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TRAVEL & LEISURE

Every Lockdown Gift Idea to Send to Every Type of Person in Your Life

Channel your online shopping skills and check out these top-notch present picks.
By Libby Curran
September 23, 2021
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By Libby Curran
September 23, 2021
  shares

Life can feel a little gloomy when your entire city is a couple of months deep into lockdown. But, we can't think of a better time to spread a bit of love and cheer — so why not treat your friends to a little present, just because. After all, you know what they say about the gift of giving — it's not just the person receiving the present that's in for some warm and fuzzies.

Luckily, thanks to the wild times we live in, there's no shortage of excellent gifting options available for speedy delivery. To help you pick the perfect prezzie for the well-deserving humans in your life, we've pulled together a few primo options to suit all kinds of different persuasions; from the mate who's been cooking up a storm, to that person who's recently discovered the joys of a good book. Channel your online shopping habit into making others happy and check out these top-notch present picks.

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by Rob Palmer, from Josh Niland's The Whole Fish Cookbook

THAT FRIEND YOU'VE BEEN GETTING ALL YOUR LOCKDOWN RECIPES FROM

At this point of lockdown, even your go-to recipe guru is likely running short on inspiration. Remedy that with a few fresh ideas and wise words from the experts, and get them a nice glossy cookbook from the chef behind their favourite restaurant. Plenty of leading local venues have inspired books filled with recipes and tips, that'll both level-up someone's kitchen game and help fill that void when dining out is off the cards. Seafood fans will be chuffed to own a copy of Take One Fish from Saint Peter's Josh Niland, where the chef shares his forward-thinking philosophy on cooking with fish, across 60 cracking recipes. Fellow Sydney chef star Peter Gilmore (Quay) gives insight into his own celebrated cooking style with stunning titles like Organum.

For Melbourne mates, try the beautiful homage to all things vegan that is Shannon Martinez's (Smith & Daughters) latest title Vegan With Bite. Or challenge them to up the ante with Brae: Recipes and Stories From the Restaurant by world-renowned talent Dan Hunter, which unpacks some of the incredible dishes plated up at one of Australia's best fine diners. Perfecting the recipe for chilled broad bean broth with strawberry fig leaf and yoghurt whey should keep them busy until the end of lockdown.

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THAT MATE WHO'S ACTUALLY BEEN KEEPING UP AN EXERCISE ROUTINE DURING LOCKDOWN

Sticking to an exercise routine is tough at the best of times. So if you know someone who's managed to get through this crazy iso period without giving up on workouts altogether, they deserve a serious pat on the back. Or maybe a nice little present — like some quality activewear made from recycled plastic bottles, courtesy of Sydney-born brand Nimble. The label's sustainable collection of women's workout threads are extra kind to the environment and ship Australia-wide.

Similarly, DK Active is known for its ethically produced line of active threads for men and women, crafted with sustainable fabrics in order to reduce landfill and ocean waste. And if you're looking for the ultimate present for a yogi mate, check out the eco-sensitive yoga mats from Recycled Mats, featuring stunning designs like this one from Indigenous artist Anna Carroll.

Or, you know, maybe what your mate is really craving after all that religious exercising is a big ol' box of decadent chocolate treats. Invite them to roll up that workout mat, take a breather and treat themselves to a box of eclairs from Sydney's Madame & Yves, a cake fix courtesy of Black Star Pastry, or some gooey-centred delights from The Cookie Box.

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Providoor

THAT PARENT WHO'S BEEN COOKING THE SAME FIVE DISHES FOR 20+ YEARS

They say variety is the spice of life. But if you know someone who's severely lacking in the spiciness department, perhaps it's time to gently nudge them towards a culinary shakeup. Or at least a new recipe or two.

The key here is maximum inspiration and minimal effort, which Make Out Meals is serving up in abundance. This Melbourne-based business delivers top-quality meal kits based on menus from your favourite local restaurants and chefs. They feature ingredients, recipe cards and even step-by-step cook-along videos, so your folks can be whipping up Lello's minestrone soup with gnocchi sardi or Babajan's harissa salmon in no time at all.

For fresh meals with even less effort involved, Providoor is delivering an excellent range of finish-at-home dishes and banquets from top Sydney and Melbourne restaurants, that might just give mum or dad the boost of confidence to try something new. Of course, a chef-penned cookbook packed with fresh dinner ideas is also a good option here. Especially if mum's got a long-held crush on a certain curly-haired, Irish-accented chef...

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Drnks

THE ONE WHO CAN'T WAIT TO GET BACK ON THE BEERS

No one's heading to the pub these days, but you can get the next best thing all packaged up and delivered to your door with a Pub In a Box experience from one of the city's fine booze-slinging establishments.

Melbourne craft brewery Moon Dog first trotted out its take on the concept during last year's lockdowns and it's now back thanks to popular demand, available to ship Australia-wide. Clocking in at $99, the box comes packed with a tasty range of house beer — and seltzer — creations, along with a couple of branded beer glasses, a bar mat and beer nuts, to really capture that pub spirit.

Parkville pub Naughtons has recently dropped its own version, which comes complete with drinks, a rotating selection of top-notch pub grub (homemade pie, anyone?) and even a trivia card to help you recreate that beloved quiz night.

Beer-focused gifting service Brewquets can also help fill the void with its curated packs, which match a lineup of craft beer with extras like beer glasses and classic bar snacks. And booze retailer Drnks is coming to the rescue with its curated boozy care packs, featuring extras like DIY burger kits, aperitivo snacks and picnic eats.

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THAT FRIEND WHO'S ALWAYS IN NEED OF A NEW CREATIVE PROJECT

We all know someone who just ain't happy unless they're getting their hands messy, making or creating something. Ceramics, paint-by-numbers, knitting, terrariums — you name it, if it's got a creative edge, they've tried it at least once during lockdown. But after this much time at home, we bet they're in desperate need of a new pursuit to keep them busy and entertained through the tail-end of this time stuck at home.

Have they had a crack at shibori yet? There are lots of local spots spreading love for this ancient Japanese method of resist-dyeing, offering online tutorials and home-delivered DIY kits. Try Sydney-based textile studio Shibori for fun, instructional project kits for novices through to seasoned dyers, or order your mate one of these beautiful packs from Handmaker's Factory in Melbourne's West Footscray. This crew also sells an excellent weaving loom kit, if that's more your friend's speed.

If they've got a thing for the tile-of-the-moment, terrazzo, Journey of Something's DIY kit will have them whipping up these cute flecked coasters to grace their coffee table. Meanwhile, local retailers like Craft Club Co have a range of easy-to-follow rug-making kits that will get them hooked on creating fun floor accessories. These beginner packs include all the tools and materials needed for one specific project, though the internet's filled with online rug-making suppliers if they get the itch and want to make more.

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Salus

YOUR HOUSEMATE WHO'S RUN OUT OF QUALITY BATHROOM PRODUCTS

Maybe you've been nicking a few squirts of your housemate's luxe moisturiser here and there, maybe you haven't. Who's to say? Either way, a bathroom that's running low on decent product is not a good one to have during lockdown. Replenish the stocks or simply treat your roomie to some pampering essentials with a home-delivered care package full of locally-made bathroom goodies.

Melbourne's Hunter Lab has a sleek line of natural skin, hair and body products that have the added bonus of looking very dapper on your shower shelf or by your bathroom sink. The brand's also doing some rather gorgeous gift packs, featuring leather toiletry bags. Sydney-born skincare range Edible Beauty Australia makes botanically-charged products to soothe all sorts of skin types and needs, and offers an array of great gift-worthy bundles, too. And the lineup of high-end spa-inspired products from Salus is filled with good stuff, from purifying rosemary body scrubs, to chamomile facial masks, and rejuvenating body oils made with rosehip and orange.

Can't decide? Gift them with a box of treats curated by the experts. Local subscription services like Tis The Box and Bellabox will deliver a regular pack (or one-off box) of new products and cult favourites straight to your door.

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Edgar Castrejon via Unsplash

THAT FRIEND WHO'S BEEN RELYING A LITTLE TOO MUCH ON UBEREATS

The kitchen can be a daunting place and the pull of UberEats is strong. So, if you're looking to nudge someone out of the lockdown takeaway rut, you're going to want to make the alternative as attractive as possible. You could whip them up a five-star meal yourself; or you could gift them a few clever things that'll help them level-up their own kitchen game in a jiffy. For example, a flavour-packed, nourishing bowl of ramen is a breeze to master, if you've got a DIY kit to guide you through the process. Sydney's Rising Sun Workshop is slinging a range of these finish-at-home packs for delivery across the city, while in Melbourne, Shop Ramen has an even heftier selection of make-at-home kits, which come complete with all ingredients, a bunch of garnishes and easy-to-follow instructions. Grab your mate a steamed brisket bun kit while you're there.

Otherwise, treat them to some honest, homestyle cooking that requires little more than a quick reheat in the oven. Sydney-based FoodSt has a growing menu of satisfying home-cooked meals crafted by its team of actual home cooks using real ingredients. Treat your mate to dishes like a Moroccan lamb tagine, hearty gnocchi bolognese, and spinach and ricotta cannelloni, and remind them what non-restaurant food tastes like. Who knows — you might even inspire them to hit the kitchen themselves.

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WellRead, by Frenchy

THAT MATE WHO'S JUST DISCOVERED BOOKS

Know someone who could use a little guidance when it comes to selecting a great read? Hand them over to the experts at Aussie book subscription service WellRead. These guys offer subscription packs to suit readers of all persuasions — and ages — sending customers a different hand-picked title each month. You can sign your mate up for an ongoing delivery, or choose a one-off gift from WellRead's curation of three-book packs. Literati runs a similar subscription offering, heroing fiction titles, non-fiction and classics. Plans start from an easy $21, plus readers can access Literati's program of virtual author Q&A sessions.

And over at The Wild Book Box they're playing book matchmaker with pre-loved reads, matching up customers (or giftees) with quality second-hand titles based on their preferences and reading habits. Local versions are also being delivered by the likes of Elizabeth's Bookshop in Sydney, whose famed Blind Date With a Book mystery packs are available to ship Australia-wide.

Top Image: Naughtons Pub in a Box

Published on September 23, 2021 by Libby Curran

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