gift dilemma

Out of town gift recipients


The other day I was conversing with a friend of mine through Facebook when she mentioned that she hadn’t organised her Father’s Day gift for her Dad in Darwin. This happened to be on the Friday before Father’s Day and she was in Sydney, so unless she personally flew the gift to her Dad, there was no way she would have been able to get him something for his special day. Or was there?

It made me realise that there are many people in the same boat and a couple of months back I was in a similar dilemma with my lovely cousin, Alison. It was to be her birthday on the weekend and even if I had sent the gift early in the week, it still would have gotten there late thanks to their show day holiday on the Friday (I had been caught out the year before).

So what do you do? Well, I had a brain wave with my cousin and this is a little trick you can do in situations – especially if the gift recipient is in another state!

Firstly you need to think. Think about what they would like and where you would buy it from if you were there with them. In my case I wanted to get Alison a candle for her new home when she gets married next year. In all honesty I could have sent the gift and had her receive it late, but I truly detest paying unnecessary postage, so I found another way….

An outdoor candle and holder was on my wishlist for Alison. Next I had to think about where to get it from… One of my all time favourite shops in Darwin is Dusk.

If you love candles then check them out online for a store near you, or if like me you don’t have one locally, you can just drool with envy and prepare a mega shopping list for when you do visit a shop one day (the closest one for me would be Brisbane!).

A Google search will most likely give you ideas as to the types of shops you will be looking for, or if you already have a franchise in mind, look at their store locator page.

Now, I knew that this shop was in Darwin, but you will need to check and see if the shop (where your gift is) is close by to your gift recipient. Then you will need to research that shop’s phone number and give them a call. Most stores will process your order over the phone (providing you have a credit card) and many will even wrap it for your recipient ready for collection if you mention it is a gift.

And that is the one catch… your gift recipient will, in most cases, need to pick up their gift from the store where you have purchased it. Some, I might add, may have delivery options, so ask when you are placing your order.

Finally, give your beloved friend or relative a birthday call and tell them they have a gift waiting for collection. Make sure you give them the right shop location and put it under their name. If you are really organised, then you can prepare a card and send it with instructions on how to get to the shop with cryptic clues – or you can just tell them!

So there you go – when you get stuck and need to get a gift in a hurry, think local to your gift recipient and order over the phone! Never a late gift again….

anniversary gift

4th year anniversary gifts


Sincerest apologies for the delay in this post - I have been enjoying the school holidays!

Well, when I saw that the 4th year anniversary traditional gift theme was fruit or flowers I kind of thought that this was a bit of a drop out gift.

What happened to all the lovely thought and consideration to give your beloved something really, really special? Fruit for goodness sake?

But then I got to thinking about fruit and flowers and well, you could have some fun with that! If you happen to live in Sydney then you are in luck! Delicious Flowers create some great looking fruit bouquets with strawberries, chocolate and even wine if desired.

A similar service is offered to Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney through Edible Blooms.

If you don’t live in the metropolitan areas and really like this idea, you can have a go at creating one yourself. Make sure you have a good selection of fresh fruit, a sharp knife and that you create it as close to the day as possible or your fruit can turn brownish thanks to oxidization!

Another option is to think of a resort/B & B that has a fruit name… For example, I found this gorgeous little cottage in Albany called Lemon Tree Cottage.

There is also Mango Bay Fiji if you like to travel a little farther, or Apple Tree Cottage on the Sunshine Coast. There, now who said that fruit was going to be boring?

The modern themed anniversary present again really did nothing for me as it was an appliance.

Please, please, please do not buy a kettle, toaster or any other common old appliance UNLESS your beloved has specifically requested one. Even then, think twice about whether the gift will truly be appreciated.

I don’t believe that there is any need to gift common, everyday appliances for birthdays or anniversaries. Remember my friend who got an iron? She STILL remembers and begrudges her hubby for it.

