Bike porn of the day

It’s been a while since I spotted something bikey that made me go Mmmmmm but there it is!

Mike Joos created a wonderful imaginary “Superheroes on bike” collection of illustrations!
Absolutely delightful. More here!

Autumnal R-evolution!

The summer is now OFFICIALLY over  (last day was the 21st of September) leaving place  to the season de rigueur! Autumn!

Monday – After a last fell of summer in a quick visit last week back to mon pays to top up my Frenchness and my sun intake, I am ready to throw myself into the new season. A quick visit to Valras Plage  was a nice way to end it Mediterranean stylee!


Tuesday – Quick glimpse of the city of Carcassonne from the motorway then back to Manchester where surprisingly the sun was shining too. It was a beautiful afternoon in the city! We luckily got back just on time (3.55pm) for a Trof breakfast! Yumm!

Wednesday – Day ended by the interesting talk by Richard Dawkins held at the Royal Northern College of Music. The talk was mainly promoting his new book: The Greatest Show on Earth but some of the Q&A were quite pertinent in some cases. The evening was consecrated to evolution, the subject of his new book.

According to Prof. Dawkins, “it is biologically advantageous to be deluded”… Well let’s all be deluded together and embrace positivism to increase our chance of a favorable natural selection! I’m in! Positivism all the way! Forget about disaster theories and the planet’s destruction!

Thursday – The 2009 edition of Buy Art Fair at Urbis! Busy, busy, busy! A good crowd, good mix of peeps, art works for every tastes and a friendly atmosphere offered by the curators and galleries staff! I did really enjoyed this year’s addition of the Contemporary Artist Feature on the top floor!

FridayCritical Mass bike ride as every last Friday of the month (next one 30/10)! My first one and probably not the last! I had a smile stuck to my face the whole time! What a lovely experience that was! After a 30min mingling and entertainment session outside The Central Library provided by the girls of I Bike Mcr we took to the street! Around the town hall, on Princess St and straight to Rusholmes on Oxford Rd! There must have been at least 100 cyclists in the convoy. A great friendly mass! The music, the smiles and the little cling cling cling of the bike bells were welcomed and supported along the journey. We all ended in a little car park behind Sand Bar for some drinks and a general catch up with fellow cyclists! I stayed shortly then made my way to Simple to devore a burger – my faves in the Northern Quarter!



SaturdayNantwich. A gorgeous town and as I just learned who contains over a hundred listed buildings, with the largest collection of historic buildings outside Chester in the county! (From Wikipedia) Not bad! After an early arrival – 9.30am – and a hearty breakfast in one of the numerous cafés, we headed to the Food Festival’s market to check out the offer! Real ales, English wines, cheeses, cakes, meats, fresh products… Yummy! I could have stayed there all day sampling and chatting to the producers but the call of duty brought me back to reality. I had to get myself and SR into a taxi to Rookery Hall for an afternoon of relaxation and indulgence! What a mission… You can imagine my distress! But putting a brave face on off we went! Grand arrival to the Hall. Really nice building and park surrounding it! The receptionist of the hotel pointed out towards our Spa retreat and off we went to work hard at relaxing!

First impressions? Very good!  A brand new spa (well, 2 1/2 years old actually) containing exquisite facilities – pool, jacuzzi, steam room, sauna, relaxation room, and an decent list of treatments! With a friendly reception and helpful staff (I’d forgotten the voucher and they kindly helped with everything!).

So after a massage in one of the private rooms and 3h of total relaxation – where the only decisions were whether to go in the pool, the sauna or the jacuzzi… – we headed off back to the main building to enjoy a divine afternoon tea in one of the tea (??) room overlooking the estate and the green Cheshire countryside! What a treat! A cake tier full of treats and deliciousness! Oh I was in paradise! I think this was one of the most delightfully English experience of life!




To add to my pleasure, there was a wedding taking place outdoor so we took advantage of the solo harpist playing- even if the repertoire was certainly not my cup of tea – pun intended… (Lionel Ritchie… I guess it’s what you’d expect at a wedding). We left relaxed and happy and ready to brave the Mancunian circus that takes place every weekend around Piccadilly Approach and Piccadilly Gardens! Quick visit to A place called Common to finish the day nicely!

