I’m always on the look out for unique local items. I lived abroad for 7 years of my life and once drove an hour to a Caribbean grocery in South Florida for Crix. The drive is shorter these days and now that the holiday season (when did we start having a holiday season in Trinidad?) is here, local artisans are pulling out the stops. Here are some of the local finds that caught my eye (and money) at Bits and Pieces 2016.

Hatch

20161105_133033_resized_2Okay, I hope every Caribbean national knows  and has bought the Hatch storybook by now. I have written about Jeunanne and her storybook before. BUT I did not give justice to the locally branded baby gear that now carries the Hatch brand.

I love smart marketing and the fact that Hatch has clothing that reflects the stories in the book had me whipping out a blue note ($100TT) faster than I could blink when I came across the Hatch booth at Bits and Pieces. The onesies also now come in a sleeveless version (perfect for our next trip to the beach) but do still only come in white. Here’s hoping the colour selection expands next year in time for my son’s deep foray into new levels of mess as he improves his walking skills. Word to the parents – these washed well (I washed mine last night) but do have some shrinkage – no biggie as all baby clothes shrink.

The Hatch book and gear can be found at many of the ‘Christmas Markets’ until Christmas 2016 and, as always, at Paper Based, the lovely bookstore in Hotel Normandie.

Bum Couture

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Told you the prints were cute! You can also find out more: http://www.bumcouturediapers.com

Okay, I love the environment but I really hate changing baby diapers. Cloth diapers were never in my realm of consideration. That, like scrubbing clothes on a washboard, in my opinion, should have died out a generation ago. I’ve had a re-think. Lately diaper failure at night is a “thing” and I became open to trying something new out.

I did not hit Bits and Pieces looking for them but the pretty designs and high quality construction of these cloth diapers by Bum Couture (trademarked by the way), really caught my eyes. Why? Their packaging is on point. The prints are delightful. The owner of the business was holding her ever so cute 4 month old behind the table – baby was of COURSE modelling the diapers. They got me. To see an actual mom and baby using the product and not covered in poo or pee at the point of sale was too hard to resist.

In conversation I learned that these 100% hand and locally made diapers are

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Other Places you can find Bum Couture from the Bum Couture brochure

endorsed/ sold at Dr. Christina Serrao’s office (other than at the various Christmas markets). Bum Couture diapers are 100% reusable and  each one fits babies  8-35+ pounds. That’s about 12-15 months of use from each one. Forget just saving the environment, if these puppies work out you will save a CRAP LOAD of money on diapers. Pardon the crap load mention. Actually, don’t pardon it. I’m keeping crap real!

More deets: The fabric of each Bum Couture cloth diaper is stay-dry and very soft microfleece on the inside and the exterior polyester for a smooth, sleek finish. No Fabric softener should be used (I have to wash mine again – yep, I used that Tide Free and Clear when I washed them) but they wash very well! Each $125TT diaper comes with two inserts and is completely reusable. I scooped two of these bad boys up and will post a review. Stay tuned as I am hoping they will be #triniparentsapproved soon!

Living Ornaments

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Photo: Living Ornaments

If you have kids, chances are your time for gardening and decorating is a lot less than you would like it to be. If your little ones are passed the toddling stage and old enough to not explore the world one lick or touch at a time, Living Ornaments are a perfect addition to your home.

 

Sure, many of them are glass and may not be the right fit for a home with toddlers BUT, the driftwood designs with local and foreign air plants are lovely and are sure to inspire appropriate levels of curiosity and science knowledge in your older children. Want some of these timeless pieces for your tree or home? See them on Facebook or call (868)298-6532. Price range $125 and up for the ones on sale at Bits and Pieces yesterday. These truly are timeless and low maintenance ways to add some green to your home without much effort. We likey.

Pitterpatter Prints

I love a local design. I love a locally made bag. As a parent I especially love locally designed

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Who needs a tout? I needed this tote!

and made bags that can be thrown in the wash. Enter Pitterpatter Prints – a company whose motto says: “We love what we do, we love our products and hope you do to.” Well – they got me with their POS – Sangre Grande printed tote bag.

The small company carried tote bags like the POS-Grande route one bur

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Love the zippered pouches

also very cute zippered bags perfect for moms on the go. Like this little one showing the yellow band maxi routes. I can see these holding napkins, storing teethers, extra nappies etc. Prices are fairly affordable ranging from about $40TT for the mini totes and $75TT for the waaay too cute aprons to a couple hundred for the larger totes varying in sizes. Check the out on Facebook or email them at pitterpatterprints@gmail.com as these make perfect gifts for your family members abroad or for your fave beach bum friend.

Zee by Sheetal Daswani

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Zee Display At Bits and Pieces – Eye Catching!

