summer scenes #1: manchester days, hot air balloons and afternoon tea in the clouds…


Putting aside those days where I’ve had to dig out a woolly cardigan, and some form of waterproof shoe (of which I have very few) I honestly think we’re having a REAL summer this year. Sure it is interspersed with cloudy/windy/terrifyingly and beautifully stormy periods, but it has lasted longer than a week, so Mr Weatherman, thanks.

I think my summer feeling has also been seriously helped by having a diary full of plans. I was a little worried that this year summer would pass me by without any real landmark event. I don’t have a holiday planned, and I’m not going to a music festival, and for a while there I wasn’t even sure I would make it to Edinburgh Fringe, but what I have quickly come to realise is that you don’t need a to go far or go big, to make a summer. The past couple of weeks have been filled with cocktails, friends, and pleasant suprises, and I’m hoping the next month or so will continue in a simmilar way, so I thought I’d start sharing some of my summer scenes here with you, so we can all remind ourselves that actually the weather isn’t all that bad, and there are much worse places to be than good old Blighty!

I’ve recently fallen back in love with my old haunt Manchester. I remember a couple of years ago when I first moved to Manchester (and started this blog) I loved the summer months in the cirty. Every square seemed to open up on to some sort of food market or event, and every bar seemed full every night. Of course when you live there through the grey and wet winter, and also come to realise that you can’t always be the one in the bars, because sometimes you have to go and work, you can quickly forget that original charm. But now having been away for a while, and living close enough to pop to Manchester any weekend, but far enough away for it to still feel like a ‘trip’ I’ve regained my appreciation for it. Weekends have been spent sipping cocktails in the Northern Quarter, visiting Manchester International Festival and discovering new places and areas I never really visited before.

I’d recommended:

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Of course you don’t always have to head to the big cities for their events, the longer I live in a small town, the more I am coming to appreciate the charm of it. The other weekend me and the young man headed to Witton Park for an evening stroll, and to go and see some ‘Balloons & Tunes.’ Which is exactly what it says on the tin. Hot air balloons and some (some times questionable) tunes by tribute acts. I LOVE hot air balloons, and was hoping that they would set off, rather than just hover around behind the small stage, but the whole event had it’s own cheesey charm. Plus there was a fairground with chips and old school sweeties, and for £3 entry, you can’t really complain can you! That’s what I love about summer, even when it is a little bit chillier (as the coats above would suggest) people are still just looking for an excuse to get outside!

And finally, one of my favourite things I’ve done so far this summer is go for afternoon tea at Cloud 23, at the Hilton in Manchester. And before we get all awkward about it I’m just going to confess, I was a TERRIBLE vegan. I’d booked the afternoon as a treat for the young mans birthday, and we were really looking forward to having an excuse to dress up and drink bubbles on a Sunday afternoon. I really didn’t know what to expect, I knew friends had gone to Cloud 23 and raved about the food, but they hadn’t let on much about what it was like inside so this was all a bit of a mystery to me. I was worried it would be a little well to do, and that I had wished I had worn heels or spent longer on my hair, and when we arrived in the foyer of the Hilton, and made our way to the special ‘Cloud 23’ only lift and doorman I was even more worried, but actually when we got out of the lift, 23 floors up, I needn’t have worried.

23 storeys high, and floor to ceiling windows, I’d describe Cloud 23 as spacious luxury. The whole place is open and airy, with comfortable looking chairs, and glass tables, most of which are right next to the windows so you can make the most of the views. We were shown to our table, and given a drinks menu, you have to book afternoon tea in advance, so all that was left to decide on was whether we wanted tea or coffee, and then the food came out, and everything after that is a delicious, sugary blur.

Champagne afternoon tea was £33 a head, so not your normal Sunday afternoon coffee and cake affair, and Cloud 23 does book up quite far in advance, but I would definitely recommend going for a treat or a special occasion. We sat taking in the views all afternoon, without being asked to move or made to feel like we should order anything else (which is good because I honestly, would have burst) and it was so nice to get a little bit dressed up and go somewhere you wouldn’t just wander in to.

I’d also highly recommend doing it in summer while there is still a chance of clear skies and making the most of the view!

Wow, I didn’t think this post would be this long, just goes to show, that in summer those memories quickly build up! I don’t have a bucket list this summer, I’m more taking it as I go along, but I do want to make sure, weekends don’t just pass by! I’m also sharing lots of photo’s and moments regularly on instagram now that I have a shiny new (not yet smashed) phone, so come say hi over there too! How are you spending the warmer months?

Live life & take in the summer x

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12 thoughts on “summer scenes #1: manchester days, hot air balloons and afternoon tea in the clouds…

  1. You know what they say about couples – they tend to go for people of the same level of attractiveness as themselves, and your man is gorgeous 😉 This makes me really want to come to Manchester (because being a Devon girl I rarely venture up that far north!) and do every single thing on your recommendations – ESPECIALLY that afternoon tea. Oh my, please go into more detail about what was included, you are simply teasing with that photo of deliciousness without any explanation! Alice xx

    • Hahaha Alice, do you know how many people tell me how good looking he is! Always with a small hint of surprise! He is LOVING the attention though. Manchester is really good, but I think like a lot of cities, unless you know some one who lives there, or have been there before it is easy to get caught up going to the same places, and doing the same things you can do anywhere!

      I will email you a full afternoon tea breakdown 😉 xx

  2. Sounds like you’ve been having a lovely summer so far! I definitely think the trick to not get too affected by the weather is to do lots of fun things 🙂 That afternoon tea looks amazing. And I’m really happy for you, that you’ve found a great guy!

    xx Mimmi, Muted Mornings

    • Thanks Mimmi, he is a bit of alright I suppose 😉 Yeah I think it’s easy to look outside and think oh it’s cloudy I’ll stay in, but actually it is still 90% warmer than any other time of the year! xx

    • Thanks Sadie, Manchester does have an awful lot to offer, but it can take a fair bit of research to find those really special places! But if research involves drinking cocktails, then I’m not going to complain! xx

  3. I LOVE Cloud 23! We took Simon’s Mum there for afternoon tea on her birthday last October, the views were incredible!

    The Allotment looks lovely, I’ve made a note of it for next time we’re in Manchester.

    Chloe x

    • I’d really recommend Allotment Chloe, for drinks and for food, it’s a little bit off the beaten track on the edge of the northern quarter but once you are in that area there are loads of great places. Including the Rosylee Tearooms, which also do an amazing Afternoon Tea in like a 1920’s setting! xx

  4. I really enjoyed reading this. I’ve been thinking today about how lucky I am to live in Manchester as I sat enjoying Dig the city. I still need to try Cloud 23 – everyone raves about it!

    • To be honest after seeing them float a couple of feet above the ground I’m not sure I could really handle going in one properly! I guess if I want panoramic views, I’ll stick to going for afternoon tea 23 floors up! xx

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