Now the temperature has dropped (well finally… I was beginning to wonder if we’d ever get a proper winter), it’s time to dig out those big thick gloves and furry boots that you stashed at the back of your wardrobe last spring. And of course no Christmas would be complete without unwrapping the odd scarf or woolie hat under the tree on Christmas morning (it’s what grannies are for, after all).
But this year, I’m dreaming of getting a pair of earmuffs. Yes, earmuffs. They keep your ears lovely and warm – and they don’t give you nasty helmet hair (I mean, just how cold does it have to get before looking like a nit with stick-to-your-head hair is okay?).
This winter, Monsoon has a fab range of earmuffs which I’m rather loving a lot. Forget your expensive quilted sheepskin earmuffs (yes, I know Uggs are desirable, but have you seen the price of them???). These babies come in different colours and textures (including faux leopardskin) and cost just £16. I’m torn between the hearts and stripes earmuffs, the knitted Fairisle earmuffs and this rather luxurious looking lurex cross hatch tonal pair…
They’re perfect for keeping your ears warm and toasty, especially during the obligatory Christmas Day post-lunch walk (and you won’t look like a flat head afterwards). Check them out at http://www.monsoon.co.uk/icat/acczearmuffs Better than a boring old beanie any day.
If you don’t buy – or receive – bath and body products for Christmas, then you’re breaking an ancient law. Well, what would Christmas be like without a basket of Body Shop smellies from your mum, or your gift of lavender lovelies that you bought for your gran? Right. It would be downright dismal.
There again, if you’re fed up of the usual predictable bath salts and gimmicky soaps, there are loads of inspirational brands out there that aren’t quite household names (well, not yet perhaps, and probably not in the UK). One of my favourites that falls into this category is Korres, a Greek line of natural beauty products that has its roots in Athens’ first homeopathic pharmacy. But don’t let that put you off.
Today, the name Korres conjures up gorgeous beauty concoctions containing ingredients such as wild rose, honey, yoghurt, pomegranate, plum and all manner of herbs. And if you’re into the natural thing, Korres beauty products contain 95-100 percent naturally-sourced ingredients – which is about as natural as it gets unless you make your own.
And they’ve got something for everyone.
For your mum, try the Wild Rose Set, with wild rose cream, serum and rose mask. For your best mate who loves going abroad, the Holiday in Greece Kit is perfect (aloe and soapwort shampoo, basil lemon showergel, basil lemon body milk, guava showergel, guava body butter).
Your teenage niece would love the Vanilla Plum Little Pouch, with vanilla plum showergel, body butter and lip butter, and there’s even something for your dad or the man in your life: the Men’s Kit, which contains absinthe shave cream, marigold and ginseng aftershave balm, magnesium and wheat shampoo, juniper and rum shower gel and ruscus and chestnut eye cream (no, we don’t know what ruscus is either). Well, makes a change from Old Spice.
And for yourself? With all that socialising on the cards you’re almost definitely going to need the Party Survival Kit, with wild rose cream, evening primrose eye cream, guava body butter, guava showergel, milk proteins emulsion and refreshing gum.
So that’s everyone smelling fabulous on Christmas Day sorted then. Result.
Fans of old rockers The Rolling Stones will be pleased to hear that daddy’s little girl has done good. Well, with that pedigree, Jade Jagger could hardly be one of life’s failures, could she? In fact, she’s made a huge name for herself as a jewellery designer to the rich and famous.
And now she’s opening her own shop in Notting Hill (where else?). Pop over to the opening tomorrow and you could rub shoulders with the coolest of London’s cool – and you’ll get a first-hand glimpse at JJ’s fabulous jewels, all skulls and dazzling gems, gorgeous!
Of course if you don’t live in London you can get an idea of what’ll be on display in the shop by visiting JJ’s website, jadejagger.co.uk. You can even get a look at Ms Jagger herself, nekkid as the day she was born, lying on a fabulous tropical beach.
Jade, honeybun, if this photo is anything to go by, you’ve certainly got the body to die for. Just don’t start a trend with this nude business, okay? I mean, for some of us jewellery designers who don’t look like you, it wouldn’t do much for our sales and marketing.
What I’m trying to say is, don’t expect anything similar on rokchix.com. For one thing, the pebbles on my local Brighton beachare far too uncomfortable to romp around on au naturel…
With just under a calendar month left before Christmas Day (hurrah!), if you haven’t started your Christmas shopping yet, you’re probably thinking, what’s the rush, you’ve got loads of time. But don’t be fooled. The next few weeks will flash by and before you know oit there’ll be just a couple of shopping days before the big event, and there you’ll be, stressed out and panicking like mad over what to buy your nearest and dearest. Trust me, I’ve been there.
