Author Archives: Heather-Anne Bailey

About Heather-Anne Bailey

Employment Lawyer by Day, Social Butterfly by Night. Loves Blogging as much as she loves Food. Coffee-Snob. Gin Aficionado. Cat Mom to Luna. Terrible Dancer. Hilariously Awkward at Times. Incurable case of Wanderlust. Lives the Good life in Manchester's Media City. Host for Social Circle.

25 Thoughts you have when you attend a Mingle Party.

 

Ever wondered what a Mingle Party is like?

Ever wondered what a Mingle Party is like?

 Thanks to the huge number of singles nights in Manchester, people have mixed thoughts about what a ‘Meet and Mingle’ may entail.  Given last night Social Circle hosted its annual Mingle party at the Portland Bar & Grill, I thought I would share the thoughts and conversations you have when you attend a Mingle party so you know what to expect when attending an event to meet new people in Manchester.

On deciding whether to turn up

  1. Do I want to go?  I feel terrible, I don’t feel sociable,  drinking is only going to make matters worse.

2. Maybe I will just cancel.

3. Moping won’t help.  Perhaps I should go out?

4. Ok I will go out, but I am not drinking.  A hangover will only make matters worse.

5. Oh god what if I see my ex and his new girl on the tram on the way there. I will arrive an emotional wreck.

6. I will stay for an hour, two hours tops.  I have stuff to do tomorrow. Plus self care and all that.

7. *Spends an hour getting ready*  Glad I only had salad for lunch this dress is unforgiving.  Definitely no drinking though.

Social Circle Members Pete and Angela discuss travels with Host Ruth

Social Circle Members Pete and Angela discuss travels with Host Ruth.

On Arrival

8. Do not trip up the stairs. Do not trip up the stairs.

I am greeted by Steve at the top.  Who tells me to go get a drink from the bar downstairs.  I tell him I am not drinking and not staying long.

9.  Do not fall down the stairs. Do not fall down the stairs.

10. She looks familiar.  Is she from social circle too?

11. “I will have a double Gin and Tonic please”

12. There are lots of people here.  Who do I know.? * Makes bee line for Matt who has been on a few events with me.*

Aida, Pauline and Vanessa were only too happy to talk friendship and getting the most out of life.

Aida, Pauline and Vanessa were only too happy to talk friendship and getting the most out of life.

 

Doing the Mingle Thing

Peter comes over to me. “Are you my honey?”  Before I get creeped out he shows me his Moshi monster card.  We all have them.  There is a bottle of champagne up for grabs for the team that find each other.  I have jeepers. “Sorry Peter, I am not your honey.

Harvey comes over and shakes my hand warmly.  I ask what interests him. He reels off a number of exciting sounding interests from dancing to rock climbing.  He asks me the same. “errr….I like the meals out??” God I sound boring.

13. Where did that Prosecco appear from?

I am talking to a couple of people who are recent joiners.  Turns out they are also lawyers. How do we find each other.  Lawyers always manage to find each other in a room. Start talking shop.  “I am an employment law specialist” escapes my lips. No. No I am not talking shop.

14. My Prosecco somehow refilled itself.

I go to talk to man with epic tash.   He is called Dave and loves the walking retreats. Dave tells me “ I love  the fact you can just turn up to a walk or a weekend away and it’s all organised. So many great memories.”   I ask for a photo. He negotiates a selfie.

Mingle Party Selfie!

Steve comes over.  Tells everyone about that time I went to a whisky tasting festival and was ill for about a week afterwards.

15. I am not drinking the whisky.

16. *drinks the whisky*

Pauline, Nicola, Aida and Heather discuss life, love and everything over a glass (or three) of bubbly.

Pauline, Nicola, Aida and Heather discuss life, love and everything over a glass (or three) of bubbly.

On Friendship and Dating

I head over to Pauline, another familiar face, and tell her about the blog.  “Oh Social Circle has given me so much”  She gives Aida a big hug “I found my best friends here”.

