Strong Island Co.

Strong Island

Ickle Bambino Baby Raves

Ickle Bambino Baby Raves is a new original experience for families.

The event is held at the Square Tower in Old Portsmouth and features a tearoom for adults to enjoy a drink. They even provide sugar free squash at no charge for the little ones. There are home made cakes and snack bags for children to enjoy which are for sale from the square tower tea rooms. The events target audience are parents and the under 7’s however older children are welcomed.

You can expect to hear Hip-Hop, Indie and Electro tunes, all provided by local DJs.

Parties feature a host of activities including;
– Colouring competitions
– Loom band making
– Puzzles
– Toy areas with a small soft ball pit
– Face painters
– A photo booth

The event costs £4.00 for adults, £3.00 for under 7’s and those under 1 year old are free.

The next event is 28th December 2015 – families can get the little ones out of the house in-between Christmas and new year. You can find out more information about this event on Facebook.






Photo’s by James White Photography.

Aspex Project with University of Portsmouth

Aspex Gallery have recently been working with Television and Broadcasting BSc students from University of Portsmouth to produce a promotional video for the gallery. Credit for the video goes to Georgia Tolley, Ryan Jenkins, Safiya Pomell and Jonny Quinn from Tin Productions.

The video features scenes from the Platform Graduate Awards and the Virgin Startups event.

Aspex: Promotional Video Project with University of Portsmouth from aspex on Vimeo.

Luke Ferre ‘Bloodshot’

Local singer songwriter Luke Ferre has recently spent some time with the folks at Clockwork Owl Sessions. He tool part in their most recent session, he performed ‘Bloodshot’ which was taken from his EP of the same name.

If you you like what you hear then you can find more from Luke on Facebook, Twitter @lukeferre, YouTube and iTunes.

The Portsmouth Beer Festival Christmas Sessions

Seasonal greetings all ye beer drinkers! The festive term is well and truly upon us, and the Portsmouth Beer Festival is back! Hop on your luge this Saturday 20th & Sunday 21st, and speed down to the warmth of the Guildhall for the ultimate yuletide knees up. A great occasion to regale your friends with your embarrassing stories of 2014 whilst enjoying beers from: Irving & Co, Tiny Rebel, Magic Rock Brewing, Summer Wine Brewery, Dark Star, Bristol Beer Factory, Arbor, Wild Beer and Staggeringly Good to name but a few. Feeling peckish? The good people from The Hummous Shack, Brewhouse & Kitchen and O’Hagan’s Sausages will be on hand to quickly despatch that hunger. Once you are several beers in, remind the other half of what a great dancer you are with the live music courtesy of Hobo Jones and The Junkyard Dogs, Day Of The Rabblement, Mojo Dollar, The Paper Trains, Elasticated Waste Band and many many more. Tickets for this pre-Christmas must do event can be bought at Little Johnny Russells, The Belle Isle, The Leopold Tavern, Brewhouse & Kitchen, the Portsmouth Guildhall box office and of course at Strong Island on 12 Highland Road. However, if you find yourself snow bound, you can also buy them online here.

In addition to this, prizes can be won for most garish Christmas attire, so make sure you raid nan’s wardrobe on your way out.


Smiling Eyes Coffee Co

Smiling Eyes Coffee Co is the latest coffee venture to hit the city and is bringing the current trend of high quality, speciality coffee served from design-led mobile units to our fair city. This specially-converted Volkswagen T2 van houses a truly gigantic Astoria dual lever espresso machine and one of the friendliest baristas you’re ever likely to meet. Jo Hart, proprietor of this exceptional conversion, is what you would probably refer to as a coffee obsessive; passionate about each and every espresso she pulls and putting the quality of each cup at the forefront. “This is the first career in my life that I’ve been this fastidious and cared this much that makes me sure it’s finally the right one!” explains Jo as she prepares my short black. A small queue forms while we continue our caffeine dominated conversation but she remains unfazed and crafts each order with the same consideration and attention to detail as the previous one, coupled with a beaming grin and a hearty thank you.

On the coffee side, Jo is serving Winchester Coffee Roaster’s Synergy espresso blend; a smooth, sweet cup with excellent milk chocolate and red currant tasting notes, perfect as a short americano or flat white. Tea is of course provided by the local and inimitable All About Tea and their signature Portsmouth Tea blend while the chocolate in Jo’s hot chocolates and mochas owe their greatness to Green & Black’s drinking chocolate. The quality on offer from Smiling Eyes is simply unmatched in the small-but-growing Portsmouth mobile catering trade; it really is as close to a speciality coffee shop on wheels as you’ll get in the city.

