Freelance journalist and presenter L’Oréal Blackett is one of the first faces you see when arriving in the city; there’s a huge BBC billboard with her face on it at Piccadilly tram station!
Describing herself as a ‘giggler’ and professional chatterbox, L’Oréal first found her feet at the BBC’s Media City in Salford, before cutting her teeth at online magazine Manchester Confidential as a prominent voice on women’s issues, the fashion industry and pop culture. Her enthusiastic and bubbly personality has since seen her appointed as a Bumble ambassador for the city, hosting events throughout Manchester to help women connect, and become a regular weekly guest on BBC Radio Manchester for The Dead Good Show, discussing everything from politics to dating (hence the aforementioned billboard).
Earlier this year L’Oréal launched The Edit; her own podcast that asks what it means to have “influence” in today’s digital world. Through candid and insightful interviews with talented trailblazers across an array of creative industries, L’Oréal explores what it means to build a personal brand nowadays, with big follower numbers, big likes, and lots of attention. With recent guests including blogger Nicole Ocran and menswear designer Daniel Peters, I highly recommend you give it a listen!
As a true aficionado of the city, L’Oréal opens up her Little Black Book for us today and shares her top Manchester recommendations for sustainable fashion, places for stationery junkies to find their fix, and where to head for a great night out…
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Favourite blog? Blogs are becoming a lost art and I don’t know why. Rabya from She Flourished is a brilliant writer, and her themes span identity politics to favorite foods.
Most visited arts venue? Whitworth Art Gallery, for sure. But there are so many! Nobody would describe me as a “calm” person but The Whitworth space just grounds me. Plus, they share so many incredible contemporary works that are really inspiring.
Federal is teeny, but they really elevate the coffee culture in Manchester. Plus their French toast is spectacular.
Favourite shop? Do I have to pick one?! Argh. I think it would have to be Fred Aldous in the Northern Quarter. I am a big fan of stationery and photography (I know…). It’s also a bit of a Manchester institution on Stevenson Square.
Favourite fashion brand? I would say Beaumont Organic. I interviewed the founder, Hannah Beaumont Laurencia, around 7 years ago and she was the first person who really introduced me to sustainability and why we need to be more thoughtful about our purchases. Plus, her clothes are so elegant and wearable.
Favourite local coffee spot? As a frequenter of all Manchester coffee shops, I could lose a few friends if I say one. Can I have a tie? Currently, Federal and Evelyn’s have my heart. Federal is teeny but they really elevate the coffee culture in Manchester — simply they do great coffee and serve superb breakfast and lunch dishes! Their French toast is spectacular.
Best hotel? The Cow Hollow Hotel in Manchester is a good’un. It’s boutique, luxury, sexy, and very chic. The bar is also a stunner and will make you feel like you’re in a Bond film.
Best restaurant for a celebration? Ducie Street Warehouse (formerly Cultureplex). It’s hands-down one of my favourite places in Manchester. The music is right up my street (the best of relaxed 90s R&B vibes) and you can still hear everyone speak. There’s space to get up and dance and quiet corners to chill and chat. If I’m honest, this restaurant is less about the food, and more about the vibes and the drinks.
Lazy weekend brunch spot? Evelyn’s in the Northern Quarter; a restaurant where the staff now greet me on a first-name basis. It has one of the best Sunday brunches in the city and an extensive brunch menu (yet still has your pancakes and avocado). I love it!
Signature drink order? A boujie Saturday night out at Cottonopolis is where I discovered I actually do like gin after all. They have a number of Japanese-inspired cocktails that I love. Also, only a few select places in Manchester serve my favourite signature wine, kung-fu girl, which is the best white wine ever. Mackie Mayor serves it in the city.
Best staycation spot? I’m a city girl, so I’ll hit the big cities if I’m staying up North. I love visiting Leeds. I lived there during Uni and I always have a blast when I return, plus it has a blossoming food and drink scene. Plus it’s carnival is better than Manchester’s – sorry!
Next trip? I need nature. After months indoors, get me to the Peak District for some fresh air!
All imagery © L’Oreal Blackett, used with permission.