Victoria Baths – Manchester

I can’t believe that in all the time I’ve lived in Manchester (practically 10 years) I’ve never visited Victoria Baths. Well yesterday I finally went there to attend the Vintage Wedding Fair so that’s another thing I can tick off my non existent Manchester Bucket list (I seriously need to make one of these). After walking round the fair, I had a little peek at the rest of the downstairs of the building. I only had my phone on me so I took a few quick snaps with that. I’d love to go back with my DSLR.

victoria baths 2

victoria baths 3

victoria baths 4

Victoria Baths is such a fascinating and beautiful building. So much green! Opening in 1906 as a collection of swimming pools and turkish baths, it was used for lots of things, even for dances sometimes in the winter months. It was closed in 1993 and fell into disrepair before being partly restored in 2007. It’s now a Grade II listed building and just celebrated it’s 110th birthday.

victoria baths 5

victoria baths 6

victoria baths 7

These days it’s mainly seems as a historical building that you can visit for a guided tour and for their monthly open days. Though it’s also used for events like vintage fairs and art shows. You can even have your wedding here. I did briefly consider but all the green would clash terribly with the bright colours I have planned. #weddingproblems. That and it’s just a space with no heating or onsite catering. Perfect for a vintage wedding though – I’ve seen some gorgeous ones online.

victoria baths 8

victoria baths 9

victoria baths 10

There are so many pretty original features around including stained glass windows, moldings and practically the whole place is tiled. There are so many different rooms just downstairs including the three pools, baths and shower rooms. There’s a hint of creepiness to it in a way.  I’m glad it’s not open at night, no doubt it would scare the crap out of me! It would be an awesome setting for a haunted Halloween event.

victoria baths 13

victoria baths 12

victoria baths 11

One of these days I’ll have to take one of the guided tours to see the rest of the building – there’s so much more to see. If you’re interested in Victorian stuff, history or architecture I would definitely give Victoria Baths a visit!


Continue Reading

Chop’d Manchester: Build A Better Salad

Chop'd 1

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to an event at Chop’d, a salad eatery that has just opened on Cross Street in Manchester. I’m always up for trying new food so I accepted.

For those who know me well, they will know for a fact that I’ve never been much of a salad fan. I’m not sure whether it was my childhood abhorrence to any food that was green or I just plain prefer sandwiches. These days I will eat anything green (apart from peas don’t ask me why) but I’ll never choose a salad while I’m out. Or make one at home for that matter. I just found them boring and unfilling.

I think it was about 4 years ago when I first entered the American salad chain Sweet Tomatoes and that was an epiphany; a salad epiphany if that’s a thing. Apparently I adore salad when I can make it myself. But of course it being based in America, I’ve only been able to return a handful of times. I’ve never found anything I could compare it to over here in the UK. You can make your own salad at Subway but it’s not the same.

Chop'd 2

Enter Chop’d. Originally from London, it has 12 stores in our capital and now 1 in Manchester. It’s been around for 12 years and prides itself on how natural it’s ingredients are. The chicken is just chicken and the tomatoes are just tomatoes. Nothing added. I love that. Another factor that would stop me buying a premade salad is all the extra rubbish they stuff in there to preserve it. Everything at Chop’d was right there in front of you – what you see is what you get.Chop'd 3

Now this was the evening where Manchester had that freak rain/thunder/lightning storm that flooded the city centre so I was a wee bit damp. Fringes do not do well in the rain people! Nor do ballet flats or thin Primark “raincoats”. I brought my friend Claire along with me who is anti salad so this was going to be interesting.

Chop'd 4

When we arrived we were greeted with a glass of wine and we got to borrow fun Chop’d aprons to wear. First, we learned a bit of Chop’d’s history, then we got to taste test their tomatoes from Sussex, apples from Kent and chicken from Essex. The chicken came with a jerk paste and fresh coriander, which was delicious and there was also fresh cooked smoked salmon, which was to die for. I will admit that I totally filled myself up on that!

Chop'd 5

Chop'd 6

Chop'd 14

Chop'd 7

Chop'd 8

Chop'd 9

After that, it was the fun part. Chop’d challenged us to make our own salad. They let us all get behind the bar and make ourselves a masterpiece. It was difficult picking between all the yummy ingredients but I decided to go with both my heritage and be weird and break the rules. I called it the triple chickpea. That’s right, my salad included chickpeas, hummus and falafel. I also added baby salad leaves, couscous, olives, roasted red peppers and tomatoes with a lemon & olive oil dressing. Call me crazy but it was perfect for me.

Chop'd 10

Chop'd 11

Chop'd 12

Chop'd 15

Since I had filled myself up on all the samples earlier, I took my salad home with me to enjoy. And boy did I enjoy it. Topher was not allowed any of it. Claire even said she really enjoyed her salad. I’ll definitely be back to Chop’d next time I’m around that area. I need to try the other things on their menu – they also do pre-made salads, soups, wraps, stews and even breakfast. It makes me slightly wish I had a city job so I could go there every day!

Chop'd 13

Thanks Chop’d for a great evening and opening my eyes (and Claire’s eyes too) to the world of salad!

Chop'd 16

Continue Reading

A Love Letter to Manchester

Dear Manchester,

Only a few days ago it was our ten-year anniversary. I knew I was going to love you the minute I picked my university course when I was 16 (what can I say – I was prepared!). And when the day finally came in 2006 that I left my small town life behind at the age of 18, I remember seeing your skyline and thinking “adventure awaits.”

