Lifestyle
Christmas Gifting All Wrapped Up

Dear Aunt Freesia,
I think I may have met the one. She’s a slightly scary one but that is kind of what I like about her. The thing is, she likes what she likes and knows her own mind. Put it this way: I feel safer when she chooses the restaurant. She’s lived in Kerala, Namibia and Rome, while I’ve spent most of my life in Guildford, which is lovely, but you get my gist. Sometimes, on a Saturday morning, we have to visit artisan bread shops. We watched glass being blown one evening last week, and her best friends are an artist and tailor, who talk about ‘craftsmanship’ a lot and I don’t think they mean ale.
This is our first Christmas together and, obviously, I’m in a blind panic. She says she loves me because I’m thoughtful. Am I?

Yours smittenly,
Stuck Man

Dear Stuck Man,
Loving the sound of your paramour. Uncle Freesia always says – when pressed – that he adores a woman who knows her own mind. If thoughtful is the problem, Fragrance Combining™ is the solution. We need to tick off craftsmanship, thoughtfulness, generosity and romance, which can be beautifully accomplished with the right combination of scents. It will be clear to her sophisticated international tastes that only high-quality ingredients are used and that the architecture of the fragrances is intricately designed for clarity.
I think an unexpected combination is the right fit for such as free spirit, so what about a blooming, shimmering, quixotic Orange Blossom Cologne to let her know that you adore her dreaminess? And then spice things up by adding the voluptuous promise of Tuberose Angelica Cologne for something intoxicating and mischievous that can be truly hers?
Let me know when I need to buy a hat...

Dear Aunt Freesia,
I am in an unfortunate position of having what you might call a ‘power mother-in-law’ – no shirtwaisters or knitting for her. I’ve been married for two years and I still find myself dumbstruck at her dinner table because the talk is bound to turn to politics or philosophy, possibly in Mandarin or Latin.
So, as you can imagine, buying her a Christmas present is deeply stressful. She wears unusual knitwear and likes avant-garde Japanese designers so I’m bound to get that wrong. She’s read every high-brow book in the known universe, and she orders her wine direct from some terrifyingly impressive vineyard in Bordeaux. The gift buyers fear is killing my festive spirit. Please help.

Yours unsophisticatedly,
Low Brow

Dear Low Brow,
I feel your pain. She sounds very left brain and rather in need of some sensory stimulation and time away from her intellectual pursuits.

It’s very hard to be snobbish or joyless about the sheer pleasure that is… a bath. So I suggest that you give her a bath in a box. Clearly, we need to formulate a truly refined, slightly challenging combination to appeal to her elevated tastes. Pomegranate Noir Bath Oil is intense, enigmatic, seductive and slightly erudite. Combined with the fragrant flicker of a sensual Dark Amber & Ginger Lily Home Candle, the entire experience will be meltingly gorgeous. Of course, once you’ve hit on the right fragrance combination for her, all you need to do is replenish her supply each year for the rest of her life. And Christmas can be Christmas once more....

Dear Aunt Freesia,
Last week, at a work do, I got sucked in by a sob story told by a hotshot American corporate lawyer who is in London, working over Christmas and has nowhere to go. Three glasses of Champagne later and, fully expecting him to politely decline but feel slightly indebted to me nonetheless, I invited him to spend the day with us. Annoyingly (and, frankly, rather insensitively) he said yes, which was a horrible shock. 
I know nothing about him – only that he likes a sharp suit and a full-bodied claret so how on earth can I shop for him? He is my boss’ right-hand man, so now my career depends on getting this right. Clearly no good deed goes unpunished...

Yours hospitably,
Think Before You Speak


Dear Think,
Let me show you the silver lining: having a rogue element added to Christmas Day means that your entire family will mutate into their best selves, each one becoming extremely helpful and charming to try to impress this mysterious stranger. So, oddly, you have just made your life rather easier.
And as this rather attractive-sounding person is visiting London, then why not give him a proper British Christmas? A beautiful wreath. A terrible jumper. Something heritage in feel but contemporary in flavour, such as Amber & Lavender Cologne, which harks back to the elegant barber shops of London’s St James. Classic yet urbane and exciting. Clean, masculine, velvety, need I say more.
But the devil is in the detail, so give your sharp-suited visitor the opportunity to blend two scents and create something that is only his. Myrrh & Tonka Cologne will add a creamy warmth and a nobly sensuous edge to the proceedings. I see no reason why you and yours shouldn't have a very merry Christmas.

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