With all of my family living down south I love to show off about how amazing life is in the North East and am frequently telling them about our amazing local businesses, shops and food. Christmas is the ultimate time to share some North East goodies with family and friends and, where I can, I like to give people local gifts for Christmas (that'll explain why we always head down south with a boot full of stotties!)
Fat Hippo Christmas Jumper
Christmas Jumpers are huge again this year and there are plenty to choose from on the high street but why not go for a local special with a Fat Hippo Christmas Jumper. Created by Newcastle's favourite burger restaurant, the jumpers are seriously festive and will certainly be a talking point. Costing £15 for adult jumpers and £10 for kids, get your Fat Hippo Christmas Jumper here.
Photo taken from Fat Hippo Facebook Page
It's no secret that I'm a big fan of the Brownie Bar. Serving up some of the best brownies in the Toon from their little space in Eldon Garden, they also sell the brilliant "make your own brownie" jars that contain everything you need to recreate the magic at home. A great present for anyone with a sweet tooth
Ringtons are one of my favourite local businesses, making not only amazing tea but also my very favourite biscuits for dunking (the Hand Baked Ginger Snaps in case you were wondering!). They have a huge range of Christmas gifts available including hampers filled with biscuits, build your own tea sets, gift boxes and hot chocolate tins. I'd be buzzing if Santa left me some Ringtons goodies under the tree!
I am the biggest fan of Geordie Gifts who are the cheekiest chaps in the Toon with their range of fantastic local inspired gifts. There are plenty of hilarious mugs, coasters and tote bags to choose from and you can even customise some of their gifts for that special someone. They customised this awesome print for our wedding and it's now proudly displayed in our lounge. They also have a great range of Newcastle photographs taken by my lovely photographer friend Mandy Charlton which would make such beautiful gifts.
Blackfriars Cooking Experience
I have to say that I'm a big fan of organising surprise experiences as gifts, it's a really kind and thoughtful treat and super easy to wrap! Blackfriars Restaurant in Newcastle have a great range of workshops that would make the perfect gift for the budding chef in your family. Bread Making for Beginners, Chocolate Workshops and Cooking for Beginners are just some of the courses they have on offer.
B Charmd Jewellery
B Charmd sell the most beautiful jewellery from their pretty boutique in Newcastle's Central Arcade. The special designs make their jewellery a unique gift for your Mam, sister or girlfriend and not buying off the high street means you'll find an original present that will be loved for many years to come.
Turbo Ventures Gift Vouchers
One of the very best presents I have ever given Simon was a morning of Archery at Matfen with Turbo Ventures, I've honestly never seen him so happy. If you know someone who loves a great adventure then Turbo Ventures have a great range of experience vouchers that will make fantastic Christmas gifts. Tank Driving, Paintballing and Quad Biking they have the perfect gift for the thrill seeker in your life.
Blind Date Books at The Biscuit Factory
Instead of battling your way round the Metrocentre doing your Christmas shopping why not try somewhere a little different to buy your gifts. The gift shop at the Biscuit Factory has some fantastic treats for stationery lovers and book worms including "Blind Date" books. You can't judge the book by its cover with each book already beautifully wrapped for Christmas. With only a hint on the gift tag as to what its contents may contain, it's the perfect gift idea for anyone who loves to discover new authors.
Beer from the Wylam Brewery
Know someone who loves beer? Why not gift them with a crate of mixed beers brewed in Newcastle at the Wylam Brewery? The perfect gift when you're visiting family outside the North East, chances are they'll be planning a visit to the North East to restock at the first opportunity.
Fenwick's Food Hamper
I've definitely now got to the age where I'd be pretty thrilled if someone gave me a food hamper for Christmas, especially if it was a Fenwick's Food Hamper. Prices start at £80 for the Classic and go up to £500 for the Celebration. You can expect loads of luxury local produce and specially chosen drinks in each hamper and if you'd prefer to put something together yourself there's the option of creating a bespoke hamper selecting your own goodies from the Food Hall.
Ouseburn Coffee Subscription
Many coffee lovers in Newcastle will tell you that Ouesburn create the very best coffee, making it a great Christmas gift for anyone who can't function without their coffee hit. The OCC 3 month subscription is a great gift with a difference, giving your loved one coffee direct to their door.
The Newcastle Cookbook
You can find this great little book on sale in a number of restaurants and eateries in Newcastle. It's perfect for those that love Geordie scran and want to recreate some of their favourite dishes at home. Featuring recipies from local favourites like Cake Stories, Quilliam Brothers and River Beat, I can't guarantee they'll taste as great as the originals but hey you can give it a go!
Grainger Market Gifts
Don't forget about Grainger Market when you're out and about doing your Christmas shopping this year. There are loads of local businesses to be found in the market including bath bombs from Bathtime Boutique, makeup and perfume from Ellen's Cosmetics and accessories from Madame Butterfly.
Geordie Dates Jar
A gift that money simply can't buy, your very own personalised Geordie Dates Jar for your loved one. So easy to make, write 12 date night ideas, one for each month of the year and hide them in the jar ready to be picked out month by month. Dates can be as simple as a romantic walk along your favourite bit of coastline, as silly as alpaca walking in Northumberland or as fancy as an overnight stay in your favourite hotel. For some inspiration why not check out my guide to the most romantic dates in the North East.
Whatever you're doing this Christmas time, don't forget to support our fantastic local community here in the North East. We are so lucky to have so many great businesses on our doorstep, producing the very best gifts for your friends and family.