It’s freezing, everyone is panicking about another ‘new variant’ and an unsettled Christmas period is fast approaching. What’s new then…
But fear not, I’m here to keep you calm and collected with this week’s instalment of fashion and lifestyle, to reduce the stress of it all, for ten blissful minutes (depending on your reading speed!)
Here are two fantastic gift ideas for you…
Starting with this beautiful, magical gift for you, or that special spiritual person in your life, designed by the talented Hayley Marie Hoy.
This is the Rose Quartz Crystal Flower Moon, called Self-love Reflection.
It’s created to “soothe and cleanse the heart chakra, allowing vibrational love to flow without fear”.
Crystals have been used in cultures all over the world for thousands of years. Their uses have included healing, meditation, protection, and creative inspiration.
The promotional material reads: “You’ll take on the soft, peaceful, soothing energies of the crystal as you sleep. This will result in your dream being calm, peaceful, and loving, emitting a positive vibration of love.”
The crystal is suitable for home, beauty salons, spa massage, office space or on a special altar or sacred space. A suggested place to keep the piece is above the bed, to encourage gentle dreams.
Comes with incense to clear and cleanse the space before placing.
Contact Hayley Marie Hoy on FACEBOOK or myself and I’ll send you further details.
Lady of The House Book £35.00
Introducing the first ever coffee table-style book championing and celebrating the inspirational women in Dance music. I’m featured too, discussing my time as a vocalist with Angelic in the early 00s.
“Lady of the House” by Laila McKenzie and Ian ‘Snowy’ Snowball is a hardback coffee table style book containing beautiful images and interviews with women who have contributed, and continue to contribute, to the dance music scene. It’s the perfect Christmas present.
150+ inspirational women’s stories detail the part they have played in Dance music past, present and future, including:
Candi Staton, Barbara Tucker, Sam Divine, Nina Kraviz, Charlotte de Witte, Maya Jane Coles, DJ Maxinne, Lynn Cosgrave, Rowetta, Ellen Allien, Nicky Trax, Janet Bell, Julie McKnight, Kathy Brown, Anja Schneider, Black Girl/White Girl, Ultra Naté, Jocelyn Brown, Arielle Free, Rochelle Fleming, DJ Paulette, Gladys Pizarro, Abigail Adams, Anne Savage, DJ Rap, Kym Sims, Lisa Loud and Kym Mazelle.
The book is endorsed by Lakota Nightclub, Focusrite, Defected Records, Tank Nightclub, Switch Southampton, Orange Rooms, Halo Bournemouth, Bristol Beacon, Mas Vida, Resident Advisor & Insanity Group, so comes with heavyweight props.
It’s London’s answer to the Met Gala and attracts one of the best red carpet line-ups the UK sees all year: we’re talking about the British Fashion Council’s Fashion Awards 2021.
This year presented by TikTok, guests arrived on the steps of the Royal Albert Hall and braced the two degree temperature in truly spectacular style. The VIPs were then seated for a ceremony full of speeches, performances and some unexpected surprises all hosted by Billy Porter who turned up on the red carpet flanked by a troupe of performative dancers.
Idris Elba opened proceedings with a tribute to the late designer Virgil Abloh who passed away on Sunday after a private two-year battle with cancer. The actor said that “the fashion industry lost an icon and the world lost a legend”.
Kylie Minogue performed wearing a Richard Quinn catsuit as did Charli XCX this time in Tommy Hilfiger.
On the carpet, momager extraordinaire Kris Jenner made an entrance wrapped in a Tommy Hilfiger logo cape alongside the designer himself, his wife Dee Ocleppo and Jenner’s boyfriend Korey Gamble. Dua Lipa looked sleek in a black, strapless gown by Maximilian Davis, while Priyanka Chopra Jonas posed up a storm with husband Nick Jonas in a Richard Quinn one-piece with a dramatic cape.
Models Lila Moss and Stella Jones both wore Burberry and tennis player Maria Sharapova took recycling to the next level wearing an Iris van Herpen dress crafted from evian bottles.
