Wednesday, 26 November 2014

The Fairy Tale Fair

Today we hand over to another guest blogger - Claire Montgomery - to tell us about The Fairy Tale Fair...

The Fairy Tale Fair is a well established and well loved craft fair in Brighton. We launched in 2012 in Patcham, Brighton and we have continued to grow and build a loyal following of stall holders and customers. The Facebook page now has 5,000 fans, twitter isn’t far behind and our blog has had over 60,000 views since launch in summer 2012, which is an amazing feeling. In summer 2014 we launched our new site ( and started an exciting expansion for the fair...

Christmas 2014 will see The Fairy Tale Fairs biggest expansion yet! This year we are holding three festive fairs and for the first time venturing into central Brighton. There is lots to look forward to with an array of wonderful craft and vintage sellers. Join us in our established home of Patcham Methodist on November 15th, at the newly regenerated Brighton Open Market on November 23rd, and most exciting of all at Brighton Racecourse on Saturday 6th December! Here there will be 100 stalls plus lots of magical extras, making it Brighton’s biggest handmade craft fair this winter. Highlights include Santa’s photo booth, free vintage hair and make up, the Snow Queen from Frozen performs ‘Let It Go’ live, face painting by fairies, singers & dancers, goody bags and lots more!

We see the fairs are the perfect opportunity to get your gifts handmade and one off this year, and avoid the stress of the high street. You’ll also be supporting the talented designers and makers, many of whom are local, and waiting to sell their creations to you!

We are lucky enough to have been chosen as one of American Express’ top 100 small businesses of 2014 for Small Business Saturday UK, which is on Saturday 6th December (the day of our Racecourse fair). Small Business Saturday is a grass-roots, non-political, non-commercial campaign that supports, inspires and promotes small business and encourages people to support small businesses in their communities, both on the Saturday itself and beyond. We are honored to have been chosen by a global company as prestigious as American Express out of all the small businesses who applied across the UK it feels very special. So where did it all begin?

The Fairy Tale Fair is the creation of myself, Claire Montgomery (aka Cat-a-Cake Creations). As a designer and regular on the craft scene myself I decided to set up my own craft fair. I love taking part in craft fairs but felt there was a lack of community based fairs for all the family to enjoy. After a few months planning and hounding craft-y contacts The Fairy Tale Fair was finally born! The first fair was in August 2012 and was in fact the hottest day of the year! It was held in a little hall in Patcham, Brighton and despite the blazing sun saw a huge turn out! It was quite stressful in the lead up to the first event, not knowing what the response or turn out would be but luckily it all went well. Stall holders and visitors very much enjoyed their day- eating alice in wonderland themed cakes, drinking gallons of tea and selling or buying wonderful handmade creations. One thing was for certain though- we needed a bigger venue! And now here we are just over 2 years later with 3 big fairs on the way and 180 stalls filled for Christmas 2014!

For further information and a full schedule of each of the fairs head over to the fairs website: Hope to see you there, looking suitably festive!

Friday, 14 November 2014

Dinner at Las Iguanas

Brighton's Las Iguanas has been given a makeover and so we were kindly invited down to take a look. On the way over I realised that while their happy hour is a well-known treat I had never actually eaten in the restaurant so I was looking forward to trying some South American fayre.

As it was a damp and dreary evening the warm colours of the restaurant were a particularly welcome sight and we felt very cosy in our curved yellow banquette. Fans of people-watching are well-served as if you are sat in the raised dining area (as we were) then you can watch your fellow diners whereas if you are on ground level you can make use of the floor-to-ceiling windows and watch the world go by.

There was plenty of choice on the menu including veggie, vegan and gluten-free options but after lots of umming and ahhing we decided to go for the classic chicken enchiladas. The portions are generous although I'm glad the waiter suggested having a side dish, not because we needed it but just because the sweet potato fries were lovely.

The enchiladas were delicious and I was feeling pretty stuffed so was about to decline a dessert when the waiter suggested we could share some churros, and we could always take some home if needs be. Well who could say no to that?! It turns out there was no need for the doggy bag as the churros were irresistibly scrumptious. They came with two dipping pots - one with caramel sauce and the other chocolate. The caramel was nice but if chocolate is an option then that's what I'm having! 

