All things CHRISTMAS………………..2016
I unashamedly love Christmas! It is my favourite time of the year and particularly the run up to Xmas from around mid November when we start seeing winter fairs/markets/special events/decorations etc. I agree it has got very commercialised but I love it for the opportunity to get together with friends and family and just have lots of celebrations!
2016 has been such an awful year politically with the EU referendum and more recently Trump being elected as the President of the USA. Brexit and Trump are devastating news for me personally and I think to most people reading this blog and these decisions do not send out a ‘Goodwill to ALL people’ message. I think it is therefore even more important that we use this festive season to send out goodwill messages to all those around us and join together in our amazing community to show solidarity and support to EVERYONE.
There is so much happening in the area in the next 5/6 weeks and I somehow feel that this will be a long blog post so bear with me! I will try and put it in some kind of logical order with dates for all the fairs/events first and then various categories and within this arranged in order. As ever there will be things I have missed out and I apologise in advance but there is only so much I can know/cover! To note the area I mainly concentrate on is Crofton Park and Honor Oak Park but the surrounding areas of Catford, Forest Hill, Brockley, Deptford, Ladywell and Hither Green I also include but just not in the same detail
So here goes…………………
The first big fair that I’m aware with in the area is Blackheath Christmas Fair and it is this Sunday 20th November from 1030 to 445pm and it is held annually at the wonderful Blackheath Halls. It’s a big event with 52 stalls selling gorgeous gifts and food for Xmas. There is a small entry charge (£2) and all proceeds go to the local charity Age Exchange. Many of our local favourites ‘My Gorgeous Cards’, Troffles, Sarah Design and Belle and Bean have stalls so why not go along, support and get ahead of the game with early pressies!
The next weekend is a bumper one with lots of local fairs. First up is CROFTMAS on Saturday 26th November from 12 to 5pm. This is similar to the highly successful Croftfest in September where lots happens in the individual businesses in Crofton Park, along the main Brockley road and along Ewhurst road. St Hilda’s is holding their very popular Santa’s Grotto inside the church along with craft stalls and a pop up cafe hosted by Bianca from Benedict’s coffee shop and Sodia from Sucre le Crème and her yummy cakes. In the library local historians Mike and Carol Brown are around to show you fascinating postcards/information about the area, there is also an in-house raffle and biscuit decorating . Stalls will be outside on the main forecourt with Crofton Books leading the way. I understand local caterers MishMish will be selling their delicious street food. Details of what each business will be doing and timings will be posted on this website and social media so watch this space!
Also on Saturday 26th November there is the annual Winter fair at the wonderful Chelwood nursery school from 12 to 3pm and this is always a good one with lots of fun things for the kids along with stalls/food/music and a great raffle. On the same day Telegraph Hill are holding a Christmas fair in the lovely St Catherine’s church from 1 to 5pm with craft stalls/mulled wine plus more. Why not pop along to at least a couple of these in the afternoon and make a ‘Christmas fair’ day! If you have recovered and ready for another fair the next day, on Sunday 27th November, there is the Ackroyd Xmas fair from 1230 to 4pm. I think they still need stalls so contact them if interested.
The following weekend we have a number of excellent local events. Ladywell Christmas market is on Saturday 3rd December from 10 to 3pm and there is always a great atmosphere with lots of interesting/good quality stalls focused in the centre of the village with many of the local businesses joining in with festivities. There is also musical entertainment throughout the day. Certainly worth a visit.
Meanwhile in Forest Hill the fabulous Horniman museum is holding their annual Christmas Fair over the weekend of 3rd and 4th December from 1030 to 430pm each day. Lots of stalls are inside the beautiful conservatoire and on the Saturday there is the addition of the Farmers market. Also expect workshops, family activities, food/drink, and music/carols singing in the bandstand area on the Sunday afternoon. Always a great local occasion and FREE
The Lewisham Arthouse on Lewisham Way, SE4, is holding it’s popular winter fair on Saturday 10th December from 11-6pm. It says there is a ‘selection of fine art and craft stalls to tempt the happy shopper’ I think they still have stalls available. For further details see http://bit.ly/2gmR0Wx
On the 10th December there are 2 events in Catford (the place to be!) In the centre, SE6 is holding it’s first ‘Grand Christmas Craft Market’ in the splendid surrounds of the Broadway theatre. I can’t find that many details but I understand there will be many stalls and it spans from 11 to 6pm.
