I joined my local Facebook group during the refuse strikes because I never knew what I supposed to be doing with my bins. I had mostly forgotten about it until recently when I noticed that folk were using it to help those in need in our community. I was so impressed with how tirelessly some people work to make sure no one goes without essentials.
I hadn’t considered this way of helping out before, but it really is incredibly straightforward. You can donate clothes & items that you don’t use. Little gifts, toiletries etc that will make a huge different to families who are struggling this winter. I don’t necessarily believe in the ‘charity begins at home’ mantra, but I do hate to think of neighbours being in dire straits. We all know that this year it’s harder than ever to make ends meet, it’s good to know that we can take simple steps to help.
Please check out local community, facebook groups etc if you are having a clear out or can afford to pick up a few extras this Xmas season. There are undoubtedly families close by who’s Christmas would be greatly improved by these little acts of kindness.
Kid’s Out provide Xmas gifts for children in refuge. You can select & pay for a gift online.
Alternatively, you can’t make online donations to a the following groups.
The Trussel Trust is the UK’s largest foodbank group. You can donate online to support their work of keeping people fed this winter.
Refuge have an option to buy a Xmas dinner parcel for a family of various sizes. You can help provide a happier festive period for families feeling domestic violence.
If you’re still on the look out for original gifts read on. I have more glorious independent businesses & creators for you to explore.
Flamingosaurus Rex is a gorgeous gallery in Edinburgh. They showcases talented artists & always have the most covetable art. You can buy digital prints & funky stationary on their site or drop into the gallery if you’re local.
Topple and Burn make radical, left wing apparel & jewellery. I have so many pieces already and I will undoubtedly buy more. Their ‘Fuck the Tories’ Xmas jumper is an absolute dream. Topple & Burn practise what they preach by supporting excellent causes. You can’t go wrong with a purchase form here.
Juniper & Friends is an animal rescue & rehab. The women behind the store does incredible work with foxes, possums, skunks & more. She rehabilitates injured wildlife & gives a home to animal that cannot be released into the wild. I have been following all the amazing wee creatures in her life on Instagram forever. Watching these animals grow & thrive is wonderful. You can support this incredible work & get yourself some adorable items at the same time. Juniper & Friends have merch ranging from tees to art work created by the animals. These would make the perfect gift for any animal lover.
I will never stop singing the praises of Wilde Mode. Their pieces are size inclusive, gender free and zero waste. All staff are paid a living wage and materials are ethically sourced. They have the most diverse ad campaigns and of course their products are amazing. Their knickers are the comfiest I have ever worn. With an extending product range, there is something for everyone. Go shop!
Finally we have Fugly Plates , recycling old crockery into sweary works of art. I love eveything they do. Re using old things that no one wants is always a good thing. Even better when the final product is so cool. If you have a foul mouthed friend this the place to shop.
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We all know by now that it’s good to shop small. Buying from small business allows you buy products that meet your ethical standards whilst also supporting your local community. This year more than ever those businesses need your support. Thus, I give you the first instalment of Xmas gift guide.
I came across Graceful Favours via a friend’s post on social media & I’m sold. They make pretty wedding favours and do some special chrismassy treats. The paint your Xmas cookies are just so cute. I know my little ones would enjoy this as a wee festive craft. Truth to be told, I would too.
Ebony and Black make the most incredible scented candles & melts. The inspiration for their fragrances comes from historical figures, places and moments, which I think is an excellent idea. For instance their Reign range, influenced by Mary Stuart’s return to Scotland has a beautiful fresh scent. I have this one burning as I type; my whole whole house smells like windswept seaside meadow. Everything is vegan and handmade in Scotland. Such care is taken over all the little details, these make a gorgeous gift.
If you’re looking for something a little more personal Ruby etc is offfering original pet portraits (hurry spots are selling out fast). Ruby etc creates witty & unique art. I’m a long time fan, their work immediately ups the cool factor of any room.
If you follow me at all you can’t have failed to notice that I adore Pockets and Sedition. Handmade, size inclusive with pockets! They also donate a percentage of profits to very worthy causes. If you’re into all of that I imagine you will share my excitement at the launch of their Xmas range. Pyjamas & clothes in joyous Xmas prints plus some glam dresses for all those nights out. I bloody love some festive jammies for all that Xmas slouching, another must have.
