Posted in gifts, independent retail, small businesses, support uk

Fiver fest

We are taking part in Fiver fest.

Choosing to shop with your local businesses instead of the larger chain stores has many benefits, some of which we are sure will surprise you. As this is the case, we thought we would put together 15 of the best reasons why you should choose your local independent business over a large, commercial supplier. We cover everything from how this decision can help improve the economy and environment to how it can also help to increase tourism and local jobs.

The local economy

Local businesses are the backbone of our economy, the epitome of the UK high street and often large tourist attractions. But what you may not know is that shopping at a local business, rather than a large chain, is actually better for the economy of your community. To ensure a strong and sustainable local economy foundation people need to buy locally. Research shows that £10 spent with a local independent shop means up to an additional £50 goes back into the local economy. This is simply because the nearby shop owners, who you are spending your money with, will then put that money back into your local community by going into local pubs and restaurants etc, thus circulating the money and allowing your community to thrive.

Shopping with and investing in local businesses means you can have a very strong and positive effect on the health of the local jobs in your area. Small, local businesses are surprisingly the largest employer of jobs nationally and provide the most local jobs to communities. Not only this, but local employers are more likely to pay a higher average wage than their commercial chain counterparts. Helping to grow the number of jobs in your area makes for a better place to live and work which then creates a healthy economy for the community.

Personality and character

The fantastic thing about independent businesses is that they are run by people, not by boards, stockholders or algorithms. As they are run by local people you will usually find that the business/shops building is in keeping with aesthetic of the area, adding character to the community and a touch of warm, welcoming personality. This natural authenticity will always be more popular than a chain, no matter where in the country.

Customer service and shopping experience

Although many chain businesses do have good customer service, you can’t beat the personal touch of a local owner who knows everyone in the neighbourhood. They can offer you a product that is suitable for you, your house and even your area. Building relationships between the local owner and the local customer goes further than just a purchase. It is also worth remembering that local shops stock an inventory based on their own customer’s choices rather than national fashion trends. This is so you can find what you want rather than finding what they want to sell you.

Healthier environment

This one might surprise you, but choosing a local company over a chain can actually have a positive impact on the environment. This is because the majority of local companies are found on the high street and are within walking distance, rather than a drive away to the nearest large shopping centre. If more people chose to pop to the local high street rather than driving to the superstores, this would considerably reduce air pollution, reduce traffic and improve the quality of the nation’s high streets.

Originality and individuality

In a world that is becoming increasingly dominated by chain stores, which have been designed to look the same, independent businesses bring much-needed originality and variety into communities. They can be a real breath of fresh air into an area populated by generic stores and companies.

Through supporting your local businesses, you are actually helping to support local entrepreneurs who once may not have had a chance of getting their company started. Through more people choosing the smaller, local option over the larger chain businesses it is allowing more entrepreneurs to get their foot in the door, thus making for a very healthy economy.

Help to create the identity

Some local businesses will actually help shape the identity of the area. A high street filled with unique, vibrant and colourful shops will attract more tourism and help to make the community a more popular and financially healthier area in which to live and work. There are many places around the UK that are known for exactly this. Places such as Camden, Manchester and Glasgow are all full of local companies thriving thanks to a healthy view of independent businesses.

Local business for local charities

Buying locally means that you are actually supporting your own community in more ways than you think. This is because many local businesses support local charities that are particularly relevant to that area, and by shopping locally you are helping to increase the number of local donations. Of course, large chain companies do support charities, and there is no right or wrong one to support, but if you would prefer to help support a local one then buying locally is a great way of doing this.
Healthy competition

The reason local companies have such great and competitive prices is purely thanks to healthy competition. This, of course, goes for all types of companies. A marketplace of thousands of small businesses is the most reliable way to ensure innovation and low prices over the long-term.


Supporting your local business over their larger, international rivals is somewhat of a British tradition. Unlike other countries, who have allowed the chain stores and companies to completely take over their high streets, Britain has always tried to keep the focus on local businesses. We can be a stubborn country who like to keep their traditions going for as long as possible, and in this case we are right to do so.