I gatecrash their conversation.  Aida is approaching a major birthday and Pauline wants to throw her a party.  Aida has some sage advice for me “Don’t wait for some birthday or event to live your life.  Material things are not important. Live your life. Spend time with good people.” #truthbomb

17. Ohh chocolate.

I get talking to some new faces, including Alex.  Turns out me and Alex cancelled the exact same Pilates class which was run by Nicola.   Must be fate.

Three ladies who should have met at a Pilates class, but instead met at the Mingle Party. Must be Fate.

Three ladies who should have met at a Pilates class, but instead met at the Mingle Party. Must be Fate.

Alex tells me that she was in two minds about coming, and almost cancelled but decided to give it a shot.  I completely understand how she feels and I have been a host for 3 years. I decide to introduce her to some other people.

We enter the conversation at the moment where Robert  is saying “And that’s how I ended my Friday evening covered in chocolate”.  Oh god what is this.

18. *Opens another bottle of prosecco*

Founder Steve with Social Circle Member Vanessa.

Founder Steve swoops in for a photo.

19. I must go soon it’s already 10:40.

Steve hands me the camera and tells me to take a selfie.  He actually meant to take a photo of him and Vanessa Now feel like a double chinned muppet.  *Takes pictures*

Chat to Robert about Social Circle.  He has been a member for a couple of months but talks himself out of events. “I like to go out with someone I have met before” I tell him he has to come out first so he gets to know people.   He resolved to come out to this one and is enjoying himself. He gives us permission to nag him into attending more events. #challengeaccepted.

 

20. No more Whiskey Steve you know I can’t handle it.   *Drinks more whisky.*

21. Talk to Pete and Nigel about blogging. Pete confesses to enjoying them. It does give me a little boost. Get talking about last weeks blog and how people are really shy when socialising if they have gained a bit of weight.  Tell everyone it really does not make a difference. 

22. What time is the last tram?  12:34. Ok it’s 11:15 I best head off soon.

23. “Have you taken some good photos?”

*I try to take more photos as Steve also decides he will take photos and gets in my way*

The group at my table start talking about dating and my recent heartbreak.   Turns out most people have a similar story of falling for someone only for them to ghost you and move onto their next ‘true love.’

24. We all agree dating is sh*t regardless of your age or gender.

 Maybe it’s the prosecco or maybe it’s just because Albert Schloss does the *best* Sunday lunches I ended up telling all about how much I am looking forward to hosting next week’s event.

Continue talking to Alex and Robert.  We decide that given we have been talking all night and want to go to the same events we should keep in touch and exchange numbers.

25. It’s now 12:15.  I really must go but by this point I don’t want to.

These three lucky ladies won a bottle of Champagne in the Moshi Monster Meet Up challenge.

These three lucky ladies won a bottle of Champagne in the Moshi Monster Meet Up challenge.

 

 

The Morning After. 

It was a fantastic event as usual, with a good mix of new faces and regular Social Circle members.  Whilst the majority of members are single, most have not joined with dating in mind and just want to meet and socialise with people who are at a similar stage in life.  Far from the awkward and forced conversations you get at ‘singles’ events, or the tense ‘networking event’ it was a relaxed and fun party where I was able to let my hair down and forget my troubles for a few hours. The Mingle party proved great way to chat to new people about life, love and everything over some free flowing Prosecco.    

 

 

Too Fat to Fit in? Why size shouldn’t stop you socialising.

When it comes to Socialising, some us feel too fat to fit in. It need not be that way.

When it comes to Socialising, some us feel too fat to fit in. It need not be that way.

Slimming World has recently come under fire for suggesting you should drop your fat friends if you want to lose weight. Well Thanks. What if you ARE the fat friend?  Are we are too fat to fit in?    The reality is that those of us carrying excess weight  are already put off  socialising and exercising out of fear of judgement and ridicule.   Yet it need not be that way. 

Having dropped 5 dress sizes (60lbs) and kept it off, I can confidently say that size has no influence on my friendships or social life.  At all.

Even today, my fellow social circle members have said how they want to introduce close friends to our events, but their friends put joining us to meet new people as ‘they had put on a few pounds.’

Its not a surprise that if we are reluctant to socialise given the daily fat-shaming we get from the media.

I was the same.

