Thursday, 8 May 2014

Cheap and Cheerful Gifts for Mother's Day

While no one wants to admit it, if you have left buying your Mother's Day gift(s) to the last minute (and let's face it, many of us have) then all previous ideas of buying amazing jewellery online from overseas, booking mini-breaks to exotic tropical islands, or even booking a swish restaurant (and I could mean McDonalds for some Mums, because hey, we can stick the kids in the play area and get free wi-fi while slurping a frozen coke) for a meaningful dinner now have to be discarded.

Hopefully you'll be better organised next year.

If not, here's a few simple and sweet (not going to set the world on fire, but definitely going to show that you care, I hope) gift ideas for your Mum or any other mothers in your lives (including you).

I'll say it again for those still in denial, when you have neither the time to organise something amazing (sourcing rare pottery from an obscure country town 8 hours from where you live), nor the money to go all out on that sky diving course your Mum has always wished to try…. isn't it a relief to know that you can stick with the tried and tested categories of: Books; Drinking Tea; and China Collectables… to still give a gift that really works.

A GOOD BOOK (never goes astray):

Fiction - you know what your Mum likes reading, but if you don't:
Historical - The Secret Keeper (2013) by Kate Morton.
Contemporary - The Fault in Our Stars  (2012) by John Green. The movie comes out soon so with-it Mums will want to read the book first! Apparently middle-aged women in droves are reading YA fiction. So I heard..
Classic - A cloth-covered Penguin classic of any of the Jane Austen or Bronte books 


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A Notebook or Journal:

They need to be attractive and practical. You'll know whether your Mum is a mad jotter, a creative scribbler, an obsessive list-maker or a driven chronicler… phew! Whatever they may be, a notebook or journal, carefully chosen, is always appreciated.

The 365 journals by Kikki.K are useful and look great. Their Today I Am Thankful range is also super sweet (particularly good if you think your Mum has been complaining of late).

Today I found this swoon worthy journal - a Mother's Day gift to myself (I bought it for research purposes, all right!)


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The gorgeous cover caught my eye first, and the inside is equally as lovely. Every page is decorated with colourful borders and sweet illustrations. I bought mine was from the fabulous NOTE TO SELF in Epping. If you can't get there, find stockists of Chronicle Books.

A Cookbook:

I found this in a throwout bin at the Post Office this week and am enraptured with it's glorious photography/styling, excellent versatile recipes, and the fact that it only cost me $7!!!!


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Other great sounding books to get Mum's culinary masterpieces flowing (and then we all benefit!) are Same Same But Different from Poh Ling Yeow and the new one from the amazing Monday Morning Cooking Club: The Feast Goes On


Keep Calm and Give Tea:

As in my Cheap and Cheerful Gourmet Gifts for Teachers, try the supermarket tea/coffee aisle for something special. Many of the brands produce special gift tins for Mother's Day. These are by Twinings and cost $10ea.


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If you can spend a little more on tea, try a T2 shop for inspiration. I have seen customers literally falling over themselves for the iced tea paraphernalia that they stock in abundance. Me and my Mum? We'll just stick to the black tea blends, white with no sugar, thanks very much. 

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Then there's China (because you can never have too much china..): 

This fabulous serving platter from The Meadows range at Mozi yelled "pick me!' when I ventured in the other day. So cute and at 36.5cm in diameter, this platter will make any occasion special.


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I saw some fantastic retro looking coffee cups and saucers in Mozi too, on their sale shelves. China comes in all shapes, sizes and prices, and this Myer range is very cost effective - a cup and saucer set by Maxwell & Williams will cost under $10. Reds, pinks, yellows and blues, what's not to love?


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So had you planned ahead already this year? Did you have your gift(s) sorted weeks ago and you are secretly scoffing at the rest of us sad and sorry lot?

Last Minute Ideas:

If all else fails, bake a cake! Don't start from scratch if that idea fills you with dread. Buy a cake mix and then the best dark chocolate you can find to make a sumptuous ganache to ice it with. Pick up a vintage floral plate from your nearest opshop, or maybe some small children can decorate a paper plate. Actually ditch that idea, food and texta colour may create problems. 

Paint a Canvas - pick them up for a couple of dollars in the art section of Dollar Stores, and then get painting. Ellie has made this one for me. It's supposed to be a secret, and I promised to forget about it. And I will, tomorrow.



And then you only have to type MASON JARS into Pinterest to find several million ideas on how to make these cheap and cheerful items into pinworthy presents. Here's one of my faces (slightly freaky, but oh so doable, even for the craft-challenged). 


It's a photo inside a jar filled with olive oil. I guess it gives that vintage sepia look..
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I wish you all the best - and would love to hear the feedback from the desperate and clueless out there. Did this help you at all? Were you suddenly struck with the glitter wand of inspiration and a potential relationship crisis was averted? Do tell!


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And please, spare a thought for those who find this day a trial, or worse still, a source of hurt and pain, an unbearable reminder of loss. Bake a cake for them too, or invite them around to your family do. 

Pray also for the Nigerian mothers, who are going through unimaginable trauma, hoping against hope that their kidnapped girls might be returned safely. 


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ACTION:

- A Change.org petition to President Jonathan at http://chn.ge/1ioL496

- A TakePart petition to Nigerian officials and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry at http://bit.ly/1rUgsPa

You can learn more about the kidnappings in these articles in the NY Times at http://nyti.ms/1rSD7eZ or in the New Yorker at http://nyr.kr/1mZgi9F

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