Related: Acqua di Parma, Annie Haak, Cask Jewelry, Marie Hell, Nano-b, Naughton Braun, Smart Turnout, The AirBolt, ZChocolat
If you are struggling for original Christmas gift ideas, we have some travel skewed “must haves” that will inspire you to pack your cases (safely!) and head off for some sunshine in the New Year.
Sparkly Bracelets By Annie Haak
Christmas is all about sparkle, right? Jewellery does not come more sparkly than Annie Haak’s bracelets. I love them and have a million of them (almost) which I wear up my arm every time I go out. I have favourites; one of my bracelets has a sparkly pink crystal that shimmers in the light, another has beautiful pearls interwoven into the silver chain. I have worn Annie’s bracelets since my son was small and he loves one bracelet that has a bulbous rounded heart hanging off it, that feels smooth and satisfying in his little palm. Whichever design and bracelet you fall in love with, you can just buy a single and quite reasonably priced chain, or you can splurge with a a group of bracelets that will make your arm super sparkly.
I have built up my sparkles over 4 years, treating myself every once in a while. My current favourite is the Santi Tassle bracelet. The tassle is perfect for your fingers to fiddle with and, well, it sparkles!
Acqua di Parma: Everything
Acqua di Parma is my absolute favourite fragrance brand. I think it is because the smells evoke the trips that I have enjoyed so much the previous summer. The Blu Mediterraneo brand by Acqua di Parma is a particular favourite of mine and Capri really does remind me of sipping a Limoncello outside the Capri Palace as the sun sets over this magical island. Of course, this brand also offers men’s fragrances (ALL are fabulous) along with creams and serums like the excellent Revitalizing Face Serum Italian Resort.
Whichever of the Blue Mediterraneo selection you choose, by buying this as a gift you will absolutely take your recipient’s senses straight to the Amalfi. The gift sets are a great way of trialling more than one fragrance, so that you can pick your favourite or chop and change depending on your mood.
Finally, I love these fragrances as they are a bit different. You are unlikely to find them discounted at a perfume store, they are classy and expensive and will show your loved one that you really do care.
AirBolt Luggage Lock
This is a must-have, whether you are travelling in luxury with a bag full of designer gear, or are backpacking around the world. Forget about luggage safety concerns with the AirBolt Smart Travel Lock. This tiny smart lock will fix your lost luggage problems. AirBolt is not the first smart lock for your luggage, but the first true lock for your luggage. There’s no longer any need to carry keys or combinations and track your luggage with alerts.
Designed for use on checked baggage (but it can be used anywhere you need to lock your belongings safely), this rope-based lock uses Bluetooth technology to let you lock and unlock it with nothing but an app. AirBolt is Bluetooth enabled, TSA accepted, offers crowd-sourced location tracking, proximity alerts, sharing and so much more.
The AirBolt will talk to your device via an App and unlock it with a single push of a button, as long as you are the owner and your smartphone is within range of the AirBolt. To prevent accidental unlocking, the AirBolt will simply re-lock if the rope is not taken out of the locking mechanism.
The Crowdsourced Location Tracking allows you to see the last seen location of your luggage, which is particularly helpful if you’ve reached your destination from a multi-stopover flight and reduces the hassle in communicating and tracking your luggage with the airline staff. You may even be able to have your luggage returned to you much faster.
The AirBolt also has a great battery life, lasting multiple months per charge, so you never need to worry about flat batteries either (plus its rechargeable!) and is compatible with iOS 8 & above, iPhone 5c on-wards, ANDROID 5.0 & above.
After diamonds, pearls have to be a girl’s best friend. The unique handmade pearl jewellery created by Naughton Braun is a must have for anyone who wants something eye-catching this Christmas.
Naughton Braun design creations out of an amazing variety of pearls. Check out these amazing tooth pearl earrings. I am also a fan of potato pearls; large uneven pearls that look a tiny bit like a potato. I hadn’t come across them before, but now I know about them, I am drawn to any jewellery featuring these rather special pearls. Find your special pearl for a very special gift.