I used to proudly show my before and after pictures until one of my friends stopped me in my tracks. She called me out for body shaming myself.   I remember her words clearly:

“That girl was and is a friend of mine. I thought she was funny, brilliant and beautiful.”

Damn.  That hit home.

My size did not matter to my friends at all.

Some of my best friends are overweight. It does not detract from how I feel about them as friends, or the relationship we have.  In fact, my fat friends are often the ones who have been cheerleading the fact I am making healthier life choices,  encourage me to get out and socialise or ask the hottie out on a date. (“what have you got to lose?!)

Our true friends are those that share similar values and support you in this journey called life.  

Size is f**king irrelevant to that principle.

Being fat  does not mean you are a bad person, or any less worthy of love and respect and a life you love.

You are still more than your body and are perfectly entitled to pursue the life, career and relationships that you dream of.  

Love does not happen exclusively to thin people.  People of all sizes are making their dreams happen. Go anywhere and you will see a mix of people enjoying themselves.  

 

 Its true you know, and not dependant on what the scales say.

Its true you know, and not dependant on what the scales say.

I found that as I took steps to enrich my life,  I lost weight naturally.

 Instead of gorging on takeaways when I had a tough week, I went out to a restaurant with friends. Eating food with friends means you take longer and can share dessert.  I made healthier choices when deciding what to eat too. 

My trigger was emotional eating and I felt the need to reward myself with food.  I replaced comfort food with treats such as theatre tickets or would take myself to a movie.  Of course, I made space to reach out to new friends for coffee, as well as taking time to pursue other hobbies such as writing and blogging. 

I started going on walks and to classes with friends so I could increase my physical activity without feeling like the only fat person at the gym. You are never the only one at the gym who has to lose weight but I appreciate its nerve wracking.

You know what happened when I tried those things as a size 20?  

I had fun.  I felt great.  I made friends.

No one laughed at me.  No one shamed me for my size.  

Of course they didn’t.

 Because to mock my body size would be an extraordinarily sh*tty thing to do.  

There is a sliver of truth in the slimming world research though.

To keep the weight off you have to keep away from toxic habits and people who keep you in the mindset that would let you believe you are not worthy of a happy healthy life.

When I realised that;  I slammed the door in a few peoples faces, and cancelled my slimming world membership.

So, don’t put off what you want to do because you are packing a few pounds.   

You can decide to be accepting of where you are at the moment and pursue your a life you love. Right now.

If  you don’t, you may be missing out on spending people who love you for exactly who you are.

 

 

Lonely Heart? Alone does not have to mean Lonely.

 

Yes, you can be single and not get lonely.

Yes, you can be single and not get lonely.

As Love Island finishes and churns out another hot young celebrity couple, it seems that the world is obsessed with coupledom. Despite the rising numbers of singles, we are portrayed as clueless wing-men or crying into our tubs of Ben & Jerry’s night after night.  Even scientists say we are so lonely we will die young.   Thanks for all the bullsh*t. Turns out it is easy to enjoy being single without getting lonely. 

Now don’t get me wrong. I want a relationship. Many of us do. 

 It is just that I am not prepared to settle for the same toxic behaviours that led me to spending 15 years in the wrong relationship.  Feeling lonely with the supposed love of your life next to you is Hell.   Nope. It is going to take someone incredible to make me change my single status.  But let’s be honest.

Being Single does get lonely at times.

There were times after a bad day I longed to come home to someone.  I wanted someone that would listen and care about my goals. I needed to go out and talk to someone who completely respected who I was. Don’t get me started on those times where you just need to get laid. 

But as the saying goes, there is no point wasting time wishing.

The fact is that right now. You. The person reading this. Like me. Are Single AF.  It need not be a bad thing.  The last four years have been the happiest of my life. 

How?

I learned how being alone does not have to mean lonely.

Here is how I did it.

  1. Take time to Meet the new YOU.  

If you have been in a long term relationship, then you are used to running every decision past your significant other.  From what film to watch, to bigger decisions such as the impact of career moves. Over the years you will have compromised on your goals and values at times. Maybe parts of you feel watered down, weak and unloved.

Being single removes the validation that a decision is the right or wrong one.  That is scary I admit.  But it also removes any restrictions.  This is a good thing. It is a life-affirming thing.

