Christmas is almost upon us, but are you left scratching your head wondering what to get for her? Don’t worry if the idea of Christmas shopping for the woman in your life has left you feeling less than merry – we’ve pulled together some ideas to help you pick up the perfect present on your next trip to London.
Just keep reading for a look into the shops and boutiques you’d find if you opened the little black books of our experienced concierges (members of the exclusive Society of the Golden Keys no less) – and for some exclusive advice from some top bloggers.
There’s no better place to go shopping than London, the fashion capital of the world. Whoever it is you’re buying for (your mum, sister, wife, girlfriend or daughter), our insider guide will help you find the perfect gift for the most discerning of women.
If she’s a fashionista:
- Liberty of London on Regent Street is an iconic fashion emporium where you’ll find luxury stationery, printed scarves, unique accessories and stylish prints by cult designers for the fashion-loving woman in your life.
- If designer brands and opulent fashion is sure to please her, you can’t go wrong by heading to Selfridges this Christmas. Treat her to a chic black and white Christmas stocking designed by Karl Lagerfeld, a Commes des Garcons clutch or a statement piece by British fashion house Alexander McQueen. And if you’re struggling, special ‘Efridges are on hand to help you choose the perfect gift, carry your bags and book your taxi home.
- Aspinal of London‘s top-quality leather goods and jewellery are handmade by expert craftsmen. Their diaries, iPad covers and document cases are a must-have for stylish businesswomen, and you’re guaranteed to be buying the best.
If she’s a foodie:
- Rococo chocolates are prized by chocolate lovers looking for something exquisite to eat. You can choose from their massive collection of fine chocolates, but if you want to make your gift a bit more personal, treat her to one of their workshops – or sign up yourself. You’ll learn how to make your very own luxury chocolate truffles — she’ll really appreciate the effort.
- You don’t have to jet to Paris to enjoy macaroons: you can find them right here in London. Macaroons are perhaps the chicest, daintiest of sweet treats. Ladurée’s Harrods branch carries classic flavours like pistachio, rose and lemon while master pastry chef Pierre Hermes’s flagship London boutique — found in the super-plush Belgravia district in Knightsbridge — is for the more experimental. Flavours include jasmine flower and jasmine tea, strawberry with balsamic vinegar and white truffle with hazelnut.
Best for scents:
Coco Chanel once said that “a woman who doesn’t wear perfume has no future”. Strong words certainly, but we’re sure most women will appreciate a scent that’s either been thoughtfully chosen or designed just for her.
- This Christmas, you could add to her perfume cabinet by heading to Penhaligons in Mayfair. Their concoctions are made using the finest rare ingredients; from hand-squeezed bergamot through to jasmine (which costs twice the price of gold).
- True perfume devotees skip the department stores and head to a speciality shop like Les Senteurs, which has branches at both Marble Arch and Belgravia. They stock many bespoke and limited-edition scents only found in the UK, and their perfumes tend to come from smaller perfumeries which use higher-grade ingredients.
If you don’t want to take a risk, head to Chanel on Sloane Street, as a classic perfume like Chanel No.5 never goes out of fashion.
Best for jewellery:
Diamonds are famously a girl’s best friend – and you can hardly go wrong by leaving an iconic blue Tiffany’s box under the Christmas tree just as the song ‘Santa baby’ famously points out.
Other jewellers you might want to visit while shopping for some festive sparkle include London-based jewellers Astley Clarke (where personal shoppers are on hand to help you pick out something special), Kiki McDonough (the designer behind the diamond earrings Prince William gifted Kate last Christmas) and David Marshall (the UK’s appointed Luxury Jeweller of the Year, 2012).
For the woman who already has everything
If she already has every possession known to womankind, you might want to give her an experience that she will remember forever.
For a high tea with a difference, take her to An Afternoon of High Tease at our Grosvenor Hotel in central London. She’ll be treated to a welcome cocktail, followed by a champagne evening tea and performances by award-winning burlesque dancer Bettsie Bon Bon. The evening is a celebration of women and the hotel’s most famous female guest, the Parisian courtesan Cora Pearl.
If burlesque is a little too risqué, afternoon tea at the Royal Horseguards Hotel is a decadent treat she’ll appreciate – perfect for your sister, grandmother, auntie, best friend or Mum.
And if you need some more shopping advice, here are some top tips from Ayden Millar of Thelittleblogofhorrors.com.
Ayden told us:
“When it comes to fashion and buying for others (and even yourself) you shouldn’t be afraid to invest in a real statement piece of clothing or shoes.
If you’ve found an item that is adaptable and open to interchangeable options for accessories, then you’re onto a winner! That in its self has much more value than buying something once and never wearing it again (something I am sure everyone has been guilty of at least once when it comes to receiving clothing as a gift).
We all love buying/opening up lots of little, safe presents rather than one big one, but be brave. If you would be spending the same amount of money on both, then I promise you any female would be thankful for that coat or those shoes she has been lusting over. Get the opinion of her family or friends and go forth confidently (or if you haven’t met either yet – http://www.askherfriends.com/ will get you off to a great start) It will be a worthwhile effort come Christmas Day.”
Do you find it hard to shop for the woman in your life? Where are your secret shopping finds in London?