Tag Archives: gift

Valentines Gift Guide – 4 Days to go!

10 Feb

For the no-flowers girl
I was watching Channel  4’s The Undateables last week and one of the young lads said something along the lines of ‘what exactly is the point in giving flowers, something dead, that just keeps dying’ and it’s so true! Flowers wither and fade and though I do make natural confetti from the petals afterwards (wedding brain!) it is a real waste. Instead, try giving a plant, it’s a great alternative as you are able to watch it grow as your love does each day (instead of throwing it in the rubbish bin a week later!) Lubera do an amazing range of fruit trees (see the Gustissimo Califfo Blue below – or ‘Mr Fig’ as I like to call him) which would be the perfect valentines gift.
fig

Prices start at £25 and are available online here
Verdict: 10 / 10

Printerpix – Personalised Gifts
A personalised gift can cost a fraction of any other gift but get the biggest wow on a special day. Gifting some photo coasters to my mother-in-law to be this Christmas got such a great response in comparison to her other presents, even if my partner had spent more!

Online gift retailer Printerpix do a whole range of gifts with photo-upload, and one of the most unusual is their personalised chopping board. I’ve chosen a picture of my two kitties, and will give this to my fiancé on Valentines – it will make the perfect bench protector, and will always remind us of when the cats were little.

img_0810

Verdict: 10 / 10
Ecoffee Cups
Keep your loved one caffeinated with these gorgeous Ecoffee cups from http://ecoff.ee The new William Morris collection is particularly special and made from bamboo fibre they are completely eco-friendly. The cups are available in 12oz and 14oz with prices starting from £8.95.

cof
Verdict: This will save me a pretty penny instead of shop bought coffee’s while wandering around London, and I just love the floral design! 9 / 10

For the beer connoisseur
If your partner is of the beer loving variety why not help him on his taste journey with these lively beer glasses from Riedel Crystal & Spiegelau Glassware. Each glass is made of the finest Bavarian craftmanship and very thin so be careful when unpacking (one of mine broke in transit) but aren’t the delicate things always the most precious – these glasses bring a touch of elegance to the ‘art’ of beer tasting, each shaped in a different design to best bring out the flavour in each beer type.

untitleddsdds
Available here at £19,95 for three.

Verdict: 8 / 10

Chocolate is an aphrodisiac after all
In 1902, a chocolate shop called Prestat was opened in London by descendants of Louis Dufour, the man who created the world’s first recorded chocolate truffle in Chambery, France in 1896. I adore their heart-shaped valentines box – so simple yet effective to gift to a loved one. Prestat is one of the few British artisan chocolatiers to make all its own chocolates – giving it complete control of recipes and the sourcing of ingredients as well as the opportunity to nurture the traditional skills needed to create its handcrafted chocolates.
Very tasty, high quality and high cocoa content within and pretty on the outside. Yes hearts are cheesy, but on Valentine’s Day you can embrace them like a Christmas jumper – a huge necessity to complete the feel. After all, what other picture would you upload to Instagram on the 14th?

Available from www.prestat.co.uk, Waitrose, Ocado and at Prestat’s Concession in the Harrods Foodhalls (www.harrods.com) Priced from £7.50 – £35
sfsdfdfsfsd

Verdict: 9 / 10

Cohorted Beauty Box
Give a girl the gift of delicately boxed little beauty treats! Buyers can gift a subscription, or a one-off box, with prices from £30. The box contains a selection of must-have, high-end products for each month, perfect for trying out brands and products that you may not have known of otherwise!

fffffffffffss

Verdict: 8 / 10 the element of surprise was very fun!

 

“Why shouldn’t men wear elegant underwear?”
Charles Belpaume, HOM founder, 1968.

Indeed! Why shouldn’t they. There is an extensive range of high quality, and gorgeous men’s underwear at www.hom.com My favourite is the cheeky ‘Valentine Love’ pack – perfectly boxed for gifting.

fggggggggggggg

sggbbbb.jpg

Verdict: 9 / 10

 

*Note: Some of these products were sent to me by the retailer in exchange for an impartial review. As a northern lass I am quite opinionated, and all views are my own. Honestly, if I hate something I will tell you, and if I love it I will rave about it.

