This article was written for Annabel & Grace, which is now part of Rest Less.
I have decided to try and give friends and family practical gifts for Christmas, not another scented candle that they stick in a box. Everyone is careful with their money, so giving a present that you know will be useful and appreciated is good. I have even been known to give make-up if a friend remarks on a lipstick colour or if they ask me what highlighter I use; I note it down and give it to them for their birthday.
Tarte Tatin dish
An example of this practical gift-giving is at one dinner party, I made a Tarte Tatin, and everyone was so impressed. I assured them it was the easiest recipe if you have the right dish, as it is all about making the caramel sauce without burning it. The dish needs to be quite thick and be able to sit on your hob and transfer to the oven. So when I next went to stay with one of my dinner guests, I gave her the dish, and she was so thrilled. I use the one of the left however the one on the right looks equally suitable
Grace saw me making pastry one day and using this pastry mat and said how useful it must be. So I thought again this might be a good gift for someone who loves to bake. I use it all the time as I have so many different size dishes, and this mat means I roll out the pastry to the correct size.
Electric and automatic peppermill ~ https://janelovettcookery.squarespace.com/shop
This peppermill is perhaps a little bit of a luxury, but I saw Jane Lovett, the cook using it and I thought how good it would be when you are cooking and only have one hand free to grind in some pepper. It is automatic and lights up when you are using it. Not sure I will be grinding pepper in the dark, but I am sure the light will come in handy.
This is a seriously great bit of kitchen kit. How often do you struggle to get a tart or cake transferred to a platter? Once again, it was Jane Lovett that I first saw using it, and she says everyone asks her about this platter and then orders it from her shop.
One of the front corners of this Giant spatula protrudes slightly, and this, combined with its flexibility, makes it very easy to slide underneath the food.
Having made a beautiful tart, quiche, cake, pie, anything en croute, pavlova, torte – or any other such things, the final transferral to a serving platter can be the most nerve-wracking bit. No more! The size of this spatula means that the whole thing can be lifted safely with no danger of collapsing.
In short, it’s a must-have!
The Large Nutribullet
I love my Nutribullet; however, it is so rare that I am making a smoothie just for me so I gave my small one away to one of my children and bought this one – the Nutribullet 01319. It is so much stronger than my original smaller one and it also liquidises hot soups. My daughters love using it when they are home, so I have bought them one each for Christmas. I know they will get so much use out of it.
Keep bread fresh bread bin
This is BreadSmart – the easy, convenient way to keep bread deliciously fresh, soft and ready to eat for days longer! This revolutionary bread bin contains sophisticated CondensControl™ technology that carefully controls the container’s environment, regulating airflow, ventilation and moisture to ensure the best conditions for the bread to stay fresh for longer. Specially designed ribs on the base also help prevent contact with breadcrumbs, reducing mould formation and stale bread. Save yourself time and money on the amount of food waste thrown away every month.
I do not have one but I am assured by a girlfriend that it really works and is a money-saver.
A girlfriend told me that she had been given a label maker by another friend. At first, she thought it was a very dull present, but now she says it is one of her can’t-live-without items. She labels everything in her kitchen, home office, and even half-used paint tins with details of the rooms the paint is for. She says it has saved her so much money and time.
Moving onto slightly more luxurious gifts but still practical:
Yoko Wool Siberian Slippers
I think we will all be turning our thermostat down this winter so this pair of slippers from Sweaty Betty at £30 is a cheap way to keep your feet warm. They are made from 100% natural wool pile which is both warm and breathable. They are an indoor slipper only. Great ‘working from home’ slippers that keep your feet toastie and while the sole is not that thick, it’s not an issue for wearing them around the house
All day Tote Bag
So many of my friends have taken up exercise whether it is Yoga, Pilates or HIIT. The latter is not for me but whatever your choice of exercise we all need to carry a water bottle, some workout socks, another layer of clothing, a mobile phone and a purse. This Tote bag means you can keep everything in here, and you are ready to go.