CHRISTMAS GIVE BACK BIG LIST (and we are all giving something back)       



This blog is all about shopping small at Christmas, supporting some of the gorgeous brands and businesses I have grown to love and think of as “colleagues”, (I can sit and pretend I have colleagues even though I sit in my studio with just me and Otto, right?!) and shouting out about all their lovely products to show you them in time for shopping small for Christmas. But even more than that, I want to share with you something we will be doing with all these gorgeous gifts and how honoured I am to know such wonderful people!

Below is a list of all the beautiful brands instagram handles that are part of this Christmas wish list, take a look at them! Since announcing it on my instagram @itsmadebyleah, over 40 more brands have added their name to the list of 15 I initially asked (oh my word). There’s a gift for everyone and these brands do such lovely ranges too. After the instagram handles, I’ll do a little write up for each brand and their products and hopefully you will find something you love in that list! There’s quite a lot of them but definitely give it a read, I’ll give you the vibe of their brand in each write up along with their instagram so if you’re looking for something specific, hopefully you’ll find it in these guys! I know so many of you have already shopped with everyone I’ve been sharing!

So, with that in mind let me tell you the plan! These gorgeous brands have each sent me a beautiful product or a few products that I’ve photographed on my instagram and shared. I thought long and hard about what to do with all these products once this blog had been written up. We could have done a giveaway (which would have been fab for everyone, but I knew what I actually wanted to do and all of them were on board). We know the value of shopping small and whenever anyone buys a gift from us for Christmas; they are giving us a gift too by purchasing from us!

So we wanted to give something back, and so we are. All these gifts are being gifted to families that would otherwise not have or be able to afford Christmas gifts. And honestly, I just feel blessed to be able to give something back and to have so many stand with me, offer their time and money and products and put my plan into motion.

All these beautiful people have sent me their products:

