saturday warm fuzzies

Saturday afternoon was spent hanging out with some of my favourite people, as Aurelie and her kids took a day trip up here from Nottingham. It’s only been a couple of weeks since we visited them but how we’ve missed them so.

Aurelie wanted to visit the acclaimed Winter Arts Market, so we did precisely that. Although I love frequenting craft fairs, I’d never been to this one (due to its £2 admission fee). Last year however, I did visit its counterpart, the Summer Arts Market, because I was attending an associated screenprinting workshop there. Being used to small-scale craft fairs with only twenty-ish tables, I’d been blown away but the sheer volume of vendors. Aurelie assured me that the winter version is way better than the summer one, and oh, how right she was.

With barely three weeks until Christmas, it was understandably busy and between the crowds and having to step outside the rooms to nurse a somewhat grumpy baby, I was worried I was going to get separated from everyone else for hours. Miraculously, that didn’t happen. There was a veritable trove of gorgeous, handmade stuff, so much so that I wanted to get something but couldn’t quite decide what. Eventually, I ended up with a cool cloud mobile made by The Milk Collective, run by two American expatriates (it was a nice surprise but at the same time, so strange now to hear a North American accent). Unlike the last few places we’ve lived in, I’ve been trying to make the effort to add to our decor and I think the cloud would be a cute piece in our living space. Aurelie picked up a couple of beautiful prints, including an awesome one of a walrus in wayfarers. I love seeing prints at fairs, but I never really get any since I have already have quite a few rolled up, awaiting frames. One day, one day.

After all the hustle and bustle of the arts market, we hightailed it to Kasbah for Moroccan food, as we were extremely late for our reservation. Luckily, our table was still waiting, tucked away in the back. I’d never had Moroccan food before, so Aurelie patiently explained what everything was. I picked out pastilla fassia, a wonderfully delicious sweet and savoury chicken pie. Ares fell asleep on my right arm part way through and Aurelie, being the fantastic friend she is, helped me cut my pie so I wouldn’t be eating it awkwardly. Raspberry sprang for a burger (Moroccan style, of course) and fries. The burger, which I’d initially thought she didn’t like that much, has since lasted three lunches and she’s declared it delicious every single time. Well, then! Aurelie got her fill (and then some) of couscous, which is what I’m definitely going to try the next time we’re there.

Sated, we made our way to Grand Central. I’ve passed the building a million times and in all this time, I’ve always meant to go in but for some reason or other, never did. Perhaps it was all the tie-dye clothes in the window that threw me off. Ha. Grand Central is an interesting labyrinth of interconnected stores, each with some rather eclectic wares, often trending toward certain crowds (for instance, those of the hippy, punk, or goth persuasion). I think I’m going to have to take another gander around the building another time, both to check out its interior and to further browse the shops. This time though, I fingered friendship bracelets looped around a cut wooden branch, and Aurelie secretly picked up a couple of gifts for her kids.

We had plans to go to Cuthbert’s but being late in the afternoon, we suspected it might already be closed. Taking our chances, we headed there anyway, only to have our suspicions confirmed. As an alternative, we decided to instead go to Leaf, and took a circuitous route back to Bold Street, where we were barely an hour and a half before.

In the confines of the quieter upper floor, I indulged in hot chocolate (and another free one, to boot!); the kids nibbled on sub-par cake; Neo put our candles with his fingers; Raspberry danced on a darkened stage; and Ares, who had been temperamental all afternoon, kept up his less-than-pleasant mood.

Aurelie and the kids came by our apartment thereafter, as we were giving her our unused cat litter. For some reason, Raspberry extended an open invitation for them to destroy our living room, so I had to explain to her how we’re meant to show respect for others’ homes when we visit and the same applies to others when they visit us. Seriously, where does she get this stuff?! Regardless, with four kids, the living room quickly became a bit of a zoo, with pieces of wooden play and felt food everywhere. Perhaps that’s evidence of a good time (so good that there are still pieces we haven’t located!). As with many endings, I was sad to see them go as the evening came to a close, but we’ll be visiting them soon in Nottingham for more shenanigans. I’m looking forward to that.

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