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manchester

Travel & Places

DINNER AT DON GIOVANNI, MANCHESTER

June 22, 2016

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Sophie is my favourite buddy to go for shopping, lunch and cocktails with. We call them our Gossip Girl dates and I miss them so much when I’m away! The general rule of thumb on a Gossip Girl date is that you get dressed up all fancy, order loads of naughty food then go shopping after a cocktail or two and encourage each other to buy extravagant things with words of encouragement like: “you earned it” and “it’s nice to treat yourself from time to time”. You need those kind of days out occasionally, right?

We were invited to try out Don Giovanni in Manchester which recently had a £400k makeover to celebrate its 31st birthday. We were seated in a sunny window booth which was nice and private for catching up, Gossip Girl style.

As it’s an Italian restaurant, we chose an Italian cocktail, the Aperol Spritz, which was gorgeous and so refreshing. To start I chose the caprese (buffalo mozzarella with cherry tomatoes and basil) and Sophie went for the bruschetta Al Funghi (sauteed mushrooms topped with dolce latte cheese). We both had fresh fish for our main which the friendly waiter prepared for us. Finally, for desert Sophie had ice-cream with an espresso shot poured over it (which she adored) and I had strawberries and cream.

I can’t wait for our next Gossip Girl date, but Sophie really needs to start watching Pretty Little Liars so I can sign my texts with -A rather than Gossip Girl xoxo

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Lifestyle and Interviews

LIFE LATELY: PICTURE POSTCARDS

June 4, 2016

ledbylucy-berlin-lipstickcocktails-manchesterchester-twilightberlin-foodbotanical-liverpoolcocktail-berlinledbylucy-potsdamWhen I scroll through the archives of my blog, the life lately posts are actually my favourite. It’s so nice to see a roundup of happy memories from a certain period of my life. As I mentioned in this post, life has thrown a few curve-balls recently. So all the more reason to post this round-up of my favourite moments that got trapped on my camera while I was out of action.

1.My birthday suit! The entire outfit was chosen by my Mum as a gift for my birthday. Thanks Mum! Oh, and hello to the Hulk Hogan graffiti in Friedrichshain, Berlin.

2.Sophie sipping a cocktail in Turtle Bay, Manchester right before she gave me a haircut (professionals can cocktail and cut no problem). What a cutie.

3.Taking a walk with my Step-Dad at twilight in Chester. One of those moments where you just need to stop and enjoy the free show provided by nature.

4.Jazzy decor and a jazzy jumper. Saigon street food at District Môt , Berlin.

5.One of the perks of wedding planning is that you get to visit lots of stunning potential venues. This is Palm House in Sefton Park, Liverpool. It isn’t our ‘chosen one’ but it was a very strong contender. You must visit if you’re in the area, the 1930’s Peter Pan statues are the icing on the cake.

6.Who ever said that an alcohol free cocktail means fun free? This one was a winner, honest.

7.One of my many dream homes at Sanssouci Park, Potsdam.

Suggested Post: Picture Postcards: Life Lately

Lifestyle and Interviews

INTERVIEW WITH ASHLEIGH GRAY, WICKED’S LEADING LADY

June 29, 2015

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At The Lowry Theater on my way to watch Wicked

Ashleigh Gray, a graduate fresh out of drama school, once sat wide eyed in the audience of Wicked, then turned to her friend and said “I have to play that role.” Of course she meant Elphaba. A dream that many budding young starlets undoubtedly share. But for Ashleigh, this dream really did come true.
I saw a quote recently that said “everyone wants to be successful, until they see what it actually takes”, it was superimposed onto a photograph of a ballerina’s battered and blue toes. A sight that is usually hidden by silk ballet shoes.
Wicked’s emerald green Elphaba is one of the West End’s most renowned and coveted roles.
The leading lady Ashleigh now blasts out the famous, unwavering notes from Wicked eight times a week, making each performance seem like the first.
I wondered what a day in her ruby slippers is really like and how she overcame the challenges along the journey to becoming Elphaba.
I caught up with Ashleigh after watching her performance at The Lowry to find out more.

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Have you always wanted to become an actress?

