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Sarah Moore The Micro Cheesemonger

Introducing Sarah Moore, chef turned cheesemonger. If you're a cheese fan have a listen to what's in her favourite cheese box of goodies, perfect for Christmas - and these boxes are exclusive to Gifted Local! Continue reading



Half-term is coming and many of us are busy planning how we’re going to keep our small people occupied. As parents, we know how hard it is to find exciting activities for kids to do mid-pandemic. The thought of spending endless hours in the playground with nothing but the freezing cold to keep us company, spurred us on to search for more COVID-friendly inspirational ideas! We turned to our sellers to get their best indoor and local outdoor half-term tips and thought we’d share the love and help make your half-term (and theirs) a little more bearable!


1. Geocaching

If the idea of a story walk fills you with horror try Geocaching. Download the free app and off you go. If you haven’t heard of geocaching before it is essentially a treasure hunt. The app tells you where the geocache (treasure) is and you hunt it down. Most of the time the geocache is a record of who had found it which you add your name to. A word of experience: go for ones which have been put there fairly recently. Old geocaches are often not there which is very disappointing.

Thanks to: Elizabeth Smallman, from Mountain & Molehill

2.  A Day Out at Lee Valley Regional Park

Lee Valley Regional Park is the ideal place for those fun and exciting days out with the kids. Whether it’s exploring the great outdoors and the beautiful nature reserves, bird watching in the Tottenham Marshes, white water rafting at Lee Valley White Water Centre or going horse riding, there’s something to keep the whole family happy.

Thanks to: Maurya Brady, from Tamakurya Boutique 

3. Make A Walk Your Own Adventure

For small people there's a chance to liven up a ‘boring’ walk with a bit of storytelling. This is usually a naughty troll, goblin or witch who needs to be brought to justice. Trees turn into magic enchanters and mushrooms must never be touched in case of spells. Abney Park Cemetery is a good place for adventure walks and there’s a piece of cake and a hot cup of tea as a reward at the end of it!

Thanks to: Elizabeth Smallman, from Mountain & Molehill

4. Hire bikes and take a ride around Lordship Recreation Ground

Lordship recreation has a bike and skateboard park as well as a dirt track, a brilliant place to for the kids to learn to ride their bikes. Take your own or hire them at the Rockstone Cycling Hub (Tel: 0208 808 0203)

Thanks to: Sophia Butler, from Sugar Tea Room

5. Hang Out in Highgate Woods

We would very happily spend a whole day in Highgate Wood. There are great walks in the forest and an opportunity to run your own Forest School style activities such as a leaf treasure hunt or a game of noughts and crosses with sticks and leaves. You can also make your own swing and hang it from one of the sturdier trees, which provides hours of entertainment!

Thanks to: Maurya Brady from Tamakurya Boutique

6. Spend the Day at Alexandra Palace

The iconic Alexandra Palace has everything you and the kids need for a fun family day out. There’s lots to do for kids of all ages, plus the chance to enjoy one of the best panoramic views of London. On offer is Go Ape, the outdoor adventure course where older children can take on the High Ropes or the Tree Top Adventure. The boating lake is a great place to feed the ducks or hire a boat including pedalos or classic rowing boats or you can try out the Pitch and Putt course and put your golfing skills to the test. If none of that takes your fancy, head over to the playground or simply explore the 196 acres of incredible outdoor space.

Thanks to: Sophia Butler, from Sugar Tea Room


1. Put on a Performance

Rainy Days make it difficult to find something to do with the kids and there’s nothing wrong with reaching for the remote, but if you’re looking for an activity why not put on your own play? You can write, illustrate and then act it out and make your own musical instruments out of recycled materials.

Thanks to: Maurya Brady, Tamakurya Boutique 

2. Mud and Bloom Subscription Box

For rainy days, try the Mud and Bloom subscription box which brings the outside inside with loads of good crafty activity ideas.  The best thing is that it is very eco-friendly so once you tire of your masterpiece it has little impact on the environment.

Thanks to: Elizabeth Smallman, from Mountain & Molehill

3. Arts and Crafts

Sometimes you just need a few basic art and crafty ideas to fill an hour or two. Some of these ideas include fruit and vegetable stamping, turning a cardboard box into a rocket ship, rock painting and lots (and lots) of origami!

Thanks to: Elizabeth Smallman, from Mountain & Molehill

4. Massive Maps

Drawing huge paper murals on rolls of paper always goes down well. You can try drawing a map of where live and making up symbols for different amenities. With Halloween around the corner much fun can be had by making your map more spooky or adding a leaf ghost for a scary scene.

