Hello everyone, just a quick post today before all the Christmas celebrations begin!
It's been about five months since we upped sticks from the big smoke of London to settle back in leafy Leicester, and so far we are finding that the change in both location and pace is suiting us very well. We have our own place which we have now been in for over three months, and while I still have a long list of things I want to do to make it truly 'ours' it is feeling more and more like home these days. It's been a delight to catch up with friends and family that we didn't get to see as often as we would have liked when we lived in the big city, and while we dearly miss our friends in London we aren't feeling nostalgic about the noise, traffic or crowds! Chris is getting on really well with his course at University, and I'm finding it much easier to focus on my illustration career without the stress of trying to juggle it with a part-time job. Moving home has disrupted my productivity somewhat (since there is just SO much stuff to do!) but since we are now just about settled, I'm hopeful that I can produce a lot more work in 2013 to share with you.
When I began looking for Christmas presents at the beginning of this month, I had no idea what goods the local shops might offer. I was a teenager when I last lived here, and I remember at that time feeling pretty underwhelmed by the shopping in Leicester - the locally owned shops seemed despondent, down-at-heel, struggling after years of being out-competed (on price, though perhaps not on service) by the big-brand stores; while the large chains themselves offered the same soulless, cloned merchandise that you can find on any anonymous UK high street. Would I still find things as I remembered them, or had the situation changed?
Doubtless, things have been tough the last couple of years for retailers, and as in many other city centres across the country Leicester has more abandoned, empty shop-fronts than anyone would ideally like to see. However, I am pleased to report that there are also clusters of little independent shops that are fighting back: offering the people of Leicester excellent quality in terms of goods, service, and even value for money. Here is my gift-hunting hit list for Christmas 2012, cherry-picking the shops where I found my presents this year. I hope you'll find it useful, either for next year's gifts or if you'll be joining the crowds in a mad dash for presents today and tomorrow!
I came here looking for great quality, British-produced knitted goods, and I was not disappointed! As the name would suggest, they specialise in sweaters but also sell hats, scarves and other items. Their kid's range is really cute, too. Just recently they have had 100% wool jumpers and leg warmers in stock, which make great gifts for people who like their clothes to be made with lovely, natural materials.
|Just... the Fair Trade Shop|
|2Clear by Set|
|Sheehan's Musical Instruments|
|Sheehan's of Leicester|
So now that my Christmas shopping is complete, I can put my feet up and relax over the festive period! Hope you've enjoyed this Christmas round-up of shops, I might make it a feature every year so if you think that's a good idea (or not!) do please let me know in the comments below. I really appreciate your feedback.
Thanks for reading, see you again next time!