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  1. I know it's only the beginning of December, but I wanted to get this in before the end of the year.

    It has been a strange year.  We have actually had "real" seasons this year, a snow covered Winter (i know it did overlap into Spring a bit too much!) and a scorcher of a Summer as opposed to cold, wet and windy all year round that we have been used to in previous years.  


    My experiences with various Craft Fairs and Events this year has also been a bit of a mixed bag.  

    Over the years I have become more aware of the types of events that have proved to be more successful for me and which ones to avoid.  For example, I absolutely love attending fairs at Historic/Manor Houses, the atmosphere at these events can be magical if done well, and my most favourite of all at Milton Keynes in the Shopping Centre, where you are almost guaranteed a good footfall.  

    MK Nov 13

    Dress: Hearts & Roses
    Cardigan: Blue Banana
    Brooch: Fanni Loves Fufu

    On the flip side, I have also realised that fairs held at and run by schools are less worthwhile for me.  I have nothing against these events and I know many crafters have some of their best sales at schools, but I generally find that for ME they are not worthwhile.  The same goes for ANY outdoor events.  This year has been exceptional with regards to good weather, except on the day of Bloxfest, where I gave up even trying to set up my stall due to the high winds and impending rain.  I did not get a refund for this event nor do I expect one as it was my choice not to stay, but a loss was made that day.  Unfortunately the UKs usual weather is just too unpredictable and unreliable for me to take the risk.

    Many of the events that I have attended this year have been outstanding and sales have even exceeded those from the same events in previous years.  Is this a sign of a change in the economy at last? Are more people realising that handmade is better than mass produced?  Or, dare I say it, have Fat Free Cakes become more desired, appreciated and understood?

    BUT before I blow my own trumpet too much, I must remember that where there is light there is shade, where there is good there is also bad.

    Unfortunately, some of events that I have attended this year, because the previous years have been successful, have struggled.  The footfall was poor, the sales were minimal and the overall quality of the events were lacking.  Is this due to a lack of advertising, are craft fairs generally becoming more unappealing, are the venues difficult to access, wrong time of the year, too far from Christmas, too close to Christmas?  

    I just don't know what the answer is, but you never can tell until you get there.  "Suck it and see".

    Some of the fairs that I have attended this year, an entrance fee was charged just to get into the event, which I feel is fair enough, IF it was for a venue that you would normally pay to get into,  but unless the entrance fee for a general craft fair goes towards a very worthwhile charity or cause then I feel that this puts a lot of customers off going, especially these days when our utility and fuel bills are increasing at a terrifying rate and we are having to be more careful how we spend our cash.


    (Stunning plants at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens)

    I have mentioned this a hundred times, but it is so much better attending craft fairs and buying a gift for someone that is original, handmade and beautiful than some of the mass produced tat that some of the larger high street shops are churning out this time of year.  Just because something is handmade it does not mean that it more expensive or of less quality.  In fact it is usually the complete opposite!  Plus with a Fat Free Cake you also get something that is useful too!

    I think this sums it up:

    Buy Handmade

    I only have one more fair booked in for this year, which is the ever brilliant Deddington Farmers Market and Church Stalls on the 21st December 2013 and we are jetting off to Spain for a much needed break immediately afterwards.  Oh and yes it is free entry into the market and into the church, but make sure you bring plenty of cash because this popular event is very well attended in December for all it's lovely fresh produce and last minute gifts and the queue for the cash machine gets quite long!

    I only have two more Christmas Cakes available this year, both in white towels with red flowers, so unless they are snapped up in the meantime, they will be available to purchase from me at Deddington for only £18 each.

    Christmas White

    So that just leaves me to say:

    "I would like to wish all of our customers, fellow stallholders, fans and family a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from us all at Fat Free Cakes!"

    I look forward to seeing you in the new year.

    Helen xxxx


  2. The seasons are definately changing.  Just a little over a week ago, we were sweltering in balmy 24+ degree temperatures and warming ourselves to the bone in the sunshine.  Today it is howling a gale, raining and everyone is discussing whether to put the heating on yet or to hold out until October and my hands are so cold I can barely type.

    This change in season also  marks the start of my busy period on the run to (no, dont say it!!!!!) Christmas (sorry).  I will be attending events most weekends between now and December and have actually managed to double book myself on a couple of occasions because there are so many fabulous events coming up.  Do take a look at the events page to see where I will be.  Bear in mind that some of these events can get very busy so to avoid disappointment, especially whilst the online shop is closed, I am more than happy to take an order and have it with me for collection at any of these events.  Call/email me to discuss.

    I mentioned in my previous email that I had the MK Handmade and Vintage Fair earlier in September, this fair was a great success and I loved every minute of it.  I have just signed up for the 3 day Extravaganza in November, which is only 6 weeks away now!  Eek!  Better start stocking up!

    Here is a snapshot of me with my stall at the September event. 

    MK Sept 2013

    Dress:  Lindy Bop
    Shoes:  F&F from Tesco
    Cardigan: Debenhams

    I have a few new products that I will be taking to the MK Fair and will also be showing them at a few other markets/fairs too.  My new Beatrix Potter Cakes are great value for money (possibly underpriced!) so grab yourself a bargain quick!  These are limited as I only have a few of the soft toys available.

    Benjamin Bunny CakeJeremy Fisher Cake

    I am also thinking about some new products.  

    Word is, there is to be a new Paddington Bear program, to be voiced by Colin Firth, coming soon.  I have a few small Paddington Bear toys that I may incorporate into a cake or two.  

    Also, whilst my baby sock and scratch mitt bouquets are very popular and work very well as decoration on a larger cake, I do feel that the small bouquets are moving too far away from the "cake" theme, so I have just ordered some mini cake boxes in which I will make up sets of mini sock cupcakes for babies.  They will be beautifully boxed and decorated so that they are ready to be given as a gift.

    Again, I am sorry for continuing the use the "C" word but Christmas is only a little over 13 weeks away so I will be baking up a few more Christmas Cakes.

    Christmas White

    I have also already managed to purchase some festive socks for the Ladies Sock Cupcakes as I know many of you have already started your Christmas gift shopping (you super organised folk!!).

    So much to do, so little time!

    I mentioned in my previous post that I was off to Goodwood Revival and I will end this post with a professional photo that was taken of me and Mr FFC on the day, thus proving that I will take any opportunity to dress up and get my hair done!


    Dress:  Hearts and Roses (H&R) 
    Petticoat: Hell Bunny
    Seamed Tights: Pretty Polly
    Shoes:  Emilio Luca from Brantano
    Bag: Vintage - Ebay
    Cardigan: TU at Sainsburys
    Necklace: Bijou Brigitte, Spain
    Brooch: Vintage (not seen) from MK Handmade & Vintage Fair
    Gloves: Vintage - Ebay
    Hair Flowers: Lil Mischief - MK Handmade & Vintage Fair

    Suit: Vintage - MK Handmade & Vintage Fair
    Shirt: Debenhams
    Tie: Vintage Pecco from Ebay
    Tie Pin: Vintage - Deddington Antiques Centre
    Cufflinks: Vintage - Ebay
    Hat: The Hat Outlet - Ebay
    Shoes: Next


  3. Have you missed me?

    Been a bit quiet here lately, only had a couple of fairs to do in the last couple of months and there are only a few coming up in the immediate future.  The summer is generally a quieter time of the year for me than the months leading up to Christmas.  I tend to steer clear of School Fetes and Summer Shows as they are less succesful for me plus I like to take a break too!  These type of events are also usually outdoors too, which I won't do (stamps feet a little)!

    So, what have I been doing you may ask?

    I have a full time job at the moment so most of my time is taken up with that.  But I have been trying to make the most of the fabulous summer we have been enjoying so far.

    Long evening walks through poppy filled fields...


    Socialising with my much neglected friends!  A couple of them have recently set up a new business running a Party/Sweet Cart, which they hire out for childrens parties and Weddings.  We had the privilege of having the cart at a recent birthday party and it was set up as the cakes and sweets stall.  They also have a popcorn machine and candy floss machine to hire!  Here is a quick snap of their cart after a few hungry gannets had been:

    Party Cart

    Visit their website for more information : 

    I have had a couple of new fairs recently.  One of new faves was the Market by the Green in Adderbury, with a vintage vibe about it.  It was a small intimate fair with several regular stalls mixed with a few guests stalls each time.  I was one of these guest stalls in July on what felt like the hottest day EVER!  


    Ahh any excuse to dress up in my lovely vintage style gear....
    Dress: Lindy Bop
    Shoes: BHS

    Unfortunately most people were being rather sensible in this extreme weather and were keeping cool indoors somewhere.  But the few that did brave the inferno were lovely and I received some great feedback.  I hope to be invited to this event again, if not as a stallholder but as a customer just for the lovely vintage style tea room with its miles of pretty bunting, mismatched china and carrot cake to die for.....


    Coming Up!

    This weekend is the Bicester & Finmere Show.  After the disappointing Saturday last year I have decided to just do the Sunday only this time.  It is only open to the public on the Sunday and has a lovely atmosphere.  There is genuinely something there for everyone, from show jumping to dog shows, art & crafts marquee, trade stalls, fairground to ferret racing, refreshments and plenty of fresh air!  

    Just fingers crossed that the weather holds XXXXXXXXXXXX


    After that we just have Deddington Farmers Market on 24th August.  I will be in the Church as usual and look forward to seeing you there.  The Market is amazing, there is such variety and choice there, even for vegetarians like myself.  You can try most products before you buy them too!  They have a new/revamped/updated website too, do visit this as there are often top tips about which sellers will be there and what products are in season/at their best each month.

    THEN............on the 7th & 8th September it is the amazeballs fantastic wonderful MK Handmade & Vintage Fair again!!!  (do you get the impression I like this event???).  Mr FFC and I are off to Goodwood Revival the following weekend so we too will be browsing the fabby vintage and retro stalls for last minute additions to our outfits!  More details will follow I am sure but in the meantime take a look at their website, "friend" them on Facebook and "follow" them on Twitter and keep up to date with the preparations and goings on.

    Hmm hadn't realised that I've not shared my snaps from the last fair with you on here yet.  Here's one of a demented looking me with my stall from June, you can see how pleased I was to be there!  Check out my Facebook and Twitter feeds too for more!


    Dress:  Hell Bunny from Aspire
    Shoes:  Emilio Luca from Brantano
    Cardigan: Debenhams
    Necklace: Vintage

    I will have a few new goodies at this event too.  I have a large batch of Beatrix Potter Soft Toys that are just screaming out to be on top of nappy cakes.   Pictures to follow!

    Enjoy what is left of the summer and I hope to see you at an event soon!

  4. Just been busy updating the website with a few more events that I have just booked into.  Some of them are events that I have been taking part in for a while whilst others are new events.  

    All these events need your support, so please do take a look and come to any that you can.  Most are free to get in and are located in lovely venues.  I know I keep going on about this but I get so frustrated when I see people wasting their hard earned cash in the high street shops on mass produced, imported rubbish.  If you are looking for something unique, innovative and well made do come to a craft fair as you may be pleasantly surprised.

    So, coming up we have a lovely new event organised by couple of local crafters who got so frustrated at the lack of local well organised events that they decided to start their own.  Their first event was at Christmas last year and was a great success.  Following on from that they are now organising a Spring event in the village of Mollington, which is a picturesque village near Banbury.


    Next up in June will be another MK Handmade & Vintage Fair.  I love this event.  It is fun to be there as a stallholder as well as a customer.  With 120 of quality vintage and handmade goodies it is a great place to spend the day exploring and bargain hunting.  Based in the Centre MK, just infront of John Lewis, this is a well established and well organised event with a great reputation making it the place to be that weekend!  All the stallholders are lovely and are more than happy to answer any questions and take commissions or orders.  Just make sure you allow plenty of time to visit, wear comfortable shoes and bring plenty of cash (although ATMs are available throughout the Centre MK)!

    June 2013 Poster FB

    But before all that we have Bloxfest tomorrow!  This is a great event set in the pretty village of Bloxham on the outskirts of Banbury.  This is the fourth year this will have taken place and my third year participating as a stallholder.  Dozens of local bands take over half the village and entertain us with their musical talents.  From folk to rock to pop, there will bound to be a band there to get your toes tapping.  What's even more amazing is it's free to get in!  The fun starts at 10.30am with street entertainment, stalls, food and drink.  There are 4 music stages set up in various pub gardens around the village.  Once the stalls pack up at 6pm the music continues into the evening.  

    Fingers crossed though that the weather improves by then or I will need to find some way of waterproofing the gazebo...


    Check out the Events page for more events coming up throughout the year and keep checking back as more events will be added.  If you think my stall would be suitable at your event, please contact me with more information.


  5. Unfortunately due to the new pricing structure for pacels now being offered by Royal Mail, I have taken the decision to stop offering a postal service for my cakes.

    To be totally honest I have never enjoyed the additional stress and expense of posting my cakes.  Due to the sheer size and weight of a boxed cake the costs were starting to outweigh the value of the items being posted, this cost also varied dramatically depending on which Post Office I used thus making it virtually impossible to calculate the costs.  

    I have also found that irrelevant of how many arrows stating this way up and fragile stickers and labels I decorate the boxes with, they still arrive at their destination looking like they have been used as a prop in a high speed cop car chase in a bad hollywood movie (never understood why there are always big stacks of empty boxes on the streets of america.......).


    Royal Mail are pricing themselves out of the market, forcing everyone to use the alternatives, such as my-hermes, i-post, collect+ etc.  I am reluctant to try any of these just yet as I have heard mixed reviews for all of them, I guess they are having a few teething issues but I am loathed to risk it until these kinks have been ironed out.

    So in the meantime, you can still buy via my online shop, however, you must be prepared to be able to either collect from me in Banbury, Oxfordshire or arrange collection from one of the many events that I am participating in this year.  Check out the Events page to see where I will be and I hope to see you there.

  6. With just under 4 weeks to go until one of my favourite events of the year, I am currently busy stock taking, restocking the best sellers and developing new products.

    The Handmade and Vintage fair at the Centre MK features 120 market stalls all selling unique items.  Retro and vintage wares are becoming increasing popular as is the understanding of the need to recycle, upcycle and reuse.  SO for all those vintage lovers, environmentalists, keen recyclers and those looking a item that they will cherish forever, then this is the place to be in March!

    There will also be a varied range of handmade items and gifts.  A great place to buy originial bespoke items for those who like something a little different. 

    Allow plenty of time to browse the many stalls and make sure you take plenty of cash and some muscles to help carry the bags!!

    MK March 13 poster





















    Check out their website for more information

    Sneak preview!

    One of the new products I have been developing is the Sock Pop, based on the increasingly popular Cake Pops, the Sock Pop is made from 1 pair of trainer socks and is beautifully presented on a lolly stick and wrapped in tulle.  They will be available to buy from the MK Handmade and Vintage Fair.

    Cake Pops

    Watch this space for further development and news and I look forward to seeing you at Milton Keynes in a few weeks time!