Joyful Jammies

laughing heart gifts

Until recently, my mum still used the maternity nightdresses she wore when my brother and I were in-utero.

Earlier this year she cleared out of her wardrobe and offered my dad the nightdresses as rags with which to polish his car. He refused.

Shortly after her clear out, I bought this for her when I was on holiday in Tulum, Mexico. This is one of the most spectacular things I have ever seen. I've seen people wear them as day dresses in summer but I think it's a great nightie. 

I love the colours. It’s such a happy dress; I think she won’t be able to feel anything other than joy when she wears it.

JOY-INDUCING PYJAMAS:

A scarf from Hermès

I took on the exciting challenge of finding a gift for my husband's aunt who I'd never met before.

We decided to visit his aunt and uncle in Germany. Ich war aufgeregt. I could showcase my GCSE German language skills. 

I had little to go on for gift-inspiration, having never met her before, but my husband told me that he remembered she wore scarves.

So I paid a visit to Hermès at Harrods.

hermes gift

 

 

With the help of an assistant called Fiona who seemed to know what she was talking about, I selected this.

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Part of me hopes that his aunt loves it. The other part of me hopes that she hates it so that I can keep it. I think is beautiful.

*For his uncle, I was instructed to buy Port and Cheese.

 

Throwback Thursday: Pineapple? Fineapple!

A post in which I find out whether it's possible to give someone a serious pineapple-themed gift.

 

 

When I was in America earlier this month, my friend Laurie asked me for gift ideas for her friend, Sarah.

The only thing Laurie told me about Sarah was that she liked pineapples and wore silk kimonos.

An actual pineapple was vetoed and novelty pyjamas were out.

This was the ultimate test of my gift-giving abilities. As I was out of my natural environment, I couldn’t suggest any shops in San Francisco that would sell something both pineapple-y and desirable. We went to Jonathan Adler on Fillmore Street but a trip there proved fruitless, literally.

My suggestions fell short. I was a fish flopping about on dry land.

I failed.

In idle moments since getting back to London, I thought about that challenge. Could a chic pineapple gift be done? Was it ridiculous to give a pineapple-themed gift to someone?

I wondered why I thought so much about pineapple-related gifts and then it hit me.

CHARLES II.

I remembered seeing a painting of Charles II receiving a pineapple.  If Queen Elizabeth II commissioned a painting of her receiving a pineapple, you'd raise an eyebrow. But in the 17th Century, it was a mark of wealth and privilege. 

When pineapples were first available to buy in the 1700s, a single fruit cost the equivalent in today’s money of £5,000 (about $7,000).

Pineapples weren’t a ridiculous point of inspiration for gifts! They had a noble provenance!

And like the comeback you deliver too late, one month later, here are my pineapple suggestions.  

Valentine's Day: A manifesto

Heart | Laughing heart

I support Valentine’s Day for the simple reason that some people need to be prompted to demonstrate appreciation for their partners.

Clearly once a year isn’t a great average to show your love but it’s at least it’s a start.  

Also, what harm can it do? Seriously? It’s not like we’re experiencing way too much love in the world and we really need to scale back.

Of course you should demonstrate appreciation for the people you love all year round, preferably daily, with kind words, thoughtful gestures and puddings. But sometimes life gets in the way and before you know it, it's Valentine's Day and you're buying a heart-shaped balloon on a stick from the supermarket on the way home from work hoping you’ve ticked the box.

Crappy gifts actually suggested by stores this year include (I'm not going to link to them because I truly don't want you to buy them)

I encourage my readers to view Valentine’s Day as the dawn of a new age: an age in which you won’t let a year go by before you think to demonstrate your appreciation with a crappy gift.

Try to give a gift which genuinely demonstrates care for them. For example:





Longchamp Le Pliage Backpack Review

The Longchamp Pliage backpack is an excellent travelling bag and would therefore make a great gift.

I saw an Italian teenager wearing one at London City Airport in September. 

She wore it with a blue hoodie and ankle-grazer jeans and Superga trainers, naturalmente.

The backpack was the shining star of the outfit. 

About a month ago, I saw someone at work wearing the bag with a smart work outfit and the bag didn't look out of place. 

I extolled the virtues of the bag to my husband; and Lo! unto me, at Christmas, a bag was given.

I am not a fan of the Longchamp shoulder tote bag. Mainly because every girl at university had one and they look pretty uninspiring. 

However, I think the backpack is cool. It's practical for holidays - you don't have to wobble through security with bag hanging from the crook of your arm taking up the same amount of space as a third buttock.

Longchamp backpack review | Laughing Heart

As the name would suggest, Le Pliage comes folded in a neat little rectangle.

Unfolded, it has enough room for ipad, camera, notepad and pen, sunglasses, passport and carry-on cosmetics.

It has a sturdy zip closing and then a leather button flap. The only design issue that I have with it is that there's a little tab beneath the button (you can see in the picture on the right) which I keep pulling to lift the flap up but it's attached to the bag. I'm worried I'm going to rip it off.

It feels well-made and I can't wait to take it out on her maiden voyage to California next week. 

It retails for about £55.

Bunny love

If you read my animal spirit post, you'll know that I love rabbits.  The only thing which prevents me from filling the flat with rabbity things is my husband.  

I campaigned tirelessly to get this doorstop into our flat and was a change.org petition away before he relented. I think you’ll agree, it’s a fine looking doorstop. 

doorstop.jpg

Here are the best bunny themed gifts on the market at the moment. 

Alex Monroe Sitting Bunny Ring with Diamond

Like a magpie, my attention was momentarily captured by the Marc Jacobs bunny ring but I wasn't convinced. It wasn’t cute or charming. 

I then discovered this ring by Alex Monroe.  Gold = precious, diamond = precious, bunny= precious.

Alex Monroe produces excellent stacking rings too FYI.

Sergio Rossi leather bunny sandals

Nude barely-there heels have solved many a ‘yes I’ve got the dress but what do I wear on my feet?’ quandary. These Sergio Rossi shoes retain all of the best features of the classic barely-there heel but the bunny ears at the back and bow at the front add some quirky-but-not-comedic interest.

 

Oliver Bonas salt and pepper shakers

There are some dining accessories that can use to express yourself. I can’t believe I’ve just typed that, but I think it’s true: Napkin holders, salt and pepper shakers and coasters. This salt and pepper set from Oliver Bonas are an inexpensive way to liven up a tablescape.

 

Ham Print

Estee Lalonde (the artist formerly known as Essie Button) had a HAM print in the background in one of her videos by this amazing company. My brother is buying me one for Christmas. Not so subtle hint: the  button lift print is my favourite. 

London Bird necklace

I tried to get into statement necklaces but I just didn’t carry it off with panache. I much prefer delicate pieces, like this bunny necklace with a pearl tummy.

 

Flopsy Bunnies print

My friend Amy is having a baby and wants the nursery to be this pink colour so I bought her this print. It's more of a pinky red.

Universally useful stocking fillers

I'm calling these ideas 'stocking fillers' but they are perennially useful gifts. Serve them in a large sock if you wish.