Monthly Archives: October 2012

It’s time for fright night

Halloween werewolfI’m standing in a dim hall with flashing lights and fake blood dripping down my chin as a collection of miniature ghosts, vampires, werewolves and witches jump, scream, dance and generally have a good time around me.

And when the little goblins retire to their beds, there’s plenty for the big kids to get up to.

What’s a ghoul to do?

The Arches are holding a one-off Halloween makeover of Alien Wars.  Definitely not for the faint of heart, it promises to be absolutely terrifying.  If you dare, navigate you way around the ominous Arches basement into the unknown.  For £9.50 you’ll get scared out of your skin – and your equal share of tricks and treats.

Breathe easy

Fancy a breath of fresh air with your Halloween experience?  Mugdock Country Park’s  Fright Night invites you to walk among spectres as they attempt to reclaim the park.  Avoid disappointment and pre-book on their website or call 0141 956 6100.  And don’t forget to dress for ghost busting.

Scare yourself thin

Alternatively if you’d like to be scared without leaving your seat, GFT are showing The Shining.   Even better, watching it apparently can make you burn the equivalent of a chocolate bar in calories so stock up on sweets. Book online or call 0141 565 1000 to book.

Whatever you do, have a ghoulishly good Halloween. I’m off out guising with my werewolf, hoping mostly avoiding the tricks and picking up a treat or two.

– B

Silent Sunday – 28 October

Happy Halloweenish…

La luna - Glasgow

Don’t emote, float

I’m floating peacefully through space. Fears faced, mind sharks cast aside, I’ve plunged quite literally into a womb of tranquillity.  Everything is right with the world. How?  Simple, I’m in a floatation tank.

Admittedly I was a little sceptical and a lot uneasy about being in a dark, claustrophobic ‘tank’.  Would I sink to the bottom, struggle for air – and what if something sinister got me in the darkness?

Floatation tank - Glasgow Rainbow RoomsNone of these things happened.

Instead, at the Rainbow Rooms, I found a calm, warm welcoming space – more like a mini pool than a tank.

And I wasn’t lost in blackness – I could have low lighting on or turn it off completely.  Even better, I could leave the door to the ‘tank’ opened as much or as little as I liked.

And as for sinking to the bottom – not a worry; I instantly floated like a cork.

Fay Wray eat your heart out

Initially my thinking is jumbled.  But once I relax and enjoy the experience my thoughts are fluid, lucid and calm.  I contemplate trivial things – could I pull off 1930’s bob – and life things like – should I change jobs… and take up the ukulele – though possibly not in that order.

Fay Wray and King KongThere’s wonderful moments of complete and utter serenity; I simply enjoy the sensation of being suspended yet supported.  King Kong scooping up Fay Wray doesn’t compare.

One hour in the tank is apparently equivalent to five  hours of sleep.  And I believe  it.

Tips for the tank

  • Don’t shave a day or two before you go because the Epsom salted water that makes you float will sting. If you have cuts or scratches, the Rainbow Rooms provides Vaseline to prevent stinging.
  • You can either go au natural or wear a swim costume, trunks or bikini. But remove any metal jewellery and contact lenses.
  • Shower, shampoo, rinse thoroughly before and after you get in the tank.  The Rainbow Rooms provides a private shower room just outside your private tank.
  • There is no real wrong or right way to use the tank.  Light on, light off, hands at your side or on your stomach, being still or moving around – do whatever feels comfortable and helps you to relax.
  • If you have ear sensitivities, wear earplugs.
  • Lay back, relax and enjoy.

Truly me-time

It’s £33 a pop and worth every penny – in my opinion possibly better and more beneficial than other spa treatments I’ve tried.  Keep your eyes peeled for an itison deal and, like me, you could snap up an hour of floating for a mere £11.  I’ll definitely be back, deal or not.

It’s been a week since I floated and I’m still feeling the benefits.  My skin feels soft and supple, I’m rested and refreshed like never before, and would you believe my hair even looks better (bob still to be decided).

Not sure how long this new calm me will last – but I’m savouring every moment.

