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irish company

The countdown to Christmas is well and truly underway, and we're getting all hot and sweaty just thinking about the amount of Christmas shopping we have left to do.

With stormy weather to battle, crowded buses to navigate, and endless queues to face, we're considering forgoing shopping outdoors entirely.

If online shopping is sounding mighty tempting right about now, your first destination should be Hampers & Co, an Irish website offering everything from wine and chocolate Pamper Hampers to gifts with a difference for your dad.

To make the situation even sweeter, you can now get a 15% discount from Hampers & Co for a limited time, by using the code XMAS015 at the checkout. Boom!

Of course, not everyone in our gift-giving circle is quite so quick-thinking, and we've definitely received a few clangers over the years. Here are just a few of the gifts we've all put on that *fake smile* for…

1. The 'I bought this at 5pm on Christmas Eve' gift
There are two extremes here – the €10 Penneys PJs or the desperately expensive gold watch that was totally panic-bought.

 

2. The 'This is really for me, not you' gift
'Cos you've ALWAYS wanted an XBox, right?

 

3. The 'I saw this and thought of you' gift
Which of course begs the question, 'Why did a Weight Watchers cookery book make you think of me?'

 

4. The 'IOU one present' gift
This better come wrapped up with one huge apology.

 

5. The 'But you love handmade things!' gift
Sock puppets, our FAVE.

 

6. The 'All that was open was the 24-hour garage' gift
A selection box, windscreen washer fluid and a copy of today's newspaper – yay!

 

7. The 'Mary in HR said she loves this jewellery brand so I thought you would too' gift
Ah, Mary in HR, the gift-buying oracle.

 

8. The 'I'm giving something back this year' gift
Much as we love the fact that you're charitable, we really had our hearts set on a fancy new mascara. Sigh.

Avoid falling foul to one of the above this year, and get your Christmas shopping sorted with Hampers & Co. No more fake smiles!

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There's nothing more satisfying that taking something delicious out of the oven, smug in the knowledge that you made it yourself and that it's going to be downright delicious.

It's not always that easy though – when it comes to finding all the correct ingredients and getting the measurements exactly right, sometimes it seems easier just to buy something off the shelf instead.

That's why we love the new Boutique Bake range, the brainchild of Irish best friends Suzanne and Catherine, who saw a gap in the market for bread and cake mixes that are easy to whip up but still taste as if they are made from scratch.

From gooey chocolate brownies and zingy lemon drizzle cake to rustic brown bread, there's something for everyone – and the results are mouth-wateringly good.

S! TV's Niamh Geaney headed to the kitchen with Catherine and Suzanne to find out more – check out the video above!

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