Sunday – I fullfilled my cultural duty by visiting the Ann Frank[+You] exhibition at Manchester Cathedral (ending today) based on Ann Frank Diary with a reconstitution of her bedroom, linked racism in modern day and how it is experienced and perceived. Interesting! Then off to the beautiful John Rylands Library for a couple of exhibitions:

The week ended at Band on the Wall for the brilliant The Bays! What a great gig! Very good atmosphere, great uplifting music that got me dancing the whole time! Yes, I caught up on the partyness that didn’t happen all weekend! Well worth it! I spotted a few fellow clubbers from various Mancunian establishment there too – Warehouse Project, Tangled, Sankeys, Socio Rehad! Shhhhhh… 😉




Hummmm, what a really good week!

This one has started off well too. I’m now on my 3rd round of “Come dine at mine”!

Staying in is the new going out!

I am in a few rounds of “Dine at mine” and the concept is taking over more and more takers!

Two Fridays ago saw the succesful beginning of “wine and cheese party” at mine with the ladies in my life! Food, drinks, dancing and hats! A winning combo in my opinion!




Autumn and the less than clement weather can be a brake to going out so mini social gatherings taking place everywhere as great social life enhancers – more intimate, friendly and completely customisable to every one needs since it’s at home – the fun is endless, only limit is your imagination! 

  • Cake making parties
  • Craft parties
  • Cheese and wine evenings
  • Fancy dress parties
  • Beach parties (Sankeys might be greatful to find someone capable of recycling the Bahamas’ sand of their washed down Beach!)
  • Human curling parties (requires wooden or sliding floors!)
  • Poker nights
  • Lego parties
  • Food/drinks themed nights…

Anyway, I’m sure you’ll have fun the next few months hosting some fancy parties!

Let me know about your ideas!

Bises Val x

Balearic Mancunia, munch and Francunianniversary…

Last week’s pre weekend weather foresaw the return of the mighty sun, a last glimpse of summer, the (early) Indian summer! I like any bonus time of sun/warm weather! Being a sun junky, an anti Vampire , I expose myself (always protected though) to any ray of light available!

The sun was the perfect excuse to mount my faithful Francunian vehicle and explore Manchester morning happenings before heading off to student central Fallowfield.

So I started off with a walk through Chinatown,  soaking up the lively atmosphere and the smells of freshly baked buns. I then headed off to Manchester Art Gallery to satisfy my curiosity about the Goya exhibition – Fantasies, Follies and Disasters: The Prints of Francisco de Goya. It was much smaller than I anticipated (in gallery 11) and left me hungry for more… I did enjoy the dark humor of the etchings – only emphasised by the darkness of the prints themselves. Worth a look.

My path lead me then to Piccadilly Gardens and the Real Food Market. A delightful ballad for the senses! Everything is stimulating: the colours, the smells, the products and the sounds of the market sellers. I felt like Proust in the Madeleine episode;  involuntarily reminiscing about my childhood when my summer job consisted of selling peaches and melons on markets with my dad in the South of France! That was life! Hummmmm, but to go back to Manchester,  I cannot recommend enough the Real Food Market! The lovely, moist and colourful cup cakes from I love cake, fresh fish, meat, pasties, burgers, fruits, veg… What you’d expect from a food market really!




After a spot of shopping, I departed from the city center to Fallowfield on the claimed busiest bus route in Europe… I cycled up and down this route while living in Fallowfield (7 years) and I can tell you, it is a frightening experience. It feels like an extreme sport – extreme biking! However, the journey was accident proof and the sun made it an enjoyable ride!

My final destination was Trof for a dance and bbq afternoon! The dancey bit was a success but the bbq didn’t happen due to health and safety reason. To be honest it was great the way it was and there was more room for the dancing queens and kings! The music, courtesy of some of Manchester’s popular and emerging nights like ZutekhNaive Melody (I love the website), Disco Outcast, and a few others made the day a success. It was Balearic Manchester from Trof’s roof terrace! Pure enjoyement!



Next few dates:

  • Zutekh                     1st bday 08/10/09 @ Saki Bar  
  • Naive melody       25/9/09 @ Charlies
  • Disco Outcast        26/9/09 @ The Purple Pussycat Lounge

The Saturday evening was spent elegantly (rmmmrmmm…) in Grill on the Alleyfor a 30th birthday celebration. I imagined the food being rushed due to the size of our party but I have to say, I was luckily proved wrong! We all had great pieces of meat (for most of us anyway) including Kobe beef and ostrich steak (for me)!  I really enjoyed and got to try a few of my friends’ dishes too! The only disappointment were the size of the sides… A fist sized dish with literally 4 pieces of brocolli or 3 spoons of mash – cost £ 2.99… A bit of a  joke really… Oh well, when in Rome! I would really go back just to try the Kobe beef – the day I can justify a £50 main – soon, soon!

