Sustainable Christmas Shopping
As the most wonderful time of the year looms around the corner and I begin to refresh my festive playlist (our poor neighbours), the planning of wishlists and gifts begins.
So, for a rendition of personal favourites, sustainable gift ideas and those little brands that are golden needles in a field of haystacks, look no further…
It wouldn’t be winter without my knitwear wishlist being updated. Johnstons of Elgin’s cashmere cardigan is perfection for me, although I remain gripped to The Outnet, just in case a beauty from N Peal pops up.
British knitwear heroine Genevieve Sweeney’s new Arin poloneck is made in a fabulously festive bright red and the Sami socks in Khaki really do look like they need to be in my wardrobe. Genevieve’s Sotolino socks are winners in my gifting repertoire - one of those gifts you wish you could keep, if only they weren’t personalised…
Last December, I may have been spotted on a few occasions wearing skiing socks as gloves - not my finest look, I must admit. So, an incredibly useful gift would be these recycled cashmere gloves from Arket.
For the finer things in life, the pieces by Negative Underwear are firmly at the top of my lingerie wish list.
Given that I have a couple of the classic sets from beautiful basics brand Bodas, I can vouch for the quality and the cut of their pieces until the cows come home - the Siena pyjama set looks like my perfect outfit for Boxing Day - with knits, of course.
For the more luxurious items, I continue to lust after the ‘Dree’ dresses from Marina London and would love nothing more than to slip into a pair of Le Monde Beryl Black velvet over-knee boots - craft and quality in perfect balance. To throw it all together, I’m slightly besotted with this Claudio Travel Bag from Maria La Rosa, made in Italy using beautiful handmade fabric.
Speaking of craft, our daily commute now teases me with a Camel Fedora in the window of Alexandra Harper’s Milinery Studio - life goals indeed.
Another irresistible feature on our crèche commute is Marby and Elm on Exmouth Market - one of the sweetest shops to grace a paved street in my opinion. Each item is made in the shop and oozing wit, charm and quality.
Anyone who has come around during the festive season will know just how much I love Reiko Kaneko’s handmade christmas decorations. Twiggy is one of my favourites, but I’m currently drooling over the green baubles.
For a special bit of ‘me time’, a firm favourite of mine is Soveral’s Volcano Ash face mask - it’s heaven and makes my skin feel so much healthier immediately - with a cup of their organic tea to hand, the wholesome factor in the house is practically palpable.
For a real spot of pampering, Nailberry’s L’Oxygéné nail polish in Cherry Chérie is not only a wondrous colour, but it’s free from so many toxins, so an ultimate feelgood fix.
The caffeine levels remain in need of constant topping up, so I will forever admire the finest tea blends of all kinds from Fortnums - their Early Grey in particular makes getting up at 5am seem completely manageable.
The Classic from Lakrids will forever be a special gift for me - One of my wonderful girlfriends brought me a tub of these last year when we arrived home for the festive nesting - something I had been craving when pregnant but only able to admire from afar, so these were one of the most memorable gifts that will forever be special…
Whilst I might not have been able to pick up a book in the last year, I have loved and gifted some of the most wonderful books to some utterly wonderful ladies. Dolly Alderton’s ‘Everything I know about Love’ has been the most discussed book I have heard about this year without question and has the most wonderful rallying feel to it - think Sex and the City meets Helen Fielding and you are on a similar vibe here. Really fun. For those wanting to begin their sustainable knowledge journey, I find that Lucy Siegle’s ‘To Die For’ makes the case so brilliantly. It’s honest, it’s constructive and it left me understanding the urgent need for people to take the case for sustainable fashion seriously. Arianna Huffington’s ‘Thrive’ certainly doesn’t just appeal to female readers - I know several men who have really enjoyed this, and who doesn’t need reminding to rest and reflect? It’s as eloquent and aspirational as the writer herself, a lovely read.
For the little lovelies:
Just because they’re dinky doesn’t mean they don’t deserve good quality knitwear. I came across Belle Enfant on eBay and love the cardigan the little lady now has; it’s so versatile and she loves the feel of it - great taste, clearly. Their rose cashmere cardigan is so pretty - if only they did adult cardigans as well, I might actually consider matching with her.
The cotton-cashmere cardigans from Arket are wonderful everyday knits - Madam has the green one and I can confirm, it is brilliant. Quality, traceability and durability - a brilliant combination.
Freya Lillie make breathtakingly stunning linen pieces, but given the time of year, their brilliant all-in-one sweatshirts make magical little gifts for boys or girls - I just wouldn’t be able to pick a colour.
Our love of Petit Bateau knows no bounds. One of their gorgeous little sleepsuits would make a wonderful gift for a Christmas Night slumber.
I wanted to get the little lady something really special, so have a bespoke print from the O’Hara Sisters already wrapped for her (which came with the sweetest little note for Delilah - thank you Lauren!), which I am particularly excited about - they have illustrated two beautiful books, ‘The Bandit Queen’ and ‘Hortense and the Shadow’, which would be divine gifts to add to a special bedtime repertoire.
