Yesterday the much anticipated John Lewis advert came out, we've had Halloween and Bonfire night.. so I think I'm safely allowed to mention the C word. Although, many of you will know I've already been talking about Christmas for many weeks already! The season of giving is almost upon us. I love taking the time to pick out gifts for my friends and family, and waiting for their reaction on Christmas Day.
Every Christmas I like to buy from local, independent retailers - there's a little saying that goes: "Every time you buy from a small business, someone does a little happy dance." I love that, and I think it's a brilliant sentiment to have. So with that in mind, here's my Christmas gift guide 2019, featuring some of my favourite local and independent businesses!
First up, we have some beautiful bling from Bex's Browbands & Collars. Each browband is made by hand, to your specifications - there are countless colour options, bead types and even traditional ribbon styles for those who don't like bling. If you're really struggling to choose, why not buy them a voucher instead? My dogs all have their own Christmas collars and Dolly used to wear her Christmas browband for our Christmas hack - Bex caters for dogs! Bex also makes matching stock pins to complete your outfit.
The "Ultimate Bling" style browbands pictured above start from £35, and ribbon browbands from £8.
Bethany Vere has produced portraits for the likes of Carl Hester and Charlotte Dujardin - her work speaks for itself, she's super talented! Bethany works from a photograph to produce incredibly life-like coloured pencil portraits of your horse, pony or other pet. Not only does Bethany take commissions, she also has a range of equine and British wildlife originals, greetings cards and prints for sale on her website.
My favourite of these prints has to be "We Noble Three" - a triple portrait of three iconic dressage horses: Nip Tick, Uthopia and Valegro. The original was presented to Carl Hester at his 50th Birthday event, but a limited edition range of prints is available through Bethany's website.
We Noble Three: www.bethanyvereart.co.uk/product-page/we-noble-three
Eqclusive brushes have become very well known: they create a beautiful shine on your horses coat and really do work deep in to their coat to remove the dirt and grease. Marta is super passionate about grooming, she put together several collections, based on your horses coat colour. Each coat colour has it's own unique properties, and these brush packs work in a specific order to bring the best results.
Eqclusive teamed up with one of the worlds most recognisable and loved grooms, Alan Davies, AKA the Super Groom. Alan is travelling groom to Carl Hester and Charlotte Dujardin - looking after horses such as Valegro, Uthopia and Nip Tuck. Alan created his own range of brushes, suitable for all coat types and even includes a brush specifically for creating quarter marks - my favourite has to be the polisher brush as it creates a wonderful shine!
Alan Davies Pack: www.eqclusive.com/collections/alan-davies
Double Olympic Gold Medallist Charlotte Dujardin published her auto-biography earlier on this year. It was a brilliant read, hearing some of the most memorable moments in British Dressage, told by the dressage queen, herself. We learn where her infamous journey with Carl Hester began, the horses she grew up with, and a look in to the future. It was fascinating and a must read for any dressage lover!
(A slight exception to my "buying local" theme, but it's such a wonderful gift!)
Alison, from Tail End Jewellery creates the most beautiful pieces from your horse or pony's own tail hair. I love being able to keep a little part of Dolly by my side - I've got both a necklace and a bracelet now, and I find myself sat there looking at them, they are so perfectly made with intricate braiding. There are so many pieces to choose from - rings, bracelets, necklaces, stock pins and so much more!
Orders for Christmas have now closed, but you can still purchase gift vouchers.
My favourite bracelet is the design that incorporates silver beading, but you can find that design, and the rest, here on the Tail End Jewellery website: www.tailendjewellery.co.uk/category/Horsehair_Jewellery
You'll also notice an equestrian jewellery collection too!
Hooves and Love create gorgeous gift boxes for the horse lover in your life. Each products are hand picked, and the best thing: each item comes from a small business or local supplier! So not only are you supporting a lovely small business, you're actually making a difference to these individual people! The boxes contain everything from candles, to wooly socks, beautiful silver jewellery, scarves and hand cream. Emma, who runs H&L is a horse owner herself, so she knows exactly what us horsey girls love to be treated too!
Gift boxes start from £25 and come beautifully wrapped and presented, ready to give to the horse lover in your life, or why not have it posted direct to them for a perfect surprise?
Someh Bags are the perfect solution to keeping your brushes, plaiting bands and other grooming products in one place. The bags feature removable compartments, not only are they stylish, they're very practical too! A show and lorry essential, for sure! They're deep enough to fit in sprays and bottles too - and they stay upright!
The bandage bags leave space for a set of bandages, pads and over reach boots. Both the bandage and grooming bags are water repellent and the straps are fully adjustable. There are 2 sizes of grooming bag to choose from and a range of different patterns and finishes - they'd make a great thank you gift for a groom too!
Grooming bags start from: £68.50
Bandage bags start from: £58.50
But there are some great deals and bundles on the Someh website: www.someh.co.uk/products
Wildfire Forge turns horse shoes in to bespoke keepsakes and gifts. All of the pieces of work are hand forged in the New Forest by Rob Pearcy. He takes on commissioned work, both using his own collection of metals and horse shoes, but also the clients own horses shoes. I'm sure many of us have kept our horses old, worn shoes - Rob transforms old, rusty shoes, in to something amazing! The shoes can be simply polished, with a name or date added, and a rainbow effect can be applied to the metal. But, if like me, you're looking for something really special, Rob creates tea light holders, hoof picks, door knockers, and so many other beautiful items.
It's not just shoes he works with either, take a look at his Facebook page to see for yourself:
If there's a regular race-goer in your family, then Alice's Hat Hire from the AW Collection is the place for you to look! (The hats aren't just limited to the races of course, they're perfect for weddings, days out and other events too!) The hats are all handmade by Alice - there are many different designs to hire or purchase. Alice works with you to create a hat to match your outfit, or for a particular occasion. Gift vouchers are also available!
And if you're still looking for the perfect gift for any horse owner, don't forget I offer gift vouchers for a shoot! The vouchers are valid for a whole year, so can be used at any point during that 12 months. One of the best things about the vouchers, is that they keep on giving! Not only is there an experience to enjoy and prepare for, but the images create timeless memories that you can keep looking back upon. Experiences create memories, and those are the things we will remember and treasure.
Why not put together a whole packaged and include credit towards prints or products, they can be made up to any amount you wish.
Shoot prices start from £30 and can be purchased by contacting me at: firstname.lastname@example.org