my thoughts on gift giving & a cruelty-free gift guide

Christmas Gift giving is a lovely thing in my perspective. 

It's a long-lasting tradition; some might say it's unnecessary spending and others relish in the season of giving and receiving. While I love buying things for my friends & family, I like to think I do this wisely. 

Firstly, the definition of gift is ' a thing given willingly to someone without payment, a present'. Taking that into consideration, there are a few common gift-giving fallacies that need to be stamped out;

It's not a gift if it isn't new, it's all about how much you spend & you only gift if you know you'll receive.

If you keep these in mind when deciding what to do for your near and dear & shop from the heart, the process will be less stressful, far more joyful & by far less selfless.


Shopping with a conscience is something I regularly practice & it's no different when on the hunt for Xmas gifts. I only buy cruelty-free items (products that aren't tested on animals), I like to buy sustainably or ethically made products where I can & even better when made in NZ and locally.
In my opinion, something handmade or DIY'd is even better, something I do every year. I upcycled an old wooden school chair for my niece last Xmas & it turned out fab.

However, if you need a bit of a helping hand on where to start in the world of cruelty-free gift giving, I have some of my favourite things listed below. Happy shopping!


GoBamboo Bamboo Toothbrush $4.50 each
I have used these for a little over three years now & wouldn't go back! They are a biodegradable, sustainable alternative to everyday, disposable, plastic toothbrushes.

Loving Earth Chocolate $6.30 +
These guys do an awesome selection of vegan chocolate and treats, but the blocks are my favourite. They use organic, fair-trade ingredients to create flavours like creamy coconut mylk, lemon cheesecake, raspberry & salted caramel. Ya can't go wrong here. Unless they don't like chocolate of course.

Matt & Nat Coin Wallet $79
Matt & Nat are a premium vegan leather goods brand that I love. They even use 100% recycled plastic bottles to make the linings for all of their bags. I own the Lawrence backpack in black & I don't leave the house without it. A rad accessory to throw inside is this coin holder, it has a key chain attached too & could also be used to hold ear phones or other bits and pieces that get lost in the bottom of your bag or briefcase.

Good For Store Voucher $50
If you have a foodie in the family, this place is your go-to. Good For exists for the sole purpose to help aid in the clean up of our beautiful planet. They make sustainable shopping a lot easier for the everyday consumer by creating a plastic-free shopping experience that allows you to fill your pantry without all the wasteful packaging that comes with it. A bulk bin haven if you will. 
They can shop in store or buy online. I do recommend visiting the store if you can. I take my basket and jars and wander the aisles browsing the sweet treats. Highly addictive.


My New Roots cookbook by Sarah Britton $32.99
If you've seen my Instagram you would have seen me posting about the Life Changing Loaf. If you haven't, this book is where it came from. My New Roots is my go-to for creating plant-based recipes. It's the ultimate guide to cooking with vegetables and eating with the seasons. Plus, the imagery is impeccable. One for the foodies that's for sure.

Linda McCartney, Life In Photographs by Alison Castle $51.95
Linda McCartney was known as many things; a vegetarian, a passionate animal rights campaigner and most well-known as the wife of Sir Paul McCartney. She also had an incredible talent for taking photos & documenting moments. I was gifted this book by my mum a few years ago, and it's one of may favourites. You don't have to understand photography to look through this book. It's jammed with images of her children, life with her husband and The Beetles and candid family moments.

Spathiphyllum AKA Peace Lily $19
If you are indeed stuck on what to gift, a peace lily is a beautiful idea. A good friend of mine gifted me one for my birthday, and I've managed to keep it growing since. They are hardy little plants that love well-lit, warm spots. They also help with cleaning the air by breaking down toxic gases. Impressive.

Triumph & Disaster Rock & Roll Suicide Face Scrub $45
An all time favourite between Jay and I. A face scrub combining volcanic ash and green clay for a deep down exfoliation. Does the job and does it well. This one's good for all.

Storm & India Tea, Coconut Chai $50
Tea is a universal gift, especially when it looks as beautiful and stylish as this one. They come in a bespoke steel tin, wrapped in their sleek, clean packaging, made to be admired that's for sure. Storm & India use organic tea, herbs and botanicals that smell incredible. This one contains flavours of toasted coconut, ginger and cinnamon, perfect for the holiday season too.