I'm glad that I finally got to eat in Las Iguanas and I'll definitely be going back again, the churros alone is reason enough for a return visit! I also think this would be a good venue for a group outing as there are lots of rounded tables and dishes that would be ideal for sharing.


Wednesday, 12 November 2014

MADE Brighton - The Design and Craft Fair

Today we hand over to Anne-Marie Shepherd to give her insider's guide to MADE Brighton - The Desgin and Craft Fair...

The resurgence of craft shows no sign of abating, Every village, town and city seems to be brimming with homemade ware; fairs, fetes, pop up shops, specialist shows, beautiful high end galleries - it seems we can’t get enough of it.

MADE BRIGHTON – The Design and Craft Fair is the city’s annual contemporary craft and design show taking place at The Dome Corn Exchange from 21 – 23 November. The fair, sponsored by COAST Magazine themselves true craft advocates, offers the public the opportunity to buy original and exceptional pieces of craft and design direct from designer / makers. Now in its 9th year, MADE BRIGHTON has become firmly established as a friendly, accessible and top quality event. The show welcomes over 5500 visitors; collectors, galleries, curators and of course Christmas shoppers, many of whom return year on year knowing that the work is well worth viewing.

MADE BRIGHTON showcases over 100 makers and designers; from unique glassware to luxurious textiles, functional ceramics to dazzling jewellery, beautiful furniture to quirky accessories, there is something for everyone. A full list of exhibitors can be seen here.. Work is priced between £10 and £1500, providing the perfect opportunity to shop for unique gifts as well as perhaps finding that ‘can’t live without’ item! For men there is Chris Hawkins edgy jewellery or some wooden delights from Forge Creative and Sarah Lock lighting.. For babies and children there is an abundance of textile treats. The Black Rabbit has fabulous knitted Bods and Christmas decorations, Woodchild offers knitted blankets, hats and scarves whilst Sally Ann Dunn is bringing her hand smocked garments, ideal for adorning sweet cherubs. For women……., well for women there is simply everything; jewellery by regulars Alison Haddon and Rachel Eardley or by Amanda Doughty and Sue Gregor, both new to the show this year, amazing glassworks by Annie McCabe and Jonathan Rogers, fabulous hats by Angelika Klose and Lizzie Lock and for textiles everyone is spoilt for choice. MADE BRIGHTON brings knitwear, silks, linens, felt and much, much more.

We are delighted that local basket maker and willow artist, Annemarie O'Sullivan, will be showing and demonstrating her stunning work in the foyer at MADE BRIGHTON. Annemarie makes baskets and loves to transfer the traditional skills of basket making into larger woven forms. We can’t wait to see what she brings!

A café provides a place for visitors to relax and take refreshment.

MADE BRIGHTON – The Design and Craft Fair
21st – 23rd November, 2014
  • Friday 21st November 11am – 7:30pm
  • Saturday 22nd November 10am - 6pm
  • Sunday, 23rd November 10am – 5pm
The Dome Corn Exchange, Church Street, Brighton, BN1 1UD
Tickets £6.50 on the door. Children under 14 free
Travel direct to Brighton from London Victoria by train 10 minute walk from Brighton station

For more information please visit the MADE BRIGHTON:
Coast Magazine celebrates the UK seaside in all its glory and is an avid supporter of craft and design.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

South Downs National Park celebrates #WorldResponsibleTourismDay

Of course we all know that today is Bonfire Night but did you know that it is also World Responsible Tourism Day - an international day of action promoting tourism that protects the world?

To celebrate, the South Downs National Park has launched a new video encouraging people to Discover, Enjoy, Care:

If you're feeling inspired to visit the countryside then have a look at our dedicated website to help you explore the Downs, Towns & Coast. The site includes advice on bus travel into the countryside as well tips on cycle routes and country walks. You can also enter our competition to win a break and a vineyard tour in the picturesque village of Ditchling. Good luck!