This time of year feels a bit like a roller coaster. One minute it’s September then the next thing you know you’re hurtling towards Christmas Day at 100 mph with no way of putting the breaks on! I always feel like I have so much time to do everything and then it’s Christmas Eve and my pile of Christmas cards are still on the passenger seat in my car waiting to be posted! This is a great time of year though…full of excitement and anticipation. My Christmas preparations (and by preparations I mean spending more than I should on decorations we really don’t have room for) begin mid-November with the annual girls day out to a Christmas Fair. For several years we traipsed down to the London for the Country Living Christmas Fair at the Business Design Centre in Islington. It was always a fab day out and we all came back with bags filled with presents and decorations that were generally unique and unusual. For the last 3 years we have stayed closer to home and visited the Knebworth Christmas Fair in Hertfordshire. It’s a great opportunity to spend a day together (definitely no kids allowed!) and peruse the stalls, eat a mince pie, drink a Bailey’s hot chocolate and generally get in the Christmas spirit.
At Knebworth the majority of the stalls are indoors or in marquees but it’s usually best to don hats and gloves. There is a lovely restaurant that sells simple lunches and sandwiches – it does get very busy but if timed right is worth it for a pit-stop. I thought I would share with you my purchases from my day and let you know about some of the great traders that attend the Fair, and others across the UK, every year.
There was one item that I have purchased every year at the Fair and knew I would definitely buy again this year. Scent Unikue make the most glorious soy candles. The scents are by far some of the best I have experienced and as I make my own soy candles I know how difficult it is to get a strong and pleasant scent. I particularly like their wooden wick candles as they crackle when they are lit like a little fire on my coffee table! My girl friends and I all bought candles this year and our favourites are the Frosted Cranberry from their Christmas range and Nag Champa.
I am not ashamed to say that I was the first to taste the free samples on offer at The Old Fashioned Pudding Company. Their Ginger and Syrup Sponge is to die for – moist and sticky and a perfect follow up to a Sunday Roast! I bought one and we ate it the following day for our pudding…it was just amazing! They also make other sweet puddings from chocolate sponge to steamed jam pudding and also produce a number of meat puddings too. Check them out – it definitely tastes as good as it looks!
It’s difficult not to be tempted by all the wonderful food available at Christmas Fairs, especially when all the stalls are encouraging you to try their samples. This chocolate from Cocobella is some of the best I have tasted and I bought a bar of their Milk Chocolate with Cornish Sea Salt. I had intended to keep it for Christmas, unfortunately it didn’t make it past that evening as we devoured it in one sitting! My friends bought some of the chocolate covered cocoa beans, great for after dinner parties or balanced on a cocktail.
Other than some boot polish (not really interesting enough to photograph although it is really good!) my only other purchase was this glorious jar. My website name should giveaway that it doesn’t take much to persuade me to buy a jar especially if it’s one as beautiful as this. I bought the lights for it at B&M stores as I thought they looked so pretty. I don’t usually put Christmas decorations up before December but this has pride of place on my kitchen window ledge. I bought this from Love your home boutique and they have the most fantastic range of Christmas decor at brilliant prices – I will definitely be having another look!
And that was my small, but perfectly formed haul from the Knebworth Christmas Fair. There were a couple of other traders I thought were worth a mention. Lucy Bradshaw Jewellery – her stand drew us in straight away it was so beautiful! The jewellery is beautifully made and there were some really unusual pieces. I was very tempted to treat myself but think I will point my other half in the direction of Lucy’s website for my next birthday!
When we walked into the large marquee that was home to most of the food stands there was an overwhelmingly familiar smell. I couldn’t put my finger on it at first but I soon realised that it was Disneyland! Something smelt just like Disneyland! It wasn’t until we had nearly been round every stand that I eventually came to the source of this wonderful smell. Poppin Mad make popcorn in a variety of different flavours and it smells divine! They even deliver it to your door!
We had such a great day and even had a chat with a couple of friendly reindeer! If you have the opportunity to go to a Christmas Fair near where you live I encourage you to go along and support some small businesses.