This one is directed more at the females, and it is what it is. I always want to think that my gift guides are more about a type of person than a gender but in this case it is weighted towards one of them. Not that I have anything bad to say about beauty products for men; Bulldog usually has nice sets this time of year, as do Kiehl’s (and many men need a bit of moisturizer). To say nothing of the coolness in buying classic things like cufflinks/shaving sets with brush and razor for the man in your life. Below however are a few gift recommendations for the ladies.
An actual vanity. I have my eye on auctions because old furniture tells a story and are good value. Now that everyone and their mother has bought themselves a cool vintage bar cart I predict that vanity tables will be the next hot thing, so get them now. Whether is a voluptuous art deco thing or a sleek 60s table that hits that minimalist soft spot, it does scream “self-care” and “me time”. What I hear so many people complain about is the lack of ritual, that little space in time to mentally prepare and focus on the inner. Well in my view, sitting at the vanity for a bit is just that, and putting on the make up in the bathroom is a bad idea because the lighting is never not shit. I keep coming back to an episode in a biography about Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in which (according to my memory) he called out to her from the other room “What are you doing” and she replied “Oh, I’m sitting at my vanity, just playing with my jewelry”. Goals AF.
Scented candles. It is the little black dress of gifts, a good quality scented candle. Either expensive or hard to get i.e. something that the recipient wouldn’t buy for him or herself. I will say that “Treehouse” by Byredo is appreciated by many men. My own experience with Overrose left a little to be desired but those pink containers are covetable and I don’t judge. Ciré Trudon can do very little wrong and you know I love Diptyque. Jo Malone is good if you can get it, my respect for L:A Bruket is increasing with every product of theirs I try. And Le Labo is amazing, the Santal candle is everything.
Sample kit from Le Labo. Speaking of which, I’m on a bit of Le Labo tip. Not 100% about all the products that I’ve tried but when they get it right it is so right. Perfumes is tricky buying for someone else, so a sample kit is a good idea. Find it here.
Good brushes for the hair. Mason Pearson is still the gold standard. A tangle teezer is a good idea for everyone who has hair longer than the ears. Best given with some nice shampoo and conditioner. If you are giving MP you do not need anything else really.
Good brushes for make-up. With the risk of being a bit repetitive having good brushes when applying make-up makes all the difference. It is truth universally acknowledged that those applicators that are included in many eyeshadows, blushers and powers are inadequate. With a brush from say Laura Mercier (the Laura Mercier Pony brush is all that) or Mac (some very good sets available) the putting on of any products is simplified.
Sisley black rose mask. Or anything in that series. Just putting that one out there.
Personalized stationary. Maybe correspondence is better handled from a proper desk but I can easily conjure up the image of a woman, taking of her make up and jeweler, writing a little “thank you” while the memory of the evening is still fresh. That sort of thing. I do like that image, let’s try to be a bit classy in 2018, pay attention to other people, be thankful, make memories. I suggest getting something from Papier because personalized is king.
Additional tips; creme d’abricot from Dior for nails and hands, Pretty Honest by Sali Huges for the know how on beauty.
I’m dreaming of a pink Christmas. It was decided yesterday that the holiday celebrations with the family will not be at my place, and so I feel freer in my choice of decorating scheme. Not that friends and family ever have an opinion, I just try to create a vibe not only for myself. This year though? I’ve always wanted to do a Christmas that was red,white and pink, and now it is happening. The fact that I fell for the Byredo candle, in the red container, that was just icing on the cake.
I’m making a list, I’m checking it twice. I will be making a lot of list from now to the 24th of December; best holiday cocktails (having a variation on a drink with saffron in the pic as research), best books to give a presents, more giftguides; in short all of the lists. Any list in particular you want me to write?
A partridge in a pear tree anyone? One of the few things I’m good at is buying presents for others, so make use of my expertise by asking for suggestions in the comments and I will try to help. And as mentioned; gift guides are coming.
Last Christmas (I listened to Wham. I always do). #sorrynotsorry. This happens every year and has done so since childhood. Except that year that Sam Smith released a version of “Have yourself a Merry little Christmas”. Really that is your best hope at this point, a new release from Smith, otherwise I will drive you all mad. Just embrace the Wham people.
