Yesterday was a day of firsts for me and my partner in crime/big sis, Gail. We kicked Saturday off with a trip to Pure Gym on Boucher Road, Belfast, to try out a new Boxercise class. We both used to attend a local kickboxing class, however I had to give it up after I hurt my back. I have really missed it and was delighted to get a pair of boxing gloves back on. The class was taken by Andrew McAuley, a personal trainer at the Gym. After a warm up, we gloved up and partnered up to carry out a range of boxing exercises. Combining jabs, upper cuts and squats, I soon had worked up a sweat. Andrew was very encouraging throughout the class and the atmosphere was fun and relaxed. I am definitely considering signing up for the class on a regular basis and the fact I hurt all over today shows it definitely was a worthwhile workout!
After freshening up it was time to undo all our hard work as we headed to Patisserie Valerie in the city centre for afternoon tea. Gail’s brother and sister-in-law, the lovely Colin and Ampira, bought her a voucher for her birthday and as this is one afternoon tea we haven’t tried before, believe it or not, we were keen to see what was on the menu. The patisserie was packed when we arrived with people enjoying teas, coffees and oodles of sweet treats. The selection of finger sandwiches included fillings of ham, chicken, egg and salmon. Neither of us are huge fans of salmon and unfortunately we weren’t able to swap this option for another, but I was pleased that the rest of the sandwiches were very tasty. Next up was fresh scones served with a selection of jams and fresh cream. These were light and fluffy and the jams served in miniature pots were a lovely touch. Finally, my favourite part of any afternoon tea, the sweets. There was a selection of mini offerings, including a berry gateaux, carrot cake, eclairs and chocolate gateaux, and it would have been rude not to sample them all, so we divided them between us, and before you knew it our sugar rush was well and truly underway.
Once afternoon tea was complete, we decided to pop in to The Five Points, the newest addition to Dublin Road. Formerly Auntie Annie’s this venue was my second home as a student and I was very keen to see what it is like in its current incarnation. It could not be more different, the bar area has moved to the opposite side of the space, the colour scheme is a sophisticated dark grey with atmospheric lighting. Seating is scattered in clusters throughout and guests are welcome to take a seat at the bar to soak up the atmosphere. There is a raised stage, which almost looks like the set of a stage production, where live music is played on a regular basis, however we didn’t see any during our visit. The bar staff are also welcoming and friendly, and their uniforms, which are a vintage style of trousers, white shirts and braces, added a unique touch to The Five Points. Gail and I decided to sample from the cocktail list, both opting for the Whiskey Sour. It arrived promptly in a lovely glass and tasted divine. I definitely think I will be back.
Our final first of the day, or by this stage night, was attending QFX 25th Birthday Bash at the Mandela Hall in Queen’s Students’ Union. Whilst the band weren’t due on the stage until midnight, we arrived slightly earlier to soak up the atmosphere and listen to tunes from DJ Stevie B and DJ XRay. It was hiving when we arrived and as the dress code was Superhero and Sci Fi, it was slightly surreal to attend my first ever rave with the likes of The Joker, Batman and Deadpool. After scoring some glow sticks, we found a space on the floor and got ready to rave like it was 1990. The crowd was in good spirits and once QFX took to the stage, the atmosphere was electric. This was definitely a memorable Saturday night and the perfect end to a jam packed day.