While the United States has cornered the market on Christmas lights in the wild, no one does Christmas markets better than Europe. From London to Berlin, it’s hard to find a city that doesn’t have a quaint market filled with treats and gifts to purchase. It’s such a beautiful way to celebrate the holiday season. If you’re lucky enough to visit Europe this winter, here’s our list of ten markets that you might want to put on your list.

european christmas markets

Christmas By The River, London UK. This is a relatively new market located in London Bridge, and has more than 65 stalls set up selling drinks, snacks, and handmade gifts. You can stroll through the market while enjoying famous London landmarks, including the Tower of London, bridge, and a gorgeous view of the skyline from River Thames. The market runs daily from 11am to 10pm until January 3rd.

Christmas In Leicester Square, London UK. Explore the beautiful candy and gifts in historic Leicester Square in East London. You can visit the National Gallery during the day, and then Leicester Square to see the beautiful lights, mulled cider, and any of the many events hosted at the Square. You’ll need to purchase tickets to any events, including Santa’s Grotto, but the markets themselves are free. The market runs daily until January 7th.

Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park, London UK. Have a drink in the ice bar, skate on the ice rink, and enjoy a hot cider while viewing London from the ferris wheel. When you’re done, purchase ornaments and gifts from the more than 200 Bavarian style huts. Just make sure to book tickets ahead! It’s one of the most popular winter events in London and is a bit manic with people. The market is open 10am to 10pm until January 1st.

The Magic of Christmas, Carcassonne France. We had a chance to visit Carcassonne this summer, and it was beautiful even without Christmas events in full swing. So I can imagine just how beautiful this market is, especially at night. Stroll through medieval streets enjoying all the wonderful shops and restaurants. Details of exact dates and times are hard to find online, but you can contact the tourism office at 04 68 10 24 30.

european christmas market
Photo by Sweta Meininger on Unsplash.

Berliner Weinachtszeit, Berlin Germany. While the market has the traditional gifts, foods, and events available what sets it apart is the perfectly quaint and historic feel to this market. View a life size nativity, carousels, and other quintessential German Christmas details. Don’t forget to pick up nutrackers and candle-powered wood carousels. The market runs from noon to 8 pm every day until December 29th.

Rothenburger Reiterlesmarkt, Rothenburg, Germany. The second walled medieval city on our list, this market has occurred every season for over 500 years. Don’t forget to pick up a Lebkuchen, or gingerbread heart, the German equivalent of a Valentine. The market runs daily from 11am to 7pm (Mon. to Thurs.) and 11am to 8pm on weekends until December 23rd. Other events will run until January 7th.

Weiner Weihnachstraum, Vienna Austria. At 400-years-old, this is one of the oldest Christmas markets in the world. Over the centuries it has moved to various locations, finally ending up in Rathousplatz in 1975. The market has, in addition to the traditional vendors, daily concerts from children’s choirs, a reindeer train, and trumpet fanfares every day. Can’t be there in person? They even have webcams up on the website! The market is open from 10am to 9:30pm every day until December 26th.

Winter Wonder, Brussels Belgium. I haven’t had the chance to visit Brussels, but friends who have been have fallen in love with this city. This market is setup in Grote Markt, just outside of the beautiful Town Hall, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Which makes it one of the most scenic and beautiful locations for a market. Hours and days of operation of each event vary, but the market is open daily from 12 to 10pm until December 31st.

european christmas cookies
Photo by Mira on Unsplash.

Christmas Market at Champ Mars, Paris France. While not the most beautiful, historical, or expansive of markets, you really can’t beat the view. This annual market sets up shop within site of the Eiffel Tower. Grab a crepe (skip the cheap trinkets), and take a stroll over to the ice skating rink and then up to the Place du Trocadero to watch the lights of the tower. The market is open daily until January 6th.

Christmas Market at Notre Dame, Paris France. Blink and you’ll miss it! This short-lived market sets up shop under the shadow of Notre Dame. Purchase handmade gifts then take a break. You can sit and enjoy the music both inside and outside the cathedral. The market is open daily from 1oam to 8pm from December 15th to the 24th.

Honorable Mentions:

While not strictly a Christmas market, if you are in Copenhagen, don’t miss Christmas at Tivoli. It really is a magical place at night. And, if you get a chance, visit Aubagne, France which has created the world’s largest Provencal nativity scene with 3,500 figurines!

Aug31

Basic Slime Recipe

basic slime recipe

Are you a slimer? Our entire household is a bit obsessed with slime. We’ve a mini factory set up in our kitchen and have made a few batches of different slimes. I had a friend ask me to explain the slime trend. It’s hard to say why, but I can feel it lowering my stress level after a few minutes. It’s also an easy way to create and inspire creativity.

The only problem I have is in finding good recipes. There aren’t any amounts, just a list of ingredients, and everyone has customized the combinations to their preferences or ingredient availability. I’ve a few combos saved on Instagram, but couldn’t find a basic slime recipe, so I decided to make my own. I hope you find it useful. Comment below and let me know your favorite slime recipes.