As for Sunday, well I forgot my own anniversary! The excitement of spending Sunday nurturing a mini hangover in the sun got the best of my memory…

The Francunianniversary! Yes, 13/9/2009 is my 8th year anniversary in Manchester! I cannot believe it really. So much has happened that I wouldn’t know where to start so I won’t! 🙂 I just enjoy being here even more now I can share my non sense! Vive Manchester!

To celebrate French randomness, I found those on the net and thought they were worth a look!

I’d like to start with something I find astonishing! Serge Brunier and Frédéric Tapissier have created a 360-degree panorama of the Milky Way by patching together 1200 photos they took of the night sky in Chile. Beautiful!

Something practical and FREE: A printable  Iphone/Ipod paper dock! Thick paper required though!

Then, something wacky. This French jeweler  creates piece based on photos of buildings… You could literally send him your home and you would get something like this! Not sure I would wear it myself but interesting concept… in a weird way!

New York, bikes and Mancunians

This is with great pleasure that I stumble across this positive article on the NY Times about bikes being (in) fashion!

As a fervent cyclist myself, I am delighted that bikes get the recognition they deserve by the fashionista of NY and probably now the rest of the world, who hopefully will realise that cycling has been THE efficient and environmentally friendly method of transport for a whiiiiiile in many cities – not just new trendy fashion accessories.  Sometimes one wonders… Still the more cyclists the less motorists!

Apparently the 11 most bicycle friendly cities are:

  1. Amsterdam – Netherland The bike capital of the world! Nothing less!
  2. Portland, Oregon – USA
  3. Copenhagen – Denmark
  4. Boulder, Colorado – USA
  5. Davis, California – USA
  6. Sandnes – Norway
  7. Trondheim – Norway
  8. San Francisco, California, USA
  9. Berlin – Germany
  10. Barcelona – Spain
  11. Basel – Switzerland

No full on sporting clothing gear obligatory! I use mine as a way of transport between A and B not a racing tool! Everything goes – high heels, pumps, trainers, boots, flip flops, dresses, skirts – I am a woman with no footwear or clothes discrimination when it comes to getting on my bike!

“An elegant lady or man, on a bike that is elegant, that’s really the new art of living.” Mr Dutreil!

I do like this art of living!

Manchester is also turning to cycling and I do see the increase as a good thing for the city – less traffic (especially on Oxford Rd with more and more students cycling to uni!), less polution and fitter Mancunians!

Get on your bike, there are some great places to get started.

I like the Fallowfield Cycle trail that goes from tatata… Fallowfield to Chorlton! Perfect for little escapades to the Barbakan deli (yummmm), a few drinks or nibbles in one of Chorlton’s numerous establishments or a shop at the organic store The Unicorn!

The Cycle Manchester website offers useful tips, maps and info!

The cycling Manchester website has routes too – not the prettiest of websites to look at but does the job of informing.

I personally like Love your bike because I do love mine, and I bike mcr but also because they are very active in promoting cycling in the city! Cycle Fridays and the monthly evening ride – Critical Mass – the last Friday of every month  @ 6pm from Central Library (next one 25/9).  Girls have their own ride too! Ride like a grrrl every second Wednesdays of the month @ 6.30 from Big Hands! There’s even a Mini Festival starting Monday 5th October! A lot more to be found on the websites!

A little special mention to Ridelow! I live right next to the shop and they have wonderful stuff in there! I had the chance to be shown round the warehouse and the ‘backstage area’ – where the magic happens – during  a random visit and they are all a friendly bunch of passionate people! I like!

A lot more is happening here than meets the eye! Manchester might be starting a revolution so let’s whatch this space!

P.S. A special thank you to my fave bike shop in Manchester GBH Bikes,  R. Stevenson-Legget and Mike Thomas for designing, branding and customising my bikey for my – turning a self sanded vintage French Bike into a Francunian delight! Mwaaaah xxx

The Francunian vehicle

Here it is!

Designed, branded and customised by R. Stevenson-Legget, Mike Thomas, and GBH Bikes manchester!

The new and improved vehicle!

The new and improved vehicle!





Next, T-shirts, mugs, badges, bob hats, and more merchandising! 🙂

The logo!

The logo!