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Saturday, 31 October 2009

Manchester Shine Walk April 2010

This is undoubtedly a dangerous time of year as far as fitness and fatness are concerned. The nights are drawing in, and the temptation is to spend the evenings lying on the couch watching Strictly and grazing on a selection box bought in a bid to be organised for Christmas that has backfired spectacularly.

So that is why I will be doing the Cancer Research Marathon walk through central Manchester next April, in an attempt to get me off the sofa and onto the streets (in the non-seedy sense of the expression, I must add). Such events have been growing in popularity over the last few years, spear-headed by the annual Moonwalk in London for Breast Cancer Care, but this will be the first time that Manchester has hosted its own marathon walk.

The walk (or hobble, more realistically speaking) will take place over the night of Saturday 17th April 2010, and is anticipated to take most people between 7 and 10 hours (hmm, we'll see). There is a half-marathon available for anyone too daunted by the thought of the full 26.2 miles; I'm hoping the tide of humanity will sweep me effortlessly along in its surge through the streets.

Full details on the Shine website at; I'll keep you posted on my pitiful progress towards match fitness.

White Wedding at The Ruby Lounge, Manchester

If, like me, you're reaching the age where all your friends are getting married, you may not relish the thought of going to a wedding-themed club night on one of the few weekends you've not been roped into attending some distant relative's nuptials.

The organisers of next weekend's White Wedding will be hoping otherwise, and have assembled all the classic elements of a cheesy wedding do to produce a night subtitled "The Best Wedding You've Never Been To". And to be fair, it sounds pretty good. The big draw is an appearance from 90s dance kings Utah Saints, who will be offering a special "wedding set", as well as some suitably naff tunes from DJ Otis Wedding - think Madonna, The Jackson Five, and your Uncle Bob throwing some embarrassing shapes on the dance floor.

There will also be free wedding buffet (I'm hoping for sausage rolls and a cheese and pineapple hedgehog) as well as a wedding cake that will be shared out among all the guests (I want mine wrapped in a serviette please). Dress code is obviously wedding themed; presumably how far you want to take this is up to you, but expect to see more than a few brides making the most of their special day.

The idea behind the night is to raise awareness for a Smirnoff initiative that rewards creative types who can come up with an interesting idea for a club night - White Wedding is a previous winner of the £5000 Creative Grant, four of which are available this year. For full details visit the Smirnoff Facebook page; whilst there, you can also pick up tickets for White Wedding.

White Wedding is at The Ruby Lounge, Manchester on Saturday 7th November 2009 between 9pm and 3am; tickets are £6 each. Go and dig out those gladrags now.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Didsbury Beer Festival 2009

A quick glance through recent posts would seem to suggest a slight bias towards alcohol-based events, but it is my civic duty to report that a popular community event is due to make a welcome return in the form of Didsbury Beer Festival.

Last year's inaugural festival was a huge success, raising substantial funds for Francis House Hospice and keeping many a husband good and quiet for a whole blissful afternoon. This year's promises to be both bigger and better, with a larger venue and over 90 beers from local breweries, as well as extended opening hours (potential for trouble here, methinks).

The festival will run over three days from Thursday 29th October to Saturday 31st October in a special marquee in the grounds of St Catherine's on School Lane (bravo to the school that has allowed its grounds to be used for such a spiritual purpose). Full details are available on the very helpful website at

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Manchester Christmas Celebrations 2009

Yes, yes - I know it's only October, but it's never too early to start thinking about all the opportunities for eating, drinking, shopping and all-round general carousing that Christmas brings.

Recent years have seen some frankly rather duff "celebrities" sent North to switch on the lights, but this year we have been granted glittery X-Factor winner Alexandra Burke, who will perform the switch-on in Albert Square on November 12th between 7pm and 8pm. More importantly, the Christmas markets will then take up residence from November 18th in their usual locations in Albert Square, St Ann's Square, Exchange Square, New Cathedral Street and Brazennose Street. As last year, they will run until the weekend before Christmas - December 21st is this year's final day.

Should you feel the need for some exercise to burn off all that gluhwein, the open-air ice rink will also be returning to Spinningfields, where it will stay until the New Year. We are also promised a suitably cheesy-sounding "Winter Wonderland" in the usually rather dull Piccadilly Gardens - details to follow....

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Special Offers During the Manchester Food & Drink Festival 2009

Most Manchester residents will surely have noticed that this year's Food and Drink Festival is now in full swing, and will perhaps have already ventured into the city centre to spend a month's wages on some expensive cheese at the oh-so-seductive food market in St Ann's Square.

However, as Mr Liz has been granted a full day pass-out (hopefully not literally) for the Manchester Whisky Festival at the Museum of Science and Industry this Saturday, I think I am due rather more than a bit of old cheese, and will be angling for some or all of the following offers. All of these run until the end of the festival on October 12th, and are listed in my personal order of preference...

1. Ramsons Restaurant in Ramsbottom is offering 2 for 1 on their 10 course tasting menu, which promises such delights as Lyme Park venison and char grilled scallops. Still pricy at £65 Tue - Thurs and £70 Friday, but apparently worth it. Call 01706 825070 for details.

2. Spanish tapas restaurant Evuna on Deansgate is offering a free tasting of 4 wines, and has extended its marvellous lunchtime offer of three tapas dishes for £9.99 until 7pm (my kind of lunch). Call 0161 8192752 to book.

3. The Bay Horse in the Northern Quarter is a place I've been meaning to try for ages, and is offering a deal-clinching platter of cheeses, olives, meats, pates, salad and bread, accompanied by a bottle of house wine, for &16.95 between 12pm and 6.30pm. Call 0161 6611041 for bookings.

Loads of other bars and restaurants are offering special menus or reduced prices during the festival; visit the website at www. for more details.