Tommy Hilfiger took home the Outstanding Achievement Award for his contributions to the global fashion industry, while Gucci’s Creative Director Alessandro Michele was awarded the Trailblazer Award for his positioning of the brand at the intersection of culture, art, music and film
The winner of the coveted Designer of the Year award was Kim Jones, creative director of Dior Men and Fendi.
As far as taking inspo from the red carpet for your Christmas party this year – it’s all about the velvet Tuxedo dinner jacket for men and full on ball gowns, maxi evening dresses, thigh length boots and long classic gloves.
A year on from his first youth charity partnership with Burberry, England international footballer Marcus Rashford MBE returns for a rematch, as he and the British luxury fashion house announce the second phase of their partnership, to provide support for organisations in the UK committed to helping disadvantaged children develop their literacy skills.
Burberry will provide funding in the UK, Asia and America to transform school libraries and donate books, ensuring underprivileged children have access to safe environments and resources to develop their potential. “Far too many children do not currently have access to books, typically because of financial restraints…These children need the escapism of reading more than most, and access to books should not be restricted by the area you grow up in,” Rashford said in a statement.
Research has found that one in four schools in England’s most disadvantaged communities do not have a library, compared to one in eight nationally. Burberry and Rashford have set out to change that, by funding a transformation of library spaces in 10 schools most in need across Manchester, Yorkshire and London, positively impacting the lives of over 3,500 children.
All 10 schools will take part in the Marcus Rashford Book Club, a programme created by Marcus Rashford MBE and Macmillan Children’s Books to encourage and nurture a love of reading in children. The schools will also receive a donation of 8,000 diverse books, curated by by the National Literacy Trust and provided by Macmillan Children’s Books, enabling children to benefit from further teaching materials, a variety of literature and activities.
“Coming out of the pandemic, there was a huge need for safe spaces – a space where children could come and just breathe; process their feelings,” continues Rashford. “I’m really proud of what we’ve achieved here, building upon the work of the Marcus Rashford Book Club and I hope children will feel the benefit of these spaces for years to come.”
Sad news this week, Fashion designer Virgil Abloh has died after suffering from cancer, it has been announced.
The 41-year-old, who was the creative director for Louis Vuitton and Off-White, had cardiac angiosarcoma, a rare, aggressive form of the disease, according to an announcement on his official Instagram page.
“We are devastated to announce the passing of our beloved Virgil Abloh,” it said. “He chose to endure his battle privately since his diagnosis in 2019, undergoing numerous challenging treatments, all while helming several significant institutions that span fashion, art, and culture”.
Abloh redefined the image of the modern fashion designer, adding DJ, artist and furniture designer to his creative CV. After training as an architect, he started designing clothes in 2012.
Collaborating with everyone from Nike to Ikea, Perrier and Mercedes-Benz, Abloh took fashion into arenas where it had not gone before, crossing over with other fields. The fashion purists were not amused he once said, “When I was showing in fashion week, people were saying, ‘That’s not fashion.’” In 2013 he founded his own label, Off-White, and was appointed head of menswear design at Louis Vuitton in 2018. He was the first black designer at Vuitton and the most visible black designer in fashion.
Abloh was also a hugely visible figure in rap, designing the album covers for Kanye West and Jay-Z’s joint album Watch the Throne, as well as Kayne’s ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’ among others. He worked closely with West before becoming a fashion designer. In an interview, the rapper had said of Abloh: “I have all these ideas and Virgil is able to architect them because he is an actual architect.”
Gigi Hadid, Hailey Bieber and Justin Timberlake were among the stars paying tribute to the “once-in-a-generation creative mind”.
Supermodel Hadid shared a string of photos of them together and wrote: “I am heartbroken by the loss of my dear friend, and a friend to the world, Virgil Abloh. He was 1 of 1 … You will continue to inspire me every day, V. I feel blessed and honoured by every moment.”
Timberlake wrote: “What can you say when a force like Virgil Abloh is taken too soon? You gave the world so much, in so little time. And created with intensity … knowing better than the rest of us that life is short, but anything is possible. I’m honoured to have known you. Thank you for sharing your gift with us.”
