Category Archives: Gift Ideas

The Sparkfold Gift Guide 2017

I hope you love this fabulous gift buying guide, I had such fun creating for you! I mainly shopped small, with a couple of exceptions. I love discovering small businesses and I shop with small businesses wherever possible – actually mostly for me, as our family doesn’t do gifts all that much.

Enjoy this little collection of hand-curated treasures and I hope you find something perfect within! xo

Fox enamel necklace by PapioPress

Set of enamel necklaces by Papio Press.

gold point vessel by Up in the Air Somewhere

Gold Point Vessel by Up in the Air Somewhere.

Intention Cards from DecoyLab

Intentions Cards with wooden stand by DecoyLab.

Black Magnolias Thought Jotter by Our Heiday


Black Magnolias Thought Jotter by Our Heiday.

Marble Inlay Jewelery Box by Anthropologie

Marble Inlay Jewellery Box by Anthropologie.

Vintage_Green_Letter_Board_for_sale by Vintage Revivals

Vintage style green felt letter board by Vintage Revivals.

Personalised brass keychain by Danielle Hornyak

Personalised brass stamped keychain with tassel by Danielle Hornyak.
pink terrazzo spiral notebook by micush


Pink Terrazzo Spiral Notebook by Micush.

Liberty for Anthropologie Mug by Anthropologie

Liberty Print mug by Anthropologie.

Dreamcatcher by The Hippie Hut UK

Blush Pink and white feature dreamcatcher by the Hippie Hut UK.

Press For Champagne Keychain by Idlewild Co

Press for Champagne keychain by Idlewild Co.

Flowers on Pink Original Artwork by Tamar Dovrat

“Flowers of Pink” original gouache painting by Tamar Dovrat.

Copper Wire Heart from The Letter Loft

Copper Wire Heart and Arrow by The Letter Loft.

Mabel Suede Journal By Anthropologie

Mabel suede journals by Anthropologie.

Geranium Illustration on Micush

Geranium Decorative Pillow by Micush.

Geometric Brass Himmeli Wreath by Vintage Revivals

DIY Himmeli Wreath kit by Vintage Revivals.

A Moment With – Alex Foster of Alex Foster Illustration

Alex Foster of Alex Foster Illustration is well known for the beautiful maps and house portraits he creates. In addition to these, Alex has ventured into new territory with a recently expanded product range, moving into stationery, notebooks, notepads and gift wrap.

I’ve followed Alex’s work for a while now – those map prints pop up everywhere (including on my very own blog post here), and I recently had the chance to ask him a few questions about his new product lines. It was lovely to find out more about Alex and his business. I hope you enjoy meeting him too!

Hi Alex, please introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about how you got to where you are now!  I’m Alex Foster and I learnt about illustration when my art teacher at school mentioned the University for the Creative Arts – our career advisers hadn’t heard of the place despite it being only 1 of 3 universities in the area. So I’m glad he told me about that!

I went on to do the foundation year there, then moved to London to study a degree in Illustration at Middlesex University. This is where I did a little bit of commercial work and it was also my first introduction to the freelance illustration world – since then it’s been hard work, trying to always improve and market myself to continue the flow of work. I’m very lucky to now have regular commissions and sales through my shop to keep me very busy with it all.

notebooks by Alex Foster Illustration

Lucha+libre+notebooks by Alex Foster Illustration

Your new lines are stationery focussed – what made you decide to branch out now?  I’ve always liked stationery, and moving in to this is a bit of an experiment really. Since signing up to exhibit at Top Drawer I wanted to expand what I did more and this meant designing a range of gift wrap, notebooks and notepads. I’m definitely still going to be making more art prints and maps when I can though – they are still my main focus.

Gardenia+greetings card by Alex Foster Illustration

I love the illustrations and patterns on your new products, I especially like the volleyball and Lucha Libre wrestling patterns! What inspired these new designs?  Some of the patterns I had made a few years ago but never had a good use for them, so I’m glad I’ve found a good medium for them. For example the foxes pattern was when I used to make tshirts and it was a pocket tee design. Others were more recent and inspired by my trip to Mexico for a friends wedding – we went to see the Luchadores and it was such a great experience.

