Tradition, tinsel and tequila

Tradition, tinsel and tequila

Stretching back thousands of years, there is an innate need to warm our houses and lift our spirits when winter has truly arrived and days are shortest. Pagans used branches of evergreens to decorate their homes during the winter solstice to remind them of spring. Many cultures and religions include a winter celebration of light. However jaded by the Christmas rush I feel, there is something truly magical about coming in from the cold to a house full of warm Christmas lights. Or catching a glimpse through a window of another family’s Christmas tree and imagining the festivities inside. In our British-Mexican household, probably like most families, we have established our own Christmas traditions based on a mixture of our individual upbringings. Our Christmas tree is a happy jumble of gold baubles and Mexican decorations of techni-coloured pom-poms and tin figures. Hand-cut paper bunting (brilliant as it can be brought out again for all celebrations throughout the year) sits happily alongside the tinsel and fairy lights. The Christmas Table One of the traditions we have readily adopted from the Christmases we have spent with family in Mexico is the Christmas Eve punch. A gorgeous (but fairly lethal!) combination of tequila, spices and fresh fruit. Mangos, limes and guavas; the smell of fruit and cinnamon filling the house is just amazing. Christmas day itself is less of a focus for the celebrations in Mexico but for me, Christmas dinner is still the heart of Christmas. I therefore take extra care over the Christmas table settings. Welcoming our extended family with table decorations of colourful woven placemats intermingled with ivy and...
A Christmas present from Montes & Clark

A Christmas present from Montes & Clark

As a special Christmas thank you from Montes & Clark, we are including a free large cactus bag (worth £30) with every order over £70 placed before Christmas (whist stocks last!). In Mexico, these beautiful bags are used by both men and women every day for market trips, storing vegetables and carrying well, pretty much everything. Woven by hand from brightly dyed cactus fibres, they are light but extremely strong. Despite their prickly origins, they are surprisingly soft and get more and more supple with each use.   Beautiful and sustainable We love the colours, practicality and sustainability of these bags. I find they are perfect for storing away toys. So much more cheering than a standard ‘bag for life’, we hope they will lift your mood with a bit of Mexican sunshine as you embark on a Christmas shopping trip or hit the January sales. Montes & Clark gift ideas If you need some inspiration to help you on your way to your free cactus bag, these are some of our best sellers at Christmas time. Otomi hand embroidered cushions (starting from £45) Each cushion is unique and feature original detail of animals, birds and flowers with an enchanting, almost mythical quality. Our hand towels (£14) and pom poms (from £10) make lovely stocking fillers and this year our framed artwork collection has also been extremely popular at the Christmas fairs we have attended. Please remember The latest recommended posting date for guaranteed UK delivery is 20th December 2016 so we will be able to fill orders received on or before this date to arrive in time for...
November Fair

November Fair

We will be nestled amongst the goodies on offer at the wonderful Compton Marbling Fair in Wiltshire. If you have never been to this Christmas Fair, come along and enjoy a special day out. There is an amazing choice of independent retailers, handmade and rare gifts, laid out in the beautiful barns around a courtyard. A café provides food and drinks and there is lots of space for children to run around. Come join us, and shop for Christmas in style, knowing you are supporting independent companies. OPEN FRI 18 & SAT 19 NOVEMBER from 10am – 5pm  ...
Artisan Christmas Fair

Artisan Christmas Fair

Christmas is a good opportunity to discover independent shops and support artisan makers.  We are looking forwards to joining others at the Artisan Christmas Fair organised by the wonderful Selvedge Magazine. Come join us from 11am – 5pm on thursday 3rd December and from 10 to 5pm on friday 4th December at the Chelsea Town Hall, King’s Road, London...
Christmas Market Season

Christmas Market Season

It’s that time of the year. Kate and I (and this year, an 8 week old baby of mine!) will wrap up warm to join in a series of Christmas Markets. The next two weekends (fridays and saturdays) we will be at this Fair in Wiltshire which my mother set up and now my sister runs. As it has been long standing, it has a great following and an original selection of gifts and toys. Compton Xmas Fair invite...
Handmade Christmas

Handmade Christmas

Christmas trees are up and we’ve opened the first three doors of our advent calendars. Montes&Clark love a handmade christmas, the warmth and charm that it brings to your rooms as the temperature drops outside. Sliced and dried oranges hung with ribbons, gingerbread biscuits cut in the shape of stars and old cards made from leftover wrapping paper. Our hand embroidered cushions are a special gift to give, as each one is totally unique and made by hand by women in Mexico. Hand cut paper bunting will get everyone in the mood, fluttering over the table on christmas day.  Or bags woven from cactus fibre to hang in the hallway with your gloves and hats inside. Browse our shop while sipping a hot chocolate, or come find us at one of the next fairs. We will be at the ‘Touring Emporium‘ in Chilmark, Wiltshire on the 10th and 11th and the Shoreditch Christmas Craft Market on the 13th, 19th and 20th December. Wrap up warm and see us there!  ...

My mother’s christmas fair

When she was a young mother, as I am now, my mother started the ‘Compton Marbling Christmas Fair‘ in Tisbury, Wiltshire. At the same location where she made hand marbled paper products as Compton Marbling, started with her friend Caroline Mann, it soon became a popular place to find the latest designers, craftsmen and small businesses. My sister, Clementine has taken on the family tradition and now runs the Fair along with her gift shop. Many years later as I start Montes&Clark with my good friend Kate, producing hand embroidered, woven and cut out products, we are attending this Christmas Fair. The atmosphere is bustling and all the stall holders dotted around the beautiful courtyard and barns. If you are in the South West come find us on friday 21st, saturday 22nd, friday 28th and saturday 29th. Doors are open from 10am to 5pm. Location: Lower Lawn Barn, Nr Tisbury, Wiltshire. SP3 6SG. Just to give you a flavour of the wonderful atmosphere, have a look at my brilliant neighbouring stall, Dinah Nicholson Fairies.  I adore them! Lucy Montes de...