Father’s Day Gift Ideas
Father’s Day is generally less widely celebrated in many countries, as it isn’t steeped in the history of Mothering Sunday. That said, it is a great opportunity to express respect, gratitude and love for a parent and grandparent.
We know men, and especially senior men, can be notoriously difficult to buy for. Probably you can think of stuff they need on a day-to-day basis, but what will really enhance their quality of life?
In this year’s Father’s Day gift list we’ve tried to find presents that won’t instantly be put in a cupboard or left on the shelf gathering dust.
To make our list more meaningful, we’ve received samples for review of many gifts, and we’ve made it clear where that has happened. Our comments are totally independent though, and not influenced by vendors or their PR companies.
A different shave
By the time they’re senior dads, men who shave have a pretty good idea of what works for them and what doesn’t. But our volunteer, who struggles with highly sensitive skin these days, was willing to give a new product a try.
We reviewed two shaving solutions. The first was the Gillette Labs Neon Night, a totally manual razor that includes an exfoliating bar. Gillette offers a money-back guarantee, offering ‘our ultimate shave or your money back!’ Our reviewer liked the weight and agreed that it did glide across his skin. There are 5 blades on the front, including the exfoliating bar which really does pick up dirt and debris. Turn the razor over and there’s a precision blade, which is a little more complicated to use well. The razor is currently selling at £15 on Amazon, and if you choose this as your gift, it’s worth adding in some replacement cartridges, as refills cost around £5 each.
We also took a look at the Gillette Style Master, a rechargeable tool offering 3 stubble styling options. Our review sample didn’t come with an adaptor for UK recharging, but we found it’s the same as our toothbrushes, so crisis over! Our reviewer like the feel of this razor, although he wants a little more practice to get the most out of it. The instructions are good, and suggest the razor could be used for beards, chests and other body parts … It’s £20 currently on the Gillette website.
Alexa and the mini Echo
We were sent a sample of the Echo Show 5 – 2nd Generation to try out by Very. This is an Amazon Echo with a 5.5” display, making it about a quarter the size of the Echo Show that I already use. I prefer this smaller version, as it has a much more portable feel, so I’m moving it from office to kitchen quite happily.
If you’re familiar with Alexa, you’ll know you can use the Echo Show to play sounds such as BBC Radio (once you’ve signed up), various music stations including Boom, and your music of choice (once you’ve signed up and paid for Amazon Music). You can run a selection of your photos as a show (once you’ve uploaded your photos to Amazon Photos). There’s plenty more to do, such as tell the time, make shopping lists, talk to family and friends, manage smart devices in the home, ask for recipes, and, of course, request jokes.
If your dad is like me and struggles with what should be easy to set up consumer technology, then he will appreciate your help with getting Echo to hear his voice and get started. And he will need mains power and wifi, as well as a smartphone on which to run the app. All that said, of the Alexa products I’ve seen so far, this is my favourite. Depth: 200 MM, height: 200 MM, width: 200 MM. Amazon Echo Show 5 – 2nd Gen (£59.99)
Good socks for summer walking
We’ve received the 1000 Mile socks to try out. The company says it invented the double-layer sock concept that can virtually guarantee feet stay blister-free, whether dad is walking, jogging or even running. You can choose socks for different times of year, and the ones we have are described as 2-season, and ideal of outdoor activities in warmer weather. We can certainly verify that these socks are lightweight, with extra padding in the areas such as the balls of the feet and Achilles. £15.50 1000mile.co.uk
Stay warm and help out
We mentioned Sherpa adventure gear in our last gift guide for Mother’s Day, but we really like their ambitions, so here’s another idea to suit dads and grandads. Every time you buy a product from Sherpa, you’re helping towards their goal of providing 10 million school days to the children of Nepal by 2030. Sherpa has just passed its initial goal of one million days.
We’ve received for review the Sherpa Rolpa Jacket. Made in Nepal with 60% recycled polyester and 40% polyester, this well-made zip-up would be good for spring and autumn when the days are just a little cooler. It’s machine washable and can be tumble dried, with ironing not recommended.
Edibles are a safe choice, and this time we’re taking a look at Lottie Shaw, a family craft bakery that uses heritage recipes, traditional techniques and highly sustainable practices to create its range of baked treats. We tried the Father’s Day Baked Treat Box, one of the company’s best sellers and costing just £12.95 including delivery. It includes 3 different types of flapjack and a slice of millionaire shortbread. All my favourites – I will be helping dad out with this one.
The full range of Father’s Day products from the bakery includes hampers and treat boxes, with free delivery over £50. Letterbox treats are also free of delivery charges. Even if you’re not buying now, there is 10% off for those who subscribe to the newsletter. The Letterbox treats are delivered by DPD, allowing the option of next-day delivery.
