Hazard in MCR


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"All the demos I've ever been on II" - Alex Bradley in Peace Garden

On Saturday 17 July, Manchester was filled with random outbreak of fun, preformances, dance, and other happenings.

All spread around the city centre, we decided to venture around a few events and check it out!

Hazard is Manchester’s micro-festival of incidental intervention and sited performance, packed full of chance encounters, random occurrences and risky ventures around and about the city centre.

Here is a very small representationof what was available.

For more info, check the Hazard website although the first video is not brilliant, there’s a better one on this where you can actually get an idea of what the flash mob consisted of!

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"The March of 100 Dorothys" - Eggs Collective

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"Special delivery" Natalie Preece

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"The break up" Out of Hand Theatre

"Crossing Marke St" Jon, gaz n Andy

We also collected smile from the Arndale to the Northern Quarter and the Piccadilly Gardens for the flash mob!

And this is something from the flash mob.

A very fun day!


La Park Life

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Plattfields Park, Ear to the Ground (D Percussion) got commisioned to create a fantastic event! It was Park Life!

Just thought I’d share some pics from a very fun day in Platfields Park!

Simian Mobile Disco

The Garden

The suitcase monster

Silent disco

Chill out Garden

The whole day was great – sunshine, nice people, good acts, brilliant set up!

Got lost and ended up in the Drum&Bass tent where Ronny Size was playing his magic

There was something for everyone – pretty much.

A bit of Friendly Fires

Vitalic in the Electro tent!

Other than the usual queuing annoying bit to go in and for the toilet, it was really well organised and presented! Hope to see it happening again!


Hungry Mancunian

From gorgeous wine to syphon coffee via live music.

48h in sunny Manchester!

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Beautiful post work drink from Hanging Ditch wine shop

Arndale market is fantastic for food. Enjoyed some delicious traditional food from Braziiiiiil!

Probably buzzing with Samba and fantastic carnival like atmosphere during the world cup! Watch this space! I will!

Try the beautiful Kibe (if I got the spelling right)

A spot of culture at the wonderful Manchester Art Gallery, winner of Tourism Experience of the Year 2010 for Angels of Anarchy: Women Artists and Surrealism at Manchester Tourism Awards!

The current exhibition is off fantastic photographer Dorothy Bohm. A beautiful and accessible collection of 60 years of travel and experiences.

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This way!

After this, a visit to Manchester Hungry Pigeon Festival’s free gig outside Piccadilly Garden.

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From M&S - Perfect festival sweets


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"The City of First" some might say!


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Jesus in the Northern Quarter?

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Coffee from Grindsmith!

A wonderful weekend in Manchester.

Another one should I even add!


Chocolate appeal.

I have taken up a little challenge for 2010 – doing more outdoory and sporty stuff and as a way to make it meaningful  I have joined the Shine crowd for a walking marathon in Manchester. Only 3 weeks to go.

You can sponsor me on my fundraising page! I am doing it for Cancer Research UK, a great cause.

Today was spent training – walking half a marathon that took us to Ramsbottom. Yes, 21k from the front door to Ramsbottom town centre. Luckily the sun was out shining!

The idea came about when I heard that Ramsbottom was holding the annual chocolate festival. As a chocolate lover, I ought to go and investigate. Moreover, why not join rambling to treating? 

Rammi

The set up is simple; stalls spread around the lovely centre, each exhibiting their dark and creamy delicacies, music, a few events and a general good mood around. Everybody seems to be getting involved; bars, restaurants, cafes and shops.

We saddly missed the Ferrero Rocher eating competition due a silly mistake of my part forgetting the clock going forward… Ooops.

Luckily we walked fast enough to walk around the stalls and best of all get to have the privilège to be the last ones served for lunch in Ramsons! Gentleman Chris, fantastic reception!

Walking into this lovely, small but perfectly formed restaurant, we had the honour of being treated to the weekly apperitivo: a deliciously flute of bubbly Lambrusco. Fine bubbles tickling our avide palates with a lovely sweet and delicate flavour. Yummy.

We opted for the 3 courses Sunday lunch and my oh my what a treat.

