Where I shopped at Christmas

When you shop from an independent there is someone who does an actual happy dance somewhere. It’s a saying you should have seen a lot this year and as I have finally finished my shopping there should be a lot of dancing going on. If you follow me over on Instagram or twitter (which you so should) you’ll haven seen me at more Christmas markets this year than a trader. I made it my mission to do 95% of my Christmas shopping from independents either through stockists I trusted, directly from makers at markets or the occasional bit of vintage (cause I am a big one for reclaimed love).

I am happy to say other than 2 amazon purchases my brother insisted on, a jumper from GAP for my grandad (he’s a man of few needs) and a single piece of tech for mum bought on black Friday then rest where a success! Now as it is not quite Christmas I won’t share the whole list and we want to keep a few things a surprise but here is where I found some of my favourite bits.

NOEL POP UP SHOP – COVENT GARDEN

Noel was a new client briefly this Christmas, so I suppose proximity lead to purchase here but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t a great selection. I got my Katie Leamon diary personalised with my initials as a seasonal treat during an evening event and later ordered my lux Christmas Crackers from Nancy & Betty Studio to be sent home to my mum ready for Christmas day.

CRAFTY FOX – MERCATO METROPOLIANO

I made it along to the first Crafty Fox Market of the season of which there was a suitably large line up across London (a few more to follow). Sinead never really fails to disappoint and it’s not because she brings the same great people but because there is always something new to the mix. As someone who visits lots of markets I know the faces pretty well but CF brings in the new and enthusiastic to the table as well. With a new location this year (another great South London up-and-comer) to boot, how could one resist.

Purchases here came from Elizabeth’s kiln at Limehouse Ceramics & a new favourite Window Cards Christmas offering of not just wrapping paper but a pictorial advent calendar of Brooklyn (which I am showing off in my Instagram stories).

Etsy London local – Tooting market

Etsy made a pretty big impact this year in terms of the old Christmas market game. Their UK weekend of events hopefully convinced lots of you of the amazing online independent platform. My adventure in to Tooting was great with a line out the door before opening and a frenzy inside; no-one knowing what to look at first. My first purchase from Rope Works took under 2 minutes – I think a new record for me.

COCKPIT ARTS OPEN STUDIO – HOLBORN & DEPTFORD

This year was the first I managed to make it to both open studios for Cockpit Arts – a wonderful incubator of craft talent that is a melting pot of great new ideas. I always find good gifts as well as lively conversation with invites from Kethi at Holborn and Lorna at Deptford. There is also alway new members or returning alumni so you can keep coming back for more. I bought lots of little stocking fillers to support as many of the makers as possible from a decoration from Ruth, to some Another Studio’s sheet metal trinkets. I finally got the book Lorna illustrated this year and lots of different paper and tags to wrap them in.

The PoundShop – Garage SALE

This was a quick but fruitful stop off as I powered down Oxford Street for work (I wouldn’t be there otherwise) – an usual location for them but actually worked out really well for a flying visit. Open all day meant no mad crowds to fight and more room to move around the stands meant I got a good look at some great finds. With just a couple of slight imperfections I got a patch from Jacqueline and one of Lara’s tea towel’s that I knew would make perfect gifts.

I might have also got a spiral bracelet from Kate Trouw who I met years ago during LDF and have loved since, I imagine every piece would have sold out they were so yummy.

URBAN MAKERS EAST – KXMAS & LONDON FIELDS POP UP & MILE END MARKET

I spend a lot of time with the curators of UME this Christmas and learnt more about their wonderful makers stories and products. Getting to meet them at their blogger social event in particular. Their Christmas Pop Up near London Fields was a particular gold mine of pieces and set the bar high for their Christmas Market. Once I got my hands on a pair of Mia’s earrings I couldn’t part with them wearing them all of Christmas. I also saw Elsa everywhere this Christmas, as Brass & Bold had a great year!

RENEGADE

Renegade our American visitor continues to draw attention each year, with one of the largest selection of makers filling the Truman Brewery for one very busy weekend. In particular it was a ceramics wonderland, where I finally got a piece of Duck Ceramics

CRAFTY FOX –  PECKHAM

I ended my Christmas season on a high with a Crafty Fox market! Spending the day exploring Peckham in the snow and then taking refuge in the Bussey Building. It definitely sold me on the gift to give this Christmas; Ceramics, with more people enjoying the craft again its having a definite resurgence.

So follow away on Instagram, put their next market in your diary and make 2018 the year to support British independent business. How ever you may feel about the future of the UK (in or out of favour with the cool EU kids) we truly do have a wealth of design & making talent. Keep your well earned dosh in the local economy in the pockets of people who love what they do and are bloody good at it too.

Check back in for my 2017 round up and plans for the up coming year. It’s safe to say the mission to ambassador design talent continues.