13 Sleeps until Christmas!

12 Dec

13 sleeps – two weeks – may seem like plenty of time to stock up on presents. But the early bird catches the worm so take today’s gift inspiration and find the perfect gifts to spoil your loved ones!

 

Grants Family Reserve Whiskey
Grant’s whiskey is Scotland’s oldest family run blend – I remember my Grandad used to keep a bottle of grants in the cupboard and have a little nip in the evening. It’s a timeless classic and a perfect gift for any whiskey lover. Grants Family Reserve 70cl is only £17.19 and available in most supermarkets too so super for any last minute present buyers as you can grab a bottle on your way even! I liked that it was very smooth and easy to drink – I’m sure there are ‘fancy’  whiskeys with a sharper woodier taste that a connoisseur may keep for special occasions, but actually for a Friday night tipple by the TV the mellow flavour works very well.

acof
Verdict: 8 / 10

 

HoMedics Foldaway Footspa
Ah the footspa! A classic go to gift for your mam, dad, nana or grandad. But… they are usually so big and clunky really hard to store. HoMedics have the solution, with their foldaway footspa. It has a soothing vibrating massage, and raised acunodes for stimulating those tired tootsies. No more refills with the kettle either as it’s keep warm feature proves to be mega useful! Add some bath salts, and relax! Available at www.homedics.co.uk for £39.99

ft2

ft1
Verdict: 8 / 10

Stampin’ Up!
For the crafters out there I would recommend anything from the Stampin’ Up! collection. My favourite is the Forever Evergreen Project Kit, where for around £20 you can build your own gorgous table top christmas trees. The kit includes all of the ribbons, trims, dowels hooks and snowflakes as well as the high quality die-cut cardstock.

tree
Verdict: A very fun 7 / 10

 

Wisdom While you Work
If you are looking for something a little different to gift to your children or grandchildren this year, Libbla Kelly has released a book ‘Wisdom While You Work’ a mindfullness gem full of core values and ‘pass me down’ pearls of wisdom with a tear and share section in the middle. The book is a culmination of Libbla’s life; being a nanny, having 12 godchildren, nephews and nieces, cousins, stepsons etc… There has not been one day without the presence of children in her life which makes her ideally placed to write such a book!
Priced at £10.00 (plus P&P), Libbla’s book may be purchased direct from www.wisdomwhileyouwork.com
unnamed
Verdict: 7 / 10

Freedom Brewery’s Taster Box
British pioneers of craft beer, Freedom Brewery, has the perfect gift option for the discerning craft beer fan. Their award winning range of craft lager comes as a gift pack – choose from Organic Helles, East India Pale and King Koing to Boston Beech, Liberty Pils and Freedom Authentic.
Available at Freedom Brewery online and other specialist retailers – choose three bottles for £6, six bottles for £10 or a case of twenty four for £30.
freedom
Verdict: A very tasty 9 / 10

Cake Boy Hazelnut Ale
All your boyfriends sweet and beer dreams have come true this year, because Meantime Brewing Company has teamed up with the Master Pâtissier to create ‘Cake Boy Hazelnut Ale’, a nutty dark ale that’s perfect for the festive season.

The ale is really deep and refreshing, the nuttiness pokes through the 5% alcohol and gives you a lovely warm winter buzz! It would make a fab stocking filler, and is available at www.meantimebrewing.com for £2.10 per bottle

ale
Verdict: 8 / 10

CHIKA’s Snacks
Fill your stockings this year with healthy alternatives that will help for a guilt free Christmas! (There’s enough calories in that big dinner never mind chocolates on top!) CHIKA’s is a flavoursome, gluten free, non GMO snack range, and they have launched ‘Snack4Change’, a new snack box initiative designed entirely to fund and support the schooling of underprivileged children in west Africa.
Each subscription purchased funds one child’s school fees and contains four delicious CHIKA’S snacks such as chili plantain crisps, smoked almonds and hand toasted peanuts. Priced at an introductory £4.99, one box sold sends one child to school. From spiced plaintain to salt and pepper cashews I have heartily nibbled my way through the collection – and can safely say that they are delicious!
untitled
Verdict: 7 / 10

Twist, Drink & Go – Zingo
Root7 have created a nifty little bottle that they call Zingo. Very catchy! You add your half lemon, lime, orange, whatever citrus fruit to the bottom, and it gets speared onto the reamer. You then add water to the main bottle and the flavours infuse as you drink. I love that this is a healthy way to enjoy a fruity drink, no chemicals, preservatives or sweeteners – just natural fruit and water.
xingo

drink-ngo
Verdict: 8 / 10

 

4 weeks until Christmas!

