Manchester Art Gallery’s Christmas Gift Guide: Tea, honey & luxury

Polly Checkland Harding

Stuck for gift inspiration? Pop into Manchester Art Gallery’s shop for picks aplenty.

There’s no getting away from it – Christmas is just around the corner. If you, like me, bought your first present yesterday (oh dear), our gift guides might just be more useful than ever. This year, we’ve had some fantastic, creative picks from the team behind Nook & Cranny, who chose an Eggling Basil, a pinhole camera and more. Magma put forward some DIY goodies, including a Build Your Own Robot kit and some very special sketchbooks, and finally Fred Aldous ran with a quirky collection of gifts including pretty enamel cups and a flat-pack panda.

Now, though, it’s the turn of Manchester Art Gallery. Chosen from their shop – and not available online – is this selection of beautifully bespoke presents. They’re absolutely worth popping into the gallery for and, as an added bonus, you can take in the extraordinary Sensory War exhibition, as well as some stunning murals by Stanley Spencer, at the same time. Even better still, quote TWMAG20 at the till and you can get 20 percent off any purchase* – such as a deliciously cosy cobweave throw from Tweedmill (£55) or, if you’re looking for something smaller, a packet of specialist Brew Tea (£6.99) to go with one of the shop’s lovely enamel mugs (£10). The Brew Tea Co. prides itself on using leaves that are rolled, not cut, and on putting “more tea in our bags than any other company”. Amen to that.

Chosen from their shop is this selection of beautifully bespoke presents

Similarly expert in origin is the range of craft chocolate from the Brooklyn-based Mast Brothers (£8). In a range of inventive flavours, and with the kind of packaging that you want to paper your wall with, these bars have been made with the same kind of dedicated attention that goes into craft beer. Alternatively, the gallery’s Bee-Raphaelite honey (£5) is made quite a bit closer to home: as part of an ongoing ecological project, the building’s roof is home to a number of hives. What better way to protect and celebrate the bee, the hard-working symbol of Manchester? Or, you can start your own garden with a little tin of Seedballs (£5); cased in clay, these contain a mini ecosystem including wild flower seeds, compost and chilli powder. Neat. And, if you know someone who does venture outdoors a lot, pick up a stick of the gallery’s healing brand of lip balm to stave off chapped lips this winter (£5.99).

For writerly types, take a look at the Japanese-designed Midori brass pen (£23.50): brass is that kind of material that ages gracefully under the hand, which means this pen will become, in its own way, tailored. To go with it, pick up a Field Notes notebook – with 48 pages to deface, sorry, decorate it should last a good long while. That’s your lot, folks! Keep calm and carry on this Christmas.

* Discount cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer, discount or on discount-exempt products. Ends 23 December.
actor with pig puppets The Three Little Pigs at Waterside Arts
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