Hungarian Artisan Christmas Market

My office recently held a Christmas fair, inviting the NGOs and craftspeople we support to sell handmade crafts and food. It was an incredible chance for us to meet groups from across Hungary working on many different issues, and to learn more about what drives them. I had the chance to speak to some of the sellers about their work, and thought I’d share their stories and some photos with you. If you’re looking for traditional crafts from Hungary, made by hand and with care for their communities, look no further!




These candle holders are made out of recycled paper, by workers at Búzavirág Alapítvány (Cornflower Foundation). Búzavirág works with visually-challenged communities in rural Hungary, to enable them to live independently, since they receive little support from the local authorities.

They’ve been working towards self-sufficiency for the visually impaired since 1997, with the goal of providing financial independence and the self-confidence that earning your own money provides, through promoting traditional craftsmanship and teaching self-sustainability to its artisans.

They make pottery, baskets and carpets, and provide the necessary marketing and business skills to their artisans, enabling them to sell these goods at different craft markets. Find out more about the group’s mission, and the beautiful items they sell here.



Image courtesy Búzavirág Alapítvány



Image courtesy Búzavirág Alapítvány


Igazgyöngy Alapítvány (Real Pearl Foundation) has been working towards community development in eastern Hungary since 1999, and provides members of one of the most disadvantaged regions of the country with art education, vocational courses and builds community cohesion through family care. The organisation is split into an art school and a foundation, which works directly with the entire community while the art school is for children from the 12 nearest municipalities.

Children of all ages, from municipalities in Hajdú-Bihar county learn graphic design, handicrafts, enamelwork, painting and dance. All proceeds from sales of art school goods go back into the foundation’s work to provide community development to families, many of whom are also Roma and face multiple layers of discrimination and exclusion, particularly in this region of Hungary.



Image courtesy Igazgyöngy Alapítvány

Image courtesy Igazgyöngy Alapítvány

Zsuzsa Formanek, an artist and founder of Budai Rajziskola, designs and creates unique decorative and practical works of art using recycled glass. Check out more of her work here.



Courtesy Zsuzsa Formanek

Courtesy Zsuzsa Formanek

What do you think? Everything available in the market was beautiful, made with love and gave back to their communities. This is part of the reason I love Christmas – the push for meaningful, ethical presents for loved ones is strongest towards the end of the year, and it’s always great fun to wander around a market!


18 September 2013

I’m revising for my exams, which are in about three weeks’ time. It’s going well so far, mainly because I have most of the day to stay at home and study!

Obvious downside to that though is of course, one winds up talking to oneself, going slowly more and more insane, and pouncing on one’s significant other the minute he comes back from work. Oops.

I’m not miles away from this, for example:

Jack Nicholson in ‘The Shining’

You think I’m exaggerating, don’t you? I’m really not. Here’s a reason why.

One of the students for my ‘Climate Change and Development’ module has put together an Excel sheet of exam questions from the past three years, circulated it and asked that we each answer one, email them to her and she’ll distribute it amongst everyone’s who’s participated (as an incentive to get more people involved).

Great idea.

However, because I’m going mad, I’m slightly panicking that the exam is in three weeks, I emailed her my topic yesterday and I’ve still not got anything.

To reiterate, I emailed her less than 24 hours ago and I’m starting to worry about why I haven’t heard back. It’s a simple essay question, not the necessary signature to Push the Red Button. I’m already circulating some conspiracy theories of “she’s STOLEN THEM!”

I think I need to breathe, make some tea and breathe some more.

September Onwards

Hi everyone,

This is a slight deviation from my normal posts.

I’ve decided to expand my blog’s purpose, and start blogging about random thoughts, observations, comments etc.

Don’t worry, I will not be posting Taylor Swift gifs, talking about my love life, discussing what hair colour I should go for, what dress to wear, why I’ve decided to pick a fight with my best friend, or any of that jazz.

(If I ever go back on this, please, please, PLEASE remind me to get over myself and stop being a wanker).

I’ve decided to start writing about how we’re adjusting to, and enjoying, life in Budapest! Lots has changed since I last properly lived here about seven years ago, but a lot is still the same. I spent the last six years of my schooling here but haven’t properly lived here for a decent amount of time since I was 18.

My boyfriend teaches in a school and I am still in the process of finding a good job. I intend to carry on with my MSc in Poverty Reduction: Policy and Practice.

We’ll be exploring the city, drinking and eating til we can’t take any more, then carry on indulging anyway!

There are a lot of cultural differences of course, but it’s been an amazing adventure so far.

We made the decision to move back after my entire bureau was made redundant and I had the choice of either finding another job in the UK, reapply as a student, marry my boyfriend, or leave.

It was a no-brainer. We were out.

And now here we are!

So, bear with me as I try out this whole personal blogging thing. As much as possible, I want to keep it funny, informative, insightful, when appropriate, artistic and poetic, but at all times, I want you to enjoy it.

I’m being serious – please let me know if it’s getting boring, too personal, has lost its humour etc. I want you to enjoy this, so let me know if that’s no longer the case!

(I will still be blogging about the political stories which you’ve – hopefully anyway! – enjoyed reading in the past, so don’t worry about that!)

Keep the comments coming!