  • @thecakespa (gorgeous marshmallows, biscuits and other amazing bakey goodies)
  • @tayler_and_hugo (beautiful hand painted decorations, teepees and wall hangings)
  • @cakepreneur_laura (gorgeous baked goods in beautiful subscriptions and boxes)
  • @popandpunch (gorgeous kids decorations, toys, beautiful home wares)
  • @littlempapergoods (lovely illustrations and designs)
  • @bowbeaus (gorgeous party animals!)
  • @darwinandgray (queen of banners)
  • @bettydreamgifts (products for little ones, gorgeous pieces)
  • @oohilikethatdesign (stationery, art prints, little pads and lists)
  • @sophievalentineauthor (author, beautiful believing in yourself book!)
  • @bakefulplay (baking with little ones BEAUTIFUL baking box)
  • @orgilloriginals (leatherworks, bags, accessories, GORGEOUS)
  • @heytherestickers (stickers! Beautiful and so much fun)
  • @lauraelizabethuk (illustrations, decorations, the most stunning Christmas pieces)
  • @mermaidsanddinosaurs (gorgeous jewellery)
  • @hearts_and_twine (lovely little decorations hand made)
  • @grizzlybooks (amazing books for little ones!)
  • @oursensoryshop (lovely sensory play, play dough and other amazing pieces)
  • @janekent_studio (AMAZING stitching, positive vibes, beautiful products)
  • @panacheparparis (gorgeous hand made paper decorations and paper goods)
  • @norawright (stunning illustrations and hand painted goods, fairy kits)
  • @carla_murdoch_ceramics (pottery, gorgeous ceramics and tableware)
  • @ethel_and_co (the best candles you’ll ever buy!)
  • @zomzomclothing (the best and most beautiful sweaters for mums, aunties and Christmas!)
  • @windingthebobbinup (the happiest badges, pins and prints)
  • @withlovedesignsxo (hand stitched products, key ring, garland, re-useable face wipes)
  • @little.greymoon (stunning sterling silver jewellery)
  • @homebird_makes (lovely hand made fabric pieces)
  • @the_threaded_rose (hand made bags, pirates and mermaids!)
  • (gorgeous cards and prints, sparkles too!)
  • @buntinginabaguk (lovely gorgeous hand made bunting in a matching bag!)
  • @becandboouk (gorgeous make up bag/pouch)
  • @ronnie_roos (children’s clothing and gorgeous products)
  • @hallelula_prints (gorgeous designs as art prints. So great)
  • @theconfectionerylounge (fudge and gorgeous box of goodies!)
  • @eyeownadesign (lovely designs as prints)
  • @cakehannah (gorgeous biscuits)
  • @popsidaisickle (hand stitched loveliness for little ones, baby mobiles and other kids room decorations)
  • @geminigifts (gifts clothes and toys online shop!)
  • @houseofhopeuk (beautiful stationery, lovely designs as prints and baubles)
  • @ninawithapencil (illustrator, Christmas cards and calendars, everything lovely)
  • @littleelfin (gorgeous kids clothes, just stunning fabrics)
  • @ivyoakdesign (beautiful illustrator and designer, lovely products and Christmas pieces too)
  • @neonblushhhlingerie (beautiful scrunchies and other hand made pieces)
  • @pebble_and_sage (designs and prints as gorgeous pieces)
  • @hannahjoy_designs (wooden plaques and pieces, lovely decorations and Christmas badges and pieces)
  • @thepersonalisedcraftcompany (gorgeous products, stars, wooden pieces)
  • @littleteethersuk (beautiful and stylish teethers for little ones)
  • @katemoby (gorgeous illustrations and personalised art designs)
  • @nova_and_me (illustrations and art designs as lovely prints)
  • @mylittlesnowdropshop (beautiful decorations and products for kids such as lunch boxes and book ends etc.)
  • @doodleshandmadegifts (letters to Santa plaque, wooden signs and pieces)
  • (ethical male grooming and cosmetics, lip balm, moustache wax etc. gorgeous tins)
  • @littlebird.bear (leggings, kids clothes and accessories and re-useable face wipes/pads)
  • @sproutillustration (stunning Christmas eve box activity pack)
  • @thelittlebrownmouseco  (THE most gorgeous wooden themed decorations)
  • @gempangillustration (stunning and unique illustrations)
  • @origin.bespoke (beyond gorgeous designs as prints, workshops, bespoke pieces)
  • @littleboxofbooks (books, so many books and activities, so gorgeous!)

So, these people are fab people. I want you to support them as much as you guys support me (which is a heck of a lot, thank you all!). Put them on your Christmas list to buy, follow them on instagram, like a post or two, WHATEVER you wanna do to support small this Christmas, They have given back BIG and Christmas is such a crazy time for us all (trust me, I’m looking forward to January for a good old sleep haha!).

You can see the products they sent over to me in the highlights section of my instagram @itsmadebyleah under the headings “give back big 1, 2 and 3”

Thanks all for reading and I can’t wait to see what “shop small” Christmas gifts you all buy this year!

Leah x



Autumn/Winter plans (& blogging!)

Hello everyone!

I’ve been a bit off the radar recently when it’s come to blogging, who has time for something extra really?! But I just wanted to let you know my plans from now because I absolutely love writing for you guys and am going to make it part of my job and pop it into my to do list every couple of weeks so there’s always something new to read from me! (even if it means typing away in bed on my laptop, it’ll get done!).

I also just want to put into a quick blog the details of my website and ordering from when the website changes happen to Christmas.

So, here’s my plans…

From mid September onwards I will be doing a blog every couple of weeks (I even have them pre planned so no excuses!). Autumn winter is the busiest time for my business and I like to throw my all into the September to December- it’s a crazy time! I have a few markets that I’m attending (And by a few I mean I don’t think I’ll be going home for the whole of November) but I am SO excited to show you everything new, everything I have planned and everything for you guys I’ve been creating all year. I have even gathered lots of small businesses for an extra special Christmas list and plan too, I can’t wait to show you that. If you’ve followed me on instagram for any amount of time you’ll know I basically worked on my 2020 calendars ALL summer, I know… I can’t quite believe they are finally ready and going to be for sale soon. Along with so so many other products!

