Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Young Explorer's Christmas Picks

Hello again! As it's December, we've decided to do another one of our Etsy treasury lists. This time it's chock full of ideas for Christmas presents that you should definitely get for people that you like. You can have a look at all the amazing things by clicking here, or even on the image below if that's your kind of thing (Ps. I have never used Photoshop and this image is the result of about an hour's worth of fiddling).

Etsy is the best place to buy presents. I'm sure all the people you buy for would prefer to get something handmade and nice from Etsy rather than another Amazon voucher. You can even buy stuff from us, if you like!

Tell us about your favourite Etsy shops for buying pressies, please! Tweet us, Facebook us, leave a comment, whatever! And most importantly, have a very Merry Christmas!!!

Sunday, 1 December 2013

December Update!

Hi everyone! Apologies for our absence from the "blogosphere" of  late, we have been a little bit busy working on a number of things that have been pleasant but time consuming. We'll be back to normal soon but thought we'd check in and update you on some exciting* news.

The Swapsies
The best pop folk band Liverpool has to offer have just released their new EP which is accompanied by a neat little zine that us two made especially. The EP is called 'Sparrows' and the zine we did is called 'Feathered Migrants. It's based on the lyrics of the Swapsies song of the same name. Andy from the Swapsies has written all about our little collaboration on his blog, so you should read that. The EP is great so you should definitely buy it. You can also buy it from us here. There's going to be a launch party in Liverpool on December 12th and you can find out all about that buy clicking here.

Young Explorer Etsy shop
We've been busy updating our Etsy shop recently and now you can buy even more great stuff for yourself or for people you like (Note! If you are buying Christmas pressies, make sure you place your order in good time so we're able to get the stuff to you before the big day). You might have noticed that the photos on our Etsy page are quite nice now, and that's thanks to the wonderful Elle Brotherhood who did them for us.

In other news, we'll also be selling things at Liverpool Winter Arts Market on Saturday December 7th too! You should come, it'll be great. 

Anyway, that will do for now. We'll be posting more from now on, I promise! 

*depends on how easily excited you are

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Sheffield Mini Zine Fair

Yesterday we got the chance to take some of the Salford Zine Library collection on the road and exhibit it at a little zine fair in Sheffield. We also took some Young Explorer stuff to flog on the side, too.

Salford Zine Library out of a suitcase
Some of our stuff
We sold a few of our new mini zines - we have one about whales called 'Whale of a time!' and one called 'Feathered Migrants', which was inspired by a song by ace Liverpool pop band The Swapsies (More about both of these new things another time!).

There was loads of interest in the zine library and we had some lovely donations from other stallholders, too, which was ace. Keep your eye on the Salford Zine Library blog or pop in some time during the week to have a look at them.

All in all, it was a pretty fun day. The event was very well organised and everyone who came along was very friendly and nice and stuff. There was a zine making workshop on after the fair and, though we didn't go, it was guaranteed to be flipping great. Hope everyone enjoyed themselves as much as we did!

See yer,


Going on a Field Trip

Skyliner has been one of our favourite blogs for ages and ages. It appeals to our curious nature, is dead nice to look at, is wonderfully written and the articles usually include some pretty nice photos too. What more could you want? Hayley has recently written about the abandoned theme park in Berlin that we mentioned a few months ago, only her's is in more detail and has much better photos!

Hayley also does amazing guided tours of architecture in Manchester, and now you can buy your building obsessed loved one a gift voucher so they can choose which one to go on themselves. We want to go on the 'alternative countryside' one quite a lot. Anyway, our Liz was asked to provide an illustration for the gift voucher and there it is, poking out from behind the badges above. Nice innit?

It's a drawing of a building on Portland Street that Hayley has kindly written about for the next issue of Young Explorer, which is going to be about 'the past' and will be ready very soon we hope. Now stop reading this blog and go and spend the next few hours reading Skyliner instead.

See yer!


Tuesday, 15 October 2013


Dogs are amazing, aren't they? This blog post is going to be all about dogs, so sorry if you're one of them people who say daft things like "Actually, I prefer cats" or (even more daft) "I don't like the idea of having a pet at all". This blog post is not for you. If you do like dogs, you should follow my (Steve!) Instagram profile, which is made up primarily of candid photos of strangers' dogs.

