Friday, 26 November 2010

Christmas Markets in Manchester

OK, I know it is still November, but working in Manchester for 6 years made Christmas come early through the magic of the European Christmas Markets.
The markets opened on the 18th November this year and will be around until the 22nd December (21st for the arts & crafts) The markets are squares filled with log cabins, festive lights, quaint stalls with holiday fayre. The smells are just fabulous, mouth watering pork, würst, schnitzel, raclette, Glühwein, pancakes to name but a few.

Opening times:

Manchester World Christmas Market Brazennose Street 18th Nov to 22nd Dec 10am - 7.30pm (8pm in Dec)
Manchester European Christmas Markets Albert Square 18th Nov to 22nd Dec 10am - 9.pm
Manchester German Christmas Market St Ann's Square 18th Nov to 21st Dec 10am - 8pm
Manchester Christmas Arts & Crafts Market Exchange Street 18th Nov to 21st Dec 10am - 7.30pm (8pm in Dec)
For full details see the Manchester Markets website

We are off there tonight, no longer working in Manchester I am hankering for a bit of the Bavarian action, and as if we need an excuse, it is a year since Rob proposed so I will certainly celebrating (hopefully he will to!)




Thursday night at IKEA - a free dinner

Rob and I spent the evening at Ikea last night. Following the receipt of many a generous gift of Ikea vouchers from our wedding guests and absentees, we are overhauling our home.  So a massive thank you goes out to all those people.


£1114 of vouchers later, we are the new owners of a set of PAX/ Malm wardrobes, a dining room suite, bookshelf, mirror and a giant red julebukk with two little babies. (piccies to come)
I'll be back next weekend to purchase Christmas decorations and crockery.
While we were there, we dined at the restaurant, Rob had meatballs, I the Gravadlax (currently on the attack phase of the Dukan Diet so I am on protein only). The meal came to £10.05, and we were presented with a voucher for the same amount, which we can spend in store as of the 6th of December. Well worth dropping in for!

Back to the gift vouchers, we have some fabulous personalised stationary from printing.comhttp://www.printing.com/ in Helmshore, and are finally getting through all of our thank you letters... we are only 3.5 months down the line, must get a wriggle on!

Monday, 22 November 2010

Take That - Progress

I have to squeal about how bloomin' brilliant Take That's new album is.  OK, I am a fan, but this is truly their best work yet, Stuart Price (Les Rhythmas Digitales) produced the album and has weaved his synth pop magic through it.

My favourite tracks are the anthemic and powerful SOS and KIDZ.

So far I have listened to the album 9 times, thrice on repeat at my sister Lucy's house, her 9 year old daughter was rather upset that all the 'Mums' love Take That, declaring 'they are not a boy band, they are a mum's band' quite right too, we saw them first!

I had heard friend's views on the album, some were not keen on the new direction, others miffed that Mark was singing so much.  Me, I love it, Mark has a distinct voice that really lends a unique personal quality to the songs, you truly believe he feels and means the message.  As for the new sound, a bit of Adam and the Ants, meets Scissor Sisters, with a futuristic vibe.... Progress indeed.

Cannot wait 'til June 2011, I am watching the boys live in concert at Manchester City Stadium!


Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Sweeties for Christmas, Media City Uk & Terry Wogan

Congratulations to my friend from Uni and his wife who have recently launched a new business, thesweetiestop.co.uk.  In the face of the economic 'blip', it is encouraging to see new ventures, especially when it is such a sweet tasting enterprise!

The online store stocks a variety of sweets, chocolates and toffees, to be delivered to your chosen destination.  This, I must confess, is rather dangerous for me as I am struggling to find motivation to stick to weight watchers, and chocolatey goodies are just distracting me.  My childhood favourites, the Icy Chocolate Cups are there, the sweet melt in the mouth goodies in foil cups, as well as white chocolate fish & chips, and the chocolate tool kits!