Without the creativity and innovative nature of local businesses and entrepreneurs, industries wouldn’t advance at the rate that they are. Take for instance the coffee shop. Currently at the peak of popularity, chain coffee shops are actually following in the footsteps of independent coffee shops right now. They are doing what they can to blend more into the community and seem more authentic. This is happening all over Great Britain and is all thanks to the innovation of local businesses.

Local government incentives

Local governments often provide tax incentives to entice nationally-owned companies to their communities. However, if these corporations are paying less in taxes it means that local residents are paying more. But, when you buy from local companies it lessens individual tax burdens and creates up to 75 per cent more tax revenues for your community.

If things go wrong

It’s important to know that if anything was to go wrong you have a local company to go to, someone to talk face to face with. Large commercial companies will often provide you with a phone number for their customer service team, which is often not in the UK, and make you wait for what seems like an eternity until you get to speak to someone. This simply is not the case with a local business. They will often prefer to meet up face to face, rather than on the phone, and find out exactly how they can help fix the problem.

Posted in British gifts, British travel, ceramics, countrylife, countryside, gifts, gifts for her, gifts for him, historic places uk, independent retail, stationery, wedding

Laura Ashley

Laura Ashley is another iconic British brand , known for fashion , interiors and accessories. It’s a company which has been on a knife’s edge financially for many years but still it has a high street presence.

Although Laura Ashley might not be to everyone’s taste and boy does it have competition, I feel there is still room in our hearts for this brand.

You might think now this dress is damn right ridiculous but in the day her designs were sought after and contemporary.

Laura Ashley (7 September 1925 – 17 September 1985) was a Welshfashion designer and businesswoman. She originally made furnishing materials in the 1950s, expanding the business into clothing design and manufacture in the 1960s. The Laura Ashley style is characterised by Romantic English designs — often with a 19th-century rural feel — and the use of natural fabrics.

While working as a secretary and raising her first two children, Ashley undertook some development work for the Women’s Institute on quilting. Revisiting the craft she had learnt with her grandmother, she began designing headscarves, napkins, table mats and tea-towels which Bernard printed on a machine he had designed in their attic flat at 83 Cambridge Street, Pimlico.[2]

The couple had invested £10 in wood for the screen frame, dyes and a few yards of linen. Ashley’s inspiration to start producing printed fabric came from a Women’s Institute display of traditional handicrafts at the Victoria & Albert Museum. When Ashley looked for small patches carrying Victorian designs to help her make patchworks, she found no such thing existed. Here was an opportunity, and she started to print Victorian style headscarves in 1953.

The scarves quickly became successful – retailing both via mail order and at high street chains such as John Lewis – and Bernard left his City job to print fabrics full-time.[3] The company was originally registered as Ashley Mountney (Laura’s maiden name), but Bernard changed the name to Laura Ashley because he felt a woman’s name was more appropriate for the type of products they were producing. The new company moved to Kent in 1955, but when the third of their four children was born, the family moved to Wales in 1960.[4]

Laura Ashley’s first shop was opened at 35 Maengwyn Street, MachynllethMontgomeryshire, in 1961.[5] The Laura Ashley association is commemorated by a small plaque. The shop sold locally produced honey, walking sticks as well as the couple’s own products. Here Laura worked with a seamstress to introduce their first forays into fashion, producing smock like shirts and gardening smocks. The family lived above the shop until moving to CarnoMontgomeryshire. They first set up in the vacant social club, but moved in 1967 to the local railway station, which had been closed two years earlier.[4]

Laura Ashley has slumped to an annual loss of more than £14m after a collapse in demand for its signature floral home furnishings.

The retailer said Brexit concerns had hit consumer confidence and stopped shoppers from making big-ticket purchases or starting big DIY projects.

At the same time, the housing market has slowed and house moves are key to the health of specialist retailers like Laura Ashley. As a result, like-for-like furniture sales were down 9% and demand for its decorating products, which include curtains and wallpaper, was down nearly 14%.

It is a great shame that this company was sold to Malaysian Holdings and shop closures are anticipated with further job losses.

Posted in British gifts, British travel, countrylife, countryside, gifts, gifts for her, gifts for him, historic places uk, independent retail, interior design, jewellery, stationery, support uk, wedding

Liberty London

Libertys has to be one of my favourite shops in london. It optimises style , elegance resilience in an ever changing economic climate. It has stood the test of time

For me personally Liberty’s is more iconic than selfridges or harrods. Many might disagree , but whatever your views or preference it’s great to support British and the iconic brands which are recognised throughout the world and are synonymous with this country.

