It can be hard to find a gift that’s a little different. There’s the tendency to keep it safe with the usual department store vouchers (which I’m pretty much ALWAYS good with receiving) but if you’d like to buy something a little more thoughtful for your friend, your sister, your Secret Santa or someone who already has everything, I’ve put together a little list of ideas. They’re basically all things that I’d like to find at the bottom of my stocking. If you like shopping independent and shopping Irish some of these could fit the bill nicely.
FOR BEAUTY LOVERS
If you’ve a gal pal who’s fussy about her skincare and prefers natural products, then check out Bia Beauty. The products use simple, natural plant-derived ingredients, contain no colours, and are subtly scented with light and fruity essential oils. No sulphates. No parabens. No nasties.
Herbal Scientist, Tracey Ryan, started out selling a natural moisturiser she developed for a college project in farmers’ markets around Cork. When she later became pregnant, the idea for Bia Beauty was born. As a mum-to-be she was particularly conscious of using natural products and so she began to make lotions and washes for the family using nut and seed oils, fruits, herbs, spices, cocoa butter and avocado butter. Since then, Bia Beauty has grown into one of the most talked-about natural beauty brands in the country, has won multiple awards and is stocked in over 100 stores nationwide.
As someone who has sensitive skin, I usually don’t usually make too many changes to my skincare regime. I’ve recently been trying out the Feed Your Face gift set which includes Mellow Mandarin Moisturiser, Orange & Grapefruit Facial Exfoliant and Cleanser and Stop the Clock Eye Gel. I can’t tell you how gorgeous these smell. I’m officially hooked on the facial exfoliant and it would seem that the eye gel has achieved cult product status among natural beauty die-hards. I also tried the Lemon Myrtle Hand Cream which is non-greasy and smells like the frosting on a lemon cupcake. Amazing. I’m a fan of it all.
If you’re looking for a safe, natural beauty gift with a difference and you’d like to get behind an Irish, female-led business, then check out the website for all kinds of gorgeous natural treats.
BEAN & GOOSE*
Three words: Chocolate. Subscription. Box. Yes. It’s a thing! Did everyone know about this?
Let me back up a bit. Karen and Natalie Keane, founders of Bean and Goose, began making their range of artisan chocolate on their Wexford farm in 2014. They combine high-quality, single origin chocolate with locally-sourced, seasonal ingredients. They’re inspired by the fruit trees on the farm as well as home-grown herbs such as lavender, mint, bay, fennel, rosemary and thyme. The result is the ultimate taste explosion for chocolate lovers.
Now, back to the business of having slabs of chocolate regularly delivered through your letter box. Bean & Goose has four Tasting Club options for chocolate lovers. Every month you’ll receive two delicious limited edition surprise bars and one from the Bean & Goose core range. Directly into your letterbox. Waiting for you, beacon-like, amidst the bills and junk mail. What’s not to love?
I tried out November’s box which included Roasted Almonds & Irish Sea Salt ( Arriba 39%), Hazelnut Lavender Praline (Milk Colombia 45%) and Irish Atlantic Sea Salt with a hint of Aran Dillisk (Santander 85%). I know. I had you at ‘roasted almonds and sea salt’. The three large bars arrived packaged in pretty, muted pastel wrapping, in a neat brown box. Enclosed was detailed information on ingredient sources, the logic for the flavour pairings and instructions on how best to enjoy the contents. I loved them all even the bitter Santander. I’m a bit of a chocolate-fiend and these flavour combinations made for an entirely new tasting experience.
If you’re on the hunt for a gift for someone who takes their chocolate seriously, then look no further. Subscriptions start at €19.95 p/m. There’s just something about the idea of periodic chocolate deliveries that puts me in a good mood!
