Gift Guide

Mother's Day Gift Guide


Did you know that the second Sunday in May is probably the most celebrated day for Mother’s Day across the world, but it isn’t the only date. Many other countries have their own date identified including the United Kingdom, Portugal, Spain, Egypt, Russia, Vietnam, Bolivia, Thailand and many more.

Originally Mother’s Day was commemorated in the United States by founder Anna Jarvis and, according to Wikipedia, it was to celebrate the work of Ann Jarvis who was a peace activist during the American Civil War. Anna believed that a Mother was "the person who has done more for you than anyone in the world". And while Anna did not agree with the commercialisation of this event it has indeed become quite a tradition to buy Mothers a present, even if it is just a small gesture to say “thank you”.

From a Mother’s perspective, I really enjoy getting the handmade cards from my son. Even though he is not so little now, I still find them and have a laugh at how cute he was when he would try to write neatly and express himself. So, don’t underestimate these rituals and feel you have to buy the “perfect” card to say what you really mean.

Gift ideas for Mother’s Day vary greatly as do all the different types of mothers, but by thinking about her interests and activities she enjoys will give you some hints about what she might like. Here are a few to consider:

Fitness mums
Check the state of her yoga mat, workout clothes or running shoes. Mothers will tend to make sure everyone else is sorted and then focus on her needs. Lorna Jane Clarkson’s book is also full of inspiration that she might enjoy.

Sentimental mums
I have seen a few mothers sporting these lovely necklaces and for a family with a few siblings they are a great idea with many options and styles available. If she likes to write Kikki K has an extensive range of keepsake books, journals and pens. 

Quiet time mums
For some mums the ideal day is one where she can stay at home and curl a with an interesting book or movie (perhaps something not kid related!) complete with these personalised socks! Pair it up with some flavoured popcorn (or make your own) to make it extra special.

Fashion mums
Lots of mums love accessories, especially if they are versatile and go with different outfits. Add to her collection with a lovely silk scarf or a new pair of sunglasses. This make up bag will help her keep her cosmetics organised and easy to find.

There are literally thousands of gift ideas to consider but when all else fails, a voucher just for her to indulge will be appreciated. My recommendation? Go local and find a small boutique massage or beauty therapist. If she doesn’t like these kind of treatments, consider a voucher from her favourite café or for a night out to the movies with some friends.

And if you are watching the budget then consider something homemade. A cooked breakfast, lunch or dinner is classic, but if you are handy in the kitchen what about a high tea? A bunch of flowers from the local market and a scented candle are some other budget-friendly alternatives. 

For this gift giving occasion it definitely is a case of “the thought that counts” but give the gift some serious thought and get it right – just for Mum.

2nd anniversary

2nd anniversary gift ideas


The traditional 2nd anniversary theme is cotton. Ironically most material things today are commonly made of cotton and polyester or other synthetic threads where once upon a time they were almost certainly made of 100% cotton.

So what to get if considering a gift of cotton?
If you are considering purchasing a set of Egyptian cotton bed sheets then I say consider this idea a little further. While Egyptian cotton sheets are certainly a luxury, what sort of a message are you sending your beloved for your anniversary – think washing and domestic chores!

Check out the online store at Peter Alexander (or visit in person). Peter has quite a range of cotton pyjama including these gorgeous tropical print shorts that are very on trend at the moment.
Thinking laterally, a voucher from Cotton On might also be an option where they can choose their own gift (including pyjamas!).

A romantic weekend away
If you happen to be around the Sunshine Coast area, a weekend away at the Cotton Tree Holiday Park might be on the cards. The park offers various types of accommodation including powered caravan sites, unpowered camp sites, villas and a beach house. 

China and all things fine
The modern theme for the 2nd anniversary is China. Many couples may have received dinner sets as part of their bridal registry or as wedding gifts, but if not then check out the 5 pages of styles at Victoria’s Basement. Their delivery prices were very reasonable and with the variety of styles there is likely to be one that catches your eye!
Maxwell and Williams also offer a comprehensive range of dinner sets as well and might be worth checking out.
My personal favourite is the Wedgewood set available from Peter of Kensington – nothing says classy like white and gold!
There are many women out there (like myself) who love to cook and entertain and so a dinner set may go down well. If on the other hand your bride is not so keen in the kitchen then steer away from things (like dinner sets) that remind her of more work.

Flower traditions
Daisy is the flower of choice for this anniversary and may not be so common as they once were. But did you know that the Gerbera is also known as the Barberton Daisy? A bunch of these colourful flowers will surely set the mood. Most florists stock Gerberas as they are apparently the 5th most used cut flower!

And just to complete the botanical lesson on Gerberas, they aren’t actually of the Daisy family, but are closely related to the Sunflower.

Ok, so at the end of this you may have decided that none of these options suit your darling husband or wife. If you are still struggling for a gift then think a bit more laterally. Anything made in China or of Chinese origin is worth considering, or take your partner to a Chinese restaurant for dinner is another possibility.

