I love Christmas present shopping; I used to spend hours hunting down presents for my nearest and dearest. My feminist mother cried the year I found an antique Edwardian suffragette brooch for her. My most successful present for my architecture-buff father was tracking down technical drawings from when St Paul’s cathedral was repaired post-WW2. But now my weekends are spent in soft play centres and feeding the ducks, rather than going to markets or trawling antiques shops. My friends all look exhausted as I do and the thought of swapping presents just seems to go out of the window when conjunctivitis, colds and hand, foot and mouth disease are going around.
What I’d really like to do is give them all the gift of spa time, along with childcare of course. Failing that, there are gifts that can bring the relaxing elements of spa into their newly ambushed homes. If wishes were kisses, this is what I’d be gifting them.
You’d have to like this parent quite a lot to give them one of ESPA’s gorgeous gift sets for Christmas. Or it could be a future investment for some playdate swaps. The set (pictured) includes overnight cream and serum, bath oil, one of ESPA’s delicious hand-poured candles and a luxurious eye mask. If sleep is a thing of the past, this will help create some sweet dreams.
Parisian skincare company Caudalie have some lovely gift sets for special friends, plus stocking fillers that will please the school gate mums. Most mums will love this Rose de Vigne Lip and Hand Duo, which takes care of all your chapped areas due to pushing playground swings in extreme weathers. The Hand and Nail Cream (30ml) and Lip Conditioner (4.5kg) are the perfect travel sized handbag companions, prettily packaged in pink.
This family friendly hotel has so much to offer little ones as well as grown-ups: most importantly for new parents it has an on-site 9-5pm creche for small people aged between three months to five years (and up to eight on a Saturday). You and your partner can slip away for some valuable Us-Time at the gorgeous Five Bubble Luxury Spa and even enjoy an uninterrupted Bento Box lunch in their chic Garden Room cafe. There are so many kid’s activities (they even have a mock sandy beach and pool in their walled garden) plus teen spa treatments, and it is up the road from the Harry Potter Studios.
A scented candle may be a bit of a cliché gift, but it’s an essential part of my own sleep routine. Inhaling essential oils is so relaxing and gets rid of any lingering nappy smells. Elemental Herbology’s Water Candle ticks all the artisanal boxes too: it is vegan, hand-made with soy wax, all-natural botanicals and pure essential oils including neroli and chamomile. The cool hessian sack and glass jar are a good look these days.
Your newly breastfeeding mum friends will thank you for this gentle, natural balm that repairs skin and relieves the pain after each breastfeed. Organic Pharmacy has a range of lovely, natural gifts for mothers and babies, including Nappy Balm (£22.96) (essential for a good night’s sleep for all concerned) and Mother & Baby Massage Oil (£24).
While new mums need all the support they can get, new dads deserve a look in, too. Comfort Zone are a cool Italian spa range, and their products are unisex by design. Their Man Space range will help awaken your other half to take over the day duties while you have a lie-in. This contains Swiss Glacier water and also acts as a shampoo.