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10 Ways to Survive (and Thrive!) in Quarantine

How to Stay Sane & Make the Most Out of Lockdown

How’s everybody doing out there? We hope you’re living life well at home, but if you need a little help getting through, we at Social Circle are here for you!

Now, we’ll be the first to admit, as a business grounded in social interactions (“social” is in our name, after all), it’s been tough to stay positive, but we’re doing our best, and channeling our hearts and minds into working on our new online Social Circle Community. Soon we hope to bring you fun online events, like coffee catch-ups, quizzes, movie nights, and more, so be sure to check back soon.

In the meantime, we’ve put together our top ten ways to beat back boredom and combat loneliness while we’re all staying safely at home.

1. Find a routine and stick to it.
When you’re stuck inside, it’s easy to lose track of time. Nights, days, weeks… it all starts to feel the same, but one of the best ways to fight off that feeling of monotony is by establishing a routine.

Resist the urge to stay in your pajamas all day. Take a shower, get dressed, have breakfast… do all the things that keep you feeling human and as normal as possible. If you’re working from home, block out times for breaks, too. Then use those breaktimes to go for a quick walk outside if you can, or at least around your home.

2. Start a new book.
Dive deep into your been-meaning-to-read list and take your mind on a trip to a fantasy world. No list? No problem. Reach out to friends and family for their favourites, or check out goodreads.com for personalized recommendations based on the books you’ve read and loved in the past. LINK to social circle book club

3. Keep moving.
The physical benefits of exercise are well known. You know, benefits such as making you stronger, burning calories, and helping to prevent or improve conditions like high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes. But regular cardio can also help up your mental game.

Through the release of endorphins, exercise can help boost your mood, reduce stress, and improve your sleep—all great moves if you’re looking to combat that cooped-up quarantine feeling.

There are many free workouts available on YouTube, and more can be found floating around Facebook right now as personal trainers and the like look to keep in touch with their clients online. You can even combine your activity with social time by video chatting with a friend and doing your favorite workouts together.

 4. Unplug.
Too much news—especially right now—can most definitely be a bad thing. Constant live news updates are a surefire way to disrupt your concentration and make it very hard to stay positive. Resist the urge to hit that subscribe button!

Choose a single news source you trust, then limit yourself to just a few checks a day—and the same goes for social media. Step away from the scroll and immerse yourself in other activities, whether that’s work-from-home or any of the other suggestions on this list, and give your nerves a break.

5. Get organized.
Been meaning to tackle that overflowing closet? Or finally organize the kitchen? Start now. There’s no better time to focus on straightening up your home life than when you’re stuck spending so much time there.

But first things first: choose your guru. From Marie Kondo’s mindful, joy-based method of Tidying Up, to the minimalist style of Joshua Becker, there are numerous ways to finally conquer the clutter and create a comfortable oasis in your home.

6. Put your sewing skills to work.
When your mind is reeling from the latest headlines, sometimes a sense of purpose can be all it takes to get you on firmer mental footing. One idea? Pull out that sewing machine and get to work sewing masks.

As hospitals the world over struggle to secure enough PPE (personal protective equipment) for healthcare workers, many are turning to homemade cloth masks for whatever protection they can get—and that means anyone with a sewing machine, some cloth, and a bit of elastic or hair ties can help.

A quick Google search will lead you to hundreds of how-tos for homemade masks, and YouTube is full of DIY videos as well.

7. Learn something new.
Make the most of your time at home to learn a new skill. Maybe you’ve always wanted to play the guitar or learn to sew. The internet is full of how-to videos, walk-throughs, and DIY guides to help you learn how to do just about anything.

If you don’t have a burning desire to try something personally? Consider some career development instead. Sites like LinkedIn offer premium subscribers a wealth of classes and courses to help you do your job better. And with experts predicting a tough job market once the pandemic has ended, it could be a smart move to give you an edge over any future competition.

8. Get social.
Social distancing doesn’t have to mean your social life is over. Now is the time to get creative while getting the gang back together—virtually of course.

Apps like Zoom, FaceTime, and others make it easy to gather for an online happy hour. But if that’s getting old, try other online gatherings instead. Perhaps a virtual dinner party where everyone makes (and eats!) their own dish. Or a virtual game night. The possibilities really are endless.

9. Take up a new hobby.
Maybe it’s the next great novel idea that’s been floating around in your head for years, a burning desire to bake, or a love for painting.

