Happy Christmas to you....

or me....

Pretty much nothing better than an email asking you to choose your favourite Christmas gifts - oh thank you M&S.  And I have to say - the one store that sums up Christmas for me is Marks and Spencer.  For a start, as I mention every year, I do not cook during the festive season.  I am the ultimate marketeer's dream when it comes to buying ready prepared Christmas food.  The meal on the big day itself is a given.  Hello stuffed turkey crown, bread sauce, "garnish selection" (stuffing, pigs in blankets and other such pre made things of loveliness), and cranberry sauce. 

But the food porn element for me is the selection of buffet food.  Call it a canape or finger food  - call it what you want but make sure I have all of it.  My excuse is that M&S make almost all of them gluten free which, when you have a coeliac in the house, makes super easy preparation. 

So I can be found sweeping the shelves in M&S (mulled wine highly recommended as well - best on the high street I can confirm, as year in year out I have tried them all but keep coming back to the M&S one) for food but also for gifts. 

However normally for the rest of the family.  So when I was asked what I would pick, well who can resist that as an offer?

And so after much perusing, what did I settle on?  After my post from the other day, confessing to my love of one thing in particular, it had to be a coat.

I have had my eye on this since the launch and once I'd tried it on - it was a given.  As well as being fabulous for this time of year, it will carry me through to the Spring over a tee, jeans and sneakers.  Ideal for work, play or an evening out, I am completely thrilled with it.

The Ellerby Coat from the Alexa Range £125  Size up.  I've got the 12 and, like the other Alexa coats from her range this time round, I found it narrow on the shoulders.

It was however a toss up between the Alexa one and a whole host of others.

Autograph Herringbone Duster Coat from Autograph £149

This is a 12 so unless you want it super oversized (and I am tall), I would recommend taking your usual size. 

If I didn't already have two M&S leopard print coats (one from last year and one from this year).  Please please someone buy this longer length version...

Long Leopard Print Coat from M&S £139

And moving onto handbags.  So whilst I've chosen a coat for (part of) my present (scroll down), I feel a handbag would make a great addition to the gift stash. 

Seeing as I've gone for a grey coat and grey handbags are really hard to come across, I was rather more than a tad excited to find this.  Leather perfection.

Leather Across Body Quilt Bag £65 in grey 

Or in the black.. again £65 which has gold hardwear, the grey has silver.

Or another great black option.  On the larger side (I think you could justify both easily and use them together).

Ring Lorelle Leather Tote Bag £99

Other great options are a tan and leopard version.  This is the perfect all year round option and, seeing as leopard is a neutral, this will go with pretty much anything.

Leather Across Body Bag £89

A classic shape in leather and suede.  Adore this.

Leather Avery Saddle Shoulder Bag £99

And in the rust - again £99

But for me it has to be the beauty section that has Gift written all over it.  Over the last couple of years I have always raved about how amazing the ever expanding Beauty section of M&S is.

First up - I would choose the Emma Hardie Bright Time Essentials.   Yes yet again, I am banging on about Emma Hardie but if you haven't tried their Moringa Balm or their oil, then all I can is - I absolutely love and buy on repeat.

This is an amazing introduction to the range and makes an excellent gift for someone else or yourself.  It is the most superb value.  The serum on its own costs £49 (which I haven't tried and am so looking forward to opening it) and the cream is £45.  Doesn't take a genius to do those maths does it?  Get buying NOW before they sell out!  You could even split the kit for gifts (or keep for yourself...)

Bright Time Essentials Kit £50 by Emma Hardie

Then we have the French section.  I am always waxing lyrical about how fabulous French toiletries are and M&S have three of my favourites - two old that I've been using regularly for a couple of years now and one new.

Starting with a gift set which I can guarantee anyone would love.  

Prodigieux Set from Nuxe £25 I promise you, with a spritz of this you become instantly French.

However for Winter, my scent of choice is by another lesser known French company, which again I have mentioned before, but for Christmas, these really do make the best gifts.  Some fragrance companies are now just ridiculously expensive (looking at you Tom Ford) and they really don't have any better longevity than the much more reasonable versions.  

My favourite Winter scent is a unisex fragrance by Roger et Gallet called Jean-Marie Farina.  I picked up (two!) of the fragrances instore but have ordered the matching shower gel online.

Jean-Marie Farina Shower Gel £9.50

And lastly - a skincare company which I have only recently discovered.  Staying in a hotel a couple of weeks ago, the products in the bathroom and in the goody bag were L'Occitane.  Now I'll be honest, I didn't know they did "proper" skincare.  I thought it was all handcream and shower gels.

Oops.  How wrong was I?  I get sent lots of products to try and rarely do I actually love them.  But the facial Precious Cream is amazing.  Seriously seriously good.  It feels like a luxurious, heavy cream but isn't greasy and leaves no residue at all (and I promise you, I don't have skin like leather). 

It's usually £48 for 50ml but I've ordered this gift set as a Happy Christmas to me.  You basically get everything else for £6!  I can also confirm that the cleansing foam mousse is also gorgeous.  And, as an Emma Hardie enthusiast, I take some impressing.