Being from a small town, I had never heard of Primark or Subway and I had only ever been on public transport a handful of times. So you were an adventure indeed. You can’t deny that you’re a little bit rough around the edges but it’s made me street smart in a good way.

I love that you’re vast, but not too big. I love that strangers talk to each other on public transport and the fact that everyone seems friendlier up here. I love that even though I know the streets like the back of my hand, there is always something new to discover.

I love the city centre, the Northern Quarter, Affleck’s Palace, MOSI, The Manchester Museum, The curry mile, The Arndale, The Trafford Centre and so many more things. I love that you’re affordable and you’re actually left with money to have fun here. There’s always something to do.

We’ve had rough times of course. You’ve destroyed so many pairs of my shoes that I’ve simply just got used to the feeling of having wet feet. And let’s let a moment pass while we remember all the umbrellas that held a similar fate. Not forgetting that I left you for 16 months while we gave southern living a go. But I like to think that that time away gave me a deeper appreciation for you. Why else would we come running back to you?

So many great things have happened to me since I moved. I’ve grown from a naïve young girl to an independent woman, I’ve met amazing people, found my home and I found the love of my life.

I could never say what may happen in the future, who knows if we’ll stay or go. Nothing is certain. But you’ll always feel just like home to me.

Yours Forever,

An adopted Mancunian

Continue Reading

MilkJam Manchester

MilkJam 2
I think the Manchester Evening News hit the nail right on the head when they described MilkJam as a “Gluttonous pleasure palace”. That’s the only way I’m going to describe it from now on.

MilkJam 3

MilkJam 4

Situated on Oxford Road as a pop up store, MilkJam is the home of three awesome staples; Ice cream from Ginger’s Comfort Emporium, cakes from BakeOrama and brownies from Lushbrownies.

MilkJam 5

MilkJam 6

MilkJam 7

Yesterday, my friends and I found ourselves in Manchester city centre and nowhere near MilkJam. So naturally, we decided to make the journey (long and perilous it is not) across town to pay it a visit for the first time. It’s been around since July this year and I’ve been dying to go there.

MilkJam 8

MilkJam 9

The cakes are ever changing from what I’ve read but I had an oreo peanut butter cake with doughnuts and caramel. My friends had bubblegum (the one with the dog face) and one that was chocolate and had a cherry pie baked into it! (not pictured)

MilkJam 11

MilkJam 10

Now I must warn you sugar lovers, these are not for the faint hearted. The icing alone will send you into a diabetic coma. But I’m never one to shy away from a challenge. I’m glad I took it to take away! It was perfect for a Gilmore Girls marathon on the sofa that evening. Though getting up to go pick Topher up from work was definitely difficult!

MilkJam 12

I was really happy with my choice. Though I’m always a peanut butter on everything kind of girl, I do usually find it sickening after a few bites. The sponge in this cake was very light and the perfect amount of sweet. The icing however, though delicious, finished me off! But as usual with anything sweet, I enjoy, regret and then in the coming days crave more. It’s a vicious circle but I’m totally ok with that.

Next time I have my eye on the brownies!

Continue Reading

Manchester Street Art

As long as I can remember I have been fascinated with street art. Not the crappy graffiti with someone’s tag that you can’t even read, I mean the actual art. There is such a big difference between the two, at least to me. Manchester is full of street art and a couple of weekends I decided to go and discover some pieces in the Northern Quarter that I haven’t noticed before.

Last year I went on a photo walk where I found some amazing pieces that you can see here. This time, I wanted to find some more hidden works that I hadn’t noticed or maybe just stopped and photographed before. The above and below photos, I have known about for about six months. Since they are on the side of Common bar, which is right next to Ziferblat, I have seen them every week when I go to Freelance Fridays.

graffiti 2

Considering the one below is directly opposite the doorway to Ziferblat, I’m surprised that I haven’t noticed it before. I’m not sure if it’s because it’s newer than the other ones or if it’s just me seeing through it.

graffiti 4

Not street art in the same way as the others but I like the mosaic face on the corner of Carpenters Lane. It’s completely slipped my mind on who he is. And speaking of faces on street corners, is that Kevin Spacey on the corner of Hilton Street?

graffiti 5

I walk past this road every Friday and yet I’ve never noticed this piece. I kind of wish I had time to walk up and see what the rest of it looks like but I guess that will have to be saved for another time.

graffiti 6

I like that even this temporary scaffolding has been given a makeover. So much nicer to look at!

graffiti 7

And I know this is pretty much just an advert but I had to include it.

graffiti 8

Not street art but it looks like this wall once had a whole picture up there. Anyone have any photos of what used to be up here?

graffiti 9

Walking down the top end of Tib street, I realised that I had never been this far up before. Thank Affleck’s Palace for being so distracting! I was really pleased because I found these bird sculptures which are awesomely random. I need to look them up and find out who put them there.

graffiti 10

Also on Tib street were these beautiful frogs. I think these were my favourite of the day. I’m not usually a frog person but paint them on the side of a building and I’m there apparently!

graffiti 11

There are plenty of other works hanging around I’m sure. I pass about 3 or 4 in the car on the way home. Anyway, I had a great time being a tourist in my own city. Manchester, I love you!


Continue Reading