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Thursday, 25 October 2012

Day Out in Manchester

The Grumps and I went to Manchester on Sunday without small people.  The parking was awful but the weather was nice and though we parked out of the city centre, the walk in didn't feel like such an ordeal as when we last did this accompanied by two small people pulling our arms out of our sockets. For once we were just normal adults with our own identities and not just parents.  It was nice. For those who are young and childfree - you will remember this post one day and think - aaah - so that's what Sue was on about.  When you become a parent, you no longer have a name, you just become someone's mummy. Fact.

We pottered and we pootled around the Northern Quarter.  We wandered the streets and bobbed in to shops without the need to watch for small hands touching things they weren't meant to and it was nice not to go in somewhere and be harangued out by small people being bored.  For a change, we had a look at the more "eclectic" shops instead of Harvey Nicks and Selfridges.  By eclectic, we mean "vintage dahling".


The polyester count was high. Very high.

White Handbag Graveyard.

Black Handbag Graveyard.

Do you remember these?  Chopper bikes!

Do you remember Chopper bikes from when you were small?  As I recall, good boys rode BMX's and bad boys rode Choppers!  Guess which ones I liked.  What do you mean, you can't guess?

And remember this thing I've got going about my white Converse being too white - you can now buy your Converse pre-worn and distressed. Personally, I prefer them white to the pre-worn conditions the ones below are in :

Not for me.

Think of students who have had too many bevvies having a good time wearing these old Converse. Think of the aftermath and possibly splashback on the Converse. Then think seriously about wearing them and paying £15 for the privilege.  No, me neither.

And we managed to have a proper browse in Magma, one of the little shops which caught our eye last time we passed through.  I can't really describe it - bookshop cum giftshop cum specialist newsagents? 

Quirky cool stuff.

I can't believe I forgot to pick these up.

I had a flick through the Gentlewoman and Lula magazines as I keep seeing them on so many blogs and I really wanted to see what they were about. I have to say I am a bit of a magaholic - I took out my first subscriptions to Mandy and Bunty at the age of 11.

Christmas Gift Idea for Bloggers?

And this takes me right back to my student days when I used to hop on a train to Manchester to visit Afflecks Palace.  Afflecks as it is now called is essentially an emporium of little boutiques. When I was young(er), it was full of shops selling second hand clothes and vinyl and weird stuff from up and coming designers.  I remember coming across my Economics teacher in here - I don't know who was more surprised him or me.  Actually, I think I was more surprised. In those days, anyone over 30 was an oldie (what am I now???) and here was my oldie (but probably no more than 30) Economics teacher in Afflecks looking at secondhand suede jackets. The entrance shown here is not what I remember - it looks too sanitised - there is another entrance on Tib street which is the one I always went in which looks ten times more interesting. I always remember it feeling a little "seedy".

Not seedy enough.

We met up with friends and wandered down to King Street because when in Manchester, I must visit King Street.  What is in King Street?  Aubin and Wills - I can't explain it. I just like this brand. We also had a quick visit to Jack Wills to look for a birthday present for my god-daughter.  The men sat patiently .....

They're not very good at shopping.

... whilst the women browsed. The Grumps glared at me everytime I walked past with some garment in my hand that I was about to try on. In the changing rooms, I sneaked in an outfit du jour shot.  

Carpet could do with a clean.
The walls could do with a bit of decoration.

I know that skull scarves are not for everyone - I'm not sure they are for me either these days but I chose the scarf because it was cream and black to set off the rather monochromatic outfit today. I was channelling quite a clean colour palate. The changing room was a bit of a disappointment given the excellent decor usually found in Jack Wills stores. I have been spoilt by the lovely luxury cell changing room in the Halifax Outlet.

On King Street, there is also Hermes.  I am always astounded that this shop is here and is still here after so many years.  But as I see it, it only needs to sell two things a week to cover the rent and job done.  

Pink seems to be the thing.

Nice to see a bit of humour in the display.

And we also found a shop specialising in selling American branded food goodies.  What we don't get is how they can charge £7 for a box of cereal and £15 for a box of Twinkies. 

£15 for a box of these No thank you!

But opposite is my favourite shop ... Aubin and Wills.  Aaaah.

Lovely, happy, lovely.

The shop is quiet.  It doesn't have the bustle of Jack Wills, it's sister company.  But I still like it.  I even think the Grumps quite likes it.  It is all serene because ... it is lacking customers.

A little too quiet.

My kind of shop ... but needs more customers.

I can't see any customers ... oh I have no eyes!

And today, I was treated.  The Grumps bought me a present because .... 

???

..... just because.

23 comments :

  1. Love the handbag graveyard captions, really made me smile and I would never even pay £15 for those converse, a fiver maybe!

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    1. There is something about vintage shops ... I think it's the smell which kind of puts me off a little. But I always like to think that I might spot something amazing one day - chance would be a fine thing. I think I will leave the Converse .. even at £5.

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  2. I loled at your photo captions. Particularly at the high polyester count one.

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    1. My hair was practically standing up on end as I passed by the rails!

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  3. It looks like you two had an awesome day without your little ones... Even Mums need a break!

