Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 26 November 2014

The 50 Best Gifts for Women

Price: £395 - 0845 675 1321;" > Charlotte Olympia Paloma Pumps
Price: £395 - 0845 675 1321;" />
Charlotte Olympia Paloma Pumps
"Every woman needs a pair of killer heels and these brightred satin platform pumps could be them," suggests Malika Dalamal. "If the eye-popping colour and towering heel isn't enough of a statement, the pleated ruffle at the back should do the trick,"
Price: £395 - 0845 675 1321;
Purple Salad Bowl
Glass designer and stone engraver Jane Raven, a sister of gardening writer Sarah Raven, is best known for her intricate but functional glass pieces, from tumblers and decanters to jars and tea-light holders. Each one is stencilled and sandblasted by hand. Jane has recently developed a range of coloured glassware, including this brand-new, sexy purple salad bowl, which is engraved with a clematis motif. Also available in pale grey.
Price: £95 - 0131-466 5194;
Rosehip Notebooks
No girl can have enough notebooks and Papergrain's Rosehip ones are some of the prettiest you'll find. Made from recycled, uncoated paper and featuring whimsical printed covers such as Apple Leaf, Navy Stemprint and Green Bird, these would make excellent stocking fillers. Or, go the whole hog and buy a set of them.
Price: £4.60 for an A5 notebook - 020-7328 1614;
Miller Harris Tea
The perfumer Lyn Harris may be best known for her fragrances, candles and scented beauty products but this year she's also just launched a range of fragrant teas.Acollaboration with the tea specialist Timothy d'Offay, of Postcard Teas, this decadent range is based on black and oolong teas, with a choice of subtly scented thé bergamot (bergamot, tangerine and vanilla), thé pétales (rose, vanilla bourbon and geranium bourbon) and peppy thé fumé (Indian spices and vanilla bourbon).
Price: from £9.95 per 50g - 0844 561 0992;
Price: from £16.50 for a hand and lip cream - 020-8740 2085;" >
Elemental Herbology
"Anything from this range is a lovely treat," promises Lyn. From "cool and clear" facial cleanser to "velvet skin" body wash and "body soufflé" moisturiser, the company's products are all designed to restore the skin to peak performance following an onslaught by environmental, lifestyle and hormonal factors. The winter range, which comes in elegant white packaging, is just the job to see her through the festive season.
Price: from £16.50 for a hand and lip cream - 020-8740 2085;
Price: £5,200 - 020-7792 0197; www." >
Star and Moon Earrings
When Solange Azagury-Partridge failed to find an engagement ring she liked, she made her own - an uncut diamond embedded in a gold band. A decade on, the self-taught jeweller is now one of the most sought-after by those looking for investment pieces. "I love all her stuff because every day it brings me pleasure," says Lyn, who recommends these white gold and diamonds star and moon earrings.
Price: £5,200 - 020-7792 0197; www.
Price: from £4,000 - 020-7589 5946;" >
Barnaby Barford's Ceramics
Barnaby Barford selects found objects and turns them into sinister, sardonic but humorous sculptures. "From a distance, his ceramic figures look like the serene ceramics that covered my grandparents home but, closer up, you realise they are a great poke at the world around us. He's the Banksy of the ceramic world,"
Price: from £4,000 - 020-7589 5946;
Price: from £18.50pp - 0844 209 0381;" >
Chelsea Flower Show Tickets
"For years I thought the Chelsea Flower Show was not a destination for my generation," admits Katrina. "But, after an invite in 2006, I was wholeheartedly converted. This is just the ticket for any female of any age (in fact, bulk buy them for all the females in your life) and, though it might be five months away, tickets can get scarce closer to the event. Besides, it's something for her to look forward to through winter".
