There’s so much to do in Manchester these days. So many different experiences and fun outings for friends and families to enjoy. But did you know that Manchester is in fact home to the first IMAX Virtual Reality gaming centre in the whole of Europe. Not just the UK, but Europe!?!

Technology in gaming is advancing at a crazy rate, and VR centres are popping up all over the place. My sister and G recently went to a VR cinema when they were in Amsterdam and although it wasn’t as interactive as they expected, they enjoyed the experience.

After scoffing a home cooked meal, the four of us ventured over to the Trafford Centre to enjoy an evening exploring another world, another dimension in fact. I talk about and visit the Trafford Centre quite a bit, but that’s because they really do know how to have fun. Shopping is something I am not at all a fan of, but this isn’t just a centre to buy things, it’s a great place to be entertained. And now, up by the Odeon cinema, sits the brand new IMAX VR.

 

 

It might not look like much, looks like a pop up in fact, but there is no need for fancy frills when what you’re paying for is not real.

Think of this as a cross between a cinema and an arcade, where you are well and truly in the driving seat. There are currently 8 VR games on offer, across 10 pods. We didn’t try them all, but between us we tried enough to get a feel for the different scenarios. Adam walked us through and explained the game concepts and how they worked, the whole team there are great at gauging which games suit what you’re after. Some experiences are seated, some are standing and fully immersive.

 

 

After our grand tour and a quick watch of the safety video, it was time to get stuck in. Bit unsure myself, I decided the boys could be the first guinea pigs and we sent them on a space flight.

 

 

I knew VR would be an experience we would all enjoy, but I did not anticipate how enjoyable watching someone play VR would be. My sis and I were in hysterics as we watched the boys shoot off into space and explore the zero gravity world around them. It was laughs throughout actually, as even if one person is immersing themselves in a game, there are screens where you as a bystander can follow what they’re doing, while watching them act crazy in the real world. There were so many hilarious moments, I feel I need to apologise for the lack of decent imagery. I was swept up in wanting to go virtual I kind of ignored everything else. Luckily I recorded some video footage whilst we played, I look forward to sharing that later.

Between us, we tried the following:

 

Space Flight: Orbital Emergency

This is pretty much what it says on the tin. No real gaming involved here, this one is purely a VR experience, a great place to start if this is all new to you. Sit down, strap in and enjoy the trip away from Earth. You’ll love the view!

 

Justice League

Ever wanted to experience life as a superhero? well now you can. I took it upon myself to test out this mammoth responsibility. I started out as Wonder Woman, took me a few minutes to adjust but once I got my bearings those parademons didn’t stand a chance. I also tried to be Flash, but that didn’t go so well. You want a tip? Don’t skip the tutorial, it could be the difference between running like Flash or continually crashing into lorries and trains.

The boys tried life as Batman and Superman, there was a lot of competition in this part of the VR world… lets just say the topic of high scores caused some fun dramas 🙂

 

Star Wars: Droid repair bay

There you are far away in the galaxy. You are tasked with repairing Poe Damerons’s BB8 and his droid friends. Do I need to say more?

 

Star Wars: Trials on Tatooine

Ok if I told you spending time with BB8 and his pals was enough I was wrong. Because when you suit up and head over to Tatooine you get more. You get to feel the FORCE. Ok not the force, but it’s pretty close. Here you can fire up a light sabre and use it to defend yourself against storm troopers. Once again, do I need to say more?!?

 

 

Archangel

Want to shoot and experience life as a transformer? Well then this is a game to try. Four of you can play at once, you’re not all playing together but you can actually see each other within the game, it’s quite bizarre. This is a game that involves tactics, there’s a fair bit of shooting and some serious explosions. Amongst the group, it was one of the favourites.

 

Eagle Flight multiplayer

We ended with this game and what a game to end with! So the best thing about Eagle flight is all four of us could play together. Teams of two, against each other. It is pretty epic. I must admit I was pretty rubbish at it, I thought the game was like quidditch, but it’s actually probably more like capture the flag. You embody the form of an eagle soaring over the streets of Paris protecting your territory. I’ve mentioned many a time that I have an issue with flights, so this experience was absolutely liberating. It was bizarre being able to face my fears, knowing I still had my feet firmly on the ground.

