As the chilly weather sets in, you can find me either shopping around cheerful Christmas markets or curled up in my favourite armchair by the fire surfing the internet for wonderful gifts and sales. This month’s theme seems to be blues, whites and tans, from a beautiful handmade mug from Jo Duck Ceramics to a Padfield leather handbag fashioned from the byproducts of the meat industry, to me this is November.
In this curation, the focus is on the brands I respect and the new companies I have discovered from the Spirit of Christmas fair in London earlier this month to Bath Artisan’s Fair which began this week. Each of these items I have seen in real life and felt its quality, from the strength of the lining to the sustainability of the ingredients.
Hatchards Penguin Book of Christmas Stories
Last week while shopping in London, I found myself in Hatchards bookshop, the oldest in the city. Founded in 1797 by John Hatchard, publisher and anti-slavery campaigner, the bookstore holds three Royal Warrants: HM The Queen, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and HRH The Prince of Wales.
Much like Topping bookshop in Bath, Hatchards hosts authors events all year round, which you can find here. When I couldn’t find the title I wanted I was able to ask for it to be brought in, a service which Hatchards offers for all books.
Jo Duck Ceramics Handmade Mug
Bath’s Artisan market began late last week with a small selection of stalls to start off the season. One of these early stalls is Jo Duck Ceramics, I had the pleasure to chat with the founder herself and learn about her creative process as well as the story behind her brand.
Once having worked in fabric design Jo has now turned her creative hands to pottery, from mugs to salt pots to Christmas decorations.
Out of all her intricate designs, the one that caught my eye was the bear hug in a mug. With a rounded shape to be cradled between your palms and a tiny bear peering out from the nook, it does fill one with a sense of calm. I thought this would be the perfect gift for anyone who is feeling unsettled or stressed this season, just to let them know you are thinking of them.
Earthstone Blue Aventurine & Lepidolite Bracelet
Also at Bath’s Artisan Market is Earthstone, with all the colour and the shine of the stones this stall was hard to miss.
Its founder Freya, has sustainability and quality at the heart of her brand, with all stones mined responsibly and no hint of dyes on the gems. I had quite the education on different stones and the practices of the gem industry in talking with her, I had no idea that some companies use dyes on their lesser-quality stones.
In my mind, these pieces would be wonderful gifts for anyone spiritual or looking to promote good energy in their life.
Padfield Tan Somerset Bag with Bamboo Handle
Handbags have always been a true love of mine, so during the House & Gardens Spirit of Christmas Fair, when I found a brand that combined my respect for sustainability, as well as quality, I had to try the bags on for size. I have to say I was impressed with the supple tan leather and the option to customise your bag with a monogram. Padfield’s bags are timeless and customisable with interchangeable chain and bamboo staps for either day or night looks or style preferences.
Padfield is a family run business using British tanned leather left over from the meat industry, to create wonderful leather accessories that are 100% British made from design to production.
Collingwood Somerset Orange, Clove and Cinnamon Candle
Collingwood’s stall at the Spirit of Christmas Fair was like a little piece of home to all Somerset people, including myself. Since my own purchase in November, my Orange Blossom and Fig candle has been filling the house with golden light and a sweet gentle scent.
The founder, Tora also lives in Somerset and has created a line of candles that bring a sense of warmth and the English countryside to any place you venture. Crafted with a mixture of mineral and coconut wax, they are on an even higher rung in the sustainability ladder than soya, where trees have to be cut down, and scented with pure essential oil. They are the perfect gift for anyone who adores their candles.
Verde London Thistle and Shea Butter Moisturiser
Verde is a brand close to my heart, I can call myself a ‘Verde baby’ as my mother used labour day oil for my birth.
At the heart of Verde London and the founder Ruby, are quality self-care products for beauty, bath, health and the home, rich in herbs, marine extracts and essential oils.
While in the Northcote Road last month I popped into their boutique and picked out a few skincare goodies and of course got some product advice. As someone who has been steaming my face once a week I wanted to be sure I wasn’t drying out my skin, I was recommended the Thistle and Shea Butter Cream.
Lacorine Alpaca Fur Trimmed Cape Jacket
As the nights draw in and the weather begins to chill our fur coats make a reappearance. Having walked in the cold to get to the Spirit of Christmas Fair was probably what drew me to Lacorine’s stall, that and the beautiful capes!
Antonia, Lacorine’s founder and designer is from Peru and while searching for the highest quality materials, has been able to build a lasting relationship with the alpaca farmers and local artisans.
Each cape, coat, wrap and hat is crafted from the alpacas that have died during the harsh Peruvian winters so no animals are harmed to make these garments. All the wool is hypoallergenic and lanolin-free.