Merry, merry, season to be merry!

Thank you all for your support this year!

I shall come back in 2010 refreshed and inspired!

I wish you all a wonderful holidays! Catch up in the New Year!

The Francunian xx


Blast from the past (few weeks)

Manchester saw the Second Edition of the Illuminated Car Parade!

Here are some shots for your viewing pleasure of this and that!

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The cool Hula Tiki Lounge bar, hidden somewhere on Stevenson’s Sq. Not that obvious but not too hidden me think.

Lovely Place, not too crowded (I went on a Friday night round 11.30pm) so it was a very pleasant surprise compare to all the over bars around!

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Lovely North Pole bar, this year overlooking the Ice rink at Spinningfield! 

Fake open fire, Christmas trees, hot winter warmer cocktails! A perfect way to warm up after a hard day shopping in the Mancunian unfriendly weather!

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Once upon a time in the Moors

Location: Derbyshire – Glossop -  Top of the Snake Pass

 Time: 13.35

Beginning of the adventure imminent.

Dropped off at the top of the hill, we then started the descent!

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The path was pleasant, not too difficult yet wet and windy but we were all pretty well prepared – including nice spiced Naval Rum!

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The first sign (no pun intended) of civilisation!

The first sign (no pun intended) of civilisation!

Howard Town Brewery  was a really lovely treat after 2h downhill in the wet and windy Glossopdale Moors! A local micro brewery at the end of our walk . Only small but perfectly balanced!  The owners explained all about brewing but I was miles away and didn’t quiet took as much in a I should have! I can still check the process on the net! Fear not!

There was 4 beers on the taps althought the websites give 5 seemingly different ones (websites last update seems to be 2007).

From memory, there was the light Longendale, the citrussy award winnning Wren’s Nets, the slightly heavier Snake Peak and a dark one I cannot remember the name off.

All highly enjoyable, even for a non beer drinker like me! Indeed, Ale in Peak condition!

 The visit was then followed by a well deserved pub dinner in the lovely Wheatsheaf! Nothing really spectacular about it. Pretty basic place but lovely, genuine and simple food which is what we all needed! Meat from Mettricks – Famous butcher based in Glossop, Pies with beers from the Howard Brewery, … Nice local products! And I love locally sourced products!

The party celebrated and ended going back to Manchester merrily,  celebrating the festive season!!


La botte du Pere Noel!

December = Christmas.

Point final?

The actual running up to Christmas is far more exciting than Christmas – well, almost!

The X-mas parties, lunches, dinners, drinks, nights out, shopping, all the excess possible with one excuse for answer – It’s Christmas!  What a great excuse! I love it personally. Everything to get me into the festive spirit cannot be that bad,  can it? 

So what to do this December in Manchester?

  • The Christmas Markets

I just cannot ignore to obvious answer – The Christmas/ German Markets. Despite criticism of high prices, I love the markets. The embody the festive fun. Everybody smiles which is great in this grim weather/recession and everybody is merry! 10 points for the markets! Plus mulled wine and sausages make a prefect food for the cold weather! Last year, I must have tried every different type of food and nothing disappointed me. A good pork roast or some strudel! Yummmmm…

  • The ice rink and the North Pole Bar

Spinningfield is again trying really hard to create a fun and festive atmosphere in the sterile environment of the business district. Good on them for doing it! The summer success carries on this winter with fun and frolics. I cannot wait to try being as good as Surya Bonaly (our French Ice skating legend back in the 90′s) on skates! Wizzzzzz… then to warm up, off to the North Pole! Yes, I love traveling far and fast! Shame they only do pizzas this year… last year’s winter warmers dishes were really lovely!

  • Eating and Drinking

So many offers everywhere for the savvy socialites! So treat yourself with 2 4 1 offers and other bargains! I like Pride of Manchester, Manchester Confidential, Spinninfield Yellow Card (need to register but some good offers + it’s free), Piccadilly Loyalty Card (free as well but need to register too).

  • Pantomimes/ Shows

Evil, evil… Bohoooobohoooo! He’s behind you and the rest! Only started my Panto experience last year for the first time! How much fuuuun! I really enjoyed last year’s Peter Pan production so I thought I should book for this year’s too! So me and 5 fellow Panto afficianados are going to see Aladdin on the 11th! I cannot wait! 

There’s also the musical White Christmas at the Lowry (also a great photography exhibition by Simon Annand may I add! Not very Christmassy but really liked it so thought I mentioned it!). 

More stuff on Man Con!

  • Shopping

Oh yes, apparently Manchester has 1272 shops including 75 indie retailers! Not bad! Somehow I always feel that they aren’t enough… More indies please! Visit Manchester micro site for Christmas – See What Manchester’s Made off is a good start for inspiration!

  • Other stuff

This year will be my first ever Chrimbo away from La France so I am really looking forward to a full on traditional Christmas Dinner, maybe some carols, Christmas Houses, Boxing day parties, fine/full on drinking and the usual festive readiness for everything that is fun! I cannot wait!

Allez, allez Santa!


Hibernating? Wake up Christmas is coming!

November rain…

It couldn’t be more true, could it?

Since the end of the British ‘summer’ I have spent most of my weekends catching up on sleep, hence the lack of exciting news. I have seen to be getting into the habit of waking up mid-afternoon only to end up watching Disney’s cartoons on TV. Do dark nights slow everything down? Brain functions, body functions? It seems so.

But we have now entered the exciting road leading to festivities! The annual Holy Grail: Christmas!

I am perking up and the mulled wine and sausages from the Christmas Markets, the crackers and G&T are part of it!

 5 weeks to go!

  • Christmas lights switch-on and the glorious firework display

It seems Manchester had 20,000 visitors for the annual extravagant firework display. It did feel that way, roaming through the thick crowd! The wet day did not deter the numerous visitors taking part in the festive fun! Key 103 sponsoring the event was handing out crowns to all! The evening was animated by Aladin’s cast and Xfactor Alexandra – They were others but being a ‘pseudo celebrity novice’ I did not pay much attention to them. The firework display lasted for almost 15min and was beautiful!

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  • Christmas Market opening day
Grand inauguration!

Grand inauguration!

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Sausagessssssssssss!

 

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  • First Christmas party with the ladies and it is only the beginning. 

More grim busters evenings to follow this Blackpool version!

Provisions!

Provisions!

Christmas party check list : pigs in blankets, dips, things to dip with, wine, spirits, wedges, crackers, party hats, crisps with special seasonal flavours, crispy duck, prawns in filo, chicken satays, cheese, mince pies (which we forgot…). Loveliness on a plate!

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Christmas fun!

  • What next?

Now, left to Try the ice rink again at Spinningfield, try a hot crumble at The North Pole bar , enjoy a Panto at the Opera house (Aladdin), try some winter warmers in one of the numerous eateries… So much to do… Let’s not forget the pressies. Shopping time made easier!

Oh, let’s get carried away by the tinsels and the festive spirit! :-)