Do you ever wake up shamefully late on your day off, thus entirely defeating the object of a day off and all that sweet, sweet free time to kill? And you feel so guilty about it that you end up being more productive than usual?
Well, pals, this is what happened to me the other day as a result of S-U-F-F-E-R-I-N-G ’til 2am (us Brits simply aren’t equipped to deal with 30 degree heat. I had a sodding cold flannel on my forehead.) Instead of waking up at midday and resigning myself to a day of slobbing in my pjs, I decided to embark on a solo afternoon adventure to Manchester.
As a city with a distinctly creative streak, there are so many gems worth checking out. As such, I have compiled a list of all the places I visited in four hours…
1. Sancarlo Gran Cafe (Selfridges, Lower Ground Floor, Exchange Square)
Whilst ogling the shiny make-up stands in Selfridges, I stumbled upon this beautiful cafe/patisserie. Boasting a ‘Le Routiers Cafe of the Year’ award (I have no idea what that is but it sounds fancy and prestigious), the Gran Cafe is the perfect place to take a cake break during a shopping trip. I opted for the cream tea which was £6.25. I can’t grumble at the price as it was a delicious treat and the only thing I bought that day. It’s possible to pretend to be a lady-who-lunches for an hour whilst still being a cheapskate. Who knew?
2. Afflecks (Northern Quarter, 52 Church Street)
Described as an ’emporium of eclecticism, a totem of indie commerce’, Afflecks is an indoor haven of independent stalls and boutiques. Every floor is packed with weird and wonderful items and you’re guaranteed to come away with something you wouldn’t see anywhere else. Which leads me to my next recommendation…
3. Swalk Creative (Afflecks, third floor)
Whilst meandering through Afflecks’ labyrinth of stalls, I came across ‘Swalk Creative’: a selection of alternative greetings cards and gifts designed by a team of artists. Swalk pride themselves on being eco-friendly and all of their products are made from 100% recycled materials. By picking up a thoughtful and unique gift you’re supporting a small creative business AND the environment. Win win! Beats a bog-standard birthday card from the petrol station, right? I was very tempted by one of the ‘Vogue’ watercolour illustrations for my bedroom…maybe next time…
If you wanna check them out, here’s where you can find them:
4. Thunder Egg (Oldham Street)
As soon as you walk into Thunder Egg, you are greeted with an explosion of colour. Every nook and cranny of the shop is bedecked with vibrant and vintage-inspired clothing, homeware, jewellery and bags. I recently wrote a post about boho homeware and I spotted some bits and pieces in Thunder Egg which would be perfect for achieving that look. I shall certainly be keeping it in mind for when I get my own lil pad…
5. COW (61 Church Street)
COW is an absolute must for vintage fashion lovers. Here you’ll find two floors of stylish reclaimed pieces, from headscarves to dresses. I loved the spacious layout of the shop; despite offering such a wealth of stock, everything is neatly organised on rails and shelves so there’s no need for rummaging. Although it’s somewhat pricier than your average vintage shop, all of the items have clearly been selected with care. In other words, you don’t have to sift through ten dodgy shoulder-padded jackets until you find a gem.
I really enjoyed my afternoon in Manchester and the fact I could fit so much into 4 hours makes me want to make a day of it. Pay day looms…;)