We know Spring is just around the corner, somewhere! In anticipation of some better weather and the appearance of spring flowers we have picked out 10 of our favourite floral designs, all from some of the fabulous exhibitors who will be taking part in The Spring Into Summer Fair at La Mon Hotel and Country Club on Sunday 8th April.
The Spring Into Summer Fair takes place from 12 to 5pm on Sunday 8th April at La Mon Hotel & Country Club. Admission costs £2 for adults and children go free. And don't forget that everyone will be able to enter the free draw for the chance to Win Afternoon Tea for 2!
How would you like to win afternoon tea for 2 courtesy of the lovely folks at La Mon Hotel & Country Club? Afternoon tea at La Mon includes:
Everyone who visits us at The Spring Into Summer Fair at La Mon Hotel & Country Club on Sunday 8th April will be able to enter the free draw to win this lovely prize!
The Spring Into Summer Fair takes place from 12 to 5pm on Sunday 8th April at La Mon Hotel and Country Club - located at 41 Gransha Road, Castlereagh, Belfast BT23 5RF. Admission costs £2 for adults and children go free. For more information check out the event page.
In this evening's MEET THE WEDDING SUPPLIER post we are delighted to introduce you to Anne McBride from Eclectic Cake Box who creates beautiful bespoke cake designs to impress and leave you with your taste buds well and truly tickled! We are delighted that she will be exhibiting at The Vintage & Handmade Wedding Fair at Belfast Cathedral this Saturday 6th May, and she has also donated a fantastic prize for the day. This week we caught up with Anne for a chat about weddings and cakes, so why not make yourself a cup of tea and find out what goes on behind the scenes in her creative kitchen!
So Annie, tell us about your background and how your business started?
My love of cake was born at the same time as my kids. Having family means get-togethers, special events to celebrate and parties to cater for. Obviously a party without cake is just a meeting so I rolled up my sleeves, popped my little peeps into their daddy’s strong arms and taught myself to bake delicious cake and host fantastically themed parties! I may have a touch of OCD when it comes to making things aesthetically pleasing so everything had to tie together. The theme, colour scheme and décor, along with a striking cake centrepiece that would pull all this together!
After about 10 years of throwing awesome parties, I moved on to making novelty cakes for other’s special events. Then encouraged to try social media, I needed to come up with a name to represent my passion for all things quirky, my love for elegance with a dash of vintage charm and my darker side, where I get to set my inner goth free; Eclectic Cake-Box was the obvious choice!
How did you move into the wedding market?
Moving into the wedding market, meant I could further indulge my passion for styling and create stunning edible centrepieces, because let’s face it, weddings are magical and seem to make everything shimmer and sparkle. Not only am I able to create your dream wedding cake, I can set up and style your cake table, make and create coordinating dessert tables and supply creative favours for your guests.
Where do you get your inspiration?
The wedding cake is still very much an important tradition, although they have developed somewhat over the past few years. I believe this is for the better, it seems anything is possible and certainly makes the wedding much more personal to each couple. I design the cakes using your theme, colour scheme and any personal traits or quirks you want to include. Each one is unique and bespoke to you. I will spend a lot, some might say too much, time on Pinterest fanning over other’s cakey skills and becoming encouraged to push the boundaries and experiment with new techniques, always whilst adding my own twist. Using only the freshest eggs and butter, quality ingredients and luxury chocolate your cake is sure to not only wow your guests, but leave you all with your taste buds well and truly tickled.
Since my cake business is part time, I have the added luxury of giving your cake a lot of attention. I only take a maximum of 2 commissions a month. I am extremely passionate about what I do and often it can become all consuming. From the initial concept idea through to snapping the set up pic at the venue, I endeavour to make it the best I possibly can! I am also fortunate enough to have a Mr Eclectic who carefully drives me and my tasty creations to venues all over Northern Ireland and patiently waits while I tweak and style to perfection.
Do you have any tips for brides and grooms?
Remember all the planning and organising will pay off. Enjoying your wedding day is the most important aspect of all, it marks the next chapter in your love story. Also, aim to steal a moment just to savour all your efforts too.
I look forward to meeting many of you at the upcoming Fayre where we can talk cake, try some tasty samples and I'll be giving away some vouchers too. Anne x
For more information please visit the Eclectic Cake Box website and also follow on Facebook.
