Apologies for the delay on posting here... I've been working full time bleurgh... anyhow, I've also written this feature on Partytime UK a new party shop, and all around kids party venue, just next to Marble Beer House in Chorlton. Click here to read online, or see below.
Ruth Allan checks out a new Chorlton kids shop and cafe
Where is it?
53-55 Manchester Road
Tel: 0161 881 2525
Open: Mon to Fri 8.30am-5.30pm, Sat 10am-5.30pm
With a name that sounds like an adult chat line, I wasn’t sure what to expect when Confidential's editor asked me to pop down and review a new shop called Partytime UK in Chorlton. I’d noticed its large silver lettering as I’d driven down past Chorlton Baths several times though, so it was good to have a reason to check it out.
As it turns out, the new venture is not a saucy hotline. Instead, it’s a spacious shop which will sell party stuff when it’s properly open and, just next door, the Mad Hatter’s Café and kids party venue is part of the same business too.
Angela Amponsah is Partytime’s owner, and over a coffee on the café’s terrace, she explained that she was ending a family-raising career break to get back into the party business.
"Not many places do good stuff for kids," she told me, "and my background is in parties – balloons, weddings, planning, organising, you name it. I’m a bit of an expert, and I wanted to get stuck in again."
What does it sell?
The shop was not quite ready to open to the public, but Angela gave me a tour of the goodies that you are going to be able to buy when it launches proper – which should be some time in the next month or so.
As you’ll see from the pictures, the stock is largely professional, party-type stuff: teddy bears, happy birthday candles, wedding favours, and mildly humorous glasses that say rude words on them.
Angela promised that she was going to get more kid-friendly gear in too, along the lines of Mario Brothers and Angelina Ballerina plates, banners and balloons. I got quite excited when I heard this, as I’ve scoured the city for Mario kit to make my young man’s birthday, and have come home empty-handed.
It’s early days, and the café is still a bit of a work in progress too. When running properly, it’ll offer smoothies, coffee, cakes, salads and soups. Some of this is available at the moment, such as the soup, which is, according to Angela, “made by a chef who used to work at Piccolinos", and changes daily. I didn’t try it, although I did try an Americano coffee (humorously weak) and a carrot cake (seriously good).
Why go there?
Hosting a kids party at home is a bit like opening a can of hot Coke in your lounge; there is no predicting where the sticky stuff will land. To avoid cleaning bills, it may be worth booking your next one at Mad Hatters Café.
Parties are available from 5.30pm Mon to Sat, and all day on Sundays. You just have to fork out a minimum of £5.99 per child which covers “healthy food and a cake" according to Angela.
I thought it would be a pleasant place to have a party; decked out in bright, bold colours, Mad Hatters looks like a big, pink cake, an impression which is heightened by the pictures of big, pink cakes on the walls and counters.
The floor space is broken up into a sofa seating area, an outside terrace section and a little boothy bit at the back. With its kid-friendly menu and attitude, it reminded me a little of the café in nearby children’s play centre, Head Over Heels.
Not somewhere to nurse a hangover, perhaps, but a good lunch option if you’re in the north Chorlton vicinity with the family. And, when it’s finally open, the shop looks set to be a good bet for anything party-related too.
A niche venture, showing promise.
Fun extras such as a smoothie cocktail bar, karaoke, clowns, party activity leaders, and anything else that you think will stop them from pulling each other’s hair out are available at extra cost.