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Thursday, 16 December 2010

Going Local in Staffordshire

I really have found local to be best this Christmas - I know I have gone on about it before, but the snow, illness and time pressures has meant that I have really gone for it this season! I have always found shopping local to be far less stressful than the big centres and I can't stand the crowds and grumpyness of big towns. Anyway there has been a string of obstacles to big town shopping this year - snow, closed school, work, illness and burst pipes and I wanted to share with you the joy of keeping it local!
Firstly presents...I wanted various specific toys as requested by offspring and heard horror stories of stressed out mums (sorry it was mostly mums doing the shopping!) about items being sold out, not turning up or simply like hens teeth. I chose my local small toy shop and supermarket who all had what I needed and without the big crowds. The national site for one retailer said sold out...but my local small branch had 3! Then for beautiful, locally made treats and gifts, I have visited local fairs and markets over the last few weeks and one or two local gift shops - all of which have had a great range with lovely packaging and a big smile. Not a department store in sight!
Secondly food...Ok - I am a mum so I do use a supermarket for basics and borings but I do use local outlets for meat, bread, eggs, veg & treats. I have bought local beer from my local farm shop, meat from my local farm shop & butcher. Both times good value and the butcher actually sold me something smaller when I described my recipe ideas. Eggs are always worth going local - mine are cheaper than the supermarket and so much fresher. Bread has to be locally made as it's loads better than supermarket and usually about 10p cheaper per loaf. Treats have to be local or home made and I am rather pleased with myself after a particularly tasty batch of chutneys and damson gin I made...
Finally the tree...well that was a laugh! I had had a tip from a friend that our local DIY store had great deals and trees and I fell for it. So off we all trudged at the weekend in search of this deal...you guessed it - there were only a few very miserable trees left at a price that was a discount from the crown jewels! Having kicked myself a couple of times and bribed offspring with chocolate - we all went to our local farm shop and yes - there was a selection of beautiful, locally sourced, fresh trees sitting there waiting for a good home - and with roots! We only paid £20 and it's the prettyest and fattest tree you've ever seen.
This little rant isn't supposed to be a rant or a smug smile, but just a friendly share about all that is lovely about shopping locally and how we might forget at this time of year that all that twinkles in the big shops in big towns isn't gold...
I wish you all a fab Christmas and hope there is ample chance for sitting about, walking and relaxing with loved ones.
Click for more ideas about shopping locally in Staffordshire

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