Oh My Darling-Gifts For Your Valentine

Is the globe spinning faster on it’s axis or is it just me? With Christmas barely over here comes Valentine’s Night galloping into view.

Facing the perennial question of what to buy for your beloved whilst avoiding the cliche- ridden options of flowers and chocolates is a real dilemma.

Here are a few (hopefully) useful ideas….

HER

Whilst not inexpensive the gorgeous alligator wallets from Bianca Mosca will win you undying love and affection for life. Their handmade creations are crafted in a small family owned atelier deep in the French countryside and not far from the Swiss border. Something similar from Hermes would be almost as costly as a small car.

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No man (or woman for that matter) has ever gone wrong by proffering the gift of a well judged fragrance. Frédéric Malle’s Une Fleur de Cassie (£170 for 100ml EDP) – it uses both mimosa and cassie for a seductive blend that starts cool and powdery and ends in suede and spice is such a delight. Although not for all tastes it will be well received by sophisticates and experienced fragrance wearers.

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Emilio Pucci fans of which there are many will fall in love with the new Janis bag in Python and Suede that sports a UK price of £1320. Try the Pucci boutique or Matches Fashion in Marylebone High Street.

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HIM

As my legion of fans will recollect from previous posts I am a huge admirer of the venerable house of Turnbull & Asser owned by the retail titan and legendary hotelier Mohammed Al-Fayed.

One of my proudest possessions is a fabulously indulgent silk dressing gown that I acquired several years ago and which I maintain in a perfect state. Arriving at breakfast wearing such a piece is certain to arouse feelings of intense jealousy and envy from fellow guests. Just the feelings I seem to want to evoke-in my dreams!

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On a slight more modest note but none the less a delightful apercu of a gift Drake’s Bird of Paradise pocket square will prove it’s worth as a sublime addition to any elegant outfit.

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What could be more appropriate than a hat named for the famed Italian Master of the Art of Love, Casanova. The Sensi Studio Casanaova Hat is £156 and available from Sensi’s website. (Other colours available).

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Top 10 Luxury Gifts For Xmas 2015

With Santa spinning his wheels for his 2015 World Tour our attention turns to what might turn up at the foot of the bed come Xmas Day.

Here are a few modest trinkets that would be most welcome in my stocking this year.

1.Michel Cluizel Dark Chocolate 85%. My favorite chocolate from the famed Parisien chocolatier.

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2. Jacques Selosse “Substance” Champagne. A very unusual and rare Solera-style wine. 97 points WA.

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3. Bianca Mosca wallet in alligator with a goatskin lining. Delectable and butter smooth handmade perfection.

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4. Elie Bleu fountain pen orange sycamore. Part of the fruit wood collection.

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5. Connor NYC stationery. Superlative hand-engraved stationery.

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6. Brora Trilby. In wool and leather. Also in navy.

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7. Thorsun Fan swim trunks. Perfect for New Year in St. Barts

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8. Rose Bespoke Tie. Screen-printed motifs, crests and inscriptions of your choice.

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9. Bresciani cotton socks. Sublime comfort and Italian style.

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10. Derek Rose silk pajamas. Seductive and elegant.

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The Best Chocolates In The World?

If like me you have a sweet tooth and a liking for the finest chocolate then the best comes from France. Others may well argue for Belgium or Switzerland but I find their chocolates too sweet for my refined palette, a little cloying and far too commercial.

My favourite chocolatier of all is the Paris based La Maison du Chocolat that was founded by Robert Linxe who was born in Bayonne where he trained as a chocolatier. Later he was apprenticed to the illustrious COBA confectionary school in Switzerland and went on to found his Maison in 1977 in the fashionable Faubourg St-Honoré, in Paris’ 8th district.

A second Parisian boutique was opened in 1987 with a New York outpost being established in 1990 on Madison Avenue.

Monsieur Linxe is a visionary who has been nicknamed the “Sorcerer of Ganache”. Ganache is a silky blend of chocolate and fresh cream is then enrobed in a fine layer of chocolate, creating associations of subtle and delicate flavours.

As well as ganache, Maison du Chocolat is famous for it’s divine champagne truffles and it’s selections of mixed chocolates. I’m also quite partial to their delicious drinking chocolate that comes in a handy ready to prepare home kit.

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http://www.lamaisonduchocolat.us