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Friday 27 November 2015

The Handmade Christmas Fair 2015

Last Friday marked the beginning of The Handmade Christmas Fair in Manchester. Being fond of festivities and crafts, I hoped on a train in heartbeat along with my dear friend Lucy.

There was so much to see,  this time with the fair being under cover in the beautiful building that is Manchester Central. The first stall we stopped at was Lubylu and were captivated by the gorgeous scents of candles and melts. They smelt good enough to eat and I couldn't resist getting some Cranberry marmalade melts which now fill my house with a wonderful festive scent- even when they're not being melted!

Like September's Christmas fair there was a beautifully decorated press lounge, styled this time around by the talented Things By Laura. I sadly missed the workshops this time but I couldn't help but take a few snaps of the beautiful display.

After lots of perusing it we took the opportunity to have a sit down and a well earnt drink. I was so pleased to see Deco Noir were back, this time leaving the 50s caravan and instead having a rather stunning grand piano which I couldn't help but pose with...

A trip to the fair can't be complete without seeing Kirstie herself in action so Lucy and I headed to the super theatre to watch Kirstie and James Mackenzie make gingerbread parking christmas trees and cinder toffee! 

I also got the chance to ask Kirstie what her famous Christmas bake was to which she replied:

"It's really difficult. I know I've got James up here and I'm being really flattering, but because of the amount of eggs in a Yorkshire pudding, it's really good for the kids! In north Devon they do a lot of surfing and a lot of walks, particularly at this time of year and it's a really really quick one because it doesn't have to sit and you don't have to mix it and it's 20-25 minutes in the oven so I often find if I do it really quickly, it's really quickly done. For Christmas, I'm one for having a big breakfast and then a later supper at 5 or 6 o'clock on Christmas Day."

I also fell in love with these hand carved wooden stamps and couldn't resist getting one (watch this space for a DIY coming soon.)

Finally we topped off the fair with a cupcake and found these beautifully festive cakes by One Sweet Day who is now taking deliveries online- happy days! The mulled wine and cranberry cupcakes were simply divine!

Both Lucy and I came away from the fair feeling very festive and pleased with our goodies. It was a bit of a trek for us to get up to Manchester but it was well worth the visit and we're both keen to get Christmas crafting!

Did you go to this years Handmade Christmas Fair?

Tuesday 24 November 2015

DIY Advent house and Stocking Advent | 12 Crafts of Christmas

I thought I'd kick off 12 crafts of Christmas today with two types of advent calendar you can make at home. They're both such great fun to do and the perfect craft to get you in the festive mood- that and you'll have an excuse to eat chocolate every day for a month and the advent will last for years to come!

With Chris and I saving hard for a deposit on a house, we don't have a great deal of spare cash so when Bryony at Ocean Loans contacted me about a Christmas craft upcycling challenge I got very excited. Ocean Loans help people buy homes and wanted me to combine people's love of their home, Christmas and crafts to create this advent calendar.

They very kindly sent me this wonderful advent house to upcycle and decorate so I headed to Hobbycraft to get some supplies! I wanted to go with a scandi style as it'll match in with the living room best.

DIY Hobbycraft advent calendar

Now as this was an upcycling challenge I also used some things I already had at home which were some blackboard paint and cream chalk paint I'd previously used to paint my craft desk.

You Will Need

  • Wooden advent house
  • Wooden snowflakes and stars
  • Wooden advent number toppers
  • Christmas striped washy tape
  • Blackboard paint
  • Cream chalkboard paint
  • Wax
  • Hot glue gun
  • Red ink stamp pad
  • Sponge
  • White Chalk pen

How to Make

1. Paint the house with cream chalk paint, then paint the roof and chimney and the empty square at the bottom of the advent house with blackboard paint. 
Note: when painting the doors leave them open so they don't stick. The chalk paint may require a few coats.

2. Once completely dry, seal the chalk paint with furniture wax, buffing in with a lint-free cloth.

3. Using a hot glue gun, attach the reindeer to the roof. Hold in place until set. 

4. Next take your sponge and dab into the ink stamp pad. Apply the ink around the edges of all your cream stars, snowflakes and reindeer to give them some dimension and so they stand out against the cream house. Also dab red ink onto the door knobs of the house.