Price: from £18.50pp - 0844 209 0381;
This new book by the Irish TV cook Rachel Allen is as easy on the eye as it is to use. From cheese straws to Cornish saffron cake, homemade pies to frosted cupcakes, it's packed with straightforward recipes for cakes, bakes, tarts, quiches and casseroles and even includes some wheat- or gluten-free recipes. Better still, with the credit crunch in mind, buy it yourself and bake something pretty. You'll win extra brownie points, too.
Price: £20 - Collins
Price: from £50 for 30 minutes - 020-7586 4411;" >
A Lost in Beauty Makeover
"For a fresh pair of eyes to look at your makeup and hair, there are few things better than a makeover by Georgie Hamed from Primrose Hill's Lost in Beauty salon," suggests Lyn. Even if your girlfriend doesn't live in London, buy a voucher for the next time she visits and she'll love you for it. Hamed knows all the tricks of the trade - and applies them in an inviting, boudoir-like space. You can also take along your own cosmetics for her to work with, rather than forking out on expensive new products.
Price: from £50 for 30 minutes - 020-7586 4411;
Price: £300 - 020-7052 0001;" >
Crocodile Cuff Bangle
"If you want to deck her wrists with boughs of silver, anything from Patrick Mavros's Zimbabwean boutique in Fulham goes down a storm at Christmas," says Annie Deakin. "Take a walk on the wild side by opting for this sterling silver croc cuff bangle and she'll have herself a very funky Christmas".
Price: £300 - 020-7052 0001;
Price: £13.50 - 01330 850400;" >
Jelly Tea Towel
Tea towels may not immediately sound like the kind of Christmas present to win you favour but Thornback and Peel's ones are beautiful enough to frame for the kitchen wall, says Lulu Grimes. "Handprinted on a linen/cotton mix you can choose between rabbit, jelly, cabbage or pigeon designs." We like the jelly one but, if you can't decide, you could always splash out and buy the whole set.
Price: £13.50 - 01330 850400;
Price: £50 - 07872 824658;" >
Oh Mi Bod GSpot Vibrator
"This made me laugh - at last, music technology for female pleasure," says Katrina. "The Oh Mi Bod GSpot Vibrator vibrates to the beat and rhythm of the music on your iPod or mp3 player. It will put a whole new spin on making compilations for your partner."
Price: £50 - 07872 824658;
Price: £60 without cheese - 01451 823460;" >
Cheese Store
"A cheese store looks wonderful on a kitchen counter and is the perfect way to store cheese," advises Lulu, who recommends Paxton Whitfield's no-nonsense version. This comes with a removable cheese board so you can cart your favourite smellies straight to the table. "No more cold cheese from the fridge because you've forgotten to get it out in time, it'll be the perfect temperature from now on."
Price: £60 without cheese - 01451 823460;
Price: £600 - 0870 750 9181;" >
Piccadilly Boots
According to Lyn, Rupert Sanderson's shoes are "beautiful and sexy but, above all, comfortable". For killer heels, the new Piccadilly black patent and PVC boots are hard to beat. If she's not a high heels kind of gal, though, you can always play stylish but safe with some classy Naples flats (£350).
Price: £600 - 0870 750 9181;
Price: from £16 for a dessert plate - 020-7581 8065;" >
Jars Tableware
"Divertimenti's Jars range of tableware comes in a range of acid yellows and hot reds and oranges. They're not for shrinking violets but the plates and bowls look amazing when filled with tapas, mezze or curries," says Lulu.
Price: from £16 for a dessert plate - 020-7581 8065;
Essential Candles
This trio of candles from Aromatherapy Associates should help see her through any post-Christmas Day meltdown. The three scents are: Relax (with bay and lavender), De-stress (with camomile) and Revive (with invigorating pink grapefruit and petitgrain). True to Aromatherapy Associates form, they come packaged in a smart teal-coloured gift box. If you want to be really generous, throw in a trio of the company's pocket-sized party oils, too, for relaxing, post-festive baths.
