Saturday, 8 October 2016

5 Things I Want Right Now From Object Style Man Woman Home Manchester & Online Store

Recently Manchester suburb, Chorlton, was treated to a gorgeous new shop selling everything a stylish man or woman could need for themselves & their home.

After over a year of trading as an online shop, Rachel & Alex, proprietors of Object Man Woman Home, threw open their doors to welcome us in to their beautiful new store, designed in Scandinavian blond wood and forest green painted walls.
From the moment I walked in, I knew this would be a firm favourite with the hipsters of Manchester, as everything is beautifully crafted and minimally designed, using honest materials such as pure wool, linen and marble. There are a selection of independent magazines such as oh Comely and Cereal, simple and elegant jewellery and beautifully scented candles, my favourite to date is Hygge by Skandinavisk & other scents by this brand are available in store. The mens clothing range has been thoughtfully chosen by Alex, himself a designer, for its emphasis on the best quality.

If you can't make it to Manchester, everything is available online and a lovely lifestyle look book photographed by Sarah of Meandorla & styled by Rachel is soon available.

There are so many things in the shop  that I am coveting, but my top 5 favourites are here.
  1. Fashion Sketches sold seperately by Kate Merrick a local Manchester artist
  2. Hand knitted sweater By UK based Australian designer Kelly Love
  3. Handmade rucksack by This is Paper 
  4. British made organic beauty products by Honest
  5. Welsh hand woven blankets by Eleanor Pritchard
  6. Candles by Skandinavisk

Monday, 3 October 2016

Makers Market in The North West

If you read my blog about Altrincham Market here, last week and were interested in visiting other markets like this around the North West, then check out the Makers Markets.

The venue moves around the villages and towns of North West Manchester and Cheshire on a rota, each weekend, with two in the city centre, based in the Northern quarter and Spinningfields areas and sellers provide a range of hand made, artisan goods, antiques and bric a brac, home made and baked food, craft ales and a range of interesting and unusual gifts. It's a great way to shop local and independent and visit different towns around the region, that you might otherwise not have?
Nautical inspired Jewellery by AmyBeth

French inspired finds from Fizzy Vintage

Lovely textiles by Posnerandposner
This Sunday we visited the makers market in Knutsford, Cheshire, specifically to buy a present for the newest member of our family, baby Niall born on Thursday. His mama Sara had already told me how much she liked Libby Bowers hand made traditional wool toys and nursery decorations and so off we went in pursuit of something special for Niall's nursery.
Nursery toys and wall decorations, hand made from recycled materials, from Libby Bower 

We found lots of lovely stalls and the one below is fast becoming a particular favourite for gifts. Hand made from drift wood collected from beaches close to the North West, together with recycled, salvaged materials from building sites and skips, these beautiful little houses are just so gorgeous and eco friendly. We had bought a row of three houses for our cousin, the day before, as a birthday present from Urmston Artisan market (more about that on a future blog) as we'd holidayed with her many times in St Ives when our children were small and they reminded us of the little fisher men's cottages there? Unfortunately the guy that makes them didn't have any business details, that I can include here, but he is a regular at the Makers Markets and can be found there at most venues.
Knutsford is a lovely Cheshire town and well worth a visit any time for it's leafy cafe lined streets and a great antiques centre spanning several floors as well as Tatton Park and country house, owned by The National Trust, there is so much to do there, it makes for a great day out.

Monday, 26 September 2016

Altrincham Artisan, Craft, Vintage and Food Market

Altrincham market in Cheshire, has been trading for as long as I can remember but in the last few years it has been transformed beyond all recognition into an amazing market for makers and creatives to sell their wares and even more astonishing a destination place to meet for excellent food and drinks.

At weekends this space comes alive with traders selling, home made cakes and bread, crafts and vintage finds and beautiful individually sourced home wares. Its an all weather destination, covered with its original Victorian glass roof and in the food market next door you can dine on some of the best food the North West has to offer. From award winning pies, to the best cuts of steak, to wood fired pizzas and craft beers, the food market has the best of the best on offer. Since it opened two years ago, it's won many awards including Observer monthly's market of the year in 2015.

Recycled wooden tables and simple folding church hall style chairs, bring diners together in a communal area, giving the place a great social atmosphere and with live music floating in from the artisan market next door, it's no surprise, that this place is packed with friends and families all day long.
Some of my favourite stalls include Object Style and Room356 for home wares, BE for clothes and accessories and VintageHoneyInterior for all things recycled and reclaimed and highly desirable.

I wasn't going to write another blog about Altrincham market as I thought it was so fabulous that anybody and everybody had heard about it, but I've been amazed how many people I mention it to haven't. So here you have it,an update on the two previous blog posts I wrote in 2014, which you can read here and here and a snippet of what's currently on offer, you won't be disappointed!

The market is closed Mondays and Wednesdays and you can find opening times on their website here.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Fairfield Historic Moravian Settlement Manchester

I am a born and bred Mancunian and although I think I know quite a lot about my city, there are always little hidden pockets, that always take me by surprise.

Last week I was working with a photographer who told me about a Moravian settlement in East Manchester on the borders of Tameside, that he said I would love and so yesterday as we were heading over that way for a shopping trip to Ikea, we put the postcode of the settlement into google maps and headed over there.

The first indication that you are entering into some where quite special as you turn the corner off Fairfield Road, is an original Victorian post box and two large stone pillars at the entrance of what leads you into a cobbled square. The square opens up to a village of beautiful untouched Georgian houses built by the  Moravian settlers in1785. The cobbled streets are lit by the original cast iron street lamps and there is  a beautiful old school, church and college building. The area is surrounded by fields and unmade pathways. Its unbelievable to think that in this over developed part of Manchester, there is such a hidden world tucked away.

