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Manchester’s Victoria Baths

2 May

Last night, The Fabulous Time’s Christine Macaulay and I attended a special event thrown by Google at Victoria Baths, to launch their new Google City Experts feature via Google +

City Experts offers active Google + users the opportunity to review their favourite local places for art, music, fun and food in their city. Their contribution is then added to Google Maps, and visible for all to see. As an incentive to leave lots of reviews, users are invited to special events by Google and given special gifts and treats. You can sign up to Google City Expert here.

This stunning launch event included food and drinks from Barnhouse Bistro,  delicious ice creams by Ginger’s Comfort Emporium, free sweeties buffet by Swizzles Matlow, a super fun silent disco, exclusive set from Hacienda DJ Greg Wilson, and lots of great Google themed activities to take part including a photo wall with fancy dress items, a Manchester City quiz (not cheating by Google-ing the answers of course!), and a City Experts real time map in the pool!

The venue choice for this event was spot on. Victoria Baths were built in 1906, and at the time cost around £60,000 to build – the equivalent of £3.5 million today! The facility consists of a men’s pool (the main room), a sports room and a women’s pool (the smaller pool). In 1952 the first ever jacuzzi in the UK was added to their list of facilities. The baths closed in 1993 in dire need of restoration and remained closed until in 2003, the baths won funding via a BBC restoration programme and awarded £3.4 million by the Heritage Lottery Fund to bring the building back to it’s original glory. The blue changing booths around the edges of the main pool room are beautiful, and hang with authentic red and white striped material – the whole venue has a beautiful air to it.

Now, Victoria Baths is in spectacular condition and lots of it’s original features remain. The baths are available as a venue for weddings, special events (such as Google’s City Experts), club nights and much more – information on venue hire is available here. It is stunning inside, and out!

Thanks Google City Experts for a great night out! And fantastic choice of venue!

And a huge thank you to The Fabulous Times for letting me use some of her photography 🙂 visit her review of the Google City Experts event here!




Hello Manchester!

2 May

Regular readers will know I’m not one to stay in one place for a long time. My recent venture has been to Manchester, the largest city in the North West of England. I’ve been here for 3 months now and, so far, can say it’s one of my favourite places I’ve ever lived.

The quality of life here is much better than anywhere else I’ve ever lived. General living costs way less, the people are friendlier (by far!!) and there’s a more serene, laid back way to exist here. No rushing, no rat race, just nice people and cheap food and drink.

So you can tell I’m sold! And will be here for the foreseeable future. So to start off my new life in Manchester, I thought I’d tell you my favourite places, activities and what I’ve been doing since I got here….

1. THE NORTHERN QUARTER. It’s my new home. I absolutely LOVE the Northern Quarter. It’s full of vibrancy and friendly people, as well as amazing coffee shops, bars, vintage shops, record stores, the lot. My newest favourite haunts have been Home Sweet Home (for lunch, dinner and cake), Bonbon Boutique (for hot chocolate and general delicious treats), Terrace (for Aspall cider – my favourite), Sugar Junction (for brunching and afternoon tea), Soup Kitchen (for beers and man watching 🙂 ) and Band on the Wall (for beers and live music)

2. FLECKY BENNETT’S MANCHESTER GHOST WALK. Took part in this last week and it was so much fun! Flecky Bennett is a fantastic host and took us on a 90 min walk around Manchester teaching us all about it’s ghostly history. It was a great way to learn about key buildings in the city, and get some cool facts and also feed my weirdo interest for ghostly things – all for only £11.25.  Flecky also hosts Manchester’s underground tunnel tour where multiple ghost sightings have happened!! I’m going on that one next! You can learn more and book here.

3. MANCHESTER ART GALLERY. Not only free to get in, but filled with a vast selection of art works ranging from wild and beautiful contemporary pieces to Dutch 17th century paintings that tell incredible stories. The gallery is also hosting Joana Vasconcelos’ Time Exhibition installation at the moment, which costs an additional £7.50 – her large scale sculptures are incredible, and world renown. A lovely way to spend a rainy afternoon – and trust me – there are many many rainy afternoons in Manchester!!

4. DUNHAM MASSEY. Just a short drive outside of Manchester City Centre, Dunham Massey is a beautiful Georgian house with 3,000 acres of surrounding estate that is now owned by the National Trust. Built around 1730, the house was owned by various Earls until during the first World War, the current estate manager (Lady Penelope Stamford), transformed the house into Stamford Military Hospital, caring for over 300 injured soldiers. The house is currently set up to look how it would if while it was a hospital and tells the amazing stories of some of their patients and staff. The surrounding estate is beautiful for an afternoon walk, and full of super cute deer as well!

Am absolutely loving Manchester and really looking forward to settling down and staying here for a while. I’ll be starting at a new Events Agency in Liverpool next week, so will keep updating my blog with more information on my work, and cool events in the area 🙂 Stay tuned!

Bettina Scarlett presents The Mid Century Market

28 Jan

Bettina Scarlett’s Mid Century Market is supposed to one of the best 1950’s inspired markets in London. And I am very excited to be going to their next market at the beautiful Hammersmith Club on Saturday 12th April between 10.30am – 4pm.

The market boasts an awesome selection of vintage items to buy, purely from the 50’s era. You can get your hands on unique vintage clothes, bric a brac, homeware, records and lots of other little bespoke treats. There’s also a vintage hair parlour, and a men’s barber (from Chaplin’s of London) AND a lovely little tea room too, to rest your weary feet after a hard day’s shopping, and DJ’s playing rockabilly and rhythm & blues all day!

