It's looking like an action packed Christmas for the boys: chopping wood, hiking and exploring and a little artistic endeavour in the form of the Superhero Comic Kit. You can't not.
Santa should hurry over. We have everything for every stocking. Jolly putty. Check. Spy pen. Check. Rainbow glitter pen. Check. FaLaLa necklace. Check. Traditional family games. Check. Walnuts. Um no but we have the nutcracker. Check.
So much gorgeousness here from all over the world: chocolates from England, Turkish Delight from County Cork, jewellery from Denmark, ponies from England, socks from France, make up bags from Los Angeles, pennants from England and pens from South Korea and Germany. Cosmopolitan Christmas at The Hambledon. And we're not making generalisations about pink, it just looks so darn pretty.
Lucy has been very busy in the grotto. Check out her homage to Martha Stewart. It's a world of pearly wrap, glitter stickers, mirrored alphabets and candy cane tags.
There is nothing, we repeat, nothing wrong with a little kitsch at Christmas. Might even go so far as to say it's a requirement for the festive season. Please get involved in a frosted parrot, some neon pineapples (for the animals to eat!) and a glittery dog or ten.
We are all about gluttony this holiday season. Get involved in artisan chocolate, silly chocolate, Turkish Delight, liquorice pipes and sugar mice. And all manner of cookbooks and kitchen accoutrements. Eat up.
Amelia Rope's first foray into making beautiful chocolate came in 2007, with handmade truffles and chocolate dipped in crystallised flowers, decorated with gold leaf. Since then, she has refined her brand – creating unique flavours and simple, bold designs.
From pocket-money potato harvester to Masterchef contestant to practice manager, Amelia has pretty much done it all. Living abroad, studying herbal medicine, nutrition and massage therapy have all helped on her journey to super chocolatier. And if you're wondering where that talent for alchemy comes from, that'll be her training as an aromatherapist.
Stained-glass windows, mosaics and pencil nibs – all the things that have provided inspiration for the foil and kraft paper packaging. Behind the prettiness, Amelia has built strong and ethical business. She won't compromise on the quality of the end taste and insists on a sustainable single origin for her couverture (that's cocoa to you and me, we can test you later). Most of the product where possible is made in England and she works with a company that sources cocoa fairly and supports and empowers farmers through education. Cocoa from different regions adds a distinctive edge to the products. A rich chocolate pudding taste from Tanzanian beans, notes of caramel from Ecuador and dark spicy citrus from Madagascar.
And in a question probably asked 1000 times – yes she loves them all, 'crushes' on certain flavours (grab one of her current favourites, Dark Honeycomb & Sea Salt here). She'll always have a soft spot for both her Pale Rose and Pale Lemon and Sea Salt, her first award-winning flavours. As she says, her name is on the product so it has to be good!
Amelia Rope chocolate bars are available instore and online now.
Photo Credit: Tim Booth and Mary Wandsworth
Our favourite sock makers have taken Ancient Greece and Japanese Kimonos as their inspiration this season, but only they could go via Nicholas Party, Jean Arp and David Hockney. The result is their trademark block patterns and impressionistic style dyed on to high quality Egyptian cotton yarn which is then spun into super fine and comfortable socks. Your feet will never have been so well dressed.
We wanted to write a provenance all about the history of Ban-do. But then we went and found this on their website and it was way more fun and a whole lot more entertaining than waffling on about the Founder (who incidentally is Jen Gotch, who incidentally everyone at The Hambledon thinks is brilliant).
'Oh hey. We're Ban.do. Let's be BFFs. We can stay up late watching 80s rom coms and eating pizzas with everything on it (except anchovies, grooosss!). Cool. Now that it's settled we should probably tell you a bit more about us. We're a gift, tech, stationery and fashion accessories company designed by a pretty spectacular group of girls in sunny Los Angeles. We love bright colours, irreverent patterns, quirky sayings and kittens. OMG we love kittens so much. Forever inspired by Champagned soaked, all night dance parties, we are serious about fun and so thrilled you are here.'
Enough said. Get your Ban-do here.