When an event popped up on facebook for The Magic Market Day just across the river from me at the Erskine Bridge Hotel and Spa I knew that I had to pop along to see it for myself! A magical Harry Potter themed market right on my doorstep?! How could I not?
More importantly I knew it was my chance to shine a light on the amazing local stall owners, their talents and the products they had for sale. I was not disappointed by the fantastic range of handmade goods available and I was given permission to take photos of their products in exchange for a shout out. Please do check out their websites and social media links, and don’t forget to bookmark them and follow them! If you don’t fancy grabbing some of these items for yourselves my fellow potterheads and fantasy fans, then I’m sure you know someone who these will make the perfect gifts for 😉
Before I get to the good stuff I need to cover the basics and that’s where the market was located and the venue itself. The market was held at the Erskine Bridge Hotel and Spa (the hotel does have a website, however, it is currently under construction and points visitors to their facebook page). Erskine is located north west of Glasgow along the river Clyde.
The venue has great disabled access and was on flat ground with no stairs, and plenty of extra entry points if required. There was also plenty of room between the stalls for wheel chairs to move. The only thing that we did notice was a lack of seating in the market itself; there were only two large round tablets for people to sit at while eating – and since there were a lot of families these were often crowded. However, outside the market itself by the entrance there was a small lounge where you could rest if needed.
One thing the venue does lack is decent food and drink facilities – or at least ones that aren’t costing you an arm and a leg. There’s hiking up the prices a bit and then there’s £2 for a can of Irn Bru. The Market itself had provided a pizza van and a coffee cart, and from what we heard the pizza van was so good that people were going back for seconds. However, if you didn’t fancy pizza or coffee there was little else on offer. The hotel bar had soft drinks and cordial for the kids, some cheap sandwiches and chips – we didn’t price those as we chose to eat else where. So my advice is if you’re going for an event at the hotel take your own food and drink.
As soon as I saw the sign pointing to Diagon Alley I got a wee shiver and I wasn’t disappointed. If you were expecting a huge comic con event then you would have been disappointed, however, for a local market this was a well organised and well stocked event with something for everyone. Even as it got busy there was still plenty of room to move around. The only issue we had was at the owl stall (yes there were real owls, more of those later!) which was as you’d expect quite busy.
I only saw one magician doing a few tricks at one table, and although there was a horse and carriage supposed to be available for rides we didn’t see that. I’m not sure if it was only available at a certain time and we missed it, or if it was cancelled. The owls were there as promised and were absolutely stunning. They were a part of a stall so I will discuss them along with the stall below.
The one thing that stood out about this event was the variety of the stalls; there were a few overlaps of products, and that was to be expected. However, from previous experience overlaps are really common especially at small local events so to find one that had been organised with variety in mind was really refreshing. Even when there were overlaps, such as mini-figures or bath products, they were still unique in their own way. The selection was brilliant and I came away with a bunch of business cards for incredible small businesses that I will personally be checking out myself. Unfortunately this market couldn’t have come at a worse time for me as I have a big con (the Sci Fi Weekender) at the end of next month so I was on a no spend budget 🙁 Instead I took many mental notes for things to pick up for myself, a few hints to Chris for future presents 😉 and a promise to do all I could to promote these lovely people.
One of the first stalls we came across was Reez Range and I was immediately drawn to the clean lines, bright colours and lovely wooden boxes. There was a great selection of colours, styles and materials amongst the framed products. I had the opportunity to speak to the lady behind Reez’ Range, and she informed me that this was her first event. This is a new venture for her and I wish her all the best as she has a great eye for colours and designs.
Reez Range will be at Edinburgh Comic Con on 6th April so if you’re heading that way please keep an eye out for her! She also has a fantastic competition on right now until the end of March to win full sized foil frame with a design of your choice!
Hail the Villains.com
Hail the Villains was a stall with a difference. Amongst all the magic and light fantasy, here was one dedicated to the darker side of the geeky world. The stall had items dedicated to villains, superheroes and various other well known fandoms. Two of the highlights were the great range of mini-figures and range of pocket watches and jewellery available. They also sell a range of fashion items, accessories, and jewellery which you can view on their website.
