Living North: Essence of Christmas

HALLOWEEN and Bonfire Night have been and gone and the nights are getting darker, which can only mean one thing – the countdown to Christmas has begun!

Although my children’s Christmas lists are pointing me in the direction of Disney and DC Comics, when it comes to gifts for the grown-ups in my life, I’m pledging to buy handmade and local wherever possible.

signpostBeing self-employed has opened my eyes to a world of people running creative businesses from their homes or studio spaces and I’m more than happy to support them as many of them are in the same boat as me! And their work is awesome.

My best friend hails from Middlesbrough, but emigrated to Canada eight years ago, so I always like to give her presents a north east theme. I found plenty of inspiration at the Living North Essence of Christmas Fair!

I went along to Newcastle Racecourse with my mam and my sister on the opening day of the four-day festive extravaganza and stocked up on Christmas treats for friends and family – and a few things to enjoy in the meantime.

Khaled Miah

Khaled Miah

We spent most of our time in the food marquee and food hall, tucking into lots of delicious samples of breads, cheeses, ginger wine, biscuits, chocolates, meats and chutneys. We also enjoyed a demonstration from chef Khaled Miah, from Zyka in Hexham.

The shopping areas were packed with jewellers, clothing boutiques, gift emporiums, artists and illustrators, homewares and accessories.

I could have spent the whole four days browsing the dozens of beautiful stands (I picked up a lot of design tips for future wedding fairs), but I had to be back for the school run! Fortunately, I can always look my favourites up online!

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