At Christmas “only 1% of consumer goods remain in use after 6 months”. This totally floored me. Buy better to solve this. Less and better is definitely my motto this year.
And tell everyone what you want. Share this and keep Christmas less crappy.
Last year I wrote up a Gift Guide to use less plastic, trying to cut through the crap and short cut some of the excess and it went down so well I’m sticking to similar lines.
It looks like the message has gone more main stream this year too, so without being Grinchy, or sucking the joy out of any of the razzle dazzle and magic of one of my favourite celebrations, we can all just be a little thoughtful about the pile up or presents, and just think of what we all actually need, and where we buying from.
Here are my picks of the very best things out there, that are natural and ethical, sourced from small businesses, that will be used, eaten, read, done, composted, recycled and LOVED.
A Merry Crapfree Christmas to you all.
THE WELLNESS ONE
Balance is an overused word in wellness, but in the season of enforced eating, drinking and no downtime, worth having a thought now for your January self and stopping the mad slide into denial of all things.
Add some bright beautiful goodness in now and anytime that makes up part of your day, not part of your “giving up”. These are all enhancers and not life depleting I promise.
Introducing the Haskap Berry and what it can do for you. Before you yawn about superfoods, listen on. With 3 times more antioxidants than the blueberry, this double skinned Canadian native, harnessed by a Doctor and freeze-dried into a powder, it is about to go stellar.
This is the real deal superberry that amps up your immune system, helps your skin and research is coming in thick and fast about how it can help on so many longer term fronts – high blood pressure, heart attacks, type 2 diabetes for example. Tastes like a zingy grape, my kids get a hit most mornings to keep colds away.
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I always debate between filling my bath with salts to soothe and calm or oils for my skin, and often throw them in together, wondering why no-one has combined them. Until now.
Brand new kid on the block Batch #001 (just launched exclusively in Petersham Nurseries and Daylesford showing their pedigree right there) have the perfect version, A Salt and Oil Soak from heaven with calming Tea Tree & Lavender in deliciously heady levels.
All your bathing, silky skin, unwinding needs solved in one.
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Dr Mark Hyman has been someone speaking sense in a world of nutritional navigation and changing fads. And his last book is a brilliant way to cut through the noise:
A Beauty Mist that isn’t wasted on your pillow.
You spray this right onto your chest before bed, where it gets to work on that oft-neglected décolletage, with skin plumping hyularonic acid and a heady mixture of hemp, lavender and valerian oils to promote a deep calm sleep.
All vegan, plant -protein, where most can taste of mulch or swamp water, these have incredible flavours. The Peanut Nutty one being my favourite, but the Mocha is fabulous too.
Think beyond smoothies too – hot chocolate made of this for breakfast is killer.
Buy one get one 50% off right now:
Turn all your tap water into delicious tasting chlorine free, mineral rich drinking water. Binchotan Charcoal sticks have been used by the Japanese for centuries. They last 6 months and I have them in all my carafes now:
Bare Biology, (my favourite fish oil brand for my children) have just launched a beautiful Marine Collagen Powder made only from wild, sustainably caught fish. Glossy locks, sturdy nails and smooth skin are all to play for.
Health has come to mean being personalised and bespoke, no one size fits anyone else. This is what drew me to these vitamin packs. Daily strips mean they’re so much easier to remember, and take away with you (begone the counting out a cupboard full of concoctions!). You can choose what you want to focus on – energy, weight management, etc – and their nutritional advice will tell you what you might need too.
And you get a 2 week free trial on me:
Extra Spring in my Smoothies from these all vegan, highest calibre protein powders designed with delicate additions of adaptogens such as Ashwaghanda and Chaga, to truly support you.
01 WOMAN is always a perky set up to my day:
Whenever I need a an anti-inflammatory boost, bad back, general aches and pains, I add this in to my day and have found the fierce levels of active curcumin in this strain are incredibly effective. Musculoskeletal troubles, headaches, or coughs and colds, all benefit from this powerful anti-inflammatory.
