• Misses Winstonberry

'Tis the season to be Jolly!

Dear friends, followers, customers, and those who support us from afar… We have come to that time of year again. Don’t know about you, but we can’t believe that the festive season is upon us already. It seems so soon, and so sudden. Wow, it was like August five minutes ago…. And now its like, only 17 days until Father Christmas dons his red suit and starts his delivery rounds…. (again!).

There is a lot to be said for being busy, but there is possibly more to be said if you are able to sit back, relax and enjoy the season ahead – which is why, on 21st December, we have decided to close the door on Winstonberry for a 3 week break (and boy oh boy, do we need one!) and head off to the sunshine for some R&R. It is always a hard decision to make, to close completely (I hear you guffaw – but it’s true), as there are many things to consider. We don’t like to disappoint our regular and very valued customers. We don’t like to miss the opportunity to…. Ahem…. keep the pennies coming in, and we don’t like to let people down. And people have very high expectations!! But sometimes, to be able to see the wood from the trees, and to fall back in love with what you do (even just a tiny bit), you have to have a proper break! So for that reason, we took a vote and it was unanimous, 100% 2/2 of the bosses both felt desperately in need of a rest ☺ and a change of scenery. So please forgive us if you can’t get your (most excellent, the best around for miles) coffee and delicious scrummy cake fix for a couple of weeks. And we know our poochie pals will miss us too – but we promise to be back, mid January, fully re-charged and raring to go with lots of new ideas, new stock and goodies and the bestest coffee and cakes and scones in just a short while. And let’s face it, it will absolutely whizzzz by!!

Now, on a more serious note – we need to ask for your help. And if you have grown to know us and follow us and visit us, you’ll know we are not negative Nancy’s (sorry to any Nancy’s – no offence intended – other names would work – for example; Nelly, Nigel, Nichola, to name but a few…. ;) ) And we love that our customers like to come and have a chat and a laugh with us and generally feel uplifted and look forward to visiting us here at Winstonberry. But, times are hard for the smaller business and we feel it’s worth a mention. Not a moan, but just a little gentle nudge in the direction of all small businesses, who may be quiet and less visited or considered at this time of the year. We are in a fairly rural village location – and yes – we knew that when we chose to be based in the very beautiful Gainford village… but so, so many people forget to shop local, and offer support to their small local shops and cafes and one man bands at this time of year. We head off into the bigger towns and cities, best foot forward, credit cards in hand, hitting the high street. We go looking for those special, elusive gifts, eating out at the big food chains and generally getting grid locked in car parks and shuffling behind crowds and crowds on the busy streets, listening to repeats of the year upon year Christmas tunes! (yes, those businesses need support too we hear you say, and of course they do. Many offer exactly what you want and need, we get that, we really do), but there is room for all of us – big and small fry. And sometimes your small independent may have something a little different or unique, maybe hand made or individually crafted. So can we ask you to spare a thought, not just for our little independent business, hidden away in a village location – but for all of those small one man/woman bands who really feel the loss of their regular visitors at this time of year. It is a myth that we are all stowed out at Christmas. And an even bigger myth that we bring in lots of money. Big chains may be able to sustain losses – but we small places can’t. And the old adage ‘use it or lose it’ most definitely applies. We have all heard about Brexit - no? Not heard about Brexit? Well…. (hahaha I’m being cheeky ☺)… you may not think it has effected business, but this past year has allegedly been one of the worst on record for spending. Maybe people are simply being cautious or maybe they are worried – and lets be honest, we are all sick to the back teeth of hearing about it. No matter what the reason, if we don’t offer our support, they simply can’t hang about. And that’s it! We’ve said it. We’ve made our plea! So ‘SHOP LOCAL’ please, if you can. Support the small business is our ask. And spread the word, as far and as much as you can. There is nothing so effective as word of mouth and a good recommendation to help us along. Thank You.

