Are you thinking about Christmas yet? I know its only October but it’s in the shops already and there seems to have been a bit of a shopping buzz in Bromley town centre for the last couple of weekends.
I am currently in the midst of Christmas BIG TIME – being the good little Jewish girl that I am! I am just about to start doing my fourth Christmas shoot (the (fake)snow is quite literally piled up in my hallway as I type!) and I’ve already completed two Christmas features, a Christmas gift guide, a Christmas product launch and a Christmas look book. And all that started in March!
Compiling a gift guide really get’s you thinking. Although my grown up job is all about interiors and I have been surrounded by press releases full of beautiful cushions, candles, tea light holders and anything antler related since June, I am finding myself getting more and more into my baking gifts, so I thought I would share my round up of the best baking gifts around, or in other words, what to by a foodie.
What makes a good baker’s gift
Every year my mother-in-law always asks us what we want for Christmas. Thirteen years ago I said I would really like some Mermaid baking tins. Now, this was way before my blog, before kids and only just after Tim and I were married.
I don’t think that was the answer she was expecting. I think perfume/jewelry/clothing was the normal response. But that year I had just had a visit from the PR for Mermaid bakeware and I was hooked! Being told that the tins had outlasted many marriages (as they apparently used to be big on wedding lists back in the day) I had to have some. They were one of the best presents I have ever been given and they are still going strong to this day. It just goes to show. Practicality and quality wins the race.
So, what would be on my list now? Well, let’s just say that I can think of a load of things and nearly all of them baking related, but I thought I’d keep it to just 10 for now! I always think that a great gift is practical, pretty or something that you don’t really want to buy for yourself, but you know you’ll use it loads. So here is my bakers gift guide -with a few stocking fillers for good measure.
The Bakers gift list
1. A gorgeous cake stand – Dotcomgiftshop
I could never do a gift list without some sort of cake stand could I? When I first saw this at the Dotcomgiftshop Spring Summer launch I knew it had to be mine. Perfect for a Victoria sponge to take centre stage at any afternoon tea. It’s soooo pretty!
2. Everlasting Baking tins – Amazon
I know what you’re thinking. If you already have them, why do you need more? Well it’s not for me! It’s for you!! And there are so many available that I will never have every single design. Mermaid’s baking sheets are second to none. I’ve got my eye on the pudding sleeve now!
3. Beautiful Jelly moulds
Tala have this way of making beautiful, 50’s inspired baking accessories and kits that are almost too good to use. These fluted Jelly moulds would sit perfectly on my kitchen window sill until it was time to make a fruit layered jelly for the girls or a divine chocolate mouse for me and Tim. If I put my grown up Interior Stylist’s head on I’d be using them as a vase too! I have a thing for pressed glass!
4. The must have Pie dishes
Everyone should have these two pie dishes. The Le Creuset pie dish is really beautiful and makes any tart, pie or flan perfect for an oven to table dinner party – christmas or not. It’s also available in lots of beautiful colours. I have the Cassis and can think of so many people I would buy this for.
Jamie Oliver’s Big boy bowl is one of those safe for fridge/freezer/oven/microwave dishes. Tim and I were given one for Christmas by his brother about 7-8 years ago. It’s an ideal couples gift. I used it so many times, for so many dishes. I nearly always made my apple pie in it as it was the perfect depth. It really was one of my faves. That was until I dropped it recently! Have I mentioned that I am a really clumsy person? Usually, I’m an ‘easy come, easy go’ sort of a girl. You know- I use our best stuff for everyday as I don’t want it sitting in the cupboard only to be brought out for special occasions. If things get broken at least I had enjoyed using them. But with this dish I was gutted! Don’t let the photo below fool you either. It’s big – 28cm in diameter.
5. Bountiful Baking books- Amazon
Any baking or cookery book is going to be a winner with a foodie – Especially if it’s a new one but I’d really love a book on the Science of baking. I don’t really understand all the ins and outs of what gluten does to a cake, what difference it makes if the eggs aren’t at room temperature and all that jazz. If I knew more of the in-depth stuff I think I’d be an even better baker.
The Great British Bake off books (any of them. They’re all winners!)
Recently when I’m looking for inspiration or for something new to bake I go straight to ‘The Great British Bake Off’ books. They have tons and tons of recipes- some classic, some new and they always seem to turn out great, like anything you cook from a Jamie Oliver cook book. Simple to make, impressive to look at, delicious to eat! The ‘How to turn everyday bakes into showstoppers’ is my latest fav. I find myself scouring the pages every Friday night, choosing what I want to make for the first time that weekend.
6. Off the scale TriScales by Joseph Joseph- Amazon
Once I started using digital scales I never went back. They make life so easy. You simply have to add ingredients to your bowl. Re-set the scales to zero. Add more ingredients then re-set it again. It really does take the hassle out of measuring and using a ton of bowls. This new design by JosephJoseph is really clever as it folds up really neat and small and won’t fall out of your baking cupboard taking the flour and hundreds of those silver ball cake toppers with it every time you try and squeeze it back in the cupboard in between the plain flour and the bags of icing sugar. Or is it just me that that happens to?
7.In a bind with Sticky Tape – Dotcomgiftshop
Now, I know what you’re thinking. Sticky tape! A gift? And what’s that got to do with baking anyway? Well, bare with me. How many times have you gone to finish off a cake board with ribbon only to find that you have run out of glue or have forgotten to buy the ribbon in the first place? Well a box of these pretty sticky tapes is the answer to all those problems. Self sticking, easy to position, a choice of colours and designs as well as a great store cupboard item. Stocking filler anyone?
8. Mixing it up -Kenwood Hand Held mixer- Amazon
I may have nearly every baking gadget under the sun but since my hand held mixer went kaput a few years ago I have missed that super speedy tool. I know that they are notorious for not being up to the job – especially when you bake as often as we do, but I have my eye on this Kenwood kMix HM791 Metal Hand Mixer in a beautiful Raspberry Red colour
9.Perfectly protected with Oven Gloves and Aprons
It’s funny the things you get attached to. I always bake in my ‘Woman and Home’ apron as it reminds me of my time as Home Editor on the magazine and how much I learnt from sitting next to the food team. It’s also a really hard wearing, yet soft cotton that just washes and washes. But, if I were to add to my collection it would definitely be with this poodles design by. Completely adorable.
10.The ultimate in Cake toppers & Wraps- Talking Tables
Every time I walk into my local cake decorating shop the first thing I see are packs ofcup cake cases, cake wraps, cake toppers and cake stands hanging off the edge of the shelves. I love them all. Their Christmas ranges are so cute. The designs are great and would make a great addition to any bakers Christmas stocking. Then again, I styled some of their shoots so I am slightly, completely biased!
So, what have I left off?
What do you bakers want for Christmas?
Or do you just need to leave this post open for someone to ‘accidentally’ see?
I’d love to know.