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There are a few different methods to effectively prepare your bags for retail. Here’s a list of them to help you get your products ready to sell. Once you've designed your printed bag, these are the steps to follow.

Adding accessories and decoration to your products will instantly boost the appeal of your product on the shelves. It will distinguishing it from all the other products and make the price much more attractive to potential buyers. It will also show that you care about the product you’re selling. Standards of presentation have risen sharply in the past few years and attention to detail is becoming more and more important when positioning your product, whether it’s online or in a retail store. To finish your bag you can add stickers, pin badges or include a little gift inside the bag. You can also write personalised notes to your customers thanking them for their business, or include marketing materials advertising your products.

In the age of social media, photography is the single most important way you can promote your products. Mobile phones are now more capable than ever of taking beautiful photos, and photographing your products has never been easier. Be sure to check our Pinterest and Instagram for ideas of how to take pictures of your bags, or simply take your products outside and position them somewhere nice. You can create a studio like look by simply using background paper, and grabbing any white lights you have around the house. Natural light will also work.

It’s a chance for you to get creative and communicate that your brand knows how to present itself beautifully. There’s no harm in trying to photograph your bags- doing a trial and error approach is the best way if you don’t know what your doing. Try to have a good mix of studio shots as well as outside or in a natural setting. You can also create a hashtag which your customers can use to share their own photos of them using your products, this interaction is a fantastic way of building brand loyalty and creating a sense of community!

How you package your bags before they are sent to customers, or sold in your retail store is as important as any other interaction. Branded envelopes and boxes, tape, tissue paper, stickers. They are all things to take into consideration when you are deciding how to package your products. How your brand is acknowledged is based on many different factors, packaging being one of them.

Depending on what you’re selling, your customers will appreciate the little things, this may including stickers with the order or having the item wrapped in tissue paper. Look at your competitors and see how they approach packaging their products- and then try and outdo them! It can be as simple as writing a handwritten message. Consumers like to feel special, and this way they will also build a relationship with your brand.

Polybags are a convenient way of keeping your products in good condition between manufacture and point of sale, but as an eco friendly company, we do not like to endorse this approach. If you need to put tote bags inside plastic bags for retail, we recommend sourcing a recyclable, or even better, biodegradable clear bag. There are bags available that are made only with natural ingredients, but can often carry a price premium. We think the premium you pay for a biodegradable polybag is worth it as it can be used as a selling point, and most customers who are environmentally conscious will appreciate you being mindful of the footprint of your product. We cannot emphasise enough the importance of packaging your cotton bags responsibly. Perceptions are changing rapidly about using product packaging that’s not environmentally friendly.

Swing tickets, otherwise known as hand tags are found on most clothing items and give the product authenticity as well as being useful for barcoding purposes. It’s also another chance to promote your brand. Your choice to use swing tickets will depend on whether you already use them for other products and if it is in your budget. The most basic swing tickets available are simply white rectangle cards with a punched hole that can be attached to the tote bags with a plastic kimble. More elaborate tickets are available with an endless amount of options available for card types, colour, printing options and attachment options. Our favourite cards are made from brown recycled card and can be attached with twine, and give a natural look that’s eco-friendly.

Offering a gift wrap service is a great way to stay ahead of the competition. If your products can be given as gifts, many individuals would rather pay for gift wrap rather than faffing about and having to wrap the present themselves. You can keep the style simple or offer different styles and colours of paper and ribbon.

Not sure which bags to choose? Here's a blog that might help you pick!

New Product Alert!

The Luxe range is here to bring a little bit of luxury to your life.

Made from high quality heavyweight cotton canvas, the Luxe range features new designs that we have not yet seen at Doodle Bag.

