Country Living is over with for another year, and boy oh boy was it great fun!
Here are some pix of me in action over the four days of the show. In the afternoons I was doing herb crafting demos in the big Cooking Theatre. It was so exciting to be sharing the stage with some top chefs including the lovely Jaqueline O’Donnell who I’ve known since The Hour days on TV. And it was great to see my fabulous friend Pheoebe again who came to do talks on cheeses from Orkney. Wish I had been able to get some pix but I was helping a friend on a stand between performances, so didn’t get a chance.
Showing people how to make this sort of stuff is easy when everything is going right. Sometimes of course there are bloopers. For me this was in my cooking demos. Every day I seemed to forget something. Day one it was my basil plant for making the basil and garlic butter. Had to quickly scrounge herbs off other chefs and create sage and thyme butter instead. The next day I made a huge point of taking in the reluctant Basil plant, only to discover I’d forgotten to pick the sage, thyme and rosemary from the garden in the morning.
By day three I had managed to remember all the herbs, oh the proud moment, yep you guessed it, something else had to go wrong. This time I left the butter in the fridge for too long and had to flap about on the stage despirately trying to hide the fact that the butter was like a bloody brick and no way did it want to gently mould itself softly around those aromatic herbs to create the perfect blend. It was like chasing an icecube round a glass trying to get hold of the slippery solid monster. And to cap it all on the very last demo as I was chopping up the garlic and I could feel the knife hit something it shouldn’t. Didn’t want to look down, couldn’t bring myself to look down. Just carried on hoping to God that my finger was still intact and I wasn’t spewing blood all over the place. When I did bring myself to flash a glance at my fingers I was horrified to find that I’d sliced my nail clean off right to the very edge of my finger. Just avoided real blood thirsty damage, but a nail crisis none the less!
Ah the joys of the food demo. At least everyone seemed to enjoy the shows, and apart from my usual number of bloopers and the odd finger fracas, it was all great fun.
In the mornings I was in the Craft Theatre running workshops for 30 people and showing them how to make Mini Bunting. This was a fabulous way to start the day, it was fun, fun, fun all the way. The seats would fill up by 10.30am and I wasn’t on till 11am. We never had enough kits for people and there was a queue afterwords of folks wanting to buy them. Oh yes girls, I am working on some So Easy Crafting Kits to sell, what do you think?
Everyone was given one of my kits and made up their own quirky bunting. The concentration in the room was almost palpable, it was great to see so many people really getting into this.
I showed people how to make the bunting then brought our my Raggy Garlands, Advent Sack, cards and tags from my So Easy Christmas book and people got an idea of just how easy it is to make all these things, how inexpensive and also how much fun.
At the end of the demo the whole class would hold their finished bunting up and wave it in the air!
I’d then do a book signing and answer lots of crafty questions.
Idgy came with me on Saturday but not to help me. Oh no, she had been officially employed as Sue (gorgoeus Sue Quinn of Sue Quinn Bears and Hedgehog Corner) to help on her stand for the day.
I’ve known Sue since before Idgy was born and of course Idgy is a huge fan and collector of Sue’s work. To actually be working on her stand was a dream come true for my girl. I was so proud of her and so thrilled that Sue asked her. Thank you Sue you are a total star!
Meanwhile back at the ranch I found myself working for the fabulous Gabriela on her stand. I had originally thought I would just float about enjoying myself between talks but that would have had one or two major drawbacks. The first and most horribly obvious would be the expense. How on earth could I, a spendy spendy sorta gal possibly be let loose in my favourite playground with way too much time on my hands and not nearly enough cash to facilitate a major fun fest. The other problem was that on the Thursday I went round all the stands between my talks and saw it all, caught up with pals and really did everything I wanted to do. Realised that it was going to be too tempting to be hanging about and the thought of the exhibitors lounge and a magazine didn’t really appeal.
Enter the amazing Gabriela. This beautiful lady isRumanian and the most wonderful deigner based in London. Her jackets and wraps are to die for. I ended up helping out on her stand between my talks and we have become firm friends. If you look at the top pix you’ll see I’m wearing one of her gorgeous wraps while doing the cooking demos. Thankfully I didn’t manage to spill anything on it and boy did I feel glamerous on stage.
These are her beautiful wraps. Like stunning roses all in a row. They are handmade in the finest silk and silk velvet and you can wear them in a multitude of ways. I had so much fun playing dress up and trying all the different ways to wear them. We ended up with crowds round the stand as we draped them around people and made them feel so pampered and gorgeous wearing these dreamy garments. Gabriela has a web site opening soon and I promise I will tell you all about it, this is one lady to watch! Her web site is not open yet but here is a link to the address, Gabriela Rose.
So Country Living is over for another year. This was the first time I had been there without a stand of my own. I admit on set up day I felt a bit lost and a little out of it as I watched (and helped) my pals get organised and ready for the event. I worried a bit that was this going to hurt too much, not actually being a part of it. But you know it has been the best Country Living ever for me. I have been in my true element doing the things I love. I was doing show and tell on the demos and sharing what I know, I was signing and selling books to those who wanted them and that was fun. Working for Gabriela was a blast, like playing dress up and being Barbie all at once, it was everything together that made it so special for me. I have come away with a head full of thoughts and ideas and possibly even a new direction.
I’ll keep you posted.
Most of all I have come home feeling refreshed by friendship. Seeing my old friends again was wonderful, playing catch up on lives, loves and everyday things, and making new friends, that is just a joy. So to Gabriela I say a huge Thank You. You made me feel a million dollars by letting me wear all your gorgeous creations all weekend. I have come home with some real treasures to add to my wardrobe and a fabulous friend to add to my heart.