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I couldn’t fight the burning desire of writing a post about Christmas presents.

I swear, this the last time I write about this topic, unless someone creates a new democratic and life changing beauty product that erases one of the plagues affecting the female population: dark circles around the eyes, wrinkles, and cellulite. So each female member of your family would like to receive that miraculous product. But it has to be accessible and fast acting, otherwise it will not merit my attention.

If the thought of decorating your home doesn’t make you jump with joy, you are simply after something that reminds you and your guests that Christmas is coming, put on one side the idea of buying a real Christmas tree. I know, it is romantic – as we know, thanks to American romcom – and will spread a wonderful forest smell in your house. But is it a total pain when it comes to keep it – and the floor underneath it – tidy. It will lose hundreds of needles every day and will turn you into a Dyson-slave, if you are lucky enough to own one.

I found my solution thanks to some genius people who work for Alessi, one of my favourite Italian brands. They launched a small and very eye candy object in the shape of a tree, dressed with humorous and charming hand blown glass Christmas baubles. If treated with care, you might be able to pass it to the next two generations.

During my Christmas quest for small, sophisticated and satisfactory presents – I found my saving grace at the Conran Shop. You walk in and you don’t need to think, as their buyers have already done all the hard work for you.

See their website and browse through their categories. No doubt you will find something: http://www.conranshop.co.uk/shop/Christmas/

They have shops in Milan and Paris too.  

For the tea lovers and for the members of your family who think that:

A)    British people take a break at 5 to celebrate the colonial and civilized ritual of brewing some tea and drink it

B)    They expect tea from you. You live in London, what else can you take home from here?

Here is a new brand, quite different from the super classic Fortnum and Mason, and certainly cheaper. Joe’s Tea has managed to reinvent the traditional English Breakfast and Earl Grey. I loved their vanilla and chocolate brew. http://www.joesteacompany.com/

If you know me, you will know that I am an omnivorous reader. The British Lord brought the Amazon Kindle to my life and I will be forever grateful for that. Despite my lovely e-reader, I still love physical books. I like good books, in content and form. During my pilgrimage for independent shops, I discovered Persephone Books, a quiet gem, few meters from the British Museum.

Persephone Books reprints neglected fiction and non-fiction by mid-twentieth century (mostly women) writers, all those women who didn’t become Virginia Woolf. Each book of their collection of 100 books promises to be intelligent, thought-provoking and beautifully written. The titles are chosen and introduced by contemporary authors and they look beautiful. I do not need to add anything else. Here the editorial team of Persephone Books has pulled together a list of perfect presents.



Now I know where they are, I am sure I will visit their bookshop more often.