Saturday, December 13, 2014

Christmas Gifts : Lovely Things

I'm one of those horribly organised people you all love to hate.  I start thinking about gifts in September, once my birthday is over, and I start squirrelling away stuff as I see.  I know that not everybody is as ridiculously disciplined about buying presents and for most people, half of the fun is going shopping, whether it's in the shops or online from the comfort of your desk at lunchtime or on the sofa in the evening.  I've compiled (if I was a hipster sort, I'd say "curated") a list of lovely things that you or somebody you love might really really like...

Fabulous Fragrance for Her: B. Balenciaga

I smelled this in October at a trade show (one of the nice parts of the day job) and I fell in love on the spot. The Balenciaga website has this to say : Inspired by the marriage of old and new, B.BALENCIAGA reflects back on the fashion house’s classic heritage in a modern way. The bottle’s frosted glass has a unique crackle texture, inspired by the marble tiling of Balenciaga’s original 10 Avenue George V Paris salon. The shape commands a six-sided architectural design, while the unique exposed arch of the cap pays homage to the arches found in Balenciaga fashion and accessories". Frankly, the bottle is very beautiful and I am in love with the fragrance which is "a green woody fragrance. Fresh and alluring, the fragrance opens with green notes of lily of the valley bell and violet green leaves accord. As B.BALENCIAGA evolves, the iris note reveals a powdery essence before drying down with darker woody notes of cashmeran woods". In fact, I opted for some self-gifting on Black Friday because I'm worth it.   The 50ml gift set is now on sale at House of Fraser for £60.35/€76.20

Fantastic Food for Them : Real Italian Foodies Hampers

Lorraine & Bruno own La Cucina in Limerick, created a range of superb pasta sauces and have no started a thriving mail order business selling their sauces and a range of delicious Italian food products.  They have a range of four Christmas gift hampers which are sure to please all the food lovers and prices start at just €35 (plus delivery of just €4.95 anywhere in Ireland) so you can treat the food lovers in your life to a very Eatalian Christmas.

Terrific Tableware for Them : Slated

Tara Hammond has a beautiful business turning slate into covetable homeware.  I already own her Blue Bangor tray from the Circa collection and I really love her latest tray which has brushed steel Italian designed handles and would be perfect for tapas in front of the tv or a luxurious breakfast in bed. An indulgent, but beautiful gift at €60

Stylish Shoes for Sir : The Shoebox Kilkenny

Paul O'Connor has a great shoe and accessories shop in Kilkenny City and recently branched out into mens shoes.  They're so lovely that I bought not one, but two pairs for The Hubs for his birthday.  For a man who only ever wears black shoes to transition to a pair of Justin Reece tan leather brogues with red detailing and laces, they have to be pretty special, and they are.  He doesn't have an online shop but call him at 056 7756111 or pay a visit to 6 Ormonde Street, Kilkenny.

Marvellous Meat for Many : James Whelan Beef Bonds

James Whelan Butchers are one of Ireland’s most successful butchers. From their own farm in Co. Tipperary, they supply meat for their shop in Clonmel and the highly acclaimed James Whelan Butchers in the Avoca Food Markets in Monkstown, Rathcoole & Kilmacanogue. Their Beef Bonds are a great idea for meat lovers because you buy a share in one of their cattle and you will receive 5lbs selection of Roast Joints, 3lbs selection of Steak Cuts, 3lbs selection of Braise/Slow Cook Cuts, 2lbs of a selection of Steak Mince & Steak Burgers. Selection of Offal, some marrow bones and some great stock bones from €100. That's a lot of meat for your money.

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