Guest Blog From Our Inspirational Artisan Brandnative

Here are we are proud to feature some guest blogs from our artisans.   Kicking off we feature Brandnative, who make the most divine handmade bags and accessories of the BEST quality.

Fashion Revolution Week – The story of the Wayuu women
April 18 2016, 0 Comments

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This week is Fashion Revolution week! A week to ask the question “who made my clothes” and celebrate the beautiful makers and artisans around the world who work so hard to produce the items we wear!

brandnative wants to use this week as an opportunity to celebrate the beautiful Wayuu women we work with, who produce the amazing bags and accessories you see on our website.

Last time I visit Colombia I documented my trip and would love for you to read the incredible insight in to how these women work and live!

Wayuu women in a new shelter

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The Wayuu women of the Guajira Peninsula in the North of Colombia are the most inspirational women I have ever met, they work so hard in poor conditions and always have a positive attitude to life. The products they create are so beautiful and unique that it has inspired me to create a strong company, which can support them and inspires other women to embrace the colours, vibrancy and happiness of the Colombian culture.

The Wayuu is one of the largest indigenous communities in Colombia.

I went back to visit the Wayuu in Colombia in December 2015 and met more amazing women who work tirelessly for their families in poor living conditions with very little, but still have the most amazing positive attitude to life, smiling and laughing and always seeing the positive in every situation.

A typical day for the Wayuu ladies starts very early; they wake around 4am and begin their daily routine. Once up, they’re first job is to organize the coffee and breakfast for the whole family. As they do not have electricity, everything is cooked over a large fire, which burns throughout the day. It is the husband’s job to get up and collect wood and water for the day. As their culture is matriarchal, the women are responsible for handing down their skills, traditions and way of life to their children. The family name and responsibility for the children’s education is passed down the mother’s line rather than the father’s. The Male role in these communities is to support the women and provide them with everything they need in order to work hard and provide for the household.

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In order to take advantage of the daylight hours, following breakfast, changing and cleaning the children and general household duties the women begin work on the mochila bags. The particular skill the Wayuu women use is weaving and crocheting. The beautiful women produce incredible Mochila bags, belts and bracelets all made by hand, in wonderful colours and bold patterns – the patterns are called ‘kanas’ and each community has its own kanas inspired by the natural world where they live. The men also help make the straps, called ‘gaza’ and bracelets.

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One of the special ladies I always visit when in Colombia is Celina Ipuna. At 54 Celina is one of the oldest “leaders” she has 3 children, Jose Francisco (27), Ana (23) and Maria (16) who she supports with the sale of the mochila bags. As a leader she has built a strong relationship with many of the women who help produce the bags; a fantastic, beautiful inspiration and role model, working with the less advantaged Wayuu, coordinating the production of the bags across Guajira. Being a “leader”, Celina is one of the lucky ones, with the determination to work hard and provide for her family she has been able to raise enough money to send one of her daughters, Ana to a Santander College in the local town to study psychology. This is a great privilege for her as many of the children of Wayuu women can not go to school and spend the days helping the family at the home, the younger girls learning the traditions and techniques of the mochila bag making that has been passed down from generation to generation.

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At the end of our first day of visiting the tribe the people celebrated us being with them, by dressing in their special red dresses in honour of the occasion. They performed traditional dances and shared their food – ‘friche’ and ‘chivo’ (roast dinner and goat) offering a traditional homemade drink ‘chicha de maiz’ – a powerful drink made from water, sugar and corn. This kind generosity was so humbling to see, for people that have so little they are more than happy to share what they have in a kind and openhanded way. They also allowed us to stay with them, sleeping in hammocks called ‘chinchorros’.

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Every time I visit these communities I am filled with a new passion and energy to help them by distributing their bags throughout Europe, America and more recently Dubai, in order to help them build a better life. Although the individual mochila bags do not bring in a lot of income, the consistency of the orders means they are able to make a small livelihood from making multiple bags every week. It is this determination that enthuses me to develop a strong business that will support these beautiful women for years to come.

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Really hope that you enjoy our first guest blog, please do look out for     more Brandnative products coming to

Like us, share us and follow us and please send us a comment, we always love to hear from you.

Puppy Tails


Please extend a warm welcome to Humphrey our new puppy!


Humphrey  catching a nap!

Humphrey is a wire haired miniature dachshund, in black and tan.  He is so adorable and already very much at home with his family and at, although he is proving to be something of a distraction at the moment as he’s too cute to leave alone and very pickable upable!   3pm is scrambled egg time and he cannot wait for that!  As well as welcoming a puppy we celebrated the 13 th birthday of Kenco the Golden Labrador this week, a much loved oldie.

kenco close up


We have a few dogs between us at here at, & we are fortunate to have some lovely walks on our doorstep in breathtaking Oxfordshire. Rather than a dash to the gym at lunchtime we tend to down tools and head off for a walk with the pack. We have had some wonderful sunny days recently and the surrounding countryside is stunning. Although our wellies have been put to good use this winter we have had some of the most beautiful sunny days to break up the grey.



