Lockdown is the perfect time to start Christmas shopping early and if you're looking to make your gifts a little more personal this year, then Stacey Solomon's new collection might just be the answer. The queen of DIY and crafting has shared her top presents via Amazon Handmade, shining a light on a beautiful range of handmade gifts created by local UK businesses she is eager to support this Christmas.
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"I think it's really special when you get a personalised gift. It just feels like someone has spent time on it and they really know you," Stacey told HELLO! "I think more importantly than that, these are all from small businesses and it means the absolute world to them to be recognised and for people to shop at them. It makes a huge difference to their life, so I'm really proud to have worked with them."
Stacey talks us through some of the highlights of her 35-piece collection, from festive babywear to a heartwarming children's memory box…
Personalised gnome matching family Christmas jumper, £26.90, Amazon Handmade
Stacey's three children Zachary, Leighton and Rex all feature in her collection. "It's nice to have them in everything I do," she said. "At the end of the day, it's all for them. One of the most amazing memories I have of lockdown is when Rex learnt how to walk and we were all there to see it.
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"It made me feel so lucky because usually one of us would be at work, or both of us would be, and we might miss those moments. The kids were also there, they weren't at school, so I'm really grateful. There were people in lockdown and in awful situations, and not in a safe environment, so I just feel like we were so lucky to be together and to be safe."
Personalised Star Sign Memory Box, £29.95, Amazon Handmade
"I have memory boxes for the kids but they're all old shoeboxes or present boxes that I've shoved all their stuff in. So to have something that they can keep forever that really means something to them, is just really exciting," said Stacey. "I'm going to give it to them at Christmas and then on Boxing Day, I'm going to sit with them and go through all their memories in their new boxes, which I honestly can't wait to do.
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"I've got their hospital bands from when they were born, trophies and little medals that they've won over the years, from football club and sports days. We've been so lucky to go to certain things that I never thought I'd be able to take my kids to, so I've got things like cinema tickets and photos of them at events."
Craft tote, £14.90, Amazon Handmade
"I've always been crafty. I've always enjoyed crafting but I suppose people are more interested in it now because they have more free time at home, so they're looking for things to do," said Stacey. "Before corona, everyone was far too busy at work, socialising and going shopping.
"I'm going to try to make as many gifts as possible this year, but also at the same time, I'm going to try and promote as many small businesses as I can. If you can afford to shop small right now, it makes such a massive difference to people's lives and will get them through Christmas. I appreciate that so many people can't afford to buy gifts this year because they're out of work, and don't have any disposable income, so I'm going to try and make as much as possible."
"At Loose Women, there's around 25 of us so we don't do gifts - that would be a nightmare!" she added. "But we might do Secret Santa. I'll definitely make my Secret Santa gift if I get someone who I know will appreciate a little homemade something. I always write the ladies a little Christmas card."
Children's baking set, £21, Amazon Handmade
Baking was definitely a popular hobby in lockdown, and if your child is a keen baker, this cute kit is a winner.
Heart chopping board, £24.95, Amazon Handmade
Those who follow Stacey on Instagram will know the mother-of-three is a dab hand in the kitchen, and she loves making animal-shaped snacks for her children.
"I love doing them!" she said. "I've done them a lot more recently because we've been in lockdown, so I've had more time. I used to do it every week with the kids because they laugh and they think it's funny, and it gave me joy and it made me feel good. It's a form of meditation. If I've got to make them a snack anyway and cut up their carrots and cucumber, to put it into a little pattern or shape, it focuses my mind on the task at hand and I ignore all the rubbish going on in the world."
Sweet dreams nursery sign, £18, Amazon Handmade
A personalised sign makes a sweet addition to a nursery or children's room, and having the name Pickle in print is a joy for Stacey to see. "It's weird because I've always called the boys Pickle," she said. "Not all the time, obviously they get older and you have to start calling them by their actual name! But it's got such fond memories for us, so to be able to see it in print on little items is just so special and so nice."
Have A Day Off Susan velvet cushion, £35, Amazon Handmade
"There are two pillows from a little business that I think is just amazing," said Stacey. "They're really soft and made in a velvety material, and one is in a green colour that I call a 'Susan green' because I have a bedspread at home that someone doesn't like and it's called Susan, and it really cracks me up. The message on the pillow just makes me really happy."
I Am Enough velvet cushion, £35, Amazon Handmade
Despite her amazing home organisation skills, Stacey says her home "isn't always organised". She admitted: "Everything does have a system and a place, I know where it should all go but it isn't always organised. It's a work in progress. Some days everything is really tidy and some days only one cupboard is tidy and the rest is a tip. I genuinely enjoy home organisation and putting things in order. It's like a form of meditation for me. That really helps with my mental wellbeing."
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"But I don't beat myself up if everything's in the dumping ground. I know that I'll get around to it eventually and life is just busy. Especially when you have three kids, one of whom is a baby who pulls everything out of every cupboard. The other, Zachary, is nearly a teenager so he just lounges around and chucks everything on the floor and I'm constantly moaning at him. I think my middle, Leighton, is a lot like me and he's really organised and makes my life a lot easier. But it's unrealistic to think that everything's perfect all the time, otherwise I'd never have reason to do a Tap to Tidy. How boring would that be?" she laughed.
Personalised family wooden candle holder, £18, Amazon Handmade
"There's a little candle holder in the collection with all of our names inscribed on them, which I really love," said Stacey.
Personalised name red enamel mug, £15.90, Amazon Handmade
"I'm obsessed with these mugs," said Stacey. "They're little camping cups and I just love them."
Christmas Eve crate, £39.50, Amazon Handmade
Any child would be lucky enough to wake up to a crate filled with presents! And with personalised boxes, there'll be no confusing which gift is for who.
Special delivery Christmas sack, £16, Amazon Handmade
These personalised Santa sacks are surely a dream for every child?
Family multi ring bangle, £135, Amazon Handmade
If you're looking to splash out on a truly special gift this year, the personalised bangle featuring names of every family member will definitely tug on their heartstrings.
Essential oil candle, £20, Amazon Handmade
Candles are always a welcome gift, especially when they make your home smell ultra Christmassy. This candle features notes of cypress, pine, frankincense cloves, black pepper, and warm cinnamon.
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