Christmas 2014 Gift Guide (of sorts)

This is another of those posts that I get to write because I blog primarily for me, and therefore I can be completely self-indulgent. I fucking love Christmas gift guides. I think the Guardian will probably launch theirs this coming weekend, which has been pretty good in previous years, the Cup of Jo one is imminent, and is pretty useful if you’re in the States, and there are even gift guides for writers and some written by the wonderful Alison Tyler (again, 2014 ones on the way).

I’m a big believer in buying handmade/indie/Etsy stuff for gifts, the only real exceptions I make being clothing, books/music/film, beauty products, make up and alcohol. Even with the last of those, and chocolate too, I’ll buy from smaller producers where I can. If I’m being totally honest, I do buy books from Amazon, but please be a better person than me and buy them from RL bookstores where possible.

So, with the preamble out of the way, here are my top 30 Christmas gift recommendations. I’d love to know what you’re buying too, so *please*, *please* tell me in the comments – it’s like porn for me…

1. Flasher Bat Plush Bat in Tiny Tighty Whities £29.40

OK, let’s start at the crazier end. I’m a real sucker for stuff that’s completely odd, and this bat definitely falls into that category. I especially love that when you wrap his wings around him you have no idea he’s wearing pants…

Flasher Bat plush bat in tiny tighty whities by carefulitbites - Windows Interne_2014-11-21_13-12-44

2. Willoughby Book Club Subscription, from £34.99 

My friends bought me a six-month subscription to the contemporary version of this for my 30th, and I swear it’s one of the best gifts I’ve ever received. Not only do the books arrive beautifully wrapped in tissue paper every month, it also supports an independent bookstore. There are different options too, including kids’, toddlers’ and cookery books.




3. What I See When I Run Prints, from $30

I’m not really a floral person, but I have the print below in my spare room, and I adore it. The story behind the prints is nice, too – you can find out more about it at



4. M&S Best of British Tights, £8

These are pretty new, I think, and they’d make a nice stocking filler for a girlfriend. M&S normally make good but really boring tights – lots of these designs (back seam, cable, chevron) are sexy, not tacky. Equally, I bought a pair of these Autograph leaf design ones at the weekend and fuck me, they’re comfy.


5. Cambridge Satchel Co. Shoulder Bag in Oxblood, £255

This is my current handbag, in a different shade. I’ve never had so many compliments on a bag, and if I could justify buying it in a second colour, I totally would. Plus, isn’t ‘Oxblood’ just the best name for a colour?

The Shoulder Bag  The Cambridge Satchel Company - Windows Internet Explorer_2014-11-21_13-47-45

6.Sharpie Limited Edition 80’s Glam Fine Point Permanent Markers, £16.99

Everyone needs a good set of felt tips or markers and these are the best, as long as you’re working on decent quality paper. Because they’re permanent, they scream ‘Take me seriously!’ Kristina Lloyd signs books with black Sharpie, and, as far as I’m concerned it’s just another reason why she’s so damn kick ass.


7. Hush PJs, £49.50

I sleep naked, which is clearly the only sensible option. However, great PJs double as loungewear, so even though I take mine off before bed, I do kick around the house in them a lot. Hush often have discounts and/or free postage, so they’re worth keeping an eye on…


8. Pulp ‘Different Class’ Album As Books Poster Print, £18

One of those things I wasn’t sure if I loved or hated when I first saw it, I’ve now decided I love it. All the tracks on Pulp’s Different Class album are reproduced on book spines as if they were classic Penguin titles. If you’re not buying for a Pulp fan, there are lots of other artists, too.

Pulp 'Different Class' Album As Books Poster by StandardDesigns - Windows Intern_2014-11-21_13-11-56

9. Origins Ginger Float Cream Bubble Bath, £27

I swear I mention this stuff at least once a week, but it really is the best bath product I’ve ever used. If you don’t like ginger (What’s wrong with you?!), Origins do lots of other gorgeous bath oils and shower gels, any of which I’d be thrilled to receive…


10. Gold Triangle Necklace, £18

This is actually a brass triangle on a gold chain, but it’s very pretty and very simple and I know when I buy stuff from Oh My Clumsy Heart for my friends, they’re pretty much guaranteed to love it. Plus, it’s less than £20.


11. NARS Blusher in Orgasm, £22.50

You can’t go wrong with a classic, and NARS Orgasm is certainly that. It’s a very easy-to-wear shade, but the other colours are worth a look too – especially ‘Deep Throat.’