Sometime in September (date TBC) my whole website will change over from what it is currently to be an “in stock” system. This means I will list on there what I have in stock, once it’s gone it’s gone and that’s all that will be available. This means I won’t be able to get anything back in stock in time for Christmas (I don’t think), which is scary, exciting and SO unknown.

I have been ploughing everything back into my business for the last 6 months and to be honest I can’t wait to see it all come together soon!

I hope that all makes sense, I’ll release the date for my full winter launch very soon!

Below I’ll list where I’m going to be and my plans for September-December. Thanks, as always, for reading this little blog and I can’t wait to spend my autumn and winter with all you guys!

  • Out of office 23rd August until 3rd December
  • Back to pack up and send orders on 4th 5th and 6th September
  • Out of office 7th-14th September
  • 14th September, BACK AND READY TO GO
  • 22nd September, mama meet and market (The custard factory, Digbeth)
  • 9th and 10th November- Fabulous places Christmas market (roundhouse Derby)
  • 17th November- Walled garden at Beeston with fabulous places
  • 24th November- Mama meet and market at Christmas at Derby university
  • 5th December- Deck the halls Shopping event. Haarlem mill, Derby
  • 14th December- Open studio at my studio to finish off the season!
  • 18th December- last day in the studio for Christmas orders to be placed

Now you know where I’m at and what my plans are, I hope to see you all at one of my events. But if not, say hi on instagram and I’ll be there behind the scenes too.

Wish me luck for September and October, I think I’ll have a bit of packing to do!!

Have a fabulous week.

Leah x



Do your own illustrations

ILLUSTRATING for yourself


Illustration (in my opinion) is the MOST fun form of art. It’s a way of expressing creativity and fun in a quirky and loose style, it doesn’t have to be too serious (or even real at all!). I’m not saying that everyone who is an illustrator has quirky and loose styles (as like everything it isn’t a one size fits all!), but my way of working is quick, colourful and happy and I want to share with you loads of ways of being able to illustrate for yourself too! I hope you can get inspired to do some DIY and learn a bit more. Use whatever you like as a canvas. A napkin, a blackboard, ANYTHING! Get yourself into the groove.


I’m mostly self-taught, so take everything I say with a pinch of salt, I’m no professional! But I did Art A-level and adored it. To be honest, my ‘art studies’ were more ‘fine art’ than ‘illustration’ but I soon figured my style once I decided to launch made by Leah, and these are the rules I stick by…

  • Don’t be precious. I don’t believe in rubbers or doing it in pencil first or starting again. If you go wrong then kinda dance over it and make a squiggle where it was a problem! (By the amount of squiggles in my work can you even guess how many times I go wrong each time I put pen to paper!?). Honestly though, once you have an idea, start squiggling. You might be a sketch book person or a straight pen to paper person, either way I urge you to just stop thinking of the mistakes and start throwing yourself in pen first!
  • Don’t be afraid of being too simple or too much. Too simple is never a thing, a simple wording or bit of greenery is top notch in most peoples books so if you fancy just doing a bit of writing or drawing something small, don’t think of it as being any less! Go on, get those paints out and paint a leaf. The same can be said about being ‘too much’, no! Too much doesn’t exist and if you want bows on glitter on swans with crowns with a pink lake and candy floss mountains then DO IT. Honestly, as someone who does a real mix of simple and busy, do whatever floats your boat.
  • Find your style. Just because you love the style of someone you have seen illustrating doesn’t mean it’s the one for you. It takes practice to find what naturally comes to you so enjoy the process and take some time to decide what you do best! I used oil and acrylic paint for years until one day I tried watercolour and BAM I was sold, knew it was the thing for me. I would like to go back and try some other techniques one day but for now I’m keeping busy with what I do best!
  • Get yourself a few little bits like paints and pencils so you can do what you wanna do! I’ll write a shopping list for starting some illustrating below, on a budget…
  • Illustrate subjects that MAKE YOU HAPPY. I can’t stress this enough. If you don’t love it, it won’t come naturally to you and it won’t be as good as if you went for a subject you absolutely love!