You can find Smiling Eyes on a Monday at the Student’s Union market, Tuesday’s outside the Citywide Taxi office and on weekends at the Palmerston Rd market but be sure to follow @smilingeyes2014 to keep up to date with where you can next grab a top notch brew.

My Name Is Leila at Southsea Coffee

We have followed Leila Kemp’s artwork in and around the city over the past year. Her work has slowly been appearing more and more, cheering up passers by.

Leila had a busy start to the year with several huge pieces including ‘Bow Tie and Hat Bear’ at Make & The Craft Kitchen on Cornwall Road and another striking piece at the Gloucester Paint Jam weekend.

Leila’s latest work is set to have customers at the Southsea Coffee Company smiling. ‘King of the Jungle’ is another fantastic piece and we are left excited for what is to come next.

Married Mum of one and pregnant with her second is still adorning the streets of Portsmouth and Southsea and we are pleased to have such a talented lady in our local community. Keep up the good work Leila.

For more of Leila’s work please search for ‘My name is Leila’ on her website at

By Chantelle Wyatt

My Name Is Leila

My Name Is Leila

Twelve Days Of Christmas Competition

Between the 1st and 12th December I have been asking a question each day relating to the prize on offer. One lucky winner will win the whole package for themselves, just in time for Christmas!

Today we are featuring two of my favourite creatives currently plying their trade in our city, Katie Barrett and Laura Bennett from Raw & Auburn and Laura Bennett Jewellery.

Raw & Auburn began life early in 2013, the Southsea based company specialises in hand crafted accessories using raw and unique materials. Each item bears it’s own individuality and is different than the last. Using traditional techniques every product is finished to a high standard and comes with it’s own Mill Cloth bag and they are all finished with the Raw & Auburn signature cross stitch.

Raw & Auburn have kindly donated one of their leather envelope wallets for you to win. You can find Raw & Auburn on Etsy and Facebook.

Raw & Auburn

Laura specialises in hand made contemporary jewellery inspired by nature, sympathetically composing pieces made from found objects combined with precious metals while exploring the natural qualities of the materials. She has recently created a set of jewellery inspired by Portsmouth and its nautical images.

If you would like to contact Laura about a private commission or to generally find out more about on Laura’s work on her website and her Facebook page.

Laura Bennett Jewellery

If you would like to win all of the prizes on offer then all you need to do is email your answers to the following questions to The deadline for entries is midnight on 19th December. We will announce the winner on 20th December. Good luck!

Day One – Made By Burbs Print
Q1) The map shows Hilsea Lido but when did the Lido first open?

Day Two – x2 No 6 Cinema Prints
Q2) What Disney movie are they showing over he Christmas period and why is this showing different to normal?

Day Three – Angela Chick gift cards
Q3) In metres how long is the HMS Warrior over all?

Day Four – Magpie’s Lust Jewellery
Q4) What is the Latin name for the common Magpie?

Day Five – Caleigh Ill coasters
Q5) The first Russian nested doll set was carved in 1890 by Vasily Zvyozdochkin but were a designed by who?

Day Six – Bread Addiction Bag
Q6) What year was the first bread slicer sold?

Day Seven – Meal at the Wave Maiden
Q7) In Norse mythology The Wave Maidens were the nine daughters of Aegir, the undersea brewer to the Gods. Name any one of the nine daughters?

Day Eight – Mia Mai framed Print and Christmas cards
Q8) Which of our local theatres has Mia Mai most recently used for a photo shoot to showcase her latest range of lingerie?

Day Nine – Meal and drinks voucher for the Marmion Pub
Q9) The Marmion has been nominated for one of the annual Guide Awards, but under what category? (Please note we are looking for the full title of the award for a correct answer).

Day Ten – Strong Island Calendar
Q10) On what date did Portsmouth win their first FA Cup trophy?

Day Eleven – Custom made animal toy by Ooh La Lapin
Q11) Lapin is the French translation for what animal?

Day Twelve – Raw & Auburn and Laura Bennett Jewellery
Q12) Raw and Auburn has recently collaborated with Illustrator and artist Megamunden. What form of art inspired Megamunden to create his recent colouring book?

