Merrymaking in Manchester

We’ve grown a lot recently. Since our last birthday, we’ve taken on a big bunch of exciting projects, hired more people over more disciplines, launched our new brand and given our office a makeover to match.

To celebrate turning seven and all of our hard work we hopped on the birthday bus and headed off on a mystery merrymaking trip to Manchester.

First stop: getting chilly with it

The request to bring warm socks and gloves finally made sense as we landed at Chill Factore and snow-suited up before hitting the slopes.

We split into teams and tested out our problem solving skills with sledge making, Joanne’s team being the winners and Helen’s… well, if we’d left them to it, they’d still probably be figuring it out now.

Things started to get a little more competitive as we hit the snowy hills with a relay race and Ryan showed us how throwing yourself face first on to the sledge is the best way to style out a fall, Sam displayed his whippet-like running skills and the normally graceful Steve (who refuses to run for a train) spent more time falling over than standing vertical.

After a lot of pushing, shoving and panting, Helen’s team clawed their way out of their embarrassing start and took the trophy as the overall winners – and in no way were boastful about it.

‘The bruises were worth it, especially after everyone mocked our sledge building abilities.’
– Sam

Competition over, we launched ourselves into an hour of snow fun, testing out the ice slide, spinning and bumping around on donuts and bending the rules on sledging. Safe to say, things got a little bit wild and we’re all showing off our bruises like badges of honour in the office today.

Ahhwwwwhwhhh Auuugggaaaahhh awrrrrrrugggggggghhh

Joanne, hitting the slope in her donut

Mastering mixology at The Alchemist

After all that excitement we were in dire need of a drink.

We stopped off at The Alchemist in Spinningfields for a cocktail making class and took it in turns to show off our wrist action. We lined our stomachs with tapas and nibbles between glasses of gin and our go with the bartender. Bew poured himself a triple to be drinking while we waited for the next set of instructions and eventually we’d all made ourselves a perfectly drinkable and delightfully yummy Strawberry Cup. We followed up with something coconutty that tasted like a Bounty and the bartender demonstrated his showcase Smoking Glory.

We then merrily made our way over to the hotel to check out our rooms and grab our dancing shoes before heading out for dinner and more drinks.

I’d never smoke a full-sized cigar, it feels a little too rude


Tapas and toilets

After getting a little bit lost, as per tradition, we found our way to Iberica for more cocktails, wine and an assortment of foodie treats. Sampling delights from chorizo lollipops and baby carrot tempura to black rice that made you look something out of a horror movie, followed by a new take on rice pudding and something sweetly indescribable, yet delicious.

We left with full stomachs, fuzzy heads and a touch of bathroom envy as the crowning glory seemed to be the toilets that we couldn’t stop talking about. Filled with floor to ceiling mirrors, they were reminiscent of a fairground fun house, albeit a little disturbing to watch yourself go to the toilet and more difficult to get out of the more we drank.

Hitting a high-spirited live music bar, Diana and Claire decided to pace themselves and ordered a tea party complete with china cups and flowery teapot, which had a surprising amount of pulling power. Others kept on going strong until closing time, and luckily for Abbas, the hotel bar was closed when they got back.

Until next time…

We all felt a little worse for wear on the winding way home along Snake Pass the next morning, but without question, we all had an awesome time and will have plenty to talk about (and embarrass each other over) until next year.

If you’d like to see more photos, head on over to our Facebook and Instagram pages.