Another option I have heard of is buying things in twos, representing the 2nd. You could put together a whole gift box of things that come in twos like socks, underwear set (sexy or casual), salt and pepper shakers (fancy ones of course!), two packets of their favourite chocolates, gift vouchers for their two favourite golf courses for a round, two fabulous wines – you get the idea….

Did you have a favourite 2nd anniversary gift? Tell us about it!

1st anniversary gift

Getting it right - the all important 1st anniversary gift


Today we are looking at the 1st wedding anniversary which is exciting for couples celebrating this milestone. First of all, congratulations! You have survived your first year of marriage and are hopefully looking to celebrate it with great meaning and love.

Traditional 1st anniversary gift
Traditionally the 1st wedding anniversary is celebrated with paper and to be honest that probably doesn’t sound that interesting or exciting.
One young lass I know of received a fluffy, fluro coloured notebook for her first wedding anniversary and to say that she was not pleased would be an understatement. Now, while I can see that perhaps the groom discovered that the anniversary gift was paper and that this might fit the “criteria”, it isn’t perhaps the most thoughtful and loving gift he could have come up with.

So, what is a more appropriate and exciting gift?
Gift vouchers are a perfect example of a gift that is paper-based. A voucher to the local day spa for some pampering or even to her favourite clothing/lingerie/jewelry shop is worth consideration.
Tickets to the theatre or movies are also popular and something that you can enjoy together.
If you are of the creative mind, custom make your own voucher for a dinner date to your partner’s favourite restaurant and present it in a card.
Thinking a little bit more laterally indulge in a photo shoot for the both of you to mark your special occasion. Present the voucher for the pre-booked photo session in a card (handmade or store bought) and go one step further by getting one of the prints enlarged and framed for your memory wall.

Modern 1st anniversary gift
If paper really doesn’t tickle your fancy you might be happy to know that the modern equivalent for the 1st anniversary is a clock. Does your beloved need a new clock for their shed/office/bedroom?
There are some phenomenal "funky clocks" available to suit almost every personality type and décor. It might be a challenge deciding on just one.
So your nearest and dearest doesn’t need a wall clock… a watch perhaps? Casual or dress, funky or classic check out the jewelers for a massive range or if you can’t find something you like there, try online at Just Watches. Here they are offering free delivery Australia wide.

1st anniversary flowers
Finally flowers. Each anniversary year has a dedicated flower and for the 1st it is orange blossom.
Orange blossom may not be readily available in your area, but you might like to consider products that use orange blossom such as those from Jo Malone. Cologne, bath oil, hand treatments and candles – divine!

What is the best/worst 1st anniversary gift you have ever given/received?

Do you prefer traditional ideas, modern or a mix of both?
*This post has been updated an original article.

Birthday gift

The gift for the person who wants “nothing”


There’s always that one person who when asked what they would like for Christmas or their birthday responds with “Nothing”. They may buy everything that they need as they want it or they just genuinely don’t want more “stuff”.

Chances are they are the last ones on your shopping list because they have given you no clue as to what to get them on Christmas Day. You might procrastinate and then end up buying chocolates, a gift card or something very generic.

This year instead of procrastinating buy something on their behalf from Good Gifts which has been set up to change people’s lives, “one gift at a time”. Based in the UK, Good Gifts has a huge selection of gift ideas for people who really need help. 

Choose from a drought survival kit to assist farmers in drought affected areas or a bamboo bike to help the midwives in Africa make their house calls. 

The website has been neatly set up and offers different collections including Gifts for Romantics, Gifts for Foodies, Gifts for Entrepreneurs - even Gifts for Knitters!

You will need the ability to pay online with a credit card but there is a variety of gifts in different price ranges. Good Gifts stand by their commitments “that every Good Gift was always wanted… and when you buy a Good Gift, your money buys the actual gift”, so give them a go today!

Christmas gift ideas

5 awesome shops to check out in Mackay


It’s under 2 weeks out from Christmas… have you got all your gifts sorted? The last couple of weeks can be daunting if you need to hit the major shopping centres, so here are a couple of suggestions you could try around the Mackay area and hopefully tick off the last of your Christmas Shopping.

Stocked with a large range of different clothing brands and accessories, i.d Dezine is a great shop for those fashionistas in your life who want to stand out from the crowd and not be like anyone else. Divine clothing for ladies, men and now children, add in some elegant jewellery and shoes and then check out the gifts ideas for the home including stunning candles, diffusers. Check out these amazing cufflinks

A relatively new business to Mackay, Goanna Brewing is located at Paget - nowhere near the shopping centre car parking dramas. If that someone special in your life is thinking about (or even likes) brewing beer then a gift voucher for this “beer lovers club” might be the way to get them started. Vouchers start at $30.

