SCANDINAVIAN CHRISTMAS MARKET – SKANDINAVISK JULEMARKED I LONDON
23rd -25th November | Albion Street SE16 | Rotherhithe
In September i did a post about my summer Christmas making marathon due to the soon arrival of my second child, well here is a photo which should sum up how i got on!
Baby Baker number two arrived 2 days late and I kept busy that final few weeks with more making. i had managed to get 428 julenisse completed before hand, but only down to planning and being strict with myself with time management >read my blog post about the making.
I thought this year as well as being a seller at the Scandi Market id share my personal experience from both sides of the Makers Table, so you can see what it was like to visit the fair and what delights unfortunately you missed this year!!
Having a 7 week old baby meant this year i needed more support to both be there as the ‘maker’ but also be a mummy, i was overwhelmed with the support and offers of shift taking from family and friends who all were, more than happy to take turns in selling and small human cuddles. It was hard of course being sleep deprived and juggling the new routine of two children but what an achievement to have shared with so many loved ones who without their support it wouldn’t have been such a success once again.
The Scandimarket Christmas Market returned once again to Albion Street for another long weekend of Scandinavian food, gifts, crafts and Moomin, taking place between the Norwegian and Finnish Churches in Rotherhithe, London. I have attended the Norwegian Church Christmas fair for many many years with my mother and siblings to take in the delights which we enjoyed whilst growing up, from open sandwiches and sola and julebrus to traditional jewellery and knitwear. The joining of the two fairs with the outdoor street Scandimarket in the past few years has created a huge array of sellers from all over UK, mostly selling scandinavia inspired designs and tastes, which have made this a must visit for that festive start to the season.
It all kicks off super early and with our drive for us from Kent. Some faces i recognise from last year and some new features for 2018! There is a really nice bond which often forms with the stalls sellers, especially those which flank yours and with a common share interest there is always lots to talk about and share.
The market opens to tie in with the official openings for each of the Church Bazars which often have a key figure perform the opening. Last year was my first time exhibiting at the fair so everything from how much to make, to what the stall set up would look like was a guessing game, but this year I feel I was better informed and organised so that set up was as efficient as possible. I had my mother and my sister on hand to support to which makes light work of carrying my stock from the car. The first day always take slightly longer to set up (as you just recreate the set up on the following days) and as I had some new products this year I needed to incorporate these into the display. I found that creating height on the stall was the best way to both display more stock but also createinterest in the stall.
This year i added to my little taste of Norway collection (read more about my range) along with my traditional “syv Julekjeks” – seven Christmas biscuits , i introduced a new peperkaker lollipop after seeing these in Norway at Oslo’s Folkemusuem Christmas market and was very popular with my daughter. I also added to my julenisse range with some on sledges and small hanging wreaths, I only made a small quantity of these as test products. I upgraded all my nisse to feature the beautiful ribbon I got in Norway last year (read my blog post about my visit to Norway) and added my “Bakers Apron” to my medium nisse as a new feature. I also brought along makes I originally developed for my feature week at “Made by Kent” Shop (read more about my celebration for Norwegian National Day), and some paper products came along also, my Norway children’s activity booklet and Norwegian word posters.
With set up completed and the day starting of slightly quieter due to the opening being the new time of 12 noon, most people opted to stop for lunch first before shopping, but then the crowds all start at 1pm and I’m then fixed behind my stall telling my story and handing out biscuit samples. TOP TIP: if your wanting to beat the crowds this was a great point to browse the stalls, which is exactly what i did, as last year i couldn’t do this with just the two of us on stall, it was harder to leave to take in the other sellers.
FOOD & DRINK
So before the post lunch rush I saddled up with baby onboard and headed out. My first stop was of course the food and drink, us stallholders also need to eat and what better way to sample some new Scandinavian treats! With the new court yard that the Norwegian church has had built last year, it has made way for a large marquee full of wonderful imported goodness. Theres certain things I love but getting them here in the UK is almost impossible.
From cremetop chocolate to cloudberries jam and even the famous brown goats cheese (yes its brown and has a caramel like taste) to my festive favourite julebris – christmas drink, theres lots to try and with a large seating area surrounds by hot food stalls its the perfect stop off for a bite to eat. I also loved there signs this year with a real Christmas vibe and cool handwritten typography. But if your looking for even more Norwegian traditions, open sandwiches, fresh cakes and coffee, head on inside the Norwegian church for even more festive delights, its only £1 to enter and you can return throughout day. Top Tip: Going into the Norwegian church is a must if you visit the market but this can sometimes be missed as other than a small queue out of the front door its not obvious theres more to see, so do take a visit!!.
