HEART LONDON MAGAZINE’S CHRISTMAS GIFT GUIDE 2016
At Heart London Magazine Christmas is one of our favourite times of the year, from beautiful Christmas lights, to hanging decorations on the Christmas tree and giving gifts. There is something special about seeing a loved one’s face light up when you give them a present they love. Finding that special gift isn’t always easy, so we spent the time searching for some special gifts – so you don’t have to. Enjoy our gift selections ‘for him’, ‘for her’, ‘for the baby’ and for that ‘secret santa’ gift!
Braun FaceSpa 851
Braun has long been creating wonderful products, and the FaceSpa is yet another. It’s a lovely, luxurious product for a friend, although we suspect you might have a hard time giving it away once you find out what it can do…
One of the huge draws to the FaceSpa is that it allows you to indulge in different treatments by switching attachments. This simple perk means that you can swap from removing hair using a facial epilator to cleaning pores with a facial brush in seconds. At first glance, Braun FaceSpa is rather elegant, and not too large to transport. It comes with a protective cap for the epilator whenever you need to be on the move.
The cleansing brushes are fantastic, removing all traces of make-up and impurities, leaving your skin smooth and clear. Braun claims that it’s 6x more effective than manual cleansing, and that isn’t hard to believe. Even after one use, we marvelled at just how clean and fresh our skin felt. Having a range of attachments means that there’s a brush for different areas and purposes – believe us when we say it will complete your skin care regime! Not to mention it’s also 100% waterproof, so can be used in the shower.
The brushes are ideal for sensitive skin, and the brush attachments consist of: normal, extra sensitive, exfoliation and beauty sponge.
- Normal brush – Good for normal skin types, with 8mm long bristles to remove make-up and impurities.
- Extra sensitive brush– For delicate, dry and sensitive skin. Soft 14mm bristles provide a gentle cleansing treatment.
- Exfoliation brush– Designed for weekly use for deep exfoliation. The brush combines long and short bristles to remove dead skin cells to refine skin complexion.
- Beauty sponge – The spongy foam surface is perfect for massaging moisturising creams into the skin, and is also good for applying foundation.
Available at Boots for £59.99.
Aqua Manda London Gift Set
Fans of all things retro will absolutely love the Aqua Manda London Gift Set. Presented in a delightful seventies style, this set includes a purse spray, body powder and beauty soap. All three have the same Aqua Manda fragrance – a lovely blend of mandarin, ginger, lavender, patchouli, cinnamon, eucalyptus, tarragon and juniper berry. The spicy base notes and mandarin top note creates a long lasting refreshing fragrance, which works just as well in the evening as it does during the day.
The compact purse spray is the ideal size for slotting into your handbag and producing for a spritz of fragrance throughout a busy day at work or a fun filled night out. The body powder is incredibly light and gentle on your skin, absorbing any excess moisture and leaving your body smooth. To round up the set, the beauty soap also contains the same subtle fragrance and leaves your hands enviably soft.
Buy this charming gift set for a friend, your mum, your sister – pretty much anyone who wants a touch of retro glamour along with the irresistible feeling of being spoiled.
Available Aqua Manda for £39.99 http://www.aquamandaperfume.com/
Flamingo Out of This World Candle
When it comes to colourful, fun and deliciously scented candles, Flamingo Candles are hard to beat.
The Out of This World candle definitely ticks all of the above boxes! A bright pink hand poured candle, made from natural soy wax in the UK, is packed into an attractive glass jar. This is another fantastic gift for retro ladies, with a beautiful blue and gold planet on the side of the jar, keeping in line with the Out of This World theme.
Apart from the fabulous colours, our favourite thing about this candle was the delectable scent of raspberry and salted caramel – the perfect blend of sweet and fruity. And with an estimated burn time of up to 50 hours, you can enjoy this candle all Christmas long.
