This month we suggest you refresh your wish list with a sturdy yet stylish bike lock, an unflappable brolly and a colourful birdfeeder that will make feathery visitors to your garden feel like VIPs.
Corque Design/cork homeware products
The wine industry swears by Portuguese cork to preserve its top vintages, and the material has now caught the attention of the country’s designers eager to find sustainable ways to make products for daily living. Since 2006, Lisbon-based furniture brand Corque Design has used the natural, non-polluting and renewable material.
It is extracted every nine years from the bark of the sobreiro tree without the need to cut it down, and is used to craft tableware, lounge chairs, candleholders and, perhaps most appropriately, wine coolers to keep your Vinho Alvarinho chilled.
- Knog/bike locks
The Melbourne bike nuts that run Knog set about reimagining bicycle accessories and have built themselves a business that designs, manufactures and sells innovative lights, luggage, tool kits, clothing and these long-lasting locks. Knog is launching 11 devices, from stronglocks and heavy-duty padlocks to rubber-coated high-tensile wires. We hope these attractive latches don’t become targets in themselves.
- Tamasyn Gambell/notebooks
If you’re looking for something eco-friendly to scribble notes on, these paperback notebooks, which sport pages in varying shades of white, are the latest creation from ethical UK brand Tamasyn Gambell. Bound together with a bellyband, the notebooks are litho-printed by a socially responsible co-operative. The coloured covers are made from Cairn recycled paper.
Since 1936, Portugal’s Viarco has been producing a range of well-crafted pencils – the graphite core is baked at over 1,000C – to suit the needs of artists, carpenters and schoolchildren. Models include the Soft Carbon series for sketching and the Silkscreen watercolour pencils, while this autumn the company introduces a writing tool to aid those with colour blindness.
- Stangeland Mølle/flour
Family-run Norwegian firm Stangeland Mølle has been making baking goods since 1846. A recent packaging revamp by Procontra gives the products a “youthful, clean, retro but feminine look”, according to the firm’s Sigrun Saetrevik. Get cosy and get baking with this extensive range covering everything from oatmeal biscuit to muffin mixes.
- Storytime/kids’ cutlery
This maple cutlery set comes with felt placemats and will turn every kids’ meal into a colourful cook-up. The handles are lacquered using fuki-urushi, a technique where lacquerware is repeatedly painted, wiped off and re-applied to create a smooth finish. Designed by Keisei Takemata, the Co Zen cutlery set is exclusive to web shop Storytime.
If you want to cuddle up the Finnish way, turn to Aamu Song’s and Johan Olin’s Small Hug Puzzle, which is handmade from birch in Joutsa in western Finland. Also available is the slightly more challenging Big Hug Puzzle as well as a colourful set called Animals of Finland.
For quality umbrellas that refuse to flip inside out, turn to Knirps. The German firm was founded in the late 1920s when engineer Hans Haupt invented the first telescopic pocket umbrella. Knirps umbrellas are distinctive for their Red Dot symbol and the 878 Fiber T2 Duomatic in marine is a smart accessory for even the rainiest of days.
- J Schatz/bird feeders
Handmade in New York by J Schatz, this bird feeder – available in eight different colours – is squirrel-proof and immune to frost and rust. If you like the shape but would prefer to give the birds somewhere to live rather than feed, Schatz has a collection of bird houses to match.
- Cire Trudon/candles
French candle firm Cire Trudon has teamed up with designer Jun Takahashi from fashion label Undercover to produce four pillar candles with phosphorus wax cameos, which come in fragrances such as metallic apple. The firm has also launched a series of three scented coffrets that come with illustrated fairy tales – a room spray and candle inspired by Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood and Sinbad the Sailor, which smellof the sea, lichens, white musk and ginger.
Manufactured in Padua by Fullspot, the O Clock is Italy’s answer to the Swatch. Designed by Milan studio Laboratorio Quattro, the wristwatch features a Japanese movement and has a removable silicon wristband so you can swap straps with ease. The timepiece is packaged in a tin fashioned after tuna cans, is water resistant and comes in three sizes and 15 colours. We’ll take ours in Capri blue.
- Viceversa drinks dispenser
Founded in 1994, Hong Kong’s Vice Versa injects fun into homeware design. A collaboration with Swiss designer Nicolas Le Moigne has resulted in Verso Diverso, a handy drinks dispenser. Available in 12 neon colours, it screws onto plastic or glass bottles and provides an elegant way to water your plants or serve thirst-quenchers.
Sulwhasoo, part of the rapidly expanding Seoul-based Amore Pacific firm, uses Korean herbs in this range of products for men’s skin. The firm uses the Poje method to make its treatments – a process used to formulate Korean herbal medicines. The range includes a moisturising fluid, a travel kit and an energising cream with enzyme-treated red ginseng saponin, which is said to reduce wrinkles.
Aventus is the latest fragrance from Creed, launching this month to celebrate the firm’s 250-year heritage. With top notes of blackcurrant, and a base of oak moss and ambergris, the scent was created by CEO Olivier Creed and his son Erwin.
- L&P/soft drink
Commonly known as L&P, Lemon and Paeroa is the staple drink found in any New Zealander’s fridge. Invented in 1904, it is said to be the nation’s first soft drink and hails from a natural spring in a town called Paeroa, south-east of Auckland. Little known outside the country, its slogan “World Famous in New Zealand” is a tongue-in-cheek reference to its iconic national status.
- Design Wine/wine
Launched last year, Design Wine sources the finest wines directly from producers in almost every province in Italy and sells them online. “We don’t select the wines we sell on price but on quality and the story each of our producers has to tell,” says founder Timothy O’Connell. Customers can access a wide range of wines and the site acts as a concierge to select the most suitable. The firm currently sources from around 100 vineyards and until now has only sold in Italy. But this month it will expand to the UK, with the Netherlands, Germany and Luxembourg to follow.
- Nu/waterproof MP3 player
Complete with a mini-armband, this waterproof MP3 player is perfect for swimmers who want to listen to music while they do their laps. The device has a 1GB memory and the firm’s new version in black comes with an 8GB upgrade, touch pad and FM radio.