So we have found ourselves in December (when did that happen?!) and Christmas seems to be rushing towards us at a great speed! If you’ve been reading my blog for a little while you’ll know how much I love local, independent companies. I know some of you more organised readers will be laughing at this as you’ve already completed your shopping…..but maybe there’s still something here that might just be an extra purchase, or that you might support in the future. I thought I would put together a small Christmas Gift Guide for 2020, showcasing a few local, independent and/or handmade businesses that I absolutely love!
I’m trying to support as many small businesses as I can, as after this ridiculous year we’ve all had I think it’s more important than ever to support the little people. I’m done with giving the supermarkets and huge corporations any more of my money, so if you’re with me then dive into this guide and I hope you find something that would be the perfect gift for one of your loved ones.
This isn’t an affiliate post at all, I’m not making any money by featuring these businesses – this is just a genuine promotion of amazing people and places.
I’m fortunate to know some incredibly talented people who really amaze me with their creations. The first couple of business I’m going to share make physical products, which you can order directly from them as detailed under each post.
Golden Hide Leather
Adam of Golden Hide Leather hand crafts a huge range of leather goods, from phone cases and wallets to notebooks/diaries and belts. He got into leather craft through his love of classic motorbikes and his desire to make his own seat from scratch. He invested some time into learning the art of working with leather by making some smaller accessories but was soon bombarded with requests from his family and friends when they saw what he was making!
That seat never got covered…
He keeps a small stock of products, but generally takes custom orders so he can create exactly what you are looking for including personalisation as shown in the pictures above. He only uses the highest quality materials, and loves the satisfaction of creating beautiful products that will last for generations. He has an Instagram page (link below) where he shares his latest creations and upcoming projects, so you can visit this to see more of his work. If you like what you see and fancy making a purchase then you can either message him via Instagram or using the email address below.
Hayley of Smashing Bakes creates a huge range of absolutely incredible baked goods, which make beautiful gifts or pivotal pieces for events (remember those!!). She offers anything from small traybakes to giant sharing cookies, and cakesicles (see the photo below, they’re amazing!) to full size occasion cakes. She can make bespoke cakes for your exact occasion/requirements, along with offering some ‘standard’ baked goods. I use the term standard very loosely here as nothing Hayley bakes can be considered as standard!
She makes rocky road, brownies, millionaire shortbread and cookie dough traybakes which are perfect to take into the office or to take to a party. Her cakesicle creations are chocolate filled with cake on a stick, a bit like an ice cream but with cake instead! She also makes cupcake bouquets which make a wonderful present (I can vouch for this!).
Hayley makes everything to order as she doesn’t have a shop, so if you would like something creating for a special occasion or for a gift then get in touch with her. If you’ve got an idea for something you’d like making then please feel free to send her an email and she can discuss your requirements with you. She has pages on both Facebook and Instagram where you can see the full extent of her talent!
Tilt is a craft beer and artisan coffee bar in the heart of Birmingham, which has three floors of pinball machines to play. These are basically my three favourite things, and Tilt is our staple go-to every time we’re in Birmingham. The guys that run Tilt are wonderful people, they have a real passion for serving proper beer and coffee to their customers. Unfortunately due to Birmingham being in Tier 3 at the moment they are unable to open, so it’s even more important to try and help them with their online store.
They sell a range of merchandise which is all such good quality – we’ve all had a lot of it over the course of this year and it’s great stuff. They have a range of clothing, hats and facemasks along with a selection of bags and mugs. You can also buy a huge variety of beers that are stocked in their fridge – their selection really is something else! If you’ve got a craft beer lover in your life they will definitely thank you for introducing you to this wonderful bar.
You can order any merchandise or beers directly from their website, and you can find more about this awesome place on their social media pages (@tiltbrum). I can definitely recommend putting them on your list to visit next time you’re in Birmingham once all of this chaos is over.
Christmas Gift Experiences
Gift experiences are always top of my list of go-to present ideas, as I always think it’s nice to be able to do something as a gift…whether that’s an afternoon tea, axe throwing or waffle making in Belgium – I always really like being able to do something with someone as their gift. It’s also perfect if you’ve got long-distance friendships, as it’s much easier to post a voucher instead of having to negotiate parcel delivery over the festive period!
