The Handmade Fair @ Bowood House.

bowood x

The weather has been absolutely glorious in England this weekend and it looks like the sunshine will be staying put for a little while yet which makes me and I’m sure the rest of the UK want to stand up and rejoice!! I was lucky enough to have been invited by Rewired PR to an event at Bowood House in Wiltshire at the weekend called The Handmade Fair. The event was over three days from the Friday to the Sunday and was blessed with the most fantastic, sunny weather. As soon as I heard about this I really liked the idea of this fair. Created by Kirstie Allsopp as a great way to get more people into arts and crafts as well as uniting art, craft and handmade lovers far and wide which I really like. This is the ultimate creative day out whether you want to brush up on your skills from experts or if you want to dabble at something new and uncover a hidden crocheting talent there really is something for everyone. There’s plenty of things going on at The Handmade Fair whether, like me, you’re happy ambling round The Shopping Villages. They’re all bursting at the seams with handmade products and full of people  are full to the brim with handmade products of the highest quality by the talented makers and creators. If that doesn’t tickle your pickle you can always head over to The Super Theatre, Skills Workshops and Grand Makes marquee’s where you can learn a new skill or two hosted by the UK’s most renowned experts. Oh and did I mention they had some magnificent street food vans dotted around too? I could have gone around twice collecting my £200 for passing GO everytime. I really loved how inclusive this event was. Since going vegetarian back in November it has been somewhat tricky for me to find foods when out and about that I really like and get excited by. But there was so much choice here from homemade ravioli, to a specific vegetarian/vegan food truck called Eats Shoots and Leaves (I LOVE a good pun, especially a panda related one).

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Nestled in the heart of the Wiltshire countryside, not too far from Chippenham, sits a Grade I listed Georgian country house also known as Bowood House and Gardens. The Fair was held in the Gardens and you have to give The Handmade Fair team their credit for picking some of the most stunning locations. From Ragley Hall in Warwickshire in May to their later dates of being in Hampton Court Palace in September. Such an ideal way to make a weekend of it by visiting the Fair and spending another day having a nose around the house and gardens!

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My sister and I set off on the Saturday morning just before 10. It was a gorgeously sunny and only took about an hour from my house despite getting a tiny bit lost as I thought I knew better than the directions on my phone. Apple 1 – Abbie 0.  As soon as we parked up and got our wristbands from the desk we practically bounced on inside. The staff on the gates and checking tickets were all so friendly, happy and welcoming, asking us if we needed any help or wanted to know where to start and gladly pointed me in the direction of the RewiredPR tent so I could say a quick hello to the lovely team that made this possible. This was my first ever blog related event and I was feeling a bit anxious/nervous about it all. My sister helped me put my mind at ease and so did the PR team. They were so lovely and I found it really nice to meet the people or the person behind the emails and put a face to a name. So with that I went to go for a wander around the site armed with my phone and my camera as I was worried all my storage would be gone in a matter of five photos and a boomerang.

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My sister and I are both big foodies so were naturally drawn to the Artisan Marketplace marquee. It was like someone knew I was coming as it was filled with delectable sweet treats, cakes and several different gins. Naturally I had to sample them all and I was actually surprisingly taken with a coffee infused dark rum from Cornwall.

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As a lover of gin I can safely say how happy I am that it appears to be really having a ‘moment’ and is the ‘in’ spirit of choice. I know a few people who don’t really like it or find the scent of it quite woody or ‘piney’ in their words. But I think with so many different tonics available, flavoured gins and even flavour pairings you could add different herbs and spices, fruits or even a slither or cucumber to give it a rounded, cleaner taste if the taste of juniper isn’t for you!

