Do you ever think that your invincible? That you can do everything and anything? Think there are actually 30 hours in the day and that only a couple of them are for sleeping, because hey, that’s all you actually need! Well that is how I have taken on the last few months, and I can honestly say that I’m not the super hero I planned to be….
Those of you that know me, or follow me on social media, will know that last weekend we held a charity event, ‘Fund Fayre’. The aim of this was firstly to raise lots of money for Alzheimer’s Society and Cancer Research, and secondly to get to know more people in the local area, create a fun environment and promote Homemade with Mess. The event itself was a fantastic day, with live music, LOADS of locally sourced food and drink and actual sunshine (because we’re all a little unsure what that is these days)!!!! We even managed to raise a whopping £3,228.55 for charity which is fantastic. Where I came a cropper within all this was maintaining my blog. My beloved, loyal, trustworthy blog has well and truly taken a back seat, as I quickly realised that there aren’t 30 plus hours in the day and that in fact everything in life seems to take way longer and way more energy that you could ever have imagined!
I would be lying if I said that planning Fund Fayre has been a walk in the park and blogging has taking a back seat as a consequence, and actually cooking as a whole has too. I have eaten way too many takeaways, consumed bowls of cereal as a main meal, just settled for cheese and wine for dinner on numerous occasions and even purchased a supermarket meal deal for two (well actually, Sam did, but I was too tired to care!)! But now I am back!!!!
Before I get into the swing of sharing some weird and wonderful cooking delights, I wanted to take the opportunity to share with you some snaps and stories from Fund Fayre (considering it has been such a big part of my life the last few months, it would be a little disrespectful not to), and to thank all our friends and family who helped out prior to and on the day, as we honestly could not have done it without you! So sit back, grab yourself a drink, and prepare for one hell of an acceptance speech!…
The first mention of this post has to go to Josh, John and all the trustees at The Spike Community Centre, for letting us use their beautiful building and garden completely free of charge. From the moment we visited The Spike we knew if was the perfect venue for us, being such a useful space that is also full of charm and character.
The centre also houses a museum about its history, and it really is a fascinating place. Built in 1838 as a result of the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834, it houses the forgotten classes of Edwardian England – the poor, the infirm, the ill and the destitute.
In 1905, building work began to construct a purpose built Casual’s Ward to separate the ‘undesirable’ vagrants and their disruptive influence from the structured routine of the main Workhouse and its inmates. With their filthy clothes, crude language and coarse behaviour, they lived a lonely, miserable existence………
Let’s now take a stroll down the Wonderlane…where customers were to be dazzled by local creations and many shiny, homemade items could be purchased.
It was the place for magpies, with plenty of glistening, eye-catching pieces made by the following very talented suppliers….
Bewe Designs – Two of the loveliest people I have ever met, and so talented with it. Selling homemade sterling silver, precious stone jewelry and stunning artwork of still life, landscapes and seascapes. Their items are totally worth checking out, so please do… www.bewedesigns.com
Pewley Down Estate Wines – As I’m sure you can imagine, this was a pretty popular stall, and the most local! Selling delicious sparkling wine grown and created on a vineyard no more than a stroll away from where we held the event. This English sparkling wine is taking many awards from the French, these guys are definitely worth checking out…. www.pewleydownvineyard.co.uk
Eve Sinnott Creations & Silky Fish Designs Everyone that entered Wonderlane was greeted by the beautiful, smiley faces of Eve and Sarah. Both local girls, all of their pieces are handmade with flair and are stunning. Check out their Facebook pages @EveSinnottCreations and @SilkyFishDesigns to browse their items and contact them for commissions.
Sunshine Ann Showers – This stall was every shoppers dream, selling a selection of clothing, scarves and bags (which were to die for by the way!). Check out their Facebook Page @sunshineannshowers to find out where they’ll be trading next!
Two for Joy – I lived with Anna at Uni, and even then, she would be squirreling away making jewellery or beautiful handmade cards. I am now super proud to say she is starting a new enterprise with her beautiful homemade Jewellery. Please check out her Instagram page @twoforjoy_handmade and watch this space for a chance to buy the beautiful pieces on Etsy.