If it’s inspiration you’re after, I’m going to aim to put some your way over the next few weeks. And I won’t just be suggesting my own gorgeous gifts (though if you want to impress someone with a gift of fabulous jewellery, you know where to come… oh okay then, rokchix.com). For starters, here’s something I’m crazy in love with – it’s a new website I’ve just found that’s aimed squarely at pooch lovers. It’s an American store, but it looks like they have a UK base because you can buy direct from the website – prices are displayed in pounds (they also have some UK stores that stock their products too).
Called Fuzzy Nation, the website has all manner of fab pooch-inspired gifts, including cuddly dog toys (but not like anything you’ve seen before, honest), bags, jewellery and other accessories.
Here’s a taster, it’s a purse in the shape of a pug (they call them wristlets), made in a floral material and an absolute bargain at £11.99. Totally bonkers and totally gorgeous. If you know someone who’s mad about mutts, this is the place to shop. In fact, I feel a credit card moment coming on right now…
Got a suggestion for shopping inspiration? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and if I like it, I’ll write about it…
Flipping heck, I can’t keep up with these celebrities turning their hands to jewellery design. Now it’s Alicia Keys’ turn to launch a jewellery collection in the US.
Working with jewellery designer Gisele Theriault, Alicia has come up with a collection of silver and gemstone pieces – and here’s the interesting bit, they all feature inscriptions of poetry by the Japanese author Masaru Emoto (yes, I had to look him up).
Now Emoto is best known for his idea that, if you direct words or thoughts at water droplets as they turn to ice, the ice crystals will be either beautiful or ugly (depending on what you said or thought). Hmmm.
Who knows, perhaps if you write something beautiful on a piece of jewellery, the person who wears it will be (or feel) beautiful too? I think that’s what Alicia’s trying to get at, since she’s reported to have said about her collection that their purpose is “to give people beautiful, unique pieces with messages that ignite them to find the best within”.
You’ll be able to see for yourself when the website selling Alicia’s pieces – which will cost between $85 and $2,500 – goes live (for future reference, it’s thebarbersdaughters.com).
I’m fascinated with the idea of putting words on jewellery myself – see my silver, gem and natural silk Positive Affirmations necklaces and bracelets on notonthehighstreet.com (bracelet pictured below).
And in 2010 there’ll be more (including some particularly funky Valentine’s Day jewels) – news coming soon.
Seems like only yesterday when I was talking about celebrities designing jewellery, specifically Courtney Cox and her husband David Arquette (who have designed a gorgeous butterfly range for Satya Jewelry in aid of a children’s charity). And now, guess who’s joined the party? Only Brad and Angelina, that’s who.
It’s not enough for the gorgeous twosome to have full-time acting careers and six kids (which itself must be challenging, even with the help of nannies-R-us). No, our Brangelina are strutting their stuff in Courtney and David’s footsteps – then hiking it up a notch or two. Never a couple to be outdone by anyone, I imagine, Brad and Ange are working with world-famous posh jeweller Asprey to produce a collection of gold jewellery and silver accessories. And true to sometimes scary Ange style, the motif of the range is rumoured to be a snake (ha, take that butterfly-girl Courtney). Look out for the Pitt-Jolie pieces in your local Asprey store (London, New York, Beverley Hills, Tokyo and Dubai…. what, no Merthyr Tydfil?) this week.
You’ll have to save your pennies if you want to buy into the Brangelina jewellery dream though. The cheapest piece in the range, so rumours have it, will be a $525 silver baby spoon. There again, it does have a snake-wrapped handle (hmm, way to prepare a baby for a world of weirdness, eh?).
But I’m being churlish. What I’ve seen of the range, I rather like – it’s a bit quirky and a bit mad, just my type of thing. And net proceeds from the sales of the Brangelina range will go to a charity co-founded by Ange, called the Education Partnership for Children of Conflict, which raises funds to help children who have been the victims of war and natural disasters.
Fair enough then.
NEWS UPDATE: Rok Chix features on fab jewellery website myflashtrash.com, which is also home to cool designers such as Patricia Nicolas, Naomi Sheppard, vivi+vivi and Silver Service.
Run by model and actress Amber Atherton – whose motto is Let Jewellery Be Your Statement (amen to that, we say) – Flash Trash was set up in October 2008 to give unique jewellery designers a platform to display their creativity and sell their pieces online to savvy, fashion-forward consumers. All the jewellery on the website – just like on rokchix.com – is hand made, which is a conscious attempt to offer something more than the generic, mass-produced accessories found all over the high street.