Hailey Bieber shared photos of herself with Abloh in the wedding dress he designed for her wedding to Justin Bieber. “He was someone who always brought life, charisma, love and fun to any situation, and every room he walked into. A once-in-a-generation creative mind that is so rare and I’ll never forget his impact. We love you, Virgil.”
British Vogue editor Edward Enninful called Abloh “a giant among men”. He wrote: “Virgil Abloh changed the fashion industry. Famously prolific, he always worked for a greater cause than his own illustrious career: to open the door to art and fashion for future generations, so that they – unlike himself – would grow up in a creative world with people to mirror themselves in.”
Bernard Arnault, chief executive of LVMH, owner of both Off-White and Louis Vuitton, said “Virgil was not only a genius designer – a visionary – he was also a man with a beautiful soul and a great wisdom.”
He leaves behind wife Shannon and his children Lowe and Grey.
It’s everyone in the SE’s favourite boutique, stocking beautiful boho clothing and accessories straight out of the Balearics, here in the UK. Many of my regular readers know the store’s proprietor, Nicole Ivison Hatch.
Every season, Nicole sources an impressive selection of independent designers and Parisian fashion including accessories you’d usually find at Las Dalias in Ibiza. She nails the Ibiza wardrobe for Summer and Winter, every season.
Nestled in Old Leigh-on-Sea, LEFT BANK SIX is well worth a visit as you’ll be guaranteed to spend at least an hour or two browsing the rails and trying everything on, with the bubbles frequently coming out, meaning that the shopping trip turns into a day trip.
Left Bank Six just launched its Winter 2021 collection of Boho bags and they are utterly jaw dropping. You can check out my VLOG this week to see a few samples but these beauties are literally waiting for you to snap them up (see FB & Insta).
Each one is individually unique, show stopping and the attention to style, colour and detail is second to none. Mostly made from suede, leather and metallic metals, I can guarantee that wherever you go, someone will ask you “WHERE DID YOU GET THAT BAG”.
Here’s a selection of the very best.
The Black & White Cowhide show stopper…
This beauty is not only guaranteed to make everyone around either drool or faint, it also holds absolutely everything. It’s strong, durable and beautiful.
The ‘Nicole Bag’… in Black & Gold or Jade Green
Probably my favourite because of the immense detailing with finest quality leather, gold tassels, gem stones and intricate gold stitching this will provoke severe jealousy where ever you go.
The ‘Phoebe’ Bag
Featuring stunning metallic bronze snakeskin, stone and studding plus gorgeous suede tassels, this will last a lifetime and we all know that boho bags (which this epitomises) never goes out of fashion.
These absolute works of art straight out of Ibiza can double as a clutch at night when you’re eating at The Ivy in your LBD or a cross body bag with long strap over your Maxi dress on Salinas beach.
Incredible quality, these stylish boho bags will hold your iPhone, keys, wallet, MAC lippy and mirror perfectly.
Black & Gold:
Leopard Print Pony Skin:
Metallic Rose Gold:
Contact Nicole Ivison Hatch & Left Bank Six on Facebook and Instagram.
Last week, I bought you the best-selling Christmas gifts for 2021 and I am aware that many of those items listed were steeply priced. But fear ye not, because this time round I’m here to help with a handy gift guide which is kinder on the purse strings, with absolutely nothing over £25.
So, if you’re buying secret Santa surprises or after something for £25 or less to go under the tree, hopefully this list will give you some inspiration…
This is the classic hat for Christmas (although minus the gloves this time). Essentially this is one step up from socks but being a Barbour, at least you know this is a high quality beanie hat that’s going to be lovely and warm. There’s the Barbour Farley Beanie (left) and the Barbour Shinicliffe Beanie (right) which comes in different colours and is complete with a faux fur pom. Barbour’s actual description. Both are priced at £22.95.
The Classic Christmas Box of Chocs
If in doubt, give someone chocolates (unless they’re dairy intolerant). And if you want high quality chocolates with some great flavours, you can’t go wrong with Hotel Chocolat. The Christmas Sleekster box has 28 chocolates and includes such delights as a caramel cheesecake macaron and the salted espresso martini. It even comes in a nice looking box.