Last, but not least we have Glad Rags, my favourite thrift shop. If you’re in the Glasgow area I cannot recommend this south side gem highly enough. Their stock is varied & wonderful, profits are redirected into the community and they support many local creators. Glad Rags also run lots of fun workshops & activities. They are not unique, second hand shops exist everywhere and are a vital part in reducing the volume of waste we produce. They are also an excellent alternative/antidote to fast fashion.
The easiest entry in my present list is already taken care of. All Bronan wants are unlimited paper bags and all of my attention.
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What better way to start the year than in some gorgeous new knickers?
I can never have enough lingerie , so I’m always excited to get some for Xmas. I’m loving all the lace detail especially since the fabric is super soft. I adore the shape the bra is giving me. The whimsy of the French knickeresque pants is delightful.
You know your knickers are making you feeling yourself when you have the urge to snap a booty mirror selfie.
Boxing Day is my Mum’s birthday, so I took advantage of a nice family lunch to try out one of my Xmas gifts.
This dress is from my Mum & it’s a cracker. Super soft & comfy, fits like glove. It is my first from In the Style and it’s getting a big thumbs up.
I felt so good in this dress. Plus it was so easy to wear. I like that go up to a 28 (not perfect, but much more inclusive than many). I also like that most of their styles are available in their full size range instead of a just a small selection in a plus range. All in all I’m loving this brand.
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As I said in my previous post, I have been on the struggle bus recently. My stupid body has been making it difficult for me to get a whole bunch of things done. This has left me clinging even tighter to the things that I can master. Since one of things also offers an opportunity to sprinkle a lot festive spirit, I have been diving right into it. Thus, I give you even more xmassy nails.
I did this manicure at around 3am because pain woke me up & couldn’t get to sleep. I was exhausted and so the design is fairly random. Still pretty jolly!
Next up was was an icy blue set. I’ve been trying to get snow flakes right for the last two christmases. I think this year I finally nailed it. Do you agree?
I’m currently sporting this lovely glittery design. Another mix & match inspired by various festive bits. I like them, but have managed to break one nail & chip another already. The brushes will be coming out again tomorrow.
Bronan remains entirely struggle free. Oh to be a cat.
My health has been yuck for the last few weeks and have been stuck at home. It’s been all jammies & running life from my phone for me. My biggest adventure has been finally getting my booster jab this week.
After a really rough weekend with a stomach flare it felt really good to keep down some toast & mint tea. That little boost encouraged me to put some mascara on & get my Xmas t shirt out. I was only going to get my Covid booster, but it did feel nice to get a little fresh air and see the outside world. Of course I also felt relieved to be fully vaxxed again!
My Xmas parcel from my dear friend Jenna arrived early from philly, of course I opened it. One of the lovely gifts she sent was this bangle, which I wore immediately. She knows me so well.
I got my vaccine at Glasgow Central Mosque. The building is really pretty so I could not resist snapping a photo. Along with a few other random ‘I’m outside’ pictures.
Please do get your booster. We do not want to be messing around with new variants. I felt a little rough yesterday, mostly a bad headache. Much improved today and delighted for the reassurance of extra protection. Take care out there.
Christmas is rushing at us. If you’re like me you’ll be trying to get those presents wrapped, cards out and all the festive food in. Amongst all the busy, busy I’m reminding myself that I’m so lucky that I am in a position to do these things.
It is wonderful to share food & good times with people you care about at Xmas. It is even better to have stage security that allows us to indulge in those things. So, if you can, please consider helping those who do not have that luxury.
I’ve talked about Social Bite before, but they are an amazing organisation. Buying a homeless person Xmas dinner only costs £5 and can make a huge difference to someone. It feels like an excellent way to have an impact even if you don’t have much to spare.
If you are an animal lover and would like to help provide safe, loving home for farm animals Tribe Sanctuary are amazing. The rescue animals that would otherwise go to slaughter or be put down. They have so much passion for these animals and give them a beautiful life.
Hospices so hard & important work all year round. I can only imagine that it can be more difficult at this time of year. Strathcarron Hospice is a lovely facility that cared for someone in my extended family. They provide essential end of life care and are not government funded. If you could share some Christmas love with them it would go to very good use.
I want to hit the sweet spot of having plenty of time to enjoy all the twinkle without it being there so long that I get sick of it. For me that’s Dec 1st.
I go big on the carry on.
Christmas is so much better with little ones. I take full advantage of how much fun they are. I want to take them to see the lights & the funfair. I’m picking up festive editions of sweets, comics, everything. I will kit them out in adorable little Santa outfits. I’m playing with all the new toys. Pulling the crackers & wearing the paper crown. Auntie ly is the tickle monster, the teacher of gross jokes and provider of crazy phone filters. If there’s carry on to be had, I’m in.
