I’ve loved rounding up this Valentine’s day gift guide because I feel like I can really indulge in my love of blush pink without any shame! Most of the gift are fairly simple – I say save the big ticket items for anniversaries and birthdays – but their just kind of token of appreciation I’d appreciate. I hope that there is something in here for you too!
As much as I love gift shopping, planning and co-ordinating my wrapping and name tags to my Christmas decor has always been just as fun to me. This year, I decided on a beige and gold wrapping paper with a wreath-like DIY name tag. I love all the lovely wreaths I’ve seen and decided to take on this Christmas classic and make it slightly more modern. I love that these name tags are reusable and could just as easily double as Christmas decorations on a tree!
Granted this DIY is time consuming and maybe not as practical if you’re wrapping more than a handful of gifts, but it sure is pretty! Plus making the stars is the perfect activity to do whilst watching Christmas movies.
I mentioned in my previous gift guide that I find buying gifts for men incredibly hard, which does not explain my delay in publishing this post, but perhaps makes you feel slightly less alone? Either way, with four days to go to Christmas you might find this gift guide for men helpful when it comes to shopping the beloved men in your life.
In my experience, new clothing rarely excites men as it does women. So if you’re considering a cloth-based gift, might I steer you in the direction of lounge wear. So far this has gone down a treat with both my husband and brother. Things like slippers, stretchy pants and robes aren’t necessities but they sure make life that much more enjoyable! These H&M pants (in a different colour) are a firm favourite in our household and these slippers look so cute.
Tech & Accessories
This might possibly be the most frequently requested gift category for men. Ranging from techy watches to the latest phone gadgets, there is sure to be something tech related on their Christmas wish. Whether it comes in under budget is a completely different question though!
If you recently won the lotto, I’m sure the VR Playstation will score you extra brownie points that might carry you to the next gifting opportunity. Quality over-ear headphones is another favourite, that can easily be scaled to suit your budget. Noise cancelling seems to the next big things, with the price increasing if you choose to go with a wireless option. Both Sennheiser and Sony make good options, but these Bose ones are more common.
Leather tech covers and laptop bags are also often welcome gifts and will be a treat for both your eyes, especially if there is a tendency to have these lying around. My husband has a leather iPad pro cover (similar to this) with storage for the iPen, which would have made the perfect gift if he didn’t already own it. We don’t spend that much on Christmas gifts, so this leather bag is out of the question, but it sure is beautiful and would make a great gift.
The Gift That Keeps on Giving
Thank goodness the digital age makes gifting for men a little simpler! With online gaming platforms like Steam it is easy to purchase new games (often on special) or things like game time for their favourite game. Game time can also be purchased for gaming consoles, so best find out exactly what he has before whipping out the credit card.
If so inclined, a carefully selected board game can also result in hours of fun lasting well into the future! Personally we like Carcassonne, Codenames (much less dramatic) and Dungeons and Dragons. Raru has a pretty impressive selection online, so time to start browsing!
If you’re buying for the handyman, chances are there is something that can be added to his tool kit! Whether they’re missing something basic or require something specific for a future project, scanning their tool box might soon reveal a gift idea. Multi-tools are popular for a reason, but this year my husband requested a more specialised laptop screwdriver set. This is perfect for the guy who likes to tinker with his tech, but an electric screwdriver set could also be a nice gift – this I can personally attest to!
For some reason it seems like e-books tend to be more popular with men, but that doesn’t mean that the category has to be foregone when purchasing gifts for men. Whether you settle on a hard copy or electronic version, we’re sure there is something to suit every man’s interests.
Books my husband recently read and loved:
- Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig
- Dungeons and Dragons: The Players Handbook by The Wizards Rpg Group
- The Complete Stories of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
If you’re buying for a frequent traveller, anything that can make travelling more comfortable and relaxing would be much appreciated. I can personally attest to how wonderful packing travel cubes are, so if you’re buying for a frequent traveller this is certainly where I’d start. Noise cancelling headphones are also high on the list for most travellers, with other accessories like a neck pillow being slightly more personal choices. If you are aware of an upcoming trip, then buying a travel guide for that specific destination could also be a lovely personal touch. Although guide books might be dying out, these DK Pocket Map & Guides are my favourite. As they are small and have a handy map, they make great travel companions when WiFi isn’t readily available.
If you still find yourself stuck or simply don’t know the person you’re gifting to that well, you can rarely go wrong with a good tipple, roast or related paraphernalia. My husband likes a good whiskey but I’m completely lost when it comes to buying mid-ranged whiskeys. I’ve found buying the most expensive one you can afford with the word “Grant” in the title is a good way to ensure you’re getting the best value for money. Other things like a beautiful glass whiskey decanter or even some freshly roasted beans would also always be welcome. I like the idea of purchasing some beans from your favourite local place. We love both Boston Coffee and Alchemy Coffee Roasters. Special coffee mugs are also always welcome, especially when bought in pairs.
