Throw in the towel!

OK, so a tea towel may not sound like the greatest Christmas gift idea, but then not all tea towels are created equal. We love this one, pictured left, by Quips & Quotes (£6, available at johnlewis.com) and the Emma Bridgewater one which reads “Total Happiness Is A Cup Of Tea & A New Magazine & A Bar Of Chocolate” (£8, also at johnlewis.com).

A great gift idea ‘for the one you forget’ (there’s always one), Cath Kidston’s Christmas Tea Towel in A Tin (£10) – featuring the same design as the lovely apron we recently featured – could be given as it is and would make a lovely, last minute ‘hostess gift’. So would this Retro Reservations Tea Towel (£5.99), pictured right – provided the hostess in question has a good sense of humour …

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Creating a Buzz …

Fans of an infamous Space Ranger are going to love this one! LEGO has built a fantastic Buzz Lightyear model that stands at five foot high and took a seriously fiddly-sounding 32, 980 bricks to construct.

One of a kind, the special edition Buzz has been created for a Silent Auction online at Argos, open now at bigplay.co.uk/buzz, in aid of The National Autistic Society and Teenage Cancer Trust. The silent auction will take place on Christmas Eve, when Buzz will go to the highest bidder and all proceeds divided between the two charities.

Meanwhile, stay tuned for more on (slightly smaller!) Toy Story 3 Christmas gift ideas and a great giveaway at nonstopmama! (Subscribe to our free, daily email updates and you can enter all our fab giveaways!)

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Painting by numbers

Today, we’re playing make-up artists at nonstopmama (don’t laugh, we’re quite getting into it. We’re not saying that the lovely Lisa Eldridge need lose any sleep yet, of course – we know our limits). But we do love a kit that lets us pretend we know what we’re doing – those contains-everything-you-need compacts that come with step-by-step instructions, leaving nothing to chance.

Keen to attempt party eyes that were more smoky than scary for a change, we fell on Clinique’s new Strawberry Fudge Holiday Compact (£25) – they had us at the ‘strawberries dipped in chocolate’ description – a Christmas limited edition containing three eyeshadows and a rosy, suits-all blush (available now at Clinique counters nationwide and online at clinique.co.uk). The mirrored case comes with an illustrated card, explaining where to put each colour and in which order. From eyes to cheeks, the routine took no more than a couple of minutes and we loved the soft, definitely unscary result. It helps, too, that you get both a sponge-tipped applicator and eyeshadow brush, for easy, aren’t-I-a-pro? blending. Applied with a light hand, the look is subtle enough for daytime but could be intensified if you wanted to go more glam. Read more.

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Touch and glow …

Here’s a beauty bargain that will keep budget-watching mamas glowing (literally) over the party season ahead. One of the many impressively high performance products in the award-winning Barbara Daly make-up range for Tesco, Glow-Up (£6.75) does exactly what it says on the pot. Smooth it on – and you only need a smidge – wherever you want a soft, party-ready shimmer. It’s as good as many pricier ‘luminisers’ we’ve tried and just the job when you need a quick trick to take your make-up from daytime to after-dark. Try it on the face (to highlight cheekbones and/or just under the brows) or body (on the collarbone, for example), or wherever you want to add a lovely gleam …

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Dish it up!

Who doesn’t love finding gorgeous gift ideas that give back in some way? There’s no better bonus! And, with the Christmas countdown truly underway, all inspiration is welcome (now, where did I stuff that scrawl of a list? …).

I’m loving the new-look Yummy Mummy fundraising gifts for CLIC Sargent, the charity which provides vital support to children and young people with cancer and their families. Check out the I’m A Yummy Mummy/Awesome Aunty/Glamorous Granny spotty bone china mugs (£6 each) and I’m A Dishy Daddy/Funky Uncle/Groovy Grandad mugs (£5 each), along with the I have a Yummy Mummy childrens’ t-shirts (pink or blue, £5 each) and Aprons (£6 each).

To buy the gifts online – and get more information on the fundraising campaign and Yummy Mummy Week 2011 (why not start planning your own event?) – hop over to yummymummy.org.uk.

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  • About

    Jenni Baden HowardI’m a London girl now living on the South Coast of England with my family. I’m still a city girl at heart but I love the beach and have high hopes for running along it regularly, as I do in my parallel fantasy life. Which also involves drinking less coffee. More.

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