Last week we popped along to the Country Living Christmas Fair, in search of gift ideas and brands we could connect with. Discovering family-run business in a fair full of flair is always a challenge but we found a few fab ideas for Christmas, from new and exciting companies.
First up and setting the bar for the day had to be a gin stand! The Country Living fair had quite a few gin exhibitors this Christmas and out of the many we tried, it was the family-run (directors on the stand) Wild Thyme Spirit's Isle of Colonsay Scottish gin that took our fancy - so much so that we bought a big bottle home. Alas, it didn't make it in to the festive hamper, ready for Christmas but we have an exceptionally empty bottle to admire.
"In August 2016, husband and wife team, Finlay and Eileen Geekie, packed up all their worldly possessions, left behind the hustle and bustle of Oxfordshire, where they’d lived for over 30 years, and moved to their newly completed, self-build house, to start a new life on the tiny, remote Hebridean island of Colonsay. Their new business provides them with the opportunity to combine their love of all things gin with their desire to create a viable future, living and working on the island, and, at the same time, make a significant contribution to the future sustainability and ongoing development of the local island economy and community as a whole."
The company story also caught our attention, along with the news that there is a gin lover's retreat involved too. The ultimate R & R weekend aims to offer gin lovers a time to pack away all the stresses and strains of mainland life, to unwind, and experience an unmissable opportunity to marvel at the magnificent beauty of the surrounding Scottish scenery - while choosing from over 200 gins from around the globe. Find all the details, and other gins from this brand at www.wildthymespirits.com
And while you are sipping gin from this exciting brand this Christmas, why not team your tipple up with some sweet olives. And by sweet olives we actually do mean sweets. The olives we sampled were from Tariette UK, an online grocer offering a variety of French food sourced directly from the local producers in Haute Provence. Roasted almonds, covered in dark and white chocolate, finished with green and black glazes to mimic olives. A quirky alternative and very moorish. Tariette was founded by Sylvie, with her two sons Thomas and Pierre, in 2017. Born and raised in Haute-Provence, where Pierre and Sylvie still live, the family share a genuine passion for local food and produces from their region. With a selection of oils, tapenades, coulis and almonds www.tariette.com is worth a visit to shop online, in time for the festive season.
Present hunting also took us to some of the many art exhibitors at the fair. For adorable art the framed pebbles from The Pebble Art won us over, as it is lovely to see something so different from solitary painted stones. www.thepebbleart.com
Devon-based artist Kate Andrews brought colour, fun and life to the fair with her creative collection of colourful prints, cards and canvases. www.kateandrew.co.uk
For pamper products the Country Living Fair has lots to offer. Our top choice was when we discovered LoveRems, the founder Remi provides natural, luxurious & chemical free alternatives to skincare, utilising resources provided by Mother Nature herself. LoveRems was created as a result of Remi suffering with eczema as a child. Prescribed medications seemed only to supress the symptoms, so she needed to find a cure. An investigation of alternative natural treatments was vital, with LoveRems products being the result. Discover your favourite product at www.loverems.com
As many readers know, I am not a whisky lover. Gin is my tipple so when I stopped at The Wemyss Malts stand I did so with a preconceived idea that the malts would not be to my taste. The Wemyss family have had a long-standing passion for malt whisky and their range of hand crafted malts was conceived with the aim of making them more accessible and understandable. Personally, I found one of their range to be completely drinkable, even though it boasted a lot of smokiness. If you are unsure of your taste in whisky I would certainly recommend sampling this collection. www.wemyssmalts.com