Scarecrow Festival at Tatton

Family half term fun


If you’re looking for something fun to do this half term (14th – 22nd February 2015), then head over to Tatton Park gardens for their scarecrow festival.

We had loads of fun with our quiz sheet following the trail in the walled kitchen garden, tracking down eight special scarecrows representing fairies, elves, nymphs,  sprites, trolls and the like.


Fairy scarecrow





Nymph scarecrow



The gardens were looking gorgeous as usual yesterday (Sunday 15th February). Venture across the lawns and there are many more (up to 30) straw and sack creations to be spotted.



I took a particular shine to this old fellow with his banjo.


Banjo scarecrow


There are also some lovely craft activities – we made our own fairies!


Making fairies


I’ve got a nasty feeling however that our lovely day out may back fire on me, as I told my four year old daughter that when the sun goes down and the grounds begin to get dark, the scarecrows come to life and walk across the lawns. I’m thoroughly expecting to be woken in the night with nightmares – they could be hers, they could be mine. It’s anyone’s guess.

For more information about the Tatton Park Scarecrow Festival click here.


Alison x  (your 4Manchester Women Editor)


Photographs: Alison Staples




What’s On February Half Term

Family friendly ideas to keep the kids entertained and you sane!


Once again we’ve had a look at what’s happening in and around Manchester during the half term holidays. This list doesn’t include everything, so please do add things in the comments box.

It’s a bit quick and dirty, but will hopefully give you some ideas and signpost you to relevant places for more information.


Museum of Science and Industry

Steam, Sweat and Sewers – a programme of special half term activities running 14th – 22nd February. For more information visit


steam, sweat & sewers MOSI


Imperial War Museum

War at Sea – creative sessions and story telling, weekdays throughout February and daily in half term (14th – 22nd February). For more information visit


The Manchester Museum

Living Worlds – drop in sessions. Create paper butterflies and other animals to take away (16th – 20th February). For more information visit


Jodrell Bank Discover Centre

Solar System hands on activities – try some science experiments for yourself (16th – 20th February). For more information visit


People’s History Museum

Election Craft Table (14th – 22nd February), Little PHM Under The Rainbow (15th February) and Hands on History (18th February) – crafts and interactive story telling. For more information visit


Manchester Art Gallery

Holiday Workshops – Mini Worlds (17th – 20th February). For more information visit


Elizabeth Gaskell’s House

Book Art Workshop and Storytelling (18th February). For more information visit


Ordsall Hall

Half Term Fun – Create a Coat of Arms; ‘Feed Me’ Fly Traps; Fabric Design; Valentines Quiz; Egg Box Garden. For calendar and more information visit


Salford Museum and Art Gallery

Half Term Fun – Make and Take: Dog Tags; Salford at War Quiz; Chinese Dragon Puppets. For calendar and more information visit


The Lowry

Half Term Little Artists and Little Actors - Little artists can celebrate The Lowry’s performance of I Believe in Unicorns by making their own galloping unicorns,  while little actors can celebrate The Lowry’s sing-a-long-a-Frozen with an interactive workshop (both run 16th – 20th February). For more information visit


Craft activities, the Lowry


National Football Museum

Facepainting, Story telling and Half Term Skills Sessions – check calander for more information


Stockley Farm

Reopens on February 14th and is open all half term week, so amongst other things you can learn all about lambing. For more information visit


Red House Farm

Pizza Making Fun – Morning and afternoon classes plus all the usual attractions (16th – 20th February). For more information visit


Delamere Forest

Gruffalo Child Trail – 1.5Km trail in search of the Gruffalo child. Open until 28th February. For more information visit


The Gruffalo Child Trail


Tatton Park

Scarecrow Festival – Hunt for scarecrows around the house and gardens and make your own (14th – 22nd February). For more information visit


Quarry Bank Mill

Wild Animals – Make a wild animal teller you can take outside to identify animals and their poo! (16th – 20th February). For more information visit


Lyme Park

Xplorer Orienteering – use a simple map to find the markers and complete the challenge (9th – 18th February). For more information visit


Chinese New Year Celebrations

Celebrating the Year of the Ram (19th – 22nd February). For more information visit


Manchester Chinese New Year


Peppa Pig: The Golden Boots

Vue Cinemas – all your favourite episodes with a new special one! (14th – 19th February). For more information visit


Goldilocks and the Three Bears

The Waterside Arts Centre (14th – 18th February). For more information visit


Frozen Sing-a-Long

The Waterside Arts Centre – Let It Go etc. Bring your Elsa dress! (19th February). For more information visit


Your local library for story time, its dry, clean and free. Find a library near you.