Smart Turnout Watches & Leisurewear
For something unique and “just right”, Smart Turnout is a superb choice for the man in your life. Smart Turnout is a regimental term, meaning “to look your absolute best, and have a stylish appearance about one’s self”. Smart Turnout watches and accessories continue this military theme and are designed with one eye on modern styling and craftsmanship, and another on the colours of our historic regiments and schools. They have a wide array of NATO watch straps in different patterns and stripes, first worn by the Flying Corps, formed in 1912. The strength of their designs lies in their unique and colourful variety, and with interchangeable watch straps, you can easily keep up with the modern man’s diverse wardrobe.
OK, this gift will not inspire you to travel, but it will cheer someone up who likes a little luxury and indulgence. A piece of this chocolatey goodness will provide cheer, even on the dullest wintery day. ZChocolat claims to “Make the Ones You Love Feel Special with Elegance, Intelligence & Excellence”. Certainly, you will not find a more indulgent Christmas chocolate gift. Forget Milk Tray and other supermarket alternatives, ZChocolate is true luxury chocolate from France. Oh La La!
Marie Hell Designer Dresses
Marie Hell design my favourite dresses in the world. I would describe them as dress-up/dress-down dresses. I wear mine for breakfast at the Hermitage Hotel in Monaco and then in the evening, I dress the same dress up with my sparkles and enjoy beer and jazz at Four Seasons Grand Hotel Du Cap Ferrat.
Her dresses are super stylish and yet rudely comfortable. My current favourite is the Peek Tunic dress, a short dress with cute slits in the sleeves and long sleeves for warmth. What I particularly love about this dress is the cut. Around the neck and arms the fit is like a glove and yet not too tight. I could do star jumps if I wanted and still be comfortable! If there is one piece of clothing you buy for your loved one this Christmas, it must be a Marie Hell dress.
We love this boutique Jewelry company. Cask Jewelry is the only wine barrel jeweler in the world and they have created a stunning range of rings, cufflinks and pendants that are thoroughly unique. Located in the Napa Valley, Cask Jewelry hand selects each piece of wood specifically to create a piece of jewelry that showcases the color and characteristics of the wine barrel it came from. Because of this, each item is entirely unique.
The Cutest Handbags
We have long been a fan of Holly A. Jones. handbags. I think it is the tropical designs that I particularly like which lifts your mood on a rainy day. They are also beautifully hand-finished and to me are as much works of art as they are holders of your vital possessions.
Each and every Holly A. Jones handbag is made at her studio in Coral Gables, Florida. The brand has grown global with Miami design and style. Bright, bold colours and abstract botanical subject matter create unique designs on every bag. A certificate of authenticity is issued and a dust bag is included. The bags have original artist signature and are numbered with a limited edition.
For a slightly larger tote-sized bag, you cannot go wrong with the metallic range of totes from Be Brilliant Bags. These are the ideal carry-on bag for stylish travellers. Have all your essentials within easy reach, including your laptop, smart phone, water bottle, gym sneakers, passport and beauty accessories.
The idea for these bags came to Andrea Billups and Marsa Truscott, the founders of Be Brilliant Bags, after a trip to Mexico: they were searching far and wide for a bag that was both beautiful and functional but could not find the perfect travel tote. So she created her own, designed to eliminate the frustration and disorganization when it comes to carrying around our personal belongings. You don’t want to be hauling multiple bags that take up too much unnecessary space, thus these bags organize everything together in space, perfectly-sized storage spaces. An extra feature is the removable clear shower/airport bag which is ideal for toiletries when going through airport security. They really have thought of everything!
Silver & Golden Nano-b Toothbrushes
Yes really, these are something to treat your family to and they aren’t even particularly expensive! More importantly, read on and you will be convinced never to use a conventional brush again.
The average toothbrush isn’t clean and safe! Researchers at the University of Manchester found the average toothbrush is home to more than 10 million bacteria (including E.coli, staphylococci, and even fecal germs). That’s right, while you read this more than 10 million bacteria are growing on your toothbrush, ready to spread diseases and infections in your body.
