Making

Ideas to Buy Small This Christmas…

November 14, 2018

Everyone, including myself, is getting a bit tired of huge department stores and their offerings for Christmas.  It just isn’t sitting well hearing stories of stolen copyright of the small guys to fund million pound Christmas advertisements.  The thing is shopping with small business does require a little planning, as they are more likely to go out of stock or need extra time to send items.  To help you out I put together this list of people I have met this year and their gorgeous items that they sell.

Support local business and shop small.  You’ll feel good for supporting all these makers.

Happy shopping, PF xo

I’ve included my own pottery in the mix here.  This makes this post an advertisement.  My goal is to sell enough plates to be able to buy more pottery studio time.  I like to create and as a hobby these things aren’t cheap!  Plus I can’t store all the pots and plates in my house indefinitely!!

1. The Joy of Watercolour by Emma Block.  My friend Emma has been drawing with watercolours for years and doing workshops for this and brush lettering.  I first met her when she did a portrait of me at an event and then again this year when she did a picnic for creatives with Zeena.  Wanting to share her love of water colouring with more people Emma developed this book and approached a publisher.  The Joy of Watercolour takes you through step by step from basic techniques to more complex pictures.  Everyone I have seen use the book has been able to recreate the images quickly and notes how much fun they had.  Buy the book here from Emma.  You could go to Amazon, heck I could throw in my affiliate link, but this post is all about supporting the small business so buy direct so Emma makes a well-deserved profit!

2. Lauren Ashton Designs.  A keen knitter who studied knitwear Lauren has developed a business that creates super chunky designs and those fabulous chunky blankets.  Her range includes patterns and kits to make your own at home.  A perfect gift for someone to tackle during that Christmas and New Year hiatus!  Not sure if your gift receiver is into making?  No problems Lauren has you covered with pre made items that her knitters work up in 4-6 weeks.

3. Petalon Flowers. Started by Florence, who wanted to distribute flowers by bike, she recently was able to expand and offer her bouquets nationwide.  Each week two bouquets are offered based on what is seasonal and at the markets.  Select your bunch and send to a loved one.  You can order ahead and have flowers for the Christmas holiday period.  Florence also offers workshops for making bunches and comprehensive all day courses for those wanting to move into the floristry industry.

4. Grain and Knot.  I have been fortunate to attend workshops with Sophie who carves spoons and butter knives from reclaimed timbers.  Based in London her work can be bought online and at various markets.  Not sure if your loved one would like a spoon?  Gift them a voucher for a workshop with Sophie in 2019.  Trust me, they will get the bug and be buying spoon blanks from Grain and Knot to carve at home in no time!

5. Print Club.  This year I went to Print Club’s Blisters Exhibition and saw so many beautiful screen printing works. Lots of these can be found online and are only £50.  Working together as a collectible the artists buy time from the studio to print their works.  Based in London all the prints can be sent to you in time for Christmas.  You could also buy gift vouchers if you aren’t sure what to pick or purchase a workshop for your loved one.  This is my favourite one, Frozen Planet by Charlie Blanchard.

6. These Two Hands.  Run by my friend Naomi, this small business is a curated collection of nature inspired products.  Everything is made by British crafters and creators with hand printed tea towels, woven throws and leaf print coasters.  Often at markets around the Bristol area Naomi also operates her online store.  The most darling item sold are the baby moccasins that have local sheepskin to line them.

7. Farmers by Welsh Lavender Farm.  I stumbled on this product whilst attending The Good Life festival a couple of years ago and it’s my go to Foot Cream.  Deliciously thick with a gorgeous lavender scent everyone wants some when I bring it out.  I do not share! I’ve gifted it to family and friends and the hand cream is a perfect size for the handbag.  Next year I hope to go to the farm and run amongst the lavender fields when they are in bloom!

8. Gatha Betty Joy.  AD. My own ceramics brand where I slowly make bowls, weird vases and plates.  I’ve been making ceramics for two years now and it is one of the hardest things I have put my mind to.  Shaping clay, testing glazes and hoping that it makes it out in one piece are all things I am learning!  The pots are wonky and the plates have misshaped edges but everyone likes them that way.  Check out the Instagram and buy straight off the image you like.

9. Oliver Rose.  I met Charlotte at a creative conference this year and loved her small business of dollhouse furniture.  Her selection is contemporary modern which I love, and there are collaborations with well-known brands including Buddy & Bear.  Having just done a relaunch and sold out of most things, the store is being restocked.  Follow her on Instagram and be ready to pounce when items are back on sale.

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Buying Small This Christmas

Life Travel

3 Locally Recommended Places to Eat, Bristol…

November 12, 2018

Bristol.  One of the most creative spaces I have visited in Britain, is full of university students, artists and Londoners escaping the city.  An hour and a half out of London, over the past few years it has become the place for creatives migrating from pricey London.  Interestingly, my friends who live in Bristol have told me that rents are going up that many are now moving to Bath!  The spa town that was considered posh and out of reach.  But I digress!

