Aimee Horton

The Fairest Of All Christmas Gift Guides

Nov
14

Whispers of secret Santa in the office, Heston’s Hidden Orange Christmas Pud in the cupboard, John Lewis snowpeople making me cry, yup, it’s getting to that time of year again.  If you squint hard enough you can just about see the season to be jolly sat on the horizon and that only means one thing.  Presents.

(And family, friends, good will, world peace and sherry, goes without saying, yaddah yaddah yaddah…)

 

Each yeah I am badgered by Santa (mum, boyfriend, boyfriend’s family) as to what I will be writing on my list.  Each year I say there isn’t really anything I want, a surprise something sparkling satsuma might be nice but really, it is having everyone together that ticks my Christmas wish list.  What an idiot.  If you don’t ask, you get a PMT mug, socks disguised as cupcakes and mockolate pennies .  Screw you lot, I want pressies, good ones!  So elves, feast your festive eyes on this little lot…

 

Lulu Guinness Shocking Pink Cross Hatched Leather  LargeWallet

I desperately need a new purse as mine has recently given up the ghost.  A purse with compartments, that’s what I need and if it happens to be pink, fastens with a kiss and is beautifully made by Lulu Guinness then that’s just what it’ll have to be.  Lulu’s Large Leather Wallet has space for 9 cards, large pockets and zipped compartment.  I need it.

Lulu Guinness Shocking Pink Cross Hatched Leather Large Wallet by www.luluguinness.com

 

Nails Inc. Pinkie Pink Nail Polish

As demonstrated by my cheeky little Instragram account, I’m a fan of painting, drawing on and decorating my nails.  Nails Inc. Pinkie Pink nail polish is pink, sparkly and for a good cause.  Any questions?

Pinkie Pink Nail Polish Supporting Breast Cancer Campaign by www.nailsinc.com

 

Zoe and Morgan Eternity Snake Necklace

It’s a Christmas miracle.  Somehow I have managed to choose just one item from Zoe and Morgan’s stunning collection.  I adore their rings; words, lassos, forget me knots and chicas, what the jewellery represents is almost as beautiful as the design itself.  There is simply not a piece I don’t love (want and need) but if pushed, I would ask Santa for the Eternity Snake Necklace.  Placed in a heart, worn around the neck, the snake biting its own tail is a symbol of eternity.  LOVE.

Zoe and Morgan Eternity Snake Necklace by www.zoeandmorgan.com

 

Lapin and Me Granny Green Baby Lapin Lamp

Its kitsch, cute and he would undoubtedly hate it.  But I love it.  And our house has some green in it, which is why I chose the Granny Green Bunny.  It is the only concession I will make.

Lapin and Me Granny Green Baby Lapin Lamp by www.notonthehighstreet.com

 

Let’s Skinnydip Gold Bling Skull iPhone Case

For £18.00 my iPhone could look like it’s rolled around in P Diddy’s pocket and taken a dip in Jay Z’s jewellery box, just as it should at Christmas.  Let’s Skinnydip makes an array of jazzy little numbers for your phone and all of my favourites are dripping in jewels.  However the one I’ll be asking Father Christmas for has to be the sublimely ridiculous Gold Skull Case available from River Island.

Let’s Skinnydip Gold Bling Skull iPhone Case by www.riverisland.com

 

Lou Rota Tableware

I have a fondness for design that is oh so pretty from a distance yet has a nasty little surprise close up.  Lou Rota’s pretty rose decorated tableware is made from the finest bone china and positively crawling with scarab beetles.  Perfect.  A serving bowl would be the ideal way to start my collection yet at £55 I might have to wait awhile until I have the complete set.

Lou Rota Ceramics by www.lourota.com  (Picture c/o http://nnnancymitchell.wordpress.com)

 

Daniella Draper Personalised Signature Bangle

I love words and the thought of ‘Santa’ choosing something meaningful to be hand stamped into the solid silver bangle warms my cockles.  Less so when he suggested, ‘Property of Adrian’, hmmm.  However, any other funny, heartfelt or random quote, one of Daniella’s Signature Bangles would be a welcome addition to my stocking.