Competition Alert! One very lucky bride and groom visiting The Vintage & Handmade Wedding Fair at Belfast Cathedral this Saturday 6th May will win a £100 gift voucher to spend at Eclectic Cake Box as part of our fabulous wedding fair prize package!
In this evening's MEET THE WEDDING SUPPLIER post we are delighted to introduce you to Naomi Campbell who bakes wedding cakes that are a treat to the eyes and the palette! Cakes by Naomi bake unique, delicious, bespoke wedding and celebration cakes for any occasion, handmade to your requirements. With macarons, brownies and traybakes as well as celebration cakes, Naomi has been baking and delighting customers for many years. We are delighted that she will be exhibiting at The Vintage & Handmade Wedding Fair on Saturday 6th May, and she has also donated a fantastic prize for the day. This week we caught up with Naomi for a chat about weddings and cakes, so why not make yourself a cup of tea and find out what goes on behind the scenes in her creative kitchen!
So Naomi, tell us a bit about your background and how your cake business started?
I've always loved baking and people have always loved eating it! I have a large family of 5 children ranging from 17 yrs to 6yrs, and they are my inspiration. I discovered my love and natural talent for cake designing / decoration by making many Celebration cakes for family and friends, and I then went on to complete the ABC level 2 cake decoration course in which I passed all units with merits. I am fully registered with Belfast council and have a food hygiene rating of 5 ( scores of the doors 5) and am fully insured.
What services do you offer to brides and grooms?
I offer a friendly and personal service to all my clients. I work from home and use only the highest quality ingredients to ensure that your cake tastes divine. They are freshly baked to order and I offer an extensive range of flavours to suit every taste and am happy to accommodate any special requests. My champagne and strawberry cake is always popular for weddings and I can even turn your favourite cocktail into cake!
Do you offer a range of styles?
I offer wedding cake consultations where we can discuss the bride and grooms requirements and I then design the bespoke wedding cake of their dreams tailor made for their wedding, which can be anything from traditional, vintage, or sophisticated, to a unique and quirky novelty cake!
I also offer a delivery and set up service locally or across Ireland to ensure your day is perfect. I can also supply cupcakes, macarons, biscotti and salted caramel chocolates and truffles all perfect for wedding favours.
Do you have any tips for brides and grooms?
My recommendations to brides and grooms would be to book their cake early to guarantee availability. The design can then be decided on once they have decided on a style, theme or colour scheme for their wedding. When consulting with couples I look at all aspects of their wedding from their venue, dresses, suits, colour schemes, decorations and personalities so that they get the perfect wedding cake design to suit them.
For more information please follow Cakes By Naomi on Facebook.
Competition Alert! One very lucky bride and groom visiting The Vintage & Handmade Wedding Fair at Belfast Cathedral on Saturday 6th May will win one of Naomi's wedding cakes to the value of £250 (or £250 off the value of their wedding cake). This is a fantastic prize, bound to really make a happy couple's day and is part of our fabulous wedding fair prize package.
We hope all our readers have enjoyed a wonderful Easter break. We're back at work early as we have The Vintage & Handmade Wedding Fair less than 3 weeks away and we have lots of news about our fantastic exhibitors to share before then! In today's MEET THE WEDDING SUPPLIER post we are delighted to introduce you to the lovely John and Annie from Rose Cottage Events. We caught up with them recently to chat about all things wedding, so why not make yourself a cup of tea and sit down to find out what goes on behind the scenes at Rose Cottage HQ?
So John and Annie, tell us a little about your background and how your business started?
We are a small family run business who had initially, for some years, been doing this type of service free of charge for friends and family. It was in early 2015 when we decided to give it a go as a small business. Since going live in September 2015 we have grown steadily, and have had fabulous feedback from our clientele. We are "Event Planners" which means we do more than just weddings. We can cater for any event.
What products or services do you offer that are suitable for weddings?
Our products, where possible are the real thing...the majority of our props are originals, some dating from late 1800's to early 1900's. We can cater from room dressing right down to the finer little details. Some of our props can be hired as a gift for the bride and groom for their special day, for example one of our gorgeous postboxes. We also have our personalised, handmade, bespoke items, which can be purchased from our new online shop, which should be going live for Monday 10th April 2017. The shop will be accessed via our website www.rosecottageevents.com Brides, or guests, can browse for a lovely gift for themselves, a friend or a family member.
Is Rose Cottage Events only available locally or do you travel across Ireland?
