6 non-physical gift ideas to give this Christmas.

Burberry high tea

It’s that time of year again and the Christmas count down has officially started! The John Lewis advert is on the TV, the Christmas lights are now turned on everywhere and the stores have suddenly transformed into full on festive mode. So now is a good time to start planning your Christmas gifting.

I really love buying gifts for people, but it can sometimes be tricky to know what to get everyone. Usually if we want things we will just buy them for ourselves during the year. So instead of buying actual items for someone this Christmas, another great idea is to get them a ‘non-physical’ gift, or an experience. In a world where everything is focused on consumerism and we are all consistently buying ourselves things, stepping away from that and spending more time with the people we love and having a special day out that you will look back on can be worth so much more.

These are my top 10 non-physical gift ideas:

1 – A Spa or beauty Treatment 

This would be the perfect gift to give to a new mum, or someone that has been stressed with work. A voucher for a lovely massage, facial or a day of getting away from it all in the spa could be just what they need, and not something that a lot of people will often buy for themselves.

2 – Afternoon Tea

An afternoon tea experience is always so much fun! If you’ve followed my blog or Instagram for a while, you’ll know that I love trying out new places for afternoon tea. Often they are held in beautiful hotels and there is something really lovely about tasting all of the delicious cakes and treats, as well as receiving a great service, making it a special way to spend time with family or friends. I will leave a few links below for some of the places that I have tried this year.

Prêt-à-Portea at the Berkeley Hotel, London

My favourite Instagrammable coffee shops

Elan Cafe, London

Peggy Porschen, London

3 – Theatre tickets

Another lovely gift idea is theatre tickets to go and see a musical or a West End show. You can get some really good deals for theatre tickets online these days and there is always something great to go and watch, especially around the Christmas period when they have all of the beautiful ballets and festive shows. You can get tickets to London shows on various websites and I have found some great deals with London Theatre Direct HERE

Ballet

Image @Pinterest

4 – A magazine subscription 

Ok, so I know this is more towards a physical gift but I wanted to include it as it’s a gift that keeps on giving throughout the year. If you know someone that loves fashion or interior design for example, a magazine subscription is a great idea as they will receive a copy of the latest magazine delivered to their home. It’s a little treat to look forward to and means they don’t have to go out and buy it each month themselves. We are all on our phones 24/7 these days so to take half an hour away from that, to sit down with a good magazine and cup of tea is really lovely and relaxing.

Vogue Magazines

Image @Pinterest

5 – A hobby inspired course

If you know someone that has been saying for a while that they would like to do a photography course, learn a new language or has a genuine interest in something like cooking for example, then you could get them a voucher towards a course. It might just be that encouragement that they need to get started on something that they will really enjoy working on and be good at.

Cooking flat lay

Image @Pinterest

6 – A special Train journey

Even though I spend a lot of time travelling on trains during the week, I really want to go for a day out on one of those old steam trains where you are wined and dined in luxurious surroundings, whilst travelling through the English countryside. It looks like such a fun experience and not something that you would get to do every day! This would be a really nice gift idea for mums or grandmas where you can sit together and enjoy being waited on, relaxing. You can pick up tickets for this sort of experience HERE

If actual gifts are more your thing though, I will be putting together some gift ideas in an upcoming blog post so make sure you keep an eye out for that! I really enjoyed putting together some gift ideas last year which you will find HERE and HERE  so I’ve been looking out for new things to recommend for this year too.

What is your favourite non physical gift idea from this blog post?

Have you started your Christmas shopping yet?

Luxury shopping – should you buy in store or online?

Louis Vuitton store London

The luxury market is booming and has continued to grow over the last decade. Social media and celebrities have been two major factors in keeping our attention on the big name luxury brands and keeping everyone interested in buying the latest fashion pieces.

With most brands, the trend has been that the majority of shopping is done online and fashion retailers such as Asos, Pretty Little Thing and Missguided have taken the lead with this, becoming huge giants in the industry. On the flip side of this though, it has been affecting the sales on the high street and we are losing a lot of stores. This isn’t the same for the luxury market though as there are a lot of positive points for shopping for luxury goods online as well as in store.

The Online shopping experience

In 2017, luxury e-commerce grew by 23% which is more than three times faster than total luxury retail growth. Net-a-Porter were one of the first to bring global luxury fashion house products all together online. The online shopping experience that you get with them is fabulous, from the beautifully packaged parcels that they send you, to the extra special services they have such as delivery within the same day in London. Since the success of Net-a-Porter, there are now a lot of other similar websites such as FarFetch, Matches Fashion and My Theresa to name a few.

