Tis’ the season to shop local! I am so excited to bring you my ultimate Christmas gift guide for 2020 which exclusively features small independent businesses from Milton Keynes and the surrounding areas. 2020 has been a hard year for small businesses. With local markets and trade shows postponed and non-essential shops forced to close for nearly half the year, small businesses are feeling the brunt of the pandemic. But they are also some of the most adaptable businesses out there. This guide feels extra special this year because it feels like SUCH a celebration of all the fab businesses that have got through lockdown but also grown out of lockdown too. Thank you for bringing a smile to our faces, delivering gifts and treats when we couldn’t be there in person, and for being all-round brilliant.
This Christmas gift guide features over 80 independent businesses and will hopefully provide you with plenty of gift inspiration for your Christmas shopping. You’ll want to read all the way through, as I’ve got some exclusive discount codes for some of the businesses featured – hurrah!
MK’s independent Christmas Gift Guide
Click on the categories below to jump straight to the section you are most interested in. Make sure you bookmark this post for later and share with your pals!
- For the foodie
- Boozy gifts
- For the home bird
- Clothes, Accessories & Jewellery
- For the art addict
- For the candle collector
- For the creative & crafty folk
- For the eco-conscious
- For slow living
- For kids
- For pets (and their owners!)
- For the local adventurer
For the foodie
Tasty gifts and experiences for anyone and everyone who loves to eat and celebrate the local food scene in Milton Keynes.
Chocolate Mill MK
The Chocolate Mill MK Is run by the brilliant Steve, who knows his way around handmade chocolates! With an abundance of festive flavours available, including Gingerbread Caramel, Ruby Chocolates, Pink Champagne and Black Forest, this is a great gift for any chocoholic! I can vouch for how delicious the truffles are. And don’t they look stunning? Shop via The Chocolate Mill’s website.
Forget family chocolate boxes, say HELLO to the Christmas brownie family sharer from Crumbs Kitchen! The double chocolate brownie feeds 9 – 12 people and is topped with all the favourites from the Christmas chocolate selection: Quality Street, Kit Kat Santa, Choc Orange Snowman, Truffles, Gingerbreads, Candy Canes, Terrys Orange and Twirl. The best bit is that the shelf life is seven days – so it could last if you don’t finish it all at once! You’ll need to order by 1st December.
Six-piece brownie boxes are also available for £22.00 each and must be ordered by 10th December. Both options can be posted. Order on Crumbs Kitchen’s website.
Cakes This Way
These fun Cakesicles from Cakes This Way are a great stocking filler and Christmas treat. This beautiful set is the Christmas box. Delicious cakes covered in fondant icing in super cute designs! I would recommend the Oreo flavour. The Christmas box is £15.00 and you can choose a range of flavours. Order via Instagram.
Fat Mallow Co.
From fluffy, chocolate-coated marshmallows to hot chocolate toppers, these handcrafted gourmet marshmallows would make perfect stocking fillers or treats for Christmas day. Fat Mallow Co.’s marshmallows are sweet yet light and fluffy – they come highly recommended from us! Prices start at £1.20. Shop the Fat Mallow Co. on Etsy.
If you are looking for an unforgettable experience, a voucher for afternoon tea at French Affaire will certainly go down a treat. Featuring exquisite pastries and patisseries in a beautiful setting, you can’t go wrong! Afternoon tea starts from £28 per person. Gift vouchers are available by contacting French Affaire directly.
Gourmet Dinner Lady
Give the gift of Graze with Gourmet Dinner Lady. GDL’s ‘THE DECADENT’ is described as a ‘dinner party in a box’ and it the ultimate gift for graze lovers. With limited edition cheeses, chutneys and a bottle of wine, this is the perfect gift for a bestie or to accompany a virtual Christmas party. It even included candles, boards and napkins! Alternatively, you can grab a gift voucher to let the recipient cash it in when they like. Purchase via Gourmet Dinner Lady’s website.
