If you walk the streets of the Northern Quarter you can be forced to think about and question your opinions on politics, celebrity, the government, world poverty and society's current issues - and this is all due to the street art there.
The smaller graffiti and paste ups change sometimes weekly and there is always something new to discover - do not be afraid to go down those smaller streets - they often have the best pieces. Huge talents such as Banksy, the anonymous British artist, and Invader, the French urban artist, can both be found here. In fact there are 47 ‘Invaders’ in Manchester at this moment.
The art comes in many forms - huge murals, paste ups, stencils, graffiti,tiles, tags and sculptures. They can be found on the ground, on walls and even hanging from the sky. Manchester welcomes all , it is a hub of culture and diversity - and its street art is no different.
It is a creative outlet. A way to express opinion, to make other question themselves. It is witty, heartbreaking and often beautiful.
“Street art is a creative outlet. A way to express opinion.”
We even had a Street Art festival where international artists came to create huge murals on the sides of buildings addressing social issues such as gay rights and disability.
Street Art is reactive. When Bowie died a mural was painted to honour him, when Trump became president almost overnight paste ups appeared with messages to Trump all over the NQ and when Manchester became the target of a horrific terror attack earlier this year, a mural of 22 bees was painted. I love Manchester.
I have always been obsessed with street art of all forms and have been to many cities across the world to see a variety of artists. I have even been invited along with some local artists to see how they develop their work.
The brightly coloured pieces are nestled around the local independent businesses, providing a constant array of changing visuals as a backdrop to those hurrying to work. I have always loved tailored pieces but the art here reminds me to take risks and play with print. So therefore whenever I wear tailoring like these pink trousers, I love to add impact with a loud shirt such as this H&M Zebra print piece. Throwing on this vinyl Topshop mac, makes it Manchester appropriate ( hello rain ).
Manchester is a melting pot of creativity and the art here never fails to make me stop, think and have an opinion. And that is what real art does.
For me, food is comfort. It is to be enjoyed whilst relaxing - soaking in the atmosphere. I can think of no-where I love doing this more than at Ezra & Gil.
“I love a relaxed mood and a low-key vibe”
Opening in 2015 it fast became an ideal brunch spot. Nestled in the Northern Quarter and offering a relaxed mood and a low-key vibe, it is an independent cafe that offers everything from coffees to all day breakfasts and vegan brunch. With Ezra meaning ‘helper’ and Gil meaning ‘happiness’ it gives a warm welcome before you even get through the door.
I first discovered Ezra & Gil on a cold dark rainy ( welcome to Manchester ) evening, waiting for a friend who was late I was looking for warmth and shelter. I stumbled across its doors and ventured inside hoping to find a corner and a Cappuccino. Instead I found a table filled with pastries and cakes, glass water dispensers infused with fresh fruits and a ‘help yourself’ sign, rustic wooden tables with people sitting alone reading, or working on laptops, friends chatting and staff laughing with customers.
I got a coffee and sat in the window watching the rain beat down. Never did I once feel lonely. Or that I was being judged, or even that I was taking up a table for just me. I felt completely and utterly at home and that is why at least once a week I head back for brunch.
I sit alone at a window seat with a magazine and eat my favourite Avocado smash on toast with feta and chilli, and I watch Manchester hurry by, like dozens of others I see there.
It is my alone time. A place for me to be me, eat amazing food and just take in my surroundings.
Life is busy & it feels like it slows down when I sit in those window seats. It is a contentment you don't always find when eating alone.
Plus they allow dogs.
“Wrap up, be comfortable and be yourself.”
It is the perfect place to wrap up, be comfortable and be yourself. I would wear an oversized knit like this Topshop number, layered over a shirt such as this all frills pink H&M game-changer then only take what I really need in my Topshop zebra print bag.
No pretentious people here. No judgements. Just comfort and some very good windows.