I’ve had so many requests for both this post and tomorrow’s gifts for teens that I’m feeling the weight of expectation! I’ve been compiling retail Christmas gift posts since 1993 and I have to say that this year has been the hardest. Why? Because as with partywear, retailers are being very careful with their inventories this year and they’re sitting on the safe side to ensure that they’re not left with lots of stock to clear at a loss on Boxing Day. If we were in The City we’d be saying that 2018 is the retail bear market and it means that there’s very little ‘newness’ around. So, my advice is not to expect gifts that excite the imagination, instead it’s a year for taking advantage of the fierce Black Friday offers to invest in the little luxuries that we often feel we don’t deserve. So many women have a tendency to buy lovely things for everyone other than themselves… but this is the year to change all that.
I’ve emptied my brain of some of the loveliest things that I’ve come across this season in the hope that it gives you a few ideas of things to buy for your mum, your grown-up daughter or your best friend… but really I’m hoping that you’ll find something that you can drop a heavy hint about for yourself. I’ll indicate if there are any Black Friday offers running and if there are, now’s the time to buy.
Just in case you missed yesterday’s gifts for men post, I’m highlighting products from small brands and charities with an FGF heart for Feel Good Factor.
Chic treats for women – Christmas gift ideas
The ultimate in practical chic
This is the best thing that I’ve added to my wardrobe recently. We use umbrellas a lot up here and this one looks like an ordinary black one but when you open it, it reveals its wild side. Fabulous quality, it adds polish to any outfit and a smile to most people’s faces on a rainy day – it’s a great price too.
Leopard and black walking umbrella
A scarf innovation
This is a company founded and run by Keren and Ashley who are Midlifechic readers. They worked together to develop this rather genius scarf that can be worn four ways: either with all three stripes on show or folded so that one colour is dominant as you can see from the pictures below. They took advice from colour consultants to make sure that they were working with the most flattering shades for different skintones so there’s a whole rainbow of colour options available. The scarves are 100% non-itchy wool.
The ultimate skin polisher
I’ve mentioned this before but I just want to remind you about it. Liquid Gold’s hero ingredient is Glycolic Acid and you use it like a toner after you’ve cleansed at night. After about ten days, you should suddenly notice that your skin is glowing because the dead cells have been sloughed away to reveal a fresh complexion. I discovered it in a beauty advent calendar a couple of years ago and since then it’s become an absolute winter essential for me, I wouldn’t be without it. This double pack is a particularly good buy at the moment and for the last few weeks I’ve been alternating it with its sister product Intensive night repair serum which has boosted the results even more.
A fabulous skin plumper
Now this is one of the very few beauty products that I’ve been sent to test that I feel is good enough to recommend to you. As I’ve mentioned before, I always tell beauty PRs that I’m happy to try things out but that I will only recommend them if I can see or feel a significant difference. It’s amazing how many decline to send their products through on those terms which speaks volumes! Anyway, I’ve been using this for about three weeks and it’s become another indispensable part of my winter beauty régime. I use it after the Liquid Gold in place of a night cream and it sinks into my skin but it also stays on the surface like a protective layer. I can still feel it in the morning and my complexion really is plumper and healthier looking. My skin tends to be dry and dehydrated in the winter and this has really turned it around – I think I can say it’s the best moisturiser I’ve ever used and I will certainly be buying it when I’ve finished the test pot.
Institut Esthederm Intensive Hyaluronic Cream (Black Friday offer 20% off with code INDULGE)
A starter set of make-up brushes
I was chatting to some of my friends recently and I was surprised to discover that hardly any of them have a set of decent make-up brushes. Actually I didn’t either until I started Midlifechic and had my make-up done by professionals a few times who talked me through the difference. If you’re sceptical, this is an easy way to try good brushes out and they’re great for taking on holiday if you then decide to replace them with a full set.
A silk pillowcase
Now this is a product that I’m absolutely delighted to recommend and not just because of the fabulous packaging. You see it comes from Sonal Keay who is a Midlifechic reader and she and I have been sharing our agonies of setting up a small retail business as we’ve gone through the process this year. Sonal is actually a barrister and this has been really obvious to me in her obsession with detail as she’s been developing her products.