Luxury brands themselves though were pretty slow when it came to getting into e-commerce – Chanel being a good example of this. Perhaps they didn’t expect online shopping to become as huge as it has or perhaps they were not too bothered until they realised that every brand was moving into the digital world.

Netaporter shopping

image @ Pinterest

Savvy online spending

75% of luxury shoppers research online before they make their purchase which is a huge figure, however 72% of shoppers say that they actually prefer to purchase in store. This does not surprise me and I feel exactly the same way. If your going to spend a large amount of money on something you want to feel the product first, check that it fits and get an overall feel for what you are buying. A lot of shoppers are now doing this the other way around though, by trying the item in store first, and then buying it online using discount codes. Luisaviaroma are the best at offering discount codes and flash sales and are perfect for savvy shoppers that want to save themselves some coins.

Netaporter shopping

image @ Pinterest

Top 5 reasons to shop for Luxury goods online

  1. Using discount codes to get money off and for cheaper than the price you would pay in store.
  2. Some people feel uncomfortable shopping in designer stores which can have a reputation of being snooty with unhelpful shop assistants.
  3. It is a quick and easy process, with often same day delivery and a good returns policy. Some designer boutiques will not allow refunds, but give you in-store credit only.
  4. You can browse a selection of designer brands all under the one online destination.
  5. You can search for the same item over various online stores to find the best deal and again, often cheaper than in the boutiques,

The in-store shopping experience

For me, shopping in an actual boutique is a much more exciting experience than shopping online. Consumers want to feel special and be offered a good quality customer experience when they are buying luxury items. In stores like Louis Vuitton, Dior etc there is often a queuing system where you have to wait to be served by one of the sales assistants. This can take quite a long time which is the downside of this. However with the majority of these brands, you need to build a relationship with an SA (sales assistant) and they will help you when it comes to reserving the latest pieces from the new collections. Hermes is one of those brands where this is crucial. If you ever want to purchase a Birkin bag, you will only ever have the chance if you are a known regular shopper with a solid relationship with an SA.

Saint Laurent handbag

Beautiful surroundings

Luxury stores know that we are living in a digital world now but they still want us to go into the stores. They know the importance of looking fabulous and are creating insta-worthy spaces to inspire people and encourage new visitors into the store. This is great advertising for them as images are posted onto social media and it gets everyone excited about going to visit the store. The Alexander McQueen store on London’s Bond Street is like an art museum with a huge egg in the doorway like something out of a Lady Gaga music video, as well as having the windows covered with nets holding bejewelled beetles. Louis Vuitton have just opened their newly refurbished store and it is also incredible – which was to be expected. And look at the Dior flagship store in Paris – the displays they put on the front of the building are so beautiful and worth the visit to see them.

Dior store Paris

Dior store Lady Dior bag

Dior store Paris

Top 5 reasons to shop for Luxury goods in-store

  1. You get to experience the overall feel for the brand so much more in-store.
  2. For the first class customer service and experience
  3. Being able to build a relationship with an SA so that you have a point of contact within the brand and they can help you to source items before anyone else – especially those extra special items that are hard to track down or sold out.
  4. Your purchase will be wrapped in their branded box, tissue paper and carrier bag which will be beneficial if you are a collector or if you plan to sell the item in the future.
  5. Being able to try on the clothing, to check the fit and feel of the products you are buying so you can be 100% sure that you are happy with it.

Saint Laurent packaging

Saint Laurent packaging

I hope you enjoyed today’s blog post. How do you prefer to buy luxury goods?

What was the last thing you bought?

I would love to know your thoughts so leave a comment below.

Is Instagram creating a new breed of social climbers?

A social Climber

A Social Climber is anyone that becomes friends with someone if they have something that they want. They become ‘friends’ with people in particular who ‘know people’ that can be of use/benefit to them. In turn, they become (or attempt to become) friends with that first person’s more ‘popular’ friends, then leaving the first person behind. They repeat this cycle to get to the ‘top’ as they see it.

This is something which has been playing on my mind a lot recently and I’ve been noticing the trend of this happening around me quite a lot. I know I can’t be the only one experiencing this so I wanted to write this blog post to put it out there that social media channels, particularly Instagram, is encouraging a new breed of social climbers. 

I love Instagram as it’s so visual and great for inspiration. I personally really enjoy using it for picking up on new emerging trends and seeing how other bloggers or Instagram models put together outfits, looking out for the latest bars or restaurants that are opening and also for home styling ideas. It’s great though for anyone, whatever their passion or interests might be. I wrote a blog post a year ago about my thoughts on Instagram HERE  which you also might like to take a look at.