Photo by Josh Knill.

Post Impact Asteroid Beer Bread

Here at Strong Island we love seeing local businesses collaborating with each other, even more so when it’s something you can eat. So when the baking might of Elm Grove’s Bread Addiction came together with the brewing potency of Portsmouth’s Staggeringly Good, a doughy asteroid was born. Asteroid Beer Bread is a sourdough style barley loaf, made with the seasonal stout Post Impact Winter Darkness. You can land yourself one of these bad boys by heading down to Bread Addiction and / or the Palmerston Road Christmas market this weekend. Serving suggestions: with Bread Addiction’s utterly moreish Tunworth cheese. It will make your mouth taste like a foot for 24 hours, but in a really good way. Enjoy.






Down The Hatch Recipes # 3 – Crème Brûlée

Continuing on our mug based culinary commission is one for the sweet toothed amongst you, the french classic: creme brûlée. Voodoo Lady! An in-season pomegranate will provide a welcome sharpness that will cut through this rich dessert beautifully. Each mug serves two.

500ml double cream
1 vanilla pod
100g caster sugar
6 medium egg yolks
3 tbsp soft brown sugar
1 pomegranate

Preheat the oven to 150°C/ 300°F /gas mark 2. Pour the cream into a saucepan. Slit the vanilla pod open lengthways and scrape out the seeds into the cream with the tip of a sharp knife, then add the pod to the pan too. Scald the cream by bringing to just below boiling point, then taking off the heat. Leave for a few minutes to infuse with the vanilla.
Whisk the caster sugar and egg yolks together in a bowl, then slowly whisk in the hot, vanilla-infused cream. Strain through a fine sieve into a jug.
Pour the custard into six ramekins or your Strong Island enamel mugs. Stand the receptacles in a roasting dish and surround with enough hot water to come halfway up their sides. Bake for about 40 minutes until the custards are just set; they should still wobble a bit if you shake the dish gently. Lift out of the roasting dish and leave to cool, then chill thoroughly for 4 hours or overnight.
Sprinkle a very thin, even layer of soft brown sugar over each custard and put them under a very hot grill until the sugar melts and bubbles (or use a cook’s blowtorch, if you have one). Leave to cool, return the mugs to the fridge until the sugar is hard – just 15 minutes or so should do it – then serve with fresh pomegranate for a little added sharpness.




Under the Spotlight Coming Soon at Coastguard Studio

Under the Spotlight is an upcoming exhibition that will feature 40 spotlights on artwork & photography by 40+ local creatives, all homed in the beautiful new Coastguard Studio in Southsea. More details on the exhibition will be announced in the coming weeks by the Coastguard Studio so keep an eye on their website at and the date of 13th February firmly written in to your new diaries.

Under the Spotlight Coming Soon at Coastguard Studio

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Bricks & More Ta

Illustration – Tristan

Local Photographer – Paul Gordon

Local photographer Paul Gordon has spent a lot of time hanging out and photographing the local skaters over the summer, both in the skatepark and out and about. The photos from the summer are now up in galleries on Paul’s website As well as the skating photos there are also loads of other galleries too including sport, portraiture, landscape, etc. Have a flick through.




Irving & Co. Local Brewery

Seeing as Portsmouth has such a rich history for pubs and naval culture I thought i’d bring your attention to something that combines the both.  Irving & Co brewers are situated at Railway Triangle in Farlington and have their doors open for tourists as well as turning out a fine range of real ales to a huge number of pubs in and around the Portsmouth area.

Irving and Co brings the welcome return of brewing to Portsmouth and a brewery to excite the taste buds of drinkers in Hampshire, Sussex and beyond. The company aim is to produce the highest quality traditional cask beers supplying the local market within 45 miles of Portsmouth.

Malcolm Irving ably assisted by Mark Doswell bring together 29 years of combined brewing industry experience to produce beers that they thoroughly enjoy and about which they care passionately. It’s not just a job, it’s definitely not just beer, it is a way of life.

Kings Theatre

The Kings Theatre in Southsea is continuing is restorations, this afternoon they were taking the roof top away, we’re assuming for some repairs and maintenance work.

The Abrooks

The infamous 1980s Southsea locals Mark & Barry Abrook, doubles on the halfpipe at the skatepark from 1990.


Strong Island Clothing Co.