Lincoln has developed in recent years to become a shopping destination with a wide range of retailers including many that welcome younger visitors through their doors.
Start in the St Mark’s Shopping Centre and you’ll find big brand names such as Mothercare, Mamas and Papas, Toys R Us, The Entertainer and Debenhams. Move into the centre of the city and you’ll find an area starting to show the benefits of its ongoing rejuvenation.
But it’s when you take steps towards and up Steep Hill to the top end of Lincoln that you’ll be rewarded with a selection of independent shop frontages that are unique to the city.
As today is Small Business Saturday – “a grassroots, non-commercial campaign, which highlights small business success and encourages consumers to ‘shop local’ and support small business in their communities” – The Mini Malpi asked a couple of those stores what they’d pick from their ranges as Christmas presents for little ones this year…
A family run business, Bo Peep Boutique stocks children’s clothing, lifestyle products and traditional toys that describes its ranges as “one of a kind, quirky, different, funky and fun”. Here are just some of Emma’s favourites.
“We love Lottie Dolls (recommended age 3+) because they are aspirational and based on a child’s proportions rather than a grownup. £18.99.
“Janod Storyboxes are one of our favourite new products. These boxes are designed for imaginative play including knights, firefighters and fairytales. £9.99
“The Orange Tree Winnie The Pooh range is suitable from 12 months plus. The new range of wooden toys just launched includes pull-alongs, trains and pushups. Lovely and traditional, starting from £4.99.
“Jellycat, designed in the UK, are the softest soft toy range on the market. We stock a wide range including books, comforters and toys from £8 upwards.”
With Love From Lincolnshire is definitely the perfect place to visit on Small Business Saturday as where “every item has been lovingly handmade by local craftspeople” “you will find over 70 small local business under one roof”. Like most small independent stores, Pirjo Holtta doesn’t stock anything she doesn’t love herself but here she picks out some highlights for us.
“The most beautiful cardigans are crocheted by Justine. These cardigans come in all the colours of the rainbow and in sizes: 0-3m £6, 3-6m £6, 6-12m £7, 1-2yrs £8, 3-4yrs £10, 5-6yrs £12, 7-8 £14. By buying one of these cardigans you don’t only support one small local business but three! The Stylecraft Special DK yarn is from Number Four (also Burton Road, Lincoln), Justine (Just Handmade) has crocheted the cardigans and you can buy them from With Love From Lincolnshire.
“Nothing keeps a little one warm like a lovingly handmade blanket or a quilt and we stock a range, including some with matching bunting, by crafters Val, Nicole (Little Sew It All) and Justine. And we’ve also got lots of hats and mittens for little ones full of character!
“Jacqui’s octocapes are her best selling items! With no fiddly buttons you just put it over your child’s head and it will keep their neck and chest warm without bulkiness. Great to wear in a car seat too! £5.50.
“Reversible dresses for little ones must be one of the best inventions ever! Accidents happen and no-one needs to know if you’re wearing one of these – just quickly turn it round! These are easy to put on and take off with snappers on the back or on the shoulders. This is also a great time to buy a pinafore dress. Add layers underneath and cardi on top, start reducing layers towards spring and wear on its own in the summer! £9 each or 2 for £15 by Rachel Pugh and from £7 in sizes 0-4 by Pauline.
“These Grow-With-Me-Pants have been designed and made by Karen Booth Designs with folded hems and waistband for your little one and are made with a pre-washed cotton and lycra jersey fabric for minimal shrinkage and added bounce back comfort. No digging in elastic! They are £7.99 a pair in sizes from newborn to toddler.”
Looking for a book? Independent book store Lindum Books gave us their recommendations here: Seasonal stories make perfect presents.
If you are challenging yourself to the sheer walk up the hill (or taking the bus and walking down) then you might also want to pop in to Annual (Grantham Street, Lincoln), that has a passion for unique design and an exploration into making the world for children stimulating and fun, and Object and Line (Bailgate, Lincoln) that searches out small to medium companies worldwide that have high design values.
Are you buying small this year? Recommend a local business from near you in the comments below and make someone’s day!