2003 promotional video for Sheffield

(Univer)sity on the move

Considering it is only around ten years old, this promotional video from the University of Sheffield is quite something.

On Twitter, we dated it to around 2003. What do you reckon?


Five festivals not to miss this autumn in Sheffield

I love the summer in Sheffield but apart from during big events like Tramlines, the city can seem quiet during July and August. Then the holidays come to an end, the students return and before you know it, Sheffield has become home to a run of festivals stretching well into November. Here’s a round up of what’s going on:

Sheffield Food Festival

14-16 Septembersheffieldfoodfestival.org

This three-day festival has moved from July and is now slimmed down from a full week in 2011. There is still lots going on this year, with a themed menu of city centre events for all the family including demonstrations, tastings, workshops and of course an opportunity to gorge on lots of delicious local food and drink.

Don’t miss: The Sheffield Breweries Co-operative (Peace Gardens, Friday 14-Sunday 16 September) Your chance to meet the brewers and drink the beer from nine of our local breweries in a Peace Gardens marquee. Have all our best-loved Sheffield beers ever been available under one roof before?

Festival of the Mind

20-30 September | sheffield.ac.uk/fotm

This new festival hosted by the University of Sheffield could prove to be one of the stand-out events of the year (I should mention that I have some involvement with it though so I am probably a bit biased.) Sheffield’s creative community and academics from the University are coming together to put on over 50 events. There are some intriguing and wonderful collaborations, including Do It Thissen, a celebration of Sheffield’s post-punk music scene, 50 Ideas for Sheffield and virtual art gallery Computer Love.

Don’t miss: The Arrivals Zone. The brilliant Sheffield Publicity Department hosts a dream tourist information kiosk outside the train station in Sheaf square. Expect more than just leaflets about our galleries and museums.

The Last Laugh Comedy Festival

2-30 October | lastlaughcomedyfestival.co.uk

Toby Foster is going solo with this year’s comedy festival and it is now known as the Last Laugh Comedy Festival instead of Grin Up North. You probably won’t notice too much difference though: it’s the usual programme of comedy, from performances fresh from Edinburgh to full-blown arena shows.

Don’t miss: My friend who went to Edinburgh this year recommends Pappy’s sketch troupe, nominated for the Edinburgh Comedy Award this year (12 October, The Greystones) and the excellent storytelling standup Elis James who is charming, engaging and above all, hilarious (19 October, The Lescar).


11-13 October | bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/latestnews/2012/200811octoberfest.html

South Yorkshire seems to be getting its fair share of BBC events this year, what with The One Show in a very wet Endcliffe park last month, Richard Hawley’s Magna show on 6 Music this weekend and now Radio Five Live is popping over the Pennines for a weekend of events and live broadcasts. Radio Sheffield is involved and the press release says we can expect ‘an eclectic mix of news and sport programming, audience debates and interactive activities in venues across the city’.

Don’t miss: A live audience broadcast of Fighting Talk.

Off the Shelf

13 October-3 November | offtheshelf.org.uk

At 21 years old, is this the oldest festival in Sheffield that is still running? This festival of words includes the usual mix of more well-known faces (Richard Wilson, Benjamin Zephaniah, Stuart Maconie, Peter Hook and Simon Armitage) and topics closer to home (Tracing the Sheffield Jungle, A Sheffield A-Z, Sheffield Stories, Big Sky – Stories from the Edge).

Don’t miss: Praise or Grumble with SRSB. Did you know the radio football phone-in was invented in Sheffield? Or more accurately, by legendary former Radio Sheffield sports editor Bob Jackson, as he lay sunbathing one summer in Cyprus? The Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind’s Mappin Writers host this event with Bob as guest speaker (Saturday 27 October, 2pm, 5 Mappin Street).

And there’s more

There are also some other festivals taking place over the next couple of months in Sheffield including the fourth Celluloid Screams horror film weekend at the Showroom (26-28 October) and the MADE Entrepreneur Festival (19-21 September).

Although there isn’t too much overlap between the festivals I’ve mentioned, they do seem to be tightly packed over a few weeks. Would it be better to move one or two of them to the spring instead?

Fancie cupcakes: behind the scenes

Inside the Sheffield Fancie bakery

Chocolate Fancie cupcakes

Chocolate Fancie cupcakes

The other day I had the pleasure of an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at Sheffield’s favourite cupcake company, Fancie.