Starting with fantastics amuse-bouche of smoked haddock & salmon roulade with avocado mousseline, lobster and caper & herb cream could not have been more rewarding after our long walk.

Our starters were equally as delicious and flavoursome – Seared shetland scallops with anchovy and chocolate risotto for my hungry partner in food and a beautifully executed fresh Corned veal ravioli with tomato coulis and deep fried sage.

All this washed down with a deliciously, with subtle savoury finish Italian wine – the wine list is made of lips lickingly appealing Italian wines – exclusively. I only wished I could have sampled more.

As mains, we went for meaty and hearty choices although the fish courses seemed just as delicious. 

A melting selection of Cheshire beef steaks served with the best Yorkshire pudding ever tasted and crispy roast potatoes and vegetables. So good I pulled a face of sadness when I ate my last mouthful acording to my food sharing partner who himself had a perfectly cooked roast leg of St Asaph lamb served with potatoe dauphinoise, pumpin puree and redcurrant and mint sauce. Waow!

Those meaty treasures were followed by a pre-dessert. Yes, a mouth watering chocolate tear drop. I.e. a case in the shape of a tear filled with a rich yet airy chocolate mousse. Perfectly presented as the rest of the courses.

Our dessert arrived on beautiful plates – a creamy and rich panna cotta with fragolina grape puree and a steamed jam roly poly with hot and light custard and vanilla ice cream on gibraltar biscuit. All this washed down with a delicate sparkling red desert wine.

I can safely say that this was THE BEST Sunday lunch EVER. 

Anima sana in corpore sano! Food for thoughts.


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!


A few weeks of Mancunian and not so Mancunian evenings…

Oh dear, October is already half way through and I’m so behind my fascinating extravaganza of a life…

So, due to circumstances out of my power (SUPER POOOOOWER) I missed almost completely the Manchester Food and Drink FestiVal…

Well, the first weekend, I was busy making a gorgeous dress (see previous blog), visiting shops and restaurant for  launch parties and throwing in a gig as well as being away the second weekend as I was enjoying the country life style in the Yorkshire Dales.

Here is the proof!

  • Bands on the Wall presents Jazzanova!

What an incredible night!

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  • Mini MFDF visit

Rags to Bitches Cacao Before Chanel!

Successful evening consisting of: gorgeous fashion, people, jewelry, chocolate and cocktails! What an excellent combination!

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I like the side effect of the photo!

 

  • Then from cacao, moving on to Ning’s cooking book launch

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And what a great way to celebrate this than sampling some delicious Malay food freshly prepared by Norman, the head chef!

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Norman and Andy giving us the lowdown on the delicious banquet!

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My small digital camera does not give justice to the colourful and deliciousness of the food prepared by Norman’s talented skills but gives only an idea on how good it was!

We sampled about 10 dishes, all from the new cooking book edited by the passionate chef and partners of Ning! A great idea for Christmas! All ingredients are easy to find and the dished at the reach of every chef hiding in every one of us!

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Yummy fresh dessert made on demand! More, more, more please!

 

After gorgeous food, a bit of countryside appeal!

   

  • Off the the Yorkshire Dales via Rochdale!

Unlikely stop pit yet the incredible Alison Seagrave opened her lovely shop, Macaroon, there about a year ago (take a few months or so). Having a car gave the perfect excuse to stop by before escaping to the country!

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After a bit of a parking stress trying to avoid the police handing out tickets, we could relax and sample the simple offering of soups, open sandwiches and light bites.

I chose a really flavoursome pea and mint soup and my partner in taste a lovely local cheese open sandwich with sweet chutney (a bit over powering) and local cured ham! Yumm! 

We took some sweets for our journey up North consisting of strawberry macaroon and a jammie dodger cup cake! Divine!

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Jammie Dodger cupcake – I am still dreaming about those!

  • Country here we come!

After a couple of hours driving through the gorgeous greeness of the countryside, we reached our destination!

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Not this one though! 

But this one!DSC02205

The Wensleydale Heifer! Apparently, the first boutique hotel in the Yorkshire Dales! It was great! In lovely remote village, surrounded by cows and sheep!

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 But the last thing I was expecting was the amazing food we were served in the restaurant!

