Holiday Gift Guide: For The Londoner

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my American readers. I feel that because I spent a year living in America I can properly embrace and understand this holiday, in spite of being British. And not because it is a holiday almost exclusively focused on food. Not at all! (I keep telling myself this!) I even made a Sweet Potato Pie this year and everything. As Thanksgiving is a holiday where people say what they are thankful for, I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank all of you, my amazing readers from America, my home of London and the rest of the world for reading, sticking with me and supporting me. I’d be nowhere without all of you, and words cannot sum up how grateful I am for every single one of you, every single day.

The Londoner

Westfield Gift Card: £ / $, Kate Spade Earrings: £51.86 / $68, Kate Spade Striped Umbrella: £23.53 / $38, Joules Hare Keyring: £6.95, Hotel Chocolat Alternative Mince Pie: £1.95 / $4, Rubis Chocolate Wine: £13, UGG Earmuff Headphones: £80 / $85, Diptyque Pine Cone Candle: £45 / $68

For the third edition of my Holiday Gift Guide this year, as ever, I’m focusing on The Londoner. I love London to bits, and there are so many things about the city that make it unique. However, while I have put this guide together with London in mind, after spending last Christmas in Los Angeles, another of the worlds big metropolitan cities I’ve tried to make this guide have a few more things in it which will suit anyone from any city. If you are still looking for gift ideas remember to check out my guide for The Total Foodie and for The Total Bookworm, and stay tuned for my guide’s final instalment, for gifts for The Globetrotter.

I’ve always loved Kate Spade, but since falling in love with their adorable stores in Los Angeles, then finding several more had popped up around London in my absence, they’ve quickly become a firm favourite of mine for anything colourful, pretty or sparkly! I think their jewellery would make the ultimate gift. 

I first encountered Rubis Chocolate Wine at the Harvey Nichols Christmas Press Day back over the Summer, and out of all (and by all I mean an awful lot!) of amazing gins and vodkas I tried that afternoon, funnily enough the one thing that stood out for me was this wine. I know chocolate wine sounds odd, but hear me out. This Spanish red is blended with chocolate in England, and is fortified. Then presented in this beautiful bottle it makes for the perfect after dinner drink. I know this because the guys at Rubis were kind enough to send me a bottle, and it has become a firm favourite of mine. Something a little sophisticated for the holidays. 

Yet another Press Day find, Diptyque’s Pine Christmas Candle. I actually included their Christmas Pine Tree candle in one of my guides last year, as I was pretty obsessed with it. I was going to give it a pass this year, choosing to focus on my new festive candle obsession, ‘Winter’ by The White Company, but after I smelt how subtly different, and awesome this years offering is one evening a few weeks ago at their Brook Street store I just knew I had to fit it in again this year. For me one of the big smells of Christmas is the tree, so this would be perfect for those of you in the city who can’t get a real one as easy as us country folk. Also this year they have some great pine scented tree decorations, perfect for making your fake tree seem real

Thanks to the guys at Xperience Days I recently spent a Saturday morning at the Open Kitchen in Hoxton attending a Knife Skills and Fish class. It was rather different from most of the cooking classes I’ve attended before, which have been relaxed evening affairs. This was early morning and very professional and serious, and we learnt how to use and care for different types of chef knifes, chop our vegetables to a professional standard, joint and debone a chicken, and fillet and debone different types of fish. While I’d already done the vegetables and chicken before, I learnt a lot about sharpening knives (I’m no longer scared to do it without slicing my fingers off) and the skills I’ve learnt with the fish are invaluable; I know know what to do when presented with a whole fish of almost any variety. I did find it was a lot like school and I did feel rather down when I realised how useless I still am at the whole chicken affair, but as I said it was really useful. For people who like their cooking to be casual or don’t have much confidence in the kitchen I suggest you take a browse through some of Xperince Day’s easier food experiences (they are not just London based, they have experiences across Britain and America; I was originally contacted by the team to review something in Los Angeles but I never quite got around to it), but if you’re looking for a gift for someone who is serious about their cooking and sharpening up their skills, this class would be perfect. It runs on Saturday mornings, lasts for about two hours, comes in at £59 per person, and you get to take your chicken and your fish home with you. I got about three meals out of my spoils. 

How is your Christmas shopping going? As I type, I’m currently finishing off some homemade foodie Christmas gifts for friends and family the first time I’ve made my own this year, and it has been so much fun! If you don’t feel up to putting together something homemade though, IFB have got a great round up of other peoples gift guides you really must check out.