Speaking of books, she is absolutely LOVING her ‘Little People, Big Dreams’ board books, so anything to add to her unwavering appetite for literature and wonder women really would go down a treat for fellow bookworms.
Arket’s toy selection is delightful - carefully sourced, impeccably curated - the little egg shaker has been one of the most popular toys in the little lady’s artillery - a small price for a huge amount of enjoyment, I would recommend it for any new arrival.
Having worked together in the past, I am a lifelong fan of Danish brand Hevea - we have just about everything they make, she loves every single thing - the star ball that comes with the bottle is a new favourite toy for her, so I can safely say that she would absolutely LOVE the red star ball - made from natural rubber and non-toxic dyes, it is a dreamy addition for playtime.
We have been putting off decorating her nursery until we could see her character really beginning to emerge. She’s coming out of her shell so sweetly now, so I can just see her snuggling up for bedtime stories with this ’Sammy Turtle’ cushion from the wonderful Molly Meg, just down the road from us.
Those who follow me on Instagram will have seen that I have been working with Jackson & Willow - a wonderful brand creating natural haircare products for children with tangles, curls or generally characterful hair. I have to say, I’m not sure it is simply great for children, it has been an absolute godsend for my hair! But the little lady absolutely adores the packaging, so I would wholeheartedly recommend each and every one of their products for a fun little bathtime gift that is truly full of goodness.
The Modern Nursery is a divine place to find gifts for little ones (and parents who might be slightly particular about how things look) - the little trolley from Noo Noo makes for a wonderful place to pop books and toys, whilst also being able to draw all over it with lovely chalks.
Another new brand that I am currently besotted with is Binibamba, making the most divine merino wool sheepskin products for babies, each handmade in England. As if I needed another excuse…
For the gentlefellows:
For the man who really hasn’t had enough fuss this year, we’re going all out. Quite the peacock, the mister does love to look after himself, especially with products tried and tested by yours truly. Soveral and Weleda are firm favourites that vanish quite quickly when I’m not looking. Wonderfully natural and incredibly effective. With ranges to cater for all skin types, they would be my recommendation for any special man, really.
Desmond & Dempsey create loungewear fit for kings. Anything from sustainable menswear champion Asket is going to be incredibly successful for just about every man in my family, as Long Johns from Arket would be (it is winter after all - perfect for a chilly country house). Finishing touches from Drakes are always a safe bet.
Feldspar’s ‘Moor’ candle not only looks beautiful, but the blend of fragrances for this candle is a moment of manly switch off ready to happen.
I have a lot of creatives to consider under the tree. Present and Correct has to be one of the most stylish stationery shops I have ever seen. The curation is perfection and the people are just lovely. So I know where the ultimate stocking fillers will be coming from.
Seedlip’s Garden 108 Cup is my personal favourite, given the local roots with the Lincolnshire peas, combined with the fresh taste - but then Spice 94 instantly makes me feel festive - the perfect sip on Christmas Eve, or Boxing Day - a very special non-alcoholic tipple.
Subscriptions are always a hit for me - the gift that keeps on giving after the magic of Christmas. Monocle covers such a diverse range of topics, themes, mindsets, all curated in an incredibly slick layout. The little lady was off to a winning start for Father’s Day this year, getting The Mister a coffee subscription from the wondrously local coffee heroes Perky Blenders, which conveniently runs out at Christmas.
With the mister’s history of carpentry, a Walnut knife rack and Tree 4 Tea coasters would be stunning gifts, and these Chakra Trivets would be incredibly stylish ways to get some practicalities involved.
To top it off, the Akiko Petanque set would be perfect for future family holidays and might make quite an entertaining afternoon activity on Christmas Day to boot.
Four the four legged companions:
Anyone who has spent anytime at our house this year will know how much I love Hevea - their new range of natural teething toys for dogs will be perfect for the four legged loves bouncing around the tree.
For a little delicacy for canines, The Dog Treat Company makes handmade treats from their base in Devon - perfect stocking fillers, or, an incredibly effective way to make a new four-legged friend.
For a bubbly bit of indulgence, I love these organic pet washes from Wild Wash and Aesop - the organic antiseptic healing wash for dogs by Into the Woods has wonderful reviews as well, not to mention looking gorgeous - why shouldn’t they have special bathtimes too??
Mungo & Maud make the most incredible selection of collars, beds & biodegradable poop bags - something stylish for everyone and every occasion.
I am nothing if not loyal. Having worked with Sophie Allport, the team and the family for years and having witness the meticulous development that goes into each product, I can say with absolute certainty that their bowls, baskets, buckets & the most gentrified of toys make for the most magical presents and lovely additions to the home.
For me, the gift of giving applies to time as well, so it wouldn’t be Christmas for me without a few homemade gifts for my nearest and dearest - you can read see a few of my favourite homemade gifts here, but please do feel free to add any suggestions or thoughts in the comments section.
I hope the list helps!