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Love Heartwood named one of the best rural businesses in the UK

love heartwood rural business awards winner

Love Heartwood is a Rural Business Awards winner after this year’s National Finals. Jules Hudson, the BBC Escape to the Country presenter, once again delighted the finalists as host for the ceremony on Thursday 24th February. The awards recognise and celebrate the successes and vital contributions of businesses to the UK’s rural economy. The rural sector is a vital part of the national economy since in England alone it contributes £261bn to the nation’s GVA (GrossValue Added). This is nearly a fifth of the country’s total economic activity. Founded by rural-based businesswomen, Jemma Clifford and Anna Price, the Rural Business Awards are backed by Amazon and judged by an independent panel of judges, drawn from the rural business sector,rural public sector agencies, and rural charitable organisations.

Joint Winner of the Sustainability and Environmental Impact Award

The Sustainability and Environmental Impact Award was a hard fought category with 2 winners eventually being named. Love Heartwood being one and Coterie Leather, from West Wales, being the other. See the full list of finalists here

rural business awards national winner badge 2021 2022
Love Heartwood was joint winner for The Sustainability and Environmental Impact Award
rural business awards national runner up 2021 2022
Love Heartwood was runner up for The Best Creative or Artisan Business Award

Runner up of the Best Artisan or Craft Business

Love Heartwood was also delighted to take the runner up position, from a final line up of 5, in the Best Artisan/Craft Business category. See the full list of finalists here

Judges Comments

“What a lovely start up business that embraces sustainablility and its rural location. The way in which the individual has shaped her business is heartwarming, and she uses traditional skill working with a natural material to be carbon neutral and sustainable.”

Sustainability and Environmental Impact Award Judges

Winners Comments

Love Heartwood specialises in handmade wooden toys for eco conscious families, gives turning lessons and also runs a wooden toy repair service. Sustainability is a core part of the business which means that all the wood used is locally sourced with much of it being reclaimed. Plus, all of Liz’s other materials and finishes are plant based, sourced in the UK and a tree is planted for every item sold.

“I was absolutely blown away to not only be a national runner up but also a winner. At a national level that’s an amazing achievement that I’m really proud of. Working alone can be quite isolating and it was wonderful to receive this recognition of my skills and hard work.”

Liz Pearson, Founder of Love Heartwood

“On behalf of everyone at the Rural Business Awards, I would like to congratulate those rural businesses who have worked tirelessly throughout another challenging year. Every year, I continue to be proud and remain in awe at the high calibre of entries to the Awards and each business who was shortlisted should be very proud of reaching the National Final.”

Jemma Clifford, Director and Co-Founder of The Rural Business Awards

The Awards are organised by rural business for rural business. There are winners and one runner up in the 13 categories – ranging from Best Rural Start Up and Best Rural Diversification Project; through to Best Rural Professional Services Business and Best Rural Innovation. Each winner and runner up are selected by an independent panel of judges drawn from the rural business sector, rural public sector agencies, and rural charitable organisations.

This year’s win follows Love Heartwood winning the regional finals last year. To read more about that visit love heartwood – rural business awards finalist

To learn about the Rural Business Awards visit

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2021 love heartwood christmas events

2021 love heartwood christmas events

I love this time of year because I get to go out and be sociable. It’s so great to be doing in-person markets again. Lockdown made me realise how important it is to have conversations with you guys about what I make and why. So here’s a reminder of where I’ll be and when over the next few weeks. Local events like these are the perfect place to shopsmall, shoplocal and find those unique, Christmas gifts.

digitalcraftfestival homepage


time & location

13 & 14 Nov, 10:00 – 16:00 online at

about the event

Perfect timing of six weeks before Christmas, the #DigitalCraftFestival is here to help you shop small this festive season. Check out the website for full listings of events happening.

Browse the incredible list of makers, sign up to workshops, watch demonstrations, enjoy live chats with craft royalty and so much more.

