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!


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5 tips for better photos on your phone #PicPerfectWithThree

A couple of weekends ago I went to a photography class in Manchester’s Northern Quarter with Three. I’m always up for improving my photography and though I love my DSLR, it’s my phone that travels with me everyday. With camera phones improving with every new model that comes out – they’re quickly catching up to cameras. The Samsung Galaxy 6S Edge is no exception. As part of the class, we were all given Samsung phones to use and I have to admit that even though I’m an iPhone girl, the camera on the Samsung is pretty amazing. The resolution is actually equal to my DSLR.

Better photos on your phone - samsung

Better photos on your phone - taking photos

We began the class with an introduction to our teacher; Aidan O’Rourke, a local Manchester based photographer. He took us through his past work, top tips and pointers on photos from our own blogs (Cringe!). We also looked at some of the features of the Samsung phones. A popular one being the Beauty option. Want to look like you’re on a magazine cover? Then crank the bar right up and you’ve been airbrushed to oblivion. Ideal if you’re having a bad skin day but I would advise somewhere in between the two looks I’ve done below if you don’t like either.

Better photos on your phone - beauty mode

After playing around with all the different settings on the phone, it was time to walk around the Northern Quarter and put our practising to use. Here are my favourite tips from the day.

Don’t be afraid to wait for the sun if it’s a bit cloudy.

Better photos on your phone - sunshine

Living in Manchester this is easier said than done sometimes but if it’s one of those days where there’s a mix of cloud and sky then be patient. Wait for the sun to appear from behind a cloud and take a look at the difference of the photos above.

Get close (but not too close!)

Better photos on your phone - flower

Better photos on your phone - purple flower

Better photos on your phone - lamppost.

Better photos on your phone - sticker

Better photos on your phone - lamp

Better photos on your phone - shutter

Better photos on your phone - graffiti

Sometimes the details are better than the whole picture so focus on them. Get close and make sure to focus before snapping. If you're too close then the camera will find it difficult to focus. 

Use reflectors to your advantage.
Better photos on your phone - reflectors

Better photos on your phone - selfie stick

Now I know a lot of us can't afford fancy photography equipment but did you know you could get the effects of a reflector from a simple sheet of white card? Reflectors are great for when it's super sunny and because of where you have to stand sometimes you'll get a shadow cast over half your face. Simply hold (or get a friend to hold) some white card on the shadow side of your face, reflecting the sun onto it. It's amazing how much of a difference it makes!

Be aware of reflections

Better photos on your phone - flower shop

Better photos on your phone - stevenson square

When taking photos of things like windows up close, it's difficult to avoid getting either your reflection or a light reflection in the photo. The best thing to do is to move around the subject and try different viewpoints and lighting until you get the shot with the least amount of reflections in it.

Think outside the box and have fun!
Better photos on your phone - selfieception

Better photos on your phone - colourful shutter

Better photos on your phone - from where I stand

After doing one of my usual shots down towards my feet, I spotted one of the Three girls taking a photo of her shoes by bending over forwards and holding the phone upside down. An ingenious way of taking a photo that looks like someone else took it. You look silly doing it but the shot is worth it! I'm not afraid of looking silly in public so I followed suit.

Better photos on your phone - converse

I had a great day and enjoyed using a new gadget. Thanks Three and thanks Aidan!

Better photos on your phone - bike

When it comes to photography, what's your weapon of choice?

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Ziferblat Cafe: Manchester Northern Quarter

Ziferblat cafe in Manchester’s Northern Quarter is a new cafe that I’ve frequented a lot over the last couple of months. Mainly due to the fact that it was the location of the Bloggers Market MCR last weekend, but I also paid a visit myself with friends. 



It’s an unusual but interesting concept cafe where everything inside is free but you pay 5p per minute.  A giant living room full of comfy sofas, tables & chairs with boardgames to play and a kitchen stocked with endless tea, coffee, cereal, biscuits and cakes. 

Considering a Starbucks coffee and cake could set you back around £5/£6, Ziferblat is a bargain. Spend an hour and it will cost you £3. Enough time to relax with a couple of coffees and all the cake you can stuff in your face. 
When visiting with friends, we took advantage of all the board games that weren’t already being used. They even had Cards Against Humanity! Win.
Though it’s fun to bring your friends, you could easily come alone. It looks like a great place to come and get some work done if you bring your laptop so ideal for students and freelancers.  
So next time you’re in the Norther Quarter and have an hour or two to kill, head to Ziferblat for a break. It’s an awesome place. 
Disclosure – I have not been asked to do this review, I’m just a big fan!


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Food and drink

So on our big day out, the bf and I headed to The Blue Pig in the Northern Quarter, Manchester based on a recommendation from Claire. 
The Blue Pig is an interesting place. It’s a deli, a restaurant and a bar. If you want to try something different I would definitely recommend it. 



I had the Charlie Chaplin cocktail and the bf had a beer.
They have a selection of serving platters which look delicious but we were really hungry so the bf suggested going for the 3 course meal. It’s on the 333 menu where the dishes change every week so you’re always in for something different.  
We went with the following (forgive me for not knowing the exact names or what was in them – I was too busy eating!): 


My starter: Wild mushrooms, melted brie, caramelised onions on some kind of bread thing (it’s technical name).


Bf’s starter: Fishcakes

My main: Squid ink ravioli stuffed with crab meat, served with prawns and chilli.

Now even though I’m a massive seafood fan, the whole concept of squid ink freaked me out a bit. But after talking to our server, I was reassured that it was only one aspect of the dish. It appears that the ravioli was just soaked in it, turning the pasta black. To be honest, the whole dish was delicious! I would definitely recommend jumping a bit out of your comfort zone to try something a bit different.


Bf’s main: Pork loin and black pudding. He likes pig. Enough said.


My dessert: Chocolate thing (again, it’s technical name – who cares, it’s chocolate) with candied orange peel and red berries. 
Yum! Not too rich and enough there on the plate to satisfy.


Bf’s dessert: Cherry Bakewell pie with creme anglais. 
This looked (and tasted!) delicious!
Overall, I would definitely recommend the Blue Pig but it’s not somewhere I would go regularly as it is a bit pricey. It’s a special occasion kind of place. Thanks to the bf for paying!


Later on in the day we headed to Spinningfields to search for The Alchemist bar which was recommended by the bf’s sister. Known for it’s unusual cocktails. 




I had a Bubblegum daiquiri which had popping candy in it and it was so incredibly good! I need to learn to make one of these at home! The bf had a Long Island Iced Tea. 



Overall, I liked The Alchemist and would definitely go back. There was a good range of prices for the drinks so there’s something to suit every pocket. But for me personally it’s a one drink place due to my lack of money.
I had a lovely day out!
Have you visited any nice eateries recently?
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