So, what are the alternatives? Think luxurious, and special. Does your better half drink coffee? An expresso machine to make their own cappuccino or café latte.

Check out your local appliance retailer such as Harvey Norman, or try Appliances Online for a great deal.

During my travels through cyberspace I stumbled upon this little “appliance” which apparently is great for both parties.

A word of warning though before simply purchasing this little gizmo – make sure this would be something that your beloved would appreciate or your anniversary evening may well be spoiled!

Finally, the flower for the 4th year anniversary is violets. These are interesting little flowers because there are a few different types including the African Violet and then the Viola type which are like Pansies.

Depending on the type you prefer most are available from nurseries in punnets (and can be grown all year round as perennials) as opposed to being a cut flower at the florist.

To make the most of these pretty flowers, get some gorgeous pots and good quality potting mix and fill with different colours. For more information on looking after African Violets check out Tumut Valley Violets.

Good luck!

Cookies by Arrangement

Thank you gifts for baby's 1st birthday


Sarah is planning a great little affair for her child's first birthday and was looking for some ideas for thank you gifts:

"I am throwing a party for all my friends for my baby's 1st birthday. I want to give them a present to say thank you for coming and I am expecting people of varying ages to attend. Do you have some gift ideas for the guests?" Sarah, Victoria

Two ideas immediately spring to mind. Cookies by Arrangement make some delightful biscuits and can personalise them for your big day. You can order 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and they deliver Australia wide. They can even print photos on their biscuits!

Of course you could also make your own biscuits and decorate them yourself and hand them to your guests in a box or bag as they leave.

If you are feeling creative, try my second idea - purchase some white cardboard noodle boxes, decorate them and fill them with little treats. There are some stunning scrapbooking papers and embellishments that are available and they are lots of fun to make too!

The treats could be age related, so biscuits, lollies, mini muffins for the younger guests, and sachets of tea/coffee and biscuits for your older guests. If you like the idea of muffins in noodle boxes and are looking for inspiration, check out Cupcake Caboodle where Clare is an absolute wizz at making gorgeous iced cupcakes!

If you don't want to go down the food road, what about card games like Uno or memory or even mini jigsaw puzzles?

Anniversary gifts - 3rd year


Welcome to our journey through the anniversary years! Today we are taking a look at gifts for the 3rd anniversary. If you have some suggestions for anniversary gifts or have had some shockers, please let me know in the comments section below.

To celebrate the 3rd year of your married lives together, leather is the traditional 3rd anniversary gift. When thinking of all things leather the first thought that came to mind is leather pants! Now, not everyone’s shape will suit a pair of leather pants, but a leather jacket might be an appropriate alternative.

If you live somewhere where a leather jacket (or pants) might not be needed – like in my home town of Darwin, then a leather purse, wallet or handbag might be worth considering.

And if you are considering a purse, handbag or even shoes think about alternatives to beef leather and take a look at crocodile or stingray, deer or snake.

Of course there are a sight more things that clothing and handbags that are leather, including furniture items such as leather lounges and even photo frames.

There are some leather items that I really like, such as crocodile skin shoes and that might have something to do with growing up in croc country and not really growing a fantastic relationship with these prehistoric reptiles! But, there may be a lot of people who just aren’t into leather and so the 3rd anniversary equivalent is glass or crystal.

Bohemia Crystal is a name that is huge in the crystal business and can be found in just about all jewelry stores and department stores around Australia, New Zealand and most parts of Asia. They offer a large selection of crystal ornaments right through to photo frames and some glorious stemware (think wine glasses).

For something a little non-traditional in the glass department, check out Glass by Gina, a fantastic Australian artist who uses colour – and lots of it!

I have had a look through Gina’s site many a time picking out what I would like to buy and every piece is unique and original.

This year the flower is the carnation which is typically associated with Mother’s Day.

