Written by Rachael Brown
Throughout 2020 local businesses have been stretched to their limits. But in the face of adversity, many artisans have adapted and are offering products or experiences perfect for alleviating lockdown boredom and heralding in this year’s Christmas…
The team from Exeter’s ‘Doctor Inks Curiosities’ are rolling out cocktail masterclasses that have continued running throughout lockdown. Booze, mixers and garnishes arrive in neat little packages delivered to your door, ready for construction on Saturday evening. ‘Stir Crazy’ nights are themed and often focus on particular spirits, explaining two cocktail recipes over the evening and delving into their histories. Worth a try.
If your approach to Covid-19 has been more ‘block the world out’, we recommend trying products by Soakk. These independent soap blenders have a colourful range of plastic-free and palm oil free bars and bath salts. Made by hand on Bodmin Moor using old fashioned slow cure methods, their products make beautiful Christmas gifts or offer an excuse to get away to the bathroom.
Support independent bookshops in Devon & Cornwall and momentarily escape by picking up some new reads. New platform Bookshop.org means you can browse titles online for delivery. The best feature is the map, which allows you to explore independent brick and mortar stores around the country. You then select a bookshop and any profit generated by your order will be sent directly to them. Otherwise your money enters a fund which is evenly distributed to all the UK stores on the map.
Knitting seems an obvious method for alleviating winter boredom and there’s some beautiful wool dyed in Devon. ‘West Country Wool’ stocks Aran, chunky and other yarns that come in a range of bright tints, flecked natural colours and pastel shades. Yarns are sourced from their north Devon flock and dyed using natural minerals. Exeter shop Wool on the Exe also stock yarns that have been hand dyed by women in Devon & Cornwall. The shop has lots of variety and wools whose dyes gently bleed into vibrant rainbows.
For a beautifully made Christmas gift or a lush houseplant, try Exeter plant shops Hutch Houseplants and No Guts No Glory. They’ve got walls and walls of bristling greenery available for local delivery and collection. Both stores regularly run giveaways on Instagram, so it’s worth keeping an eye on their pages. To see how NGNG are supporting local independent suppliers read our interview with owner Alex.
Popular Teignmouth shop ROAM by the Drifting Bear is planting trees over areas of the world in need of reforestation, directly spurred on by every purchase made on their website. One order plants one tree. So get a start on Christmas shopping and leave yourself with more time to relax with friends.