Shop Local 2017 Christmas Gift Guide

In honour of Small Business Saturday, I decided that there was no better way to share with people just how fabulous some of our local traders, makers and shakers are than to share some of their wares to help you with your shop local Christmas shopping.

These are just a few of our truly brilliant business in and around Thirsk, North Yorkshire. It’s well worth a visit if you’re up this way and of course, if you’re a local, make local shops your first port of call. Not only is supporting local shops and services a great thing to do, it benefits you!We’re very lucky to have such a wide array of fabulous businesses on our doorstep.


If you are looking for a shop that oozes characters and feels like a home away from home this is the place for you. Packed with ethically sourced, Fair Trade and UK made gifts and home items Kristina’s is a great place for finding something a little different. From their signature rainbow ceramics to crafting gifts and more, this really is a gem of a shop, located just off the Market Place, in the arcade down the side of Row’s Opticians.

These fabulous slippers for example, which come in a number of sizes and styles (for grown-ups too) are designed in the UK and handcrafted by expert crafters in Nepal, providing their creators with a much-needed income and us with gorgeous and unique slippers. Made with organic felted wool and featuring anti-slip soft suede soles any of these slippers would make a lovely gift.

Catch up with Kristina’s below, and of course in-store (check her FB site for opening hours) and enjoy some shop local magic.


Lucy White Photography

There are photographers, and then there’s Lucy White. I know first-hand how fabulous Lucy is when it comes to photography, how much she puts you at ease, how she really listens to what shots you want or what style you are trying to achieve. I’ve have already had one set of photographs taken with her and am ready to book in for some more. Lucy has a somewhat unique way of working in that she doesn’t have a studio. She uses the natural beauty that we’re surrounded by here in North Yorkshire to create some truly fabulous shots. For my shoot for example (mine were business photos rather than family) we also took pictures in the local library as well as other places I wouldn’t have thought of. She’s a creative one!

A photography voucher for Lucy White Photography would make for a wonderful Christmas present, whether it was for a family shoot or something else. All Lucy asks is that you drop her a message via her website so that she can make sure that your intended recipient lives locally and so she can send out the right voucher (she offers a range of services).
Find out more about Lucy and see some of her gorgeous photography

Salon 54

There’s a difference between going to a hairdresser to get your wig chopped and going to Salon 54. I don’t go there purely for my haircut, I go for an experience. From the minute I step through the door I’m a VIP, a special guest and the same is true of everyone who visits. I’ll be honest, sometimes I don’t want to leave!
As many of you know, I sport a curly mop that few have been able to tame over the years, though many have tried. Not only is my stylist an absolute whizz, she listens, advises and is something of a superstar.

Salon 54 (winners of too many awards for me to mention) work magic on hair and they also offer a number of fabulous hair and beauty gifts. A true favourite at the moment is the Wella Fusion Gift Set. Enriched with Macadamia Seed Oil, Avocado Oil and Vitamin E this trio are set to smoothen and soften your tresses. Priced at £24.50, this is a really luxurious gift at a very reasonable price.

See more from Salon 54:



Yorkshire Rose Candles

There are candles and then there are Yorkshire Rose Candles. A small supplier of luxury scented candles Shop Local, Yorkshire Rose Candlesand wax melts, all of the YRC wares are lovingly handcrafted here in Thirsk and feature in a number of stores and gift shops all around Yorkshire. A small business that has brought joy into many homes, Yorkshire Rose Candles’s aim has been to enhance local homes with beautiful fragrances and it’s safe to say that they’ve succeeded! If you’re looking for luxury at very reasonable prices you’ll be glad you chose Yorkshire Rose Candles!

All of the YRC scents are of course fabulous however one that’s flying off the shelves right now is the Elf’s Brew candle. 

A bestseller last year, this scent is back and offers a unique blend of mulled wine, apple, sweet berries, wine, brandy, orange, clove, ginger, cinnamon and vanilla.  Fruity, spicy and perfect for this time of year for your own home, to give as a gift and of course fabulous for those of you purchasing teacher gifts. At just £7.50, it’s no wonder people keep coming back.

See more about Yorkshire Rose Candles:


Twisted Fern Jewellery Design

I dabble in jewellery making. I make beaded bracelets and necklaces for my own use. It’s a hobby and I enjoy it. I know what goes into my own simply amateur designs so when I see the creations that Victoria Bailey of Twisted Fern Designs crafts my mind is blown. Take this Amber Crochet range for example. The time and effort (as well as skill and talent) that goes into something like this is something else entirely.

