Prepare to surrender your senses, this book is a delicious assault on the pleasure zone from before page one. I cannot remember the last time that I had a new book with Endpapers. Wonderful. The look and feel of this beautifully produced volume inspires the reader to believe that they too can create beautiful and inspiring gifts just like the author herself. Equally ravishing photography matches the seductive writing that tempts one to rush into the garden, grab a handful of leaves and an old tin can and (in a Blue-Peter-Here's-One-I-Made-Earlier moment) produce gifts that would put Antita Roddick and the etire Conran Clan to shame. When I was a child I had the Ladybird book of Things to Make and Do, which taught me that a clutch of cotton reels and some string was all I needed to eclipse Fisher Price. Now that I have put aside childish things, my adult indulgences are well served by this wonderful book. Parsley dog biscuits (to counter terrier-breath) and home made creme de cassis (an autumn-season of kirs before bedtime) are on my immediate to do list, and I shall be rescuing old creme de marons tins from the recycle bin to become designer planters now that Debora Robertson has shown me the way. And there are so many recipes that will be tried in the coming months, for certain, whether for using as gifts or propping up my own comfort zone.
The cosmetics and skin care stuff is probably beyond me, but so many of these ideas are explained so simply and described with such seductive ease and skill I am won over by the encouring words to aspire to the glorious pictures than make this a rest-on-your-knees, Sunday morning breakfast in bed, page turner.
And if you really cannot be bothered to make such tempting gifts as the author suggests, then the only alternative present to consider giving anyone is this very book itself.