30 Nov

With the Christmas countdown now officially upon us, I hope that you enjoy part one of my Christmas gift guide. As usual expect a mixture of quirky ideas, fab value products and those luxury ‘splurge’ gifts that are too unique to miss!

Vintage Puzzles
Gibson Games have created the perfect gift for puzzlers this Christmas. Their Vintage Kellogg’s puzzle tin has 250 pieces perfect for cornflake lovers and the tin is just so pretty to keep afterwards. If crisps are more your thing they also have a double sided Pringle’s puzzle gift. I love that it is double-sided one side with the tub as the main image for beginners, and the other a stack of crisps a lot harder to complete!

The games are sold online or you can find a local retailer here

ake

apr
Verdict: A truly unique 9 / 10

Relax, sooth and pamper
Treat someone with a perfect stocking filler to relax and unwind (I think we all know a few people who could do with this!) in the form of Olverum Bath Oil.

First produced in 1931, it has a ‘mystical reputation’ for its rejuvenating effects, which come from the aromatic blend of essential oils said to ease stress and relax tension in both mind and body, aiding restorative sleep.

aov

It’s a luxury gift – as the 125ml size is £26.00 but it is also highly concentrated as only 5ml is needed per bath. You can find Olverum in Harvey Nichols, Liberty, Fenwick and at www.houseoffraser.co.uk

Verdict: At first it was hard to get my mind around the price tag. But… my muscles loved it. To quote a little bump and grind: “My mind is telling me no – but my body, my body is telling me yes!” 8 / 10

For the party girl
Who doesn’t love a great cocktail? Yet when you kick off your shoes on a Friday night in the house so often its the boring wine or beer that we open. I love the idea of this little  Kahlúa and Absolut Vodka Expresso Martini kit. With the small bottles and gorgeous martini glass (and even the coffee!) it has everything that you need for this lush cocktail. At only £10 and available in major supermarkets such as Tesco it’s a bargain too – the perfect price to jazz up your secret Santa offering this year.

aexp
Verdict: It is just to delicious so it has to be a 10 / 10 gift!

 

Coffee Lovers
For a gift that will definitely be used why not give the coffee lover in your life a bag of their favourite addiction. The Sailors’ Society have recently launched an ethically sourced ‘BySea’ coffee. It makes an ideal Christmas gift and with 100 per cent of the profits going towards our work supporting seafarers and their families. The Brazillian reserve is my favourite with a smooth deep flavour, but if you like a bit more crema in your cup the Indian reserve is even richer. Very delicious!

acof
BySea coffee is available to buy at www.bysea.org/shop and is £4.95 a bag.

Verdict: a delicious 9 / 10

Beauty gift with a difference
We all receive beauty gifts at Christmas and some are for pure pampering purposes – but if you know someone well enough you may also know that they would appreciate a beauty solution with a practical purpose. Beauty company Remescar have just launched a new eye bag and dark circles cream which uses ‘Eyesyl’ a technology developed by Sylphar (the company behind Remescar) that works on 3 key actions;

·         Skin tightening

·         Decrease water accumulation

·         Micromuscular-pause

This claims to effectively and immediately erases eye bags and dark circles in just two minutes. I tried this product out for two weeks, and I did notice a difference – I can only imagine it would be a welcome addition to your Mam’s beauty box if bags or dark circles are a concern for her.

arem
Remescar is available in all major Boots UK stores – and online – for £29.95.

Verdict: 7 / 10

*Note: Some of these products were sent to me by the retailer in exchange for an impartial review. As a northern lass I am quite opinionated, and all views are my own. Honestly, if I hate something I will tell you, and if I love it I will rave about it.