Ancient & Brave are an amazing brand with a brilliant ethos. This True MCT oil is a great brain fuel if you want to leave time between eating, intermittent fasting has been shown to work really well for some people to rest digestion and give your system time to divert energy elsewhere. Either way, this is a great energy source to add to coffee in the morning:
Billed as: Parisian, feminist and sustainable. I love this new discovery, The Balm, for “hydrating and soothing after-sex and daily” it is designed with all natural coco, jojoba, calendula oils to soothe dryness of the vulva. Hormones, tight jeans or anything else that might cause this is the answer.
Silky smooth hair forever. It makes perfect sense that wrapping your locks up in luxurious silk overnight would glossify and caress and mean you’re not turning it into a birds nest as you sleep.
The hair guru Christina Heuwagen, of Hershesons, gave me this tip off, and everything she’s said before has been gold, so I promptly put this on my christmas list and am already excited about tucking my hair away in sultry silk for bedtime and waking up with shiny, smooth hair for a change.
THE HOME MADE TREASURES
As I got more and more cyber deals thrown at me, I got more into the idea of not getting people to buy stuff and getting into my kitchen to make things that will always be adored by the receiver and it is so much more fun for the giver than a click and a splurge.
Here are some delicious, easy to pout together ideas that make for decorations and gifts.
Gingerbread Cookies are crucial. They fill the house with Christmas, they can be hung on the tree, given to everyone or used as a name place with some fancy piping skills. It’s a ritual and we all love it.
There are some more elegant box ideas further down, but my children love these very Christ,assy ones, that come with a little sleigh bell to attach to the tree, and they make any box of goodies you’re giving away look the part.
One of my favourite small brands who is always pushing the ethical envelope – she sourced eco glitter before most – has, of course got some beautiful ideas for making your own christmas. I particularly like the look of these decorations that the children can make and remember for years to come:
These Crispy dried oranges can work as tree decorations, table decor too or parcelled up as a lovely present.
And some easy gift boxes to send all your fabulous treats out in:
There’s no need to keep it all sweet and baking focused either. One of my favourite ever presents was a bottle of delicious oil that a friend had lovingly steeped for me and every time I used it I thought of her and was happy.
You can make so many things here, here are a few suggestions:
1 Red Chilli plus a tbsp dried chilli seeds
Fill to top with Olive Oil.
Rosemary & Thyme Oil
Use a bushy sprig of rosemary and 3 sprigs of thyme
Place in the bottle, topping up with good quality olive oil to fill.
This famous Italian spirit is a fabulous and easy one to make.
You’ll need 5 lemons, vodka and sugar.
You can adda little tag and some twine to any of these with your message:
The Chocolate Nut Crunch Salami
This is so delicious, and sliced up on a chopping board with a dusting of icing sugar and some holly, it is the most perfect christmassy show stopper. And its just a melt in a an to make. So do give it a go:
Or some plainer boxes if you want to do your own decor / keep it simple and chic:
These are so sweet and my children love making them, perfect teachers presents with minimal fuss, ad am afternoon’s activity all in one:
And the classic, that you can never have too many of, they freeze beautifully, and so does the pastry, so I make a big batch of pastry and mince and then freeze for when I want to bake up another load. They are bite-sized as I think they always should be.
I thought these stickers were a nice addition if you don’t trust your artwork.
THE BEAUTY BAG
Never not grateful that I get to try a huge amount of products out, and I only share those with you that are top of their game for efficacy as well as ticking the clean, natural, sustainable box. Any of these would be a delicious addition to your bathroom cupboard.
Just launched to much acclaim, this calming candle come heavenly Skin treatment, Sweet Dreams, is just the tone to set for your Christmas haul, for giving, or hinting at to .
Skin Alchemist’s creator hails from St Lucia originally and uses all the island’s finest active ingredients in all their products. This is an Intensive embalming treat for wintry skin.
Light the candle, lie in the bath inhaling the joy then pour the warm, melted oils onto your skin. Resulting in “a calm mind, relaxed muscles and fully nourished skin.” Is every night too often?
Sweet Dreams Pouring Candle Skin Treatment
When top make-up artists (she’s so busy on Killing Eve I have no idea how she did this) get to create products with brands who care about ingredients and efficacy, you get a little bit of magic.
