Independent Christmas

Independent Gift Guide
Christmas is hurtling towards us and it’s time to find the perfect gift for the special people in our lives. At this time of year, it’s especially important to shop local and independent; to support those creators who work so hard crafting truly unique things.

Here’s a small collection of independent traders and creatives you can support over the festive season. But this barely scratches the surface! Our city is FULL of talented individuals, so get out there and start looking. 

Shop small and know you’re making an actual person happy! #justacard

 Compass Candles – a local Southsea team, Sam and Becky, who’s Rhubarb and Custard scented candle I was OBSESSED with earlier this year. Soya wax and cedar wicks are a beautiful combination; helping the scent disperse and creating a crackling sound whilst burning. They also do special edition shaped candles, some poured into recycled bottles and have their Christmas scents in stock; Mulled Wine, Christmas Pine and Apple & Cinnamon. 

Emma Nicol Illustration – embroidered homeware, inspired by your favourite people and places. Emma creates customised items such as lampshades and cushions using freehand and machine embroidery techniques. She also has a range featuring iconic Portsmouth landmarks such as Clarence Pier, Southsea Castle and the seafront. Head down to the Hotwalls Studios and appreciate the intricacy of Emma’s work in person whilst chatting to her about a commissioned piece unique to you. 

Angela Chick – tongue in cheek, honest and colourful is how I’d describe Angela’s work. She’s best known for her cheeky cards and succeeds in wanting to bring a smile to people’s faces. Her online shop also showcases plenty of stationery items and pin badges. As well as catering for cycling enthusiasts, her mental and physical health cards often say the things we might struggle to put into words. Angela, you rock! –

 I Can See the Sea aka Lizzie – a painter heavily inspired by the sea, if you couldn’t tell. She captures snapshot moments of seaside life in her colourful, graphic style work. Often featuring charming seagull characters and images of Portsmouth, Lizzie has a range of products including mugs, totes and calendars. Her paintings brought a huge smile to my face when I was visiting the Hotwalls earlier this month. 

Laura Bennett Jewellery – inspired by her love of nature and working sympathetically with metals, Laura creates some truly beautiful and understated pieces of jewellery. I always take time to peer through the glass cabinets in her studio, trying to soak in every detail. Like most artists here she is inspired by the seaside and Southsea. One of her creations is a birchwood backed silver pendant with a silhouette of South Parade Pier elegantly cut out of the metal. Truly unique, go and take a look online. 

Spice Island Chilli – Over the Summer I went to my first Traders Keep market and tasted Spice Island’s sauces. Hooked, I bought two bottles for my dad (me really) and have loved using them at home. Not only spicy but incredibly tasty, the recipes are well balanced and handmade in small batches by the talented crew. Each recipe was developed at home in their kitchen before needing to be scaled up due to the success of the business. But they’ve kept the love and quality in tact. My favourite was Drake’s Gold – habanero and pineapple. 

Southsea Bathing Hut – natural skincare, made by hand and packed beautifully. I’m incredibly passionate about ethical beauty and Samantha ticks so many of my boxes. With a cute and impeccably decorated shop on Albert Road, she has a variety of gift sets available to suit everyone. From DIY lip balm making kits to shaving essentials and spa sets including lovely Konjac sponges, you can shop online or pop in store if you’re struggling to decide!

Green Hands of Southsea – brand new to the area, Monika has set up a creative floristry space at 64 Castle Road. She’s offering Christmas wreath making workshops throughout December and prices include materials, a drink and homemade Christmas biscuits. Her style is natural and a little bit different, using more unusual varieties of flowers which are sure to make perfect gifts and stand out over the festive season. You’ll also find handmade goodies, gifts, bouquets, potted plants and passion. Follow her on Facebook for workshops and latest updates as her business flourishes (sorry for the pun!)


By Danny