Christmas Gift Guide

Hello! It’s that time of the year when everyone goes Christmas crazy. I do love Christmas but I think all the adverts taint it… Remember spending money isn’t the same as love! Having said that, here’s a gift guide because giving presents is fun ūüôā

It wouldn’t be a gift guide without a bit of Lush! So here’s my favourite of their gift boxes – Merry Christmas¬†¬£19.95:

Merry-Christmas

It contains a few of my favourite Winter Exclusives – Peeping Santa, Golden Wonder, Lord of Misrule, Cinders and Dashing Santa. It’s a great spicy and fruity mix that I think most people would like. This is ALL bath stuff, so make sure your recipient has a bath before getting them this ūüôā

Divine chocolate is my favourite brand – I just think they’re super yummy and super ethical, as the farmers partially run the company. They’ve released a Baking Hamper this year – ¬£30:

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As you can see it contains all you would need to create heavenly chocolate bakes! And it even comes with a tote bag – handy since the plastic bag charge has come to England. I made some brownies using Divine chocolate for a friend and they were pretty amazing, so I think everyone should experience this.

I think getting vouchers is a bit of a cop out most of the time… It just looks better than giving cash, but it’s often less useful! However, it is easy to get hold of and I can understand the thinking behind it… A thoughtful type of voucher is a National Book Token because reading is much more fun than clothes/make up/jewellery etc.

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I borrow most books from the library, but there are a couple that I’d like to get a hard copy of myself, or I just can’t find in my local library! One of them is ‘To Die For: is fashion wearing out¬†the world?’ another is ‘I Am Malala’.

I’ve really gotten into house plants this year… Which is a weird statement! But I think it’s nice to think that you’re keeping something else alive. So, to pass that feeling along I’m recommending a house plant as a great gift.

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I think Christmas is quite a good time because it’ll flourish (hopefully) in spring so they don’t have too long to wait. There are obviously so many options, but I love the thought of a bonsai tree – so cute and long lasting, and there are loads of gift sets. This one is from Not on the High Street – ¬£24.99.

Finally, I also wanted to include a ‘luxury’ candle. I personally wince at spending anything over ¬£10 on a candle so I’m considering this a luxury!

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It’s ¬£24 from Not on the High Street – it’s made in the UK, made with soy wax and it has a double wick which I always think is better! There’s a choice of scents and I think cucumber and mint would be lovely and fresh for a New Year scent.

I created three gift guides last year and one was about making things, while another was about ‘experience gifts’ – these are still relevant so check them out for more ideas.

Now having written this, I really need to get on and get some presents for my family and friends! Are you already planned, or a bit last minute?

Birthday Wishlist!

Even though I will be turning 22 in a week I’m still making a wishlist like I usually do! I’m not sure when it becomes silly to keep doing this?! Maybe I have a few more years left…

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I’ve had my eye on these Capris for a while now from Sudara – they’re a gorgeous combination of colours, and I love that their work is supporting women who have escaped slavery.

I’ve also had these TOMs in my bookmarks for a while! I think they’ll be perfect for summer and will go with my whole wardrobe.

Then there’s the book list; I get most of my books from the library, but there are a few I’d rather have my own copy of! I follow Deliciously Ella online, but would love her cookbook for some more ideas for clean eating. I’m also intrigued by Thug Kitchen’s book for the same reason ūüôā¬†I still haven’t read Naomi Klein’s book ‘This Changes Everything‘ – I’d love to read it and have copy to reread and absorb all the knowledge and debates!

I prefer to buy my own make up as I see it as quite personal, but there are a few things from my favourite shop (Lush!) that I would just adore! I’ve recently had a few highlights put in my hair, as I wanted more of a sun-kissed look, and the treatment Marilyn would be perfect to maintain and enhance them. The Big Bang Bubble Bar is a Lush Oxford Street exclusive, but judging from the description I would love it! Another Oxford Street exclusive were the lip squares – each corner is a different colour and you can mix them together on your lips to create the perfect shade. This is amazing, but it was too much for me to get when I was there¬†(around ¬£20 – it’s not online yet). People also go on about the Bubblegum Lip Scrub – I really need to try it!

Of course, the most important¬†thing is that I want to spend time with my family and friends – it doesn’t really matter what I get ūüôā Do you still have a birthday wishlist?

The Good Green Gift Guide (Part 3) – Experiences!

This is the final gift guide and, in my opinion, the best. Christmas can be a time to accumulate stuff that will get thrown out within months – really unsustainable! So to counteract this you can give people gifts of experiences rather than things. This can range in price from barely anything, right up to hundreds of pounds.

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One of the cheapest options is to make some ‘promise cards‘ or ‘tokens‘ to trade in things like breakfast in bed, a baking session or babysitting so they can have some me-time! This is essentially a promise of quality time spent with the recipient, so it can be given to partners and family members alike. This is a very thoughtful present that keeps giving throughout the year.

Another option (for couples) is a food passport – it’s easy to get stuck into a rut of going to the same chain restaurants because you like one of the specials. But to spice things up, you can create a food passport with 50 local places that you would like to visit over the year on date nights. I got this idea from Pinterest, but the link no longer works so I can’t credit the person! Apologies.

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Moving onto slightly more expensive gifts – performances are a great option! Whether it’s the theatre, a band or a comedy show; you’re guaranteed a great time. I went to see Wicked for my 21st birthday and Made in Dagenham is definitely on my wish list for this Christmas! You have to make sure the recipient is free on the day though so they may have to be told in advance/told to keep that evening free. This can vary from ¬£20-100s – but I think this is definitely worth it as you gain so many great memories from this type of gift.

