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Back To School

Back to School

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And breathe… the children are back at school! For most of us the holidays are over and we’re back to routine, whatever that is? However our neighbors are still away on holiday and we are looking after their hamster, which I always find extremely traumatic. Actually our 9 year old daughter is in charge, which scares me even more. I have discovered that hamsters really don’t do an awful lot except keep you up at night with their whirling and twirling and gnawing at bars. This particular hamster is something of a Houdini so I’m determined he won’t escape whilst in my care, not on my watch. Our main aim is to keep Harry (the hamster) away from the dog, which would eat him for sure. Labradors are not mean, they are just always hungry, so at all cost, they must be kept apart. Only one more day to go before we hand him back in one piece.

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Crate of 6 of the cutest milk bottles on £9.95, click here to buy!http://www.presentlocker.com/house-gifts/6-mini-milk-bottles-and-crate/

For me, the return to school also signals the return of the dreaded packed lunch which I can honestly say is high on my list of pet hates. I struggle to offer the balance of variety and healthy menus and I can’t/don’t bake, so unlike many other more talented and practical mothers, I can’t offer homemade fairy cakes or other tempting pastries in their lunchbox. I am a great fan of wraps which can make any kind of messy combination look relatively acceptable & my daughter could live off pesto pasta which is a godsend. At least my children don’t have to put up with the free milk that arrived in glass milk bottles and sat in the sun until curdled. Of course, we now sell these fabulous retro bottles and I use them for drinks, flowers or as an alternative for a milk jug.

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Individual milk bottles that take you back to your school days! http://www.presentlocker.com/house-gifts/school-milk-bottle-1-3-pint/

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Guest Blog From Our Inspirational Artisan Brandnative

Here are presentlocker.com 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 presentlocker.com.

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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 presentlocker.com 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.

MUST BUY GIFT

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

http://www.presentlocker.com/gifts-for-her/jewellery-gifts/necklace-gifts/love-bar-pendent-with-tiny-heart-charm-from-marlene-hounman/

 

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Love Carnival Light by Gigglebeaver

http://www.presentlocker.com/new/gigglebeaver-love-lights/

MUST SAY QUOTE

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.

 

Spot The Subtle Signs Of Spring!

Feeling a little bouncy of step?  Well it is technically spring! The proof is in this definition of the noun ‘the season after winter and before summer, in which vegetation begins to appear, in the northern hemisphere from March to May’
“in spring the garden is a feast of blossom”

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Well, not sure my garden or anyone else’s is a feast of blossom just yet, but the snowdrops are through their glory days and the daffs are indeed beginning to blossom.   So, bring it on!  I don’t know about you but I cannot wait to embrace warmer sunnier days and the lighter, brighter evenings that go with!

May I suggest that you open your eyes and take note of the signs of spring.  Spot baby animals everywhere, lambs frolicking and bunnies jumping!

Are you waking up to the cheerful chirping of birds, well Spring means that they are back from their migration!

Noticed that you are walking the dog after work, thats the lighter evenings for you!

Its all there, Spring fever is official.  Have you been madly gardening or even been planning what to grow in the veggie patch,  over the weekend?  Been dreaming about having a BBQ?  Maybe you have found yourself cleaning the windows or even indulging in a spot of house purging?  Then face it,  you are in tune with nature!  Summer rolls in next so its all good!

Here are a couple of our Spring top picks.  Festoon Cafe Lights, great strung up outdoors for BBQ’s and parties! http://www.presentlocker.com/in-house/set-of-10-white-festoon-lights-with-bs-3-pin-plug.html25601_1

 

Gorgeous mugs ring in the new season.  Stick with the theme, go for Jemima Puddleduck or Hetty Hare, great for Easter gifts too! They are selling fast. http://www.presentlocker.com/in-house/bone-china-mugs-by-aurina.html

 

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Why not change your handbag up for the new season!  Nothing is hotter at the moment than the Vogue featured Mochila Bags, handmade in Colombia. As worn by the young royals no less!

 

http://www.presentlocker.com/hers/mochila-pacifico-bag.html

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So, you know how to spot the signs, Spring is here and as a new season creeps in, we subtly adapt too.   Seasons are good for us, they stir aspirations within us, encourage us to recreate, procreate and even house titivate!  We re organise the nest, clean the nest and preen and adorn ourselves with the latest fashions!

Why not ‘kick ass’ this new season, this Spring, and use that renewed energy and vigour to propel you and yours forward ……….

We would love to hear your comments and thoughts.

 

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Travel – Marrakech

I am lucky enough to have just returned from a fabulous trip to Marrakech and what an experience and adventure it was. People talk about travelling themselves interesting and Marrakech and Morroco did just that. I feel interesting and inspired! The Pink City as it is known,  is a kaleidoscope of everything and a fusion of African and Arabic.  Its pacey, noisy, smelly, visually stimulating and down right exciting. Animals, people and their beautiful wares come at you from all directions and its actually mesmerising.

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We stayed in Riad Edward, a very authentic and charming Riad in the old town, with an indoor pool concealed in the inner courtyard, overseen by the resident tortoise Speedy, who was permanently trying to catch a nap. Thats if my daughter would let him!

The rooms are individual and large, but oh so glamourous, with beautiful Morrocan lighting, mosaic tiles, large four poster beds, ostentatious mirrors and real wood fires. The roof terrace afforded great views over the city and across to the snow capped Atlas mountains that distantly guarded the town ….. and yes there was sun!

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The walk to the souks was exciting if not tricky to navigate, but it was all worth it. The work on sale is mind blowing in both skill and quality. Leather, tanned and worked into beautiful carpet bags (of which we bought just a few!), slippers and belts, treasures to last a lifetime. The lights on sale were fabulously intricate and if I could of got some home easily, trust me,  I would have. Beautiful Berber rugs were on sale everywhere, hand knotted with motifs symbolising many things. Lets not forget to mention the terracotta pots,  plates, cups and bowls, so robust, vibrant and bold you want to use them everyday.

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Everything I saw I would have been proud to sell on presentlocker. com. The artisans are so talented using a series of complicated skills daily to produce the most intricate and remarkable things. It was wonderful to see those skills still being used so industriously today, and being handed onto future generations.

Lastly, I must not forget to mention the Morrocan food.  There are only three words, tagine, tagine, tagine!   A kind of French/Arabic stew. Very delicious it is too, stuffed with spices and the “top of the shop” essential flavour ras el hanout!  Not difficult to find, as spices in Marrakech are in abundance.

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So, as a city break goes Marrakech easily scores a 10,  both challenging and exotic without the rigours of a long haul flight. Expect the unexpected.  I wouldn’t have missed making those memories for the world.  I don’t care how you get there, but get there if you can.

Marrakech is easy to get to.  Its roughly a three hour flight depending on the headwind,  and we flew from Gatwick.  Transfer from the airport to the City is an easy 20 minutes and transfers were about 15 euros organised by our hotel!  Its also good to know that Marrakech is on the same time zone as the UK so no jet leg to deal with, bonus!  A variety of languages are spoken there the main ones being French and Arabic, English and Spanish.

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Right, I feel like a little lie down now!  Mint tea anyone?

 

I would love to hear your comments on Marrakech so please leave some and like and follow us on our twitter and Facebook pages.