Thanks to: Elizabeth Smallman, from Mountain & Molehill

5. Pumpkin Picture Hunting

Trick or Treating is probably off the menu this year thanks to Covid-19, but it would be nice to try and re-create some of the magic. Try and recruit a couple of streets in your local community to take part in a Pumpkin Picture Hunt. In the same way kids drew rainbows for the NHS and put them in their window, get them to draw pictures of Pumpkins throughout the half-term and put them in your window in time for the 31st. Children can then take to the streets and go on a Pumpkin Picture Hunt. Every pumpkin spotted is rewarded with a sweetie (from the parents of course!)

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How To Curate an Art Gallery Wall

How To Curate an Art Gallery Wall
Guest written by Emily Unsworth

Hi everyone, I'm Emily, Founder of Hello Chicken. My background is in fashion merchandising and I’m mum to three beautifully unique and wonderful little chickens, Fred, Georgia & Frank! The idea for Hello Chicken came about after being fed up with the pink for girls and blue for boys approach in shops, so I set up Hello Chicken and created my own unisex kids clothing. 
Emily Unsworth  Hello Chicken
3 kids jumpers navy with patterns

I’ve been a seller on Gifted Local since it launched a year ago and it’s been a great way for me to reach a new local customer base. I joined because I love its ethos of supporting local businesses and the community and helping people to shop in a more sustainable and green way from the comfort of your own home.

Being part of Gifted Local has also allowed me to indulge in my other passion - home interiors. I don’t just sell on Gifted Local, I buy! I have found many local talented artists to add to my constantly growing collection of art and prints.

We live in Tottenham and spent two years renovating our Edwardian terrace. We had a lot of fun with our house, mixing original features with new modern twists. We love to experiment with colour and have created lots of gallery style feature walls in all parts of our house.

We LOVE  gallery walls! We have pictures, art and prints all over our house and they are a constant talking point for visitors because people are drawn to look at what’s included, or try and spot a theme or even themselves! (guests have spent a long time in our downstairs toilet trying to see if they are included).

A gallery wall makes content pop far more than just having individual pictures, so here are my top tips for curating one:


1. There are no rules!

A gallery wall is your personal and eclectic mix of whatever you love. That may be a selection of black and white photos or prints, all the same size, in black frames and uniformly displayed OR a mix of photos, prints, mirrors, objects (I have a welsh love spoon!) all varying in size in a mixture of frames and more randomly displayed.
landing hallway with lots of  pictures on wall

2. Pick your Space

A gallery wall doesn’t have to cover a whole space, sometimes less is more.  For instance, there are some areas in my house where there are just a few pictures grouped together like the corner of my living room or in my loft. In other spaces I fill the whole wall such as, my hallway, my kids’ bedrooms, or my downstairs toilet!  

The below picture shows two of the lovely prints I've bought off Gifted Local, the Ceropegia Woodii print is now sold out but there are other About Face Illustration Prints still available on the site.  The Peony Print by MANNWEAR is still available!
landing in a house with  green walls and an small curated art gallery wall

3. Work Out Your Layout First

Have a go at laying out your pictures and art on the floor before you mount them on the wall. This will give you a good idea of how it will look before you mount and an opportunity to move things around and play around with the layout, the gap between pictures and mix up the frames, or add other pieces of interest like mirrors.

4. Fixtures and Fittings

Think about how you are going to fix everything to the wall! I tend to use a mixture of good old hammer and nails and then command strips for smaller pictures. Use a tape measure and a spirit level to get everything in the right place. Picture ledges are also a great way to display art.

A cheaper way to create a brilliant final masterpiece is to simply use washi tape - this method looks fab in kid’s rooms or bright spaces as you can use a mix of lovely patterns.

5. Enjoy!

Finally enjoy! Remember there are no rules. As long as you love what you want to display the end result will be fab!

Check out Gifted Local affordable art selection, all created by artists & illustrators in the North London area or click on 'art' at the top of  the menu on the Gifted Local homepage to explore by theme or colour.

Charlotte Hogg Design
 has a 20% off discount on all her art work as she's leaving Crouch End for the  countryside 
charlotte  hogg gallery  wall

If you need more help! We have the talented Audrey Whelan interior designer who offers work shops (currently held online) for any locals who need help getting their home just right.


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Productivity in Covid

Productivity in Covid

As many of us are working from home for the foreseeable future, the novelty is starting to wear off. And it’s no surprise that many of us have struggled with our productivity levels, juggling work with home schooling, house chores and all the other bits and pieces that come with your average global pandemic.

