If you’re anything like me, you spend the 24 days of December leading up to the big one on the 25th thinking about what everyone else wants – what to get for the children, Aunty Mary, even your father-in-law (that shouldn’t really be your job, but somehow it is). But if you’re anything like me, you spend almost no time thinking about what you would like – and when asked, are left with mumbling ‘vouchers’ or something you regularly use (for me it’s Liz Earle’s monthly skincare regime).
So I have decided that this year, if I’m lucky enough to be asked, I’d like to have a good idea of what I covet from what’s directly around me. I thought this would be useful to share, in case you’re ever in the same situation.
Hopefully it can help you with your own Christmas list, all while supporting our local businesses AND, most importantly, generating donations for The UN Refugee Agency. (If you don’t know about Little Lewes’s Christmas mission just read about it here). It should be noted that I conceived this post well before I decided to ask people donate funds in return for coverage, so this post is an entirely curated and 100% dreamily subjective – the donations are just a happy byproduct of my Christmas wishes.
Everything at Popsicle is colourful and fun, and these necklaces are no exception. The ones by One We Made Earlier (bottom) are adjustable in length and feature resin shapes on hardy, thick-ish rope. I borrowed one from my friend J once and I’ve got to say, they dress up any standard-issue outfit. Great for meetings or parties – or everyday if you want to style up the school run (and why not?).
Yoke, shown at the top of the picture, is the brainchild of my studio mate and friend Olivia Bullock, who is also an illustrator (you may have seen her work around town as she’s had a couple of shows). They’re made of thick fisherman’s rope and bound in stripes of thread. I love the knotted ones.
popsicle.com (not everything is on the website, so phone Popsicle on 01273 911314 about the above necklaces if you’re not in Lewes)
SIDELINE is a brand of inventive, understated, thoughtfully-designed garments that’s now stocked in small stores across the country (including in Flint – see below) but is conceived here in Lewes. Many pieces are based in indigo fabrics – all are aesthetically unique. It’s created by my treasured friend E, who is, for the sake of total transparency, also my ‘client’ (I write her press releases and brand copy). So admittedly I own quite a bit of SIDELINE as I’m paid in it (no income tax – GET IN!).
But I don’t own a scarf and I would really like to. They’re wide and wrappable, and whether in bleached or deep indigo, or the soft, deep red Tencel, are subtly embroidered and enduringly stylish. That’s why my sister and my sister-in-law are each getting one on the 25th.
Usually costing £100, SIDELINE is offering Little Lewes readers 20% off scarves purchased between now and the end of December, making the price £80. Use the code LL20 at the checkout.
I have loved these candles ever since they first appeared in Skandium in London. They perfectly conjure up the natural elements of Scandinavia – where my father and most of my family are from – and I’m properly addicted to them. Newly in stock at Flint in Lewes are salty, fresh Hav (sea), waterfalls-and-berries Fjord, and the softly spicy, clovey Jul (Christmas).
They’re simply branded and heavenly scented, and the jars are super nice with a tea light in them afterwards. Also helps that, unlike many scented candles, they’re £25.
Last year Malcolm Davis and his wife Dörte Januszewski launched Lewes Map, large limited edition prints of Malcolm’s stunning hand-drawn 3D-style map of the town, which includes little details like a dog walker and the bonfire societies’ headquarters. This year, they’ve added tea towels to the offer, so if you can’t afford an image you can still bring a little bit of what’s outside your door, in. It’s screen printed on premium cotton, with a loop for hanging.
The Lewes Map tea towel joins turkish delight by Merle’s Kitchen, spices, pickles and nuts by Seven Sisters Spices and tea by VRAC in the Lewes Hamper – small and large sizes available. These can be ordered at leweshamper.co.uk
Lewes Map will also be at the Christmas Emporium this Sunday December 13 at Pelham House, arranged by Lewes Women in Business. See the bottom of this post for details.
These socks – oh these socks! They were introduced to me by my friend E, who said that her feet were ‘happy’ whenever she wore them. Once I slipped a pair on, I completely understood. Why so special? Well, the sole is padded, so they’re as much for padding about the house in as to keep feet warm in any shoe or welly.
They’re also natural and breathable, created in a very traditional hosiery factory in the UK, of pure alpaca that’s brought over from Peru, so your feet are never too hot nor too cool – they rarely need washing as a result.
