Thursday, 5 December 2013

Edinburgh Christmas: Our Guide to Shopping in Edinburgh

So now that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are over and you probably have a hundred odd unread emails from any shop that you've ever bought something from online, you may well be hankering after the traditional experience of leaving the house, going into the shops, picking out random gifts and finding a few things for yourself along the way.  Here's our guide to the best places to hit up in your search for the perfect presents.


43 Candlemaker Row, EH1 2QB / closed Mondays
This is a one stop shop of gifts for your best girlfriends, with the cutest Christmas cards, gift wrap, quirky prints and all kinds of accessories with some very affordable options too.  Television fiends will love Kate Rowland's wooden engraved brooches - there are some very cool Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones and Twin Peaks ones.  The feminist brooch is particularly awesome, and they're all at a purse-friendly £9.  Super cute jewellery is what Hannah Zakari do best and this mint origami bunny necklace (£24) is just adorable as are these pink polka dot earrings (£20).  There's a huge range in store (much more than what's online) that I could happily browse for hours so if you do happen to visit, I may still be there perusing away!

41 Frederick Street, EH2 1EP
For the tea jenny in your life, there are plenty of gifts galore from this tip top teahouse.  There are tea gift sets from basic black, green, white, fruit and rooibos to more elaborate tea collections, with Eteaket's own blends.  The Adventurer tea set has their more interesting blends, including chilli rooibos, Bollywood Dreams, Strawberries & Cream and Chocolate Abyss and the Great Taste Winners set has a selection of their blends that have won Great Taste Awards - the Breakfast Brew, Royal Earl Grey, Jasmine Pearls green tea and Big Red Rooibos.  For something a wee bit different there is the Tea Cocktail Collection, which comes with a selection of teas and cocktail recipes that can be made with them (oolong rum punch? Yes please!).  There's also plenty of lovely teaware including gorgeous Japanese style teapots.  If you have a tea junkie in your life that deserves something a little bit extra special you can give a gift that will keep giving all year round - a Eteaket Teaclub membership, where for the next six months or year two teas each month will be sent direct to their door along with tasting notes and a teapot to start them off.

Oliver Bonas
45a Hanover Street, EH2 2PJ
A relative newcomer to the city centre, this small but sweet Edinburgh branch of Oliver Bonas is full of wee treasures that you'd want to keep for yourself as much as give away.  There's a mix of modern and classic styles here, like this quirky fair isle scarf with bright pink pom poms and it's classic chunky knit counterpart in gorgeous neutrals.  There are a lot of affordable homewares, like gingerbread house candles at a bargainous £6 and this adorable etoile eyes cup for £12.  Speaking of adorable, this super cute squirrel nut grinder would be an awesome addition to any kitchen and this cosy bright blue fair isle jumper is a perfect Christmas gift.


The Red Door Gallery
42 Victoria Street, Grassmarket, EH1 2JW
This is where I was gifted my beloved 'Caledonia' print by Emily Hogarth. This small shop is a melting pot of 'original and affordable art', from prints and tea towels to jewellery and stationary, for those with a cheeky sense of humour and striking sense of style. These tongue-in-cheek cushions might make someone crack a smile. Lucie Ellen's geometric shaped bangles and chunky necklaces make a stunning statement piece. Foxes are hot news this year, so for anyone in your life who loves them you'll find a plethora of foxy pressies like this honey fox necklace, and Big Fox print. And for those whose heart lies with our fair city, there are many 'Edinburgh' inspired prints to choose from, like this colourful, joyful Kate McLelland Edinburgh piece. There are also, of course, some daintier pretty pieces like this oh-so-cute Pin Wheel necklace. (Anyone who knows me, please feel free to treat this as a 'Dear Santa' list too! Oh I how covet Red Door...)

39 George Street, City Centre, EH2 2HN
This is a very guilty-pleasure store. I don't know anyone who doesn't walk in here and immediately swoons, covets and begins writing a wish list. Prettiful, indie-inspired clothes, colourful crockery, lush smelling candles, cook books that inspire you to be the next Mary Berry. Bedding, rugs,  jewellery, mugs, handbags, and home ware. Oh the home ware! The letter Monogram Mugs are always a winner, the beautiful and colourful plates will make any cake look that little bit more beautiful. If I could furnish my entire kitchen from here, it would be the Wizard of Oz of kitchens: magical, colorful, and pretty as a picture. This is a shop that induces "pretty please with a cherry on top" requests, but is just a little bit above most people's regular price range. It's hard to justify a mug for yourself at that price, but for this reason it makes the perfect place to find an extra special gift for a good friend. Certainly a quality over quantity gift, but one that will be cherished!

