Winchester Christmas Market

IMG_9313

While it’s nowhere near the same scale of the German markets I visited, I love the market that comes to Winchester each year. Although Winchester is lovely all year round, I think it really comes alive at Christmas when the lights add a magical touch to the city. I had a quick stroll round last Thursday after work, enjoyed  a mulled wine and picked up a few Christmas presents. All in all I’m feeling really festive now.

IMG_9311 IMG_9310 IMG_9309 IMG_9306 IMG_9317 IMG_9316 IMG_9314

The market stalls are all scattered around the cathedral, which makes it feel very special. After a walk round the market, we managed to sneak into the cathedral, where they were setting up for a carol service- it was all rather lovely.

Pitfield, Winchester

IMG_0317

This Sunday afternoon, we pottered into town for a wander and a coffee. It’s been so long since we’ve had such a relaxing day at the weekend and it was much needed. I picked up some tiny baubles from Next (I know, Christmas is a long way away but I missed the ones I wanted last year as they’d sold out by the time I went in!) as well as a new candle for when the current one I’ve been burning runs out.

We tried somewhere new for coffee this time- a pop up shop/cafe that’s taken up residence in a shop that’s been empty for ages. The place in question? Pitfield. It’s been opened up by the same people who run a local restaurant (rather on the pricy side), the Chesil Rectory and recently took over my parents’ local pub too. I actually came here for lunch with my Mum a few weeks ago- we both had salads and those come highly recommended. I had chicory, pear, stilton and walnut which was amazing.

IMG_0313

It’s very ‘middle-class trendy’ if that makes sense? All very expensive ornaments and homewares and the cafe was a treat rather than everyday. As lovely as my coffee was (no bitterness whatsoever, I do love Illy), I don’t think I’d willingly part with £2.75 for a relatively small cup of latte again. That seems pretty extortionate, don’t you think? The homemade sausage roll was pretty good, but service wasn’t great given that they completely forgot this part of our order, so by the time they arrived we’d all but finished our drinks.

The coffees did come in these beautiful cups from Ittala though, the mug size is now on my wishlist, but for £16.50 that’s likely where it’ll stay!

IMG_0314

Being a pop up shop, they’ve gone for very temporary decor, and all the shelves are made out of scaffolding, which I actually really like. Although a lot of what they sell does really tie in with the sort of things I like, they are so expensive. Lidless Dundee Marmalade jars for around £20 is pretty steep when you know you can get them for a couple of pounds at a flea market or antiques fair. Anywhere that has an owl shelf is in my good books, though:

IMG_0315

Again, pretty overpriced in my books, they do have beautiful Christmas decorations. I particularly like the miniature silver glass ones in the bowl below, which have colourful material strips to hang them with- an idea I’m tempted to take forward with my own bauble collection and collection of fabric scraps.

IMG_0316

All in all, I’m in two minds- lovely coffee (but expensive) and beautiful homewares (but overpriced). It is the sort of shop that will fit well with a certain type of Winchester ‘set’, but I don’t think it’s one for me. I will admire their wares from afar.

Open until the end of January 2014, Pitfield Winchester can be found in The Brooks Centre, off Middle Brook Street.

This post represents Day 12- ‘Your hometown’ of Blog Every Day in November #BEDN with Rosalilium

Bike on an organised ride

20130629-175406.jpg

To mark the end of Bike Week 2013, Winchester held a Cyclefest event in the centre of town for all things bike related. We cycled in, registered our bikes with the Police, got some free Kendal mint cake and then took part in a very leisurely 6 mile bike ride.

IMG_8370

The ride started from outside the Guidhall, along the newly resurfaced National Cycle Network 23 to Hockley Viaduct and back. This was a family-suitable event so the pace was perhaps a little slow for our tastes, but we cycled home just the two of us a little more speedily.

IMG_8377

The route was tarmac-ed the whole way (good for my thin tyres!) and it was a lovely, dry day for it. I was actually quite glad it wasn’t overly warm as the ride would have been a lot less enjoyable!

20130629-175438.jpg

Please excuse the hideous quality of many of these photos. My camera was safely stowed in my panniers, so these were taken at speed using my phone whilst cycling one handed (safety first).

20130629-175453.jpg

We cycled out of the city centre along one of the many Itchen tributaries.

20130629-175524.jpg

20130629-175535.jpg

Over the viaduct!

20130629-175550.jpg

Appropriate footwear?!

20130629-175607.jpg

Wildflowers were in full bloom- how gorgeous is that poppy?

20130629-175624.jpg

The viaduct makes a great viewpoint over the Itchen Valley

20130629-175513.jpg

Happy one more Bike Week Challenge is complete!