Although I have two pairs, I’d love the red for their festive value. A brilliant present for anyone in your life – who says socks are just for your dad?
Nancy of Nancy Meiland Parfums is a great friend of mine – and she’s also a client. I wrote her website and the descriptive pieces of text for the backs of the bottles in her first collection of fragrances, Paper Leaf. Over a year ago! But I’m no less in love with each than I was when I first sniffed them from tiny little tester sprays.
I bought Rosier – her ‘soliflore in which all parts of the rose are represented’ last December, and use about six sprays of it each morning. I’m still only halfway through the bottle – they last ages! But I’d really like the very grown-up, musky, masculine Aquilaria to wear in the evenings – I can’t justify it because I have Rosier, and yet I want it as a differentiator between day and night. Nancy has just started doing candles and I have the Aquilaria – its rich, woodsy scent is perfect for Christmas.
It’s been a few years since I did dry January, but I think it would be a Good Thing to do again. My system is worn out, my hormones are everywhere, and I’m definitely NOT handling my booze well anymore. I’ve had my eye on Wild Nutrition’s Total Cleanse Programme to support my body while I have a post-Christmas wring-out – it would make an amazing Christmas present (to be strictly hidden from view while I snaffled down the bubbles and Quality Street though).
Wild Nutrition is a Lewes-based company run by nutritionist and female health expert Henrietta Norton – who grew up here – and her husband Charlie. Stocked at Tina’s Kitchen (and SpaceNK don’t you know), their supplements basically contain no shit – just whole foods and botanicals packed with nutrients. Ingredients that are ‘food-grown’.
Little Lewes readers can get 20% off by using the code WN1 at the checkout. Delivery is free on orders over £25. December 18 is the last order date for supplements before Christmas.
Pretty, pretty pretty, I adore these vases – as I do so much of the ceramics by Victoria Turner of From Victoria in The Needlemakers. They’re made from unglazed porcelain that, amazingly, is watertight (I so wouldn’t have thought that).
The slipcast porcelain vases were moulded from vintage Boots glass bottle and each one is unique. I love the pastel sorbet colours, which are powdery and soft. This is the kind of thing I could never justify buying for myself, but that would sit on my desk in my studio looking extremely nice and helping me like my space even more than I already do (which is an awful lot).
Anyone who knows me knows there is a slight mid-century vibe to my house. I’d love a little cocktail chair from Studio Elizabeth Rose to have in the corner by my side of the bed (although inevitably this would get covered in piles of clothes I never manage to put away – but let’s leave that aside for the moment…).
I share a studio with Liz, who sources amazingly shaped chairs from Ardingly and the like and works in collaboration with artists and designers to produce bespoke fabric. With this she matches the midcentury silhouette of her found furniture and the skill that would have gone into their making, with the artisan trade of upholstery and the contemporary designs in her fabrics.
The above chairs are available to buy upholstered in fabric designed by Suzie Johanson and developed with Liz, and in 2016 there will be more chairs coming, with future collaborators to be revealed.
I am very excited about The Christmas Emporium, this Sunday at Pelham House, 11am-5pm. It’s the collective effort of some super clever Lewes-based women who, thanks to the bright idea of Chloe Edwards of Seven Sisters Spices, have come together to form a group called Lewes Women in Business. If you’re a woman with your own enterprise, however small, you can join too!
There will be about 30 people exhibiting, entrance is free, there’s a sleigh photo booth to have the little ones snapped in, and a free-to-enter prize draw. I think it’s going to be a real classy affair.
I’m also INCREDIBLY pleased (not to mention flattered) that the Lewes Women in Business has decided to collect money for the UN Refugee Agency at the event, and will have a charity collection box there for your loose change. Please dig deep.
Disclosure: This post is 100% editorial and an unbiased personal look at what I’d like from Lewes High Street for Christmas this year. After I had decided on my picks, I contacted each of the shops/brands about my pledge for the blog to raise money for The UN Refugee Agency and had an amazing response from them all.
The brands and stores in this post have collectively agreed to donate an incredible £245 for The UN Refugee Agency, which is receiving donations via Little Lewes throughout December. To find out more about that, see here. Thank you, thank you, thank you – a million times thank you – to all featured for your very generous donations.
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