Fancie is only a young business. In just two years it has quickly become one of the city’s most recognisable and loved names in food.

Prior to Fancie, there wasn’t much in the way of gourmet cupcakes in Sheffield. They have created a market for their product and now bake over 4,000 cupcakes a week in their modest Sheffield 7 base.

A Sharrow vale road shop opened in April last year and an outlet in the Winter garden followed earlier in 2010. Two more stores are due to open this year, the first in Sheffield university’s refurbished student’s union just in time for fresher’s week.

So what is the Fancie bakery like? It you’re expecting it to be lavishly decked in the trademark pink then you’re wrong. The only clue from the outside that we’d arrived at the right place was the small http://www.fancie.co.uk in the window.

Fancie window

Fancie window

Inside there is a small office, the main preparation area and a store cupboard.

We meet the proprietor Amanda who ushers us in and starts to show us round. We’d arrived at 9:30am but the five or six people busily attending to various stages of the cupcake-making process have been working since five that morning.

The Fancie factory

The Fancie bakery

The Fancie team look as if they are nearing the end of the cooking process and the fruits of their labour are indeed on show.

Trays of cupcakes

Trays of cupcakes

Adjacent to these trays is a personalised order which is half way through being prepared. These special orders account for about 15% of the business, the rest being standard cupcakes sales.

Personalised cupcake order

Personalised cupcake order

We’re then left to explore the rest of the bakery and see how the Fancie cupcakes are made. Although the process is what you would expect, seeing the craft behind something you know well is still interesting.

First of all, the sponge mix is created and then pumped into the waiting bun cases.

Chocolate bun mix

Chocolate bun mix

There are plenty of flavours on offer, and each batch is labelled before it is baked in the oven.

Pumping and labelling the flavoured sponge mix

Pumping and labelling the flavoured sponge mix

Filled bun cases

Filled bun cases

A good cook always tests their recipes as they go along.

A cheeky test of the baked sponge

A cheeky test of the baked sponge

The cupcake filling is added: for example jam for the Victoria cupcakes or peanut butter for Snickerlicious, Fancie’s biggest seller.

The sponge filling is added

The sponge filling is added

The icing is then mixed and generously pumped onto the cupcakes to create the thick Fancie topping.

Pumping the icing

Pumping the icing

None of the icing is wasted. When all the lighter colours have been applied to cupcakes, the spare icing is mixed together and combined with cocoa to create  the chocolate icing.

The chocolate icing is made from unused light-coloured icing

The chocolate icing is made from unused light-coloured icing

The toppings are then put on. Judging by the contents of the store cupboard, they won’t be running out of coloured sprinkles soon.

Fancie store cupboard

Fancie store cupboard

Decorated cupcakes

Decorated cupcakes

The finished cupcakes are then stored in crates until the delivery van arrives to take them to outlets in Sheffield and Leeds.

Crated cupcakes

No prizes for guessing the whereabouts of the two missing cupcakes...

The hard work wasn’t quite finished there though…there was first the washing up to do.

Washing up

Washing up

After looking round we washed down our cupcakes with a cup of tea and had a chat with Amanda in the office.

I asked her about the background to Fancie and her setting up here. She was born in Cornwall and worked as a pastry chef in the Lake district before moving to Sheffield. An alarming fact was that the choice of city to move to was completely random; she literally stuck a pin in the map. So it would have been possible for another town or city to be the home of Fancie, which seems hard to imagine now.

However, Amanda’s passion for Sheffield is clearly evident and she would be the first to say that being based here is a big part of what makes Fancie the company it is.

The fast growth of her business and the numerous outlets that sell her cupcakes show that Amanda has ambitions for Fancie. But the PR trips to London to raise the company’s profile are not what motivates her and her dream isn’t to see Fancie cupcakes in every supermarket in the land.

Instead she is happy to build the company up so it doesn’t become another supplier both driven and bullied by the big supermarkets. The people enjoying her cupcakes are happy to pay for them knowing that they are made fresh, locally and by an independent producer, and she is in no hurry to ramp things up on an industrial scale.

Being considered a treat product obviously hasn’t done Fancie any harm in the current recession. And the occasional special flavours are giving people excuses to keep coming back for more: I can personally vouch for the goodness of the butterscotch one.

The success of the business hasn’t gone unnoticed, with at least two other gourmet cupcake companies springing up in Sheffield.