Love & Scruff – Great for gifts, Love and Scruff have a beautiful collection of homemade make up bags, baby blankets so soft they could make you cry and beautiful creative tapestries. Please have a look for yourselves at https://www.facebook.com/LoveAndScruff
Lisa @ Stella & Dot – This jewellery is super cool! When Lisa asked to have a stall at Fund Fayre I was so excited, as they have some really fab pieces! I even sent my Husband, Sam the link for future reference!!
Alzheimer’s Society – We had a team of lovely ladies from Alzheimer’s Society there to support on the day; providing support, advice and friendly faces to anyone wanting to chat.
The Bear Garden – No charity event would be complete without a teddy to name, and our newly named ‘Mr Snuggles’, was kindly donated to us by The Bear Garden in Guildford, which is a must visit for any lover of soft bears!
Mum’s Allotment – My mum is officially the best, and created an amazing stall selling all sorts of goodies she had grown or made from her allotment. She also then donated all her sales to our charities, like a true hero!
Next stop… the Mad Hatters Tea Party…
Tick tock, tick tock, is it cake o’clock… Really, really tough decisions were made in here, as there was so much cake to choose from! ‘Shall I have a slice of the 4 layered funfetti cake, a sticky chocolate brownie or go all-out-British with a fruit scone?” When we were setting up I never thought we would get through the copious amounts of cake, but we did. Some customers sat for hours among the grass and the flamingos, enjoying vintage pots of tea and cake upon cake, upon cake, upon cake. It really was a place where dreams came true, so thank you to my legendary friends who basically ran it and everyone that baked!
One of the nicest things about the Mad Hatters Tea Party was that within it, you were serenaded with the beautiful acoustic music coming from Garden Beats. This was the area that people could just chill out and listen to one of the following, incredibly talented artists:
And the music didn’t stop there… We even managed to fit in an actual stage with proper bands and everything!! This was the Sunshine Beats area of Fund Fayre, and was, if you may call it, our ‘Main Stage’. Think an afternoon of sunshine, amazing food, flowing booze and awesome music and that pretty much sums up this area. We were incredibly lucky to have the fantastic Higher Audio, kindly donate and set up all the sound equipment, so that the local bands we had could sound amazing. All acts were fab, so please check them out….
As I’m sure you can imagine, it was a priority to ensure that everyone who came was well fed and watered. They could enjoy an awesome sourdough, freshly-baked pizza from the cheeky chaps at Pizza in a Giro, a bulging homemade burger with some dirty and delicious toppings from Hot Mess and all this could be washed down with a glass of Pimms or prosecco from a TukTuk, courtesy of Fizz on Wheels (because how else should you serve prosecco?!).
Perhaps my favorite area of Fund Fayre was our Drunken Mouse tent, which if the name didn’t give it away, was an area dedicated to cheese, wine and cider… an absolute dream!
This was no ordinary cheese and wine area, it even had itself a little Mouse mascot, Mr Methuselah Mouse, and pictures of his famous mouse family could be spotted hanging from the walls. Our incredibly talented friend managed to knock up some tables in just a few minutes and customers could enjoy a delicious cheese and wine pairing whilst chilling on straw bails and listening to amazing music; it really doesn’t get much better than that!
And I’m sure you can imagine the fun we had sourcing the wine and cheese, all of which we were able to find locally from suppliers within 50 miles of the venue! It was literally a cheese lover’s dream, with everything from a brie like sheep’s cheese, a subtly smoked and a chilli marbled cheddar. For those of you that are as crazy about cheese as I am, check out the full mouthwatering list below….
This is a mild, semi-soft Guernsey milk cheese with a buttery flavor. Its distinctive yellow colour is due to the natural carotene in the unpasteurised Guernsey milk which comes from a single herd of pedigree Guernsey cows near Henley. It has won numerous awards, including Gold at the 2015 World Cheese Awards.
A delicate, soft ewes’ milk brie-style cheese made by Anne and Andy Wigmore in Berkshire. This is a subtle cheese with an unrivalled delicacy of texture and taste. No French ewes’ milk cheese can rival its finesse. Rich and unctuous – a delight!
The cheese is made with an addition of crushed black peppercorns. It has a light fresh creamy texture with a clean slightly sharp lemony taste. It is a mild, soft creamy cheese made with pasteurised sheep milk. The cheese is a spreading cheese well partnered by crusty bread or biscuits,
Barkham Blue has a very distinctive appearance as it is covered in an attractive natural mould-ripened, rustic rind. The deep yellow moist interior is spread with dark blue – green veins. It has a rich blue taste, smooth buttery texture with a melt in the mouth flavour, without the harshness associated with some blue cheese. Awarded Supreme champion at the 2015 British Cheese Awards.