I’ve talked about silk pillowcases on Midlifechic before because I really do think every woman benefits from using one every night. Personally I like them because I don’t wake up with pillow creases on my face or crazy hair and I believe that they’re kinder to my skin because they don’t suck away the expensive moisturiser that I’ve applied before bedtime. Sonal gives you all the other benefits of using silk pillowcases here.
I’ve tried them and they really are the best on the market,. They’re a much heavier (22 momme) silk than others you’ll find and yet they can still be machine washed. The Independent newspaper agrees and named them their best buy. So, I’d like us to send a collective Mexican wave of applause around the world for Sonal who has achieved this whilst also rushing around the country in her robes fighting for justice and being a young mum at the same time! To tempt you, she’s offering 5% off the white pillowcases with code MidlifeSilk – there could be a name for a new midlife /legal style blog there!
This Is Silk pillowcases (5% off with code MidlifeSilk)
There is definitely a crazy cat lady lurking inside me ready to come out when I hit 80 and so I ordered these slippers last week. In fact if you could wear a cat on your feet it would feel like this because they’re fur-lined, soft and warm. I have two black cats, Alfie and Rosie and Rosie has a fascination for shoes – so these slippers will either please or confuse her. If you’re not a cat person then there are also very lovely fox slippers or even bear slippers.
A chic watch with a wardrobe of straps
You will undoubtedly have noticed the Parisian habit of wearing an oversized, slightly mannish watch in order to accentuate the wrist, making it appear slim and delicate. I discovered Nordgreen watches when I covered them on Midlifechic in the summer. I’ve now started collecting the straps because they’re interchangeable so you can switch the colour depending on what you’re wearing. I’ve found that the most flattering size is the 36mm although I bought a 40mm for Mr MC and I wear that sometimes too. The 32mm is daintier so more like a standard watch face.
They’re Danish and they’re designed by Jacob Wagner who also designs for Bang & Olufsen and there are three designs but the Philosopher below is my favourite. They also have a giving back programme so when you’ve bought your watch, you input the serial number online and choose one of three charities which Nordgreen then makes a donation to. So, a chic present for men or women from an ethical company with the added bonus that you can see the time without your reading glasses! There’s a Black Friday offer for 30% running at the moment but if you use the code Midlifechic35, they’re offering a 35% reader exclusive discount until Thursday 27th.
Nordgreen watch (35% off with code Midlifechic35 until Tuesday 27th November)
A fragrant gift for a friend
As you know, after my year spent working in home fragrance I’m very particular about it and most candles and diffusers just don’t pass by my ‘synthetic stink’ radar. Diptyque, however, always do and their choice of over forty nine lovely scents and candles always manage to please the senses. Beautifully packaged, these would be a particularly good gift for someone who travels regularly for work – I find this kind of thing is just what I want when I’m stuck in a hotel room on my own for a night.
Choose your own Diptyque gift set
Chic architectural jewellery
Now these earrings are from Shelley who is also a reader although I haven’t spoken to her for a while. She has a wonderful collection of simple silver jewellery in beautiful shapes and it’s very affordable too. A really good online store to remember when you’re looking for a chic gift.
Something you’ll wear on repeat
I’ve had this necklace for a while and it’s the only one that I tend to wear other than my Claudia Bradbury pieces. It sits at just the right spot between your clavicles and adds a contemporary twist to whatever you’re wearing.
The new kid on the skincare block
I’m suggesting this but I haven’t tried it personally. Sali Hughes however raves about Drunk Elephant (along with every other beauty jounalist at the moment) and recommends this as a good way to discover the benefits of their products.
Drunk Elephant Look At That Acid Kit
Pop of colour leather gloves
Now we’re all familiar with the zing that a pop of colour adds to your outfit. Leather gloves are no exception but the (rather significant) problem is that they can be ‘form over function’ and tend not to keep your hands warm… unless you buy these. You see they’re lined with cashmere and they come in an amazing array of colours as well as the traditional ones and they’re an amazing price. This makes them the perfect present for someone who appears to have everything.
