Christmas season is swiftly approaching, bringing with it not only the big day but catch up drinks, festive soirees and office parties – all tied up with the excitement of the obligatory Secret Santa, gift exchanges with friends and hastily wrapped last minute buys to add to the pile under the tree.

We all want to treat our friends and family, but the treats sure do add up. Our 2014 gift guide celebrates creative and beautiful gifts which I hope will fit all your gifting needs – all available to buy online for under £20.

Happy shopping! x

GIFTS FOR HIM

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Paperclip Letter Holder £10, Anthropologie. Multi Spot Hankerchief £5 each, Labour and Wait. Retro Enamel Mugs, £5.95 each, Rose and Grey. Full English Biscuits £10, Not On The High Street.

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This beautifully crafted Rope Key Ring £12, from Labour and Wait is based on a ‘Monkey’s Fist’ knot, which was traditionally used to throw the mooring rope from ship to shore. Adding a touch of nautical charm to everyday items it is individually crafted by a knotting enthusiast in Suffolk.

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For the intrepid traveller or dreamer in your life, this super cool Scratch Off World Map £15.95, features a gold foil top layer which means that once a country has been visited, the globe trotter gets to scratch it off to reveal beautifully vibrant details and amazing facts about the world beneath.

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Men’s Lunch Tin £15, Rose and Grey. Bicycle Tool and Puncture Repair Kit £18.95, Lilac Coast. Pocket Fountain Pen £20, Labour and Wait. Initial iPhone Case £10, Alphabet Bags.

GIFTS FOR HER

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Half Moon Leather Coin Purse £17, & Other Stories. Swimming Swans Trinket Dish £12, Anthropologie. Shibori Journal £16, Anthropologie. Silver Stars Earring Studs £12, Not On The High Street.

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These beautiful Pink Ombre Tealights £4.95, from Lime Lace are made from fine ceramic and are finished with an on trend dip dye effect creating a beautiful and gentle glow when lit. They look fantastic grouped together in the center of a table or placed along a window-sill.
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This sweet and elegant A3 French Love Print £9.95, from the Old English Co is the perfect romantic gift to add a touch of monochrome whimsy to a bedroom.

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Lovely Large Canvas Pouch £18, Alphabet Bags. Copper and Glass Sectioned Box £16, Rockett St George. Brass Ring £17 & Other Stories. Initial Pocket Mirror £13, Alphabet Bags.

Continue Reading…

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As winter steadily approaches here in the UK, it’s nice to have a glimpse of summer in the form of a Beachcomber inspired DIY guest post from a very clever and creative friend of mine Harriet Cox trend analyst and go-to crafter for hair brained social gatherings.

This guest post follows several queries into this beautiful mobile gifted to me for my baby’s nursery [below]. The method which we are calling ‘Things on Strings’ can translate easily into a way of making use of holiday souvenirs, family mementos or even collections… warning this DIY may become addictive! Over to Harriet…

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I have always been somewhat of a beach comber/ shell hoarder/ driftwood magpie. Quite often, after a trip to the beach I return home to find my pockets full of beachy flora and fauna, things unconsciously selected on account of their colour, lustre, shape or resemblance to some other object. Usually these items kick about my house in small still life arrangements gathering dust until I can no longer remember the day or the place where they were found.

But after a recent 4 month trip of epic proportions driving across Australia and New Zealand I had not only filled my pockets but a large portion of my backpack with mementos of many a day well spent by the sea. This time on my return home I was determined to put some of my most beautiful finds to good use.

To display these treasures I have made a simple wall hanging using bits of driftwood for the structure and brightly coloured twine to hold each object in place, a lasting reminder of a life changing trip.

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To recreate this with your own collections all you need is: 

- Some gnarly bits of drift wood or cane to form the cross supporting sections.
- Twine or string
- I have used silk embroidery threads in bright colours, you could also use scavenged rope if you were lucky enough to find any on your travels!
- Scissors
- Your things to hang on strings!

To construct:

- First lay out your objects on a flat surface to get your design, play with composition and height and when it feels right just go with it.

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- Don’t worry too much about making holes in your finds, you don’t want to damage them. Instead use what is naturally there to secure the knot or try wrapping them in the twine which also adds a contrasting block of colour. Always over compensate on the string as this will allow you to make adjustments when you coming to hanging.

- Get the top support sorted first- a strong piece of drift wood secured at both ends with a piece of string works best.