Local Market MK
Local Market MK is a newly launched online shop which brings together the best artisan food and drink products sourced as locally to Milton Keynes as possible. The aim is to help people discover and purchase delicious local products from the comfort of their living room. They have done all the hard work for you and have put together some brilliant hampers and gift sets which are packed with amazing local food and drink brands. Purchase from Local Market MK.
MK Cookery School
MK Cookery School offers a whole array of different classes for budding chefs of all levels, from Japanese to Greek, Indian to British, as well as specific masterclasses that will help you fine-tune certain techniques. Gift vouchers start at £50 for a Masterclass and go up to £150 for a day course. Purchase the gift vouchers via MK Cookery School’s website.
The perfect gift for all foodies! Experience vouchers give a taste of the art behind the food at Paris House and both finish with a lunch at the Chef’s Table. If you’d like to really treat someone, Champagne dinner and lunch menu for two vouchers are available. And if you can’t decide what your favourite foodie would prefer, you can simply buy a gift voucher and let them choose for themselves. Please note these experiences may differ due to Covid-19 restrictions. Purchase vouchers from the Paris House website.
Read more: Returning to Paris House, Woburn
Buckingham-based business Pure Patisserie is delivering on the Christmas goodies this year! My top picks would have to be the Christmas afternoon tea which features festive treats including mince meat puff, snowman gingerbread and salted caramel reindeer macarons. A luxury option is available with addition savoury options. The Christmas selection box would also go down a treat with any cake lover and features brownies and macarons, all gift wrapped.
Pictured below is the Christmas selection box (£20) and the Christmas afternoon tea (£25). Order via Pure Patisserie’s website.
Saf’tastic Cooking Classes with Saf’s Kitchen
Learn to cook incredible Punjabi food with award-winning street food vendors, Saf’s Kitchen! Hosted at the Old School House in Wolverton on selected dates in January, February and March 2021, Saf will teach you how to cook curries, samosas, pakoras and more. Dan and I have done the beginner class (pictures below is Dan making Pakoras in 2018). The classes are fun and relaxed, plus you get to take all your food home! Prices start from £100 per person for a 4-5 hour class. Enquire via Facebook.
Welsh Bakes is owned by the fabulous Amanda who is of course from Wales herself. Her amazing Welsh cakes bring a taste of traditional Welsh baking to MK and are available in a whole host of flavours, including lemon, orange, chocolate and even chilli and cheese! Her Bara Brith loaf is absolutely delicious and my Dad’s favourite. These treats would make a fantastic little hamper addition for any food lover. Shop via Welsh Bakes’ website.
Read more: Best cake deliveries in Milton Keynes
Carlo’s Coffee Kitchen
This is one for the caffeine addicts! Choose from weekly, fortnightly or monthly subscriptions that run for three months, six months or a whole year. Subscriptions start from just £17.30. A bag of Carlo’s coffee would also make for a great stocking filler or DIY hamper addition. Purchase via Carlo’s website.
No need to pick up a bottle of something from the supermarket – check out these fantastic local distilleries and breweries and give the gift of artisan booze this Christmas.
Bucks Brother’s Gin
A new launch from local Bucks-based brothers, this traditional gin is fun and fresh with slick branding. Distilled in Buckinghamshire, so perfect for local gin collectors! The brothers have also released a festive liqueur for Christmas – The sloe and pomegranate gin is perfect for adding to prosecco or enjoying neat over ice! Purchase via Bucks Brother’s website. Home delivery is free if you’re within 10 miles of Towcester, Little Horwood or Brackley.
The number one destination for beer lovers! With an incredible selection of local ale, craft beer as well as wine, cider and spirits to fill gift boxes with, you will be spoilt for choice. Advent calendars are also available (£70 for the local version and £85 for a craft version) Don’t forget to tune into the virtual Christmas Bierclub too! Find MK Biergarten in Wolverton or shop via the website.
Use the code SOPHIE10 to get 10% off MK Biergarten’s web shop. Valid until 31st December 2020.
The Occasion Bar Co.
