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Jubilee Farmers Market in Truro

14 May

I’ve just been to the Daphne du Maurier Festival in Cornwall for work but had a day or so to myself so a friend and I took a trip to Truro via the Lost Gardens of Heligan (beautiful and well worth visiting). Going away involved lots of lovely restaurants and hotel and B&B breakfasts but after a while I started to crave something a bit simpler. Hey presto, we discovered the Jubilee Farmers Market in Truro with all sorts of lovely ingredients for a picnic.

We bought local apple juice, a wholemeal loaf that we asked the baker to slice for us, basil and garlic olives, tomatoes, some delicious smoked stilton and mackerel pate with organic strawberries and handmade slab of dark chocolate to finish.

Prices weren’t incredibly cheap but the quality of the food was amazing so we gathered our wares and headed for the beach.


Judy’s Affordable Vintage Fair – The Vintage Furniture Flea

30 Mar

Upcycling projects

Katie visited Judy’s Affordable Vintage fair a few months ago and so I thought I’d go have a rummage. This event was particularly up my street as it was all about furniture and home accessories. It was great for inspiration but a lot of the items for sale were ready to go straight into your home and I was looking for an upcycling project. The most scary thing about the fair was that I recognised many of the things from my childhood. My mum still uses crockery in the pattern below! Does this mean I am vintage now too?

There were lots of sewing boxes around the fair that I particularly liked.

Upcycling projects Upcycling projects

I also really love this French glass.

Upcycling projects

And although I’m not quite come round to the idea of this style yet I’m sure it’s only a matter of time.

I did really want these two storage jars but the woman on the stand wasn’t very friendly so I didn’t bother.

But I did buy a fabulous basket blanket box. I’ve wanted one for ages but don’t really have the room. However this one is really compact and it needs striping and respraying and reupholstering so I have my project and thing the trip to the fair was well worth it just for that.

Stands particularly worth a mention are Your Vintage Life., Retro Bazaar, Rare and Racy, Oh So Retro and the lovely girl I bought my blanket box from. I seem to have had a very forgetful weekend (see my post about The Crafty Fox Market) and I can’t find her details so any help appreciated!

Crafty Fox Market, Dogstar Brixton

26 Mar

Yesterday I visited The Crafty Fox Market in the Dogstar in Brixton (great venue). There were lots of lovely stands but here are a few of my favourites.

Robin and Rose sell handmade bath bombs, candles in jars and pretty jewellery.

Cool and clean designs featuring the London skyline by Cecily Vessey.

I loved these silver rings and she also made beautiful cut out animal and bird pendants by From Chaos Comes Beauty. I’m very tempted to commission a ring for my little finger as I really liked the one in the bottom right of the picture but it was just a bit too big.

Finally, I loved these salt and pepper shakers. The illustrations are so cute and as the sign says, they make great gifts. I thought I’d picked up a card but can’t find it so any help on their name would be appreciated!

UPDATE: These belong to Joy Nevada. Thanks Joy and The Crafty fox for letting us know!

East London Design Show

8 Dec

Another weekend, another great design show. This is a great time of year to see what artists and designers in your city have been up to as the Christmas fairs bring together so many people to show off their work.

The East London Design Show was held in the gorgeous Shoreditch Town Hall, which I have only ever been into the basement of, so I was excited to see the rest of the building. There were hundreds of artists, and lots of really interesting and creative ideas on display.

I came away with a brilliant giant calendar and weekly planner from Katy n June and saw a few other bits I really liked these little critters (below) from NooDoll.

Another favourite was the brightly coloured stand from Kate Clarke.

The Make Do and Draw stand was amazing – tiny wooden models of streets. They can even create a doll’s house of your house if you give them all the dimensions. So much detailed work!

Not pictured but also worth a mention: Heart Zeena had some great Christmas tape, which I bought (and have already used here), Goodwin & Goodwin‘s letter holders were brilliant and I was seriously tempted to buy one for myself, and great stationery from Lollipop Designs.

