Monday, 26 January 2015

7 reasons why being in Manchester in 2015 is going to be awesome

New year, new you? Well pop these dates in your diary because these will certainly keep you on track for a right good 2015.

Cornelia Parker headlines the opening schedule

1. The Whitworth opens. The Whitworth Art Gallery at Whitworth Park, part of the University of Manchester, closed its doors last year to make way for a £15m make-over and extension. The art gallery was the first in the UK to be situated within a public park, and the new glass extension helps to better embrace the surrounding environment with an "inside-outside," kinda feel that any TV interior designer would be proud of.

Doors open 10am 14th February 2015.

Coming HOME?

2. HOME opens. The new joint venture between The Library Theatre Company and The Cornerhouse will see a 450-seat theatre, a 150-seat flexible theatre space, a 500m2 4m high flexible gallery space, five cinema screens, digital production and broadcast facilities, a bar, cafĂ© bar and cinema bar plus a bookshop open at First Street. Not to mention the first purpose built cultural quarter Manchester has seen.

Opens May 2015

3. Manchester Central Library will be finished. The £50m refurbishment that has taken over 4 years to complete is nearly finished, with the finishing touches to the Town hall connection and the surrounding St. Peter's Square area being put into place. Whilst St. Peter's Square will continue to transform as the Second City Crossing for the MetroLink is built, the Library is open for all to enjoy and is a wonder to behold - testament to the fabulous restoration work that has happened, alongside modern improvements that make this library future proof.

Now open

NOMA Masterplan

4. NOMA phase 2 (public realm) begins. The new district of Manchester city centre, NOMA (NOrth MAnchester) continues its £800m evolution, with the Phase 2 of public realm development underway this year. Phase 2 will see a new public square open, nestled between iconic listed buildings within the old The Co-operative Group offices, including art deco Redfern House and New Century House. The development will see the northern corner of Manchester city centre fully connected with the retail core and surrounding communications links, including the Green Quarter residential development, for the first time since the rise of The Co-op and what became affectionately known as "Co-op quarter." Instead, new businesses will be welcomed into the area and more residential developments will help make the area a "living, breathing," organic place to be.

Starting early 2015

5. MIF is back. Manchester International Festival, the biennial arts and culture festival of global acclaim, is back. Taking over Manchester's arty hot spots for a little over two-weeks, MIF will see Professor Brian Cox and Peter Saville collaborate to tell the tale of how the Universe began and where we fit into the story, + much more yet to be announced. The festival is an amazing thing, with tonnes of pop-up, free to attend art works around the city, complimenting and often connected to the works in the city's theatres, galleries and show spaces. Very much worth a trip!

2nd July - 19th July

Candle Light Vigil

6. Manchester Pride turns 25. Manchester's premier LGBT+ pride festival turns 25, after a quarter of a century raising money and eyebrows for Manchester's LGBT+ community and HIV/AIDS charities. The event has sparked much controversy over the years, as ticket prices rose and charitable donations fell, but the charity has always managed to whip Manchester into an excited frenzy and hold a right gay old party over the August bank holiday weekend, a party recognised as the top Pride event by numerous awarding bodies. Highlights include the Pride Parade (Saturday), Main stage acts (throughout) and the Candle Light Vigil (Monday).

August Bank Holiday Weekend

7.  Trams and train, fit for purpose. The development of the MetroLink Second City Crossing and refurbishment of Manchester Victoria Station will come to a close in 2015, sparking a renaissance for Manchester light and heavy rail communications services. Further developments will continue, including the proposed HS2 stops at Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Airport and the HS3 connections (via the Ordsall Viaduct) between Manchester and neighbouring Northern cities. But, this phase of the upgrade will see a new MetroLink stop at Exchange Square, an "urban oasis" green space at the new Deansgate-Castlefield MetroLink stop and the unveiling of Manchester Victoria, a beautiful old station with a new roof, purpose and lease of life.

Throughout 2015


Saturday, 10 January 2015

Manchester Walking Tours

Wow, a cool new app has reared its head (but, for iOS only, boo!) and it's rather nifty if you're out and about in Manchester.

The Manchester Walking Tours app has been created by magneticNorth as a prototype of new technology devised by Under the Paving Stones and was developed in conjunction with Manchester City Council, NOMA (the latest new quarter of the city centre) and The Co-operative Group (major land owners in Manchester). It's a "visitors app" like no other because once you begin the tour, the phone pops back into your pocket and you experience your surroundings with your head up and not looking at a screen! Instead, GPS tracks your location and audio guides tell you more about what you're seeing, in real-time, based on information from Manchester's city archives. Go explore the city that appeared in New York Times' Top 52 Places to Visit in 2015 list!

Download now


Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Blinding style from Peaky Blinders

I may be a little late to the party, but I've had my nights occupied with Gotham, Salem, American Horror and The 100 for ages - how could I have known? Anywho, Peaky Blinders has entered my life and my style canon, at long last.

Paul Anderson (Arthur), Joe Cole (John) and Cillian Murphy (Thomas).

The show is a drama series starring Cillian Murphy (my Mum was totally going to call me Cillian!) and it chronicles the life and times of the legendary Birmingham family gambling ring from 1919, nicknamed the Peaky Blinders because they rather cheekily took to sewing razor blades into the peak of their flat-caps to injure, and often actually blind, scaly-wags that got in their way. Naughty boys.

Aside from the gratuitous violence and scenes of a sexual nature, the show comes out top trumps in the style stakes too, with amazing attention to detail all round. The Costumer Designer is Stephanie Collie, who worked on Guy Ritchie's Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and her modernised view of 1919 West Midlands style is a wonder to behold and quite the transferable look for a dabber gent of 2014/15, if I don't say so myself.

Cillian Murphy in a three piece tweet suit as Thomas Shelby.

