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Manchester Mental Health Awareness Week and What You Can Do About It

Well, it isn’t technically a Manchester event; it’s nationwide. The subject is just as important here as it is anywhere else in the UK, however. So let’s look at what the week is all about and what we can do in Manchester to help combat the effects of mental health.

Founded in 2001, Mental Health Awareness Week is supported by the Mental Health Foundation. Its goal is to help raise the public’s awareness with regards to mental health, and to promote positive mental health in the UK. It’s also designed to raise funds for the Foundation, in order to to achieve those same aims in the longer-term.

The charity further supports mental health research, develops improved services for mental health, and runs campaigns to eradicate the discrimination and stigma related to the subject.

Stressing a theme

Each year, the event features a different theme. This year, the focus is on something that affects most of us at some point in our lives: stress. A recent study surveyed 4,205 adults, the results of which were published in the Aviva Wellbeing report. The findings revealed that 67% of those surveyed experienced stress and 64% suffered from depression.

By combating stress, we can make significant gains in the war on mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety, and in some cases, self-harm, and even suicide.

Stress includes both depression and anxiety, and is also linked to such physical health issues as heart disease, digestive problems, insomnia, and problems with the immune system.

Super-actor David isn’t immune, either

Maybe you’ve been affected by mental health issues. Maybe you’ve seen one or more of your friends struggle with stress or depression. One man who has experienced problems in the area of mental health is David Harewood, the ambassador for Mental Health Awareness Week. The Supergirl actor revealed that he suffered a mental breakdown in his twenties, when he was sanctioned. He offered hope to those who are currently suffering.

David Harewood - DSC_0024 by RedCarpetReport, on Flickr
David Harewood – DSC_0024” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by RedCarpetReport

Harewood told BBC Breakfast: “I recovered to have a fabulous career… I want to stress to people that mental health isn’t some kind of death sentence.”

“Find help… if I hadn’t had support, I’m not sure I’d have pulled through.”

Corrie actress opens up

Manchester celebrities aren’t immune to mental health, either, as we saw recently when Coronation Street actress Samia Longchampion opened up about her battle with anxiety on social media. Samia, who played Maria Connor in the long-running soap, wanted to play her part in creating more conversation around Mental Health Awareness week.

Samia’s post came as Corrie continues its series of storylines relating to mental health, including Aidan’s suicide and David Platt post-rape trauma, as well as Craig’s OCT, and Bethany’s behaviour after her sex ring abuse.

The Manchester soap has received praise for its tackling of mental health issues and for creating vital discussions.

What can you do?

With such a large number of us struggling to meet the demands of the modern world, Mental Health Awareness Week provides us with an opportunity to reflect on what can to do better care for our mental health.

We’ve all felt stress at some point; it’s part of life. But when it’s overwhelming to the point where we feel unable to cope, It can lead to more permanent mental health issues, or make existing ones more chronic.

Think about how you can help bring people together and start talking about mental health. For example, you could organise a wellbeing walk, or even an event where you invite a mental health professional along to deliver a talk on the subject.

If you want to be relieved of the burden of organising, however, you could always join in existing events. At Manchester’s Social Circle, we offer walks every month, enabling you to meet likeminded people and talk about mental health and any other subject that’s close to your heart. By engaging with new people, you are helping to improve your own mental health, including combating the effects of stress. Stress can happen to any of us at any time. If you’re new to Manchester, for example, and you don’t know anyone here, you have no one to lean on, to talk to, and to confide in, it can ultimately lead to a chronic feeling of loneliness. Without having someone to help relieve you of those stressful moments that occur in life, it can only help to make you feel even worse. Meeting new people creates opportunties to get out there and enjoy life and forget about what was stressing you out in the first place.

Stress at work

A man stressed at work!

Mental Health Awareness Week is also a great time to talk to your boss about stress, and even challenge them on what they’re doing to combat it. It’s important to establish a mentally healthy workplace where employees feel both supported and valued.

Social Circle also offers a wellbeing solution to companies in Manchester that are looking to improve employee performance while, at the same time, taking care of their staff’s needs. Making your boss aware of such schemes not only benefits you as the employee, but helps the company you work for fulfil their wellbeing obligations. Mental health is the cause of a number of issues at work, including a decline in performance, and even sickness-related absence.

Mental Health Awareness Week is the perfect occasion for each of us to think about what we can do as individuals in the war on stress and mental health, or for those who are burdened themselves to find support and advice on managing stress in their everyday lives.

Auf Wiedersehen Berlin. Highlights from the Social Circle Weekend.

Berlin, the German capital, is renowned for its exceptional variety of attractions, its flourishing cultural scene and a way of life that’s both fast-paced and relaxed. It’s hard to believe that barely a generation has passed since Berliners tore down the Berlin Wall, and since then, the city has resonated with open-mindedness.

In February, Social Circle visited this fascinating City to learn the history of Berlin, grasp some culture and view some of the most beautiful and interesting monuments of Europe.  We caught up with our host, Emma, to find out more about the weekend.

 

Hi Emma, I believe you volunteered to host the Berlin weekend?