£23.50 , Amazon.co.uk
Junior Sports Car Experience
If you have a budding racer or young petrolhead in your life, then this sports car experience could be an ideal present. There’s the choice of three supercars and they will be shadowed by an ARDS-qualified instructor who will show them the ropes on track. There are 13 locations across the UK from Perranporth in Cornwall up to Sunderland in the North East. The minimum age is 10 and the maximum 17 years plus all drivers must be 135cm tall and able to reach the pedals.
£19, Red Letter Days
Beavertown British Breweries Craft Beer
If you know a beer lover, then this gift pack from London-based Beavertown, is going to be a winner. The brewery has fast gained a reputation for creative but easy-drinking while its unique bright branding is instantly recognisable. As well as four beers, Gamma Ray American Pale Ale, Neck Oil Session IPA, Lupuloid IPA and Bloody El, there’s also a trademark pint glass. True you can buy more cans for the money, but this does come in a nice box so…
LEGO Creator Fish Tank – £24.99
I couldn’t do a gift guide without mention at least one Lego set because you know all kids love a lego set. And despite all the Star Wars and Harry Potter stuff out there, I’ve gone for this Creator 3 in 1 Fish Tank set which with more than 350 pieces, looks great value. It’s a lovely looking set too and one that has both lots of play potential for kids and makes a nice display piece too.
Two Faced Mushion – Personalised Cushion
Want to terrify that special person in your life? What better way than to put your face (or indeed theirs) on a giant cushion and then give it them at Christmas. These mushions are double sided so you can have two different faces printed on either side. Just to add to the overall creepiness.
Atari Retro Handheld Console – £22.97
I’m pretty sure if you put this in the hands of a nine-year-old child, they will look at you blankly, but there was a time before smartphones and even Ceefax when the Atari was a cutting edge machine. And now you can get 50 of those classic ‘these aren’t as good as I remember’ games on a retro-styled handheld console. It even has that iconic wood effect and there’s a TV output too.
Watching a film on a tablet while tucked up in bed can make for the perfect Friday night in (unless you’re at Boisdale of course), until said tablet tips forward from the cushion it’s precariously propped up against and falls flat on your face. With the Pill-O-Pad, that is no longer a problem. This versatile soft stand features a tri-ledge design for three different viewing angles and facilitates hands-free viewing whether you’re sitting or lying down.
He’s not just content with conquering the charts, Hollywood and the front covers of numerous magazines, Harry Styles has now launched his first business venture, which debuts with a small range of gender-neutral beauty products including his ‘PLEASING NAIL POLISHES. White nails were huge this summer and this is the Perfect Pearl Polish, a pearlized white nail polish that can be worn on its own or mixed with other shades for a more personalised look.
Jade rollers have been the subject of overwhelming hype among the skincare influencer communities on Tiktok and Youtube over the past year, with many claiming to reap the benefits of incorporating them into their routines. Good for relaxing and distributing product on your skin, as well as the potential to aid lymphatic drainage and reduce facial tension, jade rollers are small but mighty gifts and stocking fillers. This one from Beauty Bay is made with 100 per cent naturally sourced jade, with two differently sized ends that can be used to target different areas of the face.
NEW LOOK NAVY STRIPE T-SHIRT AND JOGGER LOUNGE SET
We’ve all become accustomed to practically living in loungewear 24/7 over the last few years, but at Christmas time it’s always been accepted. From New Look, this navy T-Shirt and jogger combo comes in £5 shy of your £25 limit.
First appearing in 1964’s Goldfinger and stealing the show once again in this year’s No Time to Die, the Aston Martin DB5 is the most iconic of Bond’s many beloved rides, and this polished gold replica keyring, which is presented in a limited-edition Aston Martin box, will have everyone thinking about famous chase scenes every time they start their own car.
A good chilli sauce will liven up the blandest of lunchtime meals, but Bao’s isn’t just any chilli sauce. At once smoky, sweet and spicy, it’s made with burnt green chilli, vinegar, sugar and ginger, starting fiery and ending friendly. Did you now that chilli burns major calories by spending up your metabolism – especially if you eat it standing up!