Fathers Day Gift Guide: 12 Days to go!

7 Jun

With 12 days to go until Father’s Day don’t be a last-minute diva, and get your gifting sorted. We all have busy lives and I think birthdays, Christmas and occasions like mothers day and fathers day is an opportunity to be truly thoughtful. As a child I loved making them breakfast in bed and carrying it up precariously – it felt very grown up! Now as an adult living far away I don’t have that luxury, so if I am going to jump on the consumer bandwagon I may as well choose products that they’ll really love!

McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes
McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes have launched a personalised range this year, where you can type in your own personalised message for on the front of the box. My parents love Jaffa cakes, so I thought that this was a really cute idea!

The McVitie’s Sweet shop can be found at www.mcvities.co.uk and delivery is free for orders over £20.

lick

lick2

Verdict: 8 / 10 (this would be a 10 if they were a little cheaper!)

 

Ripped up Art
I think that cards should fall into one of two categories to be genuine and heartfelt:

1) Home made – awesomeness!
2) Really unique, bespoke shop bought, something really different.

If you run out of time, and buy a standard (some may say dull) convenience store style card, just make sure that you fill it with reams of personal commentary to compensate!

Ripped up Art sent me a gorgeous card to review – they implant seeds into the card so that the card can be used afterwards in the garden to grow wildflowers! Very cute designs to and at £4 a card (with free delivery if you by three) they are not badly priced at all.

The cards are available at www.rippedupart.co.uk/cards

a1

a2

a3

Verdict: 9 / 10 (this would be a 10 if you could choose your seed type!)

 

LIC frozen cocktails
If you’re making a Father’s day lunch – add these ‘grown up’ frozen lollies to your shopping list. Using their closely guarded secret formula to create a frozen drink with the strength of a regular drink (10%ABV) and completely natural ingredients LIC (Love Iced Cocktails) have created new pina colada and mojito flavours that are absolutely delicious! You can buy them over at www.havealic.com

lick

Verdict: A tasty 8 / 10

 

Millie’s Cookies – Bake at Home
If you have children and want them to put a real effort into Fathers day for your partner – but don’t want all of the mess that comes with home baking – the Millie’s Cookies bake at home range will be perfect. Bake at home Millie’s Cookies are just £3 at Iceland stores you simply push them out and flatten out onto a tray, bake in the oven and enjoy warm and gooey! They can also be used to make milkshakes, cheesecakes or even ice cream cups.

A lot more cost effective than the cookies form a Millie’s stall too!

Ready to Bake Millie's Cookies - Milk Choc

Verdict: Get me some more they are addictive! 9 / 10

 

 

Aux Anysetiers Du Roy – Chocolate Fondue
For the chocolate loving dad, why not try the deliciousness that is the Aux Anysetiers Du Roy chocolate fondue pots. The chocolate comes in a stoneware pot to maintain the heat – simply remove the lid and microwave. The special stoneware jar keeps the Chocolate Fondue warm and melted on your table for 45 minutes minimum, and contain a delicious minimum of 70% cocoa.

I was sent a variety to review, and my goodness, it was heaven! Chocolate heaven! I even used half a pot to ice some cakes for a charity bake sale so versatile too. I think it would be best enjoyed as a family (or on your own!) with a platter of fruit to dip.

They are available at www.bmcglobal.com and prices start at £6.50, going up to £20 for the larger gift sets.

f2

f3f1

Verdict: These are AMAZING. Never mind dad, can I eat them all now? 9 / 10

 

 

9 days Until Christmas!

16 Dec

With less than two weeks of shopping time left, check out my weekly round up of gifts – from the brilliant to the very strange but all unique ideas to wow your loved ones this Christmas.

 

The Hipster Colouring Book – by Charlotte Farmer
This would go down a treat with anyone anti-hipster as a bit of a joke present, or indeed anyone pro-hipster as a genuine gift. Either way I love it, it’s pages are filled with lots of quirky sketches to colour and will not only be relaxing, but humorous too!