House+plants+print+cropped by Alex Foster Illustration

Pink Painted Flowers+notebook by Alex Foster Illustration

You’ve worked on some fantastic projects during your career – what’s been a favourite project of yours?  I’ve got to say the Roald Dahl map for obvious reasons – I’ve been a lifelong fan and it was amazing to have a job where I got to look through almost all of his books and make a map out of them. But really any project where there is good communication with the client and things go relatively smoothly – a solid brief and vision of what is needed really helps produce good results.

Volleyball+print by Alex Foster Illustration


woodland+notepad+by Alex Foster Illustration

What’s next for you!  Christmas is coming so I’m already getting ready for that. My House Portraits are going on some great gift guides this year so I will be very busy with those soon – this has happened a few years in a row now and it’s always a challenge doing as many as I can before the Christmas deadline, but I really enjoy trying to satisfy all these new customers, and I love hearing back about how their special someone loved their gift!

Paris+Pink+map+print by Alex Foster Illustration

Foxes Pattern Gift Wrap by Alex Foster Illustration

Christmas+snowman+card by Alex Foster Illustration

Thanks for taking the time Alex, it’s been great finding out more about you and wishing you a very busy Christmas season!

Find the Alex Foster Illustration shop here

Follow Alex on Instagram here.

2018 Wall Calendar Ideas – Lovely Gifts and Perfect Home Organisation Tools

In my continuation of my Holiday 2017 Gift Ideas posts, I’m bringing you a wonderful selection of wall calendars to give as gifts and get ready for 2018 planning season! Wall calendars are omnipresent in the hub of the home, super useful for jotting down important dates and memos – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been saved from remembering to do that thing I was totally going to forget to do before I happened to glance at my wall calendar and be reminded to do the thing!


First up, this rather elegant and minimalist goal setting calendar, to keep you on track each month. By Euni & Co.

2018-triangle-wall-calendar by Prism of Starlingsoriginal_2018-triangle-wall-calendar by Prism of starlings

This triangular calendar has gorgeous folk & boho inspired illustrations on every page. Unique and pretty, by A Prism of Starlings on Not on the High Street. The world needs more calendars in interesting shapes!

The Woods 2018 Wall Calendar by Paper Raven Co

2018 Calendar The Woods by Paper Raven Co

This is called “Into the Woods” Paper Raven Co. I love the illustrations and use of colour here. Erin, owner of Paper Raven Co, polled her followers to decide on what to theme her 2018 calendar, and this was the winning theme!

Shapes 2018 wall calendar by Dozi

2018 Shapes Abstract Wall Calendar by Dozi

By Dozi, this ‘Shapes’ abstract wall calendar contains simple but oh so appealing abstract geometric art. I would spend a lot of time gazing at this, thinking about the shapeforms, and letting my mind wander!

Wildflower-2018 Wall Calendar by Fox & FallowWildflower-Scattered-3months_preview by Fox & Fallow

Bright and beautiful, this Wildflowers calendar is by Aussie company Fox and Fallow. Featuring lush botanicals and shiny gold foil detail on every page.  This design is available as a full range of paper goods too.

handcrafted wooden desk calendar by dodecal

Okaay so I admit this is not a wall calendar! But it is a handcrafted polyhedrous ball of wonder, no? Crafted from stunning American Cherry wood, called Dodecal I think it makes a super gift and home decor object. We recently spoke to Ric of Dodecal – read the full post here!



Super fun and bold, this “Best Year Ever” calendar by comes with handy stickers, and awesome shiny foil cover.

2018 Desert Greens Cactus Art Calendar by Fox Hollow Studios2018 Wall Calendar Desert Greens cactus inspired by Fox Hollow Studios

Dreamy watercolour cactus and desert plants are the theme for this “Desert Greens” 2018 Wall Calendar by Fox Hollow Studios. I’m a long way from the desert here in the UK, but I still love the calming illustrations on this beauty.


How cute is this “Punny Animals” wall calendar by Paper Cranes. I love the geometric animals, use of colour and the cute sayings.

2018 minimalist calendar by DecoyLab

Minimalist 2018 Wall Calendar by DecoyLabs on Etsy

Decoylab created this super minimalist, high design 2018 calendar. A great gift idea for a typography lover.