For his latest modern classic, the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author Colson Whitehead has written a heist novel set in Harlem in the early ‘60s. But with the civil rights movement serving as a backdrop, Harlem Shuffle is not only an unputdownable thriller, but a vivid illustration of a hugely significant place and time in American history.
At some point during the festive season he’ll probably want to leave the house, and with Xmas and new year parties on the horizon, he’ll want to look sharp from head to toe. A handy gift, then, would be this Paul Smith shoe polish, which is perfect for making tan brown shoes look next to brand new.
While the world certainly doesn’t need any more plastic in its oceans, it could also do without reusable coffee cups that are good for little more than unwanted stocking filler. Made from sustainable cork and tempered glass, this KeepCup model has been made to last in style.
In a small 70ml iteration, this Rituals mini diffuser is the perfect choice for bringing a little more atmosphere to a dull desk or side table. Part of the The Ritual Of Sakura range, this diffuser boasts a Floral Oriental scent with soft notes of rice milk and cherry blossom. Infusing your lucky gift recipient’s space with fresh scents for up to two months, this diffuser can be easily topped up using a refill bottle when the time comes.
A cult sensation, Drunk Elephant has become increasingly popular this year for its focus on minimalist skincare, which relies on active ingredients that will help your skin, rather than drying alcohols, silicones and essential oils that can have irritating properties. This set comes with two of the brand’s hero products, the C-Firma Day Serum and B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum. Both work together well to achieve radiant skin and a glowing complexion.
For anyone struggling to sleep this year, This Works’ iconic Pillow Spray is the saviour you need going into 2022. Made with a specially formulated blend of essential oils, including lavender and camomile, studies have shown that the relaxing aroma triggers a reaction in your brain that helps you unwind and destress before bed. It’s no wonder This Works has sold more than six million bottles of this magical mix since 2004.
Don’t buy into the myth that fast fashion is the only way to get good quality clothes on the cheap. Brothers We Stand use eco-friendly organic cotton for their clothes and have their factory in Bangladesh audited by the Fair Wear Foundation to ensure its workers earn a decent wage. It’s got loads of good clobber to offer, but it’s plain T-shirts are a great way to build out your wardrobe while doing a good deed at the same time.
If you don’t want to spend a bomb, there are lots of affordable lingerie brands to help you feel the best version of yourself for an accessible price – if only you know where to look.
In many respects we joke about M&S, but their lingerie offering is genuinely so damn good. Particularly the Rosie collection. Elsewhere, Lindex – a brand stocked on ASOS – have some cute lacey underwear sets for £20 and under, Boux Avenue caters for all shapes and sizes, and the ASOS DESIGN line is home to some fabulous underwear.
Welcome to this week’s instalment of Amanda Zips It Up.
It’s almost a month until Christmas and I don’t know about you, but Xmas seems to be everywhere I look already. Adverts on TV, Christmas decorations in all the shops, Turkeys and stuffing on sale at M&S – I’m just waiting for the radio to start banging out Slade (earplugs at the ready…)
Of course, I get that we all had a rubbish Christmas last year and 2021 is all about making amends. But I don’t necessarily appreciate being encouraged to start shopping so early, to claw back business that was lost in 2020.
Now I haven’t put up the Xmas tree yet, however I have started planning Xmas parties and get-togethers with friends and family. Most importantly, I have begun assembling my annual “Gift Ideas Lists for Him and Her”. Hopefully, they’ll provide some ideas and inspiration for those you find ‘difficult to buy for”.
Over the coming weeks, we will discuss office Xmas party outfits, NYE outfits and the inevitable Xmas jumper trend. And if you’re looking for outfits for the upcoming holidays, there’s only one place to go.
Zara has been voted the World’s Official Favourite brand in 2021 – dominating 37 countries and the most Googled shop on the planet. And yes, it’s my absolute favourite store EVER.
A fascinating remodelled world map reveals the world’s most popular fashion brands in 2021 – and it’s Zara that takes the top spot.
Here’s a list of the most popular brands in the world.