We all thrived on this game, being able to see and compete against each other really took this whole VR evening to another level. We soared, we dived, we crashed… the flying was so realistic I actually left that evening with a bit of motion sickness. I need to point out – it was totally worth it.

 

So, the question is, is it worth it?

When I first looked at the pricing, pretty much paying a pound a minute for some games, I thought it seemed a bit steep. After experiencing it though, I wouldn’t think twice.

VR is becoming ever more popular these days, Samsung offer out headsets with their phones, consoles offer home kits and companies even use them as selling tools. But the quality varies substantially. There’s the kind of VR where you are stationery in a moment exploring a set, following a pattern or there are adventures like this IMAX VR where you are completely immersed within a fantasy.

 

 

Seven minutes does not sound like a long time at all, but the seven minutes of game time once I had embodied Wonder Woman, felt long enough for me to actually feel exhausted from a full combat experience. As Adam helped me kit up ready for the game the image of myself looking strange connected to a bunch of wires immediately vanished the moment I put on the head gear and a new world appeared around me. ALL around me. My brain actually adjusted to being in that game, and no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t envisage what I might look like from the outside.

There’s so much talk these days about not getting out enough, not enjoying the fresh air, kids being stuck inside glued to screens all day… hey I’m one hundred percent one of those people who don’t like to encourage too much screen time. But that doesn’t mean I’m totally against it, and that we still can’t enjoy entertainment such as this. In fact, after a robot inspired day at MOSI I remember reading an article by Marc Palaus, a neuroscientist at Spains Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, where he had investigated whether games changed the brain. Some of their research proved that video games actually contributed to the correct functioning of our brain and in some cases can even improve it.

So maybe it’s time we all get rid of our prejudices on video games and gamers and accept them for what they are: a truly great source of entertainment.

 

 

*** Huge thanks to IMAX VR at the Odeon and of course Adam, Cam, John and Connor for looking after us that evening. The passion and enthusiasm you showed really added to our experience and you can guarantee this won’t be the last you see of us, we’ve got some high scores to beat ???? ***

 

Follow:

 

If you follow me on social media you’re probably wondering what my recent obsession with intu Trafford Centre is all about. Well as you are well aware, these fasts are loooong and they have been for a few years now. Energy levels are low and sometimes you just need everything to be right there in front of you.

Enter intu Trafford Centre.

Wide variety of shops, restaurants, homeware and entertainment all under one roof with free parking and fab interiors thrown in. Oh and its a ten minute drive from home. So basically, it happens to be mine and Mo’s hangout if we don’t fancy the rain and parking rates in the city.

I’ve always been a big fan of the centre – even though I hate shopping! I like all the really unusual things about it, like a) its always super clean, b) the staff are always really nice and c) I love the palm trees, they’re huge!!

As a foodie, there’s plenty to eat (that deserves attention some other time) but right now I thought I’d share my yearly trip on the hunt for Eid things. I figured on the run up to Christmas when everyone’s advertising all their amazing gift sets I always do a post of my favourites, so why have I not done one for Eid???

Ok so lets be honest, it’s a bit late for most online shops right now and if you’re like me you work much better under pressure. So I thought I’d share a few of my favourite finds if you’re looking for an extra special Eid gift:

 

1. Notebooks and Quote card sets from Kikki K

 

 

Most bloggers I know love notebooks. Combine said product with inspirational quotes and boom you’ve found the perfect gift. Kikki K is a brand I was introduced to by a friend a couple of years ago and I’ve visited their store in Covent Garden when I can to stock up on supplies. One of my favourite products of theirs are the quote cards, I keep one on my desk at all times to brighten up my day. Now to my joy there is a Kikki K concession in Selfridges and the new stuff is fab! Anything from this range would make a good gift for any writer, planner, traveller or blogger (basically me).

prices start from £12.00 for the quote cards 
Kikki K is concession in Selfridges

