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Reader Treats Just For You!

Last minute Christmas gifts near you

Cracking good gifts from local Somerset businesses: pop in or browse and buy online

Check out our Muddy edit of unusual gift ideas for men, women and children from Somerset shops and businesses – here’s your chance to support independents and shop local!

CHOCOLATE CONNOISSEURS

Super cool lifestyle shop CARO opened up a new shop in Bruton’s High Street last month, selling an eclectic range of beautiful, simply designed objects from around the globe, and launched their own brand of chocolate, inspired by the countryside.  We’re not talking fruit ‘n’ nut here, oooh no. In partnership with Somerset’s award-winning chocolatiers, The Chocolate Society, they’ve created Earl Grey & Biscuit (made with bergamot and balls of blonde chocolate-coated biscuit), Juniper & Raspberry dark chocolate and Pine, Black Pepper & Cracked Almonds milk chocolate (all £6.50). Nom nom nom.

BAG MAN

merchant menswearWinner of Best Men’s Store in the Muddy Stilettos Awards 2016, Merchant Menswear in Taunton is more about understated style, product and design rather than shouty labels, though they do have some cracking international brands.  The range includes clothing, shoes, bags and grooming products but we love this wax cotton canvas and leather weekend bag from Swedish brand Sandqvist. £205 (also available in olive).  First buy the bag; then plan your trip away.

PERFECT FIT

This is special: a made-to-measure shirt (or suit, jacket, blouse, overcoat – for men and for women) from a new bespoke tailoring service in Bath.  Mike Lane of Suit the City will measure up and you can choose from thousands (literally) of different fabrics, styles and personalised detailing. There’s a fitting service for suits.  If you want a shirt, pop in and see Mike in his studio; if you want a suit, he’ll come out to you, wherever you live in Somerset, Wilts, south Gloucestershire, East Devon, Bristol and Exeter.  Give a gift voucher now (e.g. shirts around £125, suits £500) and get suited at leisure.

HANG IT!

Clockwise, from top L: Cinegirl £450, Magpies £350, Bolly £350, Little Red Car £250.

Last month, Wells-based artist Shelley Dyer-Gibbins scooped the Original Print Prize in the prestigious 21st National Open Art competion with her lino cut ‘Cinegirl’. You can nab a limited edition print of ‘Cinegirl’ and Shelley’s other lino cuts and other artworks, from Ha Ha Workshop Art.  Shelley is very generously offering a mounted and framed limited edition print of ‘Little Red Car’, worth £250, to one lucky person. All you have to do is LIKE the Somerset Muddy Stilettos Facebook page, SHARE the post and write CAR in the comments box. The winner’s name will be announced on 20 Dec in time for you to wrap it up ready for Christmas – or hang it up on your own wall.

BEARD WEARERS

Mr Twit never used Claan luxury beard care stuff, that’s for sure.  Made in England, the artisan range that’s wowing everyone at the moment includes natural, craftsman blended beard oils to condition, soften and moisturise skin, beard and stubble, £42 for 50ml. Ethically sourced horn and bristle brush, £34. Grooming set with fine, Peter Reed facecloth and matte black professional grade steel trimming scissors. £44. All available from Castle Cary’s Apothe-cary, which sells award-winning active, organic and naturals for beauty, skincare, health and wellbeing for men and women.

SPORTY GALS

boudavida gym bag with yoga matFor your gym/yoga/pilates/running bunny, a Cushty gym bag which come with straps at the front to hold a yoga mat and compartments inside for valuables, kit, towel and trainers, etc (£78).  There’s lots of cool sports and activewear at this Shepton Mallet-based company, Boudavida, all of which is designed to help women feel good about their bodies and inspire them to get active – with five per cent of every sale going towards projects supporting women’s and girls’ sport.

GARDEN MAKEOVER

This gift could bring joy for years to come. Somerset garden designer Jane Follis of Jane Follis Garden Design can transform any outdoor space into a beautiful garden (I’ll take this one please).  A £150 gift voucher includes a one-hour consultation with the super creative Jane, followed up with a comprehensive report which will include sketches, ideas, images and links to suppliers and merchandisers.

ON THE CARDS

Nifty business card holders, hand made from solid wood by Dan Thomas of Wuffles Design from his studio in Axbridge. Choose from a box with an open-top (£35) or a box that has a lid with a magnetic catch (£45). When he’s not making business card boxes, Dan create stunning pieces for the house – lamps, tables, benches etc – out of found wood and metal. For more info@wuffles.com.

STAY WARM

fruitbat textiles

We’re loving this gorgeous Christmassy red scarf (£95), which has been hand woven in 100 per cent Shetland wool on a traditional loom by talented Charlotte Martin of Fruitbat Textiles. As well as range of scarves for women,  the Ilminster-based designer makes scarves and caps for men and all sorts of accessories for both – rings, cufflinks, bags – using her vibrant woven fabrics.

SPARKLY STUFF

Clockwise, L to R: Semi circle Drusy dropper earrings £46; sterling silver round pendant necklace £46; sterling silver triple start earrings £42; gold plated pointed star necklace £89; rose gold plated marquise drops £78; mini circle Drusy pendant £28

All these little gems are to be found at Allotment up at Prockters Farm, West Monkton, just outside Taunton, alongside a carefully curated collection of luxury knitwear, footwear, denim and accessories put together by the very clever Kirsten Thompson.

PLAYTIME

folding wooden dolls house

Spotty Herberts, on Bath’s Queen Street, is stuffed to the gills with unusual present ideas for children aged from 0-10, from stocking fillers upwards. But we’ve got our eye on this beautifully made birchwood Holdie House (£55) which is lightweight enough to be carried around by a toddler. Pop in or browse and buy online.

….AND RELAX

She’s not based in Somerset but holistic massage therapist Sarah MacDermot will come to your place if you do. Give someone the gift of a good night’s sleep (you get one after her marvellous massages, I know, I’ve already enjoyed one), with one of her little massage tokens. Available for all massage treatments, including full body massage, Indian head massage, head, neck and shoulders, hot stone, hot lava shell (porcelain smooth warm shells with frankincense oil gliding over your body…sublime!) – and reiki (from £27.50). Of course, you don’t have to give this gift away. Keep it for yourself.

Find more ideas here

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