12. Wooden Mistletoe, £22

This is my latest gift to myself – it’s Christmassy and it encourages kissing. Need I say more? If you want to encourage kissing, but you don’t want to spend £20+, there’s also a smaller £10 version.


13. Mapping Manhattan, £10.53

For some reason, I still don’t own a copy of this, although I’ve bought it for friends. People who read my blog regularly will know that great sense of place is a real love of mine and this book, which contains maps of Manhattan illustrated by a huge variety of people to show what the city means to them, is fascinating to me.


14. Shopping List Magnets, £22

Not gonna lie – I want to be a domestic goddess almost as much as I want to be a successful sex blogger. Plus, I’m a magpie when it comes to shiny, colourful things. These are both…


15. Magimix Le Mini Plus Food Processor, £149.95

Want to tell someone who loves cooking that you love them? Forget diamonds, what they really want is a Magimix. On my list (in orange) as soon as I have the worktop space for it, I’d give a lifetime of blowjobs to any man who bought me one of these…


16. Let’s Make Out Cushion, £63.37

Another item that features a lot in my blog posts, I was horrified by the price of this when I saw it on a holiday in Washington DC, but I went back to the shop to stare at it longingly so often, I decided in the end it was worth it. And I’ve never, ever regretted it.

LET'S MAKE OUT recycled felt applique pillow by alexandraferguson - Windows Inte_2014-11-21_13-14-51

17. Edinburgh Gin Cocktail Kit, £45

This is so cool I’d never want to take it out of the box, but it probably wouldn’t take much of a gin emergency to persuade me. A good one if you’re willing to spend a bit, but you’re looking for something more exciting than a bog standard bottle of alcohol.


18. What Fresh Hell Pencil Set, £2.63

Alison Tyler and I overlap on our love of Etsy shop Carbon Crusader, and their pencil sets make great stocking fillers for stationery lovers. I think fresh hell is a universal sentiment, but there are lots of other designs available too.


19. How to Feed Your Friends with Relish, £12.99

Nobody cooks from cookbooks anymore, right? And yet, I do cook from this one. The boy (and probably all boys) wisecracks when I cook for him from it that really you should feed your friends something other than relish, but don’t let that put you off. It doesn’t have any pics, which is the downside, but it reads like a novel or a blog. Highly, highly recommended.


20. Essie Nail Polish, £7.99

After Polished, how could I not include a nail varnish? One particularly cool year, I picked out colours that were associated with something to do with each of my friends and then themed the rest of their gifts round the polish name. The one shown below is Midnight Cami…


21. Cowshed Horny Cow Room Fragrance Diffuser, £36

Cowshed is another of my adored brands, not least because it doesn’t contain any nasties. Horny Cow smells of Rose Absolute, Patchouli and Cinnamon Essential Oils and let’s face it, diffusers are so much less fuss than scented candles.


22. Crumb by Ruby Tandoh, £9

Yes, yes, Great British Bake Off fans, you want to hate her, but be honest, you can’t quite bring yourself to. I haven’t baked from this yet, but it would definitely get my vote for gorgeous cover of the year alone.


23. Chicks Over Dicks Keyrings, £31.36

Remember when you bought your friend the Forever Friends necklace? This is like the grown up version and if you’re not totally sure you agree with the sentiment (I’m not), you can also buy ‘Best Bitches’. Plus, it’s a gift for you too, right?

Copper Heart by MetalTaboo - Windows Int_2014-11-21_13-13-50

24. Charbonnel & Walker Pink Marc de Champagne Truffles, £12.95

When I was a pre-teen, and chubby, my mum offered to give me £20 cash if I agreed not to eat the Easter Eggs I’d been given. It’s no wonder I have a slightly unhealthy addiction to chocolate these days. Anyway, I think fancy chocolate is underrated as a gift, especially if the packaging is beautiful. I can’t think of anything I’d rather do with an evening than kick back with a box of these, a glass of wine and a good book.


25. Caramel Wafer Cushion, £44.50

After notebooks, cushions are another weakness of mine, which is probably why there are two on this list. And seriously, who *wouldn’t* want a Caramel Wafer cushion?


26. Young Punks Wine, Quickie, £12.49

Wine can be a *really* boring gift. You can make it more interesting by buying ones with cool, or relevant, names, or ones that explicitly reference sex…

Buy Quickie! - Sauvignon Blanc 2013 - Some Young Punks - WineBase - Windows Inte_2014-11-21_13-34-11

27. Brain Design Notebook, £18

You knew there’d be a notebook, right? I personally advocate hardback because you can write in them easily even on public transport, and I love Fanny Shorter’s prints, which are inspired by cross-sections of the brain and the heart. Good for scientists, medics or design fans, less good for the squeamish…


28. Bloom & Wild Letterbox Subscription, from £50

I’ve written before, I’m sure, about why it’s fine, great even, to buy yourself flowers. But receiving them is a lovely, lovely thing, and a bouquet through my letterbox once a month? Yes, please!

