Monday, 25 January 2016


For the last couple of years, in the run up to the festive season, we’ve organised and run a wine tasting evening with a publication and this year, we had the pleasure of joining the Good Housekeeping team for a tipple or two - obviously our reasons for organising these event is strictly professional and our love of nice wine has nothing to do with it!
To help us get into the festive spirit and to share her wealth of expertise, Waitrose wine buyer, Cat Lomax hosted the evening which saw us and the Good Housekeeping ladies try a range of wines including fabulous fizz (our personal fave), beautiful rich red, a classic white but from two different regions and two delicious, but very different dessert wines.

First on the agenda were two reds; Cave de St Desirat St Joseph and Waitrose Reserve Shiraz, St Hallett which is ripe with red and black fruit, hints of spice with a smooth cocoa finish - this is a vibrant and rich red. A great reflection of the definitive nature of Barossa Valley Shiraz. It may be a cliché, but these wines are defiantly ones to enjoy with a delicious steak.


Next came the Markus Huber Gruner Veltliner and Tre Fiori Greco di Tufo, two classic sauvignon blancs, one of which was from New Zealand and the other from France. While they are both from the same grape, it was easy to differentiate between the two regions. Cat recommended that if we chose to serve either of these at a dinner party, it perfectly suits an aromatic Asian dish which packs a punch.


Then we moved on to fizz, tasting Nyetimber Classic Cuve and La Gioiosa Prosecco Superiore. The Nyetimber is made in true champagne fashion using traditional grape varieties. The result is creamy and rich with notes of brioche complimented with a refreshing citrus twist, we gave it a big thumbs up! The La Gioiosa Prosecco Superiore was beautifully floral and fruity, a refreshing, slightly dry prosecco with hints of sweet red apple.


We rounded off the evening with two dessert wines, Gonzales Byass Noe Pedro Jimenez and Domaine des Forges Coteaux du Layon Premier Cru Chaume. Both completely different in colour, taste and price.
While it was tempting to sit, chatting and indulging in delicious wine, the evening quickly came to an end, but our wines of choice for Christmas were chosen!

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Kirstie Allsopp's The Handmade Fair

Following the success of the 2014 The Handmade Fair, 2015 saw Kirstie Allsopp return with not one, but two craft filled weekends and we were lucky enough to support and attend both – from knitting and sewing, to floral headband making and upcycling furniture we are now experts* (*that may be a slight over exaggeration but we gave it a go!)

In September, The Handmade Fair graced the grounds of Hampton Court for the second year running and while the great British weather was up and down, guests enjoyed a weekend of crafting, shopping and indulging on a plethora of food and cocktail stalls.

The second Fair, The Handmade Christmas Fair took place in Manchester in November – just in time for Christmas! Hosted in the Manchester Central Exhibition Centre visitors were able to pick up handmade decorations, alternative Christmas trees and start ticking things off their Christmas gift lists with a range of stalls selling everything from alcohol and handmade perfumes, to handmade baby clothes.

Thousands of visitors attended the Fairs showing just how much the craft renaissance has gripped hold of the Nation, as craft enthusiasts and lovers of all things homemade to join in the action and created their own masterpieces.  The Handmade Fair and The Handmade Christmas Fair brings together Britain’s best producers of crafting supplies, handmade items and artisan foods – this included the best brownies we’ve ever tasted!

Kirstie Allsopp’s The Handmade Fair, which is sponsored by Hobbycraft, is the only craft fair of its kind; mixing shopping with hands on crafting to deliver an unforgettable experience and if you didn’t get the chance to attend either of the events this year, you NEED to keep your eyes peeled so as not to miss out next time!