We took a trip to Abergavenny at the weekend as Louise was on a panel at the annual Food Festival. It was certainly a cavalcade of aromas as hundreds of food stands competed for attention, from gourmet Scotch Eggs to local craft ale. While Louise was convincing everyone about the benefits of veganism, we were also pleased to spot a stall from our friends at Love Zimbabwe, with their colourful creations all the way from Harare.
Martha and David are based in Abergavenny but have strong links to Martha's home village - in fact, their leader Chief Chinamhora was in Wales for the occasion! We have been proud to stock some of their beautiful items in the shop, and at present we are almost completely sold out so we hope to have more soon. The most popular items were miniature lions, elephants and giraffes made from wound wire, and we also had larger animals made from recycled oil drums which were a big hit.
Our beautiful, 100% cotton throws from India have been some of our best sellers over the past year. Now we have a new design in stock with vibrant colours and a distinctive chevron design.
There are six different colour ways, and they are all around 5' long (150cm x 125 cm). They can go in the machine at a warm wash, and we think they're perfect to brighten up an old chair, for the end of a bed or even as a statement pashmina!
Great all year round, but especially in the shoulder seasons when you're not quite ready to have the heating on 24/7 yet :) Check them out online now.
I took a trip to Autumn Fair at the NEC in Birmingham this weekend. It can be a slightly bewildering experience, with thousands of stalls, many of which have no relevance to us whatsoever! Here and there were some gems worth seeking out however.
I had high hopes for the Global Handicrafts section but as it was the first day of the show most of the exhibitors still seemed a bit jetlagged. I did like the look of Finch and Roller, who produce very nice organic cushions, tea towels and the like all with an ethical story. Kazi had beautiful woven products, albeit at the top end of our price bracket. Doitung had some beautiful ceramics, but I'm not sure my Thai will be good enough to take that much further!
Back in the main show, it was time to catch up with some of our regular suppliers - Lanka Kade, who work in Sri Lanka to produce our wonderful wooden toys; Shared Earth, who produce our beautiful Colouring Book jewellery, and have a great range of socks coming soon; and Tilnar Art, who supply our ever-popular Azeti recycled aluminium products.
There were also some new conversations - Fet So Good had beautiful felt dragons which we think will be perfect for the shop. And there one or two other suppliers we'll be speaking to again.
Wherever possible, we buy our products direct from the source. That's not always possible or practical though, so we're grateful to our UK suppliers who provide a stable supply of amazing fair trade products throughout the year!
We're delighted to be stocking a gorgeous new book called "A Honeybee Heart Has Five Openings" by local author Helen Jukes. As well as being beautiful to look at, it is a truly inspiring read, part memoir, part nature book, perfect for fans of Robert Macfarlane or Helen Macdonald.
Helen popped in this week to sign some copies, and she even has her very own "honeybee" stamp! We'll send out signed copies while stocks last for online orders we receive. If you're in Hay do pop in and check out the book, it is wonderful.
A quick apology to anyone looking at our very depleted chocolate selection at the moment - we have more arriving any day now! It has been very popular over the summer and our Chocolate Club is also gaining new members every week.
As soon as our precious box of chocs arrives we'll restock the website, but here's a sneak peek of some of the new flavours coming soon...
Champagne and Raspberries - perfect for a late summer treat!
Ginger and Lemon - brand new for Autumn 2018.
Hazelnut Nougat Brittle - one of a selection of new vegan options in the hand-scooped range.
72% Peru, "Cocoa not Cocaine" - a UN-backed project encouraging farmers to switch from cocaine trafficking to cocoa farming, part of the Labooko double range.
Plus we'll have more of our regular favourites - like Passion Fruit and Caramel with Thyme!