christmas shopping with Raven smith christmas shopping with Raven smith

Katherine Ormerod is a journalist, author, and ghostwriter specialising in fashion, lifestyle, and social media culture. After staff roles at Sunday Times Style, Grazia, and Glamour magazines, Katherine launched her own digital business in 2015, consulting and collaborating with brands across multiple channels.

Katherine Ormerod

I know I always say it, but my God I hate online shopping. This year I have made so many mistakes (sizes, scale, colours, fabrics, ordering completely different things to what I thought I’d ordered) and have felt caught in a never-ending cycle of waiting for deliveries, returning deliveries, and also, most depressingly keeping things that I would never have bought in a shop because they would ‘do’.


This Christmas, it’s understandable that some people will want to shop from home, but for those that can, going shopping in person will mean so much for so many retailers. The #unitedweshop campaign, in support of London’s bricks and mortar stores, especially the small business which have been so hard hit by the drop in footfall, is all about that IRL shopping experience. November is usually the number one selling month, so the second lockdown piled on the pain.

Katherine Ormerod Christmas shopping coal drops yard
Christmas gift Guide coal drops yard
christmas gift guide coal drops yard

I remain a retail devotee; I love shops, I love talking to people in shops, trying on lots of different sizes, feeling fabric, gauging the size of things (no more 7cm vases), getting my lunch, then going back to buy things I’ve put on hold to think about. I will never fall out of love with that. And with the big retail casualties of the pandemic only further hitting our high streets, I am more committed than ever to buying my gifts in store this year. So committed in fact I braved the weather to go to my favourite outdoor shopping area, @coaldropsyard to catch up with some of the independent shopkeepers, designers, and owners who are so ready to look after their customers again.


Here’s my in-store gift guide from LA style destination @twiin; my favourite industrial designer @tomdixonstudio; men’s store @universalworks; dried flowers by Sophie Kim – @roseur; Italian delicatessen @linastores; and London’s best-curated kid’s shop @cissywears. Come rain or shine, nothing beats great service and having a gift in your hands, rather than spending the next three weeks tracking a missing parcel ID.


Twiin Candles christmas gifts coal drops yard

Come pick up a touch of LA chic in fashion concept store Twiin.


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Universal works knits christmas gift guide coal drops yard

The most gorgeous homewares from Tom Dixon.



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Roseur Christmas gift guide coal drops yard

Dried flowers by Sophie Kim – her store Roseur is a new addition to Coal Drops Yard.


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Lina Stores christmas gift guide coal drops yard

Italian Christmas treats at Lina Stores.



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Universal works knits christmas gift guide coal drops yard

Great men’s knits at Universal Works.



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christmas gift guide coal drops yard

And don’t forget the kids — Cissy Wears is London’s best-curated store for minis.


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United We Shop is a King’s Cross-wide initiative calling Londoners to shop out to help out. Promotions and offers across select stores run from Wednesday to Saturday, all the way up to Christmas Eve. For more inspiration, click here to see our Christmas Gift Guide. So what are you waiting for? Get out and shop out!

christmas shopping with raven smith

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