• Alexa Dione Francis

Christmas Gift Guide: Shopping Small

Hello! Wow! Two months and I have not written anything! So welcome back!

I wanted to highlight some different ways of doing Christmas this year so welcome to a mini Christmas Gift Guide. As I am a proper (ish) adult now with a proper job, I no longer use money from my parents to buy gifts for people this time of year. That being said, I'm not a big earner, I can pay my bills and treat myself to little bits each month so buying Christmas presents for the people I love can be a bit tricky.

I always like to try to put thought into Christmas presents for people and this year, I want to shop small, locally and from independent businesses or sustainable brands. Here are some that I personally have bought from of have found that I think would be lovely places to get some gifts from!

Loveone | ig: @shoploveone

A place I love to shop at and work at too! I discovered Loveone a few years ago and worked there on and off when they needed an extra helping hand. Located on St Peter's Street in Ipswich, Loveone has so many different things in their cute shop I don't think I have ever gone in and not bought something! In some ways, shopping in Loveone ticks all the boxes I set out to achieve this Christmas. Not only are they themselves are an independent and local business but Loveone also stocks many other independent local businesses.

Pick up beautifully designed, handmade cards, scented candles made in Suffolk, some pretty funky Gluggle jugs of all shapes and sizes and of course, a variety of Jellycat cuddleys.

Heartsaflutter | ig: @_heartsaflutter

One of the many brands that Loveone happens to stock, is the jewellery brand Heartsaflutter which is all made by Nicola. Any of her gorgeous pieces would be a lovely gift this Christmas, I have two pairs of earrings bought from her and I love them! They are good quality products, sweetly presented and not too expensive. As mentioned before, you can either purchase the stock at Loveone of drop her message on Instagram and see what she's got!

The Peachy Kind | ig: @thepeachykind_

Another fab one if you like your accessories! Shanice makes the most stunning headbands and other accessories herself and also makes customised items too. We followed each other on Instagram and I hadn't purchased anything from her before. That is, until I was in need of an outfit for the Suffolk Bloggers Christmas Party.

I wanted to wear something that I would be able to wear again so I didn't want to go too festive! I chose a lovely dress but it was lacking in sparkle. I sent her a message on Instagram asking if she had anything and I purchased an amazing full embellished rhinestone headband for just £15 and I received it in the post the next day! Shanice also makes earrings (some lovely Christmassy bauble earrings at the moment!) so I cannot recommend her business enough! Especially as you can request more personalised designs.

Nobody's Child | ig: @nobodyschild

If you follow me on any kind of social media you know how much of a big fan I am of this brand. They are currently the only brand I have a relationship with and they gifted me some items long before I reached 1k followers on Instagram so I love that they support small bloggers.

Nobody's Child don't have any physical shops but their website is easy to navigate and aesthetic too. They are a sustainable fast fashion brand and everything is made ethically! If you're shopping for someone who isn't really into their accessories, this is an ideal place to buy from. As someone who's metaphorical wardrobe is essentially all Nobody's Child, their knitwear is soft and stylish, their dresses good quality, flattering and true to size.

They have such reasonable prices and often do mini sales with discounts so there's always a chance to get something for cheaper! Currently they have a pretty funky party wear (see above for me in the lovely starry 'Alexa' dress) section so if you are still on the hunt for a Christmas party outfit, treat yo self.

The Lady Garden | ig: @theladygarden.biz

There is a fab local lady who has only recently started up her business and she is smashing it! Sarah runs The Lady Garden in Debenham and very kindly gave me a gifted gel manicure a few months ago which I adored. There are all kinds of treatments available such as massages, brows, lashes, nails and of course, waxing of the lady garden! The Lady Garden also offer gift vouchers. Not only does purchasing a gift voucher support independent businesses like Sarah's, it is more personal than a generic spa voucher and cheaper too.

The Lady Garden is bright, refreshing and relaxing, no twinkly wind chime music either. Sarah is wonderful company and is always working hard to be able to offer her clients more treatments. I love her and her business!

Cult of Youth | ig: @cultofyouth

Forever obsessed with Kelly and the stunning jewellery she makes. Again, if you follow me on Instagram, you'll have noticed I always wear a necklace with the initials of my first and middle name along with a little lightning bolt. This was a necklace I had wanted for years and I got given it for my 21st birthday from my auntie; I am in love with it. I have not taken it off since I got it and have had so many compliments on it! It's so special to me! Incredible quality and a wonderful independent business to support. The perfect personalised Christmas gift!

Dolled Up | ig: @dolled_up_halesworth

Honestly, what can't Emma do? Totally worth the two hour round trip for her to work her magic and make my nails beautiful. Based in Halesworth, Emma along with Kate run Dolled Up who do everything from nails, acrylic and gel manicures, to brow lamination, spray tans, lashes, you name it! Emma is always nearly booked so you have to get in there quick! Kate does later appointments which is ideal for people who work all the bloody time and live an hour away from this beauty haven (ahem, that's me) but I cannot recommend these ladies enough.

They also do gift vouchers which are honestly a godsend. Got a friend or family member that could use a bit of pampering? Brilliant. Give them a Dolled Up voucher and send them on their way to get some money off or a full treatment on you for Christmas. They can make an appointment for themselves through the app 'Booksy' which is super quick and easy to use. I myself have only been there a couple of times but I will keep going back! Check out the pictures of my acrylics and the beginning of my nail 'progress' with my natural nails too.

I hope these give you a little bit of inspo for any Christmas gifts if you are feeling stuck on what to get people!

Fingers crossed I start being a better blogger soon but time will tell. I don't ever want to feel like writing is a chore so although sometimes it takes me a while, the blog posts I put up I am 100% proud of and wanted to do!

See you soon...maybe...

All my love,

Alexa x