We rocked up to Kirstie’s Handmade Fair at the beautiful Bowood House in Wiltshire on a warm, clear summer’s morning. The buzz began in the car park (a grassy field where sheep had been wandering in the recent past!) with groups of excited people busy pulling out emailed tickets and checking the times of the workshops they were planning to attend. There was a lot of chatter and laughter and we immediately felt we were in for a fun day.
Despite the fact that we were on a recce for work, being us, we headed straight for the food tent, aka the Artisan Marketplace. The variety of fayre on offer reached far and wide – everything from gin to garlic, granola to grown-up marshmallows. I have to confess, with lots of samples and interesting people to chat to, we were there some considerable time. That’s also where we bumped into the lady herself, none other than Ms Kirstie Allsopp.
Kirstie was altogether charming, recalling how she used to come to Bowood as a child. Then, having told her we were looking forward to measuring her calves at Hampton Court, we left her eating cake and chatting and laughing with the foodie stand people.
The atmosphere was lively and social – largely women with a common interest in handmade and artisan products and activities. Some of the jewellery was exquisite and there were all kinds of intriguing crafts, kits, courses and workshops to buy, see or take part in. It is advisable to book any workshops you want to do in advance as some of them were full. Others had space, but it was pot luck on the day.
We snuck in to the paper cutting workshop where Kyleigh Orlebar was fabulously entertaining as she taught everyone how to create a hand-cut masterpiece. Note to self: make sure you do that one at Hampton Court...
After all that exhausting research (ahem...) we felt we’d earned ourselves a piece of cake in the Mollie Makes cafe. Oh my... it was a work of art. Pistachio and rose from what I remember, although frankly it was so delicious I drifted off into a gastro-haze.
Finally we decided to chill for a bit by the lake. Bowood House was a stunning setting and we stayed far longer than we should. Can’t wait for Hampton Court. Come and see us there – stand number to be confirmed shortly – we’ll be bringing some fitting styles and samples of our entire Autumn Winter 18 collection so you can see and touch everything. We’ll be there to measure and offer advice on fit, and we’ll be running a competition to win tickets to the event nearer the time, so look out for that!