We all know how draining the festive season can be and so it seems do Clarins, who have just released a special skincare survival kit to help men get through the post-Christmas period looking half-decent. Available exclusively from Selfridges and selfridges.com the £65 kit features 12 skincare heroes hidden behind advent calendar doors that start on Christmas Day. If you’re a Clarins fan that represents a saving of £27 compared to the price of buying the products individually, so even if you can’t be bothered with the gimmicky advent calendar aspect (and I can’t say I would be) it’s still a great buy. Since it’s boxed and good-to-go it makes a fantastic gift too.
I’m not sure whether it’s a sign of my exceptionally good taste or that I simply don’t get out enough, but few things excite me quite as much as news of a new Aesop gift kit. Delightful to behold, they’re always beautifully thought out and presented and the offerings in the run up to this Christmas are no different. Themed around six constellations, each of the Gift Kits features a selection of Aesop essentials.
Perseus, for example, features their Fabulous Face Cleanser, Moroccan Neroli Post-Shave Lotion and one of my all time favourite Aesop products – the Geranium Leaf Body Cleanser. But it’s not just the products that I love about these gift sets; the tins they come in are superb too, mainly because they’re genuinely useful. I have several in my bathroom cabinet, stuffed full of pills, potions and assorted grooming essentials. You know how cats love cardboard boxes? Well, I love Aesop tins. The contents are bloody good, too, mind.
The Perseus Gift Kit is available from November from aesop.com priced £60.
The unveiling of a new Acqua di Parma candle is always a bit of an event. This year, their Murano Collection expands with the addition of a Benzoin candle housed in a green handmade glass made in – the clue is in the name – Murano. Warm and comforting (just what you want in winter) the candle features a blend of vetiver, patchouli, sandalwood, vanilla and benzoin – an ingredient used in incense making and one which gives the candle a delicious resinous warmth that enhances the vanilla. Perfect for lighting up those long winter nights.
Available from Harrods from October, priced £95.
If you’re one of those people who likes to do their Christmas shopping early or are simply looking for a great birthday/anniversary/thanks-for-cutting-the-hedge gift for someone you might want to have a look at one Green People’s limited edition skincare sets in aid of one my favourite charities, The Woodland Trust. There are four individual collections: Facial Care, Body Care, Hand Care and this handsome-looking Men’s Collection which features two 100ml body washes: a Peppermint & Eucalyptus one that’s perfect for gym bags and an Orange Peel and Clove wash that’s delightfully festive. They’re free of chemical nasties, made with certified organic ingredients and the packaging, featuring a noble stag, is absolutely lovely. What’s more, 30p from each sale of a men’s collection goes to The Woodland Trust to help with its preservation of our beautiful forests. As an animal lover and a nature lover I can’t think of a nicer gift.
The set costs £19.95 and is available from September from www.greenpeople.co.uk and via Ocado.
With Christmas just around the corner a lot of men I know (and a fair few women) are already in a slight panic about what to buy their loved ones, so here’s a tip from me: how about a candle from the Dolce & Gabbana Velvet Collection? Scented candles are always a good bet for women (my mum loves them) but an increasing number of men are appreciating what they can bring to the home too. Luxury-with-a-wick, this particular collection features a range of scented candles based around the high-end Dolce & Gabbana Velvet Collection fragrances. Hence, there’s Velvet Wood, which is warm and resinous, and Velvet Desire – a heady floral number my mum would adore. What impresses most about these particular candles, though, is their attention to detail. Not only is the outer packaging excellent, the jars look fantastic (each also one comes in a silk drawstring bag) and – best of all – there’s a snuffer lid too. Definitely worth putting on your Christmas list.
Available exclusively from Harrods, priced £60
Currently accompanying me to bed at night is this little number from online retail behemoth Mr Porter. The second paperback compendium of style and grooming tips, essential man skills, insider advice about where to eat, hang out and – in typical Mr Porter style – how to pick the perfect desk lamp, it makes perfect bedtime reading.
What’s more everything is presented in an easily digestible format (the Bryan Ferry interview is just four dinky pages long but more insightful than some entire books on him I’ve read). Look out, too, for the article entitled Art-Deco Drives which is the nearest thing to car porn you’ll ever find.
The Mr Porter Paperback Volume Two is published by Thames & Hudson and is available from mrporter.com, priced £20.
I’m often asked at this time of year if I can recommend a few new fragrances that would make great Christmas gifts for men. Given that fragrance is a very subjective thing it’s always tricky and since I was asked recently to list a few for my Telegraph Men column I thought I may as well just point you in that direction rather than list them again here. A few of the new fragrances mentioned are ones that really impressed me this year whilst others are there because I think they’d make an impact on Christmas morning with certain types of guys. So, anyway, if you want to see my selection simply click on the image below. And feel free to call me out if you don’t agree with what I went for!