December 18, 2017
Choose Girl-Power Gifts for the Men and Women in Your Life This Christmas
I am a strong proponent of buying ethically such as not buying chocolate that encourages the use of child slaves and purchasing Fairtrade or fairly-traded goods instead of exploitative ones. Pushing the boundaries more this holiday season I’ve decided to also force friends and family to break the mould and challenge stereotypes by buying them the gifts they should want.
Whisky for women? Absolutely! If it is good enough for HRH it’s good enough for my mom! Royal Salute is a very special long-aged blend (the key here is that it is a blend) in the Wade ceramic decanter originally designed for it (totally different from glass). This whisky was originally created for the Queen on the occasion of her coronation and is aged a minimum of 21 years reflecting the 21 gun salute. It’s not an aggressive flavour and while not the single casks I favour, it’s the perfect whisky to demonstrate that whisky is the perfect tipple for women. Very extra special for this holiday season and perfect for only the most special women in your life (like your mom or wife) is the Royal Salute 21 year old gift pack with a miniature bottle which is what I’ve got.
Women brewsters are kicking butt in Belgium! A Brewster is a female brewer and they used to be the norm. Why not gift someone a trip to Flanders and visit the places famous for Women in Brewing like De Ryck brewery or GRUUT brewery. Beer is a fascinating drink and Annick de Spenter who owns GRUUT brewery especially is doing some amazing things with non-hops based beers. Even if you don’t tour breweries in Belgium do experiment with different types of beers this holiday season.
Tequila with a woman’s hand in the making. Cleo Rocos’ AquaRiva is a tequila I met many years ago when it was paired with chocolate. It stuck with me, as did Cleo’s passion for tequila, as did how she had played a part in every part of the production of the tequila. I must admit that tequila and I have a bit of a history and while I didn’t have to break up with it like I did with rum, it was a close thing so please enjoy responsibly.
Take a tour around London guided by an expert in your own time. Taste Tripper is a woman-owned company providing a great Christmas gift that can be used over and over again – pre-prepared themed walking tours around London with different themes. Whether the person in your life is a coffee ‘snob’, chocolate ‘snob’, craft beer ‘snob’ or food ‘snob’, these are the perfect gift. With the tours being self-guided, you are able to do them in your own time, at your own pace, again and again!
Handbags for women, by women. It’s not a stereotype, it’s woman-owned bag company for men *and* women Cambridge Satchel Company founded by Julie Deane and her mother Freda Thomas as a way to pay for her children’s school fees and has now become a globally recognised brand. I was gifted one many years ago and it’s still in perfect condition so I know they are durable. They aren’t just handbags anymore – visit their shop in Covent Gardens and you’ll see bags for men as well as women. The ethics and drive that Julie has for the company, as well as her desire to design for practical needs, not fashion, means this is a beautifully practical gift.
Rococo chocolates earned Chantal Coady an OBE for services to chocolate (sort of) and it was a well-deserved one. She has been a tireless proponent of ethical Grenada chocolate, pretty much single-handedly helping the island grow and expand their chocolate-related tourism. The island is now reclaiming their abandoned cocoa plantations, with new investors and farmers coming back to the island and entering the cocoa trade. It’s an amazing story, an amazing island, and Rococo chocolates are award-winning. Purchasing these amazing women-owned chocolates benefits everyone from farmers to the recipient’s tummy.
Gift woman owned British wine from Albourne Estate. Alison Nightingale quit her job and went in to winemaking and hasn’t looked back. British wines have significantly improved over the past five years and Albourne is no exception. Why not gift her wines or any of the large number of other British wines available this holiday season and reduce food miles while supporting local businesses.
I may be forcing my ‘girl power’ choices on my relatives this year but I believe that we can all make positive changes easily in our lives. Whether it is shopping at the Coop for more Fairtrade, choosing Divine chocolate for no child slave labour, or choosing products from women-owned companies, we don’t need to broadcast what we’re doing – we just need to do it.