To add to the above plea (really sorry – don’t mean to chase you all away), we have some amazing offers to entice you to drop by in the next couple of weeks (apart from delicious coffee and cakes of course). In order to make way for next seasons stock, we have a lot of Christmas goodies to clear. So all baubles are offered with 50% discount!! Yes… 50% Other Christmas goodies are offered at 25% discount – faux Christmas wreaths, decorations, Christmas faux flowers, serviettes, cards and more.

The remainder of the gift shop stock – gorgeous costume jewellery, clothing, Powder scarves and general non Christmas gift ware is offered at 10% discount*. So come along, have a nice relaxing lunch – no big crowds, plenty of parking and no crappy Christmas tunes (ok, well maybe an odd one or two!), and maybe do a little spot of shopping too. We’d love to see you.

In the deli we have some delicious local chocolate, made along the road in Richmond, and of course our popular jams and chutneys by Claires handmade. We have some nice wines and spirits and of course our old fashioned sweeties – all of which, we can gift wrap for you. We offer a hamper making up service and have some beautiful hamper baskets to create an extra special gift for those who are difficult to buy for. We all like to eat nice things – and especially enjoy treats that you may not buy for yourself - so a hamper is always a great way to say ‘Merry Christmas’ or ‘Thank You’ to special people at this time of year.

Our delicious mince pies are available (currently) to order by the half dozen and can be collected on or before 21st December. We can also make up a batch of our freshly baked cheese or sultana scones for you - which will freeze perfectly and taste delicious on your Christmas table.

And last but not least, we have just 2 events remaining until the end of the year! Our hand made, traditional wreath class took place yesterday and what a fabulous success it was - well done ladies! Fabulous effort and beautiful wreaths created - if you didn't manage to get this time, then this is definitely one for your calendar next year!

Our final supper club of 2019 "Winstonberry Late- A Festive Affair" is on Friday 13th from 7pm - if you like good wholesome food, great wine and a warm and friendly atmosphere, we still have some availability. The menu is a set 3 courses (you get to choose from a yummy selection of starters, mains and desserts) for just £21.95pp and it includes a coffee or tea and a mini mince pie! Since it's also Christmas Jumper Day for Save the Children, we encourage you to don your festive attire as the "Best Festive Dressed" will be gifted a drink on the house! And, just for fun, our lovely Sarah (quiz master extraordinaire!! ) has put together a fabulous quiz for the tables - so get swatting up on your general (and also random) knowledge for the chance to win a bottle of Prosecco! It's set to be a fabulous night and a great start to the festivities, so get your friends or family together and get booked in! Full details here

Finally, Story time with Santa is taking place on just one Saturday this year due to Santa's and all our other commitments – and will be held on 21st only– so our last day in! Arrive with the children for 10am when they will enjoy a hot chocolate and gingerbread man while we wait for Santa to arrive. On his arrival the children will be seated for a special story read by the man himself. Children will all receive a gift and the chance to have a photo taken with Santa. Meanwhile you can sit back, relax and enjoy a cuppa and a sausage or bacon roll for breakfast! Children £9.95 Adults £8.95 must be booked in advance. Call in or phone and Chloe can book the little darlings in ☺

Well, phew! That’s about all folks! It’s been a blast!

We’ve had lots of fun this year, but we cant lie – it’s been a toughie. We guess all businesses have their ups and downs and we’ve had our share, for sure. But we can’t go off on our little break without saying a HUGE heartfelt THANK YOU, to all our customers. Our regulars who have become friends, and our four legged pals too. We love you all and are so very grateful to you for visiting and for spending time and of course your hard earned pennies with us. We wish you all the joys of the festive season, wherever you may be and we wish you all the very, very best of health, wealth and happiness in 2020 (which we feel sure will be a very special year).

Love to you all from

Dawn, Chloé and the team here at Winstonberry.

See you all soon,

“Merry Christmas”


*Some exclusions apply.

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