TinaCortina's Blog

Musings of a Tgirl

SPARKLE 07 and contrasting weekends

Don’t you find that if you have a week off, then the next week is just one of catch-up? Certainly from a work point of view but also if you’ve had a few late nights you need a few days just to get it all together ~ well that’s what I have had to do this week ~ must be getting old.

Well the previous week, I had two long weekends. The first was a golf trip to France, Sunday to Tuesday. I then had two days off and then headed off to SPARKLE Friday to Sunday.


The two weekends could not have been more different. The first was in the company of 26 other males, and we were typical brits, staying in a hotel run by brits with a large bar with 4 snooker tables; we ate breakfast and dinner in the hotel, played our golf had quick drinks at the clubs then back to our hotel. Not an ounce of French culture, no walks through quaint French villages, no chance to use my (very poor) French, no we had our pre-paid bar and snooker and we had to make the most of it till well into early hours of the morning.

Not really my scene but I do enjoy the golf and its my 6th tour to the same area.

We had travelled out towards Le Touquet on the Sunday, through the tunnel ~ but with a two hour delay. We then played golf on some lovely courses each day in glorious sunshine, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday before returning Tuesday evening to torrential thunderstorms in Southern England, and news when I got home that the garage had flooded.

Our drive is on a slope and up until recently we had had a broken curbstone at the head of the drive. It had taken several years but this year the council had replaced it and we hoped this would be an end to the floods. Maybe it is the climate change, but storms appear to be harder and more sustained in this little old island of ours, and several times a year, I have to mop up and brush out several inches of muck. At least this time, it wasn’t threatening to come into the house and bearing in mind what others have had to suffer this week with the floods up in Yorkshire and elsewhere, I shouldn’t complain too much.



A-M and I had decided to go to SPARKLE in separate cars. Going up North is not too far from our parents and she was going to spend Sunday/Monday with her Dad. Travelling up Friday was not much fun for either of us as it was slow going on the motorways and the rain was pelting down again. In fact the forecast for the weekend was atrocious.

We arrived about 4, got the cars parked and had a drink in the hotel with our friends, Davina and Astrid each with their wives. The six of us met about 3 years and since then we have always tried to meet up two or three times a year but this year we hadn’t seen much of them so lots of catching up to do. The priority though was to become our ‘alter ego’s’ as quickly as possible so I went to the room while A-M stayed for a drink with Sandy.

I had brought an outfit for Friday night (skirt & top), thought I would probably wear jeans during the day Saturday, had my new (not so new now) Xmas dress (long with silver splashes) for Saturday night and quite a few possibilities for Sunday. It was a good job we were in separate cars!!

Based in the Ibis at Portland St, we were just 5 minutes walk from Canal St the main focus of the SPARKLE celebrations. Much of it is very informal. Friday night there was free entry into the pubs and clubs and a party at AXM the main sponsors. We popped into several places on the way but were eating in Velvet, again on Canal St.

The whole place was a hive of excitement filled mainly with tgirls and occasionally with their partners. The staff in any of these places are totally at ease with our groups and it was just a party atmosphere. Outside there were chairs out café style from each of the bars and after the meal we wandered up, occasionally meeting old friends, but always at ease feeling able to join practically any conversation that was going on.

Fortunately the rain stayed off for Friday night and indeed most of the weekend despite the forecast.

Not very ladylike I know, but knowing I was to stay as Tina for the whole of the weekend, I retained my make-up base overnight and just topped up each day or altered eye make-up according to occasion.


Next morning, I went off alone for a couple of hours. I walked through China Town to a coffee bar, bought a paper, and just had a pleasant 40 minutes relaxing over a large Americano and a pastry. I then wandered down to the shops and pretty well window- shopped – at least I wasn’t really intending to buy anything. But I had our lunchtime meeting place to find and walked through a variety of department stores and shoe shops. I have to say one sight in Primark caught my attention.

Two Tranny’s, 60 years +, wearing the shortest of micro skirts, below which they were wearing hold-ups that finished 3 inches BELOW the bottom of the skirt. At a tranny-fest like SPARKLE you see all sorts and many of the shortest skirts, but out shopping? ~ in the main Manchester shopping centre? I do believe that if you want to mix it with the general public you have to make an effort and this sort of thing gives us all a bad reputation, rather defeating the object of SPARKLE really, but then I also believe in freedom of expression, so its all a compromise.