At the weekend we had a pretty dog-tastic time, all in all. We went to the television's Battersea Dogs Home. You can pay £2 to get in without having to agree to adopt anything, so it was kind of like visiting a zoo that only has dogs (and cats). We weren't allowed to take pictures, but here's one I took before I realised:

There were so many amazing dogs. Our favourites were Jacob, Frankie and Wilma. If you're in a position to adopt a dog, you should definitely consider rehoming an abandoned one. Here's Wilma's photo from the Battersea Dogs Home website:

Awwww! After we'd spent ages walking around and looking at the dogs and cats, we popped down the road to the the Gallery on the Corner, who currently have an exhibition of dog art (art by dogs) on until October 20th. Here's a Daily Mail article about it, complete with humourless idiots underneath the line saying things like:
"This is not ART. To call it art is to belittle true artists with talent. Animals can't make art as they haev no concept of painting/drawing for any other reason than reward. Of Course, as i mention in my comments on the Bankys article..some fool will pay stupid money and they will become worth thousands... great for Dogs home...depressing for Art"
Get a grip, mate! It involves dogs so is a good thing! Proceeds from the exhibition go to the dogs home, too, so that's even better. Here's a picture of the sausage dog that was trotting around the exhibition space. I think he might have belonged to the staff at the gallery:

Also, in other dog related news, the super amazing Discount Horse are releasing the even more amazing All Dogs' split with Slouch. It is one of the best things I have heard this year and you should definitely buy it.

Please tweet us photos of your dog! And remember, you can still enter the competition to win tickets for Carefully Planned this weekend.

See yer!


Monday, 14 October 2013

Carefully Planned (+ an exciting competition!)

Carefully Planned, a festival across six different venues in Manchester, is usually flipping brilliant. But this year the lineup is even better than usual! We're so excited about it that we thought we'd better write something about the five bands/artists we're most looking forward to seeing this weekend. Here they are, in no particular order:

Mat Riviere
Obvs! We've already told you how great his most recent 10" is, so it's almost inevitable that we'd be really jazzed about seeing him at Carefully Planned. That's not all, though: he's playing at Bakerie wine store, the fancy bread (and wine) place next to the fancy pie place. Jackpot! I'm going to be stuffing my face with still-warm focaccia while he does his thing.
(Saturday @ Bakerie)

Either we really like bread (and wine) or Bakerie is just the place to be on Saturday. Actually, it's both. But straight after Mat Riviere's done, you can stick around and see ONSIND. Acoustic pop punk from Durham, featuring people from Martha.
(Saturday @ Bakerie)

Well Weezer
It's Well Wisher doing Weezer covers, obviously. And it's in the swanky new room upstairs at the newly refurbished Gullivers. Can't blumming wait!
(Saturday @ Gullivers)

Good Grief
Excellent noisy pop fun from Liverpool. I have never seen them irl before but am pretty sure it'll be ace.
(Sunday @ Gullivers)

Johnny Foreigner
Unlike Good Grief, I have seen Johnny Foreigner lots of times, although I think the last time was probably about three years ago. Dead frenetic pop-punk that will be a joy to get re-acquainted with.Yeah!!!
(Sunday @ Soup Kitchen)

There's loads of other super duper bands (Honourable mention to It Hugs Back who did one of my favourite songs ever) playing over the weekend, too. You can get all the information from the Carefully Planned website and there are still a few tickets left (You can get them from the website 'n all).

Competition time!
Would you and someone you know/love like to go to the festival this weekend? Well, have we got a prize for you. £12.50's worth of prime festival admission (more on the door) for the whole weekend for you and A.N Other. All you have to do is Tweet something like: "I would like to enter the @_YoungExplorer competition to win tickets for @ACPFestival, please!". Or comment on this post with a way for us to contact you if you win. The winner will be announced on Thursday! Good luck everyone!

Sunday, 29 September 2013

The Young Explorer Guide to Manchester

Now that we have been nominated for a snazzy blog award, in the 'Best City or Neighbourhood blog' category no less (Vote for us please!), we reckoned it was time we started being better at talking about where we live and how great it is. If only to try and secure a few more of those crucial votes (Vote for us please!).