The perfect gift for a girlfriend, wife, sister, mother or best friend can be one of the most challenging to tick off your Christmas shopping list. To help, I’ve hand-picked a selection of the very best gifts for her that you can proudly present on the 25th December.
It may seem a little early to be thinking about present shopping, but Christmas will be here in the blink of an eye, and in the meantime that Xmas to-do list will just keep on growing. My guide should make shopping for the women in your life just that bit easier.
The White Company cashmere bed socks £36, The White Company
These sumptuously soft cashmere bed socks make the most luxurious of stocking fillers – the perfect partner for a cosy night in. I have at least three pairs and they are heavenly.
I bet that you’ve already seen this all over TikTok and Instagram? The Dyson Airwrap has gained a reputation as the hair gadget to end all hair gadgets. With six separate attachments, the Dyson Airwrap can dry, curl, wave and smooth a variety of hair textures without the extreme heat of other products and tools. This means your gift recipient will experience less damage to their hair and even, with its reduced heat levels, less anxiety about remembering to turn it off when leaving the house.
£449.99. At John Lewis. johnlewis.com
BLOOM & WILD SUBSCRIPTION
It’s no wonder that flowers remain one of the most exciting gifts to receive when they look as good as these bouquets from Bloom & Wild. And it’s thanks to Bloom & Wild that they’ve also never been easier to give. With a seamless flower-delivery service that goes straight through the letterbox, the flowers are not only expertly selected, but are also packed and picked to last longer than most. For a gift that keeps on giving, we’d recommend surprising your loved ones with a subscription for a new bouquet directly through their door each month.
£65 for three months. bloomandwild.com
SOHO HOME ROBE
One of the very first things you do when staying at any Soho House is to use every single Cowshed product in the shower (there are ten), before wrapping up in one of the brand’s gigantic hooded grey House robes. Stylish yet gorgeously snug, this is the perfect gift for winter. You can even get it monogrammed with her initials.
HOTEL CHOCOLAT VELVETISER
What if I told you there was a way to make the most delicious, velvety hot chocolate you had ever tasted from the comfort of your own home? It would make a pretty good gift, wouldn’t it? This magical machine is back in stock and does just that. Super simple to use, all you do is add a milk of your choice and grate chocolate into the pot, press the button and two minutes later your hot drink will be ready. Say goodbye for good to powdery hot chocolate that sinks to the bottom of the mug.
UGG FLUFF YEAH SLIPPERS
Ugg is officially back, and it’s had a cosy-chic update of the Fluff Yeah slide slipper. In a jet black hue and sheepskin construction, these slippers ensure comfort and style from the sofa to the shops. I have a pair!
£100. At selfridges.com
CLARINS DOUBLE SERUM
The effectiveness of Clarins products speak for themselves. Voted the UK’s number one anti-ageing serum, the Double serum stimulates five functions of the skin that results in a more youthful and radiant complexion.
£66 for 50ml. At johnlewis.com
It’s no secret that every wardrobe requires a simple white Tshirt. This option from Burberry gives a creative twist on the classic. Decorated with the iconic Vintage Check pattern to the T-shirt’s pocket, this tee brings chic to seasonal ensembles. A bit steep if you ask me…
£350. At net-a-porter.com
MULBERRY ALEXA BAG
Relaunched last year in celebration of the bag’s 10th anniversary, the Mulberry Alexa is a classic that remains just as iconic today as it did on its first release 11 years ago. The updated version has been redesigned to be worn crossbody, adapting to the pace of our modern lifestyles, but still featuring the classic braided handle, slouchy silhouette and all-important double-strap closure. It’s my favourite bag although mine is falling to bits now after using it to death.
£1,150. At mulberry.com
THE WHITE COMPANY BLURRED-CHECK BRUSHED COTTON PYJAMA SET
Pyjamas are one of those classic Christmas presents that might sound rather dull on paper, but no one can deny the pleasure of slipping into a new pair. That’s especially true when they look as good as this set from The White Company. In a simple blue and white check, the set is made from brushed woven cotton for a soft and cosy feel, with ivory piping along the top that gives them an added sense of luxury. The adjustable fit (thanks to an elasticated waistband and front tie) means you won’t have to stress about getting the sizing exactly right, either. My mum buys me a pair every Christmas.
