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My Christmas Etsy Guide from the Outer Hebrides

While many of my Hebridean small business friends do have social media and their own websites, some of them use Etsy to sell you their stunning handmade wares. I thought I’d share a few of them here to give you some Christmas ideas. I’m always amazed by the level of talent available on our Hebrides islands. I hope this guide will help you support our local businesses and maybe you’ll discover some small business you didn’t know we had here.

My top 8 Christmas gift ideas from the Hebrides on Etsy

Lewisian Nice Harris Tweed Decor and Hair Accessories

Rainbows, hearts and Harris Tweed – the perfect combo

You can’t go wrong with rainbows, hearts or Harris Tweed and Sarah’s heart garlands always catch my eye. What a fabulous gift for someone who has everything, especially good taste.

Sollas Books – beautifully bound in Harris Tweed

Perfectly bound notebooks – in every way

I had the pleasure of visiting Corinna’s workshop in North Uist while on a family holiday some years ago. Seeing the whole hand-binding process was fascinating and the quality of her work will leave you speechless. And you can never have too many notebooks!

Coll Pottery – and so much more

Not just pots!

Coll Pottery used to be just that when I first came to Lewis but since Alan took over it is so much more.

You can’t go wrong with a new piece of jewellery for a gift and with each of these unique glass pendants your gift is going to stand out from the crowd.

Designs on Benbecula – inspired by our beautiful beaches

Jewellery befitting of our landscape

Handmade and unique from biwa pearls and silver…and adjustable too so it will fit anyone.

This stunning choker from Deborah from Designs on Benbecula is a gift to wow both when given and every time it’s worn.

Loch Sealg Designs, handmade for you

Made to order and worth it

Katie has several designs to choose from her own fashion collection and this green agate caught my eye (perhaps because I married an Irishman).

Hallmarked and handmade and if you’re not a green person then Katie will happily do the same design in your gem of choice.

EJay Design – when you’re not sure which island

Have them all!

You might not be able to have the whole world in your hands but you can hold the entire Scottish Hebrides in your hands with this gorgeous teatowel from Ejay Designs.

Eilidh does the most amazing watercolour illustrations of our islands and further afield. If teatowels aren’t your thing then check out her maps, they have gold highlights!

The Herring Girl Posters

Memories of Stornoway

If the whole Hebrides is too much, or you have fond memories of somewhere in particular then take a look at Lauren’s vintage posters.

This one of Stornoway with the famous Lews Castle is a favourite of mine with many a Sunday afternoon family walk taken round its grounds.

Hair Accessories for everyone

Strikingly Stunning

I can vouch for Catherine Anne’s hair accessories as my girls have been wearing these for years.

At Mamayana you’ll also find Mother and Daughter sets which would be a lovely idea at this Christmas time of sharing.

I struggled to choose which one to share but then this black and gold hair bow stood out.

Our Scottish Hebrides are filled to the herring gills with talent and I’ve only shown a handful of Christmas ideas from Etsy here . I’d love to know what you choose please let me know in the comments below.

Looking for something last minute – you might want to check out Etsy’s top recommendations for last minute gifts

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What October Means to Me

October nights in

October is my favourite month of the year, and it all starts with World Postcard Day!

World Postcard Day stickers October 1st

World Postcard Day is celebrated on October 1st every year to promote the use of postcards as a means of communication. It dates back to the first printed postcard in Austria in 1869. On this day, people send postcards to friends and family to keep the tradition of handwritten communication alive.

And you can even put a special postmark sticker on your postcards to ‘mark’ the occasion.

What October means to me

My childhood October memories are (mostly) fond ones of the playground construction of the annual den.

The only play equipment in our school was a tree swing, some planks of wood and a few old tyres. But if you stuff the middle of tyres with damp autumn leaves and then prop them up with old planks of wood while filling in the gaps with more damp dead leaves you get a fantastic den. 🍁🍂🍁🍂

Then you get arguments over whose den it is and who’s allowed in but we’ll gloss over that bit 🙄

There are many other reasons why I love October, but the main ones are jigsaw puzzles, cozy nights in, socks, and hot chocolate.

Out in the Moonlight 250 piece

October Jigsaw Puzzles

Puzzles are great for relaxation. As the days get shorter and colder, solving puzzles can be the perfect way to unwind. It’s a fun and calming activity to piece together the puzzle, revealing the image bit by bit. It’s also a wonderful way to spend quality time with loved ones, working together to complete the puzzle.

