Reviewed by Amanda Hayes
If you are looking for Christmas gift ideas for the special people in your life I have some great ideas for both ladies and gentlemen.
For those that prefer natural products, Nakin is the ultimate in natural anti-ageing skincare. Suitable for any age it contains premium natural ingredients and plant actives. Paraben free and without unnecessary ingredients like synthetic colours and fragrance it’s also made in England so produces minimal pollution in manufacture. Nakin believe in freeing skin from harsh ingredients so all of the plant based skincare is free from chemical treatments, Botox, Retinol and Salycylic Acid.
Nakin includes a full system of cleansers, face and eye creams, oil and serum treatments and I was lucky enough to try the Performance Face Serum. At £25 for 50ml it’s in a mid-price range for a premium product and would make a lovely gift for those who don’t normally spend as much on their skincare. The serum comes in a small 50ml pump action bottle which is perfect for both dressing table and/or travelling. It’s really easy to use and one pump gives the perfect amount. The one thing I noticed straight away is that it smells gorgeous, I have found quite often that the natural products have minimal or no scent which puts me off, the Nakin serum however has a lovely musky scent that lasts but isn’t too strong. On application it soaks into the skin immediately without vigorous rubbing and leaves no sticky residue. The serum is very light and non-oily and left my skin feeling super soft and well hydrated. It certainly feels like a premium product and well worth the price tag.
From Anti-Ageing Lip Treatment Balm at £10 for 15ml to Revitalising Face Oil at £22 for 50ml there is something for every gifting budget. I would be extremely happy to find anything from the Nakin range in my Christmas gifts this year but the performance face serum is definitely going to be high up on my list.
For the office based gentleman, or a formal shirt wearer, a shirt delivery subscription from Christian Benedict is a fantastic gift idea. Subscribe to the service and the recipient can receive a shirt in the post every 30, 60 or 90 days at your discretion for a cost of £24.95 per shirt. You can also choose a 3 shirt gift subscription at £74.85 with 3 shirts included at a frequency of your choice, 1 arrives immediately and the other two follow at the designated time. I tried out the service and it’s extremely simple to set up. First you choose the frequency of the shirt delivery service, 30, 60 or 90 days. Then choose from 1 of 6 styles of shirts, plain or striped, pink, white or light blue. These are the six style basic shirts with alternative styles updated every 3-6 months. Next choose your collar size and arm length standard or extra-long. Also your shirt chest style preference, regular, slim fit or extra slim. This is really easy using the size guide which is included in both inches and centimetres. Make your payment and wait for your shirt to arrive. On arrival the shirt was beautifully presented in a premium stylish cardboard box and looked classy and expensive, a really lovely looking gift. It was wrapped and packed really well and after a few minutes unpacking I took the shirt out to feel the excellent quality material. The shirts are 100% cotton and are neither thin and flimsy nor thick and stiff, they are the perfect thickness and feel very soft to the touch. When my husband tried on the shirt it fitted perfectly, we had ordered the standard arm, slim fit and it was exactly right in the shoulders and arms. The navy blue stripe was really smart and the cut away collar looked great without a tie, but would look equally good with a large modern knot. We were really impressed with both the shirt and the service for the money, free postage, free returns and a money back guarantee if you are not happy makes this gift completely hassle free. For a present that keeps on giving way into the New Year you can’t go wrong with a subscription from Christian Benedict.
For presents for foodies take a look at the Sous Chef website for hundreds of gift ideas. From crackers to panettone, knife sets to hampers Sous Chef is a unique site full of cookery based goodies. For an early gift that will last try one of their food based advent calendars such as the Big Chilli Advent Calendar priced at £35. The advent calendar comes in a large square black gloss box outer wrapped with a black white and red thin card wrapper. With its red foil trim the wrapper looks both festive and good quality. On the side the packaging explains the concept behind the advent calendar, 24 types of chillies and 24 different recipes both sweet and savoury. Intrigued, I slid the outer wrapper off to find a plain black glossy box with a magnetic lid. Inside the box are foil bags, about the size of a bag of peanuts, each covered in a black & red chilli design. Each bag is numbered 1-24 with a sticker that can be used to reseal the bags after use. At the front of the box is a 50-page booklet full of tasting notes and recipes, one for each day of advent. At the beginning of the booklet is a Scoville heat scale which is replicated on each recipe so you can see how hot the day’s chilli is. Each day there is the name of the chilli, the country it originates from and interesting facts about the chillies background. There is then a recipe per day based on the chilli in the relevant numbered pack. The recipes are interesting and not altogether what you expect, yes there are spicy curries and Mexican chilli style dishes but there are also plenty of vegetarian dishes, desserts and even a recipe for chilli vodka. I love Thai food so was happy to find on day 16 there is Prik Chee Fah, the chilli base for pad Thai noodles and Thai stir fry sauce. One of my other favourites was the Spanish chicken, chorizo and red wine stew made with smoked paprika powder. The two sweets, chilli & lime fudge & Russian Roulette chilli chocolate truffles make great homemade gifts for friends and the recipes are both simple to make. We have not tried the vodka yet but it’s definitely on our list of things to do before Christmas.
