What Are My Family Buying Each Other For Christmas?

Hey pals,


With Christmas swiftly coming, as usual, I thought I’d talk to you about my family’s present buying habits now that I am an adult. Christmas isn’t the same when you either aren’t a child or don’t have a child to celebrate with, it’s almost like any other day except we all exchange some gifts. Christmas can be extremely wasteful and I’m sure I’m not the only person who used to constantly get useless tat made of cheap plastic. So, this is what we do now.

  1. Buying Useful Presents: For the most part, my family don’t ever ‘want’ anything most of the time, but we all need certain things. For example, my Gran likes taking lutingold supplements for her eyes from Holland & Barrett. Supplements and vitamins can be pretty expensive, but Holland & Barrett often do sales where you basically get a pot for free. Last year, my mum bought my Gran almost a year’s worth of these and that’s the plan again this time around! I’ve also added this to my list as I always take a multi-vitamin to keep on top of my Crohn’s and occasionally other vitamins too.
  2. Buying Second Hand: My family often want certain clothing items, either for events or due to the time of year or maybe we had the item but wore it out. My mum and I picked up some pieces for my Granddad at a big second hand sale where you can fill a bag for £3! We got him a nice shirt, a jumper, and a sleeveless pullover along with a bunch of other stuff for myself. His bits probably didn’t even equal £1 but they were great condition. We also picked up a pair of jeans for him in another £3 a bag sale, and I found a great tacky t-shirt for my best friend Meghann.
  3. Buying an Experience: My mother and I often struggle with asking for specific items to unwrap for birthdays and Christmas and would rather go see a show or go on holiday. My mum took me to Milan for a long weekend for my birthday this year, and my family are planning on buying some decent tickets to see the show Sister Act with Whoopi Goldberg and Jennifer Saunders as a kind of combo christmas and birthday present (her birthday is 25th November) because they’ll probably be somewhat expensive but worth going to. Or, for a cheaper option, we will designate a day out together either to go do something or just for a meal and a wander.
  4. Going for a Meal with the Extended family: For parts of the family you don’t see very often, it’s a nice idea to go for a meal or do something altogether so you can catch up and spend some quality time rather than buying something and continuing not being able to see them. This also work for friends as well, whether they’re just busy working or live a little further away. I plan on doing a little last minute Christmas shopping with Meghann as I’ve not been able to see her in person since my birthday because of my health and also her busy schedule!
  5. Making something: You don’t have to be a supreme artiste to make something for family. I found a great little tutorial that turned an old t-shirt into a dog toy! Great for your dog and also for your friends who have dogs! There are also tonnes of things you could make by hand with a little help from a YouTube tutorial, but try to make sure it’s something they would want or use to try and avoid more stuff cluttering houses or ending up in landfill.


This was a short, probably incomplete, list of what my family are doing this year for Christmas! I hope this helps anyone and gives other ideas for alternatives or a new perspective on what we should be buying for Christmas. Sometimes the best presents are useful ones!


Happy Holidays

~ Artie

A Christmas Gift Guide

Hey pals,

I never thought I would do a gift guide honestly, but I’ve stumbled upon some cool small businesses and artists online, and some of them are also my friends! What better way to celebrate Christmas than sharing the love of art and creations for others to buy! So here is my Christmas Gift Guide.

Cassie Maes’ Bijoux a la Main Jewellery

Cute and quirky jewellery. She also produces custom orders.


Lena of Art by Lena

She provides a website/social media header design service, all beautifully hand painted and custom to you. Cute wooden Christmas-ish ornaments, stickers, prints, bookmarks, postcards, all kinds of hand painted wonderful-ness! Lena is always expanding the kinds of things she creates, so I recommend having a browse! Many cute stationary pieces.

Check out her other links here. The main shop can be found here.

Dylan / Dylanoliv.art

A real mixture of creative works from photography to drawing to sculptures. He makes cool illustrated sticker versions of sculptures he has made and draws cool faceless people. To buy, send him a message on his art insta. Dylan also has a Redbubble!

Abbi Guse of Abbigail Guse Art

Art prints of ethereal women and landscapes. Also cute stickers and clothes! (I’m particularly partial to those) Also check out her Redbubble.

Alex of Baby Limbs Art (Now on Etsy)

Funky wallpaper, line character work, gremlins, cute animals and more!  You can order directly through her on her instagram/etsy for postcards and prints. Occasionally, they will make bizarre jewellery bits like funky earrings, so if you’re looking for unique, one of a kind pieces, Alex is the one for you! I have personally bought a print in the past and can say they’re great quality and everything is super reasonably priced!

Fox Fisher

Another nonbinary seller on my list. Screen printing and teaching short courses, limited edition prints, LGBT+ art works and stickers.

Check out their store here.

Shadeaux by Annie 

Owned by a LGBT+ woman of colour, Shadeaux creates fetish inspired jewellery for the kink community. Annie’s shop started as a line of acrylic accessories, an easy way to add some kink to everyday looks or streetwear. Shadeaux will be adding a line of ball gags an paddles by the end of September 2020. Check out and follow their instagram here.

Lorna Henson

Handmade elasticated harnesses, custom orders, size inclusive. Either wear as sexy addition to lingerie or a cool accessory addition to an outfit.

Devovere Lingerie and Jewellery 

Similar pieces to above that are custom made but also some jewellery pieces. A disabled queer person, I’m always here to support! They are a UK based store too. Everything can be found at Devovere.com


RT Designs by Ruth

Black woman owned business, I found her through #BlackPoundDay on Twitter and fell in love with her beautiful gold flake bookmarks I mean what that hell?? She makes coasters and jewellery with similar designs and I am definitely planning on picking up a bookmark. UK based. Check out her Instagram.


Tiffany: 30 year old emo from Essex (& very proud). Bi & chronically ill & disabled – Crohn’s & a stoma. I love records and prints and being unapologetically me.

Shimmer and Sew was born – like a lot – out of lockdown, after being made redundant due to covid, and getting a sewing machine for personal use, I decided to try my hand at sewing properly! I don’t normally stick with hobbies because if I’m not good, I give up, so this is a big thing for me! I have a Christmas scrunchie drop (or two) planned, and take on custom orders (I’m currently working on a duvet set for a friends rabbit).
Orders are mostly taken via DM on any social media and can be PayPal or bank transfer. I have an Etsy shop now open for pre-made items, for custom orders send a message 🧡

Positively Peculiar  Quirky handmade jewellery and badges, second hand clothes with a 90’s vibe. The badges often have a good political statement which is always a plus for me!

CultureSmart’s Travel Guides! Kuperard Publishers very kindly gifted me a copy of their ‘essential guide to customs & culture’ Japan edition! This is a whole new level of travel guide that really talks about the culture of the place you’re interested in travelling to with some helpful do’s and don’ts when it comes to conversation. This would be a great present for anyone looking to travel in the New Year and they have a HUGE list of locations they have covered!

If you know anyone who loves books, I recommend searching and buying from Hive as they support indie bookshops and you can decide which ones your money supports.

Snuggly Duckling Crafts is a one-woman melt and pour soap making business, based in Singapore! All of Marsy’s soaps are cruelty free, paraben free and handcrafted by herself – making sure no one soap is the exactly the same as another. She ships locally to Singapore and also to the UK, but is open to worldwide shipping. She has an etsy store (that’s currently on holidays because of bank issues) or you can place an order via DM with her at @snugglyducklingcrafts on instagram!

taxidermy animal skulls and antlers

If you are interested in taxidermy, I recommend reading my blog post on it! Lots of good places to buy recommended on there.


And of course, ME! Can’t make a gift guide without shameless self promotion!

As you know, I sell second hand items on my depop or my vinted, you can for sure find some presents on there (and it’s not always just clothes) all my postage wrapping is reused!

I also make all kinds of art stuff! I particularly like line drawn portraits and making fun wall signs out of scrap pieces of wood, and I sometimes make cute cards! I’m open to commissions 🙂 hit me up on my art insta. I do have a RedBubble of my own with some of my drawings or photography on. Link here.

