Gluten Free Lavender Shortbread gift wrapped to perfection

In a recent post I wrote about the uses of Lavender so I thought this post would be dedicated to ‘Gluten Free Lavender shortbread gift wrapped to perfection’
Not only do you get yummy biscuits but they are wrapped beautifully too!

How deliciously, considerately wonderful is to give a gift that is lovingly homemade, perfectly presented and temptingly, aromatically scented?  These recipes for Gluten Free Lavender Shortbread, and Lavender with Lemon Shortbread will provide a delightful house-warming, coffee morning, birthday, Mother’s day, thank you or any-time treat gift wrapped to perfection for someone special.

 

Lavebder ribbons

Purple Stitched and Fern Stripe Ribbons by Jane Means

 

Dietary Requirements.  With so many nutritional needs to consider, if you are in any doubt, the gluten free, vegan option is another way to show your consideration and ensure that your lavender scented, crumbly, melt in the mouth gift will be most gratefully received.

 

Not a confident baker?  Worry not, these delights are incredibly quick and easy to make and you will be so proud and inspired by your own talents when you present the finished package.

lavendershortbread-1-8

Image courtesy of The Contented Baker

 

Ingredients for Gluten Free, Vegan, Lavender with Lemon Shortbread

175g non dairy butter, at room temperature, OR coconut oil

110g caster sugar OR (to exclude refined sugar) use 170g maple syrup

280g gluten free flour blend

½ tsp pure vanilla extract

¼ tsp pure lemon extract

dash of salt

zest of 1 lemon

1 tbsp of dried lavender flowers

shortbread mix

 

Method.  Whip the butter together with the lavender flowers to release the maximum flavour from the flowers.  Beat in the sugar.  Mix in the sweetener, vanilla and lemon extracts, lemon zest and salt.  Stir in the flour.  Bring together and knead with your hands ‘for a long time’ until smooth. The dough should neither be too sticky, nor too dry.  Roll out the dough to a thickness of approx. half an inch thick and use a cutter shape of your choice.  Heart shaped cookies can be especially nice for a gift.  Place the cookies on a baking sheet in the oven at Gas 4/160C (fan) for about 15 minutes.  Do not overcook as they will harden as they cool.

 

Ingredients for Lavender Shortbread

175g softened, unsalted butter

100g caster sugar

225g plain flour

25g demerara sugar

2 tbsp fresh, finely chopped lavender flowers

 

Method Whip the butter together with the lavender flowers to release the maximum flavor from the flowers.  Beat in the sugar.  Stir in the flour.  Bring together and knead with your hands until smooth.  Divide mixture in half, make two cookie mix sausages and roll each in the demerara sugar before wrapping in clingfilm or foil for 30 minutes.  Slice each unwrapped sausage of firmed mixture into about 10 cookies, place on lightly greased baking tray and bake for 15 to 20 minutes on gas 3/140C (fan).  Place on a wire rack to cool.

 

Next.  Wrap your sweet smelling, delicious looking cookies before you are tempted to eat them yourself.  Well, perhaps you can try one… just to make sure they are yummy

 

Packaging your gift is the exciting part.  This is when you add the wow factor.

lavendershortbread-1-6

 

Purple stitched Ribbon by Jane Means
Image courtesy of The Contented Baker

Ribbons
I have a few ribbon designs that are perfect for packaging these very natural, rustic and lilac speckled cookies. Ribbons are very versatile when it comes to tying around jars, boxes, baskets and packages in order to compliment lavender’s colour and to emphasise the homemade nature of your gift.

 

chindeep

Image courtesy of Chindeep

Kilner jar ribbon

 

Gingham Ribbon by Jane Means

Cookie jar simplicity
We spotted this jar of Lavender sugar on Pinterest but this could easily be adapted for a  house-warming gift of cookies.  Freshly baked and placed in a prettily shaped, airtight, cookie jar, your Lavender shortbread will be irresistible when tied with ribbon and personalized with a hand-written gift tag.

 

Lavender bag

Lavender Ribbon by Jane Means
Gift Bag by The Carrier Bag Shop
Fresh Lavender by Clifton Nurseries

A little bag of shortbread cookies
Try placing 2 or 3 lemon and Lavender shortbread cookies in a decorative gift bags and adding the detail of a stitched purple ribbon bow to secure the folded closure, with a sprig of lavender tied in.  This would be ideal as a take home gift after a coffee morning, for example.