Cat Artists 2018 Wall Calendar by NiaskiCat Artists 2018 Wall Planner Gift Idea by Niaski

Last up, this one gives me the giggles – it’s a Cat Artist Calendar by Niaski. Each month features a famous artist interpreted as a cat! Yes, it’s as crazy as it sounds and it’s gorgeously illustrated – go check it out!


Stocking Filler Gift Guide – #pingamestrong Enamel Pins, Lapel Pins & Badges

In the run up to this year’s festive & gift giving season, I’m creating a number of gift guides. This one is all about super cute & pretty enamel pins, aka lapel pins, and also aka (here in the UK) badges! (You can also see my previous gift guides right here).

While researching this post, I discovered this huge subculture – you can get enamel pins for *everything*! Any cult tv, film, motif. Plants, people, book lovers, bands…. The list, I’m pretty sure, is actually endless. Happy pins, dark pins, feminist pins, sarcastic pins…  some stuff I didn’t even understand (probs cos I’m not cool enough). If you’re into it, there’s a lapel pin for it!

Wearing an enamel pin sends out a little signal to the world of the kind of gal or guy you are. A bit like band teeshirts, but so much more subtle… you have to notice and pay attention to the wearer, which is actually a lovely way of making new friends and bringing people together!

I’ve kept this a light / happy / fun selection. These are perfect stocking fillers, secret santa gifts. Little tokens for a special someone.

Winging It Enamel Pin Lapel Pin Badge by Liz Mosley

I love the sweet message and simplicity of this pin by Liz Mosley. Pretty sure most of us can identify with the sentiment (this basically sums up my life).

Alpaca with Scarf Enamel Pin Lapel Pin Badge by Yay For Friends

How cute is this Alpaca wearing a scarf! It’s by Yay For Friends and I think is a beautiful mix of cute with a nice dash of quirk.

NikkiMcWilliams_Milk & cookies Enamel Pin Badge Lapel Pin

You’ve most likely seen Nikki McWilliams’s famous biscuit cushion… mmmm yummy! Now feast your eyes on this tasty milk & cookies pin. So cute!

Cat Nap White Enamel Pin Badge Lapel Pin by Justine Gilbuena

Got a cat lady friend? Of course you do! Justine Gilbuena has you covered. I love this cute kitty, which you can find in black or white on Etsy. This reminds me, I must create a cat themed gift ideas blog post soon…. *furiously scribbles in notebook*

Ampersand Enamel Pin Badge Lapel Pin by Paper Anchor

This Leafy Ampersand enamel lapel pin ticks a lot of boxes if you have a designer friend. Typography, check! Black and gold, check! Foliage, check! It’s a winner. Made by Paper Anchor Co.

Strawberry Basket Enamel Pin Lapel Pin badge by Shiny Apple Studio

Delicious and eye catching. This strawberry basket pin is super sweet and made by Shiny Apple Studio.

Sally Sunshine Enamel Pin Lapel Pin badge by Leslieanne Made It

Meet Sally Sunshine! Her maker, Leslieanne Made It has heaps more happy designs that evoke a 70’s style nostalgia on her website.

Moon Moth Lapel Pin Badge Enamel Pin by Northern Spells

All the heart eyes for this little creature. It’s called a Moon Moth and is made by Northern Spells. So beautiful.

Sweater Weather Forever Enamel Pin Badge Lapel Pin by Byron McKoy

It’s autumn as I write on my side of the world. But whatever the weather, warm clothes are always my preferred option. I can totally relate to this Sweater Weather Forever enamel pin made by Byron McKoy.

Roller Skate Lapel Pin Enamel Pin by Punky Pins

I had a similar pair of roller skates to these when I was a kid and I loved them! Although mine were not nearly as cool as this pin. (Is it wrong that I want to go to a roller disco right now?!) Made by Punky Pins.


Love Letter Enamel Pin Lapel Pin by the Baltic Club

Do you or someone you know like snail mail and also like lapel pins? Get on over to the Baltic Club! Find this one and loads more on their site.

jewelry-birthday-children-badge-peace-and-love Enamel Pin by My Little Day

Last up – if ever there was a time for a message of peace and love, it’s now. I love the neutral colours and seventies vibe of this Peace enamel pin by My Little Day.