Here's a map we put together of places that we think are nice and in Manchester. I think you might be able to add things yourselves? I dunno. Have a go. We have probably missed loads of cool stuff, too, and our choices are probably very predictable, so your input would be gratefully received! Feel free to leave comments, tweet, facebook or email (young explorer zine at gmail dot com, innit) us with places that you think people should know about.

See yer!


Thursday, 19 September 2013

Haiku Salut and Sausage Gloves

Some people who read this blog mighn't even know that it's the online face of the Young Explorer zine (Buy here or here), which we aim to "publish" every 3-4 months or so. We've made three issues so far and we're currently in the final stages of preparing a fourth one, which is going to be about "the past".

The second issue, with the theme "collecting", is pretty much sold out now. I think we have one spare copy knocking about if you're quick. It had some good stuff in it! Phil Elverum talking about his book collection and swearing (once) and some nice illustrations and the world famous Haiku Salut talking about collecting gloves.

As we no longer have (m)any copies of the second issue to flog, we thought we'd post up the Haiku Salut bit so you can all see what you missed out on.Bits in []s are where we've changed the print article slightly so that it makes sense/reflects the fact that time has passed since the thing was written. Here it is! (Under the line!)

Haiku Salut are a Matlock based trio who make vaguely French sounding instrumental pop songs. Their wonderful debut EP 'How We Got Along After the Yarn Bomb' was released on 3" CD by Team Strikeforce last year and their first ever full length album 'Tricolore' [was released a few months ago and is a thing of beauty.]

They're well worth seeing live, too. The entire performance seems to be on the edge of catastrophe much of the time, which makes it even more exciting. I'm sure there's never any danger of anything actually going wrong, but there's so much instrument swapping and general excitement that their music seems almost unbelievable. Keep an eye on their website and go and see them if you can!

Anyway, as the theme of this issue of Young Explorer is about collecting, we asked them if they had any collections that they'd like to talk about. A couple of weeks later I received this in our email inbox.

A short tale of Haiku Salut and their journey of collecting things, or lack of, accordingly

We had initial reservations about writing a piece about a subject we felt little kinship with. Yeah, we have a collection of books - the Murakami books, the books that smell of old people and Sophie's selection of philosophical books about Mars, robots and time travel. We also have a small band collection of vinyl, The Beach Boys, Shirley Bassey, The Shins. There is also Louise's minor gaggle of bumbags and the extensive gallery of pictures of our dog in woolly jumpers[*please see below for picture of amazing dog], sunglasses and/or goggles. 

But... something wasn't quite right. It felt contrived. Worthless. These small collections wouldn't really tell a story about us. They would pale into insignificance beside other collections of it's kind. It was then that Gemma remembered the triumphant age of the sausage glove years and everything fell in to place. 

The story begins early spring, or late autumn of any year you'd care to choose. On the way home from the pub Sophie noticed a lone abandoned sausage glove (A workmans' glove with sausage sized fingers). This sparked a discussion regarding the absent owner's possible loves, fears and hopes. We passed the sausage glove by and wandered on home. 

It was then we started noticing sausage gloves everywhere, the clock was always 11:11. Soon the sausage gloves began to come home with us. Eventually the collection was getting slightly overwhelming and laws were passed to curb its growth. If two sausage gloves were found within ten feet of one another they would be considered a pair with the potential of being found by their previous owner and were not to be touched. We agreed that enough was enough when Louise brought a sausage glove back from Japan. The ultimate sausage glove.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Sea life month #2: Whale of a Time!

Remember way back in August when we were going on about it being 'sea life month'? Well, here's the second in the series. The 'month' part of the title is redundant, really, as it's been over a month, so just ignore that bit.

Anyway, I have always been a big fan of sea mammals. Dolphins? Amazing (Although Liz thinks they have an attitude problem). Seals? Brilliant. Manatees? So good I even recorded a naff song about them. My favourite TV show as a child was Sharky and George! Aside from Liz's aversion to dolphins, which she attributes to them being "attention seekers", we're both agreed on how cool they all are.