-T

Pop in for a retro recharge

I’ve hit my mid-afternoon slump on a Saturday.  But two lively children means no rest for the wicked; I need somewhere to revive.

Groovy vibes and luscious cake

Cafe Pop, Glasgow (outside)With its funky décor, Cafe Pop calls to me like a beacon of vitality on Great Western Road.  Inside, we’re instantly drawn in by its retro chairs, sofas, vibrant paintings and the curious but intriguing cabinet with woollen hats and scarves on a shelf.

It’s friendly and relaxed – really like settling down in the front room of some 60s artist who happens to also have an impressive selection of goodies like cookies and cream cupcakes by the Flamingo Bakery and the gooiest and richest looking chocolate fudge cake.

We make our choices and settle in.  I opt for the breakfast smoothie, crammed full of strawberries, bananas, honey and apple juice goodness. Just the energy kick I need. The kids can’t resist the gooey good chocolate fudge cake.   And they’re even more delighted when two glasses arrive at our table filled with extra smoothie from my batch.

But if sweets and smoothies ain’t you’re thing, you can also get bacon rolls, toasties and great sounding breakfasts.  And all at affordable prices; a soup and sandwich is about £5.

60’s kitsch to the revive rescue

Cafe Pop  art wall, GlasgowPop is the perfect pick me up. It’s an endearing cafe where in addition to enjoying revitalising smoothies, you can be dazzled by the charming little touches in the décor.

I’ll definitely be back to try one of the breakfasts, indulge in a cookies and cream cup cake and perhaps even find out who those hats and scarves are for.

-B

Silent Sunday – 21 October

Quite possibly the best music venue

Barrowland, Glasgow

…so follow’em: @Thebarrowlands

Brighten up November

The days are getting shorter and the dark is closing in.  But Glasgow’s newest festival Sonica, kicking off  8 – 18 November, promises to light up the winter drab.

See the sound

Created by Glasgow-based arts producers Cryptic (of CCA Cryptic Nights fame), Sonica runs at various intriguing venues in Glasgow – from the Whisky Bond to the Tramway.

This new fest describes itself as, ‘sonic art for the visually minded’.   And what does this mean exactly?  I’m told it’s like ‘seeing the sound’ – and I discover  it’s a fusion of images and sound to create a totally new dimension to performances.  I’m in.

Sandglasses

Sandglasses, Sonica Festival, Glasgow  c.Sonica websiteSandglasses at the Tramway is (quite literally) a glowing example of multi-faceted performance.

Four cellists shrouded in transparent columns play – their music intertwine with traces of light flitting down the columns like grains of sand in an hour glass.  Spectacular.

And there’s a slew of other exciting events like the 33 1/3 Collective’s dark psychological fairytale Bluebeard; TED talks exploring how we listen to sound, the Laser Show at the Glue Factory and don’t miss Sonica’s closing party.  There’ also a secret festival hub that will be popping up throughout the week.

What’s not to love?

A whole new genre of work from national and international artists awaits you.  And with numerous free events and special ticket deals, there’s no excuse not to illuminate your November and treat your senses to something good.

Watch. Listen. Love.

– B

#sonica2012

Sweet birthday bliss

Happy birthday…to us!

Hooray it’s official, About a City Glasgow is one year young.   And what better way to celebrate than with cake.  But not just any cake – utterly delicious, scrumptious slices of pure perfection that restore inner joy with every single bite.

Little shop of delights

Cottonrake Cakes in GlasgowAnd just where can such wonderful everything-is-right-with-the-world sweets be found in Glasgow?  Look no further than Cottonrake Cattering Co.

Tucked away on Hyndland Street is a tiny shop of deliciousness.  Though it’s small, this shop packs a mighty selection of utterly exquisite sweet treats.

Dark chocolate and caramel tart, chocolate chip and mascarpone cupcakes,  treacle and pecan tart, Cinnamon Danish – and that’s just the beginning.  Even better, these beautiful works of culinary art are inexpensive indulgences – ranging  from a mere £1.50 to just under £3.  Double yum!

