Monthly Archives: December 2014

Christmas Shopping on Christmas Eve

Forgive the brevity of this post but it’s 10pm on Christmas Eve and I have sprouts to prep and gifts to wrap. For any truly last-minute folk who have avoided the shops and need good gifts in the nick of time, here are five grand gestures that could be written into a card – to show love, thought and effort.

1. A London-Paris-Venice trip on the Orient Express. Romantic, elegant, refined travel in Art Deco luxury. From £1990 per person. www.belmond.com/venice-simplon-orient-express

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Photographs by Max Cardelli for Marie Claire UK

2. Tranquility at The Aman Spa at The Connaught, London. The North America Signature Treatment lasts 2hrs 30 mins and consists of ‘a sage & cedar wood smudging and hot river stone massage, used to turn over a new leaf’. £280. www.the-connaught.co.uk/aman-spa

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Image courtesy of The Connaught

3. Fresh flowers to your door, every month, from Bloom & Wild. The gift that keeps on giving. You’ll be remembered every month – not just at Christmas. From £50 for 3 months of flowers.  www.bloomandwild.com

Bloom & Wild

Image courtesy of www.theguardian.com

4. A literary gift box from Heywood Hill, Mayfair’s magical bookstore where Nancy Mitford worked in World War II. Buy a one-off box for Christmas – or four elegantly packaged and expertly sourced packages of books throughout the year. Choose from collections such as The Cool Classics (£100), The Discerning Gentleman (£270) or tell them a bit about the recipient and go bespoke. www.heywoodhill.com

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Image courtesy of Heywood Hill

5. Letterpress stationery delivered to your door. Hand-picked, letterpress cards sent to your recipient each month. For stationery junkies everywhere. From $40 for 2 months. You might even get a written thank you. www.nicelynoted.com

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Of course you could always buy them a wardrobe detox or a shopping trip to remember – www.penelopemeredith.com.

Whatever you give or receive I send you blessings and good wishes for a wonderful Christmas. See you next year…

 

 

My Top 6 Luxury Gifts For Christmas

In my teens, my Christmas list read as follows: Compilation cassette, hair crimpers, anything from Miss Selfridge and a No7 lipstick (Twilight Teaser).

Nowadays, my tastes are a little more sophisticated but there’s nothing I really need. I’m lucky to have a lovely home, full of things I treasure. And since clutter makes me crazy, it has to be something pretty special to fight for a place on my list – and in my house.

But here it is – my top 6 for Christmas – priced low to high (£10 to £5000). All useful or beautiful, (some both) and most work for guys too.

1. Socks. Yes, really. Ten fine pounds will buy a pair of Falke Sensitive London socks. Soft cotton, gentle cuff, smooth seams and shaped so they don’t bunch up inside your footwear. Of course, you have to put them on the correct foot, but the L and R indicators should eliminate confusion. A sock for anal Virgos (and yes I am one).

socks

2. Anything smelly by (Madame) Micheline Arcier, specifically her Harmonie bath oil (£40-60). For boys, Elan Vital bath oil serves to ‘ease aching limbs, muscular pains and the strains of everyday life’. A potent dose of heaven in a bottle. Available at Les Senteurs, which is worth a trip in itself.

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Les Senteurs, W1. Image courtesy of The Portman Estate

3. £50-350. A candle. The most boring gift turns into the most delightful when it comes from Cire Trudon, Le Labo or Astier de Villatte. You get a beautifully scented home and a stylish vessel (Cire Trudon’s dark green glass is hand blown, Astier de Villatte’s white ceramic pots are beautiful for pencils/brushes – and Le Labo’s glass candles make fine G&T tumblers post-burn). All are made from ‘safe’ wax (free of paraffin and petrochemicals), so they tick that box too. My favourite scent of them all is Odalisque by Cire Trudon. They burn it in Céline.

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All wrapped up at Cire Trudon, Chiltern Street W1

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Astier de Villatte ceramic candles. Image courtesy of WGSN.

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4. Ercolano Jewellery Box. Bold, graphic designs in interesting colours – a little showcase of Italian craftsmanship. Great in any home, traditional or modern. I would never tire of looking at this. Functional and beautiful. £300-600. From The Conran Shop and Barneys.

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Ercolano Jewellery Box. Image courtesy of Elle Decor

5. The ultimate white shirt from Charvet, French master shirt-maker. Over the years, Charvet has boasted a client list of fashion royalty, kings and heads of state. Coco Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent and John F Kennedy can’t be wrong. Their website doesn’t appear to be working today, but you can visit them in Paris at 25 Place Vendôme. Around £300 for ready to wear, £1000 for bespoke. Some pieces available online at Mr Porter.