As kids return to school and we tiptoe back to some kind of normal, there’s an opportunity to re-focus on work and re-claim some of those lost hours (and brain cells) thanks to Covid. To help us all find ways to increase our productivity, we’ve asked some of our sellers, who are pros at working from home, for their best tips!  

1. Create a Dedicated Workspace

Many of our creative makers have a dedicated work space, whether that’s a room which has been converted into a studio space or the dining room table. Without it, it’s easy to get distracted and lose track of what you have been working on. Aimee Spillman from Woodle Books says having a dedicated room “means that this room is work and the rest of my house is my home” and Rosha Nutt explains “having this space means I can move between work and family life quickly, and when I do get some downtime from the children I can easily pick up from where I left off.”

Anita Mangan home office

Anita Mangan's home office

But if you’re looking for a bit of social interaction and a change of scene, the odd trip to a local coffee shop to check and answer emails can also be useful. Karen Evans owner of Gem Lettuce will often move to a coffee shop to handle the more ‘admin’ based tasks of her job, from answering emails, photo-shopping images or updating her website.


Caffeinate N8 Crouch End

2. The Power of The List

Making Lists is a great Productivity Hack. They keep you on track with what you need to accomplish, give you tangible goals and a smug sense of satisfaction when you get to tick all your actions off at the end of the day! Many of our sellers have a dedicated notebook where they write all their to do lists, with some keeping a separate book for orders or Post It notes for creative ideas that spring to mind. Cecila Child, owner of ByCecil swears by a form of list making called Bullet Journaling by Ryder Carroll. Cecila says “As a working mum of two small children, it is the only way I can keep on top of things. I like that you can tweak the journal to your own changing needs.  If you google this method, don't let all the pretty layouts intimidate you. My version is purely functional; no pretty doodles for me. All you need is a nice book and a pen."

Woodle books notebook

Woodle Books, Persist notebook

3Exercise Increases Productivity (apparently!)

Former Vogue editor Anna Wintour used to hit the tennis court by 6:00 a.m. every morning before work. Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, also swore by starting his day with a morning run. These successful people know that exercise is shown to have a direct and positive impact on productivity. Exercise increases energy levels, brain function, sparks creativity and helps maintain a healthy work and life balance. And with Covid limiting our lifestyles and increasing our stress levels, it’s even more important to try and get out and get that heart pumping for health as well as productivity. Get dressed in your exercise gear to make it that much easier to go for that run.

Two of our sellers swim regularly at our local Crouch End pool, while Founder of The Cooper Family, Anita Mangan goes for a daily hour dog walk first thing; “it helps to differentiate getting out of bed to getting on with work… it’s almost like my personal commute to work. It also helps me clear my head and think about what I need to do that day.”

Our sellers also listen to podcasts and take lots of regular breaks - all key to increasing productivity.

woman kissing boxing gloves

 4. Identify your Peak Productivity 

Whether it’s morning or afternoon it’s important to know when you are at your most productive. Many of our sellers find they are at their best first thing in the morning (normally after a cup of coffee!) This is the time they crack through the more menial jobs or the ones they would rather not do like finances and admin!

They then reward themselves with the more creative tasks later in the afternoon.  Rosha Nutt says “I’d love to spend all my time painting and coming up with new ideas, but running my business is at least 70% admin. I’ve heard it said many times to tackle the less enjoyable stuff first. For me painting comes in the afternoon, as my reward for my earlier focus.” while Shiri Atsmon, Founder of Helpful Kids, has developed her very own reward system whereby she only does the jobs she loves (developing new ideas) after she's done the jobs she hates. 

llama mug by Anita Mangan

Anita Mangan llama mug

5. Manage and Maximise Your Time (however much you have!)

Working from home and maintaining productivity can be incredibly challenging. It’s an obvious statement, but not all of us have the same amount of time to devote to our work, so it’s all about using the time you do have to really focus.

Rosha Nutt says: “It’s important to create structure and boundaries around your work time, keeping to a timetable helps. This year has been a huge challenge. I’ve had to adjust my expectations and be grateful for small wins.” 

