Beauty, Fashion, Travel, Fitness, Wellness and Lifestyle Blog | Emtalks


Wednesday 22 July 2020

Easy Gift Ideas For Everyone - Birthday Gift Ideas

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Hey guys hope you are so well, it was my boyfriends birthday yesterday and I have had hundreds of messages on instagram (@emshelx) asking what I bought him and asking for gift ideas for loved ones. It seems a lot of people are in the same situation as me during this lockdown, ordinarily I would take Matt abroad for his birthday, spoil him with his favourite restaurants and do lovely experiences together, this year, not so much. When you're someone who loves experiences, it's hard to be locked in a house during someones birthday but that doesn't mean you can't make it fun. I hope this gift guide will help you, whether you're just looking for a gift for a loved one because you miss them (I sent my Mum presents through lockdown) or maybe you have a birthday coming up.

Don't miss: some of the best Christmas gift ideas for everyone! 

Don't miss:

tula rosa dress

My top gift ideas: 

Food hamper - Every year I make Matt a food hamper full of his favourite things, for reference incase it helps you find something for your own food hamper (and happy to say it can be all ordered online safely) I include his favourite protein bars, he actually loves PHD Smart bars as they are low in sugar but high in everything else - we buy them in bulk and are both obsessed, Misfits bars - vegan friendly chocolate bars but very low in everything too and such a good snack - don't forget to use promo code EMS20 at Misfits for discount! ,  luxury coffee beans for his beloved coffee machine - always at least 1kg and of course, if you like coffee, there's also a family run business called Broomfield and they do coffee subscriptions, peanut butter in bulk. I also rammed it with Rhythm108 choc cookies and praline bars (vegan friendly for any vegan gift recipients) as Matt is obsessed, promo code EMS20 gets you discount too. I always get him Cadburys Wholenut bars too because whilst I made him a healthy hamper, he loves his sugary choc too. I also included some favourite things like granola and truffle as he loves it, I found a brand called the Truffleguys and they do cool stuff like truffle honey, truffle soy sauce and truffle mayo! A great way to support a small business too. You can get a gorgeous, forever hamper here to put it all in and just fill it full of someones fave things. This hamper is a little cheaper but smaller too. You could always grab a Selfridges hamper (the cheese and gin hamper is a firm favourite) or a Harrods hamper if you'd rather have the leg work done for you. Another option is to do something like a movie night, or theme the hamper with say American treats if you were meant to go on a trip there, get your favourite alcohol, popcorn, snacks and tadaaa, made! P.S Don't forget Colin the Caterpillar cakes, Matt really wanted these for his birthday haha, it isn't a birthday without them!

Grazing board - Matt loves cheese and charcuterie so much so I made him a grazing board at home, full of his favourite snacks including olives, cheeses, crackers, chutneys and it felt so special. You can make your own or find a lovely local company to deliver one. I love Wild & Brie if you're in The Cotswolds or Berry & Brie if you're in London. 

Homeware - I adore The White Company and for my Mum's birthday treated her to some gorgeous goodies, I got her some of their heart shaped range, and definitely have my eye on Le Creuset. Their dressing gowns are the perfect new home or new parent gift too. I also bought these heart shaped linen table cloths in the sale.

Ecogifts - There are some incredible eco gifts around, my favourite has to be a Corkcicle reusable bottle, I use mine every day and then Wild Refill Deodorant, you can use promo code EM20 for discount online here. Wild is made from plants, packaged in plants & can be composted down to feed new plants, plus that gorgeous case is made from recycled plastic! The deodorant is all-natural, vegan & cruelty-free, you get a refillable aluminium case & zero-plastic refills that are biodegradable in your home compost. I worked with them on an Ad campaign but need to share them here too as their product is lovely. 

Pasta delivery to the door - I've been buying this since I discovered Pasta Evangelists on Dragons Den, fresh pasta delivered to your door, I sent some to my Mum as a gift because she spends so long cooking every single night and this eradicates that, 3-5 minutes and you've got fresh, seasonal, restaurant quality pasta infront of you. I was going to get her flowers but for the same price, got her nights full of pasta for the whole family. It's such a good gift to send to people who may be struggling or lonely during lockdown. Promocode EMSHELX25 gets you discount (Ad we have worked together before this isn't paid for, I am a genuine customer and fan).

Flowers delivered - Don't forget how much flowers mean to people though, I am a total sucker for fresh flowers to my door, always makes my day. My Mum loves plants so we also got her some special bay trees for outside her door, for a keen gardener you could get them some seeds so they can build their own little veggie patch too! 