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Sophia Coppola wearing Charvet. Image courtesy of iwanttobeacoppola.com

6. The Vitra ES104 Lobby Office Chair by Charles and Ray Eames. Originally designed for the Rockefeller Centre in New York. Iconic and ergonomic, if not economic. A beauty. £4808 at The Conran Shop.

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Lobby Chair ES104. Image courtesy of Vitra

Next week’s post – buying at the eleventh hour – gift ideas for the disorganised shopper.

I also offer a gift sourcing service. Please contact me for more information.

How to shop at Topshop

I think I am having a fashion comedown.

This time last night I was still buzzing from an event I co-hosted earlier in the evening at Topshop’s Personal Shopping suite in the Oxford Circus store.

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I have to confess that until I met Melanie Moss (head of VIP relations at Arcadia) I had no idea that VIP/personal shopping in Topshop existed, let alone that there’s a dedicated space for it, inside the store but far from the madding crowds, with sofas for lounging and – last night – martinis for drinking.

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Rose van Cutsem, Melanie Moss and me at last night’s event

When I’m shopping for clients in London, I can usually be found at places like Matches and Liberty where I can find a varied selection of luxury brands. However, I’m a great believer in mixing things up and there are more than a few high-street gems in my closet, so when Mel invited me to do this event with her at Topshop I was excited to see what I’d find.

It was easy putting together my edit because there was so much that caught my eye (my favourite pieces being black sequin joggers, a long net skirt, the teal silk dress I am wearing in these shots and the aerosmith t-shirt in the background of this one).

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As our guests browsed the looks and tried things on, a never-ending stream of friendly, cool girls from the TS Personal Shopping team scurried around fetching sizes and helping Mel & me with styling.

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Another of our lovely guests – Patricia Potter

I owe the PS girls huge thanks for their help and unflagging good humour and I’d recommend them to anyone with a high street budget who needs help choosing cool pieces – or just for a hassle-free shopping experience in an otherwise crazy but rather fantastic store.

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Sequin joggers. Image courtesy of Topshop

Anyway I loved this event and I hope our guests agree that it was shopping at its best: High-octane girlie fun. No queues. And more bang for your buck.

www.topshop.com

Thanks to Catherine Naylor-Leyland for photographing the event.

For more info on Topshop’s complimentary personal shopping service click here

Or to book me for personal shopping and styling please contact me

 

 

 

 

 

Bigging up British basics

I’m in the more is more camp. So it may surprise you to find me posting a piece about a line of luxury basics.

Even the word – basics – brings me out in hives and reminds me of my seriously unfashionable pregnant days when the most adventurous I got was substituting a black stretch maternity dress for maternity-waistband leggings (except for my one ‘going out’ look, an oversized pinstripe Marni dress that…well, who knows where it is now…luckily no longer in my wardrobe).

So. To Sunspel. And the most wonderful basics that can be worn in the most wonderful way.

Here are my top 3:

1. The ‘loopback track pant’ – cinched at the ankle and slim in the leg. Great with sneakers or flip flops (if you live in hotter climes) and a scruffy T or a bit of slouchy cashmere.

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Loopback track pant. Image courtesy of Sunspel

2. A massive, chunky, ‘cellular knit’ navy blue scarf. 100% wool – and not itchy at all.

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Sunspel scarf & shirt, trousers by Folk. Stan Smith trainers

3. A crisp white oxford cotton grandad shirt, oversized but slim through the arms and shoulders. Céline for less anyone?

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Sunspel grandad shirt. Folk trousers. Stan Smith trainers

A few more things about Sunspel.

It’s been around since 1860. It’s a British brand. And it’s one for the boys too. A Sunspel gift voucher is just about the most useful thing you could get for a guy.

Their collection with JW Anderson (who used to consult for them) was wonderful and I’d love to see them collaborate with more/other interesting names in the future…Emilia Wickstead…Richard Nicoll…I can think of several…

If you are simply too much of a die-hard fashion fan to shop for ‘everyday clothing’ as Sunspel call it, you might be swayed by the fact that Dover Street Market saw fit to showcase the brand in New York last month.

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Sunspel installation at Dover Street Market NY, Nov 2014

I’m afraid I have yet to find out whether their sea island cotton briefs are £85-good but if I do you’ll be the first to know.

www.sunspel.com