From the same stand my sister and I purchased some savoury biscuits which were so incredible. We bought three boxes and they didn’t even last as long as 24 hours from unboxing as soon as we got them home. They were from the same company as seen above called Popti and they may be the most delicious biscuits I’ve tried. I love the packaging it’s so simple yet the choice of bold colours makes them really stand out on a shelf. They have a good variety of different flavours which you could snack on, on their own or even as an accompaniment to cheeses. If you ever come across this brand I urge you to try them they were so moreish and buttery. They honestly tasted like a savoury shortbread or something. INCRED. Also the lady we spoke to was so kind and lovely!!

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I even tried a small sample of moonshine. I did read the leaflet and the gentleman selling these did explain what moonshine *actually* is but other than a delicious and smooth alcohol they made in the prohibition era I still can’t quite remember. I tried one that tasted just like ameretto and could have easily drunk that neat all day long.

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A variety of different cheeses were also on offer and I tried a charcoal cheese which was mild, creamy albeit being rich and black in colour. If you had your eyes closes and weren’t any the wiser you wouldn’t have had any idea I don’t think as it didn’t have that overpowering smokiness sometimes charcoal can give. This type of thing would look great on a cheeseboard. BTW this chap is totally caught off guard but I’m living for the pose I might make that my go to pose in photos…White gloves optional.

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These marshmallows were incredible from a company called Grown Up Marshmallows.  I’ve loved marshallows since I was a child and I love seeing the different flavours or the gourmet ones you can get now. I tried the dark chocolate and raspberry one and it was amazing, it was soft and gooey but still had some chewiness to it. To me it tasted just like a normal, regular marshmallow if it wasn’t for the fact the sign and the lady talking to me said it didn’t contain any gluten, fats or egg I wouldn’t have been any the wiser.

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I’ve never in my life seen so many different ways with garlic as I did on this stall. Garlic butters, different types of garlic mayo, whole garlic bulbs, pureed garlic, garlic oil even to garlic beer?! All freshly grown from their Isle of Wight farms.

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I love these Mighty Fine nuggets of joy so much. My sister got me a peanut butter flavoured pouch for my birthday but my one true love is dark chocolate and it goes so nicely with their honeycomb I had to get this one especially as it was a £1 cheaper than usual shop price. Mighty fine you really are mighty fine.

Around midday we decided to take a bit of respite and get something to eat. You’re spoilt for choice for things to eat whether you want fish and chips, sheeps milk ice cream, gourmet cheese on toast to vegan nachos. You could easily spend all day trying some of each food stall until you burst. Eventually my sister and I decided on a food truck called RaviOllie. I love a good pun me. RaviOllie was born when the chef, Ollie, had spent many years working in top restaurants in London learning every inch of the kitchen including perfecting the art of making fresh and incredible pasta. Taking this love of food and pasta he decided on putting his own stamp on things, specifically ravioli. And I’m blimmin’ glad he did. We had spinach and ricotta filled ravioli topped with Parmesan, cracked black pepper and a choice of different oils.  The pasta was like nothing I’ve ever tried before. It was absolutely sensational. The pasta itself was gorgeous and nothing at all like ones I’ve had in restaurants or shop bought. You could just tell the ingredients were fresh and of good, high quality as it looked and smelt so fresh and vibrant.  The filling was so creamy but not too rich, it was cheesy and delicious and I wish I could have an endless supply for the rest of my life because it is legit the most perfect comfort food.

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bowood x x

Feeling a bit peckish we found somewhere selling a pot of strawberries and cream. But this pot was like a Nigella Lawson style levelled up treat. Like Wimbledon hasn’t got a patch on this. Sweet strawbs topped with a lavender cream, vanilla mini meringues, a homemade gin and tonic jelly and mint leaves. HEAVEN. It was the perfect summery snack on a hot afternoon.

After a leisurely bite to eat and soaking up some of the rays we headed into the Shopping Village tent filled to the brim of everything and anything you can think of when it comes to the world of arts and crafts.

