Buy online and keep supporting local business (1)

Introduction

Introduction

This is a perfect time to support the many independent shops, producers, artists and makers that are such a great feature of the Lake District and the rest of Cumbria. Non-essential shops and many other businesses are, of course, closed but plenty are selling online. Check out the places below and you’ll find everything from fashion, food and drink to books, art, homeware, and bath and beauty products. Buying local and supporting local is one of the best things you can do for the Lake District and Cumbria at this time. More places are listed on another feature on the home page. Square picture on home page: Claire’s Handmade. Pic here: Fred’s Ambleside Bookshop. 

Butchers and more. Cranstons at Carlisle, Brampton, Orton Grange

Butchers and more. Cranstons at Carlisle, Brampton, Orton Grange

All three stores are open, with Brampton and Orton Grange also offering a contactless car park collection service. Nationwide delivery is available too. Cranstons was founded as a local butcher in 1914 and much of the beef, lamb and pork sold is from county farmers. There’s a great choice of food and drink from Cumbrian producers while its traditional Cumberland sausage is an inveterate award winner. Over the years, Great Taste Awards have also gone to its 21 day dry-aged ribeye steak, dry cured smoked streaky bacon, 21 day dry-aged tomahawk sharing steak and more. Pic: courtesy of Cranstons www.cranstons.net  

Dining experiences, food and more. Simon Rogan’s Shop

Dining experiences, food and more. Simon Rogan’s Shop

Look forward to a Michelin star treat - when things get back to normal - by going online and booking a table at either L’Enclume (two stars) or Rogan & Co (one star) in Cartmel. Buy gift vouchers for different dining/staying experiences, including ones for Henrock, Simon Rogan’s restaurant at Linthwaite House, overlooking Windermere. And there’s more: Rogan: The Cookbook, L’Enclume aprons, tea towels and oven gloves, toiletries, and foods such as caper jam, woodruff sugar, elderflower vinegar, granola and caramelised white chocolate. Also check out ‘Simon Rogan at home’, meals delivered nationwide. www.simonrogan.co.uk/shop

Natural skincare. Pure Lakes

Natural skincare. Pure Lakes

A free 50ml sanitiser is being sent out with each order throughout January by this family business, a ‘fantastic local company,’ as one happy customer said. Pure Lakes produces a range of skincare ‘with natural and, where possible, organic ingredients’, a selection that embraces body lotions, shampoos, soaps, bath foams, massage and bath oils, lip balms, hydration creams, hand sanitisers, foaming shaving gels, and muscle and joint bath soaks, a number of award winners amongst them. A range of reed diffusers was launched last year, bringing the total number of products to almost a hundred. www.purelakes.co.uk

Whisky, gin and vodka. The Lakes Distillery

Whisky, gin and vodka. The Lakes Distillery

‘The nature of our art is whisky, the inspiration of our art is nature’. So says The Lakes Distillery which was Whisky Visitor Attraction of the Year 2019 at Whisky Magazine Icons of Whisky Awards. You can’t visit the distillery - located at the north end of Bassenthwaite Lake - at the moment but you can buy its whisky, gin, vodka, liqueurs and gifts online. They include The Lakes Single Malt Whiskymaker’s Editions Colheita, The One Fine Blended Whisky, The Lakes Gin, The Lakes Vodka, Steel Bonnets Blended Malt Whisky and - for the ultimate treat - The Quatrefoil Collection. www.lakesdistillery.com

Jams, chutneys and relishes. Claire’s Handmade

Jams, chutneys and relishes. Claire’s Handmade

Winner of numerous Great Taste Awards and prizes at the Dalemain World Marmalade Awards, Claire’s Handmade is a familiar and favoured award-winning producer of fruit and savoury jams, marmalades, pickles, sauces, relishes and salsa dips, all free from artificial colouring, flavours and preservatives, and ‘combining tradition with innovation’. Founded almost 20 years ago by Claire Kent, its damson fruit cheese, made with damsons from Cumbria’s Lyth Valley, won two stars at the Great Taste Awards 2019. Last year the business was featured in Good Housekeeping magazine www.claireshandmade.com