I started off making cards for friends and family, perhaps start with something like this first and give your little creations to the people you love!

To create your own illustrations, paintings or drawings, I would recommend buying or making sure you have the following:

  • A nice pencil (no not for drawing something out first, for adding lines to an illustration!). I would suggest going into a store that has a lot of choice and deciding whether you like it soft or hard and go with the one that feels right when you test it out. (I use black wing but these are slightly pricey)
  • A sharpie or fine liner or biro. Something to scribble those lines and that you like the feel of on the paper!
  • A mini travel watercolour palette. Something with just a few basic colours for you to be able to mix and create all sorts. Watercolours can be expensive and I would suggest when starting out to literally just buy a cheap on the go style pack! I can recommend the Windsor and newton travel set; it’s fairly cheap and has good colours.
  • A sketchbook or paper, for the appropriate media! If you want to try watercolour, get watercolour paper; get oil paper for oil paint or normal paper if you just want to use pencil. Get the right paper and it will create the right effect! Perhaps start with a little sketchbook (places like WHSmith’s do good art books, or Hobby craft!)


I think you’re all set!

I can’t wait to see some of your illustrations, remember EVERYONE can create something beautiful. Send me some photos of your pieces if you have a go!

Take care lovelies and have a lovely week.

Leah x


Simple ways to be kind to yourself




I have recently been making a few changes within made by Leah (mainly additions, nothing has really been swapped out!) and have tried to embrace a positive and encouraging aspect to my business and instagram, have you noticed?!

This change was initially sparked in me because I know how negative social media can be to people and how tough life can be, and wanted to brighten up peoples days with my little squares. It’s so easy to doodle a quick message that can easily speak to so many people, and even if those doodles only touched one person, that’s enough for me!

Being kind to yourself or ‘self care’ have become quite glam and trendy/talked-about topics this year and I for one am all for it if it’s genuine. Looking after yourself is SO important. It doesn’t have to be a week abroad or luxury spa breaks, just simple things can help too. I find switching off and taking care of myself quite difficult sometimes. I’m not a stressed person and am very blessed to have good health, but running a business can for sure knock it out of you. As can any job. As can not having a job. As can being a teenager, adult… You get the jist; life can be stressful for everyone and anyone.

How on earth is it possible to wake up early, pay bills, do the food shopping, keep the car filled with petrol, work full time, drink enough water, cook healthy meals, go to the gym, wash, pay the mortgage, sort that bank appointment, have your hair cut AND keep the dog alive?! LIFE. But we are all amazing at keeping going. And whether we struggle or we don’t, we are all doing a fabulous job.


I’ve put together a few simple things that are just so normal but 100% essential in keeping your head above water and being kind to your body and mind. They are things you can do every day and seem SO easy, but in reality how often do you mindfully do them? I know I can hold my hands up and say I’m much better at doing the simple things to take care of myself when I see a list actually in front of me and remind myself it’s important. Here goes:


I reckon everyone knows how much sleep they should be getting. Burning your candle at both ends won’t help anything! Sleep if you need to, wake up early if you know that helps how you feel all day. Do what makes you work!


Have a long hot bubble bath, have a quick cold shower, wash using baby wipes, do anything to make you feel fresh to face another day!


Don’t stay cooped up all day and night. Go for a quick walk at lunch time or walk somewhere instead of driving. Even just make sure you move your feet if you’re stuck at a desk all day! Moving and getting some fresh air will really help clear your head.


Plants can’t flourish and grow without enough food and water and neither can we. When I’m drinking enough and eating well my whole body thanks me, including my brain, and I’m much more productive!


Every. Single. Day. Do something that makes YOU happy! I’m not even going to do a list because millions of things make people happy. Free things, enjoying nature or watching your favourite series. It doesn’t matter what makes your heart happy, just let things make it happy!


