Sunday, 15 September 2013

Merchant Square & Metropolitan

by Bex

I've been having a bit of break this week. Since I've started the injections for our next round of IVF I'm trying to take it easy.  I'm afraid as a result I haven't been organised enough for the Sunday Summary as I've hardly been on the computer all week (it's just as well we have loads of posts saved up already!)  I've had a lovely week reading a couple of books, watching films, baking and drinking lots of chai lattes!  Even work's been good this week (especially since I put up some new pictures of the Orangutans in my room!) and I had a great time out at Gillian's birthday party on Friday night.  This weekend has been fantastic so I felt like writing about it straight away!

Yesterday Roz came over to help me do a bit of a wardrobe clear out.  We had a great time eating cake, drinking more chai lattes and chatting while I tried on some ridiculous old clothes from my student days that I've been reluctant to part with but Roz was the perfect amount of strict and I now have a bit more space to be able to see what's in my wardrobe (i.e. it's no longer crammed in but still not much room for manoeuvre!)

Yesterday evening Nik and I managed to spend a cosy autumn evening in together with an Indian takeaway (I seriously recommend Kebabish on Victoria Road!  We always go there for takeaways!) and watched a good old magical Disney film by candlelight.

Despite a pretty horrible rainy start to today I've had a BRILLIANT afternoon at one of my old haunts.  Roz and I were invited along to lunch at Metropolitan in Merchant Square followed by a mooch around the craft and design fair in the square.  I actually used to sell my own photos in the craft and design fair a few years ago and absolutely love the venue.  It's ideal for a fair as it feels almost like an outdoor space with the cobbled courtyard but is safe from the elements indoors with gorgeous lighting across the ceiling.

My old stall selling cards, canvases and prints
Everything in the fair is handmade with nothing bought in.  Sellers are all vetted and have to adhere to this to be able to sell in the craft and design fair.  You definitely won't find any old tat here!

Our afternoon started off with a glass of delicious Prosecco in the bar at Metropolitan (I'm not really drinking at the moment but couldn't resist a wee drop) followed by a gorgeous lunch overlooking the courtyard.  It was lovely to meet some new bloggers and catch up with others.

I decided to start with the chicken liver pate (just in case we're lucky this time round and I have to avoid it for a few months!) served with oatcakes.  It was very light and tasty with the perfect amount of fig & apricot chutney.  I did ask for a couple more oatcakes though as I ran out.  Roz had some delicious nachos (I may have had a sneaky taste) and we enjoyed the water flavoured with strawberries and cucumber.

I chose the rump steak but they had run out so I was given sirloin instead.  It was cooked very well and absolutely delicious!  The chips were chunky but crispy and the tomato and red onion salad was delicious with a very nice basil dressing (although a bit heavy on the onions so I left quite a lot of them).  I thought it was a little odd that it was served in a pasta bowl as it was a bit awkward to cut my steak without spilling everything else and since the steak was piled on top, some of my chips had gone soggy.  Other than that it was pretty perfect :)

Roz had the minute steak with focaccia, cheese, onion, salad and chips with mustard sauce and thoroughly enjoyed hers too!  We were all pretty stuffed after lunch and enjoyed a nice wander round the craft stalls, there were so many I can't mention them all but a few personal favourites stood out.  We were extremely lucky to receive awesome goody bags loaded with treats from some of the stallholders which I will also mention below.

As it's been a while since I was there I was interested to see how it had changed.  It is set out a little differently now with matching tablecloths, it looks fab and there were lots of new crafters.  In fact there was only one whom I recognised from when I was there, Gordon.  I remember him welcoming me on my first day there and was pleasantly surprised to find that even though there were a few photography stalls, everyone was friendly, welcoming and not at all competitive.

Gordon is based in Merchant Square every weekend and has some lovely landscape prints and some fantastic shots of Glasgow.

Black & White landscape print from Gordon

As I write this I am thoroughly enjoying munching on an ice-cream cupcake from Sweet & Cheerful Cakes from my goody bag.  It's a vanilla cake topped with raspberry sauce, a very light buttercream, hundreds & thousands and a flake!  Yum!  They also told us about a minion cake they recently made for a birthday!