 

raspberry ribbon

Raspberry ribbons by Jane Means

A box of biscuits
Taking a simple box, lined with greaseproof paper and filled with lavender scented shortbread, try a combination of brown wrapping paper and a contrasting, colourful design, divided by a beautiful bow.

Paper plates

Paper plates by Talking Tables

Pink green ribbon

 

Ribbon by Jane Means
You could even cut a paper plate and fold it in to a basket…perfect for packaging cookies

A simple but perfectly pink, gorgeously green or beautiful blue paper plate is perfect to place your lemon and lavender biscuits upon.  You could even wrap it in cellophane and secure with purple or green ribbon and a sprig of lavender to finish.

jane means ribbons

Ribbons by Jane Means

Lavender shortbread & tea.
As the perfect compliment to a biscuit is a cup of tea, what about combining the gift of lavender shortbread with a beautiful, and possibly purple, cup and saucer?  Fill your teacup with shortbread biscuits and either, wrap with cellophane or place in a cellophane bag and secure with a matching (green) ribbon and a (purple) label. You could even double up and add some Peppermint Creams.

Now that I’ve enticed your tastebuds, it’s time to pop the kettle on and reach for a biscuit!

Happy Baking x

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International Gift Wrapping ideas to suit all cultures

After 20 years in the business, I’m now finding myself travelling the globe sharing my knowledge and decided it was time to write my latest post ‘International Gift Wrapping ideas to suit all cultures’. My in laws live in Japan, my second home is in Singapore, plus I have Scottish ancestry and run courses in Glasgow and have American relatives, so I’m fascinated how to wrap presents differently to suit the different nationalities and cultures. With all of this and my courses in UK, Singapore and Australia, I’ve dedicated a section in my book ‘Giftwrapped’

I’m a firm believer that first impressions count and it’s what is on the inside that counts…we’ve all heard that saying ‘Packaging is everything’

There are obvious symbolic similarities between Chinese and Japanese theming but two beautiful and very different oriental giftwrapping styles can easily be created.  The similarities come in the use of lavishly embellished silk and symbols such as fans and chopsticks, together with their respective and beautifully illustrative, calligraphic characters. I also love to wrap items creatively and constrasting colours like Yellow and Red

Chinese styled giftwrapping.  The flag of China inspires the use of red and golden yellow, and stars are very much a symbol.  A gift wrapped in shiny, red paper or red, silk fabric, tied with a golden yellow silk, sash ribbon needs only the addition of chop sticks slotted into the bow and a gift tag in the shape of a large, yellow star to achieve the required look.  Add a carefully chosen and perfectly positioned Chinese symbol or two to your wrapping paper.  With a little practice and painted in black, these symbols will instantly define your oriental theme.

Red stitched ribbon by Jane Means

Japanese styled giftwrapping.  With its red circular sunburst design on a white background, the Japanese flag is a good source of inspiration.  With a focus on the traditional colours of red, black and white, embellishments of chop sticks or tassels and the use of painted, red, Japanese symbols onto white paper with red, silk ribbon, a very traditional, Japanese style can be created.

Reversible Gift Wrap by Jane Means
Image Courtesy of The General Co

In addition, the ancient art of Japanese paper folding is ideal to introduce to this theme.  Using origami to add embellishments of simple fans or more complex flowers will, no doubt, make your gift look very pretty.  Paper pleating is a Japanese technique, which looks rather stunning and will impress any recipient.  It is an interesting fact that, historically, an odd number of pleats on the gift was used for a happy occasion, whilst an even number of pleats would have meant the gift was intended for a sad occasion.

Image courtesy of The French Tangerine

American styled giftwrapping.  Well, it is hard to think of America and not think of stars and stripes and red, white and blue.  Any combination of these colours is a great place to start.  For example, red and white striped paper with a blue ribbon, blue paper with red and white striped ribbon (see my red and cream striped grosgrain ribbon) or a combination of contrasting blue paper with white paper, centrally separated by a red ribbon.  To add American stars, position white star stickers on the blue paper.