The Occasion Bar Co. brings the cocktail bar to your door! You can either order the Christmas Cocktail Box (pictured below) which has everything you need for a cocktail night in or purchase a gift box (from £20) which includes three ready-made cocktails with a cup, gold paper straw and fruit garnish for people to enjoy. Choose from: Espresso Martini, Mojito, Raspberry Mojito, Gin Bramble, Porn Star or Martini. Or keep it festive Christmas cocktail, Winter Spiced Mojito or Salted Caramel Espresso Martini.
Shop via The Occasion Bar Co. website.
The Fruity Farmer
One for those who love a fruity spirit, The Fruity Farmer has created a gorgeous range of tasty liqueurs and spirits. My personal festive favourite is the Seville Orange Rum which is a real treat over ice. The apricot vodka is a new addition for this festive season. it’s great mixed with prosecco or on its own. Order via social media or find The Fruity Farmer at MK Biergarten and via Local Market MK.
Based just outside of MK, Wharf Distillery are the purveyors of high-quality spirits. It’s their 10 year anniversary this year and they continue to develop amazing products in their range. The New Town range is my favourite and there is a festive addition in the form of a Blackberry & Winter Spice gin, as well as some new limited edition gins for Christmas. Gift boxes are also available. Shop via the Wharf Distillery website. [AD – affiliate link]
The Wine Cellar
The Wine Cellar is the ultimate destination for great wine in Milton Keynes. With two shops in Olney and Woburn, you are spoilt for choice and it really is a great place for wine lovers of all levels. If you want to take the gift to the next level, you can also organise wine tastings (virtual or physical depending on restrictions)
For the homebird
Gorgeous brands and bits for the home that any interior lover or new homeowner will adore.
A lovely homeware website selling beautiful pieces that won’t break the bank! There’s plenty of seasonal items for Christmas, as well as timeless additions that will make great gifts. I love that the site is arranged in categories of Under £20, £10 and £5, so you can find something that suits your budget. My picks would be the bee cushion and this lovely abstract wax burner! Shop via Aurora’s Attic.
Eadie & Lola
Kirsty named her Macrame business after her two nieces. These gorgeous handmade items include hangings, coasters and wreaths. Custom designs are also available. Find Eadie & Lola on Etsy.
Flat 102 is run by small business champion, Steph, who was part of the team behind The Indie Collective, a new shop in intu Milton Keynes featuring local creators and makers. Steph screenprints bright and cheerful plaques and prints which bring a good dose of positivity to your home. She also has a fantastic Christmas range including tags and baubles! Buy Flat 102 products via the website.
Modern, lunar-inspired wall hangings which are really unique and definitely one of those ‘I wish I bought that for myself’ gifts. There is a huge range of different colours and sizes so there’s something suit everyone and every budget. Find Lunarium on Etsy.
Needle & Stem
We all know a crazy plant lady! These embroidery kits would make a perfect gift for someone who is a bit crafty and a plant lover, you could buy one for yourself and create a homemade gift for. The kits are £22 each. Buy embroidery kits from Needle and Stem via Etsy.
I make no secret of my admiration for Outhouse! In fact, we have a dining table and home office set up from Outhouse, as well as some wooden signs. Although Greg’s books are full for custom orders, he has plenty of signs available on his website. My favourite includes the ‘I’m glad I swiped right for you’ – the perfect gift for your other half if you met on a dating app!
Pottery by Andrew
Andrew MacDermott is a local potter who makes beautiful pieces inspired by his travels to Iceland. His vases, pots, plates and dishes echo glacial layers, geysers or icy rock formations. I own a small pot from Andrew’s collection and it’s one of my favourite items. I love the combination of shiny and textured glazes. Andrew also hosts pottery workshops at Milton Keynes Arts Centre. Find out more and shop his pieces via his website.
Wonderfully Made MK
These gorgeous plaques are made from upcycled wood. Wonderfully Made is a business that was born out of lockdown and is absolutely smashing it! The signs can be personalised. Order via Etsy.
Clothes, Jewellery & Accessories
These funky geometric earrings are so fun! This business is run by Chloe who is based in Newport Pagnell. She is a recent graduate and channels all her creativity into this side hustle. Everything is zero waste as the offcuts are made into new pieces. Pictured below is the Christmas Collection which launches on November 23rd as well as the autumn collection, which is still available. Buy the earrings from Blossom Earring’s online shop.
