If you are looking for a truly special gift or keepsake, I have discovered The Eternity Rose – a company specialising in precious-metal-coated or glazed natural roses.
They use roses from their own nurseries, tended by their skilled horticulturists. When the roses have reached their ideal stage of growth, they are hand-picked and subjected to a long and complex preservation process which results in a blossom that will never tarnish or deteriorate over time.
Their flagship product is the 24kt gold dipped natural rose (£119) but The Eternity Rose also creates some exquisitely beautiful pieces of jewellery all of which would make a unique gift for birthdays or Christmas and a really romantic gift for weddings and anniversaries.
I was sent a beautiful Purple Glazed Rose Heart pendant (£51) and it is a beautiful and very unusual piece. Made using real miniature rose petals edged with 24kt gold, the heart is surrounded by 21 radiant synthetic diamonds to add sparkle.
The pendant comes on a matching 24 karat gold multi-link chain and is presented in a lovely velvet pouch for safe storage.
My pendant also came with a Certificate of Authenticity, guaranteeing that the piece was made from natural miniature rose petals which have been glazed and embossed with 24kt gold.
The pendant is a decent size and the chain is good quality. You may wish to substitute the chain if you want a longer pendant but I found mine sat just right around my neck.
There are a range of colour options, including red, pink, white, purple and blue plus sets with earrings, dipped vases and gifts for him such as 24 kt dipped poker cards and even golf balls.
I love the romantic ethos of The Eternity Rose and their pieces would certainly last longer than a bouquet of red roses (and cost a little less!). The colours of the roses can also be matched to wedding anniversaries (for example red for 2nd, purple for 6th). Much nicer than cotton or iron!
Actually, Mat and I celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary on 25th September this year and I’m pretty glad he didn’t get me anything made from iron (or an iron, come to that!). My wedding bouquet was of dark red roses studded with imitation diamonds so my pendant very much reminds me of it.
You’ll also find relationship and dating advice from clinical psychologist Dr Carissa Coulston which, as an online relationship coach myself, I found very useful. Check out my weekly problem page here.
If you’re a chocolate fan (and who isn’t), you’ve probably read by now that chocolate can have some health benefits and many chic ladies are swopping a full dessert with a few pieces of good quality dark chocolate (I’m working on it).
Last summer I discovered Indigo Herbs, based in one of my favourite places, Glastonbury. They offer a wide range of premium quality nutritionally rich organic superfoods, herbal powders, aromatherapy oils and loose herbal teas – all ethically and sustainably sourced.
Indigo Herbs offer two kits to help you to become a chocolatier and with both you can create your own nutritious and delicious dairy-free, gluten-free vegan chocolates with the purest natural ingredients.
There’s the Organic Chocolate Starter Set which allows you to make your own chocolate bars, or the Pure Raw Chocolate Making Gift Set which contains everything you need to make pure dark chocolate with goji berries & brazil nuts. It makes 20-25 small chocolates, and the instructions are included.
Inside the kit you will find Organic Cacao Powder, Organic Cacao Butter, Organic Raw Agave Syrup, Goji Berries, Brazil Nuts and Organic Raw Vanilla Powder.
You might be wondering exactly how pure dark chocolate made with Organic Cacao is good for you – well there are quite a few reasons!
· Cacao is one of the top 10 magnesium rich foods. Magnesium relaxes muscles and strengthens bones and improves circulation.
· Indigo Herb’s Cacao powder is high in vitamin C, which supports the immune system, acts as an anti-oxidant and relieves exhaustion and stress.
· Cacao powder is high in calcium, essential to bones and teeth and is also a great source of iron, which oxygenates the blood and reduces fatigue.
· You’ll also find that the cacao powder is high in protein with 21.5g providing 8.6% of the RDA.
· This nutritionally rich food is known to have twice the concentration of antioxidants found in red wine, and three times of that found in green tea. This is partly due to the Flavonoids which improve the absorption of both vitamin C and iron.
· Cacao also contains feel good phyto-chemicals including theobromine.
· Cacao makes an excellent supplement for women during the monthly cycle, as it is high in magnesium it can relieve muscle cramps, and a source of iron is good for the blood. It is also favoured by athletes, for muscle recovery, and energy.
· It makes an excellent healthy treat for both children and adults.
I’m sure you don’t need any more convincing and I have one Pure Raw Chocolate Making Gift Set to give away.
Entry is via the Rafflecopter Widget below. The usual terms and conditions apply which you can find on my giveaways page.
UK entrants only and the giveaway ends at 11:59 pm on Friday 17th November 2017.
