Entries in Mother's Day (5)

Sunday
Mar082015

Mother's Day 2015 gift ideas

Don't you just love daffodils? Their bright cheery demeanor lift anyroom.  Everytime I look at a bunch I cannot help but smile, at their vibrancy, at the wonder of their promise of spring breaking through the cold colourness of winter.  Daffodils reflect the energy and zingy zest of spring.

There are lots of flowers on offer for Mother's Day, but any Mum would be over the moon with a huge bunch of daffodils.  This large bunch I created by buying two of Marks and Spencer bunches at £3 each letting them come into bloom, then wrapping them quite tightly with brown paper, to allow them all to bunch together, creating a really vibrant abundant bouquet.  This is a great bouquet to make with children who may wish to spend their pocket money on flowers for their Mummy.

 Sherry and nuts make an original present, this Fernando Di Castilla Don Fernando Oloroso sherry from Marks and Spencer, comes in a feminine thin bottle.  This rather wonderful 10 year old Oloroso from the 1st Criadera of the bodegas finest Oloroso solera, has a deliciously nutty flavour, and warming finishing is perfect served chilled in small tall glasses with some salted nuts before dinner, or as a nighttime snack.

Fruit and Tea Chocolates by Marks and Spencer  are deliciate and tiny balls of delight.  They come in a beautiful lace cutout box that can be used for years to come as a very stylish storage box.  The chocolates comes in five well thought through rounded flavours - African Roobios, Earl Grey, Matcha, Blueberry Caramel and Raspberry Cream.  The white chocolate matcha is my favourite.  Made in Ireland, these chocolates not only are a beautiful and unusal gift for Mother's everywhere they show Marks and Spencer commitment to Ireland's agri-food industry, and allow those who purchase them to do the same.

 

 Who doesn't love honey!  A life giving property that is a great filling for chocolate.  These Belgium made chocolates from Marks and Spencer got a huge thumbs up from the Salt and Sparkle team, they are truly lovely, with a delicious combination of different honeys filling each sweet. These are very special chocolates that stand out from what is on offer on the High Street this year.  There is a Chestnut Honey and Almond in a crisp dark chocolate shell, a Lavender Honey Ganache in a dark chocolate shell, an Oranage Blossom Honey worked into a smooth caramel under a milk chocolate shell and a Wildflower Honey with pieces of Honeycomb, smothered in white chocolate.  Their distinctive yellow box is eyecatching.  These honey chocolates are very memorable.

 Is there anything better than a crisp thin piece of lemon shortbread?  I would argue not.  These lemon shortbread thins from Marks and Spencer come in a distinctive stylish tin that will quickly become useful to house alsorts of kitchen bits and pieces.  A sweet refreshing lemon flavour mixed with a firm crumb makes these biscuits a great afternoon snack with a cup of tea.  

Crumbly buttery fudge with a texture of tablet has long been a favourite in our household, a sweet treat that goes back with generations of our family.  Splattered cookbooks list recipes for this sweet treat.  Firm to the bite these melt in the mouth pieces of fudge have been laced with pieces of Australian ginger for a slight spicy kick.  

The Marks and Spencer Les Ruettes Sancerre is crisp and sharp.  Refreshing to sip as an apertif, it has a soft golden colour with a minerally flavour that is flinty and fine.  Made with 100% Sauvigon Blanc grapes this youthful Sancerre has a rich lemon flavour that works well with fish and chicken.

Marks and Spencer has always been one of my favourite places to stock up on food and wine treats for Mother's Day.  I can be assured of the quality of the product and the thought behind the flavour combinations.

Happy Mother's Day to all the wonderful Mums who read my thoughts.

That's it for now ...

Nics

Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable

Wednesday
Mar262014

Our Gift Guide pick of Plants and Pots from Ikea for Mother's Day

I've had lots of requests from readers on my favourite flowers to give for Mother's Day and what I'd recommend for you to give.  

As a trained florist and floral decorator, I have spent a long time learning about flowers, and plants. It's important when giving a floral gift to buy a healthy plant that has been well looked after and not forced.  One of my absolute favourite places to buy plants is Ikea.  I have used their plants to decorate television sets, weddings, churches, homes, parties and events, as well as homes, gardens and to give as gifts and time and time and time again I have found Ikea's plants to be of the highest quality, well looked after, and grown.

'Living Arrangements' are the best type of flowers to give as gifts, because they are the gift that keeps on growing and flowering.  Bringing endless pleasure to your Mum, because everytime she looks at that plant she will smile, and think of you.  Pots of flowers are one of life's simple pleasures that bring beauty and joy into your daily routine, they brighten a room, clean the air and bring a new life to the atmosphere.

I have taken three pots of Ikea Narciccus and replanted them in this really pretty and feminine lace edged mint tin bowl.  It's important when repotting narciccus to be gentle with their roots.

Narcissus symbolise rebirth and new beginnings, their flowers are one of the joys of springtime and the end of winter. Giving a bowl filled with Narcissus is said to mean you are giving a bowl of happiness.

