Merry Christmas and a very happy new year to everyone!

IMG_1320We’ve had a wonderful year here at the cafe and a busy month of christmas parties and private dinners in our downstairs dining room. It’s been festive, full of smiles and great fun. Before we collapse with a mince pie in one hand and a paper crown perched on our heads (!) we thought we would review some of what was best for us in 2012…

Claire: “For me the greatest thing this year was without doubt the Olympics. Everyone was so excited and how could you not be inspired by the determination of all those athletes.”

Connie: “It has to be Borough Market. You can get lost in the market for hours, surrounded by every kind of food and ingredient. The Spanish Wine Bar there is great too!”

Dani: ” A great exhibition of Wilhelmina Barnes Graham‘s abstract work at The Jointure Studios in Ditchling in the autumn. I loved the impact of the colour and her inspiring technique. She had an incredible life too.”

Flora: “Elderflower Fields Festival was one of the best weekends of the year for me. It was so good to see so many Lewes friends and all the kids dancing around in the fields at Bentley and eating cake at The Buttercup’s magical woodland cafe.”

Mary (one of the Buttercup babies): “Chocolate buttons!”

Peter: “The re-introduction of the word ‘blouse’ to the English language….oh, and the arrival of Connie in The Buttercup kitchen!”

We are closed from 3pm from December 24th and will re-open with new year vigour on Wednesday 2nd January at 9.30am. We hope everyone has a very merry christmas and a happy new year!

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The Buttercup Cafe’s bookish review of 2011

Sarah Weal's Book Christmas Tree. Photo taken from sarahweal.blogspot.com

We’ve been inspired by this amazing book tree on a fellow Lewesian’s blog (Sarah Weal’s Tales Through a Lens). It made us think that maybe we should start building a book tree here in The Buttercup Cafe – made from everyone in the cafe’s best reads over the next 12 months. Anyone up for joining a Buttercup book club for 2012?

Every newspaper, TV show and radio programme seems to have had their review of the year. So why shouldn’t we! Here is The Buttercup Cafe book-loving team’s very own literary review of 2011.

Claire’s first recommendation is Alan Bennett’s Smut. “Observational, dark and of course very funny in that Bennett way.”, she says.

Claire’s dad (aka Pappa Buttercup) has chosen Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese, a novel based in Haile Selassie’s Ethiopia. “Takes a while to get into but is brilliant.”, he says.

Dani-Lola's best read of 2011: Patti Smith's Just Kids

Another team pick is Patti Smith’s autobiography, Just Kids. A great description of a hip, New York world of artists, writers and musicians in the 1970s. Oh, and it has a very cool photo on the cover too.

Helena’s picked the moving and very cleverly written Stuart: A Life Backwards by Alexander Masters. Make sure you’re feeling robust before reading this bleak biography.

Amanda says, “In Watermelon Sugar by Richard Brautigan (first published in 1968) is a perfect balance between beauty and tragedy.”

Harvey’s picked Inkheart by Cornelia Funke. “A brilliant interweaving of fairytales. Dark and captivating.”

Flora recommends Ottolenghi’s Plenty. A collection of vegetarian recipes from Yotam’s Guardian column which has been running for the last 4 years. “An elegant cookbook; fresh recipes that work well after inevitable over-indulgences of Christmas cooking! Try the globe artichokes with crushed broad beans”.

Claire says The Healing Code will change your life! “And Sue Minns’ Soulmates is a great book to reflect on both good & bad relationships in your life.” Ideal for those New Year’s resolutions.

Puff G (known as Geoffrey to some) is king of the audiobook. Crime, murder and extortion are his favourites. A wonder that he sleeps at night! He’s picked Nemesis by Jo Nesbo (Scandinavian crime fiction) as his best this year.

Sophie says Dickens’ Our Mutual Friend is her read of the year. Mr & Mrs Boffin, Mr Venus and Mr & Mrs Veneering – surely some of the best character names ever. (And yes, we’re all very excited about Great Expectations on the telly this Christmas. BBC1, Dec. 27th, 9pm)

Will's pick of the books for 2011: Dick Francis' Whip Hand

Will says his pick of the year has to be a Dick Francis. He’s chosen, Whip Hand, “a classic racing thriller”.

Flora’s pick for younger Buttercup visitors is The Doll’s House Fairy. “A beautifully illustrated, magical book by Jane Ray about a wild, chocolate eating fairy that moves into a doll’s house and causes havoc.”

And Jasper says his best book of the year will always be The Beano Annual. Unbeatable.

Happy reading to one and all!

p.s. Have you spotted Ilaria’s handmade paper christmas trees in the cafe?They are made from the Guardian’s The Guide supplement. The mag makes the most robust of Christmas trees. Who would have known! A great piece of recycling which we’re sure the Guardian would be most proud of.

The Buttercup Christmas Cornucopia

You can probably hear us singing at the other end of town, “Tis the season to be jolly, Fa la la la la, la la la la. Don we now our gay apparel, Fa la la, la la la, la la la.” What genius lyrics. We’re feeling festive down here at The Buttercup and we’ll be revealing our Christmas Cornucopia to all on Thursday evening.

Handmade cloth baubles

It’s the special Lewes late night Christmas shopping event from 5.30pm till 8.30pm. So wrap up warm and as it gets dark come down to the magical Buttercup yard. We’ll be festooned in fairy lights, there’ll be music, outdoor heaters, blankets and hot water bottles.

It’s an evening of cioccolato treats;  we’ll be serving churros con chocolat, a decadent chocolate fondue, delicious hot chocolate and yummy Nutella pancakes. Oh, and I’m sure we’ll squeeze in a couple of choccie buttons too for the Buttercup babies. There’ll also be a fresh pot of seasonal winter soup on the go in the kitchen.

Ilaria's handmade lime felted scarf

There’ll be a stall of delights and handmade treasures, selling festive treats made by artists and makers who work in and around the The Buttercup yard – Laina Watt, Ilaria Gardelli, Claire Waller, Dani Lola, Simon Keizer, Sue Hartland, Anne Schulte and more.

Dani Lola has produced a series of hand printed Christmas cards, there are baubles & birds, candles & crochet, scarves & capes, charms & prints. It’s a crafted Christmas cornucopia. Kirstie Allsop would be proud of us!

Dani Lola's handcrafted, stiched & printed, christmas cards. From £1.10 each

We will also have seasonal, local fruit and veg for sale. We’ll be taking Christmas orders; we can make up produce hampers to order or bake special cakes for you. We can also deliver fresh Buttercup lunches or delicious party food for you and your family for any festive parties you have planned this month.

Christmas fabric birdies £6.00

Soyawax candles in vintage cup and saucer £6.00

Ilaria's printed stars