Sunday, 2 December 2012

Christmas market

Last weekend I visited the Christmas markets in Manchester with some friends. We go every year as one of our Christmas traditions. Usually Chickpea would come too but, at the last minute, a friend invited her for a sleepover and that was a more attractive proposition than shopping with Mum!

The markets have grown over the years and now take place in several locations around the city. We decided to start our explorations in Albert Square overlooked by Father Christmas outside the Town Hall.

The decorations would look better in the dark but I thought the trees still looked so pretty strung with lights. This view with the street lights and the town hall reminded me of France for some reason.

On the outer edge of the market were the plant stalls. The windmill might be a clue of the nationality of the stallholders!

I was very tempted by this little guy but I still had lots of gifts to buy at this point so had to leave him behind.

It was pretty chilly around the market despite it being absolutely packed with people. A hot warming drink was called for so we headed off to a quieter part of the market for a mug of Gluhwein (with an added shot of rum in mine!). The design of these mugs changes every year and they are very collectable. I preferred to hand it back for the return of my £2 deposit.

Just after this photo was taken, a black and orange ladybird landed on the mug and proceeded to run round and round the rim as if on a race track. I don't know what she was doing out in the cold but the fumes from the Gluhwein seemed to perk her up! She certainly kept us entertained for a few minutes before I had to brush her away so I could finish the wine.

Suitably refreshed, we headed off to St Ann's Square to see more of the stalls. This had some lovely glassware and I thought one would be perfect for a friend.

There were several stalls selling 'propellors' this year. Some, like these, were tea light holders. Others were plain or painted wooden versions. I'd already bought the snowflake version in the bottom row from a garden centre but I did buy one of the others in this photo as a gift.

Talking of propellors, this enormous version was outside Selfridges and there was another one near the Town Hall.

As darkness fell, so did the rain. Luckily we'd finished our tour of the markets by this point so with this last photo of the lights, we said our goodbyes after a lovely day soaking up the Christmassy atmosphere. I managed to pick up a few presents but still have lots to find. How's your Christmas shopping going?

Our house is still a relatively Christmas-free zone other than the chocolate advent calendar. Next weekend we'll be putting up the decorations and then it will be countdown to the big day!


  1. It looks really lovely. We went to the German Market in Leeds a couple of weeks ago with truly disastrous results. Your visit looks much more civilised and enjoyable. x

    1. Disastrous results? I'm intrigued!

      I saw the German market near the Town Hall a couple of weeks ago when I was in Leeds for a meeting. It looked like it had similar stalls but was much smallern - unless there were other markets.

  2. Oh my goodness, I would have had to have kept that lovely mug, especially after the dear ladybug raced around the rim of it! What a great story!
    Thanks for taking me shopping with you! I have very rarely seen those candle holders where the top bit moves, I didn't even know they were called propellers.
    Shhh...don't tell anyone,I've not done any Christmas shopping!

    1. No Christmas shopping yet??? I've already had to hand over some presents to my friends who live down south. I've done most of my shopping online this year - much easier though not as enjoyable and much less Gluhwein!

  3. Hi Julie, I followed you over from Kay's blog :) I really enjoyed tagging along with you! Love the pics - especially that last one - so very pretty :) I still have a bit of shopping to do yet - planning to head out there again today.

    1. Hi Jane and welcome! Thanks for following me on my journey. I've popped over to see you too and will be back soon for a proper look. I particularly like your post about neighbours and will be posting a few comments! x