 

2. White & Light H-Box from Hotel Chocolat

 

 

I know. This is a bizarre one to throw in and it’s not travel related. AND I don’t even really like chocolate – BUT I love the white chocolate box from Hotel Chocolat. Even though we were fasting, we like to waft temptation in front of ourselves every so often. So we walked in to look for Mo’s favourite treat box (I owed him one for turning up late). Sales assistant Max, showed us the amazing Eid sleeves. Loved them! And the store have created a whole section specifically for Eid – where all the chocolates advertised were vegetarian friendly and no traces of alcohol. Very impressed!!! And what a great gift!!!!

Prices start from £12.50 for White & Light box pictured above
Eid Mubarak sleeve is complimentary

 

3. Countdown to Eid Calendar from the Body Shop

 

 

Now I’m no beauty blogger, but I’m always on the lookout for products which are good to the environment and animal testing free. Oh and ones that are a bargain. So this here is my top beauty product tip (brace yourselves you won’t get many of these from me). Not only does the countdown to Eid calendar look AMAZING but it’s incredibly good value too! There’s a wide collection of products tucked behind the doors, including some of my favourites such as black musk body lotion and mango lip butter. And for all of us regular travellers, none of the bottles are larger than 100ml, perfect for packing away whatever your baggage restriction may be.

Eid calendar is £80, (contents inside worth £155!)
Other gift sets are also available

 

4. Greyfriars Garden Backpack from Radley

 

 

All the backpacks I usually travel with are more outdoor type ones. I’ve always wanted to find myself a good looking equivalent that isn’t too small or too big, but one that would make a good handbag replacement for a city break. This one by Radley, Greyfriars Garden backpack, is simple, great size, comfortable to wear and a zip to secure. Not only are there pockets inside, but there’s also a secret little back pocket for those important bits you need to keep extra safe. Radley are also doing a personalisation offer at the moment where you can personalise a tag to go with it.

Greyfriars Garden Backpack £199
Tag personalisation is free for orders over £75

 

5. Personalised Perfume from Selfridges

 

 

With Mo being a perfume buff, no occasion is usually complete without a perfume purchase. So of course we were drawn into the Selfridges perfume counter whilst we were there. Mo has a great nose for smells and I asked him to pick out a few of his favourite Eid fragrances. He went straight to the Dior range to show me Oud Ispahan, a woody oriental style fragrance. He also recommended a number of bottles from the Francis Kurkdjian range. Amyris is one that he has his eye on, another one with woody undertones but with quite a light feel. Pop by and give them a smell! Added bonus, if you buy any perfume from the store you can take advantage of the free engraving too.

Oud Ispahan by Dior £200 for 125ml
Francis Kurkdjian Amyris £130 for 75ml
Fragrance bottle engraving complimentary when you purchase a perfume

 

6. Garment Cases from Muji

 

 

Ok this last ones more of a practical gift, but it’s so necessary! At the start of the year I trialled out the world of packing cubes and frankly I will never look back. They are amazing!!! They keep everything organised, make it easy to find what you need, lightweight and just, well necessary. I don’t know how I ever coped without them?? These ones from Muji are even more amazing as they fold up into little packets so you can store them away when you don’t need them. Muji is a really great stop for travel essentials, from suitcases to travel bottles, they’ve got everything you can think of.

Small, Medium and Large sizes available, in a variety of colours
Prices start at £5.95

 

And if all else fails…

Gift Card!! And of course this year they’ve created an amazing new Eid Mubarak sleeve with artwork from the talented contemporary Islamic artist, Siddiqa Juma:

 

 

(Thank you to the lovely Nicola in customer services for showing it off 🙂 )

 

There’s so much more available, but these were my favourite finds.  Of course traditionally it’s nice to wear something new on Eid and intu Trafford Centre is by no means short of clothing shops! Let me know what you find or where you like to go for Eid… Not long to go now!

Click here to access the full intu Trafford Centre Eid guide

 

 

Follow:

share your ideal iftar win with intu trafford centre

 

Thought I’d start by saying Ramadhan Mubarak again as we have now officially entered this holy month 🙂

This post today is all about iftar.