We cover the island both North and South of Ireland and have travelled to the Republic of Ireland on a number of occasions, with more bookings being taken for 2017/18.
Where does your inspiration for your styling ideas come from?
Our inspiration usually comes from our our own imagination and creativity. We have a knack of looking at something and seeing what it can become…for example a piece of wood fallen from our trees.
Do you have any wedding planning tips for brides and grooms?
Our wedding tips for any bride would be this.....Make your wedding day your own, don't let others take over your dream...its ok having help and advice or throwing ideas about to get a clear picture of what you are looking for, but don't let anyone take over to the point that its their day instead of yours. But do allocate little jobs to the bridal party so you're not over-stressed trying to do everything yourself. Our other main tip would be.. too many brides end up so nervous and stressed on their special day that it passes them by with no real memory of it....so after all the hustle and bustle getting to and arriving for your special day, take a moment, a couple of deep breaths and look around you, physically make your eyes and mind take everything in around you, so you don't miss out on the beauty of your special day, and how it has all come together....and enjoy it to the full xx
"We at Rose Cottage Events, endeavour to help create your dreams with our ideas and to inspire you, while you still hold the reins."
For more information please visit the Rose Cottage Events website where the Online Shop is now open. You can also follow Rose Cottage Events on Facebook.
And great news for one lucky bride and groom visiting The Vintage & Handmade Wedding Fair at Belfast Cathedral on Saturday 6th May - Rose Cottage Events have included free hire of one of their vintage postboxes as part of our fantastic prize package bundle!
In today's MEET THE MAKER post we are delighted to be introducing you to the lovely ladies at Camran Crafts - creators of melt-in-the-mouth, scrumptious, artisan marshmallows. If you haven't yet had the pleasure of tasting these delicious confections then you will be in for a treat if you visit our event this weekend as they will be exhibiting at The Spring Into Summer Vintage & Handmade Fair at Belfast Castle on Sunday 2nd April. This week we caught up with the lovely ladies for a bit of a chat about all things marshmallow, so why not make yourself a nice cup of tea and sit down to enjoy what goes on behind the scenes at Camran Crafts..........
So ladies, we have long been big fans of yours but could you tell us your background and how Camran Crafts started?
We started the business after our children expressed an interest in marshmallows, but did not like the texture or the artificial taste of shop purchased ones. After lots of research and little piles of 'not quite there' mallows, the camran mallow was born! Our children have additional needs so are very, very particular. We were able to produce an all natural, gluten, fat and dairy free mallow that melted in the mouth and they loved it. The business was then developed to not only have an opportunity to share these amazing little bites of confectionery but to raise awareness and funding for Autism related projects.
How would you describe your business and what you do?
Our business is fun! We are so fortunate to be in the position to do what we do. Our customers love telling us what flavour combinations they would like us to make and revel in giving us wee challenges to rise to. The texture of our mallows is so very different and one of the biggest smiles we give is when someone says "well I wasn't expecting that... I don't even like marshmallows... can I take a bag of those and those please"!
We hear you have recently been nominated for some awards???
Our Strawberry & Champagne mallow made the finals of Blas Na Eireann and our Orange, Mango and Gin earnt us the title of Small Producer of the Year from the Irish Food and Drinks Quality Awards team. .... humbling and honoured on both accounts. Our true award though are our customers - we love them and really enjoy the time they spend to come and talk to us and share their stories whilst having a mallow sampling journey.
Where does the inspiration for your flavours come from?
We are well known for mallows and alcohol.... particularly whiskey or gin! Necessity or Fun??? - we will let you decide! The children inspire a lot of the flavours (without the booze!), they are young enough to not be tainted by thinking that savoury is savoury and you don't mix sweet with it... so they have great ideas. Not all of them work, but we have a go at most of them. Alongside our customers, this wee country has so much to offer and inspires us all the time. Our Whiskey & Chocolate mallow is made with that lovely north coast nectar and chocolate from Wee ChoCo which has gorgeous fruit undertones to complement the honey and vanilla in the whiskey. With plenty of Cider companies around and gorgeous apples grown here we have been inspired to produce an apple and candied chilli mallow. The chilli doesn't provide a kick in the mallow, it warms the apple and creates a more intense taste sensation. Sometimes we genuinely just blurt out flavours whilst having coffee and see what happens. We did say it was fun!
What are your plans for the future?
