Here it is: the women’s Christmas Gift Guide. I find that women are much, much easier to buy for than men. My friends like almost anything that smells or looks or feels nice. I like almost everything that smells or looks or feels nice. I honestly don’t know how people get it so wrong, with unfunny novelty mugs and candles that give you an instant headache when there are so many suitably swish beauty morsels out there – and they don’t need to cost the earth, as my “under a tenner” guide clearly demonstrated!
And yes, it’s the thought that counts, etc etc, but choosing presents properly can be the difference between you wasting a hell of a lot of money on stuff that nobody wants or needs (lighthouse salt and pepper shakers, anyone?) and really making someone’s day with a well-researched gift. And if you’re still not sure, even after researching, then a good bottle of wine is always a good bet – or a hunk of excellent cheese and jar of nice chutney. Things that can be eaten and that don’t take up cupboard space for years before they end up in a car boot sale are always welcomed!
There are few more luxurious items this week, hence the title Luxe List, but hopefully still a very nice price range and lots of ideas to keep you going if you’ve started your Christmas shopping. I’ve had to hide my credit card whilst compiling this post – there are so many things I love!
Let’s start with some luxe-looking things to keep you tech-ed up and well-organised in the desk department…
This Cog Pen from designer Tom Dixon (above) looks just like something from a James Bond set and will cheer up those cheque-writing sessions no end. (Do people still write cheques? I had to write one to pay for the Christmas Turkey and the cheque book was covered in dust – my last cheque had been written years ago!) The Cog Pen is £55 online – try the code SELFCCE to get 20% off. It works on some things in Selfridges, but not all. Trial and error, trial and error.
There are loads of gorgeous desktop planners available from The Fox & Star; I’m particularly enamoured with the Pantone-esque weekly one pictured above, £9.60, which has 50 tear-off sheets to keep you organised for (almost) the whole year.
Let’s move onto beauty and the most delectable, top quality morsels. Here’s what hair waving wands would look like if they were designed by the love-child of Tom Ford and Michael Kors:
The T3 Whirl Trio: just gorgeous. And smart, because it’s actually three wands in one. Interchangeable barrels for varying sizes of waves, this is the King of Curlers and priced to reflect that – £199. However there’s a discount code running over the weekend – use T3BF25 to get 25% off. If you’re reading this after the financial carnage of Black Friday then you can also find the wand at Amazon.
What to get the makeup addict who has (virtually) everything? The ultimate smokey eye set, By Terry’s Ombre Blackstar collection. Five very appealing shades of the most smouldery, creamy, no-budge eyeshadows that money can buy. It’s a whopping £110 (find it), but those who use Blackstar swear by the foolproof texture and beautiful shades..
Tom Ford’s Soleil Dry Oil Spray was featured recently – it’s so summery and uplifting and entirely inappropriate for winter, but still, I spray it on a regular basis. Pure luxury in a fine-mist oil-spray. Oh, Tom. £45. (Try SELFCCE for 10% off over the Black Friday long (oh-so-long, kill-me-now) weekend.)
Decadent bathing with Laura Mercier’s Honey Bath, pictured above. Soft bubbles, gorgeous scent and I don’t know why that wooden honey twirler makes the whole thing so much more appealing, but it does. Find it – it’s £33.
Look I get it: the lipstick above isn’t a Tom Ford or a Tilbury or a Christian Louboutin number, but do you know what? It’s one of the best lipshines I’ve tried for months. Really creamy and luscious and the colour (Sweet Darling) is a pretty just-pinker-than-neutral. It’s £14 from Rosie at M&S.
If it is ultimate and ridiculous luxury that you’re after then the pinnacle, currently, has to be the Louboutin makeup range with its OTT packaging and overdone sense of drama. I like the look of the matte lip in Just Nothing which is £65. The shade is a safe bet. (Try, again, code SELFCCE for 10% off. I haven’t checked it on individual purchases but always worth a punt.)
And now for the sexy stuff.
Just about the maximum heel height I can possibly walk in at the moment, but Jimmy Choo’s 85mm Romy courts look no less vampish than the taller ones. (OK, the taller ones are total sex, but I would break my ankles within seconds.) I love the lace fabric version, pictured above – a very special treat (they’re £495!) but if you’re a high-heel disaster like me then they’re going to get a lot of wear, over the years. Swish enough for big events and parties but they also look amazing dressed down with jeans.
I almost died a death when I first used Frederic Malle’s Portrait of a Lady hair and body oil. In a good way. It is absolutely knockout, and I don’t say that lightly. It’s so unbelievably seductive. To call it a “rose” scent is sort of right, but a massive understatement – it’s a dark, naughty, mask-wearing, whip-carrying rose. You really must smell it. The oil brings a certain softness, I think, over the parfum – still, you need just a few drops to smell like the world’s most vampish seductress all day long. A bottle of this most glorious nectar is £130. (Do try that SELFCCE code in case you can get 10% off…)
Talking of glorious nectar, if it’s a unique, show-stopping fragrance you’re after then look no further than Alexander McQueen’s parfum. I reviewed it here, if you fancy stepping into the world of night-blooming flowers and heady fantasies, and it’s online for £285. If that’s slightly (ha!) over-budget then take a look at the fresher, more accessible version.
Naughty knickers? Alrighty then. The Lorna briefs from Agent Provocateur don’t leave much to the imagination! They’re £35 online.