Category Archives: Gifts

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.

NOV_Orient Express-2_700

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.


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.

Bloom & Wild

Image courtesy of

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.

heywood hill

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.


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

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).


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.


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.


All wrapped up at Cire Trudon, Chiltern Street W1


Astier de Villatte ceramic candles. Image courtesy of WGSN.

le labo

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.


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.


Sophia Coppola wearing Charvet. Image courtesy of

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.

Lobby Chair ES 104

Lobby Chair ES104. Image courtesy of Vitra

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

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