I don’t feel like myself if I don’t get to watch Elf. I will also happily watch “Love, Actually”. I tell you, I have the cheesiest taste when it comes to this season.
Outpourings of my creativity. This season brings out the best in me creatively, the inspiration is everywhere (I will stare at window displays all day). And now that there is a certain limitation of sorts , a framework I’ve created myself mind you, it’s kicking in big time. I find that having a bit of a constraint will improve my output. Be prepared for possible wreaths, ornaments and why not clothes? (I already have a Christmas skirt I made one year). Lotta Külhorn really is a role model in this.
I will complain about the weather. One of the worst and best things with Christmas is that it happens during the coldest and darkest part of the year. I never seem to learn that it does.
So here we are; already October. Fall is in full swing and by “in full swing” I mean more rainy days than not, leaves that go from a wonderful red to a rather unflattering brown and that week of desperation towards the end of the month when it’s all dark and gloomy but too early to start making Christmas plans to cheer things up. Here are seven things that will get me through the month, and probably beyond, in no particular order.
Reading The Tale of Genji. It is finally happening, the reading has begun and it’s exciting, inspiring and it’s 1400 pages long so I’m gonna have something to do when staying in.
Feeling warm in my knitted kimono jacket. This is not something I made recently but this is the time of year that I bring it out, plum-coloured goes with this season like “whoa”.
Scenting myself with Accord Oud from Byredo. I’m seven years to late to the Oud-game, and lord knows I have tried a lot of them on. As I used my samples last month I was, much to my surprise, taken by this one. I don’t even know how I ended up with a sample of it to begin with. “Never say never” is the moral of the story.
Wearing my double monk strap shoes. I think I got my first monkstraps when I was twelve and I had waged a campaign to get them, it’s a kind of shoe I really like. But it can be hard to find a pair that fits my feet. The boy’s department might have something from time to time but they are often too wide. Every now and again I come across a pair in the women’s department. On the top of my double monk wish list you will always find brown suede ones but a pair of funky black ones with a bit of fake snake it just the kind of thing that works with 90% of my closet (as it is a cabinet of curiosities TBH). With these shoes being the foundation of my outfits I will prioritize short tight skirts paired with very clean-cut shirts and sweaters.
Applying red lipstick. At the moment I’m back on the Chilean sunset from Victoria BeckhamxEstée Lauder but that is subject to change, when it comes to red lipsticks I’m a slut. But honestly this particular lipstick looks good with the plum kimono and that.
Painting my nails in a dark red. This particular one is called Bordeaux and I also bought a so-called gel like top coat. It does give a nice finish though, but is still easy to take off.
Checking the time on my watch and not being bloody distracted by my phone. This is not the watch I have dreamt of, it is not even a watch I really want but it’s a watch that is a reasonable size and that I can live with. I prefer leather bands to start with but finding a watch that is small enough for my wrists at a price that is small enough for my current budget is tricky. So this is my compromise for now, a Casio.
Current mood: very desirous of starting the new year with a clean slate.
This is nothing new, happens every year. So I’m not on a book buying ban but the wish to read all the books in my TBR-pile is greater then my urge to buy books(all those reservations from the library are dropping in though so the stack keeps growing). I haven’t looked for clothes,will have to buy winter boots but otherwise I’m using what I have and it keeps falling apart. A very organic close cleansing.
Another area where I’m trying to use what I have is my perfumes. I’m not a collector; more of a perfume hunter. It is a source of inspiration and comfort but I’m very picky. November so far has been a month of using up all the samples that I’ve had, and a few have been given away.
So these are the ones that I have.
Not that many, again I’m not a collector, and I rarely buy or ask for the same perfume twice. Similar kind of perfumes absolutely but the only ones that I’ve had more then one bottle of is Un Jardin sur Le Nil by Hermès and L’ombre dans l’eau from Diptyque. The first one is the kind of scent that works really well for daytime, and especially in a work environment. It is also the closest thing to a signature scent that I’ve ever; a friend had tried it on one of those paper sticks (whatever they are called) and used it a a bookmark. When her boyfriend caught a whiff of it he asked “has Suss been here today?”. My mum bought a bottle for herself as she liked it but handed it over to me because “when I wear it I turn around looking for you”. I currently don’t use it as much, then I was a student and didn’t have that many perfumes, but I think it will come back in heavy rotation . This time of year I find the The knot from Bottega Veneta and Bullion from Byredo are my go to-scents. The knot for daytime, with it’s musky softness and orange blossom, and Bullion for evening; leather and heavy floral adds glamour . I might throw in a little Flagrant Délices from Terry De Ginzburg if I feel the need for something sweet (but it is more suitable in September and October for some reason).