Published by Ilex press, the book is available from £7.99 in book stores and online at Amazon

the-hipster-coloring-book1

 

Verdict: 7/10

 

Heavenly Cakes
I hate shop bought cakes and find them dry and unappealing, in my opinion if you’re going to splurge on calories at least eat the best! Cake lovers will love the Heavenly Cakes range. Launched 8 years ago by husband and wife team they hand make everything just outside of London in Stevenage. They do individual treats (perfect for stocking fillers!) such as billionaire shortbread and very berry flapjacks at £2.99 each. They also do bags of ‘bites’ perfect for sharing at work or home, and a lot of the range is gluten free too!

toffee_tiffin

Verdict: A delicious 8/10

 

 

Sidekick Hot Sauce
If you know someone who adores their spicy food, treat them this year with the Sidekick hot sauce gift set. It includes 5 different flavours all free from artificial additives. Having tried the hot pepper sauce I can vouch for its delicious flavour, it packed a punch but was also creamy and tasty (as opposed to hit for the sake of it)

Sidekick-Sauces

Verdict: A tasty 9/10

 

Trees Direct
I love gifting plants, trees, and seeds whenever I can as it’s a gift that can last forever and bring a lot of enjoyment. That’s why I’m a fan of Trees Direct where you can send a tree gift with next day delivery. Gift trees are sent, potted and dressed in hessian sacks, tied with a satin ribbon, planting instructions and a hand-written gift card – which makes them very pretty. I was sent a myrtle tree gift priced at £22.50, it was so well packaged, and all in tact. It looks well established and very healthy and will make a wonderful addition to my garden.

image

Verdict: 9/10

 

All in One Bootsies
I have featured the gorgeous onsies from this company before – bespoke, high quality, warm and cute as hell they are a great gift. This year however they have introduced a fab range of ‘booties’ it’s a bit of a splurge at £30+ for the adult range, but I think that they will last a really long time. Available online at www.the-all-in-one-company.co.uk. Funnily enough this company is based in my home town in the North! If I was a fan before, I am even more so now 🙂

bootsies

Verdict: 8/10

 

Rock Knife
Gift an everlasting gift to a foodie or fledgling chef. Great gift for men especially who love a bit of manly kitchen equipment. The rock knife range starts at £9.99, it is made from study Zirconium Oxide ceramic which is stronger than steel, and is available in major stores and online at www.rocknife.com

rockknife1

Verdict: 8/10

 

PG Tips
I love these little stocking fillers for tea lovers, the PG Tips capsules for the capsule style coffee machines. What a fantastic idea for the partner of a coffee lover – and then they get fun from the machine too. They come in a range of luxury flavours and are available online through Ocado with an RRP of £2.79 for a pack of 10.

pg tips

Verdict: A very yummy 7/10

 

Scarlett Jewellery
Every lady loves jewellery as a gift, it’s a luxury that we rarely buy for ourselves. Scarlett Jewellery offer gorgeous, elegant pieces, and I love the range of silver earring. Handmade in Hove, the stud earrings are made of solid 925 silver, with a very pretty design. Available for £34.99 from www.scarlettjewellery.com

silver-star-stud-earrings

simply-heart-silver-stud-earrings

Verdict: 8/10

Frame Again

21 May

With anything new and quirky on the market often the hype outweighs the reality of the product. I was kindly sent a credit code to create and review the personalised photo frames from ‘Frame Again’ (www.frameagain.com) Frame Again are an e-commerce start up launched less than a year ago by two Camden Town Entrepreneurs who turned down Dragons’ Den funding and went on to successfully crowdfund the finance they needed. The concept behind the business is that the tradition of print is one that we should not give up – and I can’t help but agree. Nothing brings a smile to a face like a favourite photo and it’s much easier to view these around the house as opposed to logging  on to a computer or tablet.

I often look at the latest ‘crowdfunded’ ideas and wonder where they will go – and with Frame Again I am pleased that it is a success story as I can confirm that I absolutely adore their frames.
Firstly you choose the colour of the outer ring on the frame, then the inner ring. The frames are held shut by magnets, making the photo easy to replace, not that I would want to however as it was very high quality.

At RRP £9.99 I expected quite a small frame but they are much larger (pleasant surprise!) than I expected, and also due to the magnets they nestle nicely alongside each other. There is also a hole in the back to allow you to hang the frame on the wall.