The shop opened during 1875 selling ornaments, fabric and objets d’artfrom Japan and the East. Within eighteen months, he had repaid the loan and acquired the second half of 218 Regent Street. As the business grew, neighbouring properties were bought and added.

InNovember 1885, Liberty brought forty-two villagers from India to stage a living village of Indian artisans. Liberty’s specialised in Oriental goods, in particular imported Indian silks, and the aim of the display was to generate both publicity and sales for the store.

During the 1890s, Liberty built strong relationships with many English designers. Many of these designers, including Archibald Knox, practised the artistic styles known as Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau, and Liberty helped develop Art Nouveau through his encouragement of such designers. The company became associated with this new style, to the extent that in Italy, Art Nouveau became known as the Stile Liberty, after the London shop.

Liberty, during the 1950s, continued its tradition for fashionable and eclectic design. All departments in the shop had a collection of both contemporary and traditional designs. New designers were promoted and often included those still representing the Liberty tradition for handcrafted work.

In 1955, Liberty began opening several regional stores in other UK cities; the first of these was in Manchester.[4] Subsequent shops opened in BathBrightonChesterYorkExeter and Norwich.

During the 1960s, extravagant and Eastern influences once again became fashionable, as well as the Art Deco style, and Liberty adapted its furnishing designs from its archive.

Liberty has a history of collaborative projects – from William Morris and Dante Gabriel Rossetti in the nineteenth century to Yves Saint Laurent and Dame Vivienne Westwood in the twentieth. Recent collaborations include brands such as Scott HenshallNikeDr. MartensHello KittyBarbourHouse of HackneyVansOniaManolo BlahnikUniqloSupergaT. M. Lewin, Drew Pritchard of Salvage Hunters and antique lighting specialist Fritz Fryer.

Perhaps the success of Liberty’s lies with it’s progressive ideas and more recently collaborations with other big brands. Liberty prints are still very popular today. Their designs are beautiful, intricate and timeless.

Posted in British gifts, British travel, gifts, gifts for her, small businesses, stationery, support uk

Caroline Gardner

West London based Caroline Gardner is best known as one of the UK’s leading stationery and gift designers. Her signature look is an ever evolving modern classic, set apart by a distinctive and playful blend of modern hues and scale. A portfolio drawn together by Caroline’s distinctive design handprint of quirky use of colour and placement.

Caroline Gardner is to moving towards ‘naked’ cards by using an InFold, invented by the company, that holds the card and envelope together while protecting the corner. The branded paper InFold is affixed to the envelope using a plastic-free peelable label.

Caroline Gardner

Caroline Gardner is to moving towards ‘naked’ cards by using an InFold, invented by the company, that holds the card and envelope together while protecting the corner. The branded paper InFold is affixed to the envelope using a plastic-free peelable label.

The InFold design, for which the publisher has applied for a patent on, also provides the opportunity for the company’s branding.

“We feel strongly about reducing the amount of single use cellobags and so set about creating a way of keeping the envelope with the card,” explained Luca Bridges, marketing and independent sales manager of Caroline Gardner.

Posted in British gifts, candles, countrylife, countryside, gifts, gifts for her, gifts for him, independent retail, skin food, skincare, small businesses

Clovelly candle company

  • The Clovelly Soap Company makes artisan soap and Candles by hand in a converted granary in Clovelly North Devon.
  • Husband and Wife team Sarah and Casie Harper make soap using traditional cold process techniques which give a gentle lather that is kind to your skin and the environment.
  • Scented with natural essential oils spices and botanicals giving subtle muted colours and great fragrance.They specialise in creating bespoke branded ranges for shops hotels B&Bs or stately homes and can work with your brand and colour scheme to make a range just for you.
  • Clovelly also make beautiful bespoke wedding favours tailored to your theme and colour scheme.Family run business in Devon.The Clovelly Soap Company is a small family-run business making beautiful, handcrafted soap, candles and body care products on the historic Clovelly Estate in North Devon. They are passionate about making products that you will love to use and gift.
  • Their recipes, inspired by nature, use spices, clays, flowers and pure therapeutic grade essential oils blended by hand to create their own unique scents.
Posted in British gifts, countrylife, countryside, gifts, gifts for her, gifts for him, independent retail, small businesses, stationery

The importance of greeting cards.