Cecilia Child also recommends carving your day up into sections to work out what you can do and when. She says: “When I first started working from home, I was getting frustrated with how little I was getting done. So I wrote a time bar for each day, breaking up my to-do list in each section of the day. And then, I wrote what I actually did next to it. I found that I was spending a third of my day on housework and I was massively overestimating what I could get done in a day"

woman on laptop next to some laundry

6. Banish those Avoidable Distractions

Working from home can often mean you get easily distracted. There’s always a wash to do, the dishwasher to empty, or even, the sofa, with a duvet and back to back episodes of Netflix’s Selling Sunset. So don’t set yourself up for failure by giving into these avoidable distractions. Know them, be aware of them and set yourself strict boundaries so you don’t end up spending those precious productive hours focusing on anything but your own business. 

Shiri Atsom says “9-12am, my brain power hours are sacred and dedicated to work. Therefore there is very little chance I'll allow myself any personal errand. I try to leave errands and housework when the kids are home. This allows me to involve them in the work even if it's only for 10 or 15 minutes.  My biggest distraction is my phone. When I used to work in an office it would be embarrassing to constantly look at it but here I have no one to keep me in check but myself!”


Finally, our sellers have also shared some tips about maximising productivity at home:

Shiri Atsmon, Helpful Kids 

Schedule to do 20 minutes of housework alongside your kids when they are back from school rather than when they are out of the house, even if they are young and playing "pretend" alongside you. Think about the best time to do this, for example, not after screen time. 

Try to divide your day by blocks for both the time you have with or without the kids, these can be "brain power work" "simpler work" "out of home errands" "in-home errands" "housework with kids" "housework without kids" screen time, outdoor play, activities etc. Write these on pieces of paper and try to build a schedule that makes the best of your own tendencies and preferences. You don't have to put hours to the schedule, as long as you follow the order you will already be utilising your day in a more productive way.

Anita Mangan, The Cooper Family

My first tip would be to very clearly distinguish between work and home, ie start and finish at an agreed time, otherwise there’s a danger of it infiltrating home time. It helps to have a door you can close - to leave work, but if not, have a metaphorical door!

My second would be to not look at emails/phone calls out of hours. It might help to put a line on your email to say what work hours are so that people don’t contact you outside of them.

Karen Evans, Gem Lettuce Jewellery

Firstly, build yourself a little community of like-minded friends, in 'real life, and online groups so that you have a good support network and can work on projects together and also seek advice.

Secondly podcasts! I am addicted and really just love listening to my faves while I get on with my work, I love Fearne Cotton's 'Happy Place' and Holly Tucker's 'Conversations of Inspiration'.

Rosha Nutt, Rosha Nutt Pop Art Flowers

Plan your time. Timetable like you’re back at school and keep your expectations achievable. Lots of small things add up over time.

Cecilia Child, ByCecil

The housework can wait. If you weren't working from home, it wouldn't get done so leave it.

Enjoy the flexibility. Take the day off when you need to. Meet a friend for coffee if you can. Go to the cinema in the middle of the day. I don't like crowds so visiting places midweek can feel like a real luxury. 

Aimee Spillman, Woodle Books

Do what works for you, there are lots of people giving advice and saying what’s meant to work but that doesn’t always fit with your work pattern. Don’t stress too much, get work done when and where you can, enjoy being at home and all of the home comforts that brings with it.

One thing I would say though, try and get dressed! That’s a big mental leap from being at home and being at home working. 


Check out our Gifted Local stationery for all your 'getting productive' needs.


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Why Hornsey Rocks – The Best Independent Hotspots

Why Hornsey Rocks – The Best Independent Hotspots

Written by Dominique Woolf, from The Woolf's Kitchen

Helen asked me to write a blog about my local area, Hornsey. We had planned to get this sent out in March but then Coronavirus hit and the world changed. As things are slowly returning to a new normal, and local businesses need our help more than ever, we thought this was the perfect time to put a spotlight on the local area of Hornsey. 

Crouch End’s little sister Hornsey has certainly come up in the world in the many years I’ve lived here. More of a residential area than its counterpart, Hornsey is a mere stone’s throw from the greenery of Ally Pally and the kiddie haven that is Priory Park, yet also has a high street that boasts pubs, restaurants, cafés, a yoga studio and even a post office! As much as I enjoy a pootle around ‘Town’ (as I like to call Crouch End these days), I often don’t need to with such rich pickings on my doorstep. 

Harmless Store

Previously based in Wood Green, and now situated minutes from Hornsey Train Station, Harmless is not your average shop. With a strong mission at its core, this vegan, zero-plastic store already has a large following of loyal supporters. Come and refill your shampoos and washing liquids, as well as stock up on a whole range of other ethically sourced household products and foods.

Currently offering a brilliant click & collect service via the Harmless Store website.