The Luxe range is designed to be fashionable and practical. Created for specific uses, Our Luxe products are a cut above and will fill the gap for tasks other tote bags just cannot perform. The range of product will allow you to use sustainable cotton bags in ways you hadn't thought of before.

a man holding a plain Weekender Bag on a white background

Weekender Bag

The Weekender Bag is a high-quality weekend bag. Featuring contrasting black accents gives the large luggage bag a chic look. The Weekender bag is ideal as a holdall bag, as airport hand luggage or gym bag. With a zip top closure and detachable shoulder strap it is the perfect weekend holdall.

a man holding a plain messenger bag on a white background

Canvas Messenger Bag

The Canvas Messenger Bag is a great school or work bag. With a classic satchel design, it is ideal for carrying books, folders, or laptops. With magnetic closures and an internal zip pocket your valuables will be kept secure and separate and all your belongings will remain safe.

a woman holding a Large Contrast Jute Shopper on a white background

Premium Jute Shoppers

We would also like to welcome our two new luxe Jute Bags the Large Premium Jute Shopper and the Small Premium Jute Shopper. Measuring 40cm X 40cm and 36cm X 34cm both featuring a generous all-round gusset adding extra volume to fit all your shopping and groceries. The Jute with waterproof and wipeable lining makes it a hard-wearing bag and the chic contrast edging and webbed handles with metal rivets offer a modern touch while adding the sturdiness and functionality of the product.

a Cross-Body-Shopper_ in Black  on a white background

Luxury Cross Body Shopper

The Luxury Cross Body Shopper is another great bag for work or school, with the thick webbed adjustable shoulder strap and metal rivets, it is comfy to carry and sturdy no matter how heavy your laptop or schoolbooks are! This bag also features a shorter webbed carrying handle depending on how you want to carry it. The magnetic top closure also ensures to keep your belongings safe.

a man holding the cross body shopper on a white background

Canvas Backpack Shopper

Finally, a pretty cool addition to our luxe collection is our Canvas Backpack Shopper. Made from the same high-quality thick cotton canvas as the rest of our luxe range the Backpack Shopper offers both style and versatility. Doubling up as both a Shopper Bag and then by adjusting the handles transforming into a sleek rucksack this bag is great as it can be used for shopping and groceries as well as a school rucksack or sports bag.

Changing Tides

There is a rise in the number of brands and retailers embracing a more sustainable approach to their business processes. The shift comes with policy makers and governments stepping up to improve environmental targets. Last year we saw talks from the government to ban on plastic straws and cotton buds, a fee on coffee cups. This adds to the bag tax which came into effect in October 2015.

American Express

Among the high street brands who are changing their products and business procedures is American Express. They have partnered with Parley to create the world’s first credit card made from upcycled marine plastic waste collected from our oceans. The aim of the collaboration is to raise awareness and offer a solution to the growing marine plastic problem. This is while strengthening Amex’s sustainable commitments as a wider company. Like the government, American Express are waging war on single-use plastics by committing to a number of waste-reduction strategies. Also, by reducing carbon emissions, switching to renewable energy, and aiming for zero-waste certification for its headquarters by 2025.

Asos

Asos is another retailer looking to change. As of January 2019, they no longer stocked products made from; silk, feathers and down, bone, teeth or shell, cashmere and mohair. This announcement came as part of a realignment in its animal welfare policy, which now ensures market suppliers are in line with the asos.com own-brand policy. Asos were also the first company in the UK to ban Angora, showing a willingness to react quickly to shifts in consumer perception and demand. In June of 2019 they also launched their responsible edit. Adding a responsible filter to their website allows customers to browse clothing made from recycled materials, organic materials and responsibly sourced fibres.

Lush

Not being content in producing hand and ethically made products with a low environmental impact, Lush launched it’s first ‘naked’ shop in Milan in 2018 followed by its second in Berlin later that year and a third in Manchester in early 2019. The shop sells lush products without packaging. Lush hopes the store will raise awareness of the effect of single-use plastic on ocean life and starting a discussion on how we can tackle this global issue as consumers. Over 40% of Lush's product range is already completely packaging-free. It is an industry leader in innovation around removing single-use plastic and packaging from cosmetics products.

Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Yes, we know it’s not really what would normally considered a business however the 2020 Olympic committee have really stepped up their game and made big changes to create a more sustainable event. Uniforms worn by torch bearers, volunteers and other staff will be made from recycled plastic Coca Cola bottles. Medals will be produced from precious metals from recycled technology, and materials to create infrastructure will be dismantled and returned or reused following the games. With this alongside renewable energy to power with the goal of a carbon neutral games and Toyota designing a range of zero-emission vehicles for transporting athletes and spectators around the Olympic parks. The Tokyo Olympic committee have set themselves as sustainability pioneers for future Olympic events.

