The SIXTH (though actually the 7th) day of Chrsitmas

So if by this stage of the Christmas run up you’re getting a bit jittery about ordering online, just in case it doesn’t actually make it to you in time, then shopping local might start to take on a whole new convenience. No need to rely on the postie, plus none of that ‘oh, it looked really nice/big/glittery in the picture on the website’  type disappointment. With that in mind, a great place to head to in Bedford is the stylish and excellently-soundtracked  (go in and listen for yourself – it’s true!)  design twenty.

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Selling beautiful original 20th Century design furniture, ceramics, lighting, and artwork, you can find design twenty in the glorious Castle Quay area, which is also home to arguably the best coffee in Bedford (Pensieri) and the best collection of places to eat/drink/buy great shirts/look at amazing photography (Rock City Art.) They’ll soon be joined by the re-vamped Higgins museum, completing Bedford’s cultural quarter.

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But back to design twenty. As I always say, trust a shop with fairy wall art in the window. Well, actually I had never said that until I walked past and saw the fairy wall art in the window of design twenty. It made me think that despite the fact that the shop looked intimidatingly stylish, it couldn’t be that scary. And it isn’t scary, it is just beautiful. It is definitely the place to head for to purchase an original Eames chair, or a classic anglepoise lamp, but also if you are heading into town to look for something little and a bit special, you should definitely think of design twenty.

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The journal (£12) and card set (£6.50 for eight cards) feature the beautiful artwork of Eric Ravilious, a 20th centuary artist and ceramics designer for Wedgewood. His iconic London-inspired designs make perfect gifts for Christmas 2012, which has, let’s face it, been rather a wonderful year for London.

If you want a bit of authentic Ravilious ceramic design, you can purchase that there too. Just how marvellous would your Christmas pudding look served up on one of these?

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Oh, and the other thing that is fab about design twenty is that it stocks the always-brilliant School of Craft kits, £15 each. These are probably going to be the must-have arty-kid gift for Christmas 2013, as they are currently being snapped up by top London stockists, including the uber-stylish Olive Loves Alfie in Stoke Newington. Why not get in there early and enjoy a spot of Mexican mask-making over the Christmas break?

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Not only can you sew your own Mexican mask, but the box folds out to contain more creative activity ideas and information, as well as full instructions.

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The other ‘project in a box’ is the Inspired by Art project, based on the work of Alexander Calder, which involved making your own bouquet of flowers sculpture. Both kits would make great holiday projects, and perfect as gifts for children aged 8 and over. The very talented Crafty Jo (Mrs School of Craft herself) also makes the beautiful cushions that are adorning some of the furniture in the shop. They’re for sale too.

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I should also mention that design twenty are offering a free Ravillious design postcard – various designs available – with every purchase at the moment. That’s right – a free postcard. Frame it. There’s another last-minute Christmas present right there!

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