What’s on? We have a whole host of crafty content for you this year, including:⁠

– Make-Along with @jimparkyn hosted by @andygreenacre ⁠
– Craft Conversation with @kirstyelson
– Pottery Demonstration with @fitchandmcandrew
– Craft Conversation with @hilaryburnsbasketmaker MBE⁠
– Sculpture Demonstration with @jeremy_james_artist

as well as LIVE maker conversations on Instagram throughout both days.

made in mortimer christmas market 2021

Made in Mortimer’s Christmas Shopping Evening

time & location

Fri 3rd Dec, 17:00 – 20:00 at St. John’s Hall, Mortimer For full details of the crafts on offer please visit the MiM website or their Facebook page.

about the event

Beautifully crafted christmas gifts, mince pies and mulled wine! Free entry and a warm welcome.

reading biscuit factory logo

Reading Biscuit Factory Christmas Market

time & location

4th-5th December, 11am-4pm at Reading Biscuit Factory, Unit 1a Oxford Rd, Broad St, Mall, Reading RG1 7QE

about the event

2 day Christmas Market upstairs at Reading’s newest creative hub. Full details coming soon.

alder bridge school advent fayre 2021 poster

Alder Bridge School Advent Fayre

time & location

11 Dec, 11:00 – 14:30 at Alder Bridge Steiner Waldorf School, Mill Ln, Padworth, Reading RG7, UK For directions please visit Alder Bridge School’s website

about the event

Gifts, crafts, grotto, candle dipping, storytelling, childrens activities, homemade food and good music! Free entry and a warm welcome.

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Guide to Sustainable, Zero-Waste, Ethical Weddings

sustainable weddings with two brides

If you need help planning your big day why not check out 77 Diamond’s incredibly comprehensive guide to sustainable, zero waste, ethical weddings.

The Full Guide to Sustainable, Zero-Waste, Ethical Weddings

It offers plenty of valuable information such as:

  • An in-depth look at sustainable and ethical weddings – why they are important and how choosing a green wedding helps reduce the strain on the environment.
  • Eye-opening facts and figures about the carbon footprint and waste generated by weddings and the wedding industry as a whole (did you know that around 4,910 tonnes of unrecyclable plastic is used up by weddings annually?).
  • How to plan a sustainable wedding – including plenty of tips on finding green wedding planners and suppliers, eco-friendly wedding venues, organic and zero-waste food and catering, and other helpful resources.
  • Other useful green wedding resources, organisations, and zero-waste tips and advice to help make weddings more ethically conscious and environmentally friendly
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a sustainable autumn proposal

intimate outdoor proposal

Where could be a more perfect sustainable Autumn proposal venue than a rustic shepherd’s hut? Especially with a suitably earthy, rustic and rich colour scheme. A campfire and an evening under the stars is a memorable way to start your life’s journey together.

sustainable touches

  • A dress and hat from the H&M UK conscious range.
  • A sustainable handmade ring box. 
  • A recycled silver and amber sea glass engagement ring.
  • A hired-in tablescape featuring an organic linen tablecloth, recycled glass, and second-hand pieces.
  • Arrangements of British dried flowers and grasses, which are less damaging to the environment than imported fresh flowers.
  • Fuelling the fire pit with logs that had naturally fallen in the forest surrounding the location.
  • Raising a toast using organic beers and Prosecco.

You can find all the info and links to the team of ethical, sustainable wedding professionals and suppliers who were involved in the shoot at the botom of the page. For now just enjoy scrolling Sarah Hoyle’s gorgeous images.

a sustainable ring box

I was very pleased that love heartwood’s yew ring box was chosen to be featured. Each unique ring box is handmade from locally and sustainably sourced branch wood and the inserts are hand felted from British sheepswool. Each ring box comes with 2 inserts, one single and one double so that it can be used for both the engagement ring and then the wedding rings. Ring boxes are available in a range of native British timbers. You are also welcome to request a specific timber if you wish.

calligraphied proposal letter with sustainable ring in wooden ring box
A calligraphied proposal letter is so romantic.
man proposing to his girlfriend in an eco friendly way

a recycled engagement ring

sustainable engagement ring in a wooden ring box
Salt and Wild’s recycled silver and amber sea glass engagement ring looks stunning in love heartwood’s sustainably sourced wooden ring box.
eco friendly proposal with wooden ring box and ring made ffrom recycled silver
eco friendly couple engagement

toasting the future

campfire engagement proposal
Logs that had naturally fallen in the forest surrounding the location were used for the fire pit.


Location: Kilnhanger Shepherd’s Hut  

Photographer and Concept: Sarah Hoyle Photography  

Stylist: The Luxe Design Company  

MUA: Birute Thomas  

Models: Ali and Dionne 

Ring Designer: Salt & Wild  

Ring Box: Love Heartwood  

Love Letter Calligraphy: Wedding Calligraphy by Rachel 

See the whole gorgeous story unfold on the green union blog

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Handmade Custom Golf Trophy

custom walnut and pewter golf trophy by love heartwood

the idea

I really enjoyed working on this commisison since it involved taking something old and making it into something new and useable. Will first emailed me with his enquiry in March. His idea was to use a Victorian pewter bierkeller cup from Bavaria that he had into a handmade custom golf trophy. I sent Will a set of questions to find out more about the purpose of the trophy and what he wanted it to look like. After he’d answered the questions and sent me a photo of a trophy base in the wood and style that he liked, I was able to create myself a clear design brief to work to that we were both happy with. Before moving forward I also gave an estimate of the time and costs involved.

