Mother’s Day gift list 2021
It’s going to be another strange Mother’s Day in the UK this year. While we can’t completely predict whether we’ll be able to meet up on the day at the time of writing this article, it does seem that posting or emailing gifts may make the most sense. It’s worth leaving extra time for deliveries though, given the volumes that delivery companies are managing, and the continuing lack of staff at retailers, depots and distribution organisations due to the coronavirus.
That said, here’s a mix of ideas that might prompt you in the right direction for your mum. Some are real, some are virtual. Some you can buy at an essential shop, others you’ll need to order online or by phone. Some are very personal choices, and some are safer options.
Where I’ve actually been able to review the product, it’s clearly stated in the description. Otherwise these are just suggestions you might like to explore yourself.
Subscription boxes – the gift that keeps on giving
My ‘Ooh, look at this’ gift of the season has to be the Ginger Cordial kit from preserving expert RosieMakesJam (above). Wrapped up in environmentally-friendly packaging this gift gives me everything I need to make Ginger Cordial – bar the fresh ginger. There are ingredients in brown paper bags, electronic scales, jars with lids and very easy-to-follow instructions. I’m really looking forward to trying this and will update the article when I have. It’s part of Rosie’s monthly subscription box service that includes ingredients, easy explanations and skills sharing to make preserves such as wholegrain mustards, jams and jellies and seasonal treats. You can read my full review of making ginger cordial here. The subscription service is available through the uOpen website at £25 a box for a 6-month subscription. The uOpen website is well worth a browse for other subscription ideas. Ideal for a staying at home Mother’s Day.
There are plenty of subscription boxes you can order directly from suppliers, as many businesses have found inventive ways of reaching their customers during lockdown. Meals in a box, plant deliveries, needlework projects, seeds for bees – just try searching for a pastime that you think might suit mum.
Putting on a happy face
Look Fabulous Forever offers makeup and skincare products designed for the more mature face. My lovely box of review products caused me to take a good, long look at my lockdown face, only to discover my eyebrows are in danger of becoming as thick and errant as my dad’s. But there’s plenty here to help save the day, including brow shaping tools, lustrous lipsticks, highlighters, and eyeshadows that work for older eyes. If you do choose any of the wide range of products from here, point mum to the website where there are videos explaining application, as well as blogs and discussions. I’m not a huge makeup user, but I really like the feel of what this company has to offer. Read more about the product review.
One of the big successes of lock-down has been the jigsaw puzzle. It’s an absorbing, challenging activity that you can do on your own at your own pace. There are plenty to choose from, including puzzles we’ve mentioned in previous lists specifically designed for those with dementia. You can buy online from a huge number of retailers.
Here’s a new range to us may well appeal to mums with fond musical memories of the 70s and 80s. The Rock Saws series of puzzles takes us back to the days of celebrated musical artists and their famous album covers. Artists include David Bowie, The Rolling Stones, Elton John, The Clash, Pink Floyd and Queen. We’ve received the David Bowie Aladdin Sane jigsaw for review. The pieces are good quality, and it’s a nice touch that the box is the size and shape of the LP it’s featuring. Rock Saws are available from Zee Productions in 500- and 1000-piece formats.
Finally, for a really challenging puzzle, there’s the transparent Impossible Puzzle. For the less adventurous the acrylic puzzle package starts at an easy 9-piece format, with sizes available up to the Insane 330-piece versions for the most ardent of puzzlers. Made in sturdy acrylic, the pieces are presented a tin, and I completed the 70-piece version within an hour on my post-jab day off.
There’s always chocolate
If you love chocolate, then denying yourself any at all is really tough. Sadly a growing number of older people are finding themselves living with Type 2 diabetes, which means that sugar and carbs are not the friends they once were. However, a little chocolate, especially if it’s over 70% cocoa, can go a long way.
Seriously dark chocolate may also work for the vegans in your life.
The Green & Black Dark Chocolate Gift box is £10, and is one of a range available online. We received a sample box and like the presentation and recyclable packaging almost as much as the chocolate itself. Our box contained a selection of dark and not-so-dark bars, and one with crystallised ginger.
Getting out and about again
Even when we’re officially advised we can go out and about again, many of us may take a while to feel comfortable in coffee shops and restaurants. So to make a day out possible, you could make sure mum has all she needs for picnicking in peace. Some really comfortable deckchairs, insulated bags, flasks for plenty of hot drinks, and sturdy reusable cutlery and plates could all be welcome. We’ve just tried out the custom-engraved water bottle from Always Personal, which we think would make a good addition to a day away from home. While it can hold hot and cold drinks, I think it would be great for milk to add to hot drinks when you need them.