Is there a future for greeting cards in this age of e-mail and instant messaging? Think about picking up your mail, there’s a bright card envelope among the bills, and instantly your day is brighter. It brings the knowledge that someone cares enough about you to take the time to pick out and mail a special message to you. Whether it’s a birthday, anniversary or the annual holiday card, it is sure to bring a smile to your face. E-mail would be difficult to create the same emotional response.

The birthday card with it’s tradition of sentiment and goodwill can lift your employee’s morale just knowing you cared enough to remember. The sincerity and comfort of a sympathy card can express feelings you may have difficulty expressing verbally. An annual holiday greeting card sent to family and friends allows you to keep in touch and reminds everyone that you are thinking of them.

A greeting card expresses all the human emotions, joy, thanks, sympathy, humor, love and admiration. It allows us to connect on an emotional level with the people who have touched our lives. Sending personalized greeting cards allows us a vast variety of sentiments that allow us to express our caring to family, friends, customers, clients and employees.

Select a card that has nothing on the inside, and take a few moments to express your thoughts …”Just thought we’d send a quick note to say we love you and wish you the best on your birthday:)….love Mom and Dad”. The person receiving the card will appreciate it that much more!

So the next time you are debating shooting off a quick e-mail or sending an actual greeting card, you may want to ask yourself which one conveys the kind of message you wish to send.

Posted in #tropic #skincare # natural #kindtoskin #beauty # madeintheuk, bridal make up, British gifts, gifts, gifts for her, independent retail, organic, radiant skin, skin food

Review of Tropic self tan

Twenty Second Tan – With Tropic Skincare


Cue everyone swarming to beer gardens, wearing strappy tops and flip flops. When spring finally arrives in the UK, we embrace it like a long lost relative – grateful that Uncle Winter has gone for another year. For me that means one thing – it’s time for the tan to come out. I naturally don’t tan, I burn. Which is really annoying, so I have to rely on the fake-it-til-you-make-it method and use some form of fake tan. I’ve tried so many over the years, literally hundreds and some have been pretty good. But what I’ve never, and I mean never found, is a good facial tan. Multiple times last year I tweeted asking for good ones to try and each time I found moderate or badly performing versions. I usually just use a standard fake tan on my face, but it’s so bad for the skin and wears off unevenly with the use of daily skincare. I really thought there was no wonder product out there to help give me a tan on my face…

So when I first tried the Tropic Skincare Sun Drops, I was hoping for big things but prepared for anything. I can tell you from the get-go, these drops are by far the best facial tan product I’ve ever used. Bar none.

I recently started using mine with the Tropic Skincare Skin Revive Nourishing Skin Concentrate. I apply two pups of the concentrate and mix in the drops of facial tan, then apply all over my face and neck. I tend to stick to about 4 drops of the gradual tanner because I find that this gives the best, even colouring for me. (I’m uber pale!) Once I’ve mixed and massaged into my skin I leave it to settle while I dry my hair or what-not and then apply my daily make-up and think nothing more of it. Over the day I will notice that my skin gradually develops in colour – even after just one use. And After 2-3 days I’ll usually have the right colour of tan for me. That’s how quickly it works. Once I’ve reached this colour, I then only apply the tan once every few days as a maintenance application. Provided I exfoliate thoroughly once a week then I find I don’t get noticeable wearing either. So there’s none of the patchy giraffe looking tan after a while either – praise the tan gods!

Because you mix the tan drops with either a moisturiser or something similar to the lovely Nourishing Skin Concentrate, you can see where it’s applied, because the drops will turn the product mixture brown. I find this makes it so easy and quick for me to apply. A quick rub all over the face, neck and chest and I’m good to go. Twenty seconds max. So it’s great for those of us with busy lives.

The magic behind the Sun Drops is that they contain plant allo-melanin, which basically helps to mimic the colour of skin. Because like all of Tropic Skincare products, they’re naturally derived. So pretty much everyone can use and enjoy their products, regardless of what your stance is on beauty products. It’s always nice to find brands that create things that work for everyone and actually provide great results.