Happy holidays,


Alison x  (your 4Manchester Women Editor)


Photographs: MOSI, The Lowry, Delamere Forest, Chinese New Year Manchester






Chinese New Year 2015

What’s on – celebrating the year of the Ram


Last year over 90,000 people experienced Manchester’s Chinese New Year.

In 2015, the city of Manchester will be welcoming the Year of the Ram with even bigger and brighter celebrations (Thursday 19th to Sunday 22nd February).

Thousands of lanterns, a spectacular light show and explosive art will animate the city centre, alongside street food, music and martial arts and the ever popular Dragon Parade and fireworks finale.


Manchester Chinese New Year


Thousands of red Chinese lanterns will adorn the city’s shopping streets again this year in the weeks leading up to the celebrations, with buildings and shops illuminated in red and gold during the weekend itself.


Highlights this year include:


Chinese Food Market – St Ann’s Square


Food is one of the fundamental aspects of Chinese New Year. St Ann’s Square will be hosting a Chinese food market from 19th – 22nd February featuring some of the finest food directly from Chinatown including Yang Sing, I am Pho and Pearl City.

Guests can relax in the sumptuous red-draped marquee and soak up the atmosphere with traditional music and décor.


Dim Sum Yang Sing


Dragon Parade & Fireworks – Albert Square & Chinatown


At midday on Sunday 22nd February, Albert Square will come alive with martial arts and dance displays followed by the Dragon’s dramatic appearance at 12.30pm outside the Town Hall.


Chinese New Year Manchester


From 1pm follow the magnificent Dragon Parade through the city’s streets to Chinatown’s NCP car park where it will be greeted with firecrackers.

In Chinatown, you’ll find traditional lion dancers, martial arts displays, spectacular Chinese acrobatics, arts and crafts, workshops and a funfair with over 20 rides on Charlotte Street – culminating in the spectacular fireworks finale at 6pm.

From 11am – 5pm, Chinatown and Albert Square will host over 60 stalls offering a variety of gifts, arts and crafts and a mouthwatering variety of delicious food.




To mark the new year tradition of the giving and receiving of red envelopes, Manchester shoppers will have the chance to win a share of £10,000*.

Head to St Ann’s Square on Thursday 19th February to collect your special red envelope, containing a share of the huge prize to spend in one of eight city centre shops including Manchester Arndale, Harvey Nichols, House of Fraser, Selfridges, Boots and Cath Kidston.

*prize value from gift vouchers and experiences redeemable in specified stores only. Terms and conditions will apply. Envelopes will be handed out from Thursday 19th as long as stocks last.

City centre retailers will also be welcoming the new year with special events, promotions and offers.

Participating stores include Selfridges, Harvey Nichols, Manchester Arndale, House of Fraser, Jigsaw, The White Company, Jack Wills, L’Occitane, Clarks, Agent Provocateur, LK Bennett, Office and Cath Kidston.


Arts and Culture


From Thursday 19th – Saturday 21st February, St Ann’s Church will provide the backdrop to a spectacular series of large-scale light, art and film projections each evening from 6pm – 10pm.