Also, further south, in Catford the wonderful Goldsmiths Community Centre (Castillon road, SE6) is holding it’s Christmas fair from 12 to 4pm. Pop down and support this event as the centre really does great things in the community. Expect stalls, BBQ , kids crafts activities, bouncy castle, santa and much more.
Why not also head north as only 20 mins away in sunny Deptford the wonderful Buster Mantis in Resolution Way is hosting a Winter Wonderland Makers Market on Saturday 10th December from 11 to 5pm. It is being organised by South London (SoLo) Craft Fair. In the spacious room adjacent to the bar there will be stalls/workshops with DJ's plus more - sounds a great combination! See you there.
The last Xmas market in the area and this year on the weekend before the big day is the ever popular Brockley Xmas Market. It is being held on Saturday 17th December from 12 to 6pm. Not to be confused with the weekly Brockley Saturday food market off Lewisham way it is a special Christmas event held along Coulgate Street, by the station, where the road is closed to traffic for the day. Over 60 stalls are booked in and there is a stage at one end with live music throughout the market which this year is having a Bowie and Prince tribute theme running through it. A great atmosphere is guaranteed and so I will see you there!
SCHOOL CHRISTMAS FAIRS
Chelwood Nursery school – Winter fair (fire and ice) -Saturday 26th November 12-3pm
Dalmain primary school-Xmas fair-Friday 2nd December 430-530pm
Prendergast Ladywell primary school –Christmas Fayre- Friday 2nd December from 330pm
Gordonbrock primary school- Winter fair-Friday 9th December from 330pm
Kilmorie primary school – Narnia Christmas fair – Saturday 10th December 130-430pm
Fairlawn primary school – Xmas fair – Saturday 10th December 12-3pm
Beecroft Garden school- Christmas fair-Friday 16th December 315-530pm
Stillness infants and junior school -to note there is NO FAIR THIS YEAR
This year’s community panto in Telegraph Hill is Mother Goose-it’s always a lot of affordable fun with funds raised going towards the Thill centre and New X Learning. Performances are on the weekend of the 2/3 and 4th December. Tickets I understand are going fast so book now if interested with this link http://bit.ly/2eWRQUr
You always know Xmas is coming when the leaflets for the wonderful Brockley Jack Theatre festive show appear and this year looks to be a really good one! It’s the classic ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and you can expect Holmes and Watson to encounter many amusing/interesting characters along the way before hopefully solving the chilling case of the death of Sir Charles Baskerville. Performances start on Tuesday 13th December and continue until Saturday 7th January, with a number of shows already sold out. A crowd of us go every year and always have a very enjoyable evening and so I think we need to sort out our dates asap! For details and link to tickets see here http://bit.ly/2fusYr1
I will unashamedly plug the film ‘Whiplash’ which is being shown at the Brockley Jack theatre on Sunday 4th December at 6pm. Following on from the success of the 2 films shown in August, chosen and curated by my husband, he is hoping to put on more films over the coming year but this is always subject to availability of the space. Whiplash is an extraordinary film based around a young jazz drummer. The score is excellent and the intimacy of the 50 seater theatre will be a great space to watch/hear this film. Tickets are only £7 here http://bit.ly/2fUIxJq See you there.
The family Christmas show at the refurbished Albany theatre in Deptford this year is ‘The Snail and the Whale’ It runs from Monday 5th December until Sunday 1st January and is recommended for ages 4 years plus. There is a good family ticket deal. It certainly looks one to check out over the holidays.
