MAKEMORE Festival 2018

This August Bank Holiday weekend I was excited to go to the inaugural MAKEMORE festival 2018, held in the wonderfully leafy Victoria Park, London. MAKEMORE is a festival for makers and doers, or in other words, a ‘festival for the hands’. Held over five days, the festival featured a line-up of drop-in craft workshops, demos, maker markets, talks, live music, stand-up comedy, and street food.

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One of the highlights of the festival for me were the two beautifully curated makers markets – the first from Urban Makers, featuring everything from plant pots to jewellery, and the second from Turning Earth, featuring a host of beautifully handcrafted ceramics. I fell in love with the 3D printed plant pots from Nilli, the cement planters from heimdesign, and bought a vase from Puya Ceramics.

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I had read on the website that the ticket price included a whole host of creative experiences, making sessions and open workshops, with no need to fork out for extra add-ons once inside, but the reality is that you’ll most likely want to book onto some of the additional ‘specialist’ workshops in advance, as these make up most of the hands-on experiences available at the festival, and looked great fun!

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There were some free workshops and demos happening throughout the day, such as at the Obby UK tent, but many were either over-subscribed (with people being turned away), or a tad infrequent, and not all tents were proactive about inviting you in and getting you involved. We popped into The Bread Station tent, for example, to find that we’d missed their only bread-making demo of the day. “Dough!”

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That being said, if you were organised enough to get a seat on the workshops, they looked really well run, and the teachers were clearly very passionate. If I could do my time again, I’d definitely try to get hands-on with the Turning Earth pottery wheel sessions, the spoon carving with Barn the Spoon, and the terrarium making with The Botanical Boys. The family cooking sessions also looked to be popular.

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The tent where we had the warmest welcome was Jealous Gallery & Print Studio, where two friendly staff invited us to master the squeegee with screen-printing. We picked our colours, and they showed us how to drag the squeegee over a screen to print a tiny bird illustration onto a postcard. As the heavens had opened, we were fortunate to be joined in the tent by the Stamfold Hill Billies Street Band!

For those with children in tow, there were some kid-friendly maker workshops from Little Angle Theatre and Polka Theatre, as well as face-painting and a fun fair. You could also hang out with The Exploration Society and their giant fire to learn about bush-craft activities from carving to fire-lighting.

Elsewhere at the festival we came across artist in residence, Adébayo Bolaji, where you could sit and watch him work. There were also Paint Jam drop-ins and poster-making sessions for all ages, although the weather put an abrupt end to the latter unfortunately. Weather-wise, the woman in the yellow rain coat eating an ice-cream perfectly summed it up… and I think more marquees were summoned!

All in all, we had a fun day and enjoyed the relaxed vibe of the MAKEMORE Festival. Considering this was its first year, I can’t wait to see what the festival will bring next year. If I were to suggest one improvement, it would be MORE free workshops (+ clarity on timings of those workshops), plus the option to book your space on the ‘free’ sessions in advance (a bit like The Handmade Fair), so you don’t miss out.

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We explored the festival by day, but I’d love to hear from anyone who stayed on to enjoy the festival by night? Did you enjoy the comedy acts? Thank you to MAKEMORE Festival for inviting me to check-out the inaugural festival. Bring on MAKEMORE fest 2019!

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Paperchase Christmas in July Showcase

Now, I know that Christmas is still a little way off (OK… a long way off), but as you may know, many of our favourite bigger brands / retailers (like Paperchase) like to reveal their Christmas showcase to media slap bang in the middle of summer, so that we get an early peak at the upcoming festive trends.

When I stepped into the Paperchase ‘Christmas in July’ event last week (at the appropriately named ‘ICETANK’), I found myself genuinely wishing for snow to relief us of the heatwave in London! As I was the first person through the door (I think you call it a ‘keen bean’), I was fortunate to be taken round by Paperchase’s very own Marketing Manager for a whistle-stop tour of the Christmas range.

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At the entrance we were urged to ‘unlock our creative spirit this Christmas’, and inside we were presented with a myriad of gift and craft ideas. Highlights for me were the DIY cracker chandelier, which would look great suspended over a dinner table, as well as the mega suspended card wreath (though I would need to make a lot more friends to fill it), both of which you could recreate at home.

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Christmas Gift Wrapping with IKEA

A few months back I was invited to a festive gift-wrapping workshop with IKEA in London. It was far too early to really think about Christmas back then (I think it was June!), but the event also offered a sneak peak at IKEA’s Autumn / Winter collection (in-store now), which I couldn’t refuse!