Rosethorn Blue is a lovely soft textured, creamy blue cheese made with Friesian cow’s milk. It is gentle on the palate but becomes stronger and softer with age.
The unique recipe of Sussex Charmer produces a cheese that is a cross between a Traditional Mature Farmhouse Cheese and a Parmesan. It is produced exclusively with milk from dairy cows from Pallinghurst Farm in Rudgwick, West Sussex. Our Welfare Assured cows, are grass fed and are of mixed breed, producing milk that is very high in protein and butterfat. This high quality milk is the essential ingredient for producing a cheese that is very creamy and full of flavour. It won BEST NEW DAIRY PRODUCT at the 2008 Nantwich International Cheese Awards, which is the largest cheese awards in the world.
For those that enjoy a heavily smoked cheese, this may not suit. During the maturation process the rind goes a glorious caramel colour and can’t be mistaken for any other. The young cheese is taken to a local smokery, half a ton at a time and left there for a couple of days. In 2016 it was awarded a Silver Award from the World Cheese Awards in Spain and this year a Bronze from the British Cheese Awards at the Bath and West Show.
This is a dryer and harder cheese, becoming more reminiscent of an Old Amsterdam with a distinctive nuttiness in flavour. Because Old Winchester is made with a vegetarian rennet, on a number of occasions the cheese is being sold, and used as a vegetarian replacement for a hard Italian cheese, and yet can still be used as a table cheese, it has that bit more versatility. It won best hard cheese at the Melton, Artisan Cheese Show and finishes the year with Bronze at the World Cheese Awards 2016 in Spain, against some very tough competition.
Mould ripened, not dissimilar to a French Tomme De Savoie. At 8 weeks old it is creamy, buttery in texture, sweet flavours, with a distinctly earthy finish. This cheese suits a very broad section of customer. Even those that like a strong cheese will enjoy the subtle flavours and the smooth texture of this little cheese. British Cheese Awards have produced a Bronze medal for Stoney Cross in 2017.
As the name suggests, there is a hint of garlic and onion, and the other ingredients are chives, parsley, paprika, ginger, and horseradish, the nettle giving the cheese a touch of colour, that can be quite clearly seen. The garlic has however, not been included to such a level that it is too overpowering, and this presents a young well balanced cheese that pleases most people.
A continental style, semi soft creamy cheese derived from Saint Giles, infused with Chilli. Fantastic if melted on steak or chicken.
Sister Sarah is a semi-soft goat’s milk cheese. It has a shorter maturing time of just 4-6 weeks so the cheese has a soft, fresh flavour. Many people find this creamy cheese similar to a cow’s milk cheese, like Port Salut – as it has such as soft flavour you don’t often find in goat’s milk cheese. Annatto (a South American berry) is used to give the cheese a bright orange rind.
The team used naturally fermenting sourdough, Shipton Mill organic flour and the very best, natural ingredients they can find to make the most delicious, wavy, golden crispbreads. These crispbreads have won plenty of awards and are a firm favourite of many Michelin star chefs. Not only are these the best crackers I have ever tasted, they were also very kindly donated by Peters Yard, what hero’s!!
It wasn’t however all food and drink, we did throw in some fun and games to keep the families entertained. There were vintage games, quite possibly the most brilliant balloon modeler and the chance to get your face glittered up by Cosmo Box.
Gosh, even writing about it all has made me tired, and I promise I’m nearly there! I just have a few more thank yous to share with you…. Firstly, you may have noticed in the background so of the amazing signage and marketing, which was all loveingly created by my friend and colleague, Emma. We also spend many painstaking hours building an amazing brochure, which you can check out in full by scanning this QR Code….
We also had some printed on the day that visitors could take away with them, and I officially work for the best company ever (Accent Catering), as I was able to print these free of charge, which saved a heap and consequently meant we could raise more money for our charities!
So I will leave you with one final montage of the day, amazingly put together by NoMoSto, which is a fantastic way of reducing your storage and creating a memorable video montage….
– And if seeing any of this inspires you, then our Just Giving page is still live if you would like to give a kind donation…. www.justgiving.com/teams/