FOR NEW (AND NOT-SO-NEW) PARENTS
THE M WORD BY MAIA DUNPHY*
DON’T KILL MY VIBE
Don’t Kill My Vibe is an online jewellery store founded by Irish fashion designers, Ciara Stewart and Niamh Mooney in 2016. I recently stumbled upon them on Instagram and found myself reaching for my credit card. As you do. Usually when I’m on a jewellery website I need to wade through lots of products to find some that I love but not here. I literally wanted everything. They stock gorgeous pieces; necklaces, pendants, earrings, bracelets and rings. They do chunky, delicate, engraved, silver, gold, hammered, fringed. All entirely fabulous. The only other website that makes me want one of everything is Chupi and it’s a little out of my budget this year.
My favourite thing about Don’t Kill My Vibe is the fact that everything is very reasonably priced. Check out my faves and their price tags below. Secret Santa sorted.
FOR INTERIORS’ LOVERS
RETRO LETTER BOARD*
Instagram is awash with letter boards and peg boards and it looks like they’re usurping the ubiquitous lightbox. Houseproud pals will love this fun, customizable board with an edgy throwback feel that’s, importantly, wonderfully Instagrammable. The perfect gift if the pressure of what to write in it doesn’t keep you awake at night.
This one is from Find Me a Gift, a UK gifting company that stocks a whole host of gifts for everyone, including toys, home-ware, personalised crafts and stocking fillers. It’s currently half-price too at £27.99. Score!
FOR COFFEE LOVERS
One million disposable cups end up in landfill every minute. A sobering thought. Reusable coffee cups are gaining in popularity and the Keepcup is king. Designed to replica your regular coffee cup, all the while looking stylish and allowing you to stop adding to landfill every time to get your caffeine fix, the Keepcup does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s lightweight, unbreakable and available in a range of colours. You can even build you own online. Barista-friendly, it comes in 5 sizes: 4oz (espresso or machiato), 6 oz (flat white) and 8 oz (small), 12oz (medium) and 16oz (large). It’s made of BPA-free plastic and some cafes even offer a reduction in price if you BYO. Shop for one here.
SEND A GIFT BOX
THE KIND TWINE CO.
The Kind Twine Co. is a Wicklow-based gift box company selling carefully-curated gift boxes and care packages. Finn Hynes works with a number of independent, Irish suppliers to create gorgeous gift boxes for for him and her, as well as Get Well Soon boxes and New Mum boxes.
The contents are thoughtful and the packaging, beautiful. Expect books, artisan food items, natural wax candles, beauty products and more. Some of the gorgeous hand-picked brands include Dr Coys’ Brooke & Shoals, Nua Naturals, The Handmade Soap Company and Dublin Herbalists. Finn also adds a personal touch that you won’t get with the big retailers – a complimentary hand-written note in every box. Check out their Christmas gift boxes filled with handmade ceramic decorations, chocolate-covered cherries, candles and beauty products. Sold.
SEND SOME POSITIVITY
MoMe (A Moment for Me) is the brainchild of Limerick-based Niamh McMahon. Her range of flash cards for grown-ups are designed to remind us to slow down a little and go easier on ourselves. They aim to promote mindfulness, positivity and self-love.
I wanted to create straight forward messages that are tangible; that you can stick anywhere you think you will see them. I have one in the mirror in my bedroom, one on my dressing table, one as a bookmark in my favourite recipe book. Place one anywhere you think you will notice it.
As someone who probably needs to practice a little more mindfulness day-to-day, I was happy to give the cards a whirl and I’m loving the little tangible visual cues and motivational insights that are scattered around my otherwise chaotic life. The teacher in me also loves their range of posters aimed at helping students stay calm and focused.
I love the bright colours and bold print and the sentiments are inspiring and encouraging. If you’re buying for someone who could do with a little mindful motivation, check out their Christmas gift sets.
Have you spotted anything you fancy? Perhaps you’ve tried some of the products on the list? Would you add anything else? As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
- * I was sent items from some of the businesses listed in return for my honest thoughts. I’ve also included brands that I have no relationship with. As usual, the post includes my honest opinions and I only ever recommend stuff I genuinely like.
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