Little Christmas markets

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some of today's purchases

some of today’s purchases…

[Edit: this is a post from last week that was held in my drafts for want of pictures]

With Christmas almost around the corner, there have been a few local markets taking place. Originally we only knew of one of them, but walking up to the venue, we discovered another one on the way – so we had to check it as well 🙂

The “mystery” market was inside St. Stephen’s Church, Rosslyn Hill, a beautiful 19th century old parish church located not far away from Hampstead, London. As I was in a hurry to check out the stalls, I forgot to take any pictures… doh! Anyway, you can see some lovely & happy shots showing this beautiful church in this photojournalist article on a Scottish wedding in London (I think the photographer made a great job! do have a look at the link).

St Stephen's Church, source: St Stephen's Trust

St Stephen’s Church, source: St Stephen’s Trust

This unplanned visit turned out to be the deal of the day: the Christmas Fair hosted yummy food stalls of many types, many crafts (including knitted items), some assorted and vintage products, and even had a stall dedicated to pensioners (they could get a product pack at a very advantaged price), which was fairly crowded. The fair was lively and well attended, well worth the visit!

They had many nice things on sale, so there was constant temptation… In the end I purchased quite a few items, mostly those that had a practical use. To make up for the lack of pictures from the fair, I will show the purchases I made 🙂

♥ baby bed set

♥ baby bed set

This is a baby bed set, probably home made (it had no labels) and unused (mint condition): there is a duvet cover, a sheet and two mini pillow cases. For £6 it was an absolute deal. I’m planning to reuse the fabric, as I have no kids. Look at the stunning fabric pattern…. ♥

cute motifs

...more details...

…more details…

could I let the sheep go? clearly not

could I let the sheep go? clearly not

Short after, I spotted a table with really nice home products… I took an organic bubble bath for a new-born baby, scents for the house and assorted soap bars:

Organic baby bubble bath and house scents

Organic baby bubble bath and house scents

Sheep soap bar... how could I leave this?

Sheep soap bar… how could I leave this?

I have a weak spot for nice soap bars

I have a weak spot for nice soap bars

Apparently, there is a Christmas Vintage Fair coming up on 8th December, so if you’re nearby, you may want to pop in for a quick browse. More details on Pop Up Vintage Fairs webpage.

The other fair, which was the one we originally went out for, was taking place at the Rosslyn Hill Unitarian Church. A brief history of the pretty building courtesy of Wikipedia:

The chapel, which stands on Rosslyn Hill, was at first a simple wooden structure. Said to have been built in 1692 by Isaac Honeywood who lived in the adjoining mansion, the Red Lion Hill meeting house was first replaced in 1736 and then, having become unsafe, rebuilt in brick on roughly the same site in 1828. The current building (using the old brick chapel as its hall) was built from 1862 to 1885 in the Neo Gothic style. Two of the building’s stained-glass windows are by Edward Burne-Jones and William Morris and another is by Henry Holiday. […] Its stone arches and pointed ceiling vault give it an excellent acoustic, making it a popular recording venue.

The Hampstead Christmas Market hosted many crafts products and largely locally or UK made. They were beautiful but (understandably so) the price tag was more substantial and many were of little practical use to me (i.e. I hardly wear any jewellery). I remember a stall that had woollen traditional fabric capes made in the UK – absolutely gorgeous items at a reasonable price, but I would have no use for them; though, the brand name was a bit unfortunate: Moth (WTH???!). For the life of me I couldn’t find any online reference to the brand. There were many other lovely items, from customised paper, cards, sewn stuff to knit and decorations. But by that point most of my budget was depleted – I did buy one thing though, and gathered quite a few business cards for later 🙂

lavender bags make kit by Little Hands Design

lavender bags make kit by Little Hands Design

Lavender bag kits by Little Hands Design

This is a kit by Little Hands Design to make three cute lavender bags. I was impressed by the decorated fabric, so although I could have easily made some myself without purchasing the kit, I wanted that particular one 🙂 Plus, the kit includes all necessary bits and accessories in one neat pack for an affordable price and I can support a local business. Checking out their website, I noticed that they also offer sewing and crafts classes in London and may attend some when my budget is in a healthier state.