Handmade by Teri
Teri is a full-time PhD student who makes gorgeous scrunchies, masks and other hand-sewn products. Who would have thought that masks might be on our Christmas wishlist this year, hey!? I love the bee print scrunchies and this super cute vintage cherry mask!
Use code SOPHIEETC to get 10% off Teri’s entire shop until 16th December.
Peak Jewellery is a Stony Stratford-based business, owned by Michelle. Her pieces of jewellery are unlike anything you see elsewhere. They are inspired by a sense of adventure, so you’ll find pieces that nod to glaciers and mountains. You can even request a custom design if there’s a particular place that holds a special place in your heart.
Shop via Peak Jewellery’s website. Pictured below is the Mount Snowdon necklace and Precipice Ring.
Leafy Lane is a small local family run business who create handmade accessories and gifts for all sorts of occasions. The products are lovingly made and are stocked by The Indie Collective or via Leafy Lane’s Etsy shop. I love the range of Scrunchies they have on offer.
Shannon Grace Desgin
After losing her job in lockdown, my friend Shannon set about making gorgeous embroidered pieces as a hobby. She now sells these lovely items and can custom embroider cushion covers, t-shirts, masks, tote bags and even jeans! Christmas gift wrapping is available and items take 1 – 2 weeks to be sent as everything is made to order. Find out more on Shannon’s Etsy shop.
Use code SHOPSMALLXMAS to get 10% off Shannon’s Etsy shop. Valid until 1st January 2021.
Good Times Café
Your favourite cheese toastie vendors has released a range of merch! Cosy up this winter in these funky beanies and hoodies. I love mine, it’s so cosy! Message on Facebook to order.
Small But Mighty Clothing
If you’re looking for some super cute, festive face masks and adorable children’s clothing, look no further than Small But Mighty. Emma creates lovely handmade items that are really tactile with gorgeous prints. I’ll be ordering some face masks for sure! And check out that super cute baby bonnet! Shop via Small But Mighty’s website.
For the art lover
Unique artwork from designers and local artists.
I love these illustrated Milton Keynes maps from Cute Maps. They feature all of MK’s key landmarks from the Concrete Cows to Bletchley Park. The range also includes South Northamptonshire and Aylesbury Vale. You can get the prints personalised with your home location, so this is a great gift for new homeowners. Available to buy from Cute Maps’ website.
Georgia Elliott is an expressive landscape and seascape painter based in the countryside in Buckinghamshire. Working from her garden studio she creates colourful, contemporary paintings interpreting her reaction and memories of the landscape. Shop Georgia’s range of fine art prints via her website.
This is one for the football fans! Dinkit is a family-run business based in Stony Stratford and sells a brilliant range of unique prints and posters for football fans. I particularly love the stadium co-ordinate prints, and they also have soundwave prints for football anthems too. Discover more on Dinkit’s website.
Robyn Draws Stuff
I fell in love with Robyn’s clean and modern style after seeing some of her custom illustrations for Wharf Distillery’s gin. I promptly bought Dan a custom print of an Old Fashioned with his recipe – our favourite lockdown cocktail of choice! Robyn’s illustrations would make lovely gifts for any one – the drinks prints are a great addition to any drinks trolley and she also does custom illustrations for families, pets and houses.
Yasemin is a local artist who creates beautiful botanical artwork and prints. She offers commissions as well as prints (the leaf pictured below). For details, head to Yasemin’s website.
For the candle collector
Who here isn’t obsessed with Candles? I love them for creating a cosy ambience and they make a great gift for Christmastime. There are some fabulous local makers in Milton Keynes and the surrounding areas so I couldn’t help but dedicate a whole section to candles.
Carly’s Candle Company
Hand-poured soy wood wick candles from Carly’s Candle Co, have quickly become a favourite in my house! Not only are they beautifully scented, but are vegan, zero waste and safe for animals. The Christmas collection is lovely – winter pine smells just like a Christmas tree! Carly also has a refill scheme where you can return your glass jars for a refill. Shop online via Carly’s Candle Company website.
