Country Living Christmas Fair

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.

Vintage Plate Cake Stand Tutorial!

Cake stands are incredibly popular at the moment. They range from the very modest to the exceedingly grand and you can spend anything from a few pounds to a few hundred on one. If you are like me however, you may often find yourself admiring vintage plates but think you have no use for them. Today I’ll sure you how to turn those odds plates into the most fantastic Cake Stand in no time at all!

What You’ll Need

2 or 3 plates of your choosing (mine have came from a variety of charity shops and antique centres)

Cake Stand Fittings (these can be bought very cheaply online, Ebay is a brilliant source)


Ceramic Drill Bit


Step 1

First things first you will need to mark the centre of each plate at the back as a guide for drilling. Some cake stand fittings come with guides to help you. Mark with a non permanent marker.

Step 2

Place your plate upside down onto a worktable or protective piece of wood and using a ceramic appropriate drill bit, slowly begin to make a hole where the mark is. Repeat with all plates.

Step 3

Give the plates a wash to remove dust, then attach the cake stand fittings. That is all that’s required to make a bespoke, individual and enviable cake stand. They also make fabulous and inexpensive presents.


I now have more drilled plates than stand fittings, I just swap and change as the mood strikes me 🙂

London, Giant Phoneboxes and Gorgeous Window Displays!

Whenever I visit London either for the blog or any other publication I always try and fit in a bit of window shopping (or real shopping if my husband isn’t reading this). Everytime I discover something new, whether it’s a fabulous new store or previously missed shopping arcade. My last visit was no different.

I started my little jaunt in Camden, which isn’t exactly new to me but it had changed since my last browse. I always love the markets there, although an increasing number of stalls do appear to be carbon copies of each other. But there’s still a few independent sellers/designers. I fell in love with this little beach hut skirt.I have always had a particular fondness for antique sewing machines. For all their gadgetry modern machines just seem to lack the class (not to mention weight) or their forebears. This store window had an old machine in each pane. I did count how many there were but unfortunately I’ve forgotten, suffice to say there were lots and this is just a small section of window!

Next I toddled off to the Horse Tunnel Market, I have never seen so many life-size horse statues in my life!This market is surprisingly large, but my favourite stall had to be the one below. They sold vintage suitcases decorated with old comics and newspapers. Recycling at it’s very best, I’m sure even Paddington Bear would be happy to carry one.On route out of the market I found this exceptionally large telephone box. Of course I’m familiar with the traditional red boxes, I’ve even seen the blue police boxes but this particular model was a new one to me.Whenever I feel tired the first thing that springs to mind is ‘I need a cup of tea’. So after an afternoon of work, I made my way to Fortnum & Mason in Picadilly. With a bewildering variety of blends, plus every tea related piece of equipment you could ever possibly want, Fortnum & Mason is a tea lovers dream store.If that wasn’t enough to tempt you to visit though, even the window displays are mouthwatering with lifesize models baking, riding in hot air balloons and even driving steam boats!Unfortunately by this point my trip was drawing to a close. All that was left was to admire the lights of Picadilly before making my way home laden with yummy goodies.