Friday, 21 November 2014

Christmas Gift Guide: What to buy for men at Christmas?

What to buy for men at Christmas?
I'm so efficient these days with my Christmas shopping that I now tend to be pretty much done by the 1st week of December.  Gone are the days that I'd be running about on Christmas eve... no, no that is now very much in the past.

One area I do struggle with is shopping for men and in particular my Dad.  Each year I try my hardest to get a gift where a lot of thought has gone into it but never seem to get that "Wow" reaction I crave from him.  Don't get me wrong he is always thankful but it never seems to trigger any excitement.  So, it'll come as no surprise that his present is the one of the presents I have yet to buy...

Whichever way you put it men are tricky to shop for, don't get me wrong some women are too but some kind of pamper set will always be a safe option... men not so much.  Here are some of my top pick 'easy' presents for men. 
Men at Christmas

I've created a gift board with a few key items that can pretty much stretch across the age spectrum.  I know there are some that are significantly more expensive than others; the watch and aftershave but sometimes there will be an extra reason for a special gift.  For that works as I have my Dad's birthday, Christmas and his retirement in close together... it does point to a really good present.  

1.  Is the classic nightwear purchase, yes it can be boring but if you have a younger brother or a big kid of a boyfriend something like novelty PJ's like these Marvel comic ones are great.  They are only £10 from F&F so could be used as one present or if for your partner then a stocking filler.  These are actually lounge wear, so technically you aren't being boring and going for the 'get out of jail' standard PJ purchase. 

2. This is one of the two most expensive gift ideas on my list.  It doesn't have to be specifically this Paco Rabbane aftershave but it's such a silky smell I had to pop it on the list. My other half isn't bothered about aftershave and the only reason he has and uses it, is purely because I buy him it every Christmas!  If you're worried that this will cost a lot, panic not.... TKmaxx can be your best friend in this situation.  In TKmaxx you won't be guaranteed to find Paco Rabbane but I got one of the Ted Baker aftershaves for £16.99 last year and he loves it. 

3. This is the second of the two most expensive gifts.  For a jaw dropping present a beautifully designed watch is a must.  I'd say this is the ideal present for someone who can appreciate the cost and thought that has gone into it, this one from Page & Cooper is £325 but there are other styles and brands available but I personally love this one the best. 

4.  Every Christmas the pair of slippers I got from the previous year will have been worn down.  You cannot beat a good pair of slippers, but depending on age it may be wise to avoid the novelty ones... I know you've all seen numerous instagrams of my F&F Hedgehog Slipper Socks but sometimes buying style is best.  They can be super cheap or for a plush pair, pay up to around £30. 

5.  This one is going to be for the geeky Star Wars fan, each family will without a doubt have one and these are just a good fun stocking present! 

6.  Boardgames are still always a good favourite but I've selected this Debenhams Poker games because it could be something for more people to get involved with... It could even be a family/friends gathering for a game! 

7. Boxers and underwear are a bit like the classic purchase of PJs and without a doubt they can be very very boring.  The only reason I've picked these is because they scream Christmas (as much as a pair of boxers can). Sometimes instead of getting cheap boxers these ones from OnePiece are a solid choice for a gift list... fun, quirky and classic.  Oh and just to give you a bit of Christmas treat.... use my exclusive OnePiece voucher code for 15% off everything! ANNIEBEANXMAS

8.  Last but not least (my particular fave) is the sweet jar as a way to a mans heart is through his stomach... and who doesn't love sweets?!  Whilst taking part in the Debenhams #Foundit challenge I discovered the numerous choices of sweet jars.  Not only can you buy sweets from the 80's, there's the 70's and 90's along with a number of other clever combinations.  The huge jars are around £18 but there are smaller ones for cheaper.  

There you have my top picks for the men in our lives this Christmas! Has it helped?  I'd say the majority (apart from Star Wars) can be used for many men that we don't know what to buy for.  Unless it's a deep thinking male that will get offended if you haven't bought something specific, then as long as you give some thought to their likes and dislikes, then you can opt for anyone of these categories listed and you won't go far wrong

Good luck Christmas shopping for the men and let me know what gifts you find.... share, share, share as I am always after ideas! 

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Next Press Day SS15

Press day 1SS15

It's a truly bizarre experience when I go to any press days as obviously they are always a season ahead, meaning I'll be eyeing up Christmas frocks in July and summer sandals in November.   It can be a struggle to get excited about bikinis and other beachwear when we've just switched our summer gear for woollen knitwear.  It's hard to feel enthusiastic about it all but actually it's a mood boost for the goodies to come.

My lovely friends at Next invited me to their Spring/Summer 2015 press day.  I have felt the entire team have supported me in my blogging development and this was the first time I was completely free and able to go along.  I started off (after catching up with lovely Next press team) viewing a bundle of shades and cuts that oozed a sophisticated ambiance, yet somehow seemed to look designer without actually being as astronomically priced.  