Price: candles £30, oils £9 - 020-8569 7030;
ABICI Women's Bicycle
Both green and good-looking, this retrolooking bike may not be the kind of thing you want to go speeding down a mountain track on but, for pedalling around town, you can't go wrong. Handmade in Italy, these bikes are sleek, lightweight, durable and comfortable (especially if she's a sit-up-andbeg kind of girl). Available in either green or sky-blue, both come with a honey-coloured Brooks saddle.
Price: £750 - 01330 850400;
Price: £3,754, including the diamond chain, or £2,954 without - 01488 686226;" >
Diamond Skull Pendant
"Make your lady rock 'n' roll around the Christmas tree with a diamond-encrusted 18-carat white gold skull pendant with sapphire eyes," suggests Annie. "Irresistibly dazzling, the vogue white gold and diamond chain and skull from Furr and Co, which has an intricate, articulated jaw, will be the envy of all her friends". Beautiful, but just don't mention how much you paid for it or she might actually pass out.
Price: £3,754, including the diamond chain, or £2,954 without - 01488 686226;
Price: £29.95 -" >
Rice Mixing Bowl Set
"Every kitchen needs a set of funky coloured melamine bowls from Danish company Rice," says Lulu. "They're heavy duty enough to use for mixing but their lids mean they can double as storage and look pretty on your kitchen shelf. And they are fair trade too. I'm giving these to my sister," she adds.
Price: £29.95 -
Price: from £19.95 for 24 chocolates - 020-8981 1655;" >
T-shirt Patisserie Custom Chocolates
"This is a really cheap and cheerful idea that is also really personal and can be quite funny," raves Malika. "They can print images, words or even re-print a photograph onto either dark orwhite Belgian chocolate. I love receiving personalised gifts because it really shows that someone has thought about what to get you in advance and didn't just rush out at the last minute".
Price: from £19.95 for 24 chocolates - 020-8981 1655;
Price: £40 - Coggles (; stockists include selected branches of Top Shop and Urban Outfitters, and Sarah" >
Night Shoes
Melissa Plastic Dreams's eco-friendly plastic shoes - made from recycled plastics in Brazil - are just the job for ethically minded fashionistas, according to Katrina. "Some of them are designed by Vivienne Westwood and they are scented so you can sniff your shoe and smile!" she says. "They rock. My best mate introduced me to them - she has the 'Night' ones in black".
Price: £40 - Coggles (; stockists include selected branches of Top Shop and Urban Outfitters, and Sarah
Price: roses for a year, from £480 for 12 purely roses bouquets (01902 376301; www.davidaustinroses. com); rose bouquet £58 (07738 903740;" >
Flowers All Year Round
"Shropshire rose gardener David Austin creates new breeds that combine the fragrances of old roses with modern character. Order a year's subscription and she'll receive flowers each month," suggests Annie. Malika suggests a bouquet from Vermont Natural Flowers. "These beautiful arrangements look and feel like fresh flowers except that the foliage and flowers are preserved in full bloom and as a result last for up to six years," she says.
Price: roses for a year, from £480 for 12 purely roses bouquets (01902 376301; www.davidaustinroses. com); rose bouquet £58 (07738 903740;
Madara Flower Dust
Perennially popular at the online organic apothecary, LoveLula, but perfect for the party season, this natural body lotion (named after a flower found in the Baltics) gives skin a subtle, light-reflective shimmer. Made with antioxidant rosehip, anti-inflammatory camomile, antiseptic marigold and skin-renewing plantain, it's a beauty superhero in a bottle.
Price: £16.99 - 0870 242 6995;
Price: Black stand £34 (; Astier de Villate stand from £110 (" >
Cake Stand
Anyone who likes to entertain should have a cake stand. For maximum impact, Lulu recommends a black glass, three-tier version. "Forget pastels and flowers, smart canapés, sugar-dusted mincepies and petits fours are looking good on black glass this winter," she says. Lyn , meanwhile, recommends Astier deVillate's "very special" ceramic version.