For now though Fancie is still the number one, and remains one of Sheffield’s culinary treasures.

Amanda in the Fancie office

Amanda in the Fancie office

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The top 30 brands in Sheffield?

Assessing the top Sheffield brands

Local company Web branding has produced a list of what they consider to be the top brands in Sheffield.

They used a process to assess and score each of the entries, and have whittled down a longlist of 100 down to a top 30.

It would be interesting to see the full list, as some of the biggest organisations are nowhere to be seen in the top 30, for example Meadowhall, the council, the universities, the Star, Hallam FM, old shops like Atkinsons and many of the big industrial names of the city.

I was also a bit surprised that Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United haven’t made the list, when you would have thought they would be some of the most known Sheffield brands in the world, and ones that people feel most passionate about. And should famous Sheffield bands and personalities such as Jessica Ennis be included in a list like this?

For me, this raises questions about what defines a brand in the first place, and whether one can properly assessed by its website, how recognisable it is and the quality of any design work. A brand is much more than just its visual identity.

See what you think of the list. Do you agree with it?

The top 30 brands in Sheffield, according to Web branding

Shopaholic’s guide to 1970s Sheffield talk and Reel monty screening

The Shopaholics Guide to 1970s Sheffield

The Shopaholics Guide to 1970s Sheffield

More 1970s nostalgia

Continuing the 1970s theme from the previous post, an upcoming event will celebrate the recent history of Sheffield with a film screening and illustrated talk in the cathedral.

The event on 3 June is organised by Sheffield university as part of a summer art and music festival and includes a screening of the Reel monty film, which featuring Sheffield – city on the move from the Full monty and the sequel, Sheffield international city.

Neil Anderson, author of The shopaholic’s guide to 1970s Sheffield book, will then give an illustrated talk looking back at the city’s retail heritage and how Sheffield was once the shopping capital of the north.

Reel monty screening and Shopaholic’s guide to 1970s Sheffield event

Sheffield on Twitter – April 2010 update

Twitter latest

Here are this month’s additions to the list of Sheffield people and organisations of interest on  Twitter. The full directory can be found on the Sheffield Twitter users page.

There is also a Twitter list of people and organisations in Sheffield in Twitter.

Sheffield words – retweeting your words for Sheffield to support the culture bid

Eve Wood – director of Made in Sheffield and the Beat is the Law films

Quality time volunteering

James O’Hara – founder of Threads at @dqsheffield and one of the Tramlines organisers

Boots for Africa – Sheffield FC charity

Site art gallery

Museums Sheffield

Crystal peaks shopping centre

Sheffield now – a community interest company, giving children and young people a voice in the design of their environment

Our favourite places – independent guide to the best of Sheffield

Daily geographer – geography blog

South Yorkshire police

The Grind – Kelham island coffee shop

Raw talent – Iain Hodgson’s new music show on BBC Sheffield

Nick Clegg – Sheffield Hallam MP and Liberal democrat leader

Nicola Bates – Prospective Conservative MP for Sheffield Hallam

Me pod – maternity clothes that look beyond the bump

White house physio

CND removals –  removal company

Sheffield university’s theatre and performance festival

Sheffield university staff cricket club

Swallownest baptist church

ITS Sheffield – IT services

Visualis – TV, film and video production

Tim Cleasby – photographer

4 networking Hillsborough – networking in Hillsborough

JCI Sheffield – personal development organisation

Cats for peru – band

TDC – events and video

Snooker skills – not for profit social enterprise to help disadvantaged groups through snooker

Forced entertainment – group of six artists

Sweet theatre – handmade sweets

Walkabout bar

Chariband – promotion and fundraising social enterprise

ESP projects – social enterprise providing ICT services to the social economy

If you want to be listed on it then follow @sheffieldblog, get in touch or comment below.

The Sheffield derby

Sky coverage to benefit the clubs and football fans – but at what price?

Many readers will be aware that on Friday, the first of this season’s football matches between the two Sheffield clubs takes place at Bramall lane.

Wednesday won both games last year so with United looking for revenge it will hopefully be a decent match. If you haven’t got a ticket then the good news is that the match is live on Sky; this has also meant that kick-off has been moved to 7:45pm on Friday night.

Having the match at this time may not be such good news for businesses in the city. If previous derby days are anything to go by, it is likely that for safety reasons, police will request that many pubs in town stay closed and only pubs in the suburbs will be allowed to show the match. So pubs in town will lose out on their normal Friday night trade and people with no interest in football could potentially be caught out when they find themselves locked out of city centre venues.

