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Updates and Thanks, November


I hope you are well and tolerating lock down.

I just wanted to send out a quick email this week to say thanks to everyone who has ordered on line with us so far during lock down. As a thank you from Happy Planet we will be holding a weekly prize draw* for a £20 gift voucher up until Christmas. We will enter everyone who places online orders and yes it’s backdated to last weekend……….It could be you!

On the subject of click and collect, can I ask that you collect your order as soon as you are able, it’s not a very big shop and we have had some orders for quite a while now.

Our exclusive Whitley Bay Christmas cards have sold out but we are expecting a new delivery soon. However the new tea towels (Whitley Bay Items) with the panorama of our coastal landmarks are now in stock, in a range of colours and can be found together in the Whitley Bay items section.

Stock is coming and going quite quickly so if you have seen something in the window, or perhaps something in the shop previously but can’t see it on the website, just drop me a text or an email and I can let you know if replacements are expected.

New stock this week includes finger puppet bags in a range of colours, spec cases in the popular spot and now rainbow design. Felted coaster sets are also now back in stock, again with an increased range of colours and the same can be said for out dinosaurs

Thanks to those of you who have joined the creative group on Facebook. Our first challenge is live now and involves the use of the beautiful array of autumn leaves.

I’m afraid I haven’t been able to build a list of links for you this week, I am back at school tomorrow with the School for Social Entrepreneurs and have had work to prepare for that as well as keeping Happy planet ticking over, but I am sure you will forgive me.

Take care and stay safe


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Ethical Gift Shop – North East

Happy Planet Studio & Gallery

Ethical Gift Shop North East

Have you searched Ethical Gift Shop North East? Well we are proud to announce that we are currently the only ethical gift shop in the North East of England

Ethical and Plastic Free Gift Shop

With a name like Happy Planet it should not be too surprising that we have an ethical mission to create an ethical and plastic free gift shop.

That mission began in 2014 with the guiding principle that I would not make or sell anything in Happy Planet that caused harm to either people or the planet in the name of profit. That ethic has remained at the heart of our social enterprise.

No to Plastic or Resin

Ethical Gift Shop North East

We don’t sell anything made of plastic or resin.

However we do sell:

· Ceramics

· Glass

· Jewellery

· Candles

· Soaps

· Fabric items

· Felted goods

· Original paintings and

· A lovely range of greeting cards. Furthermore these cards are printed in the UK on FSC card.

Hand-made Gifts North East

Most of what you see is unique to Happy Planet. In addition, because of our popularity and the handmade nature of the goods, the stock changes regularly, which is great.

However, it also means if you see something, don’t wait to buy it!

Ethical Gift Shop North East – how it all began

Since 2014 we have grown from a market stall and have been in our current shop location in Whitley Bay for almost five years.

We now offer a wide range of attractive handmade ethical gifts, from 26 North East Artists and Makers, in our award winning shop. Our shop is managed by resident artist Gail Curry.

We also support two Fair Trade co-operatives in Nepal and Peru. Moreover we stock seasonal goods from other Fair Trade suppliers from around the world. This is to support educational and environmental projects.

Local Links

Our local links are very important to us and to our artists. Especially in these difficult times of COVID-19 and of course with craft fairs and events not being held.

As an ethical business we feel it’s important to promote the wealth of local goods available, but also to ensure customer safety. We have made Happy Planet COVID-19 secure, while still maintaining our friendly helpful approach to visitors.

Free Bookable Shopping Slots at Happy Planet

Ethical Gift Shop North East, Christmas

With this in mind, as we approach Christmas, we have created free bookable shopping evening slots, prior to the current November lock down. Once the lock down has been lifted in December we hope to resume this service. The slots are for individuals or small household groups of up to four people for 30 minutes. You will be able to browse safely and unhurriedly.

If you would like to book a Christmas Shopping slot, all we ask is that you contact us in advance. You will be asked to pay a deposit, which will be returned on the evening when you attend. We are still taking bookings for December providing COVID restrictions are lifted. You can Book Here

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Lock Down Newsletter – Again

Hi everyone

Well this is the newsletter I hoped I wouldn’t have to write, but here we are again, locked down until early December. I know it’s frustrating having met many of you in the last week but let’s hope we see the positive change we need at the end of this period.

I’d like to thank everyone who did visit this week, whether during our regular hours or those who took advantage of the safe shopping slots arranged in the evenings. Rest assured if I can reinstate these at a future date I will.