Doggie ‘All Star’ Bandana by keylimedesigns.  Let your dog cut a dash!
If you are a regular to the website you will have gathered that we have been bumping up our dog products recently. Dog cushions, dog mugs, plates, jugs and accessories and more to come.  Take a look, we are sure that you will like what you see and hopefully will find our pet inspired gifts too hard to resist.


Handy poo bag holders with clip, available in pale pink, pale blue and white.




Fabulous long dog fine bone china mug by dash&found.  Whose made the cake?



























The working week doesn’t always have to be work work work. Infact the key to having a better week is to balance the working hours with some stress free meaningful and relaxing moments, making you feel that there is more to your life than the ‘office’.  Here are three  VERY simple suggestions to inject some well needed harmony into your week which should leave you heading for the weekend in a better frame of mind and to finding your inner ‘zen’ more speedily.

1. WALK THE DOG. Whatever ‘tickles your pickle’, sausage, collie, terrier, lab or spaniel. Whatever breed of dog you own, grabs its lead, your wellies and get on out there and embrace the Great British Countryside. Do not use poor weather as an excuse not to walk, grab wellies, beanies and coats, get moving and work up a sweat! Its a proven fact that pets are good for reducing ones stress levels. Give them what they need in the form of exercise, and the best by product of all is that you get yours too! Remember to look up and breathe …. out!


Had a walk, now earn your r and r.  What could be better than relaxing on one of these truly fabulous dog inspired bolster cushions available at  Many other breeds available too on our site, so check them out.  They make the best gifts! 


2. PLAN YOUR EVENING. Make more of the time you are not at work. Yes, you have things to do, kids, homework, supper, washing up etc, but then plan for some ‘me’ time. Work out with the family what you would like to watch on the television or maybe a game that you would like to play. Make it even more of a treat by factoring in a snack, healthy of course. May we suggest popcorn, good for you and very delicious.  Watch the movie below, incase you were in any doubt of how to prepare!

Popcorn holders available at


3. TO DO LIST. Make a plan and pin point all that needs to be done by the end of the week, including the weekend. Chalk it up, loud and proud, in order of importance. This list could include the weeks main events, places to be, things to do and even a weekly menu. Make a list and let go of the baggage.

It maybe the middle of a working week, but the opportunity to ‘live well’ is up for the grabbing, you just needed a little nudge in the right direction AND your family will love you for it, the dog too!!


We really hope that you have enjoyed this blog.  Please comment, like on FB, follow us on twitter and share with all your friends.  Thanking you!


Valentines Day And All You Need To Know

Dare I say it, but no sooner are Christmas and the New Year celebrations over then thoughts turn to Valentines Day!

You may be thinking, no not more pressure to get it right, but these little ideas, thoughts, tips and insights from the ‘marrieds’ at might be just the thing you need to nudge you in the right direction and encourage love to prevail on and beyond February 14th! For those of you who are looking to plan a romantic gesture or order something special, the date you need to remember for this year is Sunday, February 14.



Pendant “Love” bar with tiny heart charm necklace from Marlene Hounam



Love Carnival Light by Gigglebeaver


Here are a handful of our fave quotes below, on the Valentines theme, which may help you to spread the love this 2016 and provide inspiration for your penned/texted/tweeted messages! You could always doctor them slightly to make them more personal…..

“For it was not into my ear you whispered, but into my heart. It was not my lips you kissed, but my soul.” -Judy Garland

“A life without love is like a year without summer.” -Swedish Proverb

“Love is a promise, love is a souvenir, once given never forgotten, never let it disappear.” -John Lennon

“Trip over love, you can get up. Fall in love and you fall forever.” -Author Unknown.


4 Ways To Do Halloween

4 Ways to Do Halloween


Some pumpkins we carved earlier at

Half term is upon us and its a week of thinking Halloweeeeeeen, but here at we want to  celebrate Halloween ….. not so much in the commercial American way, but more in the haunted but homely house kind of vibe.

1.  Buy Your Pumpkin

Buying the pumpkin or pumpkins is a big part of Halloween.  So go with the kids, let them choose.  You could go all out and find  a pumpkin patch where you can choose or buy, a friends allotment, a side of the road purchase, a supermarket bargain,  or best of all your home grown ones!  Think shape, colour, pairs and size.


