock Café in Manchester. It’s a bit of a personal tradition for the beard and I, but if there is a Hard Rock near where we are going, we’ll book to have a meal, a cocktail (or several) and collect the glasses. So far, we have them from Amsterdam, Paris, Copenhagen, London and now Manchester. The New Years Eve menu was £35 per person and included a welcome drink, a starter, main and dessert. I was actually a bit disappointed with the food choices on the night. You could choose between seasonal soup, arugula salad or chicken wings (I had the salad), salmon, ribs, mac and cheese (with chicken), burger or veggie burger for main (I had the burger with no bun) and dessert was a choice of festive brownie or Christmas pudding cheesecake (I opted for the cheesecake) but none of it tasted amazing, and with it being limited options it was either like it, or lump it. I wish there’d been a bit more variety as normally the menu is extensive. Saying this, the drinks were still amazing though. I love the giant mojitos.
As the Hard Rock booking was only available from 7.30- 9.30pm, I wanted to book somewhere else where I knew we would get a table for drinks. It’s a good job I booked, as the streets were absolutely heaving by 10pm. I looked up Cane & Grain, a cocktail bar which turned out to be one minute walk from the hotel, and it was the perfect choice. We had booked a table in the Science and Industry bar, which was hidden behind a door of boxes and was so well hidden I had to ask how we got upstairs. The service in this place was incredible, the waitress sat down at our table, listened to what we liked and made drink suggestions. I had a South Side, which is one of my new favourite drinks, and a Bramble. It’s safe to say when we left we were sufficiently bladdered.
We then pegged it down to the main square to see in the New Year but it was a total let down. We got there so late that we ended up standing down a side road, heard the countdown, heard the fireworks and saw… Sweet FA. It was hilarious, everyone started looking around for where the noise was coming from and we could see nothing. We scooted back to the hotel before the mobs all started moving and stayed down in the bar until about 1.30am. It was a really lovely evening.
On New Year’s Day, we woke up and went down to the hotel bar for breakfast. We headed out to have a mooch around the shopping centre, which is HUGE by the way, and had a lot of really decent shops in it. The beard treated me to the Charlotte Tilbury Dolce Vita palette, which I’ve wanted since I first saw it, and I continued to stare at it for about half an hour that afternoon. We nipped out to the cinema in the evening to go and see Collateral Beauty (go and see it, very sad but very good) and had dinner in the bar (as above).
Check out was at 11am, so we packed up the next morning and headed home as it took us about three hours to get back.
Also worth mentioning, as a last minute plan of action, I knew the beard and I would be starving by the time we drove up and arrived on New Year’s Eve, so I had a look online for a decent place to grab some lunch and fell upon Dogs’n’Dough. This place was so good and unbelievably well priced for the quality, and quantity of the food. It serves hot dogs and pizzas, as well as different types of fries and desserts. I went for the Smoking Bandit, which was a beef hot dog, pulled pork, cheese and BBQ sauce. The beard went for the Frank Sinatra which was beef, onions, bacon and mustard. We also shared a portion of the Gluttony fries which were fries covered in cheese and hot dog pieces. It’s safe to say we left fat.
And that was how I saw in the New Year! How was yours? I hope it was good and you’re feeling ready for 2017. Did you make any resolutions?
Thanks for reading,