 Harmless Store

Photo credit: David Mirzoeff

79 Tottenham Lane, Hornsey, London, N8 9BE; 07377322426

Visit Harmless Store website

Middle Lane Market

A fantastic recent addition to Hornsey, this little deli is a foodie’s paradise. The owners are ex-La Fromagerie, so there is a sensational cheese counter, along with a whole host of other artisan goodies like cured meats, fresh kimchi, marcona almonds and chocolate. And of course they are stocking my hot sauces :)

Pre covid, they ran various events such as fermentation workshops, and it also doubles up as a café and wine bar.  Things have changed and they're still going strong. Now they're offering an online delivery & refill service (N8 minimum spend of £40 and free delivery / rest of London minimum spend of £80 and free delivery) as well as a click and collect service. If you're in a N8 resident and shielding, there is no minimum spend. Customers are now allowed in the shop Saturdays and Sundays. Keep an eye on their website for more updates.

Middle Lane Market

226 Middle Lane, London, N8 7LA, 020 8348 7598

Visit Middle Lane Market website 

Tomo Pizzeria

A real local’s local, this family run pizzeria serves arguably one of the best pizzas in town, as well as a host of other tasty Italian dishes. Often booked up later in the week, its bustling but cosy atmosphere makes it one of my favourites.

They are taking the following additional steps to ensure they keep everyone as safe as possible: sanitising every table, all door handles, card machines, drinks making equipment, all surfaces touched by customers & staff. It goes without saying that they are constantly washing their hands. 

They are taking the following additional steps to ensure they keep everyone as safe as possible: sanitising all surfaces, all door handles, card machines, drinks making equipment, as well as regularly washing their hands.

Tomo pizzeria

88 Hornsey High Street, London N8 7NU, 020 8348 0099 

Visit Tomo's website

Intrepid Bakers

Located in the middle of Hornsey High Street, this café-come-bakery has a rather tantalising window display bursting with homemade cakes, pastries, breads and other delights. They also have a little garden out back with a covered play area for babies and toddlers – a complete find for parents who can relax, even for just a minute, while their kids entertain themselves.

Now offering grab & go, click & collect and deliveries, please check out their website for more information

Intrepid Bakers 

38 High Street, N8 7NX London, 020 8340 0787

Visit Intrepid Bakers website


If you love sushi, then you need to add Kimura to your black book. Predominantly a take-away (although it does have a couple of window seats), the quality is outstanding. It also sells a variety of Japanese groceries, sakes and pottery. I’ve been coming for years and e-commerce expert Anna Heneback also rates it highly.

Currently open for Telephone orders only from Tuesday - Sunday 12-5pm.

Kimura Hornsey sushi

167 Priory Road, London N8 8NB, 020 8340 4916

Visit Kimura UK website

Through The Woods

Very much a hidden gem, you’d be forgiven for walking past this British restaurant without blinking twice. Open just Thursday to Sunday evenings for one sitting, I had no idea it existed until I heard rumours. Word has clearly spread and with just 18 seats, you have to book well in advance. The plant focused tasting menu, with the addition of small amounts of high welfare meat, is driven by sustainability and quality ingredients. Vanessa Menendez-Covelo, a local acupuncturist, says the food is incredibly good and the service fantastic. Get me on that waiting list.

Currently offering a Feast for Two home delivery service every Saturday (if you order by 10am on Thursday via their website) with accompanying playlist and wine suggestions, with a limited sit in service on Saturdays as well.

Through The Woods

212 Middle Lane, London, N8 7LA

Visit Through The Woods website

Kiss the Koala

The newest kid on the block, Kiss the Koala, occupies the spot where Nati’s once was. They got the keys just as lockdown descended, but fortunately for us locals, have reopened with a drool-worthy brunch menu and stylish décor to match. Asian-influenced dishes like Korean chicken waffle, and buttermilk fried chicken bun with miso mayo and kimchi, sit alongside more usual brunch fayre such as eggs benedict - or more precisely, ‘ham hock benedict’ -and the good old English breakfast. Finish off with a homemade Kinder Bueno brownie (yes, really!) and you’re good to go. Welcome to Hornsey!

Kiss The Koala shop hornsey

163 Priory Rd, London N8 8NB, 0207 018 3680

Visit Kiss The Koala website 


Check out The Woolf Kitchen's sauces, currently stocked on Gifted Local.

Check out other Gifted Local best sellers or sign up to our newsletter for a 10% discount code for your first purchase.  