When I approached this stall I was teased by Chris that it was for ‘me’ and not for you, dear readers, and he was partly correct. I admit, as a Pagan who loves crystals, I was drawn to the gorgeous colours and materials that Moshi Beads uses in her work. There is a vibrant creativity in each and everyone, and they’re imbued with a deep connection to Scotland which makes me appreciate them even more.
I was especially impressed with some of her more delicate work such as these Tree of Life earrings and feather necklace pictured here. There were a lot of items with small stones which really appealed to my personal style, however, as you can see from her store she works with a range of materials and sizes.
The lovely stall of Maiden Scotland was a treasure trove of handmade geeky items! From wonderful handmade jewellery and accessories, to creative framed mini-figures with quotes like this delightful Dumbledore one, the stall was a delight for all Harry Potter fans.
How gorgeous are these hanging felt Hogwarts House banners?! I was sorely tempted by these and they are most definitely on my future list! I didn’t realise at the time that they are made of felt and I wish I’d asked to touch them because I can just imagine how soft they feel!
The stall featured mainly Harry Potter products as it was a themed market, however, do check out Maiden Scotland’s facebook page to see the variety of fandoms that she’s covered. Shary also practises Angelic Reiki as well, and some of her creations feature chakra and angel designs too.
I absolutely love bath products; I would have a bathroom filled with them if Chris would let me. So Harry Potter themed bath bombs?! Yes please! Add in some adorable plushie unicorns and you’ve got my attention – and yes, I was good. I didn’t beg to buy a unicorn once (although my owl sitting adventure did start at this point so that did placate my desire – more at the end about that 😉 ).
Fizzy Tizzy is essentially Lush by a geek.
Fizzy Tizzy is like Lush by a geek; dragon egg bath bombs, polyjuice bath bombs and sorting hat bath bombs that reveal your Hogwarts House colour were just some of the magical products available. If you take a look at her facebook page you’ll see that she also does soaps, face marks, foot scrubs and much more – if you’re not drooling at the prospect of trying these out then I certainly am!
Catsy’s Alternative Toys
As I said in my overview there were a few overlaps in stall content and one of them was mini-figures. I’ve mentioned them at a few stalls by this point in my review, and each one has used them in their own creative way. None more so than Catsy’s Alternative Toys. What looked like a generic model stall at first glance turned out to be one of the most fascinating stalls at the market.
Catsy’s Alternative Toys don’t just throw lego pieces together and stick a few mini-figures in place. They carefully reconstruct every single scene in lego and add what is needed to make sure that each scene is unique, and as accurate as possible. I was talked through the Gremlins model as seen in the photo above and even in this basic model so much attention to detail has gone into it. For example, Stripe is holding a glass to represent the gremlins splashing water on Gizmo to spawn more of them.
Two more examples of this attention to detail are the models pictured here. You have one for Carrie which features additional paint to literally paint the scene as accurately as possible to the movie version. As for the Dexter model there is clingfilm used to wrap around the victim on table, just like in the real scene. Catsy’s Alternative Toys use whatever they need to make these models as accurate as possible including a soldering iron to melt figures to duplicate wounds.
They don’t have an actual facebook page, and their business card points to the personal facebook account instead so go ahead and follow that if you’re interested in their work! You can view their products in their store on Ebay as well as contact them there about getting custom orders made.
J. Lauren Wands
You’ve already gotten a peek at this stall as I used a photo of it above. The J. Lauren Wands stall most definitely won the award for the most stunning and beautiful stall at the market. The whole table was perfectly Harry Potter themed right down to the sign for prices and the boxes that held the wands themselves. There was a bubbling cauldron, an owl and honestly it was just absolutely magical.