Price: Black stand £34 (; Astier de Villate stand from £110 (
Chocolate Library Chocolate Bars
Perfect for milk chocolate lovers north of the border (or anyone planning a visit) these gorgeously wrapped bars each come bearing a picture of a Scottish landmark and open up, like a book, to give the lowdown on that place. The company is currently also developing a Keep Calm & Carry On version, based on the iconic Second World War poster, and a London landmarks range, though sadly neither of those will be ready in time to make Santa's rounds this Christmas.
Price: £3.95 per bar - 07775 900975; www.
Price: £132 - 020 7703 8507;" >
Bumblebee necklace
If you're looking for jewellery to impress your other half, look no further than Alex Monroe's bumblebee necklace, advises Katrina. "He has justwon jeweller of the year so he's very current, too," she says. Available in either 22-carat gold or silver, this is just the thing to put a buzz in someone's stocking.
Price: £132 - 020 7703 8507;
Price: £350 - 020-7447 1000;" >
Tote-to-Toe Package
"Stuck on what to get the girl who has everything? Treat her to the Metropolitan Hotel's Tote-to-Toe shopping experience package," suggests Annie. "This includes overnight B&Baccommodation, a bottle of pink champagne, a £50 voucher for fashion emporiums Harvey Nichols and the Dover Street Market and much more. A fancy hotel, retail therapy and champagne - you can't go wrong".
Price: £350 - 020-7447 1000;
Price: £30 - 0845 0777 060;" >
Jasperware Votive
"Jasperware is iconic, has so much history and is still so beautiful today," says Lyn. Wedgewood's trademark fine-grained, unglazed stoneware has been in production since 1775 and is now available in a range of colours, including chocolate and turquoise as well as the traditional pale blue. If you're looking to start a collection, the white-on- chocolate votive would make an excellent beginning.
Price: £30 - 0845 0777 060;
Price: £45 - 020-8940 5230;" >
Cire Trudon Scented Candles
"This recently re-launched company is reputedly the oldest producer of scented candles still in operation. It was founded in Paris in 1643 and their candles were once used in the court of Louis XIV, in Versailles," says Malika. There are 10 scents to choose from, including odeur de lune, pondichery, carmelite and roi soleil. "They are completely natural and so chic that they almost feel like you are receiving a mini antique," she adds.
Price: £45 - 020-8940 5230;
Price: £20 - Mitchell Beazley (" >
The Gastropub Cookbook: Another Helping
The ideal gift for free-ranging foodies, this updated classic, by Diana Henry, provides a brilliant combination of recipes and information that's "as useful when planning a lunch out as when cooking at home", according to Lulu. "The pubs covered are countrywide and the recipes include both familiar comfort foods and clever ideas with British ingredients."
Price: £20 - Mitchell Beazley (
Price: £50 - 01387 373720;" >
Jesse Ball Brooch
Jesse Ball, a quirky, Scotland-based jeweller, transforms "unwanted treasures" into "fabulous pieces of frippery". Though equally good for grown-ups, her eccentric, contemporary designs are perfect for fashion-conscious teenagers. Each is a one-off (current stock includes cute "leaf" and "deep sea" pins and brooches made using vintage Bakelite buttons, Perspex and white metal) but, if you can't find what you're looking for, or you want something made up along a particular theme, Ball will also work to commission.
Price: £50 - 01387 373720;
Price: from £14.99 -" >
Personal Photobook
"The favourite present I've ever received was a beautiful photographic album from my husband of our friends and family over the years," admits Katrina. "If ever I'm feeling slightly peeved, I only have to open this book." If you fancy following suit this Christmas, Katrina recommends creating your own personalised one-off publication at CEWEPhoto World. "You just have to download their easy-to-use software and choose your pictures," she says, and they'll do the rest for you.
