The Utterly Inessential Mother’s Day Shopping List: Everything you need to put on the perfect Mother’s Day from home

It's a difficult time to organise anything, especially a celebration. Alexandra Fraser has pulled together a few ideas of how to celebrate Mother's Day while social distancing and following government advice.

A note: Make sure that you use your best judgement and follow government advice when it comes to social distancing and self-isolation.

Afternoon tea at home

An afternoon tea is a Mother’s Day classic, but with the current government advice as it is, popping into the city is unadvisable. If you live in the same house as your mother or, like me, you’ve temporarily moved home, baking your own afternoon tea is a nice way to treat the whole family and say ‘I love you’ safely.

The scones

EWCN1T Scones with jam and cream

Ingredients (serves 8)

  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 400g self-rising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsps caster sugar
  • A pinch of salt, to taste
  • 250ml milk
  • 125g of sultanas (Highly optional. There’s no accounting for taste)
  • 10ml milk (for brushing at the end) 
  • Jam and clotted cream to serve


  • Preheat the oven to 180℃, line a baking tray with baking paper
  • Rub the butter into the flour, until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs, mix in the sugar and salt and baking powder
  • Add milk gradually to dry mixture (and sultanas if using), stir until the mixture is even and the dough comes together
  • Roll out on a floured surface to 1 inch thick (a floured wine bottle works as well as a rolling pin), then cut out with a round cutter or the top of a water glass
  • Transfer to a baking tray and brush with milk (to make shiny) and bake for 15 minutes, or until golden

The sandwiches

Afternoon tea sandwiches with different fillings

Delicate finger sandwiches can often make an afternoon tea. Cut into rectangles, without crusts, and arrange on side plates. Make your favourites, but we recommend choosing three of the following four fillings.

  • Cucumber (thin slices) on white bread, with a swipe of butter
  • Smoked salmon on white bread, with a swipe of cream cheese
  • Ham and cheese on malted bread, with a swipe of mustard
  • Coronation chicken on malted bread, with a swipe of mayonnaise

The sweet treats

raspberry tart

Although not entirely necessary, a sweet treat is the cherry on top of a good tea. If you’re all baked out, a packet of store-bought cupcakes and jam tarts will do nicely. If you’ve caught the baking bug, we have some recommended recipes below. You can also find them in the collection at the end of this article. If you’re making a tart, a few small tarts are easier than one big one!

Send a card

HNN73T Happy Mothers Day card

It seems like a minor thing, but a well-meaning card can do wonders, especially if your mother is in isolation. Places like Moonpig will let you personalise a card online and send it off for you, no personal contact or shopping trips required.

Flower deliveries

FKXDY2 Happy mothers day card with rustic roses on wooden board

Call up your/their local florist – many will still be delivering, with extra safety precautions in place.

Buy a restaurant voucher

The businesses which are taking the hardest hit in the current pandemic are in the hospitality industry. Many restaurants are turning to home delivery, so it’s worth checking with your locals and supporting them that way. The Coal Rooms in Peckham are offering takeaways of their famous Sunday roasts: available to pick up or deliver to a 3 mile radius. 

the swan tea

The Swan next to Shakespeare’s Globe is a lovely spot for an afternoon tea – once we can socialise safely again!

Another way to support restaurants is to gift a voucher, which can be redeemed once government advice points towards a return to normal social behaviour. Call up your local tea parlour or your favourite London haunt and see if they’re offering vouchers.

You can book a gift voucher for The Swan by clicking here

Gift a subscription

David and Victoria Beckham reading Country Life

David and Victoria Beckham are keen Country Life subscribers – even involving us in their Valentine’s Day traditions.

There’s more logic than self-interest behind this suggestion. If they can’t get out to buy their Country Life (and they’re not already subscribed) you can sign them up to our 6 issues for £6 offer and cover at least two months of reading material. If they don’t love it, you can cancel online at any time. 

If magazines aren’t their thing, why not gift them an audio book from Audible? Or even have some paper books delivered to their home?

Plan a day out – Safely!

The RHS, Wisley. Helenium 'Sahin's Early Flowerer', Ligularia 'Britt Marie Crawford' in the mixed borders, September

The RHS, Wisley. Helenium ‘Sahin’s Early Flowerer’, Ligularia ‘Britt Marie Crawford’ in the mixed borders, September.

We cannot emphasise this enough – following government advice is the best way to flatten the curve of the virus and enable the NHS to keep up with cases. This means self-isolating when you or your household has symptoms, limiting all unnecessary social contact and protecting those in the vulnerable categories.

That being said, the government have also advised that getting fresh air and staying fit is a good way to protect yourself. We’ve pulled together a list of activities which you can do while adhering to government advice (RHS Gardens, for instance, are still open with extra safety measures in place), but, as always, use your own good judgement.

We know its a hard time, for families with elderly relatives especially. It’s hard to know what to do, but celebrating Mother’s Day, even in a small way, is sure to bring a little levity to the current social climate. 

Stay safe, flatten the curve and, above all, protect those more vulnerable than yourself. And stop stockpiling toilet paper. 

For the latest medical advice on coping with COVID-19, visit