Not on the high street.com & My 1st Birthday!

Firstly, Ooh! Mrs James is actually nearer two!

Secondly, any excuse for cake!

I was approached a little while ago by Not On The High Street dot com to do a product review on an item of my choosing. After deciding on one of the most expensive things I could find (well, give me an inch) I was then told there was a budget, boo! It was quite a healthy budget though, so with my virtual wad of cash I set about trawling this online marketplace.

Not On The High Street was founded in 2006 when Holly Tucker and Sophie Cornish decided to make their shared love of discovering hidden boutiques and independent sellers into a business. Tracking down unique and handmade or hand selected items in little known shops and studios is their forte, and decided to create an online community in order to allow everyone the chance to buy their wares. Now with over 3000 small British businesses on their site with over 50,000 products between them, its easy to find that all important gift that you won’t find anywhere else. NOTHS allows you to shop with independent businesses all in one place, and find personalised, bespoke and handcrafted items without trawling the streets.

Now some of you may find this takes the fun out of stumbling onto some undiscovered gem in a boutique tucked away down a side street, but think of it the same way without needing to leave your sofa! Not knowing where to look for a special gift that comes straight from the maker is time consuming and I don’t know about you, but whenever I embark on these journeys I always get fed up! I end up frustrated and presentless and usually succumb to the ease of a chain store, sorry mum!

I decided to be savvy and go for bold prints and smaller things I needed such as the gorgeous set of three notebooks from Solitaire. These eco friendly A6 books came in a cute Garden Creatures design and featured snails, foxes and birds. The paper is good quality and durable, the pages are quite thick so it meant sticking my photos and jotting down ideas was a doddle and looked cool too, everyone I’ve shown my notebook to has commented on the cover design! My bold print theme continued with wrapping paper for the presents. Toby Tiger supply a good quality wrap that won’t rip while you are making your presents look pretty. I chose the sausage dog and fox print designs and was really pleased when I received them, they came well packaged and the colours are bold for gifts that you want to stand out!

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To tie my packages up I chose twine from The Original Pop Up Shop and I invited my friend Lila over to enjoy my cake with a cuppa and sent her a really cute invite from Toothpic Nations. I went for the set of three eco letter sets with the bear design, again both these products  are great quality and the invites come in three slightly different colours from one another and all have beautiful illustrations. You can choose from  various string colours that you can tie your letter up with, which is great, but I didn’t receive enough string, so its a good job I ordered the twine!

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For a sweet treat I asked for some blueberry marshmallows from Zukr Boutique, my companion was a bit skeptical of these and I have to say I wouldn’t usually buy food from a site like this, but I soon realised I had scoffed the lot and would definitely buy more. They are not as sickly as normal marshmallows and are full of blueberry goodness! My last and definitely my favourite product was the bespoke wall sticker from Oakdene Designs. I chose the size, colour, font and wording to create a personalised sign for my site to use at wedding fairs. I painted a chalkboard heart and attached the sticker myself and I’m so pleased with the result! Everything I ordered was great quality and beautifully designed, some things are a little pricey, but I put that down to the fact they are handmade or bespoke, so there is quality for money here. Just don’t get carried away! My budget was £50, and I could have literally have spent that a million times over. When you look at it it doesn’t look a lot for your money (and a £6 item never showed up) but you are buying quality and unique design, which for me, wins at the end of the day!

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