£80. At thewhitecompany.com
APPLE WATCH SERIES 7
Stumped for gifts ideas for the fitness fanatic in your life? With the Apple Watch’s largest display yet (20 per cent more, that is), among a variety of advanced health features (think measuring blood oxygen level, taking ECGs, helping her set a bedtime routine), this smart watch truly lives up to the term. And with its new fast-charging capabilities and heightened durability, she’ll never have to be without it again.
£399. At apple.com, currys.co.uk and amazon.co.uk
MARC JACOBS THE TOTE BAG
Commuters, day trippers and office workers, rejoice! Marc Jacob’s aptly named “The Tote Bag” makes the perfect gift for those movers and shakers in your life. Whether she’s in need of laptop space, a travel companion or just a little added style, this tote can account for just about everything one might require when on the move. With a spacious square compartment and a secure zipped fastening, this canvas tote is multifunctional and effortlessly elegant with its monochromatic design.
£255. At Selfridges.selfridges.com
ACQUA DI PARMA LILY OF THE VALLEY PERFUME
A good perfume goes a long way. Enhancing one’s confidence and sense of self, finding your signature scent is not to be sniffed at. In a bold, angular bottle, this Lily Of The Valley eau de parfum from Acqua Di Parma is just as statement-making as its luxe black and gold-toned packaging. Full of light but impactful notes of bergamot, grapefruit, jasmine and musk, this perfume is sure to impress all ages.
£199. At Selfridges. selfridges.com
If you’re going to gift a candle, then legendary luxury French brand Diptyque is the way to go, with its signature oval labelling and a large selection of chic scents, from the fruity Figuier (fig tree) to the more masculine Feu De Bois (wood fire). They all smell heavenly, but you can’t go wrong with Baies, a lively, versatile berry fragrance that is, by far, its best-seller.
£49 for 190g. diptyqueparis.co.uk
VICTORIA BECKHAM SMOKY EYE BRICK
Who better to take gifting recommendations from than Posh Spice herself? Victoria Beckham has expanded her luxury beauty collection with the addition of this Smoky Eye brick palette. Inspired by Posh’s signature eye look, this Smoky Eye Brick is divided into asymmetric sections of panelled colour (including both matte shades and shimmers), so designed to ensure that all the eyeshadows are used at the same rate, emptying at the same time. Ultra wearable and highly pigmented, this will bring both efficiency andl uxury to her make-up routine.
£50. At cultbeauty.co.uk
FORTNUM’S CLASSIC CHRISTMAS HAMPER
Every Mum wants one and nothing says Christmas quite like a Fortnum’s hamper. This particular edition is packed with everything needed to truly celebrate the holiday season in style. Filled with some of the London institution’s finest products, it includes the famous Royal Blend tea, Blanc de Blancs Champagne, two further bottles of delicious wine, a St James Christmas Pudding and a selection of other condiments and sweet treats, all delivered in one of Fortnum’s immediately recognisable wicker hampers, which can then become a bed for the cat or dog.
£185. At fortnumandmason.com
Silk pillowcases are renowned for their benefits for hair and skin, helping to maintain moisture levels overnight, minimise wrinkles and reduce frizz. Made from mulberry silk, this pillowcase feels opulent and luxurious. And as it’s available in twelve colours, you’ll be able to find the perfect one to integrate into her existing bedding and upgrade her sleeping experience.
£120. At Selfridges. selfridges.com
FUJIFILM INSTAX SQUARE SQ1 INSTANT CAMERA
As life starts to return to some sense of normality, an instant camera is exactly what she needs to document anything and everything, especially a Christmas that will hopefully feel a lot more like the ones we’re used to this year. Instant cameras are a great way to make memories and to keep track of those special moments in life. This Square camera from Fujifilm, which takes beautiful 62mm x 62mm photos, develops the film in no less than 90 seconds.
The Christmas countdown is on, and there’s no need for last-minute panic buying, as Amazon has everything you need for HIM. Right now. The only hard part? Navigating Amazon’s pages and pages of best-sellers to find the perfect gift. Well, I’ve done all the legwork and put together a gift guide full of all the best Amazon-shoppable Christmas gifts to give HIM this year.
PHILIPS SERIES 9000 PRESTIGE BEARD TRIMMER
A wonderfully weighty device that’ll get to even the most challenging of facial contours with ease, this is a beard trimmer that’ll really go the distance for all those hipsters out there.
The art of bonsai is a painstakingly detailed discipline, with mature trees setting you back thousands of pounds. At £12.99, this DIY starter kit could save you a bomb in the long-run, complete with enough mixed bonsai seeds and coconut husk pots to kick-start their very own bonsai jungle.
Keeping those gnashers in the best shape only gains importance as you get older, so a decent electric toothbrush is a must. Oral-B’s flagship was first introduced last year but remains the toothbrush to beat, with seven brushing modes, AI teeth monitoring and a smart pressure sensor that alerts you when you’re brushing too hard.
Amazon’s flagship Wi-Fi-connected smart speaker will do much more than check the weather and play Mi-Soul Radio. Linking up thermostats, door locks, lights and many other compatible devices, this is your very own PA. And if you just want to use it as a Bluetooth speaker with a few added extras, the balanced bass and crisp vocals sound plenty more premium than the price tag would suggest.
If you’re looking to put smiles on faces this Christmas, this will do it. From the game-changing oral care brand giving Philips and Oral-B a run for their money, this is indisputably one of the best-looking flossers on the market. With specialised tips and operating modes aplenty, this will get to work on plaque and bacteria far more effectively than the toothpick.
Approaching the halfway point of an unpredictable football season, Fifa 22 will be high on the wish lists of many this Christmas. Updated with an all new goal keeper system for more intelligent shot-stopping and some next-level realism when it comes to ball physics, the line between the game and the game has never been closer.
As with talc and soap on a rope, there’s no getting around the fact that gifting someone a nose trimmer at Christmas sends a rather frank message. Believe me, they’ll thank you in the long run. Philips’ Series 5000 model is one of the best on the market and will also get to work on bushy eyebrows at the change of an attachment.
The Theragun sits high on the wish lists of many this Christmas. Fitindex does a good job of mirroring the therapy benefits on a shoestring. Neatly packaged in a portable travel case for instant post-workout relief, with six different massage heads to really hit the spot and untie knots, this will take the stress out of the holiday season in more ways than one.
This year’s new Apple releases brought with it a timely iPhone upgrade. Playing by the same playbook as the last several incarnations of the tech giant’s flagship phone, with a string of technical touch-ups that don’t just make it ripe for Christmas gifting but actually do improve the product to a notable enough standard that it’s rather worth considering, it includes an upgraded camera that’s perfect for those Christmas family snaps.
A far less alarming alarm clock than your pre-set phone ringtones although I love my iphone alarm, the Philips Wake-up light is here to counteract the seasonal affective disorder of winter months with nature-inspired bird song and light that gradually re-creates natural sunrise.
Seven fresh pairs of Calvins for the seven days of the week… Who could turn their nose up at that? Amazon offers excellent value for staples like these and we all know the men in our lives always wait for Xmas to come around for new pants and socks.
Is a Christmas wish list even a Christmas wish list if there are no Apple products to be seen? Short of the latest Apple Watch and iPhone 13 releases, the active noise-cancelling AirPods Pro are an easy win this year, easily paired via Bluetooth with their complementary devices and coming in a rechargeable wireless-charging case that allows for one less wire in your daily routine.
When it comes to buying aftershave you needn’t save yourself for the Selfridges beauty hall when some of the most coveted scents are available on Amazon. This Acqua Di Parma best-seller will have someone on your Christmas list smelling on-point right through 2022 with its sunny Sicilian citrus rounded off by masculine woody notes such as vetiver and sandalwood.
Putting the plug on late-summer 2022 sprogs, Lelo’s Hex condoms will add some luxe appeal to someone’s sex life this Christmas. The brand has its own signature hexagonal web condoms, which are extra durable, textured to prevent slippage and use natural latex to enhance pleasure. Just the thing for someone’s stocking. Maybe not Dad’s though…