All that for only £3 entry?? I’ll see you there!

Bettina Scarlett presents, The Mid Century Market @ The Hammersmith club, 11 Rutland Grove, London W6 9DH

Photography by  Nils Bratby and Khandie Khisses photography

Interview with Francesca Stracqualursi, Events Manager at the Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising

11 Jul

To begin the I Love Events Season of Events Industry Professional interviews, we interviewed Francesa, Events Manager at the Museum of Brands, Advertising and Packaging about her role.

Her museum is a haven of stunning brand history – a very very interesting place for anyone that works in Events, Brand Communications and Marketing!

As mentioned in my previous post, the goal of these interviews is to educate newcomers to the industry on the different roles available within events. Expect to see a variety of other interviews appearing!


What is your name?  Francesca Stracqualursi

What is your current Job Title?  Events Manager

Do you work Full Time or Freelance?  Full Time

Who do you work for?  The Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising in Nottting Hill

What qualifications do you have?  Degree in Politics and International Relations

How long have you been doing your current job title? 6 years

How does your role relate to the events industry? My role is all about events: taking bookings; meeting clients; managing, organising and delivering external events; dealing with suppliers; showing clients on site visits; sourcing staff and caterers and much more!

What does your role entail on a day-to-day basis? I arrive at work, check my calendar to see if I have any meetings/site visits; call clients to check agendas/ requirements for upcoming events; confirm staff and orders with our caterers; if there is an event taking place I check that the space has been set up/the AV is working/ the staff has arrived/ the client is happy. Then I start working on marketing campaigns/ events reports/ newsletter pieces/ invoices and I deal with all new enquiries (checking availability, sending quotes and options, amending calendar, updating enquiry forms, etc).

Where would you say you spend most of your time doing your job?(i.e. office based, at meetings, on site etc)  30% on site 70% at my desk if we have an event on

Do you work internationally or are you UK based? UK based

Have you always known what you wanted to do? No

What has been the biggest highlight of your career so far? Securing a very high profile event last year for a large US company. I also love seeing happy clients coming back for more events – over a quarter of our business is from previous users, which is great!

What do you like most/dislike about your job?  I love that every day can be different, one day we can be doing a small meeting for 10 people, the next a high end reception for 100! There is very little I dislike about my job, but I found it frustrating missing out on a couple of celebrity events in 2012 due to the venue being just a bit too small!

What would you say are key skills/attributes to have in your line of work? First of all you should be personable: this job is all about interacting with people and understanding what they want from their event. You should also be organised, able to multitask and to think of your feet – last minute dramas do happen, and it’s down to you to solve problems!

Is there any advice you would give to anyone wanting to get into your area of events? Work experience is the way to go. Try to help out at festivals and events, get an internship, volunteer. It will pay off!


The story of the Brighton Astoria…

15 Feb

When I was growing up in Brighton I always kept my eye on the Brighton Astoria, with hopes and dreams that one day I would own it and run events of all sorts and develop it into a medium sized venue that I feel Brighton so badly needs.

Brighton has quite a few venues ranging in size (The Brighton Centre, Concorde 2, The Dome, Digital, Green Door Store, The Hanbury Ballroom and many more) but I do think there’s only either huge venues, or small venues available. The Astoria would have been that happy medium. As a stunning Art Deco Grade II listed building, the exterior and interior is incredible (albeit a little dilapidated now) and with a bit of sprucing up, could have been Brighton’s answer to the Troxy in East London.

Unfortunately though, last year a planning application was approved by the council to knock the lovely building down to build an office block. This planning application didn’t go down without a fight though. The Theatres Trust and the Cinema Theatre Association have fought to keep the building from being demolished but alas the battle was lost in January 2012. I was devastated to hear this, but unfortunately the building has lain derelict and rotting since 1996 and would cost £3.5m to repair to a reusable state. Saying this though, it’s been over a year since this application was approved and to my knowledge nothing has been activated as yet.

But, in ode to the stunning Brighton Astoria and its (potential) forthcoming demise, here’s a little information about its history and some incredible pictures from inside.

The Astoria opened on Thursday the 21st of December 1933 with a special programme including the National Anthem, speeches by Sir Cooper Rawson M.P., and the Mayor of Brighton; Margaret Hardy M.B.E., a showing of the Movietone News’ ‘Current Events’, T. Guy Hindell playing an Overture on the Theatre’s own Compton 3 manual Organ, a showing of ‘Interesting Items’ by Pathe Pictorial, Walt Disney’s ‘Santa’s Workshop’, and the main feature which was Charles Laughton in ‘The Private Life of Henry VIII.’

Originally built as a Super Cinema with stage facilities, the Theatre’s stage was rarely used and in 1958 it was closed off completely when renovations to the building included erecting a 70mm screen in front of the proscenium. The Theatre’s Compton Organ was also removed at this time, and the auditorium was mostly hidden by curtains. Also the Balcony stepping was altered and a new projection box was installed at the rear of the balcony.

The Astoria then went on to be a successful Cinema for many years until the 7th of May 1977 when it closed after the last showing of Barbra Streisand’s ‘A Star is Born.’

After the Astoria closed for Cinema use it was then converted for Bingo. This continued until 1996 as a Gala Bingo Hall but was then closed and the building was boarded up, and so it has remained since.

Such a sad story and I’ll be super upset to see it go! The Brighton Astoria will always hold a place in my heart x

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