If you can’t wait, you can find the chocolate kits at Indigo Herbs, either in store or online and also at Notonthehighstreet.com. Either kit would make a brilliant Christmas gift for a foodie or a chocolate lover.
Most of us love a good party. Celebrating a friend or loved one’s special day is a great excuse for a well-deserved catch up, a few laughs and a glass or three of bubbly.
However, a celebration often comes with the nerve-wracking tradition of gift giving. Let’s face it: no one wants to be the one that gives the dud gift that leaves the host forcing a grin before they chuck it aside.
Image credit: Pexels
Fortunately, even if choosing presents isn’t your forte, all is not lost. We’ve rounded up five tips to help you master the art of gift giving.
Go With a Theme
A fail-safe way to choose a gift the host will really enjoy is to stick with a theme. For example, if you’re headed to an anniversary party, you can use the couple’s anniversary year to help you select a present.
If they’re celebrating their first year together, their traditional theme is paper, as paper represents a delicate, blank canvas for the new couple to write on. A thoughtful gift for this theme might be a journal the pair can write their favourite memories as a couple in, or a scrapbook for recording their travels together. For more couple gift ideas, here’s a simple but comprehensive guide to anniversary theme years.
Consider The Recipient’s Personality
Think about the worst gift you’ve ever received. The chances are, it fell short because the giver didn’t know enough about you.
The best gifts are often things the receiver would love but would never buy themselves. Practicality is overrated—don’t be afraid to choose gifts that are usable but not necessary. For example, if your quirky best friend is just getting into cooking, avoid the obvious choice of a fundamentals cookbook and get her one that focuses on an obscure theme, like one that’ll help her recreate meals from her favourite series. Practical? Not really. Fun and memorable? Definitely!
Image Credit: Pexels
Realize It’s Okay to Ask
Many of us have been taught that it’s rude to ask someone what they’d like for their birthday, housewarming or wedding. But this particular piece of etiquette is no longer as relevant as it once was. With more and more demands on our budgets, we often have a list of things we’d love to buy but will never get around to purchasing.
Sometimes, the best way to show that you’re a good listener and a great friend is to quiz your giftee on what they’d like and buy accordingly. It’s also a good way to avoid being the third person to buy them a toaster when what they really wanted was a smoothie maker.
Choose Something Personal
The best gifts come from the heart. That’s why it’s almost impossible to go wrong with a gift that’s personal to you both. For example, if you met through your love of a certain band, you could assemble a scrapbook of photos you’ve taken together at concerts, interspersed with lyrics and other memorabilia. On the last page, stick a couple of concert tickets to really wow them and give the promise of a brand new memory together.
Give an Experience
Does the recipient already own everything under the sun? Consider giving an experience. Does the person have a favourite restaurant or performing-arts centre? Maybe your friend loves music and would enjoy seeing his top band in concert. A material gift might break or get lost over the years, but a skydiving adventure or a cooking class with a famous chef will never be forgotten.
Giving a great gift isn’t as hard as it might seem. By following these five simple tips, you can avoid giving a gift that leaves the receiver wincing.
What’s the worst gift you’ve ever received, or the best?
There are so many articles and posts out there that give ideas on what gifts you can give people to make a positive impact on them – except most of them bash flowers in the process. ‘Give these gifts instead of flowers’, they say, and yet fail to realize that there’s a reason flowers have made such a popular gift for years.
Turns out, flowers aren’t the cliched gift that many think they are. Here’s why!
They Bring Life To A Room
A nice bunch of flowers can bring life to just about any room. Whether you want something to greet guests in the hallway or lighten up your living room, they are going to add something to your decor and bring joy to all who see them. If you think something is missing from a room, chances are, it’s a nice bunch of flowers.
They Have A Positive Effect On A Person’s Brain
Flowers are actually one of the only gifts that can have a genuine, positive effect on a person’s brain. Sure, something ridiculously expensive might make somebody happy on the surface, but is it really having an impact on their brain? Flowers can actually reduce mental health issues like stress and depression, and many people who received flowers as a gift reported having a positive mood that lasted for days.
They Give A Sense Of Wellbeing
Studies have shown that for mature people, flowers can give a much greater sense of wellbeing and satisfaction with life. This is why getting your grandma a lovely bunch of blooms has never been a better idea!
There’s Something For Every Budget, Occasion And All Tastes
There really is something for every budget, occasion, and taste when it comes to flowers. You can buy a cheap bunch from the supermarket if you’re running low on funds, or you could look for an interflora discount code for something a little higher quality. There are flowers for weddings, birthdays, ‘thank you’s and so much more.