Think about it.

You can now be unapologetically and authentically you.

You can now go for that promotion if you want.  You can go to that fancy restaurant. You can ignore the pots and go out for a walk. You can learn Italian. You can spend all day reading – or writing – that book. You can put yourself forward for the football team, or the local theatre group.   You can say no to that film and yes to that one. You can make the decisions as to whether you should invest in property, or a new business venture, or a holiday. There are endless possibilities and no one to answer to but yourself.

You call the shots,  and in doing so, you are discovering who you really are.

In building a life that makes you happy, you feel alive rather than lonely. So take time to try out new activities or work on that breaking those bad habits. Trust me, it will pave the way to a happier future whether you are single or in a relationship.

2. Adopt a furry friend.

Life never gets lonely with a furry friend.

Life never gets lonely with a furry friend.

One of the best things I did to beat loneliness was to adopt my cat, Luna. 

Even though my sofa has been wrecked and there is fur everywhere, I adore the endless loving purrs, head butts and cuddles.   There are countless animals in shelters that desperately need loving homes. It is a two way relationship that reminds you of what love is again. Even science says that having a pet around can reduce symptoms of depression and lower blood pressure.

However, maybe owning a pet just is not practical for you. Maybe you travel away a lot or you can’t have pets in your building.  Don’t worry! One of my friends signed up to Borrow My Doggy and now has a fun-loving friend to take on walks on his days off from being a GP. Another friend adores horses but her time and money is spent on her PhD currently, so she rides as often as she can at a local riding school.

Either way, animals are a fun distraction from the single life and are good for you too!

3. Expand your Social Circle.

One the biggest challenges I faced during my relationship breakdown, was seeing how small and stagnant my circle of friends were.

Now I love my friends to bits, but a break-up changes you.

You soon feel stymied by the same old routine with the same people.  I needed to meet new people who I shared my new-found interests with.  Fortunately I bumped into Stephen at a networking ‘do’. A few cocktails later I was signing up for my first free event.  

Three years later I have social life that makes my married friends turn green with envy. Just last night I was out with an amazing bunch of people  and chatting away as we sampled the exquisite menu at Tattu in Manchester. After a hard week, it was just what I needed. We still all chat about the memories from the various weekends away we have been on. More importantly, through Social Circle, I have met a great bunch of new friends who remind me how great life can be. 

Meeting new friends at Tattu in Manchester!

Meeting new friends at Tattu in Manchester!

Happily Single, or Desperately Seeking Someone?

 

Single and Searching? But what for exactly?

I have lost count of the amount of friends have told me that they ‘envy’ my freedom as a single woman.  ‘Oh to be single again’ my friend Becky laments as she feeds her rosy cheeked toddler. “ You can go where you want, when you want, have long lie-ins on a Sunday and no in-laws.”My colleague, Sarah, tells me. “After 15 years with the same man I would love to be single again, do my own thing. You are so lucky

Sure, there are times where being single is great.  I have travelled to exciting places, I have my own routine and can spend time with who I like – even if that is just me, myself and my favourite movie at times.   I genuinely am having the time of my life and I imagine the increasing population of singletons in the UK would agree.  Research also confirms I am on track for a longer, more fulfilling life as a single pringle than my married counterparts.

But let’s face it. Sometimes it just sucks to be flying solo.

I want to share all these great experiences with someone special. I want someone who loves me exactly who I am, just like Mark Darcy did with Bridget Jones (even if it did take ten years and having a child for him to commit.) Dammit give me my happily ever after – even if I am influenced by generations of societal conditioning. But hey I am not the only one, the online dating industry is booming with almost half of all singles trying to find their match online.  So much for the single life being the best life.

The advice you get when you are single and searching varies from the  well-meaning to the genuinely disturbing.  If I had a pound for every time someone told me ‘it will happen when you least expect it’ I could afford my next bucket-list trip without relying on my credit card.

Fortunately for you, I have sifted through all the bullsh*t to find bring you some great advice that will both increase your happiness regardless of relationship status, and hopefully introduce you to the love of your life.

Live Life in the Moment.

