December is an extra special month in the North East of the UK. Not only do the streets look elegant, but people wandering around with their big coats, beanies, gloves and scarves add something distinctive to the scene. There's always that festive smell of delicious food in the air, as the street markets sell all sorts of goodies: from hot chocolate to coffee, from candy canes to homemade cider; from mulled wine to churros and pancakes.... And then, there's the candles, the local liquor, the slippers and boots, the coconut craft animals, not forgetting the handmade chocolates, truffles, marzipan! And if those aren't enough to get you in the Christmas spirit, just wait until you see the hand-crafted Christmas baubles...there's no way you will still feel indifferent.
Last weekend, Bruno and I woke up early and we headed over to York to experience the Christmas market. Because I went to York for the first time in the summer, I knew how special those narrow streets would look like at Christmas, and I was dying to go back for the festive season.
It was Bruno's first time in York, and the city did not disappoint! It was exactly as I remembered. I was looking forward to walking down the Shambles once more. Remember those overhanging timber-framed buildings I mentioned on my last trip to York? I couldn't wait to walk down those streets again!
This old street in York might actually be my favourite street in the country! I know I haven't been everywhere just yet, but I am yet to find a place as beautiful as this. I don't know if it's the narrow streets that make you feel comforted like a blanket or the fireplace on a cold evening, but there is definitely something peculiar and intriguing about The Shambles.
This street was used as inspiration for Harry Potter's Diagon Aley, but the name shambles came about long before that, because in the 1300's these were the sites where butchers killed and dressed animals for consumption. Maybe that's what makes this street special: that despite the history of blood, death and murder of animals...these streets feel alive.
As we got to the main road, this big wave of people started walking towards us. The Shambles got crowded within minutes! Right by the entrance of the street, Bruno and I tried some tea that was available to sample from one of the shops. We both got different flavours, I can't remember what they were but mine was insanely tasty! I think Bruno's was a cinammon/apple flavour. It was slightly bitter for my taste, but also nice.
I fell in love yet again with the low ceilings and windows, and even the small doors in the Shambles. The gift shops that sold souvenirs and collectables were everywhere to be seen, and I regret not getting a postcard from any of them. I am normally very good at getting postcards from every single trip, but I don't know if I forgot altogether, or if I simply couldn't find the right one, I ended up leaving York empty-handed in the postcard department. A big fail, I must admit!
Lunch time approached quickly, and Bruno and I stopped at a coffee shop called Drift-In, where I ordered a matcha latte with coconut milk and a grilled sandwich. I opted for the pulled barbecue jackfruit and vegan cheese that was served with crisps. I don't know what kind of seasoning they had in the jackfruit, but the flavours were on point. I tasted some creamy tomato and lots of pepper...yum! I don't know how they made it, but I wish I asked, because it was delicious!
My matcha latte was out of this world! Bruno had a sip but didn't like the taste, but I am obsessed with matcha. I absolutely love it, and if it weren't for the price, I would have matcha teas and lattes every single day. I genuinely love matcha on its own, and it's really good for you.
The coffee and sandwich hit the spot for me. It was about 2:30pm and we decided to walk around exploring shops and the main street where most of the Christmas market was.
It was freezing cold! I remember checking the weather last Friday and there was a 34% chance of snow, which I was sooooo excited about. Unfortunately, though, there was no snow during our stay, but I can only imagine how much more elevated the beauty of this place must get if the streets are covered in a blanket of snow. This didn't mean that lots of layers of clothing weren't needed though. My only regret is not having thought about some gloves as well. But I had enough layers on to make it to the North Pole!
The smell coming from some of the food stalls was irresistible...just about enough to make you forget about diets and give in to temptation. After all, it is Christmas...
After we finished exploring the main market, we decided to walk around York exploring. I was quite happy to get literally lost and walk through some streets I had not been before.
We ended the day with some last-minute shopping: we went to a few shops and Bruno bought a few items. I saved my shopping for this week instead. We were lucky enough to walk into Holland and Barrett and I found Tiana's organic coconut flour reduced to clear! I couldn't believe my eyes! Each packet of 500g usually sells for about £6, and we found about 10 packets reduced to clear, going for 99p! Needless to say, we bought 6 of them. Absolute bargain!
We also got some Harry Potter fridge magnets that are now on our fridge.
York, you have been a blast!
I can't believe how close we actually are to Christmas. How is next week Christmas already?! Does anyone else feel like this year has flown by? Looking back, I can't believe how blessed I am to have witnessed and lived so many different experiences this year. Soon, it will be Christmas, and then it's time for New Year's resolutions! I will update you again very soon, as I've got some exciting projects coming in the New Year! But that's all for now.
Questions for you:
1. Do you also feel like this year has flown by?
2. How are you planning to celebrate Christmas this year?
3. What are some of your New Year's resolutions?