For as long as I can remember I’ve loved to perform. It started with singing really, I was always found singing around the house or the playground as a child. I guess the natural progression was to get involved with amateur dramatics and then go on to train professionally! I feel very lucky to be an actor. It’s not many people that can say they love their job!

Show business is an industry that many people dream of working in but only a small minority actually reach success. How did you keep yourself inspired and motivated to reach your goals?

I’ve been so lucky that throughout my own personal journey, I’ve had wonderful people around me, spurring me on and encouraging me, especially through the tough times. Be it Music Teachers, Directors or my own family, I’m so grateful to everyone who has helped me get where I am now. I do it for them, just as much as I do it for myself! I’m so passionate about this industry and I think that’s what’s kept me going all these years! I just don’t know what I’d do if I wasn’t a part of it!

What is your favourite part of the job?

Meeting audiences who’ve been touched or moved by our performances. There’s nothing better than live theatre! A live audience will have no hesitation in telling you just how much they are enjoying or not enjoying a performance! And as an actor you can absolutely learn from that. I am forever learning and evolving, not only as a performer but also as a person thanks to the nature of my job! Luckily, Wicked seems to reach out to people in such a positive manner that the reaction is always one of love.

Your performance as Elphaba at Wicked was spectacular and incredibly intense. I read that you perform eight times a week when you are on tour which is unbelievable. It must require an immense amount of self-discipline to maintain such high standards. How do you achieve this?

It does take a lot and especially on tour. Being out of your own comfort zone and away from your usual support network of friends and family can be very difficult! I count myself very lucky that I have such an amazing ‘tour family’ around me. We get each other through! But I also have to look after myself. I eat well, sleep a lot and work out everyday to try and keep up the stamina requires, both physically and emotionally, for playing this wonderful gift of a role 8 times a week!

What is your typical day like when you are on tour? Have you managed to see some of the sights of Manchester?

I’m lucky that I’ve toured here several ones before and Manchester is such a great city! With only having Sundays off, time is a bit limited and I spend most of my weekdays either swimming or doing a bit of yoga or just relaxing and recovering ahead of the show. Saying that, I took a trip into town this weekend, did a bit of shopping, had some wonderful food at Artisan and took in the Makers Market at Spinningfields, it was delightful! I look forward to getting in again and seeing more of what the place has to offer.

What is your favourite quote from Wicked?

“Everyone deserves the chance to fly!”

I think it’s so true – and not only in the literal sense we use in the show. I firmly believe that everyone should have a chance to shine in life and never be brought down by anyone else! If your head and your heart are flying high, happiness won’t be far behind! And happiness is the key…..to everything!

From now until the 25th July 2015, you can catch the spellbinding performance at The Lowry for the last leg of its UK tour. Visit The Lowry website to find out more about the show or book tickets.

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Fashion & Beauty

Yellow & Polka-dot

April 19, 2015
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This weekend couldn’t have come soon enough. My friend was visiting from London and I was so excited to see her!

We went to Earth Cafe at Manchester Buddhist Center for juices, salad and epic chats. We checked out the vintage and art shops in the Northern Quarter whilst I forced her to listen to Marina and The Diamond’s new album ‘Froot’ on my headphones. Seriously though have you heard it? It’s amazing <3

After our girl’s day out I met my boyfriend at Grill on The Alley for steak, frites and wine.

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Wearing: TopShop Womens LIGHT Suede Fringe LoafersMonochrome Polka Dot Blazer (similar), Starburst reversible tote in coral and silver from Echo Designs, I’m wearing it on the reverse silver side in this postRayBan Wayfarer Sunglasses and Zara Yellow Trousers Similar Here

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Fashion & Beauty

Fairground Fashion

April 11, 2015
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Trips away are lovely but sometimes it’s satisfying to act like a tourist in your own city, this weekend I gave it a whirl with a little bit of fairground fashion.

We went boating on the lake in our local park and I pretended we were in the notebook (obvs). Then we went the the fairground and won some tat that we don’t need and donated it to cute kiddies on the way home. I went dancing in the gay village too and saw friends from college.

It was so much fun to re-discover places that have been sitting right under my nose all along.

