Shops We Love: hope the black dog

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We are always on the look out for new favourite shops, and recently we have added another fab shop to our list. hope the black dog is an Etsy shop where there is a £1 donation to Mind for every sale. They are all about promoting positive mental health and well-being. We caught up with founder Amy Donoghue to find out more.

Hi Amy, please can you tell us more about yourself and how you came to set up hope the black dog?
I started hope the black dog in January 2016 when I was suffering with a bout of depression. I have always suffered from Anxiety, but with work stress and heightened anxiety, my mental health was not good at all. I have always had to challenge myself out of these dark spells by setting goals or learning new skills. I have always loved crafting, and I’d found a cross stitch that was half finished from about ten years previous, I enjoyed it so much that I wanted to do more and more. Eventually I had way too many things and not enough space, so I wanted to make for others too. I also wanted to primarily focus on craft kits so that other people can benefit from the therapeutic goodness of creating. I also donate £1 to Mind for every sale because I really wanted to make a difference and help others.


We love your Hug Box! How did you come up with the idea for it?
Thank you! I love my hug box too! I remember seeing someone saying on social media that all their friends weren’t around and they needed a hug. At first I thought about just making small embroideries saying “hug” and then I got carried away with the idea! Apparently, hugs that last longer than 20 seconds have an euphoric effect on the body, releasing the body’s natural antidepressants. I wanted to try and recreate those feelings so I gathered some thoughts and some scientific research to collate some lovely surprises that mimic those endorphins! I’ve had such a good response so far, it really seems to work!



Do you have any new products or ranges in the pipeline?
My newest products are a range of “bopo” or body positive pants. I know from my own experience that when you’re wearing nice underwear, your whole day just feels better! These pants are super comfy and also hand embroidered with statements of empowerment on them to give you that boost in the morning!


We think hope the black dog is a great idea, and we definitely need a hug box!

You can find out more about hope the black dog below:
Etsy shop

Shops We Love: Lylia Rose

One of our favourite shops online is Lylia Rose, run by the lovely Victoria Sully. We love so many items on her website that we really need a lottery win to be able to buy all of the things we’d like to! As well as having an online shop, Victoria is also a blogger and you can read more about her blog here. We also love that Victoria offer free 1st class UK delivery, this leaves us with more money for goodies! Back on 19th October 2014, Victoria won Theo Paphitis’ Small Sunday Business award, you can see her page on the Small Business Sunday website here.

We caught up with Victoria to find out more Victoria and Lylia Rose.

How did Lylia Rose begin?
I started Lylia Rose when on maternity with my first baby. Originally I made handmade cards as a hobby and decided to sell them on Etsy. I never had a business plan or set out to have my own business; it all just evolved and happened! I started making handmade jewellery to sell alongside the cards on Etsy, then I began sourcing readymade jewellery to sell on my Facebook page at the time. This has since evolved into an online store filled with costume jewellery, fashion accessories and gifts. I sadly don’t make anymore, but this could change once my children are both at school and I have more time. I’m always coming up with new business ideas! The other side of the business is a lifestyle blog which has now turned into a business in its own right.

Where did the name Lylia Rose come from?
I was originally trying to find a store name on Etsy with my daughter’s name, Bella Rose. All variations of this, even mixed with my own name Victoria, were taken. I spent ages trying to pick a store name which wasn’t already in use and tried ‘Lylia’ as it was my second favourite girls name at the time. Lylia Rose was available, so I snapped it up instantly!

Do you have any plans to expand the range, such as homewares?
I have dabbled recently in selling a few gifts and homewares and it’s definitely something I’d like to sell more of. I’d also like to sell clothes and possibly natural beauty products as I’m very passionate about these. Watch this space!

What are your own favourite accessories?
Scarves! I absolutely love scarves. In the winter I love to wrap up in a huge blanket scarf to stay cosy. I’m not without it on cold days! For the rest of the year and indoors in winter months, I’m usually never without a lightweight printed scarf. As well as having the practical use of keeping necks and chests cosier, the prints are also a great fashion statement. My outfit could be pretty plain and boring, but the addition of a bright floral printed scarf can totally change the look.

Below are our 3 favourites from Lylia Rose (click on the image to go straight to the product’s webpage)

Pineapple Print Purse

Rose Gold Bird Earrings

Orange Elephant Print Scarf

You can follow Lylia Rose on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

Shops We Love: Shared Earth


Nowadays it’s naturally assumed that everyone knows what “fair trade” means, however back in 1986 “fair trade” wasn’t really a phrase that was really known. Jeremy Piercy picked up on this fact and set up the first Shared Earth shop in York.

Shared Earth’s aim is simple: “As the UK’s largest retailer and wholesaler of handmade and eco-friendly Fair Trade gifts, our aim is to improve the livelihoods of disadvantaged people in developing countries, benefiting local community projects and keeping alive traditional skills that would otherwise be lost.”

As Jeremy says in his book, Coffins, Cats and Fair Trade Sex Toys, “By buying fair trade products, you can do as much good as charities, helping the people who really need it. In fact, you can do more, because if trade becomes fairer, and people throughout the world can make a better living for themselves, there wouldn’t be the need for some of these charities in the first place.”

We popped into the Liverpool store (71 Bold Street, Liverpool, L1 4EZ) and bought this gorgeous rainbow Suncatcher with little birds (we took 2 pictures in our garden to show how lovely it is):



We also took some pictures inside the store and of their Father’s Day window display:










It’s such a lovely store and we can’t wait to go back and buy more lovely things! 🙂

The Liverpool store is open (subject to change):
Monday to Saturday from 9:00am to 6:00pm
Sunday from 11:00am to 5:00pm

Shared Earth also has a store in York: 1 Minster Gates, York, YO1 7HL and is open (subject to change):
Monday to Friday from 9:00am to 6:00pm
Saturday from 9:00am to 6:00pm
Sunday from 10:00am to 5:00pm

Shops We Love: Dollydripp

We have been scouring the internet looking for fab new shops, and we found Dollydripp! Sarah, the lovely lady behind Dollydripp, has some gorgeous outfits, sleepwear, jewellery, homewares and accessories 🙂

01. AAA ( Dollydripp)

Clockwise from top left
Black Skull and Crossbones Bustier Top, £30.00
Satin Bomber Jacket, from £95.00
Halter Neck Top, £45.00
Wet Look Skater Skirt, from £60.00

02. AAA (Dollydripp)

Clockwise from top left
Navy Anchor Pillow, £28.00
Teacup Necklace, £8.00
Pink Telephone Necklace, £4.00
Rock and Roll Cushion, £28.00