I can’t recommend the Sun Drops highly enough. I’ve been looking for a facial tan that doesn’t streak, and will last through my daily skincare regime. Most I’ve tried disappear after my evening routine because I’m quite thorough with my skincare. But these Sun Drops last and endure the process, and the gentle nature of them means they don’t encourage breakouts either – which is another common trait with facial tan products. This one is durable, gentle and easy to use. It gives full control over the colour because once you’re there, just tone down the usage to maintain it. Plus it’s only £22, which for a product that actually works, is worth every penny.

I happen to absolutely love the Skin Revive Nourishing Concentrate too, I’ve found it really nourishes my skin and works to create more of a radiant glow, which combined with my tan has made my face look really healthy: like I’ve caught the sun and my skin is happy. It mimics a natural looking tan and I can’t tell you how happy I am to FINALLY have a facial tan that works for me.

Twenty Second Tan – With Tropic Skincare

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Review of tropic skin care

This is a review I discovered on the temporary secretary. Com

An Introduction To Tropic Skincare

APRIL 22, 2017

Tropic Skincare is a brand that I’ve been very excited to tell you about. I’ve built a small (but precious!) collection of products since the back end of last year that have definitely made my skin look healthier. It’s another fantastic skincare brand that I discovered as of late and they really deserve all the love and hype they’re receiving at the moment. It’s no wonder that Tropic Skincare is the fastest growing beauty brand in the UK. 

An Introduction To Tropic Skincare

An Introduction To Tropic Skincare

There is a bit of a cult following, I’ve noticed that people who already use Tropic Skincare are true advocates for the brand and it’s down to how effective the products are. It’s an exciting vegan-friendly beauty brand that develops their formula using naturally derived ingredients is founded by Susan Ma, a candidate from The Apprentice in 2010-11 and I remember rooting for Susan that year purely for the fact that she is Chinese! 

An Introduction To Tropic Skincare

They’re an honest, transparent brand much like Soaper Duper, a beauty brand that I recently blogged about. I think brands are starting to take responsibility in showing us exactly what they ingredients are and make their customers aware of what they’re actually using. The packaging the industry standard INCI (the list of ‘scientific’ terms for the ingredients), but you will find these ingredients translated to pure English. For example, it will show Aqua translated as Water and Persea Gratissima Oil as Avocado Oil. Very useful, as I’m sure you will agree!To introduce the brand on my blog, I’ve picked my favourites from my modest Tropic Skincare collection, the four products that have been in my skincare routine since Winter.

Tropic Skincare Smoothing Cleanser

Tropic Skincare Smoothing Cleanser, £16.00

I’ve emphasised on my blog how much I love cream cleansers for removing make-up and daily grime (ewww) and this hasn’t disappointed me. It’s creamier than Liz Earle’s Hot Cloth Cleanser (my benchmark cream cleanser) and smells nicer too. It comes with a 100% organic and sustainable bamboo cloth which feels soooo soft. The cleanser features eucalyptus, golden jojoba oil, and avocado oil which means it’s uplifting, refreshing and softening.

Tropic Skincare Face Lift Brightening Tightening Mask

Tropic Skincare Face Lift Brightening Tightening Mask, £16.00

When they said this is a tightening mask, they weren’t kidding. This actually feels like a face lift. I mean, I’ve not had a face lift but I imagine this is what it would feel like. Out of the other facial masks that it in their range, I’d say that this one is created for skin that shows signs of ageing; sagging skin, fine lines, dull complexion.The clay based Face Lift Brightening Tightening Mask does exactly that. It brightens, firms, and gives a boost of hydration which is helped by the agave nectar, turmeric, and seabuckthorn extracts. 

Tropic Skincare Super Greens Nutrient Boost Serum

Tropic Skincare Super Greens Nutrient Boost Serum, £42.00

This was the first ever product I used from Tropic Skincare, an impressive high-in-nutrient oil based serum that gives your skin a boost of the good stuff. And that would be Chlorophyll, kale, maca root extracts, vitamins, green coffee and tamanu oils. The serum protects your skin, boost it’s natural defences, and help to repair skin. You only need 3 or 4 drops of it, dispense on to palms and massage on your face for one minute to get the full effects. I particularly love how green the substance is, it’s a beautiful emerald colour. I’ve surprised myself at how much I like the smell as well – it’s difficult to describe and it’s not for everyone, but it has a mix between leafy greens and coffee beans.