Flowers Can Make You More Productive
If you send somebody flowers at work, you may just inadvertently help them to get a promotion. Keeping flowers at work can make you happier and more productive, so just think of the effect your gift will have on the receiver when they keep them on their desk!
It’s Good For Your ‘Chi’
You might be wondering what ‘chi’ is; in short, it’s energy. The ancient practice of Feng Shui talks about this a lot. There are many principles to this practice, but one of them is to have flowers in the home to improve positive energy!
Giving Flowers Says Something About You
Don’t forget, giving flowers also says something about you as a person. People who send flowers are viewed as successful, caring, emotionally intelligent people. This goes for both men and women! If you enjoy giving flowers a lot, this might just be the reason why.
So, have you changed your mind about flowers after reading this? Leave a comment and let me know!
Readers of this blog will know that I am hopeless when it comes to choosing birthday gifts for myself. This is largely because, once you’re a parent, your first thought is more likely to be about replacing worn out kids’ trainers than treating yourself to a manicure.
As you get older you also acquire an appreciation of craftsmanship and quality which become more important that the current fly-by-night brand or trend.
I’ve probably inherited a parsimonious streak from my dad whose prime consideration when buying anything is “whether it will see him out”. Not particularly cheerful, but eminently practical, as I’m sure you will agree.
Another consideration is the fact that by the time you get to your 50s, you have most things, in fact almost everything you need. That doesn’t stop us from longing for a little bit of luxury.
“Fashion passes, style remains” – Coco Chanel
There are, though, some things that have been on my personal wishlist for a long time. I was lucky enough to be given a Louis Vuitton Alma bag for my 50th by the Husband, but I have always had a hankering for a Rolex watch.
My late grandmother, Jessie, had a Rolex dating from the 1930’s which is one of my dad’s treasured possessions, and a pretty special family heirloom. I would be perfectly happy with a pre-owned Rolex from a company specialising in second hand watches to hand down to Caitlin in many years to come.
As you get older you certainly come to treasure your time and I think its natural to create special celebrations and little rituals to mark its passing. The years seem to pass quicker and quicker.
“I think the older I get, the more I realize that the ultimate luxury is time.” – Michael Kors
Time has a special resonance for me since I had my kids in my forties and am aware that I might not have as much time with them as younger mums. I obviously wouldn’t change them for the world but I do think the experience of an older mum is different somehow.
I also prefer a perfume which is a little out of the ordinary such as Guerlain’s Mitsouko (which means mystery in Japanese) and was created in 1919 . It is a Chypre fragrance with notes of peach, jasmine, may rose, spices (cinnamon), oak moss, vetiver and wood. It is a world away from lots of the synthetic, me-too fragrances currently on the market.
And of course as a massive Agatha Christie fan, I’d love a full set of Agatha Christie novels and a trip to see her holiday home near Torquay – Greenway, now in the safe hands of the National Trust. You can even get there by steam train or boat. How romantic is that? I will be hinting largely to the Husband.
Sometimes a cuppa in bed in the morning is all you want
But ultimately, whilst our things may give us pleasure, it is memorable experiences which stay with us and I am sure that for most mums a special snuggle from their kids and a cup of tea in bed means just much as a glitzy present.
In 2016 it seems that we are living in turbulent times and whilst the political climate is so unsettled, I’m sure some of us would prefer to holiday here in the UK.
Despite the fact that UK Staycations have a reputation of being rather pricey, there are bargains to be had and here is a selection of great value days out and short breaks from Buyagift.com. Needless to say, they all make great gifts too.
Days out in London
1. The ArcelorMittel Orbit
The ArcelorMittal Orbit
London is home to some of the biggest and best tourist attractions in the world but this is something really different and not for the faint-hearted.
The ArcelorMittal Orbit was a major icon of the 2012 Olympic Games and is now home to the world’s longest and highest tunnel slide.
You can enjoy entry to the upper viewing platform and external balconies where you can take in the awesome 360-degree views of the city before plummeting 178m towards the ground!
You will be able to see some of the world’s most iconic sights as you twist and turn 12 times around the structure before a final 50m straight run back down the earth!
Only recently built and already an integral part of London’s iconic skyline, The Shard points up to the clouds, reaching an incredible 308m which makes it Western Europe’s tallest building.
Designed by Master Architect Renzo Piano, the Shard has redefined London’s skyline and it has become a dynamic symbol of the capital.