Nini Organics x Tahira Make-up Pink Glow oil is the fairy dust we all need at this time of year. It creates a heavenly sheen on cheekbones, brow lines and anywhere else you want to shimmer. From highest grade organic goodness. It’s living in my hand bag from here on:
If you haven’t tried the L.A. A-list’s favourite skincare guy, this is a great way in. A twice a day spritz that keeps hydration levels in your skin naturally.
UpCircle Beauty are closing the loop in the smartest way. Upcycling used coffee grounds into all their skincare where all the nourishing properties are put to use.
The UpCircle Face Scrub is a glorious chocolate colour with oils to soothe that buffs and hones some life back into my tired winter skin.
Elizabeth Scarlett has a beautiful line of sumptuous velvet bags, mini or midi they work for evening or bathroom or weekend away:
Lumity have a holistic skincare view, their nourishing supplements go alongside face oils to support skin from within.
They do a beautiful Jade roller that accompanies any face oils as part of my nighttime ritual these days. Great if you’re no good at giving yourself a massage, with cooling, depuffing lymph draining perks and brightening, soothing properties from the Jade.
Josh Rosebrook is probably my skin hero. He is immaculate in his research and formulation and unsurprisingly has a swathe of La’s A listers as his fans. His Hydration Accelerator Mist has been my morning and night spritz crush for over a year now and the Vital Balm day cream lives in my handbag.
His latest launch the Hydration Boost Concentrate, a botanical hyaluronic acid and plant antioxidant complex is just what we need in the winter making this the perfect trio for plump, smooth, soft faces.
This set of three essentials here is a fabulous deal while it’s still around.
The dark days and long nights bleach the colour and sparkle from my face, and as much as I hate fake tan, I’ve found these lovely Gradual tanning drops from Balance Me that I mix with my face oil at night and find a lovely glow in the morning. Zero streaks or orange worries.
The best way to sink into bed, with your face on a silky pillow. The word is that the silk is smoother on your face and I definitely notice waking uo with less creases for the school run.
100% organic and cruelty free silk, from the Irish family run business who care so much about where everything comes from, and the sheer luxuriousness of it all.
A favourite or mine since they launched, this Sister-founded brand, By Sarah London, was the brain child of one of them to treat the other whilst she was undergoing devastating leukaemia treatment and her skin was paper thin. Using the gentlest and purest of ingredients, they have pushed boundaries in transparency, by being the first to write every ingredient on the front of the pot.
Innovating again, their gorgeous Christmas Gift Sets, of the green cleansing balm and award winning facial oil, come in packaging made from recycled paper and a sleeve for wrapping from crushed grapes reclaimed from landfill. I love everything they do.
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A scarf steeped in Hyaluronic Acid! What a genius idea, by snuggling into the cashmere for warmth you are smoothing your face and softening the lines. Equivalent to 1500 face treatments, this is a fabulous idea and I’m adoring mine:
Never enough Beauty Sleep out there. The very fabulous Sleep Masks, with a new RED edition giving proceeds to the Royal Marsden, warming, soothing eye masks to keep christmas as calm as can be:
THE GREEN QUEEN
We can all make a difference with every choice we make at Christmas. Starting with every present, so it doesn’t just create the problem!
Agent Nateur are doing the loveliest things for natural, non toxic Deodorant, that we all need to be switching to now we know what our lymph area doesn’t need added to its load every day.
By far the nicest I’ve found, and I’ve been hunting, for a waft of summer garden roses with none of the extras that clog and aggravate:
The landfill season that is Christmas is a great time to up your composting game, by keeping all the unnecessary bio-degradable things out of our rubbish system.
We got a simple wooden box style one when we moved into our house 6 years ago and it has never reached capacity, and gives me great happiness. It also means the bin trips are massively reduced.
Super easy to put up, it takes up no space in the corner of our tiny garden and makes lovely compost to nourish what we try and grow…
Made from sustainable Beechwood trees, Stripe + Stare are the brand with the softest pants you would wish to kiss your derriere.
I can’t wear anything else now. With flat lock stitching cleverness meaning zero VPL.
The Days of the Week pack in a rainbow of colours is my current jam, although their baubles for the tree with a single pair in are a lovely gift for a teacher, a host, party outing etc. Decorations that DO is a nice idea.
Who can resist an enforced Funday??
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Just no need to think that being eco means doing away with chic. I just love this brand, profits go towards the Marine Conservation Society.
