Friday, 22 November 2013

Be Prepared, It's Coming. Present Ideas: Thrifty Gifts.

Christmas can be an expensive time of year, even if you're cunning and have spread the costs of the festive season so we have put our brains together to help you lower the costs with this weeks list of...

Thrifty Gifts!

Now this, for some people, can be uncomfortable. You don't want people to think your a cheap but at the same time your list of people to buy for is getting longer each year. So you need to be clever and follow the 2 rules of thrifty gift shopping:

1. It's all in the presentation.
This actually goes for all gifts you buy. Make them look fabulous and no one will suspect or mind that it's thrifty. Invest in some nice wrapping paper and cover it in bows. If you're making a set or hamper, use a pretty box and use some ribbons. That little extra time spent on the outside makes all the difference.

2. Make it relevant.
For a thrifty gift to be successful as a present, it must be right for the person you're giving it to. Take a bit of time and extra brain power and think specifically what that person wants. Do they have any allergy's or special dietary requirements? Enjoy a special hobby or have a TV show they love? If you're still drawing blanks we've compile a little list to give you some ideas.

Thrifty Gift Ideas

1. Voucher of Kind. This is an I.O.U for a service you can give your giftee. Think babysitting, car valet, or do you have a special skill? Think bookkeeping, organizing, gardening, DIY, cake making, decorating. It's sometimes the gifts of time which are the most needed.

2. Biscuits. Who doesn't love these and you can make them in any shape to fit their passion (Think guitar shape, Dr Who themed etc). Here is our favourite recipe (Stolen from BBC Food)


To decorate
  • writing icing
  • cake decorations

Preparation method

  1. Sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger and cinnamon and pour into the bowl of a food processor. Add the butter and blend until the mix looks like breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar.
  2. Lightly beat the egg and golden syrup together, add to the food processor and pulse until the mixture clumps together. Tip the dough out, knead briefly until smooth, wrap in clingfim and leave to chill in the fridge for 15 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.
  4. Roll the dough out to a 0.5cm/¼in thickness on a lightly floured surface. Using cutters, cut out the gingerbread men shapes and place on the baking tray, leaving a gap between them.
  5. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until lightly golden-brown. Leave on the tray for 10 minutes and then move to a wire rack to finish cooling. When cooled decorate with the writing icing and cake decorations.

3. Charity shops finds. Now this takes a bit of your time as you have to rummage through to find what you are looking for but you can get some real bargains if you know what you are looking for. It is also a great place to get books in good quality at a reasonable price.

4. Scented Sachets for Draws and Wardrobes. This is a DIY jobby but you will be pleased to know it can be non sew for those who aren't very crafty.

5. Cupcakes. Mmm nom, these are on the same vein of thought to the biscuits, have a look at for some ideas.

6. Make up a Survival kit. These can be great little gifts to give people which can be very thoughtful. Kits could be Office Survival which includes computer wipes and chocolate, a Holiday one which has inspect repellent and a phrase sheet, a Beauty one which has a nail file and cotton buds. The ideas are endless and can all be personalised to the person who is receiving it.

7. Candles in Tea Cups. Another DIY idea which can look very pretty, have a look here to see how to do it, you could tailor the scent to one you know the giftee likes.

8. Make a Cookie Mix Jar. If you've got a keen baker on your list, this is a very visually lovely treat. Just layer the ingredients in a Kilner jar or a Jam Jar and put a a pretty label on the outside.

9. Chocolate is always a good idea and in recent years many brands have made metre long tubes at reasonable prices. Who wouldn't want a metre of chocolate?

10. A mix CD is an old favourite because it can be a very thoughtful thing to give. You could do songs that remind you of them, a collection of tunes which bring back memories or even if you want to show off a new lot of bands you don't think your gifter will have heard of.

11. A Kilner jar of sweets, for the person with the sweet tooth in your life. You could fill it up at an old fashioned sweet shop or buy the multi-pack bags and tip it all in. (We'd quite like one of these if you're offering) 

12. Personalised cups or mugs.
The possibilities are endless for this, our favourites we've seen are bears, teeth and moustaches.

Hopefully that list has given you some ideas, for more have a look at Pinterest, here's a few boards we found

This blog falls into our It's a Modern World series which is all about lending your hand to the little things to make the big things happen. Find out more about this series and our others at on our Overview blog or find more in the same series by pressing the "It's a Modern World" tab at the top of the page. 

Friday, 1 November 2013

Be Prepared, It's Coming. Present Ideas: Beauty.

Last week we gave ideas for your DIY lovers in the shape of some fabulous 1950's DIY magazines so this week we've decided to please the groomers in your life and do...


Everyone loves a bit of pampering, it's one of our favorite hobbies at HQ so we have complied a little gift guide for you, starting with...

This fabulous, never been used, 1950's powder puff made by Lentheric. From what you can make out through the box, it smells divine and is a perfect for a true vintage collector. Next up, we've gone for something for your their dressing table...

This pretty brush and mirror set. It has wooden covered handles, a pretty embroidered design on the back and the brush is brilliant for carefully combing out pin curls. This is one of a few sets we have on the site so have a browse if this one doesn't take your fancy. The next items compliment the brush set so perfectly...

A 1950's cut glass dressing table set. This peach set includes a lovely scalloped edge tray with a matching glass pot with lid and 2 matching candle stick holders, which will look so pretty in any dressing area. On the website we also have a lovely orange and blue set so take a look. Now this isn't just the ladies in your life, we now move on to the chaps section...

This is a very cute bottle of Royal Salute aftershave made by Jean Sorelle. It is 70cc in size but we think it might be partly used but still fabulous and will look good on a display. If your chap already has his scent, why not get him...

This handsome travel shaving set. It was made in the 1960's for Pearl, a company who sell shaving soaps and creams. The set comprises of a portable razor with blade, a tester sample of the soap (no used), a chalk for any mistakes, a brush (not used), a mirror and a lovely little advertising poster and it all fits in a lovely little bag. It's perfect for the vintage traveler in your life.

We hope these have given you a few ideas, have a look at our Bedroom Beauties area of our site for more lovely pieces.

This blog falls into our It's a Modern World series which is all about lending your hand to the little things to make the big things happen. Find out more about this series and our others at on our Overview blog or find more in the same series by pressing the "It's a Modern World" tab at the top of the page.