Glimmers of Life

Posts Tagged ‘manchester

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So it’s August Bank Holiday weekend and as usual we had nothing planned. What could we do that will entertain my daughter, not cost a fortune and make the most of the lack or rain (knowing that it’s on the way) – that isn’t the local park…

Head into town for the Manchester Day Parade, or is it the Pride Parade – I don’t know but whatever you decide to call it, you include the word entertaining!

The trip into town in the car past Spinningfields and towards the top of Deansgate was very straightford. It seems the Council/Police decided to close the roads at the last minute which is to be commended.  Arrived at 12.30pm to take my place on the pavement not far from the Hilton, and at 1pm on the dot (according to my phone) the parade came round the corner from Liverpool Road onto Deangate – let the fun commence!

45 minutes of bright colours, thumping base, quirky characters, free flags,whistles and sweets and it was all over. My 3-year-old summed it up with a short and sweet “that was great wasn’t it mummy”… I have to agree.Thanks to everyone involved!

And the rain didn’t start until we were back in the car stuck in a little bit of Manchester United traffic… Bonus 🙂


When it comes to exercise there are loads of options out there, and in my quest for fitness (read: killer abs and a size 10 figure) I have tried quite a few. I think ultimately what I’m looking for is something that’s a balance between midless jumping around and yoga – where you feel like you’ve had a workout, i.e. actual sweat is produced but that you’ve learnt something too. Two weeks ago this led me to try Capoeira…

I had seen a poster or two for a Capoeira class in Hulme at the Zion Centre on a Thursday, but I never made it. Then I happened to pop into the Waterside Arts Centre in Sale and there was a poster for a new class starting on Tuesdays at 7pm… so I thought I’d go along. Thinking about it now I didn’t really know anything about Capoeira before I went, there was some notion of Brazillian dance floating around in my sub conscious maybe?

But Capoeria is (and here’s the science bit) a combination of dance, ritual and martial arts that developed out of the Portugese trade of African slaves to Brazil the 16th century. In my two weeks of participating I’ve learnt that’s actually a sort of game where you use kicks and blocks in a flowing movement, and it helps you discover moves and muscles you didn’t know you had!

When going to a class, the first move you need to get your head round is the ‘ginga’, which is where you take one step to the side and then put your other leg behind while your arm comes out in front, then you repeat this moving from side to side. Get that and you’re well on your way – although if co-ordination is an issue then it’s not as simple as it sounds! You also need to prepare yourself for working at different levels, i.e. plenty of bending and squating that works those thighs and gluts.

Oh and you should also prepare yourself for revisiting some of those childhood moves you never thought you’d see again… especially sober.. such as the hand stand and the cartwheel – I’M NOT JOKING! When the instructor explained what he wanted me to do, flashbacks of junior school gymnastics and the fear that went with it (even though I did reach a BAGA 4) came rushing back; but when faced with the embarassment of not doing it I managed to rustle up some semblance of a cartwheel. The good news though is that it’s not a big deal – it’s not about straight legs and pointy toes but the movement from one position to the other so if your cartwheel looks more like a bunny hop – it’s OK.

After the first class I was warned about the muscle ache (and yes it did come despite the post class hot bath), but the sense I pride I had from doing a cartwheel (sorry to go on but it had been over 20 years since I last did one) and the fact that I was learning about a different culture all fuelled my next visit, and my fizzle of excitement for going again this week.

There are classes across Manchester, the three I know about are:

  • DanceHouse, Manchester City Centre (Oxford Road way) – Tuesday 7.30pm
  • Zion Arts Centre, Hulme – Thursday 6.30pm
  • Waterside Arts Centre, Sale (next to Sale Town Hall) – Tuesday 7pm

Try it and let me know how you got on! I would say that if you’re looking for a new challenge with your exercise regime then this is definately worth a try (usually first class is free) as it uses muscles you often don’t use in typical gym/dance classes. More active than karate, not as high impact as Zumba but easy to get into. It should get you into a mild sweat and feel like you’re working (possibly even toning) your muscles – I must be on my way to those killer abs...
(although I should say that this is just my opinion and I am no expert)

I decided to venture to the Trafford Centre on Thursday afternoon, as my daughter snoozed after a hectic morning of activity I thought I would brave the frosty make up counters and then pop to Mango.

The first part, disappointingly, went as expected. I tentatively approached the MAC counter in search of foundation. Within seconds I was approached by a bum-bagged, brush wielding woman who offered me help like she was trying to persuade a doddery drunken tramp to move on. To her credit she did know her stuff and found me a foundation that matched my colour – but her efficiency (and tone) made me feel stupid so I made my excuses and left.

As I wandered aimlessly through the crowd I remembered the main reason I had been at the Trafford Centre – a trip to Mango.

Mango is a clothing store that I have seen but never ventured into. It seemed to me to be a place where proper women with fashion sense, money and an eye for quality shopped – this has never been me, so I never went in… Zara has that same mystique. Today, however they were on my level as they were offering a free manicure with any purchase over £30. And if you showed them your Glamour Magazine you got a 20% discount and free bag.

I did one circuit of the shop, to check out if there was anything for me. To be honest it all seemed very on trend and I’ve not quite worked out what really suits me yet. But with freeness on the horizon I did another circuit of the store and picked up anything that I didn’t detest. Struggling round the store with an armful of clothes and a buggy I was approached by an assistant who could see my plight and offered to take the items through to the changing room for me.

With another armful of clothes collected I hit the changing rooms and tried on everything. But it seems Mango is one of those shops where size 16 is a double XL and quite rare. I’d picked up clothes in a random selection of sizes from 12 through to 16 – a required part of the process especially seeing as I’d never shopped there before I had to get the lay of the land. Their sizing policy meant that I flew though most of the clothes – barely getting a leg into a pair of jeans, or finding that a shirt didn’t button up, considerably cut down the checking yourself out in the mirror time, and I was quickly left with 3 tops.

Now doing the calculations in my head I could quite easily have just gone somewhere else, bought a bag and got my nails done for £30 but I really wanted to buy something. Maybe is was the freeness, maybe it was the fact that the last time I bought proper “new” clothing that wasn’t on sale or anything was over 12 months ago, but I didn’t want to leave that shop without something.  I guess this is how the marketing works!

Anyway I ended up buying a top/dress thing, but can I just say, buying that top lifted my spirit so much, people might have thought I was a little bit drunk. The woman who served me was really nice as we chatted through the transaction. She didn’t get annoyed with me when I remembered at the last minute that the Glamour Magazine that I’d had stashed in my bag for the past two weeks held the key to a 20% discount.  She handed me my purchase and my free bag and ushered me over the nail area. The girl doing my nails was bubbly and as she did my nails a quite literally shocking pink she talked about babies and going out and reminded me what it was like to be young! I was then ushered over to a make up area where a professional make up artist (who had worked on TV stuff!!!) did a quick make over (BONUS) … using foundation that matched my skin!!! Her table was adorned with a little bottles, and compacts filled with Pixie make up. It’s not a brand I’ve ever seen before but she basically asked me what I fancied (I opted for the ubiquitous smokey eye but in purple) and off she went.

I walked out of Mango feeling great. But it’s raised my expectations now – every shopping trip should be like that!

And when I got home my hubby said the top looked good too…