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

His1

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.

Labour-and-Wait

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.

ScratchMap

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.

His2

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

Hers1

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.

Ombre

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.
OldElnglishCo
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.

Hers2

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…

October is hands down my favourite month, in my opinion it’s the most definitive transitioning of seasons, in Britain at least – September is still too warm, November already has its foot in winter. There is a thrill in the October air, which resonates with narratives, the promise of spooky happenings, cosy autumnal outings and the cracking of the spines of new books to hunker down with.

For sure the biggest reason October is my favourite month is because of Halloween. To get us into the Halloween spirit in every possible way I have hunted down 10 digital wallpapers for your iphone, ipad and desktop to give your tech a seasonal update!

Click through to the links below the images to download your wallpaper.

Something-Wicked-Chalkboard-Wallpaper-TidyMom

Via Tidy Mom

 

imbreannarose.com

Via Im Breanne Rose

thefoxisblack.com

Via The Fox Is Black

jen-mussari-october-wallpaper-1280x800-800x500

Via The Fox is Black

thegoodtwin

Via Design Love Fest

meredith-sadler-wallpaper-blog

Via The Fox is Black

Color-Blocked-Pumpkins-Ciera-Design-2560x1440

Via Whimsey Box

nolan-pelletier-wallpaper-blog

Via  The Fox Is Black

Free People

Via Design Love Fest

noah-macmillan-wallpaper-blog

Via The Fox is Black

Pentland_Jug

I spend my life trawling beautifully designed sites packed with a plethora of covetable products – but sometimes the sheer volume of options is overwhelming. Once in a while I come across a store that captures my attention with its quiet confidence. I have been an admirer of Scottish homeware brand Sparrow and Co. for years – with a handful of original and beautifully made items to choose from – hand-painted tableware, simple but exquisitely patterned textiles and new Ash wood furniture – each one has the essence of a future heirloom.

I spoke to the brand founder Samuel Sparrow about running a small but perfectly formed business.

Sparrow-Co-11

Tell us about yourself.

I’m Samuel Sparrow, owner and creative director at Sparrow and Co. – a British homeware brand based in Scotland.
I live and work in Glasgow with my wife Laura and our two sons, Rowan (2 years old) and Elliot (3 months old).

What did you do before Sparrow and Co? Why did you decide to start the business? 

After graduating from the Glasgow School of Art I cut my teeth in London working for homeware companies Habitat and Ikea.

Working for Ikea taught me the importance of commerciality – a balance between functionality, aesthetics, availability and pricing.

However, I soon grew dissatisfied with the throw away culture synonymous with brands like Ikea. I was uneasy with the ‘out with the old – in with the new’ attitude and the notion that one would want to simply throw everything away and start again. Of course, I’m not opposed to newness or reinvention; I’m just more comfortable with the adage ‘things grow better with time’ – if given the opportunity.

With this in mind I decided to carve a path based on my own design principles – creating my own brand; one that I would be proud to put my name on.

Sparrow

What was your vision for Sparrow and Co?

Our vision at Sparrow and Co. is to design and source products that will stand the test of time, products that are not designed to fit a passing fashion. We are the antithesis of mass produced products and we are proud of it.

At Sparrow and Co. we celebrate the imperfect and inherent beauty that comes with functional, handmade products.
Our products need to have provenance – a story to tell and share.

Sparrow4

Tell us about your set up, what are the logistics of running an online store? Do you work out of your home?

As my wife will testify I am a perfectionist and work hard to ensure what we are doing is consistent and adheres to the values we believe in.

However, as the business has grown I have had to learn that there are certain jobs that require other peoples help.
While I understand that it is important to have a grasp of all the responsibilities associated with running a business – I simply would not have a business if my time was focused on every task.

Sparrow3

What is a typical day in your work life?

As anyone with young children will know, the day usually starts early! Once the boys are organised I will usually be found at my desk with a cup of coffee!

We are about to launch our new website. Therefore, a lot of my time is taken up tweaking the layout, photographing new products, updating the journal or finalising product descriptions.

My afternoons are usually spent packaging up orders for delivery. Today I will be replying to a press loan request and answering questions for this feature!

Evenings are spent on design and product development – often into the wee small hours.

Of course, Laura and the boys always provide a welcome distraction…

Pentland_Range

The visuals on your site are beautiful. Who shoots and styles these?

We work really hard to try and keep the same handwriting flowing through all our branding and photography – all of which is done in house. I would love to say we fly a team of stylists and photographers around the world to a hacienda in Mexico to shoot the collection. We are still small so photography and styling are usually done on our kitchen table; with a little help from our two year old son, Rowan!

Having said that, we do have some exciting photography collaborations planned for Winter 2014.

Where do you find your stock? How do you plan your collections?

We plan our collection around three main season launches – Spring/Summer, Autumn/Winter and Christmas – with each product designed or carefully sourced around our values; quality and sustainability.

We have had the opportunity to meet and work with some of the most talented makers’ around the world – from countries including Morocco, India, Central America, England, Wales and of course Scotland.

Our collection is small – but perfectly formed.

S

Tell us about some new finds.

Native Stool – they’re sturdy and unashamedly utilitarian. Each one is made by hand in Wales from native ash.

Bandhini Cushion – Intricately made using India’s finest tie-dye technique; grains of rice are tied into the cloth to build up a pattern of dots and circles. The cloth is dyed, dried and then carefully pulled to release each thread and reveal the pattern.

How has Sparrow and Co evolved from launch till now?

Sparrow and Co. launched in November 2011 – the same month our son Rowan was born – with our own range of candles.
The response was good. A buyer from America noticed them and suddenly we were selling through the company that owns Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters; they bought the entire collection and stocked them in US garden/home store Terrain.

Our first year in business was spent around our kitchen table labelling, boxing and wrapping thousands of candles to be shipped across the Atlantic.

Keen to grow we expanded the business with a small, curated homeware range with products we had designed and sourced, including; hand knitted throws from Wales, tin lanterns from Morroco and rare breed sheepskin rugs from Scotland.

Recently we opened a Pop Up shop in Glasgow – it gave us the opportunity to meet our customers and share the story behind each product face to face – the shop was temporary, however, it made me realise that one day I would like to open a bricks and mortar SPARROW AND CO. store.

In 2013 The Sunday Times listed us in their Top 10 online home stores – a very proud moment and one that has driven us to continue building a brand we would be proud to pass on.

Sparrow

At the beginning of this year I took part in the launch of a revamp campaign for eBay UK ‘s new bring together pieces they have spotted on eBay. Users can also follow other people — such as expert curators, buyers and sellers from across the community — to get inspiration from their Collections.

I just love this new feature – since the site has largely been a non-visual and practical resource for so long, this is certainly an exciting and pivotal move for Ebay.

You can check out and follow my Collections here!

Ebay Collections

Screen

On the hunt for screens and it was a nice surprise to come across quality pieces with attention to artisan practices.

Carrying a mix of ornate Moroccan lighting and traditional furniture mixed in with contemporary pieces – their contemporary Pewter Tagines and and Safi patterned tableware are contemporary nods to Morocco’s heritage – and my favourite – super pretty tea-glasses in neon hues.

Moroccan

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