Mark some items off your bucket list while you have the time, and you just might find something worth keeping up long after this is all over.

10. Watch something.
And finally, we couldn’t sign off without mentioning the streaming elephant in the room. From Netflix to Amazon Prime, and everything in between, the catalogue of film and television content waiting to be streamed is enormous.

So go ahead, grab a bowl of your favorite snacks and binge-watch that new series everyone’s talking about. Even better? Get some friends together for an online watch party and chat your way through the whole thing.

15 Reasons Why Manchester is so Great.

Manchester's nightlife is Buzzing.

Manchester’s nightlife is Buzzing.

Time Out recently announced that Manchester is the 15th best city in the World.  We could not agree more. Manchester is a City that has it all; from fine food to music venues to rock your socks off.  We have put a list together of 15 things that make Manchester Great so you can explore all this City has to offer.

#1 The Bees.

Manchester’s symbol is the Bee.  Originally chosen to represent the industrial heritage of this City, in more recent times it has come to symbolise how everyone seems to swarm together in times of crisis.  Since the terrorist attack in 2017, Mancunians have started to wear their bees with pride. Everywhere you can see tattoos that raised funds charity, to street art, to arts and crafts found in various street markets.  Why not have the honey-infused cocktail ‘Bee-Have’ at Malmaison?

# 2 Revolución de Cuba Manchester

Revolución de Cuba Manchester is a stunning two floor cocktail bar and cantina just off Manchester’s busy Deansgate. Drink, dine, relax and dream that you’re a world away. The exciting cocktail menu will take you straight to the heart of Cuban life. Live music and late night partying await in the downstairs Havana Club Room or sneak off to the exclusive Havana Club Bar and enjoy some of the world’s finest rums with table service all night long

# 3 The O2 Ritz

Anyone who grew up in Manchester will have got their ID at the ready for a night out at the Ritz.  The Social Circle HQ Team remember bubbles, chips and cheese and running around to the Dambusters theme on the bouncy dancefloor.  Now it is a venue for top class gigs and evenings out. Our favourite is the Ultimate Power Nights where classic tunes from the 70’s and 80’s make for an evening of air guitar and great memories.

# 4 Bring & Mix

Where else can you bring your own spirits and still have a great time?   Rated Number 1 on TripAdvisor. Bring & Mix is a unique but popular concept creating Manchester’s Most Unique Cocktails. You Bring your favourite spirits. They Mix them. Let the talented mixologist stimulate your senses by creating cocktails for you and your friends, right at your table. Combining fresh fruit and vegetable juices, home-made syrups, herbs and spices, bitters, sodas, and fruits. You will never find the same cocktails elsewhere.

#5 The Home Grown Booze.

Seven Bro7hers make their beer at the brewery in Salford near Media City and serve it in their Bar in Ancoats. Rumour has it that they throw open the doors of the brewery once a month and let you have a cheap pint whilst listening to live bands. If Gin is your thing then you can have a tour of Three Rivers Distillery (and bring home a bottle).

#6 The Washhouse.

Probably Manchester’s worst kept secret.  To the outsider, the Washhouse looks like an ordinary launderette complete with soap powder and washing machines.  But book a special cycle, phone for entry and head through the dryer and you are soon immersed in the ambient atmosphere with an amazing cocktail in hand.

#7 Frog & Bucket.

Manchester is known for its Comedy Clubs, and one of our favourite places is The Frog & Bucket. Offering a unique blend of the best of new and international stand up comedy. Every week the best comedians on the circuit take to the stage. You can grab a curry and watch rising stars try to beat the frog too.

#8 Cloud 23

Cloud 23 is more than just a bar, it’s a unique venue located at the highest point in Manchester. Find your silver lining at Cloud 23 with the finest champagnes, signature cocktails, decadent afternoon tea, and panoramic city views.

 # 9 The Drama.

Manchester has become a hub for showcasing and creating the best in TV and theatre. Even Jude Law was spotted wandering around Piccadilly when filming Sherlock Holmes. The City Centre boasts several theatres, and Media City is the new home of Coronation Street, The Voice and BBC News.  You can even fulfil that dream of becoming an actor, writer or dancer at one of the many evening classes around the City.

