Not many people would know where to start when it came to organising a dinner for 50, but Melbourne chef Pauline Leonard takes it all in her stride. Pauline shares her Top Gift Tips with us this week:
1. The best gift I ever received was…some fresh truffles, dug that day.
2. The top gift on my wish list is…a house in Tuscany!
3. The best gift I have ever given was…a dinner party I catered for a friend’s surprise 50th for 50 of her friends.
4. The hardest person I have ever had to buy a gift for is…my darling husband. He has me, what more does he need?
5. The best last-minute gift is…a bottle of something special, be it wine, sauce or oil.
6. My hot gift buying tip is…buy gifts as you see things throughout the year, don’t wait until a week before the person’s birthday. Failing that – get them a gift voucher to one of my cooking classes – young old, men, women, kids – they all love cooking in my classes.
Learning to cook is an invaluable, life-long skill
Pauline Leonard is a Melbourne chef who runs cooking classes at Queen Victoria Markets, weekend gourmet food tours to the Yarra Valley and Mornington Peninsula, Saturday tasting tours in the picturesque town of Healesville in the Yarra Valley, and 10 day gourmet food and wine tours to Italy! For more information, check out www.tastecooktravel.com
Moleskine products “represent, around the world, a symbol of contemporary nomadism”. Moleskine.
Great artists and thinkers such as Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, and Bruce Chatwinwere the inspiration behind the classic black-covered Moleskine notebook. A small French bookbinder used to produce a simple rectangular black notebook with rounded corners, an internal expandable pocket and the signature elastic page-holder. For over a century, this artisan book maker supplied a number of stationery shops in Paris, where many of these artists shopped and purchased their notebooks. These notebooks became constant companions to this set of artistic avant-garde icons, capturing their innermost thoughts through notes, stories and sketches.
By the 1980s, these little black books had almost become obsolete, but their scarcity had been noticed. Bruce Chatwin shared the story of the little black notebook in his book, The Songlines. The shop where he usually purchased his notebooks from in Paris only had a few books left. After offering to purchase 100 notebooks (enough to last a lifetime) he soon learned that the bookbinder who made the books had died and the company had been sold by his heirs. It was Chatwin who named this notebook Moleskine after the French name, carnets moleskines which referred to the black oilcloth binding.
A decade later, in 1997, a small Milanese publisher revived this iconic notebook and named it Moleskine. The Moleskine brand has built a reputation on good, old fashioned quality and the range has been extended beyond the humble notebook to include diaries, planners, stationery, bags and other office accessories, as well as the popular Passion Journals.
Despite the dizzying pace our world moves at today and the constant evolution of technology, Moleskine has forged a firm place in the hearts of people who appreciate quality, and the simple pleasure found in the smell of paper.
BUY NOW and receive FREE DELIVERY on any Moleskine product purchased before 5pm Mon 10 December 2012. Simply enter coupon code MOLESKINE when you place your order.
From a life as a travel agent to running a philanthropic Fair Trade shop, Fairly Cambodian, Kerrie Meehan shares her gift experiences including a Cambodian water blessing and gift buying for a Buddhist friend…
1. The best gift I ever received was…a water blessing from a monk in Cambodia.
2. The top gift on my wish list is…a donation from a mystery individual so I could set up a school in Cambodia.
3. The best gift I have ever given were some pens, magazines and toiletries to a sewing school in Cambodia.
4. The hardest person I have ever had to buy a gift for is…a Buddhist friend. She doesn’t attach any significance to material goods.
5. The best last-minute gift is…something fair-trade, so your gift is helping the individual who made it.
6. My hot gift buying tip is…make your purchase count otherwise it is money wasted. Buy something from a fair trade outlet so that your gift gives twice, once to the recipient and once to the person who made it.
Kerrie Meehan runs Fairly Cambodian, a fair trade retail store in Healesville in Victoria’s Yarra Valley – an enterprise that sells beautiful hand crafted goods made by Cambodians. Kerrie was a travel agent who travelled the world for her job. It was only when she visited Cambodia that she was struck by the country’s tragic history, beautiful people and uphill struggle to rebuild what the Khmer Rouge destroyed. She is determined to improve the lives of the Cambodians she knows, by selling their goods on their behalf, spreading their news, telling their stories, and ultimately giving their children an education and therefore a future. You can buy from Fairly Cambodian from anywhere in Australia via her online shop, www.fairlycambodian.com/shop and sign up to the Fairly Cambodian Facebook Page.
The MAN LAW mantras are as follows:
1. Grilling is ALWAYS the first choice of cooking!
2. Cutting meat to check for DONENESS is like sawing down a tree to find its age.
3. A garnish is a bad disguise for not buying enough food.
4. Two months’ salary is a small price to pay for fireworks.
5. Vegetarianism is to be encouraged, as it leaves more meat for us Normal people.
6. The barbeque chef shall be kept hydrated at all times.
7. The collapse of a lawn chair by someone sitting in it is only funny if it’s someone else.
8. A proper sear negates any harmful effect of a steak falling on the ground.
9. The cheaper the beer, the more loudly you should say how cold it is.
10. Flare-ups will be handled calmly and discreetly until such time as flames spread to a national park.
11. Due to the delicate balance and concentration required, the user of a hammock should not be disturbed under any circumstances.
