10 Fail-Safe Presents

18585f7c095ca8df269e68ffc2e5179fIn our dreams we would waft around the snowy streets of a charming market town, cheeks aglow, children frolicking at our feet, whilst we buy presents for our nearest and dearest. (You know, something along the lines of the opening of Little Woman…) In reality, we don’t have time to think about what to eat for supper this evening and have work and domestic admin piling up. So here are our cheats: our top 10, always-a-winner presents….

1. Something sparkly

This for instance… It looks way more expensive than it is.

8644a16113328b5b86ad4ae707ff8fadLexi clutch bag, £45, Accessorize

We also love the Z for Accessorize range – I’d be thrilled with this bracelet or this one. And this little star necklace is adorable.

We are also huge fans of Astley Clarke. If I’m a very good girl, Santa, please can I have this rose gold eternity band? Or pretty much anything from the stacking ring collection would find favour (with any woman of taste). Or, indeed, any of their bracelets.

fc4d192e48b3de84c162e753d3fd7156‘Grey is the New Black’ bracelet stack, £475, Astley Clarke

2. Cashmere

Okay, so this is top end gifting but who doesn’t love a cashmere jumper? All the fashion editors I know wear M&S men’s cashmere. Opt for navy or grey and you cannot go wrong.

SD_03_T30_4110A_T7_X_EC_90Pure cashmere crew neck jumper, £89, Marks & Spencer

You’ll find excellent options at Uniqlo and Gap 

And if anyone doesn’t know what to buy me and fancies a splurge, then this from Hush would do me nicely:

CJUM2-CLO-07-1Cashmere crew neck, £160, Hush

3. Pretty much anything from The White Company

A mattress topper is a genius present idea – who doesn’t want to slumber on a cloud? I’d be thrilled with fluffy new towels or how about a luxurious throw? For something smaller and suit-all, the candle holders are gorgeous and add sparkle to pretty much every interior.


4. A candle

By all means roll your eyes, but I have never given a candle to an ungrateful recipient (unless they’re all really good at faking enthusiasm). In London, Liberty has a fabulous selection. Try Aromatherapy Associates Relax candle (£35); Diptyque’s Tubereuse (£40); or Bella Freud’s Je T’aime Jane (£38). We also adore Hush’s new home fragrance range.

contbell499000398-nocolour5. Small person to buy for? Opt for something with ears.

By ‘small’ I mean too teeny to appreciate Christmas. Or presents. Or pretty much anything bar sleep and milk. So opt for aesthetically-pleasing cuteness for everyone else. My dear little boy has this cardigan and the Zara Mini hat en route. He also rocks a grey hooded all-in-one from Gap in which he looks positively edible.

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Knitted jacket, £26-£28, Boden; Bunny hat and mittens, £22, Boden; Sherpa bear hat, £7.95, Gap; Handmade bear hat, £9.99, Zara

6. Anything monogrammed

Because it’s chic. Not on the High Street has a seemingly endless selection. J.Crew will monogram your pjs or jumpers. My sister-in-law to be, the very stylish and fabulous Antonia, recently instagrammed a fabulous Oliver Bonas number  Selfridges have made personalised products their festive ‘thing’ this year – from Nutella to the chicest personalised baubles. The most stylish Secret Santa present around.

classicbauble_image1_1200px Personalised baubles, £13, Twenty Seven


Monogram mug, £8, Anthropologie

 7. Stripes

For him. For her. For little ones.

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Women’s iconic jersey Breton, £58; Girls’ Breton, £35

8. Books

I am of the view that is impossible to have too many books. London bookshop Lutyens and Rubenstein offer a year in books for adults, children, babies or term time. This is essentially the perfect present.

9. A one-off…

…or at the very least something unusual which they would not buy themselves which you have sourced oh-so-cleverly. I love Katy Leigh’s beautiful, witty ceramics – I would hang her plates on the wall so I could admire them all day, every day.

orange flower Yellow flower








Plates, £24 each (plus £3 p&p), Katy Leigh

10. Cheese glorious cheese

My husband is of the view that, if you don’t like cheese, you can’t be in our gang. I wouldn’t put it that strongly, but I do adore cheese. Even stinky cheese which causes others to recoil. Just don’t hide it atop the fridge (as I did one year) and then spend hours seeking the source of the stench. Not sure where to start? Try a Christmas Collection from Neal’s Yard. Or a Classic Collection or sample the New Traditionals.

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