So anyway, the six of us met up for lunch, a nice modern Tapas bar, then Astrid, Davina and I headed off to look at the photographic exhibition, which was being held the other side of Canal St, in the Manchester Met university buildings. There were also organised ‘talk/ seminars’ going on, but frankly most seemed to be more geared to those that were transitioning, which I am not, so not much interest there.

I did meet Gavin, (the male side of Leah True) who had gone to Thailand and represented England in the Miss Tgirl International competition. There was a TV programme about it, which I had seen. At the end Gavin had put a portfolio of her pics in front of her Mum and asked if she knew who it was. The programme was shown about 4 months ago and apparently everything has worked out find for Gavin since he came out. He is still with Sue, his girl friend, his Mum has been fine about it and so have his work colleagues and clients. Good luck to him; nice guy.

Astrid, Davina and I then headed for Sackville Gardens ~ SPARKLE in the park, stopping only to take a couple of photos on the bridge that two years the 3 of us had our picture taken with one of the local bobbies. Anyway, that is the photo that is showing at the head of the page!!

Back to the hotel; change then to Chinatown for a meal. Back to Canal St which was buzzing with a thousand tgirls, some with partners and of course the regular crowd, some straight , many gay. Into the park again, we watched Roweeta sing (I think she came 2nd or third in the English X factor) and then ‘Bar hopping’.

Meeting old friends……stopping for a chat then move on. Meeting a bunch of girls out celebrating who just wanted to find out who we are and what we are. So many are like that just naturally inquisitive and friendly. A-M is naturally friendly to all, so we mix in and have a great time, eventually wandering back to the hotel about 2.

Quick drink in the bar; quite a few are returning now.


Next morning A-M is off about 11. One more day for Tina though. First for a coffee with Astrid and Sandy; then we are joined by D and J, this time Davina in male mode ready for the return home.

But first a meal organised by Myffy in Villagio. A hundred of us for Sunday lunch, £12 a head, lovely meal, very relaxed and a great send-off. We say our goodbyes and ready ourselves for the long drive home.

My daughter was going to be out, so I could drive home as Tina then gently wind down after the 5 hour drive. It was probably 10pm by the time I finally changed and started thinking about the next morning and back to work. That was since 5pm on Friday, my longest as Tina and thoroughly enjoyed.


SPARKLE is only once a year and we missed last year. But it is already in our diaries for next year and A-M has agreed it is not to be missed. What more could I ask for? A partner who said she thought SPARKLE a great weekend and what would we be doing next? I am very lucky, that I know. Tina get organising!!

Two weekends of startling contrast. I really enjoyed both of them. The golf and the blokey banter, SPARKLE and just having fun with the girls as girls.

If you have been, thanks for reading!!

Love TinaCortina xx


July 1, 2007 - Posted by | musings of a tgirl, sparkle | , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Hi Tina, well it sounds like you and everybody at sparkle had a wonderful time in an unthreatening and t-girl friendly extravaganza! and you managed a whole weekend en-femm how many of us dream of that? you are as you say a very very lucky girl to have such a wonderful and understanding partner. ive enjoyed reading your blog and its made me green with envy ! but who knows by sparkle 10-15 i may be regular myself.
    Hugs Steph xx

    Comment by Anonymous | July 2, 2007 | Reply

  2. You certainly sparkled at Sparkle, Tina! That’s a lovely picture and the whole event sounds amazing. I was trying to decide between Sparkle and St Audries for next year – now I’m sure it’s gotta be Sparkle, though I don’t think I’ll bother with a micro-skirt! Like you, this girl’s got standards.

    Thanks 🙂

    Comment by Angie | July 2, 2007 | Reply

  3. That’s fabulous !! I am really bummed at missing it !! 😦 Would have been so great to meet you…oh well maybe another time…if not have to wait until the next sparkle ! You made it sound like should a great time ! thank you kindly for the blog !! splendid !

    Comment by child of the trees | July 4, 2007 | Reply

  4. Oh, I am so happy you posted this as I am very interested in SPARKLE and always love hearing about it. I love the way all the local pubs, clubs and shops seem to welcome the yearly onslaught of T-girls. I am glad you and A-M had such a lovely time.

    I can only hope that when the public sees those girls with the short-short skirts and visible stocking tops, they won’t make a connection between them and others who like to present a more tasteful (and appropriate for the occasion) appearance. I’d like to think that most people speak as they find, and will judge you on your own qualities and not on someone else they happened to see.

    Oh and Tina, you left your makeup base on all weekend?? *shocked* Mine looks hideous by the end of the day so I don’t know how you pulled that off. You must be blessed with good skin 🙂

    Comment by Marla | July 7, 2007 | Reply

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