As well as some fimilar stalls there was a few new ones this year, ive tried and tested some produce from these stalls so ill share these with you.
Arctic Power Berries: The second year running my stall sat next to Arctic Power Berries, this year we were able to talk a bit more about our journey and businesses, its great to share our experiences and sample each other products. I was lucky to get a gift pack this year of these (well done husband) and being a berry lover and missing them during the winter months this product was perfect to get the same natural vitamins, antioxidants, nutrients and fibre as fresh ones, i discovered that each teaspoon of the powder is equivalent to a handful of fresh, wildly grown berries, unfortunately my daughter also likes it so ill have to stock up next year!
All Good Beer: A new one for this year, catching my eye with some cool designed cans and a very appropriate one called littlebro which my own new “littlebro” got for daddy to try of course. All Good Beer showcased their passion for craft beer; making fresh, independent, high quality beers accessible to everyone, the selection they had this weekend of course featured some Norwegian pale ales by Aegir Bryggeri. Tried , tested and approved by the husband…
Deli de Paula: Its a fact that Scandinavians love liquorice, so when i saw long ropes of this black yummyness i couldn’t resist. Deli de Paula had so many types to pick and with a rainbow array of twisted, sweet, salty ropes I was hard pushed to pick but my recommended favourites were the ‘filled liquorice sour sugared ropes’.
Scandinavian Kitchen: Stock all my favourite things that I remember from my childhood holidays in Norway, which means I can stock up on all the yummy treats. They have a huge range of foods from all over Denmark, Sweden Norway and Finland. From delicatessen to treats and sweets, bread, spices, baking ingredients and much more. Scandinavian Kitchen has the Uk’s biggest selection of Scandinavian foods, so theres no excuse to try something new. I was lucky enough to get a huge vanilla sugar tub from my Mother who knows I get through alot with my baking.
Other food stalls featured this year:
- Gosnells Mead
- Fine and Scandi
- Proper Piirakka
- Stockholm Restaurant & Deli
- Swedish Streetfood
- Gosnells Mead
- Fine and Scandi
Theres so much on offer food wise you are spoilt for what to pick but if you can get whom ever you’ve travelled with to go halves you’ll be able to sample more!!!
Today is always the busiest of the market and people come from all over London, but even all over the world as visitors to london often venture over to this part of London especially for the market, which i believe is one of the only Scandinavian Christmas Markets. Set up is earlier but quicker and with some stock sold getting organised behind the stall is a little easier. Todays team was four strong as often its so busy you need those extra set of hands even if it just to answer a question or offer a tasting sample.
Im one of a few sellers who is the actually maker of my products so i do like to share this and my story as i think its what makes my products different to others on the market. I love my heritage and traditions so I’ve very much kept to these when I’ve been adding to the range.
Top Tip: if you aim to take a look at what the market offers with a little less people try the 12-2pm time slot as some are on lunch so it can be easier to get to the front to browse or later in the evening when the crowns lessen a bit but you do run the risk of items selling out, despite my best efforts to make more this year of my best sellers the girls and curly hair nisse are always the first to sell out so id say if you see something you like at any stall don’t take the risk, once its gone its gone.
Its really interesting seeing how people shop and the questions people have, feedback and comments are what i look for as it gives me something for the next year to work on and it was lovely getting such wonderful reception once again and here all the far off places my little creations will be going, New Zealand, japan and Peru this year, wow! It also helps with ideas of how to develop and grow the range as it has changed quite a bit over the past few years and i hope to bring some exciting new items for 2019.
My favourite thing about this years feedback was the joy people had picking their nisse family, carefully selecting which variation best represented each person in the family, with them being handmade all are slightly different from there hair style to size of their noses, and customers took their time making sure they picked the right one, what would your nisse family look like?
Having attended the church and the bazaar for many years before it became what it is today i still have friendly faces who work there who always make the effort to come and and say hello, this year my old Norwegian teacher paid a welcomed visit and i final got a photo of her with the nisse named after her, she’s thrilled to be such a celebrity but this is how my products are personal to me and create my brand story.
Saturday comes to an end when its all dark and the hot food being served is just running out for the day, its a long day but so great to see and meet so many people, after a quite stock count were down to just 95 nisse and half of the biscuit flavours have sold out so its a quite pack down to go home and bake some top ups for Sunday.
