London Contemporary Art Fairs 2018

I don’t know if it’s something to do with having a home that is still fairly bare in the wall department (or empty in the frame department), or just generally because I have a love for art and colour, but I’ve been really excited to get tickets to some of this year’s contemporary Art Fairs in London.

One that I’ve been to for probably the last three years or so is the Affordable Art Fair in Battersea Park. But this year I’m branching out even further! As I was researching for myself anyway, I thought I’d share some of London’s most popular upcoming Art Fairs of 2018, so you can pop them in your diary!


Affordable Art Fair, Battersea Park, 8-11 March 2018

I feel like I talk about this one a lot, but I can’t emphasise enough what a fun day out this is. I bumped into an old colleague of mine there once (who was many rungs above me on the career ladder!). He sweetly asked if I had made any purchases, obviously oblivious to my wage packet at the time. But I do so aspire to one day buy my own piece of original art, and the choice at the Affordable Art Fair is fabulous.

Battersea Affordable Art Fair

I genuinely believe this makes a great day out, whether you’re looking to purchase art or just peruse it. There’s always a good variety of styles, and a welcoming prosecco bar in the middle – bliss!


The Other Art Fair, Victoria House, 22-25 March 2018

I came across this one recently via a Habitat email; as the official partner of The Other Art Fair, Habitat were offering customers the chance to nab one of 300 pairs of tickets for free! It’s first come first served, so check out their blog here to see if you can secure some in time. I’m excited to go later this month.

According to their website, The Other Art Fair, which is presented by Saatachi Art, gives you the opportunity to discover and buy art direct from 120 of the best emerging and undiscovered artists, who have been handpicked by a committee of art industry experts – let’s hope they know a thing or two! It’s a bi-annual event, and offers fun immersive art installations, interactive theatre performances, art tours led by Saatchi Art curators, live music from Soho Radio DJs, plus good food and a bar – bingo!


London Original Print Fair, Royal Academy of Arts, 3-6 May 2018

You know those times when you wonder where you’ve been all these years? Well, the London Original Print Fair is apparently London’s longest-running art fair. This year is the 33rd edition, and it’s held at the RA. I only needed to glance at the fair’s Instagram page to know that it’s for me. You can visit the fair to get your hands on a rare old master, or snap up contemporary prints that have only just launched.


Affordable Art Fair, Hampstead Heath, 11-14 May 2018

Don’t worry, it’s not deja vu! If you can’t make the Affordable Art Fair at Battersea in March, try and head to the Affordable Art Fair at Hampstead Heath in May. I’ve not been to this one (yet), but it promises thousands of original, contemporary artworks from UK and international galleries. Sweet!

Affordable Art Fair

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Etsy Made Local Christmas Markets 2017

A few weeks back I received an exciting mystery package from the Etsy Made Local London Team. To celebrate their upcoming Christmas market in South London, the team sent me a box of specially curated goodies from selected Etsy sellers who’ll be showcasing their handmade wares in December.

Etsy Made Local Xmas 2017-7468 Shelley Makes

I went to my first Etsy Made Local Xmas market in 2015, and I loved it. I went looking for Christmas presents for friends and family but went home with lots of lovely goodies for me! Back then I bought a set of tiny concrete diamond ‘baubles’ from PASiNGA, whose stall I loved, and they come out every year.

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I was so excited to receive my package – the team told me that they’d tailored the contents to suit my style and audience, and I don’t think I could have picked better for myself if I tried. The first item I saw was this gorgeous hand-formed blue and white mini rope bowl by Zuzana of Rope Works. The bowls are naturally dyed with Indigo and make perfect trinket bowls for jewellery by your bedside.

Etsy Made Local Xmas 2017-7561 Shelley Makes

Next up I spotted a brown leather key chain from Suede & Co who make handmade leather and suede accessories from coin purses to laptop sleeves. My second leather goody came in the form of a leather cord holder / cable organiser from By Law London. These are perfect for keeping your headphones together in your bag. Janet sells sets of two for £9, alongside other leather accessories.

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BUST Summer Craftacular 2017

Last weekend the kind people at BUST Craftacular invited me along to their summer shindig at York Hall, Bethnal Green. I’m a huge fan of Craftacular (dubbed ‘London’s coolest craft fair’), which brings together over 70 unique designer-makers, DIY workshops, tea and cake, and fun-loving DJs.

Craftacular UK_Shelley Makes-3678Photo credit: Shelley Makes®. Maker: Kinska 

If you’re looking for quirky handmade gifts, or just presents for yourself, Craftacular is the place to go. Last year I bought a gorgeous white trinket dish with a tiny leaf imprint from madebymememe (a humble #ceramicsmum), and the time before I bought a moon pin-cushion from Oh No Rachio (onr).

Craftacular UK_Shelley Makes-3679Photo credit: Shelley Makes®. Maker: Tea Party at the Zoo

This year, my sister bought some beautiful trinket dishes stamped with gold bees from potter Elizabeth of Limehouse Ceramics (who was also super friendly and chatty). Another favourite stall was Sparkle Child, who made fun sparkly crowns, garlands and wands for children – perfect for play-time.

