Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Where's my festive feeling?

I'm normally a big fan of Christmas, I love the lights, the food, the decorations, seeing family and friends, having time to do some cooking, eating and drinking too much and the list could go on and on. But this year I just want to curl up on my sofa and sleep and not have any contact with the world for a least a week!! So I suppose I am still looking forward to it, but in my own way.

I started off the month feeling very festive and had some big festive plans. But then we had the burst pipe and then last week I was ill up with some kind of stomach bug and only had my first proper meal in 6 days last night. Its all kind of killed my festive feeling. I am sure when I finish work tomorrow I will rediscover some of my missing festive feeling, and I think I need to plan some things to get me in the mood. But at the moment its well and truly gone.

Monday, 13 December 2010


I had big plans for last week. I was hoping to take lots of product shots and list them on Folksy (better late then never), I was going to do a Christmas Giveaway and was generally going to get myself sorted and organised.

Unfortunately things went pear shaped again on Wednesday. We got a call from our lovely neighbour saying there was water pouring out of our roof. We got home to find some of the kitchen ceiling on the floor, water pouring into the living room and general the house in very wet chaos.

After contacting about 8 plumbers we managed to get hold of someone who could come round. It turned out to be a bust pipe. The plumber was really puzzled why it had happened as our pipes are lagged and the heating had been on a lot and nothing else seemed to be frozen.

So then the clean up began. Every room bar one was effected to various degree's so we called in back up in the form of my wonderful mum and dad.

The spare room got the worst of it, we had to pull up the carpet as it was completely soaking and the fitted wardrobe got a good soaking, all the wood has split or swollen and none of the doors will close. Unfortunately the wardrobe contained our entire selection of clothes, shoes, towels bedding etc... and almost everything got a good soaking. So I am currently working through about 20 bin bags of washing and my mum took several back with her too (bless her). All my shoes were full of water and I currently only have one dry pair. They are so wet I can't see them ever drying.

Some of the ceiling came down in the kitchen and water got into every kitchen cupboard and draw so everything has to be cleaned.

We were quite lucky in the living room as we have varnished hard wood floors and leather sofa's so have been able to cleaning up most of the mess, things are still drying out, but it doesn't seem too bad considering.

After a few days of hard work cleaning up, things aren't looking too bad (especially considering the amount of water we had pouring into the house). We are both trying to look on the positive side and things could have been much worse. I am still working my way through a massive pile of washing and things are a bit damp. We still have some things to sort, but we are getting there. I think most of the house will need redecorating, carpets and rugs replacing etc... so it will be a while before we are back to normal, but it just one of those of things.

Now I have the fun task of sorting out insurance, which is already proving very stressful and so far I am very disappointed with the service I am getting from the building insurance and I think it may be a hard slog to get anything sorted. Having said that the contents people seem much better.
I am just hoping to next cold spell doesn't last too long as I am so scared of it happening again!

Monday, 6 December 2010

Another strange one

This weekend I shared a stall with Pinnikity at the Contemporary Craft Fair at the Warwickshire Exhibition Centre. After a very disappointing fair the weekend before we were both hoping this would be a good one. But unfortunately sales were few and far between, we both sold a few things, but only really enough to cover costs, which was a bit disappointing.

Having said all of that in many ways it was a really good event. It was really well organised. (My day job is an events producer, so I do like and appreciate a well organised event!). The booking procedure, regular updates throughout the year, exhibitor manual sent out before the event, were all really good. Then onsite there were people directing you to loading bays, where there were trolleys available and exhibitor parking was close by, all of this made setting up and taking down really easy. All the stands were clearly labelled, and room plans were available at the door so you could see where to go. The organisers had also done a really good job with getting visitors, it was really busy, especially in the morning, but was it got a bit quiet in the afternoon. So I really can't fault the event itself. Its just shame people didn't seem to be spending any money. Many other stall holders were saying the same thing.

So that's all my Christmas Fairs done for the year. I think next year I will be choosing what I do more carefully and may just do a couple of smaller local fairs, as its easier the cover cost and doesn't matter so much if you don't so well. I also hope that by next year, people may be happier to get their purses out again, but that seem unlikely.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Contemporary Craft Shopping Experience

On Sunday (5th December) I am sharing a stall with Pinnikity at the Contemporary Craft Shopping Experience, at the Warwickshire Exhibition Centre.

I am really looking forward to this event and have my fingers crossed that its going to be better than last weekend. All the stalls are selling handmade goodies and I believe there are around 100 makers attending. The organisers have tried to get a good mix of crafts and looking at the website there seems to be a really nice selection. Sounds like it may be a great place for some more Christmas shopping. I am just hoping that its not effected by the weather too much.

Here is a photo of my snowy garden, not bad for city snow!

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Hot Spicy Apple Juice

Thanks for all your lovely comments about my craft fair 'experience' at the weekend, really appreciate everyone's encouragement and its really helpful to hear other experiences.

Another success story from the weekend, was Hot Spicy Apple Juice. I spend Saturday looking rather longingly at people drinking mulled wine. And thought it would be great to have a non alcoholic version. So on Saturday night I went home and made some Hot Spicy Apple Juice, it was loosely based on a recipe for mulled cider by Sarah Raven, which is also very yummy.

The recipe is roughly as follows:

Hot Spicy Apple Juice

2 litres of apple juice.
2 apples, sliced
2 oranges sliced
Lemon zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 cinnamon sticks
10 cloves
About 2 tables spoons of brown sugar, you may want to do this taste.
1 tsp of mixed spice.

Bung everything in a large pan and gently simmer for an hour, then drain and drink. I re-heated the next morning and put in a flask and it was great.

I think this may become my tipple this Christmas.