Indeed I did!  Having lived in Berlin, it was amazing for me to be back. I felt really at home and it brought back memories of being 21 there in December 1994. A weekend away gave me enough time to show our Guests the Highlights. I definitely think some of the group would go back again to see more of the city.

Tell us about the Highlights then.

Oh there are so many.  One of my favourite parts of the weekend was the walking tour around the City. We visited Brandenburg Gate, the Memorial to Murdered Jews, Hitler’s Bunker, Checkpoint Charlie & Museum, Gendarmenmarkt, Hackescher Markt and more.  Despite living in Berlin, there was still so much to learn about its history and our guide was very knowledgeable.

What about the basics? Hotel, flights etc?

We all met at the airport on time, had breakfast and arrived in Berlin  around 10:00. Social Circle HQ had organised the transfers, so we were greeted by our driver at the airport and a short time later we were checked in at the Mercure Hotel Berlin City West.  The Hotel was 4* and near some of the main highlights so it made for a comfortable and convenient stay.

Germany is known for its great beer and food.  Which restaurant would you recommend?

The group would agree that the best meal was definitely Schnitzelei on the Saturday night. It was near the hotel, affordable and had a great selection of craft beers as well as great food – tradition with a twist!

Any unexpected changes?

We had planned to visit the Charlottenburg Palace & Gardens , but it was so cold that weekend we agreed it would not be much fun.  I managed to grab us a bargain with the hop-on hop-off City Sightseeing Bus who gave us half price tickets and an extra days touring free.  It was a great opportunity to spend a little more time seeing the Highlights from the walking tour as well as exploring new places, such as the street art in the East Side Gallery.

Many Thanks to Emma for Hosting this weekend. But what did our Guests say?

Sarah Hobbs says  “I really appreciated having Emma’s experience and knowledge on this trip. It was a great group and the company was most enjoyable aspect.”

If you love nothing more than getting away for a few days but find it difficult to organise or your friends don’t share your idea of a holiday, we offer the perfect solution. We offer numerous  group holidays with like-minded people each year, to such destinations as Milan and Barcelona. You simply need to click here to book and you’re on your way to Destination Fun!

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.

 

5 Reasons why Friends are the Best.

 

With Friendship Day behind us and conversations still taking place over mental health following #TimetoTalkDay, it got Social Circle HQ thinking about our friends and the wonderful ways they contribute to our lives. It’s not just us being soppy though. Turns out scientists agree that good friends come with (health) benefits.

So friends are great, so why do I feel so lonely?

You would not be alone, a sense of isolation is increasing amongst adults as our friendship groups dissolve with every life change.  We move towns, change our jobs and relationships and spend what little downtime we have on social media.  It is no wonder we feel that life is all about work, or we focus on finding ‘the one’ when actually what we need is a  small quality network of friends.

‘How can I find like-minded people?’. It is easy, choose an event that appeals to you and come meet wonderful like-minded people who are looking to expand their Social Circle in Manchester.

So here are 5 surprising reasons why it is important to get out there and make new friends. 

Increase your sense of belonging and purpose.

Whether it is our love of niche horror films, a particular football team or the fact we are a coffee snob, our unique qualities in the wrong environment can remind us of being the awkward kid at school.  Friends not only accept us for all we are, including our weird ways, but they often have the same quirks and interests.  So whether you are laughing over drinks at your latest dating nightmare, or cheering on your favourite team, your friends are with you as they are part of your tribe.

Boost your happiness and reduce your stress.

Despite the fact many of us like our own space, humans are sociable creatures and need human interaction.  Most of us lead stressful lives, whether we work or at home there is an overwhelming sense of competition which can be isolating at times. Having real-life friends gives your brain a much needed boost of happy hormones and instantly reduces your blood pressure and other signs of stress. In fact, good friendships lead to a longer healthier life overall.  

Improve your self-confidence and self-worth.

Good friends are there for the good times and will encourage our ambitions, even if it is with healthy dose of realism.  We can trust them not to put us down when we excitedly tell them about the promotion we have applied for, they will help you see all your wonderful qualities when you are nervous before a big night out and will show their pride when you speak up for yourself.  This sense of validation is integral to our self-esteem and overall happiness.

Help you cope with traumas, such as divorce, serious illness, job loss or the death of a loved one.

We have all been through our own version of hell at some point and whether or not you are in a relationship,  having your friends around you can give you hope and comfort in otherwise dark times. Whether it is the remarried divorcee who assures you that you will survive this breakup, or the friend who brings you a movie and takeaway when you are ill, it is the seemingly small gestures which have the biggest impact and make us look forward to the future.

Encourage you to change or avoid unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as excessive drinking or lack of exercise

Good friends are honest and are prepared to have difficult conversations with you in a loving way. Not to be confused with the idiot that points out that you have gained a few pounds by jabbing – literally- at your soft spots.  It means that they will question whether you can afford that luxury item when they can see the unopened credit card bills in the corner, they will invite you to join them for a walk in the countryside when you have been stuck on the sofa with a stale pizza all week .  Good friends care about you and will point out the things that will get in the way of your happiness, but likewise they will cheer you on when you make changes.