Craftacular UK_Shelley Makes-3674Photo credit: Shelley Makes®. Maker: Sparkle Child

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Christmas Maker Markets, London 2017

One of things I love most about winter is the arrival of brand new seasonal maker markets. With Christmas around the corner, it’s the perfect time to buy presents before the panic sets in. Below you’ll find two of my favourite seasonal maker markets in London – pop the dates in your diaries!


BUST London Christmas Craftacular 

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When: Sunday 27 November, 11am-5pm

Where: York Hall, 5 Old Ford Road, Bethnal Green E2 9PJ

Why: The BUST London Craftacular is back, featuring talented, crafty vendors, pop-up cafes, DJs, and DIY workshops. Entrance is £3, and the first 100 shoppers get a goody bag.

I went to the BUST Summer Craftacular last year with my sister and loved it. As well as browsing the wares from independent makers, you can also take part in fun workshops – last year we did a weaving workshop with Peas & Needles – one of my all-time favourite craft workshops.


Christmas Crafty Fox Market

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When: 3-4 December, 11am – 5pm

Where: Dogstar, 389 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, London, SW9 8LQ

Why: The Crafty Fox Market is putting on a host of Christmas markets – this one is in Brixton, and promises the opportunity to support independent designer-makers for a festive shopping experience – with DJs, drinks, food, and an exciting array of craft workshops – more details coming soon.


If you know of any more maker markets not to be missed this winter, please pop them in the comments below. Personally, I can’t wait to start my festive shopping!

Hampton Court Flower Show: 2016 Highlights

Today is the last day of this year’s Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, and what a show it has been. I had the pleasure of visiting on Tuesday with my sister, Grandma, and our family friend Andy. You might recognise Kayleigh and Andy from previous flower show posts, as they usually let me tag along.

Hampton Court Flower Show 2016 by Shelley Makes (26)

We explored Chelsea Flower Show earlier this year, and have been visiting the Hampton Court Flower Show together since 2014, but this was the first year that my Grandma (whose garden is divine) joined us on the venture. We hope she’ll now be a permanent fixture to the RHS Flower Show Gang!

Hampton Court Flower Show 2016 by Shelley Makes (14)

There was one real stand-out garden for me – A Dog’s Life Garden by The Dog’s Trust, which was designed to mark the charity’s 125th anniversary. The garden featured a gorgeous colour palette of purples and yellows, with bright origami-style dog figurines dotted around the flower beds.

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The garden also featured a long clear stretch of water, perfect for doggy paddling, as well as tunnels and sniffer tracks for dog’s to explore. The garden wasn’t the only thing that wowed me however, as  The Dog’s Trust had also brought along some of their trusty four-legged friends.

Hampton Court Flower Show 2016 by Shelley Makes (7)

This is Evie, the most adorable (and soft) greyhound that I’ve ever met. I quickly became besotted with Evie, and would have liked to take her home with me there and then. Alas, Evie is already reserved, and my current circumstances wouldn’t really allow me to have a dog, but maybe one day…!

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Highlights from the Chelsea Flower Show 2016

The Chelsea Flower Show is one of my favourite annual events – what better excuse to abandon your desk, and head into the sunshine with your pals? This year I went along with my sister and one of her ex-colleagues, Andy. Not only are these guys great ‘bants’ (and they like Pimms), but they also know a thing or two about gardens (being garden designers), so they’re the perfect Chelsea buddies!

Chelsea Flower Show 2016 (115)

I loved a lot of the gardens this year, but there were two clear winners for me. The first, a small Artisan Garden called ‘Together We Can’, was a Silver Gilt medal winner, and was designed for the disability charity Papworth Trust. I really should have filmed this garden because its beauty, aside from its bold use of purple and running water, was in its peaceful and playful water percussion.

Chelsea Flower Show 2016 (64)

My second favourite garden was called The Garden of Potential and it featured huge rugged boulders balanced on top of clean oak beams. I liked the juxtaposition between the ancient weathered boulders, and the ordered composition of the garden. There was also a fun water feature in the form of a level-changing gutter which zig-zagged through the garden, and a fence that tipped over to form a path.

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Renegade Craft Fair London 2014

You might remember back in September, I told you about the upcoming Renegade Craft Fair at London’s Old Truman Brewery, just a stone’s throw from Old Spitalfields Market.

After waiting patiently, I was excited to attend the fair today. Packed full of talented stall holders, the Old Truman Brewery was the perfect venue to showcase an array of festive crafts.

From jewellery to cards, there was the opportunity to buy a range of wares in different styles. My favourite stalls were Mister Peebles, Peggy & Kate, Hello Harriet, and Blank Inside.

Blank Inside Design:

Blank Inside was the first stall I fell in love with – feat. gorgeous wrapping paper, gift tags and cards.

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Mister Peebles:

Mister Peebles had some truly gorgeous illustrations which he’d adorned on a range of stationery.

Mister Peebles

Peggy & Kate:

I was constantly drawn back to Peggy & Kate’s stall, as they use such a beautiful deep blue pallet.

Peggy & Kate

To conclude, Renegade Craft Fair was a blast. As well as browsing stalls, there was the opportunity to take part in some workshops such as pom pom making and letterpress printing, for a small fee.

I was also pleased to receive a complimentary ‘geometric neon mug cosy’ kit from Mollie Makes. The fair is open tomorrow (Sunday 23rd Nov) for the final day, so do check it out if you can!