These will include:

  • Sun Xun: Stately Shadows –  to celebrate the major solo exhibition currently in residence at the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (CFCCA), three of Sun Xun’s animated films including ‘What happened in the year of the dragon’ will be projected onto the side of the church.
  • A taster of Cai Guo-Qiang’s ‘Unmanned Work’ installation – a forty-five metre long, four metre high gunpowder drawing and the first exhibition in the Whitworth Gallery’s new landscape gallery. The projection will provide a glimpse into the making of Guo-Qiang’s work alongside a time-lapse of his completed work being installed and exhibited at the gallery. ‘Unmanned Nature’ opens at Whitworth Art Gallery on the 14th February 2015.
  • Thousands of lanterns and an 80 ft snake gliding in and around the church as part of an unmissable light art show using the latest projection mapping technology.


Chinese lanterns


Chinese lanterns


Join Manchester Art Gallery to celebrate Chinese New Year 2015 with traditional Chinese dance, music and storytelling on Sunday 22nd February from 12pm-4pm.  There will also be a drop-in creative workshop; ‘Chop Chop, Stick Sticks’! where you can customise your own wooden chopsticks.


The Chinese Film Forum UK will be showing The Golden Era (CBTA) (Huang Jin Shi Dai) on Monday 16th February at 5:30pm at Manchester’s Cornerhouse.




In St Ann’s Square, a variety of family workshops are being hosted by the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (CFCCA) and Manchester Confucius Institute with contemporary themes including Bangin’ Paper Fireworks with artist Naomi Kashiwagi and Be Ewe with artist Pui Lee.

There will also be workshops using a variety of traditional Chinese arts. Workshops will run from Thursday 19th – Sunday 22nd February from 12pm – 3:30pm, visit for the full schedule.


The streets of Manchester will also serve as a stage for The Legend of Nian: A Circus Caravan – a travelling theatre performance of the mythical Chinese tale. Carriage performers will transform into colourful outfits and eye-catching masks, combining modern street dance with traditional martial arts and movement. Head to St Ann’s Square for a fantastic fire and light show.

Performances will take place daily from Thursday 19th – Saturday 21st February between 12pm – 4pm and will roam from New Cathedral St, Market St, King St, St Ann’s Square and Exchange Square. The fire and light show will take place daily between 5.30pm – 8pm.

On Friday 20th February, Manchester Arndale will play host to Tai Chi demonstrations including 30 minute public classes at 2pm and 3pm.

Jin Long Chinese Martial Arts Academy will also deliver a number of traditional Chinese performances across the city centre, from northern lion dance to Kung Fu and jar juggling between 12pm – 3:30pm at Manchester Arndale and across Market Street, St Ann’s Square, New Cathedral Street and King Street.


Chinese dragon


For updates on all of Manchester’s Chinese New Year activity, please visit: or follow @CNY_MCR on Twitter using the hashtag #chinesenewyearMCR.


Alison x  (your 4Manchester Women Editor)


Photographs: McAvoy Photography, Chinese New Year Manchester



Family friendly Jan-Feb 2015

On the look out for family fun


Family Friendly


Read on to find out about the exciting family events for January and February, bought to us by our friends at Family Friendly North West.


Free family activities at IWM North


Grandmother & Grandaughter


IWM North, The Quays, Manchester

Every Saturday and Sunday throughout January 2015

FREE entry, all ages

Discover this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day theme Keeping The Memory Alive by decorating a fabric square with your favourite memory, to add to IWM North’s patchwork Memories quilt.

Join in with storytelling every weekend at:

10.30am: Hear about a group of shapes who learn to get along despite their differences.


1.30pm: Meet Nancy and hear her tales of life in the Land Army in the Second World War. Learn about her wartime experiences away from home and making new friends, especially with a timid horse called Rufus.

For more information please visit


The Tiger Who Came To Tea


The Tiger Who Came To Tea


The Lowry, Salford

Friday 23rd & Saturday 24th January 2015

Tickets: £15.00

Suitable for ages 3+

The doorbell rings just as Sophie and her mummy are sitting down to tea. Who could it possibly be?

Following a smash-hit West End season, the tea-guzzling tiger is back on the road in this delightful family show, packed with oodles of magic, sing-a-long songs and clumsy chaos!


A stunning stage adaptation of Judith Kerr’s much loved picture book. This is the classic tale of teatime mayhem!


