Christmas Gift Guide (of Sorts) 2016

Even when I’m not blogging (though I *do* plan to return in 2017), the annual SBOS Gift Guide has become a thing now. The format is simple – 30 things, in (theoretically) a variety of price brackets (although this year’s seems oddly pricey!) that I’d happily give and/or receive.

As with last year, if you have other great suggestions for gifts, especially from independent merchants, please leave them in the comments – I *love* discovering new stuff! Let me know too which items on here you particularly like – it helps me to plan next year’s!

1.Byredo Unnamed Eau de Parfum, £90
Byredo make gorgeous, gorgeous (expensive) fragrances, but the real joy of this is that it’s nameless until … you name it. Better still, you do that with the set of stickers that come with it in the Byredo font. By the end of 2017 I swear I will have bought this and called it ‘Blood, bruises and semen.’

byredo

2. Scheu… aber Geil Scheurebe 2015, £16.50
The downside to this is that the website describes it as ‘an undervalued German cross between Riesling and a mystery grape,’ which, given German wine’s reputation, doesn’t seem promising. But ‘Scheu… aber Geil’ means ‘Shy … but Horny,’ so this is the perfect gift for your crush. Plus, I’ve tried it and it’s really nice. Honest.

shybuthorny

3. Kawecko fountain pen, £17.99
Because who (especially writers) doesn’t want a cute fountain pen that still takes cartridges? Look, some of us miss being at school, okay?

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Roald Dahl Rococo Chocolate Bar Bundle, £40
For someone who’s as much a sucker for beautiful packaging as they are for chocolate (i.e. me), these are perfect.

rococo

5. Dasher throw, £120
I was uncertain about putting what is essentially a blanket on the list, in case I seemed eighty years old, but when I mooted it on Twitter, people seemed very keen. So here it is.

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6. Sibling gin, £34
This is a) delicious b) beautifully packaged and c) perfect for that hard to buy for brother or sister.

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7. Cashmere blend fisherman rib jumper, £119
Because let’s be honest: who doesn’t love a man in snuggly knitwear? Plus, it’s as much a gift for you as it is for him…

cashmere-jumper

8. Subscription to BUST magazine, from $24.95
Everybody loves getting post that isn’t bills, but glossy magazines have got progressively worse and worse. BUST describes itself as a ‘groundbreaking, original women’s lifestyle magazine’ and has features on everything from craft to sex, as well as an erotic story. Prices start from $24.95 for a print subscription in the US, but international subscriptions are available.

bust-mag

9. Desire: 100 of Literature’s Sexiest Stories, £20
Personally, I love coffee table/reference books that tie in with my interests, and while I don’t care if they shock my mum, Desire is a nice way of acknowledging someone’s interest in sex writing in a way they can display in public without feeling embarrassed.

desire-stories

10. Upcycled wooden wine crate ottoman, from £165
If I had the space in my living room/kitchen/bedroom (and £165 to spare), I would definitely own one of these. Plus, it looks like it might be the perfect height to bend over…

ottoman

11. DIY gingerbread house kit, £35
Is this meant for children? Probably. Would I love to receive it nonetheless? Hell yes.

biscuiteers

12. Toothy shark, £20
Talking of things that are meant for children but I want … I have so much lust for this guy. One friend asked why he had legs when he’s a shark, but I don’t care why he has legs – I find his smile instantly cheers me.

shark

13. Feminist enamel lapel pin, £9.99
This is the perfect stocking filler for your BFF, your mum, your girlfriend, your wife. It’s just perfect, essentially.

feminist-pin

14. Get a room voucher, from £50
Gift vouchers, when presented beautifully, are no longer a gift you get when you don’t know what to get someone. In the case of these, they’re what you get someone who really wants/needs a (dirty) weekend away.

getaroom

15. Diptyque Scented candle la Madeleine, £55
I’m personally not a huge lover of scented candles, but this one really does smell like madeleines. In an ideal world, I think you’d buy it for someone bookish along with a copy of Proust’s In search of lost time.

scented-candle-madeleine

16. Concrete letters, from £4.50
Buying for a brutalism fan, or someone who has a kink for concrete? Buy them their name (or their safeword)…

concrete

17. Feather appliqué journal, £9.50
I sing the praises of the hardback notebook every year: they don’t fall apart and they’re easier to use when out and about. Plus, this Paperchase one is actually pretty good value.

feather-applique-journal

18. Tickets for a show at the Bunker, from £19.50
I think I’m right in saying the Bunker is London’s newest theatre, and it’s great for two reasons. 1) It shows thought-provoking, often feminist stuff 2) The bar stays open after the show and the cast tend to mingle, so you can discuss the performance with them. Combine this with a meal at the excellent Padella, which is right across the road.

