Meet the Maker - Belinda Cannon, Sophie Store.

"I've always thought of accessories as an exclamation point of a woman's outfit". 
- Michael Kors

Sophie Store is our favourite accessory brand and we love having it at The Axe.  Belinda, founder and designer, creates affordable, timeless pieces without being 'on-trend' in a disposable way.  The range includes sterling silver and gold earrings, fun tortoise cuffs and hoops, summer hats and scarves.  The brand is named after Belinda's adorable daughter Sophie, a pretty cute legacy we think.

A great friend of mine compared scarves to cushions on your sofa - you can never have enough!  I completely concur!  The best thing about the scarves from Sophie Store how versatile they are.

As a terrified flyer I always wear a scarf on a flight, one little bump and it is over my head, this obviously doesn't make me any safer but at least I won't see anything on the way down!  They also make a great wrap/blanket for babies when travelling (as one very grateful Mum realised when she was about to board her plane sans her baby bag), are excellent beach cover-ups and of course you only need half the amount of outfits if you have a selection of scarves.

If you haven't worn a scarf for a while or you are in a styling rut, I loved this fun video, 25 ways to wear a scarf.

 

The Sophie hats are also a great travelling accessory - they squish just enough to be packed and bounce back perfectly!  Over to Belinda.....

 

What was the worst gift you ever received?
Can a gift be bad?! I genuinely think it’s the thought that counts. 

Did you re-gift it?
I’m too honest to regift, feels wrong! 

Socks or Undies?
Both! I absolutely LOVE socks, always have a few in my little stash of gifts, super cute patterned ones. And we have a tradition in our house that the boys always get Christmas print undies. 

What is the gift you have received you are most proud of?
The handwritten cards from the kids ALWAYS make my heart sing. It’s the little priceless things. 

A $50 gift for one person or a $5 gift for ten people?
I’d have to say a $50 gift for one person. We tend to buy for one person each in our family, makes it pretty easy! 

Ferrero Rocher or Roses?
Ferrero Rocher – can eat & eat & eat them and NEVER get sick of them. 

 If you could gift anything in the world to one person, what would it be and who would you be giving it to?
That’s tricky! I can’t possibly pick one person! I’d have to say good health & happiness for everyone (a bit of a beauty queen answer) – that far outweighs any physical gift we can give. 

What was the first gift you remember getting?
I got the Barbie & the Rockers stage when I was about 7. I stumbled across it in the boot of Mum’s car and pretended I didn’t see it. Was so chuffed! 

Do you still have it?
Unfortunately not, Dad HATES clutter so it would have been given away moons ago. My daughter Sophie would love it now! 

 

TOP GIFT TIP #1
With a great proportion of gift-wrap used at Christmas being non-recyclable the thought of the huge pile of post-present paper is  a bit depressing.  I am sending my son's girlfriend in the UK (who I hope doesn't read this!) a gorgeous clutch bag and Sophie scarf for Christmas.  I decided to use the scarf and some ribbon as the wrapping for the gift and then pop inside a reusable, recyclable paper bag to keep it safe.  Problem solved (for one present anyway).  

TOP GIFT TIP #2 
It is hardly a gift tip to say that jewellery is a VERY GOOD GIFT!  If you are struggling in what to buy, jewellery will never feel like an afterthough and will always be appreciated. The ex oh studs in silver or gold are perfect for young people, teenagers and those of us a bit older and at $38 for gold and $36 for silver, make a great stocking stuffer.

All images from Sophie Store.

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Meet the Makers - Imogen & Anna, Moon Turtle

"When you know how you think, you get to change how you feel.”
– Knowing, Dr Know.

Moon Turtle, a mood journal, has been lovingly created by two extraordinary Wellington makers, Imogen and Anna.  Two women with absolutely infectious positivity and can-do attitude in an area where their are a lot of words and not always actions.   We adore their products and feel so proud to have them as one of our amazing Aotearoa makers.

Before you ask why Moon Turtle? 
"I was sitting in a noisy bar when I told a pal I was designing a mood journal.  Over the noise, with a bamboozled look on his face, he exclaimed,

'What the heck is a moon turtle?'