Coronation Street is filmed in Manchester

Coronation Street is filmed in Manchester

#10 The Refuge by Volta

Nineteenth-century architect Alfred Waterhouse designed this grand hotel, bar and restaurant, and what a job he did. The iconic joint on Oxford Street has long been a landmark and made even more so by new owners and a million-pound face-lift. The bar was put into the capable hands of DJs-turned-restaurateurs Justin Crawford and Luke Cowdrey. Expect similar fare at their award-winning eatery, Volta in Didsbury. Think small plates, cocktails and an inspired wine list. A fairy-light lit courtyard and fabulous DJs in the basement mean there’s no need to go on anywhere else.  We will be visiting the Refuge as part of our Epic Easter Pub Crawl – why not join us?

#11  The Curry Mile

The Curry Mile is the nickname for the part of Wilmslow Road thought to be the largest concentration of South Asian restaurants outside the Indian Subcontinent. Within a length of half a mile there are least seventy curryhouses!  Whether you visit at the start or the end of a friday night, it is always bustling with activity. Why not join us at Indique when we next head that way?

#12 Alberts Schloss

If you haven’t danced on the tables at Schloss, have you even been to Manchester? The bohemian pleasure palace doubles as a bar, bierkeller and entertainment centre – and it gets  rowdy. Throw in Alpine cocktails, homemade Schnapps and hearty bar meals (plus regular showcases from the Haus band) and you’ve got one of the best (and busiest) bars in town.  We love the Sunday Service where a fantastic Sunday lunch is served with a side order of Soul Music.

#13  The Football.

Whether you support Manchester City or United, Manchester is home to two premier league teams so do catch a match during the football season. Both teams support the local communities, giving opportunities to young people in Manchester.  Even in the height of summer, you can visit the football museum. Remember, football is not just for the professionals. You can join us in Didsbury for a game and get fit in the meantime.

#14 The History.

From the first computer to the discovery of Graphene, the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry has a number of fantastic exhibitions where you can learn more about the rise and rise of Manchester’s industrial heritage.  Don’t miss the statue of Emmeline Pankhurst in St Peters Square, the People’s history museum, or the gothic architecture of John Rylands Library or the Town Hall. Come join a walking tour and learn more about this amazing City.

#15 The People.

What is the one thing that everyone says about Manchester?  The people are so friendly!  We will treat you like family before we even know your name.  So if you are new to the City, and want to meet like-minded people then why not come to a free event in one of the best Cities in the World .

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.

 

 

manchester events social circle people mobile phone

A Review of our New Website and Brand image.

 

We took on your feedback when building our new website.

We took on your feedback when building our new website. 12 months on – what do you think?

When Social Circle first started over 10 years ago, we built our brand around fun, friendship and adventure.  However, people and businesses mature and evolve and needs change. So, just over a year ago we launched our slick new website so it provided a clear message of who we are.  We look back on the past twelve months, and let you into our secret plans to make our website better than ever.

Everything Changes (but you).

Members are at the heart of everything we do. Our investment into a new brand and website was largely as a result of honest feedback from our members.  Thank you so much. We wanted to make it even easier to meet new people and connect via sharing quality time together. Social Circle is now better than ever and it is all because of our wonderful members. (No, I am not crying. You are crying.)

So here is how we made your website wishes come true.

Our Enviable Event Calendar.

We know the event calendar is everything.  You wanted more variety, more events and complete clarity on what was included in the membership.  So we gave you exactly that. Social Circle offers over 100 events every month, from cinema nights to walks in the country. We have even made it easier to satisfy that particular craving for a type of event by listing events categories.  The majority of our events are completely free to attend and our colour coded calendar makes it clear if there are any additional charges.

Everything you need to know  in a few clicks.

The old website was full of information, stories and pictures. But what started as a small site grew into a bit of a monster!  So we streamlined everything to make it easier to find your way around.

In this modern age of technology, the website is now the first way new members will connect with us.  We included our story, our philosophy and oodles of testimonials as well as clear links to our taster event.  We are pleased to see this worked, with more new members joining us this year than ever before.

Your Social Life organised on the Go.

In a few short years we have gone from clunky PC’s to organising our life on our chocolate bar phones.  We  streamlined the website so it could be accessed easily on PC, tablet or phone.  Now you can plan your weekend during your commute to work.

Making it easier to connect.

We wanted our website to be more than a piece of marketing, but a way to feel connected to Social Circle hosts and members.  Our blog is now packed full of interesting articles from ‘5 reasons why friends are the best’ to our most popular blog ‘Happily Single or Desperately Seeking Someone.   You can send us a cheeky tweet on Twitter and follow us on Facebook. Feel free to share events with your own friends and let them know how much fun you are having at a weekend.