If this appeals to you as a gift-giver, then hopefully these next few companies will be the inspiration you’re looking for this holiday season.
Tony and Aneta at Opulent Ink (Wolverhampton) are an absolutely incredible husband and wife ran tattoo parlour. They are both insane artists, with Tony a multiple award-winning portrait artist and Aneta an amazing traditional style tattooist. I can’t really explain how good they both are at their work (just check out @OpulentInk on Instagram), and they’re great people too. Between myself and my partner we’re currently planning our sixth and seventh tattoos with these guys…I wouldn’t go anywhere else now I’ve found them.
No matter what style of tattoo you are looking for, between them they will have it covered. They are super professional, the tattoo studio is really cool but also the cleanest place I’ve ever been into. They are great communicators and you can trust them to create a piece that you will be pleased with forever – they use the highest quality inks and don’t rush through and make you feel like you’re on a conveyor belt!
For Christmas they are selling gift vouchers in a range of values, which they can either post out to you or can be collected from the shop now they’re allowed to open again! If you have any tattoo collectors on your gift list I can’t recommend them enough! After this year of uncertainty and having to delay so many plans, it’s the perfect time to give someone the gift of something to plan and look forward to.
Visit their Facebook page for more information, or send them an email to order your vouchers.
The Coracle is a wonderful Micropub set in the heart of Ironbridge, which is a haven for craft beer and cider drinkers. They have a big range of keg/cask real ales, but also have a huge fridge stocked full of cans and bottle from breweries all across the world. At the moment they aren’t able to re-open with Telford being in Tier 2 and them not serving food. However, they are opening on Saturdays between 13:00-16:00 where you can pick up takeaway draught beer and everything from the fridges.
They offer gift vouchers which are a perfect present for any beer lovers in your life…if you haven’t had the pleasure of going to this brilliant pub you’ll be in for a treat! They don’t serve food but you can take your own into the pub, and one of our favourite activities is to spend a cold winters afternoon in there with some fish and chips from next door! They’ve got a really nice outdoor terrace now, which gives both indoor and outdoor seating options once the world opens back up again. They also sell some of their lovely glassware plus a few items of merchandise like tote bags and hats in the pub too. Or, you could pick a few cans to put in your partners’ stocking!
You can buy their gift vouchers, merchandise and cans from the pub, and you will find further information on their Facebook page. They regularly update this with new arrivals into the fridge, and any specials like mini kegs or boxes of beer you can order for takeaway. You can also email them if you would like to find out more information about their products and the vouchers.
May Blossom Travel
Amy is an independent travel agent based in Shrewsbury, Shropshire. She is your number one go-to for booking anything relating to holidays, weekend breaks and experience days which make wonderful gifts for your loved ones. With gift vouchers ranging from afternoon teas and spa days, to white water rafting and skydiving there truly is something for everyone! These have several months validity to choose a date once booked, which gives you the flexibility and confidence that we’ve become reliant on this year.
Or maybe you’re looking for something a bit grander for someone… The ultimate present after this difficult year of not being able to adventure would definitely be organising a holiday, so why not do that through Amy! She can take care of everything from booking hotels and car hire through to all-inclusive holidays and cruises. With the news of amazing progress with the Covid-19 vaccine and seemingly a light at the end of the tunnel, now is the best time to start filling up your 2021 calendars and making up for lost time this year!
Give someone the gift of having something nice to look forward to after a year of cancelled plans and rescheduled events. I love receiving ‘doing’ presents from people, especially if it then involves that person too as it’s lovely having a gift you can enjoy with others. You can find Amy on Facebook and Instagram (@MayBlossom Travel), where you can see her latest deals and get some great gifting inspiration. You can also contact her via email for any further information.
If you are further afield reading this, a couple of great sources for handmade gifts are Etsy (www.etsy.com) and a fairly recent find for me Fy (https://www.iamfy.co/). I’ve bought quite a few products off both sites over the years…as they’re independent sellers there is a range of quality but my advice is to just read the product reviews carefully before buying!
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this Christmas 2020 Gift Guide, and if you’re inspired please don’t hesitate to reach out to these wonderful people! I’d love to hear some feedback on this post, especially if you make a purchase from anyone so feel free to email me – I’m also happy to share some more information about these places if you would like.
Now I’m feeling in the festive spirit, I best go and buy some Christmas presents!
The Female Engineer