We both think whales are great, too. So we've done a mini zine about them that you'll be able to buy soon! It's called 'Whale of a time!' and contains some nice illustrations of whales that Liz did and a bit of vaguely amusing/informative writing that I did. Here's some sneaky preview images for you to have a look at:

Always keen to develop any merchandising opportunities, we've done some temporary tattoos too! Whales tend to be quite large, so we thought it'd be appropriate if the tattoos were too. They'll be available soon and they look like this:

And we're doing some shrink plastic whale brooches that followers of our Instagram will have caught a glimpse of recently. Keep an eye on our Twitter and our Etsy page to find out when all these neat things are available! Speaking of Etsy, we've curated a list of really nice whale related things that have nothing to do with us. You can have a look at it by clicking here

Tell us about your favourite sea based mammals, please! Do you agree with Liz? Are dolphins "attention seekers?". Answers on a postcard, (Or in the comments section or on Twitter) please.

See yer


Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Fig + Sparrow and Brownie Owl!

Our favourite place to get coffee in Manchester is Fig + Sparrow on Oldham Street. We like it to an almost creepy extent.  We were initially drawn in by the amazing gift shop at the front of the café (They sell dead nice homeware things and other great stuff) - and we still probably buy something or other every time we go in - but it's the coffee and cake that we go for now.

Do you remember when it was really hot a few weeks ago? That was kind of alright, wasn't it? But in a way it was pretty unbearable too. Thankfully we were able to go and sit in Fig + Sparrow next to a fan and cool ourselves down with some lovely iced teas and coffees. Look how their cold drinks come! Cute, eh?

The breakfast pots they do are pretty brilliant as well. You get a jar of yoghurt and some chunks of chocolate brownie on the side and then you mix it all together and you're in heaven, basically. Sadly I don't work in town so going for breakfast every day is not really an option. But if I did...

Speaking of the brownies, wow! They're made by The Brownie Owl and they're probably the best brownies I have ever eaten. I'm always a bit 'okay then' about brownies. A brownie is a brownie. Like a jam tart, I'd be happy if I was given one but probably wouldn't choose one if there was anything more fancy on offer. But these brownies are actually incredible.

We were lucky enough to win some Brownie Owl brownies in a Twitter competition, so we had a whole box of them to munch on (With a fair amount of restraint they still only lasted about two hours). Here's the exciting news as it was announced!
We enter the lottery every now and again but very rarely get a number. This was like the food equivalent of hitting the jackpot. Look how tasty they look...

...and then times that by 100 and you're somewhere close to how good they tasted. They are probably on sale in other cafés in Manchester but we haven't bothered to find out where. A coffee, a brownie and a table at Fig + Sparrow is the best way to spend your afternoon.

See yer!

Friday, 30 August 2013

St Anne's Fans

Some time ago we decided that spending the day in a beach hut would be a 'nice thing to do'. We hadn't really thought about where we would actually do this or anything like that, though. Then when we were brainstorming about how we could mark our friend Rebecca's birthday, we decided that we could kill two birds with one stone and throw a surprise birthday party in one!

As St Anne's seemed to be the only seaside resort in the north west with beach huts, the decision on where to go was kind of made for us. We found the amazing St Anne's Beach Huts online and booked a lovely little hut (The yellow one in the middle below!) and then got thinking about the kind of food we'd include in the spread for the party.

The hut was dead good! It was nicely furnished and had a little kitchen area - perfect for preparing all our picnic food. Here's what the hut looked like when we'd decorated it.

As Rebecca is vegan, we went for the usual 'Leon party spread' that has been mentioned several times on this blog. Briefly: sweet potato falafel, fried garlic courgettes, miso potatoes, pitta bread, crisps, fruity cous cous, madeleines and probably loads of other things too. Look! Here's the BIRTHDAY GIRL!!! and the birthday cake (A vegan hummingbird cake (like a carrot cake only instead of carrot it's got pineapple in)).

St Anne's is pretty nice. It reminded us a bit of Southport - a little bit posher than your average seaside resort. Obviously Morecambe, Cleethorpes and Mablethorpe are ace, but it's nice to go upmarket every now and again. Posh or not, St Anne's still had a pretty incredible £1 a go bowling alley near the seafront. We are rubbish at bowling but it doesn't stop us from embarrassing ourselves. Here's Liz perfecting her swing.

It's all in the stance, ladies and gentlemen.

Anyway, we'd definitely recommend hiring one of the beach huts at St Anne's! We think we'd like to go in the winter when it's cold and the huts are a bit cheaper. We could just spend the day sitting in one of the beach huts, reading and crafting and whatever. It might not be so nice in reality though.