Home County Candle Co.
From Bedfordshire to Buckinghamshire, Northamptonshire to Northumberland, these candles would make great gifts for your friends and family across the country. And if your county isn’t in candle form yet, they have a delicious winter collection available. Home County Candles are available to purchase via their website.
The lemon sherbet wax melts from Maisey’s Melts are my favourite wax melts for the kitchen. They are so nicely scented without being too artificial or overpowering. There is a great range of scents on offer, including trios of candles which are great for gifting. Order via Instagram.
A small business based in Bedford that creates gorgeous candle and diffuser scents that have a premium feel. Shop via Etsy.
Get 10% off your O&H Candles order with SOPHIE10.
For the creators & crafters
From puzzles to prints, embroidery to calligraphy, there is something for everyone looking to explore their creative side.
Got 2 Jot
Got2Jot is based in Stony Stratford and sells beautiful stationery. The gift boxes make a brilliant gift for Christmas and there is something to suit everyone, including students, entrepreneurs or lovers of bullet journaling. My particular favourite is the ‘Mindfulness & Positivity Box’ which contains a Forward Thinking well-being journal, a box of 50 different affirmation cards, pen and relaxation candle, all specially boxed and personally packed. The wrapping is gorgeous and personalised messages can be added. Shop more via Got 2 Jot’s website.
Jesita Patel is a young and talented artist by the name of ‘Jepati Art.’ Based in Bradwell Abbey, she brings animals to life in her unique style using vivid, bright colours. You probably recognise her beautiful mural in The Green Elephant Café! Jesita’s beautiful artwork is currently available as two limited edition jigsaw puzzles. ‘The Three Elephants’ is 1000 pieces and is £50, and ‘The Pink Elephant’ is 500 pieces and is £40. Gift wrap and personalised message available. Prints will be available to purchase soon.
Lettered by Annie
During the first lockdown, I taught myself brush lettering, with a little help from Annie’s at home calligraphy workbooks. It’s a lovely activity to do and once you’ve mastered it, you can create so many fun projects for yourself. There are a few choices of kit: the Modern Calligraphy set, Brush Lettering, Mindful Brush Lettering and for Christmas, cracker kits! Shop the kits on Lettered by Annie’s website.
Make your own Christmas Decorations with Liquid Art! This gift box includes everything you need to make wooden hanging Christmas decorations, including paint and brushes along with a guide and exclusive tutorials which are suitable for all skill levels, including kids. Find out more on Liquid Art’s website.
MK Arts Centre
Milton Keynes Arts Centre is based in Linford Wood and is a hub for creatives. If you know someone who loves pottery, painting, textiles, drawing or anything in the creative space, the likelihood is that MK Arts Centre will be hosting a course! Gift vouchers are available from £10 and help to support the work they do with the local community. Find out more on their website.
Morgan & Thread
Bex runs embroidery workshops and creates bespoke shoes and decorative hoops. Her workshops are creative, fun and would be a brilliant activity to do as a group of friends. She has also created an online embroidery course and hoop kits so you can learn at your own pace (great if you have a budding embroiderer who doesn’t live nearby!
Kits are £40 and include: 6-inch wooden hoop, a design template, Carbon paper, felt, needles, snips, sequins, beads and threads, access to detailed video tutorials and private Facebook group.
If you’d like to book a workshop for yourself or give someone else the experience as a gift, they start from just £55 per person. You can book a workshop and order a kit visiting www.morganandthread.com.
Use the code Lemon5 to get £5 off your order with Morgan & Thread. Valid until January 1st 2021.
Something Less Boring
If you know a budding painter, a voucher for an art class with Something Less Boring would make the perfect gift. Currently, their classes are online due to lockdown, but they do host in-person workshops and events. My Mum and I have done a few virtual classes and really enjoyed them, so if you’re looking for an additional gift for someone who loves to paint, this is it! Art equipment bundles are also available through their website so that your recipient will have everything they need. Find out more on Something Less Boring’s website.