The key to the look is a respectable nod to cut and materials of the age, simple cottons, thick tweeds and muted, dusty hues. Whilst, retaining some modern twists here and there, shiny collar pins without a tie, billowing and yet tapered overcoats, you get the gist.

I especially love the shirts used in the show, a round cut-away removable collar style that the boys wear with or without ties and often with collar pins too.

 Cillian Murphy and the collar of champions!


Saturday, 20 December 2014

AW14 Look Book: Winter Footwear

Christmas is nearly upon us and I am a wreck. December has been one of the busiest periods in recent memory. Work, friends, family - it's been full on! (Not to mention an unexpected flood in our home that has left us all a little damp.) So, this post is just a little ditty to see you through until my inevitable haul posts from the sales!

These are a gorgeous pair from the AW14 range at Clarks. As is the case with many Clarks shoes, these bad boys are all about comfort and are seriously like walking on puppies (without the yelping). The sole is a massive rubbery material that bounces over cobbles and pavement cracks like nobody's business. The tan leather is also perfect to transition into SS15, when worn with rolled-up chinos and no socks or even with shorts on my holidays! The possibilities are endless.

Buckled Zip-Up Boots, Deichmann, £30.00

These babies have made a cheeky appearance on the blog before, but y'know what, they deserve another. Why? Because like my trusty Clarks shoes, the Deichmann beauts are comfort personified, There's something about a zip-up buckled boot in winter, or is it just me?

Pull-On Boots, Burton, £60.00

Love these. I call them my Russell Brand boots. Not because they're politically motivated, but because they're like the boots he used to wear on Big Brother's Big Mouth! Remember? Anyway, they're a versatile pair these two, great with a paired down look and also the mod-style twist a tapered suit might need to go from wedding singer to Peaky Blinder.


Monday, 8 December 2014

A Christmas Letter.... to me

Dearest reader,

You may remember my introducing you to a special little diva in my life. Her name is Gwynne and he (wow, pronouns) lives with my boyf and I. He is also a very special friend of mine and quite possibly the funniest little witch that has ever laughed at my jokes.

If you're a fan of a wedding speech, especially when you're the guest that doesn't know anyone personally, or perhaps sneaky peaks into other people's lives and their complicated in-jokes, then read this rather hilarious homage to yours truly for a microscopic insight into what it's like to be my friend (turns out, I'm the diva!)

Read it here.


Sunday, 30 November 2014

Movember 2014: Wrap up

Well, Movember has come to a spectacular end and I've done all my moustachioed best to raise funds, awareness and lols for the cause this last month. Turning good grooming into a conversation starter about men's health and mental well-being is what it's all about (as well as getting to try some nice products too!)

 Ladies and gentlemen, nay, Mo-bros and Mo-sistas, my mo!

To all those that read my mo-story this month, and donated to sponsor my efforts, thank you so much.

If you've yet to sponsor my mo - you still have time! Donate here.

Before I wave goodbye to Movember for good, here's a couple of last minute reviews to see you off. Aloe Clear is a roll-on after shave treatment to help combat razor rash. For those brothers that know, razor rash is that extremely sore, tender irritation that occurs when either you've shaved with a new blade or without properly preparing your skin. I can get a little irritation on my neck where my hair grows coarser and most men have sections of their facial hair that grow in different grains and this too can cause discomfort during and after shaves.

I used Aloe Clear a couple of times throughout this month to mitigate this malady and was impressed with the results, the soothing Aloe Vera quickly gets to work and for £2.95, you can't say fairer than that!

To accompany all this shaving malarkey, the kind people at Sting In The Tail sent me one of their vegetable oil soaps. This massive cube of soap is a little difficult to handle, but looks great in the bathroom. The soap is best used by rubbing the top of the cube with wet fingers to lather some soap up before applying to the rest of the hands. This would make a nice stocking filler methinks.

Don't forget, there's still time to donate to Movember and you can do so here.


Friday, 28 November 2014

Movember 2014: Below The Belt Review

Well, Movember is coming to an end and whilst my mo is still making marvellous mo-gress, how about we concentrate on something else. 

Movember is all about changing the face of men's health through the art of the moustache, starting conversations and raising money for men's mental health and men's cancer charities. Men's cancers come in many forms, but they also include testicular cancer. So, have you checked your pair lately?

To get my gentlemen readers the mood for a grope downstairs, let's talk men's grooming, below the belt! No, really, Below The Belt is a men's grooming product - for your balls.

Below The Belt

I know, I thought it was a little bizarre too, when I received the email from the PR. But, if I'm mooching around my junk, performing my cheeky monthly check-up (that's not a euphemism), I might as well splash a product or two around whilst I'm at it (also, not a euphemism).

Before you ask, no there won't be any snaps of these particular products in action - but here's how they fared. 

The Waterless Shower (£6.95) is just like those hand sanitisers you get in hospitals, the type that dries really quickly. It basically smells the same and it acts the same. Not exactly something I'd use day-to-day, preferring the cleansing properties of a genuine shower around my tackle, but perfect for camping (I don't camp) or festivals (I don't do festivals).

Fresh & Dry Balls (£6.95) is a product one uses like deodorant, but on one's business. It's a thick cream that keeps things tickety-boo and do you know what, I like this one quite a bit. It's absorbed quickly, leaving a dusting of talc for added, je ne sais quoi and who doesn't like the sound of fresh and dry balls? No one, that's who.

Lastly the Sports Lubricant, the title scares me a little, simply because it implies sports. However, I slapped a bit on before my Step class t'other day and it was quite the experience. Like sloshing around in a bubble bath with myself. I quite recommend it. Oh, and I didn't chafe either.

It's not too late to be a good egg and sponsor my Movember achievements here.