Good kit that does good, the best of all worlds.
A fabulous Brown Paper Bag Lunch bag for anyone wanting a better lunch at work or at school. It wears in beautifully over time and creates a worn in patina.
This French husband wife duo of Blanc Living, have just arrived with their fresh cleaning ideals in London – and made me realise how many rough, abrasive and health diminishing chemicals are involved in the Dry Cleaning process.
I use their Guppy Bag to keep the micro plastic particles in my gym kit etc, from going straight into the water supply.
And their clay based Stain remover stick that has worked on everything my white trousers have been up against – including a whole bottle of balsamic….
Liberty Print BeesWax Wraps
The original and the best of these sustainable and beautiful alternative to cling film. Food fares so much better beneath this reusable and compostable natural material, and I love looking at them always.
20% off until Monday December 2nd
Milk & More
The clink of the milk bottles arriving on your doorstep is no longer an urban myth thanks to Milk &More who we signed up to a few months ago.
As it suggests, they have plenty of other things on offer you can add to make your mornings simpler from yoghurt, to drinks and baked goods. Championing small businesses and sustainability they’re up our street.
They deliver before 8am, so no mad dash to the shops before school anymore. And you can cancel or amend whenever you want.
A totally natural, 100% Beeswax candle, hand poured into recyclable glass. Ethical, sustainable and with a beautiful delicate honey scent, it is perfect for adding a warm touch to the diner table with no scented oils to interfere with your food.
The founder has very kindly offered you lovely lot 20% off with LIZZIE20
Cosy head saves heat and energy every time. Chic Alpaca and Merino wool number I love:
GIVE A CRAP
Seemed more than fitting for my Crapfree Christmas theme. And this box of bamboo loo roll doubles up as wrapping paper and a lovely festive box to use for presents too. Give yourself the gift of not having to think about the loo roll running out ever again! This is such a great subscription service, all the while looking out for the planet.
Sebum absorbing, scalp nourishing and beautiful objects to have on your dressing table, these two are doing all sorts of favours to your hair by the man who knows how to do natural.
An Eco Starter pack for the aesthete. These bamboo coffee and water holders are sturdy and beautiful, a single straw and a lovely rucksack that breaks in like leather would.
(Pic from Diana Henry’s Book below)
The keen cook or the pro, we all need to know what’s out there, and I can never resist kitchen kit that will help with time and last a long time.
These are my picks of basic equipment, books I love and things I rely on to cool stuff I have my eye on.
One of our much loved wedding presents was a set of these French classics, that look beautiful and work brilliantly. An elegant present with thought that will last forever:
I’m often asked about Staple Kitchen Kit, and I always have a similar answer – I pick really good quality designs that are robust enough to last forever, and handsome enough that I want to use them and have them sitting around the kitchen.
This blender set lives at home but is also my travel-with-me to make anything kit. From whisking, to sauces and baby food making, to houmous and pesto, mash potato and soups, handheld blitzing and a jug it has everything and I love it:
Because a friend messaged me as soon as I sent this guide out and asked why the hell I hadn’t got my own book on it….
If you haven’t got my book yet, you need it, and if you have, you need to give it to your in laws, cousins, new parents, grandparents, husbands, weekend homes, because it is much easier to eat well when you’re not at home if you can steer someone towards an easy recipe that everyone will like.
Cumin, Turkey and Sweet potato Pie is a great Christmas warm up:
Such a simple gadget that makes the stress of the cooking time evaporate. Particularly useful when cooking a turkey and hoards of other dishes at once.
Khazana won the prestigious Observer Food Monthly Cookbook of the Year 2019, and is worthy of all the praise.
Panzer’s Deli is a full of the best foodie treasures, my children die for their smoked salmon bagels, they make their won and source the best around, so when hey do a Christmas Hamper it’s the real deal.
From port, to caviar, the very best smoked salmon around, British cheeses, nuts, dark chocolate and more, it is an array of luxurious goodies. One of the best out there, anyone would swoon at receiving this:
Cold Brew Home brew
The coffee craze that hit the States a while ago has arrived and instead of spending too much on a can that won’t taste great, you can now make your own with this cool kit for the coffee guru.
