Yesterday I took great pleasure in attending the Country Living Christmas Fair at the Business Design Centre, Islington, London. I had a wonderful time, discovered some amazing new talent and was generally spoilt rotten. The fair ends on 13th November so there’s still time to get yourself down there. In the meantime, here are my must see stalls!
The fair, much like Country Living Magazine is always a beautiful spectacle before you even begin to start browsing. A giant Christmas Tree glittered away on the second floor, enormous bunting hung from the rooftop and the scent of Cinnamon, Spiced Apple and Mulled Wine seemed to follow you in a dreamy festive haze. After recovering from a slight sensory overload I made my way to this Christmas Cabin, designed by none other than textile extraordinaire Jan Constantine. You may have to fight an overwhelming desire to cross the barrier and spend an afternoon in this festive hideout, but take note as many of the items inside can be found on stalls at the fair.Vintage was a huge theme at this year’s fair, with everything from old milk bottles to bobbins upcycled into lights. So if your house is in need of a few unique and striking accessories make sure you keep your eyes peeled.Next I made a beeline for Mary Kilvert‘s stall. A designer and illustrator whose sheep design textiles and home-wares threaten to make even the most devout minimalist smile, I couldn’t resist her brightly coloured creations. Mary even designs wallpaper covered in quirky houses! Keeping in the festive mood I discovered a designer who was new to me Halinka’s Fairies. Halinka makes decorations that have such movement and skill, you could easily spend hours mesmerised by them. Halinka obviously has a real eye for movement as even her ballet dancers display lifelike turns and twists of their arms and waists.
The fair is not limited to homewares or decorations though. There’s also adorable designers such as Poppy Children. This stall stands out instantly due to their fabulous dress shapes and fabrics. They even make a few dresses in adult sizes (I can feel a mother daughter promenade coming on). I challenge any Mother of a girl not to feel an almost uncontrollable urge to buy one of these designs. But how would you pick just one?My feet were rather worse for wear at this point, but that doesn’t mean you should automatically run for one of the cafes situated about the fair. Instead make your way to the food stalls and sample some of the most delicious homemade delicacies.After a good rest and several cups of tea I found my way to the Millstone Mills stall. Not ones to see pepper and salt grinders as mundane; they have taken this most basic of household items and transformed it into a stylish and functional piece that exudes class. If making your own is more to your taste though, there are plenty of stalls selling festive and fun kits. These beautiful traditional mohair toy kits are from Emily’s Ark. I did buy something larger and rather more blue from this stall but I’ll save that for a future post 🙂Unfortunately I can’t feature all of the wonderful stalls at the fair, so if you can make it along do try. Tickets can be purchased on the door, full details including an exhibitor list and floorplan are available on the website here.
I’ll post up some more pics in a few days including some of the wonderful items I brought home.