It was nice to see a new category called Celebrate Britain! which did what you might expect and featured a lot of lovely patriotic products, including a Diamond Jubilee Mug and Teapot from Alison Gardiner.
This year’s selection of greetings was particularly inspiring, with a lot of interesting 3D and crafty-type product and a wonderful line in RSPB and WWF licensed collectable cards from Really Wild Cards. One of the judges said they sold really well in her shop and she’d had one lady buy several of them for a blind relative – what a fab idea!
Particularly eye-catching were the Notting Hill 3D Cards from Niapaper (above left) and Santoro’s Patchpops (right) – fun, colourful, beautifully designed and good enough to be a gift in their own right. Blue Eyed Sun’s Vintage range was also very pretty as you might expect from this wonderful hand-finished card specialist, while Bird’s Garden Bird range featured glorious illustrations of our feathered friends. On the humour side we had the distinctive – and truly hilarious – Takkoda National Treasures Greetings Cards – what a standout concept this is! (above right)
I am not generally a fan of all out kitsch but couldn’t help loving the Bambi-esque Deer Head Calendar, designed for Wu & Wu by Scottish illustrator Fiona Hewitt, which can be used year after year and was therefore pretty good value with an RRP of just under £15. This was entered into the Stationery category where the Galison V&A range also impressed.
There were several other awards categories covering a wide ranging product set, from kitchenware to outdoor living and branded character gifts. The Body, Mind and Spirit and Eco-Friendly categories had plenty of our beloved scented candles to choose from, with some wonderfully scented gifts from Heyland Whittle (Hope and Glory), Stone Glow Candles (Spa Rituals and Give Back to Nature) and Heaven Scent Incense (Massage Candles, below).
In the Collect It category Wu & Wu’s Fiona Hewitt range stood out again with some cute Cotton Candy bead sets, cookies tins and sewing kits. We also loved the adorable Wade Whimsies from C&S Collectables, which had that all important element of nostalgia.
Can’t wait to see the winner’s at Spring Fair, they’ll be presented on Sunday February 5 at 6.00pm in Hall 6.