The challenge: 32 people to buy Christmas gifts for on a £300 budget! Can it be done? Cardiff Indoor Market enthusiast Jade Tambini tells us that yes, it can!
This blog is all about my experience challenging myself to do a full Christmas shop at Cardiff Market with just £300 to spend.
The first thing that struck me about my decision to do my full Christmas shop at Cardiff Market this year, was the absence of stress and overwhelming panic that usually consumes me in the lead up. I’ve always been one to plan our day out in order to do the full shop in one day (much to my husband Paul’s terror). So the thought of getting it all done in one go at the market felt just wonderful!
I’ve spent a lot more time at the market recently buying lunch, fresh produce and more and have been won over by the variety of stalls there, fallen in love with the atmosphere and I’ve gotten to know loads of the amazing traders during my visits too. If you’ve not been to the market before, it’s hard to put into words how it feels to spend an afternoon browsing, bantering and buying, all I can say to describe it is that it’s a little bit like being transported to another time and place, sheltered from the world outside, like a safe haven almost to give you space to think, be and enjoy shopping.
In preparation for the shopping trip, I pled with my Facebook friends to let me borrow a ‘grannie trolley’ to make the day a more comfortable experience. Since we’ve got 32 loved ones on our huge Italian/ Irish direct family list, I couldn’t think of any other way. Amidst the mocking of my apparently ‘uncool’ idea, I managed to get hold of a shopping bag on wheels ready for a knockout day of shopping!
Without further ado, here’s a breakdown of some of the gifts I picked up during my four-hour shopping session, to get Christmas all wrapped up for under £300. I was joined by my mum and our family friend’s daughter, Heidi 12, who was super cute running around talking to all the traders, we were also later joined by Paul, my hubby!
Note; if you are in my family please stop reading since you will likely find out what we’ve bought you for Christmas! That includes you, Paul!
- Bath bombs, soaps and candle sets from Luvely Bubbly
Julie is the loveliest lady you’ll meet, she has so much knowledge on the different products available at the stall and will talk to you about the person you’re buying for, suggesting recommended products to suit their personality and what they like.
For my brothers’ girlfriends I picked out raspberry swirl bath bombs and fruity glitter hand soaps. For my sister-in-law and my dad’s girlfriend the bath bomb, candle and soap boxes were perfect and at just £10 and £12.50 depending on which one you choose, were great value for a lovely gift! The candle and mini soap bag pictured is just £5!
I also picked up some soaps for my mother in law. The stall has so many different types of soap whether it’s funky jelly baby flavour, parma violets, rhubarb and custard (they all literally smell like the sweets!) or natural more earthy organic smells that suited my mother-in-law’s taste really well.
- Asian delights from Lovely Crockery
I spent just over £60 in Lovely Crockery but I can’t begin to tell you how incredible Su’s products are and I got so much for my money. First, I bought these adorable bunny feet egg cups for my two nieces, they were only £3 each, can you believe?
I also picked out this gorgeous Japanese rice pattern tea pot for my mum which was only £13 and a pack of traditional teas.
I bought my nana these super cute compact mirrors and lipstick holders, she’s always loved things like this so I thought they were perfect.
I also bought her this lovely ‘cwtch’ mug! Since my family are all up north in Leeds and Pontefract I thought it was a nice choice to remind her of me in Wales.
I also picked out bits and pieces for various little additional gifts for my my sister, mum, mother-in-law and sister-in-law which varied from under £1 to a few quid.
- Christmas Cards and wrap from JC Morgan cards
What I love most about JC Morgan’s card stall is the variety. I’ve always loved sending cards that match my family set. It’s hard to find cards like ‘Nana and Grandad’ and ‘to mum and her boyfriend’ and I always enjoyed receiving very specific cards like ‘to my granddaughter and her boyfriend’ before me and Paul got married, it just feels so much more personal. You just can’t get these old classics with the stunning verses inside in many place anymore either, and the prices are incredible here! Lots of people don’t like cards but my mum and nana especially always revel in reading the verses so it’s nice to pick some special ones!
Most of the cards I picked up were less than £1.50, the price they should be. I do love Marks & Spencer cards too, I’ll be honest, but they carry a big price tag for a card and supporting a local independent feels really nice. They are so helpful there, I couldn’t find a card I wanted and the guys there were going through all the drawers and finding me everything I needed. I also picked up wrapping paper, cellotape and gift tags.
Half way through the trip my lovely husband popped in and took trolley responsibility – as you can imagine, he was delighted to be dragged around for the last hour of shopping!
- Festive boxes from Cheese Pantry
My favourite thing about the new Cheese Pantry stall that’s opened at the market, aside from Melissa and Jo the lovely gals working there, oh and the daisy bell, is the delicious cheese samples always available to try on the counter! My husband picked out three festive cheese boxes for our aunty and uncle and a couple of his closest cousins.
With delicious cheeses, hot Christmas chutney’s made locally by Penylan Pantry, and some crackers to compliment, we’re sure our relatives will be really pleased with their gifts!
On Melissa’s advice, we popped the cheeses in a tupperware to go in the fridge and have kept the boxes aside ready to prepare with some lovely ribbon we were given to gift wrap them! The gang there are so helpful, really worth a visit either for gifts or for a Christmas day cheese board!
- Healing stones from Rocks and Clocks
My dad’s mum Grandma Angela is the sweetest, kindest lady you’ll ever meet. She’s very spiritual and has always prayed every night for everyone in our family, 30 direct cousins strong, as well as lighting candles in church for people when they need extra support. She’s had a difficult year with her mobility and some setbacks in her health and while she’s back on top form I wanted to pick out some healing crystals for her from Rocks and Clocks.
I also picked up an incense set and a stress busting crystal for my friend who has a very busy job! The lady who works there consults on the different healing crystals and it’s really interesting to look at them and see which one’s you’re drawn to. She even cleanses them of other energy so they are brand new for you, in a special bowl before you take them away.
Lucky for us we have Christmas dinner all cooked and prepared for us, since my mother-in-law is the best you can get! If I wasn’t I’d have certainly been back this week to the butchers, fruit and veg stalls and fishmongers for my meats, vegetables and smoked salmon! Bakestones are selling gorgeous freshly baked Christmas cakes too which smell make the market smell like Christmas day even now!
All in all, a fantastic and stress free experience. My trolley was packed full when I got home ready to wrap and pop under the tree! I was on budget too with change for a Welsh Cake from Bakestones!
As I left, I had been so in my own world that I hadn’t realised it had been pouring it down ALL day, so I even picked up a brolly for my walk back to the train!
Thanks for reading and Merry Christmas!
Follow Jade on Twitter @jadetambini