Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Showcase: Manchester Christmas Market

For my daughter's first birthday, we took her into Manchester for some Christmas shopping, pretty lights and gluwein (for mummy of course) at The Christmas Market. This is our second year visiting and it really really is a lovely way to spend a couple of hours in town. Here's some of our finds. 

We found some lovely gift shopping at Quite Contrary Designs just outside the Town Hall. I bought these two fabric covered mirrors £6.00 each as small gifts for friends. I love the contrasting fabric and the soft punched leather pouches they come in. Artist Mary Shears hand makes all her products working with vintage inspired fabrics, buttons, leather, tweeds and wool fabrics to make seriously gorgeous bags, scarves, keyrings, brooches and cushions. Her business is resident at the Manchester Craft & Design Centre in the Northern Quarter if you don't make it down to the market this Christmas.                                                                     

It has become a custom to find a new Christmas decoration for my daughter every year. It's a really nice thing to do for a baby (her godmother does it as well) and it means that eventually, our tree will be covered in unique and unusual baubles that will hold a lot of meanings and memories (for us more than for her I imagine but nobody says gifting has to be selfless!) Yesterday, I added this small nativity £3.50 to our current collection from one of the traditional German stalls. It is made from wood with tiny figures exquisitely painted. It was the little sheep on the right that sold it to me though. So cute!  

Speaking of sheep, we found this lovely Sheepey Scarf £10.00 as an additional birthday present for Her Majesty. I particularly liked it because, at the moment, she refuses to wear hats and it comes right up around her ears thereby giving her head at least some coverage. It's by a company called Jomanda and they make a whole range of soft toys and children's accessories that are suitable from birth. They are definitely a business to add to my Fantasy High Street. I don't know any parent who wouldn't be thrilled to receive something like this for their baby. 

Another lovely find was the ceramic stall by Interlude Ceramics. Based in the heart of the lake district, they product a simply stunning range of wheel-thrown stoneware crockery, mugs, jugs, bowls and one-off pieces. They also receive commissions. A few days ago, I posted an Engagement Album featuring gift inspiration for couples and this (above) makes a lovely addition. Last night, I bought this delightful little stoneware Christmas Pudding £1.00 to put on the mantlepiece in our sitting room for the festive season. Yummy.

Finally, no journey home from a Christmas market would be complete without having to share the passenger seat with the top half of a seven foot fir tree £15.00. We picked up ours in the main square outside the town hall for an unbelieveably reasonable price. The vendors there said that they have plenty in stock but they're going fast and the prices will most probably go up as demand intensifies and supply begins to dwindle so get down there fast. Completely in the mood for Christmas now. Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly...Fa-la-la-la-lah.............

I Heart MCR!

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