As Amber says, ‘After all, just because you want to be fashionable, doesn’t mean you need to follow the herd.’
Way to go, Amber. I coudn’t have put it better myself.
Check out the Rok Chix range on myflashtrash.com.
Daphne Krinos may not be a name that trips off the tongue – well, in terms of jewellery designers, at least not as much as my previously featured fave designers (Shaun Leane, Stephen Webster and Solange Azagury-Partridge – all of whom are mentioned in the fashion mags on a regular basis). But Daphne is an outstanding jewellery designer who produces amazing, unique pieces of jewellery (check out her website, you’ll see what I mean).
So what do I like about Daphne so much? For one, her style is instantly recognisable. I mean, nobody does it like Daphne. The way she works metal, sets gemstones and uses colour – well, it’s an inspiration. And I love the type of gemstones she uses. One look at her work and you can see that she, like me, loves gemstones in their natural state, and often sets them in unconventional ways. Check out these amazing rings, made from oxidised silver (the oxidation process turns the metal black) and aquamarine crystals (one of my favourite types of gems, which I use a lot myself – for example, in this simple silver bangle with raw aquamarine crystal).
I don’t know much about Daphne, other than what’s written about her on her website. She was born in Athens but did her jewellery-making training here in the UK at Middlesex University. These days she works out of her studio in East London. Not very rock and roll, like the others I’ve written about, but fabulous nonetheless. A real gem.
I’m not sure I’m a fan of birthstones – you know, the concept that certain gemstones are lucky for you depending on which month you were born. But it’s a nice idea.
November’s birthstone is either golden topaz or citrine – don’t ask me why there are two, but there are often different stones cited for different months by different sources. And the two gemstones for November are very similar in terms of colour and clarity. Put side by side, it might be quite tricky to tell them apart.
First, topaz. Here’s what you need to know about this stone.
Topaz is found in a range of natural colours, from yellow to brown and even red, blue and colourless. It’s mined in places like Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Burma, Australia and California, with pink topaz found in Brazil, Pakistan and Russia, and light blue topaz in parts of the UK (yes, really!).
For those who are into the spiritual properties of gemstones (for want of a better phrase), topaz brings joy, abundance, good health and good fortune. Wearing topaz is said to make you feel confident. Meanwhile golden topaz (also called imperial topaz) is believed to help those who want to be famous (X Factor contestants, take note), as it adds charisma on top of an air of confidence.
Next up, citrine. This, essentially, is yellow quartz (and often mistaken for yellow topaz and vice versa).But ‘citrine’ sounds so much nicer, don’t you think?
Citrine comes in a range of shades, from the most delicate, pale gold (my favourite) to deep, reddy brown (the most valuable), and is found in countries such as Africa, Brazil and Burma.
In terms of crystal therapy, citrine is incredibly popular as it’s the stone of abundance, and is said to attract wealth and success (and don’t we all want some of that?). Good for self-esteem and confidence, when worn it also makes you more creative. Not only that, but it promotes joy and positivity too (apparently, you can’t feel depressed when wearing a piece of citrine, but don’t quote me on that).
Not a bad month then, November.
Coming up some time next month: turquoise, the birthstone for December.
Finally. The new Rok Chix website is live. It’s been a long time in the making, but, as they say, the best things are worth waiting for.
So what’s new then? Well, a sleek new look for one. Easier navigation, with a ‘search by type’ facility that lets you see all the necklaces/rings/bracelets/earrings on a single page (so you don’t have to search through all the collections) – which is quite handy if you already know what particular type of jewellery you’re looking for.
The collections are still there too, but with lots of fabulous new designs (and plenty of old favourites too). All completely handmade, all unique and all made in sterling silver with semi-precious gemstones and freshwater pearls.
The Dare collection features funky, chunky designs, while Glow is the place for pearl fans. Then there’s Pure, chock full of designs inspired by the colour of the ocean (think aquamarine, turquoise…), and Sparkle, which is bursting with colour and dazzle. The Smitten collection – as its name implies – features seriously romantic pieces for brides and lovers, while Wild is more playful and funky. And last, but definitely not least, the Lush collection is just as its name suggests – full of gorgeous colour and texture.
But don’t just take my word for it…
PS. Sign up to our mailing list this weekend (November 7-8, 2009) to receive a 20 percent discount code in our email newsletter on Monday (Nov 9, 2009). Offer applies in the UK only