A local Christmas

I had an unexpected couple of hours free this week and thought I’d pay my annual visit to Bluewater to do a little Christmas shopping. It’s marvellous to have all those shops in one place but it did get me thinking… all the shops were so familiar and there were no surprises in there, I knew exactly what I’d find and EVERYONE was there. So, how do you find unique, beautiful presents for your friends and family? The answer is to buy local, small independent businesses are the way to go.
So I’ve put together a list of local makers and businesses that I love, creating gifts and experiences that you can’t get in a shopping centre. Enjoy!

I love Hannah’s work, she has prints and lino cuts on here, for something a little different.

Super sweet handmade felted brooches and decorations. I ordered a personalised Christmas bauble and it’s gorgeous. Contact Christie via Facebook to commission her.

Gabrielle is a calligrapher and illustrator. She uses all sorts of dip pens and brushes to achieve her look. Her work is exquisite and there’s so much to love but I thought I’d point out these gorgeous leather journals with an inspirational quote in the front.

Beautiful illustrations and prints

Peas in a Pod
I love so much on this website but these picnic plates are especially fun

Super cute handmade dolls to fire your child’s imagination. I especially love the oak and holly leaf babies



There are so many amazing craft projects on Freckles and Fire, enough to keep your kids entertained for hours, plus some kits for adults too.
Order deadline 17th December


I absolutely love these bottle cap cufflinks from Fancy Tat, creators of handmade, upcycled treasures. They are sourced from a local pub, who work hard to remove the caps carefully.



Hushabye Photography

I’d be very remiss if I didn’t include myself in this list of mine!

I have a set of 4 beautiful mini copper frames to buy using images from our session. They’re perfect as Christmaspresents for family or godparents.

I also sell vouchers so if you want to buy a shoot for someone who’s pregnant or already has a little one please contact me

Personalised Gifts

Gorgeous mosaic gifts, which can be personalised. Colourful and unique keepsakes.
Christmas deadline is 8th December



https://www.misspapercut.com/product-page/family-papercutHow stunning are these bespoke family papercuts? Miss Papercut’s work is beautiful and delicate. Last orders for Christmas are 20th December



Babyprints Tunbridge Wells creates 3D casts of newborns, children, families and even pets. Christine’s attention to detail is amazing and her casts always look incredible. You can buy vouchers from £20, perfect for presents


Claire at Qalbi creates unique personalised gifts in Arabic and English. I absolutely love these personalised snowmen prints, you can even include your pets!

Food and Drink

A local business making nut butters with great ingredients. Choose from Almond & Chia, Hazelnut & Cocoa or Cashew & Cranberry. Delicious

A local gin produced in Marden by local friends Andy and Norman (hence the name). Buy online or from local stockists. You can also buy distillery tours from their website

Producers of award winning Kentish wine


I love buying experiences for friends and family

Clip n Climb Tonbridge
Such a fun place, my 14 year old son loves it but we also saw really young children there climbing, the minimum age is 4. Like a cross between a climbing wall and a theme park!!

Escape rooms
https://www.timequest.net – The Hop Farm, Paddock Wood

https://www.thepanicroom.net/ – Gravesend

We discovered Escape rooms this year and have had so much fun with them.
An escape room is a physical adventure game, where you have to solve puzzles and clues within a set time limit to reveal the secret of the room. Our first was a Camelot themed room at Time Quest and we’ll be trying Dinoland at The Panic Room this week. Great to try as a family or with friends

Greensand Ridge gin tasting
One for the adults. Take a tour round this local gin distillery and then create your own unique gin with their tiny stills

Chocolate Making Workshops
Try your hand at making your own delicious confections under expert tuition and you get to take everything you make home with you – yum!

Glazy Daisy
Pottery painting and so much more in Tunbridge Wells


Sometimes it’s great to browse, so here are some lovely local shops and shopping events where you can spend some time,

Lovely shop full of local artists’ work in Tonbridge

Lots of lovely artists and makers in this Tunbridge Wells shop. They also run workshops so check them out too

This shop is like a treasure trove in Hurst Green, full of gorgeous vintage and antique finds

A shop you could spend hours browsing in Ticehurst

A local independent store in Tunbridge Wells, full of quirky things and perfect for stocking fillers

This event is on 29th November and the Spa Hotel in Tunbridge Wells. There’ll be lots of local businesses there so it’s a great opportunity to meet the makers too


Last but definitely not least, if like me, you sometimes feel overwhelmed by the Christmas season, then take a moment to check out what these guys are doing. Buy a present for those in need locally via this awesome project and give something back to our community.


I hope you’ve been inspired by some of my local finds, I’ve had so much fun putting this list together. If you know anyone who loves buying from local businesses please share this with them.

It’s true, when you buy from a small business an actual person really does do a little Happy Dance. I should know, I’m one of them!