The Independent Store Christmas Gift Guide : 30 for £30 & Under

Christmas shopping can be a job of hell.  If you are like me and don't even think about presents until the second week of December, you open yourself up to a world of stress the moment you park your car, step out of the multi storey car park and enter the shops.  Today I went to the York Designer Outlet to buy Joe a birthday present and discovered copious amounts of people hoisting around countless bags of gifts, buying Christmas cards and queuing to get into Ralph Lauren.  That's just to enter the shop, not even to stand patiently in the payment line that you need to conquer once you have pushed your way through a barrage of people looking for cut price pastel polo shirts.  It's enough to send even a shopping addict into a decline.  And today I switched on Capital Yorkshire to discover Mariah Carey belting out All I Want For Christmas Is You.  Christmas has arrived and the mass panic to get everything done in time starts RIGHT NOW.

But fear not, I have a solution.  Last year I posted a Christmas Gift Guide where I listed my top 30 gifts priced at £30 and under.  This in itself was a godsend for me - our extended family budget is around this amount and its always a last minute scrabble to find something in this price bracket that isn't a toiletry gift set or a hat and scarf duo from the Debenhams till.  But the best thing about it was that all the products in my gift guide came from independent, small store, Instagram based sellers.

This year, Instagram usage has gone from 500 million to 800 million.  This astonishing figure includes many small businesses and companies who have realised that this social media application is a marketing hotbed that's increasing day by day.  With the advent of stories and the swipe up function, if you can build your feed to 10k followers the opportunities for growing your brand on this platform are endless.  Small brands are collaborating with influencers to make their products count in a world where competition is fierce and the post Brexit economy a harsh taskmaster.  

So I decided that this year, I would do the same and have produced a Christmas Gift Guide where behind every item there is a small, creative, independent hardworking company or artisan who are passionate about their product.  These sellers put their heart and soul into making the buying experience as individual as they are and the customer service that they offer is personal and tailored.  When I asked for submissions for this guide last month, I received over 100 e mails and I'd have included each and every one if it were possible.

So here are 30 beautiful and individual items that not only will fit your budget as they are all £30 or under, but they will also promote your position as a caring and thoughtful gift giver.  And best of all, you don't even have to leave the comfort of your sofa.  All these items can be ordered online without a car parking ticket or queue in sight - you don't even need to put your coat on.  Plus you will be supporting small business by buying from an independent shop.  You can thank me later.  

PS:  Last year, I dedicated this post to my husband who, when I met him, had bought his mum a Body Shop basket every single year since 1988. This year he presented me with a bottle of Beyonce Heat perfume purchased from Tesco for £9.99.  I live in hope.


1.  Heroine Sweatshirt, Watson & White £27

Everyone loves a logo sweater and this one is a goodie.  It comes in two colour ways - grey (shown here) and navy.  

Watson & White are Hannah and Kari, two good friends who spotted a gap in the market for a lifestyle store for people just like them and their friends, mum's who don't want to spend a fortune on designer labels but who want to stand out in the crowd.

Use code LISA for free shipping in the UK.


2.  Terrazzo Toiletry Bag, Violet & Percy £25

This terrazzo toiletry bag has a brass zipper and is in the print of the season.  Flora is the face behind Violet & Percy, an online lifestyle store combing her love of interiors, travel, photography and style.  

Flora also writes a blog and runs the Violet & Percy Book Club.

Use code JINGLE17 for 20% discount before 20 December 2017.


3.  'Fuck It' Enamel Mug, Dirty Work Designs £14

These sweary enamel mugs are the perfect gift for the person who has everything.  

Tasha is a UK based illustrator and designer and creates her products around her favourite things - flowers and swear words.  She uses ethical manufacturers, eco friendly packaging and carefully selects suppliers from as close to home as possible.

Use code LISADAWSON20 for 20% off until Christmas Eve.


4.  Three Typography Tea Towels, Quirk & Rescue £30

Choose any three from a selection of these cool designs.  

Quirk & Rescue are an East London design duo specialising in wallpaper, cushions, fabric and bespoke handpainted furniture.  All of their designs are original, based on elements as diverse as typography, music and 19th Century optical illusions.