There is a fantastic variety of colours available in the carnation family, but I would suggest mixing up the carnations with a few other flower varieties to not look cheap and remind her of Mother’s Day!

Through in some stunning roses to compliment the colours of the carnations and represent your passion and love for your better half.

Best wishes and good luck!

Ever after gallery

Wedding gift for Fiance


Weddings... lots of gifts usually get presented at weddings but Reece wants a special gift to give to his bride-to-be:

"I need to get some ideas for a gift for my Fiance that I will give to her on the day of our wedding. I've been trying to find something completely different, but haven't been able to come up with anything." Reece, USA

Here are three ideas for Reece that I am sure will be well received:

1) If money is no issue then I suggest Pandora if she is into jewelry. Start off with the bracelet chain and 1 charm, then for each anniversary/birthday/momentous occasion you can add another charm. Other people can also purchase charms for her special occasions.

These can be found in quite a lot of jewelry and gift stores all over the world.

2) There is a fantastic company in Australia called Ever After Gallery. They take your beautiful wedding photo (or other important occasions) supplied by you and created a digital picture/painting. They are very unique.

This may not be able to be given to your fiance on the day of your wedding (if you wanted to do a wedding photo), but you could give her a voucher, or supply another beautiful photo of you both.

There is an artist in the USA who also does some stunning work.

3) Finally something out of this world - literally! Name a star after your bride-to-be.... There are a number of companies who register your details for a fee and provide a certificate. Now you can give her more than the world...

anniversary gift

2nd anniversary gift ideas


Welcome to the second week of the Gift Assistant’s journey looking at anniversary gifts!

This week we are taking a look at the 2nd anniversary where traditionally cotton is given as a gift. 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!

A stunning cotton bathrobe might be a more appropriate choice and don’t forget to throw in some relaxing all natural soaps from Aroma Beauty, a satin eye mask and some scented candles for good measure.

Aroma Beauty also offers a sexy, masculine Cedar Wood and Spice soap, so it would be a great addition to a cotton robe for your man. Perhaps skip the eye mask and candles and add a shaving brush and hand towel set currently available from Hamperific.

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 Royal Doulton Gold 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.

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!

student exchange gift ideas

Thank you gift for a Host Family


Today's quandary is from Michelle who writes:

"I'm going to be visiting my host family in America, staying with them for a month. I have known them for about 5 years and this will be my fourth visit with them. I don't want to give them books or pictures but something a bit more unique." Michelle, Germany

When students set off on their exchanges they are encouraged to take something traditional from their home country as a gift. Something traditional from Germany would be nice, but as this is Michelle's fourth visit she obviously wants to be a bit more original.

When I was hosted I took a beautiful pencil drawing of a waterfall by a local blind artist in a wooden frame and they loved it. The timber was beautiful Australian wood and the scene was local to my home state.

Perhaps Michelle knows of an artist that might have prints available of well known places in Germany. Or even a platter or serving dish made from local materials of her area.

Hand made soaps are another great idea, especially if they use ingredients specific to a region.

Markets are great places to check out for appealing items made in your local area. Just make sure that if the gift consists of any plant or animal material that you declare them when entering another country.

1st anniversary gift

Anniversary gifts - 1st year


Thanks for joining us on the journey through anniversaries! I would love to hear your feedback, so please leave a comment if you have any queries, suggestions or enjoy the blog...

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.

Traditionally the 1st wedding anniversary is celebrated with paper and to be honest that probably doesn’t sound that interesting or exciting, so you need to make it more so!

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 that involves paper?
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/jewellery 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.

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.

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 Evodia. Mists, soap bars, 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?

anniversary gift

Anniversary gift inspirations... coming soon!


Struggling to find thoughtful, meaningful and perhaps unique anniversary gifts?

Join the Gift Assistant every Friday where we will be looking at each of the anniversary years and the traditional and modern gift themes.

Don't leave it to the last minute and risk a crappy gift - get organised and be happy to give something special to your love!

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