It’s great that big name players and leading brands are changing their ways. However, is this greener way of thinking just for publicity? Maybe these brands do care about our planet and the people that live on it.

Or have they sensed the shift in consumers conscience and rather than risk irrelevance, are working to become more sustainable? A clever marketing ploy to dupe the consumer into buying their ‘ethically packaged products’. Despite having no evidence or audit to back up their claims. Greenwashing is term used to describe companies which grossly overstate the environmental or ethical benefits of their products and services. It has become more and more common for companies to do this as ethical and sustainable business demand has increased.

But do you as a consumer really mind? The focus should be on the environment and as long as it is being looked after, does it matter where the brands allegiance really lies?

Sharpies at the ready! Kids get creative with Doodle Bags

We recently donated some unprinted bags to Birchensale Middle School for an activity day they held...Oliver Cooke the Year 5 teacher tells us more.

Why did you need bags and what did you use them for?

On the 19th of July I organised and held an event in which the children participated in several activities of their choice. One of the activities was tote bag design in which the children used sharpies to design their very own bags. Your kind donation ensure that each child that chose this activity had a bag of their own which they could take home and show off. The bags were of incredible quality and didn’t smudge or fray as many of these type of bags often do.

Illustrator Spotlight - Sophie Of Bread

Here at Doodle Bag we have a core client base of creative and passionate individuals that run their own businesses by selling their own work online. One of those customers is Sophie Lloyd, an illustrator who celebrates feminist icons through her work.

We caught up with Sophie to get to know her a little better and find out what she's been up to recently.

Who is Soph Of Bread?

It’s just me, Sophie Lloyd!

I did a degree in Fine Art at Birmingham City University, but my lecturers told me I wasn’t a “drawer,” I was a photographer and that’s what I should do to be successful. It was only after I graduated in 2013 and could finally focus on making the kind of art I enjoyed that I started drawing seriously. My first attempts were terrible as I hadn’t drawn in so long, and it was another two years before I created anything I was proud of and felt was worth putting out there. I decided to try digital drawing as I followed a lot of other illustrators on Instagram and loved the bright, bold colours and strong lines. It was then that I really started to develop my own style and felt brave enough to apply for exhibitions and open my own Etsy store.

I recently quit my job in marketing to focus on freelance writing and illustration full-time, so hopefully I’ll still be doing this! For the last few years my focus has been on celebrating feminist icons from history and pop culture, but I’ve recently decided to start going in a new direction with my artwork. I’m hoping to incorporate more mythical and classical female figures that receive less exposure alongside my more modern heroines, so watch this space!

Most people like my Frida Kahlo design, but the one I’m most proud of is my Tracey Emin. It took forever and it was the first thing I ever sold in an exhibition. Not to mention she’s one of the more obscure figures I’ve drawn, so the fact that people recognise her is a big compliment.

Other female digital illustrators, in particular Lauren Callaghan, Louisa Cannell and Robin Eisenberg. I follow so many female artists on Instagram and every time they post I’m inspired. I also love 60s pop artists Kiki Kogelnik, Majorie Strider and Evelyne Axell, and obviously the women I recreate in my work are a big influence at the moment.

Any advice for emerging illustrators out there?

Well, I still class myself as emerging, but if anyone asked me for advice on this industry I’d tell them to keep trying. I have lots of friends who are immensely talented artists and illustrators, and we’ve all been knocked back tons of times. For every single success you can guarantee tons of rejections. It’s hard to not get down on yourself but it does make you appreciate the successes more!

Where do you sell your products?

Mainly on Etsy, but also craft fairs. My next one is at the Waterside Centre in Lincoln on 9th June which I’m excited about!

Doodle Bag now stock our most popular bag styles in certified Organic & Fairtrade cotton. Made from 100% organic & Fair Cotton they are food safe and vegan friendly.

Organic cotton is grown without pesticides, herbicides, fertilisers and any other synthetic products. An organic cotton bag is grown in the most environmentally friendly way possible. And at each stage of the growing process the environmental impact is assessed and then reduced.

Where Organic is about the product, Fairtrade is about the people.

