Unusual gift ideas

I’ve always been a fan of imaginative gifts, often turning to websites such as this one. I have also recently got really into the idea of making gifts myself or buying them from charity shops. This is partly for financial reasons but also because I genuinely think people do appreciate it. My sister Emma writes an amazing blog about charity shopping and my friend Claire is fabulous at giving interesting gifts. I’m so proud that she wrote a blog post about a gift I gave to her- a bottle of elderflower champagne

You may notice from Claire’s blog post though, that whilst the gift was well thought out and crafted by my own fair hands, it was in a crap bottle. I’d given it to her in an old pop bottle because I didn’t have any pretty glass ones, so she’d decanted it into a nice bottle herself. 

I’ve been putting some thought into this recently. Whilst I love my handmade gifts, and hopefully the recipients do too, I think I may come across a little thoughtless by failing to put them in a nice container. So all this is about to change with my next handmade gift. I’ve had an idea that can only be described as a stroke of genius! 

At the end of our garden, there is a nature reserve that is completely overgrown and not cultivated or cut back in any way. As a result, there are some brambles that tend to hang over to our garden a bit. I realised a few days ago that we were going to have some blackberries on the brambles, so this evening I asked my husband to pick up some cooking apples and went down the garden to collect blackberries for a crumble. Rather surprisingly, they are the best blackberries I’ve ever seen, anywhere. 

True to my word, these will be going into the crumble, but I have grander plans for the next load that I pick. Around 300 grams of blackberries and 350 grams of sugar added to 1.5 litres of vodka and shaken every day, until the sugar dissolves, will make fantastic flavoured vodka. The difficult bit will be leaving it alone for a further 3 months whilst it matures. And then comes my secret weapon… a fabulous container to put it in before giving it as a gift. And I really think that I’ve found the ultimate in imaginative containers. 

No, this isn’t an error, I haven’t accidentally put in a photo of a walkman. This is, in fact, a hip flask. Not only is it perfect for any retro fan, it’s the ideal container for me to decant my blackberry vodka into. You just take off the lid (volume control button) and pour in your chosen tipple. It’s perfect for cold winter days, ideal for fitting into a handbag or a jacket pocket and the finishing touch to my blackberry vodka gift. Now the only question is, will I be able to bring myself to give it away?! 
This post was not sponsored but I was sent one of these amazing hip flasks to review on my blog. Blackberries, vodka recipes and other handmade gift ideas are all mine (with a little help from my friends!). 



  1. Emma Schwarz
    August 13, 2013 / 8:01 pm

    Thank you for including me in your post, and what a lovely post it is! I hope you have me for Secret Santa this year 😉 Love the hip flask too, very retro!

    • Natalie Ray
      August 13, 2013 / 8:34 pm

      No problem Em! I might be controversial and not do secret santa this year! I think I’d manage to do pressies for everyone for less money if I make them / buy them from charity shops 😉

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