Tag Archives: shopping

Gift Guide Part Two: Granddads


Granddads can be hard to buy for- let’s face it they often spoil their grandchildren rotten; and trying to find a gift that shows how much they mean can, at times be quite a feat. However, here at Can’t Help But Be we have done some of the hard work for you, so you can be inspired when it comes to shopping for your Granddad this Christmas.

Is your Granddad the sort to spend hours pottering around his garden, or greenhouse? Well, there are lots of products you can buy to make the perfect present for his green fingers.

If you are on a budget then how about putting together a little gift bag of goodies. Include a new pair of gardening gloves to protect the sensitive skin from the elements (and accidents!) This pair are from www.gardensupplies.co.uk  and cost from £3.45


If you live in the USA, then why not go for a pair of these nitrile gloves? They may look light but apparently fit like a second skin, available online at www.gardeners.com priced at $6.95 and in a wide variety of colours ,these are definitely a must have


Along with the gloves how about a packet of seed markers? Perfect for the forgetful gardener who loves to propagate his own crop. 50 seedling markers all neatly bundled together for £2.95 is the perfect gift


If you are in Australia then we rate these copper markers, they’d make lovely ornaments too. Available from www.greenharvest.com.au


Some packets of seeds are the ideal way to finish off his gift. Available from all garden centres and many online stores you could choose from his favourite plants, some fruits and vegetables or even a tree. A gift that will carry on giving for years to come.

If your Granddad isn’t quite as active in the garden as he used to be but still loves the great outdoors then why not treat him to a day out to a RHS or yellow book garden. The yellow book is produced annually with the National Garden Society- they open gardens for charity and you know you’ll be in for a treat as each garden is thoroughly tested and inspected before they make it into the book. http://www.ngs.org.uk/gardens/gardenfinder.aspx is your one stop call to find the garden that is either closet to home or specialise in your Grandpa’s favourite element. You can walk around the garden, take photos and chat and then stop for an afternoon tea- a lovely treat and an opportunity to spend some quality time together.

Head here if you live in Australia http://www.opengarden.org.au/ for the newly released 2010 guide and likewise you and your granddad will have a day to remember.

For the book loving Granddad there is a whole assortment of lovely goodies to spoil him with.

There are a lot of books that touch people’s hearts but how lovely would it be if you could treat your Granddad to one of his old favourites that he hasn’t read in years? Maybe a book from his childhood, or a new copy of a worn out favourite. He will be so pleased to have the chance to dive right on in again. And with www.amazon.com or www.amazon.co.uk listing almost every book you could ever want the possibilities are endless.

If he already has all the books he could ever need then how about some book accessories? Bookmarks come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and price ranges and always go down well.

On a budget, then why not go for this adorable handmade bookmark that you can have personalised with one or two initials from folksy. We at Can‘t Help But Be love to champion independent sellers where we can and with good like this it‘s clear to understand why (just click on the link to buy)


For other handmade bookmarks check out Etsy, we especially love this bookworm design, priced at a reasonable $8.95 (click to buy)


If money is no object then this elegant silver page marker is our absolute favourite, see this and more at unique gift heaven www.notonthehighstreet.com (costing £38.50)


If books and bookmarks seem too ordinary to you, then don’t fear. There are allsorts of gizmos available to help make reading even more enjoyable- from flexible torches to magnifiers with lights and thumb turners.

Is your Granddad in a nursing home? If so it can be difficult to think of gifts to get him that would enrich his days, here are a few suggestions.

If the room he is in has a window then the ideal gift is a birdfeeder. Hanging one from the window will not only help the birds by keeping them fed through the winter months but will also provide a lovely opportunity to see the wildlife up close and personal, even if bed bound. Be aware that some areas are prone to the grey squirrel (like we are!) and so you should invest in a squirrel proof feeder, if you are squirrel free then choose whatever style takes your fancy. If they have a room on the ground floor then we suggest going for a standing feeder on a pole; that way it will attract a lot of birds as some can feed on the stand and others prefer to pick up the scraps- this is a steal at £9, again from www.gardensupplies.co.uk


If they are on a higher floor and you have a squirrel problem then I suggest going for a squirrel proof feeder like this;


also from gardensupplies

This design stops the squirrels from getting to the food and also allows a lot of little birds to feed together.

