Tag Archives: handmade

Giveaway & Review: Valley Mill Christmas Candles

As soon as the clocks go back at the end of October, I start lighting scented candles in the evening. There’s something about having a few flickering candles which make the place feel cosier and warmer. As November moves into December, the candles I burn move from autumnal apples and cinnamon to Christmassy scents. This week I’ve been burning three new scents from Valley Mill in Wales, and very lovely they are too.

Year round, Valley Mill sell their popular range of Tapestry Tin candles in a variety of different scents. Each candle has a 30 hour burn time and they have been handmade in Wales using the finest quality soy wax. This gives them a longer burn time and better scent throw.

Review: Christmas Candles from Valley Mill

Each tin costs £10.95 and they come is a range of different scents. I’ve been burning three of the Christmas scents and although it’s only November, they’ve been really putting me in the mood for Christmas!

Holly Berry – This is a really festive candle. Take the lid off the tin and you can smell Christmas trees and holly wreaths and all things good about Christmas. This would be great to burn in the same room as your tree, especially if you’ve got an artificial one. The holly berry tapestry tin candle is probably my favourite!

Chestnuts – Chestnuts roasting on an open fire is one of the iconic scents of Christmas. This handmade soy wax candle is really evocative of roasted chestnuts. The smell of this lovely candle makes my mouth water. I really must buy some chestnuts this Christmas!

Cranberry Gin – This attractive candle is wrapped in a festive red tapestry print and when lit quickly fills the room with a fruity Cranberry Gin scent. It’s not overpowering and it’s actually quite a refreshing fragrance. It’s got festive hints, but you could happily burn this throughout autumn and into winter.

Review: Christmas Candles from Valley Mill

There are many more delicious sounding Tapestry Tin Candles in the Valley Mill range, including; Amaretto, Welsh Cake, Spiced Apple and Black Orchid.

The Valley Mill candles are well priced and would make a lovely gift for a candle lover. I really like these kinds of candles in tins, they’ve got just the right amount of burn time and I think tins look smart too.

For more information, visit the Valley Mill website.

WIN A tapestry tin candle from valley mill

To be in with a chance to win a Tapestry Tin candle from Valley Mill, simply complete the Rafflecopter widget below. Good luck!

Check out our other giveaways over on our competitions page.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms & Conditions:
1. The competition is open to residents of the UK only aged (18) and over.
2. The prize is non-transferable and no cash alternative is offered.
3. To enter, please use the Rafflecopter widget above, complete any mandatory entries and any optional entries you would like.
4. The winner will be chosen at random from all valid entries.
5. The winner will be sent a Tapestry Tin Candle from Valley Mill.
6. The closing date for entries is 11.59pm GMT on 2nd December 2018.
7. The winner will be informed by email within 7 days of the closing date.
8. The winner will be asked to provide a full UK postal address with postcode for delivery purposes.
9. The winners name will be available on request
10. Address details will be passed onto Valley Mill to post the above mentioned prize out to the winner.
11. Entry to this giveaway confirms that participants have read, understood and agree to be bound by these Terms and Conditions.
12. HodgePodgeDays decision is final in all matters relating to this giveaway.

Disclaimer: We were sent a selection of candles from Valley Mill for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.

Unusually beautiful gifts from Uncommon Goods

With the nights drawing in, my thoughts are turning towards Christmas. I’m determined to be more organised this year and start my shopping early. I don’t have many people to buy for, but I like to buy the lucky few interesting things which have been carefully chosen. I’m always on the look out for something which is unique, which is why I did a little cheer when I stumbled upon the Uncommon Goods website.

Uncommon Goods stock a gorgeous range of unique handmade goods. It’s a place where beautiful handmade products are sold; a bit like a lovely craft market, but online and all in one place. They’re based in America, but they’ve recently started selling their wares in the UK too. This is something which pleases me. I like to think that my family and friends are special and unique people and they deserve special and unique gifts too.

Unusually beautiful gifts from Uncommon Goods

I adore (I really do adore) this Solar System Necklace. It’s beautiful enough as a piece of jewellery, but I love that it represents the sun and nine planets (including Pluto). Handmade in Maryland, USA, this is a really unique and eye-catching piece of jewellery. Costing £40.78, this is part of a wider collection of planet themed necklaces, earrings and cuff-links which would make really unique and interesting gifts for Christmas.

Unusually beautiful gifts from Uncommon Goods

My heart did a little melt when I saw these Baby Fortune Cookie Booties. Aren’t they adorable? They’re just £21.50 and handmade from extra-plush fleece with floor-gripping soles. Each little slipper curls back into a delectable cookie shape when not in use. These are perfect for my friend’s little baby on her first Christmas. Oh my heart. 

There are so many lovely gifts for the menfolk in my life. Take these Mathematical Glasses; they’re really fun and perfect for my brother who is a Maths Teacher. These glasses are so beautifully decorated, I know he will love them. They’re just £28.06 and incredibly unique, I can’t resist. 

Unusually beautiful gifts from Uncommon Goods

There are so many lovely, lovely things on the Uncommon Goods website. It’s well worth taking a look to see what interesting things you can find for your family and friends this Christmas.

This is a collaborative post.

Simple Pleasures – My ManBeeCo Busy Bee Mug

The simple pleasures in life are often underrated. Thick vellum paper and the flourish of a fountain pen, birdsong in the garden early in the morning, drinking good coffee out of a perfectly proportioned and well loved mug.