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Handbag: Starburst reversible tote in coral and silver from Echo Designs. I LOVE this and will be taking it everywhere with me this summer. It is lightweight, foldable and matches just about everything (fab for holiday hand luggage). The coral colour was a little to orangey to go with my red skirt today but the silver side was perfect.

Necklace: On the mark arrow by Stella and Dot in gold a gift from my sisters

Top: Off the shoulder dark blue striped top from H&M (sold out) Matches more than you might think and ever so
comfortable. Find a similar striped top here.

Skirt: ASOS Scuba Midi Skirt (sold out) Find a similar ASOS flared skirt here

Shoes: Black pointed court shoes New Look 

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Fashion & Beauty

Mother’s Day Outfit

March 15, 2015
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Happy Mother’s Day to all of the amazing Mums out there, I hope that you had a lovely day celebrating the inspiring women in your life. I headed to Chester with my Mum and sister and we had a beautiful time. We ate pizza, drank wine and planned our next trip away!

As winter is finally coming to a close I picked out a lighter outfit and popped on my shades. Hey, I live in Manchester, I’ve got to make the most of every hint of a sunshine no matter how big or small. Meet my new spring mac, she is from Topshop and you can find her here. My sunglasses were a charity shop find but Seafolly do a really similar pair, my leggings and top are from Zara.

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I love treating my Mum on Mother’s day and this year I took her a box full of goodies including: Neroli and Rose Candle in a Tin by Heyland & Whittle  (the smell is so comforting and familiar) Wild Lemongrass Reed Diffuser by Heyland & Whittle for her seaside holiday home and Batik Apron by Khmer Creations.

Here is my Mum modeling her new apron, she was so touched to hear that it was handmade by a woman in Cambodia who has been affected by human trafficking. The company teach women skills such as sewing and provide them with sustainable jobs in a safe environment.

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Suggested post: Poppy Print Outfit Of The Day

Fashion & Beauty

Poppy Print Outfit Of The Day

January 26, 2015

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Nick and I went out for some lunchtime Bloody Marys this weekend and I decided to pop this poppy print number on.

I often save things for best, this dress included. But today is the best! We are here and alive, that is a good enough reason to celebrate right? I figured we might as well light the expensive candles and drink the special wine too.

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My dress is the ASOS Midi Dress in Poppy Print with Full Skirt My heart shaped clutch bag belonged to my sister several years ago and I kind of pinched/claimed it (if you are reading this, sorry sis but you never seemed to wear it). I love having sisters!

Wearing: ASOS Midi Dress in Poppy Print with Full SkirtM&S Pearl Earrings and Blue Court Shoes (similar)

Related Post: JANUARY TREATS

Travel & Places

Tea Time at Sugar Junction

January 12, 2015

Tea-Time-at-Sugar-Junction-image1I have been lucky enough to have some extra time off work after the Christmas holidays. So, while everyone else is focusing on #NewYearNewYou I am being pretty naughty and continuing the indulgence!

My friend Kate is visiting from London and we went for tea and cake at Sugar Junction in the Northern Quarter.

Tea-Time-at-Sugar-Junction-image2Tea-Time-at-Sugar-Junction-image3Tea-Time-at-Sugar-Junction-image4Kate and I have known each other since we were 17 and we took a good half an hour to place our order because we had so much catching up to do, I have not laughed so much in a long time!

We finally ordered scones which were served warm with clotted cream and jam. It was delicious. I had Pucker Up Lover tea, a blend of hibiscus flowers, rosehip, strawberry, apple, rose petals, elderberries and orange blossom – it is my favourite.

Tea-Time-at-Sugar-Junction-image5Tea-Time-at-Sugar-Junction-image6If you are visiting Sugar Junction (and I recommend that you do) I suggest avoiding lunch times at the weekend as it gets super busy. The afternoon tea is also amazing.

It was such a lovely lunch date, we both left with tummy ache from laughing so much.

If you enjoyed this post then have a look at my Interview With Artist Tash Willcocks

Fashion & Beauty

French Connection and Faux Fur

January 3, 2015

LedByLucy-January-Treats-image1I spotted this fur coat in French Connection and it was love at first sight, I adore the faux fur-trims. It is the kind of clothing that six year old me dreamed of wearing as a grown up! I treated myself to some new clothes this January and thought I’d share them with you…

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My camera is also new but I will tell you all about that soon!

