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nordic musings

i first met jenny maxwell, founder of minimalist contemporary jewellery brand nordic muse, when she was manning her stall at a monthly northern quarter maker’s market last year.

i was immediately drawn in by her stylish designs; all clean-lined, contemporary and decidedly nordic. i bought a couple of pieces – a pair of earrings and a long necklace with a circular disc – and have pretty much worn them almost religiously since then!

so i was delighted to discover earlier this year that nordic muse moved into their new home at hatch; manchester’s new pop-up retail, food and drink destination on oxford road. the new space has given jenny the chance to expand upon her original ethos to embrace all things ‘simple’, and offer a product selection that has become increasingly lifestyle focused. alongside her own minimal jewellery piece you’ll now find a streamlined edit from a small selection of contemporary and unpretentious nordic design brands, including madame stoltz, hübsch and house doctor.

with 16 years fashion retail experience behind her, jenny has a real eye for simple pieces that make a style statement and a flair for choosing just the right pieces to mix and match. although small, the store has a wonderfully bright and airy feel, even if it does often get packed with customers drawn in like magpies as they pass by along oxford road! it’s definitely a one-stop-shop for the perfect present for any scandinavian or minimalist design lover, and a wonderful place to start your christmas shopping list (both for yourself and others) in my opinion.

as an adopted mancunian who has been calling this city home for over a decade, i knew jenny was the perfect person for my next secret city post – read on to discover her favourite gems to discover in this beautiful place..

jenny maxwell, nordic muse

how long have you lived in greater manchester, and whereabouts are you based?

i moved to manchester 10 years ago to study and never left, today calling manchester my home. i live on whitworth street within the conservation area, the building is known as bombay house, within granby village – a composite of new and converted warehouses. a distinctive pocket of the city containing many of manchester’s most important building, many of which relate to the textile industry.

what drew you to the city initially?

initially drawn to the city to study, it didn’t take long before i knew manchester was where i would settle and call home. i was drawn to the people and the local way of life. there was something about the city that was relaxed and low key.

what’s your favourite thing about the city?

the people. people define a city for me – the locals. even living in the heart of the city, local life never felt too far away. creative individuals that keep the city alive, makers, and keepers; storeowners, restauranteurs and entrepreneurs curating the best that manchester has to offer in fashion, art, food, drink and culture. it’s the community as well as the lifestyle.

best place for a morning cuppa?

ezra & gil, this is definitely my favourite spot to take a moment in a communal space. e&g offers honest food and products – we’re all becoming more conscious when enjoying what we eat and drink. with local and seasonal foods on offer under a relaxed and friendly roof, i’ve lost count of the number of times i’ve used the space as an unofficial office, to plan trips, and gather my thoughts.

favourite place for a design-fix?

i’m drawn by the quality of things made to last, my favourite place for a design fix would be manchester craft and design centre. a victorian setting with everything from contemporary ceramics, art and jewellery under one roof. this is a craft and design experience on a scale not mirrored anywhere else in the city – a one stop shop.

can you share an insider’s secret spot you discovered in the city?

kim by the sea, tucked away in hulme. described as a modern european café/restaurant, you may not come across kim by the sea unless someone tells you about it. there’s lots of spots i’ve discovered in the city, but these aren’t secrets, kim by the sea is a hidden gem. it’s unusual, colourful, unpretentious, and serves well-priced home-cooked food.

favourite way to spend a weekend in the city? 

this will have to be a wish list as i spend saturday and sunday’s trading at manchester’s regional and local markets, but that’s not to say i wouldn’t know what to do with the weekend. in fact, quite the opposite, i know exactly how i would spend it. i’d start my saturday with breakfast at ezra & gill followed by a walk through the city to the manchester art gallery. there’s a nordic craft and design exhibition running until july 2019 showcasing furniture, fashion, lighting, glass, metal work and jewellery from the region, featuring pieces from 1930 right through to the current day. i’d finish my saturday at my favourite city spot home, manchester’s centre for contemporary art, theatre and film. this is my happy place when it comes to people, food and entertainment under one roof. i’d eat from my favourite menu and watch a film – the smallest auditorium seats just 33 people. sunday i’d take advantage of the transport links, taking the buxton train line from piccadilly to lyme park. here i’d spend a day surrounded by moorlands, gardens and exploring the deer park. i’ve made seasonal visits here from the city for many years as the surrounding countryside is just a 20-minute train ride away.

 nordic muse, hatch, oxford road, manchester, m1

 all shop photography © kate baxter. images of jenny maxwell © nordic muse, used with permission. 

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