Our new look.

R.I.P old logo….

The old logo was meant to portray a couple of mates sharing a laugh over a drink.  The last website was intended to invigorate the senses and inspire a sense of fun with bright, primary colours and bold headlines.  However, what worked in the early naughties does not work now. Market research suggested that we were sending out the entirely wrong message. Eek!

We brought in specialists in branding, making it clear that Social Circle is an inclusive and welcoming environment to meet new people.  We cater for a diverse range of interests and care about one another. Our brand needed to reflect the fact our members are intelligent and professional individuals.  We are very happy with the resulting logo and website which is a lot more sophisticated. More importantly, feedback suggests you love it too!

So what does the future hold?

We are continually updating the website.  Some of you have noticed that the events pages are getting a face-lift as well as more testimonials appearing across the site.  We created a fab new join us page to make it even easier to join (if you haven’t already 😉 )

We know you want to connect with your friends within social circle so we are updating the site to make this easier.  So you can expect to see new ways of interacting with other members, including uploading your pictures and discussing the events you are attending. 

We will be adding even more value to your membership by extending our activities to include more UK and European holidays and well as even more activities and events across Manchester and Cheshire. 

But all these changes are down to our lovely Social Circle members. So tell us, friends, what would you like to see in the next 12 months?

Want to meet new people in Manchester? I did and my life changed for the better.

 

Social Circle celebrated 10 years of introducing friends in 2017.

Over 10 years ago, I found myself alone in Manchester after my life and marriage fell apart. I took the first job I could.  I was a divorced 30-something father-of-two in a strange city with no friends locally. I missed company on a weekend. I realised that had to change and I needed to get out there and meet new people. 

My days of picking up strangers in a club were long behind me. I wanted something meaningful.  Something real that happened naturally. Even today, the large majority of people find their significant others through friends. I decided my social life needed a boost.

I told myself that whatever was meant for me, whether it be love or friendship, would not pass me by.

I set up dating profiles on every website going.   I even downloaded those apps and got swiping. But what could I bring to the table?  All work and no play made for awkward and dull conversations and my profile was like every other out there.  I got tired quickly of it all. I am a romantic at heart and believe that a good relationship starts naturally, without pressure, between friends sharing mutual interests.  

So I joined existing social groups. But  they were lacking in so many ways.  I could not find a group that suited my needs as a thirty-something.  It was either boozy nights out for students, gentle health walks for silver-haired retirees or clubs for semi-pro runners.  Come Friday, after a busy week at work, I just wanted fun on my doorstep with people who had similar interests to me. I did not want to be stuck to doing one thing on one night. I wanted my social calendar to work around me.

There had to be more people like me? Right?  Surely other singles were looking to meet new people?

Fortunately my hunch was correct.  Before long I had found other funny, genuine and smart men and women who had also experienced a major life change and wanted to meet new people – but didn’t know where to start.

 A pint at the Slug and Lettuce  turned into hiking adventures, meals out at restaurants and evenings at local comedy clubs.  I found there was always a new friend willing to join me at the cinema or share a laugh at the Frog and Bucket. As my social circle grew, so did my confidence. I found I wanted to try more events as my new friends introduced me to their friends.

It turned out I was doing everyone a favour by starting Social Circle.

 We all want to try something new, but we are often time-poor or exhausted from work (or both!) to organise anything ourselves.  Word soon got around that you could just book an event and turn up. I went from Billy-no-mates to always being the centre of attention at parties. I always had offers of dates.   After all, I seemed like a fun and interesting guy who found it easy to meet new friends!

Soon I had built an action packed calendar with events taking place at top Manchester Venues every night of the week and lots of new people joining us.  People, just like me and you. Soon I had to recruit a team of  hosts to make sure each event ran smoothly and that everyone got a warm welcome.  Of course, all our hosts are also members so know exactly what it is like to be a nervous newbie.

Yet, I am proud to say that after all this time, I am still close friends with the people who took a chance on having a drink with a stranger on a Friday night.

In fact it was one of my Social Circle friends,  who suggested that I organise a weekend away for Social Circle to Barcelona.   It just so happened that a new member Louise, decided that she would book the trip.  It was love at first sight and 2012 she became my wife.

Steve and Louise on their Wedding Day. A Social Circle Success Story!

Who knew that within years after turning up to my first event, that I would have a thriving business,  great friends and have met the love of my life?

So take a chance and step out there.  You never know where it may lead.

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.

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.