Let’s be brutally honest, yes we are all excited for this truly blessed time of year but when it’s the first few days and it’s hot and stuffy like it has been, the most exciting thing on our minds right now is definitely DINNER TIME.

 

What exactly is Iftar?

If you’ve heard of it and ever wondered what it means, its an Arabic word that translates into ‘break a fast.’ So technically our morning breakfast is in fact a daily iftar, as we are breaking fast from not eating over night.

In Ramadan, iftar comes at the moment of dusk, when the sun goes down and Muslims can finally eat after a long day of fasting. Like I mentioned in my last post, Ramadhan is a time to spend time with family and loved-ones and iftar is usually the one moment in a day where everyone can get together, regardless of whats going on in each others lives.

 

What do we do at Iftar time?

Well everyone tends to have their own traditions, their own routine.

My ideal iftar is definitely when we make the trip over to our mothers, who always go the extra mile and make incredible feasts!

 

iftar meal at mums

sneak preview from last night at mums 🙂

 

In the UK, group iftars have become increasingly more popular over recent years. Friends and families get together and each attending couple or family brings a dish and everybody shares what have been the labours of love that day.

In Egypt, people traditionally break their fasts with a dish that is very close to my heart, foul (pronounced fool) medames. It’s a hearty dish made with medames beans eaten with a wholemeal flat bread and its AMAZING!!! (I ate it every day when we were in Abu Dhabi and never got sick of it).

 

 

Iranians traditionally break their fasts with a sweet tea, cheese and walnut sandwiches. Other special foods eaten during the month are firni, which is a type of sweet rice in milk, as well as vegetable soups and a variety of rice dishes.

In East Africa (which is where Mo’s family are from) iftar consists of a mixture of Indian and African dishes, like samosas, bhajis, coconut and corn curries – it really is a melting pot of flavours and cuisines.

Moroccans break their fasts with Harira a hearty North African soup (my dads favourite) and also a selection of fried pastries filled with cheeses, spinach and mince.

I love this article from the Huffington Post which shows a series of beautiful images of iftar meals from around the world, I only wish there were more photos!

 

 

iftars from around the world

Images by the Associated Press, from Huffington Post, link in article

 

The one thing all iftars have in common, regardless of geographical location is that people tend to come together.

 

What would you eat?

Earlier this week, my mum pestered us to tell her what we fancied eating for our very first iftari of 2017.

I had NO idea.

When you’ve not had a crumb of food all day deciding what to eat is hard.

What would you choose?

This year, I’ve decided to explore the idea of finding my ideal iftar. So I’m looking to you for help…

Inspired by the images from iftars around the world, I’ve teamed up with intu Trafford Centre and for the first time in a long time I am giving you the chance to win something. Not just something, a chance to win a £100 intu Trafford Centre GIFT CARD

(a hundred quid!?!).

Share your ideal iftar on twitter or instagram using the hashtag #idealiftar and you could be in with a chance of winning the perfect pre-Eid gift.

It could be at home with friends, with family, just you perhaps. It could be out and about at your favourite restaurant or Ramadhan event… the choices are endless. Whether your Muslim or not I’d like to see what meal you would choose to break your fast with.

So…

What’s going to be your ideal iftar?

 

whats your ideal iftar? #idealiftar

 

 

*** Terms & Conditions ***

  • You can share as many or as little entries as you want!
  • Entries must include the hashtag #idealiftar 
  • Last day for entry is 22nd June, Winner to be announced 12:00pm 23rd June.
  • Winner will be contacted by twitter/instagram direct message
  • There is no entry fee and no purchase necessary to enter this competition.
  • The prize is as stated and no cash or other alternatives will be offered.
  • By entering this competition participants consent to their full names being available by request from jetsetchick.com
  • By submitting photographs under the #idealiftar hashtag participants consent to their photograph being used on jetsetchick.com
  • Entry to this competition confirms that participants have read, understood and agree to be bound by these Terms and Conditions

 

Follow: