Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Cool Pressies

As it's coming up for Christmas, I've been surfing the net looking for pressies. I don't really do Christmas shopping in actual shops any more. What I used to do when the boys were little would be to take a Monday morning off early in December and rush down to ToysRUs. It would be quasi empty and thus a pleasant place to browse for the things I wanted to buy my little darlings.

I've been there (briefly) on a Saturday in times past and had to drown the effect it had on me in gin in order to cope with the rest of the day. Since the advent ('scuse the pun) of internet shopping, I've been as happy as Larry. No more wearying trips into town with a long list. If I decide I want to browse the Christmas market, it's to do just that. I don't have a time gun pointing at my head beating a thudding countdown as days pass and my list remains stubbornly pristine.

Back to the internet, my favourite site this year is which I have been browsing like mad although I doubt they'll get rich from my custom. I've been looking for ideas for my TWDB. He has a new flat and needs to fill it with stylish and trendy stuff.

I do not have acres of money, but if I did, I'd be tempted to get him one of these knife blocks. It's been designed by Raffaele Iannello, that Italian design guru, and is called the 'Voodoo'. My TWDB would never be at a loss for conversation with new guests with one of these in the kitchen!

He tells me he's never really had to cook for himself, but now finds that he'd like to learn. What better way to make a simple meal exciting than by adding fresh herbs? And what more stylish way is there to grow them than in the Aerogrow?

It's quite perfect for the gadget fiend as it 1) plugs in; 2) has a microprocessor inside controlling everything including how much light it needs; and 3) is so simple you just chuck the growing pod in the machine and watch your lovely fresh herbs grow at three times the speed they would normally. My TWDB eats a lot of salad too, so this would be just the job! A snip at £119...

For all fussy coffee drinkers (I prefer a cuppa meself) who find themselves at a distressing distance from the nearest Nespresso machine, they can whip up a quick espresso with this neat gadget. You can pump up the pressure to 16 bars on this 'Handpresso', throw in an ESE pod ('Easy Serving Espresso' open standard), add water and press. Apparently it not only looks terrific, but serves a mean espresso too. Available in two forms - the Handpresso Wild Instant Kit and Handpresso Outdoor Kit. (£125 & £79 respectively).

One for my little brother here, who is a graphic designer and enjoys collecting records (yes, vinyl ones) with stylish sleeves. With this 'Art Vinyl' frame, he'd be able to admire them on the wall - so much better than having to go through a pile on a rainy Saturday afternoon. Not suitable for over-commercialised, over-exposed tasteless crap, but more your dark, brooding, seriously-conceived albums of conceptual art.

Here is one for me, as a lover of London and the Underground map. Award-winning designers at Suck UK have come up with a Tube Map Mirror. The original map was created by Harry Beck in 1931 and the graphic schematic design has been copied for tube maps all over the world. Apparently it also makes anyone who looks in it look really good too...

So you must admit, it's a pretty cool site. There's a lot of silly stuff on it too like pencil sharpeners in the form of an animal and you do the sharpening in it's bum, a Sat-Nag which doesn't tell you which way to go but just nags the hell out of you while you're getting there.

The most amazing item on there is the MiniCat (with a not-so-mini price : £2450). It can carry two people (up to 240kg) but weighs just 40kg and comes in a bag so you can easily put it in the boot.

"From unzipping the bag, it only takes about half an hour to produce a water and wind ready catamaran. It has hard wearing, abrasion resistant floats, a fibreglass and aluminium frame, keel fins for safe shallow sailing, a plastic fabric trampoline, an anchor point, a lockable rudder that can be raised to 90°, a mast and a sail area of over five square metres." How amazingly cool is that?

Being dead nosey, do let me know if I've just solved a pressie problem on an intractable list... In any case, I know what I'm getting my TWDB...

(and no, it's not the MiniCat!)

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