asking for trouble

Manchester Shopping


So, shopping! Manchester has a lot of fantastic shops but somehow I only came home with two things for me, and a few things for the Super Cute Kawaii shop. It’s a combination of SCK blogging raising the bar for ‘OMG I must buy this!’ extremely high and saving for Japan that means I don’t really buy much these days. I did buy an umbrella though, which seemed apt for Manchester. I think this trip may have been the first time I’ve been to Manchester when it wasn’t raining.

Anyway, here’s some of the shops I visited. As with my London post a while back, this is definitely not a list of all the good shops in Manchester, just the ones I visited. I’m sure there are better guides out there!

A few blocks of shops and restaurants just beside the city centre. I wish I’d been hungrier when I visited as pretty much every Asian cuisine was on offer here. Instead I just looked for kawaii and found a pretty awesome kawaii shop. I have no idea what this shop was called but it was downstairs and had a surprisingly large selection of kawaii car accessories at the front. Inside was the usual mix of affordable stationery and charms and expensive but amazing plush toys, kitchenware and cushions. So many cute Totoro things. I got the umbrella here – a bit steep at £10 but I have been looking for a new one since my trusty Accessorise one got pulled apart in the gales of Bridgeton. Plus, it’s got a mushroom for a handle.


One of the first things I saw upon leaving the station was someone carrying a bunch of bright yellow bags with COW on them. Later I saw the actual shop which is slap bang on Piccadilly Gardens. Turns out it’s a vintage clothing shop and a rather good one. If I say, like the good old days of Flip, lots of people will know what I mean. Basically, it was not overpriced. I came out with a shirt for £3 which is possibly quite hideous but I love it.

If you only had a limited time in Manchester then the Northern Quarter is the place to be. Just off the main shopping street you’ll find a whole plethora of cool independent shops. Oldham Street is the best for Magma (books/magazines), Piccadilly Records (so glad it’s still around) and Pop Boutique, who seemed to be selling cupcakes but I was there at the wrong time. Was especially nice to return to the good old Record and Video Exchange. I got some great stuff here in the past but didn’t buy anything this visit – there were rather a lot of Freeboy and Gay Dad 7″s :(

Also on Oldham Street, but deserves a special mention as it was probably my favourite shop of the trip. It stocks loads of cute stuff from Loungefly, Lazy Oaf, Artbox etc. plus some amazing dresses. I wasn’t really in the mood for dress shopping but I kind of regret not forcing myself!
You can check out some of their stock online at

Also in the Northern Quarter, and another place I had visited before. You’re probably supposed to go on about how much better it was in the good old days but it seemed much cooler to me now, and a bit younger. I do remember my first visit being a real eye-opener in terms of a whole building where independent businesses and random individuals could set up shop. It’s still not that common. Anyway, great for a browse – lots of cute stuff, lots of vintage and lots of terrible ‘alternative’ stuff. More info at

That was the main places really. I also had a look in Selfridges and Harvey Nichols but they weren’t all that exciting. Selfridges does have a little Paperchase in the basement by the food hall though. And I did make it to the massive Paperchase up the road too although it was mid-season so nothing new.

This is the Google map I made to take with me on my iPhone if it’s any use to anyone.


Hello! I’m Marceline Smith, the designer and owner of Asking For Trouble. I create illustrated stationery, accessories and gifts using my cute characters inspired by Japanese kawaii. This is my business and personal blog where I write about my creative doings, inspirations, travels, Japan trips and daily life. Read more »

Browse the archives

Buy my stuff

other things I Do


All text, photos and illustrations are © Marceline Smith 2007-2024 unless credited otherwise. You may repost my images with full credit and link. However, do not reproduce full posts without my permission or use my images or writing for commercial purposes. Thank you!


All opinions are my own and I am not compensated or sponsored for writing about any products or services featured unless stated in the post. Links to shops and websites may be affiliate links – I receive a small commission from your orders at no cost to you, which helps me fund this site. I do not accept advertising.