5.  Your Year Candle, Quinn Candles £24

This is such a good idea - you can choose any year you like on this custom Wild Bluebell candle.  It also comes with gold lettering and in white.  

Quinn Candles are small independent candle makers who design and produce their products by hand.


6.  Cross Body Chain Purse, Play Purse £15

Inspired by the little girls toy of the 1970's, this shoulder bag comes with gold zip and long gold chain.  

Based in Hackney, the Play Purse studio produces handmade and limited edition purses. They've been updated and resized to create the sophisticated older sister of the iconic original design with the larger dimensions even housing your iPad mini or Kindle.

Price reflects 50% off Black Friday sale until 24 November 2017



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7.  Christmas Stockings Meakin Cake Plate, Alijoe Designs £29

The best way to eat cake is from a vintage plate and this one is perfection.

Debbie Carne of Alijoe Designs has been upcycling vintage plates with her own art since 2014, giving a contemporary twist to the classic decorative plate.  No piece is the same making each one completely unique.

There's a Sale running 19 November ONLY - use code PREXMAS20 for 20% discount off everything in the store.

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8. My Family Cook Book, Suck UK at Oxo Tower Wharf £20

Each double spread of the Family Cookbook has a template with plenty of space to write down the ingredients, method, star-rated reviews and add a photo of your masterpiece. There’s space for more than 80 recipes in this beautiful book, complete with an introduction that includes useful cooking guides, essential tips and a handy conversion table.  

Use code XMAS10 for 10% off this product until 26 November 2017.


9.  Secrets Print, Bianca Hall London £20

This cool print is 40cm x 50cm and will fit an off the shelf frame perfectly.  

Bianca Hall is a designer and writer based in Hackney with a popular interior design blog, French For Pineapple.  Her collection includes luxurious hand and digitally printed cushions, ceramics, accessories, and stationery.


10.  Handmade Bowl With 24 Carat Gold, Att Pynta £24

These beautiful bowls are part of a design collaboration with potter Marie L Sundegren. Each piece has been handmade in rural Sweden and crafted using the highest quality clay and glazes.

Store owners Kai & Amanda met while working in the fashion industry where they connected over their shared love of the Scandinavian aesthetic. During a coffee break the idea for Att Pynta was born, a destination for Scandinavian style and interiors without breaking the bank. 

Use code NOVFREE for free shipping throughout November.

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11.  Small Ceramic Vase, Glosters £25

These fab flower vases are based on vintage ginger beer bottles.  They're made with the same weight of clay but each vase varies slightly as they are all hand thrown. 

Myfanwy and Tom Gloster are the duo behind the Glosters pottery and lifestyle shop, based in Porthmadog, North Wales.  Tom designs and makes the ceramics collection in his studio above the shop, Myfanwy takes care of all the buying, styling and day to day running of the shop.


12.  Set Of Three Lunga Bowls, Curious Egg £24

A set of three lozenge shaped cast metal bowls in a rich brass finish, beautiful as a sculptural display on its own or for filling with scented pot pourri, tealights or treats.   

Lorraine Aaron is the owner of Curious Egg, a professional artist with a background in making art for public places.  She set up Curious Egg in 2015 with the help of her husband Roddy.  They love visiting new places and often explore hidden studios, local artisan makers and entrepreneurs.

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13.  Maha Cut Velvet Print Cushion, A & H Wills £30

This gorgeous animal skin design velvet cushion in pewter has a tumbled finish earthy taupe plain linen weave on the reverse side.  

Owners Adrian and Helen have been involved in the world of textiles for over 20 years after meeting whilst both working in New York in the 1990's. Based in Christchurch, they provide their customers with high quality design by applying the science of traditional weaving methods and marrying this with modern styling.

Use code LISA15 to get 15% discount until 10 December.


14.  Handmade Dog Collars, Elvis & Tilly £22

Everyone thinks that they have the best dog and everyone is right. At Elvis and Tilly, they make modern and bohemian collars and leads for the best dogs. They repurpose funky hand woven textiles from around the world, reinforced with seat belt strength webbing to create a collection of one off collars and leads so you and your best friend can ramble and roam looking pretty cool.

