The Mother’s Day Wishlist | AD

mothers day gift ideas

Wanting to compile the Ultimate Mother’s Day Wishlist, I emailed my Mum to ask her what sort of things she would really like to receive. You know, in an ideal world. No holds barred. “Think outside the box!” I said. “You can be obscure as you want!” I said.

A got back the longest, weirdest list of things and then, ten minutes later, an email that made me so emotional, I had a little cry…

On the weird list: “a garden plant that you have forever so long as you don’t kill it off, some large boulders to make a sculpture for the Buddhist garden, a McDonald’s breakfast! Good bottle of balsamic, oooh you can get selections! A selection of honey!! New foods to try out! Oooh, Scrabble! A new look? Some Mums would like a spa session, or maybe a cleaner for a few hours. A cooker clean! Windows cleaned, or a chiropodist, a manicure? Someone to decorate a room of your house, concert tickets, a subscription to a good newspaper!”

And then the email that made me hide in the bathroom for five minutes so that I could regain my composure: “I wasn’t old enough to be able to show my Mum I appreciated her before she died. I remember she paid for my sister and me to do ballet and tap, and for each concert there had to be costumes made and paid for and fabric bought. One concert my Mum said she didn’t have enough for my soldier’s outfit and I was really sad and disappointed but accepted it. A week later she told me to go and look on my bed and she had scraped the money together and it was all laid out!!! I was so into ballet and when my brother went into the army I had my own room and she decorated one wall with a dark grey wallpaper with pastel drawings of ballerinas. She was so into interior design. Her bedroom was covered in ivy running over trellises! Crazy! I like ringing my sister because she always starts going on about Mammy and I start to remember things I had long buried when I left home. So TIME to be together is the uppermost and the best present – and to have a laugh. Memories.”

So there you go – two approaches to Mother’s Day from one person. Food for thought when you’re deciding on a present. After I’d stopped weeping and my Mum had managed to rein in her rampant imagination, we put together what we hope is a relatively sensible list of ideas, if you’re stuck for Mother’s Day inspiration – but do feel free to consult the weird list above if that tickles your fancy. Because, you know, boulders

mothers day gift ideas

Photo-books: for capturing memories. Now that all of our photos are stored on the computer, never to be glanced at again, it’s nice (and relatively easy) to pull them into an album that can sit on the coffee table and be used to bore visitors! The joy of these books is that you just drag and drop the files on your computer and someone else does the rest of it – no faffing with those awful cellophane holders or little adhesive corners.

mothers day gift ideas

Skincare: it was actually a skincare trial that started off this whole post – I had asked my Mum to test out the L’Oreal Paris Age Perfect Mother’s Day gift set, which includes the Age Perfect Cleansing Milk, the Age Perfect Face, Neck & Décolleté Lotion SPF 15 and the Age Perfect Re-Hydrating Night Cream.

Mum loves testing things for me, as you’ve probably realised by now, and set about the trial with her usual sense of both military precision and hand-rubbing glee. Whereas I like to mix and match my beauty, Mum is quite the lover of skincare sets and one-brand routines.

She says “older people often don’t like to waste money on trying new things, and tend to stick to the good old products that have worked on them for years. We don’t always try out new things; we should, but we are afraid it might be a waste of money. So skincare is a great present – and, to make a long story even longer, the best beauty gift is a range, having all of the bits that go together like the cleanser and the day cream and night cream, if you use it. I think stick to the same brand and give it a good go and do as they tell you in the instructions. Read the instructions! Daughters are more likely to keep abreast of new products and have much more confidence, so it’s nice to have something chosen for you instead of having to choose it yourself!”

mothers day gift ideas

Her verdict on Age Perfect? “I like the simple packaging and no-nonsense descriptions – “anti-sagging” and “anti-age spots”, and I love the aroma, which doesn’t leave me walking around all day smelling like a coconut or a figgy pudding. The cleanser is gorgeous, leaves my skin soft and dewy and the night cream is so light – it looks like a rich cold cream but actually has the lightest texture. But the Re-Hydrating Face, Neck and Décolleté Lotion? WOW! This goes on beautifully, absorbs quickly and is totally non-greasy. Often with moisturising products there’s that “iced bun effect” when your forehead has to glisten along with your cheekbones, but this leaves my skin looking fresh and even. (Ruth, is this set going to be really expensive?!!!!)”

No, Mother, it is not expensive at all: it’s £15 at Boots here – the products bought separately are worth over £30! I know this will appeal to your inner bargain-hunter.

National Trust Subscription – “brilliant days out, so it’s the gift that keeps on giving, but,” my Mum says, “it’s very expensive at over £100 for a couple (here). We have Historic Houses (here) which is a lot cheaper and still lets you into a wide variety of places – you can visit Blenheim Palace every day for free!” (Honestly, you’ve never met anyone who visits castles and historic places more than my parents. They barely need to own a house, they could just have a tent or a camper van and sleep overnight in the carparks of the country’s finest homes.)