My four years as a single woman have been some of the best in my life.  However, the trouble with single life – for those who aim to be out of it – is that one never knows when it might end.   I say ‘trouble’, but it is also one of its many highlights. For, really, there is nothing like stepping on a plane and finding your single self upgraded to first class and sat next to a handsome stranger like I did in 2016. One thing is for sure, time will pass whether you are sat in your apartment block tower wishing your prince (or princess) will come, or whether you are skinny dipping with strangers in the Seychelles.  So relax and enjoy life without worrying what the future holds. If you do happen to end up coupled-up, these are the days you will look back on with nostalgia. 

Be Uniquely You

The best thing about being single is that you can take time to do some soul-searching and make decisions about your own long-term happiness.  It is those major decisions which tell us which relationships continue to serve us, and which are holding us back. For example, I am glad I took time to rediscover my love of travel and it took guts to book holidays without my friends at first. However, when I went searching for trips that suited my interests, rather than appeasing my beach-loving girlfriends, it opened up new friendships with people  who are just like me.

I also kicked a few toxic habits (and people) despite protests from my former friends who had done their best to discourage me from doing such crazy things as going to the gym regularly and eating well in my pursuit to be healthy and happy. I would like to think that living my life my way has built the foundations for a great relationship with a kindred spirit, rather than having to settle. Either way, choosing to set sail by my own star, rather than someone else’s, has lead to a new found confidence and fulfilment – which I am told are very attractive qualities.

Create a Dazzling Social Life.

Socialising can be a double-edged sword unless you do it right.  On one hand, if all you do is hang around with the same married couples you are rarely going to meet anyone new.  If all you do is swipe right on Tinder then you are just going to end up on more dates with little to talk about other than Love Island.

So how do you build a social life that will make you look fun and interesting and introduces you to potential partners?

I found by joining a social group that offered a diverse range of activities locally suited me down to the ground.    I found a great bunch of people to act as my wing-women (and men) as I flirted my way across the dance floor, and to drag me a few hungover miles around Cheshire the following day.  Soon, my weekends were full of fun and I was planning holidays all over Europe with my new found friends.  My social life has benefited more than my love life.  When I was interviewed for my dream job at a Times 100 company, my dazzling social life and varied interests was what landed me the job.  After all, I seemed fun and interesting compared to the usual legal types.

A little savvy research from local  Relationship Coach and Author, Sam Owen, in her article ‘What your social circle says about you‘   suggests that if we keep our ‘ideal self’ in mind when socialising we will soon begin to attract people and experiences that reflect our ideals. Like attracts Like after all.  For me, this involved stepping outside my usual social circle, and comfort zone, by going to places and events that appealed to my new found sense of self.

As Sam sagely says:

The people we surround ourselves with impact virtually every aspect of our life.  Is it time to think about what your circle says about you and what it’s doing to you and your chances of success, health and happiness?

Come Join the Easter Pub Crawl!

One of the highlights in the Social Circle Calendar is the Easter Sunday Pub Crawl which starts with Sunday Lunch and moves on to some of the best bars in Didsbury Village.   There are prizes on offer this year for joining in the Easter Scavenger Hunt or wearing Social Circle colours.   

Sunday Lunch at The Didsbury

We will meet at The Didsbury pub restaurant, a former coach house has retained many of its 18th century original features, including exposed wooden beams and open fireplaces. It makes a perfect starting point for our Easter Sunday activities and this Sunday you can enjoy two bellini’s for the price of one.

Sometimes a scrumptious traditional sunday roast is the only thing that will hit the spot.  Choose from a variety of roasts including beef rib and lamb, and enjoy with buttered seasonal veg, homemade Yorkshire pudding, goose fat roast potatoes and premium gravy. Nom Nom!

The Bar Crawl

Starting at approximately 4pm, we will head into Didsbury Village and visit as many bars as possible. Our bar crawls are relaxed and friendly. We have something for everyone so whether you like cocktails or craft ales you will enjoy yourself (especially if you drink responsibility!).

Some of our favourite places include:

Ye Olde Cock Inn.

The oldest pub in Didsbury, this ancient building is said to be teaming with spirits. Only joking, the only spirits found here are the extensive range of Gins. The perfect place for a swift one and a quick selfie.

