Main pic above: Harlequin dress from Petite Pearl
Choosing local, independent and artisan for Christmas scores top marks for originality and helps eliminate the queasiness of an Amazon delivery. The West Country gives excellent present – everything from handpicked books to cucumber vodka to seaweed, with a twist. Petite PearlYou show me a little girl whose heart wouldn’t start to beat faster unwrapping anything from Pearl Lowe’s glorious new dress up/clothing range for children, Petite Pearl. Go the whole hog with the fantastical, dreams are made of this dressing up box , £1000 or will it be the Shirley Temple leotard and hat (£165), the silk fuschia and grey butterfly dress (£350), the Harlequin jumpsuit (£125) (we’d like it in an adult size too please) or the black velvet magician’s cape with black and white striped silk lining and feathers (£250). Rock and roll meets vintage with unashamedly girly twist. Utterly gorgeous. Buy online at Pearl Lowe or at Harrod’s and various stockists. Triple Rose Oil from OV Naturals
We’re addicted to this stuff and tend to self-gift it to ourselves at this time of year – this organic ‘dry’ oil is a miracle worker, suited to all ages and skin types from £10.99. NB Somerset locals, a gift voucher for one of Lucy Stevens’ intensely luxurious bespoke facials at her OV headquarters in Shepton Beauchamp would be the best present of all. Mr B’s reading subscription Right at the top of our personal wish list (is anyone paying attention) is a reading subscription for our fave bookshop Mr B’s Emporium of Books in Bath. After a brief consultation (by phone, email or in person) you’ll receive a handpicked selection of books for 3, 6 or 11 months. Bibliophiles, imagine the joy of your exquisitely wrapped surprise tome turning up month after month (and these guys really know their stuff). Another brilliant idea is the reading spa £80. Discuss your tastes over coffee and cake and spend your voucher with expert er’s guidance from the staff.
We're very picky about our smoked fish so you can trust us when we say Chesil's is amongst the best we've ever tasted. Buy a one off box or even better give a monthly subscription to a fish loving fiend (from around £35 a month) for the full mix of hot and cold smoked salmon, kippers, hot smoked mackerel and gravadllax. Rapson de PauleyBeautiful belts designed by Julia Rapson de Pauley. Vintage buckles are recast and attached to immaculately sourced artisan leather (both made in Devon) (£180). Fashion savvy friends will love you forever if you gift one of these. Julia's beads, worn as bracelet or necklace (you choose) are hand threaded onto coloured string, each one unique, a miniature work of art. The accessory as a talking point. We’re mad about RdP, you will be too. Bloody Good Mary Gift Set, Godminster We would be extremely happy to receive this good looking box set with Godminster’s horseradish vodka and ready spiced tomato juice, it has Boxing Day cheer written all over it. Perfect for the handkerchief/socks/book hating brother in law.
It's not Christmas without a True Grace candle, our favourite fragrance provider of all time. There's a candle to suit everyone including the butchest of men (they'll weaken at Library or Portobello Oud, trust us. Hoping for male fragrance coming soon). Scented reed room diffusers last for ages and we're crazy about the hand cream. River Cottage cookery course January is self improvement month and who wouldn’t want to learn how to rustle up a decent sourdough or fillet, stuff and cook a whole mackerel? Pig in a Day is the blokiest course – learn how to butcher a pig, make your own sausages, air-dry ham, bacon and salami. From £250 including a big fat lunch washed down with Sheppey cider.
Calendar from Molesworth and Bird
Lyme Regis based stylist Melanie Molesworth and her old pal Julia Bird (owner of children's shop BirdKids in Fowey) have joined to forces to collaborate on this elegant British Seaweed calendar which includes pressed seaweed prints from both the Cornish and Jurassic coasts. The perfect way to keep track of the days and a gentle reminder to spend more time on the beach in 2017.Choccoco
Hot Chocolate Hamper
Which teen girl wouldn't love to find a hot chocolate hamper complete with marshmallows and madagascan dark chocolate flakes in their stocking? Add some whipped cream, a blanket and a box set of Gilmour Girls and you won't hear a peep out of them for the rest of the holidays.
Mark Diacono's cookery school, built this year under the watchful eye of Kevin McCloud and the C4 Grand Designs, opens in 2017. Foodie purists are going to love this venture which 'a place to celebrate and learn about every step of the journey from pot to plate.' Give someone membership this Christmas and they'll receive a year of discounts on courses, seeds and plants as well as supporting the Otter Foundation.
Haeckels (seaweed beauty products)
Staying with the theme of seaweed one of our fave skincare brands Haeckels is now available at the Bruton lifestyle store Caro. Haeckels makes natural products only using locally grown botanicals that offer the very best anti-oxidant properties. One of only 2 companies licensed to harvest seaweed from the English coast, this ingredient is the basis of the entire range including the Dog Rose and Birch Bath Oil, Cliff Breeze candle and exfoliating seaweed block. Beautifully packaged in vintage style brown bottles these products are tested on people not animals. Our features editor is hoping for a bottle of the Seaweed and Buckthorn Body Cleanser in her stocking buy online at www.www.carosomerset.com or pop into the Bruton shop for killer coffee and cake while you browse.
Owl & Apothecary
Create your own spa at home with these clever beauty and balance gift boxes from our friends The Owl and the Apothecary. They've upped the ante this Christmas by offering a bespoke service which means you can create the perfect present with their expert guidance combining beautiful body butters, exquisite face serums, scrubs and candles. We have our eye on the Thoughtful Night Sky Box which includes Frankincense & Camellia face oil, Clear Vitality bath oil and an Uplift & Engergise candle. All products handmade and exquisitely packaged, a guaranteed hit for the Jan makeover. Also included is a ribboned mask, healing stone and Happening Cards for some much needed spiritual enlightening. As they say at O&A, wellness, wildness and a little bit of magic. We'll take it.
The FMLY Store
Bruton again for the new store from Selfish Mother blogger Molly Gunn for her slogan jumpers, sweatshirts and tees emblazoned with everything from Mother to Winging It (we'll take both, then). Some of the designs also donate a proportion of each sale to charity. Reasonably priced (a fraction of the Bella Freuds) and great looking, we'd love one under the tree.