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Presents on the mind...
Alice Melvin's books

I love buying presents, so even though I hate the fact that the Christmas machine appears to get cranked up earlier and earlier each year, I do like thinking of nice little things I'd like to buy for friends and family. 

And on the gorgeous gift mental list so far this year, are two new books by Alice Melvin, whose illustrations – I think – are utterly charming.

The award-winning young illustrator based in Edinburgh has done a few children's books; you may have come across them in a nice art gallery shops, as she's stocked in lots of them (including the various Tates; her first book An A-Z Treasure Hunt came out through Tate Publishing). Well now there are a couple of Alice Melvin goodies for grown-ups too (though you'll have to wait until the end of November to buy them, when Ms M returns from maternity leave and re-opens her online shop. But you can have a peek right now...).

Fancy a Brew?, £9 (see top picture, as well as an inside image above), is a gorgeously illustrated little tome, dedicated to the art of making the perfect cup of tea in eight, cute pages. The book comes in various colour choices – and even arrives with a free teabag to get you in the mood while you read. A perfect present for the cuppa addict in your life.

And if you know someone moving home, Melvin's concertina-shaped book, Moving In (above), £25, would make a very sweet and memorable gift. Alice has designed the book to unfold as it does "to reflect the chaos as you unpack endless boxes...discovering that your new home boasts no less than four teapots, endless drawers of cutlery but not a lightbulb that works!" The screenprinted book also comes in various colours and is packaged inside a handmade slipcase.

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