So while everyone else in Southend was enjoying a sunny Saturday down the seafront, I was at HOFS.

HOFS is short for Hadleigh Old Fire Station, which I’m sure everyone who lives locally betwen Hadleigh and Southend will be familiar with. Hadleigh Fire Station opened its doors in 1931, 78 years later its fire engines drove down the road and the doors were shut for the last time.

Until recently in 2011 the Fire Station was reopened and renamed HOFS. It now includes 15 lovely studios all home to local artists and 2 community groups. It also played host to the bike riding event during the 2012 Olympics.

One of those artists being a retired fireman who also happens to be my daddykins, so HOFS holds a special place in my creative fingers, as I also briefly shared a studio with my dad and grew up with the station being a 2nd home.

Nicola and Dad at HOFS

This is also the reason I sat behind a stall along with a number of local artists at the ArtBookArt book art fair. I must admit what I had brought to the table, in my mind was fabulous then I saw the ‘real’ artists stuff on the table and well, although still fabulous, their stuff was amazing!!!

artbookart Book Art Fair

Now I am slightly biased as I know a few of those artists and I have a small obsession with books, particularly beautifully crafted notebooks (and there were many but my bank card said no). There was also a yummy pop-up cake stall Muffin Makery which did not help with my waistline – oops love cake.

Muffin Makery

ArtBookArt, and I quote, ‘was formed by a group of local artists within the Southend area both living and working’, the group collaborate with each other and also hold workshops which they intend to expand in 2014. Which I am most definitely looking forward to, I did one of their workshops in 2012, ‘A Beginners Guide to Book Binding’, and LOVED IT!!! Hence the stall on Saturday.

Arts and Crafts Lampshades

The event itself was a brilliant day, filled with books and art galore. Oh, and cake. HOFS hold various events throughout the year, and I urge anyone who is interested in art to take a wander to Hadleigh, particularly as nearly every bus going through Southend via the London Road will drop you off at the station’s door step.

Not only was it a brilliant day but we also had a visit from a fellow blogger, who interviewed the artists displaying their work (unfortunately they didn’t get round to interviewing me as I was busy eating cake (oops!) you can check out those interviews at