The Lewisham Police Chief Superintendent’s Christmas carol concert is now an established annual event outside the Lewisham police station and this year is being held on Wednesday 14th December from 7 to 8pm. Everyone is welcome to join in with singing and festivities. It will be inside St. Stephen’s church if wet.
Haven’t Stopped Dancing Yet Xmas Disco Ball – The wonderful Blackheath Halls hosts the fab HSDY team again this year for their festive extravaganza on Saturday 10th December from 7.30pm until midnight. This will be a great night out but you need to hurry as tickets are selling fast. Check out details on their website haventstoppeddancingyet.co.uk or buy tickets at Ottie and the Bea, You don’t bring me flowers or Retrobates in Greenwich.
Rivoli Ballroom Christmas Disco –Our stunning local ballroom is holding a festive 70s/80s disco on Saturday 10th December from 8-1am. It promises to be a fantastic night with DJ Kobayashi and the Blues brothers. Tickets online are going fast so book here http://bit.ly/2fuVHvZ
After the successful charity fundraiser last year wonderful local boys running La la Piano bar bring their unique ‘New York Style’ Piano Bar event back to London’s famous Groucho Club on Sunday 27th November. This year they’re partnering with People against Poverty to help raise funds for the projects they work with in Haiti, India, Malawi, Tanzania, Nepal and Romania. Hosted by David Roper from 4 Poofs and a Piano, with the voluptuous Lady La La they present a host of west end singers and guest performers and it promises to be a great night. Music will start from 6pm until 10pm and there are only 80 tickets available for this event so book early to avoid disappointment! You can buy tickets in advance http://bit.ly/2eZw5DJ
A piece of art/crafts/ceramics makes a great, unique Xmas gift or, for me, it’s also a good excuse to treat yourself to that little (or big) something! We have a wealth of artistic talent locally and listed below are the main open studios/events I am aware of in the next month.
Lee Green Open Studios – Local artists in SE12 open their doors to the public this weekend from 12-6pm (19th and 20th November) There is a huge variety of different styles including ceramics/mosaics/sculpture/jewellery/textiles from many talented artists/creatives.Many different venues are involved and this is always a great occasion. A very comprehensive guide can be downloaded from their website www.leegreenopenstudios.com/
Havelock Walk Open Studios – This beautiful cobbled street in the heart of Forest Hill is having their ‘Winter weekend’ on the 26th-27th November from 12-6pm. It’s an exceptionally friendly creative community with highly talented artists /printers/photographers/sculptors etc. There will be stalls, music, food, cocktails and you can certainly expect a warm welcome. For details check out www.havelockwalk.com/
Artists Open House and Craft Fair – Sunday 27th November 11 to 430pm at 45 Penerley Road, Catford. 20 local talented artists and makers within one roof. Free entry – mulled wine and mince pies!
Art in the Attic - Christmas Open Mixed show - Sunday 4th & 11th December 12 to 6pm. This is an open mixed show of different artists plus a selection of vintage pictures, furniture and clothing with a pop up attic tearoom with cake/mince pies and mulled wine! All this is taking place in the beautiful house of David Bottomly at 12 Montague Avenue, SE4. Not to be missed.
OTHER XMAS ACTIVITIES
The vibrant area of Forest Hill will be having lots of Xmas events but very specifically the community run library has received some extra funding and has very quickly created some FREE activities for children starting from the 1st December. For details check out here http://bit.ly/2fY8yVZ
St Saviours Church -there are a couple of events that need mentioning at this very friendly local church on Brockley Rise. On Sunday 4th December from 6pm there is a candlelit supper in the church-tickets £10, whilst on Saturday 10th December there is the ‘Getting ready for Christmas’ event mainly for young people/families from 330 to 5pm and it is free. For both events places should be booked in advance by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
We have lots of gift and clothes shops in our wonderful area that are already getting ready for the festive season with stock coming in daily. There is the fabulous Honeybourne’s and Zenubian in Ladywell village. Both Hannah and Michelle are very welcoming and offer quite different gifts/jewellery/cards plus lots more, so if you are in the area I would pop into both shops and check them out.
