Love your neighbourhood shops and restaurants this Valentine’s Day and choose something unique and impactful.
Hackney Council and My Virtual Neighbourhood have joined forces to produce a gift guide – featuring dozens of local makers and shops to suit all budgets and there isn’t a petrol-station bunch of flowers in sight.
The benefits of shopping local are well documented – in a nutshell; more of the money you spend circulates within the community than when you shop with a big chain and that boosts employment and makes for colourful high streets with much more soul.
Here are some Hackney highlights
An affordable way to show someone they mean something to you – receiving a card makes us feel more connected and less alone. Earlybird in Stoke Newington has a gorgeous selection – designed in-house and by other small UK businesses. For bright, bold cards check out Rude Studios and Rooms of Clapton has some quirky cards as well as wonderful homewares.
Flowers and Plants
Conservatory Archives in Clapton has a great selection of plants for Valentine’s. Pop in or order online – we love their Purple Kisses – a duo of plants.
Rebel Rebel in Mare Street puts the style into flower arranging and offers something very different to the off-the-shelf bouquets you’ll find from bigger chains. Evergreen and Outrageous have a stunning selection of roses (vibrant pinks and oranges) as well as hydrangeas and chrysanthemum. They’ll happily deliver locally. How about choosing flowers that last this year – Grace and Thorn have lots of lovely dried bouquets to choose from.
Winner of the Holly & Co’s People Award, Cult of Youth in Stoke Newington offers stunning lockets, engraved with words such as “Darling,’ ‘No Grit No Pearl,’ ‘Always Love,’ and ‘Love you to the Moon and Back.’
The team at Revere the Residence have divided their window display in two – one for those who love Valentine’s and the other for folks who’d rather pass. We love their lip vases and these fabulous prints by in-house designer Piper; inspired by her imaginary boyfriend Tony Thompson. This homeware and lifestyle shop is run as a social enterprise - employing disabled adults to level the field.
We’re big fans of Pages of Hackney’s Top 10 Reading List. Why not treat someone you love to a brilliant book from an independent store?
Tonica Lab offers a “libido-lifting balm” (goodness knows where you rub it!”) and a sensual aromatherapy spray called “Saucy Mood Mist.” Find these alongside indulgent bath salts at Know and Love.
Kate Sheridan in Clapton have a beautiful collection of leather bags and gifts.
If you’re after a box of chocs with the wow-factor, Chocolate Fantasies in Stamford Hill have a great selection of premium chocolates, nuts and treats (some made in-house). Order online for UK-wide delivery.
Is your loved one a cycling enthusiast? Goodordering on Broadway Market sell stylish panniers and fun T-shirts.
Rouge on Stoke Newington High Street has a beautiful selection of homeware gifts and also stunning vintage-inspired dressing gown (more of a cotton robe).
House of Buckley is offering the chance to blend and create your own scented candle at their Dalston headquarters
The Wheel-Throwing Pottery courses for at Jo Davies Ceramics look really fun. Choose between a four-week course, an eight-week course, a one-day intensive or a weekend course.
Castle Cinema in Brooksby’s Walk is showing Blue Jean (the story of gym teacher Jean’s experiences of life in 1980s England when Thatcher prepared to pass a law stigmatizing gays and lesbians) or Tár – a portrait of composer and conductor Lydia Tár.
The Rio in Dalston is showing Harold and Maude this Valentine’s Day - voted the 45th funniest film of all time and the ninth best romantic comedy by the America Film Institute, it is described as a film about: “the oddest of odd couples.”
Take away the chill together with a restful sauna at the Community Sauna Baths at Hackney Wick and, if you’re feeling brave, take the plunge in an ice-cold converted whisky barrel! Prices from just £10 for 90 minutes.
Loads of Hackney restaurants pull out all the stops for Valentine’s with special taster menus. For inspiration, visit the Love Hackney Shop Local site for a list of independent restaurants neighbourhood by neighbourhood.