VIKING ARTY PARTY in MANCHESTER
The Viking Arty Party in Manchester had been a date in my diary for some time as something to look forward to; a chance to meet other Manchester bloggers whilst crafting in one of Manchester’s newest boutique hotels, the King Street Townhouse.
Organised months in advance, my invite to the Viking Arty Party in Manchester, at the King Street Townhouse, offered three fabulous crafting activities: block printing, calligraphy and notebook customisation, all hosted in the luxurious setting of Manchester’s King Street Townhouse.
Arriving in an unusually bright Manchester, early yesterday morning, I knew I was in for a treat when I discovered the event was to be hosted on the sixth floor. I had checked out the venue beforehand on Instagram and had seen the wonderful views on offer, I certainly was not disappointed.
These days, I tend to arrive at events alone and although those initial first few seconds are sometimes awkward, it’s wonderful to be able to meet new people with whom I may never have spoken to before. On arrival, I was pleased to see Raimy, a fellow enthusiast of children’s literature, who I missed talking to at the #LivBloggersIgnite event at the start of the month.
We had each been given a coloured piece of card which denoted which group we would work with, my purple card indicated I would start with notebook customisation, lead by the Crafty Hen. This was an activity that took me back to my high school days when I would deliberate over what to back my exercise books in, frightened to make the wrong choice and risk being ridiculed. Staying true, I chose bright colours alongside geometric shapes (trust me, it sounds more impressive than it looked).
Breaking for lunch, we adjourned to the King Street Townhouse’s balcony, which overlooks Manchester’s town hall. Maybe it was the sunshine, or maybe it was the company of Codie, from Codiekinz, but lunch was definitely one of the best parts of the day. It was lovely to sit and relax, chat easily and in such a lovely setting.
Next up, block printing. As a person who enjoys craft, especially embroidery and sewing, I was eager to try a new skill. We were shown how to create our own stamp, using erasers, to create a unique print. This was when my creativity departed me and I chose a pattern of three triangle. Sally and Gwen made amazing prints of fruits and leaves, which looked stunning when their box files were complete.
Our final experience was calligraphy with Joyce, of Artsynibs who I had the pleasure of meeting at Joanie Clothing’s November festive event. Joyce reminded us of the correct posture for calligraphy, explaining this was to protect our tools as well as helping us create wonderful lettering. Of all the tasks, this is the one I enjoyed the most. Joyce was patient and cheerfully answered every question I had (she even wrote my blog name in the most beautiful style!)
After four hours spent socialising and crafting, the event finally drew to a close and we were fortunate to be gifted with a #VikingArtyParty gift bag and a calligraphy set from Artsynibs. Thanks to Viking for the invite, their marketing team for all of their hard work and Matt for providing images.
Jane Eyre at The Lowry, Salford
Oppression, injustice and the fight for independence, themes you’d expect to find in any modern day drama but it’s Brontë’s Jane Eyre we’re referring to, a book that was written almost 170 years ago. Now re-imagined and brought to life by the National Theatre, Jane Eyre at The Lowry, Salford, is not to be missed.
I’ll admit, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Jane Eyre at the Lowry, Salford: the reading of classic novels has always eluded me, I favour dystopian, futuristic texts. Nevertheless, after visiting Wycoller and Gawthorpe Hall, places both linked with Charlotte Brontë, the opportunity to see Jane Eyre brought to life on stage, at one of my favourite venues, seemed too good an opportunity to miss.
Working in central Manchester, Salford Quays is only a short drive away. Arriving early, I collected our tickets, programme and of course, all-important snacks before meeting my mum at The Lowry’s box office. As we settled in to our seats, I was given a brief synopsis of the plot by my mum who worried it wasn’t my thing. Turns out, she needn’t have worried as it was, undoubtedly, the best performance I’ve ever seen. From start to finish, I was enthralled.
For those, like me, who haven’t read Jane Eyre, the story tells the tale of the protagonist’s fight for freedom, equality and independence in Victorian times. Orphaned at birth, her early life is filled with injustice, poverty and cruelty. Jane faces life head on, a feisty feminist whose moral compass ensures her final happiness.
