I write this because I am that impossible woman. I am the woman who, if you ask what she wants for Christmas, says “oh I’m sure I’ll love whatever you buy me, darling” and then finds it unable to hide a disappointed face as big as the moon when she unwraps a deep fat fryer on the 25th December. Has happened.
Other presents I’ve been bought at Christmas also include shoes three sizes too big, gloves that I already owned and the promise of a dishwasher (that I ended up buying myself). And so, for the good of men everywhere, I present to you: what to buy for the demanding woman who will never be pleased, i.e. ME.
I hope this is the beginning of the end of poor present buying.
FYI, shoe size is 5.5. 38.5 Euro – you will need this measurement in Selfridge’s Shoe Galleries ;)
BEAUTY AND CANDLES
As much as us impossible women love beauty, I would stay far away from it unless there’s a specific product she uses on the regular. In fact, even if there’s a specific product she uses on the regular I’d still steer clear: someone buying me a tub of my everyday Clinique’s Take The Day Off Balm would be equal to someone buying me a bottle of Fairly Liquid. Soz.
Instead, how about a scented candle? This is one thing I always have paroxysms of guilt buying for myself… it somehow seems incredibly frivolous to spend £40 on something that is so intangible. You’re literally burning money. Which is why I’m always beyond thrilled to receive them as gifts. No more guilt for me!
I adore the Knackered Cow candle from Cowshed (£34) – and while we’re at it their handcare duo (£25) is wonderful though it probably errs on the side of an unsexy and practical gift. Jo Malone candles are gorgeous and come beautifully wrapped, a real treat on Christmas day. Anything fig-based is great for winter and their Wild Fig and Cassis candle (£42) is no exception. Diptyque is my ultimate when it comes to candles – I’ll take a Baies Noir (£55) pretty pretty please Father Christmas?
OK, so you’ll need to know a little bit about your super-fussy loved one to successfully purchase them a handbag. But, if you’re confident in this, I’d say you can’t go wrong with a couple of brands and styles of bag: always a winner.
Just make sure the brand is luxe enough to include a dustbag, yeah? That’ll make all the difference on Christmas morning, trust me.
In the words of M. Carey (ish), All I Want For Christmas Is… not you, but this YSL quilted handbag. Gorgeous, just gorgeous. Will last a lifetime – and it has to at over £1k. A snip in comparison but no less desirable is the Gucci Soho cross-body (£715) – classic, modern, beautiful. For a truly British designed and made product the Tusting Cardington is something special (£190) – get it monogrammed to make it really special – and the more pocket-friendly LK Bennett Mariel (£145) can be upgraded with the Boyarde leather letters (£19 each).
COFFEE TABLE BOOKS
You can’t really go wrong with the old coffee table book. I constantly have a list of books I want to buy but can’t justify spending twenty quid on because hello, you’ve seen the cost of my scented candle habit. Believe me when I say that there’s nothing nicer than flicking through a solid hardback book with a cup of tea and a couple of HobNobs on a lazy Sunday afternoon (plus when on your actual coffee table they make visitors believe you’re well interesting): and hopefully the person your buying gifts for will agree.
If you’ve ever visited a Soho House establishment you’ll know how amazing they are at hospitality. Their new book – Morning Noon Night (£30)- touches on all aspects of this, from recipes to interiors, cocktails to service. Next up is this paper doll book for grown-ups (and smalls, too) Fashion Mash-Up (£15.58). My friend wrote it (yay!) and I’d suggest buying two: one to play with, one to keep pristine on that coffee table. Finally, not strictly a hardback but arguably the ultimate style guide: Love x Style x Life (£11.89) by Garance Dore (buy it in French to really look cultured… if you can read French, I guess).
Sometimes there’s just no pleasing your fussy pants girlfriend/wife/sister/daughter/pain-in-the-arse friend: this is what gift vouchers were made for. I’d jump for joy at vouchers for Selfridges or John Lewis. Please and thank-you.