Huge debut Love Southsea Market for 2016!

As always, we were very impressed with how our traders braved the chilly conditions today to make the Love Southsea Market the spectacular celebration of local creativity that it is, and with the thousands of Portsmouth shoppers who poured into the Palmerston Road high street precinct to support local independent artists through to street foodies and everything in between.

It's been about a year since regular Love Southsea Market trader Samantha Worsey launched Southsea Bathing Hut, a skincare brand with a mission to revive the little-known soapmaking heritage of Portsmouth. In 12 short months, the success Samantha has seen has been staggering, growing from a humble selection of soaps to a full product range — including botanical face steams, laundry powder, and bath oils. It's always a pleasure to see the Southsea Bathing Hut stall at the market.

Another welcome regular sight is local artist Simon Evans, whose vibrant Southsea-inspired paintings inject a healthy dose of color into even the greyest of March mornings. His work depicts vintage VW vans, Union Jack-adorned deckchairs, beach huts, bicycles, and countless other British seaside tropes, with a broad pastel palette and liberal eye-catching linework.

Local illustrator Paul Parsons of UrbanGalleryUK returned to the market, too, bringing with him new Portsmouth-centric artwork: a range celebrating iconic acts who have performed at Portsmouth Guildhall over the decades. With silhouetted guitars honouring each musician/band, and an intriguing little detail in the form of the ticket prices for their Guildhall concerts, these prints are a must-have for any local music fan. Paul also has new Star Wars artwork — posters nodding to the original trilogy, designed in the style of Saul Bass.

Kendal James of Eyecandy fame took up a Makers Row stall alongside fellow creative Kim Edith. Kendal offered up pop culture niceties like crocheted Totoros (including a baby one!), an eclectic selection of pixelart accessories, and pixelart prints celebrating the recent 30th anniversary of Zelda and 20th anniversary of Pokémon. Kim's table was laden with an adorable family of cute cosy cushion cats, meticulously crafted from recycled jumpers.

The cute animals didn't stop there — Angry Aly's had some charming owl bags. Other clothing and accessories at the Love Southsea Market include colourful rainbow-shaded handbags and sheepskin slippers ideal for the nippier seasons.

When a booking first dropped into our inbox from Smashed Candles, their name caught our attention — why 'smashed'? After seeing their clever upcycled beer bottle candles, we have two theories: it's either a reference to the 'smashed' nature of the cut-in-half bottles, or to how you start feeling after a fair few Sierra Nevadas.

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Heidi of Rusticana Interiors parked up Maude, a converted horsebox, in the Palmerston precinct, inviting shoppers in to peruse and purchase her fine range of handcrafted rustic wooden homeware, from mirrors and picture frames to lamps and coat racks.

A Bit Crafty showcased their cheeky home and garden signage, stunning papercraft ornaments, and pretty wooden lettering — a truly unique mix of artsy products to suit all tastes.

Heather of Heather's Leather was on top Mother's Day form with her signature decorative bunting, with the likes of 'Best Mum' and 'Mum's The Word'. She also presented her usual array of products, ranging from nods to Pompey, celebrations of the Southsea seaside, and of course the classic 'Home Sweet Home'.

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On the street food front, we saw Simple Frank's prepping deliciously sweet crêpes with fresh ingredients:

International cuisine was represented, with Grecian treats from George's Greek Specialities and Spanish delicacies from Valencia Paella:

The Curry Man served up a range of flavours, such as butter chicken and chicken madras — we really want that top to say 'Keep Korma and Curry On'. 

Other tasty touches ranged from Pothead & Panface's large freshly-sizzled servings and Cavendish Kitchen's yummy pastries to Farmer's Choices fresh produce and condiments, Chef Bernie's sauces, and well-earned weekend treats from Carla's Cake Emporium.

The Love Southsea Market returns to Palmerston Road on Sunday 6th March 2016 — be sure to check out our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for photos from the event during the day!