The Head of Steam

A new kid on the block, having only opened a few weeks ago, The Head of Steam is becoming a firm favourite with its eclectic interior decorated with beer bottles and wide range of craft ales.  This pub has a great atmosphere and is perfect place to try out something new.

Fletcher Moss

Decked out with classic dark wood tables, stools and booths it’s a comfy fuss-free venue with the emphasis on its quality service and warm atmosphere. Enjoy their great selection of cask ales, draught beers and bottled ciders as well as a strong selection of wine and spirits. On a rare Summer’s day, have a drink out on the patio and enjoy the relaxing nature of this gem.

The Botanist 

A star in Didsbury’s crown, the Botanist brings the outside inside. Above the piano and huge fireplace opposite hangs a huge chandelier pieced together from rakes and fork, while around the corner a greenhouse-style conservatory area opens out onto an outdoor terrace. The cocktails follow the same quirky theme.   There will be live music from 8pm so we get to dance the evening away.

How to Join.

If you want to join the full days activities you will need to register for both the meal and the all day pub crawl. However you are welcome to join in for as long as you want and you can elect to come for Sunday lunch or join us for drinks later too.  If you are thinking of joining, you can come along to this event for free.

 

Heather has been a host for over 2 years and will help ease any nerves and answer any  questions that you may have about the days events.  Remember when it comes to the prizes, she is a lawyer, so will judge fairly but her decision is final!

Here come the Girls! Our Top 5 Women-owned Venues in Manchester.


This week we celebrate the ladies in our lives, not only by celebrating Mother’s Day on Sunday 11th March but we are also #PressingforChange for International Women’s Day on March 8th.   International Women’s day this year is about addressing gender parity and increasing visibility of women.  

Therefore, are doing our bit to support our female friends and have put together a list of our favourite venues in Manchester which are owned by women.

Menagerie

This Glitzy bar and restaurant is known for its opulent interiors including a giant golden

birdcage booth, and for hosting live entertainment on the weekends, including wild and wonderful performers on and around the huge catwalk at the heart of the main restaurant. Needless to say dining is a multi-sensory experience that you will never forget.

Owner Karina Jadhav knows the restaurant business inside out.  After all, she co-owned the swanky Neighbourhood with her ex before they split.  Menagerie has had extra attention in the media, as it was revealed that stars of the Real Housewives of Cheshire became investors.  Forever Unique fashion boss Seema alongside artist Stacey, the wife of millionaire businessman Dave Forsey join Karina which should see these ladies dominating the restaurant scene across the UK.

If your mum prefers to be treated like the Queen that she is, Menagerie are offering bottomless cocktails to mums on Mothers Day with brunch, lunch or dinner for just £20 per person and enjoy a catwalk show as well.

 

Annies Restaurant and Tea Shop.

Located just off St. Ann’s Square in the iconic Royal Exchange building, tucked away from the hustle and bustle, this award-winning restaurant is the perfect setting to eat good old fashioned food and relax in comfort and style.  Actress Jennie McAlpine and her partner Chris Far own this comfortable, stylish venue. So if your Mum is a Corrie fan then you can treat her to delicious Afternoon Tea and feed her fandom by letting her know that it is owned by ‘Fizz.’

Wahaca

Founder Thomasina ‘Tommi’ Miers says she ‘fell in love with the incredible vibrancy and freshness of real Mexican food’ whilst living and working in Mexico.  After a winning Masterchef in 2005, , she teamed up with co-founder Mark to create Wahaca’s menu, constantly looking to the markets of Mexico for inspiration. Now Wahaca has a wealth of awards and great reviews for its constantly evolving, seasonal menu which is especially kind on the pocket.   Housed over 2 floors in the city’s historic Corn Exchange building and spilling onto Exchange Square, Wahaca Manchester brings award winning street food to this bustling new dining quarter in the heart of Manchester. If you are heading out to a concert at the Arena, why not swing by this gem of a place and get the party started by ordering  a  sharing platter and some shots of house tequila.