2017 was my first year doing the market and sadly i didn’t make to Sunday due to being complete sold out on the saturday, id made over 300 nisse and over 200 bags of biscuits so for this year i promised myself i needed to make it to the Sunday by making more stock and hurrah!!! i have just enough to get through but I’m sure certain favourites will sell out as theres only so many baking hours left before we set off again London bound for the last day.
There is something for everyone in The Scandinavian Market. Food, gifts or children activities plus live music acts on the day.
I took a few snaps over the weekend to show you some of the delights on offer…
glerups.com – felted boot slippers, 100% new wool
Moccis® (pronounced Mock-Keys) – fun indoor footwear
Ben & Lola – Scandinavian inspired clothing & toys for girls & boys
Funky Little People – colourful Scandinavian clothes, Moomin products and gifts
Nordic In Kent – Wool Felt Balls, Felt Crafts, Kids Crafts, Felt Ball Garland
Daniela Sigurd Jewellery – Leather bracelet and charms
We first meet in 2017 when we both had our first stall at the Scandinavian market and being placed next to each other meant we struck up a wonderful support for each other as we were in the same position and were passionate about what we did. So it was great to see Smaltum return this year (sadly not next to my stall) once again with a huge expansion of there range, its a must see and although not Scandinavian an amazing addition to whats offer to stock up on those handmade Christmas gifts.
Other Stall holder featured for 2018:
- Emodi – Designer cushions
- Max and Hugo
- Nordic Nic Nac – products inspired by a Childhood in Norway clothes, toys and gifts
- Sipahi & Co
- Sven Comics – unique books and greeting cards
- Up Market – Rotherhithe Community Charity Shop (48 Albion Street)
So I’ve made it to day three and I’ve managed to get some additional stock done for the biscuits, its a cold morning start to the day but the vibe is positive in the marquee and I’m feeling rather christmassy. With it being a little quieter than the manic Saturday I head out early to browse the churches to show you what goodies you can find. I think that due to the central location of the marquee it could be over looked that the original set up for these christmas bazaars was that the Norwegian church and Finnish church had their fairs on the same weekend so that visitors could benefit from them both and that the marquee was to join the two along the street, but i can see how if you don’t know you might miss them, so don’t forget to stop in to see the indoor Christmas Fairs both at the Finnish Church and the Norwegian Church, its very worth the small queues to get in plus there nice a warm and very Christmassy.
NORWEGIAN CHRISTMAS FAIR – JULEMARKED I LONDON
Sjømannskirken London – The Norwegian Seaman’s Church London
St.Olav’s Square, Albion Street, Rotherhithe, London SE16 7JB
The Norwegian church provides the stunning backdrop for the Norwegian Christmas bazaar inside, set up with a huge array of stalls selling everything from Nordic Christmas gifts, knitwear, jewellery and home decorations. The feel is very festive and very traditional, you’d struggle to find some of these items from anywhere else in the UK.
If your hungry head to the main church area where the pews have been clearer to make a cozy area to eat with the alter area transformed to displaying plenty of Norwegian waffles, open style sandwiches, fresh cream cakes and much more.
Despite having visited this same bazaar year after year i still love going inside to see what each year brings and to bump into old friends and add to our own christmas decorations and stock up onsome tasty delights.
Website for more info www.sjomannskirken.no
FINNISH CHIRISTMAS FAIR – JOULUMESSUT LONDON
Finnish Church in London
33 Albion Street, SE16 7HZ London.
Whilst visiting the Scandi market Don’t forget to visit the Christmas Bazaar in the Finnish church also its full of Finland’s unique delicatessens along with Nordic design gifts from Moomin, Iittala, Arabaia and Pentik as well beautiful reindeer hides.
During the fair Finnish Church provides live music, Finnish treats from cafeteria and grill and a huge variety of Finnish food so come along to sample something new!
Did you know the church also features an authentic Finnish Sauna?
Website for more info lontoo.merimieskirkko.fi
Scandinavians are born festive, so London’s Scandi Market is sure to provide the most Christmassy of family friendly outings and I highly recommend a visit, it will be different from any other Christmas market you may have attended and you’ll be sure to buy and try some truly Scandi treats you’ll not find anywhere else!
The markets is an annual event that Scandinavians in London flock to. Products on sale range from classic Nordic design pieces to more affordable toys, Christmas cards and of course food, Christmas cookies and sweets, it always falls on the third weekend in November around the 22nd of the month so even if you missed it this year pop it in the diary for 2019, I hope to be attending and bringing some new things to my little taste of Norway range.
God Jul and Merry Christmas
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