In a time when digital storytelling is killing the art of page turning, storybooks need to be brightly coloured and beautifully illustrated to keep my son’s attention. Sheetal Daswani’s Zee is just that. A beautiful book. With a story line that can keep the attention of children I would reckon 7 and above, Zee tells the story of a whimsi

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Photo: Zee Facebook page

cal little girl with big dreams.

I love that the author spends time with children at schools creating post story illustrations. I also love that the book already has an ISBN number and thus can soon be at an online retailer near you.

Catch up with Zee sale locations at their Facebook page, and of course, at Paper Based book store where other lovely local books for your child can also be found.

Turtle Warrior 

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Turtle Warrior Children’s Wristlets

A life changing moment for me happened in 1999 when I got to witness a Leatherback turtle laying eggs on the beach in Matura Trinidad. I want everyone’s child to be able to live in a world where these gentle giants coexist with us. That’s part of why I was so delighted to buy my son’s first item from Turtle Warrior. Turtle Warrior is a micro enterprise from the village of Matura in Trinidad. They make recycled glass products that are not only beautiful – but meaningful. All the money raised through the sale of the Turtle Warrior Bracelets goes directly back into the project that makes them and towards sea turtle conservation efforts.

A bit on the Turtle Warrior Project: Discarded glass bottles are cleared from the turtle nesting beach in Matura and given new life as recycled beads which are then transformed into collectible Turtle Warrior bracelets and earrings (which I also bought by the way). Each bead on the Turtle Warrior bracelet is hand-crafted in Matura by skilled men and women from the community and completed with a hand-carved coconut turtle charm. The children’s wristlets don’t have the charm – be real nah, my son will eat anything – he would eat the charm if it was there so I’m glad its not!

Shop more Turtle Warrior products locally AND on Etsy. High five for being on Etsy. All our local artisans should be!!!

Dionne Davis Origami Ornaments

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Look closely – that is an origami humming bird. HUMMING FREAKIN BIRD!!

Where was Dionne Davis when I wanted an origami wedding concept???? This talented young woman makes beautiful ornaments yes for your decadent and definitely pre-teen aged and above household, but also for your special occasion. These ornaments inspire whimsy, are beautiful and are perfect for your older children. I can see it as a great gift for your older child’s first home, your friend with baby’s first Christmas or anyone who loves art. $125 and up. #gorgeous.

Dionne is also an interior designer, graphic artist and makes furniture. Definitely a find for older kids (ie parents). Hit up this young artist at didadesignstudio@gmail.com or 868 758 3308

 

Food

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Cookieluscious has been a long time fave of mine. From wedding shower to Christening I have used them

No trip to Bits and Pieces is complete without food. Sure, I could tell you about the excellent Del Mano treats (including the best freaking geera chicken sausage you can imagine scooped up for $75TT a pack and available at Adams and Blooms) or my fave Gila’s Crab Backs (always amazing – available in packs of 6 at Arties and Blooms ) or even my girl Danielle Hatem’s fantabulous Cookilucious cookies available on order and for collection at Richard’s in West Mall. But, I’m focusing on new finds for your children right? Right.

But I’m just going to highlight one new foodie entrant because, I’m focusing on children.

Gingerbread Hut Creations

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Finally cookies for boys! 

Events in T&T are now all about the cookies. You will see above I noted that I have used Cookieluscious at my wedding shower, child’s baptism and most recently at my The Pink Tea fundraiser for the T&T Cancer Society. They have never let me down. 868 387-1650 or cookieluscious@yahoo.com.

There is however, a fairly new kid/ family on the block

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Gingerbreat Hut Creations flower cookies were very beautiful

and that is worth mentioning and children helping in business always tugs at my heart strings.

A mother and daughters (more than one) business always catches my eye, and Gingerbread Hut Creations is just that. With cookies in all flavours available ( I mean, ponche-a-creme and red velvet cookies can’t be passed up) and just about every child’s fave character shaped cookie on order, while I have not tried them, they are worth a shot. Give them a ring at 868 764 3861 or see them on IG at #gingerbreadcreations.

Roastel

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Roastel coffee make a great gift and is an awesome pick me up

If you are like me, there are days you truly need coffee. Yesterday was such a day and it was a pleasure to try Roastel coffee. Local coffee is what I’m searching for and they have a totally local and a lovely blend. I had mine on ice and, as I wrote on their Facebook page, twas lovely!

Aromatic blend with just the right mix of spice and smooth – this one is for the adults!

For the parents in need of a coffee fix, even with the new foreign options on our shores, be a better local and sip some Roastel! www.roastel.com

Sooo that’s it for now. Always support local. Tis the season to give so please give local. When you do give, don’t forget your local charities either.

Happy shopping and paranging all the way!