See yer!


Saturday, 17 August 2013

Hot Property

Young Explorer have been all over the place recently. You probably haven't been able to go a single day without someone saying 'Have you heard about Young Explorer?!'. In case you have been living in a cave for the last three months and haven't caught 'Young Explorer Fever', here's a little summary of some things that we've been in.

Firstly, we did some talking for a bit about Victoria Baths Zine Fair in which I used a 'mild curse word'. Then we did some talking (And posed for some photos) for the Fred Aldous blog. Here's some of the ace photos that Elle took on the day:

And finally, our friend Stef Bradley (Who we must have mentioned about a hundred times on this blog now) included a little interview with us for a zine she was making for a zine workshop. As well as making the excellent Today Zine, Stef has recently started her own zine distro called 'Best Pressed', selling zines by other people she likes at gigs and other events. We're going to put a few of the 'How to make a zine' zines on the shelves at Salford Zine Library, so pop over and have a look if you get the chance. They're really good and have loads of really good tips on how to make your own zines. And some bonus exclusive Stef Bradley comic material too! Here's a glimpse of our interview that has been described as 'inspiring' and 'really great' by no-one.

If your famous blog/magazine/newspaper/television series wants to talk to us, get in touch! You can email us at youngexplorerzine at gmail dot com or tweet us @_YoungExplorer.



Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Crystal Palace Park

As Steve mentioned in the last post, we have been super busy recently and haven’t had much time to update our blog, mainly because we have been having far too much fun! So get ready for lots of blog posts updating you on the last couple of weeks!

This blog post is going to be all about how much we love Crystal Palace Park! (No, I'm not talking about Crystal Palace's football ground, Selhurst Park, although this seems to be a common misunderstanding amongst people we have been talking to about it!).

Crystal Palace Park is somewhere I had wanted to go for a while. One of my friends had recommended it to me and we were not disappointed. This park has it all! The park was built in the Victorian era for cultural and sporting events and those Victorians certainly knew how to build a park. It used to be home to the actual Crystal Palace, which housed the Great Exhibition (which you may have learnt about at school). However this beautiful building was sadly burnt down in 1936. The only thing that remains of the Palace now is the large number of steps leading up to where the palace once stood. According to the internet a Chinese billionaire is planning on rebuilding the whole palace exactly how it was. I’m not 100% sure how true this is but I hope it does happen!

Anyway, the palace isn’t the only thing the Victorians built in this park; they did like to do things in style. There still remains a fantastic maze, which is probably one of the best mazes I have ever been in, even better than the one at Hampton Court. We did worry at one point that we would be lost in the maze forever, as we spent about fifteen minutes walking around in circles. It really is great fun, and even better, it’s completely free!

Then lastly and probably my favorite thing about the park was the dinosaurs. Not your normal dinosaurs, no! Victorian interpretations of what they thought dinosaurs might look like. They were made by the sculptor Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins who completed them in 1854, to show off the then newly discovered dinosaurs and other extinct animals in the park. The dinosaurs don’t really look that much like what we would imagine them to look like now. They actually look more like giant lizards, which we thought made it even better.

Overall, Crystal Palace Park is a fantastic day out and if you live around London you should most certainly go. Along with all the exciting things I have mentioned above, the whole park is lovely if you just fancy a nice walk in the sunshine.


Friday, 2 August 2013

Sea life month #1: Tenbo! (And a general update)

With the whole taking over the Salford Zine Library thing, the exhausting hot weather and being on holiday in Tenby, we haven't had much chance to update the blog for a while. Please forgive us! As a result of our incompetence, woodland month is going to be extended! But it's also going to be overlapped by SEA LIFE MONTH. The reasons for this will become clearer later. In fact, these two 'months' are not so much monthly themes any more, they're probably more like non time-specific series of posts.


The diehard fans amongst you may remember that we went on holiday to Tenby last year. Well this year we went again! We really like Tenby, although phone signal is hard to come by and some bits of it are plagued by horseflies. Despite that, the weather was amazing, we got to do loads of swimming in the sea (remember, this is sea life month, this is not a coincidence) and eat loads of ice cream.