the embroidered fabric is really sweet

the embroidered fabric is really sweet

Ideas for the finished items, but each kit is different

Ideas for the finished items, but each kit is different

After the markets I still wanted to visit a last spot: there is a small bric-a-brac seller in Hampstead who usually has some interesting things at reasonable prices (that’s were the tartan blanket from my previous post comes from). I found some more bargains…

a bit of haberdashery for my stash

a bit of haberdashery for my stash

A very last info:

If you’re around London and love animals (sheep in particular), there is a festive event on the 15th December – Christmas Fayre at the Farm. At the last local fair they brought farm animals and I was able to pet a sheep or two for quite some time; this is the farm who provided the creatures. Kentish Town City Farm was founded over 40 years ago… obviously, I’ll be going! I can’t wait!!

Kentish Town City Farm - herdsman sheep

Herdsman and sheep, picture by Kentish Town City Farm

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A history of London in pictures: the Hampstead Heath

Hampstead Heath, also locally known as The Heath, is an ancient natural park situated in North London, not very far from the Camden Town area. While Camden has a rather alternative flavour, the area of Hampstead Village is on the posh side. On one side of the heath, there is Hampstead Village, which has a long history and beautiful old houses. On the other side, there is Highgate Village, with its beautiful historic cemeteries (Karl Marx lies there).

The Heath has a gracious mix of various landscapes and landmarks: it includes beautiful woods, grassy hilly areas with breathtaking views on London, ponds, swimming ponds, bird areas, Kenwood House, a lido and some playgrounds.

Here it follows a gallery of views and places in the Heath and its surroundings (the photos are taken with my iPhone, so the quality is not the highest really!)

The area is really extensive and there is another set of photos taken in the surroundings of the Heath, including the Pergola, Whitestone, the Observatory and Hampstead Village… but that will have to be another post!

of roses and random little objects

Some time ago, walking in Hampstead Village on a lazy afternoon, I sighted some little things and brought them home with me.

The first was a little rose plant with five blossoms in a tender pale cream with pink undertones – one of my favourite flower colours. Weeks into her new stay, the rose was rehoused in a larger green pot and unexpectedly (I by no means have a green thumb) thrived fairly well on the little place by the window. In recent days, the last of its blossoms, it was the tiniest one, surprised and showed us its beautiful heart in a shade of pale antique pink. As nothing lasts, although we wish so, I took a few pictures of my little rose, hoping to capture its tender appearance in an immutable form. Rationally, I am aware that it is a futile exercise, because change is a constant that we ought to accept as natural and even embrace. Following this first theme, my mind brought back Nick Cave’s ‘Where the Wild Roses Grow‘, inspired by the traditional song ‘Down in the Willow Garden’; his music has a fascinating mix of dark and romantic tones and I truly recommend his ‘Murder Ballads’ record. Sadly this song is about the killing of a beautiful woman.

my pale sweet rose

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Pale Rose Petals wool

The Little Prince and his Rose by ~lulii13omgtribute to The Little Prince and his Rose by lulii13omg, from Deviant Art

Carefully carrying my little rose around, back on that day we first met, we went on to visit a little covered vintage market. It was late in the day and some of the stalls were already packing their items. I stopped by a table with a couple of little boxes, you know those with an assorted mix of random things in them, to see what really there was inside. I carefully chose a few little curious objects, some old buttons and cuff links (?), a pin brooch, a necklace clasp, some 70s brooch, a green brush, a little metal whistle and a horn crochet hook (it must be an old one). The seller had plenty of high-end items at the stand, so I guess it was almost a relief to give away some of this no-name pieces… so I got my little shopping bag for a very inexpensive price – which is a good way to keep quiet that little voice of guilt, deep down there.

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I am not sure how these little things will be put to use one day, but I enjoyed choosing them and making a place for them in a cute little box of mine. A bit silly, isn’t it?