Monthly Archives: December 2013

On… the perfect Christmas stocking

Okay, so this is a stealth post.

It’s for you to send to your boyfriend/husband/sister/mother/father/beh-eff-eff, so that they have some extra hints about inexpensive little somethings to put in your Christmas stocking, if you are Christmas-stocking inclined.

But it’s also for Fox, who is not blessed in the art of Christmas stocking composition, but who valiantly endures my Christmas stocking obsession and agrees to do it every year. He’s unexpectedly away for work this week, thus inevitably making his Christmas shopping as last-minute and stressful as possible, probably culminating in a stocking-filler dash to the pharmacy across the street on Christmas Eve where he’ll panic-buy a box of Antacids, some ancient Lily Of The Valley bath salts and a roll of surgical tape to stuff in the damn thing. (“How did Santa KNOW?!”) So here you go, my lovely Foxatron.

The Perfect Christmas Stocking For A Grown-Up Woman:

1. Lip balm

FACT. Women can never have too many lipbalms, these are a slam-dunk of a stocking-filler. No, put the Carmex down. I realize that you find an ancient pot of the damn stuff in your ski jacket every year and so it’s top of your mind when someone says ‘lip balm’ but really, there are many better options. Most independent pharmacies will have a funny little one from Avene or La Roche Posay or someone marvelously French like that, alternatively, Maybelline BabyLips, I’ve been wanting to try it since forever.

2. Studs.

A pair of gold (or silver, if you’re not me) earring studs – for some reason, I think every Christmas stocking needs a pair of earrings. There are lovely little studs from Gorjana at Shopbop, and they’ll deliver anywhere in the world in three days.

3. Magazine

A rolled up magazine with a year-long subscription to the same magazine. As you know I already have a slightly ridiculous number of magazine subscriptions – hey! I’m a reader – but maybe try The Atlantic, or LOVE. But remember, no People or Star or US: gossip magazines make me feel sticky. And not in that nice sexy way.

4. Chocolate coins.

You can usually get these at any corner shop in Britain, or any pharmacy in the US. Can’t find them? Get this Lindt Sea Salt Dark Chocolate, it’s the best chocolate in the damn world. But chocolate coins are more Christmassy and therefore stocking-appropriate. (Incidentally, this is where someone usually chimes in with a plea for the eternally awkward Terry’s Chocolate Orange, or a Toblerone just in case you want your chocolate to HURT, or, worst of all, an entire bloody orange, I mean literally, a piece of fruit. There is no room for fruit in my Christmas stocking. Ever.)

5. Childhood sweets

Everyone has sweets that remind them of their childhood. For me, it’s Super Lemon and White Rabbit chewy sweets that you can get at any Aji Ichiban, and/or Australian chocolate-covered licorice bullets. You might also try AQuarterOf if the stocking recipient grew up in the UK and is mad for flying saucers and space dust, or Old Time Candy if you’re in the US and aforementioned recipient will squeal with joy about Nerds and Bottle Caps. I also really miss some London stuff like Tunnock’s Tea Cakes, by the way, but I can pick them up anytime I’m in the West Village. (Fox grew up in Ireland, and therefore becomes tearfully nostalgic about Taytos, a powdery potato chip. If anyone knows where I can buy them in NYC, let me know.)

6. Bath mitts.

These are better than any bath scrub for truly smooth skin, though if you’re feeling generous, Bliss Hot Salt Scrub is spendy but utter heaven in winter. You can buy bath mitts anywhere but the ones from The Body Shop are my favorite. Incidentally, I was a freelance copywriter for The Body Shop for a while in my 20s, till I ran out of ways to say ‘nourishing’. (Actually, I was working for a woman who was so highly strung she practically vibrated, and after a few months of absorbing her stress I thought ‘fuck this’ and went somewhere else.) The big secret at The Body Shop, by the way, is that their lovely natural unguents are returned all the time because they grow MOLD. (Or is it MOULD? I’m not sure and I am too lazy to check.) Anyway, all of this is completely beside the point. The point is, smooth skin needs scrubbing.

7. Pens.

I’m a writer and yet I can never find a fucking pen. Ever. I am pretty sure you steal them, Foxy, and have them hidden away somewhere, but let’s not get into that right now. A nice big stack of gel-tipped ones like this, please, in blue or red so that it shows up when I review and edit manuscripts.

8. Hair elastics

I don’t know how, as I must have purchased 46, 002, 498 hair elastics in my damn life, but I’m permanently on the verge of running out. H&M ones used to be the best, but they’ve cut down on the stretch in them so now they’re shit. Anyway, just try plain black ones from oh, anywhere.

9. Miniature travel-size toiletries.

This is particularly good for GemGem as she’s about to go into hospital to have a baby, but it’s probably good for a non-preggers person, too, and yes, sometimes GemGem just refers to herself in the third person for no particular reason whatsoever. You can buy nice mini toiletries next to the till at Sephora in the States, or at big Boots in the UK. Think: shampoo, conditioner, body wash, toothpaste. Don’t bother with body moisturizer. You know I’m a dedicated user of this, this, and this. I used to be dedicated to The Body Shop Body Butters but well, you can guess why I stopped.

10. An eyemask.

I always wear these, I have since I was a teenager. Mostly I just use ancient economy class ones, or the nice ones that you give me when you fly at the pointy end of the plane for work, you lucky bastard. So a really hot shit sleep-happy eye mask would be so cool.

Hope this helps, my little sugar plum fairies! Have a veh merry Christmas. I’ll be back when I have photos of a new little mewling to share with you…

(And just imagine, Foxerama, if I put this much thought into my OWN Christmas stocking, how much thought I’m putting into yours…)



On…. Kanye West / Billy Joel

Mash-up made in heaven: Billy Joel’s ‘Still Rock And Roll To Me’ vs Kanye West’s ‘Black Skinhead’.

Incidentally, Fox pronounces Billy Joel ‘Billy Jo-elle’. It’s an Irish thing. So I usually add ‘Billy Jo-elle? From the Clonakilty Jo-elles?’ and laugh helplessly at my own hilarity.