Available at Flamingo for £12 https://www.flamingogifts.co.uk
Time Bomb Instawow Sparkling Facial Mask
We’ve said it before, but winter can be brutal on your skin, and we spend far too long searching for products and potions to restore it to its former glory. With Time Bomb’s Instawow Sparkling Facial Mask, your search might be shortened considerably.
This self-foaming effervescent mask does the unbelievable, but helping transform your complexion in five minutes, cleansing your skin of make-up and dirt, leaving your pores thoroughly clarified. It’s citrus extracts leave your skin brighter and even, and also manages to nourish skin and moisturise it incredibly quickly.
We loved the fizzing sensation on our skin, as it felt like it was really working, and after taking it off found that we’d been right! The mask left the surface of our skin noticeably smoother and glowing.
If your skin needs a quick and easy instant fix, we suggest you get your hands on Instawow as soon as possible!
Available Time Bomb for £39 https://www.timebombco.com/uk
Voya True Tranquil Relaxing Body Wash
An indulgent treat comes in the form of Voya’s True Tranquil Relaxing Body Wash, scented with lavender and rosemary. Something we love about this product is the organic ingredients, including purifying wild seaweed, sourced from Ireland’s Atlantic coastline. Known for its relaxing qualities, the scent of lavender makes this soothing body wash exactly the tonic after a long, hard day. When in the shower or bath, you simply need to apply a small amount over your body to hydrate and soften your skin.
Apart from being natural and organic – which makes it a good choice for those with sensitive skin – the lavender is also helpful in promoting a good night’s sleep, and the seaweed extracts are good at relieving muscle fatigue. And although here’s hoping Christmas isn’t a stressful occasion, but should preparations get on top of anyone, it might be beneficial to run a bath and indulge yourself with this effective body wash.
Available at Voya for £19 https://voya.ie
Voya Me Time Soothing Moisturiser
Another wonderful product from Voya is their Me Time Soothing Moisturiser. With the scent of palmarosa and vanilla, this silky moisturiser also uses seaweed extracts to nourish your skin deep down without the stickiness. It has a nice, light consistency yet still hydrates dry skin well, and smells amazing.
Rich in antioxidants and pro-collagen organic ingredients, it aids in reducing signs of ageing and also includes aloe vera and chamomile to soothe.
Available at Voya for £55 https://voya.ie
Light & Dark Delightful Eau de parfum
For those who like fruity scents, Light & Dark Delightful is guaranteed to be welcome present. This fragrance has a fascinating combination of complementary elements, all of which combine to create something delicate, exotic and almost like taking a bite out of a juicy piece of fruit!
We loved the mix of fruit and floral, and how this particular fragrance lingers on your skin all day without being too overpowering. Spray this on during a cold winter’s day for a tropical taste, when a little bit of sunshine is especially needed!
Top notes: Ah Ping, Blood Orange, Watermelon, Red Apple.
Middle: Mirabilis Jasmine, Lotus Flower, Pink Violet
Base: Sweet Musk, Cream Vanilla, Light Coconut Sorbet.
Available LD Boutique for £43.50 https://ld-boutique.com/
Osmo Blinding Shine Gift Set
The Osmo Blinding Shine Gift Set has been created with the purpose of bringing that much desired sheen and shine to your hair, and it most definitely delivers. The lightweight formula of each product enclosed is suitable for all hair types and includes Moringa oil and silk protein extracts to rescue dull hair and restore its glossiness.
The Blinding Shine Shampoo was gentle enough for everyday use, and smelled fantastic. Followed up by the conditioner, hair was left vibrant and feeling healthy. Perhaps our favourite was the Blowdry Potion, which is to be applied to damp hair and combed through before blow-drying. This resulted in soft, smooth hair with added bounce. So if you’re looking for an affordable and complete hair care routine to gift a friend (or even gift yourself), we can’t recommend Osmo enough.