Price: from £14.99 -
Pure Silk Quilt
Handmade by a small family-run business in Vietnam, these glamorous throws are great both for keeping you cosy through cold winter nights or for decadently snuggling up beneath on the sofa. Available in purple/silver, gold/cream, purple/oyster/ pale pink/oyster or dusky green/silver, they're reversible so you can just flip them over when you fancy a change of colour scheme.
Price: £80 - 020-7254 7613;
Price: black version £119; red version £159 - 0800 599 9200;" >
A Modo Mio
This coffee machine is as substantial as it is stylish. "It takes pods filled with Lavazza coffee and gives a really good shot of espresso complete with perfect crema," promises Lulu. The black version allows you to control the length of your shot while the red version does everything for you. Importantly, "it looks fab too", she adds.
Price: black version £119; red version £159 - 0800 599 9200;
Price: £1,000 -" >
Ultimate Girl's Christmas Hamper
"This really is the ultimate present for any woman," says Malika. "Hand selected by handbag designer, Anya Hindmarch, it is filled with girly treats including Essie Nail Polishes, Eve Lom products, chick flicks like Pretty Woman and Breakfast at Tiffany's, Luxe city guides, chocolates, champagne, marshmallow fluff and fashion-themed coffee table books". It comes with a personalised luggage tag.
Price: £1,000 -
Price: from £55, Maroon Gold £110 -" >
Maroon Gold Watch
"My beloved watch died this summer - I think the Big Chill festival sent the hands spinning out of control," says Katrina. "It took me months to find another watch I loved and that was a Tritoni. The prices aren't silly, they are striking- looking and come in many colours and materials. Can I have one for every outfit, please, Mr Claus?" We like this new limitededition version, with a mother-ofpearl dial and sparkling stones set against a brown strap.
Price: from £55, Maroon Gold £110 -
Price: £45 -" >
Selvedge Magazine Subscription
"A year's subscription to this superlush, bi-monthly textiles magazine will make her feel inspired after reading as opposed to inadequate or suffering from a strange compulsion to shop (perfect reading with the credit crunch in mind)," promises Katrina. "The photography is gratifying and it covers everything from Indian block printing to corn-dollies. One issue was only about the colour blue while another featured a pictorial guide to every single sheep used for weaving in the UK."
Price: £45 -
Price: £29.50 -" >
Clare Gage Tea Cups
"Impress modish friends by introducing them to the design industry's best kept secret - ceramicist Clare Gage," suggests Annie. "Her cup and coaster gift set recreates the appearance and texture of textiles. Utterly charming and individual, her button tea cups make for delightful tea parties or pots for storing earrings".
Price: £29.50 -
Price: £21 - 01765 640088;" >
Storecupboard Minis Spice Box
"This set of spices and herbs will give any keen cook inspiration or make a good starter kit for a beginner," advises Lulu. "This organic collection - including whole nutmeg, cumin, cinnamon and chilli - from Steenbergs comes in mini jars,which means you'll actually be able to get through them before they go stale. They're also presented in a cardboard box that fits neatly in a kitchen drawer".
Price: £21 - 01765 640088;
Bath Soak
One for natural belles, Sedbergh Soap Company's bath soak is made with Dead Sea salt, essential oils and either mint, lavender or lemongrass. The Cumbrian company is high on sustainability so each comes in non-plastic packaging and hasn't been tested on animals . The company also does a nicely packaged Christmas gift box, containing a zingy lemongrass soap, an unbleached cotton flannel and a wooden soap rack.
Price: bath salts from £5.50 for 300g; Christmas gift box £11.95 -
Price: from £75, silver heart ring £250 - 0845 680 6848;" >
Mallarino Silver Heart Ring
"This beautiful jewellery collection, made in silver and 24ct gold, is both delicate and striking as a result of the lace-like woven filigree effect and intricate designs," explains Malika. The Paris-based label collection includes earrings, bracelets, necklaces and rings but romantics might want to opt for this elegant silver heart ring.