We maybe closed in the traditional sense but still operating online offering both postal and click and collect options. We are offering three click and collects slots which are: Saturday 10am to 2pm, Tuesday 4pm to 6pm and Thursday 10am to 2pm. We complete the orders quickly and you will be able to collect at the first available slot after your order. If you wish to check your order is ready or have any queries please don’t hesitate to text me on 07752356880.

Our exclusive Whitley Bay Day and Night Christmas cards have sold out but I expect to have a new stock of them in approx two weeks. We should by then also have the hand printed T towels too, which are rather lovely, so you might want to keep an eye out for them.

If you are coming to collect an order you don’t need to bring your receipt or print anything, just give Geoff or myself you surname, as all of your orders are named in the shop.

The website only shows items in stock, so if you can’t find what you were looking for it may be that we have sold out. I am working as quickly as I can to replace some items, as are other artists. If you would like to know if something is due in please just text for an update.

We have been asked about gift vouchers recently and yes we do have them. They are available online in a range of denominations.

Finally the creative group I wanted to create on Facebook is now live.
There is not yet a great deal in it due to my attentions having had to be pulled into all the changes necessary for lock down. However as of yesterday morning I think I have things under control so will now be adding items, which will include a weekly creative challenge and lots of ideas for you to try at home. Elaine Maugham, who is a holistic therapist and director of Happy Planet will be making regular posts on a Monday, to help with well being and positivity. You are also invited to share how you have been using your own creativity, in whatever form that takes. I want the group to be supportive, rather than one that seeks excellence or a space to sell. It is a safe space to enjoy and explore and I hope you will join me there while we can’t hold workshops.

Stay well and safe

Gail Curry


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The big jolly pumpkin edition October

Hello to everyone

Autumn Days

It’s easy to see the days changing now as we wade through autumn leaves, in chillier temperatures and less light both early and late in the day. I wonder if you have plans for Halloween? Thanks to everyone who has purchased from our array of goodies.

If you crochet, there is a link further down the newsletter to have a go at making a pumpkin….. and if you don’t yet crochet you could give it a try, the teacher is a young boy who is a crochet guru but you can also download the patterns.

Christmas Wish Lists

I am now going to mention Christmas, I’m sorry but it is with good intention. Last year I had the idea of creating wish lists for the shop, but it was too late in the day to create them. However, this year lovely Geoff has created them on the website for you.

You no longer need to get the dog to drop hints for you or train the kids to tell someone. You can sit in the comfort of your own home, feet up with a cuppa or a glass of something perhaps and scroll through the items online.

If you find something you like, you just need to click on the little heart in the top left corner of the item photo or the add to wish list button. You can do this for as many items as you wish. When you have finished you can go to ‘Wish list’ at the top of the main menu and if you click on that it will show you your list.

Just above the little pictures on your list you will see ‘Share’ and some icons, these icons allow you to share on social media or email to friends and family. I hope you find this added little feature helpful. 

Creative Group

The planned Facebook creative group, hasn’t happened yet, my course got in the way, but my intention is to finish creating it next week, starting with some fun items in there for anyone to try at home. 

Back to Skool

Speaking of my course I began my year with the School of Social Entrepreneurs this week, with two days of talks and questions along with 19 other participants from Yorkshire and the North East. They run an amazing range of social enterprises and I will introduce them to you when I get to know them better but in the meantime here is a short video about the kind of work social enterprises  do

Just Another Day

Most of you are aware of my felt making exploits, but maybe not everyone is aware that I also paint and up to COVID arriving I would spend as many Mondays as possible in my studio in North Shields creating in a different way to the other 6 days. 

Just like many others with shielding conditions I was instructed to isolate at home in March and did so for 104 days, during which time I made a 20 minute painting each morning, as I couldn’t speak to anyone and found over time that the silence and isolation was quite damaging to my mental health. 

Two things have come out of that time, the first is an online exhibition of the paintings I produced, which I have titled Just Another day. You can watch the video here. The second was the fact I am very definitely struggling with the loss of my speech and have decided that  I have to do everything I can to try and restore it. Part of this is raising sufficient funds, as the NHS want me to wait another year and I can’t do that. They have refused me twice already.

The paintings I produced went on sale last week and are available in the shop now, as well as greeting cards from a small selection of them and can be seen and purchased online.

I have also created a crowdfunding page which gives a more detailed story and can be found here. I would be really grateful if you could share that page, as driving and managing that appeal on my own as well as everything else is difficult, especially when you can’t shout about it. 