For the eco-conscious
Gifts that don’t cost the earth! These brilliant brands are benefitting both the local community and the planet.
Fruta Cards etc.
Fruta Cards is based in Buckingham run by a husband and wife team. Genevieve is the illustrator and designer of the cards, and Christopher is the photographer and helps source eco-friendly materials. These funky Christmas cards are super cute and are FSC Certified, making them a great choice if you want to send eco-friendly cards this year.
Sweet Sinsations is a local, 100% vegan sweet brand with eco-friendly packaging. You can shop online for pick n’ mix and sweet gift bags for Christmas, including trios of fudge and Turkish Delights – yum!
Kica Living is one of my favourite local brands and one that I love having in my own home. The home fragrance range is just gorgeous and eco-friendly because everything is upcycled or refillable! The tin can candles are super cute, and the diffusers last for months (refills can be purchased). Shop via Kica’s website.
Bucks Star Beer
Bucks Star Beer is based in Stonebridge, Wolverton and is a minimal waste microbrewery. The beer is unfiltered (it doesn’t use Eisenglass so is also vegan!) and empty growlers can be swapped for a full one at a discounted price. Brewery tours and tastings are also available though are obviously on hold this year. A Growler of Bucks Star Beer would make a great gift for an eco-conscious beer-lover. Shop via Bucks Star Beer’s website.
Read more: Bucks Star Beer Brewery Tour & Beer Tasting
Branch Out MK
Branch Out MK is a Community Interest Company that helps adults with learning differences and autism through horticultural therapy. Their flowers are seasonal and as low waste as possible – the bouquets even come with compostable packets of flower food! You can support this amazing company and give the gift of flowers. Wreaths, bouquets, speciality teas and dried arrangements are available during winter. They also have a shop in York House (closed currently) which sells a lovely range of botanical products. Find out more about Branch Out MK on their website.
My Refill Market
My Refill Market in Stony Stratford is your go-to destination for eco-friendly products. You can build your own eco hampers from the great selection of brands in store. Karen has put together some ideas of the hampers you could put together. The ones pictured below
My Refill Market in Stony Stratford is your go-to destination for eco-friendly products. You can build your own eco hampers from the great selection of brands in store. Karen has put together some ideas of the hampers you could put together. You could create a food hamper featuring local honey from Wolverton, caramelised macadamia nuts from Nut Cellars in Bedford and organic tea from the Rhino Tea Company. Or perhaps a zero-waste beauty hamper, with local handmade soaps, soap dish, soap pouch, massage bar, shampoo bars and more – the possibilities are endless!
My Refill Market is located on Stony Stratford high street or you can shop online.
Suds produces handmade toiletries and soaps that are totally vegan and plastic free. From bath melts to shampoo bars, soaps to body butters, there are some gorgeous products in their range that would make great stocking fillers and gift packs. Shop via Suds website.
We might not be heading out for Christmas parties this year, but you can still dial up the sparkle! Glamavan is a brilliant local business that sells glitter for face and crafts – and yes it is totally biodegradable and eco-friendly! So it’s fun to use and good for the environment. The gift sets would make great stocking fillers for eco-conscious glitter lovers. Check out the new Rubix cube set too! Shop via Glamavan’s website.
As an alternative to Christmas cards, you might consider planting more trees via MoreTrees! It’s the perfect option for sending a small gift that benefits the environment. For just £1 you can gift a tree with your own customisable message. Every tree planted is a tree that offsets carbon while supporting local communities and reversing the effects of deforestation – plus, you don’t even have the get the wrapping paper out. Visit the website to gift a tree.
MoreTrees is a new Milton Keynes start-up, co-founded by local tech resident Alan Wilson and copywriter Niki Tibble. They wanted to make it easy and affordable for individuals and businesses to offset the carbon they can’t reduce. Technology and global partnerships make it easy to plant trees that offset carbon. You can plant as and when you need, in bulk or automatically upon certain events. And, you can plant trees on behalf of others too, sending them a customisable message and tree planting certificate that shows you care about them while caring about the planet. Find out more about how it works.