Tartan by Scotland Shop

Scottish style giftwrapping.  I have various tartan ribbon designs in my range and when they are used generously against navy blue, red, forest green or parcel wrapping paper and combined with embellishments of heather or thistles, the Scottish theme is clear.  Add celtic symbols in the form of brooches, trinkets or hand painted emblems on homemade gift tags to enhance the theme. Having Scottish ancestry I also love to use Tartan and Tweeds in my Gift wrapping projects.

Image courtesy of Pinterest

Indian styled giftwrapping.  Famous for its vivid and spice-derived colours, India evokes thoughts of silk saris, bangles and opulent golden necklaces, lavishly embellished with precious stones.  The peacock, with its iridescent feathers, is the national bird of India and vivid blue, a rich green green and intense purple, the colours of the peacock, combined with embellishments of gold coloured chains,  pendants and varying textures of gold ribbon can form the strong basis of an Indian theme.  Brightly coloured layers of tissue paper offer the image of saris whilst tying in several golden bangles with a brightly coloured chiffon scarf adds to the embellishment of your gift.  Bright colours and opulence are the main features and the presence of a peackock feather, elephant charm or pendant or a handmade circular gift tag featuring the ‘Ashoka Shakra’, a 24-spoke blue wheel that appears on the Indian flag.

I am a huge fan of India. I have been several times and hope to run some future courses there.

Red Ribbon by Jane Means
Map Paper by Clifton Nurseries

Pick a country and try to capture the essence of its nature as you wrap your gift.  Perhaps the gift originates from that country or is to be given to a person from that location or to someone who is going to travel there soon…  Creating a personalised theme only serves to increase the meaning and quality of both the gift giving and receiving experience.

Jane Means is a Worldwide Gift Wrapping Consultant who works for Luxury Brands, Celebrities and Royalty

If you are stuck on what to give as a gift, check out Minding Manners who cover perfect Gift Giving on their brilliant etiquette workshops

Happy Wrapping

 

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Join our ‘Styling for Christmas’ Event at Clifton Nurseries London on December 7th

Our ribbon and stationery shop opened at Clifton Nurseries in September and we are delighted to announce our ‘Styling for Christmas’ event on 7th December at this Central London venue.

 

Lavender and Lovage

 

Image courtesy of Lavender and Lovage

Clifton Nurseries is magical, the twinkly lights lead you up into this secret hidden oasis in central London. With Christmas around the corner we thought it would be a great idea to bring in some fantastic artists and enjoy a festive evening filled with inspiration, ideas and fun.

Jane Means at Clifton Nurseries

Whilst indulging in some fizz and mince pies you can enjoy hands on mini master classes in giftwrapping and bow making.  Judy Broad will be providing calligraphy classes, and you can also enjoy a go at floristry and wreath making. One of my favourite brands Belinda Sly will be there showcasing her cashmere shawls and wraps.

 

Judy Broad

 

Image courtesy of Judy Broad

This will be a magical evening in idyllic surroundings, and the perfect chance to stock up Christmas gifts, ribbons, cards, cashmere, beauty, and enjoy a special evening with friends.

Clifton Christmas shop

Clifton Nurseries has an amazing Christmas shop with hundreds of fresh wreaths, Christmas trees and decorations to peruse. I will also be signing copies of my book ‘Giftwrapped’ in my ribbon and stationery pop up shop.

Jane Means London Shop

Tickets for this magical evening are £12 and include unlimited master classes, fizz and mince pies.
Early booking is essential as this will be a popular event

Book now at www.clifton.co.uk

Clifton Nurseries Christmas shop

I look forward to seeing you there x

 

 

 

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Jane Means launches a London stationery shop

Being so appreciative of the positive feedback and many requests for the return of my successful venture into ‘the pop up shop’ world of two years ago, I welcomed the opportunity to, once again, and I’ve some exciting news….Jane Means has opened a London pop up stationery shop within the elegant and established garden walls of Clifton Nurseries.

Jane Means new shop at Clifton Nurseries

In the run up to the opening,  pretty new products arrived at my studio, stylish display ideas developed in my head, and we dressed it exactly as I wished people to experience it…

Jane Means shop

This is my bright and bold, creative arcadia of colour.