You can visit London’s highest viewing platform situated at the top on floors 68, 69 and 72. At almost twice the height of any other viewing platform in the city, you’ll get unparalleled 360-degree views for up to 40 miles.
Needless to say for photographers (and selfie-lovers!) this is a fantastic camera-ready opportunity which you can follow with a meal in the Michelin recommended restaurant, Latium.
Why not visit the Houses of Parliament where you can see both the House of Lords and the House of Commons. An audio tour will describe the incredible medieval structure of Westminster Hall, the Queen’s Robing Room and the Royal Gallery, featuring leading parliamentary figures such as The Speaker and Black Rod.
Buyagift.com’s package also includes a pass for to 24 hours unlimited travel on Thames River Cruises and afternoon tea at the Park Plaza County Hall.
Tour of Houses of Parliament, Afternoon Tea and Thames Cruise for Two, Was £113.90, Now £108 – note: this tour is no longer available (30/01/2019)
4. Blenheim Palace
Blenheim Palace – Always Stunning No Matter What The Weather
Blenheim Palace, just outside Oxford, contains one of Europe’s finest collections of antiques, inimitable 18th Century Baroque architecture a 2000 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds.
With an ever-changing array of exhibitions at this UNESCO World Heritage site and home of 12th Duke and Duchess of Marlborough, there is plenty to see and enjoy.
The birthplace of Churchill, the palace has an interactive experience that guides you through all 300 years of its history, as well as a special gallery paying homage to Churchill himself
Annual Entry to Blenheim Palace with Afternoon Tea for Two, £75 (note: currently unavailable as at 10/04/2019).
5. Hampton Court Palace
Hampton Court Palace
The royal palace of Hampton Court is situated in Richmond upon Thames in Greater London. Its most famous resident was King Henry VIII.
Redevelopment of the manor, as it then began in 1515 for Cardinal Wolsey but when he fell out of favour with Henry, the King seized the palace for himself in 1529.
Visitors can take a free audio guide around the stunning palace, wander around at their own pace or even be accompanied by a costumed guide as they explore the many rooms and artefacts including the Tudor Kitchens, the crown of King Henry VIII and more.
The Palace continues to display a large number of works of art from the Royal Collection and, apart from the Palace itself and its gardens, other points of interest for visitors include the celebrated maze, the historic real tennis court and the huge grapevine, the largest in the world as of 2005.
Probably top of many parents’ day-trip bucket lists (and certainly ours), is the Harry Potter tour where you can discover the magic behind the spellbinding special effects and explore the behind-the-scenes secrets of the Harry Potter film series.
You can tread the original stone floor of the iconic Hogwarts Great Hall, encounter animatronic creatures and wander down Diagon Alley.
Located at the Studios where all 8 films were produced, the Studio Tour showcases the incredible British talent, imagination and artistry that went into making the impossible a reality on screen.
Harry Potter Studio Tour, £128
7. Ripley’s Believe it or Not!
Ripley’s Believe it or Not!
Ripley’s Believe It or Not! is one of London’s top attractions and features an astounding collection of over 700 artefacts over six floors.
You can explore everything that the museum has to offer from a mirror maze and graffiti wall to a toilet paper wedding gown!
Located in the heart of Central London at the infamous Piccadilly Circus, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! guarantees a day packed with interesting facts and some weird but wonderful displays that’ll you’ll remember for years to come.
Family Entry to Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Was £79.95, Now £68 (no longer available 30/01/2019)
8. Family Wimbledon Tennis Tour
Your tour will take you behind the scenes for a tour of the grounds. You will visit court number one and centre court, the site of some of the greatest matches in the history of the sport.
Your guide will lead you through the beautiful picnic terraces and up to the water gardens with amazing views of London before heading to the marvellous interactive Wimbledon Tennis Museum.
Here you can discover the history of tennis, viewing all the trophies and even meeting the “ghost” of John McEnroe!
This unmissable tour of Stamford Bridge, home of FA Cup Winners and European Champions, Chelsea Football Club is a fun, informative and unforgettable experience, enjoyed by sports fans of all ages from all over the world.
The fully guided tour takes you behind-the-scenes of one of the world’s greatest football teams, giving you access to areas normally reserved for players and officials.
Chelsea FC pride themselves on having guides who are both knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the club and they believe it’s their passion that makes their tours a truly memorable experience!
From lakes to moors, woodlands to mountain peaks, the UK’s National Parks encompass some truly breath-taking scenery and are a pleasure to explore, whether on foot, by car or bicycle or on horseback.