Someone who puts that much detail into just their stall is, in my mind, someone who clearly puts their heart and soul into their work. I had the chance to speak with the lovely creator who was kind enough to explain to me how the wands were made. Despite looking like they’re carved from wood they’re in fact created from polymer clay and then very carefully painted to create the wood effects. I can tell you that they look like the real deal – and it’s not just me that thinks that as she’s got glowing reviews.
At the moment she is only available on facebook so please do give her page a follow and get in contact if you’re interested in a wand of your own!
Yes, I left the owls until last 😉 When owls were mentioned I expected to find a birds of prey centre there with an exhibition so it was a pleasure to find something different for a change. As a Pagan it was much more of a spiritual and personal experience to meet Nicky of Heilan-Spirit and her two owls than to have a gruff person from a centre. In my experience it’s always been so impersonal as if they really don’t want to be there, where as Nicky was clearly there to enjoy the experience, introduce people to the owls and answer any questions you had (whether it be about the owls or her products). Nicky identifies as a Druid and as explained on her website, this is in keeping with her beliefs. For me, this made it a much more personal and wonderful experience.
The Heilan-Spirit stall was filled with beautiful owl and gemstone products, including these owl feathers. From a spiritual perspective I could see the druidic influence in the items, however, even if that’s not for you there was plenty of beautiful items available for sale.
The two owls at the Heilan-Spirit stall were the magnificent large Bengal Owl (left) and the smaller White Faced Scops Owl (right). Both were available to hold, although the larger owl was not for children due to her weight and size. She flapped her wings when Nicky held her so we could get some photos and those wings have such amazing power behind them. The smaller owl was being held by children throughout the time we were at the market, and was quite content to be gently stroked while under supervision.
Nicky and her owls are available for a range of functions and you can find more details on her website!
Cosplays & Owl Sitting
So, adventures in owl sitting? I suppose I should get to that story now after teasing you about it for so long 😉 As I said it all began at Fizzy Izzy’s stall where upon introducing myself to the owner as a blogger I caught the attention of the one cosplayer I’d noticed wondering around. I’d been meaning to try to speak to the lovely lady in the Slytherin cosplay when I could, and it just so happened that she was at that stall at the very same moment.
Unsurprisingly I wasn’t the only one who had stopped her for a photo, and she explained to me that her son was dressing up in a brilliant Dobby cosplay. Would we like to see it? Yep, I practically melted at the thought of an adorable little Dobby! She told me that they just needed to go get him, they’d be about half an hour; would we still be here? I’m not quite sure how it happened but I ended up having her owl plushie being thrust upon me with a promise to come back for it and so my owl sitting adventure began!
With pleasure I give to you the lovely givtastic4 cosplaying as a Slytherin student and her adorable son, Killian, as Dobby! She also runs her own business called Storybook Entertainment which offers face painting, body painting and interactive storytelling packages in Glasgow and the surrounding areas (please check her website for exact details).
She’s also working on a steampunk cosplay right now and you can follow her progress over on her instagram!
And of course, proof that I did in fact have my owl sitting adventure! Chris was honestly surprised that I gave the owl back – but as I explained I have my reputation as a blogger to hold up! Anyway, I’m a Ravenclaw I’m trustworthy. It’s a good thing I didn’t mention Chris is a Gryffindor…. 😉
Over to You
Thank you for reading through this review of the Magical Market held at the Erksine Bridge Hotel and Spa. If you were lucky enough to attend the market I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did! If not then keep an eye on the facebook page for the hotel as they do seem to hold a lot of small events like this, and you never know what might be next!
I hope you enjoyed reading through this review and learning about the Harry Potter and geeky local businesses around Glasgow and the West. Even if you’re not from Scotland please don’t hesitate to check out these amazing people and their products because word of mouth is so valuable to them. And, of course, items can be posted!
What stall caught your attention?
Are there any items that you’re thinking of picking up, or putting on a wish list?
Have you been to a local event in your local area?
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I’d love to cover more events like this so if you’re arranging a geeky event in Scotland please get in touch.
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Image Credits: Torn paper stock by sweetpoisonresources.