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Month: December 2019

Gifts – They’re more about personalisation than price

It gets harder every year, doesn’t it? Finding fun gifts, we mean. No matter how wealthy you may be, it can be a real struggle to think of a gift that’s truly meaningful. Whether you’re buying for a friend, a partner, or member of your family, it’s easy to end up scratching your head and asking yourself: ‘so what can I buy them this year?’ After all, even if the person you’re buying for seems to have everything, you can’t really just skip a gift altogether. The problem gets especially difficult when you’ve left it late, and there’s only a few days left.

Well, we won’t pretend that we’ve got a magic bullet. But we do have some ideas that might help to guide your thinking. They’re just suggestions based on the recognition that the perfect present is often something the recipient would enjoy, but which they wouldn’t purchase on their own.   

An experience

If someone already has enough stuff, try and think beyond material objects and buy them an experience instead. A prepaid experience or event gives your friend or family member an adventure they’ll remember, and may even help them gain new skills – which are more valuable than a new pair of shoes or sweater. Fun experiences can range from a hot-air balloon ride or cooking class, to whitewater rafting or wine tasting.

Gift cards or certificates

It’s tempting to think that these are a bit of a cop-out, but they’re not, really. After all, people who have it all probably know what they want – so a gift card for a favourite store, or activity, shows that you understand their preferences while acknowledging that they may want to make their own buying decision. Far from being a cop-out, gift cards can actually show a lot of love and thought.

Membership

This is like a gift that keeps on giving. Gifted memberships usually last for a year, and could be for anything from a local museum to Netflix. If you’re not sure where to start, try choosing a club or association that has meaning for the recipient, and then ask if gift memberships are available. The great thing about this kind of gift is that every time the recipient uses their membership, they’ll think of you.

Prepaid service

By anticipating someone’s needs and paying them, you’re showing that thinking beyond a physical item, and trying to make their life easier. You could, for example, pay for a few hours of housecleaning or a car valet service. If you really want to personalise things, you could provide the service yourself – sometimes, the best gifts aren’t items, but a readiness to give your time and attention.

Something personalised

Talking of the personal touch – a bit of personalisation can mean the difference between just another gift and something really meaningful. By buying something (for example) engraved or embroidered, or otherwise personalised to your recipient, you’re showing that you’ve put a little extra thought into things. And it doesn’t even need to be very big. In fact, that’s one of the charms of a personalised gift – even something small and inexpensive can mean the world to the recipient. 

Daily luxury

There’s nothing like a gift that simply makes the giftee’s day a little easier or more comfortable. Think about the recipient and what small luxuries can make their days more enjoyable. This could be anything from a scarf for the perpetually chilly person, to a fragrance sample box for a luxury brand-loving friend. This kind of gift can mean more than the item itself – it shows that you’re paying attention and want the person concerned

Want to try something different at Christmas?

Ah, Christmas! A time, if ever there was one, to treat yourself – especially when it comes to Christmas dinner. Of course, you may be happy with a plate of Roast Turkey, but if you feel the urge for something a little different, the question arises – what? And where?

Well, London’s restaurant scene offers plenty of opportunity to depart from the straight and narrow, foodwise, and we thought we’d mention a few of the particularly special places here. They’re not for everyone, it’s true – in fact, to be blunt about it, their prices may leave some with their jaw on the floor. But hey! Christmas comes but once a year – so why not indulge yourself! Here’s five ideas you might want to try.

Try some Peking Duck

That’s the signature dish here at the Michelin-starred Imperial Treasure, Waterloo (SW1Y 4BE). It costs a hefty £100, but you do get some bang for your duck though, as it’s presented in two courses – firstly with pancakes and plum sauce, and then with a choice of ginger and spring onion, black bean sauce or salt and pepper.

Fancy some sea snail soup?

OK, so it’s better-known as abalone soup. And it’s a specialty here at the Kai, Mayfair (W1K 2QU). At £68 a serving, it’s not the cheapest course you’ll ever buy, but it’s truly delicious (we know: we’ve tried it) and it also features hokkaido dried scallops, corn-fed chicken stock and beansprouts.  

Have some fun for five at Sushisamba

At £1000, Sushisamba’s (EC2N 4AY) £1,000 Kobe beef may sound like you’re buying a herd of cows, but its price is a tad more reasonable when you learn that it’s served to a table of five. Plus, it’s meat from the exclusive Japanese cow, and is served ishiyaki style, with thin slices of meat cooked on a hot stone, along with dipping sauces and pickled plums.  

You can’t beat Beluga caviar

You get more than luxury food at Sexy Fish (W1J 6BR) – it’s also usually crammed with celebs. The menu is full of top-notch ingredients, with lots of truffle, lobster and Wagyu beef on show, and one of the most popular dishes is the caviar, served with steamed buns and smoked tofu. If you really want to treat yourself, go for the Beluga variety, which costs £210 per (30g) portion.

Relax, US-style

Once voted the World’s Best Bar, the 125 year-old American Bar at The Savoy (WC2R 0ET) has been home to some of the world’s most famous booze-hounds, including  Ernest Hemingway and Winston Churchill. If you fancy joining their illustrious ranks, you could pull up a stool and order a Negroni made with vintage gin for £120. Or, if you’re really in the mood for a blow-out, you could go for the bar’s £5,000 Sazerac, made with 1858 Sazerac de Forge Cognac, 1950s Pernod Absinthe and vintage Peychaud’s Bitters. 

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