Fish in the Lake District, see the wild ponies of Exmoor, explore the quaint villages of Cumbria or whatever takes your fancy, and know you will have a warm welcome, comfortable room and delicious breakfast to come back to.
Which would be your first choice? I’ve already got a couple at the top of my bucket list. I’ve put The Husband on notice. And if it rains, we’ve got our kagools.
Buyagift.com is the UK’s leading online provider of gifts and experiences, and offers over 4,000 unique and exciting gift ideas for all occasions. For more information, visit www.buyagift.com. Prices and product details correct at time of distribution.
It’s Grandparents’ Day on Sunday 4th October this year and what better way to say thank you for all they do than by sending a lovely bouquet of flowers?
My Lovely Mum, Kay & Her Moonlight Bouquet from Debenhams Flowers.
For working parents, grandparents are an invaluable source of trusted childcare. Recent research carried out by restaurant chain Table Table found that grandparents save parents an amazing £8,000 per year by babysitting their grandchildren and driving them around.
There’s little doubt that parents owe them a huge debt!
I have to admit that Grandparents’ Day seems to be a new annual celebration but I can see no reason why we should not take some time out to show our appreciation. It is only too easy, if grandparents live a long way away, to let contact slip, perhaps only visiting around Christmas and birthdays. Another reason, I think why an extra day to share with them is a good idea.
The relationships our children have with their grandparents are often unique. Having had to put up with my sister and I, our parents now combine many years of wisdom with a level of patience I can currently only dream of! Both share their love of painting with the kids and my father, who teaches the piano, has been giving Caitlin lessons. Ieuan will have lessons a little later on and I am hoping he will not have been too far indoctrinated by the Husband in the ways of “shouty Viking Rock” by then!
So bearing this in mind, I have been mulling over what to get them to say thank you on Grandparents’ Day and flowers would seem to be an easy-to-please gift.
I was recently sent a lovely bouquet for my mum by Debenhams Flowers who have a great flower delivery service. They offer next day flowers 7 days a week across the UK with a beautiful range of seasonal bouquets. For guaranteed next day flowers you need to order before 9pm on weekdays, 4pm on Saturdays and 2pm on Sundays. Next day flowers are available by courier or you can choose flowers by post which are delivered in secure packaging by Royal Mail to any UK address.
You can send your best wishes with a personalised gift message delivered alongside the bouquet you choose and add a gift, for example chocolates, fine wines or balloons.
Debenhams Flowers suggested range for Grandparents’ Day can be viewed here.
The bouquet I selected for my mum was the “Moonlight” – a lovely display of lilies, roses and carnations (£30.99).
As you can see, the picture above really doesn’t do the bouquet justice. It will be even more gorgeous when the lilies open.
DISCOUNT CODE FOR MY READERS
I am delighted to offer my lovely readers a discount code which entitles you to a very generous 25% off a bouquet (*Flowers By Post not included).
It’s that time of year when our thoughts turn to gifts and the annual office fun that is “Secret Santa“. Luckily I’m spared the later by dint of being a stay at home mum but I still have the challenge of flicking through the “Gifts for Him” section of various catalogues and the gadget reviews of the Sunday papers in the hunt for something suitable for male relatives that isn’t i) beer or ii) socks.
Thanks to www.iwantoneofthose.com I have discovered a rather nifty implement to chill your wine quickly – both white and, for the more sophisticated, red wines. It’s called the Corkcicle and is a clever gadget that you put in the freezer to, well, freeze and hey presto, you have an icicle with a cork on top which you then place in your bottle of vino to achieve the best temperature which, according to the chaps at Corkcicle, is somewhere between table and ice bucket temperature. Within 15 minutes (please show somé restraint grape lovers), your wine will have reached optimum temperature and will stay that way for over an hour.
Now I have to say that making a bottle of wine for two last over 60 minutes is something of an Olympic standard challenge in this household, but in the name of science and with the health of my readers’ livers in mind, The Husband and I decided to give it a go. We can report that it does indeed keep the wine chilled.
Full instructions on how to use the Corkcicle are on the back of the box. If you’re drinking white, you need to pour out the first chilled glass and then pop the Corkcicle in. If you’re drinking red, merely pour out ‘a taste’ to make room for the Corkcicle. The Corkcicle is reusable, non-toxic and BPA free – just remember it is handwash only.
In-depth scientific research fearlessly carried out on your behalf
The Corkcicle is available at iwantoneofthose.com at £18.99 with free standard delivery. There are also free shot glasses when you spend over £20 on Bar, Beer & Wine. As unusual gifts go, this one’s quite n-ice.
*A PR sample was received for the purposes of this review.