Moon Turtle! I decided right then and there that I like 'Moon Turtle' far better than the boring name I originally had in mind". (Imogen)

Imogen & Anna

The Moon Turtle supports anyone (and I really mean ANYONE) who wants to make some improvements to their mental wellbeing, big or little.  You don't have to really know what to do or have done something like this before, you can just give it a go.

It takes 21 days to form a habit and the Moon Turtle is designed to be used for 21 consecutive days to get you in the habit of actively monitoring your feelings and actions.

I have been absolutely astonished with the response to Moon Turtles since we began stocking them at The Axe.  I wondered initially that they would be a bit niche or confronting for some people.  We have discovered the opposite to be true, people of all ages have really responded to having such an achievable and approachable resource and we have sold so many as gifts (they are $12 each -  helllloooooooo gift for the office sweepstake!).

 

The Moon Turtle also comes in a Junior version. 

Preface from Moon Turtle Junior

If you are some thoughtful inspiration then definitely check out the Moon Turtle website and blog where you will find articles like; Nutrients & Nourishing Yourself, and; Trashing the list of impending Doom and then check out the new addition to the Moon Turtle family, WHAT DID I EVEN DO THIS YEAR? - more about that later, first, we are talking gifts with Imogen and Anna....

What was the worst gift you ever received?

Anna: Off the top of my head, I can’t remember a ‘worst’ gift as such. I’m super practical with gifts and probably a little vanilla. So I’m very strict on the please don’t get me anything unless you really want to, in which case, X, Y, or Z would be really helpful for me right now.

Imogen: I can’t think of a ‘worst’ gift, although people often give me earrings, not knowing I don’t have my ears pierced...

Did you re-gift it?

Anna: For a birthday gift this year, I got a really snazzy glass drink bottle I didn’t really need – I had one at work, and one at home. So I did kinda re-gift it… Not as a gift as such, but I offered it to my boyfriend and he said he was welcome to it if he thought he would use it regularly. So now he has an excellent drink bottle at work too!

Imogen: I do re-gift the earrings because they are usually lovely!

Socks or Undies?

Anna: Socks! Undies are a little personal, I’m very picky when it comes to underwear, socks, not so much.

Imogen: I second the socks vote. I am the world’s pickiest person when it comes to undies (Martinborough-made Thundies are A+)

A $50 gift for one person or a $5 gift for ten people?

Anna: A $50 gift for one person! I hate the idea of giving presents for the sake of giving presents, so if I give a present, it’s thoughtful and genuine.

Imogen: Oooh I couldn’t decide. I agree with Anna here, but then again I really love finding gems for people at opshops (and gifting them to people for no reason at all)

Ferrero Rocher or Roses?

Anna: Roses – I actually have such a soft spot for Turkish Delight. And they’re more fun to share I think.

Imogen: Ferrero Rocher by far. It’s like eating crunchy Nutella one teaspoon at a time.

 What was the first gift you remember getting?

Anna: A purple fairy dress when I was six and I wore that thing day and night for the following three weeks.

Imogen: A purple boogie board. I found it hiding in my grandparents’ hall cupboard. May or may not have been on a present finding hunt, can’t remember. Let’s just say I had to pretend to be surprised when December 25th rolled around.

Do you still have it?

Anna: It got taken to the opshop when I outgrew it – I hope someone got to enjoy it as much as I did!

Imogen: No - I think the cat chewed it to oblivion.

I find those little rhymes really helpful for inspiration!

Anna: Something you want, something you need, something you'll wear, something you'll read. I love getting gifts I can use over and over! And things I would like, but probably wouldn’t buy for myself.

 

TOP GIFT TIP #1 - save your loved ones from getting to the end of the year and wondering what on earth they had actually done.  The WHAT DID I EVEN DO DO THIS YEAR? journal is $12 and a thoughtful and practical gift.

 

dates I want to remember forever - from What did I even do this year?

TOP GIFT TIP #2 - this is not a gift tip at all but a quote from Moon Turtle's Instagram page that I thought might resonate at this time of year.

Step one of intentionally weaselling your way out of a rut you might find yourself stuck in.
STEP ONE - Sit with the fact that you have power over how you feel

Sometimes it feels like you don't get to choose how you feel.  You do get to choose how you act.  And the way you act can lead to positive, warm, uplifting feelings, or it can lead to sad, lame, swampy festering, anxious feelings.  Be present in how you feel and remember that you have the power to make a conscious decision to choose action that yields feeling good.  No feeling lasts forever.