Daniella Draper Personalised Signature Bangle by www.danielladraper.com

 

Secret Gift Subscription

A gift that actually does keep on giving, those clever little Domestic Sluts have teamed up with Bristol based gifty beauties Howkapow to create a gift subscription service.  Three months, three cold and miserable post-Christmas months, will be brightened by a monthly delivery of surprise loveliness.  Yes please.

Domestic Sluttery Secret Gift Subscription by www.howkapow.com

 

Hoxton Gin

I like gin.  I really like gin.  And Hoxton Gin is one of my absolute favourites and everyone needs a favourite tipple at Christmas, don’t they?

 

Lucinda Chambers Jubilee Wall Hanging

So, this little beauty is a touch on the pricey side but if I (or Santa…I can dream) had £800 to spend on prettying up a wall, Lucinda Chambers Jubilee is just what I would choose.

Lucinda Chambers Jubilee Wall Hanging by www.therugcompany.com

So, Santa, you’ve got my list, I’ve been ever so good, so no more bargain bin Karaoke Cliff at Christmas cassettes eh?

 

The Medina, Mojitos and Madness of Marrakech

Oct
31

I have always wanted to go to Marrakech.  For as long as I can remember I’ve yearned to meander in the medina and souk it all up.  I’ve longed to sit on an embroidered leather pouffe in the cool courtyard of a riad, eating a homemade tagine surrounded by glowing lanterns.  Probably wearing a fez.  And so, last week, my African ambition finally became a reality as he and I touched down in Marrakech Menara airport ready to begin our Moroccan adventure.  Any my, what an adventure it was.

 

I fell in love.  Instantly.  From the moment Hamid, our happy smiling taxi driver, began the frenzied cart-avoiding and moped-dodging journey to our riad, the crazy city stole my heart.  The people were friendly and exceptionally welcoming; the food was stunning, the weather beautiful and the shopping, well, the shopping was heavy.  Two pouffes, three tagines, three hand painted bowls, pestle and mortar, lantern, candle, clutch bag, purse, five bangles and three bracelets heavy.  We were immersed in a vibrant sun soaked film set of laden donkeys, skilled craftsmen and bustling markets.  Every sense was stricken by the colour, spice and cacophony the magical city is overflowing with.  I could babble on and on about how mind-blowingly, breath-takingly fantastic it is and how everyone should go, immediately.  Alas, there are only so many times I can say GO, book it, book it now!  Instead, I have whittled down the highlights.

The only thing better than the exquisite ‘little darling’ P’tit Habibi is Wafi, the riad manager.  Taking care of our every whim, from arranging taxis to organising excursions and booking restaurants, he was wonderful.  When we arrived unexpectedly late after our delayed flight he ordered us a tasty takeaway of cous cous and chicken pastilla.  Serving it under the stars, we sat amidst lanterns eating, chilling and drinking our complimentary bottle of chilled wine.  Each morning a homemade Moroccan breakfast was served to us on the rooftop terrace, setting us up for a hectic day in the souks.  The decor, whilst striking Moroccan cool in the day, comes alive at night with a mass of twinkling lanterns.  An oasis of calm and comfort from the frenzy outside, the rooftop pool, Space Invaders mirror and mouth-watering Moroccan salads mean that when I next visit, there is only one place I would stay.  In fact, as Wafi told us the day we sadly had to leave, we now have friends in Marrakech.

When you pay £60 for four cocktails, you expect them to be good.  They weren’t.  They were amazing.  The incredible La Mamounia is indescribably beautiful.  I’d heard whispers of the ‘dangerously strong’ mojitos served at Le Bar Churchill so that of course is where we headed.  The whispers weren’t wrong, they were indeed dangerous and the carpet was leopard print. I’d come home.  Once the mojitos had been savoured we fancied a change of decadence so we were led to Le Bar Italien.  Bit of a blur from this point, all I will say is, Best.  Cosmopolitan.  Ever.