Tropic Skincare Good Skin Day Resurfacing Serum

Tropic Skincare Good Skin Day Resurfacing Serum, £42.00

This serum contains glycolic acid, hyaluronic acid and AHA fruit complexes which are ingredients that resurfaces the top layer of your skin. Like any liquid exfoliant, please make sure you wear SPF for at least a week afterwards, as your skin will be more sensitive to the sun. Good Skin Day Resurfacing Serum also includes lime pearl extract and papaya enzymes to smooth skin and tighten pores. I haven’t experience any tingling or discomfort but a slightly tingling is to be expected and it is a normal sensation. It has a lovely fruity, sweet fragrance like mango… or most likely papaya! It is best to use this serum at night, and the Super Green in the morning before moisturiser

Posted in #tropic #skincare # natural #kindtoskin #beauty # madeintheuk, award winning skin care, British gifts, Christmas, Christmas gift ideas, gifts, gifts for her, gifts for him, independent retail, skincare, small businesses, Uncategorized

Review of Tropic body scrub

The divine body scrub taken from little

Review: The Scrub Treatment with Tropic Body Smooth Refreshing Polish

June 28, 2018 33 Comments

Tropic Skincare is fast becoming a much-loved brand for me. They’re one of my favourite brand discoveries of 2018 thus far and everything I’ve tried, I’ve love. Spoiler, this blog post featuring their Body Smooth Refreshing Polish is no exception. With the imminent arrival of (hopefully) warmer climes and dare I say it, the sun, we turn to our lighter and more summery wardrobe options. The cooler months combined with covering ourselves up can be detrimental to our skin as we might be prone to slacking in the personal care department. I’m most definitely guilty of this and I often find myself repeatedly saying that tomorrow will do.

After demonstrating that I excel in procrastination its time to break the lazy girl habit and really look after my skin. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of freshly exfoliated skin, lathered in moisturiser to rival that of a babies, oh so soft skin! With the added incentive of summer and a holiday coming there’s never been a better time to motivate me! I’m just gonna be real with you here, I don’t know about you but if I don’t look after my skin, especially on my thighs they end up looking like they’re made of playdough with a million finger prints poked in. I paint a pretty picture don’t I. So yeah, that’s not ideal really so it’s time to sort myself out.

My first point of attack is to vigorously Body brush before each bath or shower, that way it really helps to lift and brush away any dead skin cells before I go in with my exfoliator. My scrub of choice at the moment is the Tropic Skincare Body Smooth Refreshing Polish* and what a delight it is. What I love most and makes it unique is that you apply the polish directly onto DRY skin. Yep, that’s right, completely dry skin. Initially I wasn’t sure how I felt about this with it being a new technique but I went with it.

The polish itself is enriched in vitamin e, invigorating essential oils, mineral rich sea salts and pure, exotic plant extracts. I feel that it is because of these oils and ingredients that it feels gentle on the skin while leaving it feeling nourished and hydrated. At first I expected it to feel more abrasive given the deficit of water, but I was pleasantly surprised, and if I’m completely honest it felt more gentle than some of my usual scrubs I use on wet skin!

I tend to use this before a bath or shower by gently massaging it into dry skin, paying more attention to rough and problem areas. As I rinse away all of the exfoliating salts within the body polish I then massage the remaining oils into my skin to leave it nourished any hydrated. My skin hasn’t looked and felt so good in a long time, I’m not sure whether it’s using it dry that makes the difference or whether its down to all of the essential oils. Whatever it is I absolutely love it and I can say with absolute certainty that I will be repurchasing once I reach the bottom of the jar.

If you’re in the market for a new exfoliator I honestly cannot recommend this one enough. Not only that it is also cruelty free and vegan so it is suited to everyone, not to mention it smells divine! Another huge thumbs up from me is that is comes with a little wooden spatula to scoop out the product! I hate getting exfoliator stuck under my fingernails and usually I can’t avoid it, this little spatula makes me soooo happy!