2.  Carve Your Pumpkin

This is the fun part, but be careful, knives are dangerous so we really recommend buying the cheap pumpkin carving sets available in supermarkets.   We also recommend using your fave cookie cutter to stamp out a shape, safely and easily!!  Let your kids create, and help them find ideas on the internet and pinterest, loads to look at and admire there.  You can also download stencils and templates which you can print and then prick out on the the pumpkin and viola you have your stencil!  We love



If you don’t fancy the carving stage, they why not paint your pumpkin in white or black paints with the design of your choice.  Simple patterns are effective in black and white and add a lovely Nordic edge to your Halloween. Use battery operated tea lights for added safety.

3.  Pumpkin Recipe

Waste not want not.  Use our pumpkin flesh to make a delicious and oh so simple soup.  This one with lentils is quick and easy and a real crowd pleaser!!  Serve with snacks, popcorn always works well.



These great Popcorn Holders are so retro, kids love them and they can be used time and time again.


Pumpkin and Lentil Soup


1 tbsp olive oil, plus 1 tsp
2 onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
approx 800g chopped pumpkin flesh, plus the seeds
100g split red lentils
½ small pack thyme, leaves picked, plus extra to serve
1l hot vegetable stock
pinch of salt and sugar
50g crème fraîche, plus extra to serve


Heat the oil in a large pan. Fry the onions until softened and starting to turn golden. Stir in the garlic, pumpkin flesh, lentils and thyme, then pour in the hot stock. Season, cover and simmer for 20-25 mins until the lentils and vegetables are tender.
Meanwhile, wash the pumpkin seeds. Remove any flesh still clinging to them, then dry them with kitchen paper. Heat the 1 tsp oil in a non-stick pan and fry the seeds until they start to jump and pop. Stir frequently, but cover the pan in between to keep them in it. When the seeds look nutty and toasted, add a sprinkling of salt and a pinch of sugar, and stir well.
Whizz the cooked pumpkin mixture with a hand blender or in a food processor until smooth, then add the crème fraîche and whizz again. Taste for seasoning.
Serve with a spoonful of crème fraîche, a few thyme leaves and the toasted seeds scattered on top.




4. Party Games

The traditional games are the best, played in dim glow of the carved pumpkins.  Here are a couple of our faves! Think apple bobbing using the fallers from the trees in the garden and a preserving pan or old bucket works well.  Fill the pan with water, chuck in a handful of apples and take it in turns to grab one with your mouth, no hands aloud.  Its harder than you think!!

The flour and penny  game is great too.  Pack a small bowl with flour and turn out onto a tray.  Place a penny coin on the centre of the dome and take it in turns to cut the flour with a sharp knife!  The person whose cut causes the penny to drop has to carry out a ghostly forfeit of your choosing!!

Happy Halloweeeeeen!



Its timely given the change in season that our new look for has just launched. New season new website – it feels amazing.

Whats actually involved has come about because of how we have evolved.  Its been a HUGE task but to simplify things here are  5 main points that have got us to our new look, which may be helpful if you are thinking about giving your business a facelift too!

Say goodbye to pulling out your hair.  Source and find a fantastic web designer, we did, so heres a plug for, oh and a thank you. This is a total must, infact it would not be possible without one. Go with recommendations, we have had our fingers burnt before with unscrupulous ‘techies’  promising things that they can’t deliver ……  unfortunately we know that we are not the only ones.



Find a good website company to prevent you from pulling out your hair!

Meet with them and talk with them and make sure that they are on the same page and understand the look and configuration of the site that you are looking for. Employing and communicating with a web designer is huge commitment not only in terms of relationship but also commercially and financially. Get it wrong and its curtains. Get it right its curtains up!! These people are also vital in helping run your website as well as rolling it forward.

The way your storefront looks is vital, after all your website and the way it looks is your shop window,  and people need to like the first glimpse enough to come in and browse. You have to grab them in a heart beat and make sure that they engage. Once in you have a chance of a sale, the whole point after all!! Look at comparisons, work out what you like and what you don’t like. Think colour, font, feel, navigation, image, visuals and style. Space can work for you, so don’t feel obliged to fill it. Be honest and be true to your brand and its development.


Discover and work with talented artisans, its a joy! Discover how creative they are and get them on board. Getting their original work out there in your webstore is a real pleasure as handmade, unique pieces should be celebrated, not hidden away in a cupboard. Monthly blog coming soon on our handpicked artisans that are part of


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One of our artisans Claudia Bell pictured with her popular Mochila Bags from her company Brandnative featured on our site.



So you have grappled long and hard to get the look and finally have the updated webstore that you can be proud of. So let the games commence. You need to get it out there, market, market market. No need to mention social media, the usual suspects: facebook, twitter, instagram, youtube etc etc. Be prepared to sharpen your elbows a little and get into the fray. Use it to your advantage, get involved with other users by retweeting etc and do it daily. As your following grows so will your technique!