Brewing at this temperature means a softer, sweeter tasting coffee and it keeps more of the antioxidants in it that aren’t destroyed by boiling water.
The Classic easy-supper-done-deliciously book, by the Queen of the Kitchen, Diana Henry. The 2019 book for the cooks.
A milk frother can turn the plainest of drinks into a treat. Hot chocolates at home, cappuccinos or matcha lattes without spending a fortune. Nad this one is power free, and great for taking away with you – I love my froth!
Because Nigel Slater can do no wrong, I’ve cooked my way through them fanatically, and this new veg focused book that particularly focusses on Autumn/ Winter, is comforting and delicious.
Cookware for the home cook who wants beautiful pans that are non-stick without the chemical layer that leeches in to your food. This Danish design brand is aluminium elegance and high performance. Lasts a lifetime.
Part of the Make your Own vibe, these are gorgeous presents, perfect calendar fillers or warp in foil and add to stockings.
For the simplest option just melt some high quality chocolate, fill and set. Bag them u and tie with a pretty ribbon for a winner of a homemade pressie sans fuss!
Or up the game a little by making My Chocolate Fudge Recipe
THE TINY ONES
The under 12’s are often tough to buy for without succumbing to the wave of plastic and gimmickry thrust upon us. Here are some get outs, I hope, that will last more than a few weeks.
This lovely French Opinel Safe Knife set for children has been one of the most used pieces of kit in this house.
A BOOK that we all adored last christmas has a follow up, it needs to be under the tree, for boys and girls alike, the stories are fabulous:
Grow a flower
All the kit to get them growing their own indoors and keeping the nurturing game up – nothing so satisfying as watching something blossom before your eyes. Plus all the mud is great for their micro biome!
A staple for mine since they were small, this is always something they come back to on a rainy afternoon. Brimful of cool facts and crazy photos to get them chatting.
In place of another stuffed animal, how about a real one that needs us. The WWF have lots of endangered species that you can adopt and pay just £3 a month towards real and lasting difference to them.
Dolphins caught in fishing nets and Giant pandas whose existence is threatened are just a few of the ideas:
Love this series for introducing all the greats, and their stories to the family, from Coco Chanel, Dolly Parton to the Star Man, who has a big fan here:
Slick Lips Cracker
Two fruity lip balms, in Strawberry and Peach, made with natural Lanolin to help sore wintry lips, that come in a cracker.
Love the look of this magazine.
The “ultimate intelligent read for inquisitive kids. Every issue covers science, history and general knowledge….beautifully illustrated throughout with contemporary artwork.”
It’s billed at 8-12 year olds, looks high spec and lovely – look away if I am godmother to one of your children….
They’ve only gone and launched a Giant Reese’s, with none of the unwanted stuff. Single Origin Cocoa is the outer layer, and the middle is their signature melty almond nut butter. We may need these in tins please.
All the piles of presents, sugar and excitement could do with a little balance and thought. Love this, that my three are all getting.
THE TEENAGE TYPES
There seems to be a good game discovery once a year, and this, from my neighbours was so good for all ages.
It’s a Chinese whispers, dictionary hybrid and its fabulously funny, we played it out to dinner and in with the kids. Always in need of ways to avoid talking about screens….
I learnt last week that the wireless EarPods were way more expendable than their old school versions, so I’m sticking with these for my children, and love them listening to music well. Comfy and a smart metallic finish, I always trust Sony for sound.
Love or hate her, she’s 15 and making bigger waves on the global political stage than many people have before. A short read that could just spur you on to anything:
Bramley Bauble Gift Sets, where everything gets used!
These sets have a choice of hand or wash lotion in side, but the real fun is that the elasticated ribbon can be used to hang it as a decoration and then repurposed into a silver hair tie afterwards! Sustainable to the max.
Phone Charger Bling
Tink a link do a neat line in phone kit to glitz them up, personalise or just keep them from getting smashed in style.
The smart stickers that go on chargers are what I’ve got in every colour to stop the charger wars that erupt most days. The cleverest part is that the cable matches too, so no more thieving fingers!
All the washroom angst at this age, the kid stuff is spurned for being babyish, and the regular chemist kit is often heavy on unwanted chemicals for their delicate hormonal balance. I was thrilled to discover this Earthfriendly brand by a former Beauty Editor. All the in betweeny vibes with none of the crap.