If they aren’t into nature then what about a colour changing light? They are perfect for those who can’t use speech and other normal ways of expressing themselves. As a collector of lamps I can honestly say that Mathmos provide wonderful lamps, and not just lava lamps. One of my favourites is the space projector- aim it at a wall or the ceiling and you get a projected image slowly rotating, you can go simple and opt for ink circles that, as the lamp warms up  heat and merge and blend into one another, or you can put up pictures that you know they will like. The lamps are available from quite a few places. The Mathmos online store is international if you have trouble finding a stockist.

The one pictured is just one of many options for the projector.


Another favourite is the mood changing light by Phillips. It comes with a remote control and has an amazing colour wheel, light intensities and brightness. If your Granddad has lost the power of speech it can be a way for them to help display how they are feeling, and with the remote being touch sensitive and very simple it’s a winner all round.


Does your Granddad have a sweet tooth, or perhaps a favourite type of cheese, or wine? Well then our top idea is to make up a personal box, stocking or bag for them with their favourites in. You can be as creative as you like, and when it comes to a budget you can really bring a smile to their faces whether you spend £5 or £50. If you are shopping on a budget then don’t worry- your hamper can still look a million dollars, with a little bit of elbow grease the personal touch can go a really long way.

For example, if your Granddad likes sweets then why not buy his favourites online? most online candy stores have excellent offers- no need to pay extra for packaging just order what you know they like. Then, when they arrive make use of old jam jars, milk bottles etc (ensuring they are cleaned out well) and pour in the sweets, tie up with Christmas ribbon and make a personalised label for the jar- it’ll go down a storm.

Same goes for biscuits and other sweet treats- making your own and packaging them up in cellophane bags with ribbon really keeps costs down and gives you extra brownie points. There is plenty of time to get practising if you are a novice in the kitchen- if you’re more of  a pro then go wild, from fudge to home made chocolates, let your Granddad be your inspiration. There is a whole array of cooking sites to help you in your baking quest, one of our recent favourites is http://www.mixingbowl.com/home/view.castle

For packaging supplies hit cake craft shop  and for worldwide try here.

As for the hamper- you can go as simple as wrapping a shoe box in paper, to a wicker basket or even a toolbox!

It doesn’t have to be sweet of course- how about spoiling him with a selection of the cheese that he likes and some crackers and maybe some pickles? Or a wine selection, ones that perhaps are produced in your local region.

If your Granddad lives alone then you can start to stock up on miniature items, such as jams, mustards, pickles, coffee and tea- spoil them by making life a little bit easier for them!

If you don’t want to make one up yourself, have no fear, there is a wide variety of products out there that look homemade!
This basket of lovely is £21.95


And this is a whiskey lovers dream, at £74.95 it’s packed to the brim with goodies


Both of these, and many more are available at hampers gifts.

If your Granddad enjoy making things how about a model kit that will keep him amused and out of trouble for days! You can opt for the more traditional boat kit, such as this one below


available from either model supermarket or for worldwide, here.

If your grandfather is young at heart this wonderful Wallace and Gromit airfix kit is guaranteed to make anyone smile!


available for worldwide delivery at the modeller, or try searching through eBay or Amazon.

The kits have all they need included so no need to worry about glue or tools.

We really hope this guide gives you some idea of what to buy for your Granddad.

Please get in touch with us if you feel we have missed something out, there is another hobby you want us to cover, or you have any questions or general feedback. We LOVE to hear from our readers.
Either leave a comment on the post, or drop us an e-mail.

Stay tuned for more gift guides.


Beating the Chill


We’re almost a week in to October now and the weather has gotten distinctly wintery of late. It’s time to forget brave attempts at prolonging your Summer wardrobe’s life and dig out the knit wear and heavy coats.

Winter clothing can be a bit drab and depressing, and we at Can’t Help but Be have done some window shopping on your behalf to brighten up those dreary days.
Here are our favourite warming accessories:


Arm Warmers (£10 from www.asos.com) are perfect for wearing with 3/4 sleeve jumpers and coats. There’s no need to compromise on style OR warmth with a pair of these. The gorgeous purple colour is bang on trend too.


This scarf from the new IDOL range at New Look covers the animal print trend without being over the top. At £15 it’s a quick and stylish way to brighten up a coat, or accessorise for work.