Each piece of the collection is made with love in York and all prototypes are thoroughly tested on Elvis and Tilly the labradoodles (no squirrels were harmed in this process). Owners Emma and Lucy have loved creating it and for every collar you buy they'll donate to their favourite charities The Dogs Trust and the RSPCA.


15. Custom Portrait, Sarah Maddox Art £30

Sarah is based in Brighton and produces full length illustrations of people with their dogs from photos. She has been known to draw the occasional cat instead of a dog or even sometimes people on their own.  

This price is for an A4 painting in pencil and watercolour on watercolour paper. 

Sarah's fabulous portraits are normally £40 but if you use code LISA25 then you will receive 25% discount until 26 November 2017.


16.  Vintage Danish Botanical Wall Chart #3, Mustard Vintage £30

This chart was illustrated by the late Ellen Backe and printed on paper in Denmark from 1943-8.  Part of a series of six botanical charts depicting several seeds in stunning detail and colour.

Originally produced by three Danish seed merchants for use as educational charts within schools, these were salvaged from a factory clearance where they had been in storage unused for the last 60 years!  Mustard Vintage is a friendly, family run business with a genuine passion for vintage furniture and homewares.  

This chart is usually £35 but if you use code LISADAWSON you'll receive £5 off.


17.  Lisa Dawson Custom T Shirt, Cordelia Hearts £22.50

The lovely Jen at Cordelia Hearts custom created this fab t shirt especially for me using the lyrics of one of my favourite songs.  

Choose your favourite phrase or lyric and Jen will make you one to order too!  This t shirt comes in various colours, fonts and font colours - check the website for the full range.

Use code LISADAWSON20 to receive 20% discount.


18.  Spara Mid Century Plant Pot, Plant Furniture £30

Plant Furniture believe that plants add something special to any interior scheme - they also believe that those plants will always look better when teamed with a fabulous pot.  

Their mission is to find the best planters available and they fell in love with the West German planters of the 60's and 70's.  This jade green, black and orange number is on their website along with a huge selection of mid century beauties.


19.  Silver Hoop Earrings With Brass Arrows, Tilly Sveaas £30

These gorgeous earrings are part of the collection on the fab website of Tilly Sveaas.  

Tilly is the living embodiment of her brand – a laidback, sun-loving beach bunny – part rock chick, part health fanatic, with a penchant for foreign travel and an Aperol Spritz.  Always jangling to the max in a mix of silver and gold, Tilly enthuses about the wearing of several charm-heavy necklaces, layered together to reflect mood, belief and personality.   These arrows suggest direction, forward movement, positivity and action.


20.   Unicorn Mini Fawn Light, Lapin & Me £12.95

How cute is this little fawn?  Christmas present perfect.  When lit, this light emits a soft little glow.

Named after a sweet vintage bunny, Lapin & Me adore combining vintage and modern.  They don't follow the crowd and strive to bring originality to their collection, staying true to their roots, with a nod to nostalgic childhood memories.

Use code SPIRIT to get a 10% discount at checkout.


21.  Blah Print, Gayle Mansfield Designs £20

This fab print by Gayle Mansfield is 30cm x 40cm, printed on heavy matt paper and will fit a standard frame.  

Gayle designs wall art and greetings cards from her UK studio, with simplicity and humour at the heart of her work.  She set up in 2016 after a period at home with her young daughter, having left her previous career in the public sector.  She is self-taught and whilst not coming from a related industry, she has always had a huge passion and eye for design/interiors, and an at times unhealthy obsession with styling her own home.

Use code TEN for 10% off.

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22. Boy Smells Candle, Wick Candle Boutique £30

Possibly the perfect present for the man who has everything - his own candle.  Boy Smells candles are a proprietary blend of beeswax and coconut oil; beautiful and rich burning.  

Wick is an independent candle and scent boutique in Hove, just around the corner from Brighton.  Their shop has a unique range of products sourced from around the world; candles, incense, room fragrance, bath and beauty.  

This Boy Smells candle retails at £32 but if you use code LD30XMAS17 this will give you £2 discount.