Located in the City Heart, Let the Children Play is like a wonderland for kids with a huge selection of toys designed to stimulate imaginations. Ally, the lovely owner of this toy shop is helpful and knows her stuff (she is a teacher with over 20 years of experience). Their online shop is also worth a look.

Now located at Parkside Plaza, Gypsy and the Bowerbird is a haven for pretty things. They keep up with the latest trends in fashion and décor and stock locally made products (including Stomping Elephant earrings – so cute). The ladies at Gypsy are more than willing to give you a hand to help choose a lovely gift too!

The range of trees, shrubs, flowering plants and herbs at Annie’s Nursery is huge and they only stock what they know will grow! Don’t want to try and keep a plant alive for 2 weeks before Christmas? There is also a great display of garden ornaments and statues to suit all styles of gardens. And for that hard to buy little person – get them interested in gardening with a fairy garden. Annie’s has a gorgeous collection of items to get them started.

Hopefully you will consider dropping in to these locally owned and operated businesses for your last minute (or even all!) gift ideas. You can avoid the traffic congestion around the shopping centres, find something unique and support local – bonus! Drop us a line at if there are any others you can recommend.

*The Gift Assistant is not affiliated with these businesses.

Christmas gift ideas

The best present for the Nutella lover


So the best present for the Nutella lover would have to be a jar of Nutella, no? Well, over the weekend I stumbled upon what I reckon would have to be even better than just a jar of Nutella… a 750gram personalised jar of Nutella! 

For under $15 this promo through Myer is a pretty awesome gift idea for kids, adults or Secret Santa. Pair it up with a Nutella Recipe book and that is one extra special gift with a minimal amount of fuss.

Get in quick to Myer (or get online to arrange Click & Collect) to order your Nutella lover’s jar in time for Christmas.

Christmas gift ideas

Why Matt Preston and I might butt heads


Believe it or not it has nothing to do with his cravats. His differentiating neck accessory might be quirky but not butting heads-worthy.

No, Matt Preston and I might butt heads about his piece in Stella magazine two weekends ago where he outlined his ideas on kitchen gifts for Christmas.

I’m a self-confessed gadget collector. I love kitchen accessories and equipment and have a large collection of used and unused items that I have purchased (or been gifted) so I read with interest as to what Matt Preston, cravat-wearing, MasterChef judge suggested for this gift giving season.

His first suggestion that a wooden spoon would seem to be “on the surface a perfect present” left me with a look of disbelief on my face. I am not sure anyone would consider a wooden spoon a “perfect” give even if the gift giver was on a tight budget. 

And the alternative suggestion thrown up by Mr Preston? A $10 silicone spatula. Really Matt? A spatula? Silicone or not, personally I would be tempted to slap anyone with it if that was wrapped ready and waiting under the tree on Christmas morning.

I’ll give him credit that a prawn deveiner might be a waste of money but what authority (besides being a MasterChef judge and food critic) does he have to say “stuffed zucchini will NOT be the next big thing?”. I happen to be a fan of stuffed zucchini and can’t wait to see a future MasterChef contestant step up and blitz the competition with a fabulous version creating a new food trend #stuffedzucchiniisawesome

Matt’s advice on not giving a “clumsy cook” a mandolin is not without merit as a trip to Accident & Emergency in the New Year is not cool – kitchen gadget related or not. And I will concede that his suggestions of a decent peeler or even the gravy separator are good ideas for the home cook – anything to make those mundane chores a bit easier is a bonus.

But I draw the line (and even scoffed) at the idea that “presents with plugs on them are seldom embraced by the woman you love”. Of course it’s never a good idea to buy an iron, vacuum cleaner or steam mop – that should go without saying. There are stacks of gifts with plugs that the home cook (or wannabe chef) might enjoy, especially if they wouldn’t buy them for themselves.

The KitchenAid with multiple attachments and Thermomix are definitely high end items but both can replace multiple appliances. A lovely coffee machine, juicer or food processor are also great additions. The key is to listen and see what your giftee is interested in but thinks twice about buying. Just make sure it isn’t because they already have one!

Ok, so I’ve trashed Matt’s article enough and I guess you are wondering what my gift suggestions would be (or not…). Well, I reckon you can’t go past a stunning serving set on special at Robins Kitchen ($19.95) which come in 3 colours – black, steel and rose gold.

Or you could pick up a lovely timber chopping board and get it laser etched at a trophy shop (try Whitsunday Trophies in Mackay) or a brand new, super sharp kitchen knife engraved with the giftee’s name on the handle. My thoughtful neighbour bought me a wonderful cookbook stand that I use every day which is not only useful but a fantastic looking kitchen accessory.

If all else fails I don’t think you can go wrong with a voucher from House, Robins Kitchen or even one for a food lover’s cooking course.

PS. On a side note, I quite like Matt Preston so we probably wouldn’t really butt heads ;)

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