UK Small Shops for Your Christmas Shopping

Although we’re already fast approaching Christmas, like me, you may still have a little way to go on your Christmas shopping. I’m also trying my best to shop from as many small businesses as I can this Christmas, because as a small business owner myself, I know how important sales at this time of year are, so with that in mind, here are a bunch of UK based small shops for you to check out this holiday season who are still open for Christmas orders.

*At time of publishing, these shops are still accepting pre-Christmas orders, but please check their last order dates directly before purchasing*

CoconuTacha

Remember the amazing wrapping paper I showed you a few weeks back? Well its still available! You can also buy some amazing stickers, prints, greeting cards and enamel pins in a huge selection of beautiful designs from this wonderful Wales based store! Shop here.

RockPaperSisters

Whether you want a super cute tees, sweatshirts or tote bags, RockPaperSisters have got you covered for all your fandom and pop culture favourites. They have a HUGE range of designs, inspired by everything from your favourite Disney films, your favourite bands like BTS, TV shows, movies, girl power.. You name it, they’ve got it and you’ll love it. I already have a bunch of their tees and they are so comfortable, such amazing quality and the girls behind the business are also super lovely! Last Christmas order dates for the UK is Monday 17th December. Shop here.

Alice Vitrum

For any fans of Disney or Studio Ghibli, Alice Vitrum has you covered! Patches, pins, prints, stickers and tote bags, all in the cutest designs and you can order up until 9pm on December 12th! Shop here.

Teeq

For cute Disney inspired embroidered tees and sweatshirts, Teeq has got you covered, and they also have a cute selection of matching enamel pins too! Shop here.

Hopefully this will give you a little bit of gift inspiration, or pointed you towards some great small shops even if you are done shopping!

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The Happiest Wrapping on Earth*

Honestly, November has FLOWN by. Its now officially less than a month until Christmas, and I’m feeling super unprepared, but one thing I have got under my belt now, courtesy of the wonderful CoconuTacha, is some incredible Disney inspired wrapping paper, so at least when I do get my Christmas shopping done, the paper is all wrapped up, if you pardon the pun..

Tacha is an incredibly talented UK based graphic designer, and I love the unique style of each of the park icons featured on this wrapping paper. In each set you get 3 A2 size sheets of wrapping paper, plus 4 gift tags, so you’re completely covered for all your wrapping needs.

The paper is a really high quality – way nicer than your regular supermarket roll! – with a glossy finish, and its so beautiful that this is the kind of paper that you’ll want to unwrap carefully so you can keep it again! Also a great secondary use would be as a photo backdrop for blog photos – I may just keep a sheet for myself for this very reason!

And if you’re on the hunt for a cute little stocking filler, Secret Santa gift or just something to treat yourself with, Tacha also has this limited edition ‘Magic Castle’ enamel pin available on her store. Its so pretty and so different from any other castle pins I’ve seen and the colours are stunning together, and for £5 its a steal!

Cute wrapping idea: attach a pin to the gift tag of your present!

There’s currently 10% off both the wrapping paper and pin until the end of today so if you like what you see, head on over to Etsy now, and even if you’ve got your wrapping paper sorted, you should definitely check out Tacha’s designs on both her Etsy store where you’ll find an amazing selection of stationery, planner stickers, art prints and more, and also on Redbubble where you can get her designs on everything from t-shirts to phone cases.

Are you Christmas ready yet?

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*The items featured in this blog post were sent to me, but all views are my own.

Smells Like Magic* – Maple and Whisky Candle Review

I can’t believe that exactly one year ago Matthew and I were having the most magical time in Walt Disney World! I mean, I know we’ve had the craziest and most incredible year since then, but it still sucks.

In the crazy last year we’ve had though, we did buy our first house, and we’ve spent a lot of time turning it into the home that we love, with a big part of that being adding magical touches throughout to remind ourselves of our favourite places.

