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 .

The C&C Christmas Gift & Retailer Guide

I love Christmas and I enjoy gift buying. My gift guide features a number of different items from small to medium businesses both online and off, locally and further afield. I’ve chosen these because I have experience of them, I’d be proud to give gifts from any of these businesses to others and would be thrilled if anyone chose to buy something for me from any of these customer (and budget) friendly retailers.


I have been an Orchard Toy fan for years, first with Kieran enjoying their fabulous fun, educational and family orientated games and now Taylor has the same big. We have a wide range of OT games and puzzles (and I have it on good authority that Santa might be bringing more). Our current favourite is What a Performance although to be fair it could be renamed what a hoot! Let’s just say that this particular game is a mix of charades, a traditional turn based family board game and you get to make silly noises. There are also forfeits . It’s hilarious.

What a Performance
Rather than prettily staged photographs this shows us as a family enjoying this Orchard Toys game as we should, with lots of (slightly hysterical) laughter and excitement.

This is just one of the Orchard Toys games we love and there are many others. These make particularly good gifts as they are solidly made, easy to tidy up, feature a range of education benefits and above all are fun. These games and puzzles make great family gifts as well as gifts for individuals.

A Local Shop for Local People – KRISTINA’S

Anyone who frequents my social media will know that I am a big fan of  a local shop here in Thirsk, North Yorkshire (Kristina’s) which is part shop and part crafting room  area (for want of a better description). I’ll have to be careful what I write for this recommendation because quite a few of my family and friends will be getting gifts from here.

The shop is amazing, with fabulous Fair Trade items, other ethically sourced gifts, toys and home items and a great number of Yorkshire-produced pieces / items (the rest being from around the UK). My particular favourites at the moment are her repurposed bicycle chains (made into clocks and more), the Fair Trade rainbow stripe design mugs, cups, teapots and the like (my kitchen could be getting a makeover), her Oakwood Aromatics soaps and bath/shower products (made in Masham) and more.

Kristina also has a dedicated crafting area for children aged four plus who can pop in for a spot of decoupage, glass painting, mug decorating and more, all at very affordable prices. Long live this fab local shop. Please support it if you are local (although she will post items out if customers cover postage).



I’ve known Natalie from Precious Parcels for years and adore her handmade gifts and treats, many of which are personalised. To date we have enjoyed named plaques (from Nicki’s Office to Taylor’s Room), a clock, Christmas decorations and more. I’ve also given her items as new baby gifts, christening gifts and for birthday and as Christmas gifts.

Natalie built up Precious Parcels from home when her youngest child was a newborn, she now runs a busy home business which brings a lot of joy to many. Don’t leave ordering too late though as many of her items are handmade and her last order date so that people will be guaranteed their items for Christmas is the 5th December.

Precious Parcels Post



Known up until recently as Write at Home, The Stationery Emporium is the umbrella website which hosts two stationery collections, Quillers for the more unique, artisan items and Write at Home for your everyday fun, useful and more affordable pieces. Basically, visiting TSE opens a door to a wealth of fabulous stationery items from diaries (I have my eye on the Personal Malden Filofax in ochre), notebooks, a specialist children’s range designed by the owner Margaret’s own daughter, pens, journals and much more. I’m sure I spied a Minion USB drive while browsing……

This is another delightful small business whose owner works incredibly hard at ensuring that stationery tarts such as myself have everything that they need to write, stay organised and everything else. I’m pretty sure some of us buy and then just play / stroke some of the items to be fair.

One of her most popular items is her signature quill pen and ink set. I’ve never used a quill but would love to try at some point.

TSE blog

So there you have it, my small but significant collection of recommended gift suppliers for Christmas 2015 and beyond.

*This is not a Christmas guide made up of companies who have sent me dirty five pound notes, flattered me somehow or blackmailed me into  including them. They are included because I highly rate them. In the interests of disclosure the Orchard Toy’s game featured was send as a review item however if you search the blog, my social media accounts or ask anyone with children who have had a gift bought by me in the last five years they will tell you that I am a keen fan outside of the review opportunity.

All original content on these pages is fingerprinted and certified by Digiprove