Goodbye 2017: My Meaningful Gift To My Fiancé This Christmas

I wanted to get my fiancé Sean a thoughtful and meaningful gift this Christmas. Something that signified the new beginnings that a new year embodies. 2017 has been an interesting and difficult year for both Sean and I. It’s been a year of health scares, changes, and the unknown.

online gifts

We moved from Oxfordshire to Gloucestershire at the very end of 2016 for a complete change in lifestyle. I was working in administration and he was a builder and electrician. Both of us wanted a change, a chance to try something different, and a fresh start. It was a case of ‘now or never’ so we took the plunge, sold the flat and bought a house in a beautiful village. We started to follow our dreams. I was going to give full-time blogging a go, he was going to try making a living as an artist, and to pay the bills we were going to sell on eBay full-time. We were going to revamp the new house and its garden, spend more time outdoors now we lived in a Forest, and have a simpler life with more time to do the things we wanted.

We had great plans and were really looking forward to me leaving my job at the end of February 2017 so we could go full steam ahead with our new jobs and lifestyle. As always, the best laid plans don’t always turn out the way they should. Less than a week before the last day at my job, Sean became ill with what we thought was a migraine. He spent two weeks in hospital with what they initially suspected was encephalitis, but was actually a stroke. Not a mini stroke (or TIA), but a full-blown stroke. As he was only 39 at the time, you can imagine this was a huge shock for everyone.

We’ve been very lucky. Sean’s lasting damage from the stroke is minimal with only some memory issues. We still don’t know why it happened as they could find nothing physically wrong with him. We now presume it was a mix of stress and poor diet, brought on by the house move and him worrying about my 5-hour round commute each day.

While he was in hospital and for several weeks afterwards we were a little bit lost. Our dream suddenly became a bit of a nightmare, and we struggled to get things off the ground. I was barely blogging, and our eBay business consumed our life. Renovating the house and garden went on the back burner, due to finances and lack of time. We have slogged our way through it, it has been harder than we ever thought, but we remained positive (most of the time) and kept going. We now feel in a stronger position than ever, and are excited for 2018 and all its possibilities.

online gifts

The gift I have for Sean this year is a little bit symbolic of our changed lifestyle. I love ordering online gifts, and I got him some grow your own kits from

For me they represent the new start that we have, and the new chances that will arise again in 2018. Growing things from seed is such a satisfying venture, and it symbolises our business and our new lifestyle. We also didn’t have the chance we wanted to work in our new garden and transform it into the thing of beauty we had in mind! This will give us a little helping hand.

online gifts

I got the tea and coffee growing kits (he loves his tea and coffee), a grow your own red wine kit (this one is for me really!) and jalapeno chillies. I also got some alpine strawberries, and a grow your own Christmas tree which I thought was really cute.

Each kit has its own biodegradable plant pots, coir wafers, plant marks and a wooden pencil. Plus of course the seeds that you need. They make growing from seed really easy.

online gifts

One of our goals for our move was to live a healthier, more sustainable and frugal life. With Sean’s health issues this year, it’s become more important than ever that we do this.

He means the world to me and I know he will find these gifts touching. We’re both really excited about 2018 and what we can make happen. And I’m really excited about having a mini Christmas tree to decorate this time next year too!

online gifts

These kits are available from



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  1. December 14, 2017 / 6:17 pm

    I love that the gifts are so appropriate to the experience you’ve had this year and that they represent a great future for you both.

    • January 2, 2018 / 5:31 pm

      Thank you. They do seem so fitting for our situation. Can’t wait to see them grow.

  2. December 14, 2017 / 11:07 pm

    I’m all about meaningful gifts and this is just lovely! Simple but full of love, I’m sure he will like it

    Laura x

    • January 2, 2018 / 5:33 pm

      Thank you, I am so pleased and couldn’t wait to show him the post.

  3. Sarah Taylor-Fergusson
    December 30, 2017 / 11:31 pm

    Wow. I take my hat off to you, both of you. Around nine years ago my best friend Kevin’s then boyfriend Jeff had a stroke, a proper stroke, as they were celebrating New Year’s Eve at home. Kevin was in the other room when he heard a breaking champagne glass, and it was a hell of a nightmare to wait for an ambulance at that time on that night of the year to rush Jeff into A&E. Luckily, the ambulance took him to the right, specialist stroke London hospital, and after stabilising him, recovery started. It took ages. I had phone calls from Kevin asking for advice on pureed foods and baby foods, and gave it, having a baby at the time. Today, they are celebrating their seventh wedding anniversary and have done up a new house in Greenwich. Jeff had to give up the stressful London job and be based at home but has made a hundred per cent recovery on every level. It sounds as if your plans were exactly intuitive as to what you both needed, and came just in the right time. I wish you health and happiness for 2018. Health is precious for happiness. I know this because last year my own father was diagnosed with a stage III blood cancer and has been told that his tumours have not responded to the chemo. He is trying a different chemo in Jan and Feb and then we have to see where we are with that. He’s in the last chance saloon now and he may not live to see 2019, but we take each day and each week as it comes. So to those of us who are much younger than my elderly dad, make those plans, live that life you wanted and embrace the new year. Happy 2018.

    • January 2, 2018 / 5:38 pm

      Oh my goodness, what an awful shock that must have been for your friends. I’m so glad to hear Jeff made a full recovery. Stress is certainly a big factor in strokes and I’m glad he’s been able to step away from his stressful job. It really does put things in perspective when things like this happen. I’m happy to hear this success story and that they have moved forward and are doing well. I’m so sorry though to hear about your father’s diagnosis. This must be a really difficult time for you. I wish him all the best with the new treatment, and am sending positive thoughts your way. I completely agree, things strike us out of the blue and we will always be sad if we didn’t do the things we wanted to do. You never know what is just around the corner, so it’s not worth waiting for the ‘right’ time to do things. Just go for it. Wishing you a very happy and healthy 2018 too, and best wishes to you and your family x

  4. Alice O'Neill
    January 1, 2018 / 1:20 pm

    I’m so happy for you both, and what a lovely gift …

  5. Hannah Wallington
    January 1, 2018 / 6:37 pm

    That’s such a lovely gift!

    • January 2, 2018 / 5:41 pm

      Thank you – we can’t wait to see the seedlings pop up!

  6. Ailsa
    January 4, 2018 / 3:01 pm

    I love these, especially grow your own Christmas tree

  7. ashleigh allan
    January 6, 2018 / 4:51 pm

    Meaningful gifts are the best – I love these they look great!

  8. January 7, 2018 / 11:40 am

    Meaningful Gifts like the ones to grow your own Christmas tree or just something that simple connects are amazing!

  9. Carly Belsey
    January 9, 2018 / 2:29 pm

    Om goodness you have had a difficult year. Thank goodness there are no lasting effects from the stroke.

    What a great idea to get a meaningful gift. I love this gifts.

  10. Rachel Atkinson
    January 9, 2018 / 6:38 pm

    Love this – so thoughtful

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