the design process

Once I had a clear brief I created lots sketches of different trophy ideas and presented them to Will. From these he selected his favourite. It was important that the trophy base had a ‘secret’ compartment to allow the storage of a piece of paper . The paper had a poem written on it that the trophy winner would read aloud at it’s presentation. Will wanted to trophy to be like a puzzle box for the winner to have to figure out. The idea that we both liked the best was a tubular hole drilled though the base’s top section. One of the knobs in the end would be fixed but the other would be removable to allow access.

The final base design echoed features from the pewter cup to make the 2 pieces look as if they belonged together. I also made sure that the cup fitted onto the trophy base but was not altered in anyway and was removable because that was part a of the brief that was important to Will. The initial wood choice had been yew but I persuaded Will to use walnut as I felt it would complement the pewter of the cup much better.

creating the cup

Since the base was to be quite tall I decided to turn it in 4 sections and then glue them together (see photo). The hole in the top section was drilled while it was still square and then turned to shape on the lathe. 2 pieces of wood were then glued together to make the lower section. This worked because the join would be hidden by the pewter plinth band that was to be attached later.

assembling and gluing a walnut trophy base
Gluing and clamping the first 3 sections of the base together.

The fourth and final section was designed to keep the cup on top of the base. It was turned to exactly match the inside profile of the pewter cup. This was a tricky and time consuming process but necessary, since it was the best way to attach the cup securely but in a removable fashion. Once it was shaped it was glued on top of the rest of the base.

The final parts, the 2 identical knobs were both also made of walnut on the lathe. One of them was glued very securely in place but the other was designed to be the push fit closure for the secret compartment. The idea being that when the knobs were in place you wouldn’t realise there was a compartment at all.

I sealed all of the wood with a plant based wax/oil to protect and nourish it. Once buffed it gave it a beautifully soft, natural shine. The base was then completed by Wentworth Pewter, based in Sheffield, who were kind enough to create a custom engraved name plate and plinth band for the trophy. These were made to my specifications, that had been previously okayed by Will.

timescale, cost and delivery

Throughout the 3 month process I kept Will up to date on my progress with regular emails. Once the trophy was finished I posted it back to Will, using a tracked service, along with my invoice. The cost was based on the material costs, the pewtersmiths cost plus the hours labour involved in the designing and making of the trophy.

Commissioning an item as unique as this is an experience in itself and at the end of the process you have a wonderful object created in collaboration with myself to treasure for years to come.

If you’d like to commission something yourself please

email me at or complete the enquiry form below

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wooden fathers day gifts

wooden fathers day gifts

dad’s aren’t the easiest to buy for are they? so here’s some handmade, wooden fathers day gifts he’ll be delighted to receive, as well as a couple of ideas for last minute presents.

for dapper dads

for culinary dads

For Dads who love a bowl of porridge of a morning.

A spurtle’s a traditional Scottish stirring stick and, unlike a wooden spoon, because of its rounded end it’s easy to work into the corners and edges of pots. Personalise yours with a name or initials.

for tinkerers

These beauties are a tinkerer’s dream. Dad’s can happily fiddle with them for hours chasing that elusive perfect spin. A great gift for the kid’s to give and then share with dad. If he lets them!

for practical dads

If your father doesn’t need more things why not give him a memorable experience? If you’re local to Reading choose a date (sometime in the future obviously) and book either a 2 hour taster session or a whole day of beginner’s wood turning. You can even come with him and create some wonderful memories are well as wooden items.

book a woodturning session

Do you know someone who loves wood or is interested in wood turning? Would you like to give someone the gift of a unique experience and a new skill and maybe even come along yourself? Then Liz’s absolute beginners wood turning sessions are for you.

a last minute gift

The ideal last minute gift as you can send it instantly. Specify the exact amount and send to any email address. It’s also a wonderfully environmental gift option.

every gift gives back to the planet

Any item bought from Love HeartWood also plants a tree. If you’d like to match my donation and add a tree of your own you can. Simply add 40p into the ‘plant a tree’ box at checkout.

i hope my selection of wooden fathers day gifts have inspired you to say a big sustainable thank you to your dad. 

however you’re celebrating I wish you and your dad a very happy father’s day!