Cat's Eyes on Glasgow: embarrassing ballet questions, Roxy music and why I like getting sweaty with strangers

This week: what not to ask at the ballet, the Roxy hits the right note and why I like getting sweaty with a group of strangers.

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The Show - Hansel and Gretel

My Dad won’t let me forget the first time I went to the Christmas ballet. It was the Nutcracker, I was five-years-old and I was incredibly excited. As the show began, I asked, extremely loudly, ‘Dad, why are the men were wearing tights... and what do they have in their pockets?’ Hmmm, nutcracker question indeed.

I’m still a curious Cat and as keen on the ballet as when I was at five, so this week, I was delighted to be invited to the opening night of Scottish Ballet’s first new Christmas production in six years - and the world premiere - of Hansel and Gretel. This performance is even more special as it was developed through a year long project that asked the people of Scotland what they wanted from their national ballet. The collaborative results are bewitching, fantastically surreal and have more than a sprinkle of festive magic.

The production is a dance through a more modern version of the Grimm Brother’s tale (the wicked step-mother has been magicked away) and there’s plenty of Scottish twists and turns along the way.  Everything about this production from the set design to the costumes, the choreography, musical score and the incredible dancers was, keeping with the Hansel and Gretel theme, perfectly sweet. I left feeling festive, with a spring in my step (and pleased that I hadn’t asked any embarrassing questions!).

So, if the thought of going to the panto doesn’t send you piroetting down the street, why not head along - Hansel and Gretel is at the Theatre Royal, until December 28 and for the kiddiewinks (3+) there’s a special wee performance of this big ballet on Friday December 20.

The Pub - Roxy 171

I like pub pubs. Generally, I think a pub should feel local, friendly, be the right side of cosy and have a quiz night: it’s amazing how often these basics are overlooked.  The Roxy 171 (on Great Western Road), however, knows exactly who it is and rocks it.

It’s a great pub with smiley faces against all points mentioned above, but the surprise is just how good the food is. The Roxy has an extensive and impressive menu, prepared in a tiny, wee kitchen - set up for all to see - tucked into the corner of the bar. The vibe is Tex-Mex and American dinner with a sprinkling of Scottish.

I went for the Stornoway black pudding, smoked bacon and beetroot bap, whilst my friend had the Christmas special, a Turkey burger with all the trimmings. Both were incredibly tasty and well-flavoured. I thought the black pudding and beetroot was an interesting and delightful combo - and good value. They do excellent deals too, like lunch for a fiver - which is better than most supermarket meal deals!

The Experience

I first practiced Bikram yoga in Glasgow in a chap’s flat just off Byres Road (my boyfriend thought the man was a genius and was tempted to turn up the heating in our own place and get folk to come round and strip down to their pants). The chap was Stephen Clark and the temporary studio in his flat was just part of a bigger plan, to open the first fully functioning Bikram Studio in Glasgow.

Bikram Glasgow (opposite Hillhead tube) finally opened at the end of last year and it’s a great studio with fantastic facilities and teachers. But what is this Bikram yoga malarky?

Bikram is a stripped down class - literally - it’s 26 positions and asanas (relaxed pose) and two breathing exercises. Sounds easy enough. But with the thermostat set to scorchio, this is no ordinary yoga. It’s mind and body-bendingly tough. The sweat drips off you in rivers, your hair is plastered to your face... but, once you get over the fact you’re in a hot room (in your smalls) with a group of sweaty strangers, it’s surprisingly addictive.

The health benefits are meant to be huge, from detoxification and speeding up your metabolism to even helping with depression. It’s worth trying out, certainly for the experience and, personally, I think it’s a good idea to try and balance out all the mince pies I plan to eat, before I scoff them

This weekend, Wee Bird recommends a Christmas Cartel at SWG3 from the gang behind a Street Food Cartel. Wee even made a video to tell you more about it.

So pop along and stuff yourself as full as a turkey with an array of yummy, festive delights!

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