Trends for SS15

Initially I felt confused by the pure fact it was baltic outside and there were dainty tones scattered about the presentation areas.  I was instantly drawn to a lilac boyfriend coat and the statement lilac leather jacket.  I was excited to see what one of my favourite labels had in store for next season, as somehow they seem to have evolved so much that each season they out do the last offering.  Plus getting optimistic about spring and summer garments is always refreshing, as we'll all be one step head when the trees begin to blossom.
SS15 fringing

Fringing was a key favourite for SS15 and to be honest even though it's around this current season, it appears that over a few press days I've been to, many believe it's going to be here for SS15.  I do love a bit of fringing  and Next have added it to not only their beautifully made leather bags, but I also spotted western inspiration from fringing on the arms of a spectacular leather jacket... Subtle that it was in perfect black leather but exciting diversity with the fringing.  Thumbs up to Next.   

fringing heels

There were a lot more 'risky' pieces thrown into the mix this time which  I was surprised about, but at the same time pleased they were.  A Swizzlers Drumstick box clutch, a leather envelope pouch with a fox or monster sewn on and Nike inspired neon and patterned trainers. 
drumstick clytch bad

There were the timeless classic summer pieces and colours, but Next seemed to have stepped sideways this season by being different.  Monochromes teamed with bold blues and fiery reds made SS15 standout from any other of theirs.  Boxy blouses came to the front of the mark and classic lace inspired dresses had been adapted to keep Next a head of the competition.  

This is one of main things that I adore about Next and have been a solid supporter since I purchased my first pair of jeans many moons ago, you get the invigorating top season looks but also have the staple designs and products to suit those who aren't interested in such combinations. 

Continuing on past the dreamy pieces for a SS15 wardrobe I moved onto home bits.  Now, I clearly have become old because all I can think about right now is making my house a home... cheesy right?!  But honestly I cannot wait to add those key accessories to warm the place up.    

Some of my favourite 'off' shades were scattered amongst the displays with rustic purples and creams, but then plenty of key colour favourites in pastel tones.   Romance was clearly the main inspiration and dominated a lot of the upcoming items from Next for SS15.  It made a clear message to all that it doesn't have to be winter to feel warmth in your home.  

As always quirky pieces crept forward to make your home that little bit different.  I particularly liked the various signs and pictures from Next. 

Regardless of season Next always seem to deliver and will introduce a new twist on their classic Sherlock chair.  SS15 sees a dainty shade of cornflower blue covering the popular piece of furniture. 

I absolutely loved the Life is Good cushion which many of you saw me upload to Instagram!

As predicted Next have got their finger on the trend button for SS15.  Lots of exciting colours and patterns provided to a combination of classic cuts and invigorating pieces for both wardrobe and home.  Looking forward to SS15 thanks to Next!

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

F&F SS15 Press Day

F&F Clothing

I was lucky to have a chat to one of the amazing F&F designers, (who was lovely to chat to might I add) and he told me in detail where various inspirations had come from for each area. Just by initially looking around the venue, (before my guided tour) you'd of never ever thought this was a brand from a supermarket... it still baffles me now. 

I have a lot of their clothes so was really interested to see where inspiration had come from for their upcoming lines.

boyfriend coat F&F
Fringe bag black
metallic top

The press photos for some of the range were projected onto the walls and they showcased some of their flared trousers and long lined waistcoats.  I spotted a white flared jumpsuit which looked and felt like the quality of a garment from Reiss, but of course this was in fact from F&F and a fraction of the price.   There were vibrant palettes in the adaptations of some of the jumpsuits, some of which featured bandeau necklines and were culottes. This to me oozed comfortable sophistication and sleek style… I truly can’t wait to get my hands on this range. 

F&F Boxy skirt
striped fabric

There were staple items like with any label, these were the must haves for work and the simple tops to throw on with jeans… which is one of the many marvellous things about F&F – they provide a mixture but still like to diversify each season.  Parka, bomber and boyfriend coats are to be seen in SS15 in a variety of colours, I was especially drawn to the raspberry boyfriend coat for SS15 vibrancy.

F&F Dungarees
patterned sunshine yellow

I was seeing a lot of sport-inspired pieces with a vague blur between work wear and heading to the gym.  They’ve previously used the same cut before but this time jogger pants had new patterns and now we were seeing all-in-one short suits.  It gave off a sense of sport luxe but without being something to wear for a workout. 

Bead clutch bag
Sunglasses flowers
SS15 accessories

Boxy blouses and boxy cut skirts were a firm favourite amongst the collections, I particularly was fond of the striped boxy skirt and cropped top, another example of an item that you wouldn’t natural assume was from F&F.  Inspiration was drawn from 50’s silhouettes in metallic t-shirt and cute tailored shorts but with a modern twist.

F&F SS15 Heels

The classic summer collection for beaches and sunshine frolics, were of course kimonos but with fringing and embroidery detail.  A chiffon patterned shirt dress in paisley particularly caught my eye, even though this style could be seen in other assortments, this one was my top selection because of its innovative flair from the pattern. It felt luxurious and perfect for evening cocktails by the beach or lounging around the pool.

Tesco sports wear
sports wear like sweaty betty
fashionable fitness

As a fitness lover I’m a sucker for a patterned workout legging... I have numerous!  Other brands can charge through the roof for a similar look but F&F are producing an affordable active range.  When I browsed through I was already working out what I would be wearing for what classes, lots of vibrant colours, patterns, technical kit and trainers. F&F have come so far to be offering such a high quality and an eclectic range of fitness gear.

Overall it was a jaw dropping selection of clothing for SS15 and I’d certainly say I know where I’m shopping for the entire summer.