Craft Central’s Made in Clerkenwell show

27 Nov

This weekend saw Craft Central open their studios to host the Made in Clerkenwell show.  The show/shopping extravaganza was over many, many floors within the organisation’s two buildings in Clerkenwell. Hundreds of artists opened up their studios, letting people inside to see where they produce their art and buy some stuff too!

There was such a variety of things on offer – lots of jewellery, textiles, posters, letter-press prints. Everything was handcrafted to such a high standard and there were some really amazing and unique things on offer.

Some of my favourite things were:

These amazing earrings by DeAnna Kiernan Jewellery.

All the gorgeous painted porcelain by Helen Beard (although I also particularly liked them when unpainted – the colour and shape just looks so crisp!).

These wonderful London prints from Vic Lee (I was tempted to buy one of the East London prints, maybe of my old haunts Broadway Market and Columbia Road, but now that I’m down south I thought it might make more sense to get something closer to home. Sadly he only had Northcote Road, which is a bit too yummy mummy for me!).

These sensational (literally, they were light as a feather with a texture that felt amazing) ceramics from IKUKO Iwamoto Ceramics (above top) and these lacey ceramics from Janet Stahelin Edmondson (above, bottom).

And this unbelievably intricate bowl from Ane Christensen, made of painted copper with hundreds of tiny holes in it.

All in all, an absolutely inspiring day, showcasing some wonderful UK-based artists.

Unfortunately my budget is a little stretched right now, and I am only allowing myself to buy presents for other people. I didn’t see anything that quite matched the people on my list, so walked away empty handed. However, next year they have a wedding craft fair, and hopefully my money plant will have bestowed some spare cash on me by then so I think I’ll be going back very soon!

West Norwood Feast

6 Oct

On Sunday my mum and I caught the bus down to West Norwood, to visit the West Norwood Feast. The Feast has only been running for around six months (it began in April this year), but is already proving hugely popular. The market is held on the first Sunday of every month.

The market is divided into four different sections – gardening, artisan, food and retro. Each section is about a 5 minute walk from the other, meaning that as well as seeing lots of great stalls, you also wander around West Norwood a little bit. I spoke to one of the organisers, and she said that was part of the design. As well as bringing lots of people down to that part of town, the market should also bring business to the local shops. A couple of the cafs in particular seemed to be doing a booming trade.

The market itself is lovely. There were so many things in each of the four sections that I wanted to buy. In the end I walked away with a LOVELY little Christmas present for my god-daughter, some green seasoning for my fiance’s best friend (we had just been talking about this essential Caribbean cooking ingredient the night before), and my mum picked up some amazing little cakes. This mini cake shop was absolutely amazing – I wish they had an online store so you could read their mission statement, but it looks like there’s just a holding page at the moment.

The retro section also lots of lovely bits – old Ladybird books (including these amazing books about the Di & Charles royal wedding, below), really nice vintage shoes, and a couple of pieces I didn’t really like the style of, but which had amazing fabric – I was very tempted to buy them just to rip them up!  There were also a couple of nice bric-a-brac and furniture stalls.

In addition to the market, there is also a gallery that is involved in the festival – the Portico Gallery had several beautiful paintings I would have loved to own had I had a few hundred pounds going spare! Tina Mammoser in particular had really evocative paintings of pure colour, but bringing to mind mist and fog and early morning light. Gorgeous.

The next market in on the first Sunday in November, so if you’re in South London, it’s definitely worth making a trip! Also, if you’re a creative sort and are interested in running a workshop, they are always looking for new people to get involved. Their e-mail address is hello (at) westnorwoodfeast (dot) com.

DIY wedding bouquet

20 Sep

Wedding bouquets can be incredibly pricey. The alternative bride’s bouquet of choice at the minute seems to be made of buttons. I can appreciate that this can be very personal and ‘quirky’, but I’m afraid I am absolutely not a fan. Flowers are the only way for me.