For more information and to book visit

or call 0843 208 6000


Siberia Big Saturday at Manchester Museum




Manchester Museum, Oxford Rd

Saturday 24th January 2015, 11am – 4pm

Drop-in, FREE*, suitable for all ages

Visit the Museum’s Siberia: At the Edge of the World exhibition.


Discover more about the culture and unique nature of this vast, mysterious land; one and a half times bigger than Europe. Enjoy activities for all the family, from traditional music and arts to a guided tour of the exhibition. Meet curators and see objects from the Museum’s stores.

If you can’t wait until the Museum opens at 10am, you can come along to the Museum’s Early Opening for Early Birds – enjoy self-led tours of the Siberia: At the Edge of the World exhibition, object handling and craft activities. (Just the temporary exhibition will be open at 9am – you can explore the rest of the Museum from 10am).

Suitable for families with children under 5s and their older siblings.

For more information visit


I Believe in Unicorns


I belive in unicorns


The Lowry, Salford

Thursday 19th – Sunday 22nd February 2015

Tickets: £15.00

Captivating theatre this half-term!

Tomas didn’t like books or stories. Stories were just for “Little Snotties”.

He was happier clambering in the mountains like a goat or tobogganing with his Dad. That was until the Unicorn Lady came to town and reeled him in with her irresistible magic tales.


But then disaster struck and put everything that mattered most in Tomas’s life in terrible danger….I Believe in Unicorns is a spellbinding and moving story by one of our greatest storytellers.

For more information and to book visit

or call 0843 208 6000


The Cat In The Hat


The Cat In The Hat


Palace Theatre, Oxford Road, Manchester

Tuesday 7th – Wednesday 8th April 2015

Tickets: £11.90 – £13.90

Suitable for ages 3+

From the moment his tall, red and white striped hat appears around the door, Sally and her brother know that The Cat in the Hat is the funniest, most mischievous cat they have ever met.


With the trickiest of tricks and craziest of ideas, he turns a rainy afternoon into an amazing adventure. But what will mum find when she gets home?

Based on the much loved book by Dr Seuss, The Cat in the Hat is a lively and engaging first theatre experience for young children aged 3+.

For more information and to book visit or call 0844 871 3019


Alison x  (your 4Manchester Women Editor)




Things to do February half term

Affordable family-friendly events to keep the kids entertained


Keeping the kids occupied during the school holidays can quickly become an expensive task. So we’ve asked our regular thrifty guest blogger Natalie to come up with some ideas to keep the kids happy without breaking the bank.


Over to you Natalie ……

Natalie Vincent B&W


With a simple trip to the cinema costing almost £30.00 for a family of four, and that’s before you include snacks and transport costs, Watch My Wallet has come up with some affordable and family-friendly events that you can take part in around Manchester this half term.




Spy Training Camp


The Imperial War Museum North is giving kids the chance to become a spy this February.

Home made binocularsThere are several workshops where your little ones can complete basic spy training (18th and 19th February 11.00am – 12.30pm and 2.00pm – 3.30pm), make binoculars or create their own spy ID.

There is also a Super Spy Laser Maze Challenge where youngsters can try to navigate their way across the room without crossing the beams (20th and 21st February 10.00 – 5.00pm).

Or you can follow animals on a mission (dates between 15th and 23rd February) and meet ‘Spy Pup’ (15th February).

All of these events are free to take part in and entrance to the museum is also free.



The Museum of Science and Industry


Learn how messy the Victorian times were with Goo in the Loo.

Goo in the Loo


This free 20 minute workshop promises to be ‘slippery, slimy and absolutely sludgetastic’.

It’s open to children over the age of eight and the Museum warns that little ones may need an adults help.



This workshop will run between the 15th of February and the 2nd March.

You can also check out Pablo Fanque’s Circus of Dreams where the children of the mill turn their grim reality into the colourful world of the circus in this fun and interactive storytelling session.

There is also a live brass band playing on weekends from 11.00am till 3.00pm.



Manchester Aquatics Centre

Child swimmer


Manchester residents under the age of 16 can swim for free during school holidays at Manchester Sports and Leisure Centres.