I thought the Big Chilli Advent calendar was a great gift for anyone that likes a bit of spice and with the foil packs resealable the gift will last for several months. Just don’t forget your rubber gloves when handling the chillies and wash your hands well afterwards, you don’t want a chilli seed in your eye!
For both men and women that are tough on their phones and tablets a case from UAG, Urban Armour Gear, would make a brilliant gift. UAG covers have military grade drop & shock protection, are impact & water resistant making them a must have for anyone who travels a lot, works outdoors or just has a busy lifestyle. There are cases for most popular Apple and Samsung phones and tablets, so you are sure to find the perfect case for your friends and family. In addition to the standard phone cases UAG also do the fantastic Trooper range which holds up to 4 credit cards in the back, if you are the type of person who likes to travel light or uses their contactless card for public transport this is ideal, no wallet required, just pick up your phone and go.
As someone with a young child who manages to drop my tablet rather frequently I was really pleased to be able to try out the UAG case for the iPad mini. The testing requirement for UAG cases is tough, including dropping from a height of 48 inches a minimum of 26 times with zero defects to the phone or tablet so it is definitely child proof. When the cover arrived I noticed it has a slim profile but the rubbery material looked tough and didn’t scratch or mark even with a sharp nail. My tablet slipped in to the UAG case easily and the smart cover, which turns the device onto standby mode when shut thus saving battery, folds over and clips shut with a magnetic clip. When the case is open it flips backward to become a very useful 4 position stand holding the tablet either vertically and horizontally as desired, perfect for watching video content. The case has good clearance around the charging port, camera and volume buttons making them as easy to use as without the case. The big plus with the UAG case is the superior bump protection on the corners, this is where my tablet has taken a lot of battering from being dropped in the past. With the case on the armoured protection comes into its own making it seriously robust. Having been knocked off the table several times since using the case the corners haven’t even marked showing how strong it is for such a light product. UAG also makes covers for certain Microsoft laptops and MAC books giving another gifting opportunity for those who take their laptops out and about. Depending on the model there are several different colours to choose from including black, grey and cobalt blue and with prices starting from £23, a UAG phone, tablet or laptop case should be on everybody’s Christmas list.
For sporty members of your family take a look at Sportsshoes.com for gift ideas. With a fantastic selection of men’s and women’s sports shoes, clothes and accessories you will be spoilt for choice. Items range from socks at the lower end of the price range to back packs and sports watches at the higher end. For a brilliant stocking filler, try the three pack of quarter running socks from Asics. For just over £7 (£7.19) you get three pairs of ankle height socks in mixed colours, one black, one grey and one white. If you prefer you can also get an all white multi pack. Each pair has the Asics emblem both on the ankle and the foot in a contrasting colour red, green or blue. They come in three sizes, medium, large and extra-large so are suitable for the majority of foot sizes. On trying these socks I found them super comfortable and a brilliant fit. Lightly padded on the toe and heel and thinner across the top and bottom of the arch they avoid the pressure points of a thick sock but have the added comfort in all the right places. 75% cotton they come complete with Motiondry technology wicking moisture away at maximum speed to keep feet cool, dry and comfortable. In all of them time I wore them for walking and running my feet never felt hot or uncomfortable. I found that the lack of seam at the toe area stopped any rubbing in my trainers and the double thickness elasticated ankle stopped them from slipping or ruching up. All in all I thought these were excellent socks for the price and I wouldn’t hesitate to buy these for Christmas gifts for friends and family. For a more expensive gift add a pair of Asics trainers for the perfect combination.
I hope the gift ideas above give you a little festive inspiration. With prices ranging from £5 up, I am convinced that there is something for everyone from the retailers mentioned. Make your Christmas easy and visit Nakin Skincare, UAG cases, Christian Benedict Shirts, SousChef and Sportsshoes.com for a simple solution to ease the Christmas rush.
What’s Good To Do will be reviewing lots of Christmas Gift Ideas this year, and you can read them all here and get some gift inspiration.