Friday, 27 December 2019 09:49


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It was grand to be back at airy Olympia in west London for the Spirit of Christmas fair in November, a cornucopia of seasonal delights to celebrate Yuletide.

Blackheath Red Stool
Giggy & Bab honoured by House & Garden magazine

Here on the Giggy & Bab stand, the limited edition Blackheath Steel celebrated its public début, to much acclaim. Its exposed steel frame is merely cleaned down and then shiny-lacquered to show its true mettle (see what I did there), welds and all, complemented by its coal black top and steps. It's the perfect present for the man who has everything, and its rugged good looks make it ideal for a man cave. The ultimate in industrial chic, it looks fabulous in a kitchen too. As it turned out, I sold more for the latter than the former!

Also getting its first airing at the show was the very Christmassy red Blackheath. Its frame the colour of holly berries, it demands that you climb up it and put that fairy on top of the Christmas tree. In fact Angela of Haslemere bought one for exactly that purpose. (It also goes with the glamorous red glass splashbacks in her kitchen, so "not just for Christmas" then).

See that label hanging on the stool? That was given to me on the first day by the lovely Ruth from House & Garden - marking Giggy & Bab as one of a small curated selection of the magazine's favourite brands and products at the show. Chuffed or what?

Visitors flocked to the stand, and trade was brisk. It is always a delight to meet members of the public, and to see the look of recognition and affection on their faces when they see the stools. Not so much the young 'uns of course - they love them too, but they don't hold the memories they do for the next generation up.

I was touched to get visits from customers who had bought stools at past shows and who came by specially to say how much they loved them and used them all the time. Cynthia loves perching on her mint green Hornsey stool in her kitchen, and has had a special cushion made for it out of William Morris fabric in toning shades of green. Monelle had bought 2 black Hornsey stools but asked for black ferrules instead of white, done. One was for her, the other one for her husband's office and she said he was completely taken with it. Patricia bought a teal Hornsey last year after taking a tumble trying to get to a high top cupboard using a chair with a foot stool on top! When I met her at the Country Living Spring Fair 2018, she still had the splints on her damaged fingers, and her pregnant daughter wisely urged her to get a stool, which she did without hesitation.

Ladies up stools
Ladies up stools: Jacqui of St Agnes Eve, Miranda of Zaini Hats

A special mention goes to star customer Sarah, who bought four stools. She then kindly emailed me on Boxing Day to say: "I bought 4 of your lovely stools at Spirit of Christmas. I gave 3 of them as presents yesterday and everybody loves them. Just thought you would like to know." Indeed I did like to know, and what a lovely PS to Christmas that was.

Neighbouring standholders were absolutely lovely, and we all became firm friends. They were pressed into service as models, natch, and the stools were pressed into service by them. It's a win-win.

Jacqui of St Agnes Eve initially borrowed a black Birchwood to hang up some scarves on her stand, and then decided she couldn't do without one. I meanwhile decided I couldn't do without one of her gorgeous huge silk scarves, and a happy exchange ensued. Designed by her using her own photos, printed in Evesham and hand-hemmed in Sidcup, the scarves are a homegrown delight.

Rachel of Stoned & Waisted also bought a black Birchwood for her stand, selling beautiful shearling coats and jackets and leather belts. Jacqui and Rachel liked the monochrome elegance of blond wood paired with sleek black frame and ferrules.

Miranda of Zaini Hats hopped obligingly up a hot pink Blackheath on her nearby stand. Her crocheted stripey bobble hats are fab, and I couldn't resist buying one with bands in two shades of red and black.

Ladies on stools
Ladies on stools: Alara and Selina of LoLA

Alara and Selina are the brains and passion behind LoLA (Lots of Lovely Art) and they produce educational art boxes for children, themed around the work of famous artists. Lovely product, lovely people. Snapped in characteristically happy mood, Alara sits on a mint green Blackheath, while Selina takes the weight off on a yellow one.

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