I also like the back-story that comes with Twisted Fern Design. Vic started to learn crochet in 2015 and took to it like a duck to water. Fast forward to January 2016 and she found herself exploring craft stalls and culture in Cusco, Peru, which is where, after a lightbulb moment of clarity, Twisted Fern Design was born. Now sharing the love in Thirsk, all of these designs are created from a mixture of Vic’s experiences and her own natural eye for design. I’d certainly be thrilled to receive something like this as a Christmas gift, wouldn’t you be?

See more creations and find out more about Twisted Fern Designs:



Shop Local With Carlton Designs

Based in Carlton Minniot, Thirsk and offering beautiful handmade items to all, Carlton Designs are another shop local, Carlton Designsof our much-loved local businesses. When it comes to handmade home soft furnishings, blinds and more, these lovelies really are the people to contact. Take these iPad/ tablet and phone stands for example, available in a number of fabrics. These are much nicer than a lump of plastic, they do the job and what’s more, they look gorgeous! At just £12.95 for a tablet stand and £7.95 for a phone stand, they make both thoughtful and affordable gifts.

Not only do the lovelies at Carlton Designs make items such as these, they want to teach you how to do it too. Perhaps a voucher for one of their workshops would make a gift for a crafty friend? It might be something you treat yourself to. 

Find out more about what Carlton Design offers and how to purchase:


My Little Graphics Co.

Last but certainly not least, I have to share these wonderful prints from local graphic designer Gemma Symmonds. As a Graphic Designer, creating individual pieces of framed art is one of her favourite parts of the working day. Any personalised artwork is possible from Wellies to Unicorns which means that you may choose something truly bespoke for anyone!  Prices start at £35 for a framed A4 personalised piece of digitally created art.

Now, given that this post is all about supporting local businesses and so on, I have to mention (because she is terrible at blowing her own trumpet) that Gemma has worked tirelessly to help the Thirsk Ladies, who fundraise around the year to pull together the £15,000 it costs to buy, insure, hang and power our fabulous Thirsk Christmas lights. You might have seen her shivering but smiling at the Thirsk Firework Display, fundraising for one.

If a unique, professionally finished gift is something that would suit someone on your list then My Little Graphics Co. is the place to go.

See more on the My Little Graphics Co. website and contact Gemma on Facebook .

Stationery Christmas Gift Guide for 2017

Christmas, stationery

There are so many gift guides out there at this time of year. Some of them are great however I always think that stationery items get a raw deal when it comes to these things and given that I firmly believe that stationery is what makes the world go around, I decided to redress the balance somewhat.

I’ve put together a small selection of stationery-related items for you to consider when you start your Christmas shopping this year (anyone who comments to say they’ve been organised enough to finish theirs already gets a black look as I’m no-where near).

This isn’t a paid feature. These are items I know well, have held in my hand and used or honestly, just really like the look or sound of! I’m all for sharing a little stationery love.


Hand turned Cocobolo Wood Twist-Action Pen from Nashwood Crafts

stationery, nashwood crafts

There’s something special about wood, something magical. I’ve always thought that it speaks to you as if it has a story to tell. Whether you’re looking to hear a story or indeed write one these gorgeous handcrafted Cocobolo wood twist-action pens would make a fabulous gift for someone special (or at just £15, you could treat yourself to one too). Available in a chrome or copper finish, these pens (which write beautifully by the way) are all unique, which is the wonder of choosing a handcrafted item made from a natural material.

Nashwood Crafts, a super-creative husband and wife operation, create a number of wonderful imaginative wooden pieces from bowls, to bespoke coffee tables and much more besides. If one of these fabulous pens doesn’t quite hit the mark, check out their website, and social media links below.


My Perfect Journal

stationery,my perfect journalThere are hundreds of journals out there, from blank ones to ones which guide you towards kindness, mindfulness and more. My Perfect Journal is, for the want of a better description, a way to stop and think about the good in your life, even when, quite frankly, you feel pretty crappy.
You’re encouraged to find a perfect in every day, it’s a simple as that. I started this journal (yes, I have one) yesterday. I have two perfects recorded…
1) Snuggling up with T and sharing silly giggly jokes.

