Shop Local This Christmas

Have you checked out Hanwell's craft market?

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Where are you planning to do your Christmas shopping? If you don’t fancy the crowds of Oxford Street or Westfield – you should get yourself over to Foxy’s Craft market in Hanwell. It’s been attracting shrewd shoppers for over a year with an eclectic mix of jewellery, accessories, arts and crafts and food.

I certainly never dreamt that behind the closed doors of my neighbourhood there was such a hive of activity. But clearly people more industrious and talented than I are beavering away non-stop making jams and chutneys, creating fabulous jewelley, knitting and crocheting. Makes me feel really lazy.

Created by Maggie Chalmers, of The Fox pub, the original idea for the market was to give allotment holders a platform to sell their produce. And food is still a huge part of the market today – though from a wider area.

Local honey, cakes and cup cakes galore (when did they stop being called fairy cakes?), produce from Cultivate London who reclaim disused land to grow their stuff, a stall selling “all you need for breakfast” another – a complete Indian meal in a bag all ready to heat up at home, plus quiches and artisan bread from Andrew.

I always try to visit “The Cheese Lady”. Claire has been so successful selling artisan cheeses (and her amazing chilli jam) here, that she is about to open her own deli in Hanwell – hopefully before Christmas.

Some stallholders do their own thing – like Tewedaj . Last time she staged a coffee ceremony from her native Ethiopia, this time she was selling home made bread and lavender out of her garden. Wendy who knits lovely cushion covers (and was working on a prototype Kindle cover while I was talking to her). Carole makes delicious Caribbean drinks like Tamarind and Sorrell.

Others work together, like Handmaids, a group of four mums who also knit things to sell; they had some cute finger puppets.

Other prezzie ideas? Well there’s loads of jewellery.

OM has been a regular at Foxy’s since its inception selling jewellery from all around the world. “I love it here”, said Alistair “there’s a real village spirit”. And there are lots of stalls selling jewellery they’ve designed and created. Like Natalie Jane who’s been featured in Vogue no less, Yasmine had some gorgeous resin earrings that are so light you can hardly tell you’re wearing them

and Annie who’s pieces had a lovely vintage vibe.

The market’s held on the last Saturday of each month (11 am) and there’ll be an extra one this year on December 10th.

The Fox is in Green Lane in Hanwell down by the canal.

Viv Ellis

1 November 2011

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