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 .

Bringing it Home with MadeCloser

 There has been a lot of buzz in the press about large corporations taking more than their fair share of the retail market and smaller enterprises and more local, as opposed to national companies feeling the squeeze. This trend is in part caused by the way in which we, as consumers, choose to spend our money.

I am the first one to put my hand up and say that I am guilty of shopping online at big recognised stores purely because it is quicker, easier and one would assume (not always correctly) cheaper. What I really want to do is source my gifts, household items and more from local retailers however to be honest I’m not sure I have the time or the energy to do this when with just a few clicks elsewhere and what I want comes from wherever it comes from.

Made Closer is the brain-child of John Palaguta-Iles who, like many of us wanted to shop locally when buying items for a new house. John found the time it took to source such items excessive and this spawned an idea which could potentially revolutionise the way we shop. Sensing a gap in the market for those want to support the local economy, to buy items which have a significantly lower carbon footprint having not been shipped from thousands of miles away and to help support the UK job market John launched MadeCloser.

Made Closer enables shoppers to search for and buy a wide range of items from electronics to gifts and toys within the UK or even with the region they live in. Giving the site a bit of a road test I was surprised by how easy it was to use. Entering my postcode and then browsing the items merchants have on offer allowed me to see clearly where they would come from.


I could easily see as I browsed which items were very local to me (within 50 miles) and where everything else came from without scrolling through pages of information or even having to contact individual sellers.

This is the convenient way to enjoy guilt-free shopping. The range of items available is wide and growing weekly which is why I have bookmarked MadeCloser and will check it first when shopping before automatically visiting one of the larger and faceless international brands. Clearly John Palaguta-Iles has his finger on the button as not only does he care about boosting the local economy; he understands the pressures on the consumer when it comes to simply not having time to shop around ourselves. MadeCloser offers a real, practical and progressive option for changing your shopping habits in future and I for one am pleased to see it.

If you want to know more about John’s vision and the ideals behind MadeCloser this article may well be of interest. Do have a look at the website and keep in touch via either Facebook or Twitter as mark my works, MadeCloser is going places!

Just one example of the many fabulous products local merchants offer on MadeCloser. This lovely starfish pendant is both affordable and clearly marked as being sourced from Cornwall.


*This post has been written in association with MadeCloser and yet  remains true to my own thoughts, feeling and experiences