I am RUBBISH at this one. I say no phone time after a certain time but I’ll check instagram in bed, first thing in the morning, have dreams about it (you know the drill). Having a break from social media even just for an hour while you cook and eat your dinner can do those eyes and that brain a world of good!


Text your friend, chat to your parents. Know your people and who builds you up and let them do that whenever you can! Trust me, your best friend isn’t going to wish you hadn’t dropped her that text. A whole world of people care about you, let them!


One final thing, remember to appreciate the little things.

Appreciate the big things too (like the holidays and spa breaks), but remember even the tiny daily details can give you a happy mindset.

Take care lovelies.

Leah x


(three positive things template to use as you wish, and something I do every single day and add to my instagram stories!)



Disneyland Paris Trip 2019




Back in March I went on the most magical trip on the Eurostar from London to Paris with my best bud and it was honestly AMAZING.

Through this little blog I’m going to take you through some of my favourite things about my trip, some advice or tips if you’re planning on going yourself and just some general magical and beautiful vibes(along with trying to persuade you to go along too, of course). Unfortunately for you, you won’t be going with my friend Kendra, the gal who I give all the credit for booking the majority of the trip and making it the cutest and sweetest time in the world (including making up little personalised envelopes of tickets and itineraries complete with Disney doodles, I’ll show ya!) but I’m sure you all have your own Kendra. If you have a Disney loving buddy then I can honestly say it will be the best holiday in the world! A lot of you will also go with families and kids, which I have no experience of so I won’t be chatting any kids at Disney advice in this blog (although will 100% be forcing Disney upon all my future children).

So, we live in Lichfield which is in NO WAY close to London but we decided to get the Eurostaranyway as it was much better timed than flights at the time we were booking, and a much quicker option than driving! We had a 1.5 hour train to London Euston and then just a short wait between that and hopping on the Eurostar from St Pancras station, which is super quick and super comfortable and just fab. I’d recommend taking your own snacks and things to do. We wrote lists (I love lists) and ate M&M’sand just got super excited about the trip and which ears we were going to invest in when we got there…


So, a little quick rundown of Disneyland Paris and what’s there. It’s made up of basically four parts:

  • The castle and theme park 
  • Another smaller park “Walt Disney studios”
  • Disney Village, which is made up of nice shops and eating-places.
  • The hotel area (we stayed just a shuttle bus ride away in one of the off site Disney hotels)



RIGHT next to the park (about 2 minutes walk from the entrance) is the train station, which we hopped on to get the Eurostar home. It can also take you into central Paris or the airport. It’s fab!

The only previous time I had been to Disneyland Paris was when I was 5, and so I saw things a lot differently this time! My overall immediate vibe about the park was it’s gorgeous attention to detail, the fact everything was so pristine and cleanand, of course, the BEAUTIFUL castle, down the long and traditional walkway. From the plants to the traditional BINS (who even knew a bin could be so beautiful?!) to the shape of the streets to the streetlamps to the square trees, everything was perfect. A very instagrammable place to be.



Here’s a list of (in my opinion!) the must go on rides and attractions:

  • Space Mountain. The one ride I remember from being 5 did NOT disappoint. It’s the best one and the most thrilling in the dark roller coaster at Disney. We went on this more than once and it’s so worth it.
  • Big Thunder Mountain. If you love big upside down rides this is the ride for you, it’s fabulous.
  • The peter pan ride. It may have a long queue as it’s for both adults and kids, but it’s well worth the wait. I’d have gone on this multiple times, it’s just wonderful. It takes you on a trip over “London” and flies you over everything peter pan. A must.
  • The carousel. We went on this and adored it, it’s a classic beautiful golden looking carousel and a must do when in the gorgeous park. I don’t care how old you are, you have to go on the carousel! (I don’t go on them ever but it just fit with the park so much it had to be done).
  • The tower of terror. This is in the other park, Walt Disney studios. It’s SO scary and fantastic; I refused to let go the whole time. If you’re up for a huge tummy flipper, this ones for you! I think the queues build up for this one but worth the wait any day.