The range of bags are made from Fairtrade Certified Cotton and carry the Fairtrade Cotton Mark. For a cotton tote bag to carry the Fairtrade certification mark, the cotton farmers must meet Fairtrade Standards. From the growing and processing of the cotton to the manufacturing of the bag, all areas have to be compliant to meet the Fairtrade Standard for cotton.

Cotton is the world’s oldest commercial crop and one of the most important fibre crops in the global textile industry.

By purchasing a 100% Organic and Fairtrade cotton bag you are buying the most ethically sound product available with the assurance that it was created in such a way that benefited the people that made it, and did not have a negative impact on the environment.

the fairtrade Logo

Why is Fairtrade important?

Fairtrade cotton was launched to put the spotlight on cotton farmers who are often left invisible, neglected and poor at the end of the cotton supply chain. Through tools like the Fairtrade Minimum Price and an additional Fairtrade Premium and stronger, more democratic organisations, Fairtrade has been instrumental in providing these farmers with a route to trade and higher, more stable incomes.

Fairtrade ensures fair prices, living wages and community benefits for farmers, workers and their families in developing countries. Fairtrade works in partnership with farmers to empower them, and produce raw ingredients with fairer prices, betters terms of trading, as well as additional funds for business and community development. Education, health care and environmental sustainability all benefit from Fairtrade, and workers benefit from improved, humane working conditions.

The GOTS Logo (Global organic textile standard)

Why is Organic important?

Organic cotton is grown in a way that uses methods and materials that lessen the impact on our environment. One of the main undertakings in the organic movement is to use growing systems that replenish and maintain soil fertility and build biologically diverse agriculture. Organic cotton uses far less water too.

The main benefit of organic materials, however, is that the crops aren’t treated with pesticides, insecticides, herbicides and Genetically Modified Organisms. These toxins are harmful for farmers and workers, us as consumers, and entire wildlife eco-systems.

Less than one percent of all cotton grown is organic. However this number is growing, with high street retailers introducing collections made from organic cotton and consumers becoming more and more aware of the need to purchase sustainably sourced products and finding brands that match these requirements.

Doodle Bag are committed to only providing sustainably sourced and ethically made products. We work closely with our partner factories in India to ensure they remain compliant with our strict set of requirements. Supporting the workers that make our bags and lowering our environmental impact are at the forefront of everything we do.

Here at Doodle Bag, creativity is widely encouraged. Without artistic souls, our cotton tote bags would be plain and boring!

Today we talk to Oliver Lancaster Smith: an accomplished illustrator, designer and artist from Huddersfield who works in a wide range of styles and media. Since graduating with a first in Graphic Media Communication he has been creating artwork for a selection of high profile clients and has shown his work in exhibitions across the globe. His portfolio includes design, art, murals, events, workshops and consultation.

Oliver likes to experiment with two levels of complexity. His infamous work is known for ‘lo-fi’ bold graphic prints, whereas the other side of his work includes pieces that are very intricate. Over the years, his distinctive graphic designs have made their way onto screen-printed apparel including T-shirts for Not Guilty and even music duo Rizzle Kicks T-shirts in 2012. You may have seen his work make public appearances in the form of event posters and graffiti-style wall murals, too.

We talked to Ollie about his work, influences and experiences.

Oliver Lancaster

Wall mural at Ox and Bone

Hi Ollie! Hows life treating you in the North? What have you been up to recently?

Hello Doodle Bag! Life is pretty great up North, I recently moved into a great studio in Huddersfield with a large number of highly talented individuals - so that has been a really inspiring kick start to my work this year. I work with a company called CACA UK in China who provide Art and Design college education so that has been very rewarding and interesting work, through which I have been able to meet some very knowledgeable educators and some lovely and skilled young adults beginning their higher education.

Other recent projects in the last two weeks have included creating an exhibition catalogue and promotional materials for textile artist Kate Whitehead's forthcoming show in London, which was a pleasure and I think a great result. I have also been creating a T-Shirt design for the Huddersfield Literature Festival and of course some more corporate work for larger companies. Along with my Art and Design work I enjoy running live music events.

 

Your work is inspired by the everyday; particularly with regards to youth culture. What is it about youth culture that interests you?

