So, here we are again, that time of year when we decide what resolutions we want to make for the next.
The diet again..? Or maybe giving up some habit that we know is bad for us? Spend more time with the family and less at work? All familiar (and very worthwhile) goals to aim for.
Last new year's eve I made a slightly different resolution - and this was before I became part of thebestof network. I decided I was not going to shop at Tesco (too large and powerful), Morrisons (in my mind they should be renamed 'Queues are Us - they seem to treat their customers with utter contempt) or Asda (I'm not keen on WalMart's culture). I didn't exclude Sainsbury's, the Co-op or Waitrose - well, I figured I'd need to go to a supermarket sometimes - but my intention was to try to use local independent shops as much as possible.
What set me off on this route was that, for the first time at Christmas 2009, I'd bought a turkey from a local farm, instead of from M&S. I was nervous, we had 15 for Christmas dinner - what if it was horrible and dry and tough?? Well, EVERYONE at that meal told me it was the best turkey they'd ever tasted (it came from Amy at North Kilworth Bronzers) - and I thought so too, and I vowed to tell as many people as possible about it.
It's funny how things turn out. In February I met Nigel Botterill and thebestof team, and by May I had become thebestof franchisee for Lutterworth - and thebestof's Buy Local campaign seemed to fit perfectly with what I was trying to achieve.
In June I met a witch - a real one - lovely lady who truly does live the green lifestyle. She and her family do not eat anything that has to travel more than 5 miles from where they live! I really don't think I could give up on French wine and bananas, so it wouldn't be for me, but it did make me think even more about buying locally grown food. So, I really did try to stick to my resolution.
However, for gifts for birthdays, weddings, Christenings and bar mitzvahs I'll admit in the earlier part of year I gravitated back to my favourite haunts of John Lewis and M&S!
Fast forward to Christmas 2010 - now, in 2009 I bought pretty much every Christmas gift online and I'll admit, it was so very easy. Everything delivered to my door, no searching the shops for hours on end and queueing up to pay. However, this year, fate, and thebestof, intervened again!
On December 1st I became thebestof franchisee for Market Harborough too. Loads to do in a few short weeks to visit the existing business members and introduce myself (still not quite completed, by the way!). No time for Christmas shopping, no-one at home to receive parcels, snow, late deliveries...
So, on the last Saturday before Christmas, with not one single present bought, the man and I spent a day in Market Harborough and Lutterworth and do you know what? We bought virtually every present we needed from our local independent retailers! No queues, lots of help, ideas and advice, many items gift-wrapped for us there and then by the store, a great lunch in The Angel Hotel... It was actually a very pleasant experience.
As for food, well, my turkey again came locally grown from Amy at North Kilworth Bronzers and if anything it was even tastier than last year's! And my local Gilmorton Village Store (pictured above), as well as being the village store, newsagent and post office, is just about the best deli you could wish for with an amazing range of locally grown and produced food.
And did I stick to my no-Tesco-Morrisons-Asda rule? Well, almost... I've been into Tesco once this year, as it seemed to be the only place I could buy Smirnoff's Blueberry vodka when it first came out. I went into Morrisons in an emergency during carnival week to buy some batteries for a Wii controller (and queued to pay for them!) and I don't think I've been into Asda at all (although I'm guilty of using their de-icer, bought by the man in Norwich!) In fact, I've only been into Sainsbury's maybe once or twice...
I have used Waitrose, and M&S also for Christmas food - must admit I can't resist some of their lovely party nibbles - but you know in both stores the service is good, the staff are warm and friendly, they do their best to get queues down as quickly as possible, they apologise for keeping you waiting... and in the case of Waitrose, they are a partnership and they have, and do, give back to the community in various ways.
But I know I should try to truly live up to my 'Buy Local' ethos, and so next year my resolution is to use the supermarkets, John Lewis and M&S even less and buy even more stuff from those local independent retailers who really do care about their businesses.
Why don't you try it too? This is one resolution that might last you past the end of January :-)
Member since: 10th July 2012
Shy retiring (!) red-head from south Leics working hard to showcase everything great about our towns and villages. Loves her son, her man & Bruce Springsteen!