Photo by Erik Mclean

Having watched David Attenborough’s: A Life on Our Planet and reflecting on sustainability; I felt this month’s blog would be a perfect opportunity to share with you some of my gift ideas that are sourced locally, sustainable or handmade – primarily commodities but not limited too.

Whilst watching David’s biography it reminded me why I started zebomb from the basis of making a commodity that can be used for self-care but is sustainable, from the packaging, locally sourced ingredients and most importantly no Palm Oil or sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). Which primarily ruined rainforests and surrounding wildlife, a good National Geographic article here. Yet present in many soaps, shampoos and even bath bombs – it’s what makes it foam and bubble!

Without further ado, I have listed 9 items I think are perfect as gifts or could in fact replace a lot of your commodities you use every day to offer a balance of buying locally, sustainably and usually handmade by independent individuals like me. Each with their own story – I just love how I can guarantee wherever you live in the UK (or world probably) there will be a person making one of these near you! Seek them out, support them, check their values, why they do it and their environmental footprint – I bet it’s better than the big companies.

1. Handmade Cold Processed Soaps

This is an absolute old classic, all this year I’ve been ditching my shower gel and plastic containers for some lovely soap from an independent person called Sophie over at Oxenden Soap House. To start with it looks like cake right? The Cherry one is my favourite and they are perfect for gifts as well.

2. Handmade Candles

Love love LOVE candles. I use candles all the time to meditate or practise mindfulness or my Yoga, a good scent and flame on a wintery evening (or summer to be fair) is very relaxing and peaceful. I do love a good Yankee Candle but check this guy out, Shabaz is a 19-year-old student who makes his own candles! SK Cosmetics UK – The Jasmine and French Lavender are just lovely. It’s his first business learning and he plans many more in the future, what is not great to support here? He makes them “with a piece of his heart in it!”.

3. Handmade Cheese

Crikey! Ok, I have a love-hate relationship with Cheese, I love it but hate it because it makes my waistline massive. The Cheese Wedge Co. makes me feel like I can moderate this, again a small family run business handmaking cheese and I came across them at The Lincoln Cheese Festival! Yes, that is a thing! My favourite is Smokey Oaky and Cheesy Beans :D.

Equally, more locally to Lincoln, I support The Cote Hill Cheese for a more traditional variety.

4. Handmade Shampoo Bars

Since my hair is falling out, this one I have not tried personally, but have purchased as gifts for others who say good things. Made from goats milk I’m told it is great for dry skin or scalps too – The Little Goat Company. Oxenden Soap House listed in number 1 also sells Shampoo Bars so another alternative as well.

Again, locally to Lincoln, there is Innana’s Daughter which is again all ethically sourced for hair care.

5. Handmade Deodorant Bars

Another small family run business just outside Scunthorpe and Doncaster in Epworth called Peace With the Wild makes deodorant bars. For years I had switched to the old ‘Sure for Men’ brand but again over the past year I have steadily switched to these ones. I’ve had no issues at all and would rather my money went to somewhere local and these are a surprising gift that some people would not normally consider themselves. All plastic-free, eco-friendly etc. I think you get the idea now? Can Sure for Men make that claim?

6. Handmade and Socially Responsible Socks

This one is a double-edged sword! I love a good pair of expensive socks, don’t ask me why but I’ve fallen in love with the London Sock Company. This is my luxury guilty pleasure for men’s socks and they are British and do at least have a ‘Pull Up Your Socks‘ campaign to help charities such as Style for Soldiers, Crisis and the NSPCC alongside cancer. So it does tick my box for attempting to be Socially Responsible.

As a more eco-friendly alternative, Etsy has a large selection you can choose from as knitting is a massive thing at the moment in the UK.

7. Local Photography/Artists

Jane Wright is a local artist who supplied me with the photographs in my home of mainly my immediate surroundings in Lincoln of the Bailgate and Cathedral. Great as little gifts and as always sustainable and supportive of your local economy.

8. Local Beautician Gift Cards

I’m new to this one and biased here as my sister is a Beautician and Makeup Artist (MUA) who also does facials and back massages amongst much more called Inner Beauty! Who knew? Don’t get me wrong I love a good pamper day at a large SPA but locally you can get good self-care treatments which are sustainable for your immediate community and offer Gift Cards for others.

9. Handmade Bath Bombs

Biased again on this one! However, I had to close the blog on my handmade bath bombs. I’m sure I don’t need to do the ‘sell’ to you on this one but all my ingredients are natural and sourced within the UK. This extends to the packaging as well. This was very important to me when I was setting up zebomb and most important it contains NO SLS! Which is a big deal in the Bath Bomb world, I focus on fizz not bubbles.

I recently wrote a blog on 5 reasons why Bath Bombs make perfect gifts so be sure to check that out as well.

These are perfect as gifts and I believe everybody secretly loves a good bath bomb so please do head on over to my Shop 🛍️ and check them out if you ever need a gift I am very grateful. Please also share the blog on your social media pages as this greatly helps grow my small business.