Price: from £75, silver heart ring £250 - 0845 680 6848;
Ward Lock Red Guides
Re-issued earlier this year, these classic 1950s travel books will keep nostalgic armchair travellers happy for hours, as well as those interested in local history. With fold-out maps and adverts from the era alongside the text, they're a reminder of how much travel trends have changed over the last half century. Current titles include Bath, Cambridge, Edinburgh, London, North Cornwall, Oxford, the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales.
Price: £9.99 - Cassell Illustrated (
Midnight Garden Dressing Screen
Small may be beautiful but, for anyone struggling with storage in a frustratingly bijou apartment, the danger is that your home starts looking like Stig of the Dump's den. Fortunately, help is at hand with this new Japanese-influenced, three-fold screen from Sweetpea and Willow. It's great for screening off a home-office space, as well as adding a glamorous touch of decorum to your bedroom.
Price: £425 - 0845 257 2627;
Price: £3-£25 -" >
Lonely Planet Food Guides
"These clever handbag-sized guides are perfect for travellers," says Lulu. Covering around 20 destinations, "they contain everything you need to know about the food and eating culture of the countries they cover. Which means choosing off the menu in Hong Kong, Vietnam, Italy and many other places need never be a stab in the dark again". The catch? Most were published between 2000 and 2003 and are now out of print, though they're still widely available second-hand.
Price: £3-£25 -
Price: £49.05 for 30ml - 0844 561 6161;" >
Guerlain Issima Midnight Secret
If your other half prefers her beauty treats to be of a practical persuasion, you could do worse than get her some of Guerlain's Midnight Secret. "This magic cream really is like giving someone a good night's sleep in a bottle," says Malika. "It's the perfect gift for anyone who is over-tired, over-worked or over-partied who wants to look fresh and wellrested". Perhaps best not to tell her you got it because she's looking frazzled, though.
Price: £49.05 for 30ml - 0844 561 6161;
Price: scarf euros £55, hat £38 -" >
Striped Scarf and Hat
You can't go wrong with anything from APC, according to Lyn. "It's my saviour," she says, of this addictive French webbased store (delivery to the UK costs about £15). For a cosy but practical Christmas gift, Harris recommends this black knitted scarf with beige stripes. For maximum impact, throw in a matching hat in contrasting beige with black stripes.
Price: scarf euros £55, hat £38 -
Price: £75 - 0845 850 8582;" >
Speedo Aquabeat MP3
"Swimming can be boring and with New Year's resolutions to get fit approaching, how about getting an underwater Aquabeat mp3 player for your lady?" asks Katrina. "Not just great for the pool but she could use it in the bath too. It will block out the sound of children and husbands and brings peace for a wee while. Not to mention helping her reach those extra lengths."
Price: £75 - 0845 850 8582;
Six pubs and an off-licence in Belfast hospitality company the Horatio Group have become the latest businesses in Northern Ireland to gain recognition for their commitment to customer service
Ella Lingerie
If you're looking for lingerie that's classy as well as saucy, resist the urge to go tacky and invest in a frilled Ella bra and matching knickers from luxury undies merchant, Myla, instead. Made from damson-coloured silk, satin and chiffon and available in a whole host of variations, this is the range to choose from if you actually want your other half to wear it.
Price: bra £109; matching hipsters £59 - 0870 7455003;

Whether it’s champagne, shoes or a pair of diamond earrings, Rhiannon Batten knows what every girl wants

The Panel: Katrina Larkin is co-founder of The Big Chill (; Malika Dalamal is London editor of; Annie Deakin is acting editor of home design website; Lulu Grimes is deputy editor of olive magazine (; Lyn Harris is the founder of luxury fragrance brand Miller Harris (

>> Click the image to the right to launch the 50 best Gifts for Women

Have we overlooked some of your favourites? Leave your suggestions below.

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