Do you have a friend who has all these wonderful qualities?  Do share your stories and tag them. 

 

Time for a Highland Fling? How to Celebrate Burns Night in Manchester.

 

Every January 25th, Scots all over the world celebrate the birthday of Scotland’s National Bard, Robert Burns. You will have heard rumblings of some of the Burns supper traditions such as the pipers, the Haggis served with neeps and tatties, and of course…the Whisky!

Have your Haggis and eat it (even if you are Vegan!)

The jewel in the crown of any Burns Supper is the Haggis. A delightful Scottish delicacy made from grains, spices and the innards of farm animals. (Hey waste not want not!). Serve it with Neeps (parsnips) and Tatties (roast potatoes) and lashings of whisky sauce. Even those of you who are doing your bit for animal welfare via Veganuary can join in, as we hear 8th Day in Manchester does a nice vegan haggis. If you don’t fancy the idea of midweek cooking, then just take yourself out to one Manchester’s fine restaurants. The Old Wellington have some fabulous Burns night themed offerings all week 22-28th January.

Read Poetry to your Sweetheart (or friends)

If you are feeling a bit romantic (and want a cheap way to impress your date) why not light some candles, pour your date a drink and read poetry whilst looking deep into their eyes. (Try not to laugh.) We suggest the old favourite My Luve is like a Red, Red Rose. Aww!
Of course, literary-loving singles can still have a fun night in with friends. Why not organise a Burns Supper potluck support, whip up some Whisky cocktails and read poetry around a fire. If you want to get traditional, download some scottish pipe music onto your iphone and ‘play in the Haggis’ (or whatever your mates have decided to bring.)

Engage in a bit of Banter.

One of the lesser known traditions of the toast of the lassies, where selected lines of Burn’s poetry are read out to gently poke fun at the ladies within the room. Then the ladies get their bittersweet revenge in the Lassies Reply. Given this tradition is likely to land you in hot water, we suggest you leave the humorous banter to the professionals and get yourself to a midweek Comedy Night at one of Manchester’s finest Comedy Clubs.

Of course, the more traditional amongst you may want to join in with the ever popular Social Circle tradition of ‘Gate Crashing the Boss’ where we all arrive at the home of Steve Sutherland (a genuine Scot), laugh and make merry, and break into his Whisky collection when he is not looking.

Get tipsy at Manchester’s Best Whisky Bars.

No Burns night is complete without enjoying a ‘wee dram’ of ‘Scotch.’ Whether blended or straight, connoisseurs will know that the water, grains and barrels gives each region’s local Whisky a unique quality. If you want to learn a few fun facts about Whisky and sample a few drams (careful now!) then join us at one of Manchester’s oldest and best known whisky bars, the Britons Protection for a burns night-ish themed evening, with a focus on the whisky.

Book yourself a Road Trip.

We find one night is not enough to appreciate all that the Highlands has to offer. We are offering Manchester-based singles an amazing opportunity to complete a 500 mile road trip through bonny Scotland to discover her beauty and history. Visit tranquil beaches, rugged mountains and the most breathtaking views with like-minded people and relax and unwind as the scenic beauty, magical sights and ancient history soothes your soul.

How to Beat the January Blues.

January! The dark nights, terrible weather and the fact payday is a long way away can really drag the most cheery of folks down.  Not to mention, the excesses of the Christmas season finally catch up on us.  Today, Monday the 15th January is officially Blue Monday.  But don’t let that get you down.  Fortunately, we have rounded up the best ways to put the spring back in your step.

Look after No. 1

If you are anything like us, you probably look as terrible as you feel.  The best way to feel better is to start from the inside. Ensure you get your 7 hours of sleep a night, drink plenty of water and green tea, and eat healthy home-cooked food.  If your cooking skills are lacking, why not join us at a Masterclass and learn how to cook up a storm?

Giving yourself a good old pamper will also lift your spirits. (Yes, gents you too!)  Whether it is a long soak in the tub or a massage, being gentle with yourself will have you back on the road to recovery in no time.

Laugh More!

Science says that a big hearty belly laugh is actually good for you. Laughing floods your your system with feel-good hormones that reduce your stress levels and help you beat off the seasonal coughs and flu.  

If you are feeling so low that you feel you lost your sense of humour, then go out to a comedy club.  Studies show that laughing is contagious so before long you will be laughing so hard your ribs will hurt, and any stress will melt away.

Why not  join us on one of our jaunts to Manchester’s best comedy clubs and you get the added bonus of a confidence boost from meeting new people too.

Book your next Holiday.

There is a wealth of research to suggest that planning and anticipating your next holiday is as good for you as actually going on one. Whilst your post-Christmas budget may be tighter than your post-Christmas jeans, it is surprisingly easy and affordable to plan a European getaway. So within a few weeks you could be exploring the best Europe has to offer.  Now your in-tray does not appear as bad does it?

Did you know Social Circle loves organising exciting weekend breaks?  We know it can be a pain organising everything or even travelling alone. So now you can have a great time exploring new cities with other Manchester-based singles knowing every detail is planned (we even source the best pubs and clubs!). Best of all, our breaks start from as little as £75!