I chose my favourite pictures of my boyfriend and matched the colour scheme to my duck egg ad teal bedroom. I cannot wait until Frame Again expands even further and introduces a multitude of sizes, as I think that some mini frames would work perfectly on a desk, or a bedside table.

Larger than expected

Larger than expected

Vivid colour and high quality

Vivid colour and high quality

Verdict: 9/10

22

Quirky Gifts for Parents

15 Dec

The Where I’d Rather Be umbrella is certainly a unique idea. With a 360 degree panoramic view of somewhere hot and beautiful to take you away from the dreary reality of British weather as you walk along. Made of electro-plated fibreglass and quick drying Teflon the umbrella is quite hefty – it certainly wouldn’t fit in my smallest handbags but does feel like it would last forever, and not give in to the wind.

Retailing at £27.99 these umbrellas are certainly not budget, though the quality is evident. Grab a discount now using code ESCAPETHERAIN for 10% off www.whereidratherbe.co.uk

 


br2br1br3

Verdict: 10 / 10 for concept 6 / 10 for value

Make your own wrapping paper

10 Dec

There is nothing worse than running out of wrapping paper on Christmas Eve. As a quick fix, simply print your own! Using microsoft word, paste in a picture of the person that you are gifting, and adding a bright border. Copy this and create a page of back to back pictures. Finally – press print. Remember to select the correct settings so that the ink does not smudge. Finally wrap the gift and add a matching ribbon and bow. It will look like you went to great efforts to create a great personal touch and this way you can avoid the oxford street madness!

Personalised Tanuka Paper

Personalised Tanuka Paper

Christmas for Cat Lovers

27 Oct

Ok, let’s talk about the elephant in the room… My name’s Rachel and I am a cat-oholic.  Since becoming single I find myself sort of saying it under my breath like “yeah I have two cats” because of the crazy cat lady stigma. But after much soul searching I decided to come out as a cat owner as it were and deal with the consequences. After all – any man I meet will have to like my cats if they are going to be with me. “Meh, I think cats are alright” will no longer be my tagline.

So…I love cats! What is not to love? Their cute little paws, the way they give you a little nudge with a nose when you cry, as though to say ‘hey! Why are you crying, come and play instead?’ The way that you can provide complete bliss for your furry friend just by waving a ribbon creates lovely times and lots of giggles, and while I don’t run home thinking cats, cats, cats I do think that my house became a home the day that these spiky little bundles arrived. Cats are inherently selfish creatures, so to gain their love feels like a reward and humans do ponder over their ways – that much is clear from all of the literature out there.

My Cutie Dexter :-)

My Cutie Dexter 🙂

Today a new book has launched called Meow – A book of happiness for cat lovers. By Anouska Jones it currently retails at £12.95. This glossy hardback is a compendium of quotes that aim to capture the essence of this fascination. I actually really recommend this book for those cat lovers who hate books about cats. Rather than looking at the authors experience of carts, or god forbid doing it from a cat’s perspective. I actually hate those books with a passion (and trust me I have been given a few, the curse and blessing for a cat owner is cat related gifts) and much prefer books such as Simon’s Cat, which give a bit of a comedic angle on the crazy little things that cats do. This book has a feel of that about it – in that it collates the ponderings of many people.

meow
Verdict: 7/10 definitely a one to get for cat owners if you are stuck for ideas!

 

 

BECAUSE CATS…

While I am the topic of cat related gifts I must quickly mention another product I spotted recently on Amazon and have instantly ordered. Firstly it felt like it sums everything up in two words, secondly it is an absolute bargain at £1.79. Be aware as with all international orders this takes ages to arrive, so order early!

Because Cats

Verdict: 9/10 does what it says on the tin!

Mothers Day Gifts

2 Apr

What to get the mother who has everything. Chocolates, check. Flowers, check. Smellies for her bath, check. But after that it can be really hard to not get repetitive after so many years. Here are a few of my favourite ideas for this year:

Globee
I love the idea of this, a mini glob of your favourite city. It could be a reminder of a special trip abroad with your mam, filled with fun memories. I think it would look lovely on a desk, or on a shelf displayed. These are available at http://www.globee.co.uk and prices start at £9.95

Verdict: 8/10

20140501-122751.jpg

It’s a wrap!

