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Shopping: Tick off your gift list the indie way

We’re blessed with a sparkling array of independent stores, galleries and boutiques across our region, perfect for tracking down that unique Christmas gift. Louise Cummings grabs her tote (and most festive facemask) to hit the shops and find out what’s hot this season. . .


Serving you today? Shelley Watts and Jane Crick

Bit of history: The shop and gallery have been open since April 2016.

What’s in store? Shelley and Jane act as agents for designer/makers living and working in East Anglia. They sell a wide range of handmade items including jewellery, ceramics, glass, textiles, mosaic, fine art, prints and cards - even handmade chocolate and beauty products!

Specialisms? Shelley is a silver jeweller - her cup and pearl earrings with interchangeable coloured pearls are a bestseller! Jane is a pattern designer - her Christmas tea towels and gift wrap are always a firm favourite.

Christmas bestseller? Our Christmas best sellers are Carola Smedjebacka’s fused glass decorations and trees! Louise Petterson's Blue Stag ceramics collection is also really popular.

What would you like Santa to leave you under the tree? Shelley would like a hand-forged poker by Mac McCaughan to stoke the fire on cold winter nights. Jane would like any handmade mug; you can never have enough beautiful mugs!

The Handmade Shop & Gallery, 77a St Johns Street, Bury St Edmunds. Visit thehandmadeshopandgallery.co.uk


Serving you today? Owners Naz Jackson and Benjamin Christensen

Bit of history: D’ORO has been open two and half years.

What’s in store? A curated collection of luxury preloved and vintage clothing and accessories for ladies - and some pieces for men. We sell on your behalf too!

Specialisms? Famous designer pieces from the 1970’s to present day are our main stock, and amongst them coats are our bestseller during autumn and winter.

Christmas bestseller? Our designer handbags especially Chanel, Gucci and Louis Vuitton.

What would you like Santa to leave you under the tree? Naz: A pair of two tone Chanel sling backs (specifically black and cream). Benjamin: A 1950s alligator Hermès Kelly bag (specifically black with gold hardware).

D’ORO, 3a Rous Road, Newmarket. Visit doroboutique.uk


Serving you today? Clare Rosier, Manager

Bit of history: We’ve been open 35 years, and the past eight years in our current building.

What’s in store? A farm shop, deli, green grocers, and cheese counter, specialising in local products. We’ve recently doubled our fruit and veg offering and tripled our chilled product range.

Specialisms? Our bestseller is our Burwash sausage roll; the pork comes from pigs on the farm, and they’re made to a special recipe devised by Mike (Radford, Burwash owner) years ago. Our Hot Numbers coffee is also very popular, as is our cake selection, specifically our Gourmet Brownies from Ely.

Christmas bestseller? Our festive top seller is our cheeses; we have over 70 cheese in our counter, predominantly British. Our Baron Bigod from Suffolk is so popular, and we have a lovely new variety – Wells Alpine from Norfolk.

What would you like Santa to leave you under the tree? Something very alcoholic! Perhaps a bottle of Damson Gin!

Burwash Larder, Burwash Manor, New Road, Barton. Visit burwashlarder.com


Serving you today? Jessie White, Gallery Manager

Bit of history: Byard relocated to Cambridge from Nottingham in 1998.

What’s in store? Byard Art offers an innovative exhibition programme of solo and mixed shows by contemporary artists from around the UK and Europe. The gallery offers a unique selection of two- and three-dimensional work, including paintings, sculpture, ceramics, mixed media artwork, limited edition prints, craft work and handmade jewellery (to suit all budgets), in a friendly and welcoming environment.

Specialisms? It’s not just the pictures on the walls that are worth looking at; a highlight is our innovative contemporary jewellery displayed over three floor-to-ceiling glass cabinets, which cannot be found anywhere else in Cambridge. Byard also offers a bespoke framing service by experienced and trusted framer, Andy Miller.

Christmas bestseller? A great hit at the moment are our playful, characterful, upcycled robots. I'm sure these will continue to find new homes this Christmas!

What would you like Santa to leave you under the tree? A vaccine for coronavirus and a Christmas with all our families . . . failing that, a nice cosy set of PJS!

Byard Art, 14 King’s Parade, Cambridge. Visit byardart.co.uk


Serving you today? Jess Simms-Baalham, Javelin’s social media and marketing coordinator (pictured, front in dotty dress)

Bit of history: Javelin has been open in Bury for 31 years, since 1989.