Autumn gales are no fun when your wearing a scarf. Who wants soggy ends flying in their face, or a sudden gust leaving your neck exposed? This neck warmer, £16 from Asos solves that problem instantly and the bright colour will inject some cheer in to your day (or night).


Not everyone is a fan of hats, but cold ears can be a nightmare. Enter Urban Outfitters with their crochet ear warmer. More chic than ear muffs, and looking more like pretty hair band than anything else, we love this as a fun compromise between fashion and necessity. It comes in several colour choices and costs £18.


And for those of you who like a bit more chic in your life, or a rock-chick edge these bow detail leather gloves (also available in cream) are for you. At £15 a pair they are fantastic value for real leather and depending on what you are wearing, can be seen as either girly, or add a touch of grunge to your look.

But, if like us you are still a child at heart, then what could be better than these mittens from Urban Outfitters?


The colour, and the string that goes round the back of your coat just screams nostalgia, with the added bonus of never rooting through your bag only to discover you own two hands but only one glove.

How are you staying warm this winter?
Get in touch, we love to hear from you.


By Laura

With Autumn swiftly making its presence felt, now seems the perfect time to introduce emerging knitwear accessories line de*nada who have just launched a new website to showcase their Autumn Winter ’09 collection.

“De*Nada is the vision of its founder, Virginia Blanca Arrisueño, who in spring 2005 sought to blend contemporary styles with ethnic elements to offer stylish yet high-quality merchandise. Inspired by the culture and the traditions of her Peruvian heritage, Arrisueño continually works alongside skilled artisans in Peru to create De*Nada’s growing collection.”

DeNada Design Fall/Winter 2009 Lookbook. For use on website.

The new collection includes more than a dozen new designs for scarves, gloves and hats sold at selected retailers in the USA, and worldwide. The handmade products will also soon be available to order online.

For this collection, “It’s all about texture and layering,” said De*Nada’s
founder and lead designer Virginia Arrisueño. Using the traditional
methods of crocheting, knitting and braiding inspired by the culture and
the traditions of her Peruvian heritage, Arrisueño offers “exceptional
detail in each of these pieces.”
Arrisueño also wanted to “reinvent how scarves can be worn” by
incorporating versatile and innovative styles to her pieces.

DeNada Design Fall/Winter 2009 Lookbook. For use on website.

Key items include: cowls, which can be draped around the neck or worn as
hood; eternal scarves, which are loose and lightweight, like a necklace,
and can be worn with or as jewellery; and spiral scarves; which can be worn
long or else shortened, when wrapped once or twice around the neck and
pulled through a loop.

The colour palette for this collection ranges from black, grey and white through to violet, olive green and beige.

DeNada Design Fall/Winter 2009 Lookbook. For use on website.

For further information visit the site at www.denadadesigns.com

Current online retailers of the brand are



We at Cant Help but Be have fallen head over heels for this gorgeous knitwear…it almost makes us long for some colder weather.

Your Low-Cal Shop

By Laura

A few weeks ago I posted my review on PB2 powdered peanut butter, noting that the one place it’s available to buy in the UK is a site I’d never come across before: Your Low-Cal Shop

Simone Jacobs, the owner of the store got in touch to tell me a little bit about herself and her business and so that’s what I’m going to share today.

Simone Jacobs became obese at the age of eight and continued to gain weight until she became morbidly obese in her early twenties. After many unsuccessful attempts at weight loss, her doctors warning of impending illness finally gave her the wake- up call she needed to do something about her unhealthy size.

At 31 years old, and after finally reaching her goal weight (losing over 10 stone), Simone realized that a new chapter in her life had begun. She now faced new challenges on how to maintain her weight loss, and found the answer in a new career in the Low Cal food industry. After starting her business from home, of selling low cal dressings and sauces, her business has now grown into a full service E Commerce shop called Your Low-Cal Shop.

Your Low Cal Shop carries a variety of no calorie and low calorie delicious products such as coffee flavourings, cooking sprays, puddings, snacks, sauces and sensational peanut butter. The product line is continuously expanding and Simone is always asking for feedback and suggestions from consumers on her website.

In a short amount of time, and after a lot of hard work, Your Low Cal Shop has become the online destination of choice for a delicious selection of healthy foods to help you maintain a balanced lifestyle.

