Walking In A West End Wonderland

by Tracy Mukherjee

Walking In A West End Wonderland

No need for a subway ride.  The West End is THE shopping destination this year.

Few of us will be sad to see the demise of 2020.  But so far, we are making it through and as true Glaswegians, just getting on with it.  If you are a small business owner that “blitz mentality” has just about got you through the past 9 months.  With Christmas coming, this should be a time of economic growth.  So with that in mind, where should we spend our hard earned cash this Christmas?  Let’s consider our own back yard, support our small business owners and shop locally.

The Spirito of Christmas

Immersing itself in a glorious halo of festive treats Spirito, Crow Road is a one stop shop for home and gift ideas.  Their line of super cute Pot Candles combining Christmas and nature come in either robin, reindeer or fox and are evocatively scented with different Christmas spices.  Scented candles are in abundance in this stunning gift boutique, not to mention the most adorable range of light garlands. The Starburst Chain lights and fairy lit Table Robins are an oh-so-chic alternative to the traditional Christmas tree. There are many beautiful interior ideas here with a nod to the paired back hygge style of cosy furnishing without fuss.  Spirito has an outstanding range of home goodies, everything to make your home a Snugglefest!  No place to go? Thank goodness.

Come in From the Cold at Colab

In one of my favourite bijou spots in the West Dowanhill Street, sits Colab Store.  This multifaceted space houses a cosy coffee shop, event area and gift shop.  At its core Colab champions design, inspired by co-owners Karen Haas and Peter Mulvenny’s love of travel, art and design.  

For a truly unique Christmas gift, Colab is definitely worth the trip.  Its glorious apothecary ranges should ensure your skin is in for a pamper not to mention moisturising our dried out little mitts from the copious hand washing.  On which point you might consider treating your hands to the decadent Meraki hand creams, or indeed ANYTHING from this truly sumptuous skin range. East of Earl’s Onsen Range is also a winner in the gift stakes: choose from hand balm, coordinating hand wash, bath salts, and candles.  What could be better than soaking in your favourite aroma, fragrancing your home plus treating your skin all in the same heady scent?  Don’t forget to check out the lush range of Nuddy shea butter soap bars too. To lift our mood,  look to brighter days ahead with Colab’s range of sunglasses.  It’s an extensive collection with cool designer vibes.  But if we are honest we might have to deal with a few showers before the sun appears – isn’t that an analogy for our current climate.   Fear not, the super stylish Blunt umbrellas come in Metro and Classic styles.  Come rain or shine plus a lovely cup of Joe to boot, Colab has just the right gift for Christmas with style.

Christmas under the Stars

A Hyndland stalwart Cassiopeia, Hyndland Road opened the door to its gift and home boutique way back in 2004.  Being a mere child at that time I clearly don’t remember…ahem.

As the name suggests, Cassiopeia is all about gifts that shine and will bring a sparkle to your home.  Owners Lyudmila and Mabel, whilst stocking unique gifts from further afield, love to champion local Scottish art and design.

Designer Jamie Frame’s Topographic Wall Maps are a thing of beauty.  Carved from birch plywood and finished with natural wood wax this gift will definitely bring a smile come Christmas morning.  Cath Waters contemporary take on the Scottish landscape is beautifully captured in her range of mugs and coaster combinations. The Rupert Balmire ceramics range elevate the humble tea caddy or tumbler to a new level of design heaven.

There is also a beautiful collection of baby gifts too.  The Beatrix Potter range has everything from soft toys and bibs through to purses and pencil cases. What parent of a tot couldn’t love a Beatrix Potter tooth and curl box?  That may just be the cutest sentence I’ve ever written.  

Whatever the age, from young to old Casseiopia is the place for that very special Christmas gift. 

Hoos Hoos Hoos Merry Christmas

Nordic style has become ever more present in our design consciousness over the past few years.  Hoos Great Western Road is a hygge wonderland… with a heady sprinkling of local artisan design thrown in.  Hoos is the destination store for textiles, purity of style and natural materials.  The Cowboy Dream Blankets by Icelandic designer Anna Thorunn are made from 100% New Zealand wool and are inspired by her memories of the beauty and majesty of her homeland.  Normann Copenhagen’s outrageously cute Little Bird decorative figures are a beautiful blend of smooth turned wood with only a smidgin of detail – a little beak.  Coming in 6 different sizes, you can add to your collection over time.  For kiddies, the love of natural materials continues.  In particular Wooden Storys range of unsurprisingly, wooden toys as well as some knitted gems from Olesen Design and Sophie Home are very special.  These are forever toys that will always be a favourite, gracing a child’s shelf throughout the years. 

Minimalist, natural, stylish.  Hoos has your designer Christmas all wrapped up.

Liquorice Christmas Tree

If you can’t get a special Christmas gift in this great store, Santa’s workshop hasn’t made it.

Liquorice Tree has an expansive range of gifts all year round, but at Christmas it ups the ante.  The downstairs Christmas shop has become a destination venue for Christmas decor.  The range of Scottish Christmas  Decorations are simply adorable.  Who could ignore a Bagpiping Santa bauble? Personally I’m always a sucker for a Harris Tweed Highland Cow.

Jewellery, scarfs, gloves…words to bring a flutter to any West End girl’s heart.  The One Hundred Stars range of city map scarfs are aux tres chic, whilst Pia Rossini gloves may just be the cosiest hand coverings this side of the Clyde.  Where to begin on jewellery?  Designer, costume or just for fun, watches, necklaces, the whole shebang.  The Shrieking Violet range of pendants with real flowers are simply lovely, whilst the Elie Beaumont classic watch face is, if you’ll pardon the pun, timeless.  With the Joma range also stocking children’s jewellery, these are a lovely stocking filler each with a thoughtful little message.  Gifts too numerous to mention – that’s literally Liquorice Tree.

Ae Fond Kiss Under the Mistletoe

Ready for the festive season with oodles of Christmas stock – see FB video – this pocket size gem on Queen Margaret Drive is SUCH a part of the West End fabric.  With an in-house design studio where commissioned artwork and cards can be tailor-made for you, Ae Fond Kiss really does provide a personalised customer service.  Small in size but big in product range, the boutique has an extensive collection of jewellery, gifts and home decor delights.  With purchases always beautifully packed, size doesn’t always matter.

December at Decadent Riot

New kid on Park Road Decadent Riot sits quietly and unassuming in its new home.  But once inside it’s punchy, loud and refreshing. Looking for a fun, ballsy gift for a younger relative – or a tragic old hipster like myself trying to relive their Glasgow Uni days?  This IS the place.  I love, love, LOVE the Cassette Coin Purses, fantastically funny badges and eighties music memorabilia. With fun jewellery, bags, hilarious cards and some seriously funky home decor, this little spot of muso-heaven is a must visit for a super cool gift to impress. 

So many possibilities within walking distance, it’s easy to see why shopping locally makes so much sense and not just because of the fantastic products on offer.

I think what many of us realised this year, especially during the spring lockdown was just how strong the West End is.  Never have we been more proud and invested in our local community than we are now. We are reliant on each other to get through this. So let’s continue to invest our time and resources in our families, friends, neighbours and the myriad of small businesses that are fighting to survive around us.  

Merry Christmas!

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