While Wimbledon does have a fruit & veg stall by the library, and you occasional see a visiting French or Italian market by the Odeon, up until now, the town has been lacking a proper local market. In February, however, that all changed. The Windmill Market has planted its roots at St. Mark's Church, and will be open on the second Saturday of every month until November. You can visit between 10am-2pm for £1 entry (under 16s & overs 60s are free), and see the twenty-five different stalls selling artisan crafts & gifts.
Before I even stepped inside, I could tell that this was going to be a great place for mums because the woman taking the entry fee was offering everyone a membership card to Mums on the Go, a club that gives parenting advice, and exclusive discount deals on children's products and activities.
The market itself had a couple of stalls that were well suited for mums with young children, including Minibuds, which was run by a woman who made unique hair accessories. She sold hairbands and hairpins featuring different children's characters, such as Hello Kitty and Peter Rabbit. She also sold mini magnets that looked like buttons at three for £4.50.
Inside the church, there was another stall that sold the most beautiful baby gifts, such as organic baby clothes, alphabet posters, knitted Disney princesses, and beautiful mobiles for cribs, made from twigs and felt. Since I'm not a mum, I had no use for any of these things, but I liked this woman and wanted to buy something from her, so purchased some £2.50 cards that she had designed.
There were quite a number of card sellers at the market, which isn't surprising since they are big impulse buys. Sometimes when you see a card, you know exactly who to send it too and have to buy it. Most of the time I end up buying several cards for the same person, so that I am already stocked up for many birthdays to come. One such stall was the Jaycee Emporium. Jaycee is a photographer, and uses her photos to make £1 cards, and prints for tote bags. The other card seller was D Bun, who had a card showing a picture of a dog tied to a ticket meter, which said 'missing you'. If I had anyone to give it to, I would have bought it.
MoGirl designs and tailors all her own gifts especially for you. She has quirky lavender filled owls, and lovely handbags, but with some costing up to £95, I think she was being a bit optimistic, especially at a small market.
My favourite of the craft stalls was Emmy La French, who made wonderful up-cycled gifts, such as cushion covers made out of men's shirts, oyster card holders made from sleeve cuffs, and sock cats for £10 (kittens for £7), each of which were individually named.
Once you've finished buying gifts, you can then get your fingers sticky with the foodie delights on offer. The first stall I saw when I entered the market was Rosie Home Preserves, who had an unusual selection of jams, including carrot cake, marrow & ginger, quince, rosewater & ginger, and something called High Dumpsie Dearie, which were selling for £3.50 or £10 for three. Rosie also had plum cordial, hot plum chutney, homemade marshmallows, and many others.
These were of course, things you would have to wait until you got home to eat; if you were feeling peckish then and now, then the TYJanick, who was parked next door, were cooking fresh gluten-free crepes & galettes. The two Breton owners named the business after their Grandma Janick, who taught them all her special recipes. Although they say that their crepes & galettes are healthy, the toppings are another matter. Buckwheat lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol and lower your glucose level, but sea salt caramel, belgian chocolate, butter, and Nutella does not.
And since your healthy diet has been thrown out the window, you might as well snack on some Sweet Spot popcorn, or pig out on Aunty Ann's Giant £1.50 cupcakes. You could also try some artisan truffles, but at £1.50 a piece, you're only going to want a few.
For a more savoury experience, Bread Angels are giving free tasters, as is the cheesemonger, who had some interesting cheeses I hadn't heard of before, nor can I remember their names. Among the more familiar, were Stinking Bishop, various cheddars & goats cheeses, and Camembert.
Just as I was about to leave, I heard music playing. I thought it was the radio, but when I went out into the garden, I saw a group of three women singing wartime swing music. The vintage singing trio call themselves The Haywood Sisters, and they have performed in West End musicals, on Jazz FM, and at Wimbledon Stadium. As well as doing community events, they are also available for private hire are weddings and celebrations. It is a shame we have already got a disco for my dad's birthday party, otherwise we would have booked them.
Thanks Bryony for taking a pic of my lovely handmade items and featuring me in your blog post. The more the word gets out there for the market, the bigger success it will be! Thanks again. Maree Cunningham MoGirl DESIGNS