2)Roy’s birthday, a rare day off together x

There are some days when I might struggle to find anything big to jot down but by stopping and thinking about it, it can help you put things into perspective. Over time it’ll also become a wonderful record of self-care moments and activities which you can go on to replicate.

There are other exercises in the book, which is undated by the way which is always useful, however for me the overall simplicity is key. There’s also plenty of scope for colouring in and making this journal your own.

If you know someone who would love such a gift you can find it on Amazon here.
Catch up with Ali, the creator of this fab journal, over on her Facebook page: Hidden Perfects

Ultimate Diary Planner 2018

If you have someone on your list to buy for who is self-employed, a freelancer or just someone who needs a stationery, ultimate diary plannerkick-ass planner to help keep things in check and boost productivity, this is the one. I’ve watched The Ultimate Diary Planner from afar for ages but for whatever reason never bought one. It was a chance “Meeting” on LinkedIn with this fabulous planner’s creator Sophie Jewry that had me take a proper look and of course having done that, I had to buy one (I chose the Marble design).

I’m a self-diagnosed planner tart. I go through a number of planners each year looking for the perfect one. I don’t actually think that there is any such thing as our lives, both home and work bend and change shape regularly and therefore so do our planning styles. To sum up what I loved best about this planner I’m going to direct you straight to the review I left for it on Amazon which you may read here.

If you’re serious about planning or the person you are buying this for is, it might be worth pointing them in the direction of the Facebook community group for planning enthusiasts that goes hand in hand with this product.

Wild Home Online: Ujumbe Sticky Notepads

Stationery, UjumbeYou need to ask yourself sometimes if you can claim to be a true stationery fan if you don’t have sticky notes in your collection. I mean really, they are perfect for quick removable notes, for making sticky note pictures, mini-origami (great for creative procrastination) and more. I stumbled across Wild Home Online over on Twitter and just love their Ujumbe Sticky Notepads.

Handmade in Kenya and sold via the Wild Home base in Dorset, UK, these wonderfully colourful hessian-covered sticky notepads feature unique beading on the front and really add something special to your home or office desk. Available in various colours, these make a great gift on their own or as part of a stationery bundle.

More than anything I just love what Wild Home is all about. Every item is made in Africa and provides an essential and fair income for the talented crafters, both men and women, that create by hand the wonderful items Wild Home sell. Using ethically sources, renewable and natural materials wherever possible, a gift like this is something special indeed.

See more from Wild Home Online:

Penguin Washi Tape from Penguin Patrol

Whether you’re a washi tape fan or not, you can’t deny that these little guys are cute! I spotted Penguin Patrolstationery, washi tape. peguins over on Twitter and having had a nosy I was thrilled to see that not only was this a site dedicated to penguin-related stationery items, but that when you buy something from the site you are supporting local artists and independent businesses.

For the penguin fan in your life there are a number of fab fun penguin stationery items on the site, as well as the Penguin Washi Tape and more besides, from plushies to prints and more.

Visit the online store to find out more about what Penguin Patrol offer and you should most definitely visit their Instagram account to find out what adventures Pici the Penguin has been getting up to (I love stuff like this).


Busy B Family Diary 2018

stationery, busybI have already reviewed this family diary in depth here, so feel free to read that. What I will say is that if you are buying for someone who has a busy life, juggling home, work, family and so on, that this really is one of the planners that does it all. Featuring a dual function double spread weekly layout there is plenty of room for family appointments, reminders and your own tasks and important dates.

The Busy B Family Diary 2018 also features handy monthly overviews, tear out lists and more. It’s well worth looking up, especially as it is as fabulous-looking and feeling as it is wonderfully practical.

Catch up with Busy B and see more wonderful products via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

So there you have it, a handful of stationery-related gift ideas that may well be just what you’ve been looking for in terms finding something fun, function, quirky or just downright cute for your Christmas shopping.


*Disclosure: This is not a paid feature. I’ve picked out items I like, I want or I have. I do however have to tell you that I am a BusyB stationery brand ambassador. Featuring their 2018 family diary in this piece is not something I had to do, as I’ve already reviewed this item. It here because I rate it highly.
I also have to mention that Nashwood Crafts is run by my brother and sister-in-law. I love them but if I didn’t rate what they make, I wouldn’t include them so know they’re included in the list purely because they offer some truly gorgeous items.