Available at Salon Services for £10.00 http://www.salon-services.com/
JustFab Isolette shoes
With all the festive parties coming up, Just Fab have some great choices to upgrade your wardrobe for any possible occasion. And their wide range of party shoes is definitely not to be missed. We tried the Isolette shoes, black, elegant, and most importantly – comfortable. Simple can be beautiful, as in this case, and these block heeled courts are so adaptable that you can make the transition from work to party without problem. The lower, sturdier heel makes for practical shoes without ever compromising on style. The lace up design is fun and elegant – and also means that you shouldn’t be losing any precious footwear during a night out!
– Approx. Heel Height: 3.81 cm/1.5″
Available at JustFab for £35.00 http://www.justfab.co.uk/
Umbra Little black dress Hanging Jewellery Organiser
Another one of the most useful and unique gift options we’ve seen this year is Umbra’s Little Black Dress Hanging Jewellery Organiser. Shaped as a LBD, this stylish organiser can be hung up to save a huge amount of space, lying flat against a wall or inside a wardrobe. It’s able to store a large amount of jewellery/accessories with 39 clear plastic pockets on one side, and Velcro hanging loops on the other. These loops are perfect for long necklaces, separating each out so they don’t end up tangled.
So instead of leaving your earrings, rings and necklaces lying around, make sure you never lose them again by investing in one of these! It even come with a hanger, so you’re ready to put it to good use.
Available at Gifts.co.uk for £16.99
Christmas wouldn’t be the same without a quality cognac to sip on and Martell are renowned for making luxurious Cognac. This smooth drink is not only great value for money, it is presented in a beautiful bottle and is full of flavour.
Prepared using eaux-de-vie aged for two years on average, Martell VS is seen as a bright young cognac. Its fresh, fruity side makes it an ideal base when preparing cocktails.
Available at The Whiskey Exchange for £22.96 https://www.thewhiskyexchange.com
Asus ZenPad 3s 10
If you’re feeling particularly generous towards one of the men in your life this Christmas, why not get him some of the latest technology? It’s safe to say that with the ASUS ZenPad 3s10, you can’t go wrong.
Far lighter than laptops but with the same features, tablets are all the rage, and this offering from Asus absolutely stands up to other similar products on the market today.
The ZenPad is sleek and elegant with a tactile metallic texture. And that’s not the only treat when you pick it up, as this product weighs just 430g and is a mere 5.8mm thin. It certainly is a beautiful tablet – something you’re sure to notice before even turning it on. The smooth aluminium body has double, diamond cut edges, contributing to its strength and implying that it should wear well with major use.
The display is also impressive, meaning that whether you’re viewing a film, looking through your photos or browsing the web, you’ll be given a top visual experience. Specifically, the ZenPad boasts a 9.7 inch 2K IPS display with VisualMaster technology, 2048 x 1536 resolution and a wide 178-degree viewing angle. It’s certainly true that you can see all the details no matter what you’re looking at, and the 78% screen-to-body ratio is hugely appealing. Images are incredibly sharp and vibrant, as are videos. Netflix on here is a must!
Another important use for our technology nowadays is music, and the ASUS ZenPad doesn’t disappoint on this front. It has SonicMaster 3.0 technology, offering better quality, more volume and a number of effects. It can pump out high-resolution audio to compatible devices at 24-bit/192kHz, or 4x CD quality, and audio effects can be put to good use to enhance audio when wearing headphones.
Another interesting feature is the fingerprint sensor, allowing convenient and strong security as you are able to unlock the tablet almost immediately with a simple touch. The sensor can recognise all 5 fingers and also recognises them at 360°.
Vitally, battery life is good on the ZenPad, lasting well when used for long periods of time. Charging is also quick for those of us who are impatient! It comes with charger, and also a makeshift stand that comes in handy far more often then you might think.
Technical specs aside, the ASUS ZenPad is highly user friendly for anyone who is vaguely familiar with similar technology. However, even for a first time user, this shouldn’t be difficult to get used to. It syncs easily to your other devices, and you can use a Google account to download apps and sync bookmarks online. It possesses all the features you’d expect (and perhaps a few more), but what really puts this above the rest is the outstanding display, sleekness and ease of use.