There were a few stallholders who I really enjoyed chatting to and perusing their items.  One of whom was Anita West from Glass Apple Studio.  She had some beautiful glass designs and gave us all a pretty butterfly in our goody bags.  She tipped me off that there were some green ones when I was admiring all the green pieces and I managed to find someone to swap with me (thanks Toni!)  There was even a green dragonfly on display!

 My green butterfly on the kitchen window next to Henry the snail (an old gift from Mum!)

I loved talking to Twa Birds Soaps about their homemade soaps and bath salts.  They all smell delicious (seriously there were some that I'd want to eat!) and are all designed to help with skin problems, including the nettle one which I was glad to receive in my bag as it's supposed to be especially good for eczema which Nik suffers from so I'll get him to try it out.  I also received a very pretty Scottish Brambles soap and a tub of Cherry Bakewell bath salts which I can't wait to try!

One of our definite favourites was Shindigg.  Roz received a gorgeous wooden stag brooch in her goody bag and I had a stunning black flower.  I was a little jealous of the stag though (really love it) so was pleased when they had plenty more available and even more delighted when they said I could take that one instead.  When I tried to return the flower though, they let me keep that too.  :)  They were a lovely couple to chat to and have some seriously pretty cutout artwork.  We all loved the big heart and I really liked the acrylic stag picture.  I've just noticed on their website that they also do wedding stationery.

Roz was immediately drawn to their acrylic house numbers for obvious reasons - they're gorgeous and she has an amazing new house to accessorize ;)  She's taken their details for the future as the accessorizing is still somewhat further down the line.

Another stall I loved was Ginger Pidgin which featured some gorgeous framed pencil drawings.  Roz was very taken with a very cute Owl and the Pussycat print and I purchased a few seriously cute cards!

Another photographer, whose work Roz was a particular fan of, was Stuart Brown.  He had lots more photos of Glasgow and the local area.  Roz loved his photos of Ashton Lane in the west end near where she lives.  I like the scrabble cards, I have a bundle of wooden scrabble tiles I've been meaning to take photos of for a while and this has reminded me to get them out and do it!

We received a few cards in our goody bags including one from Stuart, one from Card Maniac, one from Bella Blieag and one from Shin Kicker Images.

I almost forgot to take a picture of this super cute purse I received from Romster (it slipped out of the bag when I laid out all of the stuff, oops!)  They also sell bags in various prints and a range of jewellery.

I really liked the copper jewellery on Dawa Designs' stall, particularly the Scotland pendants.

There was some gorgeous jewellery designed by Kirsty Fraser.  We really liked the honeycomb collection.

We received a very cute wee glass thistle stirrer from this glass stall, there was no card in the bag and I couldn't see the name on the table so I'm not sure if they have a website.

I like the cute Nessie

We also received a soap from Treatmii made with essential oils and no horrible chemicals.

And a gorgeous Christmas heart decoration from mother and daughter team, Nana Momo.  They had some beautiful stockings and bunting on their stall along with some cute children's clothes.

As well as an adorable wee tartan pouch on a keyring from Simone Wood.

We also received a book of true short stories, Take me drunk I'm hame by Tam Craven.

We had such a nice time and didn't leave until 5pm!  The sun had even come out by then.  :)

The craft and design fair is on every Saturday and Sunday in Merchant Square.  Some of the artists and crafters are regulars every week, fortnight or month so there might be something different every time you go.  I highly recommend it for a different shopping experience on a cold or rainy day in the run-up to Christmas.  You can stop in for coffee, lunch or a glass of wine in one of the many bars and restaurants around the courtyard and then spend some time perusing the goods on offer in the fair.

Update: here I am on Monday wearing the fab flower brooch from Shindigg :)

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Anonymous said...

What a great post, so many great stalls and items to choose from! I also love your flares, and green is my favourite colour too :-)

Fiona x

Amanda M said...

Is that a cupcake with a Ferrero Rocher on top? I was so excited that I could barely read after that! You can totally post me one to London, right?

I do love the stag brooch too. It penetrated the cupcake hysteria so it must be good!

Unknown said...

The craft fair looks amazing - I am a litle bit in love with that lazer cut stag!

Gordon Nicol said...

Thanks Bex. Was good to see you. I ave posted links to your blog on my Face book pages. I really enjoyed your orangutang photos too! Cheers

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