The ultimate experience I have received as a gift has got to be¬†money towards a trip to Edinburgh this summer. I went during the Fringe Festival so there was loads to do, but it was pretty expensive. Do a bit of research into different city stays fairly close to you in order to keep your carbon footprint small (I was able to get a train to Edinburgh). I would personally love to go to Bath, York and Oxford – all very picturesque with rich history to investigate. If you’re not a city person (or you want to escape the city) then a beach break is best and in Britain you’re spoilt for choice as there is so much¬†beautiful coastline! This type of gift will add up to be fairly expensive, but the memories you gain will be worth it.

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And that’s it for the gift guide series – there are so many this year but hopefully this has given you some practical and sustainable ideas for your loved ones!

The Good Green Gift Guide (Part 2)

Now buying things from ethical brands is all well and good, but even more sustainable is making your own gifts. Plus, these types of gifts often require more thought and are more personal than store bought presents.

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I do not consider myself to be artistic in any way! And yet I have made a fair few gifts – many baked goods, a scrapbook a mix CD etc. So I have compiled a few simple, cheap and sustainable gift ideas that you can make yourself!

Photo Letter РI love a good photo gift, but I think they can get a bit same-y (a book, calender or ones in a frame) so I think this is a great alternative. You can buy a 3D letter for around £10 (try ebay) and then it would probably take 1-2 hours to complete the gift. All you need is the letter, glue, (or scotch tape if you prefer), the photos themselves and modge podge. This is great because it could be for anyone Рfamily, friends or a partner!

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Sugar Scrub – You would normally pay a lot of money for a body scrub, but this simple (3 ingredient) recipe does the job just as well! I like that you can personalise the fragrance to whatever you think the recipient would like and the fact that the glass container can be reused after it’s been finished (unlike a lot of store bought scrubs). I think this is a great gift idea for anyone who likes a bit of luxury.

CD – I mentioned that I made one before (for my dad for Father’s Day I believe), so you don’t need to be a computer genius to be able to make one! You could choose to make a playlist of their absolute favourite songs, or include some new ones you think they will like. Once you’ve decided the songs you just have to burn it to a disc (or if they are far away and you’re not going to see them, just send them the playlist!). This is a really personal gift so choose the songs ad decorate it from the heart.

Hot Chocolate Melts – these seem to be everywhere at the moment, and I think they’re a great idea! To make them you just need chocolate, mini cupcake cases and decorations. Remember, if you use marshmallows they will not be vegetarian as they contain gelatin. You can make these in batches so you can give one to each family member/friend.

Chocolate Chip Cookies (Vegan) – this recipe looks pretty simple (once you convert the American Cups into grams) and I love the optional cinnamon addition – that just tastes of Christmas to me! The ingredients are simple and if you don’t have the vegan margarine/milk/chocolate chips then you can use ones you already have at home. If you put these in a glass jar with a cute bow, you have a gift that everyone will love!

I ¬†hope you enjoyed this – there’s still one more part to come so keep an eye out for that!

The Good Green Gift Guide (Part 1)

It’s coming up to Christmas which basically means present time! Of course, the most ethical thing would be to abstain from gift giving – it produces so much waste in the form of unwanted presents, packaging and wrapping paper. However, I love the feeling of giving and receiving gifts, so I put together this guide to give you some ‘ethical’ ideas at a reasonable price.

1. For those who love both gardening and cooking, this apron shows the best way to be ‘bee friendly’ and was made in collaboration with Friends of the Earth – so you’re also supporting a charity too! It’s also affordable at ¬£20 (there’s also a tea towel version for ¬£10):

bee-friendly-apron-by-stuart-gardiner

2. Lush is one of the ultimate high-street ethical beauty brands, and it has so many seasonal gifts to suit anyone who needs a bit of luxury in their lives! I would love to try the Golden Wonder set which contains a bath bomb and a multi-purpose soap Рfor less than £10!

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3. Not On the High Street is a website seems to be constantly growing! It sells products made by small businesses (often in the UK) and there is a setting to search for only eco-friendly products. Using that, I found this great gift for the home Рa personalised print, designed using the coordinates for a special place or location for £40. This would be a fab idea for newly wed couples!

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4. New Look is actually one of the most ethical high street retailers, and certainly one of the most affordable. So they would be my go-to shop for cosy Christmas gifts like this Santa Paws Jumper for £15! They also have a great selection of scarves for both men and women (definitely on my wish list).

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5. When it comes to chocolate I’m not fussy. But Divine chocolate really is something else – it tastes AMAZING and it’s partially owned by a¬†co-operative of small holder farmers, making it super-duper fair trade. They have special Christmas Stars for only ¬£4 and they’re currently on offer at 3 for ¬£10 – bargain.

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6. These Elephant Book Ends are so adorable I just had to include them! Traidcraft is one of the best fair trade stores there is, and it has such a wide range that you don’t need to search for ages to find something. At ¬£18 these book ends are ideal for any book lovers.

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7. And for that one person who is impossible to buy for, there’s always adopting an animal – the WWF have a programme which is great for children as they get a cuddly toy, a magazine and a certificate. This varies from ¬£3-10 per month (you can choose how much). Oxfam have a more people-centered focus with their goat/chicken/clean water gifts; these range in price from ¬£7-27.

I hope this has given you some food for thought, please let me know in the poll below which item you would like to receive and stay tuned for part 2…