My lack of balance is the stuff of legend among friends and family. I never mastered the art of bicycle riding as a child and so the thought of traversing across an icy layer with nothing more than a couple of sharp blades to keep me vertical was bothering me a bit.
However, with Christmas just around the corner I was determined to coerce my size 3s into keeping me upright and glide, swan-like, across the ice.
Images of Julie Christie’s Lara in Dr Zhivago danced in my head as I imagined myself bundled up in Cossack furs as delicate glistening snowflakes fell on my lashes.
As it turns out, the rink just outside Selfridges at the Trafford Centre in Manchester is completely covered – but do wrap up warm as it’s freezing inside.
It’s pretty, fairy-lit and festive and does get you in the holiday mood. Glitter balls, ice sculptures, music and refreshments in the form of Krispy Kreme donuts and hot chocolate all add to the frosty fun.
Dressed for ‘Zhivago-land’ and resplendent in neon orange skates (available for hire) I stepped gingerly on to the ice. Don’t worry if you’ve never skated before, there are trained ice marshals on hand to offer up skating tips or, as in my case, a supportive arm to guide you round. A much better look than clutching for dear life on the the side of the rink – you have no idea how tricky it is to tiptoe on ice.
I managed to circle the rink in one piece but decided to leave the real skating to those who did posses some equanimity.
I visited on the launch night when a few hundred of us were treated to the real deal – Dancing on Ice professionals, Matt Evers and Maria Fillipov who performed a pretty impressive routine and made it all look so, well, easy.
Younger or more apprehensive kids (or me for that matter) can grab a bright orange skate buddy to help with balance and lots of youngsters were soon coasting over the ice.
For those who don’t fancy the skating, or if you simply need a breather, there’s an abundance of wooden seating and low-level tables to relax by.
Whether it’s a loved-up skate-a-deux or a family day out, the ice rink really does tick all the boxes for fun. And if, like me, you only manage a few laps round the ice, you can still savour your Julie Christie moment.
What: Selfridges Ice Rink
Where: the Trafford Centre, next to the main fountain entrance to Selfridges off Barton Dock Road. It can also be accessed through men’s shoes on the Lower Level.
When: until the beginning of January 2014. Monday to Wednesday 12-10pm, Thursday and Friday 12 – 11pm, Saturday 9am-10pm, Sunday 11am-7pm. Last skate one hour before closing.
Price: Adults and children £9 and £7 (peak) and £7 and £5 (off peak) 0161 629 1204/ 0843 208 0500
Main image is Matt Evers and Maria Filippov from Dancing on Ice