Cosy October Evenings

I really enjoy October because it’s perfect for cozy nights in. When the weather gets colder, there’s nothing better than snuggling up on the couch with a soft blanket and enjoying a good book or movie (and of course Strictly is in full swing!). I love listening to the raindrops on the window, lighting a scented candle, and feeling all warm and cozy. It’s a time to relax, take it easy, and appreciate the little things in life.

A Highland Christmas Cow Mens Wrendale Christmas Socks

It’s all about the feet!

Socks are also a big part of October don’t you think?

As the weather gets colder, it’s time to break out the warm and fuzzy bamboo socks. There’s something very comforting about slipping your feet into a pair of soft, thick socks on a chilly morning. They keep your toes toasty warm, and add a little bit of fun and personality to your outfit.

And on Saturday nights when Strictly is on, light the fire and toast your tootsies while you indulge in all the glitz.

Hot Chocolate

Of course, no cozy night in would be complete without a steaming mug of hot chocolate. October is the perfect time to indulge in this decadent treat. Whether you prefer it plain and simple or loaded up with whipped cream and marshmallows, there’s no denying the comfort and joy that a good cup of hot chocolate can bring. It’s a little bit of sweetness in a world that can sometimes be bitter.

Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate Bombe

October is a month that holds a special place in my heart. It’s a time for jigsaw puzzles, cozy nights in, socks, and hot chocolate…and the beginning of Strictly escapism. A time to slow down, unwind, and enjoy the simple things in life. It’s a time to be grateful for the warmth and comfort that we have and to appreciate the beauty of the changing seasons.

What does October mean to you? Leave a comment and let me know.

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Wraptious Design Competition

Wraptious Summer Design Competition

So I did a thing and decided to enter the Wraptious design competition with my Meadow Flowers designs.

Originally designed as a set of stickers for one of my monthly Subscription boxes I expanded the design a little to suit cushions and prints for the Wraptious competition.

There are 5 different designs, all from a similar colour scheme but with different colour highlights and different flowers. From poppies to bluebells, cornflowers to daisies these will brighten up your home and bring a bit of the great outdoors indoors.

Wraptious Summer Design Competition

You can see all the cushion designs together on the Wraptious Facebook page, please give the post a ‘like’. Or visit the Wraptious website where you can vote for each individual design. You can even buy a cushion or a canvas/print. Not only will your likes, votes and sales count as votes towards the competition, they will also make me smile. And I will do a happy dance!

How to Vote?

How to buy the cushions or prints

Visit the Wraptious website where you can buy each individual design as a cushion, print or canvas.
(Please send me a photo of your cushion in your home, I’d love to see it in place!)

About the Wraptious Design Competition

Artists and Photographers are invited to submit their work to the Wraptious website during the competition. There is no theme or preferred medium. Your work could be turned into a beautiful giftware range. It’s free to enter, open to all artists globally and any age. You own copyright always, earn commission and it’s the only time we take on new artists. 6 artists with the most points are automatically shortlisted, while a further 6 are chosen by us. Give it a go! 🙂 (or please vote for my designs!)

I’d love your feedback on the designs in the comments below. Which is your favourite? Which would best suit your colour scheme at home or would you love a mix of 2, 3 or more designs? Let me know below.

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Are these Chelsea Flower Show Worthy?

Sustainable and plastic free at the Chelsea Flower Show and close to home

Lindum's Wildflower Turf at the Chelsea Flower Show
Lindum’s Wildflower Turf – Winner of the RHS Chelsea Sustainable Gardening Product of the Year 2023

This is not my garden! The photo above is actually of Lindum Wildflower Turf at the Chelsea Flower Show, which is the first to be grown without plastic matting earning it the prize of RHS Chelsea Sustainable Gardening Product of the Year 2023.

At Cards and Gift Wrap we are all for sustainability and plastic free, which is why we have our own range of plastic free paper tape…and we also love flowers!

So this week, while we’re all in awe of the blooms at Chelsea I thought I’d do a little focus on some of our favourite floral artists.

Fresh Flowers at Tatams

Claire Henley

Claire is well known for her coastal and floral designs, has been a firm favourite throughout Phoenix Trading and Flamingo Paperie and I am delighted to find her cards are available through the Eco-friendly Card Company too so her cards will be available to you for years to come at Cards and Gift Wrap.

