Trafford Centre Search To Find A Local Singing Star

This Christmas, intu Trafford Centre is launching ‘Light it up’ – it’s very own X Factor-style singing competition.

In a bid to find a local singer to share the glory of turning on the centre’s £1million festive light display – alongside a soon-to-be-announced pop star – the shopping centre is appealing for musical entries.

Much like the ITV talent show, intu Trafford Centre is asking for soloists or groups to send in their lyrical attempts online, before 20 acts are invited to perform in The Orient, the largest food court in Europe.

Trafford Centre

On 13-14th October, in front of a panel of entertainment experts from Manchester Evening News, Bauer Media and more, 20 finalists will then sing their heart out for the chance to perform at the centre’s Christmas Light Switch On.

The chosen singer chosen finalists will then have the chance to win over the hearts of the eight-thousand-strong crowd at the Lights event on 27th October. As well as this unique opportunity, the winning act will also receive a £1,000 intu Gift Card prize.

Richard Paxton, general manager of intu Trafford Centre, said: “We’re looking to find a great, local talent who just hasn’t been discovered yet at our ‘Light it up’ competition. We’re confident that out of the 31 million visitors that we attract every year, there must be a real star or two hidden in the mix.

“The intu Trafford Centre stage has been graced by the likes of McFly, JLS, Westlife, Olly Murs and Girls Aloud, so to launch a local singing career here would be very exciting.”

Entrants are asked to send a link to to their recording on a website such as YouTube, Veevo, SoundCloud etc. accompanied by their name and age, to by 23:59 on Friday 30th September.

All terms and conditions for the competition are available here


Tesco Mum Of The Year

Zoë Ball has been announced as the host for the Tesco Mum of the Year Awards’ glitzy ceremony, which will take place at London’s iconic hotel, The Savoy, on Sunday 1st March.  Marking its 10th anniversary year, the Awards celebrate ordinary mums who do extraordinary things for others.

The TV and Radio presenter – seen most recently on BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing and the Strictly Come Dancing Live Tour  – will join a stellar line up of celebs at the awards, including celebrity judges radio DJ Sara Cox, sports presenter Denise Lewis, Tesco Mum of the Year Ambassador Fearne Cotton and Celebrity Tesco Mum of the Year 2015 winner, Dame Esther Rantzen.

The mum of two will be helping to give recognition and celebrate the achievements of eight winning mums, all of whom have been recognised for their individual efforts in helping others, whether that is through their charity work, campaigning efforts, inspiring achievements or supporting others.

Zoë said, “I am really excited to be part of these awards – especially joining in the 10thAnniversary year and helping to celebrate these inspirational mums. Being a Mum is the best job I’ve ever had, our kids are everything to us. I know how much love, strength and patience it takes to be the best Mum you can be. I’m super chuffed & quite honoured to be part of the celebrations of some truly extraordinary mums who have given so much time and love to so many and have inspired us all”

Zoë’s presenting career first started on The Big Breakfast and Saturday morning children’s programme Live & Kicking, but she is best known for her co-host slot on The Radio 1 Breakfast Show. She has since gone on to present on BBC Radio 2, The Voice UK’s spin off show The Voice: Louder on Two and Strictly Come Dancing’s sister show It takes Two. Zoë has also co- hosted BBC One Children in Need.

Since the awards started 10 years ago, Tesco has supported the causes of over 80 mums who have shared their personal stories of achievement, selflessness and courage.

Debbie Chernin, Tesco Mum of the Year Manager, said: “We’re thrilled to have Zoë hosting this year’s Tesco Mum of the Year Awards. She’s a fantastic presenter and will certainly add to the event’s entertainment!”

For more information on the Tesco Mum of the Year Awards 2015, please visit Keep up to date with all the news on the awards on Twitter #MumoftheYear

Tesco Mum Of The Year 2015 – Esther Rantzen

Dame Esther Rantzen has been recognised for her tremendous charity work by being awarded Tesco Celebrity Mum of the Year for 2015.

Esther Rantzen

Esther will be presented with her award at a star-studded ceremony, at London’s iconic hotel, The Savoy, on Sunday 1st March. Marking its 10th anniversary year, the Awards celebrate ordinary mums who do extraordinary things for others.

Esther has had a golden year, and she can now add her Celebrity Tesco Mum of the Year award to the Damehood she picked up in the New Year’s Honours List. Both awards recognise her fantastic work to help improve the lives of children and older people.

Esther, a mother of three and grandmother of one, founded child protection charity ChildLine, which has now been replicated in 150 countries worldwide. In 2013, Esther launched a new initiative called The Silver Line, the only 24-hour, free, confidential helpline providing information, friendship and advice to older people. Esther was inspired to start the charity by her feelings of loneliness after her husband, Desmond Wilcox, passed away in 2000. In its first year, the helpline received more than 300,000 calls.

Commenting on her win Esther said, “Being chosen as Celebrity Tesco Mum of the Year winner is a real honour. And I am so proud of our ChildLine and Silver Line teams who are transforming the lives of children and older people, many of whom are isolated and vulnerable. I love the fact that although I am a besotted grandmother, Tesco also recognises that I am a devoted mother, too!  I am thrilled to have been recognised alongside the other Tesco Mum of the Year winners, who are just incredible and a real inspiration to women everywhere.”

