SHOP INDIE THIS CHRISTMAS //

A blog post... for the first since MARCH? A Christmas miracle.

It's Just A Card week this week, which is a campaign that aims to push the message that purchasing just one card (at least) from a small business is a great way to support independent artists/creators/business owners. I've done all my Christmas shopping and have come across some incredible small businesses in the process, so what better time to share some of my top finds?


Image from Pixabay



Fashion

SOH Vintage

Hawa's incredible curated selection of vintage jewellery is something to behold. I dare you to not want to wear everything you see! There are so many wonderful pieces to choose from on the Etsy shop and if you love looking at beautiful things, go follow SOH Vintage on Instagram too.


Jungle Club Clothing

Lots of bold and bright prints from Helen, an independent designer with a lot of creativity. There's everything from chunky jumpers to neon festival attire and the Instagram feed is a dream. I'm absolutely obsessed with looking at the silky celestial set right now.


Sacred Hawk Clothing

Over on Depop you'll find lots of second-hand sellers but the amazing (and badass) vintage finds by Bex are second to none. I always stop scrolling to check out the latest, cool grunge pieces. This is the ideal way to find a unique clothing gift whilst also keeping it sustainable.



Books

Big Green Bookshop

So if you don't already follow Simon on Twitter then you absolutely should. #BuyAStrangerABook happens every Wednesday and it's always great to see so many people buying books for others. Not only is this a GREAT idea but it helps keep an indie bookshop going strong. Drop him a tweet or send an email to the address found on their website.


Hive

If you can't shop at a local bookshop or use Big Green Bookshop, a great online alternative to Amazon is Hive. They offer a huge selection of titles and every time you buy, some of your money will go towards local booksellers around the country - and you can pick which one!



Homeware

Wild One Interiors

This is a recent find thanks to Instagram and it is absolutely a bit of me. I love an eclectic home and this shop is full of wondrous and weird items that would make a statement gift this Christmas. Personal favourites are the Queen Leopard Print Shell Chair and all the quirky plant pots!


Mean Old Scene

Another shop I came across on Instagram, vintage store Mean Old Scene have some really fun second-hand items. Although I've popped them in this category, they offer so much more than furniture and homeware. Based in Bradford, they've moved their stock online so you can still shop clothes and more until lockdown is lifted. This website and the colour scheme is also very pleasing.


KLNDRA

Jesmonite homeware including coasters, trinket dishes and even seasonal snowflakes! Kalandra's eye for a pretty colour palette mean these sets would make a beautiful Christmas or housewarming present. I have a handy tray in my bathroom for kirby grips and I absolutely love the finish. It's also sent in a wonderfully wrapped package, so you could even send straight to your recipient!


Siren Store

For goodness sake, I'm not doing myself any favours by sharing these gals because it's a battle to get their beautiful candles as it is! The selection of body-shaped candles is incredible and I've had my eye on the small, white Aphrodite for a while. Vegan and plastic-free, these would make such a lovely gift. They have product drops every two weeks up until the Christmas deadline so you'll need to act fast to get yourself an item!


Bloom and Boogie

DISCO BALL PLANTERS. That's everything that needs to be said here - go take a look and immediately add them to your wishlist or your cart.



Miscellaneous Gifts

Chirpy

Local to me in Leeds (just round the corner, in fact) Chirpy is a gorgeous indie store full of trinkets and treasure. As with a lot of small biz sellers this year, Jo is offering an online click and collect service so you can grab your presents even before their doors reopen and there's everything you could possibly want to gift a friend or family member. They also offer delivery if you want to purchase from further afield.


Sighh

Stationary queen Polly has created a huge variety of pads, notebooks, stickers and MORE for you to choose from. There's also a new range of mirror decals which would make a quirky, motivational gift for a pal.



I hope this acts as inspiration for present-buying this year if you haven't yet started! It's not always possible to find or afford gifts from independent sellers but if you can, it makes a huge difference to the individuals who create and design wonderful items all year round. Check out Just A Card to read more about their message and shopping with small businesses.


leanne

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GUIDE TO FOOD AND DRINK IN AMSTERDAM //


Bakers & Roasters


There are a couple of these cafes in Amsterdam and it’s a firm favourite of my best friend, so we headed here for brunch. Lovely atmosphere, a really varied menu and great value. It’s safe to say the Huevos Rancheros is a tried and tested hangover cure for me, I absolutely loved the spice and it was super tasty.

There's indoor and outdoor seating, making it a prime spot for lunch in the summer.


