This week; the art of dirty laundry, fun at Loon Fung and what’s so cool about the Ice Factor.

The Museum 

Modern Art sometimes seems a bit off the wall to me. Often literally. Like Tracey Emin’s unmade bed. Eh…? Despite that, one of my favourite museums in Glasgow is the GOMA. Perhaps because the Duke of Wellington has a cone on his head right outside (and that seems like a kind of modern art I can get my head around) or perhaps because it’s a perfect sanctuary, just steps away from the buying and braying masses on Buchanan Street.

This week, I popped in (actively trying to avoid temptation from the sales), and was captivated by one of their current exhibitions. I had never heard of Niki de Saint Phalle but it turns out she was the artist behind the incredible mosaic at the entrance to GOMA, with mirrors depicting the story of St Mungo. The exhibition itself was a gift to Glasgow and will only run until the middle of February (it’s been there a while, I’m just late to the party!)

Looking at her work you don’t know whether to laugh or cry - it’s all so terrifyingly beautiful. Off the wall, yes, but far more emotive than dirty laundry!

The Restaurant 

A wee bit like haggis and macaroni cheese, Chinese food makes me think of home (oddly enough). When I was wee, Sunday nights were cosy nights of TV dinners, watching the A-Team or, less cosily in hindsight, Jim’ll Fix it. And on special occasions, a Chinese take-away. Anyway, enough reminiscing. 

This week, having not had Chinese for ages, I went to Loon Fung. It’s a wee bit of a Glasgow secret, tucked away away at the end of Sauchiehall Street and sharing an entrance with a travel agents. It’s also seriously Chinese. Having been to Hong Kong and the Canton Province, I can vouch for it being as authentic as they come. As you walk through the door, you are serenaded by a chorus of ‘mmms’ coming from one of their many Karaoke rooms. Out the back, the dining room bustles with Chinese people and chatter, usually a Dim Sum sign of a good Cantonese restaurant. Even the specials board is in Chinese.

The food too, is traditionally good. We had whole crispy shredded duck to start, I love the theatre of this dish, and it was so good I nearly gave a standing ovation. The menu is extensive and we had no problem ordering a lot of dishes. We practically licked the plates. Which, traditionally, is not very good practice, in Hong Kong you are meant to leave a little food on your plate to show that you have been sated by the meal. However, in this regard, Loon Fung throws custom out the window. The food is just too good.

The Experience 

January often feels like a bit of mountain to summit (how can it still be two weeks till payday?). But rather than get snowed under by it all, I like to head out and try something different. And, as Miley Cyrus said (when she kept her clothes on), ‘It’s the Climb’.

So, this week, my cure for the January blues was to head up to the Ice Factor in Kinlochleven. I’ve done a wee bit of regular climbing, but have been keen to get my hooks into ice for a while. The Ice Factor is the world’s largest and busiest ice wall, so an amazing facility for us to have here in Scotland. I booked in for a taster session, kitted up and was handed two ice axes.

I was then shown the ropes by the lovely and affable Joe, he kept the banter flowing which helped with the nerves. You’re advised to keep your pelvis close to the wall, under the ‘chilly willy’ rule (haha), and the axes above your head to avoid conking yourself out (oh dear). It’s hard work, but also incredibly rewarding. My arms were shaking by the end… and I’ll choose to put that down to effort rather than how terrifyingly high it felt at the top. What a scardey Cat!

*A bit closer to home, if you fancy giving Ice Climbing a bash, the folk behind the Kinlochleven Ice Factor have just opened the Ice Wall at X-Scape in Braehead.

Wee Bird Recommends

Wee Bird is supper(!) excited about this Sunday’s Scottish Macaroni Appreciation Club (SMAC) special - the Mummy Mac Off. Ten Mums will go head to head in a bake-off to see who will be crowned the Queen of Mac. You’ll have the chance to get stuck into the mac too and pick your favourites, tickets are £2.50 and all proceeds will go to the STV Appeal.

Stay cheesy Glasgow!