Monday, 22 October 2012

Christmas Gift Ideas

What do you do at this time of year? Panic? Hide under the duvet? Plan a holiday to New Mexico? OR are you one of those Supermums who loves getting stuck in and looks forward to it all year? Yup, the signs are all there. It won't be long before the sight that fills a lot of parents with dread appears over the horizon. That blinkin Coca Cola truck! Like it or not, we can't avoid Christmas for too much longer. Displays have been appearing in shops for quite a while now and the adverts on the children's TV channels are DEFINITELY getting longer. So, what can we do to make one of life's most stressful seasons a little easier?

Shopping never used to bother me as much as it does now. Not long ago, you could visit a town for the first time and you would know you were somewhere new. There would be unusual shops, different displays in the windows, that kind of thing. But recently, all high streets have begun to look the same. All the same chainstores, all the same layouts, BORING!! Then, there's the internet. Widely publicised as the shopping experience of the future, it appeals to our sense of 'bigger, better, now', but does it really help? The problem is, it's so impersonal. There's no opportunity to be sure of what you're buying, even the colours are not always clear. It's easy to make mistakes, or become the victim of fraud.

Recently, though, I've become aware of a new virtual High Street emerging. Social networking is providing a platform to buy and sell a huge variety of different goods and services and, whilst there is still the convenience of purchasing from your own front room, there's the added advantage of being able to interact with the seller, which is great if you'd like to see a different colour or size, or have any questions about the product.

It's very reminiscent of the market stalls that used to grace most high streets, until supermarkets and megastores took their toll. In the days of markets, and smaller specialist shops too, you would be served by an expert in that product, sometimes two or three generations, and you could get all the advice you needed. You would also get a smile and a conversation. Now it's all self service and swipe cards! So, what can you find in the 21st century marketplace today? Here are a couple of my favourite sellers and products I've found this week, handpicked just for you!

Trish's Treasures

Trish began making jewellery in August 2011. Through the Trish's Treasures website and Facebook page, the business quickly grew and Trish attributes this to the ability to interact with customers and make friends; "I think Facebook is brilliant for selling as you can engage your customers by chatting. I started off talking to my friends, so I guess I carried on the same way chatting to effectively strangers." She has seen demand for her one-off items increase and her products being purchased by generations of the same family. 'Virtual word of mouth' has also led to purchases from as far afield as Malta! 

Her speciality is making new items out of old broken necklaces, which appeals to our growing need to be environmentally responsible as a society. It also means that every piece created is unique. Recently, she has been expanding her Wedding range, including keepsake Bridal bouquets, consisting of  flowers, buttons, jewellery, brooches and beads. Trish is always brimming with new ideas and her infectious enthusiasm shows in her Facebook posts! It's lovely to read about her experiences running her business, as you get a real sense of being part of something special. And, there are always lots of cute puppy photos to go ga-ga over as well!

Trish was kind enough to send me some beautiful samples of her work and, I have to say, they are exceptionally well crafted and imaginative. Above is a bracelet, which I love, and is helpfully modelled by my daughter! The colours are so unusual and I love the symmetry of the beads. If you love this piece as much as I do, head on over to the giveaway tab, to see what unique pieces you could win from Trish's fabulous collection!


I first met Margaret from Design-a-Cushions on Twitter. She really comes across as an expert in her field. She has been kind enough to help me with a variety of soft furnishing issues, like fitting a zip, and even helped my daughter with her GCSE art project! She's a really nice lady and always on hand to offer advice on the right fabrics and inners for your cushions and seat pads. I never realised quite how many different shapes and sizes of cushion were possible! The picture above shows two very different sized cushions, with very different textures. There really is something for everyone over at Design-a-Cushions, including this gorgeous bolster cushion, that is so soft and tactile, every bed should have one!

All the cushions on this site come with the squishiest, softest inners that keep their shape brilliantly, and are perfect for cheering up a boring sofa or bed. Give a like on Facebook or Twitter to be first to know about any of the many competitions she regularly runs.


  1. Love the bracelet from Trish & you have some unusual cushions there. I have her giraffe onse on my sofa. They wash lovely & have never lost their shape.x

  2. I love the cushions, that blue one looks gorgeous and soft.

  3. My daughter is a massive fan of cushions, she has to have one on her when she's sleeping. Any other child will have a dummy, teddy or comfort blanket. My child drags a cushion around.. Lol.

  4. Love the bracelet, and love the idea that they are all individual and re-use items.

  5. I agree I do miss High Street shopping - all my local ones are full of charity shops / phone shops and chain stores.
    I do like the connection you can get from FB and Twitter and I totally agree with you that it helps to have that informed approach.
    Lovely post xx

  6. I love online shopping as I don't like going out =D

    Love the bracelet!!! It is gorgeous! And the cushions are gorgeous as well =)

    And the C word is banned in my house as my hubby hates that time of year, lol.


  7. I definitely feel the way forward is online, there's so much competition and great bargains to be had. I always do the price comparison shop be it on online versus the high st.
    I agree with these little gems you've found, word of mouth is a wonderful way to promote these little online businesses. x

  8. Great idea and thank you for sharing your finds with us. I'm always useless at buying presents, I'm not a very creative person, so I usually struggle! :) x

  9. i love the cushions, i have one of there cushions and its so much better quality and well made :) great blog !!


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