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First things first, it’s hard this time of year to know what to gift someone, to afford what you want to gift them, there are so many crisis raging around the world, not least, cost of living crisis which I have talked about in moments in this newsletter; its real, its out there, its in here, we are all experiencing it in our own ways and it fuels our anxiety and well being. Thus, before I move on to material things to gift, here are some things that are even more important and priceless to people in these times.
TIME: Nieces, nephews, god children: now is your time to step up to the title you have earned as external caregiver. Parents have been going through it the past two years so if you have the time give friends and family with children a night or a weekend off, bundle up the kids to yours and send the parents on their merry-way to some sanity. It makes a difference.
FOOD: The cost of food has gone up drastically over the years, inflation is at an all time high and don’t even get me started on interest rates therefore if you can afford it, cook a meal and take it to your friend, neighbour or anyone you know is particularly feeling the pinch.
UTILITY: Gas and electricity prices are on the up and they show no signs of coming down yet, if you can afford it, pay someone’s utility bill this month because every little helps.
MEMORIES: You’ll often hear me wax lyrical about London this time of year, and that’s because its simply magical to be in, the lights, the atmosphere the cheer all around, one of my favourite past-times it to see the windows of my favourite department stores in London; Harrods, Harvey Nichols, Selfridges, Fortnum & Mason and Liberty, it has become a tradition a way to spend time with friends and family so do this….
AFTERNOON TEA: I want to preface this by saying, I don’t drink tea and I barely drink coffee but over the years I realise that tea is one of the sacred rituals of a lot of people whether its elevensies or tea before your supper or that morning hit. So I have taken to making time for special afternoon tea with the fam or making my own and taking it over for a few hours of downtime with loved ones.
Travel is a privilege one must never take for granted, it is how we allow the world imprint her stories on us whilst we leave a little part of ourselves behind wherever we find ourselves, meet strangers and make new friends… travel is one of live’s wonders and with a world that has grown increasingly cold we ought to make time to know more stories of lands foreign to ours.
BLEU DE CHAFFE
Living next door to Europe, short jaunts to the continents are an thing of a hobby these therefore one needs a proper weekend bag to make the quick or not so quick zoom across the channel. The Zoom bag, so aptly named does the trick, BLEU DE CHAFEE is not one of those trendy brands but an understated french brand that takes pride in craft and simplicity, a seamless marriage that affords the most intricate of products that are none too precious, as if they come to you worn in from their own adventures.
HOSTESS / HOST
Fortnum & Mason
Life is best lived ensconced in the company of your loved ones, and the holidays bring the perfect time to be surrounded by the love and laughter that accompanies such company… so to speak. Besides the requisite bottle of wine which you absolutely must take with you as a guest, these are fine items to present your host of hostess with.
LEGO: When in doubt get lego, these childhood past-times have followed us into adulthood and become something of a mainstay. I love legos, love the togetherness it harness, the hours lost in pure bliss of 3D problem solving.
It is an ideal gift for children, allows them time away from the dreaded screen, and more interaction and problem solving, Even better it is something the entire family can get involved in.
POKEMON: Apparently what goes around really does come around, I watched my brothers and their friends go absolutely bonkers for pokémon cards, collecting them like they were going out of fashion. I never understood it then and I still do not understand it now… but the kids are still at it because my nephews absolutely love this and collect it much like their uncles and their friends did growing up. Listen, if it keeps them off the screen for a little, I am all for it.
A GIFT OF ART
For art sake get someone you love a membership to a museum or a cluster of them. Art is absolutely essential, and one of those pleasures that only keep on giving.
Membership to the Tate
Membership to the V&A
two such museums that are worthy of your time and investment.
At present, Cezanne is showing at the Tate. Members get to go for free, for about £30 you get to go with a friend.
Taschen is one of my favourite places to buy books, coffee table and extra large books and the book of libraries is one of my all time favourite books… indeed I have given two copies to people who love them. It documents the most beautiful libraries from across the world.
There is something sacred about libraries, sacred and wonderful, a place just for books to lose oneself in stories and words, this is a book for the avid explorer or someone who simply wants to escape via a book.
Stationery, one can never tire of stationery, but not the run of the mill kind. Makers Cabinet make some of the finest pieces of stationery ever. They care about their products and it shows. Expertly crafted, beautifully designed and a heft to each product. You can not only see it but you absolutely can feel it.
Note writing is one of those things that should always remain sacred thus I always keep a note writing set to hand especially during the holidays, its also why I have a million and one postcards from holiday in order to call on the memories on the road. This writing set from Manuscript is a delight and the perfect gift for the serious scribe. Comes with the tools of the trade; an elegant black oblique pen holder, dark wood roller blotter, 25ml bottle of black ink and two Leonardt Copperplate nibs.
There are notes to be written and this is how you want to write it, trust me.
THE UNIQUE LITTLE SOMETHING
When in doubt, because we are mostly always in doubt, a wooden game of ludo, in its uniqueness will do. Make for the perfect gift for most anyone. A wonderful hostess gift, a solid family gift and perfect for that friend that has everything. Beautifully carved and cleverly created it is perfect.
Basquiat for the walls. It’s not always that I agree with the popularisation of art and artist works, because it runs the risk of cheapening the legacy they have so cultivated in their life time. But Basquiat is one such artist whose work lends him popularity with the up and coming generation. He remains one of the coolest to ever do it, post mortem and it does not come cooler than his iconic images on a set of skateboards.
The Skateroom tries and succeeds to a large extent to find harmony in the old and the new street cultures, Basquiat in his own way and on his own terms is one artists that as the time moves on, he will find his place in it, there will always be people who love his work and he will always be the cool kid.
Sold in-store and online in Selfridges, a beautiful collection that includes works of Basquiat and Keith Harring, a brilliant concept for sure.
FOR THE STUDENT
It’s hard out there for the students in this hard up times so put together something useful for them, something we know they won’t think of immediately such as pasta bowls and acacia chopping boards, a set of good quality knives, cast iron pots; Our Place has a good sale going right now.
Every student needs a good sound system and the Homepod mini packs a punch whilst looking the absolute business. As a speaker it is ideal to cart around, plug in and listen as long as you are not bothering other people with your sound, its perfect in any room and functions perfectly with the iPhone.
One drawback, it needs to plugged which is not often ideal for a picnic. Still its a powerful sound and the perfect gift for a student.
GIFT OF A GOOD MORNING
This was by far the most popular gifting item in the christmas quarterly of last year hence it is back again this year. There is nothing quite like giving the gift of a good morning.
Coffee: Jamaican blue mountain ground coffee
Pour over kettle
coffee bean grinder.
One last thing, note that these are merely guidelines, the best gift you can give a loved one s to simply be there, nothing beats that and nothing ever will.