Gifts for girls: Christmas shopping list number one

Anyone looking out the window in Glasgow today could be under no other impression than it is winter and Christmas is on it's way. Watching the snow swirling around outside has given me the feeling of living inside a snow globe. It's lovely and atmospheric and has me thinking about Christmas shopping. I've been pulling ideas for a gift list blog posting but I didn't want to publish this before Thanksgiving, because, as an American, discussing Christmas before the last Thursday in November seems to be going against the natural order of these things.

So, as I eat some leftover pumpkin bread, I publish my first Christmas gift list of the year. Something for the girls:

Under £50

Liberty knot cards for scarves (£15)
These will help any girl remain scarf-tastic through to Spring.Zippo hand warmer (£20)
One of these is looking mighty attractive to me today.
Argent of London friendship bracelets (£24)
These are cheap enough to get more than one and stack them together.White Company cosy slippers (£28)
Perfect for keeping warm on Christmas morning.Grand Marnier ruby edition (£32)
Perfect for keeping warm on Christmas afternoon and evening.
Under £100

Topshop mongolian sheepskin cape (£60)
One of the less expensive ways of tapping into the sheepskin trend.Aspinal cuffs (£79)
These elegent cuffs come in many colours and widths. Gorgeous.Mulberry Edie bracelet (£90)
This adorable bracelet is sold out online, but might still be available in the stores. In Glasgow you can get Mulberry accessories at the store on Ingram Street as well as in House of Fraser and John Lewis.Uniqlo (+J) wool wrap jacket (£99 at the moment, usually £129)
This jacket is very chic, and captures this season's minimalism beautifully.Under £200

Knomo Florence weekender duffle bag (£135)
I love Knomo bags because they look great, but they're also as durable as you would like a travel bag to be.Mulberry rose gold Tillie bracelet (£165)
If you can't find the adorable Edie bracelet anywhere, this Tillie bracelet would be a very nice consolation prize.By Terry rose coffret (£170)
This special edition coffret contains three of the brand's best selling rose products: Serenite de Rose, a fondant mask; Gelee de Rose, an intensely hydrating moisturiser; and Baume de Rose, the cult lip balm that made Terry famous.Me&Em cashmere travel wrap (with free eye mask) (£198)
Whether you travel to your Christmas destination by car, train, plane, or slippered feet that take you from the bedroom to the sofa, this travel set is essential.Over £200

Pure cashemere cape (£219)
Part of Pure's limited edition range, this cape is 100% sumptuous cashmere. And, as a bonus, it comes in one size, so you can't get size wrong if you're buying it as a gift.Fiona Paxton flex tube necklace (£245)
A fantastic alternative to bling for Christmas party dressing.Swash snakes and ladders scarf (£285)
This whimsical silk scarf by Swash is a massive 135 cm by 135 cm. And, if the price makes you feel a bit faint, there's a smaller version for £70.Tory Burch clutch (£300)
Wear it with the shoulder strap or without, this clutch would be perfect for any occasion.


Glasgow's new TK Maxx

If you're a regular reader of this blog, then you know I heart TK Maxx. And, if you live in Glasgow, then you are no doubt aware that the old Tesco on Argyle Street has now been transformed into Scotland's largest TK Maxx store. I was lucky enough to get a preview this afternoon, and as I was expecting, it's a shopper's paradise.

For some people, TK Maxx may have become synonymous with having a rummage. I personally love a rummage, but it's not everyone's cup of tea. This new TK Maxx changes all that. It's spread across three floors, so everything has plenty of space. There are also large, distinctive areas for Mod Box, which is TK Maxx's take on 'fast fashion' (inexpensive and trendy), and the hugely anticipated Gold label.

With brands like Rick Owens, McQ by Alexander Queen, Giambattista Valli, Stella McCartney, Manoush, D&G and Versace, the Gold label is definitely the highlight. I also found the skin care section exciting, with brands like Declor, Chanel, Malin+Goetz, and Philosophy.

Be sure to check it out tomorrow. And if you go, go early, because the first 1000 customers through the door get a £10 gift card.


Bebaroque sample sale

The Scottish design duo who have taken the tights world by storm, whose designs are found in just about every fashion mag there is, will be holding a sample sale in Edinburgh. They're promising fantastic discounts and price cuts on all sale stock and original sample stock.

Though it's tights they're known for, they also produce a fab line of scarves and glittering body suits.

The sale is lasting for one day only. Just in time to start thinking about Christmas.

Date: Saturday 4th December
Time: 11:00am to 5:00pm
Venue: Unit 6 Albion Business Centre, 78 Albion Road, Edinburgh EH7 5QZ




It's a good time to be short sighted. Glasses are so very in, don't you know? Having worn glasses since I was about 12, the minute I get a whiff of a spec trend, I grab hold for dear life. This season it's the adorable 70s nerd look, with big lenses and skinny...legs? Temples? Arms? Whatever the bits that holds the whole apparatus on the head are called.I'd love to update my glasses look, but I'm a bit strapped for cash, so I chummed my friend Rhona around town to give her the benefit of my opinion as she tried different pairs at House of Fraser, Niche Optical Tailor, and Spec Savers. Everyone is entitled to my opinion, right?

