12 terrific treats to hope and dream of finding under the tree this Christmas (or to wrap up for your loved ones) — as inspired by MT’s 2016 travels.
WORDS BY SASKIA WALKER
Something special for your sofa
With a workshop and handicraft store on the banks of the Mekong in charming Luang Prabang, Ock Pop Tok is all about fair-trade, traditional textiles made with style, by expert women weavers using age-old methods. There are striking patterns aplenty: this dark blue was a favourite of ours when we stopped by in the spring — and DHL delivery means that you could infuse your home with a touch of Lao in plenty of time for Christmas.
Crab design cushion cover, $55 | ockpoptock.com
Bulk up your bookshelves
Books make for some of the best gifts, and the ideal travel companions: crisp pages to be thumbed on long, lazy winter afternoons, wise and witty words absorbed and startling ideas mulled over. Immerse yourself in a tome from MT’s road trip reading list, and travel through the experiences of another. We’re torn between Stefan Hertmans’ poignant War & Turpentine, and Rory MacLean’s brilliant Berlin: Imagine A City.
War & Turpentine, £12 | amazon.co.uk
Berlin: Imagine A City, £10 | amazon.co.uk
Backpack fit for a bear
A staple of the luggage list which filled Otto the MINI’s boot to the brim on our recent European road trip, we fell head over heels for this little leather number. Handbag forgotten, we traipsed the streets of cities across the continent with Beara Beara’s beautiful backpack: journal, dog-eared novel, hand-sanitiser and the obligatory marmalade sandwiches crammed in. Gorgeous.
Mochita Green Leather Backpack, £105 | bearabeara.co.uk
Anyone for a cuppa?
We’ve become somewhat envious of, and overly enamoured with, mugs and cups and bowls and anything which might be purported to contain freshly brewed coffee or the hallowed, all-too-rare real tea that MT inadvertently craves when away from our foggy island home. The crockery on sale at East & Eden held us in thrall, whilst the tiny teacups of Asia were — almost — squeezed into backpacks to brave the journey home. For Christmas, we’re dreaming of sipping the sweet stuff from Silvia K Ceramics’ terracotta beakers.
Terracotta Beaker, £27 | thenewcraftsmen.com
The world in photographs
We came across Réhahn’s work on countless occasions in the concept stores and coffee shops of Saigon earlier this year. A Frenchman based in beautiful Hội An, his photographs have the power to transport us right back, amidst all the chaotic charm of a country on the move.
Vietnam: Mosaic of Contrasts – Vol II, €45,00 | rehahnphotographer.com
Step up in style
Admittedly, MT hasn’t set foot on the African mainland for years, and this is far from the season for sandals, but we’ve been marvelling at Sseko’s superb designs and spectacular raison d’être for months now. A little girl power & some stunning style is what it’s all about. Not a crossover fan? Sseko’s ribbon sandals are equally lovely.
Crossover Slide Sandal, $69.99 | ssekodesigns.com
As a keen photographer, there’s one thing you never cease to eye up, and that’s the latest camera. For us, it’s Fuji’s X-T10: a well-equipped shooter with plenty of tech inside – including a 16MP sensor and built-in Wi-Fi – it’s the retro shell that’s really got us wanting.
Fuji X-T10 compact system camera, £449 | wexphotographic.com
Admired at great length in Ljubljana’s tiny concept stores, these kits are the stuff of hairy-faced dreams. Having scoured the internet at length, Captain Fawcett’s is the one we’ll be holding out for from the man in red.
Leather Travel Grooming Kit, £95 | captainfawcett.com
Olive oil you’ll love
Olive trees carry connotations of the warmth of the Mediterranean, of dry stone walls separating the orange-dirt fields of Puglia, or of chickens pecking at the ground beneath them in Provence. It was in Liguria, however, that we fell in love with olive oil: for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We were kindly given a bottle upon our departure from Relais del Maro, and we’ve been savouring every drop since. No doubt everyone will have their favourite, but we’re wild about Armato Cristina’s.
Armato Cristina Olive Oil, Price upon request | olioarmato.it
Somewhere for your scribbles
There’s nothing we love more than putting pen to paper – and lovely, leather-bound paper at that. Travelling is wonderful enough in itself, but it’s such a treat (and often laugh-out-loud funny) to read back through entries from trips taken in times past. We’re hoping to have an entire shelf of well-worn travel journals (when we finally stop somewhere for long enough to have a shelf at all); Cavallini & Co’s Roma Lussa leather journal, handmade in Florence and complete with marbled edges, would make the ideal addition.
Roma Lussa Leather Journal, $69.95 | jennibick.com
Soap that’s stuck
This may not sound like much, but we at MT found it fascinating — and immensely satisfying. Gone are the days of the soap slipping from your soggy fingers to the floor, or the puddle forming in the sopping soap-dish. Select your scent, screw it in above the sink, and relish rinsing your hands for evermore — à la française.
Savons de Marseille soaps and wall-mounts, from €5 | maison-du-savon-de-marseille.fr
Deck the halls
Adorn your walls with tales of lands afar: temples emerging for the mist, fishing boats in harbours hewn from the cliffs, or men on motorcycles weaving through wild traffic. We’ve immortalised a tiny, tantalising portion of what we’ve seen through the click of a camera lens — and we’re immensely eager to share. Pick a print fit to fuel someone else’s wanderlust or your own.
Modern Traveller Art Store prints, from £7 | redbubble.com