We can’t really let a gift list go by without a mention of personalised mementos – the hugely popular way to celebrate special days. In this issue we’re taking a look at Max Spielmann. Remember Max? Back in the day before digital photography it was the go-to mail order company for serious amateur photographers to process their precious films. The brand is still around, and today you can upload your photos to the Max Spielmann site and order from the usual range of personalised goods, such as wall art, photobooks and mugs. We were provided with vouchers to try out the site, and opted for some of their newer products without photos: an engraved key ring (from £10) and a gin glass (10.99). We topped that up with a fridge magnet (from £4.95) bearing a picture I took of the RHS Wisley tulip display this spring. All arrived safely and quickly, were of good quality, and were pressed into service immediately. The gin glass is huge – I had no idea I was supposed to drink that much gin at one time!
As well as an online service Max Spielmann works in partnership with Timpsons around the UK where you can save on delivery by picking up your orders. Timpsons also send out the products and are very good at providing updates on expected deliveries – something we give bonus points for!
An interesting read
The Secrets of Life book series by SS O’Connor is described by its publishers as being written for everyone that needs cheering up, and designed to provide conversation starters. The four books in the series range from ‘How did life end up with us? through ‘How did we get to be so different?’ and ‘Why do we behave in the way we do?’, to ‘So what does it all mean?’ These huge questions are accompanied by discussions of the Laws of Thermodynamics in making us who we are, human evolution, game theory, and reasons for optimism rather than despair for our future, amongst a wide range of topics. Books 1 and 2 are already available, with publication for books 3 and 4 due in May 2023.
The author, SS (Sean) O’Connor, doesn’t have a scientific background, but he has had a varied career – as an advertising executive, entrepreneur, assembler of private equity projects, investor and corporate strategist. His novel, The Prisoner’s Dilemma, was published in 2013.
These are easy-to-follow books that could make great poolside reading, though you do need to concentrate to get the full value of the text. They come complete with several pages of references to explain the background to Sean’s own view of the development of people and their world. Published in paperback, with print that’s a little small but plenty of line space to make reading easier. About £38 for the set from bookshop.org or buy separately in paperback or Kindle edition from Amazon.
Fleecy warmth the year round
We’ve just received a couple of bed covers from Bedsure that can easily be used around the home for an extra layer of warmth whenever it’s needed. I spent yesterday evening keeping my feet warm under the reversible Sherpa Fleece throw blanket while watching television. (It may be the middle of May but the evenings could still do with some help with warmth!). It’s a really snuggly cover without being too heavy – even in the twin/double version – with Sherpa fleece on one side and velvety touch flannel on the other. I particularly like its strokeability, which is rather smoothing after a long day.
We’re also trialling the Bedsure flannel fleece blanket sofa throw, which is exactly what it says. It’s lighter weight that the Sherpa fleece version, but just as flexible in its uses.
The covers are available in a variety of colours and sizes and are machine washable.
I can see these blankets being an extra layer of warmth on the bed, but also as throws in the living room and providing extra warmth in the garden as the day cools down.
Plant a tree and follow its story
Here’s a gift idea for the sustainability-minded that won’t take up space in dad’s home but can be appreciated from afar. The digital tree-planting platform, Treedom, allows you to plant a remote tree on dad’s behalf so that he can track its growth and the impact on the community. Here’s an example of how the tree profiles work so you can see what someone will receive when they redeem a tree gift. You can also see a tree’s impact directly on the website when you select one, for instance a Cashew tree to be planted in Ghana, which outlines the type of tree it is, where it will be planted, how much CO2 it absorbs, and how it will be used in the local community. There’s plenty more interesting information on the website, and prices for trees range from £12.90 upwards. We haven’t tried this service, but we like the look of it for the dad who has everything.
The story of European crafts
We haven’t had the pleasure of seeing this book in real life, but the virtual version of ‘Ateliers of Europe: An Atlas of Decorative Arts Workshops’ suggests that it is a sumptuous addition to the coffee table. In a little under 290 pages, this hardback book offers 280 colour illustrations that celebrate the arts and crafts to be found in ateliers across Europe. Many of these craft spaces have disappeared, but the book tells the story of how they enabled the creation of some of the world’s most sought-after objects in the areas of crystal, ceramics, wrought iron, fabric, bookbinding, mosaic, wood panelling, and more. Author John Whelan and photographer take readers inside dozens of ateliers from Austria, England, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Switzerland. £42.55 from Amazon and other bookstores.
Just to let you know, we may receive a small commission on sales of a few of the products mentioned on this page. This does not affect the independence of our reviews in any way.
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash