Unexpected gifts for an unexpected year

When it comes to Valentine’s Day, or any occasion really, I much prefer unexpected gifts.

There’s something intrinsically enticing about an unexpected gift. Butterflies of anticipation dancing through curious fingers. A flickering trail of desire urging you to discover what lies within. Then that tiny frisson of delight sparked by an elusive something that you didn’t know that you wanted, or needed.

A gift shouldn’t be ordinary. We’d like to help, so here are our ideas for unexpected (and sustainable) gifts this year, for Valentine’s day, and perhaps even every other day.

All of the products on our website are made in the the UK or Ireland by sustainable makers.

1. House Plants

House plants may seem like a predictable choice for the green thumbed, but you can take it one step further. Look around their collection. See what they don’t have. Keep an eye out for mentions of desired additions, and there you have it. A perfect present for leaf lovers.

We recommend Harriet’s Plants, grown sustainably in peat-free compost in her glasshouse in Lichfield, Staffordshire.

2. Things that set the mood

Chocolates, perfume and a silky little number are sure to get the attention of most women. Sure, they might seem like the predictable choice, but here’s what makes it unexpected. 


If you’re going to gift perfume, make it adventurous like a 4160 Tuesdays perfume – ones that to bring to mind happy times and interesting places, swooping you away into a whole new world.


For chocolate, we’d recommend a Bare Bones bar. Every single piece of delicious chocolate is carefully crafted through every step of the process.


As for a silky little number, perhaps something from the Helen Chatterton Textiles City on Cloth collection of map scarves. They scan old maps, create art, print each piece and finish every single one in Macclesfield. Buy here.

3. Pretty little wearables

Little tokens or mementoes are always appreciated. Something to remind one of a special day or moment.


Studio Red creates jewellery in silver with occasional use of semi-precious stones to add colour. All of her material is recycled and sustainable where possible.


Who doesn’t love a beautiful accessory that isn’t available just anywhere? Chloe Haywood’s millinery is as stylish as it is sustainable and award-winning. Also made from recycled and upcycled products. Buy here.


If a bag is more your speed, take a look at Been London. Everything is made by hand in a small studio in London. They trace their supply chain with a blockchain-based app and all packaging is done by a social enterprise training Londoners with learning disabilities.


If you’re looking for something more edgy and niche in sustainable fashion, you might want to explore the offerings of Titanic Denim. They will breathe new life, character and attitude into your favourite pair of jeans and even customise them to transform them into a wearable piece of art.

4. Something for Him

So much of Valentine’s Day is focused on women, but it goes both ways – everyone likes to be appreciated. Ladies and gentlemen, don’t forget about the men in your lives.

Simple yet classic

Good Joe make T-shirts for men. They’re anything but basic, with their cool designs and clean lines. More importantly, with every purchase they donate a shirt to someone in need. Buy here

Learn something

For someone who has everything, a course is often a really interesting gift. We recommend a woodwork course. There’s beginners courses in joinery run by Tom Trimmins or even this stool-making course by Nafisi Studio. For other courses, take a look here.


Sometimes the one thing we need is a complete reset, particularly during difficult seasons. Let’s face it, 2020 qualified. Massage, or similar therapy can be just the thing. Rory Lemonaid offers deeply relaxing yet energising treatments that will not just relax, but also treat and reset the body.

And finally.

Don’t forget to make the bed.

The nicest thing about winding down and relaxing is a freshly-made, welcoming bed at the end of the night. For beautiful luxury bedding, Ava Innes has got you covered. Buy here.

If you’re still on the hunt for something unique, and you’ve got an idea of what you’d like, you can simply search for it on our home page. Or browse through our directory to find something that suits you perfectly.