Bloom & Wild - Beautiful flowers, delivered through your letterbox the next day _2014-11-21_13-31-52

29. Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty, 3.49

By far the best book I’ve read all year, ‘Apple Tree Yard’ has a great plot, amazing sex scenes for a mainstream novel and a really well-written central female character. It’s a shame the cover’s shit, but hey, you can’t have it all.


30. Writing Retreats, £45-£500+

I’ve totally saved the best for last. Charlie Haynes runs one day writing retreats in London and longer ones a couple of times a year in Devon. They have very different feels – the London one is pretty intense, while the residential ones are more chilled and make me happier than other holiday has recently. Both involve a hell of a lot of excellent homemade cake. There are no dates up for either at the moment, sadly, but it looks like Charlie might put new residential dates  for 2015 up before the end of the year, so I figured it was worth including…




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Fat is an issue that I’ve not had in my relationships … thank god

Earlier this week, my neighbour came round with my Christmas gift, a bottle of marsala wine and a legendary M&S stollen – a vision of icing sugar and flaked almonds. He handed it over and wished me a 2014 that was ‘lucky in love.’ My neighbour is amazing, and if he wasn’t over 60 and married, I’d probably be making a move.

Anyway, that’s by the by. I took the stollen to work, commenting to a colleague that if I ate the whole thing by myself, it was unlikely that I’d be lucky in love next year, because, y’know, I’d be huge.

‘Do you consider your chances in love to be linked to your weight?’ she said, sounding vaguely horrified, as well she might.

I nodded and she shook her head. ‘That’s not good,’ she said. ‘Not good at all.’

She’s right – it’s not. You shouldn’t keep an eye on your weight because you’re worried about what a man might think about it, you should do so (if you want to) for your own health, sense of wellbeing, desire to reach a goal etc. etc.

A friend came round last night, after her work Christmas dinner. She mentioned that one of her colleagues, who she had a bit of fling with back in the Spring, had joked, after she’d finished both her risotto and sticky toffee pudding. ‘Wow, seeing you eat like that, it’s no wonder you’re a size 14.’

Now, this friend is petite, height-wise, and she’s a size 10-12. She said she’d laughed off his comments, told him to fuck off and felt smug that that particular day she was wearing a size 10 dress. Because that makes his comment fine, obviously.

I said this, and pointed out that that was hardly the point – how is it funny to accuse someone of being a dress size that’s smaller than the UK average? Because her attitude didn’t thrill me either, rather than calling him a cunt, which is what I’d have done, she was just pleased that he was two sizes out.

I am a size 14, bordering on a 16, and I pointed this out to her. She backtracked sharply, ‘Oh, but it’s different, isn’t it, because you’re taller, and curvier, and you have bigger tits.’ Well, yes, all of this is true, but it’s also a massively flawed argument. If we were the same weight we’d be very different sizes, but if we were the same dress size we’d be just that, the same dress size.

Her attitude isn’t quite as bad as his, but it’s still not great, and in my life I’ve found most of the pressure around my weight has come from other women (namely my mum), not from men.

The boy, for instance, has never made me feel remotely fat or uncomfortable about what I eat or drink. The only thing he has a go at me for consuming is wine which is clearly in his glass, not mine. Last week I mentioned, in passing, that the night before I’d eaten two bowls of cereal, a croissant, and then my dinner, all because nothing seemed to sate my hunger – and then I’d felt massively sick.

‘Well, obviously,’ was his only comment. ‘I’d expect a seven-year-old to know  that.’ He wasn’t at all bothered by how much I’d eaten, just by the fact that I seemed surprised that it had made me nauseous – and that was worth teasing me about. It’s that attitude which makes me happy to fuck him on top of the covers, sober, in daylight, and to wander around naked after sex without worrying about the size of my tummy, and fuck, it’s liberating.

So please, ladies, don’t fuck anyone this Christmas who makes you feel fat. There’ll always be men, but there won’t always be lebkuchen (this statement may be  slightly flawed). But seriously, if he wants to sleep with someone skinnier than you, then that’s what he should do. You don’t need to be a certain weight to make him happy.