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The first stand right by the door took my fancy. You could buy little wooden shapes and paint and decorate them onto to things to make them look so much more decorative and ornate like this little wooden wreath as seen above. This would lovely if you wanted to design a little photoframe for someone as a gift or put a nice picture or even leave it how it is as a wall hanging. These types of things are so versatile if you wanted to make a scrapbook for someone you could make their name out of letter shapes or if you wanted to make a memory box you could decorate it with their products too. The possibilities are endless.

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I love, love, LOVE these quills that were on offer on one stand. You could learn the basics of calligraphy too as their was a workshop on that too! These would make me feel so fancy and like I was in Harry Potter.

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If fabric working or upcycling is much more up your alley there were several different stands selling beautiful prints and fabrics. I’m a magpie for pretty things, bold colours and prints and this whole section really stood out to me. As someone who would love to be able to make their own clothing I looked on at this like a kid in a candy shop. There was another stand that was teaching people to make their own pom poms which I thought was really cute. They would make such good keyrings or decorative pieces.

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This gentleman was showing an older method of weaving wool and attracted quite a crowd. It was really nice to be involved in a day and an event where people with different crafts, hobbies and skill levels came together to celebrate all things homemade. There is something special in having something that you can say I made this. Or I took the time and actually completed this and look how fab it looks!

Other than blogging I’ve never really had a long term hobby that I’ve actually loved, enjoyed and stuck with (maybe playing the recorder at primary school but didn’t everyone do that?!) So I was hoping when I went along to this I would find something that would take my eye and I would develop a new hobby, skill or love away from technology for a little bit of time per day or week.

bowood xx

I stumbled across this stand selling cross stitch kits and naturally the gin related one jumped right out at me. Seeing as I got this on Saturday and today is now Wednesday and I’ve already taken it out of the box to have a go I think that’s a good start compared to other things I’ve bought with good intentions of doing and never quite getting round to doing.

If you’re a literal magpie for all things shiny and pretty just like me there were these gorgeous rings on display that look so glamorous and elegant. I love the sea themes in the first picture, in particular the rose gold seashell earrings.

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There was so much going on at The Handmade Fair it would be an enjoyable day out for people of all ages. You can book tickets in advance for places in their workshops and talks from the experts and having just had a look on their website for the Hampton Court Palace timetable (here) they have got some amazing workshops lined up from learning to do brushwork lettering to making your own beading hoop earrings. Whether you’ve always had a dream to make your own funky willow bird feeder, sew your own kimono or learn to make butterly origami, along with the help of The Handmade Fair’s exceptional team of experts it could make these dreams possible. If you get the opportunity I would definitely recommend going to their next Fair. I really enjoyed my time here and I’m sure you would do too!!

I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone at RewiredPR for asking me along to this event I’m really appreciative of it and I really enjoyed my day. Thank you so much to all the kind people working at The Handmade Fair whether that be all the staff I met, the staff behind the scenes who made this event come together so well or all the kind creators, makers and bakers I met too. I know I’m not the only one who would say I had such a lovely time! I hope this event gets better and better upon each year with even more people going along to their next one!

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*What I wrote in this post is all 100% genuine from me and my thoughts on it all. I don’t want to mislead readers into thinking I only wrote positive things as I had been invited to attend. 🙂

Sunshine Blogger Award!!!!

I’m not a very good blogger, I either write on here consistently, 3 times a day or nothing for weeks and months at a time. I only own one thing marble and that’s a coaster for my gin and I’ve only ever been able to take one decent flatlay. I’m not really down with all the blogging lingo if you asked me about my DA or my media kit or about the latest blogging drama the best I could give you would be a slightly derpy confused face because I honestly have no clue. But what I do know is that the blogging community can come together at times and be so lovely and supportive. Floating about amongst this community are a number of different awards that fellow bloggers can nominate other bloggers for. I remember on my old blog, my first blog, all those lightyears ago I got nominated for the liebster award (I’m not sure if that’s still a thing??) But oh my goodness I was running around as if I just got nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize and an Oscar all at the same time. I told everyone I came across that little old ME, was a worthy award winner. Get your ballgowns at the ready, lads!!

