A time for giving
Christmas is a time for giving and why not start by giving gifts with a conscience?
The Australian Women's Diary 2015 has an attractive hard cover and will glamourise any woman's handbag.
It is full of essential information that can improve the health and wellbeing of all women and proceeds from the sale go the Breast Cancer Research Institute of Australia to support research that identifies new treatments and prevention strategies.
Available for just $16.95 from newsagents, Woolworths, Commonwealth Bank branches or online at www.bcia.org.au or call 1800 423 444.
Check out Oxfam Australia's Christmas catalogue for decorations made from recycled saris, handpainted ornaments from India and toy animals from Nepal.
Visit your nearest Oxfam shop or visit www.oxfamshop.org.au
At CAREgifts you can choose a chicken, a goat, school uniforms or a village water system and send the gift in the name of your friend who has everything.
Call 1800 020 046 or visit www.caregifts.org.au
If you want to buy The French Laundry Cookbook by Thomas Keller or Easy Weekends: food by Neil Perry, drop in at Books for Cooks at 233 Gertrude St, Fitzroy where owner Tim White will help you find the perfect gift for the foodie in your life.
Books for Cooks buy and sell new and old books about wine, food, gastronomy and the culinary arts.
Phone (03) 8415 1415 or check out www.booksforcooks.com.au
For a touch of the Orient, check out the dazzling array at Orient Express. The store has a fascinating mix of new and restored furniture, homewares, gifts and one-off items.
Choose a home decor item for yourself or a collectible as a gift.
The Orient Express is at 449 Victoria St, Richmond, phone 9421 3288 or visit www.the orientexpress.com.au
I also love Kirra Galleries' whimsical glass wine stopper by Barbara Ashbee. Situated at Federation Square, the gallery is an exciting treasure trove of glass artwork, sculptures and giftware.
Enter via the atrium on the corner of Swanston and Flinders Sts, Melbourne.
Phone (03) 9639 6388 or visit www.kirragalleries.com
If you love all things Italian go to Enoteca Sileno, the Italian wine and food specialist.
The following caught my eye and my palate:
Rustichella d'Abruzzo Sclucchiata 360gm, a traditional Abruzzese grape jam, used to fill crostata tarts and pastries, served with fresh ricotta or hard cheese or eaten as a breakfast jam.
Due Vittorie Aceto Balsamico di Modena 250ml.
This lusciously thick balsamic vinegar will add depth of flavour to a wide variety of dishes. Wonderful with fruit, salads, drizzled over grilled meats and can be used to enrich braises and stews at the end of cooking.
The pasta lovers gift hamper contains three traditional shapes of pasta by artisan producers and three popular and versatile sauces that can be mixed and matched. Just add the Parmigiano Reggiano!
Enoteca Sileno, 920 Lygon Street, Carlton North, Victoria.
Phone (03) 9389 7000 or check out www.enoteca.com.au