Nicola Evans

Nicola doesn’t just do flowers and she’s one of those illustrators who is so versatile that sometimes her work isn’t instantly recognisable, if you know what I mean.

But her flower bouquets and patterns are always popular.

Pink Orchids

Summertime Vibes Birthday

Jane Morgan

Jane Morgan is new to Cards and Gift Wrap but we instantly fell in love with her wildflower canvases of beauty.

Jane’s cards are available with words on the front or usually with a blank alternative – I’d love to know which you prefer?

Sally Rich

Also new to Cards and Gift Wrap is Sally Rich. Her cards are all without words but full to bursting with bright and cheerful colours.

Floral cards are so versatile and are great to keep in your card box as they can be used for so many occasions and for anyone.


Winging their way through the postal system to me right now are some of my own floral designs with Gaelic words on them – I was even featured recently in an article for PGBuzz (the greetings card industry magazine). You can read more about that here.

Growing your own!

Meanwhile I potter about in my ‘crub. If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram you’ll already have seen my strawberry (yes singular – so far!)…is there anything more satisfying than growing your own?

Happy gardening and may the wonders of the Chelsea Flower Show inspire you!

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World Penguin Day

World Penguin Day

It’s not surprising that when most of the 18 species of penguins live in cold, icy parts of our Southern Hemisphere that we often think of penguins at Christmas time. World Penguin Day is a chance to learn more about these feathered, flightless wonders and how they can inspire us all year round.

Penguins have some endearing qualities that make them great for cards and gifts.

Penguin Found You Valentines Shakies card

Penguins mate for life.

They can recognise each other’s smell. When you consider that the largest penguin colony in the world is located in Antarctica and has over 1.5 million Adelie penguins – that’s quite some smell! But their commitment to each other makes them the perfect subject of a gift for a loved one.

Penguin Proposals!

Penguins have a unique way of proposing – by presenting a pebble to their future (hopefully) mate.

They have also been known to propose to inanimate objects, such as a cardboard cutout!

We have some rather cuter ideas, like this penguin in a matchbox.

70 King Penguin card

King or Emperor?

Emperor Penguins are the tallest, reaching heights of 4 feet (probably taller than you thought). The King penguin is slightly smaller at just over 3 feet.

The longest living penguins only reach 30 years but we still think this 70 card is adorable!


These penguin stickers were indeed put together for a Christmas subscription box.

But they are too cute not to include here.

Penguin stickers

Build your own penguin

If you’re a true penguin fan then you’ll want to build your own penguin!

Here’s mine. He makes a great model too, often modelling the sun hats that my daughter makes and sells in my shop in the summer

Of course there’s a serious side to World Penguin Day. Like many animals penguins are extremely vulnerable to climate change. You can adopt your own penguin and help WWF monitor their status and support campaigns to ensure they continue to inspire us for years to come.

Happy World Penguin Day, I hope it’s slightly warmer than Antartica where you are!

Janet x

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Have you had your Royal Coronation Invite?

Royal Coronation Decorations

Have you had an invite to the Royal Coronation?

What will your Royal Coronation Celebration look like? I think Eilean Siar (the Outer Hebrides), where I am, might be the only council that isn’t having a bank holiday for the coronation – or perhaps you can tell me otherwise? But at least with it being on a Saturday that won’t stop us having a little tea party.

Will you be eating the Coronation Quiche?

5 funny facts about coronations

  1. During the coronation of King George IV in 1821, the King’s waistcoat was so tight that he had to be cut out of it.
  2. In the 17th century, it was believed that the monarch had the power to cure people of scrofula, a type of tuberculosis. As a result, the coronation ceremony included a “touching ceremony” where the monarch would touch the affected area of people’s skin to cure them.
  3. At the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, the Archbishop of Canterbury accidentally knocked the Queen on the head with the anointing spoon.
  4. At the coronation of William the Conqueror in 1066, the congregation shouted “God save the King” so loudly that it caused a nearby tower to collapse.
  5. During the coronation of Queen Victoria in 1838, a boy named William Jones snuck into Westminster Abbey and hid in the organ loft. He remained there for the entire ceremony and was discovered only after everyone had left.

I’d love to hear your plans for the Coronation – inspire me with your recipes and menu plans in particular in the comments below.