This gift looks substancial and beautiful, and doesn't carry a high price tag.  


Orchids with their really delicate blooms are a beautiful gift. I have taken a deep lilac orchid and paired it with this pretty lemon one, and repotted them into a glass vase - it's important to repot orchids into clear glass vases as the light gets to their roots and allows them to grow more successfully.



This Ikea square glass vase is made of thick clear glass and its strong form and shape sit in good contrast to the softness and beauty of the orchids.

Orchids are a long-lasting and delicate flower, which makes them a great gift.  They are a graceful flower that immediately draw attention in a room, and they have a sense of innocence.  

Orchids are symbolis of wealth, love, and beauty, and are revered in many cultures for their healing properties.

Not every Mum is able to receive living flowers, but may still love to be given a plant as a gift.  That is where this elegant lemon tree from Ikea is a perfect gift, and one that keeps on giving, beautiful lemons throughout the year.

I placed the lemon tree in its original pot into this Ikea glavanised silver pot, the lemon and the silver sit in perfect juxtaposition with each other.

There are lots of tiny white lemon buds on these Lemon Trees which show the new growth that is to come - a harvest of lemons.

Ikea Belfast have a wonderful Grow event on in store from 28 March to the 6 April where they will have a wonderful range of plants on special offer, its definitely worth a visit.

Happy Mother's Day.

That's it for now ...

Nics

Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable

Tuesday
Mar252014

Mother's Day Foodie Gift Guide Marks and Spencer

Marks and Spencer have a very prettily packaged range of foodie delights for Mother's Day.  I am going to share ou Salt & Sparkle favourites with you today.

When you open the tin of this Lemon Shortbread it smells of warm citrus and sugar.  These delightfully thin biscuits have a good snap, and little pieces of lemon rid in the biscuit which bring a superb flavour.  The tins are perfect to pop beside the bed in the guest bedroom, for any visitors who might feel a little peckish before bed. They are also refilable and great to keep in the car.

Biting into these chocolates, your palate gets an intense hit of dark chocolate and parma violet laced fondant. These are the perfect sweet treat to serve with coffee after your Mother's Day lunch or to enjoy during a Sunday Movie.

Chocolate and orange are perfect partners.  Candied orange peel dipped in 70% cocoa soilds.  Smooth dark, and handsome these orangettes are very morish.  Even opening the tin gives that all too pleasant scent of chocolate orange.  These are grownup chocolates.

Crumbly, with a melt in the mouth texture, these pieces of fudge have the texture of Scottish Tablet, and are delicious.  One amber nugget of sweet fudgey goodness, will not be enough.

Petticoat Shortbread is an absolute classic - mums, Grans, Great-Grans, Grannys - all love them.  This very beautiful tin is one to treasure and use for years to come.

Sliding open the box of these Champage Truffles feels luxurious, as does unwrapping the crinkly pink tissue, before finding these balls of melt in the mouth chocolate, flavoured with champage truffle and freeze dried strawberries.

Paloe friendly and processed sugar free - these nuts are perfect for anyone who wants a sweet hit without the sugar.  Fresh crunchy nuts, are flavoured with a strong balance of rosemary, cayenne and black pepper, onion seeds, salt and wildflower honey.  These nuts look and taste of luxury.  They make a wonderful pre-dinner snack, especially with a glass of this Brazilian sparkling wine.

This crisp but sweet sparkling wine has a heady bouquet of lemon sherbert, passionfruit and mango.  The bubbles are plentiful and small giving a creamy texture.  It's sweetness sits beautifully with the salty spice of these nuts, but it is also a good match for soft goats cheeses, fruit sponge with cream and  meringues.  The beautiful bottle is an immediate hit to look at, and the fresh sweetness of the wine, means it will be a sure fire hit with everyone around the table.

Mother's Day presents would not be complete if I did not at least suggest one plant as a gift.  While bouquets of flowers may look good, giving a living plant is truly a joy because it lasts for life, and beyond - we still have plants in the garden, which came from my Grandparents gardens.

Azalea's are commonly given to womena nd loved ones because they are a symbols of femininity.  When given to a women this flower tells the recipient to 'take good care of herself' because she is so beautiful.  Marks and Spencer plants are of excellent quality, and they are looked after by floral trained staff, who are able to answer detailed queries about planting, potting, and more.

Giving a living breathing plant, has to be one of my favourite gifts of all time.

Happy Mother's Day.

That's it for now ...

 

Nics

Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable

Tuesday
Mar252014

Tea & Toast for Mother's Day Memories and beyond

We all congrate in the kitchen when we come home, around the table by the Aga.  Cups of tea are set down, alongside racks of toast, the slices quickly disappear.

Tea and Toast.  

Tea and Toast, are the answer to everything.  

They are one of the greatest simple pleasures of life.

