This post was sponsored by My Made in Box. I receive no editorial direction, and all opinions are my own.
Look I know this post is ironic because I’ve literally just landed in Australia, but I promise I still have valid things to say, bear with me! At this point it’s no secret that I travel more than the average person, and I am very much aware of this. I’m lucky enough to tour regularly with performance/art, whilst the last few years have also added a fair few destination weddings into the mix.
More recently, however, I’ve been exploring much closer to home. If there’s anything the last year of my life has taught me, it’s the importance of investing into what is often already on my doorstep, whether that be my possessions, my relationships or my actual location. I spent a lot of this year making significant efforts to deepen and strengthen relationships with people I’ve known for years, the ones that are easy to grow complacent about, and I’m also trying to do the same with how I operate in my own back yard. Alongside the sustainable benefits of travelling inside your own country once in a while, no flying being the major one, there’s also so much beauty and benefit to really appreciating what we already have around us. I’ve been exploring London more than ever recently; making the effort to treat my home city like a visitor, exploring galleries and theatre that I would prioritise if I was here temporarily but can easily neglect at home. It got me thinking about my recent My Made in Box, which helps you both explore the world and enjoy the comfort of your own home.
MMIB founder Julie, like myself, started travelling from a very young age with her family before branching out solo. She flew to Asia in 2015, visiting Malaysia, Thailand, Bangladesh and Japan. The further she went, the more she discovered beautiful artisan, handmade products, each with a story behind them. She wondered how she could share these stories further; and upon returning moved to London, where her connections with other creatives inspired the idea to create a product that would allow those who aren’t necessarily able to travel to discover handmade, conscious creations from around the globe.
And like that, My Made in Box was born. Every two months a box full of authentic goods from around the world is delivered to your doorstep. It could be from any city or country in the world, allowing you to connect with independent designers, learn their stories and discover their wares, all delivered to your door. Customers are able to choose between a bi-monthly, six months or one year subscription, and for each box the team choose a city then source five handmade items from local makers in the area, including the story behind the products and a lifestyle city guide in each box. They also make sure that each box encompasses their core traits:
Whether it’s the feeling of tasting local delicacies, checking out unknown spots or finding handmade pieces from independent designers, MMIB aims to capture that feeling of being truly immersed in a new place, to convey some sense of the spirit of places and people, even when you’re home. Simultaneously, these independent creators are able to have increased visibility, connecting and sharing their crafts with a wider audience.
Not only does buying local and independent support the craftsmanship and arts within a local economy and community, it also exposes us to new designs, textiles, materials and ideas. MMIB love sourcing and sharing superb creations that makers have handmade with love, but for those on the receiving end it’s a chance to connect with new perspectives, ways of thinking and aspects of creativity.
By sharing the story of each creator, customers participate in the manufacturing process of their goods and know the traceability of their products. Connecting with and understanding the supply chains that go into products we receive helps us operate with more empathy.
The first box is actually London themed, hence the connection to my efforts on exploring the city more.
So what’s inside?
Each box comes with five items inside, here’s a breakdown of the treats in my London box
Skin & Tonic Gentle Scrub
This powder contains only 6 ingredients, with a mix of oat, rosehip and french pink clay to detoxify skin and leave your complexion soft and nourished. You mix 1/2 tsp with warm water, gently massage onto skin and then rinse off. This scrub is super gentle and calming, making it the perfect thing to use in the morning to keep my skin cool and calm, and I’ve really been loving starting my day off with it. It has a very distinct smell, which I personally like, and you need such a small amount that it will last for ages. This scrub isn’t vegan, as it contains probiotic yoghurt powder, but it is cruelty free, preservative free, organic and made in Britain. Skin & Tonic is also working towards being carbon neutral, planting trees in Suffolk to offset their carbon footprint, uses 100% recyclable glass containers, and donates 10% of profits to Charity Water to provide water and sanitation to those in need. So yeah, a pretty great product and small sustainable business.
Lucie Ellen Monochrome Necklace
This geometric statement necklace is handmade from painted plywood in East London. The material makes it particularly durable and long lasting, whilst the nature of its creation means that no two necklaces are ever the same. I was a little nervous about this necklace because it’s quite wide, but I actually really love it! It’s on a shorter chain which means it actually hangs really nicely because it’s perfectly balanced. It’s a great mix of statement piece and minimal design, as its pattern means it can be mixed and matched with almost anything.
Soothe-me Calm Cream
Soothe-me skincare is is non-toxic, cruelty free and handmade in East London, with base ingredients sourced from local sustainable sources and family run UK businesses, whilst packaging is either recyclable or biodegradable. This calm cream is designed specially for sensitive skin and conditions like rosacea. Enriched with herbal extracts of yarrow, horse chestnut and organic wild farmed witch hazel, this it helps reduce redness and inflammation. Use a small amount twice daily on affected area for calming and soothing effect, as well as some extra skin nourishment for cold harsh days. This cream is definitely on the thicker/heavier side, so you really only need the tiniest amount on spots where it’s actually needed (I wouldn’t recommend just covering your face in it), but it definitely has a soothing effect and will last a good long time. I’ve actually brought this one to Australia with me just in case my skin needs some extra love, it’s perfectly portable and smells divine.
Made by Coopers Room & Pillow Mist
Based in Surrey, all products are handcrafted in small batches with vegan-friendly, natural and organic ingredients. This mist is designed specially to relieve anxiety and stress, with soothing scents of lavender, frankincense and chamomile essential oils. To use, generously mist in the room and onto linens/pillows before bed, and enjoy. The essential oils used in this are some of my absolute favourites, and they are a truly classic combo for that calming, bedtime feel. Although it says to mist generously, you don’t really need to go overboard because the smell carries really well. Ooh I just love that perfect balance of lavender and chamomile, I really like this spray. The bottle is also glass and fully recyclable, but it’s such a good one that I definitely plan on keeping hold of it to reuse.
Mosley London Greeting Card
I’m going to admit it, this card was so cute that I accidentally used it before I took photos. I know, what a fool! We’re all human, so please forgive my mistakes (seriously, facepalm). Luckily you can see the card that came in my box online here. It says laters taters on it, my favourite kind of English pun, and it’s super cute ok. Like all Mosley London cards it was printed and made at a studio in Whitechapel, East London, and it’s quirky, sweet and a little bit cheeky.
It was really nice to receive My Made In Box at a time that coincided with my intentional effort to appreciate and investigate what’s already at my feet here in London. It’s quite nice to be making the effort to learn more and explore further, while at the same time implementing products made by London artisans into my daily routine. These items are different to a souvenir. They don’t just give you a snapshot moment of a place, instead they give you a route of discovery as you learn about the people and places behind them, whether that be makers in London studios or the British farmers that supplied their ingredients. This box in particular helps you bookend your day with these people in your mind: I wake up, use a British made face scrub, I got to bed surrounded by scents handcrafted in Surrey. There’s something really nice about this experience, as it brings together sight, smell and experience in a whole new way. For someone who’s just starting to get the hang of the staycation, My Made In Box has opened up a whole new realm of possibilities to me.
Until next time, stay magic y’all.
Photos by Yeshen Venema