Personalised Perfume – I’d completely forgotten about this until my Mum started raving about it in one of her (seven) Mother’s Day emails, but years ago I sent her to have the bespoke perfume experience at Floris in Jermyn Street. It’s an expensive gift, but really very special – your own unique fragrance, created during a two hour consultation with a Floris perfumer, and a beautifully presented bottle that’s engraved with your initials. You can find out more info here – it’s £450.

mothers day gift ideas

Candles – Mum and I are united in our love of candles, but they have to be properly-made, non-headache-inducing ones that look posh and don’t smell like Magic Tree. I love the ones from Mrs Todd (here) – all the luxury feel and scent of the “usual suspects” but with a far lighter price tag. Almost every person who steps into my house asks what the lovely smell is – currently it’s the Christmassy Citrus & Cinnamon diffuser that’s in the downstairs loo. Yes, it’s still going strong even though I’ve had it out since October (about 40% used) and yes, it scents almost the whole house from its hiding place on top of the medicine cabinet!

Time – my Mum’s email to me really touched a nerve when she said about losing her own Mum at 27. Time together really is the most important thing, isn’t it? And although trips to the spa and for Sunday lunch at a pub are lovely, it really doesn’t matter what you do together so long as you’re making memories.

*this post has been sponsored by L’Oreal.

Stationery shown throughout, all from Ohh Deer.

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  1. Cathy mackenzie
    March 18, 2017 / 7:54 am

    Oh it’s far to early on a Saturday morning to be sniffling whilst reading your post. It’s made me feel so lucky at 47 to still have my mum (70) around. I think I’ll get her the loreal skincare set, though she has fabulous skin as did her own mum who died aged 91. So I’ve never really liked to interfere. But that sounds lovely she’ll get the usual flowers that she adores but this time I’ll go and visit. And even take some photos!

  2. Sarah
    March 18, 2017 / 8:31 am

    My mother passed away 13 years ago, when I was just 22. While I’ve been blessed with some fantastic surrogate-moms, there really is no replacement.

    I remember when I was 30 I hit a major fork in life’s road and felt completely lost. I was having the sort of conflict that only a mother- my mother- could be trusted to help navigate me through. I felt lost, confused, and so utterly alone. My husband- then boyfriend- walked in to find me an emotional wreck. He nearly cried with me when all I could choke out was, “I just miss my mom.”

    The upside to this story (which still reduces me to tears when I think of it) is that in that moment I saw my husband be the most compassionate and tender-hearted person, never mind man, I’ve ever known. Life’s funny like that, with its silver linings and lemons-to-lemonade.

    Now that I’m about to a mother quite literally any day (due date was yesterday but who’s counting), I get that there’s not one thing I want or need more than my baby. I imagine, and hope, that will never change.

  3. Ieva
    March 18, 2017 / 9:21 am

    Ruth, you make my heart feel warm xx
    What a lovely post x

  4. SuWu
    March 18, 2017 / 10:34 am

    Hi Ruth, your mom is spectacular, you already know that! Of course your readers always love your “mum” commentary. The two photos, you as a baby with mum? And is that you peeeking behind? Your relationship with you mom is very special and it shows in how you are with your own family.

  5. Jane
    March 18, 2017 / 10:55 am

    Your mum is so right, time is precious and none of us know how long we have together. It’s all too easy to put things off, thinking we have all the time in the world. I lost both my parents within 15 months of each other and this year’s mothers’ day will be my first without my mum. It’s hard seeing all the cards and gifts in the shops at the moment. To everyone out there, make the most of mum (and dad!) and enjoy!

  6. Neil Trotman
    March 18, 2017 / 11:32 am

    Dear Ruth, what a lovely email from your mother. A watery eye indeed, still continuing as I write this. I lost my mother after an operation in May 2008 and nothing in the world prepares you for this, nothing. I remember mummy always saying “why don’t you tell me your inner feelings, what you feel………you will miss me when I’m gone.” And boy was she right. How I would love to have that time again. If I may, before Mother’s passing in 2008 I had spent two weeks with her. I went to Greece to visit her, up and down to the hospital daily. She was getting worse and I knew what she was like and hated being in the state she was. I said to her that I loved her. Asked her if she understood what I was saying and she said yes. I said I know you love me, and you know I love you. You don’t need to be on earth for you to love me, that is a given. I then said that I wanted her to promise me that when she was tired of fighting and was ready to let go that she should not fight it. She said she understood. I left Greece early hours of Friday morning and she passed on the Saturday. I was glad to have that time alone with her. To all of you with Mothers, hug them for me. I’d give anything to have mine, even for an extra hour. You a wonderful mother Ruth. Happy Mothering Sunday to all of you.

  7. March 18, 2017 / 4:52 pm

    These gift ideas are great and the email you received from your mum really made me think about spending more time with my mum! x

  8. Carolina
    March 18, 2017 / 7:29 pm

    Ruth, you are so lucky to have such a Mum, and you know what? You have the very same wonderful smile that she has :) Lit a candle and spend time together, I’m sure laughing will come naturally and every minute will be stored in your heart forever.

  9. Anja
    March 19, 2017 / 9:48 pm

    Oh what a beautiful post that left me a bit teary-eyed. Your Mum’s emails are funny and so lovely at the same time. I couldn’t agree more “time” is the best present!

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