I’m getting a new washing machine for Christmas this year and it’s genuinely going to be a better present than anything else I could ask for. On the off chance that it’s a) not what you want to buy for your mummy friends or b) probably not a great gift generally, I’ve put together this list of gifts that would make perfect gifts for those you know with tiny people to look after. Note the lack of bubble bath.
The thing about mums of young children is the lack of time to relax. Chilling out is something often combined with tidying up at the end of the day, but that’s what makes candles a great gift. Filling the house with a beautiful scent doesn’t take any time but changes the mood, inserting a bit of Hygge into an otherwise routine evening.
Budget: the tinned candles from Matalan are beautifully packaged and make lovely little decor pieces too.
Mid range: Yankee candles are always a fail safe. Pink Sands is my favourite scent but salted caramel is a particularly good wintery one.
Take my money: Jo Malone candles are incredible for scent, but also come in such elegant packaging that a gift from this collection says so much more than most candle gifts ever could. If you can afford to splurge here, get yourself one too.
Please do not buy bubble bath for a mum. It will go unused, looked at wistfully by tired eyes or, at best, sniffed occasionally when we remember what baths on our own were like, i.e. they lasted longer than ten minutes, actually contained hot water and left us cleaner than when we got in. We do probably have time to slap some moisturiser on after a quick shower though, sometimes. Make it a good, thick one that smells really good.
Budget: Superdrug’s own range of body butters come in generous tubs similar to The Body Shop. The creams are thick and feel incredibly luxurious for the £3 price label. Coconut, ginger and lime is always in my basket.
Mid range: Sanctuary Spa items from Boots are beautiful in texture. For fairly reasonable prices you get moisturisers that leave you feeling coated in just that extra bit of luxury.
Take my money: Don’t. Moisturisers are best when coated on without much care to how fast they’ll run out if you’re not careful. Don’t be careful, use lots. And don’t waste a fortune on anything that could be done just as well with a fiver.
Scarves, coats and boots.
Particularly when our kids are still in prams, mums spend a lot of their time outside and walking. While new clothes are always welcome, a sparkly dress for party season might see it’s best nights in the back of the wardrobe. Everyday clothes with some thought put in would make genuinely great gifts. It’s cold out there, and nobody really wants to get their kid to sleep by walking around the block when it’s raining and 5°c, but we do it anyway because it works.
I won’t give you suggestions here, just find out what her favourite labels are and head there. Receiving something from a shop you would have chosen to go to yourself is extra lovely.
I’m not talking about grabbing a Cadbury selection box here. Chocolate is standard and boring unless you do it well. Find out what her favourites are, and if you can’t do that, opt for luxury. I’m talking about those fancy painted chocolates in M&S with metallic dusting and shit. Get those.
*Did you know that breastfeeding mums experience strong cravings for sweet things every time they feed their baby? No? Well now you do.
The reason I’ve put knickers here, rather than lingerie sets is that if a woman has had a baby in the last year, it’s unlikely her bra size will be permanent, and bras bought now might not be suitable in a couple of months. This is especially true when breastfeeding (seriously, I’m getting myself some damn fancy bras when my feeding days are over).
Again, where you should shop is down to the woman’s preference in shops, but Topshop consistently do some pretty lace pairs and M&S is a fail safe. Probably best to avoid Victoria’s Secret unless you’re going out with them though.
You might have noticed a theme with all of my suggestions, and that is simply items which come into everyday use. Mums might desperately want a night off drinking prosecco or some serious alone time in the bathroom, but the fact is there things are rare and nice things we can use everyday don’t have to be. We’re busy and we’re tired, but we can have nice stuff.
Whatever you buy your mummy friend/partner/relative, follow the simple rule of upping the quality slightly from a general equivalent and you’ll hit the nail on the head. Oh, and a bottle of Bailey’s is probably going to put a smile on most faces too.
Happy gift buying!