 

A bit of research had told me that the best tagines were to be found at Le Foundouk, a hidden gem of a restaurant in the medina.  We were led to the first floor where our table overlooked the impressive candlelit chandelier.  Our hands were washed in orange blossom water, our menus were delivered as scrolls and our belts strained under a wonderful chicken tagine with preserved lemons and olives.  Whilst it is not a local’s restaurant, it is beautiful and the food is delicious.

 

When the heat of the midday sun became too much, Le Jardin Marjorelle was a welcome retreat.  Famed for its collection of rare plants and cacti, the lush garden is the ideal place to cool off and chill out.  Particularly helpful after the blood pumping purchases made on Rue Yves Saint Laurent.  Just along from the garden sits a row of chic shops, the chicest of all being the intriguing concept store, 33 Rue Marjorelle.  Stocking an eclectic mix of quality jewellery, purses, bags homeware and clothes, my shopping craving was well and truly sated.

 

Straying from the old town was something we only did the once.  Whilst the new town is contemporary and cosmopolitan, it can’t hope to possess half of the charm of the medina.  However, what it does hold is Grand Café de la Poste which with its charming staff and frozen mojitos is a relaxing respite when you’re all cous coused out.  They do a bloody good club sandwich too.

 

I’m not too good at asking for a discount, I find it embarrassing.  When I was a student, using my NUS card made me twitchy, so the thought of bartering filled me with dread.  It’s the done thing, I was told, and there is no option other than to play the negotiating game.  Nope, no way, I couldn’t, there is just no chance…or so I thought.  I entered the souks, I spotted what I liked, I marched over and from nowhere, I was suddenly wearing my haggling hat.  They offered me 500 dirhams, I offered 200, they laughed at me, they said 400, I laughed at them, I said 250, we settled on 300.  Done.  My biggest triumph had to be paying 400 dirhams (about £30) when the original price quoted was 1450 (approx. £105).  It’s a game, it’s fun, I would always offer less than half the original price and nine times out of 10, we’d both happily meet somewhere in the middle.  And if not, I walked away.  I was delighted with everything I bought, happy in the knowledge that not only can I barter with the best of them, but that each piece has its own souk story to tell.

 

Whilst we were away every meal was fantastic.  I gorged on tagines, cous cous and pastillas, I devoured dates, pomegranates and sweet pastries, washing it all down with mint tea and mojitos.  But sometimes, a girl needs a burger.  And whilst the traditional Moroccan cuisine served at Le Comptoir looked fantastic, the original Comptoir burger was just what I needed.  A lively exciting venue, a surprise treat was the gyrating belly dancing show that kept us entertained whilst we sipped a pink mojito and classic gin fizz.

Marrakech is manic, noisy and energetic.  It is a place where you’ll be jostled by a donkey’s saddle bag in a sandy alley one minute and be dipping your feet in a mosaicked pool as a waiter brings you drinks the other.  I was dazzled, stunned and worn out.  Every sense was battered and I adored every second.  A city of contrasts, the feverish medina is remedied by the tranquil riads which are only an intricately carved door away.  A concern about finally visiting the place you’ve always wanted to go is whether it will live up to expectations.  Marrakech exceeded every one.

Introducing “The fairest of them all”…

Jul
03

I love beautiful things.  I love cool things.  I love shopping, and cooing over photographs of outfits, or even better stroking beautiful shoes.  However, in case you hadn’t guessed, there aren’t enough hours in the day.  If I’m not banging away on the laptop producing either articles, emails, or marketing materials I’m constantly clearing up toys from my floor and wiping fruit off my favourite wallpaper, so I don’t have much time to hunt for the new and the amazing.

Therefore, I’ve called in a little help from my friend The Fairest of Them All.

Pale skinned and red lipped, Amanda’s resemblance to the fair Miss White is often remarked upon.  But unless Princess Snow has a penchant for leopard print, Bumble Bee Teas (her cocktail of choice) and builders strength Earl Grey, that’s where the similarity ended.  Or at least it did.  By day, she is all SEO, PPC and OMG.  But by night, you will find her sewing, styling and sourcing the unique, the chic and the fairest.  And so, once upon a time, I asked Amanda to share these finds, so from heels to Hendricks, wallpaper to waspies, The Fairest of Them All was born.