The Ely Christmas Cracker was my first local blogger event EVER. I was a newbie once again but I was so excited to meet some lovely, like-minded local bloggers. Even better, it was an amazingly festive event (and we all know how much I loooooove anything Christmassy). It was pretty nerve wracking to begin with, but we got chatting and had an amazing day out at the Ely Christmas fair. We also had a mooch around some lovely independent shops in Ely, some I’d never experienced before. Keep reading to find out more!
I was one of the last to arrive at 10.30am on the dot. I’d left the house with plenty of time, being a short 5 minute walk away from the Cathedral, and typically I was stuck walking behind a marching band. I kid you not. Luckily they were just walking to the Cathedral themselves and weren’t playing their instruments but yeah, annoying nonetheless. On the narrow Ely pathways it’s near impossible to overtake without kicking up a fuss so I dawdled to the meetup, glancing at my watch every two seconds.
Luckily, on arrival Lauren spotted me thanks to my white hair (I honestly don’t know what I’d do if I changed my hair colour – nobody would ever notice me!!!) We all introduced ourselves within a very comfortable distance of the pop up coffee stall. Standing in the chilly wind, we eventually all ended up caving and buying a coffee, or in my case a lovely hot chocolate. Everyone was so friendly and welcoming, I suddenly didn’t feel like a newbie blogger at all – that’s a first! What I loved the most about this little group was how everyone was so different and our blogging styles and genres are so fantastically varied.
The creators of this event, Lauren (Girl Running Late) and Emma (100 Days No TV) handed out our gorgeous goodie bags which included our tickets and wristbands. With some very organised swapping of coffee cups and much needed assistance in fastening the wristbands, we were on our way into the beautiful Cathedral…
The Ely Christmas Fair
Okay, confession time. I may have lived in Ely for roughly a decade, but I haven’t been to the Ely Christmas fair. Not once… I’m a terrible local. I have however been to the Cathedral numerous times but I simply was not prepared for the beautiful transformation at Christmas time.
The Cathedral had been completely transformed. Normally very cold and solemn, it was suddenly booming full of life, people and sooo many fairy lights. There was so much to see and it all looked so amazing. I felt like a kid in a candy shop!
The only downside was that I’m pretty tight on money at the moment (aren’t we all) so I was clutching tightly at my very malnourished purse. I had to choose very carefully whilst surrounded by fairy lighted temptation – absolute torture for a Christmas lover like myself.
The food tent was definitely a winner for me, and I don’t think I was alone there. We flocked there immediately, it was like we were being pulled there by a great force – probably our rumbling bellies… There was so much variety and everywhere I looked I could see something new and exciting.
One stall which I regrettably didn’t get to visit was Gourmet Brownie… I probably saved myself a small fortune but I do love a good brownie! There’s always next year I suppose!
I tried so much gin at the Ely Christmas Fair. I’m not a huge gin fan but I’m trying to be. I feel like I’ll never truly be an adult until I can endure, but preferably enjoy both gin and coffee. Well, at the Christmas fair I made huge progress and actually BOUGHT my first bottle of gin!
We had a lovely little wander around all the amazing independent stalls. I so wish I could have bought more, but me and my purse came out of the cathedral just £10 lighter.
Cherry Hill Chocolates
This was our first independent shop on our list to visit. I was so excited about this one as I’ve been coming to Cherry Hills Chocolates since I was about ten so it holds many a happy chocolate-filled memory for me. Their ice creams and sorbets in the summer heat are an absolute MUST. Unfortunately I have no photos from this little visit as silly old me forgot to put her flash on – I blame the allure of chocolate.
As we took a look around, the Christmas stock was just hitting the shelves and oh wow, there are some fantastic Christmas gift ideas in there for any chocolate lover. Each gift idea was so personal and I could have probably bought everyone I know something unique and special all in one go.
Out of the whole shop, one piece stuck in my mind – the drinking chocolate. They are boxed full of little chocolate pods, which you use to make the perfect hot chocolate. You simply put a few of the chocolate pods into a mug, pour over boiling water, or milk if you prefer, and enjoy. I reaaaaally want this in dark chocolate… HINT HINT 😉
Eel Catcher’s Daughter
Why, oh why have I never been here before? I’ve walked past this cute little shop about a million times, admired the goodies displayed in the window and continued walking. I have definitely been missing out all these years, that much I can say. The Eel Catcher’s Daughter is so unique and beautiful and I wanted to buy at least 50% of the shops contents!!! There were so many things in here that I’ve seen on Etsy and am yet to buy, and they’ve been here on my doorstep this entire time!
I absolutely loved the set up of the shop inside. It was beautiful, organised, yet unorganised. Almost as you would see it in your own home – everything was visible and placed with a purpose. If I had my own shop, I hope it would look as gorgeous as this.
I can’t get over how many amazing items there were in here. I did snap up a few things, one for me and two PERFECT Christmas gifts but I’ll definitely be returning in order to indulge even more after Christmas has been and gone.
Only One Boutique
This is another little shop which I’ve admired from afar, yet never ventured inside for unknown reasons. Only One Boutique is tiny inside but it’s perfect for a shop of it’s kind. As suggested in the name, there is only one of each piece of clothing – so you’d better snap it up quickly!!
I couldn’t get over how cheap the items were!! There were some amazing dresses which would be perfect for a boogie or a Christmas party going for just £30!! At this point of the day I was completely out of money, so tough luck for me! I’ll definitely be returning in the next few weeks with a hope and a prayer that the dress I fell in love with is still there.