Sweet Mandarin

Sweet Mandarin is a lovely Chinese restaurant in Manchester owned by sisters Helen and Lisa Tse,  using recipes passed down three generations and memorized by heart as if they were nursery rhymes. If their names sound familiar, they were contenders on Dragons Den which saw them launch a range of sauces. The impressive menu boasts gluten-free and vegan alternatives so it is perfect for an early evening catch up with your friends after work.  We love the cocktails, inspired by the Chinese Zodiac. Try ‘Dog’ which is a refreshing mix of Vodka, Ginger, Mango, Soda Water & Lime.

Matt & Phreds

Matt & Phred’s is without doubt one of the names synonymous with the Northern Quarter and is a regular haunt for Social Circle Members. This Tib Street venue has for years now been bringing stellar performances by artists from the worlds of Jazz, Folk, Gypsy, Electro, Swing andmore who all love playing this special, intimate little venue.

As well as being able to see some amazingly talented musicians 7 nights a week, the bar and kitchen team at Matt & Phred’s are also at the top of their game. With an enviable cocktail selection, a cracking wine list, some of the best pizzas in the Northern Quarter  and some delicious sharing plates a night at Matt & Phred’s has pretty much every food craving covered. They have Happy Hour every day which can see you getting a free pizza with your cocktails. 

This amazing venue is owned by Claire Turner, who was named one of Manchester’s Most Inspiring Women IN 2017.

That is not all!

We have some great events lined up this week which focus on all things Femme. From the informative guided walk which explores the suffragette movement in Manchester, to the hysterical ‘Menopause the Musical.  All our events are female-friendly with professional hosts to make you feel welcome and members of all backgrounds and ages. So whether you come with friends or step out on your own, come join us at a free event.

Your First Time? Advice for Nervous Socialites.

 

It’s several weeks since you made that resolution that you would get out and meet new people. Maybe you want to try new activities, maybe you are new to Manchester and want to connect with people or maybe you want to expand your social circle in the hope you will meet the love of your life. At this point, the why’s are not important. However,we know you haven’t been out yet. 

Sure, you maybe telling yourself the same excuses that got you through last year.  You are busy at work, money etc, you threw yourself into a whirlwind romance that fizzled out just after Valentines day and …the list goes on.  

We are not buying it.

Deep down we know you are nervous, if not terrified.  Your current friendship group have been with you since university; when making friends was as easy as spilling your pint down their shirt and apologising profusely.  But it is different now.  As you consider the prospect of meeting new people, a million questions run through your mind.

Will anyone talk to me. What if they don’t like me? I really don’t want to walk into a room full of strangers and have everyone stare at me.

Soon all your worst nightmares are dancing through your mind and you find a reason not to attend the event you had been looking forward to.  Maybe next week?

We have been there, we have made the excuses but then swallowed our fear, pushed ourselves to go to an event and never looked back. 

We understand.  So we thought we would let you know what to expect along with some wisdom from our existing members. 

Who are Social Circle?

Well we are a group of socialites who wanted to meet new people and make friends, for all the same reasons as you do now.

Social Circle was started when founder, Stephen Sutherland, had just moved to Manchester as a single guy and wanted some mates to hang out with at the pub on a Friday night.  Over a Decade on and oodles of members later, we have over 150+ events to choose from per month, from cinema nights and restaurant meals to holidays abroad.  

Many of our members are single professionals aged 35-55 who are  living and working in Manchester. Whilst we all have our personalities you can be assured we all share one unique quality.  We want to meet new people, including YOU!

Everyone has been in your shoes so don’t feel nervous, enjoy it!

Emma Hodson, Host & Member

What to expect.

When you first book on an event, you will be contacted by one of our lovely hosts.  They will tell you everything from what they are wearing(!),  to which table they are sat at, so you can find them.  If you are super nervous then tell them, you can arrange to meet them earlier or at a specific place so you are not arriving alone.  Your host will chat to you to ease any nerves and introduce you to the rest of the group.  Most of our existing members know exactly what it is like to feel nervous and many will go out of their way to make you feel welcome.

Remember there is no pressure and there is no obligation to swap numbers or connect on social media. You will not be walking into a huge group of people who all know each other, and nor will hosts be pouring booze down your throat or making fun of you to help you to ‘loosen up’.  Each of our events are warm, friendly and very welcoming. You can stay for as little or as long as you want and even non-drinkers are welcome on pub crawls.