(this is space moutain followed by the best carousel ever...)




We were only at the park for three days (a recommended time to visit to get everything into one trip!) but each day we ate within the park in the restaurants just by the entrance. We ate at a Diner style restaurant the first evening and then PLANET HOLLYWOOD the second evening which was worth the experience for sure! The restaurants are all chains and burger and fries kinda places (I’m not complaining!) but you’re generally so tired after a full day at the park that grab and go style food works anyway! We tended to stay in the park until closing time (I think 7pm possibly even later over the summer period) and then head to a restaurant for a bite to eat on route back to the shuttle bus by the train station.



One thing we absolutely knew we were going to be doing was buying Minnie mouse ears. We had our hearts set on this and wanted them straight away so we were wearing them the whole time. I’m telling you too, there are MILLIONS of different styles and colours and materials and there ears hanging for sale everywhere you look. Shop windows, sale carts, queues, you name it, there’ll be ears. 


I reckon lots of people pre buy a pair of ears and wear them on the train/plane but I wanted to buy them there and so did Kendra(Plus I don’t think I was organised enough to actually plan outfits and ears beforehand) and there’s loads of places you can buy super fancy ears, but in the end we went for the CLASSIC Minnie mouse ears with the red bow. Can’t beat them. Timeless.They cost 15 euros. Best money I’ve ever spent. Honestly the fact everyone is wearing ears everywhere you look just adds to the pure joy of the holiday!

The only time we took them off was 10 seconds before a ride (me and Kendra decided to put them up our jumpers while we were on the rides so they were safe, I’m sure lots of people forget to do this. RIP ears.).

ALSO just to let you know, they make you sit with your bag by your feet now rather than put them in a locker/shelf at each ride. Kendra had (what I can only describe as) a fanny pack for your thigh, which was a LIFE saver. It was sturdy and stayed put and fit our phones and purses in. I’d recommend something like this if you were going on all the scary rides. Obviously if you’re going with kids you need more than just a phone and purse but I thought I’d just pre warn you!

Kendra also brought GLITTER (see photo above) and we wore this on our faces the whole time. In the queue to the Tower of Terror we got called the glitter girls and honestly we were OK with that!


So, we went to Disneyland Paris midweek in an off-season month and the queues were absolutely brilliant for us. I think around an hour was the longest we had to wait. Don’t get me wrong, everyone would rather queue a little less but we were in the park for three days and managed to fit in every ride we wanted to along with some of our favourites again on the last day.

If you can go midweek and out of school holidays, I think it makes a world of difference. You can also buy fast pass tickets for certain rides if you want to!


We stayed at the “Hotel B&B”which was a ten-minute free shuttle to the park entrance. I won’t say much about the hotel as people generally book hotel and tickets together. What we found was that we literally slept and had breakfast there, we didn’t spend loads of time thereso we wouldn’t have minded what it was like. But it was good!




Finally I’m going to chat to you about the castle because honestly I could have cried when I saw it for the first time. The castle is this gorgeous shade of pink. You can go all the way around it, in it, under it (and definitely do this because there’s the most amazing dragon under there). Everyone is taking selfies from every angle around the castle (us included) and it’s basically very hard to get a photo in front of it with just you in but you just have to have no shame!

The castle without a doubt, 100%, was my favourite part of Disneyland Paris.


Here’s a short itinerary of our three days there:

  • Day 1 – Travel from early. Visit Disneyland Park all afternoon, check in and hotel in the evening after Dinner.
  • Day 2 - Visit Walt Disney Studios Park in the morning, Disneyland Park in the afternoon.
  • Day 3 - Visit Disneyland Park again, leave to start travelling home mid afternoon.

I hope you all get the chance to go and experience Disney, and I hope I get to go to Florida one day and experience it on the next level too! But for the price (I think we paid under £500 each including travel, hotels, food and park tickets ((and ears))) I think Paris is a real winner.

If you have any questions do get in touch and I’ll do my best to answer anything honestly about the best holiday ever!

Take care lovelies,

Leah x








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