Last weekend I visited Manchester Art Gallery – one of my favourite places in Manchester. It’s not particularly big or prominent (as art galleries go) but it’s well worth a visit.
The ‘Vogue 100’ exhibition recently transferred here from the National Portrait Gallery and I wanted to take a look. Vogue is synonymous with fashion but I didn’t realise the scale of artistic influence in it’s pages until I saw this exhibition. It was fascinating to wander back through the decades and see the work of some of the greatest artists and photographers lifted from it’s pages.
Sadly photographs were prohibited within the exhibition – so you’ll just have to visit it for yourself to see what I mean. (Entry is free.) If you’re not in the area, don’t worry… you can see much of Vogue’s centenary celebrations online. Including it’s back catalogue of covers here.
I hadn’t planned on seeing much else while I was there – but I was directed out of the Vogue exhibiton and found myself in the most beautiful space – full of a separate exhibition on Modern Japanese Design. It was strangely beautiful and also well worth a look if you are in town.
The Art Gallery is also showcasing an exhibition called ‘Fashion and Freedom’ – sadly I ran out of time on my visit this time around to find out more about this but you can be sure I’ll be back in the future!
I grew up in a part of England that’s constantly coming alive with quirky traditions. Yanks Weekend is one such tradition. I’m not sure it can be explained all that succinctly but I’ll try…
In 1979 Richard Gere made a movie called ‘Yanks’. It was about a group of American soldiers stationed in Britain and was set in the English countryside. The little villages (where I grew up) played a starring role in the film and for the last 16 years this fact has been marked with a 2-day celebration. For one weekend a year we step back in time to the 1940s. There are fairs, aerial displays and parades through the streets. A lot of people get into the spirit of things by dressing up vintage style – and there’s an awful lot of swing dancing.
Last year was one of the best and busiest yet – and the first time I’ve been able to experience it for quite a while so I thought I’d give you all a little taste. You can find out more about this brilliant and bizarre event here and if you’re interested in seeing it for yourself it’ll be taking place on 6th and 7th August in Saddleworth.
A couple of weeks ago we were blessed with a rare springtime blast of sunshine and warmth (you all know by now how much I love the sunshine!) so I decided to take myself off for the day to Lyme Park. I’ve visited it in the past but I was about 5 at the time and purely there to see Santa – and so understandably I wasn’t so fussed for the gardens or the house.
Lyme Park is pretty recognisable as it’s been used in dozens of films and TV programmes in the past (a rather soggy Colin Firth famously climbed out of the lake here, when he was playing Mr Darcy in the BBC’s adaptation of ‘Pride and Prejudice’) and luckily it’s not too far from where I live.
The house and grounds used to belong to an old aristocratic family but after the second world war it was sold to the National Trust – who now manage and maintain it. The National Trust is a charity I am very proud to support as they do a lot of work maintaining hundreds of sites of historic importance. I was so impressed by their work on my visit that I signed up for a year’s membership – which gives me free entry to all their properties for the very reasonable cost of just £60 (if you are 25 or under it’s just £30 for a year.)
Sadly taking photographs inside the house isn’t allowed – but trust me when I say it is worth seeing. A lot of the artefacts and paintings are on loan from private collections and every room has a fascinating bit of history attached to it.
The last building pictured is known as ‘The Cage’. I didn’t have as much time to explore the grounds and deer park as I’d have liked on my visit so I will no doubt be going back again soon…
Last weekend I stumbled upon this place, completely by accident. I was supposed to be meeting up with family for a celebratory birthday meal for my sister, but I spotted signs for this place en-route and at the last minute we changed our plans. I’m so glad we did. Whether you have children, or you’re just a big kid at heart like me, The Tropical Butterfly House Wildlife and Falconry centre is a wonderful day out. It is a little off the beaten track, but if you ever find yourself in the north of England I would recommend a visit.
We didn’t have long enough on our visit to explore everything but I will definitely be going back. Here are some of the highlights from our visit:
The important bit: I’m an animal lover and always nervous about visiting these kinds of places but I found all the staff to be knowledgeable and devoted to the animals’ well being. The enclosures were beautifully kept with lots of enrichment for the animals. In an ideal world all animals would have the same freedom and respect we afford ourselves as humans… but in the meantime it’s important for places like this to exist, so that they can educate children and adults alike, on the wonders of the natural world and the need to care for and treasure it.