Prices I have been looking at range from £40 to several hundred pounds. The ones I have seen in wedding magazines which I have really liked have cost around £75. The flowers do look beautiful, but I would like to spend around £15 for my bouquet, which is going to mean attempting to do it myself.

According to the instructions in this video, it doesn’t look not too hard at all. But then the woman creating the bouquet in the video is clearly a professional and I, with my very limited flower arranging skills, am not.

Well, last weekend I went to the New Covent Garden Flower market to find out what was in season for our centrepieces, and to buy some cut flowers to attempt some bridal bouquet making.

And you know what? It wasn’t that hard.

Unlike Madonna, I love hydrangeas, and wanted to incorporate them. Each flower has a very large head, meaning you need to buy fewer of them.

Start by cutting off all the extra leaves, keeping only the ones you would like to include in the final arrangemnt. Hold them in your hand with their stems crossed and then add 5 stems spray flowers in where you want them.

Tie them with a string to make the ribbon tying easier. You definitely need someone to tie the string around the flowers – I don’t know how you would do that on your own. Then wrap around 3/4 of a metre of ribbon tightly around the stems, where you will be holding them.

Pin the ribbon closed and then cut off the bottom of the stems. Next time I would leave more green between the end of the ribbon and the end of the stems on my bouquet. I don’t seem to have a photo, but I don’t know why I cut them so short – there is no green after the ribbon, which will likely result in the ribbon coming off during the course of the day. NOT what you want to be thinking about!

In the end, I only used three heads, which cost around £7.50.

Next I created a test for the bridemaids, using stocks and the same spray. I used another 5 stems of spray. The stocks and spray together cost £9 but I had enough stocks for two bouquets, with 5 stems each.

I absolutely loved both of these! I like the colours and the combinations. To be sure, if I was a professional I’m sure these would be more neatly fastened, and lots of the bouquets seem to have 4-5 varieties within them, but I think they look beautiful. Plus they were really easy to do – they took around 10 minutes each.

With myself and four bridesmaids I would need:

  • 3 heads of hydrangeas (£7.50)
  • 3 bunches of spray (£12)
  • 2 bunches of stocks (£10)

Bringing the entire cost of the flowers for the bride and bridesmaids to around £30.  The bridal bouquet on it’s own would be £10. Not too shabby! For the event itself, I might splash out and spend an extra £5 or so on some additional flowers to go in between the hydrangeas and add a bit more dimension to it.

My mother kindly bought my testing flowers today, which came to around £25 altogether as we bought slightly too many, so including this trial run and the ribbon (£3.95), the total cost will be £58.95.  However, I’m tempted not to count the flowers bought today in the total cost because they are now in vases on my mantlepiece and look so pretty!

What do you think? Do you know anyone who has made their own bouquet? How did it go?

The New Covent Garden Flower Market

17 Sep

This weekend, I went to the New Covent Garden Flower Market. It’s around a year to go until my wedding, so I wanted to see what kind of flowers were in season at this time of year in the UK to keep the costs down as much as possible.  The market has started a wonderful blog which has started highlighting what’s new in each month, so if you want to see what’s right for your wedding month and don’t have a whole year to go, have a look there.

The market is absolutely enormous and has plants, real flowers, fake flowers, small trees, pots, vases, giant letters made of that styrofoamy material that you stick cut flowers into, ribbon, ‘decorative crystals’ – and endless variety of things to look at. I got there at 8:30, which was definitely too late, as I think several of the stands had already closed. The market opens at 4am on Saturdays and runs until 10, so we were there at the tail end of the opening hours. Apparently not all wholesalers open on Saturdays so if there’s a particular stand you are interested, check before you go.

The best part about this visit was that it really crystalised for me what I wanted because I could see what was actually available and how much it cost. P & I were hoping to have plants on the tables, rather than cut flowers, and are looking for colourful but natural flora.  I love the wildflowers and colours we have seen on some of our walks around the UK, so was very much looking for something along those lines. We also want things of varying heights, as each table will have around 3 different vases on it.