This is a great way to spend a rainy day and it can help get the kids interested in a fun form of exercise.

Adults pay a reasonable £3.10 to swim or you can buy a family swim session for £6.50.



The Lowry


The Lowry is showing two family-friendly performances of The Just So Stories on Sunday 23rd February.


Just So Stories


This show combines songs with four classic Rudyard Kipling stories that will keep the kids engaged and interested.

Tickets are limited but you can still buy them for £5.50.



Fun in the Snow


Chill Factore is a great place to take the kids if you’re looking for a special day out.

children skiing


The Snow Park is designed for younger children who can enjoy the mini-sledging track and carousel. There’s also plenty of real snow to make snow angels or start a snowball fight.

It’s only open to children under the age of four and a one hour pass costs £6.00 per child.


All children must be accompanied by an adult who will also need to pay a £6.00 entrance fee.

If you’ve got any top tips for thrifty trips out over half term, please leave us a comment.


Natalie x


Natalie Vincent is feature writer and social media manager for

Photographs: USAG-Humphreys via Creative Commons on Flickr, Alison Staples, MOSI, The Lowry.


Other articles by Natalie:

Improving your money habits

How to have a thrifty Christmas

Ideas for pre Christmas breaks

How to avoid big phone bills abroad

Free things to do – New York

Free things to do – United Arab Emirates





Spies, Disguise and Ways to Hide

Top Secret – half term fun at Imperial War Museum North


Pssst. Sneak over to IWM North this February half term to learn some Top Secret spy skills, take on a laser maze and meet the human and canine duo behind the Spy Dog children’s book series.

We went over to IWM North last week for a preview of some of the things that the museum has in store for us over half term.

The kids were captivated by tales of animal bravery and there was dressing up and binocular making to be had!


IWM North Kids activities


IWM North Kids activities


Dressing up horse


Half term week is full of free family activities is inspired by real life stories of wartime bravery and espionage.



Meet Spy Pup


Meet Spy Pup Star, the real life puppy who stars in the latest of the popular children’s Puffin Book Series Spy Dog and Spy Pups, along with author Andrew Cope.

Hear about Spy Dog’s latest adventures and find out what it takes to be a clever canine undercover.  Saturday 15th February, 2pm – 2.45pm and 2.45pm – 3.30pm. Learning Studio. Free, but booking is essential via or 0161 8364000.


Spy HQ


Check in at Spy HQ to create your own secret identity and receive your mission. Make your own Spy ID, invent a codename and complete your training to learn essential spy skills.


Super Spy Laser Maze


Stealth is one of the best weapons for a spy who wants to move around unseen.  Can you keep a cool head and think on your feet to take on the Super Spy Laser Maze challenge?

Test your patience and nerve to make your way across the course without crossing the beams. See if you can pass undetected to earn super spy status.


Open Studio: Code Breaking


In a time before mobile phones and wifi, sending information during wartime was a huge challenge, especially if messages contained important information that couldn’t fall into the wrong hands.

Keep things strictly Top Secret and learn how to make and break your own codes to send those special messages undetected in Open Studio: Code Breaking  sessions.

Learn how important animals like dogs and pigeons were in carrying messages on land and even overseas. Discover fascinating objects on display like a dog messenger collar and a coded pigeon message from the First World War.


What a Performance


History comes to life in What A Performance live theatrical acts, inspired by the amazing bravery and cunning of women Special Operations Executives (SOE) during the Second World War.  Follow the dramatic story of an SOE agent parachuted into France undercover to report back on German military activity, inspired by the true story of Odette Hallows.


Explore the Main Exhibition Space


There’s also the main exhibition space to explore including the family friendly Action Stations.

This includes discovering the famous story of Oliver Philpot, who escaped a German prisoner of war camp in 1943 by digging a secret underground tunnel.  He found his way to Sweden and then made it back to Britain, by making a compass from materials he had found in the camp. His amazing compass can be seen on display alongside a hand decorated tie he made to disguise himself once outside of the camp.


Entry is free, donations welcome.

