The worst Christmas gift ever?


Disappointment is out of place at Christmas


Hopefully “you’re all done on the Christmas shopping front, as the countdown is definitely on now. And hopefully you’re really happy with everything you’ve got for your loved ones, and you’ll love everything that you receive.

So come on, lets ‘fess up: what’s the worst Christmas gift you’ve ever received, or indeed given?

I’m going to start with one that I’ve was gifted, which is indelibly ingrained in my memory. It appeared 13 days after giving birth to MGG, and after 4 nights unexpectedly in hospital with her.

So, tired, hormonal, feeling fat and frumpy…so a lovely gesture wouldn’t have gone amiss. My list had been out for months, given I was always having a mid December baby. Happily opening gifts to get to the one from MGG’s dad.

A glitter wig.

A bloody glitter wig.

Not ticking any boxes. Not buying the “I thought you’d find it amusing”. Not buying the “well, I’ve been busy”.

Yeah, not for one moment was that ever going to fly with me.


The Worst Christmas Gift Ever? In my book, yes!


I don’t think it ever got that bad again. Thankfully.

So come on, you can email me anonymous tales that I can update with, or comment below, let’s share some Christmas laughs. What horrors lurk in your past? Or did you gift something horrendous, either knowingly or only now looking back do you think that?

Here’s hoping your gifts and gifting this year show great thought and love. Or at least set you up with some fabulous stories to dine out on.

Great photo by Sarah Horrigan on Flickr.


The 6 Gifts Food Lovers Hate


The Gifts no food lover wants


So, here we are, end of October. Halloween tonight, which means Christmas will really start in earnest from tomorrow. Which means there will be some horrors of things appearing under the category of gifts for food lovers.

Seriously, every year the same. So,these are things for me that should be banned from existing in that category!

Pot Noodle gift with spinning fork

Pot Noodle or other “ironic” food gift –  No food lover is going to thank you for a rotating noodle spoon. Or exclaim “such fun” except through very gritted teeth.


Salt & Pepper Grinder. Trust us, we've got this covered already


Salt & pepper grinder – seriously, if we love our food we’re going to be sorted on the salt and pepper front. Can’t cook without it. So unless we happen to have told you ours have just broken then not the best choice.


Ultimate spice collection? I don't think so


Spice collections – ok, I’m going with some ingredient snobbery here. So, a bit like the salt and pepper grinders, if we love our food, we’re going to have our spices sorted. Or at least better sorted than the high street will do, and we’ll know what we love and don’t. But if it was from somewhere like Arabica, Ottolenghi or Steenburgs then we’d probably be more than ok with that.


Novelty wine holder. The jokes worn off.


Novelty wine holder – I’ve already written about these once this year. They are still a bad idea. Ditto novelty corkscrews.


Candy floss maker - difficult to justify the space


Candy Floss Maker – Or, indeed, other novelty type gadgets. Like chocolate fountains. If we love our cooking there’ll be a lot of gadgets we’d love. These are unlikely to be our top priority for counter space.


Novelty pizza choppers - not for me thanks


Novelty pizza cutter – only marginally better than the novelty wine holder. But not much.


This whole blog started as people kept asking about where to get great gifts for food lovers, and hopefully that’s what I keep finding for you. In the run up to Christmas I’ll be looking for the things that food lovers really will find to be great gifts. What else would you put on the “do not think about it” list?




What foodies need when they have a motorhome…


Or it would appear what one retailer of said motorhomes thinks you should be finding space for. I mean, I know things have moved on since the caravanning trips of my youth, but I would have thought space was still at a bit of a premium and therefore everything had to earn its place.

Maybe not, as it appears this particular retailer, a real specialist in the area, thinks you should be making room for:


Oh my word, do you need a baguette handled knife?

A decorative butter knife. To go with your bread. In case you weren’t sure.


The scariest looking egg whisk I've ever seen!


An egg whisk with scary eyed chick


A pizza cutter with pizza decoration. At least I think it's pizza...

A pizza cutter complete with plastic pizza decoration. At least I think that’s what it is.


A vegetable shaped vegetable peeler of your choice


A vegetable peeler decorated with the plastic vegetable of your choice. Although not sure if the third from the left is animal, vegetable or mineral.

Truly a collection that left me lost for words. I have not seen such delights since the musical cake slice I got as a wedding gift. My marriage lasted longer than the plastic bride and groom on the handle did. Well, just about…!

But if you’re feeling the need for the open road then don’t go out there unprepared!


What not to get a foodie mum for Mother’s Day



I wrote yesterday about a few ideas on what to get a food loving mum for Mother’s Day. Which kind of got me thinking about the things to avoid. Here’s a few I’d give a wide berth to:

1. Milk Tray – the lady may love Milk Tray, but most food lovers won’t be over-thrilled. Particularly if it’s only a quarter pound box. Honestly, save your money, make cornflake crispie cakes or brownies instead.

2. A Shopping Trolley – you know what, we may look at these and think how practical for touring the farmer’s market and carrying home our purchases. But since when did we want practical presents?

3. Personalised Champagne – or even worse, personalised Prosecco. If you’re going to buy fizz, buy the best you can and go for taste. Make your own label if you must, but put the money into product, not the gimmick.

4. A novelty apron – foodie mums use an apron for practical purposes of keeping food off themselves whilst they’re cooking. Not for a practical joke.

5. Umami paste -this may just be me, but if a dish doesn’t have umami from the ingredients, don’t go messing with it.

6. Cheap truffle oil- a bit like the champagne, if you’re not going to buy the good stuff, then don’t go with the cheap stuff. Truffle oil should be expensive, and that’s why it’s a fabulous gift if you get it right. London Fine Foods do a 250ml bottle of Black Truffle infused oil which is the real deal. A little goes a long, long way. Which at £30 is a good job, but do this or don’t bother.

7. Big bottles of peppercorns or oils with herbs – most of us will want to know what kind of oil it is, possibly where it’s from, and who tended the herbs. We don’t want 50 litres of some unidentified stuff. Thank you.

8. Novelty pepper grinders – there is never a moment for these. Not that much to be said.

9. Ainsley Harriott cookbooks – and possibly no Gary Rhodes either. Cooking has moved on.

So, hope you get your mum something she will really enjoy, rather than what someone wants to sell you under the guise of Mother’s Day. Remember, taste first and foremost, to avoid disappointment. Unlike the pie.

Photo courtesy of raindog on Flickr.