What’s in store? The clothing and accessory range for men and women is luxurious and historical with a contemporary twist. We provide a relaxed atmosphere and unparalleled customer service.

Specialisms? Heritage labels, such as Loake, Barbour and Ralph Lauren sit amongst more contemporary brands, with the likes of Tommy Jeans, Calvin Klein, Air & Grace and Fabienne Chapot. Christmas bestseller? Our menswear denim and chino studio, in the 14th Century basement, has been open a year now and we expect (due to a lot of people spending Christmas at home this year), more everyday fashions to be very popular!

What would you like Santa to leave you under the tree? Our Air & Grace Jessa boots are back in stock this season and I think every single one of our team would like a pair! Soft leather and small stud details make them the perfect day-to-night boot.

Javelin, 37 Abbeygate Street, Bury St Edmunds. Visit javelinonline.co.uk


Serving you today? Manager Hayley Butler (on behalf of owners Michelle Veenman and Kate Bols)

Bit of history: Cuckoo first opened its doors 15 years ago in the fabulous rural converted barn site at Burwash Manor in Barton. Our Saint Mary’s Passage boutique in Cambridge followed a few years later. Both shops are firm favourites with locals, tourists and local students.

What’s in store? Michelle and Kate love art and design and many of the collections reflect this passion. You will find quirky, unique prints, beautiful textiles and creative designs appealing to women of any age!

Specialisms? Our Lofina boots are amazing. Last year they won an ‘International footwear brand’ award. We have women from all over the UK buying them from our website. The Grizas range is really popular, featuring unusual designs and really beautiful textures, and starts flying out the door as soon as we have merchandised it! Another bestseller is Two Danes. They have mastered a combination of quality, great design and price point.

Christmas bestseller? Our jewellery sells well at Christmas, especially the Danish designs from Dansk and Sence Copenhagen. Both have the perfect balance between sophisticated and playful, with reasonable prices. The vegan perfume label Laboratory Perfume is also a bestseller, especially the Amber, which is unisex. For stocking fillers our candles, socks and vintage style matchboxes always sell well.

What would you like Santa to leave you under the tree? I would love to see many Cuckoo items under my Christmas tree! If I had to choose just two I’d say a faux fur coat from Rino and Pelle (they are so popular we were selling them in the September heatwave!) and a pair of Lofina boots. I would be a very lucky girl to receive either of these.

Cuckoo Clothing, 4 St Mary’s Passage, Cambridge, and Burwash Manor, Barton. Visit cuckooclothing.co.uk


Serving you today? Owner Sinead O'Loghlen

Bit of history: Elegant Atelier has been open in Cambridge for five years.

What’s in store? A fashionista’s treasure trove! A carefully curated edit for fashion lovers of all ages who are looking for something a bit different.

Specialisms? We like to push our customers a bit out of their comfort zone! Our bestselling brands include Ba&sh, Baum und Pferdgarten and Air & Grace.

Christmas bestseller? I’d say our Air & Grace Glitter Alto trainers, which are £199.

What would you like Santa to leave you under the tree? An ATP crossbody bag or a pair of Lucy Parker large gold hexagon hoop earrings.

Elegant Atelier, 12 Rose Crescent, Cambridge. Visit elegantatelier.com


Serving you today? Owner Lara Kinnett

Bit of history: Martha V has been open in Newmarket for over 11 years, but nearly one year at Christmas with Lara at the helm.

What’s in store? Martha V is for women desiring a luxurious but affordable product in casual wear or occasion wear, from leading brands. Brands that are not High Street labels, but sold in our independent boutique by our great team of experts, who are warm and welcoming.

Specialisms? We have some beautiful occasion wear labels. Our casual wear offering has always been strong and I’m growing this area due to demand. We have several bestselling ranges; our Joseph Ribkoff collection is always popular, as are our everyday trousers by Robell. I’ve introduced some new labels to Martha V this season, such as Oui, which is proving very popular.

Christmas bestsellers? With the pandemic, we think Christmas will be more intimate gatherings of small numbers, so this year will be all about the top! We have so many great Christmas tops with sparkle or beautiful jumpers for a more cosy style. We have a beautiful new label from Fee G and this top is perfect for Christmas. We also have new jewellery walls, featuring Envy, Adelle, Powder and more, with prices starting from £10-£50. Christmas isn't cancelled in Martha V!

What would you like Santa to leave you under the tree? A crystal ball!

Martha V, 9-11 High Street, Newmarket. Visit marthavshop.co.uk

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