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19. Simple cookbook, £20
I haven’t cooked from this yet, but I have asked for it for Christmas, and I would gladly own it for the cover image alone. Also, Diana Henry’s recipes tend to be failsafe.

simple
20. Book and a bottle, from £40
A book and a bottle is a subscription service run by Damian Barr, who also hosts excellent literary salons in London. For every month you subscribe, you get a gorgeously wrapped book and bottle of wine specially selected to match it.

bookandbottle

21. Multistripe boxers, £27
I’m not sure if it’s because pink is an unusual colour for men’s underwear, but I really, really like these. They make me sad that Paul Smith doesn’t also seem to make women’s underwear. If you buy them right as I hit publish on this post, they also seem to be 25% off at the moment, so just over £20.

paul-smith

22. Caged kite pendant necklace, £6
I saw someone wearing this on a writing workshop I did recently, and it was so pretty, I asked her where it was from, then went and bought one immediately. It looks much more expensive than it is, and as such, it’s the ideal secret santa gift.

caged-kite

23. Hot Dudes Reading Calendar 2017, £10.99
Another one that’s good for secret santa, although possibly more between friends than in the office…

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24. ‘I Can’t Even’ Collar Tag, £10
This was not the collar tag I intended to put on this list – I wanted to include the ‘Fur bae’ one but it’s currently sold out. Pretty certain your cat-loving friend would like all of these though.

cant-even

25. Liberty Navy Summer Bloom floral tie, £47.50
I love Liberty print and I love a man in a tie – what more is there to say? For people who like their ties more colourful than this, there are also lots of brighter Liberty prints available; for those who like them subtler, you can get the tie in plain charcoal with a print lining.

liberty-tie

26. The Very Hungry Caterpillar Socks, £8.99
When I first came across these, I was all ‘Oh, but why do kids get all the cool stuff?’ only to then spot that these come in (both men’s and women’s) ADULT SIZES. Want.

very_hungry_caterpillar_socks_1024x1024

27. Imposter print, $30
I have so many female friends who need to hear this, so I think it’s a great gift. If you want to give it framed, eBay has a huge selection of cheap frames to choose from. (Also, the spelling of ‘impostor’ is not wrong (I checked!), it’s just American…)

imposter_print

28. Arrow snood – mint, £30
I don’t do scarves, or anything that functions like I scarf, because I get too hot way too quickly. If I didn’t, I’d own this. Your scarf loving friend will probably adore it.

snood

29. Real luxury bath & shower drops, £40
It wouldn’t be a SBOS gift guide without some overpriced bath stuff. This year’s boasts the huge advantage of coming with a *pipette* so you don’t accidentally tip thirty quid’s worth of bath oil into one bath. I haven’t tried it yet, but the reviews seem super positive.

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30. Tinsel Tits Christmas Jumper, £34.99
I don’t think I really need to explain why I think this is great.

tinsel-tits

All pictures are taken from sellers’ websites. No copyright infringement is intended. If you’d like a picture removing or crediting, please do get in touch.

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Gift guide (of sorts): Mother’s Day 2016

Molly of Mollysdailykiss.com fame asked if I’d be doing a Mother’s Day gift guide, and I said no, because they’re time consuming and they don’t get as many hits as the sex related stuff, but then I’ve seen a lot of cute stuff in the past couple of weeks so I figured I may as well share it…

From left to right:

1.Betsy Liberty Print Mini Suitcase, £65

This would be perfect for keeping stationery, craft materials or make up in  – it’s girly, sure, but it’s also really lovely.

2. Mini Lipstick Charms, £29

Charlotte Tilbury make up has a kind of retro, Hollywood glamour to it (makes sense, she’s a celebrity make up artist) – the packaging is stunning, but the products are also really good quality. This set of three lippies is particularly good because all the colours are wearable, *and* they have fab names. Bitch Perfect, anyone?

3. The Nordic Bakery Cookbook, £13.48

Since I went to Copenhagen last month, I’m obsessed with all things Scandi (travel guide potentially on the way). Scandinavian is basically a synonym for cosy, and I think this book looks like the perfect way to create cosiness at home while waiting for Spring to properly arrive.

4. Ren Moroccan Rose Bath Oil, £26

I’m essentially incapable of writing a list that doesn’t have bath oil on it. Rose wouldn’t usually be my top choice of fragrance, but I’m swayed by how subtle this is, and by the beautiful bottle, which makes it great as a gift.

5. Mr B’s Reading Spa, £65

Mr B’s Reading Year was on my original Christmas gift guide, and it was one of the most popular things on there. This, the cheaper version, gets you a voucher to go and discuss books and eat cake with a member of the Mr B’s team, and £45 to spend on books. Great if your mum likes to support independent retailers.

6. Elle Decoration Subscription, £38

This is what I’ve got for my mum. I think it’s a good choice because it has actual content worth reading (i.e. isn’t Cosmo), and is much less old-fashioned than most of the home magazines out there.

7. Dark Chocolate, Pistachio and Raspberry Brittle, £5.85

Pistachios always make me come over all Nigella, because they’re such a great colour, and paired with dried raspberries and dark chocolate, this is so pretty, I almost wouldn’t want to eat it, but is also from Ottolenghi, so guaranteed to be delicious.

8. Andy Warhol Ideas Book, £13.99

Like bath oil, there’s always a notebook. This one has unlined pages with Warhol quotes, and can be used for writing or drawing. And it’s hardcover, which is always a bonus.

