I don’t often write about products on Jack Straw Lane; with the exception of writing about cheese and croissant, but those are necessities like oxygen and water. It’s not that I don’t like things, I do, but I’m not a shopper. I’m an in and out kind of woman, which sounds so much better in my head and within the context of shopping.
Malls are the full contact sports arena of shopping and because I bruise easily I prefer to buy online or from local merchants. When I received an invite to shop in the comfort of the studio of BelleBijou owner/designer Colleen Poitras, I jumped. And then I bought.
I discovered BelleBijou Designs last year. Colleen creates unique pieces out of leather and different metals and dyes and works the leather herself. The moment I spotted a leather cuff decorated with Swarovski crystals I was hooked. While I’m not a shopper, I am a magpie and powerless before shiny baubles. D loves this about me. Not at all.
I’d show you what my finds were this year, but then that would ruin the surprise when it came time to unwrap gifts. Instead here are items I’ve bought in the past, but hands off, they’re mine.
BelleBijou Designs can be purchased online and at various events in the Greater Toronto area.
Cheeky Monkey Cosmetics
The first time I met Andrea Pahn, founder and owner of Cheeky Monkey Cosmetics, we talked kids, travel and other topics not daytime viewing approved. She’s funny and passionate and that’s evident in the company she runs. Cheeky Monkey Cosmetics are free of DBP, camphor, parabens, formaldehyde and toluene – 5 Free – and are non-toxic. The 5 Free promise, along with some truly cheeky colour names, make this the only nail polish line I use.
I’m not a frequent polish wearer since I spend too much time sitting alone at a keyboard or in a barn with horses to warrant it, but it’s important that I’m not using potentially dangerous chemicals on a porous surface when I do. I also have a pony riding, tree climbing, sparkly skirt-wearing daughter who loves nail polish and there’s no way she’s putting toxic junk on her fingers.
The big colour right now for Cheeky Monkey Cosmetics is a creamy navy called With The Band. How did Andrea know that blue is my favourite colour?
Cheeky Monkey Cosmetics are sold online and at hair salons and spas across Canada and the USA.
Lala Soap Company
Put me in front of lotions and potions and make them gentle and natural and I’m listening. Add to that ingredients sourced in Canada when possible and an owner/creator, Lori Taylor, who lives close by and I’m buying. The products from Lala Soap Company are free of harsh chemicals, are biodegradable, there’s no animal testing and the company uses minimal packaging. Also, they have a massage and body oil called Foggy Daze – that I bought, along with other top secret items – and since that describes 96.3% of my days they’re pretty much guaranteed a customer for life.
Lala Soap Company products can be purchased online or at boutiques, yoga studios and Whole Foods in the Greater Toronto area.
PS. I paid for every product in this post, as I always do, with the exception of the navy nail polish Andrea gave me after I told her I was so excited about these three vendors that I was going to write a Shop Local post about them.
That’s my disclosure statement. It’s longwinded, like me.
Check out other gift shopping articles I’ve contributed elsewhere.
6 Gifts For The Foodie at Life In Pleasantville
Five Essential Cookbooks For The Amateur Foodie at Yummy Mummy Club