Deli. Three Hares Deli

Deli. Three Hares Deli

Expect a ‘selection of the finest artisan and farm reared produce’ from northern England at this Sedbergh deli, formerly run as a bakery and bistro - a ‘local gem’ says the Good Food Guide 2020 - by its owners Nina Matsunaga and James Ratcliffe. The couple, who also have the Black Bull Inn across the road, stock a range of meat, cheeses, sourdough breads, charcuterie, craft beers, organic wines, homemade meals and more. Cumbrian names include St James and Thornby Moor Dairy cheese, Mansergh Hall pork, Queen-Fryers drinks, Carvetii coffee, Shed 1 Distillery gins and Laura’s Loom wool blankets. www.threeharesdeli.co.uk

Toffee and fudge. The Toffee Shop

Toffee and fudge. The Toffee Shop

Order online from this Penrith shop you’ll be joining a fan base of musicians, film stars, royalty and politicians who’ve all bought one of its trademark boxes of toffee or fudge. The fudge is hand made in small batches from butter, sugar and milk and comes in three flavours: butter, chocolate and mint. After cooking, the mixture is cooled and then cut by hand into slabs. A little more force is used for the toffee which is made with sugar, butter and syrup or black treacle. Having cooled in trays, it’s broken up with a hammer and the pieces (flavours of butter or treacle) then individually wrapped. The recipes are a closely guarded secret. www.thetoffeeshop.co.uk

Art gallery. Castlegate House Gallery

Art gallery. Castlegate House Gallery

Normally at this time of the year Castlegate House - Cumbria’s best known commercial art gallery - would be at the London Art Fair. But until February 28 its ‘London stand’ will be at home in Cockermouth, exhibiting a digital version of LAF 2021. Artists include Frank Auerbach, David Hockney, Patrick Heron, Grayson Perry, Hughie O’Donoghue, Ivon Hitchens, Ben Nicholson, Sheila Fell, Percy Kelly, Peter Coker, Jenny Saville and Leon Kossoff. ‘This is arguably the most important collection of British 20th century names in a commercial gallery setting in recent years outside of central London,’ says owner Steve Swallow. Pic: Whitehaven Chimney by Cumbrian artist Percy Kelly. www.castlegatehouse.co.uk

Beer. Cumbrian Ales

Beer. Cumbrian Ales

‘The best beer in the universe’. That was the view of one travel writer after he had tasted Loweswater Gold, a past Champion Golden Ale of Britain and one of about a dozen beers you can buy online from Cumbrian Ales. Others produced by the brewery include Esthwaite Bitter, Langdale, Buttermere Beauty, Grasmoor Dark Ale, American Pale, Pacific Voyage and Vanilla Oatmeal Stout. Beers come in packs of 12 and there’s also a mixed selection of 12, three of them always Loweswater Gold. The brewery’s ‘home pub’ is the Kirkstile Inn at Loweswater near Cockermouth where five or six of its range are usually on handpump. www.cumbrianales.com

Herdwick wool draught excluders. Chimney Sheep

Herdwick wool draught excluders. Chimney Sheep

If there’s one time of the year you could do with a Chimney Sheep, it’s during winter and early spring. Made from Herdwick wool, the draught excluder is placed in a chimney and then easily removed when the fire is lit. ‘It keeps the heat in and the cold out, so reducing your heating bills and carbon footprint,’ says Sally Phillips whose business collects the wool from some 20,000 Herdwick sheep a year. Chimney Sheep also sells sheep wool insulation, ‘natural and environmentally friendly’ garden products and more. About 20% of its profits go towards a community interest company called Buy Land, Plant Trees. www.chimneysheep.co.uk