5. Next arrange your stars, snowflakes and reindeer on each door, placing a wooden number next to them,

6. Apply your washy tape to the bottom edge of the house and edge of the roof.

DIY Hobbycraft advent calendar

7. Finally write the year on your black board square using a liquid chalk pen.

DIY Hobbycraft advent calendar

And viola! Your advent calendar is ready to fill with goodies that'll count you down to Christmas day.

DIY Hobbycraft advent calendar

I had SO much fun creating this advent house. Thank you Ocean Loans for setting me the challenge. It's definitely going to be a firm feature in our Christmas decor and really make the place feel homely.

Next up is the stocking advent which if you're into sewing you will love!

I've done a full step-by-step guide to making it over on The Handmade Christmas Fair's blog so check that out or you can watch the how-to video on my YouTube channel below:

I hope you've enjoyed these advent calendars. I'm yet to decide if Chris and I have on each or we share and have an advent calendar for the pets... Yup, we're cool I know!

Have you made an advent calendar? I'd love to see them! So with two of my 12 crafts of Christmas complete, I'll be leading on to "5 simple Christmas crafts" so stay tuned for those!

Happy Christmas crafting!

Friday 20 November 2015

12 Crafts of Christmas

Today's post is I guess a sort of pre-warning that there's A LOT of Christmas crafts coming your way...

Call me organised (or anal), but since October I've been planning to share 12 crafts of Christmas with you all.

I know it's still only November but if you're a keen crafter like myself, you'll know that crafts take a bit of time and if you want to be organised you've got to start early!

A lot of the things I'll be sharing with you are relatively easy and simple to do but make Christmas that little bit more special when you know they're home made!

I'll  be starting off on Tuesday with two different ways you can create your own advent calendar- just in time before December starts, then heading onto kits you can buy, home made tree decorations, cards, gift wrapping and more!

I hope you enjoy the crafts that I share and if you're making things yourself this year I'd love to know what you're doing too!

See you Tuesday for the first instalment of Christmas crafts and if you want a sneak peek at some of the crafts to come, click the video below:

Are you crafting this Christmas?

Tuesday 17 November 2015

The Argo Lounge

The Argo Lounge

Not so long ago I was on a mad shopping spree in Peterborough. I could feel myself getting rather hangry so thought I ought to stop for some lunch and of course I headed straight for The Argo Lounge.

The Argo Lounge

Just off the Cathedral square, The Argo Lounge is in the centre of Peterborough, serving delicious food and fantastic cocktails. There was so much choice on the menu, both Chris and I struggled to pick!

The Argo Lounge

As I was driving I was relegated to soft drinks but was pleasantly surprised that I didn't have to settle with a boring coke or lemonade. There were lots of enticing flavours to choose from and I chose the Berry Delight- a perfect mix of apple juice, Frobisher's bumbleberry juice and freshly squeezed lime. It was so refreshing and I didn't feel like I was missing out with the non-alcohol one bit!

The Argo Lounge

The Argo Lounge

Chris and I both noted that The Argo Lounge is dog friendly! Something we are both impressed with and can see us bringing Harry here in the near future. He's a cultured hound don't you know...

The Argo Lounge

The Argo Lounge

Whilst we sat and waited for our food order I couldn't stop staring around at the eccentric décor and bright colours. There's so many fascinating features to behold from the art-déco fittings to the soviet-era paintings on the walls. This café bar is pretty cool and quirky.

The Argo Lounge

The Argo Lounge

Oh hello food, you wonderous stuff. I went for a salad, trying to be healthy and what not. The grilled halloumi salad was accompanied by sweet potato, roasted butternut squash and basil falafel on a bed of green leaves. It was SO GOOD as well as comfortably filling. I definitely want to attempt to re-create it at home! Chris opted for one of the specials- a lamb and mint burger with spiced aubergine which came out looking pretty epic. Chris' silence proved just how good it was too...

The Argo Lounge

So that's another epic lunch Chris and I have had recently! There's some quite nice places to eat in Peterborough nowadays and even in rural areas too such as Wild Frost Café which I did a blog post on recently. I'm quite chuffed that although we live in the sticks we're never too far from good food and this was no exception. I think next time we'll either venture back with the hound or come in the evening for cocktails. What shall we opt for?

Have you been to The Argo Lounge?

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