Ask someone in the UK what they know about the Isle of Man and the answer will most likely be the TT – in actual fact there is so much more to this beautiful Island in the middle of the Irish Sea, not least its growing 'alternative' movement. We've scouted out some of the people involved in the hidden side of Island life...
Mother T's - community centre/ t-shop = ''Hidden gem of a place!''
Mother T's is a shop/ community centre/ tea café, nestled in the village of Laxey, in the north east of the Isle of Man.
Taking over the empty space over three years ago, Valerie Miller had to be very resourceful to make Mother T's the well-loved place it is now. Sourcing the ethnic, ethical Indian, Nepalese inspired décor from donated furniture and furnishings and learning to run this centre on a more commercial basis most recently, Valerie has seen first hand the positive impact places like this make to community.
''I wanted to make a change and create a space where people would feel comfortable being creative and being part of the community. The support for this initiative has been incredible'', says Valerie.
Now a regular hang out for those seeking sustainable living, live music and art, Mother T's runs regular Chai nights, exhibitions and performance nights which include music jamming and poetry. Attracting Laxey locals and well-healed ''comeovers'' from across the Island, this venue is also an inspiration for those looking for ethically-sourced gifts, local artisan creations and food produce. Expect to max out on colourful cushions, sparkling crystals and vegan treats!
''It's a fantastic hidden gem of a place'', one the regulars told us, when we visited Mother T's.
Mother T's Community Centre can be found at 26 New Road, Laxey, Isle of Man and at https://www.facebook.com/MotherTeas
Alpine Café – international-style eaterie is closer than you think
On the Island, you don’t have to travel far for fresh succulent dishes, delicious cocktail concoctions and vibrant atmosphere – it’s all here for you step into Alpine, a café in the heart of Douglas town centre.
Taking the name and inspiration form the French Chalet, the café sure packs a punch. It offers delicious fresh salads with an international twist, a fresh take on Sunday brunches and regular pop up nights that sell out months in advance.
‘’We wanted to run a place that we would want to come back to’’ Mel and Simon, the duo behind Alpine, tells us when we come to visit. Texas, BBQ vibe and Brazilian are some of the many flavours of the months that you can explore in Alpine in the evening. At day time, it’s specials where the magic happens, so why not bring along your own produce from an allotment or a garden, so Mel & her team can cook it for you?
Local artist Jamie Duggan was invited a few months ago to transform the interior with the large-scale wall mural. Alpine’s colourful results and the gastronomic delights are surely worth seeking out.
Shakti Man – Where fairtrade comes to the Isle of Man
Shakti Man is the original and Island's only Fair Trade store that first opened in 2004. Most recently expanding into a beautiful space over three floors of a restored and reinvented Victorian building, it is located in the centre of Ramsey, alternative capital of the north of the Island.
Shakti Man's founder Leni Lewis tells us about the original dream of creating a business model that would allow everyone to benefit and many projects the store supports now, from children's home Nepal to UK charities, such as From Syria with Love.
Behind each product you will find here, there are many stories – of vibrant creativity, incredible skills, families and communities transformed. Whether it's hand-dyed scarves from Vietnam or reclaimed furniture from India, you will be sure to appreciate both the artisan quality and the contribution your purchase is making on the world.
What really makes this store so special is not just the appeal to conscious consumers, but a creation of a place and space on the Island, where you can experience more of the world through every single product on offer and, most recently, educational talks and events.
... and finally, don't miss Illustration Artist Hebe Atzori
Hebe Atzori is a freelance illustrator originally from London who now lives and works on the Isle of Man. Having been brought up on the Island since the age of 14 and leaving for Falmouth University to study illustration four years ago, Hebe has been back for over 6 months interning with Pokerstars and working with local businesses on projects such as mural wall art and enticing window displays.
Visually captivating, Hebe's work is both commercial and appeals to anybody who finds themselves in spaces that she transformed. With a strong graphic design influence, she is currently working on her 3rd mural on the island. With a few more to come soon towards the end of the year.
Hebe in her own words: 'My artwork is mostly inspired by adventure and created through a combination of sketches, printed textures and digital painting. Art is something I have always loved and enjoyed doing from a very young age and I'm so happy that creating art is actually now a part of my profession and so many amazing projects I have been involved with have happened here on the Isle of Man.''.
Look out for Hebe's work in Shine Om, Grand Stand Karting, Corrin Home, Karma Studio and Claire Christian Couture.
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