British Corner Shop

British Corner Shop

We’re not short of places to buy food here. Istria is stuffed to the gills with supermarkets – Lidl, Spar. Kaufland, Konzum, Studenac, Eurospin, Tomy, Plodine, Butiga Ultra. They come in all shapes and sizes from the small convenience store (think Tesco Express) to the super-sized, massive stores. Just across the border into Slovenia, we can easy get to Hoffer (Aldi), Tuš, Mercator, Lidl and Spar. And the just a teeny bit further on, in Trieste we have another massive variety – Spar (from small to super-sized), Conad, Coop, Eurospar and Famila. Plus, we can also order online from Valfresco, and get home delivery. So, we’re definitely not short on options and so far, living in Istria for the past five plus years, we’ve never felt that we’ve been missing out on shopping opportunities.

Until I discovered British Corner Shop, online.

According to the website, British Corner shop is “…the online grocery store for British expats around the world. Whether you miss Marmite or crave Warburtons crumpets, we can deliver your British favourites straight to your door. Our website stocks over 6,000 products from Britain’s most loved brands, meaning you can enjoy the British food you miss, wherever you are in the world.

But, when I discovered them, deliveries to Croatia had been suspended. Post- Brexit (🤬), they relocated their distribution centre to the Netherlands, and certain countries were not included in the initial wave of delivery options. This was so disappointing, especially as I had been on the website and saw that, as well as many familiar brands being available for purchase and delivery, they were also partnered with Waitrose and M&S! Just the sight of some of the goodies made me drool – and despite the many supermarkets at our disposal, I just had to get on their mailing list so that I’d be notified when Croatia was back on the list. And, this summer it happened. Deliveries to Croatia were back on, and even though Waitrose were no longer official partners, it made no difference. M&S still were and they had CRUMPETS in stock! And pikelets. And our favourite M&S crisps, including the salt and vinegar ones that make you suck your cheeks in. Plus, a whole section of branded groceries that you’d get any day of the week from a UK supermarket, but aren’t available here. And all of a sudden, I realised there were MANY things which I’d missed – Cheddars, sage & onion stuffing mix, mushy peas, Cadbury’s chocolate, to name but a few.

I know. I know. All things we could definitely do without. But, when you’ve not had them for a while, they become irresistible – and so the first order was placed. I have to admit, it’s not cheap. Some of the products are way overpriced, but I guess that’s the name of the game. You want it. They have it. So you have to pay them, as there’s no other way you’ll get it, as easily. Looking back, the first order was ridiculous but I justified it to myself. The delivery charge for quite a small parcel (about 2kg) is quite expensive – but the delivery price remains the same up to 30kg, so I convinced myself I was actually making a saving, the more I put into my online basket. Anyway, the order was placed and the service was really quite amazing. The order could be tracked easily and British Corner Shop communicated regularly – often with additional discount codes & offers. Yes, once again, I know...

Five days after placing the order, a big box was delivered by courier and my shop had arrived!

Everything that I’d ordered was included – no replacements or substitutes – and everything arrived as it should have done. Anything which could break or be squashed or smashed was extra securely packed. A couple of personalised postcards were also included – a nice little touch. But best of all, was the excitement of receiving goodies which we’d not had for a long time…

We have ordered subsequently from British Corner Shop and the service has been equally as good. No problems with the online shopping, good communication, no issues with delivery and everything delivered that was ordered. I’ve got over the initial excitement of being able to choose whatever I fancy, and now just top up with essentials (or treats!), so think that I’m using this service a bit more effectively. Although having said that, the Christmas products have just been uploaded and I don’t know how I’ll resist a bit of a festive splurge. In the meantime however, I’m happy enough that I can get a regular crumpet and pikelet fix. Nothing better for breakfast, with a cup of Early Grey tea…

JouJou Botanicals

JouJou Botanicals

When we first moved here, unless I could get candles at IKEA in Trieste, I used to wait until our trips back to the UK to raid the shelves of TK Maxx and HomeSense and fill up the boot of car with coloured jars of scented lusciousness. We had too many other things to work out, for me to even mention trying to find the kind of shop that would satiate my candle obsession. But, they had to be found, because once autumn sets in, our house very much lends itself to becoming a hygge haven. Once we got to know Ljubljana, I sought out shops which would enable me to satisfy my cravings…

And of course, now that I do know my way around retail therapy options now, in our Istrian home, I’m never short of a candle. Or fifty. But, when I discovered JouJou Botanicals, via an account I follow on Instagram, things changed. Not only could I buy online, but the process was easy and the delivery extremely swift. If there’s one thing that’s not quick or easy here, it’s dealing with ordering and delivery – it can be done. Of course, it can. But, it can be protracted and if the website you’re ordering from does not have an English language version, you’ll spend quite a lot of time translating various parts of the website.

However, the JouJou Botanicals website is not only beautifully designed, with branding we definitely approve of, but it’s also in English – and has the familiar look and feel of the kinds of websites we design. As soon as I placed my order, I got an immediate email confirmation, plus an invoice. And, within three days of ordering, I took delivery of a lovely package.

The website also sells a range of soaps and bath products – made in small batches, which are all vegan, palm oil and cruelty-free. And, incredibly pretty. So, although candles were my initial priority, I couldn’t resist stocking up on these gorgeously fragranced bathroom products. Which, I cannot wait for family and friends to enjoy, hopefully come the spring, when travel restrictions have gone and the weather is warming up again. Feast your eyes on these pretties…

I love the attention to detail with these products – the packaging, the fonts used, the ingredients, the subtle (definitely not over-powering) aroma. The perfect accessories for any bathroom! And, my fail on the candle front. Two was far too few – they’re long gone now – so another order has been placed. And, I’m guessing by the weekend, my living room will smell as delicious as my bathroom.

Sadly for UK friends, JouJou don’t do international delivery. But I am sure, I can work out a way to introduce these gorgeous products to you…And how lovely to once again be able to support a brilliant, independent business.

This is not a sponsored post. JouJou Botanicals have not asked that I review their products. All products I have ordered have been paid for in full.