Are you Volunteering for the Big Help Out?

A couple of my children are volunteering at a local woodland pulling up trees (not as bad as it sounds, it’s the ones that have seeded themselves through a boardwalk they are pulling) and I’ll be taking my Cubs and Beavers for a beach clean, all part of the Big Help Out.

Are your Coronation Decorations up to Royal Standard?

Royal Jubilee Colour in Bunting

Royal Bunting

No Coronation party would be complete without some decorations and luckily we have just the thing to make your street fit for a King to visit!

20 pieces of Royal pageantry to colour in and string up to help decorate your party.

Tiara polished?

Not had the time to polish your tiara? Don’t worry you can make a new one!

Royal Jubilee Colour in Set
However you are celebrating the Coronation of Charles III (or not) let’s hope it’s a beautiful sunny bank holiday weekend where you are (and a sunny weekend here).

…and I hope you get a piece of cake!

Janet x

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Mothers Day Gift Ideas from Small Artistic Businesses

Mothers day gift ideas from small artistic businesses

Etsy can be a great place to find Mothers Day gift ideas that little bit unusual, special, artistic and unique. Perhaps you’re looking for artistic ideas for something made by hand or personalised or just want to know that you’re supporting small businesses with your purchase.

Top Mothers Day Gift Ideas from Small Artistic Businesses

Mummy’s Grapes

This brilliant mummy’s wine gift is perfect as a wine holder for mummy’s grapes!
An ideal gift for mummy this wine butler / wine caddy is made from solid oak and finished in oil to enhance and protect. Such a unique gift for wine lover, would make a beautiful centrepiece at a party too!

Beautiful curved and smooth edges hold two glasses included in the price.
Unique engraved design on one side and comes with two standard wine glasses.

Pretty Bird and Floral Mugs

You can’t go wrong with mugs and especially with ones as pretty as these.

2 Pretty Bone China mugs taken from an illustration by Klara Hawkins. The design wraps around the whole of the mug.

These mugs are quite a dainty size and would make a perfect gift for anyone but mum would love them!

The Girl on the Bike Print

The girl on the bike – high quality art print by Helen from Cake&Crayons.

This beautiful illustration is minimal and bold to bring light, colour and joy to your mum’s home.

The Print comes with a white border to allow space for framing and is hand-signed at the back.

It’s available in different sizes too to suit your space and budget needs.

Mum Flamingo Key

Lovely keychain charm, a perfect gift for Mum.

Features Flamingo bottle cap charm with added Austrian crystal element, a cute little diamante mum charm, beads and Tibetan silver charms.

Presented in organza gift bag and handmade by Jay from The Eclectic Flamingos

Would also be a great gift for a mum to be or baby shower.

Cut My Veg Board

Cut my veg in to pieces!

Laser burnt by Jonathan from Art of the Forest by Jon. This design is burnt on to a bamboo charcuterie, chopping, cheese board.

This board is 29.5 cm tall by 19.5 cm wide and has been sanded and then treated with food safe mineral oil.

Jonathan can laser burn any design on to anything so if you want something more personal follow the links on his Etsy page to get in touch.

Daisy Chain Necklace

I didn’t know where to start with IAmRachelShop as Rachel has so many beautiful understated jewellery designs but I remember my mum teaching me to make daisy chains so this stood out for me as a Mother’s Day gift.

Pretty flower pendant in a daisy style made by firing white and yellow enamel onto a copper floral shape.

This flower necklace is a beautiful piece of nature jewelry and would make a lovely gift for a gardener or flower lover.

Coastal Buildings Print

This architectural art print has been inspired by the quaint and unique buildings on the North Yorkshire coast of England, the place Jessica Hogarth is happy to call home!

The linear illustrations are typical of her artistic style, and once they have been hand drawn, she digitally enhanced them with pops of colour for print.

An ideal gift for anybody that has an appreciation of British architecture and likes unique artwork. It could also make a great housewarming, wedding or engagement present as well as birthday gift for males and females alike.

Bees Paper Tape

This could either be a gift or what you use to wrap your Mother’s Day gift.

And yes you might have seen this on my website too as I am also on Etsy!

Strong, sticky and very very pretty the bees paper tape like all our tapes is 100% recyclable and totally plastic free.