I used to come to this gorgeous, historical restaurant every Saturday when I was little. It’s just down the road from my old dance studio so my Mum would treat me in between classes to lunch accompanied by a humongous hot chocolate… YUM.
Included in our ticket prices was a tea and cake at The Almonry. I was very happy to indulge in a massive chocolate brownie and numerous cups of tea at this point. I had no idea how much a couple of hours of walking, chatting and browsing shops would completely wipe me out! It wasn’t until I actually sat down that I started feeling sleepy, I could have very easily had a lovely snooze tucked up with my tea.
The main thing I love about The Almonry is the beautiful view of the Cathedral and how wonderfully historical a building it is. It was really lovely to just sit and talk to everyone and really get to know this lovely group of bloggers. I’m really grateful to have met each and every single one of them, and I can’t wait to see them again next time!
The Ely Gin Company
This company is faaaairly new in Ely and as I’m not a massive fan of gin, this was another first for me. There were some brilliant quirky gift ideas in here and as I know many a gin lover, I can see myself running to the Ely Gin Company for some little gifts closer to Christmas.
We tested out some really yummy flavoured gins and there was even some really interesting flavoured vodka to try! Being a vodka drinker myself, I tried the raspberry flavoured vodka and was pleasantly surprised! I’ll be keeping this place in mind for the future for all the alcohol lovers in my life… Definitely not myself 😉
My Goodie Bag
The lovely Lauren and Emma worked so hard to create our Ely Christmas Cracker goodie bags and the whole event – special thanks to you both!! There are so many amazing bits inside, I just know that I will get the opportunity to use each item!!
Christmas Bauble by Folly Green
This bauble is so happy and festive. You can tell by the fantastic quality that it is homemade. They have so many vintage, handmade pieces to die for!!
Infugin by The Ely Gin Company
This is such an interesting idea! It’s like a little fruity tea bag which you pop in your gin (presumably with some tonic water?!) to give it more flavour! Perhaps this could be the thing which converts me over to gin…?
Christmas Card by Little Button Nose
This little card is so effing adorable, it would be perfect to give to absolutely anyone! All of Little Button Nose’s designs are handcrafted at home – it’s so important to support independent businesses such as these.
Rhubarb and Ginger Gin by The English Spirit Distillery
I bought this little number at the Christmas fair myself because it is sooo delicious and enticing. The rhubarb gin on its own was lovely, but the ginger was the extra kick which really excited me. I was thinking of gifting this at first as it’s only £10 a bottle, but I think I’ll save this for my christmas present wrapping drink.
Christmas Card and Drink Coaster by Red Berry
The matching designs of both the card and coaster are absolutely gorgeous and perfect to gift in bulk to family and friends.
Prosecco Lip Balm and Gifts by Eel Catcher’s Daughter
These are my purchases from the amazing Eel Catcher’s Daughter. Of course I can’t really mention the Christmas gifts and what’s inside (although I’m 99.9% certain that the people I’m giving these to don’t actually read my blog – how rude!)
I’m literally so excited to walk around with my lips tasting like prosecco. I doubt much will actually stay on my lips, but I’m happy nonetheless!!!
Discount by Only One Boutique
Ahhhh I’m so excited to receive this generous discount!!! As I said, I’ll be returning to the shop in upcoming weeks anyway so I can’t wait to spend this baby and put it to good use!
Chocolates by Cherry Hills Chocolates & Sweeties by Mr Simms Olde Sweet Shoppe
OMG the chocolates were sooooo delicious. They literally lasted about two seconds. A very heavenly two seconds at that. My little sister Amethyst had full reign of the cute little sweeties (I’m not one for sweets) and she had very good things to say!
Summing up the Ely Christmas Fair
Thank you so much to Lauren, Emily and all the other lovely bloggers who attended. I had such a positive first experience of the Ely Christmas Fair and got the chance to visit so many little shops in Ely which I’ve never experienced before!
I had such an amazing time and I genuinely can’t wait to do something fantastic like this again. Below I’ve included a full list of all the bloggers who attended the Ely Christmas Cracker event and all the shops who got involved!
Michelle Alston, The Last Food Blog, @TheLastFoodBlog
Pippa Artus, Clashing Time, @Pippa_CTx
Jennifer Caporaso, Feioi – interior design project management, @Feioi_Interiors
Emily Kathryn Chase, Mummas & More, @EmilyKathrynWar
Chantal Nowak, Milk & Nappies, @MilkAndNappies
Lizzie Woodman, Marmalade Pie, @LizzieWoodman
Little Button Nose: http://www.littlebuttonnose.co.uk/
Red Berry Cards: http://www.redberrycards.co.uk/
Only One Boutique: http://onlyoneboutique.co.uk/
Ely Gin Company: http://www.elygin.co.uk/
Cherry Hill Chocolates: https://www.facebook.com/Cherry-Hill-Chocolates-152687481419064/
Folly Green Vintage: http://www.follygreen.co.uk/
Mr Simm’s: http://www.mrsimmsoldesweetshoppe.co.uk
Eel Catcher’s Daughter: https://www.facebook.com/EelCatchersDaughter/
The Almonry Tea Rooms: http://www.elycathedral.org/visit/the-almonry-restaurant
English Spirit Distillery: http://englishvodkacompany.com/
Do you live in/near Ely? Have you been to a Christmas fair yet this year? Have you ever heard about any of these amazing shops? Please comment below and let me know what you think!
Thank you so much for reading! Don’t forget to follow me on my other social media accounts, and feel free to comment below or message me for a chat. I’d love to talk to you.