They say “food is love”. Gratefully, there are many times when people have shown how much they care by sending me food.

The C word and thoughtful gestures

When Doug was diagnosed with cancer in 2010, I was pregnant with our eldest. Lots of people said daft things (‘is he going to die?’ isn’t one I’d recommend). To be honest, there isn’t a huge amount anyone can say that makes it better. But there were thoughtful gestures from people that really helped. The offers to sit with me when it got too much, the ones that held me when I cried, and those that thought about how they could support me so that I could support Doug. Doug’s work gave me access to an Addison Lee taxi account to get to and from the hospital. A friend gave me a necklace with some stone in it that was to look after me. Hey, when the shit hits the fan, you take what you can. While I didn’t believe in magical healing powers, I know my friend wanted me to know at all times I wasn’t on my own, and that meant the world. A friend sent me a box of things for calm and sleep – bubble bath, lavender creams, chamomile tea – and it doesn’t take a genius to work out how amazing I thought that was. The other thing that wonderful friends did was bring me food. My head was all over the place, trying not to go down the ‘what ifs’ while feeling completely terrified, dealing with new medical information all the time and seeing people we love scared. Having food that was ready, that required no thought from me and just needed heating up was an amazing gift.

Then there were three… and four

When I came home from the hospital with my first baby back in 2010, my parents had filled the fridge, lit the fire, hung around for 20 mins to hear the gory details and take proud grandparent pictures. Then they left. It was brilliant. My mum – mum of six – knew the score. While I thought I wanted to sit and talk with them, I was also exhausted and she knew we needed to start the adjustment to life as a three. After that, while the idea for Don’t Buy Her Flowers was percolating, if a friend had a baby I would send them a care package and if they lived nearby I’d leave some food on their doorstep. Now, I’m no hero – it made me feel useful and I was on maternity leave for a while having two babies close together – but I also really remembered how hard it was to look after yourself when you’ve had a baby. It felt like a small thing I could do to help someone I knew would be feel overwhelmed. Again, making decisions, getting what you need in the shop and then finding the time to cook something before the witching hour kicked in and you ate separately while the other held the baby.

Let them eat (egg-free) cake

My parents live a couple of hours away and my mum often sends me away with leftovers to save us cooking the next night. She has also been known to send a homemade egg-free chocolate cake in the post for Buster’s birthday; he has allergies and it’s one of the few cakes he likes. I’ve tried making it but apparently it’s ‘not the same’ as Nana’s, even though I use her recipe. But also when my mum has made it, it’s saved me from doing it and coincides with organising presents and a party while juggling all the usual day to day stuff. It’s a lovely thing for her to do for her grandson as well as for me and these little things that connect people and show care, they make my heart sing.

 This is where ByRuby come in

Connection, empathy and thoughtfulness are the reasons I started Don’t Buy Her Flowers. I’m over the moon to be working with the ByRuby, who started their hand-made meal delivery service for very similar reasons. So now you can create a bespoke gift box of things your recipient loves, to offer TLC and encourage them to take ten minutes to themselves, AND add in a ByRuby voucher so they can choose delicious meals to have delivered when they need it.

Add a ByRuby gift voucher to any of our gift boxes.