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Seller Spotlight: Morena Fiore | Kodes Accessories

Seller Spotlight: Morena Fiore | Kodes Accessories

Last year I visited Morena in her home to ask if she’d join the Gifted Local platform. It turns out she's pretty multi-talented and not only makes jewellery but is also a full time website designer and SEO expert (I ended up picking her brains quite a bit over the following few months as I was launching the site!). Here we discuss hair loss, lock down and the Queen.

Tell us about Kodes Accessories

Kodes are handcrafted bold geometric jewellery for the modern woman to empower her to express her personality. The brand is born from a need for affordable investment jewellery pieces, the perfect statement necklace that packs a punch, the item that you would wear at an interview, where you’re still dressing conservatively but you want to still express your creativity and personality.

Kodes Accessories necklace

Why did you start your business?

I have had Alopecia Universalis since I was 10, I was left with no control over my hair. Through the years I eventually made peace with my condition and I think I found in jewellery the way to express myself and my creativity. I then realised other women around me were using jewellery to do exactly the same, for different reasons.

I think my jewellery also represents a little rebellion inside me towards growing up in a society in South Italy where everyone strived to wear the same designer items. I learned that luxury can be an item which is handmade, with love and care, by a designer maker rather than a high street brand or a designer brand in a factory.

Kodes Accessories Black White necklace baby friendly

How do you feel when someone has bought one of your items?

To know that someone has bought one of my jewellery pieces to express their creativity and personality makes me so happy. I have started Kodes for the modern, independent woman, who likes to express herself and who likes to be bold and quirky and make a statement through jewellery. I believe we should all embrace our inner style and wear it every day. In terms of how a purchase helps me, this has been an interesting journey I'm on! I've been able to reinvest my profit into learning how to run a small business. From photography (both buying equipment and learning myself, to hiring a full team for model or lifestyle shoots), to branding and planning and marketing. It's an amazing opportunity to learn how to run a business without huge risks and further my skills.

How do you ensure your business is sustainable?

As Kodes utilises a lot of wood, acrylic and silicone as materials for the products, I offset this by planting trees all over the world with a company called Treedom.

For my packaging, I use paper and recycled packaging as much as possible.

What has been your proudest moment?

One of my proudest moments was when a customer had bought one of my necklaces to wear to meet The Queen in an official engagement!  To know that she used my bold jewellery to express her bold personality made me feel accomplished!

baby friendly silicone necklace

What’s the best & worst thing about running your own business?

The best thing is that I love learning lots of new skills but the worse…lack of time. I work full time in order to support my family and time is so limited when you have a little one, even when you have a super husband!

Where do you get most of your work done?

I work at home, but I have gone to Green Rooms in Wood Green to tame my costs spreadsheet couple of times. It's great to work in a creative and stylish place like Green Rooms, where the coffee and the food are also very good! 

How did you feel when Gifted Local contacted you to be part of the site?

I was very happy to be more part of my local community. Tottenham is changing every day and I'm proud to be part of this change, but I don't know many other fellow local artists and definitely want to get to know the community more. I like the idea of a central place where you can find all local artists near you and that they can hand deliver the items you buy, so you can shop locally and also save time! 

Where do you live, what do you love about it and what could be improved?

I have been in Tottenham for 6 years and we moved here because we could finally find a house we could afford of the size we were looking for and a lovely garden.

I love the transport connection. I didn't know how close I was to Central and East London until we started looking for a house to buy but I do wish there were more local cafes and gift shops.

How do you support your local community?

Now that I have a full-time job, my own business and I am also a mum, going to Central London to buy presents is not as easy. I've also learned by trading at different craft markets that you can get really thoughtful items handmade by talented artists. As I'm often at markets during the weekend, I take the opportunity to buy gifts for my friends and family there.

How did you find lockdown & what are you most looking forward to after lockdown has finished?

Lockdown has been interesting. I've had lots more time to create new products and spend time with my son. But I really miss my friends, eating out and just enjoying having a drink in a bar or a pub. I miss going to second hand and charity shops. We'll definitely be regulars of Cuffley Car Boot sale, which is now on every Sunday! I love hunting for retro items and car boot sales are the best places for them!

But most of all I miss my parents and my family back in Italy. I really would love to be able to go to see them, but I would not want to put them at risk at all. So we have to cross our fingers and hope a vaccine is coming soon. 

Where's the best place for coffee?

I love Craving Coffee near Seven Sisters tube station, but I wish there was a cafe with such good food, coffee and atmosphere closer to where I live.

What is your best postcode secret?

