With Christmas around the corner, here are a few fail-safe ideas that, happily, won’t cost an arm and a leg.
Armfuls of Daffodils
It is annoying of me to list this on a Singapore blog, so I apologise in advance as this entry is only applicable if you are looking to send something to a lucky UK based recipient. Armfuls of beautiful scented daffs are so uplifting when the ground outside is frost-bitten and it gets dark before 4pm that I almost can’t think of a present I would prefer to get if I were in England for Christmas this year. You can order a variety of different sized bunches (anything from 12 to 60 stems) from this family company based in the Scilly Isles (I have in fact just placed an order as I type this – and if you want to be sure of a pre-Christmas delivery slot, you probably need to too by today/tomorrow).
This is top of my foodie list for taking abroad when I’m visiting people overseas at Christmas time. I always bring some back for my Mother who loves it. The hint of cinnamon it carries makes it just Christmassy enough and deliciously light layers are a welcome change from traditional, heavy fruitcake. Kuah Lapis freezes really well too so the person you give it to has the option of bunging it in the freezer and pulling it out for a tea party in May. The best place to buy it? Bengawan Solo. No lobang (for lobang read an out of the way, clever place) but I do think theirs really is best.
A Vaughan Silk Shirt
Stuck for what to get the woman in your life for Christmas? (DF this is aimed at you as my most loyal male reader who I know will be stuck!) Log on to gnossem.com and order up a shirt by Vaughan, specifically one of the Hepburns in the so-called colour ‘Lion in Winter’ (pictured), which even has a perfect seasonal name. It’s a classic and I don’t think there is anyone out there who wouldn’t like it. (I wore mine in the depths of December in New York and London and was fine – after a few tonics. Works in any climate as I love to wear it in Sing too). Gnossem offer free delivery worldwide, so this works as a gift wherever you live.
It may sound lame but I love these and they are a good present for almost anyone, whether it’s families, children, difficult men etc. The the shop you need to find is in Chinatown, called Orchid Chopsticks (they have two branches) and they sell lovely sets of coloured pencil chopsticks. Don’t panic when you look at the rather questionable chopstick rests that come with them. I usually ask to swap them for something slightly nicer; they sell all the animals of the Chinese zodiac in the shop as well as half-coloured fish which are quite fun. Despite their decorative appearance they really are quite good chopsticks and we use our set often. Orchid Chopsticks can be found at 10 Trengganu Street or 69 Temple Street, Chinatown Just remember, whatever you buy, it’s also all about the presentation. Last year I finished presents off with exuberant tassels but this year, after snapping up boxes of the stuff for next to nothing in New York, the finishing flourish will be a stick of red and white candy cane and red ribbon. My wrapping paper will be decidedly less international though and is coming from SingPost, aka generic brown parcel paper. Happy shopping!
Kueh image courtesy of Rose’s Kitchen, daffs pic courtesy of scilly flowers and Vaughan shirt image via gnossem