Precious Immortelle Collection £54 by L'Occitane

And I just have to finish with the best stocking filler ever.  It appears that I am the last person to know about these.  AMAZING.  I have bought en masse and have one in the car, one in each handbag.   My two favourite shades are Fig and Plum - Fig is definitely the more day appropriate shade - a slightly darker than lip colour.  And Plum is a richer wine shade.  Neither are full on in your face though.  Reapply and reapply and reapply.  If you find lipstick dries your lips - and I have NO idea how people wear it as my lips start flaking within about 20 mins and I end up with just a lipliner style 90s disaster going on - then this is the product for you.  For next to nothing.

Burts Bees Lip Shimmer £6 or 3 for 2. Would be ridiculously rude not to for that price.  Fess up if you're already a user.  Everyone I've told has said, oh yes I've used them for ages.  Thanks for the heads up chaps....

And I haven't even started on the stocking fillers for children.  Best there are out there in my opinion and on three for two, makes perfect sense.  Quiz games, after dinner games, toiletries and stationary.  Go forth and do all your Christmas shopping in one basket!

So here I am in my coat again.  Absolutely loving it.

1970 Jumper - Bella Freud
Trousers - M&S
Trainers - Woden
Coat - M&S
Bag -Gucci

Tomorrow, I am back on a dress mission.. you have been warned.

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18 comentarios:

  1. I am also a total beauty novice but can totally vouch for Emma Hardie - my sister gave me some of her facial cloths and they are amazing! The only thing that makes my skin feel vaguely awake (I have 4 children under 6 so this is quite the feat)

    Also, love the quilted and leopard print bags. Well done m&s. Might have to drop some hints around here...

    1. OMG four children under 6!! I had three under 4 and that totally finished me off so I am in AWE that you went again!!

      you more than deserve an amazing amazing present!

  2. Sadly l'occitane and Burts Bees are not cruelty free :(

    1. Oh I didn't realise that. Surprised actually. Thanks for the heads up x

    2. According to their blurb Bert's Bee are ecologically sound and animal cruelty free, is this not true Ellie??

    3. just checked L'Occitane's website as was surprised to hear this too:
      L’OCCITANE does not and has never tested its products, its active ingredients or its raw materials on animals at any point in the product development or manufacturing process. This principle applies similarly to our raw material suppliers.

      L’OCCITANE is fundamentally committed to the abolition of animal testing of beauty products worldwide. In China, where our products are retailed, the local Chinese authorities request testing on some cosmetic products sold on the Chinese market, as they view it as the best way to safeguard their consumers’ safety. Our company does not conduct those tests; they are done by Chinese laboratories, approved by local authorities on a limited animal panel.

      To move forward we decided to develop our relationship with the Chinese authorities to pledge the case for the end of animal testing for beauty products, through open dialogue. Since 2010 we have therefore engaged in a dialogue with the relevant authorities, as well as animal rights NGOs. Our goal has been to highlight alternatives techniques used in Europe where animal testing has been banned since 2004. This constructive dialogue has led to a series of advances in Chinese regulation including a decision to end this type of tests as of June 2014, on so-called ordinary cosmetics that are manufactured and packaged locally (shampoo, perfume etc.), as well as on imported hygiene products (soap, toothpaste etc.).This is a first step. L'OCCITANE will continue to work proactively for these alternatives to be implemented as soon as possible for all of our products.

      We remain of the firm opinion that it is by working from inside China that we will be best placed to further influence Chinese regulation and put an end to animal testing. L'OCCITANE will continue to work proactively with the Chinese experts committee from National Institute for the Control of Pharmaceutical and Biological Products, for these alternatives tests to be implemented as soon as possible for all of our products.

  3. Love that coat! Some great ideas, trying to resist going shopping today, as I have a ridiculously busy afternoon... you are tempting me. Maybe online shopping?

    1. Online is the only way to go. I went between meetings yesterday (and ended up in & Other Stories which wasn't really planned!) and it was CARNAGE. I bought nothing!

  4. Suede sneakers blue or grey the first pic what are they?

    1. They're grey suede Nike Air Force 1s! I got them last year but rarely wear them - have just remembered how much I like them!

    2. They look fab with the coat.bye the way I love your hair cut slightly longer at the front shorter a tad I think at the back.looks very current but classy.Thanks for the info...My fav fashion blog by a mile.

  5. I popped in and picked up the BB lip balm in Rhubarb - a lovely colour if you're at all ginger and fair skinned like me. Note to self though is that I have to remember to put it on as a lipstick and not like a balm i.e. not smearing it all over my mush in the general lip direction! Caught sight of self in mirror!!!!

  6. Love the coat. Can't beat M&S at Christmas. I'm with you regarding Christmas food, ours gets order every year. x x

    1. It's one of my favourite things to do! (god I need to get out more...!)

  7. Love Nuxe, my favourite face cream is their crème fraiche one. As for my winter scent, I love Origins Ginger Essence, I've been using it for about 10 years now, I just hope they don't stop making it!
    That touch of red makes your outfit, love it!