In Brockley we have Gently Elephant selling fantastic children’s toys/clothes/shoes whilst a few shop units down the street Magi Gifts is always packed with beautiful gift items for all price ranges from pocket money to more luxury goods. I always find the men’s section very impressive.
Crofton Park has two lovely clothes shops, one very established and another relatively new. Paraphernalia has been 19 years on the High Street and Mandi sells new, nearly new, vintage and designer clothes and accessories. Pop in if you haven’t before as now is a good time to see what lies behind the shopfront. Meanwhile Lucy and Donna have been 2 years nearly on the corner of Ewhurst Rd at The Workshop and are very welcoming. Besides creating patterns, designing clothes and doing alterations they have created a great winter collection of tops, dresses, scarves, house booties and sewing kits plus more. They really are SO friendly and would love you to pop in and say hello.
In Honor Oak there are three shops I am going to mention here (will include Provender later) Jumping Bean is a beautiful shop selling lots of beautiful things and I would certainly recommend visiting. The Someth1ng gallery is nearly opposite on Honor Oak rd and Rebecca has a real eye for fabulous art. I love so much of the work there and whilst not much is in my price range there is often affordable art in the back room drawers. I encourage you to pop in as Rebecca will make you feel very welcome and there will be no pressure to buy. Finally I cannot leave Honor Oak Park without mentioning Muck n Brass. It is a stunning shop on Brockley Rise and if you have any piece of furniture that needs to be rejuvenated then Lady Zoe will help transform it! She did a wonderful commission for me a few months ago and my daughter loves her funky chest of drawers!
Lastly in this section I want to mention our wonderful branded ‘Crofton Park’ tote bags that have been designed by the gorgeous Becci of Betty Etiquette. We have just ordered some new colours – the navy with silver and red with white design are going down a storm. They are for sale in most shops in Crofton Park and our best supplier is the fabulous Budgen’s who are great supporters of the community. They are only £6 and make lovely token gifts
We are very lucky to have 4 brilliant local deli’s in our immediate local area. I personally think food and drink make great luxury/treat presents particularly for that person who has everything. All of the shops detailed below offer hampers-you can create your own bespoke hamper of goodies.
The Larder in Ladywell is owned by Cynthia and Catherine and has become a firm local favourite. This is their 3rd Xmas and they are bringing in extra delicious supplies for the festive season continually. Over in Brockley Cross Zoltan and Martin at the Brockley Deli are a very popular addition to the area and sell lots of exciting and interesting goodies. Just a year ago the Honor Oak Provender opened it’s doors and it has not disappointed. They had an amazing selection of luxury chocolates, panatonne, plus other goodies for Xmas and I understand the same if not larger selection is due on the shelves in the next week-honestly it is well worth checking out. Lastly, but not least is our own local Jones of Brockley in Crofton Park. Whilst Michael would not describe it as a deli (more grocer) it sells excellent quality food and drink items that make great presents. He has a great alcohol collection, with lots of specialist gins, whiskys etc. Also his cheeses are delicious and varied so you can certainly create a wonderful festive cheeseboard.
Another business to add is the fabulous L’Oculto on Loampit Vale. This is run by the lovely Ana and Teresa who own the company ‘Flavours of Spain’ Besides serving amazing tapas during the week they sell their wines, sherries, cheeses and meats weekly at Brockley market and in the shop. Pop in to pick up a hamper or create your own.
I am very lucky to have Proud Sow as my local butcher (it is only 2 mins walk at the bottom of the road!) and I love popping in to see the very friendly Oli, Josh and Ben. Obviously Christmas is a butcher’s busiest time of the year and they rely on orders for turkeys and other cuts of meat for the festive period. I can certainly recommend Proud Sow-the quality of their meat is all excellent and I will definitely be ordering my bird from them again this year. I should also add that they sell lots of extras besides meat so you can also grab a bottle of wine, craft beer, olive oil or luxury marinade! I shouldn’t forget the daily delivery of delicious fresh bread from local bakers Coopersbake.