Looking Glass Books
36 Simpson Loan, Quartermile, EH3 9GG
Book vouchers were a regular appearance in my stocking from Santa, and Looking Glass Books is like an elf-filled Santa's grotto of joy. An independent book store that has tea, cake, comfy chairs and beautiful books to choose from. And when I say beautiful, I mean it. If you did judge a book by its cover in here, you would deem them all to be the most fabulous books you'd laid eyes on. Classics like Jane Austen and Emily Bronte in the most stunning covers would make the perfect gift for a bibliophile / book geek (even if they already have it in plain, old, boring paperback. Trust me.) They also have a select offering of newly published work, and modern literature, all of which has been carefully selected and is bound to be a great gift for the long, lazy festive holidays. They also have a few Spineless Classics posters (a whole book on a single print, in a particular pattern), like this Alice in Wonderland one. (I happened to get the Romeo & Juliet one from some birthday gift vouchers. A literary poster? Lie still my beating heart!)


9 West Port, EH1 2JA
Much like my mince pie philosophy, when it comes to independent boutiques, I am a bonafide "the more the merrier" girl. But of all of Edinburgh's wee shopping gems, present, past and future (ooooh), there will always be a special part of my heart, and my credit card, reserved for Godiva. Arriving in Edinburgh as a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed fresher from a small town in the north of England, I had never clapped eyes on such an Aladdin's Cave before. Stuffed full of retro furniture (before it became trendy for shops to be kitted out in retro furniture) with a unicorn Zebra leaping resplendently across the wall, it sells a handpicked collection of quirky clothing and accessories by independent designers, with a generous smattering of vintage on the side. For my friends who like their presents pretty but a little different, I'll be purchasing a heart-meltingly cute polar bear, pug or kitty ring (£25), one of a gorgeous range of Faye Taylor Hackers' beaded collars (in the sale at £20) and a little local bling from one of our favourite local jewellery designers Silk Purse, Sow's Ear (pieces from £10-£20).

Lupe Pintos
24 Leven Street, EH3 9LJ
Although there's no shortage of wonderful Scottish produce to make any foodie's Christmas, I have to give a shout out for the more exotic wares of Lupe Pintos, a wee bolthole in Tollcross crammed with edible goodies from Mexico, Spain, Asia, the Caribbean, and beyond. It's my go-to for flour tortillas and chorizo sausages, stocks a bunch of Americana storecupboard essentials and has lots of spices, rubs, chutneys, sauces and other essential ingredients for ethnic cookery - perfect for a Christmas hamper with a little sunshine, plus brave booze lovers will love their selection of premium tequilas. Doug the Hatman is behind the helm and is extremely helpful if you need a little advice (and has been known to throw impromptu wine tastings = WIN).

For something a little more Scottish, Henris in Morningside and Stockbridge do hampers and I've also done a DIY one for my foodie papa with products from the excellent Edinburgh Larder.

St James Centre (opposite John Lewis)

Not an independent shop but a new and very noteworthy addition to Edinburgh's high street offering - courtesy of themz stylish Danes, think a glorious hybrid of IKEA, Paperchase and a pound shop. It is the total shiz - everything from Christmas decorations to craft supplies to brightly-coloured kitchen goodies to headphones, from as little as shiny £1. The perfect solution if you're Secret Santa-ing this year, or I rather like the idea of making up a bit of a wee stocking for me me me merry christmas me a Scandi-inclined pal. I'd pop in some of these ceramics with a modern folklore twist (£2 each) a colour-pop felt bread basket (£3), some bright plant pots (£3) or a globe lamp (a little more pricey at £20). Or maybe your standard festive animal costume...
Are you shopping local this Christmas, braving the high street swarms or even making your own presents? Or will you be calmly conducting your shopping expedition from your sofa, with hot chocolate in hand, reindeers on head and Elf on the telly? We would love to know.


  1. Tiger looks great... I will have to check it out. I've banned myself from Oliver Bonas because everything looks amazing. But after reading this post I may have to reconsider...

    1. Oh I know - Oliver Bonas just has so many gorgeous wee bits that its hard to I end up wanting everything! Just have to remember it's one shiny thing at a time ;-)

  2. Thanks for the lovely mention, great blog! x

    1. Thanks! We could very literally spend hours looking at things in Godiva x

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