A co-production from the National Theatre and Bristol Old Vic, director Sally Cookson is the brainchild behind the tumultuous and somewhat controversial reimagining of this classic novel which opens with an almighty cry from Nadia Clifford, who plays the protagonist throughout, starting with her birth at the show’s opening. Manchester actress, Clifford, is spirited, powerful and convincing: you want her to succeed in her quest for independence and equality. However, it’s Mr. Rochester’s faithful companion, Pilot (played by Ben Cutler) who threatens to steal the show with his playful, bashful mannerisms which are a delight to watch.
Image by Brinkhoff/Mögenburg
Without a doubt, Cookson has dragged Jane Eyre into the 21st century with the addition of a live band on stage and a modern soundtrack featuring Noël Coward’s ‘Mad About the Boy’ and Gnarls Barkley’s ‘Crazy’, the latter bringing goosebumps to my arm as Melanie Marshall, playing Bertha Rochester, uses these lyrics to explain her episodes of madness and to bring clarity to the demise of Thornfield Hall.
The verdict? A riveting and spectacular classic brought to life through a creative director, excellent casting and imaginative staging- not to be missed!
You’ll need to be quick to catch Jane Eyre at The Lowry, Salford. The final shows at The Lowry feature on Saturday 15th April, with a matinee and evening show.
Our tickets were provided complimentary for review purpose.
INVESTMENT PIECES THE TRENCH COAT
With the changing of the clocks, it seems we’ve pressed fast forward into the peak of the spring season- with little time to prepare sunshine appropriate outfits. Snowdrops are last season’s news and Magnolias are ready to be admired; the latest darling of Instagram. Blessed with an extra hour of daylight, I, for one, am not complaining. For me, spring marks the return of outfits posts, lighter layers and an increased enthusiasm for life.
Although spring may be in bloom, the sunshine can be deceivingly cool so I’ve rarely left home without a light jacket: a classic trench coat has become a trusty ally when defending against the March chill. And, it was thanks to Jack Wills for reminding me of this hardworking wardrobe hero when they recently shared how to style women’s trench coats- a piece which not only offers style tips on how to wear investment pieces the trench coat in particular, but also explains its history and why it has become such a well-loved classic.
Now, regular readers will know that I’m unlikely to ever adopt a rolled jeans and sneakers style aesthetic (as much as I would love to, I find jeans uncomfortable and unflattering) but Breton? That’s a mere step away from nautical, and nautical is a style language I am fluent in. Like all keen linguists, I study the intricacies of its lexicon to learn which elements must be paired and where. So, in true Parisian style, who could omit a generous smearing of red alongside navy? Not me.
Throughout my twenties, I would dabble with the trends that I thought I should be wearing: flared, shapeless jeans, statement belts, denim mini skirts, halter neck tops, you name it! These pieces I returned to, but never felt comfortable wearing. Looking back, I wonder why I persevered for so long! Being in my thirties, I’m comfortable in my skin and know who I am (which is a completely different feeling to that in my twenties) so, I understand my personal style and the core pieces that I return to for longevity. I’m now confident to spend money on investment pieces the trench coat in particular, knowing I’ll wear them until they’re ready to be donated as rags. A trench coat will always be an investment piece to me.
This trench has been with me for almost four years now and unsurprisingly, it’s not the first time I’ve featured it on the blog. Do you remember this post from January 2016? Or this post from October 2013? Yes, this trench coat is still a key piece of mine and didn’t cost a lot, although I’d have happily paid more had I known how long it would last.
Susie of Old Fashioned Susie has a novel way of describing her investment pieces. In this post, she describes them as workers and explains how she wants the majority of her wardrobe to predominantly feature hard-working pieces. Well Susie- this trench coat is a grafter! My coat’s CV demonstrates years of experience and, as you can see from its history, it’s happy to work alongside a variety of statement prints in the workplace. I’ll happily provide a testimony to its good character!
[pullquote width=”300″ float=”left”]
// Trench coat :: Primark // Nautical dress :: Bonsui via eBay // Sunglasses :: Orla Kiely // Black shoes :: Clarks x Orla Kiely // Watch :: Orla Kiely //
These images were taken in Liverpool’s Georgian Quarter, have you ever visited? It was during Saturday’s journey to the #LivBloggersIgnite event that I happened to stumble upon the quarter and discover the housing that was once built for Liverpool’s elite. I was charmed by its character and knew I’d return to shoot outfit photographs, little did I know it would be in less than 24 hours!
*Post produced in collaboration with brand. All opinions my own*