Folly Soap Co.
Folly Soap Co. is a brilliant eco-friendly local brand selling handmade soaps and other lovely goodies such as bath bombs and balms. Made with natural ingredients and recycled packaging, these products are a great zero-waste gift. There is a great range of gift sets available for Christmas. Shop via the Folly Soap Co’s website.
For slow living
Thoughtful gifts to encourage your loved ones to take life a little slower and put themselves first.
Tea Lab Company
Tea Lab is a small business based in Northampton, founded by identical twins. I absolutely adore these products. Nothing encourages slowing down like making a cup of tea, and Tea Lab’s plethora of flavours in gorgeous packaging is a must for any tea lover. The tea is loose leaf and organic, and you will find sustainability is at the heart of the brand. Shop via Tea Lab Company’s website.
Little White Box Company
The Little White Box Company is a lovely shop in Newport Pagnell run by Samantha. She is passionate about selling products that are really good for you and the environment, so everything is as zero waste as possible. She puts a lot of research into the brands and products she stocks. Her ‘Hug in a little white box’ is really popular and is a great gift for sending to someone close to you and is full of lovely things like bath bombs, candles and cards. Message Samantha on Facebook to order.
Lords & Ladies
This beauty and wellbeing salon in Bedford has diversified during lockdown to offer care packages and beauty hampers full of artisan beauty brands. The ‘Secret Santa’ gift box (£14) is a great little something to send (and it fits through the letterbox!) It features a self-heating eye mask, festive tea and a bottle of cuticle oil. My other pick would be the ‘Sleep head box’ (£39.50) which has everything you need for a good night’s sleep. See more on Lords & Ladies’ website.
Três Paper + Co
This gratitude journal from Três Paper + Co is so lovely. There is plenty of space to fill with thoughts and record everything you are grateful for. The practice of gratitude really does help you focus on the little things, which is something we could all do a little more of. Shop via Três Paper + Co’s website.
Slow Down Collective
A new business based in Bucks that is completely dedicated to the art of slowing down and being more mindful. The Slow Down Collective has a range of different boxes and subscriptions which make great presents. The best bit? The products inside the box are from small businesses too! Shop via The Slow Down Collective’s website.
As someone who doesn’t have children, I find buying gifts for other people’s kids really difficult. My friends beg for no more toys or noisy things, so when I was putting together this independent Milton Keynes gift guide for children, I kept that in mind and asked a few experts (i.e parents) for some unique suggestions. Here are some lovely gifts from local brands hopefully little ones and their parents will treasure for years to come.
The Clay Fox
The Clay Fox sells sets of clay figures for children to paint and decorate. From dinosaurs to lego pieces, animals to festive decorations, they can be turned into fridge magnets once painted. They come with a choice of paint sets so you can truly make them your own. My personal favourite is the dinosaur set – Dan’s nephew loves dinos so I know he would love this! Shop clay sets on The Clay Fox’s website.
FAVOUR is an MK-based home products brand, with a large range of children’s and family products. Katie creates beautiful handmade products that would make great gifts for children that aren’t just more toys! I love this tidy away playmat (£45) and this gorgeous cloud wall hanging (£20) which would be perfect over a bed.
Custom orders are available for most products, as is personalisation. Cut off ordering date for Christmas products is 7th December. Shop Favour HQ via Etsy.
House of Small
House of Small is a wonderful clothing brand that uses organic cotton and sustainable materials for their range. It’s for small and big people, but the small range is particularly cute and if I had kids, I’d be all over these great t-shirts and sweaters! The prints are loud, funky and a little bit retro. Kids tees start at £15. Buy online from House of Small’s website.
Hey Ray Bespoke
I absolutely adore these gorgeous muslins and crochet rattles from Hey Ray Bespoke, based in Bedford. They would make such lovely gifts for a new mum and a little one that are still super cute but practical! (My mum was never without a Muslin cloth!) Shop Hey Ray via Etsy.