And I do tarot card readings through email! So if you’re interested, give me an email at: artiecardenbusiness@gmail.com (paid through paypal)

I hope you enjoyed this little gift guide! It’s mostly art stuff but occasionally something else! I hope you found some good ideas here and thank you for supporting my friends and their small businesses!

~ Artie

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Useful Links to Learn More about being Eco-Friendly

Hey pals,

I wanted to compile a list of videos, documentaries, and blog posts that are good at explaining the global and national issues we face to become more eco-friendly.

This blog post has been in collaboration with Ash from This Dreams Alive blog! Check out her blog,

War on Plastic with Hugh and Anita (BBC One): a useful 3 part docuseries about single use plastics and exposing pricing making it near impossible for people on a budget to eliminate their plastic use. Also includes helpful how-tos and ideas what you can swap in.

Fashion Conscious – How Much Water are You Wearing? BBC : A short video exploring the fashion industry and how much water is wasted with what you are wearing. It also has other parts to it on the BBC youtube channel. (refresh your wardrobe)

Climate Change – The Facts BBC: The Full episode featuring Sir David Attenborourgh. “Look at the science of climate change and potential solutions to this global threat. Interviews with some of the world’s leading climate scientists explore recent extreme weather conditions such as unprecedented storms and catastrophic wildfires. They also reveal what dangerous levels of climate change could mean for both human populations and the natural world in the future.”

Stacey Dooley  BBC Three Blood Sweat and T-shirts , confronting shoppers about how they shop how much water is needed for cotton clothes , Sustainable Fashion a 5×15 talk.


How to Delete 99% of your Internet Footprint: a Twitter Thread

The Vogue Guide to Recycling your Beauty Products 


Here is a selection of Youtubers/Youtube videos about trying to adjust thoughts and outlook!

Buzzfeed As/Is Try to sell my clothes in 48 hours 

Carrie Dayton Thrift Flip Carrie also has many thrifting videos on styling all kinds of second hand items and thrift flipping, making items cuter. She is a mid-size youtuber, which I find is a nice change particularly when it comes to fashion and clothes!

Jean Bookish Thoughts Changing my Relationship with Fast Fashion She also makes other videos and content around thrifted/second hand items and clothes. She is mainly a booktuber if that’s also your thing!

The Sorry Girls We Transformed Gabbie’s Trash They are a home decor duo but also do some upcycling videos like this one.

Buzzfeed City Dwellers try being Zero Waste for a Week

Beverly Butterfly Thrifted Vintage style haul  A disabled youtuber who also makes content on spiritual things, nerdy things, and has also started branching out into second hand hauls.

Kelsey Darragh Confidently Insecure How not to be a Dick to the Planet one of my favourite podcasts at the moment, but this episode is all about the environment and becoming more conscious and trying to be as minimal waste as possible.

Lex Croucher ‘Eco Friendly’ Companies are lying to you this is her most recent video on the topic as of writing this post, she has a few more I would recommend people watch.

Meateater goes Vegan for Two Weeks BBC 3 an 8 and a half minute think piece. 6:07-7:32 are of just after slaughter and though it is not the slaughter of the animal it is the carcass being stripped down for sale.

Veganism is a Privilege not Accessible to All a great short video pointing out how inaccessible veganism can be for some people and may be a good introductory video for those who believe it is.

The Meat Industry is Killing the Planet some useful info but half fights the point of the video above.

Trying a Zero-Waste Beauty Regime educational, shows you what ingredients to look out for, how to make at home, and a few alternatives.

DIY Cool Ranch Doritos Julien Solomita makes some great cooking videos and shows you how to make these things. A lot of them are him experimenting with making something non-vegan into vegan friendly. He also has Celiac’s disease so his recipes are gluten free too.

Sustainable Fashion Haul Melanie Murphy has been talking about how much money she spends on clothes and how she is trying to change her habits to buying more second hand and from small companies/businesses rather than contributing to fast fashion.


Here are some blog posts written by This Dream Is Alive

Become a Tree Hugger: a post about ways to help save the trees, the world’s lungs!