Available at PC World for £299.99 http://www.pcworld.co.uk/
Jack Daniel’s 150th Anniversary Tennesee Whiskey
This limited edition Jack Daniel’s Whiskey is perfect for whiskey connoisseur’s, it features a bespoke bottle, designed with luxury in mind. Barreled and bottled at 100 proof, the result is a delicious, complex whiskey with the rich flavour finding its way to your glass; a taste of history in the making.
This is the perfect gift for whiskey lovers and if you feel generous, you can even leave a drop out for Santa!
Available at Harvey Nichols for £150
Roku Streaming Stick
Do you know someone who can’t live without their favourite TV shows? If the answer is yes, then the Roku Streaming Stick could be the present you’ve been searching for! This handy little stick allows you to access and stream all manner of channels on your TV at the touch of a button.
The compact box includes the Roku Streaming Stick, a Roku enhanced remote with channel shortcut buttons, 2 batteries for the remote, USB power cable and a wall adapter.
To begin with, the streaming stick is surprisingly small for all the features it includes, meaning that it will slot into the HDMI slot of your TV with ease, and should fit even between a TV and a wall. You can then connect it to a wall outlet via the USB power cable to charge and power the stick.
The accompanying remote is simple to use with clear controls and media buttons to connect to and install channels such as Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Demand 5 and Google Play TV. The sheer amount of channels (both well known and some obscure) makes this streaming stick incredibly worth its price, which is coincidentally not excessively expensive. Although some channels have to be paid for – the usual pay-per-view ones you will be familiar with – the simplicity of installing most of your favourites is great, and allows you to watch your favourite shows and movies on the big screen with minimal fuss.
Available at Roku for £29.99 https://www.roku.com/
Bill’s Champagne Christmas Hamper
Who doesn’t love the gift of champagne and chocolates! This stunning gift will light up the eyes of any receiver, it contains Bill’s own champagne, a beautiful Christmas church candle and handmade Pink Marc de champagne truffles. The truffles feature pink and dark chocolate, as well as a cream ganache, made by chocolatiers, Prestat. This welcome gift is luxurious and indulgent, just as Christmas should be!
Although it is featured in our gifts for him, this sensational gift is suitable for anyone of drinking age!
Available at Bills Shop for £45.00 https://www.bills-shop.co.uk/
Jack Black The Balm Squad
Along with the dry skin of winter comes the chapped lips, but Jack Black’s luxurious lips balms are here to provide some relief and repair.
The Balm Squad combines some of their most popular flavours in this limited edition set. Flavours include: the refreshing Natural Mint & Shea Butter, the fresh Lemon & Shea Butter, the exotic Black Cherry & Pomegranate, and the light Shea Butter & Vitamin E. Truly a flavour for everyone! The balms never feel sticky but still clearly moisturise and soothe sore and dry lips
Enriched with superior skin conditioners, broad-spectrum sunscreens, and antioxidants, these emollient balms protect, soothe, and relieve dry, chapped, irritated lips. Each balm is infused with antioxidants and skin conditioners, along with SPF 25 to protect against UVA and UVB rays.
This unisex gift could work for anyone, and would be a lovely treat to open up on Christmas morning.
Jack Black’s The Balm Squad is available at Gwt Jack Black for £19.95 www.thegroomingclinic.com
If you’re looking for something a bit different this year, then consider the Sodastream Power. It’s the newest model created by Sodastream, allowing you to make sparkling water with complete ease and in seconds.
The options provided by Sodastream is one reason this carbonator rises above the rest, with three different levels of fizziness to choose from. It’s also up to you if you would like to serve your carbonated water plain or with flavouring – meaning that this machine can potentially create all types of drinks! Upon trying it out, we found that the quality of your drink at the end of the process was particularly good, with the ‘fizz’ being likened to that of a sold drink.