For dates, times and further information visit or connect with IWM North on or on twitter @I_W_M #IWMNorth



Alison x  (your 4Manchester Women Editor)


Photographs: Alison Staples







Things to do October half term

Plan your week with some family friendly fun


Family Friendly


Our friends at Family Friendly have been helping us to hunt down some great fun for the half term.

There’s loads going on, with great children’s theatre shows, Big Draw activities and much more.





Touring Autumn 2013

Join the three performers as they clown, tumble and play their way through an energetic, laugh out loud 60 minutes.

It’s Mikey’s first day at the radio factory but when he discovers a rebellious radio mysteriously transmitting the voice of a child, Mikey can’t help but play along! As mischief ensues, will Mikey’s first day at work be his last?



Part of the North West Children’s Theatre Festival Big Imaginations

Find out more and book tickets at


Bring the whole team to the National Football Museum!

Open daily, Free admission

There’s so much to do at the National Football Museum this half term, it’s sure to get the whole family cheering.

Fancy a flick instead of a kick? The Subbuteo Challenge Cup Final on Saturday 19th October sets the scene for the half term holidays, followed by a fantastic three day Big Draw event starting on Monday 28th October. Come along and make a ‘doodlebot’, print football scores and get creative with a different artist every day! Manchester Science Festival comes to the museum on Tuesday 29th October with some hands-on learning about footie fitness.

For more information visit


Manchester Science Festival

Thursday 24th October – Sunday 3th November, MOSI and across Greater Manchester

From crazy contraptions to slime, bugs and rockets, kids of all ages will love getting stuck in at Manchester Science Festival this half term.

Manchester Science Festival

Play, create and experiment with your scientific side at MOSI and across Greater Manchester where there will be a whole host of mucky, noisy, creative and exciting things happening to entertain and inspire the city’s future scientists.

For more information visit


Family Arts Festival at The Bridgewater Hall

October 2013, The Bridgewater Hall


Gunpowder plot


Explore music and storytelling at The Bridgewater Hall this half term.

Enjoy The Pied Piper and other stories or create your own horrible historical Halloween harmonies at Gunpowder, Arson and Spots.

Most days during half term week, families can drop in for free Big Draw art activities alongside treasure hunts in the foyers, a visit from the Whitworth Art Gallery, and a special children’s menu in the Stalls Café Bar.

To book tickets call 0844 907 9000 or visit


Unravelled at Manchester Art Gallery

Tuesday 29th October – Friday 1st November
1 – 3pm. Free admission no need to book. Suitable for families with children aged 2 – 11.


Manchester Art Gallery


Create colourful artworks from threads, inspired by Grayson Perry’s tapestries The Vanity of Small Differences (on show from Thursday 24th October 2013 – Sunday 2nd February 2014).

For more information visit


The Big Draw at IWM North

Thursday 31st October
11am – 12.30pm & 2 – 3.30pm. Free, booking required. Suitable for ages 7+


Annabel Dover

Families are being invited to take part in the world’s largest drawing festival this October – whether you’re a budding artist or you don’t know a paintbrush from a pencil.

What would you choose to draw to show tomorrow’s museum visitors? A Harrier Jump Jet, a cuddly toy dog made from an army blanket, or an evacuee’s suitcase?

Explore our collections and displays, get inspired and get doodling. Then bring your drawing and turn it into a one-off work of art in the monoprinting workshop led by artist Annabel Dover, whose work is on display in the Catalyst: Contemporary Art and War exhibition.

Booking is essential. To guarantee a place book by calling 0161 836 4000 or email

For more information visit


Half Price Bowling at Dog Bowl

Whitworth Street West. Monday 28th October until Friday 1st November.
50% off kids bowling.


Dog Bowl half term offer


This half term break kids can enjoy a game of bowling for half price at Dog Bowl on (just £2 per person) from 12pm-6pm as part of their half term offering.

Kids are catered for in the restaurant with a specially devised three course children’s menu available for just £6.50 which also includes a soft drink. Expect ball dispensers inspired by the brand’s own black dog, Bruce the Patterdale Terrier, gleaming wooden floors and a whole lot of fun!