The main thing we wanted to do while we were in Tenby was go to Fecci's Ice Cream Parlour, as featured in the third issue of the Young Explorer Zine (Buy here or here). We like its slightly faded charm and the amount of novelty ice cream sundaes they have on offer. This time Liz went for something called a 'Crinoline Lady' which looks like this:

Let me talk you through what you're looking at here. Yes, that is a plastic doll stuck in the middle of the ice cream. The doll was actually only a (naked) torso with a stick at the bottom to poke into the ice cream. As Liz was eating, the doll was being undressed and, to be honest, it was a little bit creepy.

Anyway, there's lashings of ice cream and whipped cream (the white ball gown) complete with black cherry, sugar paper flower and hundreds and thousand adornments. And a fan shaped wafer at the back. Very tasteful. Liz wasn't able to finish it - she might have been attempting to save the young lady's modesty or she might have just been suffering from a dairy overdose.

Ice cream isn't the only thing that Tenby has going for it. Check out this view! Cor! I spent the first 18 years of my life living by the sea and I never really took advantage of it. I find being by the sea very relaxing so I'm going to try and spend as much time at the seaside as possible from now on. There's something about the sound of waves crashing against the shore that never fails to slow my heartbeat down a bit. In a good way, not in a cardiac arrest/dying way.

There is nothing we like better than a boat trip. While we were in Tenby we got to go on two! The first was a seal safari around Caldey Island, where we were *guaranteed* to see some seals. And we weren't disappointed! On the way around the island we also got to see some lovely rocks/cliffs (see above) and a couple of puffins (we weren't quick enough to get a photo of the puffins but we instantly fell in love with them). Then came the stars of the show.

This is the best photo we got of a seal. We saw about twenty of them altogether, dotted around the rocks and in the water. Apparently they like to lie on the rocks and sleep while their food digests, which I think we would both have enjoyed after our massive ice creams. That one is a male, or a 'bull' ^^^

The second boat trip actually landed on Caldey Island, where there is a monastery, a little village, a lighthouse and some lovely coastal paths. We'd been warned against taking the trip due to the earlier mentioned plague of horseflies, but we thoroughly sprayed ourselves with insect repellant and went for it anyway. There were loads of them! Everywhere you went, horseflies. Gross. Thankfully we didn't get bitten though.

Caldey Island is beautiful. It reminds me a bit of an island we visited when we went to Oslo, except it's a bit smaller and is more Welsh. I'll leave you to look at some photos of Caldey Island while we go away and think about other things to blog about. See yer!

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Salford Zine Library

Hey! Guess what! We are now officially in charge of running Salford Zine Library, which is based at Nexus Art Cafe on Dale Street, Manchester. Salford Zine Library exists as a repository for self-published publications about anything, by anyone, from anywhere. There's so much good stuff to read on the shelves (Including Young Explorer!) and we're really excited about being able to help make the library even more inspiring and ace than it is now.

We've got loads of plans spinning around our heads, but we want YOU to get involved too! If you make zines, or are thinking about making a zine, please submit a copy. We can't give you any money for it but we can give you a mention on the blog and on our Twitter account. And you can feel pleased that your zine is sitting amongst another 1400 or so amazing zines from around the world. How cool is that?

See the Salford Zine Library blog for more information about submitting your zine, follow us on Twitter and spread the word! The more zines we have the better.


Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Woodland Month Part Three: Wildflower Zine

We have been commissioned to produce a zine about wild flowers for Stockbridge Village in Bloom. We're just waiting for it to come back from the printers, but we're pretty pleased with how it's turned out. We've seen some of these flowers and plants while we've been visiting different forests, woods and otherwise green public spaces.

Each page has an illustration of a different plant/flower and some basic information about growing them or just spotting them while you're out and about.

If you own or are involved in running a massive multinational organisation, we will happily do you some kind of zine for mega $$$$. Get in touch!

S + L


Saturday, 29 June 2013

Coo & Co's Landbaby Exhibition

We never actually got to see Stef Bradley's Today Zine exhibition at Landbaby, partly because we seem to be stupidly busy all the time at the moment and also because we tried to go and look on a Sunday when Landbaby is closed. Duh!

When we heard that Coo & Co were doing an exhibition there we pulled ourselves together and managed to get down to the shop when it was actually open. Jenny McCabe is super talented! We met her at a craft fair in Lancaster ages ago and her lovely stall, as part of the Make District collective, was definitely the best thing there. She makes loads of lovely textile things, including some 'make your own bird/moth' kits that I really want to have a go at.

