A pretty little thing

Basking in the glorious bank holiday sunshine, I wandered down the seafront today with my friend Louise, and happened upon a pretty little thing courtesy of Love Southsea.

Butterfly notebook

A pretty little notebook from the Love Southsea stall

In desperate search of a breeze we headed towards the sea, sitting high on the bank above the bandstand for a while before moving on down to the beach. A little row of stalls stood near the pier, enticing passers-by to view their assorted wares.

One of these stalls was hosted by Love Southsea, a name I‘d heard here and there but whose market stalls I hadn’t actually encountered until now. A waft of pretty fabric caught my eye and I closed in on a delicate cream scarf printed with heather-coloured hearts, sitting snug in a row of colourful fabric. At two for £15 I decided to treat myself and picked out a second scarf, this one black and printed with musical notes.

For each month there's a page showing the whole month followed by a double-page spread per week

For each month there’s a page showing the whole month followed by a double-page spread per week

The true gem I found, however, was a pretty little diary. I think butterflies are the most beautiful and intriguing little creatures, so anything butterfly-themed holds instant appeal, but this was particularly enticing.

Butterfly notebook stickers

Tiny stickers tucked into the inside front cover

Covered with a clear plastic jacket, the 2014 pocket diary sat amongst others with various illustrations decorating their covers. Delicately drawn butterflies fluttered across its pages, and I delighted in its quaint charm. Inside I found a sheet of tiny stickers slotted into the sleeve, bearing pictures of butterflies and words such as ‘meeting’, ‘remember’, and ‘holiday’, to stick on the pages. A lovely touch!

Butterfly notebook notes page

Beautifully illustrated notes pages near the back

At £7.50 it was a little more than I’d usually spend on a diary for myself, but I just had to have it. Now I’ve got to wait until January to use it, so it will have to wait patiently on my desk for a while.

Meanwhile I may head along to the next Love Southsea market (the first Saturday of the month) and check out the other designs. They would make perfect little gifts.

Sunday at The Southsea Show

This weekend saw the return of the Southsea Show, revamped and with a vigorous marketing campaign behind it. Heading down to Southsea Common on Sunday, I had only some idea of the wonders that were in store…

Awesome drummers in the carnival parade

Awesome drummers in the carnival parade

After overcoming the first hurdle of trying to get my wrist band on (which really wasn’t that hard), I managed to walk past the beer tent (a ‘wine tent’ would have been a different story), and make my way to the food stalls. Dan Dan the sausage man was very reasonably priced but the others stretched the purse strings just that bit too far.

We wandered into the various tents, admiring home-made jewellery, discussing the fate of Southsea Pier, and giggling at a dog who ran up to every plant at the Southsea Greenhouse stand, sniffed its flowers then proceeded to cock its leg up to urinate, at which point the horrified owner would yank its lead and pull it away for a second before it found the next unsuspecting plant.

In the corner of one tent I discovered the lovely Steve from Joy to Create, who run textile art workshops in Horndean. Only recently returning to needle craft, I’m on the lookout for some good workshops to help me learn new techniques and different ways of working with fabric. We discussed how to recycle old clothes into a funky new bag and he introduced me to free motion sewing, the skill of, in effect, using a sewing machine to draw. This struck me as particularly impressive, so I can’t wait to sign up for a workshop. I don’t actually have a sewing machine yet, but that’s not a problem as they provide all the materials you need at the workshop, along with a homemade lunch.

Colourful costumes in the carnival parade

Colourful costumes in the carnival parade

Two o’clock marked the start of the carnival parade, so we shuffled our way to a spot with a good view and watched as drumming bands, belly dancers and an assortment of intricate and colourful costumes made their way past. One lady in a beautiful elaborate costume with what looked like huge butterfly wings stood her ground against the wind, by now whipping across the common.

Once the parade had passed we headed over to the outdoor theatre area to see my friend the beautiful and talented Leigh Cunningham and co-star perform a rehearsed reading of a scene from One Off Productions’ Present Laughter, by Noel Coward. Both actors fared admirably against the booming music coming from various other tents around them. With mic in one hand and script in the other, they still managed to transport us into the world of the play, and I watched on in delight.

Me and the Boxmouth Theatre dragon

Me and the Boxmouth dragon

After another wander round the tents, this time admiring the handiwork of Tinder Theatre’s cardboard dragon for their new show Boxmouth, we returned to the theatre area via the donkey enclosure, me deliberating whether it was possible to sneak a donkey out past the security guards and keep it for a pet. Common sense prevailed, along with the thought of what the RSPCA would have to say about my plan, and we left the adorable creatures munching grass while the next group of children were hoisted into the saddles.

The next show was The ‘Ouses in Between, a Cop The Needle Music Hall-style performance about the ‘Father of Southsea’, architect Thomas Ellis Owen. Jamie Aspden, Nathalie Gunn and Patric Howe harmonised perfectly and played the comedic touches with perfection. It was a lovely fun piece, and the three performers looked completely at home entertaining an audience.

Sadly I left before the circus show that closed the weekend’s festivities, but the afternoon I’d spent at The Southsea Show had already proven well worth the £8 ticket price. Ways to improve it next year? A discount if you buy a ticket for both the Saturday and Sunday. Oh, and a free glass of wine on entry. Okay, maybe not the last one. It is a family show, after all!

Saturday in Brighton

Yesterday we headed off to Brighton for the ‘Foodies’ food festival. Down on Hove Lawns, overlooking the waves, the various tents offered a selection of culinary delights, from cheeses, chutneys and oils, to home-made cakes, a hog roast and the rather intriguing zebra burger. The caramelised onion and rioja cheese was my particular favourite, followed by the Irish whisky and stem ginger cheddar in second, and the Divine dark chocolate with orange and chilli running a close third.

Divine dark chocolate with orange and chilli

Divine dark chocolate with orange and chilli

Unfortunately the weather put a bit of a dampener on the day. After several days of glorious sunshine, the weather forecast promised it would continue, at least until Monday. It was wrong. Battered by showers and wind, we crowded into the tents, me trying to wolf down my lemon sole in a roll before it went soggy.

Today the sunshine has returned, so visitors to Foodie today will have been able to sit outside the tents, the sun on their faces as they munched away. Unfortunately the rows of beach chairs in the man-made sandpit didn’t look very appealing yesterday. Continue reading