All posts filed under: Gift Ideas

Gifts for men: Kiehl’s skincare

This title image is a bit deceiving, as I didn’t end up using this wonderful packaging by Peter Max, but let me not get ahead of myself and start from the gift itself. This duo of tried and tested skincare products is an absolute saviour when you genuinely struggle to choose something for a man. Firstly, it’s actually very useful, particularly in winter when everyone’s skin (including the manliest of men) goes a bit try. I’ve praises this zero shine Kiehl’s lip balm in one of previous posts, as it really is the most non-girly lip moisturiser on the market. But for a more substantial gift, I’ve added the Ultra Moisturising Facial Cream, which can protect his skin from the harsh winter weather. Rumour has it, this cream was used by the heroic team who did Greenland’s First Ascent, so if it’s good for them in the most extreme parts of the world, it must be OK for our mild UK winters 🙂 Now, back to gift wrapping. I’m generalising of course, but men and women …

How to ace your Secret Santa gift

I always dread Secret Santa gifts…They tend to belong to two categories: “attempting humour” (all sorts of pranks) and “last minute” aka “bought on the way to work” (generally Cadbury chocolates, novelty games and books). “Funny” gifts are rarely that good, unless the person knows you well. And in worst cases you spend the rest of your office Christmas party trying to figure out who’s given you a tasteless sex toy (happened to me, for real!), so you can openly hate them for the rest of year 🙂 OK, I’m overdramatasing, no one really cares that much. But hey, nothing is stopping you from actually acing it and becoming known as the most thoughtful person in the department. So, where do you begin? Research is key! At work we use drawnames.co.uk,  a website which almost does the job for you – all names are entered onto the system, and everyone is randomly assigned one person to get a gift for. The best part is that it’s linked to Amazon, so you can pre-select a few things …

Cards Against Humanity or “How to organise a perfect pre-Christmas house party”

I know, the name of this post is way too long, but if you can’t be bothered to read any further, it pretty much summarises why Cards Against Humanity should make it to your Amazon Christmas wishlist this year. In short, for those not in the know, this card game must be the highest rated adult game EVER, with an incredible Amazon 3,200 reviews out of which my personal favourite is “Completely disgusting. This game is an abomination that left me and my friends unable to look each other in the eye. Five stars.” Contradictory, right? 🙂 So what is all this fuss about? Well, rules can get quite complex and players are encouraged to create more ridiculous rules themselves.  But essentially it’s a game for around 6-10 people with two sets of cards: black for questions and white for answers. Each player gets a set of 10 random white cards, one person picks a black card and asks a question – as an example – “Next book by J.K. Rowling – Harry Potter and …

A a science book for Christmas? Yes!

I vividly remember the excitement of finding carefully wrapped books under my Christmas tree when I was a kid. Don’t get me wrong, I was also expecting Barbi houses and pretty dresses, but my parents did make sure I was hooked on books early on. It’s a tough task for any parent to engage children in reading, especially if it’s related to science. It’s much easier to get distracted than to focus on the words you don’t know about things you’ve never heard of before. The trick that worked well for me was illustrated encyclopaedias, where serious subjects like General Theory of Relativity were explained using images as much as words, with helpful pointers and highlighted boxes to keep me entertained. I could spend hours browsing History, Geography and Biology tomes, fascinated by the richness of imagery. I didn’t fully understand everything, of course, but it trained my brain into being constantly curious about the world around me. The one book that I would recommend as a universal all-rounder with amazing quality of illustrations is …

My favourite beauty stocking filler

This little invention under £5 is my top 2015 beauty discovery. Every year there’s this one beauty stocking filler that becomes a hit (last year I got three Beauty Blenders for Christmas!). I think this year it’s going to be Invisibobble. These little transparent spirals may not look like something useful or sturdy, but the difference they’ve made to my hair routine is unbelievable. My beauty-savvy colleague told me that I’ve been breaking my hair with conventional elastic hair bands. These little spiral bands apply even pressure to minimise breakage and are surprisingly good at holding my heavy straight hair in a pony tail even during exercise. Ideal for those hair days when you just want it up, I’ve just bought ten of these in different colours to give to my girlfriends as little add-on Christmas gifts, and I cannot wait to hear their thoughts about it. If you’re even thinking whether you need it or not, it’s currently £3.75 with free delivery on Amazon, so I’d say simply buy it and see how you get on. …