You might remember that last year IKEA put on a Christmas tablescaping workshop for a few crafty bloggers, where I obsessed over a gorgeous black bear ornament. This time we were treated to a gift-wrapping workshop with the lovely Janine, who has a completely different creative job by day, but is a widely acknowledged ‘awesome gift wrapper’ on the side – nice to be multi-talented!

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It was lovely to see some friendly faces in the form of Gabrielle from Design Curator and Anna from The Smell of Roses (not to be confused with The Only Smell is Roses, which I nearly wrote – too much TOWIE), and to meet some new faces too – namely Lou from Little Green Shed, Jess from The Only Girl in the House and Georgia from Flowers in the Window. As well as making some gorgeous gift-wraps, Georgia also patiently put up with a mega coughing fit from me on the train back to Essex – sorry!

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Hobbycraft Spring & Easter Craft Preview

Last week, I went along to Drink, Shop & Do near King’s Cross in London to preview Hobbycraft’s new Spring and Easter craft collections. Ever since I started blogging, it’s been an aim of mine to attend a Hobbycraft event, as I do buy a lot of my supplies from there, so I was thrilled to get an invitation.

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I tagged along after work and was greeted at the door by the Hobbycraft team. They’d split the Drink, Shop & Do floor into various stations so that you could try your hand at different crafts, and learn more about their upcoming range expansions, from sewing supplies, knit craft, Easter craft, and baking.

 

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My first stop was the sewing machine station where a helpful seamstress named Amy sat me down at a sewing machine for the first time, and showed me how to do some basic stitches. Some of you might recall that I was bought a sewing machine for Christmas a few years back, and am ashamedly yet to use it, as I wasn’t really sure where to begin, so I was really excited about this opportunity.

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IKEA Christmas Tablescaping Workshop

Can you believe that it’s just six more Sundays until Christmas? I don’t know about you, but for me it feels like the months fly by quicker and quicker every year! Still, at least it’s nearly the holidays!

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Earlier this year I was invited to an IKEA tablescaping event with some fellow bloggers to preview IKEA’s Autumn / Winter range, as well as take a sneak-peak at some of IKEA’s scandi-inspired Christmas goodies. I’m a big fan of IKEA, and always try and fit in a visit before Christmas.

The event was held at 19 Greek Street – a modern white event space in Central London. I was thrilled to join some blogger friends – namely Hannah from Crafternoon Cabaret Club, Tasha from Graphique Fantastique, Rosie and Hannah from The New Craft House, and Emma from Emma Jane Palin.

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After an introduction from the IKEA bods who talked us through the four new autumn / winter trends, we were invited to have a leisurely peruse, and get hands-on with our own DIY tablescapes. A credit to the IKEA wares, we soon felt at home, and were all prepared to move in within minutes.

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All Aboard the Paperchase ‘Back to School’ Bus

Three weeks ago I was delighted to attend my very first Paperchase event! This was actually one of my New Year blogging goals back in January. As a massive stationery fiend, I was chuffed to be invited to explore the brand new ‘Back to School’ range during the Paperchase BTS Press Bus Tour.

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The event was hosted on board a shiny red vintage bus, parked outside Paperchase’s Head Office in London. The bus immediately brought back old school memories, particularly as it was raining outside, and steamed up on the inside! I immediately wanted to draw on the windows, for old times’ sake.

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The Paperchase team had laid out their four new school collections on the seats of both decks for our perusal. This consisted of the adorable Monsterosity range, featuring pixelated dinosaur designs in blue camouflage colours. My favourite item is probably the wooden dinosaur pen pot (£6) in the centre.

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As well as the usual notebooks and pens, the range features a tonne of different back-packs, flasks, lunch boxes, and pencil cases, so you really can send your kids to school with everything they could possibly need. I can’t pretend that I was this cool or organised when I was at school! I wish.

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Blogtacular 2016: Lessons from Lisa Congdon

Oh ‘Hi’ there! If you’ve been hanging around the blogosphere lately, you might have spotted a fair few posts about Blogtacular – an annual blogging conference which was held recently in London. This year was my first ever Blogtacular, and I was not disappointed – just check out this crowd…

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This year’s conference was held at 200 Aldergate, a stone’s throw from St. Paul’s Cathedral, opposite the Museum of London. A very kind security guard helpfully beckoned us all inside before we wandered blindly past. Once inside however, and it was clear that we’d reached our destination!

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I thoroughly enjoyed the event, and wanted to use this first blog post to share some of the important lessons that I took away from this year’s opening keynote speaker – Lisa Congdon – author, artist and illustrator, who delivered a truly inspiring talk on the realities of blogging.

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Re-evaluate the meaning of “success”

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