Bumper Christmas Gift Guide 2016
It’s that time of year again! To help you out finding festive gifts for your friends and loved ones I’ve trawled the web, hit the shops and made my way through an awful lot of samples (I do my best to give everything in my gift guides a personal test run), so you won’t be stuck for gift ideas. I’ve got the usual picks under £10 which are great for stocking fillers, colleague gifts and secret santa, gifts under £25 which are great for your close friend and family, and gifts under £50 for your nearest and dearest. As usual, I’ve also put together a special selection for the guys in your life, and new this year, I’ve chosen some of my favourite cookbooks I’ve been using this year in case your family is anything like mine, and they are a big bit of the gift giving!
Doisy & Dam Roased Cacao Nib Vegan & Gluten Free Chocolate | Crabtree & Evelyn Rose Pineapple Hand Cream Cracker | Joules Fuzzy Long Bed Socks | Homemade Spaghetti Rolling Pin | Divine Chocolate Coins | Bronze Star Cookie Cutters | Hotel Chocolat Salted Caramel Puddles | Gin & Tonic Scented Lip Balm | Origin White Truffle Honey | Monin Syrups Cocktail Set | Art Foil Thank You Cards
Some of the best small gifts are edible small gifts. On the chocolate front, Hotel Chocolat’s Salted Caramel Puddles are one of my favourite of their items ever, and who does not love chocolate coins? These ones are made of actually great tasting chocolate. And also, recently I was sent a couple of bars of Doisy & Dam Chocolate to try, and you would not believe that these superfood-heavy bars are totally gluten free, and some of them are also vegan – they also have fun packaging, which is always important when it comes to gift giving. I’m a sucker for anything with Roasted Cacao Nibs in at the moment, but I’m also a big fan of their Maple, Toasted Rice & Pink Salt Chocolate. Not pictured, one of my favourite bars of chocolate this year that is also wrapped beautifully that you should check out is Pump Street Bakery’s Rye Crumb, Milk & Sea Salt bar.
In the ‘not chocolate’ category, when I went to Glasgow last year and spent some time with the beekeepers from Plan Bee, I became more than a little obsessed with their Origin White Truffle Honey, which now comes in a beautiful jar. The Monin Cocktail Syrup Set was actually a stocking filler I received the year before last, and is what got me into mixing up my own cocktails at home. And, who does not want a set of bronze star shaped cookie cutters, or a rolling pin specially made to cut your own homemade spaghetti?
Moving onto the non-food related, I’m actually wearing these exact fuzzy Joules bed socks while I type this, and I own several pairs – something else I’ve received in my stocking and I adore. Also, Gin & Tonic lip balm?!
The White Company ‘Winter’ Star Shaped Tealights | Silver Mussel Eaters | Liberty London Silver Plated Silver Spoon Bottle Opener | Philosophy Cinnamon Buns Shower Gel, Shampoo & Bubble Bath | Kate Spade Portable Coffee Cup | Emma Bridgewater Christmas Mug | Vineyard Candles Merlot Scented Candle | Joules Oven Gloves | San Pietro White Truffle Oil
There are more of my personal absolute favourites in my Under £25 guide. For me, Christmas is not Christmas without a festive scented Philosophy bubble bath and The White Company’s ‘Winter’ scented candles, which I have now found in these adorable star shaped tea lights. Also on the candle front, a new find for me this year are Vineyard Candles, these great cut of wine bottles filled with wine and cocktail scent. I love the Merlot candle which also smells wonderfully spiced and festive, and Mummy? I know you’re reading this: this candle is way more affordable than most of the candles I love, and you can buy them in Queen Bee Home in Canterbury. And I promise not to get more smuts all over my lovely white bathroom!
More for the home, I love Joules’ home gear, and these oven gloves would make a great gift for someone who has just moved house. An Emma Bridgewater mug is always a gift I know people love to receive, and a mini bottle of white truffle oil is honestly one of the best Christmas gifts I’ve ever received. Also, for the seafood lover in your life, are these silver mussel eaters not absolutely adorable?
Charbonnel et Walker Fine Dark Chocolate Bittermints | Daylesford Vine Tomato Scented Candle | Nuxe 10 Beauty Treasures Gift Set | Le Cord Rose Gold iPhone Cable | Kate Spade 2017 Floral Diary | The White Company Slipper Boots | Luxe City Guides Europe Box Set | Tea Pigs Organic Matcha | L’Occitane Pivoine Flora Gift Set
There are some really great beauty gifts out there this year. I’ve been a fan of L’Occitane’s Pivoine Flora peony scent since it launched, and this beautiful gift set is fantastically great value, with four great full sized products. Another great French beauty brand I adore is Nuxe, and this year they have a lovely, advent calendar style gift with 10 of their cult products – a great introduction for someone who may be new to the brand.