I will not finish any of these bottles( maybe the Books from Commodity Goods) but I’m biding my time. I would love to have something book-related for 2017 but we’ll see what I end up with. A piece of advice that I got when I was younger was to always buy perfume when traveling; not the duty-free section but stuff that you can’t buy here. When Tom Ford released his line of scents they were not available here. My mum (again) travelled to Paris to buy it. She said that “seeing the Mona Lisa is on my bucket list” but admitted later that Black Orchid was what she really wanted. As I have no trips currently planned I will look around my hometown for something. And possibly online as many brands offer to send samples (if you pay for P&P) so that I can try before ordering.
The situation has gotten a lot better here, we have Tom Ford-counters in Stockholm now, and a few other places where shopping for perfume is a good idea.
Byredo; I’m on record not being the biggest Byredo buyer. I love Bullion but it’s the only one for their scents that I’ve ever wanted. I do love some of their candles. That said I wish I was a bigger fan because their shop is amazing, they have such nice staff and the packaging is brilliant. It is worth a visit even if they only carry their own brand.
Cow Perfumery; just across the street is Cow where you can buy Frederic Malle,Comme de garçons and a few others. Their brands have changed over the years, they are pretty niche but all good stuff, well curated and wonderful people behind the counter to assist.
Nordiska Kompaniet; One of Sweden’s biggest and oldest department stores, the equivalent of Harrod’s in London, obviously has a perfume department where hours can be spent. In addition to the big label counters(Tom Ford,Chanel,Diptyque) and shop-in-shops(Byredo,Hermès) they have several niche brands like Keiko Mecheri and Arquiste.
Eivy Flodin; I love a proper shop. This place is old school but they have a lot of classic stuff and a few smaller french labels but its a joy to shop there. I always get distracted by all their accessories though so end up leaving with earrings instead.
I have a slight obsession with scented candles. I’m a bit tired of the hype and the ever increasing prices but as candles has become not so much a luxury item as something for everyone, the market has gotten bigger.
Still, we live in the narrative age, and giving a candle a nice name with glamorous appeal is basic marketing. And for many, even non-readers, the library has a hold on our hearts.
It’s the image of sophisticated clutter,eons of time, leather sofas(probably) and culture. If we had the space a lot of us would have one I think. The closest thing for most however is a candle called Library or something like it.
I have not really tried these candles; I’m just reporting on my findings in London. I will say that I did sniff them all and they have a common theme of wood,smoke and leather. True Grace is available a bit everywhere(read more here) and despite not having had this particular candle I’ve bought other scents from them and been very happy. The other two were nice but not nice enough for me to want to part with money and have to drag them home. No22 I found at Liberty (you can read more here) and the one from Birch&Brook was for sale at the British Library (you can read more here). They are more niche things and might not ship to where you live.
There is an obvious reason why I’m so picky with “Library-candles” and that reason is spelled Byredo. I want to love everything they do, but I don’t. I’ve smelled all their perfumes multiple times and only Bullion ever got my knickers in a twist. Ok maybe 1996 a bit (but in that family of perfumes I love 34 Boulevard Saint Germain from Diptyque more) but I do adore their candles in general and Bibliothéque in particular. In is my favorite candle from Byredo(followed by Carousel) and one the few candles that I’ve bought over and over(and as a present). You can read more here.
Something that is difficult to find here but that could also be an option are candles with a more direct literary reference, for example Cire Trudon has a Byron candle(here), Paddywax makes several named after authors in their Libabry-collection. I’ve had the Austen-candle once and it was lovely(read more here)(I’m very curious about the Dickens candle as I reread a Christmas carol every year).
So there you have a few tips on candles for the bookish types. If you have any other suggestions/recommendations/tips I would love hear it in the comments.