Maple and Whisky produce the most incredible scented candles inspired by your favourite Disney memories, including park foods like Mickey Waffles, rides like Soarin’ and resorts like The Grand. Quite frankly, if there’s a smell in a Disney park that you love, chances are, they’ve got it!

I’ve been a lover of Maple and Whisky for a few years now – I’ve got a constant stock of their wax melts on hand! – and they were super kind recently to send me three candles of my choosing to review, which meant I could fill the new house with some magical smells, although the hardest part was choosing just three! I took the opportunity to try two scents I’ve never had before, and to also get a new jar of my favourite M+W scent, Campfire Singalong.

Campfire Singalong smells truly of just that. Imagine toasting marshmallows and melting chocolate on an open fire at a Disney resort, and that’s what this is in a jar – its heavenly! For me, this is the ultimate autumn/winter candle as it fills the room with a wonderful warm scent and glow, but be warned, may cause chocolate cravings!

The second scent I chose was Beach Club, inspired by its eponymous Walt Disney World resort, and I chose it because our of all the resorts in WDW, this is my dream resort which I would absolutely LOVE to stay in one day! The smell is fresh and clean and it really does make me feel like I’ve just stepped into the air-conditioned lobby while taking a walk around the Boardwalk resort loop.

Finally, I picked Spirit of Aloha, which is inspired by the smell of the lobby at Disney’s Polynesian Resort. This time last year when we were in WDW was when Matthew and I joined Disney Vacation Club, and Polynesian is our home resort, so I wanted a candle to remind us of our second ‘home’! Not being the biggest fan of pineapple (and not having a super clear memory in my head of what the resort smelt like), I was slightly worried that I wouldn’t like this one, but actually its lovely! The pineapple is there, but its not at all in your face and is nicely balanced with hints of coconut.

Maple and Whisky offer candles in two sizes, 8oz and 12oz, as well as wax melts, room sprays and reed diffusers. The candles I received were the 8oz size, and they last a good long while! They’ve recently changed the design of their labels, so these aren’t exactly what they look like now but the new labels are even better!

What I absolutely love about these over other scented candles is that not only do they smell amazing up close, but they actually fill the whole room with their glorious scents, and that happens almost instantly, whereas even some big brand candles only smell when you stick your nose into the jar! I would absolutely recommend these candles, and as well as these scents some of my favourites are Adventure is Out There (grape soda scented), Butterbeer (for the Potterheads), Rice Krispie Treats and Sugar Rush! Head on over to their Etsy store to see more!

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*I was sent these candles for the purpose of review, but all words and views are my own.

Introducing My First Kickstarter!

Hey gang! Today’s post is something a little bit different, but I just wanted to take a little bit of time to tell you all about something that I launched over the weekend.

As some of you will know, earlier this year I branched out into designing enamel pins, and on Saturday I launched my first ever Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for a whole collection of cupcake pins inspired by everyone’s favourite Pixar movies.

The campaign launched on Saturday evening, and hit the initial funding goal for the first pin design within an hour, and not even 48 hours later, pledges have unlocked two further designs and put as well on the way to the next target!

If you’re not familiar with how Kickstarters work, its basically a way of securing funding for projects by pledges from the public, and its ‘all or nothing’ so if you don’t hit your target goal within the set time limit, then no one who pledges gets charged anything. Pledges can be purely voluntary for no reward, or as most projects are done, pledges receive ‘rewards’ based on how much they pledged, usually in the form of the product that they are funding. For my project, you can pledge anything from one pin to all nine, and obviously the more you pledge, the more designs get unlocked so the more choice you have to get your favourite design!

My project has another 28 days to go, and based on its initial interest I’m really hoping that we’ll be able to unlock every design before the 30 days is up, but as the initial funding goal has already been met, every unlocked design will go into production even if we don’t unlock them all, so I’m super happy about that! If you’d like to pledge, you can check out the campaign here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/782349729/the-other-studio-cupcake-enamel-pins – you will have to provide your card details to pledge, however you won’t be charged anything until the end of the project period, so it will be October 8th before anything gets taken!