House of Fraser has a large selection of designer frames, and is a good option if you don't want to spend a fortune but you don't want the frustration of going to Boots (I've had some bad experiences in Boots Opticians). Spec Savers is very reasonable, but I didn't see a single pair that stood out to me, and probably wouldn't go back. My favourite pairs were at Niche, and the customer service there is phenomenal, but you will end up spending about £100 or £200 more than at House of Fraser.

We discovered that not everyone suits that big lenses skinny legs look. Rhona has a narrow face, and felt that style wasn't for her. I tried on a few, but I have the opposite problem - my face is too wide. Oh well. There were still plenty of chic options, especially at Niche in the Merchant City. They stock brands you won't see anywhere else, including one that is hand made with care by a French woman and her family.

Rhona was very patient and kindly let me photograph her with different styles on. It actually might prove helpful for her later because she can go back and look at the pics and remind herself of which pairs she likes. This is another way in which Niche sets itself apart though, because they'll actually start a file for you and take a note of which styles you like so you can shop around and come back later.

So, now the pics:
House of Fraser

Niche Optical Tailor


New Outnet

Outnet...new site...mobile...Alexander Wang.

Okay, breathe. Now complete sentences. The Outnet is celebrating the launch of their new-look website tomorrow by having a special Alexander Wang sale. Oh yeah. The new site will include a wish list capability (as if - as soon as I see something I like on the site, it sells out) and 'more product categories' which are currently shrouded in mystery, but will be announced next year.

On 30th November there will be a new version of the site designed to be viewed on your mobile. Judging by the mobile site already in use at Net-a-Porter, it will be way easier to use on devices like the iPhone. What else would you expect from the people that basically brought designer shopping into the digital age?

Okay, back to what we really care about - Mr Wang. I'm dying for these shoes:And this bag:And this top:Sigh.


November wish list

Oh, November. I love autumn and I hate it at the same time. I love when the seasons change, the the leaves change colour, and I can start getting my cashmere out. But the gradual slide into near perpetual darkness does get me down, I have to admit.

So, I'm falling back on that old 'retail therapy' chestnut. Here's a wish list to cheer me up:

Did someone just say cashmere? Oh yes, that was me. This cardigan from Gap gives you a lot of cashmere for a pretty reasonable price. And it's the colour that everyone loves this season.

I love this style. My-wardrobe has versions by Equipment and Splendid, but why pay a-hundred-and-something for it when ASOS has one for £26? Seriously.

Being a hopeless magpie, I love anything that sparkles. Like this fab party shirt by Malene Birger at Net-a-Porter.

With a 35 to 36" inseam, my trouser options are somewhat limited. Long Tall Sally are good for basics that won't go out of style in a hurry. I love the check pattern on these.

Traditionally, I do not like shearling on my shoes. I think it's because I tend to associate it with Uggs, which I hate with a passion. But with all the shearling around this season, designers seemed determined on reinvention. I do quite like these boots from Jaeger, without even a whiff of Ugg-ness about them.

If you love all the sheepskin that's saturating the designer and high street stores at the moment, but reluctant to go for the bulk or expense of a fully lined sheepskin coat, a shrug or scarf could be the answer. There was a Karl Donoghue shrug at the Outnet for about 5 minutes before it sold out, so I did a search and found Designer Leathercraft, run by Carol, a UK based designer who makes hand crafted shearling shrugs, scarves and tippets (in addition to coats and jackets). I bought an ivory shrug from her, which is beautiful and so soft. Her site is a bit confusing, but if you contact her she'll let you know what's available. She'll also make designs to order. Made to order pieces are more expensive, but her prices are very reasonable.


Filthy Gorgeous pit-stop

House of Fraser isn't the only Glasgow department store that has undergone a major overhaul - the cosmetics hall Debenham's Argyle street store has also been totally revamped, with new additions like Illamasqua and Smash Box making the store a real beauty destination for me.

Filthy Gorgeous will also be luring me back again and again. It's a full 'beauty service apothecary and retail emporium' located in the Debenham's cosmetics hall. Aside from their menu of gorgeous services - manis, pedis, brow shaping, make-up, hair styling - the concession sells make-up and accessories you won't find anywhere else. The products that most impressed me were the pigment pots by Naked Cosmetics. These amazing, all natural multi-taskers can be used as anything from lipgloss to nail varnish, eye shadow to highlighters. Just the kind of products that make you want to calculate cost per use ratios.
You will also find jewellery, hair pieces, candles, hair products…the list goes on and on. And the menu of services is amazing - you can get anything from a £10 manicure that, at 10 minutes could easily fit in during your lunch break, to a full on 60 minute Rock star overhaul that includes their 3 week gel manicure, pedicure, brow shape, eyelashes, hair styling, and make-up. I think I'll try the Minx nail art when I go back (as seen in just about every fashion mag everywhere).


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