12. The dinosaurs are gone, so it is no longer possible to buy a steak that is too big.
Aussies have an international reputation for being BBQ Kings, so it hurts to admit that this awesome BBQ brand was developed in the US. Truthfully though, it doesn’t matter if this brand was developed in Australia, the US, or on the moon for that matter. All that really counts is that these products rock. We’ve been looking for a killer BBQ brand since Mr Gift’s inception. We’ve had lots of requests for high-quality BBQ wares and now we’ve been able to deliver!
The MAN LAW range consists of exceptional BBQ tool sets in a traditional hardwood or contemporary metal finish, as well as cool gadgets such as the Digital BBQ tongs. We also love the meat thermometers – now there’s no excuse for an overcooked steak (unless nanna requests it), which will keep everyone happy, especially the BBQ Boss.
Why we love MAN LAW:
This brand does everything it says on the packet. The products are simple, non-fuss and smartly presented in packaging that echoes MAN LAW’s sense of humour. What you see is what you get, and best of all, these tools are built to last! High-quality BBQ tools are a backyard essential, as well as a great addition to your camping box. Nothing says ‘summer’ like a good old Aussie BBQ so make sure you’re the BBQ King this year and treat yourself or your bloke to some new gear from MAN LAW.
BUY NOW and receive FREE DELIVERY on any MAN LAW product purchased before 5pm Weds 28 November 2012. Simply enter coupon code MAN when you place your order.
It was a night out that inspired the conception of the first Würkin Stiffs Magnetic Collar Stay. An expensive new shirt with a runaway collar that refused to stay in place prompted Würkin founder Jonathan Boos to quickly create a make-shift collar stay. Jonathan’s first attempt was pretty crude, but it worked. Several hours (and drinks later), Jonathan’s collar still looked pristine (even if he looked a bit worse for wear!).
How the Würkin Stiffs Magnetic Collar Stays work
The next day, Jonathan reflected on his creation and realised he might be onto something that other men may also find useful. He consulted his twin brother, Joshua, who was a hairstylist and constantly battled with runaway collars when he was moving around all day. Joshua was impressed with Jonathan’s concept and assisted with more research until a revised prototype was created.
Würkin Stiffs Magnetic Collar Stays in 2.5″ length $44.95
In the early days, Jonathan’s wife Amie and 10 month-old son Aiden drove around, selling the range to specialty stores. Since Würkin’s inception in 2006, the product range has grown to include other high-quality men’s accessories such as cufflinks, wallets and passport holders.
Würkin Stiffs Multi-plaid Square Cufflinks $99.95
The Würkin Stiffs Magnetic Collar Stays still remain the ‘jewel’ in the Würkin crown and are available in various sizes, including the popular 2.5” length, as well as an Assorted Sizes pack to ensure all evil collars can be tamed. Clever design and quirky packaging further confirm why the range has such a strong following in the US, and now internationally.
Why we love Würkin Stiffs: The quality of all Würkin products is impeccable (an essential criterion to get the Mr Gift Quality Gifts for Men seal of approval). Quality, coupled with the timeless styling and design makes each piece versatile and suitable for men of all ages. No stylish man would be without a Würkin accessory (or two). If you’re looking for a gift with a unique point of difference for a discerning dude, look no further than the Würkin range – you’ll be impressed, but most importantly, so will he.
Würkin Stiffs Passport Holder with RFID technology to protect your card information $99.95
BUY NOW and receive FREE DELIVERY on any Würkin purchased before 5pm Weds 21 November 2012. Simply enter coupon code WURKIN when you place your order.
What gift is at the top of a writer’s wish list? Freelance writer Dom Romeo shares his gift stories on softball bats and ex-girlfriends…
1.The best gift I ever received was…
An Bisonte notebook – gorgeous bison leather cover that slips over the notebook, so that when it’s filled, I can just replace it. As a writer, I like to carry around a pen and notebook at all times.
2. The top gift on my wish list is…
Boxing gloves and focus pads – the writer’s life is predominantly sedentary; I need more exercise.
3. The best gift I have ever given was…
A softball bat, for a dear friend’s 40th. I’d known him since we were kids, and I’d accidentally knocked him out with one when we were playing softball in primary school – a story he still tells when introducing me to new friends.
4. The hardest person I have ever had to buy a gift for was/is…
Always ex-girlfriends. You know them well enough to get it perfect – but if and when you do, you make it difficult for the poor guy who’s replaced you – which can also be fun!
5. The best last-minute gift is…
Creative and contains handmade elements – either the card (with a poem) or the hamper you’ve put together with delicious teas, yummy imported sweets and delicacies, or the home cooked meal you serve before presenting them.
6. My hot gift buying tip is…
Shop with them some time before the event – you get an idea of what they like, how they like to spoil themselves, and what they are eyeing off until they can better afford for themselves. And then you can surprise them with it!