Even if you don’t want to pledge, I appreciate any shares for my projects so if you know someone who would love this, be sure to tell them about it!

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My Favourite Disney Accessories Right Now

I feel like this post is a little moot as I haven’t actually stepped foot in a Disney park this year, nor do I have a park trip planned for this year, but they say absence makes the heart grow fonder and I’ve definitely felt that.

BUT you know me and a lack of a trip doesn’t really stop me from shopping, and as someone who loves to include Disney style in my every day life as well, I’ve been adding to my stash of Disney accessories lately, and there are some particular favourites of mine right now that I thought I would share!

I’m a self-confessed ear addict, but as I already have more pairs than I know what to do with, not to mention the fact that those bad boys really can only been worn in the parks, I’ve had to curb my ear buying this year, and instead I’ve fallen in love with these cute little knotty headbands from Crittear Country. They’re super cute, really comfy and, style dependant, very subtle!

On the topic of hair accessories, I’m also still loving these Mickey ear headbands from Closet Geek which are another current favourite method of keeping my hair under control!

Ok, so I had never really understood the hype about the little plushie passholders that are all the rave in Tokyo Disneyland until I bought my Gelatoni one in Aulani. I swear that thing was surgically attached to my neck the whole time we were on that trip and it was the most useful thing! They’re such an easy way of carrying cards and money, and even my phone (iPhone SE) fit in it, meaning I never really had to carry a bag, and I swear this is a game changer for when I hit the parks again next year!

I’ve always been an Alex and Ani girl, but feel like I can only really wear those in the parks, whereas my Lillian and Co bracelets are the perfect subtle addition to an everyday outfit. All three quotes mean so much to me and I’m so in love with these at the moment!

Another of my most recent purchases was this beret from Just Peachy because it’s DONALD. This is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen and as soon as it was announced I knew I had to have it. It’s got an embroidered bow at the front, but also a little tail at the back plus a little ribbon and you bet I’m going to be coming up with every excuse to wear this from now on!

What are your favourite Disney accessories?

What Selling Platform is Right For Your Art

If you create things that you love, and hope you make something out of what you do, then there are a number of options that you have in order to do so, and the more options you have, the harder it can be to make a decision, so I’m dishing the dirt on the pros and cons of some of the most popular options that are available based on my own personal experience! This post is primarily directed at art, but some parts can be applied to a lot of areas of small business.

Redbubble

These platforms are the ideal place to sell your artwork absolutely hassle free on a huge variety of different products from tshirts and sweatshirts to canvasses, mugs and stationery. It’s as simple as uploading your work, adding a few tags and a description then sitting back and waiting for sales to come in. Redbubble do all the manufacturing, deal with shipping and returns, and you just get a few emails to let you know how things are going, and a payment into your PayPal account. Simples.

The downside of this, however, is that you’re looking at relatively small margins. You get to pick what percentage markup your designs have on Redbubble’s base price, and that’s how much you pocket – mine are all at the standard 15-20%, which means that the most I ever make out of a sale is a few pounds on a tshirt, but as a lot of my designs sell as stickers, I get maybe like 20p.

Because of this, it makes Redbubble the perfect place to sell if you just create your art as a hobby and are looking to maybe make a little bit out of it. This is where I upload all my odds and sods drawings that I think would look cute on a shirt but aren’t in keeping with my Happiest Fitness Co brand, and as I just draw these designs for fun, I don’t mind if I’m not really making money from them, and whenever I do make a sale, I get a little buzz.

Similar platforms to Redbubble include Teepublic and Society6

Etsy

Etsy has very quickly become the place to go when you’re looking to buy something that’s a little different. Its the handmade, one-of-a-kind and small business haven, and because this is the place that people go when they’re looking, you have a decent chance of being found.