Visually, the Sodastream Power looks sleek, and was designed by interior designer Yves Béhar. It doesn’t take up too much space in your kitchen, considering how powerful it is, and possesses a flashy LED interface so that you can tell when your water is fully carbonated. It initially comes with one carbonating bottle and one 60 litre aluminium gas cylinder, allowing you to make up to 60 litres of sparkling water. When the cylinder eventually empties, you will then need to exchange it for a full one, which comes at a price. However, most likely you’ll believe it’s worth it.
It’s user friendly with a snap-lock bottle, keeping your water in place, and the sight of seeing tap water transform into fizzy water before your eyes is impressive.
Available at Sodastream for £99.99 http://www.sodastream.co.uk/
Octagon Vodka Black Pepper Vodka
When you’re struggling to find something unique for a man in your life this Christmas, Octagon Vodka’s Black Pepper Vodka might just be the perfect gift. From the tall, elegant bottle to the complex flavour, this vodka has a touch of class and is sure to warm up any chilly winter’s day.
The vodka is made with whole black peppercorns, but despite expectations, isn’t particularly spicy. Although it has a warmth to it, the flavour is subtle with a slight sweetness. You can imagine it working well in a number of different cocktails, but is also smooth enough to sip neat.
Available from the Ely Gin Company in a range of sizes, from £6 – £120 http://www.elygin.co.uk/
SECRET SANTA AND STOCKING GIFTS
Brush Works Blender Sponge Set
A lovely little gift, ideal for a stocking filler, is this set of make-up sponges from Brush Works. The colourful sponges can be used either wet or dry, and are designed to absorb small amounts of water when wet, which allows makeup to sit on top of the sponge opposed to being absorbed by it. This means that you end up using less product (and cleaning the sponges is a lot easier). They become bigger and also softer when wet, before shrinking back to their usual size when dried.
Although make-up sponges may not spring to mind when you’re considering stocking fillers for friends and family, the sheer use you can get out of them makes them a really worthwhile gift. We used them as part of our daily make-up routine and found that they were perfect for applying foundation and blending in concealer. The smaller sponges were great for contouring and reaching all areas of your face. We even used it for applying powders including blusher.
Vegan friendly and allergy free, Brush Works have created multi-use sponges that can serve as a practical gift. They’re also latex free, for anyone out there with sensitive skin.
Available at Just My Look for £9.95 www.justmylook.co.uk
VARTA Safety Power Bank 2600mAh
Something small and practical is the VARTA Safety Power Bank 2600mAh, which serves as both a portable power bank and a panic alarm.
Visually, the power bank is attractive and small enough to fit into a bag when on the move. It’s also pleasingly lightweight at 96g. There is 80% battery charging for smartphones and 20% of the battery reserved for the siren, which balances the duel use perfectly. It comes with a micro USB charging cable with a DC 5V 1A input, and a DC 5V max. 1.0A output.
The panic alarm feature makes this charger especially attractive, and can make a great gift for loved ones who might be out and about late at night. The 100 decibel alarms activates a stroboscope light, and is easy to put into motion by strongly pulling on the alarm ring. To shut the alarm off, you simply need to push the ring back into the power bank, or press down on an easy to find button. We would recommend this as a gift for absolutely anyone.
Available from for Amazon.co.uk for £18.99
PopaBall Bubbles for gin – Blueberry & Lemon
With Christmas party season around the corner, one thing we’re all bound to see a lot more of is alcohol in the coming weeks. And luckily, PopaBall has created something fun to add to those festive drinks!
Their Bubbles for Gin can be added to drinks (not necessarily alcohol, although they have been created to complement gin) for an extra fruity surprise. Any lover of Bubble Tea will definitely want to check these out, as when bitten into, the bubbles release a burst of juice into your mouth – in this case, the flavours of blueberry and lemon. The bubbles come with a chunky telescopic straw to stick into your G&T, although these non-alcoholic bubbles can be added to any drink of your choice, and are suitable for vegetarians.
We tried them in prosecco, and we’d highly recommend you try that too!
Available at PopaBall for £3.79 https://popaball.co.uk/
Gillette Venus & Olay Razor
Get party ready with the Gillette Venus & Olay razor – exactly what you need when you’re preparing to pull on your little dress for yet another Christmas party this season.
