Mr. Tea and I are always on the look-out for an enjoyable morning out, preferably if in one way or another a good cup of tea is involved. We were rewarded with both on Sunday when we popped over to the Windsor Emporium for a bit of shopping and tea-drinking. Described as “an emporium of the unexpected”, the Windsor Emporium is an enchanting, alternative shopping experience held monthly (Mar-Dec) at the historical Guildhall in Windsor. Jackie Couzens is the event organiser and she’s got everything spot on.
The Guildhall is the town hall of Windsor and a Grade I listed building constructed in 1687 [mainly] by Sir Christopher Wren. In April 2005, it was the location of the marriage of Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker Bowles, and later that year of the civil partnership ceremony of Sir Elton John and David Furnish – the first same sex civil partnership ceremony in England.
The Windsor Emporium
Exhibitors wares – all hand-produced and British made – are displayed in the Grand Entrance Hall, the Chamber Room, and the Ascot Room, against a spectacular backdrop of beautiful historical ancestral paintings. The Guildhall is not normally open to the public, so the fact that entry to the Windsor Emporium is free makes it that much more appealing.
I really like the fact that this is a small-ish gathering (around 30 exhibitors) because it gives you a chance to get to meet and speak with the artists and craftsmen about what inspires them. Everyone there was very friendly and generous. The atmosphere was festive, but relaxed.
The pictures above are some of the exhibitors from the November Windsor Emporium. Here are a few of my favourites:
Eton Fudge Shop. This past summer, I read rave reviews about their Eton Mess fudge, so when I heard about their Christmas Pudding fudge, I could not wait to try it. The weird thing is, I don’t even particularly like Christmas Pudding but for some reason the idea of Christmas Pudding fudge appealed to me. I wasn’t wrong – it was truly scrumptious! The ingredients are top quality, and no one flavour overpowers another. I think Eton Fudge Shop’s Christmas Pudding fudge would make a really nice gift for work colleagues, employees, friends and neighbours, family – or just yourself.
Elaine Nipper Illustration. I was drawn to Elaine’s eclectic mixture of illustration and photography. Elaine is a graphic designer who has illustrated several children’s books. Two of her postcards were atmospheric photographs of the university where I used to work; another postcard was her illustration of a Charleston single house, which was equally ironic because I lived in Charleston before moving back to England.
Chandlers Candles. I liked the elegance and simplicity of Sue’s scented soy candles, which are left a natural cream colour to compliment any home decor. Her little packaged set of frankincense and myrrh tea lights would make a great stocking stuffer (I said to Mr. Tea who I know is reading this blog post).
Many Moons Ago. What’s not to love about vintage recycled tea plates that are turned into wall clocks? Kirsty says recycling makes the world a prettier place, and I thought her wall clocks were very pretty indeed. Usually, large dinner plates are used to make wall clocks; I much prefer these small plates that Kirsty uses. Her favourites are the plates whose designs act as ‘built-in’ numbers, like this one.
Finally, there’s got to be a tea connection of course, and here it is – the Windsor Emporium features a Vintage Tea Room serving home made cakes, light refreshments, and Darvilles of Windsor teas. Whether you choose to tea first and then shop, or shop first and then tea, the tea room is there for you, bathed in soft light filtered through glorious stained glass windows. Service with a smile at no extra charge.
Mr. Tea and I enjoyed a lovely pot of Darvilles English Breakfast tea, and since it was breakfast time, I indulged myself with
dry toast and water a slice of Lemon Drizzle Cake.
With the holiday season nigh, I highly recommend a visit to the next Windsor Emporium. It’s a friendly and relaxing place to shop for quality, British-made products, resident within the beautiful and historic Guildhall, with tea and cake waiting for you at the end of it all. The next event is on Sunday, 2 December 2012. See you there!
The Windsor Emporium is held on the First Sunday of each month, March to December, 10am – 4pm at the Guildhall, Windsor. Admission is free.
For more information, contact Jackie Couzens via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
See the Tea in England Facebook page for more pictures of The Windsor Emporium.
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