It's usually the most vibrant, quick changing, reactive, subversive... I think that a great deal of the most progressive creatives through history have rightly recognised this and embraced alongside nurturing these cultures.... also I'm not that old yet! They can be more inclusive and far less pretentious, I am also really interested and motivated by all-encompassing subcultures that have their own fashion, music, design, sports, style ...language.

 

The more intricate pieces that you create are thought to recreate the complex thought structure and wide range of emotions/experiences in daily life. Does the theme of your work change with how you are feeling on that day?

Of course, even during my process of creating the piece... Although many of the pieces you are referring to are created over several sessions, sometimes even over large periods of times. However this only adds to the overall effect in my opinion - thinking, daydreams, the way the brain works is not simple - trying to pin down 'what you are thinking about' is such a huge challenge and so I aim to translate the complexity of all the differing thoughts, memories, opinions into a visual piece that describes that chaos. Some ideas are seen more clearly, some are half thoughts, some become so obstructed to become nonsense. Much of the individual 'components' are changed and subverted until they take on an entirely different meaning by the completion of the piece.

 

Within this work the audience can see ‘parts of the whole’ and uncover parts of the overall story. The content can be quite ‘random’ – how do you find fresh inspiration for all the tiny parts of your work?

As I mentioned thoughts, daydreams and opinions are in there... many taken from my mood at the time, or reaction to current affairs or even overheard conversation. Another is music which is a constant and extremely important part of my life, half a lyric, a misspelled song title etc. Experience in the world is important rather than me just having an overactive imagination - which can at times be hard to cultivate, on purpose. Instead travel, events, shared experiences devouring media, literature etc are all fed through and out into my work.

 

Your graphic work often includes people – do you have any muses?

Yes, my girlfriend has been a constant muse in my work, and has had to put up with me sometimes directing her to do quick shoots; however as a part time model she is quite used to it by now! In this digital age with such access to literally millions of pictures it is really useful to also be able to see an image that catches my eye, a face, the shape of someones body or something of this nature and be able to make a quick design - often quite quick, inaccurate or a poor rendering of the original - but the idea is there, and everything eventually feeds into my work. There are some really talented portrait photographers and models on instagram who have helped my work.

 

You are always changing it up with new projects. What have been the most fun to be a part of?

That's quite a tough question! The reason I like to change methods, style, material is because I like to experience the different aspects that make them fun. A very quickly done piece that captures the brief in a few strokes of a pen and is finished in a rough way can be really enjoyable and cathartic - but in the opposite way, a piece which needs to go from concept sketch through numerous iterations and changes, with input from many people and finally becomes a polished piece is enjoyable in a totally different way, rewarding that the work put in has come to fruition. I guess now, what is most enjoyable to me is working with a client or collaborator who is totally open - inventive, creative, laterally minded. So there is no restriction as to where the project will go and we can both work together to create something really interesting that is not the obvious result.

 

Your work would look great on shopping bags. Would you ever consider setting up shop?

Yes is the short answer, I have a project which we have been working on for a while but will be launching in the near future - it is more product based and will feature myself and Nadia's work across a range of fashion and products. That's all I can tell you for now, but you can follow me on Instagram to hear about it when it launches!

Thanks for chatting with us, Ollie.

 

See Olivers work and upcoming projects at:

https://www.oliverlancaster.co.uk 

https://www.instagram.com/oliverlancaster/

https://www.facebook.com/OliverLancaster/

 

 

10 Best Vegan Recipes

We’ve got a couple of vegans here at Doodle Bag which has inspired us to put together a list of our favourite tried and tested recipes, from Breakfast, lunch/dinner to dessert, they’ll be something to suit even the pickiest of taste buds.

Breakfast

pancake on a plate with bananas ontop

1. Vegan Pancakes

With pancake day just around the corner, here's the perfect pancake recipe so you don't have to miss out on the fun.