11 Feb

This Valentines create something a little special with your own bespoke gift wrap from Dom and Geri it has dotted lines along the back to make for the perfect wrapping technique and photograph with text can be customised.

20140210-222912.jpg
Verdict: a glossy 8/10

Stocking fillers for women

19 Dec

Every woman loves her stocking filled to the brim with chocolates and sweeties. However, the difference between a standard stocking offering and a fabulous bespoke Christmas stocking is the little extras that you include. Jewellery is an excellent choice, as its not just a novelty or token gift, but genuinely reflects what you perceive that persons style to be.

Clea Silk
This year I recommend the Clea Silk range. Sourced from an eclectic, contemporary and unique collection of gold plated and silver jewellery found on their extensive travels, Clea Silk use only precious metals and semi-precious stones in their pieces.

Designed and sourced by owner Charlie Silk, a self confessed magpie, these elegant luxurious and timeless designs evoke the natural elements – beautiful objects which draw the eye and speak to the heart and appeal to the magpie in all of us.

I love the whole concept of a gift that is not just a mass produced high street concoction, but has been beautifully designed and well thought out. I have tested the ‘Spinning Gold Star Necklace’ and it is very easy to wear, light and elegant, plus I received comments from friends about how unusual the design is, which is always a bonus! The range can be viewed and purchased at www.cleasilk.com and there is a variation of eye catching peices, as well as more understated peices.

Spinning Gold Star Necklace

Here are some more peices from Clea Silk that would brighten any ladies stocking:
CS009_lrg CS038_lrg Earrings-8%20large

Gift for cider lovers!

10 Dec

With 2013 the year of austerity measures and a nation of ‘super scrimpers’ it comes as no surprise that sales of home brew kits are on the up. Trust us Brits to avoid cutting out our alcohol habit by making it ourselves! For the experienced brewer I would recommend home store Wilkinsons, it sells kits but also individual items for every batch if wine and beer imaginable.

However finding a good cider kit is a bit trickier – and when giving a gift you have to be careful that the follow-up equipment will not cost the earth. There is nothing worse than receiving a gift that you then have to spend more money to be able to use. That is why this year I have tried, tested and can recommend Victor’s Drinks cider kit. It comes in a box, with everything inside. All you need to do is add water, and 20 pints of apple cider are ready to drink, share or even offer round a more sparkling gathering, in ten days. The box is actually quite compact, even better for chilling.

Business Development Manager, Cacelia Broadbent, explained, “We’ve had so many focus groups working on this, and the overwhelming response is that Victor’s is as close to off-the- shelf drinking as it gets. It’s clean, tasty and doesn’t deplete the wallet.” She went on to say, “2013 has seen duty rise on alcohol and supermarkets being held to ransom over minimum pricing. One thing is for sure, alcohol is only going to get more expensive, while people’s budgets are going to be under a lot more strain.”

The kits have no added sugar or preservatives. All that is inside is apple syrup (from real apples!) and a little bit of malt extract. There is even a handy YouTube video to show you how it’s done here

After 12 days (the recommended ten and two for good luck!) the result was a delicious sweet and very easy to drink pint. The only drawback is that the bag inside did expand a little so i had to decant to chill (I have a tiny fridge) At £20 per kit this is only £1 per pint, great for parties but also fun to make. I’m sure that waiting for the brew to be ready improves the flavour somehow! The kits are available in major online retailers and also at Victors Drinks

Verdict: A refreshing 9/10

20140101-215335.jpg

Halloween Party Treats

10 Oct

If you want to make a good centre piece for your ‘treat table’ at a Halloween Party this year, I recommend making a sweet tree like the one below. You will need:

– 1x Pencil

– 1x polystyrene ball (I used the inner of a Christmas bauble – its far cheaper than craft store polystyrene balls)

– double sided sticky foam (I get mine from the 99p store)

– gravel

– silver spray paint

– small terracotta plant pot

– 1x ribbon

– 1x small tray of Ferrero Rocher

Yum!

Yum!

%d bloggers like this: