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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.  

    balloons

    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.

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    (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