Feature: Jenny Coggins
THERE'S only one kind of shopping we all have on our minds at
this time of year.
Unless you are one of those scarily efficient people, who have
all their presents bought and wrapped by September, chances are
you are running round like a headless turkey trying to buy up
those last minute gifts. Sit down for a moment to read the following
and plan your shopping attack.
Best places for bulk buying: If you have left a substantial
part of your shopping to the last minute, then try going to one
of the following to get great three for two selections.
You will find both Boots and WH Smiths on almost
every high-street in London, big or small, so you should be able
to avoid the crowds by heading to your local branch.
WH Smiths: 3 for 2s include their great gift boxes (£14.99
upwards) on a range of subjects from gardening to yoga. Included
is a DVD or VHS and an essential item to kick start it all (i.e.
a yoga mat or shovel).
Also on 3 for 2 is the oriental range, which has beautiful gifts
that look more expensive than what you will pay for them. Choose
from practical stocking fillers, such as the elephant envelope
opener (£5.99), or indulgence gifts, such as the silk sari
Boots has a 3 for 2 that spreads over entire ranges. The
mix and Match offer means you can buy for Dads (gadgets galore),
Grans (try The Royal Jelly range) and kids (toys and clothes both
on sale) all in one swoop. Don't forget to pick up points by using
the advantage card when paying.
Big Kids and Little Kids
If you are buying for a child, Hamleys, in Regent Street,
is the obvious choice for a kid's gift, but will also be everyone's
For somewhere more low-key with more original toy ideas, then
visit Cheeky Monkeys.
You will find branches of the store in Clapham, Ealing, Islington
and Dulwich, visit the website to locate your nearest, www.cheekymonkeys.com
They offer big presents such as the seven in one games table,
for £250, to smaller gifts, such as the Giggling Nina doll
Gadget Shop is good for people who love technology. It's
also great for any novelty presents such as the Acre of Moon (£20),
currently one of their Top Ten sellers. For big kids go for a
digital camera for £100, or for little ones the bubble machine
For ladies and men alike, who love to linger in the bath, Lush
has bath products in a variety of fragrances. They have fun Christmas
bath bombs, in the form of Christmas puds,as well as their year
round bombs, which fizz up bath time and make the tub smell divine.
They also have gift boxes. The store on Canarby Street holds lots
of products, but if you have left it truly to the last minute,
most of the major train stations have a branch.
Molton Brown offers gift boxes for both men and women
from £25. Pick up individual products such as the Bath &
Shower liquids for £12.00 or hand lotions for £8.
Also available are candles in every range, so not only can you
smell wonderful, your home can too.
Patisserie Valerie is a must visit, but they will be closing
early on Christmas Eve, so be quick with this one.
One example of the sumptuous choice is the chocolate, strawberry
and banana gateau - prices depend on the size you select, but
start at £17.50. Stores can be found in Kensington, Covent
Garden and Marylebone.
Lee and Sandeman is a well-priced option for any person
partial to the odd tipple. They have wine from all over the world,
Champagne and spirits, wine racks and other practical gifts for
wine lovers. Shops are located in Barnes and Chelsea, but check
the website for other branches at www.londonfinewine.co.uk
For all those tricky people who elude categorisation
Paperchase is a guaranteed 'present house'. For a staple
stocking filler classic, it has a great selection of attractive
calendars and diaries mostly for under £10. This is also
a great place to get your wrapping paper and gift bags.
If you are running really behind schedule, then ask in store
if they offer a gift wrapping service.
If you must buy vouchers at least make sure they are for a shop
the recipitant loves.
When buying fragrances, let the fragrance consultant know what
the recipitant normally wears. This will make sure their new fragrance
doesn't get up their nose.