Wearing: French Connection Corvette Coating Fur Trim Coat/Fedora Similar Here/Kurt Geiger Carvela Boots/Marks and Spencer Red Leather Stitch Detail Gloves 

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Fashion & Beauty

Dior Baby!

November 30, 2014

LedByLucy-Dior-image1I recently went along to an event hosted by Dior Couture, Cosmetics and Jamie Coombes, the brand’s international makeup artist. It was a beautiful event showcasing the latest collection and trends.

I somehow ended up modelling for Jamie’s masterclass (!?) and he chose to use ‘mirror eyes’ and ‘Diorskin Star Foundation’ on me, echoing the make-up look created by Peter Philips for the Fall-Winter 2014-2015 Haute Couture show. ‘Mirror eyes’ are silver adhesive liners applied along the lash line and have a space age meets the sixties vibe!

I loved the flawless look of the foundation and ended up treating myself to it.

LedByLucy-Dior-image2LedByLucy-Dior-image3LedByLucy-Dior-image4The event was packed with beautiful beauty bloggers with flawless foundation, smoldering smokey eyes and fabulous clothes.

Behold the glamorous Victoria from InTheFrow, Rionne from Australasia, Laura from Dior, Nabiila from Nabiilabee and Sanna from LookAMillon.

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Suggested Post: JANUARY TREATS

Lifestyle and Interviews

My Interview With The Huffington Post – Forget Tea And Cake, The Young Women’s Institute Members Would Rather Have A Beer

April 2, 2014

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I am the former president and co-founder of Manchester Women’s Institute, one of the largest and youngest W.I’s in the UK.

The Huffington Post  journalist Brogan Driscoll interviewed me lately to find out more…

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The Women’s Institute (WI) has long been associated with blue rinse, homemade jam and knitted cardigans – but, as the organisation reaches its centenary year, there is a new generation of WI members who are breathing fresh life into the old order.

Now the largest voluntary women’s organisation in the UK with 212,526 members, the WI has more than six thousand groups to cater to different ages and interests – including many who would sooner share a bottle of wine than a pot of tea.

But swapping bunting for burlesque or pearls for pamper days doesn’t mean rejecting the organisation’s traditional values.

The WI was founded in 1915 to involve women in food production during the war effort and revitalise rural areas – today food and community spirit remain deeply engrained in the fabric of the organisation, simply in a more modern form.

We caught up with four WI members from across the UK to discuss the organisation’s changing reputation, modern femininity and the importance of giving back.

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Name: Lucy Adams
Age: 25
Occupation: Project Co-ordinator and in my spare time I write a lifestyle blog www.ledbylucy.com
Joined WI: I spent just under two years as president and co-founder, and am now a proud member.
Name of WI group: Manchester WI

How long has your group been running?

Alexandra Taylor and I launched Manchester WI two years ago. It started off as just an apple in our eye and now it is one of the largest in the UK.

We had eighty members rush through the doors on our first meeting, we had booked the room with a capacity of 40 – it was so exciting!

What sets your group apart from others?

I’d say the vibrancy of our meetings and members. Manchester WI puts its heart and soul into sourcing interesting speakers and organising the creative events.

The members are an eclectic mix of ages and backgrounds which make the meetings so vibrant, people have met their future bridesmaids, housemates and employers at our meetings. It is a real melting pot of activity.

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Lex Taylor, Manchester WI Co- founder

Describe a typical meeting

There really isn’t a typical meeting! Each has a different theme. My favourite meeting was the sustainable fashion event, we had stylists and designers speaking about the effects of disposable fashion then we hosted a huge clothes swap party. The clothes were amazing; I bagged a Megan from Mad Men style 1960’s dress and one of the other girls got a Vivienne Westwood ring!

I also really enjoyed our sisterhood meeting, the speaker was feminist artist Charlotte Newson who created a huge portrait of Emmeline Pankhurst using images of inspiring women from around the world. It was really relevant given Manchester’s suffragette history.

Do you think the current reputation of the WI is fair?

For some groups it might be, but not at Manchester WI. A blogger from Mancunian Matters joined us for a meeting and summed it up with: Forget twinsets and pearls, unless making a sartorial style statement, these are women aged 25-40 who are more drum n bass than Jam and Jerusalem.