You are in complete control the whole time, just like any other outing with your friends.

“Relax….you’re in safe hands!”

Sarah Hobbs, Member.

Your first event.

Our suggestion for your first event is choose something that is familiar that you know you will enjoy.  If you  have a passion for the latest movies then come join us for an outing to I, Tonya.  You will certainly have a lot to talk about with your fellow cinema lovers in the bar afterwards.   If you like the idea of chit-chat and laughter over some of the best food in Manchester then maybe our Saturday night jaunt to Jamie Oliver’s restaurant is would be perfect for your first time with us.  Or throw caution to the wind and join us for our VIP night at Mahiki and enjoy some Tiki cocktails after work, we promise you will enjoy yourself so much you will be partying until the early hours with new friends.

 

“You’ve done the hardest part…. now just turn up and enjoy! We all had a first night, so know what it’s like and will make you feel welcome. You have absolutely nothing to lose but much to gain!”

Annette Fontaine, Host and Member.

 

Best of all, you can try out an event for free. So you really cannot lose.  

 

“Make sure you face your fears, and just come along.”

Wendy Skelton, Member.

The Single Socialites Guide to Surviving Valentine’s Day.

Valentines Day.  The time of year where even the happily single can feel bit left out when surrounded by loved-up couples.  But where did it all begin?  In Ancient Rome Emperor Claudius decided to ban marriages as men were refusing to leave their wives for war.  St Valentine was an Italian priest who married sweethearts in secret.  He wore an amethyst ring with cupids bow as a sign to couples that he was the one who would marry them. Like all those in Love with Love, he ended up losing his head.  So now you know.  St Valentine’s Day is no longer about love in secret but there is still plenty you can do to celebrate the day.

Have an Anti-Valentines Outing.

There are so many great deals at restaurants at this time of year, you may as well take full advantage and book a table at your favourite haunt for you and your closest friends.  Cackle with laughter as you people watch and share cocktails.  We can heartily recommend The Liquor Store for some unromantic rock n roll and music inspired cocktails. 

Bang out some Power Ballads

“I cant live…..if living is without yoo-uuu. I CANT LIVE!!”

Nothing like a good power ballad, and on Valentines Day you can head down to the Beirkeller in Manchester Printworks and sing your little broken heart out….and maybe make it rain on all the happy couples.

Say it with Flowers.

There is going to be someone gushing over flowers that her beau has sent to the office. It might as well be you, or your best friend, or your mum.  Given Valentines Day is about celebrating love in all its forms, why not send someone you care about some flowers to brighten their day. Do try to resist your newly-committed friends a ‘sympathy’ bouquet, it is not likely to go down well. If you want, send yourself some flowers. After all, YOU are the love of your life.  Our friends in Didsbury, Verdure, do lovely bouquets for all occasions, and they deliver too.

50 Shades of Singledom

Did you know that there was a little known festival of love in Ancient Rome where strapping young men would whip naked young maidens for fertility.  Funnily enough, we will be watching exactly that when our cinema-loving singles go to watch 50 Shades Freed on Wednesday night.

When in Rome.

Given Valentines Day has its roots in ancient Rome, you have to do what the Romans do!  Come join us for a Valentines Opera outing and get lost in the beauty of various romantic and tragic arias, duets and grand orchestral interludes at the Bridgewater Hall.  If you like Pizza, join us and other Manchester Singles at Wood.Fire.Smoke the day after Valentines day where we can have a chat and enjoy some post-valentines day bargains.

Keep it Sweet, Honey.

If you really want to spend Valentine’s Day without the fuss of peopling, then we recommend  the old classic of watching a film, and running yourself a long bath and grab yourself a gift box of these gorgeous locally-made (well …wales) and bee-friendly honey bath and beauty products from Honey Bee Beautiful. St Valentine is the patron saint of Beekeepers after all.  If you order on Valentines Day (and only that day), use the Code BEELINE for a special discount.  You can even buy a bar to keep your four-legged friend smelling sweet.

So what are your plans for surviving Valentines day? Do comment below.