This week: Socially distant Santa, smokin’ boxes and a very spendy hamper

The Confidentials’ team have been busy preparing for Christmas. Yes, Manchester may be stuck in Tier three with restaurants and bars only offering takeaway. And that means we’ve not been able to have our usual office Christmas parties – but at least we can look Craig from accounts in the eye next year. Instead, we’ve all had to find that festive feeling a bit closer to home. 

Thanks goodness there are so many wonderful delivery options – we’ve been stocking up on fantastic cocktails from our favourite bars, stuffing ourselves full of hampers from our favourite restaurants and buying gifts from our favourite online stores. There are also plenty of things to see and do – in a socially distanced way of course.

Here are latest food things, drink things and things to do.

2020 12 11 Seven Bro7Hers T Shirt Merch

Buying for your Bro7hers

If you’ve got beer on your t-shirt, that’s usually a bad thing but it doesn’t have to be. Salford based Seven Bro7hers brewery have got the merch to match the menu with a range of unisex items in their online shop. You’ll find Seven Bro7thers branded sweatshirts, t-shirts, bobble hats and more  - making the ideal gift for the beer lover in your life. What’s more, if you order today (Friday 11th) they’re having a flash sale, offering 15% off. Head to the webshop and use code: MERCH15 at the checkout (excludes glassware.)

2020 12 11 Peace Joy Hamper The Lowry

Lotta Lowry Luxury

The 5-star Lowry Hotel has put the golden cherry on top of the Xmas cake with a luxurious hamper that comes with a £12.5K price tag.

Lucky recipients of the new ‘Peace, Joy & The Lowry’ luxury hamper can enjoy two nights in the Charles Forte Presidential Suite (normally £4000 a night), a 24-hr personal butler for the duration, a bespoke in-room dining experience from the River Restaurant, two spa treatments and Chef's Choice dinner for two with Champagne. 

The hamper also includes a bottle of Champagne, a bottle of Remy Martin Louis XIII, two bottles of Lowry Gin, Lowry Blend Tea, flavoured macarons, chocolate truffles, slippers, a Lowry bear, Lowry honey and an array of spa gifts. The package also includes Christmas Day @ HOME – The Lowry Hotel’s 5-star cook at home Christmas lunch kit with 80% of the prep done for you and ready to go.

To view all The Lowry’s hampers (which start at a more modest £30) click here.

2019 03 27 Sparrows Kasia And Franco

A little bird told us....

Kasia, Franco and the team at the wonderful spätzle restaurant The Sparrows are putting on a pop-up shopping experience this weekend at no 16 Red Bank, Green Quarter, M4 4HF. Join them from 11am-5pm this Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th for tasty treats and beautiful trinkets, all available under one roof.  You’ll find all kinds of gift ideas and stocking fillers including handmade jewellery, Kasia’s pick of the best central European, natural wines and Japanese Sake, hand made cakes and truffle chocolates, small batch bespoke spirits, colourful homeware, Franco’s fresh focaccia, cheese, speck and pickles and Issa Japanese Tea. You can also pick up gift vouchers for when The Sparrows opens again.

2020 12 11 Stamford Quarter Santa

Stamford Square Santa

Bruntwood Works’, The Stamford Quarter, has teamed up with Altrincham Rotary for a COVID-safe Santa Claus experience in Stamford Square on Sat 12th, Fri 18th, Sat 19th and Sunday 20th Dec, 11am - 3pm. Santa will be housed in a specially designed Festive Grotto in the old Cheese Peddlers unit, positioned behind floor to ceiling glass. Kids will get a great view of the man himself, photo opportunities (for a small donation to the Rotary Club) and Santa even has his own set of flashcard signs to communicate with kids because this extraordinary year means he isn’t able to chat with children in the usual way.  

All outdoors, it’s a COVID-safe Santa experience designed to bring some of the magic of Christmas to the town centre after a challenging year. There’s also the special addition of a Letters To Santa post box and all the Stamford Quarter’s shops are open for business for Christmas shoppers, plus there’ll be takeaway food and drink from Stutter and Twitch and Little Dessert Shop.  

2020 12 11 Lovingly Artisan Breakfast Bread Box

We’re jammin’

Lovingly Artisan Bakery, who have a stall at Altrincham Market, have launched the ultimate breakfast collaboration with artisan condiment makers Hawkshead Relish.