I loved this heather and these colourful tiny flowers. I think they would make a really beautiful centrepiece if we got some nice jars or maybe tea cups to put them in.

I also loved these tiny white flowers and they are called ‘Flaming Katie’ so that pretty much sold it to me!

I bought quite a few flowers for my bouquet testing (both for myself & the bridesmaids – more of that next week), and the great thing about the flower market was the enormous choice. There were so many different colours and styles. From the very familiar to the extremely exotic. There were even some square flowers (which somehow I managed to take no photos of – sorry!)

In terms of price, it was worth getting up a little early on a Saturday. Most of the plants are available as wholesale only – meaning you have to buy an entire tray. So, not ideal if you just want one little rosemary plant. But if you want 12 heather plants (which I think I do), then they are £0.80 each.

The cut flowers are slightly more expensive, but significantly cheaper than your regular flower store – almost half the price in some instances! And they were sold in bunches, rather than having to buy huge quantities. Things like ribbon are also a little bit cheaper but the difference isn’t as striking as with the flowers. All in all, a lovely morning and some very good research for next year!

Crafty Fox Market at Thames Festival, London

11 Sep

The Thames Festival has been on this weekend on the South Bank in London. The festival is a celebration of London and the River Thames with a combination of food, music, craft and activities. I spotted a tweet by Crafty Fox Market this morning which said that there was a whole craft area so I popped along to see what was happening.

The Craft Trail is a group of independent craft collectives who joined forces to promote crafts at the festival. They produced a map so that you could find all the different areas. I didn’t find them all, partly because there were so many people but also because I was wearing new shoes which were killing me and couldn’t walk too far! I did find the Crafty Fox Market and saw lots of cool things and a workshop going on.

Bobbins and Balms had some lovely things including these bath bombs (which has inspired me to give making them a go with the recipe from Queen of Crafts).

A workshop in the Crafty Fox Workshop Den with Stuffed Nonsense who make cute and crazy creatures from fabric and bits and bobs.

I think this was the Crafty Pint stand but I’m not totally sure. I like these cute flower brooches which, if I’m right, there was a workshop to make yesterday.

I don’t know the name of this stall but really wish I’d bought one of these dolls for my cousin’s first birthday next month.

All very inspiring for projects at home and plus while I’ve been researching the links for this post I’ve found lots of dates to add to my diary to go crafting out and about.

Buy My Wardrobe fashion event

5 Sep

Saturday morning saw two of us (Hannah and Katie) heading into central London to attend the Buy My Wardrobe event. Held at the Adam Street Members club, the event brought together lots of people with lots of surplus clothing to sell – some were stylists, some were collectors, and some just had too many clothes and needed more wardrobe space.

We were running very late for the bloggers’ preview and got there just as the doors opened to the VIP ticket holders.

The place was overwhelmed with people for about 10 minutes and then strangely emptied out. We reckoned the early bird ticket holders are probably semi-professional at these events – go in, find the good stuff, get out. When we first arrived it was so crowded you couldn’t really get to the clothing racks, and the venue was absolutely baking, but ten minutes later, when the professional shopping types left, it was much more relaxed.

Even more relaxing once we had had a glass of complimentary champagne.

There were a lot of nice things on offer, most of which were way, way cheaper than they would be in store. Some of the items were a bit random (dress from H&M? New Look trousers?), but most was designer or vintage.

Hannah fell in love with a Mulberry bag. In John Lewis the same bag costs £850, but here it was just £300. Still a lot of money, but almost a third of the retail price.There was also a gorgeous Prada bag that tempted both of us.

Katie, meanwhile, tried on a wedding dress (too poufy) and fell in love with a white skirt with a studded waist.

Sadly, neither of us is blessed with any spare cash at the minute, so we both walked away empty handed. But if you are in the market for some pre-loved (but often not worn at all) designer shoes or clothes, this is a great way to get them.

Thanks to Julia for inviting us. If you would like to find out more about Buy My Wardrobe, including when the next events are, visit their website.

Hannah & Katie

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