Our verdict: Fluffy and thick. These pancakes are super easy to make and taste delicious. If you want them a little lighter just adjust the amount of liquid in them in order to get a thinner batter. If you want them to be less sweet just omit the sugar from the recipe completely. Top with the classics, lemon and sugar or be adventurous and top with a savoury delight of wilted spinach, leeks and mushrooms.

a glass bowl of hash and peas

2. Pea & Potato Hash

Liven up breakfast with this healthy weekend alternative of black eyed pea & sweet potato hash. Serve with toast and get all your friends round for brunch.

a white bowl of Braised Chickpeas

3. Braised Chickpeas

A warming hearty meal that will satisfy even the biggest of appetites. These braised chickpeas are one of our favourites, a one pot delight, served with a baked sweet potato and coriander garnish. If you want to make it a little lighter, substitute some of the coconut milk with water.

Dinner

a glass jar of pesto with a knife sticking out of it

4. Pesto

A lighter healthier take on traditional Pesto, this Pistou pairs perfectly with whole-wheat spaghetti and garlic fried greens and mushrooms. Just replace the parmesan with vegan parmesan for a fully vegan alternative. You can also use as a sandwich spread or a dip for crudit

a pot of Daal on an intricate table cloth

5. Daal

You can’t go wrong with Daal, perfect as a side or served with chapatti’s, its a one bowl wonder. Don’t let the different types of lentils overwhelm you. This simple Tarka Daal recipe is a good place to start if you’re new to lentils. This particular recipe calls for garam masala, I’m not a big fan of it but if you can get a good quality one it does make a difference depending on how strong you want the flavour. You don’t want to rush the onion stage, the most important part of Indian cooking is getting the base right. Undercooked onions are a big no no, as are uncooked spices.

a couple of bowls of Miso Aubergines on an wooden table

6. Miso Aubergines

Aubergines are a fan favourite for vegans, their meaty like texture means they’re great for adding substance to a meal. These miso aubergines has the addition of honey to add a sweet flavour to the otherwise salty sauce. Serve with stir fried greens and sticky jasmine rice for a dinner party worthy meal.

a plate of Moussaka and potatos

7. Moussaka

A moussaka from scratch can seem daunting but this vegan recipe, although with many stages, is not complicated. And what you’re left with is a wonderfully fragrant dish

a cut away of shepherds pie  showing its tasty insides

8. Shepherd's Pie

A classic meal, shepherd’s pie is a favourite with everyone. Add some Henderson’s relish to give this recipe a little more depth of flavour, and sprinkle nutritional yeast on the top to give a cheesy crust. Serve with simple steamed broccoli and red wine.

Dessert

Salted Caramel Tarts glistening in the light

9. Salted Caramel Tarts

If you’ve got a dinner party these Salted Caramel Tarts are sure to impress. If you don’t like caramel, just take it out and replace with more chocolate!

Lemon Drizzle cut into squares toped with a slice of Lemmon

10. Lemon Drizzle

I don’t have the patience to make desserts but this lemon drizzle is so easy and turned out so great. I substituted the plain water for fizzy water and the results were delicious. Even better than a non vegan lemon drizzle!

Searching for gift ideas this Mothers Day? A Doodle Bag is the ideal re-usable gift and it can be personalised to feature whatever you like. Design ideas could include an infamous finger painting from your youth or a treasured photograph- the possibilities are endless.

Design Tool

Using the design tool, images can be imported from Facebook or Instagram and text as well as patterns can be added too. If designing for retail (for up to 200 units), our high-quality bags can showcase your artwork and branding and there are discounts available on orders up to 200.

Need some inspiration? Pre-made designs can be found in our ‘personalise it’ section, including beautifully curated vectors which can be edited to include text or patterns.

a tote bag with a mothers day message on it

Products

Doodle Bag offer a large selection of bag styles to accommodate your masterpiece. The basic Cotton Tote bag is perfect for everyday essentials and is available in a number of colours. If you’re looking for something a little more special the 10oz luxury shopper has reinforced webbed handles, which makes it ideal for the weekly shopping trip, the gym or overnight use.

Smaller offerings include the Canvas Zip Purse which could be the perfect personalised make-up bag. Aprons, tea-towels, beach bags and T-shirts can also be customised to become a truly one-of-a-kind (yet practical!) gift.

Our products are comprised of 100% natural cotton and made in Fairtrade registered factories; offering the peace of mind that our bags have been produced from a responsible supply chain.

Please view our product range to see the full range of products and to get inspired for your next masterpiece.

