Convent Christmas Fair 2016

It may have been a pretty damp and grey day yesterday, but that didn’t put the crowds off coming along to the annual Convent Christmas Fair this year. For those not familiar with Gibraltar or the Convent, it’s the official residence of the Governor of Gibraltar (the Queen’s representative here), so naturally there are a few royal pictures about the place…

A quick stop at security, and we were in.

The Convent Christmas Fair Committee put an awful lot of work into putting the fair on each year. It costs £2 to get in and you are accosted pretty quickly to buy raffle tickets and tombola tickets for some wonderful prizes. All of the money which is raised at the event goes to support local charities.

Up the grand stairs and into the fair….

The first table I came to was Kate Davies’ beautiful stall showcasing some of her lovely fused glass work. I have been a fan of Kate’s work for a few years now and I have several of her pieces hanging around the house from windows. I’m looking forward to going up to Kate’s shed to see her at work soon, I’d love to know how she does it!

Next I headed into the very grand dining room which had been given over to a vast array of stalls featuring all sorts of different crafts and goodies.

Craft fair regular, Debbie Yeo was there with some of her beautiful things. Debbie can turn her hand to so many different crafts. She had paper crafts, hand sewn gifts and beautifully painted items for sale.

This painted glassware and candles on Debbie’s stall are just exquisite.

My next port of call was the ‘Beyoutifully Homemade’ stall made by Sally. The talented stitcher makes cushions (some featuring Star Wars characters & Pokemon balls), bags, lap quilts, memory items using your own children’s baby outfits and recycled denim projects. She had so many lovely things she had on offer.

Not only did I make a purchase, I also got some inspiration for something else to add to my  never ending ‘To make’ list! My next stop was the ballroom…

In this venue there were some very tasty treats on offer along with many stalls representing local charities. My attention was caught by small local business Just Because Macarons…. you can see why!

There were loads of very appealing flavours on offer… ooh which to choose?

Then it was time to choose the name of the knitted reindeer on the Cancer Relief stall (many apologies to Grainne [Santa’s little helper] I only took one photo and she looks a bit browned off in it! I promise she was smiling a split second before this was taken!!).

All of the things on this Christmas fundraising stall were made by patients who use the centre, their families and the centre’s many wonderful supporters. They have a craft club once a fortnight and the items made during the sessions were used to fill the stall. Among the lovely items on sale were doggie treats, human treats (including the most wonderful rocky road bites – I accidentally ate a few before the family came home – whoops) and handcrafted decorations and toys.

Alas, it was time to head home in time to pick the Little Postcards up from school. It was a brilliant fair again as always. I went early-ish so didn’t see it at it’s most busy. From previous experience I know it gets really packed when the schools finish for the day and the queue to visit Santa in his grotto can get quite long. I took Littlest Postcard last year and he was a little bit unsure, so I didn’t repeat the trip this year.

So what did I buy? Well sadly, quite a lot of it will be going into Christmas presents to people who may read this, so I can’t share too much…. But these mmm… I can’t wait to try one of these. I doubt very much they will stay in their packets much longer. Just need an excuse for giving the boys a treat…. Mint Chocolate, Milk Chocolate and Minion flavour macarons. (What do Minions taste like I wonder?)

And this lovely crayon roll made by Beyoutifully Homemade will be going in the post to a special little man we know.

So that’s it for another year. I hope you enjoyed this trip to the Convent Christmas Fair, I’m very pleased to say I have officially begun my Christmas shopping – well I had got a few bits and pieces already but it’s the big push now from here on in.

Jingle bells…jingle bells… I wonder whether the guard made it in to see Santa? 😉

If you would like to see last year’s post about the Convent Christmas Fair 2015, you can find it here.

Convent Christmas Fair 2015

  
Today marks the pinnacle of the crafting year in Gibraltar, the Convent Christmas Fair. The fair is such a great event on the Gibraltar social calendar. The venue is magnificent for a start, the Convent is the home of the Governor of Gibraltar, the Queen’s representative here in Gib. It’s a beautiful place to visit, see this post for more about the Convent and it’s stunning garden. However, this beautiful building is just a backdrop to the wonderful things which are offered for sale there at the fair.

  

Stall holders are made up of local charities, artists and crafters, you can easily make a considerable dent in your Christmas present list in a visit here. From handmade and charity cards to hand painted baubles, fused glass, toiletries, crochet, découpage, needlework and jewelry, there are goods to suit all tastes and budgets.

  

I have held a stall at the fair in the past a couple of times and they were both great days. The camaraderie between the stall holders is great and it’s such an honour to be able to spend so many happy hours in such beautiful surroundings (can you tell I like it there?). It’s also a great place to see friends; Gibraltar is so small that you are bound to bump into loads of people you know!

   

My pal Louise hand-sews these cute sock monkeys. Aren’t they adorable? She also sells her makes in the Gibraltar cruise terminal and the Arts & Craft store in town. 

  

One stall I made a bee-line for was Kate Davies’ beautiful fused glass creations. They are a real favourite of mine – I have bought some of her things before at previous fairs.

   

One or two of her lovely things may have made their way into my shopping bag – I’ve not decided yet whether I’m prepared to part with them as presents for other people yet!
 

For more info on Kate’s work you can contact her by email on: kdavies62@gmail.com you can also find her on Instagram.

Another favourite regular stall of mine is shared by two talented ladies; Debbie & Sylvie. Debbie’s crocheted and sewn items have made ended up under the Christmas trees belonging to members of my family on previous Christmas mornings and her hand-painted glass, candles and baubles are a big hit, as are Sylvie’s beautiful cards. 

 

Debbie’s lovely crafty makes are also available for sale at the Gibraltar Arts & Crafts shop in Casemates Square. You can see some of Sylvie’s beautiful cards on her blog GIBMISS.

  

As I mentioned before, many local and international charities are represented at the fair as well. The ladies of the Cancer Relief Centre in Gibraltar had a great stall filled with crafts and edible gifts made by their volunteers.

   

Another local charity, Childline, had sweeties as prizes in their tombola. A lucky ticket made my boys very happy when I went to collect them from school!

  

And if you were in need of refreshment after a busy time shopping upstairs, where better to enjoy a cuppa and a slice of cake than the Convent’s lovely courtyard with its orange laden trees. As I took this photo, I could hear Santa’s bell ringing out from his nearby grotto as he raised money for local charities too. 

As you can see, it was reasonably quiet when I was there, after the initial opening rush and before school pick up time. Later on the volunteers were serving wine and mince pies accompanied by carols sung by a local school choir. I think you’ll agree this Christmas fair is a really great one, just what you need to get you in the spirit!  

A walk around the historical corridors of the Convent reinforces not only how many talented people live within this community of 30,000 but also gives you such a warm glow to realise it really is a community in the true sense of the word. So many people have worked so hard to make today a success, and the hard work showed – well done everyone!
 
Oh and there was something else happening in Gibraltar today – a General Election. The Christmas fair’s far more interesting though, don’t you think? 😉