Beauty/grooming gifts - You don't just have to do a food hamper, grab your empty hamper here and fill with essential beauty products to keep your loved ones stocked up, go premium, go useful or mix both up. For my boyfriend, I'd fill a grooming hamper with his favourite hair products from Redken and for my step-dad, go luxe with Molton Brown Black Peppercorn body wash, some Molton Brown Re-charge Black Pepper Sport Muscle Soak or Elemis Aching Muscle Soak (he is a keen runner and swears by this stuff) my brother is Decleor obsessed so for him I'd throw in Decleor shower gels alongside his fave trusty Neutrogena cleanser. For my Mum, she'd have a top up of Batiste dry shampoo and her trusty Arden Eight Hour Cream - actually Matt uses it on his lips and my brother uses it on dry skin. I buy my Mum Molton Brown handwash every single year so always put that in a special beauty hamper along with the Almond range and Shea range from L'Occitane - her fave scent, whilst for my Nanna we go full blown Clinique she is obsessed and got me into it too! Of course, there are a lot of perfume options, I recently worked on an Ad with Coach for their Coach Dreams fragrance and I cannot stop wearing it, I am in love - a perfect gift to remind someone of California! 

If you don't like the hamper idea, you also cannot go wrong with The Kiehl’s gift sets, brimming with the good stuff for everyone, great natural products too. With beauty, it could be a case of piling a hamper high and stocking up on affordable essentials such as face wipes, deodorant, toothpastes, shampoo, dry shampoo (super helpful for new students or just to stock people up on the things they always run out of) OR going premium and getting products the recipient has always wanted to try OR always runs out of... such as Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Oil a wonder serum, the holy grail Elemis cleansing Balm or my current favourite: Skin Ceuticals H.A Powerful Corrective Intensifier. Other nice pampering things? the Ren Atlantic Kelp And Anti-Fatigue Body Wash, it takes me back to the ocean. I also got my Nanna some Rituals, it is so calming, their candles are lovely. For something really special, you cannot go wrong with Jo Malone, their new range is utterly divine, I need the orange blossom home candle, whether it's my best friend, my Mum or my boyfriend - they are all Jo Malone obsessed, the most precious, premium creme de la creme products and longest lasting scents. If money is no object, always go Jo Malone. If you're stuck for beauty products, here's a blog post with my top beauty products of the year.

Monthly Subscription Boxes - If your loved ones love to have a gift that keeps on giving then a subscription box is a great idea, you can get gin ones, food ones even flower subscriptions! Not to mention, if you don't want to do a one off Pasta Evangelists delivery you can gift a subscription of pasta too. What a dream. You can even get breakfast subscription boxes, I got my Mum one from MyBreakfastBox, a gorgeous local healthy breakfast box delivery service, it's epic. For beauty subscription boxes, I highly recommend Rocca Box for beauty subscription! A beauty box, every month? Yes please. A gift that keeps giving.

Bake a cake - If you don't want to spend money, how about baking a cake instead? Matt requested a Victoria sponge cake so I whipped him one up and bought some pretty decorations from Amazon for the top to make it look fancier! Or, you could bake cookies, banana bread, whatever you fancy, a stack of homemade peanut butter cups or hand dipped chocolate covered strawberries. I sell my own recipe e-book if you fancy making cookies or banana bread from that hehe!

Underwear - Every year I always Matt new Calvin Klein underwear, something he will obviously get wear out of every single day and appreciates so much! This year the best offer I found was online here for them price wise. You can also get them online here. For women, you can always get divine underwear and nightwear online here and I LOVE pyjamas and comfies from here. I also got these Ugg slippers here and now Matt wants a pair of his own, best slippers ever. 

Socks - Same as above, I know it’s such a dull gift but its a useful one and could also go in a hamper with toothpaste and deodorant, affordable and useful! Matt goes through too many Adidas and Nike socks so I always get him some.

Gym kit - During lockdown so many people have upped their fitness game or even got into fitness so I think a fitness gift is a very good one indeed. It could be something like the JaxJox at home kettlebell or a good pair of Nike trainers for the gym when they re-open/home workouts. If you're stuck on what trainers to buy someone (a great gift as they will last a lifetime) then I have written up a trainer guide, top rated are the Nike Air Zoom trainers for him and her and I recently found Adidas lite racer CLN shoes, a cheaper option if you don't want to fork out for the vogue of trainers, Adidas Ultraboost Trainers. When it comes to gym clothing, I always get my Mum stuff from Sweaty Betty - their sports bras are fantastic and when they have a sale on we always buy the Sweaty Betty base layers. Everyone in my family loves Gymshark too. Gym kit is such a good shout as you get so much use out of it. For Matt's birthday this year I got him these bits from Nike/Under Armour as they were high on his wishlist: Element Crew, Long Sleeve Top and the Underarmour Longe Sleeve Tops which he gets so much wear out of. I'm not really a jokey gift kind of person (my boyfriend is though!) but maybe something funny but also practical to go with some new trainers such as the Shoe-Pourri shoe odor eliminator spray?! can confirm it smells great. 