Originally the settlers, from Moravia, near Bohemia in the Czech Republic. had their own self sufficient village with an inn, shop, farm, laundry and doctor but most of the buildings have now been turned into residential properties. There are also more recent additions of houses built around the 1930's but the whole area is like taking a step back in time to a simpler life, the only modern addition being the cars parked in the centre of the village.

If you're interested in visiting the village, they do have open days when they have guided tours, which you can find here. It's a lovely way to spend an hour or two walking around with only the sound of bird song and the church bells, you feel like you truly have stepped back in time,

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Independent Interior Shop and Online Store - Room 356

I really believe in championing independent retailers and makers and shopping local whenever you can. As they say "if you don't use it, you lose it" and never has a truer word been spoken than when it comes to our High Streets.

Last week while visiting an old Uni friend in her home town of Bolton in Lancashire, we decided to pay a visit to Room 356 who have a shop in the town. I knew of this small independent through their presence on Altrincham artisan market every week, where they have a stand selling a selection of their home wares and so it was lovely to actually visit the shop and see all of their stock, beautifully merchandised in a lovely spacious, bright space.

The shop is owned by mother and daughter, Bev and Cassie and is stocked with cool classic Scandi inspired interior objects, with an emphasis on quality but affordability. The familiar Scandi products by names such as House Dr and Bloomingville are here, but with other smaller brands and some local makers products.
The shop is merchandised using cool whites, greys and soft pinks with metallic accents and urban concrete finishes, perfectly co-ordinated to create a cohesive collection. They also have a great selection of lighting, including pendants and floor lamps and some great industrial style lighting that can be wired using a variety of coloured flex.

Bev & Cassie provide a warm welcome in their shop and we were offered a hot drink whilst we browsed and Bev talked us through the collections and the new products that are expected to land any time soon. If you can't get to Bolton or Altrincham Market, the store is also available online here and selected items are also available from NOTHS.

As a lovely gesture to welcome in the new season, Bev & Cassie have offered a prize for any new followers to both my Instagram here and  Room356 instagram account here.

The winner, chosen at random, will be sent a selection of their new grey speckled crockery, which is perfect for all those hot chocolates and steaming bowls of soup we'll soon be eating as the Autumn draws in.

For further news on Room 356 they also have a lovely blog which you can read here.

Thursday, 8 September 2016

What I've Learnt about Blogging over the last 5 years

So about 5 years ago or more I started writing this blog. To be honest, back then I had no idea how a blog worked, other than that you wrote about something, hopefully of interest, added some pictures, better if they were your own, but it didn't matter too much and then posted it? 5 years ago I didn't realise the importance of also sharing said post on social media sites and that, my friends, was my first mistake!

Over the last 5 years I've gone from loving writing my blog, to it being a chore sometimes, many times if I'm honest, with work commitments and a demanding family life and as these other demands took over I decided to put my blog on the back burner, out to graze for a bit, to be honest, again, I'd given up on it.

This was for many reasons but mainly because it felt like I was writing for no reason any more, to nobody. I've realised recently however, through talking to other blogger friends, that I actually miss writing and sharing experiences with like minded people. It's never going to get me a Booker prize, but I enjoy it, it's my hobby and I miss writing (did I just say that again?!)

What I've learnt  from blogging is this:

Some people will read your blog and enjoy it but not tell you, some people will.
Some people will read your blog and not enjoy it and they will tell you that!
Some people won't understand why you bother to write it, others will totally get it.
It's a form of diary, a sharing information tool, it's a way of collating your images, whether they be good or bad.
If you enjoy it, don't over think it or justify it to anybody or most importantly compare it to other blogs.

So with all this in mind I've decided to go back to blogging, whenever I can and whenever I want to and again importantly, when I have the time. I'm going to try however to be consistent, there's nothing worse than following a blogger who drops out for months on end, guilty your honor! If I can, I'm aiming for once a week, if I've got something to say.

To kick start the blog again I'm collaborating with a local interior shop who have provided me with a prize for my readers (no this isn't the prize just a teaser about the shop!)
There'll be more news on this soon.

If you're still following my blog after all these years, thanks for sticking with me and if you've just come across this post, stayed tuned and welcome aboard!

You can also follow me on Instagram here if you like?

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Manchester Jazz Festival 2016 and All That Jazz

Being brought up by parents who dated in the 1950's and frequented Jazz clubs in swinging Manchester, I've always loved that genre of music. At the nuptials of myself and Mr B, after attending Hayfield Jazz Festival we employed the talent of a duo of Jazz musicians who had recently graduated from Manchester Royal College of Music, who entertained us and our guests all throughout the day and beautifully filled that lul between the meal and the evening entertainment.

Fast forward 26 years and my favourite Radio show, that I force my 14 year old daughter to listen to as we drive home from the gym, is Jamie Cullum's Jazz show, Radio 2 on Tuesday night, so another child gets turned on to Jazz and history repeats itself. I'm not sure if she actually enjoys it yet, but she's stopped asking me to turn over to Capital Radio, which is promising?

Anyway where all this is leading to is that Manchester Jazz Festival starts again tomorrow until 31/7/16, when our city becomes host, across various venues to the many sounds that Jazz encapsulates. There are some free gigs, within Manchester's Northern Quarter and some much anticipated well known Jazz musicians at popular venues such as Matt & Phreds Jazz club and Band on The Wall, which my parents used to frequent. There are talks and sophisticated afternoon sessions at The Midland Hotel and new talent from the newly graduated RNCM students.

In collaboration with the MJF, HOME are showing a series of Jazz related films, Jazz on Film highlights some classics such as Around Midnight and others which focus as much on beautiful cinematography, as the music, such as one of my favourite documentary's,about Chet Baker, filmed by Bruce Weber, "Lets Get Lost", magical.