Two whole years of marriage! Can you believe how fast the time has flown by? This time two years ago you were gearing up for your wedding day, butterflies in your stomach and the buzz of friends and relatives waiting to congratulate you both on your special union. We have come up with several second anniversary gift ideas for the perfect romantic gift to give your loved one.

Now things have moved on; you are used to each other and have understood certain habits that perhaps took you by surprise in the first few months as newlyweds. The right side of the bed has been established, who is in charge of the cleaning and cooking has been allocated and you know which bottle of wine to buy to keep everyone happy. So, time to celebrate! Committed believed exercise extension

Your second wedding anniversary is coming up and in keeping with tradition, the wedding anniversary gift you give to one another should be made of cotton. As one of the oldest naturally occurring materials, cotton dates back to 3000 BC and has been an indispensable material mostly because of its versatility and durability.

As a soft, natural material cotton is also incredibly strong and has been used as a valuable fibre for thousands of years. Cotton is grown worldwide, and the elegant, unassuming buds can be made into fibres that are used for clothing, textiles, paper and plenty more making it an ideal gift for your 2nd anniversary.

As your budding relationship develops you will find yourselves needing to be both strong for one another and able to adapt to each other’s different needs. Just like cotton. Cotton grows naturally and its incredible adaptability makes it just the right gift to give in the second year of your marriage. Cotton symbolises the growth and development of your relationship while being strong and compliant – essential qualities for a loving relationship.

We have come up with a few ideas at The Wedding Secret so that you can give your loved one the perfect cotton wedding anniversary gift and celebrate both the exciting two years together as well as giving a gift that – thanks to its composition – will last you for years to come; a lovely memory of your first two years as newlyweds.

A Personalised Tapestry

So you have spent the last two years building up your lives together; maybe you are decorating your house, adding new furniture and gradually beginning to settle down in somewhere you can call home. A personalised tapestry will make a lovely gift for the two of you to share. As an item you can hang on the wall and take with you wherever you go, a tapestry or framed picture is a lovely idea for an intimate gift relating to both of you.

These cross-stitched charts from Holly’s Hobbies are a lovely idea for a gift that you can design with whatever theme you like. Add your names, your wedding date and a pattern or image that represents you and you have the perfect wall hanging symbolising your relationship. They can become a wall hanging, framed picture or even something to add to your pillow.

Cotton Candles

How about a romantic evening in? Run a bath and pop open that obligatory bottle of bubbly and cheers to making it two years into your marriage. To really create the perfect mood, you will need the perfect lighting and what better than some delicious smelling candles for the ideal romantic evening. Nothing says romance better than a bottle of fizz and the flickering taper of a luxury candle.

For a subtle and delicate fragrance that will leave your house smelling fresh and enticing, these candles from Shearer are the perfect second wedding anniversary gift that won’t break the bank. Always good, especially if you are saving for a house or even the patter of tiny feet. Giving off a glorious Egyptian Cotton scent, these candles will make your home feel warm and welcoming; such a subtle but lovely extra can make a huge difference.

Personalised Cushions

As you create your home together, you will find yourselves wanting to make it as inviting as possible. We believe cushions are the perfect way to make a cosy nest so you can snuggle up on the sofa together in complete comfort. Why not decorate your bed with pillows and cushions making it irresistible to leap onto every time you go in the room?

We are loving these quirky creations made by Silly Cushions. You can design the cushion yourself adding your desired colour and creating the words you want. If you have a specific saying or phrase that is intimate to you or you would just like to write ‘I Love You’, then a cute cushion could be just the trick.

How about combining your names together for albeit a cheesy but quirky ‘portmanteau cushion’ to symbolise your relationship?

Cotton Pyjamas

One of the nicest things about your second year of marriage is feeling comfortable around each other. Sometimes all you want to do is snuggle up on the sofa in your pyjamas and read a book or watch the TV so what better present for your second anniversary than some cotton pyjamas that not only look pretty but feel 100% delicious.

These gorgeous pyjamas from Cottonreal are beautiful and not only that, they are incredibly comfy. Made from 100% cotton with satin trim, these are the perfect cotton anniversary gift for your loved one and believe us you will not be able to take your hands off them (the pyjamas that is) once you get a feel for how soft and cosy they are.

