A Nottinghamshire event with international appeal

bramley food fest 2From a handful of pips planted in a cottage garden over 200 years ago to the world’s most well-known cooking apple – every October, the town of Southwell hosts a celebration of its beloved Bramley.

Like the fruit itself, the Southwell Bramley Apple Festival continues to grow and organisers are promising it will be bigger and better than ever when it returns on Saturday 24 October.

Despite the fact that its origins are firmly rooted in Nottinghamshire, today the apple once nicknamed The King of Covent Garden flourishes as far afield as Japan, where grafts taken to the country were used to establish orchards, mainly around the town of Obuse.

They even have their own book of 27 Bramley recipes and among the visitors to this year’s festival is Professor Matsumoto, a Japanese apple researcher who will be taking part in the opening ceremony and helping to strengthen the links between Southwell and Japanese apple growers.

So what’s on the menu for this year’s festival?

Start your day in historic Southwell Minster, the stunning setting for the Festival of Food and Drink, where you’ll find cookery demonstrations, an impressive display of apples from John Hempsall’s Heritage Orchard and 30 stalls representing the very best of local produce.

bramley workhouseVisit the recently refurbished Archbishop’s Palace and Education Centre for children’s craft and cookery activities, including a mystery trail and quiz in the garden. And for more apple-related activities, take a stroll down to Southwell Workhouse where you can have a go at creating the longest apple peel, follow an apple trail and listen to stories from The Workhouse Storytellers.

bramley apple pieNo celebration of the Bramley would be complete without pies of course! As always members of the Nottinghamshire Federation of Women’s Institutes will be making their contribution with the Annual Apple Pie Competition – head over to Southwell’s local library, the Bramley Centre, to see the entries and while you’re there check out the WI stalls and sample some of their refreshments.

Local retailers will be entering into the festival spirit with apple-themed window displays and there’ll be music and dance from the Lord Conyers Morris Men and the Minster School Ceilidh Band.

With the Bramley Apple Painting Competition, the Poetry Competition, a giant apple workshop and the crowning of this year’s Bramley Apple King and Queen – not to mention a special Bramley Race at Southwell Racecourse on Thursday 22 September – it all adds up to a sure-fire recipe for success.

For more information about things to see and do at this year’s festival, visit the website or contact the Tourist Information Centre on 01636 819038.


Are you a crafty sew n sew?

crafty betty imageDid you just say yes? Then this Saturday’s show will be right up your street…

Michelle Baker will be joining the Girls Around Town after 11am to talk about upcoming events and workshops at her Crafty Betty studios in Newark. And top of the list will be the one that’s happening on Saturday 17 October.

With activities for stitchers of all ages and abilities, Sew Saturday at Crafty Betty is part of a national campaign to raise the profile of sewing stores across the country. Pop over to The Arcade any time between 2pm and 6pm and you’ll find plenty of things to interest and inspire you – from demonstrations and workshops to a craft fair and even a Sewing Bee.

sew saturdayWith free goody bags and a raffle in aid of the Sam White Legacy, not to mention some delicious cupcakes too, there’ll be lots to see and do throughout the afternoon.

June, Tina and Sue will all be putting in an appearance after their show – and no, not just for the cupcakes! They’ll be channelling their inner May Martin, of The Great British Sewing Bee fame, stepping up to judge the entries in the competition to Make a Patchwork Cushion.

Although they probably won’t say no to a cupcake to fortify themselves for the task…

Tune in or listen online from 10am to 1pm on Saturday to find out more. Meanwhile, there’s still time to have a go at one of the various competitions – the closing date is now Friday 16 October so why not visit the website for all the details and download the free patterns for your entry?

Celebrating Sew Saturday in Newark

sew saturdayWhether you’re a professional dressmaker, a novice stitcher or just fancy trying out a new craft, Sew Saturday is something you won’t want to miss.

Launched by home and style magazine Sew, this national campaign is designed to remind customers about the fantastic personal service provided by sewing stores across the country. And here in Newark, our very own Crafty Betty will be entering into the swing of things on Saturday 17 October with activities for stitchers of all ages and abilities.

From 2pm to 6pm, the studio in The Arcade will be the setting for everything from demonstrations, workshops and a raffle to free goodie bags, a craft fair and a Sewing Bee. Word is there’ll be cupcakes on offer too – how’s that for an added incentive?!

“We’re delighted to be taking part and looking forward to welcoming customers old and new on the day,” says Michelle Baker. “As part of the event we’re raising money for the Sam White Legacy, a local charity we actively support, so we’re hoping lots of people will come along to enjoy the afternoon with us.”

patchwork cushionOn Saturday 10 October, Michelle will be joining June, Tina and Sue on air, to talk about what’s in store for visitors to the Crafty Betty studio.

And on Saturday 17 October, the Girls Around Town will be hot-footing it down to Newark straight after the show to judge one of three competitions taking place, casting their eyes over entries in the Make a Patchwork Cushion category. And no doubt checking out those cupcakes too…

Meanwhile, to find out more about all three categories in the competition – as well as making a patchwork cushion, you can Sew an Aly Owl or Sew a Saturday Skirt – visit the website to download the free patterns for your entry.

The closing date for entries is Wednesday 30 September so get out your needles, thread and fabric and start stitching!