Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Christmas gift guide (aka things I'm obsessed with)

Pretty straight forward - my gift guide is a mix of things I own and absolutely love and cherish, and things I'm lusting after and would totally love to receive. With one exception, I've included no pre-selected gift sets, because even though they can be easy and economical, there's something about it that feels a bit unconsidered or commercial to me. It's also mostly non-beauty. I feel like anyone beauty-obsessed like me is best suited to do their own shopping, and those non-beauty-obsessives in my life would probably much prefer to receive something else. This is meant more to inspire ideas than as a shopping list, but make of it what you will! So without further ado....

Photo set 1:

  • Royal Copenhagen Contrast Mugs: I was introduced to these mugs while I was living in Copenhagen and despite preferring neutral and understated modern decor, the Scandis do pops of colour very well. These ceramic mugs have brightly coloured silicone for style and to insulate from heat, and come in about 20 colours. And, they're meant to mix and match the colours so even if you can only afford to gift one or 2, the recipient can add to their collection over time. They are what Dean and I drink our coffee out of each morning.
  • Byredo Parfums Bal d'Afrique: I own Byredo Gypsy Water but this scent will be my next purchase. The gift idea though, is really a more boutique-brand fragrance that is beautifully packaged and less well known. I particularly like Byredo because the product design is just as noteworthy as the gorgeous scents.
  • Lomography Diana Mini La Vie en Rose edition: This won't be everyone's cup of tea, but an old-school toy film camera is something I got for Christmas a few years ago and I really love it. You can experiment with different kinds of film, play around with multiple exposures, and create instagram-like photos with the mystique and materiality (and patience) that only comes with film.
  • Marshall Monitor headphones: I bought these earlier in the year and they are fabulous. They are over-the-hear, can fold up, you can switch the side of the cord, and change the nature of the sound. They aren't cheap but I prefer the sound to the likes of other similarly high-end brands and they look super cool too.

Photo set 2:

  • Nuuna 'For my eyes only' L Notebook: I love a good bit of stationary, and when adopting a new commitment to journaling, this was my notebook of choice. I found mine at paperchase - it has a flexible but sturdy cover, nice quality paper, and comes in a range of really cool designs.
  • A.P.C. Half Moon bag in Navy Saffiano leather: I've been lusting over this handbag for months - it's expensive enough to be an investment but not crazy luxury. I just think the shape and style is very classic and versatile, and it won't be something you see everywhere. Unfortunately when I went searching for the link it seems to be sold out most places :-/ As a gift idea more broadly though, I think a thoughtfully selected handbag is a brilliant gift. 
  • Marble Basics big basic round tray: I follow this Australian brand on Instagram and love their simple marble homewares. You can find similar things from Danish design house Hay as well (and I'm sure elsewhere). A gorgeous piece that will match a range of styles, it's hefty and something not everyone would think to buy for themselves, which in my opinion, is one hallmark of a great gift.
  • Glerups felted wool slippers: These Danish slippers may not look like much, but they're hand-sewn and made of 100% felted wool with a suede bottom that wears beautifully overtime. My daily ritual since buying these shortly after moving to Denmark nearly 2 years ago, is that I immediately slip them on as soon as I get home. I've even begun travelling with them! They are so warm and comfy I have vowed to always own a pair. I bought my parents each a pair for Christmas last year after they each commented on mine when visiting Copenhagen.
  • Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush Palette: A makeup item that I swear by, is beautifully packaged, festive, convenient, and not commercially well-known by non-beauty addicts. I've been using mine nearly everyday since picking it up last month. See my full thoughts on it here.
  • Jo Malone Travel Candle Collection: I included this set because it is beautifully packaged, luxury, and I absolutely adore all 3 included scents (which doesn't often happen with pre-prepared sets!). Pomegranate Noir is a classic of the brand and rightfully so, Pine and Eucalyptus is perfectly seasonal, and Incense and Embers is one I've been lusting after. I would absolutely love to be on the receiving end of this trio.

Photo set 3:

  • Alessi Girotondo Boy Round Tray: My mother in law owns this and I loved it so much Dean bought it for me as a gift a number of years ago too. It still holds a central location in our living area - I absolutely love it. I love Alessi designs more broadly too, especially their S/S homewares, which also make amazing gifts for weddings.
  • Oskia Rose de Mai Massage Candle: This one is great to gift to someone in a relationship, or as a host/hostess gift, because as the candle burns, the 'wax' turns into a very lovely rose-scented massage oil. So, they get the luxury of a high end candle, but it's also something that can be enjoyed as a couple once all the guests have left!
  • Aesop Resurrection Aromatique Hand Wash and Hand Balm: A gorgeous luxury set from a Melbourne-born brand I absolutely love to support. We sprung to buy these for our guest bathroom where it is most on display, but since it is a pricey luxury to buy for yourself, it makes an amazing gift, and the products are lovely and would suit most tastes.
  • Vita Fede Titan Plain Crystal Band Ring: This ring or any of the other pieces from this beautiful jewellery line. I am yet to own a piece from this designer, but I have fallen in love with a few, and would be blown away to receive one. The pieces are really nice but wearable enough to be able to wear on a regular basis.

Photo set 4:

  • Marshall Stanmore speaker in Cream Leather: Dean bought this for the house last year and it looks the perfect mix of contemporary and vintage - I love that it functions as a brilliant sound system and a design piece in one. An obvious nod to the Marshall amps, this is an at-home speaker that we plug into an iPad (and use Spotify) but also works over bluetooth. Comes in a range of colours.
  • Vintage or handmade bits from Etsy: Top of my wishlist this year is a vintage brass pineapple, but my recommendation is really one-off vintage pieces or handmade items from Etsy. I think it's the perfect way to get something unique and that shows you've put a lot of consideration into who you're buying for. Anything from homewares, vintage bar tools, dresser organizers, or personalised jewellery, I think Etsy is an excellent gifting resource all year round.
  • Warm PJs: I don't have any particular set in mind, but PJs are such a Christmas gift to me. I used to get a pair every year growing up. Warm, cozy, seasonal, and the perfect thing to lounge around in during the days at home between Christmas and New Years.
  • Nixon 42-20 Chrono Watch in Tortoise: I've had this watch saved in my 'hearts' on Shopbop for probably a couple years (!!). I bought Dean a watch from this brand for Christmas 2 years ago and he's worn it everyday since, and frequently gets compliments on it. They are well-made with great customer service and eye-catching semi-industrial looking designs, though they have more streamlined pieces too. Watches in general I think make great gifts.

Photo set 5:

  • Alexander Wang cashmere endless scarf: This one may look a bit basic, but I bought this scarf for myself 3 years ago and it's still by go-to standby every winter. I wear it most days - it goes with absolutely everything, from super casual to dressed up, and it can be worn over your head if you're especially freezing. It's super soft and warm and doesn't show any sighs of wear. Exactly the kind of piece that is worth investing in. (link is to their current rendition).
  • RABLABS Kiva Platter: I discovered this brand through Shopbop's gift guide last year, and while it's quite pricey, I think these platters are just absolutely gorgeous. I'm not a fan of the whole collection, but the neutral stones with silver edge plating I just find very striking.
  • 3.1 Phillip Lim Mini Pashli Messenger: Another one on my wishlist! I love the Pashli line, but this shape is slightly less 'done'. They've released a bunch of really cool colours and understated metallics this season, which is competing with the black and brass number I've been contemplating for a while.
  • The Cook's Companion by Stephanie Alexander: My favourite cookbook of all time (see a full review I wrote here). In general though, a lot of new cookbooks tend to release in the lead-up to Christmas and it's when Dean and I tend to buy most of our new additions. Come boxing day there are sure to be a few cheeky purchases. Endless entertainment for anyone who loves to cook!

Not Pictured:

  • An experience: I think we often get caught up in buying 'things' but an experience that will create lasting memories can often be really nice. Whether it's a trip, tickets to a show, a spa treatment, or similar. depending on the recipients interests. My parents are flying into Manchester from New York for Christmas this year, and since they haven't been to the UK since the 80s and have limited luggage space, I booked my mom and I in for a high-end and very British champagne afternoon tea for a girly day since we see each other so infrequently, and I know she'll cherish it way more than anything material.

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