Whilst I may be biased in my choice of butchers we also have some fantastic other meat suppliers in the area. Heckstall & Smith in Ladywell, owned by Callum, is proving very popular with the locals whilst The Butchery in Forest Hill, owners Nathen and Ruth, opened 5 years ago and is very successful in SE23.
I thought I would add this category as this year we have seen 2 new wonderful businesses open up in Brockley and only after a few months of trading they are both proving to be great additions to the area. Craft beer is now so popular and sales will be increasing as the festive period approaches, both for personal consumption, taking round to friends or as presents.
WaterintoBeer opened in August in Mantle road on the west side of the tracks at Brockley whilst on the east side a month later Salthouse Bottles opened in what was previously Degustation. Both are doing very well and if you haven’t yet been to either pop in and pay them a visit. Their knowledge and enthusiasm for beer (plus cider and other alcohol choices) is infectious.
Meanwhile don’t forget the very established, highly popular Brockley Brewery in Harcourt Road SE4 who sell lots of gift ideas with their brilliant branding on T shirts, tote bags, beer gift sets etc. I should also add here that Jones of Brockley sell lots of craft beers
I will mention the two main outlets I know in the area locally that will be selling real Xmas trees.
The nearest largest supplier is outside the Crofton Park library. John is setting up again this year on Monday 28th November (after Croftmas has finished) There will be lots of trees of all sizes and prices right up until the big day and I believe they deliver locally for free.
The wonderful family run Shannon’s Garden Centre in SE23 has informed me that Christmas trees are now in stock and they will be doing free local delivery. They also have lots of other festive decorations and a large selection of LED lights for indoor and outdoor use. I think plants/ornamental trees/gardening tools/pots etc make wonderful presents so why not pop along and check out their extensive range. On Sunday 11th and 18th December they will be serving mulled wine and mince pies to help make the shopping experience a good one. Pop down and support your only local independently run garden centre in the immediate area now that Phoebes have sadly closed.
Christmas trees will also be sold at Brockley Market again this year whilst many local shops will have a selection of real trees such as Budgen’s, Ladywell DIY plus of course the local florists.
Deptford Market Yard
I thought I would include this very exciting development that has finally opened in SE8 and is set to transform Deptford! It is located around the railway station and there are 14 arches/7 shops above the carriage ramp 2 restaurants and a new market space, all gradually being filled with local, independent businesses, creative spaces and places to eat and drink. Businesses are opening daily but in the arches at the moment are Win and Ruby, Be London, The Box, Lomond Coffee plus lots more. I should add here that the fab Little Nan’s bar has taken over 2 of the arches nearest to the station and so has returned back to it’s roots which is great news for the area. For further details on what is open and planned to open check their website www.deptfordmarketyard.com However pop down there and see it for yourself-you will be very surprised at the transformation of this area!
Whilst it is all happening in SE8 there are also exciting developments in Ladywell with the Place. I am sure you will have noticed the new buildings on the main road leading into Lewisham (the former Ladywell baths site) with it’s bright colour palette. It is a unique building scheme providing housing for homeless families and a hub with workspace, independent retail, cafe and community cinema on the ground floor. The cafe opened 2 weeks ago and is being run by the wonderful Good Hope/Jimmy Mizen trust. Shop units are beginning to open and it is certainly looking to be an interesting place to visit so pop down/check out and support!
