I love buying meaningful gifts and in particular, gifts that allow us to tap into our creative side. During lockdown, I think we all found a little bit of creativity somewhere. In Milton Keynes, we are lucky to have some wonderful small businesses that allow us to switch off and indulge in a slow, mindful activity. In this Christmas gift guide, you will find creative gifts and experiences that you can share with your loved ones, from painting to pottery.
Creative Gifts & Experiences
- Pottery by Andrew Macdermott
- Gill Prince Photography
- Liquid Art
- Social Pottery
- Something Less Boring
- The Sixty Second Scribe
- Comfy Trav
- Três Paper Co.
This guide is part of Sophie etc.’s Independent Milton Keynes Christmas Gift Guide 2022. Businesses have paid to feature in the guides, but the guide has been entirely curated by Sophie. We hope it inspires you to shop small this Christmas! Every effort has been taken to ensure the information in this blog post is correct. Please refer directly to vendor websites and social media pages for the most up-to-date information for Christmas delivery and products. If you do see an error, please email email@example.com.
Pottery by Andrew Macdermott
Andrew Macdermott is a local potter who discovered a love and passion for it from a desire to try a new skill. He immediately fell in love with the tactile clay and found himself wanting to learn all he could. With a background in Community Development work, it was a natural progression to combine his passion for connecting people with a desire to use pottery workshops as a tool of engagement. He now works across Milton Keynes and beyond delivering pottery workshops for adults, children and community groups.
He makes and sells his own stunning collection of pottery inspired by landscapes and the environment around us. In particular, the country of Iceland has captivated his imagination.
All of his pottery and pottery classes run from my small home studio space which is his oasis, a place to escape to and creative world.
A pottery experience would be a great gift idea for someone who loves to make things. Andrew offers a range of pottery classes and experiences for all ages and abilities at his home studio in Milton Keynes. Including one-to-one classes, 10-week courses, and specialist techniques workshops.
Gill Prince Photography
Gill Prince has been providing photography tuition in Milton Keynes since 2015, and is also a well-known local commercial photographer. She is passionate about promoting MK to a wider audience, and demonstrating what a fabulous place it is to live and work – part of which involves running the popular ‘Photography in Milton Keynes’ Facebook group, which has 1,400 local members. In 2017 as part of the MK50 celebrations, she also published a book of images of Milton Keynes titled ‘Unexpected:MK’ – which was sponsored by 15 local organisations and sold 1,700 copies.
Gill’s Photography Tuition Vouchers enable you to give someone the gift of photography and/or editing tuition. Vouchers are available from 2 hours upwards, at £40 per hour – and vouchers of 4 hours or more can be split into two sessions. They are suitable for anyone at ‘off auto’ level or upwards, and also cover tuition in Adobe Lightroom Classic – so she can definitely help anyone to progress in their photographic journey, whatever their current level.
Inkantations Tattoo Studio opened in 2011 with one simple mission – to make tattooing inclusive, collaborative and professional whilst providing an EPIC client-focused experience. They are a female owned and run Tattoo Studio in the heart of Towcester, inside one of the oldest coaching inns in the country! Inkantations specialise in custom designs – ensuring that each client leaves us with a tattoo that is bespoke and unique to them. In addition to getting a kick-ass new piece of body art, their clients are also educated & provided with industry-leading aftercare advice and products.
Tattoo aftercare is a priority and the team has worked closely with doctors, skin specialists & our environmental health team they have curated the best vegan aftercare products that money can buy. These aftercare bundles are handcrafted by the Inkantations team and contain everything that you need to heal your new tattoo safely and to help your tattoo maintain its crisp and vibrant finish. Each bundle also contains a bespoke, limited edition art print created by one of our epic, award-winning artists.
The aftercare packs would make a great gift for any tattoo-loving recipient. The packs contain Butterluxe – Whipped Butter, Tattoo Goo – Antimicrobial Soap, Tattoo Med – Second Skin Dressings, Large Konjac Sponge, Limited Edition A6 Artists Print (Collectable) and an Inkantations Aftercare Instruction Booklet.
Anyone can be an artist with a drink in their hand! Liquid Art hosts drinking and painting parties for absolute beginners in and around the Milton Keynes area in bars, restaurants and pubs as well as virtual painting events. All the events are designed for beginners and taught step-by-step by Rachel Baker and fellow artists. Everything is provided for you including art supplies, food and a welcome drink.
This would make a really fun pre-Christmas night out, Christmas party or buy a voucher for someone so you can spend time with them after Christmas. I’ve done a few of these events and they are really great fun – You are better at painting than you probably realise!