Brick or Treat at LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre

Barton Square, The Trafford Centre, Saturday 19th October – Sunday 3rd November


Brick or Treat LegoLand


Seriously spooky goings on! The LEGO pumpkins are back!

Expect freaky fun at the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre as MINILAND is taken over by glow in the dark ghastly ghouls and frightful phantoms!

Join the hunt through MINILAND and count the ghost Minifigures, build a LEGO brick Witch in the Model Builder’s Workshop, and check out the LEGO bats and spiders around the attraction.

There will be spooky fancy dress contests on Saturdays and Sundays with daily chances to win annual passes to the the attraction as well as other tricks and treats! There will also be scary facepainting for all children who attend the attraction over the weekends.

For more information visit



Dino half term fun at The Trafford Centre

Intu Trafford Centre, Thursday 28th October - Saturday 2nd November


Walk with Dinosaurs


In anticipation of the forthcoming release of Walking With Dinosaurs: The 3D Movie The Trafford Centre have some half term adventures of the Jurassic kind.

  • Dinosaur Mask Workshop
  • Reptile Show
  • Dinosaur egg decorating and colouring
  • Dinosaur key ring & bag danglers

For more information visit traffordcentre/dinohalfterm



UCI Track Cycling World Cup

National Cycling Centre, Friday 1st – Sunday 3rd November


British cyclist.

Championship track cycling returns to Manchester.

For the first time since 2011, this November sees the world’s best cyclists meet on the home of British Cycling with the UCI Track Cycling World Cup.

Across the three days of competition, the leading male and female cyclists in the world will compete across all the Olympic Track Cycling disciplines in this next step on the road to Rio.

For more information visit


Whatever you do – have a great time!


Alison x  (your 4Manchester Women Editor)


Photographs: Dog Bowl, Manchester Art Gallery, LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre, The Royal Exchange, Statik, Manchester Science Festival, The Bridgewater Hall, MediaCityUK, IWM North.















Cloudy with Chance of Meatballs 2

Film review of this animated sequel – a half term cracker!



4 out of 5 starsI didn’t see the original critically acclaimed 2009 film Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.

Although I did read the Wikipedia entry (here) before I went to view the sequel.

It wasn’t essential though as there’s a mini summary at the start of the film which brings you right up to speed.


Cloudy with a chance of meatballs 2.

For Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 we’re back on the island of Swallow Falls with rookie inventor Flint Lockwood, his monkey Steve and the rest of the gang, in the aftermath of the great tomato and spaghetti storm – created when his masterpiece invention (the FLDSMDFR) went wrong and started creating monster foods from water.

Master inventor and Flint’s hero Chester V and his company LIFE Corp come to clear up the island, relocating it’s inhabitants and whisking Flint off to San Franjose to join the LIFE Corps inventors. It’s Flint’s dream come true.

Needless to say, it’s not all as it’s seems and Chester V’s motives are a lot less than altruistic.

Flint is charged with going back to Swallow Falls to deal with the deadly cheese spiders – giant cheese burger spiders, who have been terrorising the LIFE Corp ‘scientists’ and stringing them up on cheesy webs. It seems that the FLDSMDFR wasn’t destroyed after all and that the cheese spiders are trying to learn how to swim away from the island, which means only one thing – they are trying to take over the world!

He’s not supposed to, but he takes the gang back with him.

What they discover is an island populated by Foodimals – animals made from food. Imagine the scene from Jurassic Park where they first see herds of diplodocus grazing freely amongst a whole prehistoric ecosystem – and the wonder and awe it generated. Here we’ve got Flamangos, Buffaloaves,  Tacodiles, Shrimpanzees,  Hippotatomuses, Peanut Butter & Jellyfish and lot’s more.

It is so imaginative, it’s just gorgeous!

Flint and the gang set off to try and find and destroy the FLDSMDFR and all the mutant foodimals. As you can imagine, Chester V is pulling all the strings, but Flint soon realises the amazing beauty that the FLDSMDFR has created and with the help of a talking strawberry emerges victorious.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 (in 3D) is a really charming film which both adults and children will enjoy – and you’ll certainly come away with some great inspiration for making meal times more interesting.