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23.  Monstera Leaf Dish, Homeplace £18-£30

These Monstera dishes are super cool and would make the perfect present.  The smaller size is ideal for use as an ornamental dish in the bedroom to display jewellery or the hall to catch keys and change and larger one is the perfect size for use in the kitchen as a fabulous looking fruit bowl.  

Homeplace is run out of her home in Walthamstow by Wendy Aldridge with support from husband James, ably assisted by two small children and not forgetting Pablo the Border Terrier.  Their aim is to provide customers with an eclectic but carefully considered selection of vintage, Mid Century, retro and contemporary furniture, lighting and homeware, so they are able to mix styles, eras, colours and textures to create homes that have as much personality as they do.


24.  Cotton Tea Towels, Lucy Tiffney £14 each or 3 for 2 £28

Lucy was a finalist in the Great Interior Design Challenge on BBC2 in 2016.  These gorgeous tea towels were created in her studio in Essex where as well as designing, she also lectures in textiles at her local art school.  

Her creative talents fuse a passion for colour and design with a natural flair for seeing potential in unusual materials and objects. She loves to create visually distinctive and practical combinations that are modern, bright, fresh and happy.


25.  Peace Out Pennant, Hunters Bohemia £19

How cool is this pennant?  Topped with a band of taupe, cotton twill there are two loops for hanging. String across a foraged branch for a casual bohemian vibe or for a more Scandinavian feel use a pale, wooden rod.  

Katty is the founder and creative force behind Hunter's Bohemia.  She is a mama to two fiery red-heads and lives with her brood in the beautiful north of Ireland.  Contemporary with a bohemian soul, all pieces are designed with herself and her own kids in mind.


26.  Insect Mandala Notebooks (Set Of Two), The Curious Department £8

These A5 perfectly bound notebooks depict the hidden beauty of the insect world, melding beetles, ants and flies into a dazzling pattern.  

The Curious Department is a London-based design studio and online boutique that specialises in the creation of quality art and prints and luxurious home accessories, designed and created in the UK.  Owners Chris and Ross strive to embrace the eccentricity of clutter, clashes and the uncommon, with a splash of opulence and dash of art deco.

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27.  Mango Wood & Marble Pizza Board, Handpicked By Kate £29.95

This marble two tone pizza board is handcrafted by artisans using white marble and wood harvested from ancient mango trees.  The perfect addition to any kitchen and  an ideal Christmas gift for a pizza lover!  

For the past five years, Kate has been surrounded by some incredible products through her work in interior design and events. This, alongside her passion for spotting unique products, led her to launch Handpicked by Kate.


28.  I Love You Neon Print, INPOLife £20

This is one of my favourite items on the list!  A4 Pink or yellow neon on black with the words I Love You.  

Vickie Neave is the creator of INPOLife which stands for IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER.  As a journalist, words matter to Vickie but she strips them down to their simplest form so that they become #justaline.  She can do custom prints with whatever you fancy.

Use code SLEIGHMYNAME to get 20% discount.


29.  Pressed Bamboo Lacquer Salad Bowl, ALSO Home £30

These bowls are just gorgeous.  They're made from pressed bamboo finished with a matt exterior by artisans in Vietnam, using traditional techniques. Beautiful as salad bowls or indeed for any sharing food.  

ALSO Home is a stylish lifestyle brand established in 2008 that has been born from years of travel and sourcing all over the world. Founder Anna Schmidt consistently designs a range that is full of exquisite pieces and that are exclusive so you won’t find them elsewhere online or the high street.


30.  Wild Horses Lampshade, Love Frankie £30

You'll be down with the cool kids with this beauty.  The Rolling Stones were pretty spot on when they sang about Wild Horses, so gallop away with this gorgeous handmade lampshade in turquoise and a hint of mustard.  

Love Frankie is a creative lighting and interiors brand founded by interior designer Johanna Franks.  With a strong design led aesthetic, an eye for colour and lover of kitsch, there are lots of wonderful designs to browse - Johanna has your interior needs nailed!

Use code LISALOVES for 15% off until 24 November 2017.

So there you have it - my Top 30 gifts for £30 and under from 30 amazing independent Instagram stores.  With lots of thanks to all the lovely shops who offered their products for me to include.  

Hold on to your credit card, it's going to be a bumpy ride.  Let the Christmas fun commence!