Three more personal favourites in this round: a bit more niche, but if you’ve ever grown your own tomatoes, or you’re a massive tomato fan, you’ll want Daylesford’s Vine Tomato candle. It smells exactly like a ripening vine of tomatoes, and is a lovely scent for the kitchen. The other month Charbonnel et Walker sent me a few boxes of chocolates, including these Fine Dark Chocolate Bittermints from their Drawing Room Collection. They have to be hands down the best after dinner mints I’ve ever had, and a great hostess gift. Another niche one, for the foodie in your life who loves Japanese or unusual flavours, matcha powder is rather pricy, so a decent amount for baking and drinking would be a much welcome gift for someone you know loves to experiment in the kitchen and loves the green tea flavour.
Simply Nigella by Nigella Lawson | From Venice to Istanbul by Rick Stein | Nadiya’s Kitchen by Nadiya Hussain | A Bird In The Hand by Diana Henry | Our Korean Kitchen by Jordan Bourke and Rejina Pyo | Chef on a Diet by Sophie Michell
On the cookbook front, the one cookbook I’ve cooked from the most this year has to be Simply Nigella. I was given it as a gift last year, and it is full of easy, delicious, everyday recipes that are classic Nigella, with an injection of modern flavours from Korean to Japanese. That most cooked from book of 2016 is closely followed by Chef on a Diet. Don’t let the title put you off – while I avoid the baking section because I don’t believe in using sweetener instead of real sugar, so many of the savoury options have become part of my everyday rotation because they’re fresh, unique, and very more-ish. A great gift for someone who loves to eat healthily, but still really, really loves food.
Two books on this list are not the most recent releases from the authors in question. For a beautiful book full of inspiring recipes, beautiful photos and travelogues, I’ve been enjoying From Venice to Istanbul by Rick Stein (every recipe works like a charm), but a copy of his latest book, Long Weekends would also be an equally as well received gift. For people serious about cooking (once you’ve checked to see if they already own it of course!) you can’t go wrong with a Diana Henry title. In A Bird In The Hand she had the foresight to write an entire book of chicken recipes, and I hope I’ll find her newest book, Simple, under the tree!
Finally, I want to flag one of the newest additions to my collection: Our Korean Kitchen. I was given it at the Observer Food Monthly Awards, and it has sent me down the rabbit hole of good, authentic Korean home cooking. The recipes are easy to follow, and while all the ingredients are not necessarily store-cupboard, the book is full of clear instructions and directions. I’ve had quick dinners from the book (the Kimchee Fried Rice is delicious), and I’ve got my first ever homemade kimchee attempt fermenting in the kitchen.
Gifts for Him
L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream | Gin & Tonic Carry on Cocktail Kit | Biscuiteers Ski Lodge Iced Biscuit Tin | Spanish Cold Pressed Virgin Nut Oils Set | Haig Club Single Malt Scotch Whisky | Cure Your Own Bacon Kit | Coffee Logs
Finally, the section I always find the hardest to write: the gifts for the guys in our lives. There are a couple of basics (a good bottle of whisky, a good, neutral scent L’Occitane hand cream in a special edition tube that makes it all together more masculine, and a tin of fun biscuits, because who does not like edibles?), and a few more unique gifts. A cure your own bacon kit got a massive thumbs up from one of my best guy friends when I shared some items from this years guide with him, as did the Gin and Tonic Carry On Cocktail Kit meaning you can always have the perfectly balanced drink when you’re settling in for the long haul.
Probably the most unique item in my guide this year is a bit niche, but also pretty cool. If you know someone with a wood burning stove, who is either a coffee geek or is big on the environment, this is one of those talking point gifts that would be perfect for them. Briquettes, made out of recycled, used coffee grounds. I’ve got a bag on the go right now, they burn really well, and don’t worry, they don’t make the room smell like some sort of slightly stale Starbucks!
I thought I’d post this guide up here early on account of the fact I have already done most of my Christmas shopping (don’t hate me!), and on account of it still being around the middle of November, I’ve already created a Pinterest gift guide this year, with all of these items, plus a load more, which you can check out there. I’m going to continue to add to it during the run up to Christmas.