Last weekend, we decided to spend some rare quality time together and headed to Manchester with no real plan. Ok, so that isn’t entirely true nor as spontaneous as it sounds; let’s be honest, with two kids around, nothing is spontaneous! Adam had arranged for my Dad to look after the girls for the night and booked a swanky night at the Hilton hotel on Deansgate (he was clearly feeling flush).
Earlier this month, I’d also booked tickets to a VR gaming event in the city for the following morning so, apart from those technicalities, it was totally spontaneous *ahem*. We arrived in Manchester around lunchtime and quickly defaulted to I Need A Coffee mode so I subtly steered Adam towards my favourite go-to vintage tea room, Sugar Junction. We enjoyed a caffeine hit and brownie whilst figuring out how to spend the rest of the day on a modest budget.
Vue recently announced a new offer – all adult tickets are just £4.99 – so Adam and I wandered over to the Printworks and deliberated over what to watch. We haven’t been to the cinema since last summer so for us, this was a nice treat. Adam was keen to watch ‘Black Panther’ so I agreed with tepid enthusiasm; I’m a big Marvel fan but didn’t particularly yearn to see this latest offering. The film was passable and additional entertainment was provided by the lively audience as they ‘whooped’ and ‘cheered’ throughout every predictable plot twist. I was half expecting them to start jumping on chairs when the lead character took his top off…
After the flicks, we walked down Deansgate toward the Great Northern and Adam challenged me to a game of bowling at All Star Lanes. Knowing that I’m pretty crap at said activity, I suspect he knew he was on to a sure thing with a win and promptly kicked my ass down the lane (not literally I must add; the shoes provided would have made that a difficult task).
Our very first date took place inside a Manchester diner so it seemed fitting that we make a pit-stop there for some food. Sitting in Reds True Barbeque, we reminisced about the events that took place there in October 2014 and how neither us could have ever imagined where that night would have led. Me; eating all of his food. Him; making daft jokes to mask the nerves and us awkwardly hugging in the car park as we parted ways.
Leaving with full bellies, the idea of a night ‘out out’ was less than appealing as our feet ached and tiredness began to creep in. The hotel stay included complimentary pool access so we walked by the queues of glamourous revellers who were patiently waiting to enter ‘Cloud 23’ and up to the second floor to relax in the water.
Up bright and early the next morning, we left the hotel and enjoyed coffee and croissants in Grindsmith before locating the Future Artists studio. I’ll be posting a full review on this soon but in short, we enjoyed three hours of VR and retro gaming in a small group and are already going to book tickets for the next event.
After pondering (again; we’re pretty indecisive people) about what to do next, I coerced Adam in to finally watching ‘The Greatest Showman’ with me, making it our second cinema trip in as many days. As you can see, we took full advantage of that £4.99 offer! I fell in love with the film after the first song and have had the soundtrack on repeat ever since, much to Adam’s annoyance (All together now: “This is the greatest shoooow…”). Random Lisa Fact: I actually used to go to trapeze and aerial silk classes and ‘The Greatest Showman’ seems to have reignited that passion so I may well be back in the circus ring soon!
Simply sitting in the cinema with my head on Adam’s shoulder was utter bliss. Stepping away from our usual routine and making time to just ‘be’ with one another meant more to me than any extravagant meal or gift could offer. Once the film had finished, we wandered hand in hand through the Chinese food markets in St Ann’s Square and stopped for a drink.
Sipping a mocha and idly chatting about nothing of great importance was a wonderful reminder of the (occasionally overlooked) joys in our relationship; the sincerity and oh-so-subtle romantic gesture of a hand on a knee or a kiss on the forehead. The everyday magic and connection that we’ve gently built up over the course of our marriage beats any first date hands down.
Opulence is nice but raw, humble love is extraordinary ❤️