I need a ... last minute present for Mother's Day

Arrgh, how did 26 March creep up? Only 48 hours to go, so let's look at those things that are easily obtainable within the time left.

Let's start with flowers. Usually a good option and appropriately last minute if you can deliver them yourself. Of course, you won't get many brownie points for the obviously last-minute, unimaginative, limp, petrol station bunch, but there are better sources available, such as supermarkets.

Tesco and Marks & Spencer have a good selection of blooms, some prepared bouquets and options to make up your own. You should be able to buy a decent bunch for under £20. But don't leave it until Sunday morning, or your choice may be limited.

If you can place your order before 2pm on Saturday, Interflora can help you out. Its large selection of specially prepared bouquets for Mother's Day starts at £25, with a £7.95 delivery charge to guarantee arrival on Sunday. You can order online (www.interflora.co.uk), by telephone (0870 904 5459), or by visiting your local Interflora florist.

Another simple present is a voucher - all the big chain stores do them - or how about a beauty treatment, such as a facial or manicure, from a salon or spa? Treatments start at £15 to £20 for a manicure, with facials costing £30 to £40.

Vouchers are usually valid for anything from three months to a year.

Just go to the local salon or shop and flourish your credit card. If you have to buy it over the telephone, arrange for the voucher to be sent directly to your mother and write out the details on a card to hand over to her on the day.

For greater choice, try lastminute.com. Many of its items can be delivered at short notice, by courier. I like this site because you can print out a gift certificate for your present, so if it doesn't arrive on time, you can at least give the certificate. There are lovely gift sets starting at £35, or how about tea for two at The Ritz for £70?

If you're taking your mother out for the day, try the National Trust (www.nationaltrust.org.uk) for properties with a good teashop, or the Royal Horticultural Society (www.rhs.org.uk) for gardens in your area.

Finally, don't forget that all GP readers receive a 20 per cent discount at www.buyagift.com.

- Dr Debra Gilbert is a GP in Ware, Hertfordshire.

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