This year I have visited two friends a couple of times and roamed Bristol.  The first visit had us staying in the heart of the city which is like any typical high street.  This area comes to life on the weekend with lots of pop up stalls selling handmade soaps, cakes and puppets!  Stokes Croft is the artier end of town with graffiti walls by prominent artists, independent craft stores and plenty of vintage.  Clifton, the posh area, has a steep main street peppered with university lecture halls and high end retail.  I stayed in Clifton with a friend the second trip and would thoroughly recommend basing yourself here.  Whilst being central the first trip was nice and gave us a lay of the land, however Clifton is a magical English village with magnificent sandstone houses, tree lined streets and wood fires burning.  It reminded me of my childhood and how I kicked the leaves in the little village on my walks to school.

Bristol Lido

The Lido Bristol

Bristol Lido

It pays to know a local and ask for recommendations. The Bristol Lido opened in the 1850’s falling into disrepair closing in the 1990’s.  Restored by a local restaurant group The Lido is now a secret local destination.  We had our brunch inside the glass house that runs the length of the heated Lido.  At times we admitted it felt like we were spying on the swimmers!  I had delicious Turkish eggs, in a spicy tomato sauce with yogurt and added bacon.  I highly recommend that you book as we only just got a table Saturday morning and there was a line of people waiting for lunch.  The lovely staff told us that leading up to Christmas they hang fairy lights and when the sun goes down it looks like a dream land.  Due to high membership numbers The Lido is restricted to being opened to the public during the week, but you can get around this by booking a Spa Package with massage!

Soukitchen Bristol

SouKitchen is a Mediterranean, tapas style restaurant with two locations in Bristol.  We visited the Clifton kitchen tucked off the main street.  First up the entrance is a glass conservatory which makes a perfect place for summer lunches and great to keep out the cold for winter dinners.  We stuck with the sharing plates and got five between two which was plenty.  They have a fantastic cocktail selection and I recommend the Bloody Mary.  The spice and thickness of the drink made it feel like I was drinking my dinner.  It was delicious!

The Florist Bristol  The Florist Bristol

The Florist BristolThe Florist.  Recommended by many an Instagram follower and when we arrived for Sunday brunch we could see why.  Like a Tardis, this restaurant has lots of different rooms, all with bars, and filled to the brim with flower walls.  We were told Saturday is the busiest and Sunday was just us for the first hour.  I had the Nutella and Biscoff pancakes that had a caramelised banana, snapping perfectly when eating!  To drink I had the Juniper Garden, a mocktail with my favourite elderflower syrup and it is the best drink I have had this year.  My friend had granola with peaches and yoghurt which came to the table deconstructed.  Fun!  Her drink was the Rhubarb and Custard which had a real version of the sweet hanging off the side!

Bristol Pinkmans

Bristol Good Egg

Bristol Harts BakeryI visited Pinkmans as I had heard about their donuts and The Crafty Egg for a hearty second breakfast on Sunday.  Both did not disappoint!  Also go early to Harts Bakery under the railway arches of Temple Mead for delicious savoury pastries and a tasty rhubarb and sour cream crumble slices.

Do you have any food recommendations for Bristol?  I have now fallen in love with this city so will be going back in 2019 for sure.  Happy eating.  PF xo.

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Travel

Good Grief, Charlie Brown! Exhibition at Somerset House…

October 31, 2018

The Good Grief, Charlie Brown! Celebrating Snoopy and the enduring Power of Peanuts exhibition, at Somerset House, is awesome! I booked a ticket last minute, to break my cabin fever, and it is hands down the best exhibition I have been to.  Honouring Charles M. Schulz’s creation of the Peanut comic strip, the display includes a selection of work from the 50’s until his last piece in 2000.  Schulz started drawing from a young age when he realised he could draw better then others.  Inspired by American cartoonists, Milton Caniff and Bill Mauldin, Schulz’s drawings portray the ups and downs of everyday life impacted by politics, racism, sexism, war and faith.  Often miserable, Charlie Brown is joined by his dog Snoopy and a host of characters including Lucy, Peppermint Patty and Linus who form his gang.  Woodstock, the bird and my favourite character, came later as one of the migratory birds that made a permanent residence of Snoopy’s home.

There is a particular poignant part of the exhibition I urge you to look for and spend time at. On the second floor, in a glass case, are letters to Schulz from the Black American community urging him to add a representative character, after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.  What stood out to me were the requests of ‘representation’ and ‘racial diversity’, terms that we use now, that were already being use and often dismissed then.  Schulz was honest in his reply, with concerns portraying a community he had no associations with, but after time, with guidance,  he developed Franklin.  Despite strong objections from publishers, and readers, Schulz refused to stop including Franklin ensuring he had a voice and key role in the gang’s activities.  The typed letters between Schulz and key supporters on display will make you stop and think about the current racial climate.

I spent over three hours in the exhibition reading comic strips and understanding their place in history and the everyday influence of the time. There is a table full of comic books where you can sit and read as many of the stories as you want!  Upstairs, a room full of bean bags invites you to lounge, whilst the TV cartoon plays across a massive screen. They even have a physiatrist booth set up with a qualified physiatrist attending twice a week!  Real advice, not the empty thoughts Lucy used to provide!  The fun bit, where you will have to stand your ground, are the lightboxes that are covered in Charlie Brown characters.  Plenty of paper is provided with felt tip pens to make you own cartoon by redrawing your favourite characters and Peanuts scenery.

The exhibition has just opened and finishes 3rd March 2019. Tickets range from £11 to £14 and under 12’s go free.

Are you going to go? What is the best exhibition you have been to this year?  PF xo

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Charlie Brown Pinterest