Forum Shops.

127-129 Devonshire Street.

When trying to describe this Aladdin's cave of independent trade, it's all too tempting to jump in with phrases like 'hidden gem' and 'best kept secret'. This wouldn't even begin to do justice to the Forum Shops.

As Sheffield's only independent shopping centre, you'll find a higher concentration of character, personality and quality per square foot in this mini-mall than perhaps anywhere else in the city, with no two shops the same and each outlet offering something truly individual for the discerning shopper. Allow us to give you the tour. As you walk in from Division Street, you'll be met by relative new kid on the block Dirty Harry's, a music shop with all manner of equipment to start your path to rock stardom. Next door you will find the excellent Syd & Mallory's, fine purveyors of original, handmade and reworked fashion, vintage and trinketry, who are neighboured by Ideology, probably the snazziest men's clothes shop in the world.

Next is the delightful Flock Boutique, wherein you will find a range of hand-selected women's clothing and vintage fashion, leading nicely to Fuse, the alternative store, offering established brands of clobber and accessories. Along from them is Golden Harvest, Sheffield's premier smoking shop, supplying you with all your smoking needs (well, almost all). Visit the amazing Follow Your Dreams tattoo parlour for freehand speciality tattoos of ultimate originality and class. To lead you back out, make your way through Arcade and you're certain to discover just what you were looking for, whether you knew it or not, with individually designed clothing and adornments galore.

With veterans welcoming new members of the Forum family with open arms, it's also got a uniquely friendly and relaxed atmosphere, allowing for casual browsing without feeling like you are on another high street conveyor belt. Pop in next time you're passing and, whatever your intentions, you won't leave empty-handed.

forumsheffield.co.uk/shops

madewithpixels.

Everyone's got a website these days. Sometimes even your gran, and good on her, we say. But not all websites are created equal and in this great ocean of internet, the shoddy and the banal stand out like an oil slick in the sun. In America. Never fear, intrepid digital adventurers, there is a solution at hand...

Michael Auty is a freelance graphic, web and multimedia designer working in and around Sheffield. We also think he's a bit of a legend. Michael creates, builds and hosts highly accessible websites (like this very one!) and can do everything from a total site build to consulting on your own project, all with a smile.

Michael brings a love of design to his work, which we've found immeasurably reassuring. He's managed to combine this with an ability to communicate what he means in a way that makes sense to all minds, frameworks and perspectives. An absolute gift. The remit which he works within as madewithpixels is a vast one. It includes mysterious phases like content managed web-portals, event management, customer relations and e-commerce systems.

Coupled with his love of design is a deep understanding of the technology. We're told he can bend such curiosities as W3C standards compliant XHTML, CSS and unobtrusive Javascript to his indomitable will. Michael works with both Telerik Sitefinity and WordPress delivery platforms, using both the .NET and PHP development frameworks. We're pretty sure there's a kitchen sink available too if you ask nicely.

As you may have guessed by the fact that we only set up @nowthenmag on Twitter a few months ago, we are not the biggest internet buffs around. There's just something about the smell of ink... But Michael has managed to steer us through these rocky, shallow waters with passion, creativity, expertise and humour. The benefits of having someone so supportive and accessible cannot be underestimated, particularly in a job requiring such skill.

Having previously worked with clients as diverse as The British Museum, The BBC and Sealine Yachts, you know you're getting the help you need. Let's face it, if he can drag us print whores into the 21st century he's not only a wizard, he's the Gandalf of the wizard community.

madewithpixels

Names Not Numbers.

Have you ever noticed how international problems are often reduced to statistics? They might help us put things in perspective, but they cannot give us the personal, human angle that is so vital to charity work.

Names Not Numbers hopes to challenge this blueprint by joining the dots and showing the bigger picture. Founded with this goal in mind, the Sheffield organisation currently supports an orphanage in India called the Raffa Home and a South African township community project, Tshwaranang. The charity places a particular emphasis on children and the family unit and does not take any admin or staffing fees. Good on them, we say.

namesnotnumbers.info


Marcia's.

S2 Wicker
0114 2766144

You might be familiar with the glories of outlets like Yabba and the Jam Rock Cafe (on Abbeydale and London roads respectively), but this one could've slipped under your radar.

Caribbean food is quite hard to get wrong - the approach and ingredients are relatively simple - but it's also very hard to get right. Too many run-of-the-mill portions of curried mutton can leave you cold.

Marcia's on the Wicker doesn't have that problem. Whether veggie or carnivore, this place does a generous portion at a reasonable price. Try the jerk or the veg soup. Like all good Caribbean cuisine, it takes a bit longer than you might hope for them to bring your meal out, but well worth it.


ReCycle Bikes.

62-68 Thirwell Road.
0114 250 7717.
recyclebikes.co.uk

ReCycle Bikes started in 2001 and is now one of the best places in Sheffield to get hold of a cheap bike that won't collapse the minute you sit down. Seriously, forget Halford's and Decathalon - this place refurbishes second-hand rides, as well as stocking new Merida models, accessories and spare parts at competitive prices.

If you want to get your hands dirty, ReCycle also runs cycle maintenance courses and workshops in the evenings, on top of its work providing vocational training to school kids between 14 and 16.

Equally, if you've got an old banger sitting about that is just collecting rust, run it down to Heeley and donate it to this lot. They'll undoubtedly savage something useful from it.

The Office (U.S.)

Any self-respecting Brit responds to the concept of an American version of the Office with an angry glare of indignation and a snort of utter contempt. Those dumb Americans wouldn't get our highly evolved sense of humour and we wouldn't want them to etc etc.

Well it turns out they do. Kind of. The US version of the Office is Americanised (unavoidable) but actually worth watching once you learn to appreciate it as a separate entity. Steve Carell pulls off the boss role surprising well and while the result contains significantly less despair than its UK counterpart, this is a funny and watchable comedy in its own right.

Avoid season one though - way too many cringeworthy remakes of Office UK storylines.


pecha kucha.

@PKNSheff

We loved the Pecha Kucha #04 Christmas Special at the Dirty Little Secret venue on Smithfield. There was mulled wine, hootenanny, an en masse Secret Santa, a Christmas card competition and general merriment.

The presentations ranged from loving Christmas, Fedex vs Santa to voting on sprouts, crackers (literally), amazing facts about snowflakes and the final presentation ended with the whole room participating in a 20-second panto.

Plans for next year involve many more speakers including Pete McKee, and a certain someone was very happy with her secret Santa - an original Nick Deakin.

If you haven't been before, get yourselves down to this very different, creative and dynamic event, a refreshing break from all the 'networking events' with the usual hoi polloi. Business cards are banned and it has a very relaxed, informal atmosphere, with not a suited person in sight.


threads.

Saturdays @ DQ.
10 till late .

The Threads lads and now Lasses are relentless. Every Saturday for almost as far back as we can remember, the DQ party on a Saturday night has been a Threads one. Famed for the 'spinning' (or, these days, 'clicking') of genreless classics over and over again, the Threads DJs create a great atmosphere and a lot of sweaty bodies. Well worth the door tax.

Threads also go out of their way to decorate the venue in striking red curtains, transforming the space each Saturday. Fresh from hosting a man of many a legend, Howard Marks A.K.A. Mr Nice, the Threads crew have big things lined up for the New Year and if it's anything like last year's rich pickings, we'll all be eager to get ourselves down there.