Do the action, the feeling will follow.

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Meet the Maker - Bonnie Brown, Studio Bon

In the second of our Meet the Maker series we are chatting to Bonnie Brown a Wellington based artist and illustrator and the creative genius behind Studio Bon. You will have seen Bonnie's work gracing coffee cups, magazine covers, a billboard and even a Blunt umbrella and get ready because their are some very, very exciting projects in the pipeline.

Bonnie has also produced three amazing prints we are lucky to stock at The Axe, Waves, Heart Eyes and Poolside.   I love Waves so much I had it printed as an A0 and it takes pride of place in our airport store where it is admired and complimented on hundreds of times a day.

As well as illustrating her heart out, Bonnie also puts her heart in to supporting organisations that support women and her community.  Her latest  initiative is the sale of the cutest Christmas card packs with $1 for every card purchased going to the Women's Refuge, to help them support those children and families doing it tough this year.

More about the cards soon, over to Bonnie.

Socks or Undies?
Undies! I get a matching underwear set every year and theres honestly nothing that makes you feel like you have your life together more than wearing a matching bra and undies.

What is the gift you have given you are most proud of?
My partner is notoriously hard to buy for because he never wants any gifts. Last year he made an obscure remark about wanting a pen that was a singular piece of metal and I made it my mission to find one. After scouring the internet I finally found the right piece. It seems odd to be proud of a pen but I'm just happy I was able to find something he actually wanted. It also just so happens that this year The Axe stocks a nearly identical pen which would have come in handy this time last year! https://www.theaxe.co.nz/collections/tools/products/liliputballpointpen-ecobrass

A $50 gift for one person or a $5 gift for ten people?
$50 gift for one person! With $5 I feel like you end up buying people cheap crap that they really don't need whereas with $50 you have the ability to get something more thoughtful.

Ferrero Rocher or Roses?
Roses 100%. Mainly because you have more options, even if you end up left with a whole lot of Turkish delight at the end.

If you could gift anything in the world to one person, what would be and who would you be giving it to?
I'd love to buy my mum flights back home to Chester in England. She hasn't been back in my entire life, over 20 years, so I'd love for her to see her family again! 

What was the first gift you remember getting?
The first gift I have a distinct memory of is a soft toy dog with one big spot who I un-ironically called Stripy! I was given him when I was five years old and at the dentists. My mum had to run an errand and left me in the trusty hands of the dentist, a family friend, when I decided she had abandoned me and was inconsolable. When she returned she had Stripy and he must have made it all better!

Do you still have it?
He's still sitting proudly on my wardrobe, one stripe and all.

GIFT TIP #1

Don't believe it when you are told that it is too hard to buy people art as a gift.  I LOVE  being given arty things.  An art collection is more than decorating your home, it is building a collection of meaningful and beautiful things, what is more meaningful than something that someone special chose just for you?  Also, if you don't like it, you can hang it where no-one sees it!

GIFT TIP #2

#cardsasgifts

I love framing beautiful cards as a piece of art.  Not only a cost-effective, thoughtful and lasting gift, what are you actually supposed to DO with all those cards you accumulate?   So as well as supporting New Zealand art and artists and supporting the Women's Refuge, a Studio Bon Christmas Card is like a little piece of art for someone you love.

Megx

SHOP Studio Bon Christmas Cards here

VISIT Bonnie's website here and you really need to be following Studio Bon on Insta.

Photo: @wildpics.fr

Unless credited all images provided by Bonnie Brown. 

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Meet the Maker - Dan Pearson, Wild Fennel Co.

Talking gifts
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Indoor/Outdoor rugs - BOB

Pappelina rugs are the ultimate in form meeting function, they look amazing and are completely washable!

We have just received a new shipment of the Bob rug, from Pappelina, featuring a wide stripe in three colourways, black and white, charcoal and white & pistachio and white and three sizes (mat, rug & runner).

Woven in Scandinavia from 50% recycled plastic strips, they withstand rain and mold, are hypoallergenic and easy to clean. Though light and flexible, they're surprisingly soft and springy and can be washed in the machine or even waterblasted.

Consider them if you're looking for a super tough, super stylish rug that can be used indoors or out. 

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