The “I care about you” stocking fillers

“All you need is love”, argued the famous Beatles almost 50 years ago! Love to me is many things, but the most important showcase of love is taking care of even the smallest needs of your loved ones. It’s definitely winter here in London, so unless you’re a lucky person in tropical far-away paradise, you’re reading this post with warm socks on and a hot cup of tea (or hot chocolate, as it often happens to me!). We’re generally quite good caring about the warmth of our clothing, but we often forget about the only vulnerable part that’s always outside whatever the temperature  – our lips. Boys are as likely as girls to get chapped lips, but they are generally too “manly” to go and buy themselves a lip balm. My boyfriend’s reaction to my suggestion of getting him a lip balm was a categoric “No way!”, followed by a very judgemental facial expression. Cutting the story short, I went out to test lip balms for men in order to find the perfect one. What’s …

Christmas 2015 Gift Guide

It’s this time of the year again when we start thinking about Christmas gifts. Some of us will be well-organised and have a plan in place (I’ve seen spreadsheets with names and budgets!) but most are just beginning to browse favourite blogs and websites in search of inspiration. In this post I’ll attempt to give you some top line tips and ideas that might inspire you. Let’s talk colours first First of all, let’s figure out the colour palette for this Christmas. Not surprisingly, gifting fashion is closely linked to “real” fashion. The most iconic London trend setters – Claridges hotel and Selfridges department store – are heavily featuring metallics in their festive interiors, with strategically placed black accents to bring depth and sparkle to silver and golden tones. So there you have it – the most fashionable gifts will be made of metal (or at least gift-wrapped in monochrome metallic paper) with optional ornaments and dark sequins. Key themes for 2015 I am a huge advocate of personalised gifts where you figure out exactly what …

The perfect Christmas present for “night owls”

Ironically, this ingenious invention was recommended to me by my ex-boss, who was struggling to wake up early as much as I did. It’s the most horrible feeling in the world when your alarm goes off at 6 something in the morning (7 on a lucky day!) and it looks like it’s the middle of the night. I remember those dreadful mornings when the alarm would go off, I would frantically try to find my mobile with eyes still closed and then get up 10 minutes later hitting something (typically a corner table, followed by a lot of cursing) on my way to the bathroom. 6:15am and the day is already crap. Sounds familiar? For those people who do get gloomier in winter months when days are short, Lumie has developed a rather simple way of naturally waking people up – a Bodyclock. It works like this: you set up an alarm for the time you need to be awake (say 6:30am, hello gym bunnies and commuters!), and this cute little machine starts to slowly …

Ethical gifts: Where to buy socially responsible gifts in the UK

Socially responsible gifts are finally getting traction in the UK. I mean we’ve always read about shops that offer ethical items, thought how nice they were but never actually went in and spent our money there. Now it’s changing, and a lot of people are asking me to make their Christmas gifts less commercial and more rooted in actual goodwill. The two sites that I would particularly recommend are the Big Issue shop and Run Native. First and foremost because they are not charity shops where you find second-hand things donated by people who don’t want those things anymore, and you’re paying real money because it makes you feel better about yourself. These two shops are different. Both offer new things only, by companies which have built their small businesses from creating things out of recycled materials (just one example given) and which support local communities in ways mainstream charities would never do. If you, like myself, have friends who are strongly against the entire Christmas propaganda and who despise John Lewis’ Christmas ads, this …

Never heard of Ferragamo? It’s about to become your favourite bag

The number one thing that women put on their wish lists for Christmas is *drumroll* luxury bags. Luxury is different for everyone, but broadly it can be defined on a societal level as “something your neighbour can’t afford”. This is a bit of cynical definition, I tend to include other things like quality and what a brand stands for, but I will agree that the items we covet the most cost as much as they do because they are out of reach. Now I’m not advocating spending a lot of money on bags, but Christmas is that one holiday a year when we can relax  a bit, let ourselves go and stop counting. Where I come in is to make sure your gift isn’t a complete waste of money and is something that will last a long time. Number one rule for such special purchases is making sure that a bag you’re about to buy isn’t rarer than its fake versions. Take Louis Vuitton, as an example of a brand which I see so many …