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Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Felicini Pizza Offer Extended Throughout the Summer

Good news for anyone who has no interest in squeezing into a bikini this year is that Italian chain Felicini has extended its laudable pizza offer over the summer. Normally running between 5pm and 7pm, the "any pizza for £5" offer is currently available everyday from 12pm till 7pm between now and the end of August.

Of course, any sane person will ignore these extended hours and stick to visiting between 5 and 7, for these are the precious hours when all Bellini cocktails are buy one, get one free... sadly no plans to extend this particular offer.

Full details at

videogame nation at Urbis

It's always worth a trip to the Urbis museum in central Manchester - it's a great building, the exhibitions are generally free or pretty cheap, and it's conveniently situated near to both Harvey Nicks and Selfridges. The current exhibition, videogame nation (note the lower-case letters of the name - perhaps an attempt to make what is an essentially retro display into something a bit more cutting edge?) runs until 20th September 2009, and will no doubt lure boys both young and old through its doors over the summer.

Not that gaming is just for boys - I remember my sister's Atari (hurrah for Dig Dug!) with great fondness, and I still have my Sega Megadrive in a box in the attic. Games have undoubtedly come a long way since these innocent pleasures - my husband, a normally peaceful man, spends many happy hours shooting and stabbing uncomfortably realistic opponents on his XBox - and they are the stars of this exhibition, which covers games from the last 30 years.

Rather gallingly, three teenage boys have been asked to review the exhibition on the museum's website, and their comments are enough to make you want to wheel your Zimmerframe to the edge of a cliff - one enjoyed playing on games "made before I was born", and even worse, another thinks "it's good to show people what games used to be like in the olden days." Go along and pretend you have never seen these games in your life.

videogame nation costs £3 for the exhibition, with some special events at £5 - check for full details.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Restaurant Review: Albert's Shed, Manchester

As it was such a beautiful sunny evening in Manchester last night, it seemed wasteful to stay in and we were therefore forced to head into central Manchester to make the most of it. The plan was a quiet drink; after all, how busy could Manchester be on a nothing-ish Wednesday evening?

Hmm. The answer turned out to be "very busy indeed" - all the local universities seem to be having their graduation ceremonies at the moment, and town was full of slightly awkward looking graduates accompanied by proudly over-dressed parents and just-a-little-bit wobbly grandparents. Still, we managed to find a free table outside the ever-lovely Dukes 92, and spent a pleasant hour or so drinking prosecco amongst a sea of good-tempered Manchester folk enjoying the after-work sunshine.

We were tempted to eat at Dukes as well - the outdoor menu consists of frankly enormous pizzas and hefty buckets of chicken wings, and very nice they looked too as they whizzed past us at increasingly regular intervals. However, as I had really a very good outfit on we decided to walk the ten yards or so from Dukes to Albert's Shed, the classy restaurant that shares the square.

They were very busy, but found us a table straightaway and served us very promptly. The waiter - Alex - couldn't have been mnore charming, telling us that his graduation ceremony had been the day before and that he had chosen to have his celebratory meal at this very restaurant (loyal, but surely a little lacking in imagination to eat where you work?) with his family.

Once the food came, it was actually pretty easy to see why an employee might choose to eat here. The starters of potted duck and mixed mushrooms (£5.50 and £4.50 respectively) were devoured in an instant, and the main courses were even better. We both went for the 7oz fillet steak at £18; this price also allows you to choose two side dishes, much to Mr Liz's delight, who promply ordered two potato items in the form of chips and dauphinoise and considered himself a double carbohydrate winner.

Pudding was not necessary but obviously was ordered anyway; ginger and toffee cheesecake for me and a very exciting ice-cream sundae for Mr Liz (you just can't go wrong with ice-cream layered with brandy-soaked cake). The wine list is decent - lots of bottles at under £20 - and we chose an Argentine Malbec at £19 that went perfectly with the meal (if I do say so myself).

It would be interesting to see how busy they normally are on a non-graduation week-night, but the evening really couldn't have been better. I know that as complete restaurant tart my opinion really doesn't count, but this is definitely my absolute favourite place in the whole world (at the moment).

Albert's Shed is at 20 Castle Street, Castlefield, Manchester. Tel. 0161 8399818 for reservations.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Cocktails for The Christie at the Pitcher & Piano

Well, obviously I'm not normally one to quaff cocktails and consume vast quantities of horrifically calorific party food, but when it's for charity then it's another matter entirely.

The Pitcher & Piano in Didsbury is putting on a cherridee do this coming Friday 17th July, and a very good one it looks too. The entire £20 cost of your ticket will go straight to the marvellous Christie Hospital, leaving you with a warm glow inside and an entirely valid reason for a night out.

The cost of the ticket includes a welcome cocktail on arrival (as Pimms seems to be involved somewhere along the line and is displayed prominently on the advertising posters, then this might be a hint as to the contents of said cocktail) as well as three more drinks from the bar (which at P & P prices, lets face it, almost covers the cost of the ticket) and canapes, which the helpful barmaid assured me would be "substantial".

There will also be music provided by Scott Wright (he of Corrie and the very yellow hair) - promising reworkings of "classic" songs such as Britney's Hit Me Baby One More Time (ensure you have had your three drinks by this point).

I will be there; get your tickets by calling into the P & P or by calling 0161 4489326.