9. Feminism Dress, £14.99

I saw a girl wearing this slogan on a tee, which sadly no longer seems to be available, but this would be a great dress for lounging around in at weekends.

10. Glitter Hearts iPhone 6 Case, £20

I can’t decide if this is cool or tacky, but I think it would definitely be hypnotic, and she’ll know you love her, at least…

11. Hay Kaleidoscope Trays, £56

There’s a real Scandinavian theme to this list, but Hay trays are cool because you can buy as many as you can afford and keep adding them in new colours and sizes. I think this would be a great way to store jewellery.

12. Champagne Saucers, £20

Champagne saucers allegedly make fizz lose it’s well, fizz, quicker than flutes, but I don’t care, because I love them. Match these with a bottle of cava or prosecco and some elderflower or peach liqueur and you have a perfect afternoon…

13. Beaufort Necklace, £48

I want this, so your mum probably will too, right?

14. Set of 3 Photo and Cardholders, £23.42

I bought a set of these, and they’ve proved to be super useful – especially good if your mum likes bringing home postcards from exhibitions and has nowhere to display them.

15. Wire Mesh Memo board, £55

This is one of two ways of displaying postcards on a list of fifteen items (oops), but I would totally love this as a way of creating a kind of mood board for my novel. Perfect for creative types.

 

Valentine’s Gift Guide (of Sorts) 2016

There was no Valentine’s gift guide last year – there were biscuits, instead. Because, as I said last year, I like Valentine’s, once my front door has shut behind me, the fire is  lit, the Chinese takeaway is plated up and the chocolate and wine is in the fridge. I’ve had a routine, since I went to uni. Valentine’s = solitude + self care + treating yourself.

So these gifts aren’t intended for your partner, although many of them would undoubtedly be welcome. These are my fourteen suggestions, in various price brackets, for what you should buy yourself…

1. Dairy Milk Spring Edition, £0.50, Iceland0002665_470-Dairy-Milk-Spring-Edition-bar

Fancy chocolate is, y’know, fine, but this, really, is all you need. Plus, who knew it was only 50p for 100g at Iceland?

2. Salt made from tears of anger, £7.50, Hoxton Street Monster Supplies

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For the angry singletons out there (yes, ok, for me…), salt made from tears of anger is smoked salt, which, according to my research, goes well with roasted veg, nuts, houmous or pork chops.

3. Deer antler necklace, £12.82, Etsy

deer antlers

I have a bit of a thing for wild animals on jewellery, and deers are beautiful, and spring-like, and available in three finishes for a remarkably bargainous price…

4. Scented hyacinths bouquet, £30, Waitrose

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This is the traditional option, but there’s nothing wrong with buying your own flowers on Valentine’s (or having them delivered).

5. Wonder woman Jolly Ginger, £9.95, Biscuiteers

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One I might be more likely to buy for a friend than for myself, given the speed at which I can consume gingerbread, this is super cute nonetheless.

6. How to be a heroine, £9.98, Amazon

heroine

I’m reading this at the moment, and it is just so good. A timely reminder that you don’t need a prince in shining armour to be a heroine. Plus, the cover is stunning.

7. Loud, £3.99, Amazon

loud

Is my taste in music five years out of date? Yes. Is this a great album in spite of that? Hell yes. I bought it primarily for the gorgeous piano version of Love the way you lie, but the rest of the album is upbeat and perfect for singing along.

8. Fuck nest bunting, £50, www.cunting.bigcartel.com

fucknest

Self-explanatory, really. But definitely a talking point for the next time you get laid.

9. Champagne hat box, £45, Harvey Nichols, & Liberty print straws, £4, PapermashchampagneLiberty-Betsy-print-paper-straws_1024x1024

If you’re spending Valentine’s with friends, it’s probably not economical to drink mini bottles of champagne with a straw all night, but you could always keep topping the bottles up with cava once they’re done.

10. Superstar tights, £12, House of Holland for Pretty Polly

star tights

I haven’t worn these yet, but I have a star fetish and had to buy them when I saw them. The downside is the fact that they’re one size fits all. The upside? Er, stars, obviously.

11. Bonjour heart foil printed pouch purse, £12, Oliver Bonas

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All my cards and cash are loose in the pocket of my handbag, which is a disaster waiting to happen. A proper wallet is beyond me, but this? This, I might just use.

12. Laura Mercier almond coconut milk, honey bath, £33, Liberty

lauramercier

One for fans of sweet scents, I’m not personally sure I love this, but it is creamy as fuck and the little honey dipper is *adorable*.


13. Ultimate Cowshed manicure, £55, Cowshedcheeky

Cowshed manicures are pricey. They’re also great – big leather armchairs, good colour selection, drinks … it’s my favourite place for a treat mani. Plus, with the Ultimate, you get a neck and shoulder massage too. Hell, yes…

14. Monogram crest journal, £22, Anthropologie

anthronotebook

Soon, I’m planning on starting a series of fortnightly posts showcasing my favourite blog posts, notebooks and bath oils (I know, specific, right?). Consider this a preview – these journals from Anthro are absolutely top of my to-buy list.