My 10 year old daughter loves the Detangler, and 12 year old son gets carried away with the Pomade on his hair styling obsession – I’ll be replenishing their favourites from Father Christmas:
Pretty Christmas Gift Boxes with all the basics needed:
How to be a teenager, for teenagers, so we don’t have to tell them! This book is meant to be an incredible tool and I’m reading it for any insights too.
A spritz of calm, power down for sweet dreams or some laser focus in a bottle, these three natural primed, aromatherapy mists, that are alcohol free to be kind to young skin, are a brilliant idea for day to day woes.
The best kind of green – using what’s already out there – this company is in the business of upcyling the miles of inflatables that have nowhere to go into wash bags and totes and things that the woke generation would approve of.
Undoubtedly the most popular present I’ve given my daughter, she uses it most weeks – making your own means a lot less salt and sugar and the taste is leagues ahead. And it’s less than £20, and doesn’t need washing up.
STOCKING SIZED (UNDER £30) PRESENTS SUSTAINABLY(ish)
(From Charlie Mackesy’s beautiful book below)
I hate the phrase Stocking Fillers – hinting the ideas are unwanted, unnecessary and purely to take up space.
These, however, are things that could go in a stocking or that just happen to not cost too much, for teachers, friends, those you’re going to stay with, that will be received with gratitude and used!
Best starting place if you haven’t looked at your bathroom cupboard yet for what you could upgrade: a natural deodorant stick – that happens to smell of the sweetest roses:
Start the happiness with some hand poured, all natural candles in a jar or a tin, fully recyclable and smelling of festive happiness. I love this company.
Hang some sustainable dreamy soft pants on your tree, the best bauble there is, and the niftiest present around. Choose your single pair and ask for the bauble packaging extra to be delivered firstname.lastname@example.org
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Bamboo Plasters each with their own natural, effective addition to make them do their job better. Compostable, sustainable and in beautiful boxes, these need to be the upgrade in your First Aid Kit.
Particularly love the Aloe Vera to soothe blisters, and the ones with Charcoal added to draw out bites and splinters. High tech and low spec, my favourite combo.
I love Balance Me’s new brand makeover, and their ethics, as well as their much applauded great value for good quality. This is a gorgeous body oil to slather on after a bath, leave you feeling soft and lock in all the moisture.
“You will not be able to buy a more beautiful book for Christmas for somebody you love” Chris Evans says it best.
I adore this book – A book of hope for uncertain times.
Prettiest Pink Velvet bag for make-up, money, or stashing treats for Christmas.
For less than a fiver, I think these are such feel good presents that should be thrown around in place of the “fun” presents no-one actually wants!
Lanolips Limited Edition Lano Hands Cream, in a beautiful Red Gold tube, is an intense cream, made with real natural lanolin to protect and soften and look good in your handbag.
A pot of the finest peanut butter I’ve tasted is always going to make a stocking happy. Giving the gift of food should not be overlooked as a real show of love and thought. And spoonfuls of this over haribo feasting makes for a happier camp.
Manilife’s Deep Roasted extra strength flavour one got me hard, so I think as a gift it should come in the 1kg option, which is much the cheapest way of buying it too:
I’ve been a convert to hot cloth face washing for a long time now, and it is my night time meditation I can’t not do anymore. There are plenty of lesser versions out there, but this is the thickest, softest and only one for me now.
100% Organic Cotton hand-loomed in Turkey using no dyes or chemicals.
Add some sparkle and love to your phone case, or chargers, or design a glam one for someone else:
Hand poured, from bean to bar in Suffolk, just the best chocolate there is in Christmas form:
People will always need smart thank you notes, gift tags and bespoke note paper to get them writing, and this company do the very chicest in bespoke, monogrammed stationery. We should all be writing more ink and paper, so send some out there and it may come back!
Just look at their wrapping skills. Literally with bells on….
She Said by Jodi Kantor & Megan Twohey
Chocolate coins got a health over – for the dairy free, and minus all the foil wrappers, love these to fill the toe.
This heady Sweet Orange & Bergamot oils along with the soothing and healing Himalayan Salts is the perfect bath treat to give someone who needs a little love thrown their way. Amazing value for an artisan product.
