Manchester: Craft and Flea and Coffee

Usually when there’s something fab like a craft market or vintage kilo sale on I’m always working, busy or out of town. So when I saw that Craft ad Flea were in Manchester on a day I had zero plans, I jumped at the chance to get the £2 tickets and dragged Jake along with the promise of good coffee and even better company.

We hopped on the 11.10am train to Manchester – which was horrifically rammed because of football and payday – but we made it to Manchester in one piece. I always have to have a mooch in Oliver Bonas, but had even more reason to since the new season stuff came out a few weeks ago.

I treated myself to a gorgeous leopard print purse with all the cardholders for £32. The outer design is half orange leopard print and half plain black. It zips out fully to reveal 14 card slots, two slip pockets and a zip compartment. I’m the queen of loyalty cards, and it fits them all in neatly. I’ve put all of my ‘important’ or most used cards in the front slots, and put the rest behind the cast section.

I loved it that blooming much, that when Jake and I stopped for a coffee, I swapped my purses over there and then to use for the rest of the day. It’s super tactile, spacious but not bulky, and so on trend.

I also picked up a leopard print lanyard to put my work security ID on, which was just £4.50 and will add a bit of my own flair to my work wear.

We headed out of the station and down Piccadilly. The plan was to head to ‘Just Between Friends’, but Jake needed coffee imminently and we decided to fall through the door of the next coffee shop we saw that wasn’t a bloody Costa or Greggs. It just so happened to be Black Sheep Coffee and Cocktails.

Inside, the red neon lights and reclaimed wood industrial décor had me sold before I even looked at the menu.

Jake ordered a cappuccino, and I went for a hot chocolate before pulling up a tall stool upstairs. It was relatively quiet, but somewhere I could see filling up quickly – I’d definitely find myself with my laptop working here if I was a regular in Manchester. The grafittied walls and neon lights gave a really cool vibe – but hey, a coffee shop ain’t all about looks. You can instantly tell that these guys stand for more than just coffee.

Black Sheep’s site states they only hire the best baristas in town – and I can agree. Our server was lovely, and even asked me if I wanted a shot of anything in my hot chocolate – so of course I went for caramel. They’re a cashless store, so only take card – which I get some may find annoying, but personally I liked it.

They’re aiming to ditch plastic and support the homeless community with suspended coffees. I spotted a lovely little board upstairs whilst I was sipping my drink, and then completely forgot to go buy one on my way back downstairs – I promise I will next time.

With a warm drink to fuel my brain, we headed down past the Arndale centre and took a right to the cathedral to the Craft and Flea market. Inside, the room was bustling with creativity, colour and character. Makers and bakers and quite literally, candlestick makers (okay, candles in jars) filled the cathedral and I wasn’t quite sure where to start.

There were some absolutely gorgeous stalls, and I picked up as many business cards as I could so I could follow my favourites on Instagram.

I ended up picking up an 80s Labyrinth card from Reconsidered Retro for £2.50, as well as a pair of clay earrings from Audrey + George for £10.

I grabbed a pretzel and also a chocolate ‘scotch egg’ for laters, and just enjoyed mooching. There’s so much more I could have bought, particularly from talented illustrators – but I had to refrain from spending too much!

On the way back to the station, we walked through the Northern Quarter and stopped off at Just Between Friends, on Anya’s recommendation.

The little quirky coffee shop on Tib Street sits next to a lovely florist – both with eyecatching exteriors. Jake ordered a coffee and a tea as I took a look at the jewellery and eco-friendly cups and straws on sale. We took a seat on a low bench in the window and watched fashionable mancunians walk by.

The window was filled with little house plants and posters, and my loose tea was served in a clear glass with a metal strainer, with a miniature milk bottle to pour. It was a bit of me all over, and the staff were super friendly. I’ll definitely be stopping by again soon, maybe even try their newly opened Ancoats venue when I go to the Grow and Glow event at the end of the month.

You can see more about my trip to Manchester in my little vlog here:

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Where I am

Staffordshire, UK