A few months ago, I booked tickets to an Imagine Dragons gig in Manchester for me and my boyfriend, as his anniversary present, and this week, it finally came around! Our time together started on the 12th, our actual anniversary, where we had a night in binge-watching my favourite TV programs: American Horror Story: Hotel, Scream Queens, The Last Kingdom and First Dates. It was then that he presented me with my present, a beautiful Pandora ring. He knows how I like my Pandora jewellery! He did well in his choosing; not only is it silver to go with my despairingly pale skin tone, but there are also no stones that could be lost whilst pot-washing at work (my other ring is still missing one). Not only that, but somehow he managed to find me an anniversary card - all the ones I could find were addressed to husbands or wives! - and it even had a cute frog on the front that looks like my favourite emoji (what else can a girl ask for?). I did, however, buy him "champagne with a twist" - the twist being the champagne bottle is made out of chocolate. He didn't seem too disappointed.
On the morning of the 13th, we prepared ourselves for the journey to Manchester. It involved a bus to the train station, a train to Manchester (booked on the really handy Trainline app), a tram to Victoria, and a short walk to the hotel to be checked in by 3pm. We had an entirely stress-free journey. Everything is well sign-posted in Manchester and the transport links are so good! Failing that, there was always Google maps. We checked in to the hotel, Park Inn by Radisson, just after three, and were directed to our room quickly and efficiently. I'm glad I found the vacancy on booking.com!
They received my request for a double bed (thank God), but what we got completely exceeded my expectation. It was more like a King-size! Dec collapsed on it straight away, a happy bunny, while I marvelled that I even had my own kettle and everything needed to make tea (I don't stay in hotels often haha). We also enjoyed free wifi, and a massive high quality TV. After a quick shower and getting dolled up, our minds then turned to dinner, or tea, as I call it. He made a spontaneous reservation at Prezzo as we had both never been, and I especially enjoy Italian food. It turned out to be about 5 minutes away. We arrived just before our reservation at 5, and were served within 10 minutes! I had lasagne and garlic bread which was absolutely gorgeous, and Dec seemed to enjoy his carbonara. I'm inserting a picture here to give you some indication of how beautiful the interior was:
|For those of you wondering, Dec sadly failed his carbonara mission.|
I had the best wine I have ever tasted, Pinot Grigio Blush, and Dec let me try his Aspall's cider (one more thing to recommend to the customers at work!) - they even made that look posh! I really enjoyed it there. I think it comes second only to Bella Italia.
After filling our bellies we made our way to Manchester Arena for the main event. We got there for the doors at six thanks to the quick service at Prezzo, and ordered a few drinks to take to our seats. Good thing we did because Imagine didn't come on until 8.45! Obviously, the (surprisingly good) supporting act, Sunset Sons entertained everyone inbetween, but the intermissions were long. Needless to say though, they were worth the wait. I hadn't enjoyed the Smoke and Mirrors album as much as Night Visions, but hearing the songs live completely changed my opinion (strange how gigs can do that to you). Unfortunately they didn't play Friction, my favourite, but they did play all of Dec's favourites like Radioactive and Demons. I particularly enjoyed their performance of I'm So Sorry and The Fall almost brought me to tears!
|The arena lit up for the emotional numbers|
Sadly, during the gig, my sore throat that I have been suffering from for about a week became severely painful again, and I found it really hard to sleep when we got back to the hotel because of it. Luckily, we had requested breakfast previously, which came with chilled orange juice to help soothe my throat in the morning. We were up well before check-out at 12, so we relaxed watching TV in the room, and it was only after checking our phones that we heard about the previous night's terror attacks in Paris - those poor people. Kind of makes you feel guilty for having such a good night. Our train home wasn't scheduled 'til just before 2, so we decided to wander around the city centre for a while, and were glad we did because we didn't realise the Christmas market would be on! I wanted to buy everything. It was such a good end to the trip - I only wish I'd taken my umbrella!
The journey home was just as easy as the journey there, if a little bit (okay, a lot) more rainy. Dec relaxed with his PlayStation magazine on the train, and I had a good hour and a half to get stuck into The Picture of Dorian Gray. I won't lie, it wasn't a cheap trip; the hotel booking and train tickets alone mounted up to almost £200, but sometimes it's great just to get away from where you're from and enjoy somewhere new. I am so glad it was worth the money. Best anniversary ever!