The holiday season is in full swing, and that means one thing: the spirit of giving and shopping is here!

But all that giving can mean a lot of excess waste, plus a huge carbon footprint. We know how much kids (and adults) appreciate a special gift from a loved-one, so we’re not going to suggest you stop buying gifts, but there is a simple way to go greener this holiday season: shop local and handmade.

When you purchase goods from local artisans, you’re supporting their business, which helps strengthen your local economy, and buying local also reduces your environmental footprint significantly.

Local artisans, generally produce their goods from home or a nearby studio, and some even source materials locally, further reducing the footprint. Artisans often also have low production waste, in part because it’s more economical for them to avoid waste that would cut into their profits. Many have scrap bins for collecting bits of materials, which are then used for other projects.

Have a look at some of my favourites:

1. Handmade lampshades by Sophie Handa – Funky Olive  from £20.

Beautiful products to beautify your home, starting at £20. You can buy them directly from Sophie’s website. You can read more about Sophie’s shoot here

Animal lampshade - Sophie Handa Interior Design



2. Handmade chocolates by Rosetta D’Uva from £5.50.

Absolutely genius combination of flavours made by the beautiful Rosetta. Rosetta trained as a pastry chef in Lyon so knows her stuff. Grab yourself a bar of her delicious chocolate and know that you are eating the finest ingredients lovingly made. Locally. You can contact Rosetta on her facebook page

Handmade Chocolate - Rosetta D'Uva Berkshire Cranberry and Poppy Seed chocolate - Rosetta D'Uva Sweet Folie Raspberry and Ginger chocolate - Rosetta D'Uva Sweet Folie



3. Handmade industrial lights by Michael and Jodie Abbott at LovePhoebe from £50.

LovePhoebe are a family much like my own, ambitious, passionate and creative. LovePhoebe was born from an obsession of vintage and industrial lighting, combined with a passion for creating and experimenting. Go and check out their gorgeous lighting options at .  Pictures for this section are being updated as we speak but this stunning Signal Tripod Lamp was lovingly restored by Michael, it took him over 20 hours of labour to achieve the quality of this restoration.

Industrial Lighting - LovePhoebe Sapna Odlin Photography



4. A deep tissue or sports massage at Therapists on the High Street starting at £25!

Therapists on the High Street is owned and managed by Anna Davies who herself is a Senior Sports Therapist and lives in Reading. They have generous referal offers, treat yourself and a friend! Visit her site at



5. A lunchtime mindfulness course by the gorgeous Julie Provino. £150.

Give the gift of education! These courses are run by Julie in Reading city centre. What gift than to teach someone you care about how to relax through meditation and learn how to be mindful. I don’t have a picture of the course so here’s a picture of Julie and her adorable family being photographed for the 4th time by me.

Reading University Harris Gardens - Autumn Sapna Odlin Photography



6. Get a handmade suit by Simon Dowling at the Forbury starting at £500

Simon can create tailored garments to suit all your sartorial needs. Work suits, weddings, evening wear and overcoats all feature in his product range. His garments are created in conjunction with the best luxury fabric houses from across the globe. Loropiana, Dormeuil, Holland & Sherry and some artisan mills have provided cloth for his store over the last five years confident in the fact that their name will be attached and associated with a quality garment. Simon is the official tailor to the Fat Duck. Below is one of the items of clothing from his shop.

Simon Dowling - Handmade suits Reading Berkshire

7. A beautiful print of a treasured photograph or box for your photos and USB starting at £20

Why not give the gift of photography by Sapna Odlin Photography. Sessions start at just £116, or contact me for advice on how to display your treasured memories.

Ultrasound scan photo frame - Sapna Odlin Photography

6 + 10 =