When biscuits meet the Chelsea Flower Show

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Fabulous Biscuiteers biscuits for the green fingered

I’ve already written about how much I love the Chelsea Flower Show, and when these popped into my inbox, I just thought they were the perfect thing for this week. I know Biscuiteers are not the cheapest thing to send, but they’ve always been such a popular gift whenever I’ve send them, which makes them great value in my book.

This is such a lovely tin of gorgeous biscuits for the keen gardener, everything from the worms to the final blooms are depicted here. And you could just keep refilling that tin with the gardener’s favourites, homemade or otherwise, once they’ve made short work of these.

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What to buy a multi-millionaire client at Christmas

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What to buy a millionaire at Christmas

 

I have a fabulous friend who runs her own business who has a particular Christmas gift dilemma: what to buy a client when they want for nothing.

Hmm, I like a challenge but that’s a tough one. Especially as there are some dull/necessary rules surrounding gifts, bribery and corruption. But food is ok on that list I think.

So I gave it some thought and came up with a couple of suggestions:

1. Send things for sharing in the office

 

Nutcracker iced biscuits from Biscuiteers

They may be multi-millionaires but it doesn’t mean they are super generous to their own people. And even if they are, who can resist something scrummy mid morning? I suggested a tin of biscuits from Biscuiteers, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t smile when a box of these arrives. I love these Nutcracker ones, which are festive but a bit unusual.

 

2. Show you’ve got your finger on the pulse

 

Gintoxicating Kit from Craved

 

I thought it would be good to shop from somewhere different. Of course she could send a hamper from Fortnums, but how much more interesting to send one from somewhere like Crave? Great aesthetic, great products, interesting stories, couldn’t be better. For me, it tells a similar story to what her business helps other businesses to do, and I think it shows that she is looking at things slightly differently. Not to mention it’s a box of deliciousness that will turn up.

And then…

And then I came a cropper. Out of ideas. I mean this is someone who sold a flat in London that made the papers because of how much it went for. They don’t need anything, they possibly don’t want anything.

So, what would you do? Anyone got any ideas? I don’t know many multi-millionaires so my experience here is somewhat limited!

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When Advent got interesting

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I remember Advent calendars when I was a kid, lovely pictures with lovely pictures behind cardboard doors. I don’t think I can remember chocolate ones coming into the frame, although I think they did for my brother.

Well, now there are all kinds of chocolate ones on offer, but then I love that there is even more variety available now, especially for those of us who might have thought that we had outgrown advent calendars. I mean, who doesn’t want one of these?

 

Betty's Advent calendar - perfect Advent gift for a food lover

 

First up, a sweet offer from Betty’s, still one of my favourite places in the UK. This lovely fabric calendar was designed by Poppy Treffry, so Cornwall’s finest meets Yorkshire’s! A festive chocolate treat hides behind each pocket and this is one you could use for years to come, just top up the chocolates. This one goes on sale at the end of October and will be priced at £47.50.

 

Biscuiteers advent calendar - great gift for a food lover at Advent

Again, on the sweet theme, then you could try this one from Biscuiteers. Now, this is not a cheap option in year one, as the fabric pockets is £55 and then the Advent Box of biscuits is £85. Now, they are beautiful, and you will get many years out of the pockets, so maybe it’s a worthwhile investment. Or buy the pockets and bake your own!

 

Tea Forte Advent Calendar - perfect Advent calendar for a tea lover

 

Need something to wash down all that sweetness? I rather like this Tea Advent Calendar from Tea Forte which gives you a different seasonal infusion of cheer each day. A nice treat, and definitely a lower calorie option than the others!

 

Beer advent calendar

But then there’s also another couple of drink based options, although less suitable for opening and tasting at breakfast time. This advent calendar is from Best of British Beer, so you can guess what’s behind each door! I like the Christmas Day option is a Champagne style ale, but plenty of variety to go at before then!

 

Ginvent Calendar - my kind of Advent Calendar

 

Rather more up my street is the Ginvent Calendar, but again not one for sampling at breakfast time perhaps! But 24 different gins to try? That’s like all my Christmases come at once!

