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Nifty gifts for dads

Wondering what to buy the dads for Father’s Day? I consulted some experts who very kindly made some excellent suggestions for gifts and a couple even told me how they’d be spending their day. Rest assured that this is an ultra cool gift guide – no dull and boring handkerchiefs here! First stop is Alexandra Wood Bespoke, the extremely knowledgeable, talented and stylish Savile Row tailor with a shop in Bishop’s Stortford.

Alexandra says: ‘Fashion and accessories are always a solid gift choice for Father’s Day. A good quality item is something your father or husband can cherish for years. And finding something that shows off their personality makes the gift even more distinct. Here is my top pick: a pocket square from our Mr Jenks collection, currently £20. Pocket squares, worn with a smart blazer or suit are a brilliant way to inject colour and personality into an outfit. The hand-finished, 100% silk Mr Jenks collection includes funky and classic collections for the sartorially savvy dad.


Pick a pocket

Thank you, Alexandra. Please note that pocket squares have absolutely nothing to do with blowing noses. What are you doing on Sunday, Alexandra? ‘I tend to take both my husband and dad out for afternoon tea. Last year, we went to Hanbury Manor, which was absolutely lovely!’

Next stop is Paul Wallace at David’s Bookshop in Letchworth who knows absolutely everything you could wish to know about book buying and selling. Here are his top tips:

Tony Adams

‘I would go for Sober, the new book by Tony Adams,’ says Paul. ‘You can find out about the last 20 years for the charismatic Arsenal footballer, following his first autobiography, Addicted.’ Tony Adams, Sober, £20. Thank you, Paul, I know there are lots of Gooners in Herts. ‘I also recommend Alan Partridge’s new book,  Nomad,’ says Paul. ‘It’s all the wisdom of Partridge in one of the funniest books you will ever read.’ Nomad, Alan Partridge, £7.99.

Nomadic Partridge

Over in Welwyn, James Bainbridge, manager of The White Hart in Welwyn and co-owner of The Tilbury in Datchworth with his brother Tom, became a dad exactly a year ago.

James Bainbridge and Penelope

‘I always work on Father’s Day,’ says James. ‘It’s our job to look after all the dads.’ Is Father’s Day rather a poor relation to Mother’s Day? I ask. And is there a difference between the two? ‘Yes, about three grand from a business point of view,’ says James, ever the joker. Having said that, The White Hart is nearly fully booked for lunch on Sunday. The White Hart’s Sunday set menu: 2 courses £19; 3 courses £22. What does he think the dads will go for? ‘Beef!’ says James. ‘It’s going to be roasts all the way.’ The beef at both The White Hart and The Tilbury comes from the wonderful Bridget B’s, so it’s highly recommended. But you could always go for cod, fishcake, bisque, charred cauliflower, cauliflower crisp, breaded cauliflower cheese and purple potato, if you were feeling fishy and fancy. 

The White Hart, Welwyn

In St Albans, Julia Jenkins of Flagship Wines says that dads will love a bottle of sherry. And no, not Harveys Bristol Cream, how dare you! Julia says: ‘If you’re looking for inspiration for a Fathers’ Day gift idea why not treat him to something different that he will really enjoy? Sherry is a forgotten treasure: a great accompaniment to food and notable chefs including Heston Blumenthal use it as a marinade or to flavour soups. There are a myriad of styles from tangy and dry to rich and unctuous, to suit every taste and occasion. They have sensory characteristics whose flavours and nuances are rarely matched in wines etc. The unusually rich, luscious Pedro Ximenez more commonly known as PX tastes like liquid Christmas cake and so is great with full rich puddings or equally lovely when poured over ice cream!’ Yum. Thank you, Julia. A half bottle of PX is £21.69 and it comes in a gift box.

Mon sherry amour

At Raindrops and Roses in St Albans I spot these rather handsome bottles or flasks for urban warriors. In this season’s colours, they are suitable for hot and cold drinks, and it’s entirely up to the dad whether or not he uses it for sherry. Urban Bottle, Raindrops and Roses, £15.

Urban hip flask

New from Parent Apparel, is a whole range of yup, clothes for parents. The t-shirts were actually featured on This Morning this very morning, and sold out immediately. Still available are the sweat shirts (£42) and here is one of them, based on the zombie epic. Others in the range are Breaking Dad and Game of Moans. Geddit?

Flowers by Emma Sousa, Barnet

Say it with flowers. Yes, please! Why is it always Mums who get the roses? And on the eve of British Flowers Week, I urge you to try out one of the fantastic local growers in the county. Johanna sells bunches of home-grown flowers from the farm gate at Baldock Flower Farm (her home) on Saturday mornings. Prices start from £8 for a small bunch.

Bettina Davies in the Gillyflower field Photo: Kasia Burke

Then you’ve got Trevor and Bettina at Gillyflower in Berkhamsted and also Emma Sousa in Barnet. The flowers haven’t been grown under heaters or chilled and will have been cut on the day you buy them. As a result they look and smell delicious and they even last longer. Expect nepeta, nigella, sweet William, foxgloves, delphiniums, roses, but actually you’ve got to have an open mind and heart. With seasonal flowers you need to enjoy being surprised!

Flowers from the farm gate, Baldock Flower Farm

Family beer fest, Farr Brew, Sat 17 June

Are you kidding? A beer fest for the whole family, and just before Father’s Day? Well, yes, that’s exactly what’s on the menu. Beer, BBQ, cider, juices for the younger drinker, brewery tours and all in a beautiful barn in Wheathamstead. Recommended. 11-6pm. Families welcome!

Farr Brew Mini Beer Fest

Find more ideas here

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