A Very Vintage Christmas
One of the most highly anticipated fairs of the year opened its doors yesterday for their annual Christmas Fair at the Business Design Centre in Islington. The Country Living Magazine Fair hand-picks some of the best artisans, crafters, designers, antique and vintage sellers to participate in their fabulous five day fair. Not only can you shop to your heart’s content but you can also visit the Lifestyle Theatre for a selection of demonstrations and talks ranging from simple gift wrapping, making flavoured chocolate to florals for Christmas just to name a few. And on Friday 1st November, Kirstie Allsopp will be running a Christmas Craft demo and then a book signing at 11.30 (until 12.00). This year there are around 40 new stallholders who join nearly 300 seasoned sellers and the choice for vintage or antique gifts is wonderful.
Chloe Antiques (Stand J33) offers handmade gifts using exquisite antique textiles. I always admire her Christmas fairies which would look fabulous on any tree, not to mention a wonderful heirloom to pass down.
Chloe makes beautifully scented lavender bags, embroidered hearts and tiny Christmas tree stockings and any fabric remnants left over are made into fabric and trimming packs to sell, which are always snapped up. Her bunnies are also a popular buy.
Everything is beautifully displayed – even this gorgeous Armoire (below) was for sale. I adored the felted dogs.
And talking of dogs, Daisy’s Dog Deli (Stand P69a) offer wholesome dog treats, hand baked with fresh ingredients that looked good enough to eat!! I loved that you can order a Santa Paws Hamper which can be delivered direct to your dog – I am sure our dog would scoff it in one!
I raced around to find Rosie’s Armoire (Stand J44) where Helen always manages to find the most amazing vintage ephemera – I thought these vintage numbers would look great on a special 13th, 18th and 21st birthday present.
Bundles of ‘vintage inspiration’ are for sale and other little vintage gems.
She also hand makes some exclusive items likes these handbags and vintage velvet pin cushions or hatpin holders – one of which sits proudly on my sewing table.
Caroline Zoob (Stand D1) always has people beating a path to her stand and the queues for her selection of handmade, vintage and vintage like items are legendary.
I was very drawn to these charming small lavender pillows which are created by Emily Maude (Stand J47) who loves to illustrate and is inspired by recapturing periods in history.
These are her charming notebooks.
And the bird theme carries over into bird garlands, ornaments and greeting cards.
I absolutely loved these hand crafted cakes and biscuits by Sucre Coeur (Stand F28). Husband and wife team McCormack and McCormack lavishly decorate these traditional fruitcakes and gingerbread cookies. Dave does the baking, Karen does the decorating and Dave washes up – what a perfect arrangement!!
They will happily post any of their delicious festive goodies and have even shipped to New Zealand. I can also vouch for the macarons which are teeny tiny ones beautifully displayed in a long box which I had every intention of photographing when I got home but cough cough they didn’t last long enough – my husband and son devoured them.
These patterned paint rollers have been the talk of the interior world and these lovely designs from The Painted House (Stand J2a) are no exception. Clare spotted these designs in Romania where they have been used for many years as an alternative to wallpaper. There are 18 designs to choose from and you can also use the rollers on fabric. Customers have also used them to upcycle chest of drawers and other interior wood items to great effect.
Other very worthwhile stands to visit are my favourite Garden Brocante (Stand G7) for a great collection of vintage jewellery, vintage cutlery, silver and homewares; Calon Company (Stand D22) who bring gorgeous vintage blankets from Wales along with handmade items, haberdashery, bedding and vintage china. I got a lovely sewing pattern – I have no intention of ever sewing (as it would be too difficult for me) but the picture on the front was so lovely I just had to have it.
Ludvig Design (P35a) makes the most gorgeous handcrafted jewellery with silver, gold, stones, pearls and crystals. Some of the designs are very fine and delicate which I fell in love with as they looked very dainty on and everyone was oohing and aahing over them; and of course Jane Means (Stand A8) for her great range of ribbons and decorations – Jane is the gift wrap guru of the UK who offers courses and instructional DVD’s as well.
I’ve only told you about a very small number of stalls that caught my eye but there is something for everyone at the fair including of course the popular food hall with lots of ‘tasters’ and Christmas goodies. No need to watch that waistline!
The fair is at the Business Design Centre, 52 Upper Street, Islington, London, N1 0QH.
The website has all the necessary information on opening times, programmes and floor plans.
You’ll cross off that Christmas List in no time!