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Nice frame at Joy

Shop local: 12 Presents for Mother’s Day

Mother’s day or Mothering Sunday, is the 26th March. Which is soon. If you haven’t got something for yours, or for younger mums something ‘from’ the kids – what to buy?  WHL scooted round the shops in the ‘hood – and this is what caught our eye.

Next decision, which colour...?

Next decision, which colour…?

Season’s Cookshop said “well it depends how pleased you want to make your mum!” and suggested a Le Creuset casserole dish (priced from £99 to £219).  Or for the perfect coffee with the right crema a Bialetta coffee maker (£36.30 with 20% off at the moment).  Otherwise, although your mum might take this the wrong way I quite liked the ‘avocado shark’ – a kitchen tool for avocados.

My heart belongs to ... cocoa-dusted walnuts, or possibly chocolate salami.

My heart belongs to … cocoa-dusted walnuts, or possibly chocolate salami.

Sticking to the food theme, down at Cocoa Bijoux on Broadhurst Gardens they recommended their cocoa-dusted Perigord walnuts at £15 or a selection of home made truffles. Otherwise Selma who was running the shop that day (Stuart the owner’s mum and from South Africa), would like some of their Biltong, but not sure my mum would be that chuffed.

Can't decide? Get all four.

Can’t decide? Get all four.

If wine is more her thing then Avie at Tannin & Oak suggests maybe some vintage prosecco by Nino Franco at £25 a bottle, or a white frizzante Moscate D’Asti at £16.00.  For something with a bit of a wow factor he also has magnums, recommending a rose – Rosado 2015 by Ramon Bilbao at £19.99 or red for £30.00 from Camille Cayron. Andrea at Vini Vici on Mill Lane was a bit more cynical about Mother’s Day, but happy to make a recommendation if you pop by.

Buddha or angel?

Buddha or angel?

North West 6, the gift shop by the tube station offers jewellery – recommending this blue topaz set for £240. It also has range of semi-precious stones (their healing powers are all the rage in L.A. at the moment) so maybe a rose quartz buddha or angel (depending on her religious viewpoint)? They also have a good range of oh-so important mother’s day cards.

Is she a cat or a dog person?

Is she a cat or a dog person?

Something for the younger artier mum? Try Monsters of Art on Mill Lane. Is she a cat or a dog person? Two pictures that caught my eye are these. The cat (£175) is by a local (well, Cricklewood) artist. The photo doesn’t really do justice to the dog picture (£300) – I really liked it, as did a well-known (and cool) DJ who’s already got a couple.

Nice frame at Joy

Nice frame at Joy

Two other options for the younger mum (or young at heart) is Joy which offered this nice picture frame (£12.00) and La Boutique Secret. Both had lots of fashion options but it’s a tricky one, not only does the piece and colour have to be right but the size too. Easier for woman to choose than a man methinks.

Perhaps a pampering present would be perfect? On West End Lane, Healthtown are offering a Mothering Sunday massage voucher for £50 (normally £60). Nearly opposite Nailsuite UK are offering a mani/pedi voucher for £40 (normally £55). As does Beauty Blossom on Mill Lane also £40 (that’s their normal price).

Best Mother's day card in West Hampstead (in our judgement)

Best Mother’s day card in West Hampstead (in our judgement)

Still looking for a card? The Sherriff Centre is another good source, and probably had the best card I saw (in the picture). As for presents it has some reasonably priced clutch bags by Holy Chic at £9.00 – or natural candle sets for £15.95. Ever popular are their individual letters at £1.75 each; so you can spell it out.

From the sublime to the ridiculous

From the sublime to the ridiculous

Literally, another option is West End Lane Books. Danny had several excellent recommendations; something from the display of gardening books in the window? Shelves full of Persephone and Virago books or ‘Mothering Sunday’ by Graham Swift? A little lower down the literary scale they offer ‘The Mum – how it works’, or ‘Adrian Mole – The Collected Poems’.

Say it with flowers, paper flowers!

Say it with flowers, paper flowers!

The Village Haberdashery has plenty to offer, suggesting cute crochet and knitting kits (£25 to £39). They also offer vouchers for their in-house workshops (£60) or paper flower making kits (starting from £5).

Another handmade option on West End Lane is to take the kids (or just yourself) and paint a mug (£18) or a plate (£18 to £30) at Art for Fun. But better get your skates on as it has be done this weekend since it takes a week to fire, so ready for collection next Saturday evening. In time for Mothering Sunday, just.

Achillea - bloomin' marvellous.

Achillea – bloomin’ marvellous.

If it is real flowers you are looking for then for my money, or should that be for my mummy, you can’t go wrong with a bouquet from Achillea flowers (from £20 upwards).

So there you are – at least twelve suggestions for a mother’s day present on your doorstep. If she doesn’t get anything, can’t say it was because you couldn’t find anything locally.

Abi at Tori & Ben's Farm's prize-winning stall

Some locals have beef with market sign; others just like beef

Last Saturday, Tori & Ben’s Farm was awarded this year’s prize for “Customers’ Favourite Stall” at the West Hampstead Farmers’ Market. The stall sells lamb and Longhorn beef from their farm on the Derbyshire / Leicestershire borders.

Abi at Tori & Ben's Farm's prize-winning stall

Abi at Tori & Ben’s Farm’s prize-winning stall

The runner-up was last year’s winner, Brinkworth Dairy, which sells milk and cream at its stall, as well as takeaway coffee, to a steady queue of customers each week.

It’s good news for the stallholders, but latest statistics show that customer numbers have dropped since the market opened on the Thameslink forecourt in 2012. In its first year, the average footfall at the market was 3,558, but by 2014 the average had fallen to 2,477.

In an effort to boost customer numbers and raise awareness, London Farmers’ Markets, the organisation behind West Hampstead’s Saturday market, has applied to Camden for planning permission for its promotional banner to be placed between the trees on the Thameslink forecourt for a period of six months. There have so far been nine objections to this proposal, with some residents criticising the “unsightly” proposed banner, but Camden has received many more messages in support of the banner, 56 in total, including one from the West Hampstead NDF committee.

Cheryl Cohen, of London Farmers’ Markets, explains the need for a banner in the covering letter to the application, stating that it is “necessary to draw the farmers’ market to the attention of those who may not know that it exists,” in an area with a high turnover of residents. Why this method of advertising? From a survey carried out at the market, “47% of people said that they had found out about the market via the banner.”

Abi, who was manning Tori and Ben’s stall on Saturday, said that they had noticed a slight “six-month slump” in customer numbers, but that things seemed to be picking up again. She said it was still very much worth the trip to West Hampstead each week, due to the stall’s many loyal customers who return to buy their meat each Saturday.

What could explain the drop in footfall at the market? The shopping landscape of West Hampstead has changed since 2012. In the past twelve months, West End Lane has had new shops open selling fresh, good-quality produce. West Hampstead Fruit & Vegetables is always busy, and open late every evening. The Hampstead Butcher & Providore has a wide range of good-quality meat, Cook! sells freshly-cooked convenience food, and how could we forget the new Waitrose opening?

What do you think – are you loyal to the farmers’ market, an occasional customer, or do you use other shops or supermarkets? And do you support the organisers’ proposal for a banner to help restore customer footfall? Comment below or join the discussion on the Forum.