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Reviews: Christmas Suggestions For Mums

We all end up wondering what to buy mums for Christmas, especially if we don’t have hundreds of pounds to spend on something nice that she’d like.  Here are some of my favourites of the things I’ve had to try for this festive season.  I’d be tickled pink to get these as a present too.



I’m a right candle fan, and when I want something a little special to give as a gift, I always head for a branded one, and they don’t come much better than the Yankee Candle Brand.  Scents are sharp and gorgeous, even to the point of being scrummy enough to eat when they’re of the fruity variety, which is one of my favourites, along with spicy delights.

Yankee CandlesYankee Candles 2I received one of their Advent House in the Snow products, which includes a gorgeous tealight for each day of December, and a lovely votive for the 24th.  Scents included Candy Cane Lane, the new Bundle UP, the new Winter Glow, Spiced Orange, Snowflake Cookie, Icicles, and the lovely Christmas Even votive.  I really love this idea.

Of course, I couldn’t wait for December to give it a try and let you see what I received.  Candles are a staple of mine, so this was always going to be popular.

As a present, I’d buy one of many different things from the range of goodies on offer at this time of year.  Even our local chemist is stocking them, and the smells are fabulous every time I need to visit.   I’ve become quite a fan of their reed diffuser sets recently too, as they seem to last longer than other ones  I’ve used in the past.   There are gift sets galore to choose from, or you could even just buy some votives or tealights and wrap them up in a gorgeous cellophane bag with some ribbon.

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Rock Rose Gin

Some of you might not have heard of it, but Rock Rose Gin is handcrafted Scottish Gin.   A little gift box would go down a treat with the mums who like a wee tipple, on it’s own, with some mixers, or even as an ingredient in punch or cooking.   It’s well suited to simply being served with lots of ice, and my sample box may well be my yearly tipple on Hogmanay night this year.   It’s a hand crafted gin, created by an infusion of local and traditional botanicals, by Martin and Claire, and took many experiments to get it tasting just right.

Rock Rose Gin 2 The gin even has its own still, called Elizabeth, which was designed exclusively to make the Rock Rose Gin.  It has a handmade copper head and a botanical vapour basket.   The gin is made in small batches, to make sure the quality is carefully maintained.  Each bottle is also hand waxed and signed by the distiller.

The rose comes from a botannical forage along the Pentland Firth cliffs, where the Dunnet Bay Distillery was introduced to Rhodiola rosea, or “The rose in the rocks!”

According to Martin and Claire of the Distillery, Vikings would harvest the cliffs for Rhodiola rosea as they thought it would give them extra strength for long and difficult journeys.  What a fabulous story to base a unique taste from in the Highlands of Scotland.

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Speciality Condiments/Preserves and Chocolate

Speciality condiments were hiterto unknown to me before beginning blogging.  I didn’t know a value version from a good quality, but I know better now.  There are a lot of good brands out there, and Fortnum and Mason are one of those brands with good taste in developing and creating exquisite tastes for Christmas Food.  If I were buying some of these products for a gift, I’d probably put them in a basket and wrap it with cellophane and tie off with ribbon, for an extra special gift.

Fortnum and Mason let me have some of their samples for Christmas this year.   They’ve got some lovely Christmas food on the go, and I’d like to try some more.

The first thing to be opened here was the Spiced Chocolate.

Fortnum and Mason Christmas Spiced Chocolate

Fortnum and Mason Spicy Chocolate

Actually, the first thing I thought of when I read spiced chocolate, was how horrible it must be.  I shared it with my mum and one of her carers, who promptly said it was lovely and was definitenly getting some of it for xmas.  I have to admit, I really rather liked the slightly spicy but very subtle taste of the rich and creamy chocolate.  Sadly, I went online to look for it, and it seems to only be in the hampers.  Hopefully it is still on the list to come into stock for December, as I’d like to give a couple of bars to her as a Christmas present from my mum.

Other goodies I liked were:

  • Bucks Fizz Marmalade
  • Christmas Mulled Wine Jelly Preserve with Edible Gold Leaf is going to be my party piece on Xmas day at the table.  How cool for the kids to go back to school and tell everyone that they ate real gold….

We haven’t tried the Christmas Mustard as yet.  Mustard isn’t a thing that we’re terribly fond of, so it will go to a very good home, and to someone who really appreciates a good jar of the yellow stuff.

Fortnum and Mason Bucks Fizz Marmalade

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Doesn’t almost everyone enjoy a cookbook?  I think most of us do, even if we don’t admit it.  I’ve had some lovely books in the past, including the newest Jamie Oliver Superfood, and Ma Broons Cooking with Bairns.

New for this year, is The Social Bite Cookbook.

Social Bite Cookbook 3

It’s a fabulous concept, created from stories and recipes from formerly homeless people who have turned into chefs.

(Affiliate Link)

With an endorsement from Bob Geldof, a foreword from Chris Hoy, and chefs who’ve cooked for George Clooney, the book is a little delight, and 50% of all profits go to help the homeless, but it doesn’t stop there…oh no, the menu is created by Michelin star chef Mike Mathieson, and a whole 100% of the profits – yes, all of them, are given to good causes.

The Social Bite is a social enterprise, which trains and employs formerly homeless people to also work in their cafe’s. They also feed the local homeless community through their suspended coffee and food initiative.

The whole point of the cookbook, as a social enterprise, is that has a diverse menu, that is also affordable to cook.  I know I’ve had cookbooks in the past where there was no way I could afford to buy all the ingredients and cook that way on a daily basis, but this book isn’t like that.

Social Bite CookbookThe premise is simple.  Actually it’s one that I really agree with on a regular basis.  There is a section which includes only five ingredients, lunches, one pot wonders, main meals and sweet treats.

Some tasty recipes include:

  • Caramelised apple and pear upside down cake.
  • John’s emergency cheese cake.   I have to mention this, as I make my own, almost exactly like this and it’s a doddle.
  • Chicken with mozarella and parma ham.
  • Creamy garlic chicken.
  • One pot wonder: Michael’s Jamaican stew.
  • Black bean salad.
  • Jerk port chops with roasted butternut squash.
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