Follow/Un-follow culture

Instagram has always had a problem with the follow/un-follow process. If you are not aware of this, what happens is that the account will start following people to get them to follow them back. Once they follow back, they then hit the un-follow button. Usually they never notice that this person un-followed them and they have essentially got away with it. The reason they do this to boost their follower account and there are even companies that you can actually pay to do this for you as a ‘bot’ which is craziness!

Fake Instagram friendships

When I first joined Instagram there were girls that would comment and engage on my posts all of the time. I was happy to be networking with some really lovely people, (or so I thought) and I genuinely loved supporting them back with their posts. However, a while ago, two of them stopped leaving comments as regularly and then stopped following me all of a sudden. It made me slightly paranoid, making me wonder what had changed. Did they no longer like my content? Had I done something to offend them? Had I missed any of their posts lately and it had annoyed them? 

It really bugged me for a while and then I realised – they didn’t need me anymore and I was someone they could drop now that they were climbing up the ‘Instagram ladder’ with more and more followers and they had used me along the way to get there. After thinking about it, the whole thing is really quite stupid and just confirmed to me that these girls were not my ‘friends’ at all – I hadn’t even met them in the real world! I had to give myself a talking to and not to be so silly to even worry about such a thing. That’s what happens sometimes with Social Media though – it can be a funny old place and no wonder why so many people struggle with it. On the plus side, I still have a lot of interaction with some girls that have been there from the beginning and they are really lovely. 

Moving forward

This has really opened my eyes though. I’m seeing Social Climbing happening everywhere, not just on Instagram and it’s definitely something to be aware of.  I’m not saying that you need to be suspicions of everyone that you meet, wondering what it is that they want from you, but I will be a lot more conscious that this sadly is a thing now.

I think that this will also really make me pay more attention to how I interact with other people. My Instagram account has grown since I started blogging last year and I still love interacting with a lot of the same people that I did back in the very beginning as well as new people I have come across along the way. I would never want anyone to think that I didn’t have time for them and that the number of followers you have makes you more ‘important’ than anyone else – it’s a nasty way to behave and people will always see through it in the end. As they say, Karma will always find it’s way to those who deserve it.

Have you had experiences with this before?

Leave a comment below if you have!

Shoe heaven – colour customisation by Rainbow Club

Rainbow Club heels

As a footwear fanatic, you can imagine my excitement when Rainbow Club reached out to me to tell me about their bespoke colour matching service!! I’m really excited to share this blog post with you all.

Have you ever found the most perfect pair of shoes but the colour of them wasn’t exactly what you were looking for? It can be so annoying when you have an outfit that you want to wear for an event or a night out and you can’t seem to find the ultimate matching pair of heels to go with it. Customisation or bespoke services are not something that you’ll find easily on the high street, unless it comes with a premium price attached, and so whatever is available in the store at the time is kind of your only option. That is, until I discovered Rainbow Club and what they offer.

Rainbow Club customisation..

Rainbow Club heels

Rainbow Club have a selection of different heel silhouettes to choose from and they offer a dyeing service in a variety of colours. If you have a specific shade in mind, you can send them a swatch for them to colour match or you could even send them a Pantone colour reference and they can dye your chosen heels to that exact shade. Footwear magic.

This would be a perfect idea for weddings if you have a particular colour theme planned, or you would like all of your Bridesmaids to have heels to match the colour of their dresses.

Your chosen shade is hand mixed by one of their colour experts and they work on getting the exact match for you. They then apply the dye by hand and then leave them to dry naturally before they are inspected and packed up ready to be sent back to you. They also apply a protection spray before they are sent to you to make sure the heels are kept in beautiful condition.

Choosing my heels

I couldn’t wait to get started and to choose my pair of heels and there are 41 options available in a variety of heel heights. There are open toed strappy styles, courts, peep toes, Mary Jane heels and even a couple of flat pump options. Some styles have sparkly trims or embellishments and there is also a pretty lace pair available. Rainbow Club also cater for wider fits so they literally have everyone covered. After looking through all of the options, I chose a Mary Jane style called Hana – well I just had to go for this pair really didn’t I! Priced at £79, this is how Rainbow Club describes the heels that I chose:

Crafted from beautiful ivory satin, these retro-inspired bridal shoes feature a softly-pointed toe, a sexy stiletto heel and are finished with a delicate strap and stylish silver buckle. Vintage inspired but with a contemporary touch, brides looking for height and glamour will love these simple but chic wedding shoes.