 

Jane Means London Shop

It is sometimes hard to believe that what was once my very enjoyable and creative, kitchen table based hobby, is now my international, commercial success.  I am fortunate that so many others also appreciate beautifully wrapped gifts and that the screen-based world we live in still has room for the timeless elegance of hand-scripted wrapping paper and calligraphic gift tags.

stripe ribbon

 

Ribbon and tag by Jane Means
Calligraphy by Judy Broad

I am happy that many people share my love of patterned papers and of ribbons of variety and quality and that there is a constant quest by so many to find further creative ways to embellish, not only presents, but also homes, hotels, shops and restaurants.

We use touch screens for convenience but there is something beautiful about a brightly coloured quill, liquid ink on lovely paper and a warm, wax seal pressing a ribbon against a folded letter or ribbon-tied gift box.

Wax Seal and Lavender

Image courtesy of Melanie Ward
Wax Seals by Manuscript

My pop up shop will be full of stationery, gift wrapping and calligraphy ideas and I plan to present my products in creative and innovative ways to inspire visitors to try new wrapping techniques, to display pictures differently, to use ribbons in original and pretty ways and to consider traditional methods of writing styles that can be overlooked in present times.

The highly skilled Judy Broad will be hosting calligraphy events in my pop up shop, providing demonstrations and instruction on how to achieve pristine and poetic penmanship that can bring a distinctive and personal touch to such items as gift tags, journals, invitations, letters and handmade wrapping paper.

gift wrapping embellishments

 

Ribbons by Jane Means

I will be demonstrating creative gift-wrapping techniques to wow your friends and family and offering embellishment tips, as well as showing how a range of beautiful bows can be effectively and efficiently tied.

I am so excited about the intensely coloured and highly patterned wrapping papers and beautiful, intricately dye cut greetings cards, among other delights, that I have sourced specifically for my pop up store and more items are arriving constantly.

Jane Means London Shop

‘Excited’ is the best word to describe the prospect of my shop’s opening day but I am also a little nervous.  I wish it to be perfect in every way and for everyone to be able to find something they love.

The shop will be open 7 days a week and you can also enjoy a delicious lunch or afternoon tea at the scrumptious Quince Tree Cafe on Site as well as wander through the idyllic gardens of Clifton.

Voted the ‘Most Charming Restaurant with a Garden’ by Vogue, the bustling cafe is set in a conservatory surrounded by flowers with a mouthwatering menu and delightful staff.

Quince tree Cafe

Our new shop Monday 12th September opened infront of the press with my dear friend Sophie Conran cutting the ribbon.

Jane Means Shop launch

We look forward to seeing you and don’t forget to share your photos and thoughts on our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram Page

Jane x

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mother’s Day Wrapping Event at Clifton Nurseries

 

One of my favourite haunts is Clifton Nurseries close to the Little Venice Canals in the heart of London.

clifton nurseries

Despite being in Central London, you feel like you’re tucked away in a unique oasis and it’s been a hidden gem since the mid 19th century.

plant gift wrapping

Last week I was there doing a photo shoot and had to wrap some plants, which ended up being sold very quickly afterwards, so it made sense to squeeze in a quick wrapping service in time for Mother’s Day.

plant wrapping event

The Spring Gift Wrapping Event will be taking place on Friday 28th March from 11am-2pm, just prior to Mothering Sunday.

Clifton nurseries rose

Whether it’s a Miniature Rose or a French Lavender for a birthday, Mothers Day or a housewarming present, your plants will be complimentary wrapped while you wait.

plant wrapping

The gift wrapping service will be from 11am – 2pm so you can enjoy a coffee with friends or lunch in the buzzing Quince Tree Cafe on site, whilst your wrapping is being done (I can recommend their cakes and biscuits!)

quince tree cafe

Quice Tree Cafe

Even if you don’t make the event, this hidden gem is definitely worth a visit!

Clifton Nurseries Ltd, 5A, Clifton Villas, London, W9 2PH
0207 289 6851

Monday to Saturday – 09:00 to 18:00
Every Sunday (Except Easter Sunday, Closed by Law): 11:00 to 17:00

Mothers Day Gift Wrapping Service

 

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