This weekend also marks the start of fresher’s week for both Sheffield and Hallam university so as as well as the students returning to the city, some may be arriving here for the first time. Not a great first impression of the city centre.

How much do football clubs get from the broadcast of a match on Sky? It would be interesting to compare this figure to the amount that city centre venues estimate they would lose by being forced to stay shut on a Friday night. Don’t forget, this is also during a recession that is reportedly claiming upto 50 pubs a week.

A Saturday lunchtime kick-off may have been a better idea, with less chance for excessive pre-match drinking and plenty of cooling-down time before the pubs reopened later on. But it looks like this arrangement didn’t suit Sky and United/Wednesday’s business models – which are obviously of more importance than the business models of Sheffield city centre pubs.

Sheffield on Twitter – update nine

August 2009 update

Here are this month’s additions to the list of Sheffield people and organisations of interest on  Twitter. The full directory can be found on the Sheffield Twitter users page.

Paul Scriven – leader of Sheffield city council

Jon McClure – Reverend and the Makers front man

Cocoa  – chocolate shop on Eccy Road

Our Cow Molly – locally-made ice cream

Seth Bennet – BBC Sheffield sport presenter

Oktoberfest Sheffield – beer festival

Popolo – restaurant in Leopold square

Eliot Kennedy – songwriter who has worked with the Spice girls, Bryan Adams, S Club 7 and 5ive

Robin hood airport – Doncaster-Sheffield international

Graduates Sheffield

Oxjam – music festival

Sheffield unsigned – music directory for artists in and around Sheffield

Crookes forum – community group

Hillsborough forum – community group

South Yorkshire fire and rescue

Apple admin – professional virtual admin services

Benchmark recruitment – recruitment agency

Sheffield university real ale society

C21 creative – web and graphic designers

VT music – music publisher

Sheffield big – support programme to help residents set up in business

Roundabout – homeless youth charity

South Yorkshire music – local music news

Little white book – wedding planners

Wath festival – music festival

Sheffield law society – supporting and representing Sheffield’s legal profession

3 squared – web, print and software

Sorby nano – leaders in micro and nano scale investigation

SYPTE – South Yorkshire passenger transport executive

City church – local church

Sheffield craft collective

LCPU – NAVCA’s local commissioning and procurement unit

Mookau – gift boutique

Abbey joinery

Training foundry – computer trainers

Platinum blind – band

Dead world leaders – band

Sheffield liberal youth

Sheffield Labour students

Extension match – brick and stone supplier

Atweb – band

Geeks in the peaks – rural getaway for geeks, 4-6 September 2009

Harry Gration – veteran Look north presenter

Sheffield latest – automated news

If you want to be listed on it then follow @sheffieldblog, get in touch or comment below.

Sheffield on Twitter – update seven

June 2009 update

Here are this month’s additions to the list of Sheffield people and organisations of interest on  Twitter, with perhaps the most notable being the addition of the council (@SCCPressOffice). The full directory can be found on the Sheffield Twitter users page.

Sheffield city council press office – the council’s press office

Art Sheffield – Sheffield contemporary art forum

Sheffield Hallam university – the university’s central Twitter account

Quba new media – web agency

Sheffield live – community radio station

Fuse  – show on the university’s Forge radio station

Celluloid screams – Sheffield horror film festival

SSiD Sheffield – University of Sheffield student services

Vox Sheffield – Volunteer-led organisation that exists to nurture, encourage and showcase creative expression and experimentation

Sheffbookclub – Twitter-based book club on Sheffield

The Earl – Queens Road pub

SCCWeb – Sheffield city council web team

Sheffield university Japan society – University of Sheffield student Japan group

ELR auctions – Antique and fine art auctioneers and valuers

teamNomad – digital agency

Becky Hayes – Hallam FM presenter and former High street honey

PH weddings – wedding photography and planning

Shane Rounce – designer and photographer

Martin Field – photographer

Team Cooper – Flash developers

BFFS – British federation of film societies

PHS Sheffield – Psychological health website updates

Sheffield alumni – University of Sheffield alumni department

CAaD – contemporary art as dialogue blog

Bex knitwear – hand knitter and designer of knitwear

If you want to be listed on it then follow @sheffieldblog, get in touch or comment below.