A good book for dipping
Mum may still be wading through the books she was given at Christmas, but if she’s an avid reader, it may be time for a refresh.
Alternatively, I really like the offerings from Pook Press, which offers classic tales with beautiful illustrations. We gave A Christmas Carol with the Arthur Rackham images to my mother-in-law. It’s a paperback but still very good quality.
Arguably paperbacks and Kindle versions of books are a better idea. I’ve got a pile of new hardbacks – pleasing to look at and easy print, but so heavy to hold for any length of time.
That said, there’s a brilliant review book sitting on my coffee table right now that would work for most generations, despite being a weighty tome. ‘The Word Explained’ contains 264 easy-to-follow infographics describing a vast number of topics. Science, culture, politics, history – every sort of topic is covered here. The first page I opened offered a graphical roundup of pedestrian crossing signs. The second – the thinking behind the organisation of a supermarket. And the third – the history of Beatlemania. Published by Prestel at £49.99 with purchasing details on the website.
Back in the garden
The gardens are waking up, but keen gardeners will find it difficult to get started if they’re avoiding shops and garden centres. Round my way a wholesaler has turned to local deliveries of potted plants, perennials and annuals, and compost. That last one has been brilliant, as their compost and fertilisers are professional quality. If mum’s a keen gardener, then home delivery of the heavy stuff could be a real treat for her.
Tools are another possibility, and there are ranges of long-handled tools to help with weeding and planting. A thought for this year is that after such a cold winter, hosepipes may have perished. Hozelock is a long-established brand, and is likely to be more durable and less likely to kink than some of the cheaper brands.
Another interesting idea from the company is a Growbag Waterer, which has a water reservoir that can keep plants watered for up to 14 days. We haven’t seen this to review but it looks like good idea. Available through a number of outlets.
With continuing uncertainty about freedom of movement outside the home and potential shortages of some foodstuffs, grow-your-own could be popular again this year. March is a good time to start sowing seeds, and from my own experience I would recommend some of the smaller seed suppliers. I love Real Seeds for their enthusiasm and commitment to helping gardeners save seed rather than just buy more every year. As a small company, they are struggling to fulfil orders at the moment, but still worth a look. Seed Parade is another company I’ve used many times and would recommend – although you need to go back online for growing instructions.
What’s happening with experience gifts?
It’s been a difficult time for companies offering experiences. I’ve been wondering how they’ve coped, and this is what I’ve discovered.
Red Letter Days and Buyagift are making their experience vouchers valid for 20 months, and gift experiences boxes valid for 2 years. There are some interesting offers from the companies too, such as a half-price spa day at Marriot Hotels or an extended hour’s flying lesson.
If you’re still uncertain about making a booking now, you could simply give a promise of a future funday.
If you’d like to give an experience right now, you could look at the growing band of local bakers who can deliver Covid-secure afternoon teas to your mother’s doorstep. There’s likely to be huge demand, so getting your order in early is recommended.
On the wall
We’ve reviewed several small businesses offering prints in the past, including Posterhaste and Inkanddrop. We’d like to add the Nurture print by Hannah Turlington to the list. Although we’ve not seen the work close up, we’ve watched enough Landscape Artist of the Year to know that lino cutting is a real skill, and pretty popular at the moment.
A completely different idea is to turn family photos into a hand-painted portrait by a real artist from Paint Your Life. It’s a highly personalised gift, and even gives you the opportunity to merge recent photos with images of passed loved ones for a complete family picture. The service has attracted over 9000 5-stare reviews on TrustPilot, and offers a 100% money back guarantee and unlimited customer revisions.
New ways with needles
These two hobbies have seen a huge surge in popularity over the last year. That includes many who say they haven’t touched a sewing machine in 30 years, but want to try again now. Not everyone wants to dive into making clothes, and there are plenty of free patterns and YouTube videos to follow if mum would like to make toys, bags and other smaller items. A gift voucher for fabric or yarn might make a great present if you know mum is interested in these hobbies. There are huge online vendors, but also many of the smaller independents have built online shops now. Not all have websites – some sell through Facebook pages and Etsy in particular.
And finally, how about some sunglasses for that light at the end of the tunnel?