There are a lot of things that I love about Lincoln, but the Christmas market stands above them all as my favourite event of the whole year. I'm not exactly an overly festive person, I kind of hate most Christmas music and I definitely hate anything festive happening before bonfire night, but there is something about the market that just gives me all the warm fuzzy Christmas feelings.
It was the apparently first Christmas market in the UK, something the city is very proud of. It only lasts for four days, but there is plenty to see as it fills the cathedral quarter, so I usually try and spend as much time there as I possibly can over the weekend to make the most of it.
This year I started the weekend with a trip with Dave, to try out all the free testers of alcohol and eat enormous cakes from the continental bakery, which has become a bit of a tradition for us. I love visiting the market at night as all the lights from the stalls and the fairground rides look so pretty and festive.
We made a few purchases, including a bottle of Damson gin from Sloemotion, which is currently my favourite ever gin (not an easy feat) plus the girl on the stall was super lovely (and let me try everything several times before confirming my purchase, thanks sloemotion!). With the marker being a little quieter the first night we managed to have a good chat with all the stall holders to find out about their products and we also got some enormous bulbs of speciality garlics that will probably last me a good few months - there were a lot of foodie bargains to be had.
This year a new addition to the market became pretty much my favourite of them all - Leyla. An old bus, converted into a bar and offering a range of christmas cocktails and mulled drinks. The top deck has been turned into a seating area so you can sit, enjoy some retro tunes and watch the crowds below. It was pretty wonderful and I really hope it makes some more appearances in the future.
Having completed all my own shopping over the first few days, I managed to set aside most of the Saturday for another exciting event - our East Midlands bloggers meet up. It seems like only recently that we had our first event and were discussing a trip to the christmas market so I was so pleased to be able to host the visit. The girls from our little group have become great friends and we also got to welcome some new bloggers as well.
We started off our event with a trip to Stokes at the Collection. It took me a while to decide where we should meet, but nothing seemed to feel more like Lincoln than Stokes. A family business, they have been keeping locals refreshed for more than a century with their teas and coffees. The collection cafe also had the advantage of offering great veggie options, so it seemed a safe bet for catering for all the girls attending.
The cafe looked so festive, with pretty lights and a big christmas tree, and they were kind enough to set aside a table to a group of very excited bloggers. I ordered an amazing christmas panini, made on cheesy herb bread (I don't know how else to describe it but it was amazing) and of course a mince pie while we all spent some time catching up, pulling christmas crackers and getting some cheeky selfies in with santa (who was a jolly good sport about the whole situation).
Then it was time to head up to the market. We started out on a mission to find Emmie some mulled wine, and a few people had to help to sing a christmas carol to a monk before they would sell us any, which was a bit surreal. It also gave me a chance to see the stalls in daylight, which isn't quite as pretty but does make looking at their products a lot easier. We had a great time walking around, singing along to the christmas music and chatting about everyone's blogs and it reminded me just how lucky I am to get to live so close to such a great event.
This was probably the biggest event we've had so far and we were really lucky that some fantastic brands got involved and helped us put together some little christmas themed presents for all the girls that came (just look at Sherrys excited face in the photo above!). I'll be adding some proper reviews in some future posts/over on my Instagram but for now I need to say a huge thanks to Coppafeel, Witch Skincare, Nakd Wholefoods, Type the Hype, Nadia Minkoff and Elegant Touch. They were all super generous and the christmas pudding nakd bars have made a brilliant alternative festive snack from the many boxes of chocolates at my work this week.
The Christmas market is now sadly over for 2015 but if you want to come to one of our other blog events across the midlands be sure to give us a little follow on Twitter for updates!