Category Archives: friendship

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.

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.