I love The Westbury N22, it's our local pub. The manager and all the staff are super friendly, including towards children and dogs and the food is superb! 

Finally, what is your Top Local Love

I love the pond in Lordship Recreation Ground. It's one of the most peaceful places I know.  There's a specific spot where I often go and just listen to the birds singing.

Lordship recreation ground
Photo credit: Yelena, Lordship Recreation Ground

Check out Morena's range of bold & impactful jewellery. 

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How To Avoid Amazon: A guide to buying gifts locally, sustainably, and ethically

How To Avoid Amazon: A guide to buying gifts locally, sustainably, and ethically

Written in collaboration with Ellie Beasley-Gould from The Greenish 

Ellie & I discovered each other via Linked In and, although we've never met, we've been chatting for a while over email and realised we have loads in common. We decided to join forces to give you some top tips about how buy gifts locally, sustainably and ethically. 

The Greenish


Ellie Besley-Gould is the editor at The Greenish and a fellow North Londoner. She set up the site after making a decision to be more sustainable and struggling to find a place online which brought together food, fashion and family life with a simple, greener viewpoint. While Amazon has rescued her from many a last minute dash in the past, Ellie has been trying to reduce the number of deliveries this year, so has spent a lot of time thinking about how to use more sustainable and yet achievable alternatives. 

Amazon is unbelievably convenient. There is no doubt.  We’ve all been stuck, a day before someone’s birthday having forgotten the big day and desperately trying to find a gift to deliver almost immediately. And who is always there? Amazon. 

However, it is a pretty high carbon way to shop. Amazon’s total carbon footprint in the 2019 fiscal year was around 50 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. If that doesn’t really mean anything to you (or us) it’s equivalent to something like 6 million homes energy use for a year or 11 million cars driven for a year - it’s also significantly higher than the carbon footprint of Wales. It’s a lot. 

It doesn’t take a scientist to guess that having single item packages delivered in oversize packaging to the door is going to be quite energy intensive. Which is why so many of us are starting to look for other ways to shop. 

Covid 19 has added a new dimension to this with people having no option but to use their local shops during lock down. This has increased a lot of people’s desire to support their local shops and businesses - a habit lots of us feel very keen to continue.

The real challenge is making alternatives convenient, and that takes a while! 

Here are some of our top tips:

  • Ellie: Plan Ahead: One of the ways I’ve managed to ensure gifts are more thoughtfully purchased is to look ahead at the beginning of each month at what we have coming up - birthdays, new babies, house moves and thank yous. Then I can pre-purchase even if it takes a little longer than my Prime account!!
  • Ellie: Get to Know Your Local Shops: I’ve been shopping on our local highstreet where possible and we have a couple of shops I can reliably count on for lovely gifts. By getting to know the shop owners I’ve discovered that they can send gifts for me if I purchase in store - which takes away the added burden of wrapping and posting
  • Ellie: Find Some Go-to Places Online: By having my set of usual places to shop (for me, Wearth London, Weaver Green, Gifted Local & Etsy are my most-used) I get to know how long they take to deliver, what the gift options are and the range of products they have (plus, all my card details are saved already which speeds things up at the checkout!)
  • Helen: I’ve recently discovered a great app called Swish For It which allows you to create lists and save items you may want to buy at a later date. This is perfect to save ideas for birthdays or Christmas that you’ve spotted locally and don’t want to forget about
  • Helen: Dare to be different! This is a big one. Personally I love to buy unique & bespoke gifts for people or items for my house that tell a story. So often on the high streets you see the same thing over and over again. Buying something with a story behind it has so much more meaning and that item will be more treasured.
  • Helen: Really think about the people who receive your money when you buy something locally compared to who gets your money when you hit ‘buy now’ on Amazon.


    For some inspiration, Ellie loves these products on Gifted Local:

    personalised rainbow pouch

    Personalised Rainbow Zip Pouches £14


    Coffee Mugs
     Set of 2 small coffee mugs £35


    Moon print
    Mountain at Dusk Linocut Print £40


    Alice bands

    Plaited Liberty Print Alice Band £20


    Polka dot vaseSmall cream polka dot vase £24

    Thanks for reading! Shop Gifted Local's Best Sellers






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      Seller Spotlight: Niccy Iseman | Type and Story

      Seller Spotlight: Niccy Iseman | Type and Story

      Written by Helen Robinson

      I first met Niccy, the award winning designer and the creative force behind Type & Story, when Gifted Local was just an idea and I was nervous to approach someone so well established (and already stocked in Paperchase!). I regularly spotted her designs on influencer walls and mantelpieces around the country so was very keen to get her on board. Luckily Niccy is a big fan of supporting local businesses and loved the concept of Gifted Local so agreed to be part of the site. Get to know Niccy by reading the interview below.