Social Pottery is a pottery painting shop in Woburn Sands. If you are looking for something creative to do with friends, this is it. The sessions are fun, easy and relaxing. The team at Social Pottery believe in the power of art and its ability to relieve stress, support mindfulness and encourage creative thinking. Pottery painting is also a great way to bring people together.
All ages and abilities are welcome, so not only would this make a great gift for adults, but kids too. We took my nephew and he had a brilliant time. You can BYOB and food for adult late-night painting sessions. Experiences last between one and two hours.
From 2nd November – 23rd December, Social Pottery is holding a ‘Made Local Gift Shop’ which will showcase the talent of small businesses. You can visit this during their opening hours.
Something Less Boring
Something Less Boring is an award-winning creative and active events company run by Liddy and Adam who are really passionate about helping you improve your creativity and activity through fun, relaxing and entertaining workshops. Liddy is the creative force and main tutor with Something Less Boring. She is a qualified Illustrator and also a qualified teacher. Liddy taught art for over 10 years at secondary school level before leaving to found Something Less Boring in 2017 with the aim of bringing art and sport to all ages regardless of ability in a fun, creative and inclusive way. Since April 2020, Liddy has probably taught close to 500 online art sessions!
SLB hosts regular events at various locations in Milton Keynes such as Kiki’s Café Art Club (£10 pp) which runs every Tuesday 10am – 12pm. In 2023, they will also be running a ‘Pet Portrait Course’ for pencil drawing, where you’ll learn to create beautiful drawings of your pet. Another great workshop coming in March 2023, is ‘The Art of Pressed Flowers’ where you’ll learn to press flowers.
If you’re looking for a present for that creative person in your life and just can’t decide, SLB offer gift vouchers, redeemable for both online and face-to-face sessions.
The Sixty Second Scribe
Michael Gurner is The Sixty Second Scribe. He is a poet and the current bard of Stony Stratford. He regularly writes and performs poetry on a wide range of subjects for events all across Milton Keynes and surrounding areas. He has published three books of poetry (with another two on the way) and writes unique and personalised poems for people and businesses who want to send a message to someone important to them.
Michael’s Unique Personalised Poems are perfect if you want to show someone how much you love, admire, appreciate, miss or even despise someone in your life when chocolate or champagne doesn’t always cut it. Michael will create a unique personalised poem for the one that you Love/Admire/Appreciate/Miss/Despise, and you’ll be able to give them a truly unique and personalised gift that they’ll never forget.
Personalised poems are £179 (usually £229) for Christmas 2022.
Comfy Trav is owned by the brilliant Pelumi Nubi based in Milton Keynes. Pelumi loves to explore new destinations. After travelling to over 70+ and having culturally enriching experiences. When talking to other people, she always got asked “how do you travel so much?” She believes that many people disqualify themselves before they allow themselves to experience new things and new adventures.
Comfy Trav was launched to help people with travel anxiety (escalated by the global pandemic) or those who fear stepping out of their comfort zone. Comfy Trav offers a set of travel affirmations that affirms you during your travels. It allows you to positively reassure yourself that everything will be fine and that you are worthy and deserving of this new experience. The cards come in a pack of 32 so you have daily variations to choose from. They are the perfect size to fit in your travel back or slide perfectly into your pockets; which means you can always carry it with you and pull it out whenever you need a word of encouragement.
They certainly make a unique and perfect Christmas gift for a travel lover or those who desire to travel more!
Get 20% off using code SOPHIE20.
Três Paper Co
Três Paper Co creates thoughtful journals, greeting cards and stationery for moments of delight. All products are thoughtfully designed in-house and they always print locally, on sustainably sourced and recycled paper. TRÊS means three in Portuguese which is a connection to the founder Danielle’s roots, but also the number of things we are grateful for every day. After going through life-changing events, gratitude has hugely improved Danielle’s life and well-being and making gratitude journals and paper goods that make people smile and feel good are her biggest passion.
Amongst the best-sellers you will find planners, gratitude journals, affirmation cards, greeting cards and a range of notebooks. The new hardcover undated weekly planner is a beautiful gift for Christmas – There is nothing better than a fresh planner! It features tools to stay organised, productive and mindful of your routine and well-being. This weekly planner has everything you need in one book.
The weekly planner is printed in England using sustainably sourced paper and finished with a premium hardcover to keep your planner in great condition for all 12 months. With 176 pages, you’ll find yearly, monthly and weekly tools to plan your year exactly as you want it. Use it for 12 months, and as it is undated you can start when you wish.
I hope this Christmas Gift Guide has inspired you to shop small this Christmas. If you do decide to support these businesses please let them know who sent you their way and share your purchases with my Facebook Community Group, Eat & Explore MK. You can also share your local finds on Instagram with the hashtag #EatandExploreMiltonKeynes.
Which creative gifts and experiences will you be buying for Christmas?