There's sure to be something to tempt you.
There will be plenty of Christmas gift ideas at the this year's Guildhall craft fair.
Burnfoot purveyor of handmade soaps and luxury bathing products Sandra Dean is amongst those hoping to meet an increasing market demand for sustainably sourced and packaged products at this weekend’s event.
Thanks to an increased emphasis on reducing plastic waste and improved formulations that are gentler on skin, the humble bar of soap is experiencing a resurgence and Sandra’s Homemade in Donegal range is well placed to capitalise.
“With climate change at the forefront of everybody's minds, it is imperative that we all start living more sustainable and self-sufficient lives,” she explained. “One very simple and effective way to do this is to swap the shower gel for a bar of soap.
“I haven't bought a bottle of shower gel in 10 years, that's a saving of a lot of plastic bottles.
“All my products are plant-based too and are therefore fully compostable, I only use essential oils to scent my products for their therapeutic and environmentally-friendly qualities.
“Even my plastic bags are compostable, I am very proud of my wee sustainable soap company and with the demand for handmade soap higher than ever this year, I am looking forward to an even greener 2020.”
Sandra initially started making handmade soap as a hobby but it quickly became clear there was a demand for her products which are kinder on skin as well as the planet.
“I started Handmade in Donegal about eight years ago,” she explained. “I would unwind by making bars of crafted organic handmade soap.
“It was a passion that soon became a profession and that was when I started Handmade in Donegal.
“Everything I make is as pure as nature intended, so it’s always kind to your skin. “You’ll never find ‘nasties’ like SLS, SLES and parabens in any of my products – just the finest sustainable oils, beeswax, herbal infusions and 100% essential oils.
“To create many of the earthy colours of my soaps, I simply add natural herbal extracts or clays.
“And, for that personal touch, I love to hand-finish my soaps with dried roses and botanicals.
“I sell through Number 19 Craft and Design here in The Craft Village in Derry and I have had a stall at the Guildhall Craft for the past three years where you will be able to see a full range of my products - handmade soaps, reed diffusers, coconut wax candle, beeswax candles to name but a few.”
The Guildhall Craft and Artisan Food Fair marks the start of a packed Council Christmas programme that includes lights switch-ons across the City and District, the Mayor’s Christmas events in Strabane and Derry and the Winterland Markets in the city centre.
The Derry switch on has been scheduled for Sunday November 24.
The full opening hours for the Fair are Friday November 22 5pm – 8pm, Saturday 23 November 10am – 6pm and Sunday 24 November from 10am – 7pm.
Visit derrystrabane.com/ craftfair to view the full Guildhall Craft and Artisan Food Fair programme.
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