Basic Slime Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 5 oz white or clear glue
  • food coloring (optional)
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1/4 teaspoon Borax powder

Directions:

  1. Pour the glue into a large bowl. Add coloring as desired and mix together until color is evenly distributed.
  2. Mix together the borax and warm water in a glass. Add borax water into glue 1/2 teaspoon at a time, stirring afterwards. Keep adding 1/2 teaspoons until mixture pulls away from the bowl.
  3. Begin kneading with hands until mixture is smooth. If mixture is too sticky, add more water 1/2 teaspoon at a time. When mixture does not stick to hands but is still stretchy, it’s ready! Store in an airtight container.
  4. The mixture can become sticky again after about 24 hours, so keep the remaining borax water on hand and add more as needed.

To make clear slime, use clear glue and then keep it in a container for 5-7 days without touching it. Eventually the bubbles will come to the surface and clear up.

You can buy Borax in any grocery store. I found a giant box of it for $3 at Target. If you can’t find it locally, look for items with boric acid in them. Some that I’ve found are eye drops, contact solution, and powdered hand soap. While you can find it in many other products, keep in mind that you will be handling the slime often. So make sure it won’t irritate your hands.

Jun28

Long time no blog! Life is pretty busy right now between classes, work, and just life. I haven’t had time for creative projects that photograph well, and I’m 100% positive you don’t want to read about Microeconomics and Statistics.

Spring Bulbs via Honeysuckle Life

I have spent most of my extra time in the garden, creating and learning to design with plants. Learning how to garden in zone 9 has been a process of letting go of some loves (tulip, daffodil, peony) and finding new loves (plumbago, zinnia, dahlia).

I haven’t picked up my camera in over a year now. It’s been great to take a break from it. But now I find myself thinking about it more and more, especially as I create in the garden.

If you do need more of a regular fix of what I find interesting or noteworthy, I stay active on Pinterest, which has replaced a lot of blogging content. It’s easier to collect images there, and so many people are on it. Rather than spend hours finding images and doing roundups on things that inspire me.

Here’s to good intentions of future posts!

We keep a long list of future travel plans in our head. One of those places is Granada, where we lived for a year. It’s such a beautiful place, and we have so many friends there. When my husband sent over this link to Isleta El Espino, an island resort in Nicaragua, I immediately added it to the list of potential stays. We love the Isletas, and have wanted to stay there for a few nights on our next trip. Doesn’t it look amazing?

resort in nicaragua granada
island resort granada nicaragua
nicaragua resort sustainable
sustainable hotel granada nicaragua

For more images, information, and reservation, visit the website for Isleta El Espino.

The islands are about an hour from the Managua airport. The hotel offers transportation for $40 each way, but you can also hire a taxi at the airport for a bit cheaper. When they drop you off at the marina in Granada, you can then hire a water taxi. I would only attempt this if you know a least a little bit of Spanish and are up for an adventure.

While you’re in Granada, don’t miss market street, Iglesia Merced, and Garden Cafe.

Found via Huckberry.

May2

Last summer, I helped a friend photograph a wedding in the Dublin area. During a site visit, we stopped off at Powerscourt Estate to tour the gardens and have a cuppa at the Avoca cafe located on the grounds. I found out about Powerscourt Gardens in a gardening book, where it was listed as one of the top gardens in Ireland. So, off we went for a visit.

formal rose garden in bloom

Touring Powerscourt Gardens

We started with a cup of tea and small meal in the cafe before starting our walk. The gardens span a total of 47 acres and require five full-time gardeners to maintain them. They’re full of formal and informal gardens, woodland trails, fountains, waterfalls, and there are even rumors of a hobbit cave as well! They also have a rather large pet cemetery, where the estate owner’s beloved pets are laid to rest.

powerscourt gardens fountain
powerscourt gardens_-10round tower in garden
powerscourt gardens wicklow
powerscourt garden walkway

Somehow, accidentally, we were able to visit when the rose gardens at Powerscourt were in bloom. Of course, in Ireland roses bloom all summer because of the cool weather. So there is a much larger window of time to see the glory that is thousands of roses in bloom. There are over 50 varieties to enjoy!

yellow roses in gardenformal rose garden
white tea rose
korresia yellow rose

This is a yellow David Austin rose by the name of Korresia. It’s a disease resistant floribunda shrub rose.

whiskey mac hybrid tea rose

This is the Whiskey Mac hybrid tea rose. Apricot in color, it’s hardy from zones 6a to 11 and is classified as a shrub, repeat-bloomer.

white tea rose bloom
white tea rosebud

Before moving to Ireland, I assumed poppies only thrived in drier climates (hello California!), but they are prolific in Ireland. During the summer season, you’ll see patches of poppies crop up everywhere: in cow pastures, along the road, and wherever else the wind takes the seeds. This garden had a selection of beauty pageant worthy poppies, in all different colors, showing off their paper-thin petals.

pink poppy in garden
white poppy in garden
poppy bud
red poppies in garden

For more information, including directions and visiting hours, visit the Powerscourt Estate website.

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