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Lucy Adams, Manchester WI Co-founder

What are you doing to bring WI into the 21st century?

I think the very fact that all of our members are working women, living in the city with lots of passion and energy makes it really relevant to current day.

Also Emmeline Pankhurst is featured in our logo, but she is winking and has a tattoo!

Would you consider yourself feminist?

Absolutely. There is a strong sense of sisterhood at Manchester WI, it’s all about learning new skills, networking and having fun.

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Manchester WI Members.

If you like this post then have a read of Business Women Of The Blogosphere. 

Lifestyle and Interviews

Interview With Artist Tash Willcocks

March 9, 2014

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 Tash Willcocks’ artwork is peppered across Manchester transforming spaces such as Tech Hub and The Juice Academy. When she isn’t creating her own artwork, she is teaching as the Graphic Design programme leader at The University of Salford.

Tash recently posted the pictures featured in this blog onto Instagram, they are drawn directly onto the pages of Red Magazine, check out her hashtag #Mundaneaday for a daily dose of doodles.

 I interviewed Tash to find out more.

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  What tips would you give to new artists just starting out in their career?

There’s so much advice out there, it’s easy to get lost. Social media has really opened up the opportunities available, you can find yourself talking to your design idols on Twitter, but it can quickly turn from a happy design pond into an ocean of information. I think this is where some people can drown (don’t worry I’ll leave that metaphor there haha).

Basically, talk to people. In Manchester the design community is amazing and there are plenty of great places to hang out, have a tipple and a talk to other artists.

I recommend meet-ups like Northern Digitals, talks like BLAB and places like 2022NQ.

I was once told to ‘make friends not contacts’, sage advice. Another piece of good advice is an Anthony Burrill quote: ‘work hard and be nice to people’.

Which piece of your artwork are you most proud of?

 

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Elbow debut album cover, Asleep In The Back (above).

So, although I wouldn’t say it’s the best (it’s now over ten years old) it’s still one of my favourites.

The building is long gone now. At the time I was very interested in what went on behind closed doors. It felt like that was what Elbow was hinting at in the album.

The photo is hand developed and printed/tinted, I don’t think you can ever quite replicate that feel. The logo was a handmade print as well that almost killed me when it needed to be enlarged.

The main reason that I love this piece is because the Elbow boys and V2 took a chance on me. I had to pitch against others but mine got chosen in the end. Along with Micah who did the inners with me, we beavered away after our late night jobs and sent zip discs nervously to-and-fro. The day I first saw the entire window plastered with my artwork my mind almost popped!

So there you are, I think this may always be my favourite design.

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 I love following your #mundaneaday posts on Instagram, what is your favourite account to follow?

 Oh, so hard! I LOVE Instagram, can I have a couple?

  • MrsEaves101: amazing lettering from Australia, also best pseudonym ever
  • Laylasailor: fantastic stylist, hoping to hook up on project soon
  • BIJDVLEET: just ace hand lettering
  • Staygoldmaryrose: a friend who moved away, AMAZING jewellery and general taste
  • Luanna90:  just an Instagram crush… ace hair

My favourite Instagram hashtag is #TYPEBRUT, it was started by ex Salford Uni student @lemike76 and it’s going global. It’s addictive, like the typographic version of Pringles, once you pop…

 

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Where do you go/what do you do when you have artist’s block?

 I’m incredibly lucky to teach, I have 300 creative brains to bounce off every day at Salford Uni. I’m also a ‘doer’. I do a #Mundanaday everyday and I believe in research through practice.

I’m permanently grazing images and looking around me, but there’s nothing better than just DOING to actually get the creative blood flowing, or go for a walk, look around you, dance with your cat and just loosen up.

My fear is the internet is the first stop for most people and you just get bombarded with images/generic design. Don’t get me wrong there’s some incredible work out there but it becomes all consuming and I fear that you can get trapped looking and not doing (and just because it’s out there doesn’t mean it’s all good)…

Just dance like no one’s looking, be aware of everything around you visually/physically/aurally, live a bit and learn to love your mistakes. You need to make them to make you better…

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