Coffee & Coconuts


If you’re after a great brunch spot with a side of Instagram aesthetic, this is your place. It’s very bohemian; think a mixture of plants, rustic wood vibes, nautical rope accessories and lots of cosy seating across three floors.

I’ve returned here a couple of times for the coffee because it’s so good, and a standard is a double shot which is absolutely necessary after an Amsterdam night out. There's an extensive drinks menu (coffee and otherwise) plus great breakfast/brunch options.



Now this is everything I would hope for in a video game bar. It has everything from air hockey tables to Streetfighter to dance mat machines, and you can enjoy it all with a pitcher of beer.

It's always a good atmosphere and is situated in Amsterdam Centrum, making it super easy to get to from wherever you might be staying. Just grab a drink and some tokens from the bar and you can play until your heart's content. They don't offer food themselves but they do have a menu from the two takeaway food places on either side of them for you to order from - genius!


Ping Pong Parck


A cool, hip table tennis bar situated near Vondelpark.  It has a great vibe, lovely aesthetic and also serves an entirely vegan menu. We didn't get chance to try the food but there's plenty to choose from.

We headed there mid-afternoon and had the table to ourselves for ages, so it's an ideal place for a group to relax, grab some food and have some friendly competition.


The Queen's Head


What. A. Night.

By far the best night I’ve had in Amsterdam (and to be honest, we’ve had some great ones) This place has great music, good vibes and drag shows all rolled into a tiny pub. It's definitely a place for a couple or small group to visit due to the size but you're bound to make friends when you get there.


I hope this is somewhat useful to you if you're heading to Amsterdam. It's the city I've visited most outside of the UK and I absolutely love it, particularly for the quaint and quirky food spots. Let me know on Twitter or Instagram if you head to any of these places!



leanne

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2019 REFLECTION //


There's been a huge transition period for me between this year and the last and now I feel like everything is coming together. As I'm in such a positive place, I wanted to finally reflect on 2019 with a lot of comfort, happiness and the knowledge of how I want to continue things this year. Many of these reflections link back to my resolutions post (which you can read here) and I'm so ready to smash further goals in 2020.

Design Strikes (AD)


I did it! I finally opened a design shop on Etsy and have sold nearly 200 hand-illustrated cards. Honestly could not be happier with where it is at the moment and I'm loving the process. People in my 'real life' circle have been incredibly supportive and I've found something that I absolutely love, that also happens to tie in with my full-time job.

Check out my Etsy shop or follow the Design Strikes Instagram page.

Design Competition


Another huge moment for me was entering and consequently, winning a design competition. My illustration of the Ribbon Tower at Glastonbury was combined with a poem by another entrant and sold by Festival Postcards at this year's festival. It was absolutely a year (and life?!) highlight for me, seeing my design at my favourite place in the world.

We went to see the stand and whilst we were getting giddy about seeing it in reality and my name in print, a girl overheard and said she'd just bought one, loved it and was excited to send it home to her family. That was SO incredible and bizarre to hear! Although a very exciting personal achievement, it made it all the more lovely that Festival Postcards send 10% of the profits of the cards to Amnesty International. The card is still available to buy online here.

Fitness


I took part in a aerial photoshoot which was one of the goals I wanted to tick off my fitness resolutions last year. The end images were great and I'm really glad I invested both the time and money into doing something just for me involving my favourite hobby.

This year, I'm going one step further and have booked myself on to a three-day aerial convention. I'm so excited to continue improving, building friendships with other aerialists and getting stronger.

Another goal of mine was to complete a half marathon which amazingly, I did! I ran the Leeds Half in 2:12:44 which I am so proud of. I also completed another TRIB3 Steel Week (seven HIIT workouts in seven days) and although it's always trickier than I expect, I managed to span it across five days and felt much better at the end than I did last time!

Money


I've made some huge decisions this year regarding my personal life, which has led to me living back with my parents for the past few months. It's certainly not a situation I had planned, however, the positive of this is being able to save much more money than I would have otherwise including a chunk of money for a house deposit.

This year is the year of paying off credit cards (very, very soon I hope) and being even more money-savvy, thanks to working full time - for the first time in over a year - and the sheer power of manifestation. The events of 2019 have made me so hugely grateful for having such fantastic family and friends who support me, both in the form of accommodation and positive vibes!

Oh, and I've got BIG LIFE PLANS for the coming months.



Hope the first month of 2020 has treated you well so far and you're well on your way to achieving your own new year goals.


leanne

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