On the other end of the spectrum, fragrances are incredibly personal. So if you find yourself in a position where you know the person well enough to gift this, receiving a back-up of a favourite is always a lovely sentiment.
I thought between posting my gift guides I’d throw in a quick and easy DIY to gift to anyone from a host to a teacher this festive season. Although it is a small gesture, making something yourself like these chocolate stars, can mean so much to the recipient. It would also be the perfect addition to your Christmas table, serve as a great accompaniment to coffee and compliment many a dessert. So really this is an all-rounder! As an added bonus, it is really simple and affordable to make! All you need is chocolate, your favourite toppings (added bonus if they’re in festive shades) and a silicone ice or chocolate tray.
- 200g milk or dark chocolate
- 40g pistachios, chopped
- 40g cranberries, chopped
- Spray and Cook
- Gold dust
- Break up the chocolate in a microwavable bowl and put to the side.
- Chop up the pistachios and cranberries and keep at the ready.
- Give a festive ice or chocolate silicone tray a light spray with Spray and Cook. If you are working with an ice tray, see whether you need to fill the whole shape or whether filling it half-way would be better. My stars turned out quite thick and it might have been better to only fill the shapes halfway.
- Take the bowl of chocolate and melt it in the microwave. I usually put it in for 30 seconds at a time at full power. I take care to stir it in between microwaving it and often stop it shortly before everything is completely melted, knowing the final small lumps will melt as I stir. Each microwave is different and your melting times might be different to mine. I know this isn’t conventional or the best method, but it is by far the most convenient! I always microwave my chocolate to melt it (a double-cooker is the correct tool) and rarely use bakers chocolate, but know that if you use regular milk chocolate it will only melt once. So you have to work quick, before it sets.
- Fill your tray with chocolate, stopping two milimeters before you get to the top.
- Sprinkle the tray with the nuts and cranberries and lightly press each star to ensure that the toppings will set in the chocolate.
- Leave the chocolate to fully set.
- Once it is set, turn out the stars and dust the top of each chocolate with gold dust.
- Store in a cool spot in an air-tight container.
It is that time of the year again, and if you’re anything like me you might already have finished your Christmas gift shopping! Somehow though I always end up having to get something last-minute, whether it is a distant family member joining the festivities last-minute or a friend you’re seeing around the holidays, I always end up rushing to the shops in the last few days leading up to Christmas. So gift guides are always useful to me and hopefully to you too, whether you’ve made headway in tackling your list or are only just compiling it!
Planning a holiday is one of my favourite pass times, but if you don’t know where to start it can all feel very overwhelming- after all the world is our oyster! As I work in the travel industry and love travelling (lets forget for a moment that I don’t get to travel nearly as much as I would like too!) I thought I’d help you map out the holiday planning process. Obviously depending on which destination you end up choosing, you might cut this planning part short as there isn’t much to plan and do besides unwind in a beach destination like Mauritius. But if you find yourself overwhelmed with options, here is how I usually narrow it down and get shiz done.
Like most Capetonians, I’m feeling ready for summer (although more rain is very welcome)! I wasn’t too keen about it until recently, when the weather gave us a little preview of balmy evenings and 30 degreee days. With the warmer weather I had to swap in my summer clothing, but it just hasn’t been as exciting to get dressed in the morning as it usually is. Most of my clothing is office ready and whilst they aren’t very formal, the fabrics just don’t scream summer.
As contrary as it might sound from someone who just posted something Halloween related, I’ve never really celebrated the holiday. I like to attribute it to the fact that as an adult I have access to all the sweets I could ever want, but I guess the fact that I scare easily also contributes. Surprisingly some of my favourite songs cover subjects like a crazy scientist and a stalking monster, so it just seemed too holiday appropriate to resist compiling a whole playlist. Whether you’ve always appreciated a heavier sound or simply want to add some diversity to your party music, these songs are guaranteed to send chills down your spine. Atmospheric organs playing and howling wolves included, these songs are all must haves in any Halloween playlist!
You can listen to my Halloween playlist on Google Play Music here.
I was never the biggest fan of banana bread, or bananas for that matter, until I found this recipe. I’ve made a few changes to it over the years, but now I think it is perfect!
It is fair to say that I have a few hang-ups regarding bananas, as I love artificial banana flavoured things (Beacon’s Fruit Salad sweets come to mind) but I don’t love bananas themselves and the idea of a warm banana freaks me out! They’re okay when eaten slightly green, but after that they just become a slimy mess with an overpowering taste. So I made this recipe with two ripe bananas, not overripe, and I the end result just has a hint of banana.
It is finally here! I am so happy to show you what our bathroom looks like nearly a year after it was done. If you remember from the before, the corner bath was taking up most of the room and it felt dark and dingy, whereas now I love how open and fresh it feels. It still isn’t large by any means, actually it is tiny, but it has everything I need and I couldn’t be happier with the end results.