For more information, please visit the website: www.your-lowcalshop.com

The shop is a treasure trove of goods that have until now, only been available to the USA.
Perfect for dieters and those who like to save their calories for the main part of their meal, I’m most intrigued by Walden Farms Apricot Fruit Spread (£3.99), Froops Natural Apple Crisps (79p) and of course my beloved PB2, as well as flavoured Splenda packets for your morning coffee.

Simone is currently on an adventure in America tracking down new products for the shop and according to the website we can look forward to Low Carb Protein Cereals later this month. The website also features a newsletter and recipes, which include a tempting sounding PB2 French toast. Shipping starts at £3.50 for up to 1kg of products, which in my eyes is a bargain..much, much cheaper than a flight to the USA after all.

many thanks for getting in touch with Can’t Help but Be, we look forward to seeing more from your shop and wish you the very best of luck with it.

Bags of Style; save the planet and look good doing it.

By Laura and Eloise

Reusable bags have been on the fashion radar for some time now. Ever since Anya Hindmarch launched her famous “I am not a plastic bag” it’s become cool to be green.
It shouldn’t just be about fashion and looking good though, we should all make the effort to say no to plastic bags and reuse the ones we can’t avoid taking.

 The Less Plastic Bags Campaign by the National Environment Agency (NEA) explains what we can do to reduce the use of plastic:

  • Always take or ask for just enough plastic bags to carry purchases and no more.
  • Better still, buy reusable (available at major supermarkets at low prices) and use them during shopping trips.
  • Remember to bring your reusable bags when you go shopping.
  • Say ‘No’ to plastic bags when buying only a few small items.
  • Say ‘No’ to plastic bags when the items are packaged with handles (e.g. toilet rolls, rice packet, etc).
  • When you need to have the plastic bag, save it for the next trip or use them as waste bin liners.
  • When using a plastic bag as waste liner, fully fill the bag before throwing it away wherever possible.
  • Do not throw away excess plastic bags as a trash/waste item. Reuse or recycle them.
  • Encourage your family members, relatives, friends and colleagues to do the same.

(from www.app.nea.gov.sg). This site is actual aimed at Singapore, but the statistics and advice given are applicable to everyone world wide.

There are many benefits to investing in some reusable bags (whether they are cotton, hemp, canvas etc). For starters they are far stronger than a typical supermarket carrier bag and you can carry more in them with a better weight distribution. They can usually also be carried on the shoulder which makes transporting shopping easier, and once you’ve bought a few, with regular washing they will last for years.

Both myself and Eloise feel strongly about reducing the amount of plastic bags we use, so we’re bringing you the Can’t Help but Be top picks of stylish reusable bags.


First up is this bag from Oxfam Online’s ethical department. At £9.99 it also benefits the charity’s work with school girls in Bangladesh. It’s roomy size is perfect for all kinds of shopping, from your usual grocery run to major shoe splurges.

Next up is this Cath Kidston for Tesco shopper. These are a bargain at £3.50 and come in several pretty designs. I have two of these and can find them indispensable for carting my uniform too and from work, as well as my post shift magazine haul!


One of Eloise’s favourites (and her Sister’s!) is from Accessorize. A little price at £20 (although currently on sale for £14). Eloise says this is a must have for the serious shopper as it can withstand massive workloads, bottles of water AND pet food.


Another high street buy is this cotton canvas La-Z Girl side pocket bag from American Apparel. It costs £18 and has the added benefit of a zipper pocket, ideal for storing your wallet or keys. It comes in a choice of eight colours and expands for maximum shopping hold-age.

Finally, both of us decided that we cannot now imagine life without these old faithfuls. The Boots gorgeous shopper bag has a vivid pink lining and is made of the softest cotton with strong rope handles. It’s super comfortable to carry no matter how much you fill it, and right now it’s on offer in Boots for just £2, with the profits split three ways between Breast Cancer Care, The Eve Appeal and Action Breast Cancer.


We also both love the iconic M&S bags featuring models such as Twiggy. Priced at just £2 these look chic and are unbeatable value. Marks and Spencer was one of the first shops to start charging for it’s plastic carrier bags and as a result has an incredibly impressive array of reusable bags for sale in their stores.


We’d love to know what you think about reusable shopping bags. Do you have any favourites, or perhaps you make your own?

Feel free to share your stories, or any hints and tips with us, either leaving a comment on this post, or by e-mailing us.