I really liked the classic style of these and knew that they would go perfectly with dresses just as much as a pair of jeans or with some smart trousers. Plus they reminded me of that Sex in the City episode when Carrie finds her perfect pair of Mary Jane Manolos.

After choosing the style, Rainbow Club very kindly sent me a pair to try on before they dyed them just to check that I was happy with the fit. The next part of the process was to choose the colour of my new heels. As they are satin, I didn’t want anything too pale in colour. I think satin always looks so gorgeous in bright, bold colours.

Rainbow Club heels

I had a look through my wardrobe to see what shoes I already have – which took a while I have to admit! I was tempted to ask for the Pantone colour of 2019 which is a gorgeous coral colour but I finally decided on an acid yellow shade. The exact colour reference is 600 if you love them as much as I do and want to order yourself a pair too!

The verdict

A few days later, my newly dyed heels arrived in the post and I couldn’t wait to see how they turned out – and they are absolutely BEAUTIFUL! You can’t tell that they had been dyed since the last time that I tried them on when they were a blank canvas ivory satin. There were no dye marks or any imperfections and I’m seriously impressed with the zesty acid yellow shade. It was the exact colour that I wanted. The heels are lined with padding to make them more comfortable to wear which is great, especially if you are wearing them to an event where you will be on your feet for a long period of time.

Rainbow Club heels

Before…the blank canvas

Rainbow Club heels

After…the final dyed pair

Rainbow Club heels

Another really sweet little touch to mention about these heels is that on the sole, there is a little blue crystal within the Rainbow Club logo. This is just perfect for brides looking for ‘something blue’ to add to their wedding.

Rainbow Club heels

Additional Items

Rainbow Club also offer a selection of evening bags which can be colour customised to match your heels, as well as some stunning embellishment clips that you can add to your heels, to make them even more bespoke and individual to you.

For the quality and service, I have to say this is excellent value for money and a really exciting treat to be able to create your own bespoke footwear. I will definitely be ordering more pairs and I’ll be adding some of these pretty additional details as they can really add a little something extra. I just LOVE this. 

Head over to the Rainbow Club website HERE to view their full collection and enjoy customising the perfect pair of heels for yourself! Let me know what you choose, I would love to see your heels!

Here is how I have styled my new heels with an acid wash pair of mom jeans. Dressed down denim paired with these heels are just the perfect combination:

Rainbow Club heels

Rainbow Club heels

Rainbow Club heels

Although these heels were kindly gifted to me by Rainbow Club, all thoughts and opinions are as always completely my own.

What Rainbow Club style do you like the most?

What colour would you choose and why?

Let’s talk shoes! Leave me a comment below xx

Breakfast at the Fendi Cafe, Harrods

Fendi Cafe Harrods

Fendi is one of my all time favourite designer brands, so as soon as I heard that Harrods were hosting a pop up Fendi cafe for the Summer I couldn’t wait to visit! Located on the 5th Floor of the famous department store is the brand new cafe which is fashionista heaven.

A couple of weeks ago I went to try out the new cafe and luckily chose a good time to go as when I as leaving there were queues to get inside. I believe the queues can be up to an hour long so plan your visit in advance if you want to go to avoid waiting in line for eternity.

Fendi Harrods Taxis

image @ Pinterest

Fendi Cafe Harrods

Fendi Fabulous

The cafe itself is a contemporary, monochrome design with the Fendi logo everywhere you turn and it was designed by artist Joshua Vides. We were shown to our table and presented with the menu – which of course was also covered in FF logos.

There were quite a few delicious choices from breakfasts to full Italian style cuisine such as antipasti, insalate (the beef carpaccio is a house special) and mains of lasagne, aubergine parmagiana and more. As it was still early for me, I went for the breakfast pastries. The coffees are also decorated with Fendi logos and they are presented with an adorable logo biscuit. It is an Instagrammers dream!

Fendi Cafe Harrods

image @ Pinterest

Fendi Cafe Harrods

Fendi Cafe Harrods

Fendi Cafe Harrods

Peekaboo bag customisation

At the till, there were some fabulous cakes which were replicas of the Fendi Peeakboo handbags that looked exactly like the real thing.

In July, there was a pop-up Fendi Peekaboo bar, allowing shoppers to fully customise their own Mini Peekaboo bags. Customers were able to mix and match the body, handle and straps, to create their own unique style. There were over 20 different options for the body of the bag, 25 variations of handles and a further seven strap possibilities.

Fendi Harrods Peekaboo

image @ Pinterest

The cafe is likely to be seen all over your Instagram feeds throughout the summer, from the branded walls, tables, menus, plates and crockery. But if you want to visit, it will only be open at Harrods until 31st August.

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