Sunday is Mother's Day here in the UK, which means that by midnight on Saturday, you won't find so much as a petal in florists or supermarkets up and down the country. My two are three and seven, so I look forward to the yearly handmade cards and bunches of carnations, but if you're looking for something a bit different for your Mum, I've come up with ten alternatives to the traditional Mother's Day gifts. (Although I'm sure she'd still love the chocolates!)
Take her to a National Trust property
I could rave forever about the National Trust, but I won't - I'll just say that they're brilliant, and we've had a wonderful time on every visit. This is a particularly good time to visit properties with gardens, as the spring crocuses, daffodils and blossom will be in full flow - there are also special Mother's Day events happening at various locations up and down the country; click here to find one near you.
Take her hot air ballooning
If you're looking to blow the budget, a ride in a hot air balloon would be an amazing way to spend the day; pack a picnic and some fizz (or a flask of tea, if that's more your thing!), grab a camera and sail away over the hills.
Go to a craft session together
There are various places that are offering set packages for the crafty Mums out there; Red Letter Days offer experiences such as flower arranging followed by afternoon tea, pottery classes and tours of the Emma Bridgewater factory. If you're looking for something closer to home, check out your local craft shops, galleries and branches of Hobbycraft - it doesn't have to be expensive or fancy, and the results don't have to be mind blowing; the aim is to spend a happy afternoon together laughing at your wonky pots or hole-y knitting!
Go to an art gallery
Art galleries are an ace idea for Mother's Day, and not only because there's a huge wedge of cake waiting for you in the cafe afterwards! There are some great exhibitions on at the moment; the National Portrait Gallery is displaying a century of style with Vogue 100, and the National Gallery has spring covered with Dutch Flowers - if you live outside of London, make a day of it with lunch somewhere and a stroll through Hyde Park. (Or find a local gallery, obviously!)
Buy her a subscription to Audible
I bloody love subscriptions - even though you'e only presented with an envelope on the big day, there's absolutely nothing better than getting something nice in the post every month. Which is why I've included three of 'em in this post! Audible is fantastic - I've joined, and it's something that you don't realise you're missing until you have it. I listen to plays on radio 4 a lot, but they're usually only between thirty and sixty minutes long at the most - an audiobook is hours and hours of storytelling goodness, and you also get the opportunity to swap your book if you don't like it. The subscripton includes one book a month and 70% off of additional audiobooks, and at the moment the first thirty days are free. Ace!
Buy her a gardening box subscription
Plants and flowers make great gifts, but they don't last all that long (especially not in our house!) - a gardening box subscription means that over the course of a year, your lovely Mum will receive several deliveries of seeds, tools and other goodies. Allotinabox offer a yearly subscription which is made up of quarterly boxes, packed full of everything you need to grow your own food all year round. I can vouch for the seeds as well, because I buy from there regularly!
Buy her a craft kit
One of my favourite things to get on birthdays (apart from books!) is any sort of craft-related present; yarn, washi tape, patterns...anything. If your Mum is the type who likes trying new hobbies, a craft kit is the ideal Mother's Day gift, and there are heaps to choose from; Hobbycraft stock the Kirstie Allsopp range, which cover everything from candle making to pyrography, while Clothkits offer packages with sewing, embroidery and felting. Alterntively, make up your own box; choose a knitting, sewing or crochet pattern, some hooks or needles and some luxury fabric or yarn, and package it all up in a lovely basket.
Take her tea tasting
For those Mums who love a good ol' cuppa, forget the afternoon tea and go hardcore, with a tea tasting session. Afternoon Tea offers a session which includes an afternoon of 'slurping and spitting', followed by the chance to blend your own tea to take home - a bit like wine tasting, but without the staggering home afterwards!
Buy her a book subscription
My last subscription box is probably my favourite - books! *Squee* The Willoughby Book Club is one of the best things I've ever heard of; users sign up and choose from a three, six or twelve onth subscription, which is fully personalised towards the recipients tastes - from babies and toddlers to cookbooks, natural history books and all kinds of fiction. Books are sent out once a month - now that's what I call happy post!
Make her something handmade
It might be a cliche, but sometimes a handmade gift is the best thing you can give - and these days there are so many ideas to choose from. Paper flowers last forever, and can be really convincing (a quick search online will show you how to make the most incredible crepe paper flowers), or get your needles out and whip up a quick scarf or wrap in the softest merino yarn. Hand stamp some fabric and make it into a cushion cover, make your own pop-up card, or even make some vouchers for 'a months worth of tea-making'. I can guarantee she won't care what it is, but will love that you made it yourself.