Restaurant specialised in seafood and featured in the Times Top 10 seafood restaurant in the UK! Yes!

All fresh seafood from Wales and Scotland! It was a real surprise and an amazing treat for our palates, all washed down with well chosen wine! 

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Seafood platter with oyster and raspberry balsamic vinegar, salmon, gravalax, cured herring, tempura prawns, spring rolls, goat cheese fritter (random in the middle of the seafood but extremely tasty nevertheless!) and a couple more things! A feast for a king! It was delicious!

The mains were equally as amazing!

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Seared tuna steak served with home made chips and tiger prawns

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Seafood Thermidor – apparently my partner in taste’s fave main meal! :-)

After this, there was no more room for dessert which was a shame as they had a gorgeous mini selection of their top6 desserts! Maybe next time! 

  • Themed rooms!

After retiring to the Racing room – yes, every room had a theme. Such as Chocolate, Wensleydale, Whiskey, 4 poster, Cow, and a few others!

Ours was Racing – all based around Horse Racing! It was brilliant! DVD’s, books, magazines, memorabilia, clocks, posters, etc. All with lovely taste! Loved it! It gave me a competitive edge!

  • Studio Salford

During the week, I did a shift for Studio Salford at the King’s Arms! A little gem in Salford! A must visit really! I love it!  

A great offer on theater nights! Check it out. 

  • Warehouse Project

And to finish on a high,  Groove Armada at the Warehouse Project! A brilliant night this sunday just gone! 

A great act live I could not recommend more! I’ve never been a massive fan – enough to appreciate them – but live, they are fantastic!

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Superstyling!

Perfect way to end it – not the last tune of the gig but the last one of my banter anyway!

Tuddleloo! V x


Intro to V(al’s) FestiVal – A rough guide

 

It seems that it was named after me/for me – take your pick!

 So yes I have finally camped at a festival! I passed my festival license and also have caught the festival/camping fever…

I catch myself internet window shopping for gazebos, folding tables, portable sink, folding bbq, inflatable sofas and the rest… I am going to end up with the equivalent of a camping shop in my flat soon. I’m starting to have a pretty decent collection already!

So, festival, camping, travel, what to pack, is the sun going to be out,  wellies or flip flops, ponchos or sunscreen … So many questions that crossed my mind before D- Day.


 

The answer is: Planning and preparation!


 

Try to work out what you REALLY need in advancehow long is a piece of string – and check that the whole thing doesn’t weigh more than you body weight! It is easy to get carried away and end up with the kitchen sink (well a more user friendly version use the portable one! ahhhhh!).  

 

What I found very useful (in no particular order)

 

  • Tent (Useful to have a awning or some kind of covered area in case of rain)
  • Sleeping bag (did forget ours though dohhhh so had to buy a duvet there! Silly me)
  • Folding chairs
  • Stove + gas + BBQ
  • Headlamps
  • A trolley or some kinda wheeley thing to help you carry things accross the field
  • Canned food, drinks (soft + booze – all in plastic bottles – wine boxes are brilliant), snacks…
  • Wet wipes
  • Ponchos
  • Antibacterial gel/spray
  • Toilet roll
  • Air bed
  • Pump (nozzle can be used at water point as a shower!)
  • Camera

Know how to get there (self drive, coach, train) and where to catch your ride!

 

Once there, well, it’s pretty straight forward, follow the instructions!

 

Come the fun; finding a good spot and setting camp.

 

We got quite lucky with our little spot – drinking water taps 10m away, less that 5min from the arena entrance and toilets! Very important! Good to arrive early to have the best selection! We had a little tent, easy to pitch but some festival goers come with fabric houses and need massive room! My next step in my camping initiation!

 

Once set up – the fun begins: bbq, cocktail drinking, music, cheers across the camp site… and sunshine!

 

Luckily the weather was great and we both came back with a tan, no need for ponchos or umbrellas.

 

Being my first festival, I cannot really compare to others but knowing where things are and having some meeting points and ‘landmarks’ help making the most of what’s on offer.