My list of links

First one is the crochet pattern and video from Jonah’s Hands

For anyone who is missing travelling or indeed visiting museums then this one is lovely, as the Guardian published a list of the weird, wacky and wonderful unsung museums

If you are looking for a half term activity then there is a Halloween themed trail through Northumberland Park available from the Sunday 25th October to Sunday 1st November. This link will take you to the page with all the details and you can download and print a route map

Internet safety for children, young people and other vulnerable groups is really important and can be difficult to maintain, especially when so much of our lives is now spent online. Internet Matters have launched an online safety hub for parents, carers and professionals, full of advice about how to maintain safety while using the internet. You can find that here

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health problems and can’t get help from your GP then you can approach Anxious Minds who are based in Wallsend and offer confidential help quickly. You can find their details here

Stay safe and stay well  

Gail Curry


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Pre Book Your Safe Supportive Shopping

Hello everyone

I have seen one or two of you recently and others have been in touch online to ask about Christmas and I’m glad to say currently it’s going ahead as usual on the 25th December. Sorry, joking aside my preparations are well underway at the shop, although there will of course be some changes this year, as I expect to still be working around the demands of Covid-19 and social distancing.

I realise it’s not ideal that you may have to wait outside, if there is another customer/family already in the shop but most seem happy to do this or call back later. I also realise that some of you feel obliged to hurry, as there is someone outside, when you would have preferred to browse at your leisure as you have in the past. My solution is to offer pre-bookable slots on two evenings a week in November and December, where you or your ‘bubble’ of up to 4 can have an exclusive 30 minutes to browse/shop. There will be a deposit to book the slot of £9.99, but this is returned on the evening either by being deducted from any purchases or returned if you don’t make any. I feel that this offers you a safe shopping experience and also helps us to increase the number of people through the shop, which will hopefully help me to make up for the losses through lock down. I am offering the bookable slots here first to newsletter subscribers. They will go on general release in five days time. You can book a slot here

The shop will be fully stocked and Christmas unveiled on November 1st in the shop and online. If there is another lock down, I may well bring the online date forward as I need to try and protect the artists and makers who supply us as well as myself and Happy Planet.

My gift to you in terms of links come from Cheltenham Literary Festival, which used to be an annual pilgrimage for me, where I was fortunate enough to listen to the likes of Maya Angelou, Alan Bennet, Stephen Fry, Alice Walker and Bethany Hughes to name a few. This year’s festival opens today and runs until the 22nd October. I am sure no matter what your favourite reading you will find something to enjoy. You can find full details here of the online events

Gail Curry


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Covid-19 September Update

Hello to everyone,

As most of you live in the North East and are now under the new local restrictions that came into force on Friday, I thought I would just write a quick newsletter.

It’s been lovely to see some of you recently and because of that I know there is concern over safety and many had just begun venturing out. I feel that we have to view the recent changes as precautionary in terms of slowing the spread, no matter what we all do to ensure our own safety, as well as observing the regulations to help safeguard others.

I am going to reduce the shop hours slightly with immediate effect, by reverting to Wednesday to Saturday 9 – 5, the with the exception of Thursday when I need to close at 3.30pm to enable me to attend a regular appointment to maintain my own mental health….. albeit via Zoom now.

The online shop will continue to operate as usual. I have been asked quite recently how quickly click and collect orders can be collected? The answer to that is usually within 30 minutes of placing your order. The process is that I am notified by an app that you have placed an order, I attend to it and then tell the app it’s ready, you get an email to tell you it is complete….. so from Wednesday to Saturday Happy Planet is a lot quicker quicker than Amazon.

If there is a move back to a lockdown I will bring the regular newsletter back with ideas and links to information. Prior to lockdown I had been running a small informal creative group, which had to cease. I have been giving that some thought to setting up as a creative group on Facebook, where links could be placed by others and we could share ideas, triumphs and disasters. I may even set some fun challenges. I will pop a link in the next newsletter, although if you already follow Happy Planet on Facebook you will no doubt see it happen in the coming week. Don’t be shy, it’s not about perfection, it’s about fun and building an online community you can dip into when you need a lift or an idea.

I only have two links for this hurried edition. The first one is to the North Tyneside site which holds all the relevant information regarding the new local guidelines, which can be found here

I understand that there are widespread concerns regarding childcare, especially by grandparents and family members, as the new regulations mean that this is not allowable. There is a petition to address this and ask for this matter to be reconsidered by the Government. If you wish to know more about it and perhaps sign it you can find it here

If you have any questions or burning requests for the creative group drop me an email.

Take care & Stay safe

Gail Curry