Cotton Robes

Much like pyjamas, robes are another lovely item that are a ‘must-have’ in any household and a brilliant option for your second wedding anniversary gift ideas. Snuggling up with a comfy cotton dressing gown that is both lightweight and warm is the perfect item of clothing for a Sunday lie-in.

For the man of the house, we think that Tom, Dick and Harry have it sorted with one of these luxury cotton robes made from – of course – 100% cotton. With the lovely, navy satin stripe, you will feel both smart and snug in this handsome wedding gift.

Equally, for the women, nothing says cotton anniversary better than a cotton kimono from Susannah Cotton Gowns. It is a gift that will leave your partner feeling elegant, warm and beautiful as they glide graciously around the house. Bliss.

Hammock

So, you’ve heard the expression ‘as snug as a bug in a rug’, well how about ‘as snug as a bug in a hammock’? OK, so it doesn’t have quite the same ring to it but trust us when we say you will never want to get out of one of these once you get in.

As something you can both share, a hammock is a lovely addition to your garden – or even your house if you have the space. It has to be said, there is something wonderful about lying under a canopy of stars while snuggled up together in one of the comfiest and we ought to mention prettiest, hammocks around.

For the eco warriors among you, these hammocks from the gorgeous stylists Amara, are ethically made and make the perfect gift to while the hours away. Relax in the luxury of your own space with a book, music or just with one another. They are even family size so when the time comes there can be room for more than two.

Cotton Candy

Ok, so in the UK we call it candy floss but it is the same thing and we have no issues borrowing an Americanism for one of our second wedding anniversary gift ideas. A candy floss maker could not be a bad idea for those of you with a sweet tooth. Otherwise, why not do something a little different for your anniversary celebrations and go to the fair?

It makes a great day out with tonnes to do and huge amounts of fun. Hey, you are only two years into your marriage. There’s plenty of time for serious things in the years to come but sharing some cotton candy and getting a bit sticky while enjoying a fairground ride is certainly a lovely idea for an anniversary day out.

Cotton Bags

Cotton bags have taken off recently, you have probably seen them in almost every shop and why not? They are a brilliantly economical way of carrying shopping or anything else for that matter and guess what, they can even be personalised.

Doodle bag have created the perfect cotton tote bag for you to personalise. Add a picture of each other, a meaningful phrase or your own design and this bag can be a personal little touch for your perfect cotton anniversary gift. The bags will be the perfect accessory for a trip to the shops or a stroll around the park with your water bottle and maybe even a picnic inside. Create your own personalised wedding favour with Doodle Bag.

Cotton Books

Have we gone mad? Books are not made from cotton! Well, in fact they are, or at least some of them are. Cotton paper has been in production for hundreds of years and is also used in book binding so for those of you with an affinity to a paper back, a cotton bound book could be the perfect gift.

So, if you want to continue in the same vein as your first anniversary but with a little twist, we think a cotton paper book is the ideal second wedding anniversary gift. Khadi Papers create brilliant log books that are ideal for sketchers, artists and those who love to jot down a few intimate thoughts in a charming note book. Ideal to pop in your bag, this lovely gift idea is made with great care and pride in countries around the world.

Egyptian Cotton Sheets

Scientifically speaking, sleep is one of the most important things we can do to help our bodies regenerate and stay healthy. The less sleep you have, the grouchier you will be with one another and the worse you will feel. As much as we would all love to get more sleep than we do, it is important that our bed is as comfy and as enticing as it could possibly be so that when you do finally snuggle up together after a long day, you are in comfort heaven.

We have found the perfect Egyptian cotton sheets to guarantee an incredible sleep. These Graziano Hem Stitch sheets are the perfect gift for your cotton wedding anniversary. As luxury bedding items, they are the ideal gift for a blissful night’s sleep that you can both benefit from; the only issue is that you genuinely won’t want to get out of bed in the morning.

So there you have it, a few simple ideas for your perfect cotton wedding anniversary gift. We hope you enjoy snuggling in your new night robes or getting cosy in a gorgeous cotton hammock and most of all enjoy celebrating two years with the love of your life. Here’s to plenty more years to come.

Taken from The Wedding Secret.

You can read the article here.

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