Dress up on Xmas Day.
Even if it’s only to go to my own living room. We always had actual Christmas Day at home when I was a kid. I still always dressed up in my new fancy clothes to eat dinner & squabble with my siblings. It’s a habit that has stuck. I always glam up on the 25th no matter where I’m going. It just feels xmassy to sit on the couch drinking bucks fizz in my finery!
I don’t give to receive.
I give presents free from obligation because it gives us joy to make others happy. None of that comparing values nonsense either. It is the thought that counts. If I choose to give you a gift it’s because I want to. I don’t care if or what I receive in return.
Make the presents pretty
If I’m giving a gift I am doing it right. I don’t grab whatever paper is the cheapest. I will not pick up a gift bag on the way over. I take the wrapping seriously. I plan each year’s present look in advance. I purchase all the supplies with plenty of time. My presents are looking fancy & under the tree spit spot.
I send real cards.
I’m not listening to your Xmas card protests. It’s really nice to get season’s greetings through the front door. I will brook no dissent. Choose cards that can be recycled & write something lovely. What’s not to love about that?
The kids shall have magic.
There have to be rules. They can’t have every single toy they see. Sensible bedtime. Manners. Eat their vegetables. I’m down for it all, but it’s Xmas. Plus I’m the Auntie. Therefore the kids will get a bit spoiled. I will go overboard with the pressies. I’ll load them up with chocolate coins & Xmas books. Of course all the magical tales and nonsense that my brain can muster.
Everyone is allowed to open one present on Xmas Eve.
Christmas Night is for staying home & watching TV.
There’s always a blockbuster on tv. Whatever is the current big thing has a special. Then there’s just time for a Christmassy classic before bed. I get comfy & stay put.
I go to bed stuffed.
I actually feel cheated if I’m not full to the eyeballs on Xmas day. I want three kinds of potatoes, all the roast veg, pretend turkey and nibbles galore. Chocolate treats, nuts, cold potatoes, second belong of dessert. Munch, munch & wash it all down with some Bucks Fizz.
I always watch Fiddler on the Roof.
I have no idea why, but Fiddler on the Roof is always on tv at Xmas time. I only ever watch at that time of year. I know I could see it anytime, but it just wouldn’t feel right. I look forward it. It’s my own little unxmassy condition.
Make time for grown up pursuits.
Sometimes you want to do a little adult celebrating. I’m always sure to save time for grown up fun. Be it fancy cocktails or naught elf gear I’m ready to let my hair down.
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I’m one of those people who gets started on the Xmas pressies. Thus I’m pretty much done already & ready to share some independent/small business gifts. If you’re not ready for Christmas chat yet, I’m sorry! Everyone else, let’s get to it.
If like me, you (or someone you love)find yourself exceptionally attached to pieces of music this one is for you. These beautiful visual representations of sound waves feel like a special present to me. I found MuckaStudio on Etsy, they created exactly what I wanted for a really reasonable price.
Robyn Boyle is a beautiful artist & person. I first found her art on Instagram, then got to know her & now consider her a friend. I have bought commissions as gifts & have her art hanging in my home. Why wouldn’t you want to buy a stunning piece of art from a wonderfully kind person.
Bonnie Bling is an old favourite. They are an independent Scottish brand who create quirky acrylic jewellery & accessories. I’ve been buying their Scottish centric wares for years. They use all recycled plastics, so they tick the ethical & desirable boxes. Buy some pretties.
Another artist that I discovered on Instagram is Edoniworks. They do gorgeous architectural drawings and take commissions. Their communication is great, quick turn around & reasonable pricing; 5 stars from me. I think a drawing of your forever home/wedding venue/favourite bar makes a really lovely gift. Someone in my life is getting one this year.
I’m never going to write a small business guide without including Wilde Mode*. They make the cutest, comfiest underwear I’ve worn and they are all round good eggs (their ethics are tip top). They have so many excellent xmassy products this year. Definitely the kind of thing I will be giving.
If feminist, inclusive & sometimes ridiculous are up your street you need to check out Crudely Drawn. Unique prints, mugs, tees & more can be found here. I can think of a few people who would love a Louis Theroux with boobs mugs and I really want some tidy hating bits for myself. I love quirky, cool gifts like this.
* I am a Wilde Mode brand ambassador, but I was not paid for this post.