Per­fect presents

Daunted by your Christ­mas gift list? EMILY BEARN makes mail-or­der shop­ping look easy

The Oldie - - CHRISTMAS GIFT GUIDE 2018 -

Adopt a pea­cock

‘Jeal­ous and fond of or­na­ment’ is how Aris­to­tle de­scribed the pea­cock, which in Britain has found its nat­u­ral habi­tat in the stately home. But these birds add panache to any gar­den lawn and, for the re­spon­si­ble owner, can prove rel­a­tively low-main­te­nance friends. The Lan­cashire dealer Brow Farm has a va­ri­ety of breeds and can ship to any­where in the UK. From £65. www.brow­farm.co.uk/peafowl

A very merry count­down

The pu­ri­tans among us have long be­moaned tacky choco­late ad­vent cal­en­dars and this year fes­tive de­gen­er­acy plumbs new depths as corks pop on al­co­holic ad­vents. For those who need a bot­tle a day to keep Christ­mas at bay… try a Fizz Ad­vent Cal­en­dar, by First4ham­pers, which con­tains 24 mini bot­tles of sparkling wine. £125. www.first4ham­pers.com

Bat­tle royal

Clock­work toys never dis­ap­point. Last year we rec­om­mended rack­ety re­moval men, but in 2018 it’s the rac­ing roy­als who are steal­ing the show. Wind them up and watch Prince Charles and his mother bat­tle it out to be first across the Christ­mas lunch ta­ble. £6.99. www.iwan­to­ne­ofthose.com

Com­post buzz

What do you give the gar­dener who has ev­ery­thing? This year the so­lu­tion lies in this chic wooden com­poster, a bee­hive style that will raise the tone of any­one’s gar­den waste. With its ca­pa­cious in­te­rior, the bee­hive could al­ter­na­tively be used as a re­fined stor­age box for smaller gar­den tools. £92.99. www.one­gar­den.co.uk

Give a fig

Af­ter this year’s blis­ter­ing sum­mer, a fig tree should be on ev­ery gar­dener’s list. The hardy Brunswick va­ri­ety is par­tic­u­larly well suited to the va­garies of the Bri­tish cli­mate and, if suit­ably cared for, will grow up to three me­tres tall. Thomp­son & Mor­gan de­liv­ers trees pot­ted and ready for plant­ing. From £30.99. www.thomp­son-mor­gan.com

Bas­ket case

Say good­bye to unsightly stair­case clut­ter with this rus­tic rat­tan stair bas­ket, a must-have stor­age so­lu­tion for any­one liv­ing on mul­ti­ple floors. It will prove so in­valu­able, you’d do well to pro­vide one for each flight of steps. £29.99. www.the­far­thing.co.uk

Weather watch

This year’s ex­treme tem­per­a­tures have turned us all into am­a­teur me­te­o­rol­o­gists and caused a surge in de­mand for barom­e­ters. For an­tique mer­cury barom­e­ters try buy­barom­e­ters.co.uk but for out­door use what about this retro-chic St Ives Barom­e­ter in gal­vanised steel? £36. www.gar­den­trad­ing.co.uk

Tong twister

No Christ­mas is com­plete without a Lake­land gad­get, and these in­ge­nious mag­netic toast tongs would make the per­fect gift for a child to give to a grand­par­ent. The wooden tongs en­sure that toast can be re­trieved without burnt fin­gers or elec­tric shocks – and when not in use they can be mag­net­i­cally at­tached to the out­side of the toaster. £2.49. www.lake­land.co.uk

Cof­fee whizz

It’s never too late to add froth to your cof­fee and ev­ery­one will en­joy watch­ing the Ae­roc­cino magic their skimmed milk into glo­ri­ous hot foam. Ne­spresso’s Ae­roc­cino 4, £60, is the Rolls-royce of mod­els; for an eco­nom­i­cal op­tion, equally stylish, try the VAVA Milk Frother. £29.99. www.ne­spresso.com

Best foot for­ward

The foot spa had its hey­day in the Seven­ties and is now en­joy­ing a re­newed burst of pop­u­lar­ity. The retro im­age is part of its ap­peal, so go for this pur­ple Revlon ver­sion, which has a me­chan­i­cal mas­sage set­ting and in­cludes a pumice stone and cu­ti­cle scis­sors. Revlon Pediprep foot spa, £29.99. www.boots.com.

Lis­ten up

At The Oldie we’re al­ways tun­ing into the lat­est in hear­ing tech­nol­ogy, and these wire­less head­phones win on ev­ery acous­tic and sar­to­rial front. The head­phones not only en­able you to wan­der from room to room without car­ry­ing your phone or tablet, but will also take calls, con­trol mu­sic and ac­ti­vate Siri. Beats by Dr Dre Wire­less On-ear Head­phones, £184.99. www.ama­zon.co.uk

Lap of lux­ury

Eat­ing off a tray can feel a lit­tle old-maid­ish. But with a Bosign An­tis­lip Wooden Lap Tray, it’s pos­si­ble to en­joy a tele­vi­sion sup­per while re­main­ing at the cut­ting edge of tech­nol­ogy. The tray has er­gonomic grip han­dles and a bean­bag cush­ion, while the non-slip sur­face keeps lap­tops and plates firmly an­chored. £55. www.john­lewis.com

Trol­ley dolly

The shop­ping trol­ley has shed its fo­gey im­age and is now a fash­ion-for­ward ac­ces­sory on the high street. The smartest mod­els come with a fold-down seat, ideal for su­per­mar­ket so­cial­is­ing. This funky striped ver­sion by Life­max comes with an ad­vanced tri-wheel sys­tem for climb­ing kerbs, £34.99. www.robert­dyas.co.uk

Shore thing

Ev­ery grand­par­ent de­serves a de­gree of com­fort on the beach and this pop-up beach hut will make sea­side pic­nics an in­finitely more civilised af­fair. De­signed to with­stand sun and light show­ers, the hut should be fur­nished with a pair of fold­ing camp­ing chairs, com­plete with arm­rests and drink hold­ers. House £69; chairs £15 each. www.ol­proshop.com

Pill pop­per par­adise

There comes a stage in life when one’s medicines re­quire a cup­board of their own. Do away with tacky plas­tic bill boxes and in­dulge your in­ner phar­ma­cist with a vin­tage-style Me­like Metal Apothe­cary Chest, ca­pa­cious enough to store medicines and first aid for an en­tire fam­ily of hypochon­dri­acs. £349. www.myakka.co.uk

Top score

You’d be sur­prised how many bridge en­thu­si­asts keep score on in­el­e­gant scraps of pa­per. Raise the aes­thetic stakes with one of these hand­some scor­ing pads from Si­mon Lucas, avail­able in Rub­ber or Chicago ver­sions. From £2.95. www.si­mon­lu­cas­bridge sup­plies.co.uk

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