Last week Charlotte Wilkins interviewed me for ITV Meridian about my business and my motivation for setting it up. I have since had (along with a boost in orders) some lovely emails from people who also faced life-threatening illnesses and from loved ones who weren’t sure what to get their friend or family member going through the illness.

See the interview here: http://www.itv.com/news/meridian/story/2013-11-08/anikkas-ambition/

My motivation was that following my own diagnosis I was overwhelmed with bunches of flowers and gifts sent by well-wishers. I was so touched by their kindness and generosity, and it gave me a much-needed boost knowing that so many people were thinking of me and were supporting me, but I was unfortunately unable to enjoy many of the gifts and they went to waste. Many of my friends later said that they hadn’t known what to get me, so it got me thinking as to what I would give to a loved one having been through it myself.  

It is very difficult to know what to get as a gift for a cancer patient when you haven’t been through it yourself. Flowers are always lovely – but you can guarantee that they will receive flowers as they are the first thing that pop into peoples’ heads – so, if it were me, I would definitely get a gift rather than a bunch of flowers.

But what is the best gift for someone diagnosed with cancer, going through chemotherapy or any other serious illness? For me, home comforts became really important as I spent lots of time in bed or on the sofa during chemo and when I was recovering from surgery, so I loved anything snugly and cosy (pyjamas (button-front), slippers, hot water bottles, blankets, quilts etc), or anything pampering (you have to be quite careful here with ingredients, but natural, organic toiletries are lovely. I stock some that are the most natural on the market and specifically formulated for patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy). I have also handpicked some jewellery with lovely heartfelt messages and sentiments that can be worn everyday as a reminder that you are thinking of them – much more long-lived than flowers, and can be a real comfort. I have also got some useful bits and bobs as gifts for people facing surgery and hospital stays, including toiletries, bags, wash bags and pyjamas.

All of the pyjamas, hats and scarves I have picked are good quality, breathable, cotton products – no man-made materials which are going to cause skin irritation or sweatiness – very important as chemotherapy can make skin very sensitive and even dry and chapped.

All of the pampering products are natural – and I would really recommend the Defiant Beauty range as a lovely gift for someone going through chemo or radiotherapy.

My website isn’t just gifts for chemo patients or gifts for cancer patients, but also general get well gifts, as flowers seem to be the ‘go to’ option for anyone poorly. There is a range of get well gifts that are suitable for anyone feeling under the weather and in need of a little bit of cheering up. I also have some funky walking sticks and crutches for anyone who has had an accident or surgery or an illness that has affected the strength in their legs. They are the same price as a bunch of flowers – but more long-lived and much more fun.

Don’t forget to add a get well card. I have selected cards with messages other than “get well soon”, such as “thinking of you”, “sending a hug” and “good luck” for when “get well soon” isn’t appropriate.

All gifts are lovingly wrapped with a gift tag and handwritten message of your choice and can be sent directly to the recipient or to you. I think this is important, as you can always buy a gift on somewhere like Amazon, but it arrives to the recipient just wrapped in bubble wrap in a box. I think lovely presentation and wrapping is important with presents.

Do not hesitate to give me a ring if you have any particular requests or questions. I can also make bespoke hampers to order.