 

Concerning the acts, we managed to see quite a lot of bands thanks to the good size of the site. Easy to get around and not packed enough that you cannot move. Lots of things to do other than listening to bands – good bars and food stands, fun fair, shops, Randoms sweets stand with silent disco and space hoper fun, games, legal highs, dance, movies, to name but a few. Everything is very chilled with a good atmosphere.

 

Fave moment was the Randoms mini arena! Few glasses of rose and off to the silent disco for a dance on a Space Hoper, joggling with foam shapes and eating loads of sweets in the sun! Sweeeet! Loved it!

 

Great intro to festiVaaaaaals! More more more!


 


 


 


FestiVal fever 2009

Here I am me and my first post!

Since it’s summer (according to the calendar anyway) and it’s also festiVal time I will give a little update on what I’ve been going to and/or wish I had(n’t) locally in the last few weeks!

July, being my bday month I thought to myself, let’s get cracking and make the most of my last few days in my 20’s! I think I did pretty well!

Coming back from a trip from L’Ile de Beauté Corsica – where I was a crooner, a rally driver, a scuba diver, a camper, a swimmer, and a lover, and I was then warmed up, ready for my upcoming Mancunian activities!

Manchester International Festival 2009 (finished on the 19/7 )! I took part in some of the production/events as a volunteer and as an educated visitor (??). It was an incredible experience. I managed to be a driver for Anthony and the Johnsons, personal driver round Manchester! I then took part in the 4h long live art experiment for the original Marina Abramovic . It all started pretty well, I was a sound engineer for the first hour while Marina was preparing us to enjoy 3h of live weird performance, and then I turned gallery assistant for the remaining 3h.

  • H+1 with a naked Chinese artist who kept staying round me – Yingmei Duan – I was supposed to interact with her but wasn’t really sure to what extent since she was naked and walking around me! Weird.
  • H+2 with Alastair MacLennan who walking like a little crab around a massive table covered in soil, pigs heads and trout, surrounded by shoes of all sorts– one of the ‘you had to be there’ type of experience….
  • H+ 3 was spent with a tiny French lady Marie Cool playing with installations made out of paper, strings and elastic bands.

My breaks were spent wondering the other 8 rooms enjoying the experiments – a naked lady falling down the stairs in slow motion (…), a Chinese lady playing with radio and jello, a girl falling on a bed/mountain top less, another girl under a pile of animal skins to name but a few! A strange evening to say the least…

Then there was the much more classic experience of the visionary work of Zaha Hadid Architect’s acting as an beautiful écrin for the music of Bach! Let’s not forget Flailing trees, and the really original b Rufus WrainwrightPrima Donna! Also had a dance to the sound of Micron‘s dj in the great tepee standing on Albert Sq. and a little picnic on the sun loungers. Great times! I can’t wait for 2011!

I also tried some fun activities: Kayaking one eve at Salford Quays water Sport Center ! Really great fun.

Then I moved on to volunteering for 24:7 Theatre festival that took place from the 20/7 to 26/7. 21 original 1h long plays! I managed to see and work on only 6 of them sadly!5:30 (2 unlikely people sharing emotional stories about themselves), The Last Chair (absurd comedy about chairs… and their extinctions), Remember Me (love story and death story to the sound of 90’s house music), Maine Road (Chavy family tribulations with some City references), Lub You (3 years old boy and a baby verbalising their thoughts! Original and moving somehow!), Dancing to the sound of crunching snails (Loved the game plays and the idea of family drama/comedy – I did laugh quite a lot, gaining unlimited entry by the writer!!).

In the mean time, my fourth decade arrived and to celebrate (I don’t commiserate!) the tribe and I ended up having a gargantuesque tablée in the lovely Ning! Malay- Thai restaurant nicely set up on Oldham St in the Northern Quarter of Manchester. Lots of nice food, hats, cards and cakes! Frogs even actually … El Roberto!

To finish my bday month of celebration, the Manchester Jazz Festival that took place all of last week, kind have passed me by totally sadly and only saw a few gigs on St Ann sq while on my lunch break or after work… Not a great deal to say other than it was wet and jazzy! I think by then, my excitement, and involvement in the Mancunian cultural scene was just like the weather – wet! Too much of a good thing…

So what’s next Manchester?

Coming up in my little box of suggestions and ideas are a few things I will sort out over the next few days!