You can see for yourself anyway - the exhibition is on until July 20th. And while you're there, Landbaby have a couple of our brooches left for sale too! Here's some photos: try and see if you can guess which ones we took and which ones have been lifted from Landbaby's Facebook page!



Sunday, 23 June 2013

Blog and Buy Sale Summer Wish List

Apparently it is supposed to be summer, although looking out of the window of our flat you wouldn't know it. While we may not actually get any prolonged periods of nice weather this year, the super excellent Blog and Buy Sale website have featured two of our things (Our owl tattoos and our mountain cushion) in their Summer Wish List. We're very excited about this! Here is some pictorial evidence, just in case you think we're making stuff up:

We are extremely excited about this because we are featured with loads of dead talented designer/makers. Here are our top five things on there that haven't been made by us:

What Ever the Weather brooch set
Chunky Knit Hair Band
Book Stack Illustrations
Dog and Fox Ceramic Mug
'Diane' Twin Peaks Brooch

There's plenty more ace things on there too. Go and have a look!


Thursday, 13 June 2013

Woodland Month Part Two: Etsy Treasury List

As part of Woodland Month on the Young Explorer blog, we've curated a list of our favourite woodland themed stuff on Etsy. Have a look!

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Woodland Month Part One: Blackley Forest and Boggart Hole Clough

June 9th - July 9th is Woodland Month on the Young Explorer blog! Over the next few weeks we'll be posting a series of bits and bobs about our favourite type of geographical feature. Basically, anything we can think of that is even slightly related to woods or forests or trees or the kind of animals that live in woods or forests or trees.

This first post is going to be about a couple of super beautiful wooded areas that you can visit in Manchester. We'd love to hear about where you like to go and pretend you're in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, or where you take your dog for a walk or whatever it is that you do in the woods. 

We are going to be utilising every single one of our 'social media channels' for this, so feel free to: Tweet us, talk to us on Facebook and tag us on Instagram with your top tips. And you can follow our Woodland Pinterest board here. Phew!

We very rarely venture into North Manchester, but I'd heard people mention Blackley Forest before as they sometimes do mushroom foraging days there. It isn't, however, marked on Google Maps. Perhaps this is why, on a lovely warm Saturday afternoon, we were the only people in there.

According to its very informative website, Blackley Forest was planted in 1953 and was Manchester's 'first true community forest'. It was made into a local nature reserve in 2005 and it is a lovely hidden treasure that you should definitely go and visit. It's extremely easy to get to as well. Just get the Metrolink to Bowker Vale and it is about a five minute walk from there.

After leaving the forest, we made the short walk over to Heaton Park to eat our picnic. As it was a hot day, the park was absolutely packed with people. They should have gone to Blackley Forest instead! Although our visit to the forest might not have been so nice if it had been full of people. We'd prefer to keep it as our little tree-filled secret.

Also in Blackley (North Manchester has it pretty good when it comes to woods and forests), the bizarrely named Boggart Hole Clough is the larger, more mainstream sister to Blackley Forest. It even has a café and a boating lake. If Heaton Park is the One Direction of urban green spaces, I reckon Boggart Hole Clough would be, uh, The Wanted? I don't know which boy band Blackley Forest would be in this ill advised, not-really-making-sense metaphor.

It's a little bit harder to get to from Central Manchester and we had to get the bus (!). It was worth the effort, though. It's got loads of lovely paths running through the trees, up fairly steep banks and there are even bridges going over brooks and streams and things. 

You can buy stuff to feed the ducks that live on the boating lake from the café, so we did. They went a bit mad and didn't seem to understand when the bag had been emptied so we had to make a run for it. Greedy geese are terrifying, with all their flapping and hissing and what have you.

Boggart Hole Clough  is undoubtedly 'better' than Blackley Forest. It's much bigger and there's loads of different paths you can explore. But it's not as cosy, and there were actual people there too, so our picnic kept getting interrupted by nosey dogs. Worth a visit though, and you could probably do both forests in the same day if you wanted to have double forest fun!

More forest related stuff to come over the next few weeks! Remember, get in touch with all your tree related tips, please! Maybe we'll do a little blog post with all our favourite suggestions at some point?

See yer!