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One-of-a-kind gifts


Egglet bowl, by Glosters 

Confession time. I never used to be a huge fan of Easter. It just felt like another one of those occasions for anyone who celebrates it to do the same thing on repeat and we’re all sort of expected to join in and enjoy. Then suddenly, you wake up with a chocolate hangover come Easter Monday, regretting the seven cardboard boxes you’ve emptied over copious cups of tea and are left feeling somewhat deflated. 

I think, for me, it was easy to look upon the occasion with cynicism when I was trying to attempt mathematical acrobatics working out which family or friends I should/should not hastily buy eggs for, trying to curb the dog-mum panic that Chewy might find a Lindt bunny behind the garden shed before the minis do, or even just trying to work out whether I’m eating a dry hot cross bun because I enjoy them, or because I feel like I should. 

Yet, despite all of that, sometimes having these celebrations forced upon us, makes us stop to make time for fun (and goodness knows we need that at the moment). After some thought many years ago, I realised I’d have such a better time on these recurring dates if I wasn’t just going through the motions and doing the usual ‘same old stuff’ year after year, but instead embracing them as an opportunity to bring colour to grey, adding a touch of thoughtfulness and doing something a little less ordinary (I mean, if you can’t get creative on a day where the Easter Bunny is hopping around, when can you?).

So let’s explore some more innovative options. Some traditional retailers are starting to think outside the (egg)box but there’s still a huge opportunity for them to do things better, to maximise creativity and allow small businesses to shine brighter (I might have something up my sleeve on this front. Watch this space). Meanwhile, there are still some wonderful finds out there from some very clever UK independents who are going out of their way to make this Easter incredibly special. I’ve rounded up a number of these magical folk who have bought a touch of much-needed originality to the retail shelves.

On a day where you’re likely to be eating a little shedload more chocolate than usual, it’s nice to try something that’s truly surprising and original.

Now is the time for something wonderful like this gigantic vegan strawberry-shaped number (though it’s definitely not only vegans who’d enjoy it). Made by Melt, a family-owned independent chocolatier in Notting Hill, it’s designed to mimic the taste of freshly plucked wild strawberries with the creamy, indulgent texture of a black forest gateau — I’m surprised I didn’t see it in the V&A’s Fabergé exhibition, it’s that special.

Or how about little bunnies crafted with such detail they almost look real? (Your loved ones won’t know whether to stroke them or eat them.)

Chocolate bunny, by The Edible Museum

Believe it or not, it doesn’t have to be all about the chocolate either (sorry Harry). There are other alternatives that are just as wonderful — how about these little egg box succulents by The Florist’s Daughter? I know a few of my family who would actually rather these as a thoughtful Easter gift. The box includes six real ‘blown’ eggs, that are hand-painted and filled with sempervivum succulents that have been grown ‘free-range’ in the founder’s garden. I actually quite want these myself…

Succulent egg box, by The Florist’s Daughter

If you have little ones in your life, Easter can be an especially magical time. I don’t need much of an excuse to treat them, especially as this is the first year where things really feel like they’re starting to get back to normal for as long as we can remember, so there’s plenty to make up for. With such creative and imaginative touches courtesy of some innovative small businesses, there’s never been a better time to try and start the kind of traditions that can be practised for decades to come.

‘Easter egg hunt this way’ banner, by Happy Sunday Studio
Rabbit headdress, by Animalesque

No Easter weekend would be complete without trying to track down the Bunny’s trail of treats (even in my forties I’m just as eager to unscramble the cryptic clues). To make the smiles even wider, there are some icing-on-the-cake-touches to make this the hunt of a lifetime. How about the colourful sign above that can pop up in new locations, year after year? Or a fetching Wickle basket to house the treasure in (and would work rather well to cheer up the kitchen counter afterwards)? I love these as they’re ethically made in Ghana and no two are the same. And speaking of all things original, the eggs in the image below are made by Gåva Gifting and are designed to be thoughtfully filled and refilled with treats. I think they’re great as not only do they look beautiful, you can find some really personal treats to put inside that aren’t necessarily chocolate. They also make great presents for friends at work or someone you know who’s been through a tough time — a lovely little spring pick-me-up.

Bolga basket, by Wickle
Reuseable Easter Äggs by Gåva Gifting

It’s not just the kids that will be having all the fun. The Easter Bunny can deliver gin, too, haven’t you heard? This year Frank and I will be hosting an adult egg hunt with a boozy twist, which means he’ll be a lot more willing to get involved I should imagine. Lisa Angel, one of our first partners on notonthehighstreet, sold her car to fund her dream. Now she has two retail outlets, and a global distribution and it’s because she makes witty products like this one below. What’s better than a bottle of gin? Maybe in a mini egg martini perhaps?

‘Better than an Easter egg’ gin, by Lisa Angel
Bluebells, by Bloom Paper Flowers UK / Little Felt Boutique

Has anyone else noticed that hot cross buns have had a bit of a makeover recently? They can (forgive me for saying so) be a bit bland on their own, but hot cross crumpets? Now we’re talking. They’ve fast become my favourite Easter snack from the brilliant Crumpetorium and are available only as a limited edition so you’ll need to hurry before I eat them all.

Hot cross crumpets, by The Crumpetorium
Hot cross buns banner, by Indie And Eden Home

I don’t know about you, but looking at these fresh and imaginative ways to approach Easter has reignited my excitement. With a giant strawberry egg in hand, some special succulents and the promise of an egg hunt with my favourite tipple, I have a feeling it might just become one of the best occasions of them all.

If you need more inspiration, see my articles on Holly’s spring breakfast of hopeHolly loves…businesses that do good and how your shopping can change the world.

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