SWB keeps it Local

As you know everyone, I’m not a mad fan of all the buying frenzy which comes with Christmas. All the plastic. All the panic. All the bastard packaging. It makes me go a bit funny. But here’s the rub. My girls are 7 and 9. They still believe in Santa Claus. We are enjoying, what some folk refer to as ‘The Golden Years’, that magical time when, aged between six and twelve, your children have ceased being raucous and mental and are generally rather sweet.  No doubt, in the time to takes Boris to do a U-turn on his Lockdown strategy, they will be teenagers, mortified by everything I do and being all stroppy and nonchalant.

Like seriously, can you imagine what mine are going to like when they realise how nuts I really am? They will be bringing their pals around and I’ll be all: ‘Give me that crisp packet! I can recycle these!’ or: ‘Is that a PLASTIC BOTTLE peeking out of your rucksack? Biggest scam of the century that is, future generations will think we’d lost OUR MINDS buying water when there was bugger all wrong with what was piped into our homes.’

So, what I’m trying to say is that yes, since they are still wee and lovely, they will be getting a few items from the Smyth’s Catalogue because in a couple of years they won’t be wanting `Snax the Sloth,’ or ‘Astrid the purple unicorn ‘Squishmallow’;  they’ll be after studs for their tongues and a £600 phone.  (Incidentally, I’ll be saying an emphatic ‘No’ to both of those.)

This time next week it will be Black Friday, (f**king awful name isn’t it? Sounds far too dismal and funereal to have connotations with Christmas.) Before I got distracted by my rant, what I wanted to do was offer an alternative  wish list, and direct you to some flipping brilliant local creatives. These gift ideas, IMHO, could perk up even those of you who thought your smile may have been permanently erased after this year of absolute pish.

  1. If you like your jewellery classy but understated, then Diane Sutherland is your woman. I admit it, I’m a magpie and flipping LOVE my bling, but there is something undeniably alluring about her spare silver pieces: I’m a big fan of her nugget earrings (which are particularly lovely if you have a couple of piercings) and her bangles. She takes commissions and will discuss a piece with you if it’s something really special that you’re after. She is also a dote, and I want to befriend her just so I listen as she rolls her soft Scottish vowels. Her soothing lilt would comfort me no end on days when I feel like I’ve lost the effing will.

2. Tropic products.  I know I go on a bit about Tropic but it’s so damn good. If there is one thing that this year has taught me, it is to find pleasure in the tiny things, wherever you may find them. It may be the lingering notes of bergamot and lime oil on the inside of your wrist from your hand cream, or smoothing on leg shimmer on a mizzly night in November, but we have to find our kicks somewhere. Two lovely local suppliers are Pauline Cooke and Patricia Tennyson. I think it’s the essential oils which bring the products to a new level, but it really does feel like a pampering session when you crack them open.

3. Now you’ve probably guessed if you have looked on my Instagram, but I fecking love my art work. LSB has come to dread his rare days off,  because  he knows full well I’ll be asking him to get his drill out and affix a freshly framed print to a wall. Dylan at The Hallows Gallery is a star at breathing life into pieces which look old or tired. Last month he re-framed two little originals that we’d bought in Prague in 2009. I had dithered over whether to keep them or not because they looked pretty rubbish in their cheap IKEA frames, but he transformed them, and now they hang proudly in our bedroom, bringing me joy, as I recall lazy days sipping hot wine as we strolled the cobbled streets in the Old Town Square.

Recently I have drooled over work by local artists such as Catherine Heaney, Aly Harte, and Emma Fitzpatrick. as I think you can just sense the joy and love that they pour into every piece, and who doesn’t need some positive energy in their home right now? Let’s face it, we’re spending enough time cooped up indoors…

I’ll be back on next week with some more gift ideas which offer a shopping experience which won’t make you want to gouge out your eyes out with a Stanley knife. (Sorry, for the graphic imagery, but I just nipped down to Forestside there to pick up dinner and it was CHAOS. It’s only a Friday, in November. I don’t want to contemplate those queues on Christmas Eve, that’s all I’m saying.)

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