Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Oh Manchester - you're so cool! Northern Quarter wandering, eating and The Curse at 3MT

I've been to Manchester multiple times and it's always fun and has such a different feel to London. It's hard to put my finger on what it is, but it feels more open and relaxed but still so fun. We stayed and played in the Northern Quarter this time
which is full of cafes, restaurants, bars and art. I think it's the 'cool' part of town.

There are so many little shops that looked lovely but the only shop we really visited was Afflecks on this occasion.

Afflecks is like an indoor multi-storey Camden market but in Manchester - it's full of independent shops selling 'alternative' clothes, music and bits and bobs. There are cartoons/paintings on the walls and it's a maze of crazy things.

Stu in Afflecks

There was a lot of joyful art around the streets of the Northern Quarter...

Even the road signs had stickers :)

This caught my attention down the end of this grubby looking street....

So got me to walk down the street for a closer look and it turns out to be a gigantic painting/sign pointing at a little Indian café called This&That! Sadly, we didn't eat there because Stu wasn't impressed by this trick in the slightest and he thought the café looked horrible :( So I didn't bother suggesting it when we met our other friends later and needed a place to eat. If anyone has eaten there, was it good?? I have it noted for another time!

In the end we ate at 42 Madera (on Tib Street) who do incredibly delicious pizzas. Mmmm. Not if you're in a rush though, the pizzas took a looong time and they only have space in their oven for 2 pizzas at a time and there were 6 of us. I think they must have been making the dough from scratch after we ordered. We had all come up from London to see our friend's play and time was running out! We hadn't planned where to eat, thinking that at 6pm, it should be easy to get a table anywhere. Well, not in Manchester in the Northern Quarter - everywhere had a wait of 30 mins that we didn't have!

42 Madera

We made it in time for the play though - The Curse by Jane Bradley at 3MT. 3MT is actually inside Afflecks and it's tiny and awesome and covered with bunting and posters and photos and junk and a sweet little dog lives there!

There was a tank with a lizard in it as well!
The Curse was so good! Do you ever worry about not liking a friend's work and having to give your opinion? Well, I didn't even worry about that with this and I was right not to.

It's a story about best friends - wild Char and head-screwed-on Lola, 16 years old, just leaving school and about to have a crazy summer when creepy weird stuff start happening in their town. Periods mark the passage of time and they chat to each other about the future, friendship, sex, sexism, menstruation and frustration. I'm not going to spoil it (the ending was perfect) because it was so exciting and full of suspense and I hope it will be back on with even more time to get to know Lola and Char (who I adored). I love characters I can love. (Stating the obvious)

3MT interior

We stayed at 3MT for a post-play karaoke party before heading back to our super convenient and reasonably priced airbnb around midnight. Sorry, it was my first airbnb and it was just so great. £64 or so a night to stay in a spacious flat with exposed brick walls and an amazing view, slap bang in the Northern Quarter!? Yes please.

view from our airbnb room

Then in the morning, BREAKFAST. My favourite meal. My friends are generally not morning people. Stu is not a morning person. Dammit, I am, and I wish I could meet people for breakfasts!

It turned out all our friends are cooler than us and went to other parties after the after-play party so they were all super tired! I was fine. Stu was tired from just the one party (but he did drive all the way from London to Manchester).

We wandered around for a bit, nosing at breakfast menus, before getting a text suggesting Sugar Junction. The correct choice - it's so cute! And veggie options I had trouble choosing between! There's a veggie breakfast with hash brown, kale, falafel sausage, tomato, mushrooms and egg (mmm) but in the end I went for avocado, kale and feta on sourdough with chilli oil. It was yummy but a bit skimpy...for £7.50 I think I could have had 2 slices of sourdough...and I ended up getting cake as well (CAKE for breakfast!). The veggie breakfast was much more plentiful and filling and only cost a pound more (my friend had it so I saw).

Stu's coffee

Very pretty cups!

tea (not lemsip!)

How pretty is the tea strainer in the background? Yay. This is not my tea though, I do not like a fruity tea. I'm a plain black coffee person. It's a great colour though!

veggie breakfast

avocado, kale and feta on toast with chilli oil

It was a long drive home afterwards with 5 of us crammed in the car and me in the middle seat because I'm the smallest. I couldn't feel my bum for the last 2 hours! But it was fun. A fantastic weekend :)

As much as I adore living in London, it feels great to get out at regular intervals. Maybe it's that way wherever you happen to live - essential changes of scenery?

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