Chocolate galore - Cottonrake Cakes in GlasgowWe’re faced with a difficult decision.  But nothing says birthdays bliss like chocolate and so we go for the heavenly chocolate tart and melt-in-your-mouth moist chocolate cupcake.

And we have met our match; there are no words to describe these outstanding magical wonders.

From us to you – thank you

It’s been a fantastic year of discovering wonderful things about this diverse and dynamic city.  And we still haven’t even cracked the tip of the to do ice-burg.  So here’s to another year of new discoveries, including new delightful desserts.

And of course a big thanks to all of you fabulous people who  read the blog – joining us on our city adventures, and even inspired us to try new things with your excellent recommendations.  We couldn’t (and wouldn’t) have done it without you.

– T (and B)

Silent Sunday – 14 October

We don’t know what it is but we like it…

Colourful bus in Glasgow

Shorter colder days – don’t despair. Spice it up.

The days are getting shorter and there’s a definite nip in the air. And this rain isn’t helping anything. So I decide to shake off the autumn chill with something spicy and sensational by heading to Thai Lemon Grass* on Renfrew Street.

Admittedly from the outside Lemongrass is pretty easy to overlook or even write off completely.  However, inside, beyond its comparatively plain exterior, I’m greeted by attentive friendly staff and warm inviting surroundings.

Nestled in one of the comfy booths, we’re treated appetising prawn crackers and a mouth-watering menu brimming with choice.   It’s the perfect combination of old favourites like Thai fish cakes, green curry and spring rolls fused with new enticing dishes like Thai monkfish curry.  And that’s exactly what we order.

Thai Lemongrass veggie spring rolls, GlasgowEverything is beautifully presented little works of culinary art that tastes as good as it looks.

Still, it’s hard to decide which of our starters is champion – the delicate fishcakes are cooked to perfection with a cool refreshing sauce that melts-in-the-mouth.  And the equally tasty veggie spring rolls are bursting with flavour, and refreshingly are not greasy in the least.

Thai lemongrass green curry, GlasgowThe Thai green curry is the perfect fusion of savoury and sweet, with hints of coconut, lime and spice.   Although more tangy and textured, the hearty monkfish curry is equally as tantalising and has our tastebuds buzzing with delight.

A round of drinks, two starters and two mains roll in at just over £45 – worth every penny.  So if you’re looking for somewhere to escape the chill and totally satisfy your appetite – look no further.

And remember, don’t judge a place by its exterior or risk missing out on all the flavourful wonder-food awaiting you inside.

– T

*24 Renfrew Street, G2 3BW Phone: 0141 331 1315

Eat, dance and see the city through new eyes

Did you know that October is Black History Month?  This month experience an eclectic range of activities celebrating the contributions black men and women make to the UK.

Lotus Women exhibition - Arpita ShahAnd where better to start than with a visit to Streetlevel for a look around Nymphaeceae (Lotus Women) – a captivating exhibition by photographer Arpita Shah.

This vibrant collection of striking colourful imagery shares the lives of women with Asian, African and Arab heritage living in Scotland.

When I spoke with photographer Arpita she told me the project was inspired by her own experiences growing up in a Hindu home, childhood memories in Saudi Arabia, coupled with her research into Hindu Mythology.  It reflects the interesting and inspiring people she’s met, fused with reoccurring discoveries like the lotus flower and its shared parallels in religions such as Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism and Shinto; often signifying femininity, beauty, reproduction and detachment.

Partnering with this exhibition is Ajamu’s Future Histories: Celebrating the Scottish Diaspora – a unique series of portraits of black people within the arts, public life, community activism, business, music, entertainment.

Jamaican blues

If you fancy something livelier head off to the Ankur Blues Party on 17 October –a Jamaican blue’s shindig with a modern twist.  It promises to be an exciting combination of music, live performance, food and dancing – can’t wait.

See Glasgow through new eyes

And if you feel like stretching your legs and seeing this great city through someone else’s eyes, then join the energetic African women leading the My Glasgow walking tours at the end of the month.

Have a dance, a laugh, taste some delicious food, discover and enjoy.

– B