Etsy Made Local, Manchester

Last weekend Kay came to visit me. It’s been flippin’ ages since we last saw each other, so I did my best to organise a good Manc weekend for her.

We did all sorts. We ate Caribbean food, munched on samosas at the Makers Market, listened to the music of Sarah de Warren at a gig in town and had brunch at The Elk. Before all that however, we went to the Etsy Made Local Christmas market. These markets are always a great place to pick up Christmas present and discover some new independent businesses.

I took a lot of photos, and I’m going to *try* and link you to the relevant seller for each one!

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First off we have Nicola Briggs Ceramics above!
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Detailed trinkets by J.R Hayes.
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A funny story about this stall, I stopped for a look and quickly realised I knew the brand – it was Rock On Ruby. This was set up by a blogger known as Rock On Holly, who I’ve followed on Twitter for almost three years. Thinking aloud, I said ‘Oh this is by Rock On Holly!’, to which the woman at the stall went ‘Yes! I’m her mum!’

We had a lovely chat about how much blogging has changed and how weird it is that bloggers I first discovered years ago are now weaving their way into my real life and vice versa.

I noticed at this market that stall holders cottoned on to me being a blogger very quickly, whereas years back they might not have even known what a blog was. It was nice and heartwarming to see this change!

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If you haven’t already noticed, I am incredibly detail-orientated, so I love stuff like this! These two prints below were by Charlotte Hicks Illustration.
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These beautiful items were by Fox and Lilly, I particularly liked the ‘Keep Going’ print! It’s a good sentiment that I’d like to be reminded of every day.

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This stall was the only one I photographed and forgot to pick up a card for – I regret it, because these plant and candle pots are so cute.

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And finally these lovely prints are by Rianna Phillips! I really liked her stuff – you can make personalised orders on some of the items too.

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I love going to these kinds of markets. I’m always inspired by people who have built their own brands from the ground up and made a sustainable business that suits their lifestyle. It’s these kinds of people that first hooked me into the world of blogging and social media – a big one who I still follow to this day is Junkaholique.

The Whitworth Gallery

I love a good art gallery, I find art very relaxing.

But what I like more than the art inside a gallery, is a well designed gallery. I recently went to The Whitworth with my folks and it is an extremely well designed gallery. There was something ‘right’ about the space in there, and the cafe has some lovely views of the park too.

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I love it when a space that houses anything creative is made to feel atmospheric. It makes the space far more experiential. If something is experiential, I’m more likely to be impacted by it and remember it.

Focus on you

When I lived in Melbourne and in the two years after that, I really learnt how to focus on myself.

What happened as result, was that I started finding I could make time for the things I truly wanted. I started forming new habits and making different lifestyle choices. The people I was surrounded by changed too – I started meeting the kind of people I’d always wanted to meet. I lost my FOMO (fear of missing out) and replaced it JOMO (joy of missing out – real term!).

It’s carrying on here in Manchester. I am surrounded by good people. People who also focus on themselves.

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It makes me giggle when folk say social media makes people fake, I find the it’s the opposite. I can remember when I first found Lima’s Twitter page, I think it was just before or just after I moved here. I immediately knew I wanted to meet her – my first digital impression was that she was proactive, creative and enthusiastic about the things she cared about. She also has opinions – and I think that’s a sign of a person who thinks about things bigger than them. I really like people like that.

I had the same gut feeling the first time I digitally met Daisy, Sophie and many other good people. I even had the same gut feeling when I first viewed the flat I now live in! My housemate wasn’t actually here when I came to look around, so her friend let me in instead. Even though I hadn’t yet met her, straight away I knew I wanted to live in this flat. It’s the flat of someone who knows they want and is focussed on themselves.

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All the good in my life has come from focussing on me. I’ve been able to become fitter, healthier, more confident and less anxious about what the future might bring.

Richmond Tea Rooms

Richmond Tea Rooms is a brilliant place to visit if your imagination is in need of a bit of TLC.

I came here last week after my Cat Cafe trip with Lima. I’ve heard a lot about it – it’s an Alice in Wonderland themed restaurant and bar, that also puts on drag shows. Amazing right?

I am all about nurturing your imagination. I think that if anything can be made immersive, it should be. It’s something I think the UK often falls short on – and that cities like Melbourne (talking about Melbourne again Fran? Not like you!) get 100% right. Our experiences directly affect how we behave and we approach our day to day lives. That’s why I believe that nurturing your imagination and giving it time to play, is key to maintaining an open mind and to generally being a decent and happy human being.

Anyway, all that aside, they also do GREAT finger sandwiches here! I had the Hatter’s Tea which costs about a tenner, and I definitely think you get your money’s worth for that. Here’s what it looks like inside:

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I enjoyed this place, really want to come back for a drag show! Another one to add to the ever-growing list!

Cat Cafe Manchester

I love cats!

Those of you who have been following me on social since the Melbourne days will know that just after I left Melbourne, a cat cafe opened there. This was almost more heartbreaking than leaving such a great city and a French boyfriend behind was.

Whilst I’ve found no Frenchies here in Manchester, there is now a Cat Cafe. Get. In.

I arrived early (standard) and lingered in front the entrance, not letting myself walk around the corner where I would have seen the cats. Delayed gratification.

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The Northern Quarter reminds me a little of Fitzroy

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When Lima arrived we marched right in. There are about ten cats at the cafe and they all looked very well looked after to me. For £11.95 per person you get a hot drink and an hour of cat heaven.
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The reason I love cats so much is because I think they’re absolutely hilarious. They love people who hate cats, and hate people who love cats. They literally don’t give a sh*t what others around them are doing.

I found out recently that there are cat yoga classes here every week too – normal yoga, but amongst cats. What a GREAT idea!
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It was an hour well spent, and we dragged ourselves away very reluctantly at the end. There were a lot of facial expressions like this one:

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I think the cat cafe is a great place to come if you want to be somewhere relaxing – cats are relaxing animals to be around most of the time I think. It’s also a great place to come if, like me, you bloody love cats.