South London Card
I will finish the shopping section with highlighting the wonderful ‘South London Card’ that I have just renewed after being one of the first to sign up to the previous ‘Lewisham Card’ over a year ago. It is a discount card that gets you reductions/offers in the area at lots of our independent shops/cafes/bars/restaurants/businesses. It is a great scheme to promote LOCAL shopping and the team have expanded its area of operation to include Lambeth, Greenwich, Southwark plus more boroughs planned. You do have to buy the card –1 for £15, 2 for £20 and 4 for £38. I have saved loads of money over the year and easily covered the price of the card. I have just bought 4, one for me and my husband plus the other two for friends – it is a lovely gift to give someone and so would make a very different/useful Xmas pressy. For further details check out www.southlondonclub.co.uk
XMAS DAY LUNCH
If you don’t fancy sweating in the kitchen for hours on the big day why not treat yourself and have someone else prepare and cook it all for you.
This is not widely researched as running out of time/energy but I know that the popular Brockley Jack pub do a special menu (it may already be booked up though) whilst the wonderful award winning Babur restaurant are open on the big day and doing a special menu and the Honor Oak pub have definitely got a Christmas day menu.
Lots of our wonderful local venues are doing special Christmas menus for lunch/dinner/drinks during this festive season and also various events leading up to the big day and whilst I have mentioned some I don’t have the space to list them all separately so you need to check out your favourite places and see what they are up to.
Whilst this is not specific to Xmas I cannot write a long blog without mentioning news of 2 major businesses that are planning to open in our area before the big day.
Firstly Brickfield Bar is due to open in a few weeks time and this really is very exciting for the area of Brockley Road that can be termed ‘Midtown Brockley’ This is the parade of shops with some fab businesses like Brockley’s Rock, Brockley Mess, Pistachio’s and Turner stores. However the one thing this stretch so lacks is a night time drinking/eating venue but this will all change very soon and even more exciting is that the team behind the popular and successful Orchard are the owners! Ed says that Brickfields (where Just Thai used to be) will be “ a neighbourhood bar with a late licence that will serve cocktails, draft beer, wine and craft beers alongside small sharing plates of food. He adds “a warm, welcoming and friendly atmosphere will be backed up by great music, happy staff and a grown up vibe” All sounds perfect and really look forward to seeing this open VERY SOON
Meanwhile down in Ladywell I have heard from the new team behind the refurbishment of the Ladywell Tavern. The Laine Pub Company have taken it over and Evan the Operations Manager has sent me this information “ When it re-opens on Wednesday 7th December the plan is for the Ladywell tavern to be the very best version of a neighbourhood pub possible – with great food, the most interesting beers on the scene right now and wine that you can usually find in quality restaurants.
The Ladywell Gallery will not be re-opening but there will still be music at the Ladywell Tavern, now moved into the pub and given an acoustic focus. There will be lots of non musical events too, from quizzes to Meet the Brewer nights. The toilets have been completely refitted and the garden has new trees and planting, but you won’t find walls built or missing in the pub”
So all very interesting – couple of points to note- it doesn’t appear to be opening in time for the Ladywell market which is a real shame and a missed opportunity! The Gallery not opening is very sad as it hosted many great events and was used by lots of different groups when we have a shortage of venues in the area. It may be that someone else could take this space on?
Anyway it is all very positive/promising that someone is finally investing in the pub and await with great interest at the prices/atmosphere created etc. I always think this pub could/should be the life and soul of the area and I feel confident it could be a huge success if only the owners get it right and create the community pub that is so needed in Ladywell. I look forward to it opening in December.
I thought this would be a long blog but once again I didn’t realise HOW LONG! If you are still reading this then well done – you deserve a medal! However I hope it has provided you with lots of useful dates and information. As ever there is so much happening in our wonderful area and once again proves what an amazing community we live in. As I said at the beginning COMMUNITY in these post Brexit/Trump times is what we need to hold onto and we are so lucky to live in such a vibrant, friendly area where we respect and embrace our neighbours.
HOPE YOU HAVE LOTS OF FUN OVER THE FESTIVE PERIOD AND THAT YOU ENJOY/APPRECIATE THE TIME SPENT WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS
REMEMBER TO SHOP/USE/DRINK/EAT LOCAL
See you in 2017 – it certainly can’t get worse politically than 2016 (or can it?)
Bye for now
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