I have a small group of girlfriends who all exchange presents with each other for Christmas. Our only guideline is that gifts should be something that you wouldn’t normally buy for yourself… something a little bit special. Initially, this meant luxurious handmade soaps in leopard print wrapping, a beautiful glittery makeup bag, or cashmere wrist warmers. After many years (because my friends are not right in the head!) ‘something you wouldn’t normally buy for yourself’ morphed into ‘something you wouldn’t buy for yourself because it is insane.’ Gifts became surreal. Things like pewter egg cups with duck feet, pot holders in rude shapes, and my personal favourite, Pedro, the salt-and-pepper-shaker-carrying donkey. Don’t get me wrong, I truly LOVE Pedro (my tasteful minimalist husband is less enthusiastic), but our gifting became about trying to out-do the previous year’s level of nuts. Eventually (thank heavens) common sense prevailed. We decided to rein ourselves in, dial down the surreal factor, and give USEFUL gifts to each other. We decided to keep the focus on beauty products, and only on products that we personally use and love, not just something we’ve read about. As you know, I am crazy about beauty products, so this is easy for me.
This year, my girlfriends are getting the following:
They are all getting this magnificently scented candle. It has a wide wooden wick that crackles as it burns like a tiny fireplace. I’m not giving them each a different one. This amber and incense one is my favourite in the range, so they’re all having it because I’m bossy like that. Actually, they always like the candles I burn at home, so I know they will appreciate this warm spicy one.
One of my friends who has the same fair colouring as I do, will find that this NYX Golden Hour eyeshadow palette works as well on her as it does on me. NYX is one of my favourite cruelty-free and budget-friendly brands. This very wearable range of warm brown eyeshadows is my absolute favourite palette right now. There’s not a bad one in the bunch, nothing too light or too dark. The best-selling liquid liner and mascara that come with it are a bonus.
My other friend is obsessed with her skin (sounds familiar!) so she’s getting Glam Glow’s Forget the Filter set along with her candle. The award-winning Instamud treatment was created specifically for actors to get their skin camera ready in 60 seconds. It isn’t really a mud, more of a purple cream that foams and plumps. It really does make your skin look amazing. Whack a dab of the moisturising illuminator (just the right amount of illumination, no chunky sparkles, and the vanilla orange scent is heavenly) on top and skin is ready for makeup and a closeup. Unlike me, my girlfriend hates going to salons and having people touch her face, so this will give her similar results at home.
One of the friends has amazing hands and nails (like, hand model perfect) so this range of Skinnydip polishes will be a great gift for her. These colours aren’t the usual ones she wears, but they’re also not so crazy as to be unwearable. The gold glitter is particularly beautiful over dark polishes. The pale iridescent one is one of my favourites when my own nails are quite short (I’m wearing it right this moment). Skinnydip is a great brand that has had local and/or organic ingredients and no animal testing as part of its DNA from the beginning. I like supporting ethical brands, so giving them as gifts and introducing them to my friends is the best way to put my money where my mouth (and heart) is.
I found all four of these gifts at Boots. They have a vast range of gifts for any woman on your list, you’re truly spoiled for choice on their site. Of course they have things for men too, I just haven’t got that far yet! As much as I enjoy gifts like Pedro the donkey, it is a relief to be in my sweet spot of giving the perfect beauty and skincare products to my girlfriends.
This post is in conjunction with Boots but all thoughts are my own.