Now you have done all the hard work of the relaunch, there is still no time to rest on your laurels. Evaluating and updating the site with new stock, fresh images and daily marketing is essential.  After all its gorgeous so flaunt it!

We would love to hear what you think of our shiney new site Please take a second to like /share/follow us on twitter and comment on our blog. We would really appreciate it. Click Here

School Run Again!!

Its back to school for the kids ……. and mums all over are still trying to come to terms with the early mornings and the school run! When I have dropped the little darlings coffee is all I can think about, an innocent reward for a job well done, and a line drawn in the sand marking the start of the rest of your day!! Try these gorgeous mugs decorated in beautiful fish prints from original artwork by artist Nigel Turner. Cant think of a better way to take my coffee, just stir and reminisce about the sea side!!



3 Things – Father’s Day Gift Edit For Him

Well, this weekend is all about Dad, Father, Pater, Pop, Papa whatever you call him, Sunday 21st June is his day. So, if you do one thing then be with your Dad, and give him something he will enjoy.  We have a few little ideas here at that might make getting together just a little bit more memorable. Obviously, its horses for courses, all Dads are into different things, but we hope we may have something at that may brighten up Father’s Day, and if the sun is shining then what better place to be then in the great outdoors and even the garden.


Start a game of badders in the garden.  Good old British Badminton, everyone can join in.25070-Lifestyle

Boxed and beautiful traditional Badminton set with net, rackets and shuttlecocks, no excuse for not playing with Dad.


If your Dad is less than outdoorsy then how about something for his inner chef?  These aprons by designer Nigel Turner are just the thing.  BBQ anyone?


Mackerel Apron, beautiful quality and design.  Nigel Turner Designs.


How about taking Dad out for lunch or an evening meal.  What about cufflinks to help him smarten up?  Always handy and in such beautiful designs as ours who could resist.  They are a keepsake too and can be ordered to suit.


Silver personalized Dog breed cufflinks.  Any breed of dog can be made, just contact us at



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5 Tips On How Parents Can Survive The Exam Season

So here we go, exam season and 5 tips on how to survive it!  Forget hayfever, thats nothing! The real plague of the spring and early summer are all the examinations! Our children’s teenage years are blighted by an onslaught of exams and I am just talking GCSEs. Not only do they spend 2 solid years on the build up, the actual taking of the exams last for about 6 weeks – six long weeks of tension and stress for our pretty young things! Goodbye to hanging around, goodbye to freedom and liberty! Hello to a sedentary life of revision online and off, revision aids, extra lessons, group sessions and nagging parents etc etc.


Exam Day, parents know the full toil involved!


Talking from experience (three teenage offspring) there are some things that you can do as parents and as a family to survive – to come out the other side, proud of all the achievements!

1. Plan

Encourage them to plan their revision timetable, factoring in the subjects and time required to go over all the topics. Fail to prepare and prepare to fail.


2. Routine

Get up and get on with it! Procrastination does not work, leaving your revision until later in the day seldom works with teenagers, it just means it won’t get done, you won’t like them for it, they won’t like themselves for it, and will even like you less for it (does that make sense?)

3. Get Creative

Collate highlighter pens and sticky notes, crayons and notecards, you can never have too many! These cannot be over rated enough as the best revision tools ever. Jazz it up a bit, the colours will stick in your kids minds and help them to be creative and individual with their note making!!  Remember to have in stock plenty of pencils, pens and of course the obligatory geometry set.  We have some fab ones in and for great prices !



Must Have Geometry Set available

Click on our link here to see our fabulous movie!!


4. Parental support

Be supportive to your kids, know their timetable, offer to help go through revision cards etc with them if they would like. Keep up the communication. They will doubtless be on study leave, which means that they are basically at home all the time, I mean all the time, unless doing an exam – get used to it. Offer to pick them up, make it as easy for them as possible, and remember at all times to keep the fridge full, and I mean full (it’s a full time job).


5. Exercise

My mantra, which admittedly drives my kids mad is ‘revise and exercise’.  Sounds a bit trite I know, but actually revision is such an inactive occupation and kids are by nature active beings! So stagger revision with some form of exercise, whatever it be, bike ride, jog, dog walk, kicking a ball? It really helps relieve both body and mind, and gives them a true break from cerebral endeavour.

A fab article in the Telegraph this week is a really helpful resource for your kids. Print it off and give them a copy, not too nice about us parents though! Lets face it we are used to bearing the brunt of it.

So there you have it, presentlocker.coms 5 tips for surviving the exam season! If you are reading this then you too are probably a desperate parent, in the throws, reaching out for any little thing to help you through! The truth is, despite getting older, they need us, their parents, so be there and hopefully all will come out the other side with smiles on their faces!!

A levels anybody?


We would love to hear your exam survival suggestions.  Please go ahead and share and comment!