All these gift ideas were chosen by me because I know the people behind the products. Many of them I’ve met personally or I’ve come across them on social media and got to know them and can see how hard they work to make these beautiful creations.

When you buy from a small business they really do do a happy dance but you also know you are getting something personally made that has had a lot of love and effort poured into it. Your Mother’s Day gift will be truly special and appreciated.

Disclaimer – there are some affiliate links in this post and I may get a small commission if you buy but this doesn’t affect the price you pay or the quality and love that has gone in to each item!

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What Should I Write in a Mothers Day Card?

Mothers Day is all about the card right? Choosing a card can be hard enough but what should you write in it? Do you go all sentimental or do you feel that a more down-to-earth verse is appropriate?

If you’re really lucky you’ll find a card that has the right image on the front and a perfect verse inside but the chances of the two matching your needs perfectly are remote and that is why so many cards are now blank inside for your own message.

But What Should I Write in a Mothers Day Card??

The good news is that if you find it difficult to express yourself in verse there are some lovely Mothers Day cards that have a beautiful thoughtful message on the front of the card. Leaving you to keep it simple on the inside and just say ‘I love you’ or ‘thank you for everything’. As a mum to hear my children say ‘thank you’ means the world, I can’t be alone in thinking it doesn’t happen very often!

Keep it simple, keep it short and keep it honest.

Mothers (I know from experience!) just want to feel appreciated and loved. To know that everything they sacrifice for you hasn’t gone unnoticed.

I’d love to know what you write in your card, leave a comment below – it might help someone else who’s struggling to find the right words.

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December Special Offer

Free stuff for the rest of the year!

All this will be yours when you place your end-of year order for your last-minute Christmas cards, wrap and gifts from my online Flamingo Paperie shop. We are sending all orders received from today by courier to guarantee*(as much as possible!) that your order will not be delayed by the current Royal Mail industrial action.

If you’re already organised for Christmas, think of all those birthdays that get overlooked during the Christmas festivities. After all, who needs two major celebrations in December? The 5,591,666 people (180,376 a day) who have birthdays that get overshadowed by Christmas every single year…!

Who do you know with a December birthday? Choose 10 of our greeting cards for just £1.90 each (save £5) and make someone’s (birth)day!

Offer runs from 6 December to 31 December 2022.  Last order date for pre-Christmas delivery is Sunday 18 December.
Copyright © 2022 Flamingo Paperie Limited, All rights reserved.

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National Nest Box Week – Win a nest box!



It’s National Nest Box Week!

For National Nest Box Week we’re giving you the chance to win!

National Nest Box Week
A beautiful cedar nest box, a packet of 18 ‘Chunky Dumplings’, and a dozen of our bestselling greeting cards, featuring a flock of fabulous, feathered friends
(Worth over £60)
A dozen of our bestselling bird-inspired greeting cards
(Worth £22.80)
Half a dozen of our bestselling bird-inspired greeting cards
(Worth £14.40)

To be in with a chance, submit an original photo of a bird/birds in your neighbourhood, an original artwork, write an original bird-inspired poem, or share an original anecdote. We will put the shortlisted submissions online for you, our 17,000+ strong Customer Club members, alongside our 2000 Partners, to vote for the winning entries.
In case you need any persuuasion – just look at this!
Details of the prizes
The nest box is made exclusively from long-lasting cedar sourced from expertly managed Canadian forests. The timber ages naturally and attractively and, at 19mm thickness, gives excellent insulation and strength, tempting generations of birds into your garden. This beautiful box is ruggedly built using Canadian cedar from managed forests that weathers attractively and lasts for years without the need for preservatives or varnishing.  Ideal for Great, Blue, Marsh and Coal Tits; Redstart; Nuthatch; Pied Flycatcher; House and Tree Sparrow Or, you could choose an open-fronted version more suitable for Wrens, Robins and Flycatchers  Chunky Dumplings are a ‘better kind of fat ball’!

All submissions must be your original work.  The initial shortlist will be selected by the three directors and the final winners will be decided by our Partners and Customer Club members.

The deadline for submissions is midnight, UK time, Monday 28th February.  The shortlist for voting will be made available on 7th March and the winners will be notified during week commencing 21st March.  By submitting an entry, you agree that Flamingo Paperie may use your submission for the purposes of publicity. No purchase is necessary to enter the competition.

To learn more about National Nest Box Week, and the work of the RSPB, check out the following links: