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Cycling Through the Celebrations of Christmas...

Updated: Jan 3

An early morning bicycle commute on a frosty December's day always offers a spectacular display of glistening white sunlight and icy blue skies...

They say the trees are the lungs of the earth, and when the sugar dustings of frost highlight the bronchiole-shaped branches after the final leaves fall, being able to appreciate the intricacies of our natural world in this way definitely brings that fact home...

While frosted leaves crunch under the wheels, carpets of ice crystals sparkle like glitter...

So even in the depths of winter, the beauty of nature is all around us- even on every street corner! And with the rising sun soon thawing it away, these moments, although only fleeting, can create the memories that stay.


Putting the Christmas Order In...

It’s that time of year when our local butcher reminds us to put our Christmas order in and asks will we be wanting the full bird or the crown again, before giving us our numbered ticket, ready for collection from 6am on Christmas Eve…

Like here at Little Pigs butchers in Manchester ran by Sam and his family*, local butcher shops will source their produce from local farms only a few miles away meaning '#shoppinglocally as a #cyclist' can help lower our #carbonfootprint in more ways than one...


Meanwhile, polka dot scatterings of wild winter berries can be appreciated for all their beauty at this time of year as delicate masses of criss-crossed twigs sit behind...

As hibernating hedgehogs and dormice nestle in to make these places their cosy homes for the next few months, cycling at wintertime and the floristry of this season reaffirms how the ebb and flow of nature is what allows us to appreciate it’s everchanging wonders year after year…


Plot Life at Christmas…

Ice cold mornings at this time of year also make the perfect excuse to drop in at the allotment to check on the greens being grown for the dinner on Christmas day, making sure they’re still well wrapped up in their protective layers of cloche to keep Jack Frost at bay...

An early morning winter cycle through the allotment at this time is like pedalling through a Christmas card scene when it’s frosty. Although just be prepared to pedal slowly and step off the bike to walk instead if you see ice patches ahead on days like these...

So along with the welcoming scenes of Christmas trees twinkling in the windows of people’s front rooms that you cycle past while on route, it all prompts us to think about the different festive activities and moments to come which, all combined, make for a very heart warming, #cyclepretty Christmas…


Visit the Christmas Markets by Bicycle...

Take a trip around the world with the melting pot of foods, drinks and goods as you wander around your local Christmas markets...

We know it's that time of year again when walking down the local high street that familiar infusion of different smells from different distant places blend together. One moment you walk through the aromas of turmeric and paprika spices drifting from the paella hut, the next you're hit with wafts from the hog roast and beef Yorkshire pudding wraps. You'll also find plenty of continental stalls to buy Christmas presents from, which always helps to whittle down the shopping list in an enjoyable way...

If ever there are times when a bicycle basket can come into it's own, this is one. It becomes a place to rest handbags and huddle around while enjoying some takeaway food, before transforming into the place to load up gifts afterwards...

And what’s the best part about it? Being able to finish it off with a few care-free German glühweins or hot chocolates, and not having to worry about when the car parking ticket runs out... Because you’ve cycled in of course 😊

A Winter Picnic...

As the early moon rises in the cold winter skies, wrapping up warm and preparing a hot food picnic, which puts the flasks and thermal boxes from the back of the cupboard to good use, actually makes for a beautiful day out on the run up to Christmas. Or if you would rather take the fuss out of it, let us arrange it all for you!


During these shorter days, the low-lying mist gradually starts to roll in around the early afternoon hours, making for very atmospheric views of the landscapes in our local areas...


Head Over to Friends and Family with Home Made Mince Pies…

Using the mince meat made up with the foraged apples on Stir Up Sunday in November, far from perfect home-baked mince pies, that are made with all the love, are a great way to say so many things to the people we care for in such a simple way...

The beauty of doing your own is you can sprinkle them with edible glitter so they shimmer like a frosty morning. And for those of us who count the calories, you can also make them as small as you like...


In the Cycle Pretty Boutique…


Hand made in the UK, this ruby red version of Hicks & Brown’s wool felt fedora is accented with a guinea feather wrap, attached to a band with a gold branded charm...

As well as beautiful in it's design, the water resistance of the natural wool felt means this statement piece will keep you both warm and dry come rain or shine. Whether you choose to take this on your winter bicycle escapades or team it with your outfit on Christmas Day, it will make for a versatile wardrobe staple that will last for years to come...


From December’s Book Corner Club…

We all know the famous story of Scrooge, the character who became known for taking money wherever he could, while not paying people what they were due, and the ripple effects this had throughout their lives. But did you know Charles Dickens initially commissioned the printing of the book himself to keep down the price, as he wanted to make it accessible to all?

A tale about three ghosts who each pay a visit on Christmas Eve to teach him his long overdue lessons around compassion, Scrooge is taken by the spirits on journeys into alternative dimensions which show the far reaching consequences his greed has on the lives of the people around him. As everything falls by the wayside, Scrooge is faced with the grave reality of life without a balance between caring for others as well as ourselves. Suddenly he wakes up from the dream and decides to change his ways. So whilst writing a literary gem that has continued to remind us for generations of the fundamental values which underpin the spirit of Christmas, Dickens also used his own gifts and privilege to contribute to the definition of popular Christmas culture, as well as the bigger picture…


Meet the Team...

We decided to round off this year with our very first 'work's Christmas do' by having our own wander around the #Manchester Christmas Markets this week. During which, we realised it's probably about time we put our faces to the Blooms & Bicycles name and introduce ourselves to you, so here we are...

From left to right, I'm pleased to introduce Bea, a professional actress and model who you might have noticed as the face of the Blooms & Bicycles retail shop this year. Bea also oversees social media activities and our bike tours which will start in 2024. Bea is also very well travelled and will be bringing to you our bicycle travel blog next year called 'The Cycle Pretty Tourist'. Starting with a bicycle escapade in Nice, Bea will share with you her adventures to the flower market and local cycle cafes during her trip to this very beautiful part of France. Next I'm pleased to introduce you to Roberta, who oversees our videography and film production activities. So if you've managed to see some of our beautifully curated Instagram reels and photography shots recently, it's Roberta's hard work that is behind all of this. Next year Roberta will be also be sharing with you her new blog post 'The Cycle Pretty Photographer', where she will cover some very interesting topics, such as the otherworldly experience of 'blue hour'. Next is me, Ashleigh. Overseeing anything and everything, whatever it be, from one day to the next... So basically a jack of all trades, still trying to master but one :-D At this moment I would just like to say how incredibly grateful I am to each and every one of you out there. Customer's, followers and readers alike. I really didn't know how this unusual combination of blooms and bicycles would go in the early days. It's thanks to the responses and support from all you lovely people out there, who I've felt so lucky to meet, that I'm still here. So from the bottom of my heart, thank you. Then not in this picture because she joined so recently, but already a big part of our team is Linzi who I'm sure you will get to meet through our blog next year. Linzi will also be overseeing social media activities as well as the website. Together we are four women who, like you, love nature, love to cycle, love all things art related, feel incredibly passionate about sustainability and community, and cant wait to share with you our own cycle pretty lifestyle experiences, centred around all of these things to create a little pocket of peace in the world...


Merry Christmas everyone. We can't wait to see you again in 2024...



*For more information on all the locally sourced farm produce the Little Pigs Butchers of Manchester provides, please visit @littlepigsdidsbury on Instagram and Facebook.
















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