A taste of Liverpool’s Baltic Market

There’s a new food venue on everyone’s lips in Liverpool and last weekend we got to see it for ourselves. The market promised some excellent food and having been to a couple of events by Independent Liverpool before, we had a good idea of what to expect. 

Independent Liverpool have been a great boost for the small businesses in Liverpool. They do everything with such palpable excitement that it’s no surprise that people get excited along with them. Trying to avoid crowds, we only visited the market on Sunday afternoon and even then we were met with a queue down the road when we arrived. Too curious to be put off (and too excited about all the dogs nearby) we hopped into line and waited. 

By the time we got in the farmers market was packing down, but judging by the looks of things they run out of stock hours before. I’m not sure anyone was expecting such a huge amount of visitors which can be great for business, but not so good for the 600th customer who only has leftovers to choose from. 

The independent food vendors all looked good and their menus seemed pretty tasty, though on closer inspection (when you finally got to the front of the queues) they seemed a bit overpriced and the portion sizes were small. Add to that the prams people had parked in between aisles, the lack of places to sit and the winding queues around the room, we were left feeling a bit flustered and still hungry. 

The market concept is great and if it goes the way of other local markets we’ve visited such as Altrincham Market, it’ll be a nice little spot to head to once a month. Hopefully as the opening hype dies down the kinks will be ironed out and we’ll be able to return regularly. 

Comics, art and a weekend in London

We’ve always been fans of comics and quirky illustrations and a few years back one of our friends recommended we go to visit the East London Comic And Art Festival (ELCAF) while we had time to fill in London. It’s rare that we skip anything nearby with comics or art in the name and the only thing disappointing when we arrived was the fact that we weren’t around for the whole event. Ever since then we’ve been making a weekend of the festival every year and it’s been exciting to see it move around and grow since the first year.

This year we stayed just around the corner from the event in a lovely apartment which we booked through Airbnb. We use Airbnb for most of our travels now when we have a bit of spare cash to spend and this was one of my favourite places so far. Sometimes the listings are a bit lifeless with just a bed and a kitchen for short stays, but this time it was the host’s home which he had opened up while he was away on business. The place was full of books, photos and postcards from all around the world and it wasn’t long before it felt like a home for the weekend rather than just a place to stay.

London is now home to quite a few of our friends so when we visit it’s a good time for a catch up. On the Thursday evening we were able to meet our good friend Mat and he never fails to recommend somewhere tasty. We caught up over pork belly and Hawaiian inspired bowl food.

The following two days were filled with comics, with ELCAF beginning on the Friday afternoon. A number of the stalls change between Friday and Saturday and it was good to meet the artists who were around Friday only. The festival also got a lot busier and the heat was almost unbearable on Saturday afternoon so being able to browse while it was less hectic was nice.

We had a great time at ELCAF, both speaking to the artists, pouring over beautiful work and seeing a couple of talks from some very talented people. We got to take part in a doodle workshop too, plus hack some toys together on the Saturday which was our favourite part of the first ELCAF we went to.

I’d love to run something similar in Liverpool, which I might look into next year, but for now we just have to have our annual taste of it in London.

A short break in the Lakes

This time last week we were on our way to the Lake District for a four day break. We’d originally planned to use the time in London but decided it was better to save some money for the big trip than spend hundreds on London hotel prices.

Before last week it had been a long time since we’d slept in a tent and I was really excited to be staying a few minutes walk away from Ullswater again. We stayed at Park Foot, the same place we visited the last time back in 2012. We even set the tent up in the same spot.

I’m not sure why it took so long for us to go camping again; maybe because we can’t drive and I didn’t want to ask family to spend four hours dropping us off. Most of our breaks are usually centred around design events, which means sitting and listening to people talking about their passions all day followed by beer and networking. We were both a bit unsure what to expect, or even if we could handle time away together without something else going on. Turns out we needn’t have worried though because by the end we didn’t want to leave.

On the first night we got pretty terrible sleep, both feeling really cold in the night followed by early morning birdsong as the sun came up at 5am. The following day ended up being a lazy one too as we got used to just being away from everything and I even fell asleep mid-afternoon while Mark wandered around some fields getting sunburned.

The second day I felt a bit more ambitious and wanted to climb something big and just look down at the lake. We popped into the campsite shop to pick up a map (Mark wanted some sugar for the walk too) then headed up the closest hill we could get to. Having not done much walking since I went freelance the walk wasn’t exactly a breeze, especially not in dark skinny jeans on a sunny day, but we were glad to be out and making the most of it. 

By Saturday there was a crossfit event going on in the campsite, so staying put wasn’t an option with the weekend we were hoping for. Instead we decide to make the most of the Ullswater Steamers stopping around the corner in Pooley Bridge and headed over to the other side of the lake. We made a stop at Aira Force, which was a different sort of challenge to the fell walk and beautiful in a completely different way. 

There were only two boats to Aira Force per day and it seemed like a waste to wait around for the last one, so instead we walked along the Ullswater Way over to Glenridding. Our first camping trip together was back in 2010 during the early days of our relationship. Back then we spent most of the break challenging each other to successfully hit big rocks with small pebbles, or wandering around taking photos of all sorts. It was really nice to go back to Glenridding for that reason and seeing how much it’s changed since the floods in 2015. 

Sunday was our last day, so we spent the morning tidying up the tent and getting it ready for the journey home in the evening. We didn’t have big plans for the day so we just walked to Pooley Bridge and walked up a small hill to eat our packed lunches. The atmosphere was kind of ruined by the crossfit event we could hear from over a mile away, but we tried to not let it get to us. 

The whole break was great and I really didn’t want to leave, but we’re adults with responsibilities and had to head back home to get on with it. Roll on October when we’ll have seven months to play with!