I hope you found something you love! Now it’s over to you… I feel like I only really scratched the surface on the amazing world of enamel pin badges – I’d love to discover more amazing makers. If you know of any please share them with the world!

Want more gift-giving inspo? Take a look at my wall art gift guide here.

P.s. Please Pin! These makers deserve to be found. Please consider pinning this post, so more people can discover, and don’t forget to visit the makers own sites too 🙂 xx

Bright and Whimsical Wall Art Gift Ideas

I thought I’d start to gather up a few gift ideas as we’re nearing that most festive time of year and I think wall art is a good place to start. This is a lovely little collection of fun, bright and whimsical art prints which would enhance any walls. There are  more and more shops popping up which are focussing on small artists and print on demand wall art prints. This is great for all concerned but oooh my…. seriously there are so so many things to choose from!

I hope this little curated selection helps you wade through the myraid options and also inspires you to continue to support independent designer/makers!

Hennel Paper Co Bee Hive Terrarium Wall Art Print

Jayme of Hennel Paper Co is a surface designer & illustrator and created this adorable terrarium print. Go and check out her shop – it’s full of adorable goodies.

Sloth Jungle Art Print by Amber Davenport

Who doesn’t love a lovely Sloth? This beautiful and happy handpainted artwork by Amber Davenport of Amber’s Textiles. For some reason, I can totally see this living in a bathroom!

Paris Wall Art Print by Alex Foster Illustration

For the Francophile in your life, ne c’est pas? I love this charming Paris wall art print by Alex Foster Illustration. Plus it’s pink, and my love affair with pink is not going anywhere too soon (#sorrynotsorry).

New Home Wall Art Print by Lauren Radley

This print is called “New Home”, and would make a fab housewarming gift, but I actually think it’s just a lovely print even if you’ve not recently moved house! By Lauren Radley.

Song Thrush in the Roses Whimsical Wall Art Print by Angie Spurgeon

This little charmer is called “Song Thrush in the Roses” by Angie Spurgeon. She’s a recent discovery and the queen of pretty, colourful art prints.

Wildflowers Gathered Wall Art Print by Joy Laforme

I’ve followed Joy Laforme’s career for several years now and always been an admirer of her work, so I’m thrilled to host a little bit of it here – how could I not?! This lovely wall art print is called “Wildflowers Gathered” and you can find it here.

violets-and-daisies-wall art print by Paula McGloin #wallart #floralartprint

This happy folksy art print is by Paula McGloin Studio and is called Violets & Daisies. The motifs have such a timeless feel, and the whole piece carries so much energy. I love it!

Over to you – do you know of any lovely designers producing pretty art prints? Please hit me up in the comments! xo

Meet DodeCal! An amazing, innovative object and perfect gift for a man

If you’re looking for the perfect luxury men’s gift, I have it right here for you. I was delighted to recently discover this gorgeous wooden calendar called “DodeCal”. It’s a 12 sided wooden polyhedra calendar, designed with mathematical precision, with each month laser engraved onto one of the rhombic sides.

luxury men's gift ideas dodecal wooden desk calendar

The brainchild of London-based Ric Bell, who also runs the graphic design agency POST, DodeCal was born as a concept back in 2012, and, after conquering the technical challenges of actually designing and manufacturing the piece, I think you’ll agree the resulting product is gorgeous.

luxury desk accessories dodcal wooden calendar

Can anyone say “design classic”?

handcrafted wooden desk calendar by dodecal

Each piece is made in the UK by a master craftsman using responsibly sourced timber. The 2017 edition of DodeCal was made from European sycamore wood and the first edition (limited to just 100 pieces) sold out in 7 days. A second run was produced which proved equally as popular.

The 2018 edition is crafted from beautiful American Cherry wood and is already available to buy now. Ric’s also recently announced that the DodeCal will be available to buy in the wonderful Barbican design shop. Plans for the 2019 edition are already in motion with a new wood finish and plans to further reduce the environmental impact of the already very eco-friendly product.

men's gift idea wooden calendar dodecal

DodeCal is indeed a handsome object, fusing design, technology and craft. It would be gorgeous on a desk or as a design piece around the home. Given as a gift, I cannot see how this would not be received with absolute delight!

Buy DodeCal here.

Follow DodeCal’s great Instagram account here.



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