Christmas car journeys can be the undoing of all of us. Travel squeeze pouches of the best almond butter there is (zero palm oil natch) are also the perfect combo to dip those buttons above into.
Just because a decadent velvet inky pouch with kissing flamingos on needs to be in more people’s lives. Any age, any criteria, I think you’d win with this.
Choose Love, the organisation with popups around christmas to give things from those who have, to those who have not, now has an online shop.
Make your stockings brighter by keeping some children warm and fed. Refugees arriving over Christmas rely on places like these.
If you are roasting a bird, this is the only way to guarantee a crispy skin with minimal effort. Every house needs one. Yes turkey baster jokes work well on gift cards too.
Honeywell biscuits make pretty bespoke baked goods from advent jars to baubles, worth a look when you’re looking at your decor and table settings.
“I was a Bouncy Castle” had me as a gem of an idea from the get go when I stumbled upon their page, repurposing deckchairs, inflatables and any seaside relics, into stylish, and clearly waterproof paniers, wash bags, totes and pouches.
There is a line called Stonehenge made out of the blow up version of those rhunes that a Turner winner was commissioned to make. I love them.
FOR THE GUYS
(and anyone else too but they might not like the pants and oils so much in the other parts)
Always the trickiest part of my shopping is the Dads, brothers and the rest. Ties and socks and chocolate need a bit of an upgrade on thought levels.
These are some of the things that I’ve tested out on my husband and he now asks for.
Old School boxers in Egyptian cotton with a silk lined fly, comfy AF and long lasting, the double back seam is what he tells me makes the difference:
Lathering up well with this lovely London label, Doers. This body wash is full of powerful yet gentle organic ingredients, looks handsome, does good, worth giving:
Cufflinks can be staid, and stuffy and a little overdone as the standard man present, but not from the Tilly Sveaas stable. I adore her iconic, elegant chains and bracelets and she’s just launched a line for the men meaning they can get bedecked for Christmas too. The chunky rings would be a lovely present too.
From my very favourite vodka brand, Black Cow Vodka has created this dreamy gift box:, a Bottle & Golden Cocktail Shaker created for them by the Japanese Mixologists Gurus.
State of the art kit for the serious martini drinker / cocktail maker.
Famous Japanese mixologist made this gold shaker for Black Cow, the Dorset makers of the smoothest vodka made from milk. Closing the loop and keeping us in classy drinks.
Another one that I’ve got in the bag, by the very funny Paul Merton, a collection of the very funniest stories out there, perfect for dipping into over the quality streets:
Eye Natural candles do a lovely dark and brooding one called MAN, that works as the perfect dual action present – you get the love for a great present, but you also get to enjoy it being burnt as it smells brooding and musky and heavenly.
Instead of having your beauty kit stolen, buy him some fabulous gear of his own, that you don’t mind using when you forget yours – true story.
Proverb Skin are an immaculate brand and their exfoliating scrub is most definitely for us as well as them, with gentle coconut used to biff the skin surface and leave you sparkling.
Upcycling bouncy castles, inflatables and deck chairs is such a clever idea, and these guys on the Isle of Wight have turned it into an art form, creating such beautiful bags that are all, obviously one offs and eminently practical at once. Get one before they’re gone.
This 10L bag is designed for the cyclist, comes waterproof as standard clearly with all the clips and tricks you need. This is my husband the 2 hour commuting cyclist’s present this year (he doesn’t read these don’t worry):
One of the first things to think about re-jigging, all the armpit clogging chemicals of the regular deodorant have, and this one is from Agent Nateur, who are all about chic, effective and natural beauty products that you can EAT! Vetiver, cedar wood and leather make it a winner for him and her.
Proverb Skincare All the gear
They’ve got a fabulous Christmas Gift box that is the best starter for any man wanting to get a bit cleaner and meaner around his washroom habits:
This year’s best READS:
For young and old:
Places to go for great ideas on keeping Christmas a bit less crappy:
*Nothing in this post is an AD, I have not been paid by any of the brands involved, and no-one has had any editorial control over anything I have written. It does include some affiliate links and some products were gifted at some stage, but please be assured that everything I have picked here is because I have and love it or want it and am giving it. Happy (non-crappy) Christmas.