My wife laughs at me. I don't tell her what I want (apart from socks). I buy presents purely online, under immense personal stress, and I wrap like a drunken chimp.
So, I resolved to find great presents for me, you, her and your similarly minded loved ones. If you like thinking, creativity, style & the outdoors, this is the Christmas List for you. Enjoy.
A SEX MANUAL TO BRING BACK CELEBRATING SENSUALITY
Malika Favre - Kama Sutra
What ever happened to sex & eroticism? It feels it's getting more taboo. Which is, plainly, wrong. So buy this sumptuous book or poster for your partner and get it on. You need sensuality and sensuality needs you.
(VEGAN) CHOCOLATES TO CRY FOR
Booja Booja Gourmet Selection Chocolates
I ate an entire box of these before 9am last Christmas Day. No jokes. I'm not vegan but I am unable to eat almost all fancy foods, except these! They are EFFING INCREDIBLE!
GET CYCLING DURING LOCKDOWN
Ribble CGR AL e, Electric Gravel Bike
Cycling is my lifelong passion. It has heartened me so greatly to see a huge increase in cycling this year. Still wavering? Electric bikes aren't naff anymore. I'd get one of these if I had the cash. Ex colleague Jamie Burrow designed the market leaders, and they're exceptional value - from Lancashire! I chose this 'gravel' version, as it'll take you over the rough and smooth.
HEART CRUSHINGLY BEAUTIFUL MELANCHOLY
The Song of The Tree - Coralie Bickford-Smith
This book was meant for my kids, but having found it hard to read it to them without weeping I have to say it's also a drug for adults seeking comfort. Utterly cynicism free, poetic, gentle & calm, this is an antidote to 2020. Read every day.
AN UNBEATABLY COSY SCOTTISH SCARF
FRAHM Tartan Scottish Merino Scarf
Sooo cosy and nooooot scratchy! My tip is Black Stewart tartan, if you're not sure. It goes with everything. Made for FRAHM by legends Johnstons of Elgin.
OUR LOCAL GIN
There's a LOT of new gin brands around. Go for this, it's delicious. It will cloud when you add ice and tonic - that's a sign of strength & quality. We know co-founder Hugh (above) - he truly deserves and has earned your patronage.
THE BEST FIELD JACKET
FRAHM Original Utility Field Jacket
Okay, okay, we're very biased, but we are immensely proud of our first and best known style. It's our most versatile design, for a mix of all kind of weather, all year round; with loads of storage.
LOW BOOZE BEER FOR BEARS (you don't have to be a bear)
The days of competitive drinking are over. Quality has replaced quantity. I'm not much of a drinker, but I love the taste - this was a great discovery. Gluten free too!
CRACK BRITISH BACKPACK
You have a FRAHM Jacket, but need a backpack? We recommend Scots, Trakke. Have a look, you'll see why - waxed cotton, gunmetal fixtures, simple quality all over. Love them.
MY MOST USED COOKBOOK
I barely use cookbooks, preferring to work it out myself, but the white of the pages is now yellow & red. So simple, soooo good.
STOCKING FILLER - THE DIVING CAP
Peninsula Kelp Co, - Union of Undersea Diver's Cap
Northern Irish diver Graham followed us on Instagram and I had a ferret about on his site, only to find my favourite cap! It's great value, a perfect fit and has a velcro on/off brand patch. For some reason this pleases me hugely. And they sell kelp stuff (which I haven't tried, but I'm sorely tempted). Sorry about my stupid grumpy face.
Dave King is our neighbour here and works with us. He's a photographer, film-maker and mixed media artist. Last year I got Emmalou one of his prints. He's also very dapper and has a whippet, so that's settled then - pick your favourite!
THE WHISKY THAT PUT ME OFF THEN GOT ME INTO ISLAY MALT
When I became a wine merchant in my early Twenties, I was introduced to a very special malt upon my induction - Coal Ila 18 Year Old. I thought it tasted like TCP medicine and spat it out. But the look of horror intrigued me - was it really that good? A year later my palate had developed to take the peat of Islay whisky. This is extraordinary.
ULTIMATE SHED LIFE
I really want a shed. Unfortunately we don't have a garden. So get one of these for me could you, please?
COSIEST WINTER SHIRT
FRAHM Lightweight Tartan Workshirt
So much cosy, again!
WORLD WAR I GRAPHIC NOVEL
War Horse, by Michael Morpurgo, illustrated by Tom Clohosy Cole
I adore Tom's work - he illustrated our Christmas card last year. This is his latest work. Wonderful.
SWEDISH CHUNKY JUMPER
John Sterner, Oland Edge Turtleneck Jumper
Stutterheim raincoat founder Alexander Stutrterheim is now making very fancy knitwear. Ooo, yea.
THE GREATEST HOLLYWOOD AUTOBIOGRAPHY
The Moon's A Balloon - David Niven
David Niven invented modern male charisma. Here's proof. Buy from Toppings- an amazing Bath bookstore.
STOCKING BELLY FILLER
Box of 14 x Slabs Crisps (admittedly a box is hardly a stocking's worth, but heh, find 7 pairs. It's worth it.)
I f***ing love crisps. These aren't so much crisps as paving stones. They are the best.