“What are we having for tea mum?”

“Meatbalruses and Apple-piethons!”



You can keep up with all the latest news on the Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 Facebook page here.

Release date in the UK is 25th October – a big thank you to The Odeon Printworks Manchester for inviting us to the preview. If you want to see the film on the big screen in the city centre visit


Alison x  (your 4Manchester Women Editor)


Photographs:Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs Facebook page

Disclaimer: We were invited to the film preview. We were not asked to write about the film and opinions are our own.









Things to do February half term

Free and low cost things to do in Manchester that won’t break the bank


The cost of keeping the kids occupied during half term can reach dizzying heights, especially if it’s raining! That’s why Watch My Wallet has come up with a list of free and low cost events to keep the whole family occupied over the break.


Family on bikes


Boys with snakes


Tram Ride - Under 5′s FREE and concessions apply. If you are heading for the city centre or somewhere along the Metrolink route – Heaton Park, Bury for the East Lancs railway or the CBBC studios at MediaCityUK, a tram ride is always an exciting start to a day out for kids.


The Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) has lots of free events on over half term. There’s storytelling, you can find out how the Victorians lived in ‘Steam, Sweat and Sewers’, engines, experiments and Engineer Eric’s Difficult Day!


The Manchester Museum, where not only can you discover lots of exciting bones and relics, there are live reptiles and amphibians to delight your littlies. Why not book a free tour with one of the keepers and then follow their progress afterwards on The Frog Blog.




The Trafford Centre is hosting a series of events over half term, including a free storytelling event inside the ‘Giant Peach’.  See the full list of events here.


The Lowry is giving aspiring actors the chance to hone their skills for just £3.50. The energetic session has kids aged 5-11 playing games and being captivated by the stories of Aladdin, Sleeping Beauty, and Rapunzel. This is just one of many great value events on at The Lowry. Visit the website for the full list.


Delamere forest is teaching children to build their own bird box and feeders on the 18th and 19th February. You need to call or email in advance to book a spot and it costs £5. There are also adult events going on that week, including a bat walk and a dawn chorus.


Splashing in muddy puddles


The Imperial War Museum is offering 10-14 year olds the chance to learn about animation. This free, two day workshop means your child can create a short film and bring a copy of it home to share with the family.


Grumpy and Start Do Art! offers free creative sessions for children with disabilities and their siblings. It’s on every Saturday until March and is suitable for 5 to 18 year olds.


Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre. It’s Rocket Week at Jodrell Bank. Come and ask the expert. Under 4′s go free.


People’s History Museum. Admission is free and over half term you can make your own temperance crown to take home with you. 


National Football Museum. Entry is free, though you do have to pay for some of the interactive activities separately.


Ordsall Hall has lots of fun holiday activities, like making musical instruments, Tudor dancing and storytelling. Entry is free, activities £1.00


Whitworth Museum offers a range of family friendly events including several free creative activities. Visit the website for the full list.


Manchester Art Gallery has free entry and all sorts of activities to occupy your children. A special mention goes to Chinese New Year activities.


Child with paint on hands



John Rylands Library has loads of exciting happenings over half term. With free entry you can welcome in the year of the snake, search for dragons and see treasures from the Wild West.


Love heart book



Your local library for story time, its dry, clean and free. Find a library near you.


Don’t forget to check out our What’s On Page for more details of what’s happening in Manchester. We would also recommend having a look at Mum’s in the Know which is packed full of lots of local events.

You might also find these other blogs useful:

Kids Parties – Walton Park in Sale

Day Tripper – Chatsworth

Day Tripper – The Mersey Valley

Day Tripper – Hilbrae Island

Rainy Day Places to Take the Kids

Day Tripper – Lymm Dam

Day Tripper – Trent and Mersey Canal Walk


Have fun!

Watch My Wallet & Alison x  (your 4Manchester Women Editor)


Photographs: Watch My Wallet

This is not a sponsored blog post



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Save money – on-line fashion

6 ways to save money on wine






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