As long as I can remember I’ve had a special mug, handmade and hand painted, it’s been the only mug I’ll happily drink coffee out of at home. There’s something special about drinking out of a hand thrown pottery mug. It’s hard to describe but it definitely falls into the simple pleasures category.

busy bee mug

As a born and bred Mancunian, I’ve been a supporter of the Manchester Bee Company since they sold their first mugs three years ago. I think I was one of the first people in Manchester to have a brew in a worker bee mug. Whenever visitors come for a brew they get it in that mug, it’s an ideal opportunity for me to deliver my now famous lecture on the origins of the Manchester Bee.

The “Busy Bee” mug from The Manchester Bee Company (ManBeeCo) is handmade in Scotland by Tea With Jud. It is a natural glazed mug with a hand painted bee on one side. Each mug is individually hand crafted, so each one is slightly different and totally unique.

The Busy Bee Mug is both microwave and dishwasher safe, and holds 350mls of a proper brew. 

busy bee mug

This is my new favourite mug and I use it every day. It’s beautiful. It looks small but it’s like the tardis of mugs and it really is a simple pleasure to use it every morning. It’s been in my service now for a few weeks, been in and out of the dishwasher daily and it’s as good as new. 

I’ve coveted this mug for ages so I’m delighted it’s now in my cupboard next to it’s original worker bee cousin. For any Mancunian or bee lover, the Busy Bee Mug is the perfect gift. I know it’s just a mug, but like a fountain pen on vellum paper it’s a simple pleasure which makes life just a little bit lovelier. 

busy bee mug

You can find the lovely ManBeeCo products in the Royal Exchange craft shop, the People’s History Museum shop, the Manchester Museum shop, Visit MCR and the Tourist Information Centre in Piccadilly Gardens. The People’s History Museum have a limited stock of the hand made mugs, but they can be ordered online here

Review: Valley Mill Wax Melts & Soap

Working from home I often like to light scented candles to fool my brain into thinking I’m left the building and gone to work, it sounds a bit silly, but it’s just something I do when I start work for the day along with switching on my laptop. One of the things I sometimes have on the go are scented wax melts, I was sent a box of these perfumed treats from Valley Mill to try out for myself.

Wax melts (sometimes known as tarts) are little disks of scented wax which you melt in a special burner using the heat from an unscented tealight. The wax sets again once the candle has gone out and it can be reused and reused over and over, all you need is a new unscented tealight to warm it through again.

As with all candles the wax melts should never be left to burn unattended and shouldn’t be used when children and animals are around. Better safe than sorry!

I chose the Welsh Cake Soy Melts which are currently £6.25 for a box of 5 melts. The melts are set in a distinctive cog shape, which obviously melts into a puddle of scented wax when in use. 

The Welsh Cake melts really do smell of Welsh Cakes, they have a really good throw too, meaning my whole house was filled with the fragrance of baking, These would be great to burn in the kitchen to give the impression of domestic goddessness without ever switching the oven on!

valley mill

Valley Mill also sent us a chunky bar of their Rosemary & Lime Natural Soap to try. With two mucky boys in the house I wanted a soap which was natural and nourishing, but which also had antiseptic properties.

Apparently rosemary and lime have been used in skin care for hundreds of years for their cleansing and revitalising properties. This natural soap contains shea butter, coconut oil, olive oil, palm oil and castor oil to make it even more nourishing for hardworking hands.

The Rosemary & Lime Natural Soap is colourful and chunky, when you rub it between your hands it foams a little, but throws up a delicious scent (rosemary is one of my all time favourite fragrances). My hands were squeaky clean and sweet smelling after I’d used the soap. I think this would look eye catching in any soap dish and is good value at £4.

Valley Mill stock a selection of lovely products and gifts, all handmade in Wales, and almost all on my Christmas list!

For more information on these Valley Mill wax melts and natural soaps visit their website.

Note: We were sent these Valley Mill products for review purposes, all images and opinions are our own.

Crafts: Make Your Own Christmas Cards

I don’t know about you, but I almost weep at the cost of Christmas cards. I’m sure that and the cost of postage are one of the reasons why fewer people seem to be sending cards. In a attempt to cut some costs, and impressed by the handmade cards we were sent last year, I was determined to try my hand and make your own Christmas cards. 

Back in September I visited the Brookside Garden Centre near Poynton in Cheshire, while I was there I popped into their craft shop. The shops stocks lots of docrafts products, knowing I already had some bits and pieces at home I just bought the few extra things I needed to make the cards. It’s a lovely craft shop and worth visiting if you’re in the area.

For my cards I used:
Red and Green Christmas Cards and envelopes (pack of 25)
Red Button & Ribbon Pack
Folk Christmas A4 Double Sided Paper Pack
Folk Christmas Linen Sticker Sheet Pack
A tube of Tacky Glue 60mls

The above items cost £13.95 in total for 25 Christmas cards, although there is plenty of paper and other bits and pieces left to make more cards than that. These cards cost approximately 56p each to make, plus my time.

make your own Christmas cards

My plan was fairly simple, use the Folk Christmas paper, cut it into squares, stick it onto the Christmas cards and decorate with the stickers, ribbons and buttons. Once I got started I realised what a difference the ribbons and buttons made, and slightly regretted not buying a bigger selection.

make your own christmas cards

I played about with different designs and colours and I think one or two of the cards I’ve made are pretty good really, so I’ll be using the better ones as templates for the rest of my pack.

I really love the look of the Folk Christmas range, it’s full of hand drawn traditional style Christmas illustrations and sentiments in contemporary colours. The 32 pack of papers features 16 different designs to use for card making.

make your own christmas cards

docrafts card making supplies are available from a large range of retailers and specialist craft shops. Homemade cards are always nice to receive because you know people have put their time and love into making them.

For more information about docrafts and to find your nearest stockist visit their website.

Note: We were sent the Folk Christmas Papers and Stickers free of charge for review purposes. I purchased the other items myself and all images and opinions are our own.