    The high level of polyester is the one of the main reasons I don't bother with 'vintage' (here in Oz at least) and also for the fact that you just don't know what a piece has been through ie I take your point re splash back on the shoes :)

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    1. I can do Ebay and I love nothing better than to have a good evening's browsing through searching for something which I have had my eye on or for labels I love. But going through a shop like this and not knowing what I'm going to find is a bit too much like hard work. Maybe if I were a student and I had free time at the weekends .. I would. I think I was a little less discerning in my youth too.

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    2. You're right - eBay is a little bit different... but I still avoid polyester vintage and instead seek out what I missed out on in the shops or have worn out.
      Also I always look at feedback before bidding.

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  4. Sounds like it was a fun day - what is in the bag?!! Haha and I have no idea who would want to buy worn in chucks, I prefer them white too

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    1. My chucks are a little too white - I can't quite get them to have that lovely worn in look without being overly dirty - does anyone understand the reasoning behind that? And faced with the prospect of a lovely browse in Aubin and Wills vs Vintage ... I'm afraid I'm just getting a bit snobbish in my old age. But I would happily buy a lovely vintage handbag on Ebay - see, no reasoning in my logic at all.

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  5. This is SOOO super weird, I am heading their in an hour! If we had by chance run into each other at A&W we may not have noticed due to so frequently appearing headless on our blogs, haha!

    I must locate this Magma store, not heard of it before.....and the last time I visited JW the changing rooms were lovely, I wonder if they are in the process of a revamp. And is that one of their blazers? You look fantastic here, so smart perfectly put together. I can guarantee my changing room photo's would look dreadful! I will try to capture one if I pop in there today!

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    1. Don't forget to try the black velvet blazer in JW as they have 20% off currently! It's on the same street as the Afflecks entrance - it has lovely art posters, all a bit quirky and fabulous books.

      I'm always scared incase anyone recognises me from the blog and I look an absolute dogs dinner that day. No my jacket is a cheapie from H&M - not as nice as your Toast one but I thought it would do for the time being. And maybe they are getting the changing rooms for a refit - it did look strangely bare for a J Wills. Wonder what you will come back with today??

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    2. Ooh, I missed the bookstore sadly, the arctic wind had me running for cover a short while after conquering King St. I wish that I could afford the blazer! Would prefer a longer length one though I think.
      Just made a post in homage to this one (inc. another JW changing rooms pic!) x

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  6. Wow, Manchester is a hotbed of fabulousness now! Yes and scary to go in empty shops, even if there is yummy stuff in there. Chopppers!!!! Ah memories flooding back with the ape handles and banana seats. Great you had a hands-free field trip. I always say when I'm round the kids: "I used to be fun, people actually liked being around me." Hard to imagine that person now....

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    1. I don't like it when the shops are too busy but I don't like it when they are empty as well as the shop assistants just stare at you because there's nothing else to do. Choppers - my dad would have had a fit if I'd got one of those - he fell out with me when I chose a drop handle racer instead of a girls sit up and beg number. I was never one to make it easy for my family.

      Yes .. I used to be fun too. I used to have a name as well before I was Ben and George's mum.

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  7. Gosh Afflecks looks SO different - I used to go there in the late 80s early 90s when I was home from Uni - I still remember a fab burgundy rockerbilly type jacket I got there - aaaah the good old days! Now when I'm back in Bury we always tend to go to the Trafford Center for convience but one of the great things I miss here in Atlanta is walking around shops outside. You've inspired me to head into Manchester on the tram when I'm back next year - though may leave 2 little ones with Nana and Grandad that day:) When I was back in June we went to the MOSI which was fab and a great day out - it has changed a lot around there too!

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    1. I think Manchester has gone through some major changes over recent years. I don't really go anymore and the parking puts me off no end which is how I somehow persuaded the other half to drive in. Afflecks has another entrance ... the one where they have the tiled wall where it says "And on the 6th day, God made Manchester". That's the one thing I always remember about Afflecks and buying a grey Mad Men style dress complete with corsage detail. Boy, I dressed weird in those days. I don't seem to go to the Trafford Centre much either these days not since the boys arrived - actually the shopping seems to have been curtailed somewhat since the arrival of small people. Thank goodness for online shopping :o)

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  8. You're a hoot, Sue! You never fail to get a laugh out of me :) How true about being someone else's mommy. I still jumped and looked baffled for a while whenever a child walked up to me and say, "Lil L's mommy, can I come to your house and place with lil L?" huh?

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    1. It's so true though isn't it and strange when small people come up to you and say "you're Ben's mummy" or "you're George's mummy aren't you?". And all you can say is "yes I am".

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  9. Sounds like a lovely day! I'm glad you were able to spend one away from the littles. I like the jacket you're wearing.

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    1. I love my little ones but I love time away from them too. Sometimes I feel my title of mum gets rather overused and abused by them like tonight when I had to switch off my ears or I thought they would bleed.

      The jacket is a good little find. I've been looking for a good grey jacket for a while and this one does the job.

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  10. Great blog - really enjoyed reading about your day out. Made me want to visit Manchester for a wander too. Loving the daily outfit - v chic…and cannot wait to see what's in the bag! Avril xx

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    1. You'd enjoy it. But where you are looks pretty good for shopping and days out too! The daily outfit is one of my cheap and cheerful's. H&M jacket and Primark scarf. Well we are in a recession!

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