For someone who prefers a more relaxed look, these are brilliant. I often wear mine in the office because for some reason my hands are always icy cold. They don’t interfere with your fingers so they’re easy to type in and the cashmere adds a touch of luxury to an ordinary day. They’re available in a range of colours and patterns.
Featherlight cashmere scarf
While we’re on the subject of cashmere, another key winter wardrobe piece in my book is a soft and light cashmere scarf in pale grey (which can also double as a poncho). Not only does it feel good to wear but it adds a touch of luxe to your whole outfit. Plus of course it’s easy layering because it packs down so small that if you want to take it off, you can easily pop it in your handbag. If grey isn’t your colour, it’s available in a range of colours. The Black Friday offer makes this a more affordable luxury.
Lucy four way cashmere scarf/poncho
An uber chic lipstick
Whipping a luxury lipstick out of your handbag is such a pleasure, especially when it performs as well as this award-winning one. When you think about it on a cost-per-wear basis, it isn’t an expensive gift and it will, quite literally, put a smile on your face.
Tom Ford lipstick (15% off in Black Friday sale)
Mood-driven aromatherapy bath / shower oil collection
I was given one of these sets earlier this year and as always, I saved it – partly because I didn’t want to break into one of the oils and then not have a complete set but also because I tend to feel I don’t deserve this sort of indulgence. Anyway, when all hell let loose in October, there was a night when everyone was out. I’d been working so hard to manage everyone else’s feelings that I decided to break into this set and now I’m gradually working through them. It’s like having an emotional menu to choose from – you decide how you’re feeling from the list on the back and then you rub the oil over your body before getting into the bath (you could step into the shower if you prefer). The room fills with the fragrance and it stays on your skin overnight. Being quite frugal, I manage to get two baths from each oil and I’m discovering some real favourites that I’ll replace with larger sizes.
Aromatherapy Associates mini bath oils gift pack
An indulgent city break
If you’ve reached the bottom of this list without finding any inspiration, the only thing I have left up my sleeve is a break in a great British city. There are plenty of locations to choose from and I’ve found some particularly good offers for the new year. Lovely things to eat and drink, a wander round some independent boutiques and historic sites… how does that sound?
I really hope there’s something there that’s tickled your fancy, now I must dive into the world of the teenager to finish my work on that list… I may be needing one of those aromatherapy baths when I come out at the other side! In the meantime, I’ve updated the Black Friday offers below with the new deals that have started today on the top – there’s certainly never been a year like this one for discounts.
Black Friday offers now on
White Company 20% off almost everything here with code WHITE20
Clinique 15% off everything and free delivery over £30 here with code BLACK
LK Bennett 25% off everything here code FRIDAY25
Selfridges 20% off almost everything with code SELFCCE
Baukjen today only (Weds 21st) 25% off 1 item here code BLACK2018; 30% off two or more items code BLACKFRI2018
Baukjen (all week) 30% off specific Black Friday edit here
Jigsaw 20% off everything here
Hobbs 20% off everything here with code CAT20
Whistles 30% off everything here
Mango 30% off everything here with code BLACK18
All Saints 30% off everything here
Jack Wills at least 25% off everything here
Buyagift 20% off all gift experiences (including special offers) here with code BIG20
Boden 30% off everything here with code N3N1 (free delivery and returns over £30) until Monday 26th
Office 20% off here and free delivery with code GLITTER
Superdry 20% off everything here with code BLACK20
Clarks TODAY ONLY (Wednesday 21st) 25% off adults full priced boots here with code BOOTSBF
Me+Em 20% off here with code FRIEND20
Finery 40% off everything here (inc sale) + £2 donation to cancer charity for every order
Phase Eight 50% off a new category here each day and 25% off everything else
Pure Collection 25% off everything here
And of course John Lewis have a Black Friday price-matching centre here
Other Christmas posts you may have missed
Everything Christmas at John Lewis & Partners
Christmas party wardrobe planning
Disclosure: ‘Chic treats for women’ is not a sponsored post
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