      Please tell us about Type & Story

      Quite simply, I create purposeful Paper Goods

      Kindness greeeting cards Type & Story

      Why did you start making what you make?

      I started Type and Story in June 2017 purely as a creative outlet as my new identity as a Mother. I have also always loved design so was very happy to be exploring and developing ranges in my evenings / spare time whatever the outcome, there was no real mission to the brand when I started out.

      Monogram print A by Type & StoryType & Story H Monogram print

      In what ways are you ensuring your products & packaging are ethically produced?

      I am mindful about production, its hugely important. All paper stocks I use are responsibly sourced and FSC accredited. My cello bags are made in the UK from film that has been accredited to ‘OK biobased’ and are fully biodegradable and compostable, breaking down to CO2 and H2O. If I am sending out to individual customers I don't package my products in plastic, I try to go ‘naked’ or use an eco sticker. I also reuse all packaging from our suppliers to package up my orders to send to our lovely stores and customers. 

      How do you feel when someone has brought something off you?

      I am elated when someone buys from me. I feel so strongly about keeping our high streets alive with individual designers and makers especially in the midst of this global pandemic.

      Home notebook by Type &  Story

      What has been your proudest moment?

      Being stocked by Paperchase and being showcased in the Stylist. Both equally dreamy moments.

      How did you feel when Gifted Local contacted you to be part of the site?

      Very honoured and very grateful to be a part of a caring community

      Work LIfe Balance Notebook Type & Story

      What are the best thing and worst things about running your own business?

      Being able to be the master of your own time and design things your way is definitely up there but the lack of a stable income and being able to plan my day as things crop up constantly is hard.

      Where do you get most of your work done?

      Before Covid 19 you would usually fine me in Planet Organic - Muswell Hill. When this is all over, I’ll be back there surrounded by nut bars and mugs of tea.

      Where do you live, what do you love about your area and what could be improved?

      I live in East Finchley. It’s very beautiful and a particular highlight for me is the Cherry Tree woods leading up to Muswell Hill. Who knew it was there!  I love the Parkland walk, I love La Dinette Café in Muswell Hill and Ally Pally for gigs, the garden centre and Little Dinosaurs.  East Finchley without question needs a more interesting high street although I am particularly enjoying Tony's Continental which does fab fresh fruit and veg and Campbell and Syme which does lovely coffee.

      How are you finding life during the Coronavirus lock down?

      Because most of my wholesale has slowly died down I am enjoying shifting my focus to sending directly to consumers.

      I have created a campaign called ‘cAIR MAIL’ which are is a luxury postcard which you can proudly gift to any of your loved ones with promises of what you will do when freedom is yours again! All the proceeds of this postcard will be donated to support the incredible charity SUFRA, a food bank and kitchen in NW London. The money will go to their Coronavirus Emergency Appeal. So the campaign is keeping me busy writing and posting! I have had also had some very interesting and very early conversations with a retailer who is looking to collaborate on some stationery so this could be a promising time for the brand – watch this space!

      How are you supporting your local community during lock down?

      I always shop local if I can so now I’m checking which local businesses are selling online, for example I buy gifts from other local sellers, cheese from the lovely cheese shop in Muswell Hill and I buy books from the local book shop - it is too easy to shop locally. These business need us now more than ever so if they sell online I try them before anywhere else!

      What are you most looking forward to doing when lock down ends?

      Scoot down to Planet Organic with my 4 year old, we taste some things and fill up the children trollies with items we don’t need (but buy anyway!), continue scooting to Little Dinosaurs (Ally Pally) and then catch the 102 home - its perfect. Sundays the farmers market in Ally pally is superb for breads and sweet treats!

      What is your best postcode secret?

      Cherry Tree Woods behind East Finchley Station. Best Yoga - The Yoga Quarter next to Holloway Road Station. Best Coffee place is La Peche Mignon in Highbury and best running route will always be the Parkland Walk!

      Finally, what is your Top Local Love

      My top Local love is the view from the Phoenix Bar and kitchen pub in Ally Pally. on a summers day looking out onto the city, its INCREDIBLE. I look forward to Covid-19 being over and drinking some wine in the sunshine with the world!

      Check out Niccy's products and sign up to our newsletter to get our new sellers, seller stories and discounts straight to your inbox.


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