Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Local loveliness

At the weekend I took the opportunity to check out a handmade and vintage fair in nearby Milton Keynes.

I had two goals in mind when I visited - I really wanted to see whether this was an event I might like to take part in and also discover lots of local goodies. The event was sited right in front of the entrance to John Lewis and Paperchase is just off to one side. Could a selection of handmade and vintage sellers really compete with the marketing prowess of these big boys? Well from the looks of it - YES! 

I arrived bright and early so that I'd be able to get cheap parking and chat to stallholders before things got busy. So at 9.15am you'd think it wouldn't have warmed up yet but there was already an impressive number of people browsing. By the time I left 90mins later, it was really busy. People were keen to chat to stall holders and to buy!

Vintage was definitely very well represented but there were a good number of handmade sellers too.  I was impressed by the variety of products for sale; ranging from cupcakes to recycled furniture, computer inspired homewares to vintage hair styling.

Stall holders were really friendly and I'm pleased to say I will be featuring a number of them on the blog over the coming months. It was great to find out more about the products; where people got their ideas and how to get the best out of their handmade goodies.

I hadn't intended to buy anything (honest) but found myself unable to resist a number of items. So what did I buy?

Well Rosie and the boys are all rather partial to pickles, chutneys and various other condiments and Paul's Pickles were hard to resist. I tried and bought both the Pineapple chutney (very good with Scotch eggs apparently) and the Kashmir chutney (which WILL be a gift if I can resist temptation). Paul has a real talent for making truly delicious pickles and for suggesting interesting recipes to use them with; he even makes his own honey. Check out the full range here! 

Another stall, another huge temptation. Caroline Jane had a truly amazing collection of vintage curiosities. I limited myself to this very cool toy crane. My youngest boy is one on Saturday and I thought it would make a great present which would last for years. I've noticed that all the vintage cars my boys play with really stand up to being thrown, bashed and treated with very little respect. The brand new plastic versions last about 2 seconds and don't look nearly as nice when artfully arranged on a shelf by mummy!

Sadly Caroline doesn't have a website I can direct you to but perhaps she might be at the next extravaganza and you can discover her interesting collection for yourself?
My final purchase was from the very talented Laura Eaglesfield of Ava and Arthur. Laura has a brilliant eye for colour and a fabulous selection of fabrics from which she makes a whole host of gorgeous things including this bird themed phone cover.

My phone is now safe from scratches and REALLY easy to find in my handbag. I have received loads of compliments on the cover already, which is lovely but Laura deserves the credit!

The next fair event is on the 26th and 27th May - hopefully I'll be there as a stallholder!

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