You may not have won our TGIF competition on Friday just gone, a prize that'd put an end to all those sleepless nights over Mother's Day worries (no but really, if you lost sleep over this you should really get out more), but fear not, there's still time and there's plenty of options.
So you think your mother is only okay...
Sure, she carried you for nine months, but did you ask to be born? No. You'll still have to thank her year in year out for bringing you into this world, mind, for putting a roof over your head and for all those times she shoved broccoli down your throat when really you'd just rather dive head first into a jar of Nutella. Here's three things to do on the cheap.
1. Cook her brunch at home. This might sound like a lot of effort but if you're looking for something quick and easy, yet simultaneously impressive, you've come to the right place. These will earn you all sorts of brownie points, or keep her off your back about that money you 'borrowed' for that thing you did back in college. Scallops? Check. Choux coffee buns? Now you're talking. Throw in a few bunches of Lidl's €2.99 bunches of tulips and lash a few paper napkins on the table (mothers LOVE napkins, get them cheap in Ikea) and Bob's your uncle.
2. Take her up to the Dublin/Wicklow mountains. No, we're not suggesting you dispose of your mother entirely so as to avoid the stress of all future Mother's Days, but mammys love 'getting a breath of fresh air' or 'getting out of the city'. Take yourselves off up The Sugar Loaf, picnic basket in hand, horrendously unflattering ponchos just in case, and revel in the panoramic city views.
3. A leisurely stroll through a museum. They cost nothing and Dublin's got so many of them that are genuinely worth checking out, you might actually enjoy it. Don't be a complete tight arse though, take her for tea and cake afterwards in town. The Cake Cafe off Camden Street will hit the spot and it won't cost you the same as afternoon tea in a hotel either (photo above). Alternatively, you could kill 2 birds with one stone and try somewhere like the RHA. The little cafe on the premises serves up some seriously tasty nosh with all kinds of gorgeous cakes and coffees. It's called Coppa cafe and is a relation of Coppinger Row so you know it's class. The tours and museum at Glasnevin cemetery are also touted to be incredibly engaging, however it might cause your mother some concern when you announce that you're taking her off to the graveyard on her special day. *Image from ongoing Paul McKinley exhibition at the RHA.
Maybe you think she deserves a little token of your appreciation as well?
Gifts. No matter how many years go by in which your beloved mother tells you that just to have you for a son/daughter is enough of a present, be it Christmas, Mother's Day or her birthday, she's lying. 'Now I mean it this time, no presents, do you hear me?' Do not entertain this kind of Tom Foolery. Mothers love to be showered with gifts. But for those who haven't the foggiest notion, where do you start?
1. Tiger. Shhh, nobody needs to know how much bang for your buck you get in here. Gorgeous little Japanese style teapots, trendy photo frames (go one step further and throw in a snap of the pair of you), a nice range of their own edible treats (my mam and I scoffed almost an entire pack of their chewy Belgian waffles on the bus once) and more candles than you'd need to cause a provincial bushfire; the list is endless. Throw together the mother of all Mother's Day hampers here and you'll get change out of fifty blips.
2. Avoca. Cosy, colourful throws (a concept which few men will ever understand), floral crockery, amazing foods for all different types of cuisine should your mammy be of the foodie variety and all manner of homeware. There's few mothers who'd be unhappy whiling away an hour or two browsing here. Good news is you don't have to go to the actual Avoca village for this one, Suffolk St, Rathcoole and Malahide Castle have you covered.
3. BTs. Even if you buy your mam something in Penneys and mask it in a Brown Thomas bag, she'd be happy. Nothing says luxury in Dublin more so than that unmistakable grey and cream stripe. The third floor here is also known as mammy heaven. Joseph Joseph kitchenware, Max Benjamin diffusers (they make your room smell nice), Le Crueset gift sets, wine decanters, silver photo frames, Laduree macaroons. You might actually be surprised to learn that you can put quite a few gifts together here without breaking the bank. Even with just €35 quid to spend, you can't go wrong with a candle and diffuser gift set. If there's one thing Irish mammies love, it's candles. Again, throw in a bunch of tulips and watch the brownie points pile up.
Your mother is basically the Queen and deserves some serious spoiling...
OK so you've a little more mula to work with in this scenario, your oul one is the Mother Teresa in your life, the alka seltzer to your hangover, the Irish butter to your golden toast. And for all the times she dried your eyes, made you alphabetti spaghetti and plastered your knees with he-man band aids, she deserves to be thanked.
1. Afternoon tea in The Four Seasons, or The Merrion, or The Westin. These Dublin city hotels are bringing the notion of afternoon tea back into fashion in a big way. You don't want a new, chic boutique hotel for this type of experience, you want the best in the business. Forget bland triangular cucumber sandwiches, in either of these places you're getting exquisite pastries, mini desserts and more. While you mightn't know the difference from a set of forks for €1.49 in Dealz and the finest of China served at The Merrion, your mammy will. Tea cups with saucers. Tiny spoons. Soft squishy couches, expert service, a constant stream of rosy tea that'd put Mrs Doyle to shame. Book this in after a spot of shopping and earn yourself child of the year award.
2. Spa Hotel. Take things up a notch by booking your mam (and yourself) in for a massage before you dine. All those years picking up after you as you fell up the stairs like Nelly the Elephant after one too many Fat Frogs, the times you 'forgot your bank card' and called for a lift home from the back arse of nowhere, the times she turned a blind eye to your verging-on-the-look-of-a-baby-prostitute outfit for that teenage disco or didn't tell your dad when she found cigarettes in your schoolbag, when you think about it, she probably deserves a hell of a lot. For massages in the city, Melt in Temple Bar is good if you're a little pressed for time, Therapie's a good city centre option as well, but if you want real luxury, you need to head to a Spa Hotel. The Marker, The Shelbourne and the Four Seasons are all renowned for their on site spas. Or you could always drive an hour down the road to Brook Lodge or Druids Glen in Wicklow.
3. Mother's Day Extravaganza. Combine all of the above into a tailor-made itinerary (take a bank loan while you're at it, perhaps) and surprise your mam with each and every activity. 11am. An early brunch at The Lennox or WhiteFriar Grill. 12pm. Spot of shopping around Grafton St. Hit Avoca, BTs, and a plethora of other mammy shops. 1.30pm. Then head to The Merrion, for example. Check in, slip into your white fluffy robes (lads, you will love this once you get into it so just do it for your mother, ok?), and 2pm, off you go for your individual full body massages. 3.30pm. An hour later, come back down to Earth, get yourself dressed to impress and head downstairs for your afternoon tea. And from that point, you've probably done enough, but you could always go for cocktails in the VCC, Bagots Hutton or a craft beer at P Macs.
They say motherhood is a thankless job, and that's probably why a bunch of cranky mammies got together with the greeting card companies and invented Mother's Day. But regardless of whether it's a commercial ruse or a worthy celebration of your own wonderful mother, don't be a shit child this year. You have 'til Sunday.