This post is sponsored by Victoria Gate
Now, I am a very organised person. I pride myself on this, I never leave things to the last minute, and I never fail to get things sorted. SO imagine my terror when I realised that CHRISTMAS IS NEXT WEEKEND and NO I HAVE NOT FINISHED MY SHOPPING and THIS WAS NOT VERY ORGANISED OF ME. Meanwhile my Mum is at the ‘yes, I have finished and wrapped all mine’ stage. So, I headed to Victoria Gate, my organised Mother in tow, on Monday to finish all my shopping. While I am a self confessed online shopping addict, nothing beats heading into store when you’re buying gifts. You know you’re buying what you need, and you’re avoiding the need to return and repurchase something else online shopping fuss which you just do not have the time for! So, armed with a long list, I managed to finish all my Christmas shopping in the incredible Victoria Gate in Leeds, result!! The sad thing is, I can’t share it all with you guys, as the people I buy for also read this blog, and what a way to ruin a surprise that would be. So, instead I have created a giant gift guide for you all; from things for you, beauty, menswear and homeware. All of these items are available in Victoria Gate, and while I have linked them all online too, I would totally recommend heading into store if you are from the Leeds area. Mum and I went on a Monday and it wasn’t too busy at all (my main deterrent for going near any shopping area this time of year), and we had all our shopping done within a couple of hours. It's open from 8am-8pm everyday so plenty of time to pop by after work too!
We don’t often dip into beauty on here, but I think luxury beauty items are such a treat they make a lovely gift. I picked out some of my favourite items that I have used in the past, things I would love to try out, and fail safe beauty items that everyone should own.
If you are buying make up for someone, you can guarantee they will love something from Mac, and their lipsticks always stand out to me above all else. Generally I feel you can’t go wrong with a nude shade, my favourite from MAC are:
Velvet Teddy, Persistance, Soar, Dervish
Possibly my all time favourite eyeshadow palette is my Charlotte Tilbury 'The Sophisticate'. I got it for Christmas about two years ago now and it's still going strong despite being used so regularly. They packaging is gorgeous so it's a treat to open, and an amazing product!
This is one on my 'need to try' list as my best friend swears by it! They do loads of different sets for Christmas, and the shop in Victoria Gate also has a HUGE spa in there too if you wanted to treat someone to more than just the product.
So this is a big recommendation from me. I have been using this for a month or so and it's really amazing. It's pretty pricey so a lovely treat for Christmas, and is also bloody amazing.
This is definitely a cult classic. Certainly pricey for a texturising spray, and is the kind of product I would never really go out and buy for myself, yet it's something I have always wanted to try out - hence, a great gift!
Ohh blokes are hard to buy for! I struggle every year for Harry, who also has his Birthday tomorrow so it's so much to think about at once! While things like aftershave are always a safe bet, I do often tend to go down the clothes route for him, which I know can be tricky if it's someone you're not as close to. Things like knits, shirts, scarves, hats, all can be done as long as you know the size and stick to a decent brand. GANT is a great spot for menswear and has amazing wardrobe basic's that you cannot go wrong with. If you wanted to go for something a little different that your man may not have heard of, John Lewis are stocking some gorgeous Scandi brands. I would recommend Samsoe & Samsoe and J Lindeberg - two amazing brands that you don't see everyone else wearing either.
If you are unsure on buying clothes for a gift, then accessories is the next logical route; for both him and her. While you certainly have more choice for the ladies (sorry to you men out there, you really do seem to pull the short straw with shopping sometimes?!) some items can work for both sexes.
And I think opticals are a great one for being gender neutral - I tried on a few pairs in Bailey Nelson, where every frame (sunglasses and optical) is £98 which includes you prescription (not varifocal, which costs more, a question my rather blind Mum asked). Such a great price if you want to dabble in a new style too.
A little more pricey if you are wanted to treat someone, but the frames Cutler and Gross have are incredible! There are around 2291010x pairs of sunnies I am eyeing up on there at the moment! Some classic styles in the mix too if you don't want to be too risky buying for someone else.
Of course Victoria Gate have countless other accessory options, from bags at Radley and Aspinal to Mulberry and Louis Vuitton. Shoes for him at Jeffery West and Church's, and everything any could wish for in Harvey Nichols. You can see the full list of retailers in Victoria Gate here.
For The Home
One of my favourite type of gifts to receive is homeware pieces. Most of us don't tend to get through homeware in the way we might do clothes, and certainly beauty products. Decorations in the home often stay the same for a while, and the right piece will be there for a lifetime. Again, as with so many things, it can be a very personal gift, and I think there are varying degrees of homeware buying depending on how well you know them.
An acquaintance: go for mugs and glassware. Everyone loves a mug, everyone loves tea (or they should, at least) and you can really get some very lovely ones. John Lewis have a 'Made in Yorkshire' section which is only in store. There they have Yorkshire designer's products, which includes some fabulous homeware pieces. If you are from Leeds I would 100% recommend checking that out for a little bit of a unique gift. Otherwise, Anthropolgie is the place to go. I am one step away from just moving into that shop, from mugs to glasses, beds to cushions, they have everything and I want it all!
A friend: So you can step it up a notch here when it's someone you know well. I would go down the candle route, where you do have to know a little about a person. I.e does the smell of vanilla make them want to be sick, and do they love any citrus fragrance. The candle world is a mysterious and alarmingly expensive place. My Mum is quite the candle connoisseur and this is the knowledge she imparted me with; Cire Trudon are the best expensive candle brand, but I do mean expensive. True Grace are the best for a more affordable option, but still with gorgeous packaging. Both available in John Lewis!
Best friends & Family: taking it up a notch here to the people who you really know well. You've been to their homes many times, you know what they like, you can take a risk here. Again, Anthropolgie is my recommendation for this as they have something for all tastes. John Lewis also have their 'Loved & Found' collection which has a selection of lifestyle products, which you can check out here.
And for you...
So this section can go either one of two ways; clothes shopping for your friend, Mum, Sister, which ever fashion loving lady you know. OR, for putting together your own Christmas list. When we are on this last minute basis, there is no time for beating around the bush, the approach needs to more along the lines of 'here is the product code, I am a size 10, DO NOT WAVER FROM THESE INSTRUCTIONS'. But in order to deliver those instructions (which don't have to be as aggressive as that) you need to know what it is you want. I did a spot of shopping for moi, looking mostly for two things; some great basics, and some party wear.
Now, when it comes to basics, as I have said in my Menswear section, I think it can be a great present. Everyone needs basic pieces in their wardrobe, and so long as you know their size and pick a good quality piece, you will definitely find something good! I tried on two pieces in GANT which I would not say no to opening at Christmas; this gorgeous blue wool coat, and this blue jumper which is actually menswear.
I then moved onto party wear, and if there is any shop killing it for party wear right now it's & Other Stories - everything they have is such a dream! From my kinda sparkles, killer LBD's to velvet numbers.
Finally, John Lewis's Loved & Found collection, which features some incredible brands that are so hard to find in store such as Baum and Pferdgarten and Minimum. Definitely worth checking it out if you want to buy a pressie that you know they wont already have... and everyone else wont have too!
All my faves linked here: