I recently visited a friend in Lewes, it borders the South Downs so there are plenty of lovely walks in the area. The day we went for a walk into Lewes, paragliders were getting prepared for jumping off the hills! The little town of Lewes is so quaint and pretty and seems to attract more eclectic characters to the area. There are no chains in the town, except the obligatory Costa Coffee, so lots of wonderful small businesses all getting ready for the Christmas gift season. It made me very envious that my friend was living in such an idyllic place and then I thought about where I live. It's not a particularly exciting place but Caversham does have lots of lovely independent businesses and despite the sad economic climate, there seem to be more opening. Here's a little round up of the best ones...
1. Griggs and Mackay, Church Street, Caversham
I've always loved this shop from the very traditional exterior to the grand interior (they create stunning wooden kitchens), they have lots of great gift ideas inside their shop which is usually bursting at the seams at this time of year. We bought a huge crystal tree topper from them years ago and despite it being quite spindly and delicate, it comes out every year to grace our Nordic Spruce.
32b Church St, Caversham, Reading RG4 8AU
This is a relatively new kid on the block but seems to be going from strength to strength. They have beautiful bouquets throughout the year, all supplied by local florists, a refill station for cleaning products, vegan soaps and cleansing, indoor plants, vases and plant containers, jewellery and candles. The aroma as you enter the shop is wonderful and very soothing, and perfect for Christmas gift ideas at this time of year, with the added bonus of reasonable prices to suit your pocket.
3. The Live Well
9 Prospect Street, Caversham, RG4 8JB
Another lovely frontage, Susie, the owner is an interior designer and this really shows with her carefully curated shop. There is a definite Scandi vibe going on with tasteful, textural objects, candles, informative interior design books, rugs and smaller pieces of furniture. Susie also runs festive workshops, the upcoming ones are a Modern Calligraphy course and How to Decorate the floral Christmas table.
They have a very informative website where you can buy items online and they are sorted into price ranges and who they may be suitable for. One to visit!
27 Church Street, Caversham RG4 8BA
This shop has been in Caversham since I moved here over 20 years ago, it has a lovely range of clothing and really unique shoes. There have been many years where they have stocked beautiful fluffy scarves and accessories and solved all our Christmas gift problems. Great for party clothing, there have been many times where I've scoured the big chains on the high street, only to find the perfect outfit in Cara.
5. Caversham Home Crafts
46 Church St, Reading RG4 8AU
This is a bit of an odd one, but Caversham would be lost without this well stocked traditional hardware store. You can nearly always guarantee that this little shop will have everything you require without having to trawl through the aisles of B&Q. You also get solid advice thrown in too, whether that is how to reseed your lawn or on the best sealant to use. We bought all our energy saving light bulbs from them about 10 years ago and they are still in use!
So instead of instant ordering from Amazon or frequenting the big High Street chains, take a look around your local shops who need your support before we lose all these lovely small businesses.