Iain Row is a local author who independently published his children’s book ‘A Knight Named Clover’ last year. It’s an empowering, rhyming adventure story for girls and boys aged 4-8. Buy signed copies via Iain’s website.
Kirstie Watson is a Milton Keynes-based author who self publishes her gorgeous picture books for children. A big thank you to Jenny from The Outdoors Mum for recommending these books for the gift guide. As a book lover myself, and someone who loved reading as a child, I love buying books for my friends’ children. You can buy signed books from Kirstie’s website.
Little Prints Charming
This animal alphabet print from Wolverton-based Little Prints Charming is SO cute. I think it would make such a lovely addition to a jungle-themed nursery and for animal-loving kids. The print is available as pictured or you can request it in a variety of colours and sizes. Name prints are also available. Find more and shop via Little Prints Charming’s website.
Olive & Pip
Olive & Pip is a fabulous local biz that turns your kids artwork into fun stuff like t-shirts, bags and cushions. You could turn your favourite drawing into a t-shirt for your kids, or would make a lovely gift for grandparents or parents to turn little ones’ drawings into something that they can treasure forever. Shop Olive and Pip via Etsy.
For pets (and their owners!)
Now we have our own furry friend, I am obsessed with looking at pet stuff! Here are some gift ideas for your own furry friends or other pet-loving owners.
Pockets full of poo bags. That is what I am currently experiencing. So having all doggy bits and pieces in one bag sounds like a dream! Barking Bags is a brilliant local business that sells dog walking bags. There’s enough room for all the dog walking essentials plus your own human stuff! Debbie, the owner, has also written a dog walking guide to Milton Keynes, which would make a great stocking filler for a local dog owner. Shop a variety of colours and styles of bags on Barking Bags website.
Chloe Miller is a local freelance designer and creates super cute pet portraits! She won YCN 2019 and being a D&AD One to Watch in 2019, and has since become freelance. All of her prints are custom drawn from your own image. Prices start from £35 depending on whether you’d like the print framed. Visit Chloe’s website to find out more.
Rosie + Jo
I am so in love with Rosie + Jo’s beautiful designs for doggies! If Monty was a girl, I’d be all over that pink leopard print! Matching harnesses, collars and leads make this a great gift for your stylish pooch. There’s even matching poo bag pouches! Shop via Rosie + Jo’s website.
Check out these cute handmade lead hooks from Wombat’s Woodshop! This business makes everything from upcycled and reclaimed wood making it environmentally friendly too. The hooks can be made to suit the right colour of your dog and with their name. Check out the full range on Facebook.
Little Things by Lucy
I absolutely adore these personalised pet name stars! Super cute for hanging on the Christmas tree or labelling their toy crate with. I’ve bought one for Monty for his first Christmas – not that he cares…! Shop via Little Things By Lucy’s website.
Experiences or days out are great for gifting when you’re not sure what to buy!
If you know a culture vulture or someone who just loves art, a year’s membership to MK Gallery would make a great gift. It’s £60 per year (or £5 per month) and supports the work that MK Gallery does with the local community. Your recipient will get free entry to ticketed exhibitions and discounts in the shop, café and auditorium. Find out more on MK Gallery’s website.
Bletchley Park is the former home of the World War Two Codebreakers and should be on every Milton Keynesian’s bucket list! Whether you know a history buff or someone who loves computing, a visit to Bletchley Park will certainly tick the boxes. You can gift the gift of becoming a Friend which has additional perks including events and discounts, or you can buy a gift ticket and include afternoon tea. (I do work at Bletchley Park but still think everyone should visit given the chance!)
So there we have it – My ultimate independent Milton Keynes Christmas gift guide! When I did a call out for businesses, I had such a massive response to this. I wish that I could include everyone but I made sure that every business I included would be a brand I’d genuinely shop with myself.
Don’t forget to tag me on Instagram if you do your Christmas shopping with any of these fab businesses!
Will you be shopping small this Christmas?
You might also like:
- How to support Milton Keynes’ charities this Christmas by MK Charities
- Where to buy a real Christmas tree in Milton Keynes
- Fun & festive things to do in Milton Keynes this Christmas