You can tell amateur dramatics is something I should have pursued. Nevertheless I was and am still so so chuffed to this day if I am lucky enough to get these. Just last week the very lovely, Rosie nominated me for the Sunshine Blogger award. Following her both through her blog and her twitter page I really like how naturally she writes. She posts such lovely, honest things that are so gorgeously engaging to read. She’s such a natural at this whole blogging BIZ!! If you don’t follow her yet, I would strongly recommend you do, but definitely check out her blog and have a read of one of my favourite posts of hers which is this one. Honest, raw and it totally puts feelings I’ve also had into words. Thank you so much Rosie for this kind nomination it means so much from such a great blogger!!

So before I get down with answering all of Rosie’s questions I’ll explain a little bit about the Sunshine Blogger Award. It is an award, or tag should I say, given from bloggers to other fellow bloggers that are seen as positive, warm and inspiring. Like little rays sunshine. Hence the name eh?! The tag consists of writing a post, tagging and thanking the person who nominated you. Answering the 11 questions they set for you to do. Nominating 11 other bloggers and write for them 11 fun and interesting questions to answer too! So here goes!

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Favourite quote? ‘Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game’ I remembered this quote ever since the first time I watched A Cinderella Story with Hilary Duff allllllllll those years ago and it stuck with me ever since. It’s a great film. I’m definitely watching that this evening.

What’s your favourite drink? Oooooh depends on the occasion. If I’m having a soft drink it’d be lemonade or the watermelon, peach and raspberry juice from Bills (it is INCRED and will quite possibly change your life). If I’m feeling boujee or going out for drinks something like a nice gin and tonic, or a amaretto sour or a pornstar martini will always get me in the partaaaaay mood. But you also can’t beat a good cup of tea can you?

Dream holiday destination? Morocco.

What’s your favourite ice cream flavour? Ice cream is legit one of my favourite sweet treats I’ve loved it since I was a child and I can’t see it ever changing! I love anything from pistachio, to blackcurrent, to a rich dark chocolate. I think i’ll say chocolate for now.

If you could have an office anywhere in the world where would it be and why? Either in Paris or in Times Square in New York. I’d do absolutely no work as I’d be staring out the window people watching all day but think of all the cool things and interesting people you’d see.

If you could change one decision in your life what would it be? That’s an interesting one. I’m quite content in a lot of the decisions I’ve made really. Maybe it would have been to knuckle down harder during school so I could have achieved a lot better grades. I wasn’t the best at revising and I wish I tried a lot harder. Or maybe I’d change so I’d have a bit of a filter in my head, during arguments I tend to say the first thing that pops into my head. Not thinking about if it’ll be a bit harsh or a bit over the line.

Summer or Winter? Summer.

Why did you start your blog? I wanted to get back into blogging again and found it a really therapeutic way of getting my thoughts and feelings out of my head and projected somewhere. I loved the sense of community and friendship that comes with it. Plus i wanted to get much better at cooking and baking and what better way to document it than on here???

Give a small piece of advice to a new blogger? I’d probably say to stay true to yourself and try not to get caught up with blogging drama often found on Twitter or Instagram. 99.9% of the people in the blogging community are lovely, wonderful, super cool, likeminded people but like anything there can be those few people that try and incite negativity. Pfft I don’t have time for that. You do you hunnaaay.

What word best describes your blog? I’d probably say eclectic.

If you could switch blogs with someone for a day who would it be and why? It’s a close one between Kamilah and Jess. I wish I could write as well as both of them respectively and also kinda wish Jess could come round and cook for me everyday. They are so kind and did I mention they are both really cool. I might be fangirling a little bit over here.

Thank you SO much for the tag Rosie, I really enjoyed answering these questions. To check out her answers read her post just here.