- I find it easier to build whilst the top support is hanging up. This will help you to get the balance right by adjusting the strings as you go and it will let you fit the piece to the space where you want to display it. Tie securely enough to hold in place and then adjust any objects that aren’t sitting at the right height. Once your happy with your composition tie tightly in place and trim off your excess string- or you could add more colour by wrapping the excess string round the driftwood creating random colour blocking.

- Add a second tier if you want to add more length and things on strings- just make sure your top support is strong enough to bare the extra weight.

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My Things To Hang on Strings

One beach visited in Australia was covered in the tiny broken skeletons of the Mutton bird. When I asked a local why there were so many dead I was told that after their long migration the weak birds cannot make it the final stretch up the coast and simply give up. Their delicate little skeletons are washed up, bleached clean by the sea.

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On our first night in New Zealand we were welcomed by an incoming cyclone! Feeling nervous we settled into our campsite by the coast for a sleepless night battered by severe winds and rain. Next morning calm was restored, the sun was out and the beach was littered with the washed up remains of a king tide- a beach combers delight!

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Another coastal walk was littered with Påua Shells, home to a giant edible sea snail, whose shells are a valued Maori treasure used in native decorative arts and crafts.

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The spiralling popularity of succulents in the interiors and fashion world seems in part down to their sculptural appeal and in part down to the fact that they are hard to kill even for the blackest of thumbs.

Nevertheless without finger pointing [you know who you are] I can attest to the fact that there are some ‘charred thumbs’ out there that can do a lot of damage to even the toughest of plants! For those hapless customers I was excited to discover a new trend for extremely lifelike faux succulents that will always look perfect and are risk free!

Online home decor brand Nordic House‘s faux flower collection includes large succulent rosettes that can feature as striking table decorations or still life displays around your home.

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Berkshire based Beaux Faux gives new life to vintage books using them as planters for whimsical displays of artificial succulents. These would make such a beautiful gift!

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And Etsy has a plethora of succulent designs from felt succulents by Ordinary Mommy  and Miasole to artificial components to create your own elaborate and maintenance free displays.

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Whilst I sort through my piles of business cards and press packs from the London Design Festival to bring you my pick of design talent, here is some eye-candy from the week to whet your appetite.

Following an exciting online presence and two pop-up shops, The New Craftsmen, a hub for British craft finally moved its physical outfit into a 19th-century building in Mayfair earlier this year. Dedicated to working with Britain’s finest craft makers to showcase the materials, skills and craft products of the British Isle, the shop houses a retail space and atelier which hosted several events during this past week of design.

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Founded by Mark Henderson, Catherine Lock and Natalie Melton the trio have taken it upon themselves to preserve and champion Britain’s knowledge and expertise in crafts. The concept took root during product developer Catherine Lock’s road-trip around Britain exploring its indigenous craft skills.

Visiting everything from workshops left over from the Sheffield steel industry to basket makers in Orkney, Lock discovered that despite extraordinary expertise in crafts some of these artisans could barely make a living – inspiring the founders to come up with The New Craftsmen concept and work towards preserving the skills that are so much a part of Britain’s cultural heritage.

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The charming space boasts a carefully selected and styled range of products from hand dyed and woven textiles to handcrafted furniture, covetable ceramics and exquisite jewellery.

The atelier features a relaxed studio area and inspired pull out drawers dedicated to each maker, serving as a sensory portfolio of their skills - enabling customers, interior designers and architects to customise, commission and collaborate.

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The New Craftsmen
34 North Row
Mayfair, London
W1K 6DG

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I have to admit I unashamedly stole this post’s inspiration from my friends at The Women’s Room Blog because I just love a party decor web-shop.

The Americans do party decor really well, with design doyennes like Martha Stewart and Grace Bonney making crafting and entertaining a national institution. Across the pond, the online landscape is filled with inspiring offers from the likes of BHLDN, department stores like Target and not to mention Etsy’s covetable craft shops.

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The UK on the other hand leaves a lot to be desired with creative shoppers left to cobble together their decorations from uninspiring resources like Ebay and Amazon.

Enter Pea Green Boat a beautifully executed online store founded by friends Tessa and Zoe based in North London.

Drawing on their backgrounds in interior design and film production, their decor collections are fresh, modern and on-trend. Divided into inspiring sections like Decorate, Lay The Table, Gifts, Accessories, Vintage and by curated Theme, covetable products like bunting, cake toppers, giant balloons and table decor are sourced from all over the world and where possible, made in the UK.

Now all I need is an excuse for a party…

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