Tech - Who doesn't like tech? I always tend to buy loved ones tech gifts as we are a real tech loving family! I actually got Matt an Apple Watch and he loves it for tracking his steps etc, so that's also a good and useful shout, it's been so useful. My family on the other hand swear by their Fitbits. In the age of everyone doing more steps and wanting to workout, it's a very good useful gift. A more luxurious gift, but in our family we run our laptops into the ground, of course an Apple MacBook Pro  and online here too (I’m on my third laptop and cannot be without it). If the recipient is into photography, go for something like a Canon G7X, or go all out and get the Canon 5D. I own both and they're great. I always like fun gift ideas like a GoPro and online here too or Instant Camera and online here too, for fun travel videos and capturing up and coming memories! Great because you can print them for a scrapbook too. There are loads of different camera options for all price ranges here and here. You could also, for any budding Instagrammer, treat someone to my Instagram photo filters, they instantly make your photos pop! For Christmas we got my brother the iPhone 11. Headphones are always a good essential shout, Dre Beats or Apple AirPods. Top tech presents? Fun instant camera online here, an Apple Watch (online here), Amazon Alexa, JBL flip bluetooth speaker, or an iPad (online here - Matt's main birthday present!)  

Hair tools - This is a great idea for him and her, Matt, my brother and I are all Dyson Hair Dryer (and online here too) obsessed. Such a good gift and a forever product. You could also get someone a pair of ghds or their new epic hairdryer because let's be honest, they're the holy grail of straighteners/tongs and last forever.

Fun useful kitchen gifts - How about some fun but useful things like a mini waffle maker?breakfast bite maker or a mini pie maker. I saw this outdoor pizza oven on a YouTube video (and online here) and have wanted one ever since. I also found a PASTA MAKER too!!!! Maybe bring back those ski memories with a CHEESE FONDUE SET! Hours of fun, or just grab some favourite chocolate and make an at home chocolate fondue with melted strawberries and marshmallows, you could take it a step further and do smores by an outdoor fire, just imagine you're on a beach somewhere. 

Jewellery - I recommend Arlo London for gorgeous, unisex jewellery plus it's independently owned and is gorgeous for 925 sterling silver pieces, I love the beautiful pendants and signet rings, they're unisex but the items are tailored more towards men if you're looking for good male jewellery. I also always love Thomas Sabo, celeb fav (Kate Middleton loves it) Missoma for their beautiful gold pieces and Monica Vinader as you can engrave an personalise, don't forget Tiffany too, I wear a ring of theirs every day. I think jewellery is a gorgeous, precious gift someone can wear every day. 

Menswear - My boyfriend loves clothes, I told you I already bought him the Element Crew, Long Sleeve Top and the Underarmour Longe Sleeve Tops but if you are looking for more fashion items, Roe Menswear is actually owned by my boyfriend and I have personally travelled across the world with him looking for the highest quality fabrics and garments. I'd say the quality is a Reiss and Burberry mix. If you’re looking to buy a unique, British made luxury crafted piece of design then this brand is for you, plus it's nice to support a new business, the items look exceptional. I like buying staple and versatile pieces such as high quality t-shirts (Roemenswear do epic ones), or a Reiss jacket, Reiss rollneck or All Saints leather jacket. For both him and her, you cannot go wrong with a nice forever jacket such as All Saints, Moncler or Belstaff. I bought Matt a Belstaff jacket and an All Saints one, next on his list is Moncler! For fashion trainers, Gucci trainersBalenciaga, Alexander McQueen. I'm personally a Stan Smith lover as they're so comfy and they're unisex too. 

Books - I think books make such a good treasured gift, whether it's a Coffee Table Book or an educational book. My favourites? The Secret - I think it's one of the best gifts I've ever been given. Depending on the recipient, books like The Lean Start Up and The Four Hour Work Week are super motivating! I also love cooking books, my favourites are Deliciously Ella and The Body Coach. You can find some gorgeous coffee table books online here and here. If someone doesn't have the time to read, how about a subscription to an audiobook, Spotify or even a meditation app like Calm? 

Timeless, forever, luxury fashion - My top luxury gift has to be a forever, timeless Burberry Scarf, currently in the sale too. Whilst they're in the sale, of course an All Saints Jacket - I see All Saints as premium high street but their jackets can be quite expensive, so I think it’s a great investment, forever purchase. Gucci loafers - I got some Gucci loafers for Christmas one year and I get so much wear out of them. Great everlasting shoes for him and her and they are SO comfy.
Gucci belt - I know how obsessed people are with designer belts, it’s a nice starter to your designer collection too.