The two companies have joined forces to create the ultimate breakfast box pairing. This rather special box contains a Lovingly Artisan Wholemeal & Scalded Bran sourdough loaf, a Spiced Apple sourdough loaf and a Five-Grain Rye sourdough loaf all accompanied by a pot of Hawkshead Relish’s handmade rich raspberry and vanilla jam. The trio of breads with their delicious accompaniment can be ordered direct to your door through Lovingly Artisan’s virtual bakery store

2020 12 10 Mediacityuk Box On The Docks Nick Chaffe

A piazza art

Running from 10am-5pm on Sat 12th and Sun 13th Dec at MediaCityUK, for one weekend only, ‘Box on the Docks: Unwrapped’ and the Makers Market will give visitors the chance to shop local as well as meet the artists and browse through their collections of original artworks, paintings, jewellery and ceramics in their respective pods. 

Visitors can explore the MediaCityUK gardens and piazza, which has been transformed into a twinkling wonderland, featuring the magnificent digital Christmas tree, the insta-worthy shimmer wall and the newly created, enchanting Elf and Fairy garden.

Salford Food Bank Giftbox, designed by Carbon Creative, is also in situ to receive items such as coffee, jarred sauces and boil in a bag rice or pasta to support local families in need.

There is plenty of space to social distance and still soak up the atmosphere while enjoying the waterside views. Box on the Docks will be operating to a strict maximum capacity and asks all visitors to keep 2m apart. 

Five Guys 2


Popular burger franchise Five Guys is opening a new restaurant in Parrs Woods, East Didsbury on Monday 14th December.

Five Guys was established in 1986 by the Murrell family in Virginia and launched in the UK in 2013, with the first branch opening in London’s Covent Garden. Five Guys prides itself on using the freshest ingredients, and customers can even find out which local farm the potatoes have come from by checking out the restaurant’s notice board. Burgers are grilled to order, whilst the fries are hand cut every morning. Apparently there are 250,000 possible combinations to order your Five Guys burger as well as over 1,000 possible ways to customise your milkshake. 

2020 12 11 Thyme Out Christmas Prepped

Taking Thyme Out for Christmas

Following the success of chef Ben Hayes Dough Re Me Neapolitan Pizza kits, which launched during the first lockdown, he has now developed a decadent restaurant quality Christmas Prepped at Home meal with the Thyme Out team, to save all the hassle of cooking Christmas Dinner.

The three course experience begins with spiced parsnip soup, followed by roast turkey or beetroot and lentil Wellington with all the trimmings, all rounded off with a traditional homemade Xmas Pudding with brandy butter.

You can order your festive feast (£30 per person) up until the 18th December and add a mini bottle of Prosecco for £5. Meals will be ready for collection on 23rd and 24th December.  (10% Discount for NHS staff) or chilled postage will cost £9.95 for deliveries nationwide. 

For more info or to place your order visit

2020 12 11 Hickorys At Home Festive Bbq Box

Smokin’ Virtual Office Party 

The team behind Chester-based Hickory’s Smokehouse, who are to open a branch in Wilmslow in 2021, have added some Southern style to with their new range of corporate delivery boxes.

‘If you can’t meet together– then why not eat together’, say Hickory’s who are offering companies a choice of three boxes packed full of some of their most iconic smokehouse classics. The classic BBQ Box (£50) comes with 12 chicken wings, a branded wing shaker, half a rack of Memphis ribs, classic Mac ‘n’ Cheese, BBQ pulled pork, house slaw, corn on the cob and four cans of Hickory’s Pale Ale. 

The Festive BBQ Box (£75) brings all the flavours of the holidays with smoked turkey in maple butter, wings, ribs, pulled pork a host of sides all topped off with Hickory’s famous Egg Nog. If you want to go all out, the Ultimate BBQ Box (£125) is packed with authentic smokehouse classics and also includes a bottle of Game Changer Cocktail, 4 cans of Hickory’s Pale Ale, two bottles of their iconic grape soda plus a family size sticky toffee pudding.

All boxes come with personalised, handwritten cards plus bibs so you don’t get messy and even a link to a special Hickory’s playlist so your virtual bash really brings the smokehouse to your house. The BBQ boxes can be delivered nationwide and you can select the delivery date so everyone can receive it on the same day. To find out more about the range or to place an order contact

Tampopo Comp Image

Cooking good 2021

Tampopo founder David Fox is launching a series of (socially distant) cookery classes at their Trafford Centre restaurant next year. Learn how to make Vietnamese summer rolls, corn fritters and pad Thai; three show-stopping East Asian dishes from Tampopo’s current best-sellers alongside some back-catalogue classics.

This cooking class is as close as you can get to learning East Asian cooking from its originators without catching a flight. Each Tampopo Cookery School session costs £65 and includes a welcome drink, lunch and all the equipment and ingredients you need. (Over 16s only). 

Click here to see available dates, more info and to book