So plenty of new, interesting choices. Though if you want the ultimate low-calorie advent calendar, then I can personally recommend the No 7 one!

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Valentine’s Day gifts for the not so serious foodies!

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Foodies come in for a bad rap, about us taking it all too seriously, worrying about provenance. Well, I say it’s worth worrying about, but just occassionally even foodies have lapses into food that is just for a bit of a laugh. And if Valentine’s Day isn’t worth a laugh I’m not sure when is! Here’s a few things to enjoy and have a bit of fun with:

Sparkling vodka

* Sparkling vodka. This will make any Valentine’s Day go with a swing. I got very drunk at a Fashion Week party on cocktails mixed with this, and it’ll be an unusual take on fizz!

* I know they are not exactly cheap, but show me any heart that won’t melt just a little if you send them the L.O.V.E. spells LOVE tin of biscuits from Biscuiteers. And who doesn’t love an iced biscuit?

* I don’t care how big a foodie they are, most will find it hard to resist a big box of nostalgic sweeties. I love A Quarter Of and send their boxes on all kinds of occasions, and their boxes of Sweet Devotion for Valentine’s Day are fantastic. From Love Hearts to Cherry Lips, everyone will find something they really enjoy.

* For the baking foodie, then how about a set of Jumbo Cookie Cutters spelling out I (heart) U. Even better you could make up some cookies with them. Cute.

* I’m sure the cupcake queens have proper cupcake moulds, but for the romantic ones then how about heart shaped ones? John Lewis have a 6 cup silicone mould, for those romantic cake moments.

Have some fun and enjoy some fun foodie moments together this Valentine’s Day, just a momentary slip from your organic, seasonal, local lifestyle!


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The Friday Five – Getting in a sweet mood for Christmas

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I'm dreaming of a chocolate Christmas, as usual!
I'm dreaming of a chocolate Christmas, as usual!

You know, it’s pretty undeniable, there is definitely an air of Christmas around. The lights are up in many places, and there is a slight panic going on as to whether we have ordered an appropriate turkey yet. For me, Christmas is also an excuse for cooking up some sweet treats, for eating and for gifting, for sharing and for midnight feasting. Here’s my choice of 5 that might help that along:

1. I’m Dreaming of a Chocolate Christmas by Marcel Desaulniers– Christmas and chocolate, does it get any better or to be a more perfect match? And Marcel Desaulnier is king of chocolate desserts, which he shows to great effect in this book. I love the chapter titles, especially Been Nice Sweets and Been Naughty Sweets. The mind boggles!

2. Christmas Cookies from the Whimsical Bakehouse by Kaye and Liv Hansen – this is a new book to my shelves for this Christmas and I am really looking forward to baking from it. There are fabulous recipes and amazing decorating ideas. Although the fairisle sweater may be a little beyond my capability, not to mention my patience! Great recipes here for gifting opportunities, and I think a box of homemade cookies is always welcome.

3. Christmas Cookies, Candies and Cakes by Woman’s Day – something for everyone in this, from traybakes to cookies, choccies to candies. Stylish and tasty, this will give you plenty to work through and plenty of choices for every kind of sweet tooth.

4. Christmas Sweets by Georgeanne Brennan – whilst the title might make you think this is just sweeties, there is a huge variety of stuff in here including baked goods, frozen desserts and candies. There are also projects to do with children, which is part of the fun for me. I have no idea what a Candy Acorn Kissing Ball is, but I fancy giving one a go!

5. Cookie Craft Christmas: Dozens of Decorating Ideas for a Sweet Holiday by Valerie Peterson and Janice Fryer– I would love to turn out cookies like these, they all look so beautiful. I would suggest this is a great book for experienced decorators, or someone looking to up their game a bit and push themselves. I have to say if I am honest I would probably order a tinful from Biscuiteers, although I can’t choose between the Christmas shapes or the Luxury Baubles.

So stock up now, and get busy baking and making. In this big year of the credit crunch, I think homemade gifts will be even more welcome than ever, particularly when treats are going to be this tasty.

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