Islington’s country living magazine spring fair

Packed to the brim with faux-antique wooden furniture, obscure wines and little chocolate treats, it’s difficult to imagine the blend of carefully curated nic-nacs and high-end luxury goods finding its home anywhere else.

However, behind the rather immaculately presented stalls, coated with alternating candy-pink and white stripes, there is a fierce drive in some of the vendors.

Country Living Mayonnaise

Patrick Le Mesurier, of Le Range Mesurier, an independent condiment manufacturer, has been coming to the Country Living Magazine Spring Fair for five years.

“We do a lot of fairs,” says Patrick. “We’re out pretty much every weekend, and we’re based near Guildford, in Surrey.”

“On top of that, we supply Ocado, the Coop and some others, then we do the shows.”

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Moving upstairs to where the more established stalls are, there is indeed less food, but more of the delightful home-made goods that one associates with the magazine after which the event is named.

One stall, tucked away behind someone selling ‘recovered’ prints from vintage 1970s children’s books and what appears to be a pile of brightly coloured soap blocks, is selling hand-stitched children’s toys.

Country Living Soap 2

The woman running the stall, Frances Cronin, was formerly a journalist working at Radio One.

“I started the sewing as a way to relieve the stress. Then I gave them out to friends as presents. And finally, someone said that I ought to get into this myself as a business.”

This is my second year here. I was on the upper sections, as one of the newbies last year, so I’m quite pleased that I’m down in the main section.”

As I move toward the exit, stuffed to bursting with truffle-infused olive oils, mango-flavoured fudge and tiny slices of cured prosciutto, two women shuffle past me, broadcasting their first impressions.

“It’s absolutely fantastic, isn’t it? I swear, they would never have anything like this in Kensington.”

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The Country Living Magazine Fair is open until Saturday 19 March. Tickets start at £14.