To remain happy and slightly sane. We will be going through a rebranding exercise in 2017 and our packaging is being redesigned. We have a few collaborations planned throughout the year too so keep an eye out for those.
We would like to say a huge thank you to all the Frock Fair customers and events team. The locations of these events are first class and we truly have an amazing time exhibiting. They are so well organised and the customers are always so kind and considerate that you hardly feel like you are working at all!
For more information on these delectable treats you can visit the Camran Crafts website and also follow them on Facebook.
You can also catch Camran Crafts at Belfast Castle this Sunday where they will be exhibiting as part of The Spring Into Summer Vintage & Handmade Fair.
COMPETITION ALERT!! One lucky person will also soon be able to win some delicious Carmran artisan mallows as part of our April Prize Package this Sunday 2nd April at Belfast Castle!
In today's MEET THE MAKER post we are delighted to be introducing you to Frances McCready - the creative genius behind The Beagle and The Blackbird. Frances began exhibiting with us back in 2016 and we are in awe of her talents and magical creations. If you haven't yet had the pleasure of seeing her work then you will be in for a treat if you visit our next event as she will be exhibiting at The Spring Into Summer Vintage & Handmade Fair at Belfast Castle on Sunday 2nd April. But for now, why not make yourself a nice cup of tea and sit down to enjoy what goes on behind the scenes at The Beagle and The Blackbird..........
So Frances, where does your business name The Beagle and The Blackbird come from?
The Beagle is sadly no longer with me but the Blackbird visits my workshop each day looking to be fed and he sometimes sits awhile, he's just lovely, a real wee friend.
How would you describe your creative business and what materials do you like to work with?
I work with wool fibres, that's unspun wool, most of which is undyed Jacob and transform it in to quirky, recognisable creatures full of personality, character and fun. There is a special magic when each piece is finished and a little face is looking back at me. In needlefelting there is no shortcut and even the tiniest item takes many hours to complete and what you have is a totally unique friendly little creature guaranteed to make you smile.
What influences your designs at the moment?
I am currently working on a range of miniatures that are just too too cute. Influences for me are wildlife books and programmes, Beatrix Potter and of course my favourite The Animals of Farthing Wood, mixing the real with the imagined.
Frances and her Beagle and the Blackbird creations will be appearing with Frock Around The Clock at the following events:
2nd April - The Spring Into Summer Vintage & Handmade Fair
16th September - The Spectacular Autumn Vintage & Handmade Fair
COMPETITION ALERT!! One lucky person will also soon be able to win a beautiful needlefelted sleeping mouse in his own cosy box as show below as part of our April Prize Package on Sunday 2nd April at Belfast Castle!
For more information visit The Beagle and the Blackbird on Facebook.
It's been a busy year for Frock Fairs, and to thank our loyal exhibitors we are giving away the chance to Win a Free Stall in 2017!
To enter the draw all you need to do is have booked and paid for a 2017 event by the end of November (anyone who has already made a confirmed booking for a 2017 event will be automatically entered into the draw). What's more you will receive one entry into the draw for each 2017 event you have booked, so the more 2017 events you book, the more chances you have of winning.
If you would like to book a place at any of our current 2017 events to enter the draw (or increase your entries into the draw) you can easily do so by clicking on the event images below.
Today we have news of another great competition running at The Vintage & Handmade Wedding Fair at Belfast Castle on Sunday 8th May. If you arrive in the first hour of the event (12 - 1pm) then you will be able to enter into a free draw for the chance to win this beautiful 1950's pearl necklace from Norma Jean Vintage! In lovely condition with a gorgeous lustre, these longer length heirloom pearls with gold plated clasp would be perfect for a bride, bridesmaid or mother of the bride so everyone can enter. Make sure to arrive at the event before 1pm and you will be able to enter the draw on arrival - good luck!
A big favourite at our wedding events, we're delighted to announce that Simon Hodge from Shoot For The Moon Media will be back with us for The Vintage & Handmade Wedding Fair at Belfast Castle on Sunday 8th May. Simon provides beautiful, quirky and alternative wedding photography throughout Ireland & beyond, and once more he will be running a fantastic competition on the day of the fair. All you have to do is visit the Shoot For The Moon stand on 8th May and sign up to enter a draw for the chance to win a free engagement shoot! Please visit the Shoot For The Moon website and follow on Facebook to view Simon's work and past weddings and engagement shoots.
We hope to see you at Belfast Castle on 8th May and good luck in the draw!