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Other new ventures are a partnership with Peel Media and SIS who have signed a 10 year agreement to provide the production and technical services to the BBC at Media City UK in Salford.  As a former employee of 3sixtymedia (the production/technical team at The Manchester Studios/Granada TV/ITV), I had been following the progress of the site, with anticipation, trepidation and a great deal of hope, that 3sixty would play a part in the service provision.  I had dreams of us all moving over there, into plush offices, to run the brand spanking new studios, with all our expert production crew, resources department, Coronation Street and all.

Since leaving 3sixty I have seen many of my colleagues be made redundant, a sign of the times, it is not just factories or banks that are affected by the recession.  The BBC has a new recruitment process, whereby the applicant submits all their details.  Once job positions are opened, those in the system will automatically shortlisted, for only the roles for which they are deemed most suitable.

In that most of my friends and family are employed by the creative media industry, most of them have been getting their profiles submitted.

I'll admit I have dropped off the radar since moving from television into teaching, so I am not sure what this new partnership with Peel and SIS means for the future of 3sixty, or indeed ITV, and it's employees at the historic site on Quay Street in Manchester.  The recent removal of the iconic Granada TV sign, was perhaps symbolic of other changes.

The talent at 3sixty and Granada are the true assets of the company, so I am sure that regardless, they will continue to be successful in their career's, be it as a 3sixty employee, or as freelance over at Media City.  I was so very proud to work at Granada, so would be gutted should it not flourish from the BBC's move up North.

That being said, more than anything, I hope that my friends, family and former colleagues benefit, rather than suffer any hardships, in the light of this news.. after all there are only so many superstars needed, and they are all stellar!

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And finally, on a lighter note, if not bizarre revelation.  I had a dream about Terry Wogan the other night, and now am unable to watch the Nintendo DS advert, without feeling a wee bit uncomfortable and a bit ashamed, it's like fancying your mates Dad.


Tuesday, 16 November 2010

BBC Blast comes to Clitheroe

The BBC Blast team are in Clitheroe.  Blast is a place for teenagers to be creative, both online and in workshops around the UK. 

If you are into film, TV, dance, fashion, photography, theatre or radio, and you are in the Ribble Valley/ Lancashire area, you can meet the Blast team and get involved with the projects ranging from animation to sports journalism.

Last week the team visited Bowland High School, where pupils were able to learn new skills including video editing and facial morphing!

This week Blast is at the North Street Car Park and The Grand (click here for site).  The workshops are open to teenagers aged 13-19.

For details of the workshops available in Clitheroe, and the booking form please visit the Blast website (click here for site) 


Monday, 15 November 2010

Highly Visual

Been listening to Sara Cox's feature on the Scott Mills Radio 1 show, about high viz' jacket, o rather the position of authority automatically earned by a mere mortal, once said jacket is donned.

This reminded me of the trailer, Highly Visual, that we worked on last year.


Pictured above, Andrew 'Barney'McHugh, Rob Hallam, Gerry McLaughlin and the crew from Bigtank.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Keeping busy

Gracious, I have been lapse on the old blogging of late!  I don't seem to have sat down long enough to check my emails, let alone write any new posts.  I have a feeling the forthcoming ones with be brief!

So news, I have had two weddings, returned to Uni and school for my second year, completed my first 3D assignment and turned the house upside down for decorating!

Here is a snapshot of one of the weddings, Anthony & Karen Meynell, more photos and wedding blog to come soon.


Thursday, 11 November 2010

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Walking with Ghosts!

I met Ribble Valley's 'Ghost Hunter' Simon Entwistle last week.  Optu.tv booked me to photograph Simon, they are promoting a show at The Storey.co.uk, Lancaster, Dec 14th.

The shoot was at St Mary's church in Clitheroe, Weds evening, in the rain with fast fading light, but am happy with the outcome.

The show, 'an audience with..' offers an opportunity for people to ask questions, hear and share ghost stories and experiences.  And after meeting Simon, what a gentleman, I can imagine the evening will be entertaining and enlightening.

Watch this space for more news from Optu.tv