Dom Romeo is a freelance wordsmith, blogger and broadcaster. Read his stuff: www.standanddeliver.blogs.com
We’re feeling inspired by Kay’s comments in our latest Top Gift Tips post and have been trying to think of the best homemade gifts for friends and family, especially over the Christmas season. We’ve decided you can’t go past homemade baked goods. Here’s a classic choc-chip cookie recipe that’s a winner. The best thing about this recipe? It’s SOOOO quick and easy, plus the ingredients are simple – nothing fancy or expensive required. Enjoy!
¾ cup sugar (you can actually use less, 1/3 cup still tastes good and is a healthier option)
2 cups self-raising flour
What to do:
1. Cream butter and sugar
2. Add eggs and to butter/sugar mixture and combine well
3. Sift flour into mixture and combine
4. Add choc chips (as many or as little as you like)
5. Roll into balls (about the size of a walnut) and place on a greased oven tray or baking paper
6. Bake in a moderate oven for 10-15 mins (until light golden colour)
7. Serve with hot chocolate or milky coffee
TIP: This biscuit recipe is really versatile and can be used for the classic Aussie Jam Drop (just make a hole in the centre of each ball and fill with a dollop of jam). Or add sultanas, dried fruit or nuts for another variation on this tasty biscuit recipe.
If you enjoy baking, check out our easy cheesecake recipe and if you love cooking, check out some of Mr Gift’s great cooking and kitchen gift ideas…
Do you have a favourite recipe to share? Email your favourite recipe to email@example.com for us to share with our blog readers and receive a $20 Mr Gift Voucher.
This week we caught up with Kay Trembath from Crumbz in Victoria’s gorgeous Healesville and decided that home-made treats are always the best option when it comes to gifts…
1. The best gift I ever received was…my engagement ring from my now husband.
2. The top gift on my wish list is…an e-type Jag.
3. The best gift I have ever given was…some pens, magazines and toiletries to a sewing school in Cambodia.
4. The hardest person I have ever had to buy a gift for is…my Dad. Men are so hard to buy for, especially ones who already have everything they need.
5. The best last-minute gift is…something home-made – a scarf you’ve knitted, some jam or chutney, hummus or some flowers from the garden.
6. My hot gift buying tip is…make it yourself. The time and love that has gone into making the present makes it priceless for the recipient.
Kay is the owner of Crumbz, a fabulous craft shop in Healesville, in Victoria’s Yarra Valley. Crumbz is packed full of gorgeous designer aprons, fashionable fabrics and wool, kitchenware and house hold gift items. Some of their gorgeous products include washing up gloves with a leopard print trim, kids’ chef hats, china tea cups and polka dot cupcake cases. You can also buy all your haberdashery: wool, yarn, patterns, fabrics – whatever your sewing/craft needs. Kay also runs a series of classes and workshops on sewing, patchwork, crochet, knitting and stitching that help people learn about and enjoy crafts from yesteryear. Check out the Crumbz website to check out their products and classes: www.crumbz.com.au
Want a $20 Mr Gift voucher? We would love to hear about your gift giving and receiving experiences – just email your answers to the above questions to firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a voucher on us!
The unusual name behind German pen brand, ‘e+m’ derives from two words: Ehmann + Mümmler. Ehmann founded e+m in 1899 (it was known as Turnery Ehmann back then) and Mümmler is the current CEO and owner of the e+m brand today.
e+m founder, Konrad Ehmann
Prior to World War II, Ehmann’s company became the largest manufacturer of nib penholders in Germany. Sadly, production was abandoned during the war, with only a few models produced after the war ended. The war resulted in a movement towards technical wood turnings, which e+m continued to focus on and produce after the war.
World War II resulted in a change of direction for e+m and an increased focus on technical wood turning
A desire “to keep the old traditions of classical manufacturing alive and to transform them into the modern production process” motivated Wolfram Mümmler (fourth generation of the founding family) to restart production of these unique writing instruments in 1983. Wooden pens, mechanical pencils, clutch pencils and other office accessories were developed and are now the major product lines. Once again, e+m have firmly established their place as a leading manufacturer of quality writing instruments not just in Germany, but also internationally.
Keeping it in the family: e+m’s current CEO, Wolfram Mümmler is the fourth generation of the founding family and passionate about keeping old traditions alive.
Why we love e+m:
e+m’s high quality products are like an unforgettable dining experience from a five-star restaurant, where only the finest quality ingredients are used. As one customer recently pointed out to us, the thick wooden shaft of e+m writing instruments are beautifully balanced and ideal for people with arthritis or limited movement in their hands and fingers. e+m’s timeless design is unlike anything we’ve come across and we’re confident that e+m’s writing instruments are gifts that will be treasured for many years to come. It’s refreshing to see a return to simple, traditional writing implements in a world dominated by computers, tablets and mobile phones.
e+m’s beautiful range of high quality writing implements
BUY NOW and receive FREE DELIVERY on any e+m product purchased before 5pm Thurs 8 November 2012. Simply enter coupon code E+M when you place your order.