There are two kinds of travel for me. Travel to visit friends and family and travel to places where you can be anonymous. I love both. (They can of course be combined!)
Finding time for family
I was reflecting on my travel schedule and realised that for the first time in 22 years I wasn’t going to be with my son for mother’s day. This had me immediately reaching for my phone and looking for flights.
My son got his dream job and moved to Cheshire just outside Manchester six months ago. Coincidently my brother and his family moved to the same area a year before when then made their big move from South Africa.
Booking a flight to Manchester seemed like the perfect solution. A bit of travel, a bit of mother and son time and of course family time. There is nothing quite like spending time in conversation with someone you have known your whole life (well almost).
A different departure
Due to my health issues, I need to travel assisted most of the time and get quite unsettled in busy loud situations, so I decided to try Shannon Airport as an option to Dublin. What an absolute pleasure it was – the airport was quiet, clean and very efficient. And I must pay tribute to the assistance staff who were helpful and kind on both legs of my journey.
I was collected at the airport by my brother and headed back for the first of many cups of tea and hours of conversation.
The adventures begin
The next day my adventures with my son started. We started off with Sushi for lunch at Zuma – a fabulous little eatery with bottomless Miso soup. This has become a bit of a tradition and I would really be bereft without a visit here. My son went back to work and I had a wander around Wilmslow which is a gorgeous town with quirky shops and high street favourites. I finished up with a cappuccino and cake and my journal – simply the right formula for a little thinking.
That evening I had a wonderful treat. David has subscribed to a great foody idea. Hello Fresh delivers carefully curated recipes and the precise ingredients you need to make a tasty dinner. He has always been interested in cooking and this seems to be a great way to increase your exposure to different cuisines and learn new skills. The chicken and courgette curry with delicious coconut milk served with flavoured rice was lip smackingly delicious. I was savouring the flavours in my mouth and not even thinking of dessert.
It was early to bed for us because we had a great day planned for Friday.
We headed off via train and Uber to the Intu Trafford Centre. This is really quite a magnificent destination – in fact I would call it an experience rather than a shopping centre. Quite regal architecture invites you into a world under one roof. I had my phone out and was snapping photographs straight away.
I have always tried to hold onto the childish delight in new experiences and the self playing piano was just the kind of novelty to put me in the right mood.
We wandered the shops being drawn into various establishments, and then we passed and the most magical display of confectionary I have seen in a long time. It was time for coffee and a treat. Unicorn cake for me and an unctuous Ferraro Rocher cupcake for David. After a nice sit down and a few plans we returned to the shops.
On my first visit to the UK many years ago I discovered Molton Brown. This has to be my all time indulgence. Evocative aromas and silky sensations. I was invited to sit down and give my hands a mini spa treatment. A cleansing scrub, a bath oil that was literally so sensuous I was swooning and then some luxurious lotion. I was literally oohing and aahing.
The visit to this emporium was probably the highlight of my visit to Trafford especially when David told me he was buying the oil for me for Mother’s Day. It was truly something that I loved (I think he got the idea I loved it from my behaviour in the shop). This kind of gift is perfect as it keeps on giving. Everytime I have a bath I will be transported back to my special day.
We finished our visit with a yummy visit to Wagamama – a healthy treat and special mother son time.
Cocktails in a Laundrette
The following day we were on the train again and then caught a cab to a laundrette. Yes, a low-key, tatty looking laundrette with washing machines and baskets of undies. Behind the door disguised as another washing machine was the most magical cocktail bar ever!
The Washhouse in Manchester is all about storytelling – in the form of delicious cocktails. The host welcomed us and even as we walked towards our table my eyes were darting about looking at the amazing creations. Each cocktail has a story and this is played out in the ingredients, the wonderful and creative presentation and of course the taste.
Three is a magic number so we each had three cocktail experiences. Everything but a Beach – was a trip to the seaside. The cocktail was served in red bucket and was a wonderful salty but fruity hit and it was served in a sandpit complete with a fallen ice cream cone. The sand was delicious! It was all delicious.
My second choice was the Tea-Total – and no it wasn’t a mocktail. Everyone who knows me, knows that I love my tea and this drink was perfection. It was served in a little tea-cup complete with a couple of biscuits and floating pink rose buds and the best part, a photograph of David and I pegged to the cup. (another gift that will keep on giving as it came home with me!)
I finished up with Hard Breakfast – an orange and bourbon based glass of yum served with a tiny toast and marmalade side. This was the strongest flavour of all my choices so I am glad I ended with it. As we made our way to the station in the cold wind, my tummy was warm and my heart was delighted. What a wonderful Mother’s Day treat.
On Mother’s Day the treats continued as my son and his cousins prepared a wonderful lunch for the moms and my brother. Crumbed Camembert, Lime and Tarragon Chicken and a home-made Toblerone Cheesecake was a menu that couldn’t be beaten. Thank you to you all – it was a delicious and comforting way to end off a visit that will be remembered.
I enjoy all sorts of travelling and this trip was a delight at every step. So many of us have family spread out all over the world. Creating wonderful memories through travel as like jewels in my mind.
Thank you for reading about this month’s adventure. I wonder where I will go next ……