Venus is already known as a leading brand when it comes to shavers, but once again they’ve upped their game by collaborating with Olay, creating a razor that locks in skin’s moisture to combat dryness and keep skin silky-smooth. Olay moisture bars surround release skin conditioners to make the act of shaving easier, while the 5 blades ensure you get a very close shave. In comparison to other razors, this one certainly stands out and gets the job done well. There’s a chance you won’t even need separate shaving cream, as the moisture bars are so useful.
Like other Venus products, the cartridges are easy to change and interestingly, the almost any Venus cartridges will fit this handle, so why not include an extra pack if you decide to give this as a gift?
Available at Boots for £5.77
Yankee Holiday Party Votive Holder
Yankee Candle have a great Christmas range this year with items that could easily serve as your main presents. However, their little Holiday Party Votive Holder makes for an ideal stocking filler. This beautiful glass candleholder is snowy white and sparkly gold, colours that you’ll immediately associate with Christmas. Like with all Yankee products, the holder is very well made and feels as if it should cost far more than the affordable price you’ll get it for.
Save a spot for it on the table when you’re eating your Christmas dinner, and be sure to fill it with one of their delicious scented candles.
Available at Yankee Candle for £4.99 http://www.yankee.co.uk/
Lee Stafford Nourishing Miracle Oil
The benefits of argan oil have become more and more widely reported, so this little bottle of Nourishing Miracle Oil from Lee Stafford is a great option for a stocking filler this year.
From Morocco, the oil is nourished with PRO-ARGAN™ Complex, to leave hair soft and shiny. Something we were impressed by was how light the oil was. It didn’t make hair feel greasy in any way, as you can often get with certain products. In harsh weather conditions, this oil is rich and luxurious, repairing damaged hair without much being needed. This means that even a small bottle ends up being long-lasting.
Available at Boots for £11.99
Choconchoc Chocolate Macaroons
It’s hard to go wrong with chocolate as a present, and innovative company Choconchoc are well aware of this fact, offering an exciting range of delicious treats at this time of year. The one we were most enamoured with however, was their handmade white Belgian Chocolate Macaroons. For anyone with a sweet tooth, these creamy, artistic chocolates will be tough to beat.
Wrapped in a beautiful box, you open it up to find eight visually stunning pieces of chocolate, in exactly the same shape as genuine macaroons, hand-dyed in pastel shades. In fact, they’re so pretty and well crafted, you might not want to eat them – but sooner or later, we guarantee that you’ll give in. The chocolate is sweet but not too sweet, and incredibly moreish. These are a definite step up from a normal box of chocolates, and we envy anyone who might receive them on Christmas day!
Available at Choconchoc for £12.00
Aden + Anais new beginnings gift set
This beautiful gift set makes the perfect present for a new baby at Christmas, not only are the products made from high quality cotton muslin, you will find them useful and the set even contains a Musy Mate Lovey, a cute little cuddly muslin bear companion. This beautiful gift is packaged in a stunning aqua marine gift box, perfect to wrap in pretty Christmas paper. The set contains two swaddles, made from 100% breathable cotton, a Burpy Bib, which works as both a bib and a burb cloth, the Musy Mate Lovey and One Musy, a versatile muslim square. We love the twinkle design, which boasts pretty grey stars.
Available at Aden + Anais for £64.96 https://www.adenandanais.co.uk
Brighten up any nursery with the Aloka SleepyLight multi-coloured LED night light, with remote control. This beautiful light is available in many different varieties, from a playful looking horse, to a pretty butterfly, a rocket and more. This lovely light is a perfect gift for new mums, it turns on easily with the remote control and can brighten at the touch of a button, allowing the light to be brighter for breast feeding or lighter to calm your baby. At the touch of a button you can set the mood, with 12 different colour options, perfect to get your little one sleepy or brighten the room with the bright white light.
Available at Potwells for £39.95 http://www.potwells.co.uk