If you're ever in Manchester and stuck for art materials or a birthday card or fancy doing some laser cutter or risograph printing then Fred Aldous is the place for you. The shop has been open since 1886 with a man called Fred — a man with a bright idea and a cracking beard — decided to open a shop selling cane for baskets to carry cotton. Craft and community are at the very heart of the business. Look out for their amazing window displays designed by their amazing in-house team or local designers and makers.
This hidden gem in Salford is home to lots of Manchester's artists, designers, illustrators and makers — and I include myself in that bunch of creative folk. There are frequent exhibitions, workshops and other events taking place inside this old cotton mill. It's also one of the supporting venues for one of the city's biggest musical festivals Sounds From The Other City.
My new favourite theatre in Manchester. This fledgeling theatre only opened its doors in 2015 but has become a big player in Manchester' arts and culture scene putting on incredible musicals, shows by local playwrights, cabarets and other typers of performances. The theatre is situated in a Grade II listed building in Ancoats — just a short tram ride, a skip and a hop away from Piccadilly Train Station.
A welcome retreat from the bustle of the city. I really enjoyed spending the afternoon walking around the botanical gardens, taking pictures. It's home to thousands of species of plants and nearly as many cats.
Great spot for lunch or Almuerzos in the middle of the Alameda garden. It's a small kiosk with both indoor and outdoor seating. La Pergola has become a classic destination, serving sandwiches for over 30 years — the bombón is their star sandwich. I will never forget the joy on my boyfriend's face when his sandwich arrived with chips INSIDE the sandwich and then the look of delight when he took his first bite.
An independent shop in the historic centre of the Barrio del Carmen that feels like a cross between a curiosity shop and an art gallery. It's filled with old posters, photographs and trinkets from yesteryear as well as some contemporary graphic design pieces.
One of my favourite things to do on my travels is finding a good bookshop. Ler Devagar (meaning ' read slowly' in English) did not disappoint. Built inside an old printing factory you can find this bookshop in the trendy LX factory in Alcântara. Books fill the walls from floor to ceiling and in the middle of the shop is a large flying bicycle. Need I say more.