Today is the day we can all go shopping again. We can also visit our local zoo, go to church, check out the form for this week’s Royal Ascot (hats optional) and diarise which football match we are going to watch when, starting on Wednesday. We can hug a granny, as long as it’s your own and she lives alone… but still that’s real progress. The easing of lockdown restrictions will mean so much to so many, and as we anticipate further easing we think it’s fairly safe to start planning your staycation.
But the most important thing is to support your local community. Your small, independent shops and suppliers need you – and we would all miss them if they were gone. So if you can – pay them a visit. Splash a little cash and show them your support.
These are a few of our top picks, but don't forget, you can discover more local independents that Living North loves by visiting The List here
This boutique located in the artistic hub of Hebden Bridge, are opening their doors from Tuesday 16th to welcome you by appointment only. Browse their bespoke jewellery and watch collections, as well as stunning wedding and engagement rings, it’s a must-visit shopping destination for those looking for the perfect gift for a loved one, or if you're in the mood to treat yourself.
Lucy Pittaway’s artwork is bright and colourful in equal measure. And, now that her Richmond and Yarm galleries have re-opened you can get your hands on it in the flesh, whilst also shopping her range of homeware, greetings cards and stationery inspired by her artworks.
Merchant No 1
This Monkseaton treasure trove have officially re-opened, stocked with hand-made gifts and crafts from many of the North East's finest artisans. Think stylish interiors, treats for your children and local-inspired nick nacks you simply won't be able to resist.
Armed with years of experience designing and developing collections, the owners of Corbridge's RE sell a unique range of lifestyle and home accessories. You’ll find the weird, whacky and just simply unusual at RE, it's the perfect place to find inspiration now we're allowed to shop in store again.
Fire & Co
Fire & Co pride themselves on sourcing the next trendy thing in home interiors and passing them on to customers. They have put the work in so you don’t have to. With their South Shields showroom open again there's never been a better time to spruce up your home. Head along for seriously stylish inspiration and expert advice.
Slap bang on the Northumberland Coastal Trail, this cosy shop sells a varied range of products from eclectic sources, though the entire stock is led by a principle of promoting well-designed British-made items. Stop off after exploring nearby Embleton Bay, trust us, it's worth it.
Fenwick is a one-stop shop for all of your shopping needs, plus, it remains a family-run business at its core. At their York and Newcastle stores, each floor offers something unique, from new sustainable fashion brands to irrestible kitchenware and interiors. Gourmands will find plenty to enjoy packed into the Northumberland Street store's Food Hall too. Make the most of freshly-baked bread, a bounty of beers and spirits, cheese counters and basically any ingredient you’d ever want to cook with.
Alpine Lifestyle Boutique
Want to add some hygge to your life? We don't blame you. Head to Ilkley's Alpine Lifestyle Boutique offer an eclectic mix of Alpine-themed homeware and gifts with natural wood, cosy throws, sheepskins and hides sourced in the Alps.
If you've put your renovation plans on hold, now is the time to get things going again, as Bridgewater prides itself on its quality, expertise and the personal relationships it builds with customers, using its own team to design furniture for your dream bathroom and kitchen. This firm shows that traditional materials, simply designed, can produce stunning results.
Harveys of Halifax
This unique, independent department store in Halifax is back open and operating as three separate shops: Home and Gifts, Cosmetics and The Summer Shop. So, you can re-stock your favourite skin care and beauty products, browse collections for your home, and pick up a stellar summer outfit (and hope the sun comes out again).
The Imaginarium is a lifestyle store like you've never seen before. Head down their York-based rabbit hole to discover quirky homeware, art and gifts, exclusive one-of-a kind art pieces and exquisitely hand-crafted collections, and while you're there head next door to explore their sister store: The Yorkshire Soap Co. You'll find it hard to leave without treating yourself to one of their dreamy candles and an artisan soap.