A few of us went to Belfast to see the Titanic exhibition. Here’s a shot of the famous yellow cranes of Belfast shipyard:

The building itself is really cool and you can see the shape of the ship cleverly incorporated into the design.

I also went to the UK – Manchester – for the Christmas market. The market is H-U-G-E – and sprawls for several blocks between the big stores there. The DJ on radio Nova said it ranked as one of the top five Christmas markets in the world.

Despite my love of robots, I didn’t succumb to these vintage temptations. I really wanted to but only had hand luggage and knew that I’d probably not have the room….(turned out I was right).

The following day we went to Skipton.  I brought back a huge pork pie from the shop below. The pie was superb.

We drove on to Ilkley and stopped for a mooch around the lovely little shops there. Loads of charity shops! I popped into each and every one of them – glorious! In one, I picked up a bag with 8 or so full square yards of cotton fabrics – gorgeous designs, four Amy Butler designs – and a brand new ball of knitting/crochet cotton for a fiver.

There was a small Betty’s Teashop there. Betty’s is a quintessentially English tea room and has a flagship store in York that I’ve been to a couple of times. I didn’t know they had a little one in Ilkley. There were some lovely decorated Lebkuchen on display:

The alpine village scene, made up from panels of Lebkuchen houses and trees was a real show stopper. Isn’t it gorgeous? This was taken outside the shop:

And this shot is of the back of the ‘cake’ from inside the shop. It is actually comprised of three tiered ‘boxes’ of Lebkuchen, each coated with a rough snow of royal icing.

It had a price tag of £500.  (I didn’t buy it :))