CHRISTMAS GIFT GUIDE
By Belinda Morris
It’s December – we can hold off no longer… here is our Christmas Gift Guide. A small, random selection of ideas for the men and women in your life, there will hopefully be some names here that are new to you, as well as the familiar faces. And should you still be dithering/procrastinating/feigning denial in two weeks’ time, we’ll post an even more last minute list of ideas. How kind are we…?!
Olfactory voyage of discovery
If you want to buy fragrance for someone who has a sense of adventure, or perhaps you’re uncertain about their taste, here’s a suggestion: Maison Francis Kurkdjian Paris’ Fragrance Wardrobe. There’s one for him and one for her – eight 11ml scents each, encompassing different moods and facets of modern masculinity and femininity. For him the gamut ranges from fresh, to woody and intense. The niche fragrance house will also create bespoke perfumes, but of course such personal luxury costs a little more and takes a little longer… next Christmas maybe. (£130, www.franciskurkdjian.com)
Devotees of the House of Creed will know that the luxury, niche fragrance brand has a perfume or cologne to mirror every mood, taste and sensibility. Exemplifying this expansive offering are two mirror image fragrances – Love in White (for the angelic girl) and Love in Black… for the wicked seductress of course. The latter is a lush floral oriental – dark, heady and with a musky heart and definitely not one for the shy and retiring type. (£165 – 75ml, www.creedfragrances)
Atelier Cologne is a French fragrance house, which is the first to create pure perfumes inspired by the classic eau de cologne – the founders have developed a new olfactory family – cologne absolue – which blends citruses with precious natural raw materials to create a cologne with great staying power. The warm, woody, masculine Santal Carmin, with its sandalwood heart, is from the Métal Collection, all five scents of which are presented in gilded or silvered bottles with leather caps. (£145 – 100ml, www.ateliercologne.com
Are the stars out tonight?
For those who prefer their Christmas coffrets to come with a thought-provoking twist, look no further than Aesop’s Gift Kits, which this year are themed around six ‘modern’ constellations and the Greek myths that they’re associated with. The Australian, plant-based skincare company (with cult status) has packaged each in a handy, sturdy tin box and Andromeda here houses an aromatic hand and body quartet – gender neutral. (£75, www.aesop.com for stockists and online shop)
Let there be (scented) light
Ubiquitous they may be, but if you choose your scented candle wisely – thinking about the recipient and their loves and lifestyle – you wont go far wrong. This beauty from Noble Isle called Rhubarb Rhubarb! Is already destined for a friend with a passion for her fruit garden. It features rhubarb extract (as well as juniper berry, rosemary, moss and cedarwood) from an award-winning Yorkshire rhubarb farm. (£39. Liberty, Fortnum & Mason, Harvey Nichols. www.nobleisle.com)
Start a collection
Now it may be that you have three important women in your life, or perhaps you have one woman with three distinctive facets to her personality. Either way, here’s a thought: luxury lingerie brand La Perla has launched Collection Eau de Parfums – three very feminine, but different couture fragrances. Lotus Shadow is an elegant, harmonious floral citrus musk; White Iris, a delicate, velvety floral and Contemporary Tuberose, a chic, modern, voluptuous floral. £120.00 From Harrods and www.harrods.com
Gin – but not as you know it
If you were inspired by our recent review of the book Gin – The Manual to try something beyond your usual ho-hum spirit, perhaps I might suggest Audemus Pink Pepper Gin from Waitrose (£39). Created by an Aussie in France it will tickle the taste buds with hints of pepper, juniper and cardamom. You may want to keep rather than gift it…
The eyes have it
For the man who has everything – how about a pair of cufflinks with eyes that wobble? They’re made in sterling silver with sprung fittings and are hand-enamelled, by Deakin & Francis, a Birmingham Jewellery Quarter-based cufflink company that has been around since 1786. Pigs, crabs, parrots, owls… they’re all here, but the full range of cufflinks styles available is truly astounding. www.deakinandfrancis.co.uk
Wrapped in luxury
Maybe you’ve bought them something in cashmere; maybe you can’t afford cashmere? Whichever, you probably know that they appreciate a touch of the soft stuff, so this Cuddle Up Room& Linen Mist by Cashmere Me would make a very desirable add-on gift. Notes of vanilla, coconut, lily, jasmine and a base of amber and musk whisper ‘snuggle’. (£14, www.fakebakebeauty.co.uk)
The nails are out
If I’m ever stuck for a gift idea for a certain niece (as well as a couple of friends, come to think of it) I know that I can never go wrong with glamorous/luxury/trend-led nail varnishes. A whole kit is even better. And here are two that have caught my eye: Nailed London’s Gel Wear (£19 from Harvey Nichols and www.feelunique.com) with a hot red, steely grey and a glitzy metallic and The Alice & Olivia Kit by Nails inc, which includes four very stylish mini polishes. (£25. www.nailsinc.com and Nails inc salons in selected department stores.
Bring on the bling
If in doubt… buy jewellery. Where to start though and where to draw the line – there’s so much out there and at every possible budget. But here are a few pieces that caught my eye: Serenity Stud Earrings with stones in 18ct gold vermeil by Fei Liu, (£125, www.feiliu.co.uk); Pecetto Earrings with black crystal by Sif Jakobs Jewellery, (£99, www.sifjakobs.com) and Silver Neverending Earrings by Trollbeads, £60, www.trollbeads.com and, if you’re feeling especially generous, 18ct gold Indian Rose pendant with a cinnamon diamond by Alexis Dove, £800, www.alexisdove.com
Obviously you know that colouring-in is suddenly a ‘thing’ for adults. The trend has seemingly risen without trace and apparently it’s very good for you; it works as a de-stresser. There are loads of colouring-in books out there, but for those of a stylish persuasion there are just two you need to know about. The Vogue Colouring Book (£10, Conran Octopus) has been created by fashion illustrator Iain R Webb, who was inspired by images from British Vogue in the ‘50s.
The Hipster Colouring book (£7.99, Octopus Books) by Charlotte Farmer, will help you (as you crayon) discover the world of hipsters – including what they keep in their vintage bag, to what they do of a weekend.
’Tis the season for gift sets and they come in all shapes, sizes and qualities, but hand on heart I can say that I would always be happy to see anything by Elemis under my tree. I’d even forgive cellulite cream, but far more subtle are these two hers and his options: Super Enriching Future (£99) and Perfect Man (£49), both with the best-selling Pro-Collagen Marine Cream as part of the pampering package. www.elemis.com for stockists.
I don’t necessarily expect you to know this, but Margaret Dabbs is a renowned foot expert whose special foot and hand care products use Australian emu oil for its really nourishing and anti-ageing qualities. Anyway… she has a number of Christmas sets which would be perfect for anyone who loves to pamper their paws, and I particularly like Fabulous Hands (£39) with its Exfoliating Hand Scrub, Intensive Hydrating Hand Lotion, Crystal Nail File and Shiner buffer. (SpaceNK, Libert, Selfridges and www.margaretdabbs.co.uk)
If you know anyone who has a pretty intense approach to their grooming routine; someone who might consider themselves a gent, then introduce them to the new Grooming Collection by Atkinsons. Inspired by the best in barbershop traditions the products are formulated with botanical ingredients and scented with the bracingly aromatic 24 Old Bond Street English Cologne. The multi-purpose Pre- & After-Shave Balm moisturises, soothes, repairs and refreshes. (£38, from Selfridges. www.atkinsons1799.com)