Cleaning - I get my cleaning done by Fantastic Services (Ad PR) and honestly if they were Yorkshire based I'd love to pay for my Mum to get her house cleaned with them! You can use promo code emshelx to get £10 off your first clean but they do so many things such as end of tenancy cleans, regular cleans and moving. I just know for someone who works as hard as my Mum, a top to bottom clean would be the nicest and most thoughtful gift! Hey Mum, feet up, someones coming to sort your house haha. The gift of a clean house.

Vouchers - In a time when a lot of things are closed, you can't beat vouchers, you are supporting businesses who really need it now too, so maybe you can't travel somewhere right now or eat somewhere or get your nails done but buy a voucher for someone and they have something to look forward to! You could also make your own 'I Owe You Vouchers', it's simple, make a little voucher booklet with IOWEYOU in it, so whether it's a cuddle, a hair cut, you cooking dinner, a dog walk, a grocery run... it's a nice little touch! When home, I always try and visit my favourite salon RagDoll Nails. It's always worth treating someone to get their nails done particularly as salons need our support right now. I know my Mum loves getting her hair done so I bought her vouchers for our favourite salon, Sassoon Leeds, it supported them and also mens she can go and be pampered. Read about my favourite places for blow dries here and get someone booked in depending on their location!

Experience day - You may not be able to go abroad right now or do your crazy fun plans BUT you can do fun experience days close to home, whether it's safely going to the countryside or a beach, a different part of England or just organising a picnic! You could get a local delivery of bread and croissants (we love Paul in London for a French treat and I did this with Gron Kafe in Leeds) and do a special brunch at home! Perfect if the person you’re buying for is so hard to please or has ‘everything’ it’s always worth potentially planning an actual day somewhere, I would have originally said a whirlwind trip to Paris or Monaco but hey, a picnic in the park with all their favourite things or a beautifully organised afternoon tea in the comfort of their own home? Perfect and safe and very thoughtful too. Meant to be going to Italy? Host an Italy night. America? Host an American night. Love cocktails? Make a mixologist night at home! Paris? host a Paris picnic with a little help from a French bakery like Paul! You could get a teepee in the garden and do a movie night/camping night - so many fun, different ideas, or if in doubt have a Disney themed duvet day with Disney snacks...

Vacay or staycay - We all know I love to travel and for me, my birthday gift to people was always a trip somewhere, whether it was taking my brother to NYC or Matt to Ibiza. It was a fun experience and something we'd always remember. Covid has made booking someone a trip a lot trickier! With covid, who knows if it's safe to travel right now and I have seen an influx of UK hotels and houses getting booked up (rightly so), I think this is great because actually, I want to see as much trade as possible for our hospitality industry, if we do need to go somewhere at least we can put our money back into our wonderful British tourism industry. There are so many epic hotels in the UK, you guys know I love Rudding Park, The Savoy, Cliveden House and The Painswick. If you're looking for something less hotel and more safe homely, this year we have booked the most amazing country house for our whole family which we found via Sykes, I highly recommend looking at booking something safe like Cotswold House - you can either go out to local pubs and social distance for food (or sit outside) or get takeaways and live your best Cameron Diaz 'The Holiday' life! I'm dreaming of grazing platters and al fresco breakfasts all in the comfort of a beautiful, safe house all to ourselves. Obviously don't forget to check out Airbnb for last minute deals too if you're looking to just get away from home but without getting on a plane.

Photobook - I made my Grandparents a photobook once and printed lots of the photos we'd taken on phones over the years into one book, I also did this for my step-dad for his birthday as he is so hard to buy for, as we couldn't celebrate this year I put all our memories into a book to remind him of happier times, it went down a hit. You can easily make scrapbooks or phonebooks, it's just such a special gift and can be looked back on for years. My step-dad actually for Christmas printed me some special photos of our family in NYC and got them framed for me, it's one of the nicest presents I've ever received and is so special to me, proof that you don't need to spend a lot to make someones day.

Food out or a takeout - I love eating out and throughout covid we have supported local restaurants by getting a takeaway, definitely something you can do, organise your garden outside or terrace and set up a restaurant experience at home! OR, now things are opening again, if you feel safe enough, book dinner or brunch at an outdoor terrace, support a restaurant and have a lovely experience. I took Matt for two outdoor, socially distanced birthday dinners/brunches and he loved them so much. If you're nervous, maybe buy a voucher for a fave restaurant and go in the near future! Mum always gets Matt a Starbucks gift card loaded up and he loves it. If you're wanting to order a cake and are in London, I highly recommend Radio Lamington, best cakes EVER. 

Don't miss:

Lots of love, Em x
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