Sure, all the work is on you. You have to make your products, ship the products (although if digital art is your thing and you don’t want to be printing everything, you can create listing for digital download), deal with the queries, maintain the listings etc, but the payoff is that apart from listing fees ($0.20 per listing) and the little cut that Etsy take on your sales, you pocket the rest, so as long as you factor those costs into your pricing you’re all good.

I use Etsy for my Lottie-Bounds store, where I make handmade clothing items and accessories, and this works perfectly for that because Etsy tends to be the first place people go for these sorts of things.

Shopify/Big Cartel

Platforms like Shopify and Big Cartel offer afforable online store options for businesses big and small alike. Like with Etsy, all the work is on you, but you also have the added work of maintaining a store-front and theme, but this give the professional look and it also gives the opportunity to add in other features like mailing lists and the ability to have your own domain.

The downside of these stores is that as well as doing all the normal work, driving traffic is also down to you, so you’ve gotta do the marketing and SEO work too. That said, however, they are super user friendly, even if you’re not a tech boff. I use Shopify for The Happiest Fitness Co’s online store, and its simple and it works well and it looks good.

March Small Business Buys and Ones To Watch

Given that the spending ban I put myself on was technically only for January and February (even though I broke it on more than one occasion), I figured this month I could not only treat myself to some fab new things, but in doing so I’d be supporting some of my favourite small businesses. I also tend to use my own small business earnings as my way of giving back to the small business community, and I’m so happy with everything that I’ve got!

Firstly, I couldn’t not get these adorable headbands from Closet Geek – Bel has really outdone herself with making these the cutest way to show my Disney love in an almost subtle way! I actually bought three, with the other one being a red version of the mint Mickey pattern, but that one’s already been used so many times that it basically lives in my handbag. As well as set designs, there’s also a custom option, and I chose the Lilo print especially for my trip to Aulani next month!

Now personally I think I’ve been pretty good in curbing my ear buying habit, but these wire ears from Ears by Erin just called out to me when I saw them! They’re part of the three way collaboration with Magical Thunder Press (who designed this incredible fabric) and Thrift Co and they’re just so perfect – the fabric has so many tiny details that I didn’t spot in the photos but now I have them I’m amazed to be finding little hidden Mickeys and Disney details, plus I love a big bow.

Because I ordered these ears from Thrift Co while she was running a special offer, Danielle also included a mystery pocket t-shirt, which turned out to be this Alice in Wonderland inspired design, and that’s not the only thing I’ve bought from Thrift Co this month..

I fell in love with this Moana fabric when it was first released, but waited too long to order and it sold out, so when Danielle announced a restock, I was on it so quickly and I’m so glad I did because its so cute! Her pocket tees are so well made and they’re always packaged up with a little surprise too which is always super exciting to uncover.

Now I’ve had to steal this photo from their website because mine hasn’t actually arrived yet, but how adorable is this little embroidered Wall-E?! I have a real thing for that film, and as soon as I saw that Teeq were releasing these shirts I knew I’d be buying one. I went for the baseball tee style, and I can’t wait for it to arrive because I’ve heard such good things about them, so I’m hoping it turns up this week!

Ones to Watch

I love seeing small businesses grow, and these are just a handful of stores that I see amazing things coming from, so go over and check them out right now (I mean it):

  • Quackers and Co – I’m a little bias because this is the brainchild of my amazing friend Sammy, but I’ve seen some of the things she’s got coming and I just know you’re gonna want to own them – I already love my San Fransokyo beanie and have got my eye on a few more!
  • Chasing Childhood – if you’re on the hunt for some ears that are unique and sparkly as anything, Karina is your girl! I guarantee you won’t find anything like her creations elsewhere and you’re gonna love them.
  • Disney Beanie – not only is Charlie such a lovely person but she makes the cutest little handmade pins, and I see things really taking off for her if she keeps doing what she’s doing!

If you’ve got a small business, or have any favourites feel free to drop me the details in a comment and I’ll check it out!

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