Turning the Tide on Plastic Book Review: A super interesting book review and a great recommendation for anyone who wants to do some further reading.

Top 10 Zero-Waste Essentials: a quick guide for people starting out!

Being Eco-Friendly at Christmas: As we approach Christmas of 2019, this is a great post to keep in mind.

Useful Links Ash Recommends

Fashion Revolution: “We want to unite people and organisations to work together towards radically changing the way our clothes are sourced, produced and consumed, so that our clothing is made in a safe, clean and fair way.”

National Geographic: This source involves a lot more that you think, lots of great articles like the one linked that may shock you and teach you something new. A trustworthy website with a lot of scientific facts to back up their research.

Veganuary: A great project for people to try as a New Years resolution! This site give you all the facts, the why, the how, recipes, even a kit! Also has a page for myth busting.


A few of my own videos and blog posts:

I’ve been Vegetarian for 10 years (Video)

A BIG UN-haul! Decluttering my Closet (Video)

Trying out LUSH Products  (Video)

Donating to Charity (Video)

Second Hand Book Haul (Video)

Book Unhauling (Blog)

Second Hand Book Haul (Blog)

A Natural Toner You Can Make At Home (Blog)

25 Ways We Can Help The Environments (Blog)

More Ways We Can Help The Environment (Blog)

I hope you guys learn a lot! I definitely have as I’ve been collating it. Don’t forget that the best you can do it help make legal legislation changes, contact your MPs, contact the big companies involved, demand better.

~ Artie

Back Garden Improvement and DIY: Plans and Progress

Hey pals,

I have tons of ideas I want to create this summer to make my mum’s garden look better and be better for the environment. We live in the countryside, so we are reasonably eco-friendly. We have a food compost heap, several horse manure piles that we spread over the fields and use to fertilise plants, we reuse all kinds of things and DIY a bunch of stuff… But our fenced off bit of garden is a bit of and eyesore because it is mostly for the functional use of keeping our dog from running away. When you live in a half-arsed area you start to feel fed-up and low. So I have a whole hoard of things I want to do this summer for the garden! Here is my list.

I want to plant plenty of beautiful flowers to attract wildlife and bees. I have planted a lot of wildflower seeds and bulbs, and now we are just waiting to see their growth. I think we might need to put some more soil on top of them because the bulbs are made half naked again with every rainfall.

  1. Making a planter out of an old BBQ and water tank. It has been half set up but needs painting black before I start filling in the pebbles, soil and plants. We were going to make the top half a succulent base but my centerpiece seems to have died (??).
  2. Making a herb planter. There is space in the bottom half of the BBQ that I can put more plants into and I think herbs are a great idea for gardens to have. I already have a chive plant in the back garden so one down.
  3. Peeling and polishing the oak tree logs. A few years back we had to get our three oak trees cut down (I know, very sad) due to the roots moving the foundation of our house and two of them were very diseased. We still have two big logs in our garden and we thought it could be an idea to peel off the bark that has mostly separated itself from the rest of the tree and polish whats under it to make some bench like trunks to put plants and garden decorations on.
  4. Make a bee water basin. I’ve been researching how to help keep the bee population alive and healthy, one site suggested having access to water. So, I have a plastic flower pot I decided I want to use. I need to cover the holes in the bottom and fill with white decorative stones and the little coloured glass pebbles so it’ll look pretty before I fill it with water.

5. My dog digs up the garden when she gets over excited, so we are trying to fill in the holes as much as possible. This takes more than one go though as we have done this several times and it’s still not quite right! But we are trying to fill holes and re-grow the grass. We mostly use horse manure as we have had horses for many years and have quite a hefty few piles of it just rotting down. It actually makes the grass that re-grows there extra green, it’s quite bizarre. And how do we re-grow the grass? I go and collect seeds from the grass we have growing elsewhere! Saves money.

6. Wildflower planter box! This is in the works but is a continuous work in progress adding more flowers and plants to the planter and they bloom almost all year round except for winter. My aim is for the whole box to be full.

~ Artie