Each of the Nano-b thoothbrush bristles are coated with either silver, gold or bamboo charcoal nano-sized particles. These microscopic particles release negatively charged ions that penetrate bacterial cells, suppressing the cell’s respiration and metabolism. This kills bacteria and prevents further growth on your toothbrush. So in a nutshell the bristles on these toothbrushes, unlike your standard brush, stop bacteria growing on them so that when you put them in your mouth, you are not wiping around a brush infested with nasties each time you brush your teeth.
Top these super toothbrushes with some Organic mint toothpaste from nano-b. This toothpaste very clean and 100% natural with more than 95% organic ingredients, so will enhance your wellbeing too.
Whether you are trying to battle with the dryness of the air on long-haul flights or the biting chill skiing down mountains, your skin always needs a little help in the winter. I am in love with Image Skincare‘s deliciously Orangy moisturising range. I take my bottle of Hydrating Intense Moisturizer with me wherever I go; honestly, they should give samples of this cream out at luxury ski hotels and they would make serious sales as this stuff really works for dry and tight skin. I simply use it as my main facial cream. It battles my dryness without being oily, and my skin has never felt tight or irritated since I started using it.
Little Miss London, is my favourite boutique candle label and was inspired by London’s fashionable neighbourhoods, so each candle flavour has a cool name; the lovely Little Miss Notting Hill, the vivacious Little Miss Covent Garden, the ever-refined Little Miss Chelsea and the mysterious Little Miss Camden. The Little Miss London’s go-to team of candles are growing up quickly in the world’s brightest, and most fabulous, playground and address the gap between ‘affordable’ and ‘adorable’ in the luxury candle market. Little Miss London’s founder, Linda Hendon has travelled the world and spent most of her life living in Monaco (a place that the Luxury Travel Diary team also loves!). However, England has always been her home and throughout her time away she always loved travelling back to spend time in her favourite city – London.
Natural Spa Factory produce incredible diffusers. Our favourite is Oud which evokes the warm and balmy breeze of a Middle Eastern night, this stylish scent diffuser is a subtle way to softly fragrance a room all day and to take your nose to a warmer, more exotic destination.
The scent is – unsurprisingly – described as warm, wood, sweet and with a slight hint of damp rot, we know it doesn’t sound good but one whiff and you’re hooked! The base oil is Augeo made from a renewable source and is eco-friendly, non-toxic and evaporates fully and does not have the metallic odour associated with other bases.
A fabulous idea for a stylish and indulgent Christmas present is bubbly. Gold bubbly is even more festive! Belaire Gold is a stunning blend of handpicked Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. Packaged in a crystal-clear glass bottle with beautifully detailed embossed foil labels, this delicious wine also has a unique dosage of organic sugarcane inspired by the wines of the French 1920s, for an extra touch of elegance! Buy from Harvey Nichols.
Crypto Gold and Silver
Cryptocurrencies seem to be on a roll, so why not give your loved one something that could be worth a whole lot more in years to come; Bitcoin (Gold) and Litecoin (Silver). Bitcoin has a current price of around $8000 and there are predictions of Bitcoin being worth $100,000 – $2 million over the next 5-10 years, so this could be one hell of a present, even if you can only gift a bit of a Bitcoin. If you prefer to give a whole coin, Litecoin is still affordable at around $100 with a similar potential. It is worth noting that investing in cryptocurrencies remains a gamble but your recipient will have more chance of winning than if you bought them a lottery ticket. One the most educated articles I have read trying to make sense of Bitcoin can be found on Moneyweek.
If you do decide to buy Bitcoin, make sure you set it up using a coinbase referral link like mine. Once you buy or sell $100 USD (£76) of digital currency or more, you will get $10 USD (£7) of free Bitcoin (as will your referrer, which on the link above would be me). I have also found Bitcoin to be a great way of boosting my airline miles. To the moon…
Disclosure: Our property, service and product reviews are sponsored by the proprietor or brand being appraised. All opinions remain our own and are in no way influenced by the sponsor.