Together Journal Subscription $30 Christmas Special, normally $50
My favourite guide for all things wedding. I love this journal (being a photographer it's a given). There are so many beautiful images and ideas to inspire. Together Journal brings a fresh new concept in niche global wedding and lifestyle magazines, celebrating creative and authentic real weddings, celebrations and love from all over the world. They also feature a gorgeous blend of food, fashion, beauty, flora, travel and design. So if you're gifting for a soon to be bride or groom, this one's a no-brainer.

Bailey Nelson Glasses Prices vary
A new and unique concept in eyewear. These guys are affordable, immaculately designed and make things simple. I own a pair myself so I can vouch for these guys 100%. 


Triumph & Disaster Fibre Royale $45
Jay loves this stuff. Best yet apparently so I had to include it in the list. It's a wax-based formula, infused with T&D’s bespoke fragrance named Santa Monica. Derived from the emotionally calming ‘Ho wood’ bark, mixed with cold pressed orange rind and pine needle. It delivers a strong hold and is ideal for those with a fuller, thicker head of hair. Jay has an abundance, so it's ideal. It also contains Kawakawa which treats the scalp. Wicked.

Towelling It Large Beach Towel $45
Have a man in your life that's too tall for a regular towel? These babies are 2m x 1m! They're made using 100% cotton and eco-friendly dyes. If your'e in NZ, you can make the most of free shipping too! 

Piha Beer $9.50 each
Not that girls don't dig a beer, I know I certainly do, but this option is a tried and true gift that'll make it easy for you. These guys are fairly new kids on the block but stand up to their competition. With names like Pohutukawa Ale & Party Wave IPA, why wouldn't you grab a few coldies?


Curionoir Fragrance $40 +

My new favourite scent is Diaphanous from Curionoir. With notes of Mandarin, Sambac Jasmine, Saffron, Narcissus Absolute, Cayenne Pepper and Amber. It's inspired by the bewildering moment of clarity. I have the little pocket size that I use every day. Aside from the perfume and it's dreamy scent, the backstory is just as wonderful.

'Tiffany Jeans, Curionoir creator, has lived a unique life. Born into a family of strong, creative women, and an uncle she believed was a warrior, she grew up immersed in Maori culture. Her memories are of taonga celebrated for their simplicity as much as their complexity, and the discovery of a rich heritage that looked beyond the mundane.

In Tiffany’s products, you will find a celebration of fine craft, the uncommon, and days of old. Experiencing them, you may share in her wonder at the beauty of biology. And through them Tiffany’s heritage is passed on, her gift to you: Curionoir.'

Vintage Champagne Glasses
I love trawling second hand or antique shops to find new additions to my kitchen. A favourite is vintage champagne glasses. I have a set of 4 that are decorated with tiny little etchings. It's something unique and special to gift to someone that likes an eclectic element to their home. A grand bottle of Perrier Jouet on the side wouldn't go amiss either!

Bergamot & Neroli Soy & Coconut Candle by Handmade & Homemade $15 +
Everyone loves candles right? This one's no exception. It has notes of citrus fruits and bergamot with a herbal heart of fresh green verbena and rosemary. Finished with warm base notes of wood and musk. Simple & gorgeous. Plus, they are made with a mix of soy wax and coconut oil for a long lasting burn time. Handmade in New Zealand too!

Girl Undiscovered Under The waterfall Crystal Cleansing Water $42
This is a gift made with care, intention, love and beautiful ingredients. Organic, ethical and sustainable. Wake your day up, close your day down. This cleanser contains two powerful crystals, rose quartz and citrine to create positive energy plus Thanaka 8 Extract, wild island kanuka honey and Balinese virgin coconut oil. It's a 3 in 1 performer, cleansing, purifying and rebalancing with water sourced from depths of 160 metres, untouched from the outside world. Sounds idyllic huh?

Flower Subscription $47 +
I think this one is such a lovely idea. Maybe you know someone that works from home that could use a regular dose of happiness, or maybe you want to treat a new mum to a floral gift. You can customise your delivery times and subscription so suit your budget and flowers vary every delivery.

The Foxes Den Custom Made Bed Linen Prices vary
I love linen. The look, the feel and it's versatility. The Foxes Den make custom-made pieces to suit your style and colour. How great is that? I love their brand ethos too. They commit to using eco-friendly packaging where possible and focus on supplying ethical handmade items sourced from artisans in all areas of the craft.