They soothe the stomach, ease the nerves, and release a smiling feeling of wellbeing, that no matter what's up, everything will be more managable after eating a slice of toast, and a cup of tea.  Toast is served in our house at anytime of the day or night.  First thing in the morning topped with strawberry jam, or last thing at night teamed with soothing honey, just before bed.

Nearly everyone has a memory of drinking tea, and eating toast with their Mum.  Chatting over life.

For me, it was sitting in the wee small hours in the kitchen listening to Radio Two, and talking to Mum, after we had come home from work in hers and Dad's bar restaurant, where there was many a singsong on a Saturday night.  

One of the pleasures of drinking tea is selecting accoutrements, these Marks and Spencer pretty Porcelain teacups with a bee and floral pattern are perfect presents for Mum on Mother's Day.  They are fun and pretty, and will make you smile to look at them.

These teacups are teacups that you and your Mum will drunk memories from.

Now every piece of toast needs not only great bread, (in these shots we have used Marks and Spencer Broiche) but amazing jam, honey or butter.  

Serving jam from a jar might be modern but its just not as nice in anyway as serving it from a pretty jam pot, like this Marks & Spencer strawberry topped jam pot, with ceramic matching spoon.

This beautiful little white pot with its strawberry top on the lid and spoon are a delightful addition to any table.

The pot comes with a jar of good soft set strawberry jam, that is made perfectly with just strawberries, sugar and lemon.  It oozes from the spoon onto the bread and tastes of summer.

We've received lots questions recently asking about presents, for Mother's Day, reflecting concerns from 'just what to buy', to 'budget', through to 'something memorable'.  Having a home full of pretty and useful things is a joy to behold, there is nothing nicer than complementing someone of a beautiful piece of tablewear, and hearing their story about how they came about such a piece.

Mums love to tell stories about the presents their children had bought them, and they love to look at and use things on a daily basis, that were presents from their dearly loved ones.  It makes them happy.  

That's why it's important never to overlook beautiful practical gifts, like these teacups, and this jam pot and spoon.

I'd love to hear what your memories are of drinking tea and eating toast with your Mother, please share in all the usual ways.  

Today I linking up with Kent Weakley and his Sweet Shot Tuesday, I hope you will join us there.

That's it for now ...

Nics

Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable

Sunday
Mar232014

Family Inheritance - a guest post by Lynn Bourgeois

Today we are happy to welcome the beautiful Lynn Bourgeosis, an amazing garden designer, with the next post in our series 'Celebrating Mothers'.  Lynn shares with us about the special bond between mother and daughter, that may not always be immediately apparent.

My mum was a remarkable lady, but I never really knew it until she wasn't there anymore. You see I grew up in the generation where parents protected their children from anything that could hurt them, but sometimes also forgot to tell them the things which would make them strong....I don't mean anything bad by that, my mum loved me totally as her child, but we just never really learned to apreciate each other.

We had a difficult relationship, she always loved me, but I never really understood her love, we were at cross purposes, she wanted me to hug her and I hated hugging, and I wanted her attention and she was always busy . We never really learned to communicate how much love we felt for each other, we never learned to communicate at all, past the day to day buzz of life, and so much of who we were we hid from each other.

When she died of cancer 11 years ago. I started to hear tales of this remarkable woman I had never really known. How she used to bake buns for the neighbours when they were housebound. How she served tea and coffee at the local prison for those who had had to travel so far. How she searched out the lonely and marginalised, and was always there for the people that others forgot about. It was a picture of the most beautiful person, who I knew and yet really didn't know.

After she died I spent years traumatising about the fact that I hadn't really got to know her properly, but I realised that that was just how she wanted it, in some way she was trying to protect me from.. everything.

Over the years God has been gracious to me, and allowed me to see glimpses of my mum as she really was, not just as an amazing woman, but also how much she really loved me, her precious daughter.  

And, you know all those times when I was angry at my mum for never having more friends, for never having a exciting life ... All those times when I swore I would never turn out to be just like her, a housewife who had no influence in her life, just melted away.

In a strange way, I have turned out just like her, I have two beautiful children whom I love dearly and just like her, my heart cries out for the marginalised, for those people who feel lonely or alone. Helping people in need is what makes my heart soar, and when someone mentioned doing work in the local prison service recently, my heart skipped a beat.

I know now that she had a quirky sense of humour, that bordered on sarcasm, and which I never really understood until I watched her interact with my husband...All those conversations make more sense now. They weren't meant to put me down, but to build me up and make me laugh...I just never got it!.
Now, my heart, which never really understood, blossoms with love for her, this wonderful, gracious lady
This lady that I am so proud to call my mum and who's footsteps I am so happy to be following in.

So daughters, before you wish you were different from your mum, look closely and see all those beautiful ways you can be like her in the little things, and embrace those and be honoured to be borne of one so beautiful in Gods eyes.

For Pearl x

Psalm 33:11 NIV
But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.

Jeremiah 31:3 NIV
“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.

Lynn

Thank you Lynn, we loved having you at our place today.

That's it for now ...

Nics

Salt and Sparkle = Life Remarkable