Books. Fred’s Ambleside Bookshop

Books. Fred’s Ambleside Bookshop

Opened by Fred Holdsworth in 1956 ‘with minimal stock and maximum enthusiasm’, the shop’s online portal has access to over half a million books, orders then being delivered directly to readers’ doors. Go to the website below, then click on the words ‘Fred’s Online Bookshop’ and you’ll see everything from ‘Books of the moment’ and ‘Staff picks’ to ‘Watchable reads’ and ‘Classic Curiosities’. A huge surge in reading over the last few months has certainly been good news for bookshops. Hopefully for local, independent ones as well of which Fred’s Ambleside Bookshop is one of the best known in the Lake District. www.fredsamblesidebookshop.co.uk

Gifts. Ollie Collie

Gifts. Ollie Collie

Who can resist this cheeky little chap with his cute face and boundless energy? Inspired by their own Border Collie, Heather and Paul Thomas have created a range of fun homeware and clothing ‘for people who like to live life in full colour’. Check out the mugs and coasters, the hoodies and beanie hats, the T-shirts, key rings and fridge magnets of the various collections, one of which - the Rainbow Collection - helps raise money for the charity Young Minds. The couple also run Westwood Books in Sedbergh which sells Ollie Collie gifts along with more than 70,000 books, mainly secondhand but with new and antiquarian books as well. Pic: Joanne Withers. www.olliecollie.co.uk

Relishes, pickles, preserves. Hawkshead Relish

Relishes, pickles, preserves. Hawkshead Relish

Go online to this producer of more than 120 different relishes, pickles and preserves which between them have won over 60 Great Taste Awards. Not so long ago the company’s Black Garlic Pickle won three stars at the awards while its Black Garlic Ketchup was named Best Condiment/Marinade at the 2018 World Food Innovation Awards. A new sauce range was launched last year, as was a book called Embellish with Relish, celebrating 21 years since the business was founded by Mark and Maria Whitehead at their café in Hawkshead. There’s free delivery on orders over £30. www.hawksheadrelish.com

Gin. Shed 1 Distillery

Gin. Shed 1 Distillery

Gin with bling. That’s the glittering prospect for anyone buying Shed Loads of Love from this Ulverston based distillery. Reckoning that ‘we could all do with a bit of sparkle after the last few months’, owners, Andy and Zoe Arnold-Bennett, re-launched the gin after Christmas with added 24k gold leaf, silver leaf and champagne leaf. Shed Loads of Love is one of a number of ‘small batch, classically distilled with a contemporary style’ craft gins the couple produce, a number of them Great Taste Awards winners. Go to ‘Shop’ on the website to buy gins and check out the ‘Virtual gin experiences’. Next virtual tasting (with availability) is March 13. www.shed1distillery.com

British wool. Laura’s Loom

British wool. Laura’s Loom

Keep warm with something soft, sumptuous and sustainable from Laura Rosenzweig’s own-designed range of scarves, socks, throws and comforting blankets, all inspired by the natural tapestry of Cumbria’s Howgill Fells. ‘Our goal is to create beautiful items in simple, classy designs that show off the wool at its very best,’ says Laura who collects much of the raw material herself from farms in the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District, beginning a journey for the fleece that involves all kinds of people that she feels should be celebrated. A batch of Cumbrian summer blankets is in stock now, new scarves are coming shortly but socks are running low. www.laurasloom.co.uk

Puddings. Cartmel Sticky Toffee Pudding

Puddings. Cartmel Sticky Toffee Pudding

Treat yourself to one of the ‘yummy puddings, crumbles and sauces’ that this famous Cumbrian food name produces. Last year was the 30th anniversary of the business which sends its Sticky Toffee Pudding across the UK and to other parts of the world. Sticky Ginger, Sticky Chocolate, Sticky Banana, Christmas Pudding and Sticky Toffee Apple Crumble are part of the family as well. The online shop not only sells the puddings but sauces, hamper gift sets, mugs, aprons, fudge, pudding and wine sets, and a Valentine’s Day gift from Cartmel Village Shop. www.cartmelvillageshop.co.uk/online-shop

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