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…
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.
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!”
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.
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.