Saturday, 30 August 2014

August 2014 - Ah yes, Sparkle has come and gone again! (Part One)

Well, its been a month since “Sparkle” has been and gone but not had the inclination to write about the weekend until now! Why, no particular reason just not a priority over the last few weeks until now. 

This year was the 10th Anniversary of “Sparkle” and surprisingly this was my 6th one I’ve attended, not bad considering I said the event is not for me! However, I will admit the reason I go is to meet girls far and wide who have become friends via the internet forums and chatrooms. Sparkle is one of those occasions, we can meet live so to speak. Interestingly there are attractions, talks and live music put on by the organisers of Sparkle but they are just side attractions at best for me personally. I’m sure many other girls may think the same too?

As usual, my two nights accommodation was booked in advance for Friday and Saturday with provisional arrangements already put into place to meet some friends over the weekend. This year, I had already arrange to team up with Sarah from Ashington who I’ve become friends with since we met at Leeds First Friday earlier in the year. As part of the Friday evening arrangements, a meal had was booked for four of us including my very good friend Sue from London and another new 2014 friend, Alison from Kent as she indicated she would be at Sparkle all weekend. So the initial meeting arrangements were put into place, which left me to pick my clothes for the weekend  and head to Manchester on the Friday dinnertime. 

I had already decided that on my way to Manchester, to book an appointment at a beauty salon in Warrington to get my nails painted and get false eye lashes for the weekend, it was sort of a treat to myself with a little bit of pampering thrown in too! Friday morning arrived, got ready and packed the car, then on my way to my 12.30hrs appointment but unfortunately arrived a little late but no worries, staff were chatty and friendly, while they also served other customers having their nails done amongst other things. My nails were done first, then elected to have medium length lashes, these were the semi-permanent type but was advised they would come off without too much of a problem. Mmmmm more about this later! :-)  Being in the area, I visited the local retail park afterwards and I made a surprise visit to see my ex Store Manager who moved to another store for personal reasons. We had a nice chat but was not surprised to see me interestingly although had mentioned it was not Wednesday! Having explained I was away for the weekend, she understood the Friday visit. After a walk around the some of the stores, I finally headed to Manchester. 

Arrived at my hotel room at the Weston Halls of Residence, yes it is cheap accommodation but its  clean, good shower room, light and mirror and comfy bed - what more do I need as it is only a base for my weekend in the Village, I unpacked and then just about to leave the hotel, I bumped into Sarah who only just arrived and was not ready, so agreed to meet later on prior to our booked meal at Velvet. Then headed to the Village and attempted to find Sue at Taurus but first person I met was Jane Owen, just like the previous two years - co-incidence I suppose and a good natter was had catching up on the previous year activities. Eventually, I noted Sue sitting down with Zazoo outside Taurus, with another girl, who I got introduced too by Sue, this being Amanda and also Zazoo’s friend, Dave (yes a bloke). We all then caught up on each other’s activities since we last met when eventually Joanne arrived after her difficult long journey from the West Country but she is here. In the meantime, Kate and Anna walked past and another natter was had. By now it was time to leave each other and get change for our pre booked meal at Velvet which initially was for four people but eventually was for nine with Alison and Mrs Kate also joining in too. Fortunately, the staff at Velvet although clearly busy, managed to squeeze us all in for a later time. Phew! 

Having got change again at my hotel room, I met up with Sarah but not before I had to zip up her lovely black leather dress! By then, we were running a little late but we all (Sarah, Sue, Zazoo, Joanne, Amanda, Alison, Mrs Kate, Dave and of course moi!) finally arrived at Velvet for our meal which was enjoyable and plenty of chat/laughter was had. After that we all went our separate ways including some of us going to the Molly House which surprisingly was not as busy as expected. Sarah, Alison, and myself after a couple of drinks having watch the “Irish” TGirl entertainment who sounded good then headed to Naps were we finished our evening out but eventually hitting our beds for some well deserved sleep! 

Now late Sat morning, eventually got up / changed and met Sarah, then headed to the Village once again and met up with Sue again at Villagio’s for lunch. The original idea was for an open invitation to all girls to join in but unfortunately only 9/10 of us turned up including Emma and Mrs Emma, who it was nice to see again. After that Sarah and I headed to Sackville Gardens to see what was going on in regards to entertainment and who else was around. Having mingle with the crowd, met a few familiar faces including a couple of girls from the past much to my surprise! One I noted at least four times previously but convincing myself it was not who I thought it was as it had been over 7 years since I last saw her thinking surely not! In the end I bit the bullet and I approached this girl either going to be right or be embarrassed and said are you Cerys? Much to my pleasure, it was, so for the next hour or so, we played catch up on 7 years! It was really great seeing Cerys who lives in South Wales and such a shame that Mrs KD was not about to meet her either, as they both got on like a house on fire. May be another occasion but at least we can keep in contact occasionally now. Not long after, I literally bumped in to Becky (Blackpool) who I had not seen for at least two years and another prolonged natter was had. 

One thing that became apparent, if you wanted to walk up or down Canal St, it was crowded as expected but bumping into friends you had not seen for a while, it would take you 3 hours to transverse the whole street were it would normally take you 5 minutes!! :-)) As for what entertainment was going on in the park, I have really no idea, yes there was music etc but it went straight over my head along with the various stalls there too. My apologies to those people who man those stalls but I don’t go to Sparkle for them, it is to meet friends far and wide. Anyway, it was now 6pm and it was now time to head back to the hotel room to get change for the evening for our booked meal at “Try Thai” restaurant in Chinatown. While getting change, I had received a text off Sue, who sadly had to make the decision that she could no longer take any more discomfort with her facial skin and was going to revert back to “bob mode” in the interests of her long term welfare. Fortunately with a little persuasion, Sue was still coming to the evening meal which I was happy about but I knew it would be hard for Sue regardless. 

Finally, I was ready and on time, agreed to meet Sarah, Amanda and her friend Tina in the Hotel Lobby at 8pm. Tina was coming out for the very first time as Tina although she had been a TV for a number of years but understandably she was nervous, which in consequence she was late getting ready and meeting us in the lobby. In fact even Sarah was late too, and added to the fact it was raining too, we decided to get a taxi and ultimately arrived about 45 mins late at “Try Thai” were Sue, Zazoo, Dave and Joanne were already there waiting patiently. As expected the restaurant was busy with “joe public” as we seem to be the only TGirls there. Interestingly for me personally, it was the very first time I had seen Sue in “bob mode” and sort of a reversal of last year’s Sparkle so to speak but your real “friends” are always friends regardless how they appear and Sue was no different, although I could see she was not wholly comfortable with herself, which i could relate too. Anyway, eventually, we all had a nice meal - some of the food was lovely but for me personally, just a little too much although excellent value for money. By this time, the rain had almost stopped and fortunately we could all walk back to the Village including Tina who had done well so far, by the fact her first outing was really in the outside world rather than initially the village world! Alas though Sue, had decided that it was time to go back to the hotel as she felt a little bit out of it - well not being Sue as such, I could understand her thoughts and I really felt for her - oh so sad. :-( 

For the rest of us, it was hitting the Village, enjoying ourselves visiting the Via, Molly House and ultimately Naps until the early hours of the morning were the coolest place to be was the dance floor in Naps were the Air Con was on. Standing / sitting anywhere else, the sweat was pouring off which is not good for make up or hair to say the least. We all eventually headed back to our hotel rooms for some well deserved sleep, albeit for a few hours only! 

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