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PLEASE NOTE:

Between 23rd February and 12th April 2010 we will be running a greatly reduced service. Orders will be despatched once a week and we regret that phone messages and emails may not be responded to during this time.

I apologise  for any inconvenience this may cause and am grateful for your patience!

Warm wishes

Tara

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Christmas Fairs

I don’t even want to THINK about how close Christmas is, but that is the nature of the beast, so here are the fairs Boutiko will be selling at over the next month or so. If you’re in the vicinity come and say hi!

14-15th Nov: Michelham Priory Fair, East Sussex

18th Nov: Cabbages and Frocks Christmas Event, Marylebone Parish Church Grounds, London

28th Nov: Arundel Fair Trade and Sustainable Christmas Fair, Arundel Castle, West Sussex

2-3rd December: Down Place Christmas Fair, Hampshire. (Privately run fair, please contact me for information.)

5th December: West Hove School Christmas Fair, Hove, East Sussex

8th December: Cabbages and Frocks Christmas Fair, UCL, London

I choose fairs that I think will be not just appropriate in an ethical sense but also fun and lively, with lots of music and entertainment, and stalls with really beautiful offerings, so the whole experience becomes a fun way to do Christmas shopping.

If you would like to know more details about any of the above fairs, please get in touch. I will be writing about each fair afterwards as well.

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Beanies, baby!

In the spirit of supporting local crafters in the UK,  I couldn’t not share with you the genius idea that is Grannies Inc. This fab site allows you to design your own beanie hat, in 100% wool yarn, and then a ‘granny’ based somewhere in the UK will knit it into reality, just for you! Aside from the uniqueness aspect, it also means that grannies all over the UK, who have been knitting for years and are running out of people to knit for,  can supplement their income doing something they love to do.

Want a baggy one with a bobble in citrus brights? No problem.Beanie_baggy06

How about a baggy one with no bobble in soft pastel shades? Can do.

Beanie_baggy08

Need something to keep your ears cosy on that skiing trip? Easy peasy.

Beanie_earflaps01

Or perhaps just a plain and simple, head hugging number in a nice masculine blue for your brother for Christmas?

Beanie_fitted02It’s true that knitting is unbelievably cool now, and very much the thing in these straitened times, but for those of us who just can’t get to grips with it, Grannies Inc is definitely the next best thing. For me, winter just isn’t winter without a cosy woolly hat, and trust me, even if you’re initially not sure, after a few minutes playing with different coloured stripes on the interactive Design Your Own page, you’ll definitely be wanting your very own unique-to-you beanie. The one I designed cost £23 – delivery within the UK is free – but you won’t be seeing anyone else with the same one as you, and you’re supporting a good cause too.

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The lovely Kate over at Only Fair has very kindly featured me in her new guest blogger series – so if you want to know how to find the perfect gift, hop on over to her blog now!

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Hiatus

temp 093As in, we are having one while the site is revamped, updated and generally given a new lease of life!

We are also ‘streamlining our offering’ (changing what we sell, in English; where did I pick up such foul language?) to focus on what we do best; lovely ethical goodies for women. That means we will no longer be stocking childrenswear, toys or specifically baby gifts, or gifts specifically for men. There may well be treats that work for all ages or sexes or preferences, but Boutiko is becoming an online boutique for women who want to shop ethically without compromising on style.

Don’t forget, to make room for the new stuff, we are having a massive sale! New items are being added all the time, so check out Boutiko’s SALE SHOP for a bargain while stocks last!

Enough of the marketing speak, watch this space – not long now!

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Let’s face it, any chocolate is good chocolate, pretty much. But raw chocolate  is REALLY good chocolate.  Good because the ingredients are traded fairly, because as many of those ingredients as possible are produced locally (and those that aren’t are shipped over, not flown), because you can eat it if you’re vegan, and because this chocolate is HEALTHY. That’s right, it’s actually important that you eat it because it’s full of nutrients and oils and superfoods. AND, it tastes really good! 

chocbars

I’ve been keen to try raw chocolate for ages, and then I found a bar of Conscious Chocolate (there are of course several other makes) in a local health food store, and (purely in the interests of research) I felt compelled to try it. 

If you haven’t eaten raw chocolate, it’s different from the usual sort in taste and texture, being less sweet and less smooth.  I really liked it, but I think you have to be prepared for it to be a bit rougher round the edges, so to speak.

Nevertheless, with all its health and ethical benefits, I’d be inclined to eat more of this than any other kind, if it weren’t for the price. Raw chocolate is more expensive, there’s no getting around it. I guess this is a combination of small rate of production, the superfoods that go into it, the shipping in of certain ingredients and the eco conscious packaging (all done by hand). Hopefully this will one day no longer be the case, but I also think that because this chocolate is so rich and filling,  you genuinely need a lot less to get your fix.

I recommend that you try it, I really do. If you need less it becomes more of a treat and will probably balance out your usual consumption (assuming you’re a chocolate fiend, and if you’re not, lucky you!), just don’t expect it to help you lose weight! It packs a bit of a calorie punch, but then, they are GOOD calories.

For more info, visit www.consciouschocolate.co.uk

Here’s a bit of info I lifted from their site (look! no sugar!):

Raw Chocolate Ingredients                                                                                     Raw Cacao powder
Raw Cacao Butter (oil of the chocolate beans when powdered)
Raw organic Coconut Butter
Raw organic Agave Syrup (cactus nectar used as a sweetener and suitable for diabetics)
Raw organic wild Carob
Himalayan Sea Salt, Cayenne Pepper (to activate the chocolate) and Spices.

Each bar of chocolate has the above as a base and then a variety of raw nuts, seeds, and fruits and berries are added as well as super foods, essential oils and zest to make the range of different raw chocolate bars.

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Well before I get to that bit, thank you very much to everyone who kindly gave up their to complete the survey, and especially to those who gave extra information and opinions. I am very grateful to you all; it truly does help us to improve our service and product offerings, and that’s really all we want to do here at Boutiko! It actually IS all about you. ;o)

So anyway, the numbers were put into a hat (also known as random.org), and the one drawn out to win the prize of a set of handmade porcelain ‘Home’ tealights is: MARK MADELEY.

Congratulations Mark! We hope you love them as much as we do! At a later date we will produce some stats and responses to all your entries and comments – just have to go through them all first!

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