The 11 fab people I’m nominating are:

Jess from Jess Eats and Travels. Everything she posts whether it’s on her blog, her Instagram or her Twitter account makes me feel so hungry. She’s an incredibly talent cook and takes the best photography as well that literally leaves me drooling. She’s such a kind soul and one of my favourite blogging people.

K from kkamilah. I don’t think I can actually put into words just how much I obsess over this gal. She’s such a sweet and is actually hilarious on her Twitter too. I could spend ages just liking or RT’ing her content if it didn’t make me look like a crazy fan. Britney eat your heart out…

Ross from Man VS Adulthood. Ross is an absolute babe. If you’re not aware of him (umm where have you been??) he’s one of the kindest people I’ve come across online. He’s so supportive of so many people and that really is something to be praised. He’s an absolute cheerleader for so many different bloggers and is always RT’ing their work, giving them shoutouts or simply just spending the time chatting away to new people, making them feel welcomed and friendly. You are such a positive influence on my blogging journey Ross; so thank you for being you!

Jimmy from Jimmy Et Al. This is my real life buddy. Support him, love him, send him fanmail. He writes from the heart and I appreciate his warmth, his wit and his honesty in his writing. Also he’s my real life pal. So be extra lush for that reason.

Molly from Mollyyrees. She is also someone I know in real life. She is also lovely and her blog makes me want to drive to the airport ASAP and get on the next flight to Barcelona. She’s such a babe and if you don’t find her on her blog you can always find her on twitter catching up with a netflix boxset. Gossip Girl lovers for LIFE.

Tanya from Glam Glitz Gloss.  I wish there were enough words in the English language for me to explain just how FABULOUS this chick is. She’s so kind and thoughtful and also her blog is absolute goals. She’s always up to something exciting and I love her no holds barred attitude towards so many things in life. She’s honestly such an inspiration to me.

Michaela from Mleeek. Michaela is effortlessly cool in that I wish I could steal her wardobe and we could be best friends and go to concerts together and I could quote everything she says on Tumblr type of way. She’s one of the best and her photography is an actual dream.

Danielle from The Preemie Mummy. Danielle is so kind and considerate and her blog posts are such a joy to read. She has such a kind soul and I don’t think I’ve ever seen her say a bad word about anyone. Everyone needs a sprinkling of Danielle in their life!

Kaylea from Will Flirt for Food. Kaylea’s blog is actual real life food porn. From decadent recipes to the most amazing looking food she’s eaten out and about. I love seeing and reading about what she’s got up to on her travels, what she’s seen and more importantly what she ate!

Esther from Esther Wyse Blog.  Esther is the epitome of a sunshine blogger to me. She’s always so positive! She’s so lovely and you can tell she is inside and out through what she puts online. Her post on 24 life lessons she learnt in 24 years gives me LIFE (seen here). Especially the bit about cheese. Nothing goes wrong with extra cheese.

Alicia from Popular is Wrong. Alicia is such a brilliant writer. Everything she pens is heartfelt and thought provoking and I adore the way she writes. I really loved her post about Instagram Envy found just here. It really struck a chord with me and I really would urge anyone who’s a prolific Instagrammer like me to read it and let it sink in.

Aaaaand your 11 questions are:

  1. Why did you start your blog?
  2. Pineapple on a pizza? Yay or nay?
  3. If you could turn any activity into an Olympic sport, what would you have a good chance at winning medal for?
  4. What would you have for your dream three course dinner?
  5. If you had unlimited funds to build a house that you would live in for the rest of your life, what would the finished house be like?
  6. Are you usually early or late?
  7. What would be your ideal way to spend the weekend?
  8. What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?
  9. How different was your life one year ago?
  10. What is something that your friends would consider “so you”?
  11. If someone narrated your life, who would you want to be the narrator?

I AM SO EXCITED TO READ ALL YOUR ANSWERS!!!