Dame Esther will be joined on stage, at the ceremony, by seven other Tesco Mum of the Year winners. All of them have been recognised for their individual efforts in helping others through their charity work.

Debbie Chernin, Tesco Mum of the Year Manager, said: “It is a privilege to be able to recognise the achievements of such an amazing charity founder, campaigner and now Dame.  Her drive and determination in setting up two of the most influential and significant charities of our time, ChildLine and The Silver Line, is just incredible.”

For more information on the Tesco Mum of the Year Awards 2015, please visit Keep up to date with all the news on the awards on Twitter with the #MumoftheYear

Celebrate Chinese New Year 2015 In Manchester

Chinese New Year Manchester

Chinese New Year is always a fantastic celebration to be part of – especially in Manchester, with the amazing annual party and activities set to be even better than ever between 19th and 22nd February 2015.

Not only will the huge party centre around the Manchester Chinatown, but will be spread across the city with many activities going on – definitely fun for all the family!

Chinese New Year Manchester

With a food fair in St. Ann’s Square, lanterns dotted around the city, the Dragon procession, Chinese arts and many more, Manchester will certainly come alive! The Northern city certainly knows how to throw a party and the Chinese New Year 2015 will be a spectacle to behold, if you have never experienced Chinese New Year in Manchester before, try and visit between 19th to 22nd February 2015 to join in!

Chinese New Year Manchester


Do Your Bit With A Knit – Secret Jumper Sale

Atterley Road

Starting tomorrow, 3rd December at 9am, Atterley Road, the fashion label and retailer will be hosting a special ‘Secret Jumper Sale’.

The fashion label has teamed up with Save the Children and cool knitwear label Wool and the Gang to ‘make the world better with a sweater’ by hosting a Secret Jumper Sale as part of the charity project ‘Do Your Bit With A Knit’.

You will be able to view over 30 unique, hand-knitted Christmas jumpers which have been created by an impressive list of Brit fashion designers (Jonathan Saunders, Mary Katrantzou, Mother of Pearl and Haizhen Wang to name a few) as well current and former students from the London College of Fashion.  The secret is that you won’t know who designed your jumper until you receive it!

With just one limited edition of each jumper available.  Each jumper costs £99, with every penny going to Save the Children. The sale ties in with Save the Children’s ‘Christmas Jumper Day’ on Friday 12th December, when everyone is encouraged to wear a Christmas jumper to work and donate £2 to Save the Children.

Full details of ‘Do Your Bit with a Knit’ can be found on Atterley Road’s blog.

Warming Up With A Winter Holiday

Is it just me, sitting here at the moment, staring at the temperature gauge but not actually turning it any higher?

Gosh you can tell it is coming up to Winter now and our short summer is well and truly over, it is freezing and the Heat Holder blanket is most definitely out and keeping myself and my mini me warm! Even the dog gets a look in sometimes!

The thought of hailing a taxi to the airport simply with passports only and asking for a plane ticket on the next plane out of here is so appealing you would not believe. Heading to a warmer climate right now would be perfect, though knowing my luck, I would be given a ticket to Greenland!

Whilst having one of my may Google breaks (I love procrastination!) I found this great little City Break guide from Travelzoo which helps you decide on which city you’d want to visit based on temperature, prices and blogger recommendations…I am still choosing but where would you go?

Travelzoo City Planner.

Autumn City Break Destination Planner

A Picture A Day: Ramsbottom Festival – Jimi Goodwin

Recently we attended the annual Ramsbottom Festival and were treated to a weekend filled with awesome live music and family fun. The kids had a fantastic time and we were so lucky with it literally being on our doorstep!

Here is Jimi Goodwin, formerly of The Doves, pictured performing his set on stage.

A Picture A Day: Ramsbottom Festival – Jimi Goodwin



Tinnitus… What Is It All About And How Does It Happen?

The most random thing happened last night.

I have been chatting to a lovely bloke on a dating site, there is no attraction there at all, literally just someone to chat to and moan about how soul destroying it all is. When he turned around and stated he suffers with tinnitus…


Now I am fully aware it is a problem with ears however, it is something that I had to specifically Google to find more information about. What a totally bizarre thing to come out with though, I know I have heard some mildly crazy things in my time, but I think this topic definitely tops the bill.

So, if you are as oblivious as I am… here is a little information on what Tinnitus is exactly!

Tinnitus is a term that describes any sound a person can hear from inside their body rather than from an outside source.  Although tinnitus is often described as ‘ringing in the ears’, several sounds can be heard including: Buzzing, humming, hissing, sizzling, grinding and whistling.

More and more people are suffering from hearing problems which are often due to the work they do. Anyone can be affected by industrial deafness, acoustic trauma and tinnitus whether you work on a building site or in a call centre.  The below Tinnitus infographic provided by Johnsons Law explores the different types of work related hearing problems, why they occur, how to prevent them and what to do if you have already been affected.