YOU can run...you can try and hide, but Christmas is well and truly upon us!
And there's always last minute shopping to be done, so here's just a few choice ideas from us that may just help you along the way...
What's more, there may even be some peeps you don't get to see until after the big day is over, so you can pick a bargain or two in the sales. And of course you can stash these ideas away and use them throughout the fast approaching 2012, since there's always birthdays and many other celebrations where you have to wrack your brain for ideas.
All you have to do is click on the image of each scrumptious gift to find out more about it to be transported to the brand's site, then google to your heart's content to find your nearest stockist, wherever you are on the planet...
THESE stylish "globe bars" are replicas of originals from the 17th century, when rich gentlemen liked to discuss the world - and perhaps their next voyage of discovery, over a glass or two of something special.
Now difficult to find and very unusual, these drinks globes are beautiful centrepieces that will always be a talking point.
The globe maps, with their delightful illustrations of sea monsters, landmarks and foreign peoples, are fascinating and reveal a great deal about the thinking of the time.
J FOR JASPER CONRAN DECANTER
ADD a timeless elegance to anyone's home with this vintage decanter from J by Jasper Conran. The modern design combines classic style with a minimalistic design to create a the perfect vessel for any discerning connoisseur who knows his or her way around a libation or two. And it won't break the bank either.
KYMERA MAGIC REMOTE CONTROL WAND
THE Kymera Wand is the world's first buttonless, gesture-based infrared remote control. It can recognize 13 different movements or gestures and convert them into the infrared codes needed to control just about any piece of electronic equipment in your home that currently uses a traditional infrared remote control. Using a simple learning procedure, the Kymera Wand can learn up to 13 infrared (IR) codes from existing remote controls and replay those IR codes when you make one of the 13 predefined movements or "gestures". And quite frankly, it really is quite super cool!
A new and limited edition release, Bollinger Rosé Ice Tube represents a smart and stylish innovation that is just in time for any occasion at all. In addition to a bottle of their exceptional on vintage Rosé Champagne, this visually striking release comes equipped with a specially designed reusable clay lined sleeve that - when put in the freezer for two hours - will keep a bottle of Bollinger cold for a further two hours. A great gift idea that is equally perfect for all manner of celebrations. A present that any hardened habitual fizz drinker will simply love.
NO father should be without that perfect hip flask for every match, whether it's the school pitch on a freezing Saturday afternoon, or on tour in New Zealand for the Rugby World Cup. And the terribly discerning men's luxury brand, Dunhill has just the thing...it's not the cheapest out there but it is awfully beautiful and will last a lifetime.
RETURN TO TIFFANY™ HEART TAG KEY RING
YOU can simply never have enough little blue boxes - it is a physical and psychological impossibility. And therefore this most sumptuous work of design perfection and timeless style in sterling silver with Tiffany Blue enamel finish, will suit any hand bag or coat pocket.
THE TomTom GO LIVE Top Gear edition satnav! Featuring the voice of Jeremy Clarkson, plus a heap of Top Gear bonus goodies, this special edition satnav is the ultimate traffic- vanquishing weapon for the discerning driverist. With speed camera warnings, information via Local Search with Google™, weather reports and more, it’ll spirit you onto gloriously empty roads when all about you are stuck in jams. With the calming presence of Jeremy Clarkson himself by your side, what could possibly go wrong?
ENGAGE - THE FALL AND RISE OF MATT HAMPSON by Paul Kimmage is one of the most engaging [excuse the pun] books I have ever read. No publication in the past has caused such a diverse raft of emotions, from laughing out loud to sobbing. It is the most moving, personal, raw and from the heart account of the most painful journey of a young man who's senior international hopes were dashed in one scrum in training which changed his life and that of his family and friends forever. And now this inspirational cheeky chappy is making life better for others in a similar position across the globe, even though he cannot do anything for himself - not even breathe without his 'wood pigeon'. From England U21 prop to paraplegic and extraordinary fund raiser, Matt Hampson is a true legend, and Engage deserves every accolade it has been awarded including the 'William Hill Irish Sportsbook of the Year 2011'.
JONNY: MY AUTOBIOGRAPHY by Jonny Wilkinson and Owen Slot [Chief Sports Reporter of The Times] is a most fascinating text. It is an absolute must read for any fan of Jonny Wilkinson, and captures the essence of this obsessive, compulsive, driven and most dedicated fly half the world has ever seen on the international rugby scene. Every nuance, every moment of pain, every self-doubt is captured with such accuracy - you will feel his pain, his stress, his angst, and his frustration from being a 7 year playing in the Farnham minis feeling physically sick at the thought of having to play a match, to the 32-year old Rugby World Cup winner missing kicks in his fourth world cup in New Zealand. But understand, you will not just read about his stress, you will feel it...it is the strangest manifestation of his pain translating into a physical reaction in the reader. Excellent...but disturbing!
SONNY BILL WILLIAMS: THE STORY OF RUGBY'S NEW SUPERSTAR by John Matheson. When in 2008 Williams turned his back on the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs and rugby league, ‘SBW’ was one of sport’s most maligned brands. His move to French rugby was vilified throughout Australasian sports media. But 3 years later, many of those same scribes are now singing his praises as one of the All Blacks’ greatest hopes as New Zealand looks ahead to the 2011 Rugby World Cup. The Story of Rugby’s New Superstar tells the story of Williams’s stunning transformation from one of league ‘most hated’ to one of rugby’s ‘most loved’. A fascinating insight into Williams’s many struggles: his battles with Sydney’s paparazzi-style media, his personal demons, and his on-field showdowns. It also looks at his personal crusade to make it in the ranks of heavyweight boxing. And after reading Sonny Bill Williams you will be left in no doubt that despite his critics’ best efforts, Sonny Bill Williams is much more about substance than hype.
LEWIS MOODY: MAD DOG - AN ENGLISHMAN by Lewis Moody and award-winning sports writer Ian Stafford. Former England captain and Rugby World Cup winner Lewis Moody has no sides, he has no agenda apart from doing what he does to the best of his ability, and he is a pretty straight-forward chap. This is a very straight-forward book. It does nothing more than tell of his life, his struggles, his family, his passion, his illness, his Leicester obsession but then surprise move to Bath in the twilight of his rugby career. Stafford animates this not hugely outspoken player into quite a character, and makes for a very enjoyable read.
MORE THOUGHTS OF CHAIRMAN MOORE by Brian Moore. Pitbull is back and angrier than ever, with another collection of hilariously well-observed and rambunctiously argued grievances about the mad world of sport and beyond. Following the success of The Thoughts of Chairman Moore, Volume I, you might have hoped that sport's powers that be would have sat up and taken notice of its many faults and flaws. But alas no, lunacy prevails and so Brian has taken it upon himself to put forward another collection of his unique insights and not-so-unique frustrations. Uproariously funny and spot-on in its every complaint, Volume II is required reading for anyone who can't live without sport but who also can't help but wonder at its unbridled idiocy. It's another hugely entertaining Pitbull offering which would grace any bathroom shelf as most apt reading.
WORLD CUP RUGBY TALES by Lawrence Dallaglio. Much like the Pitbull's perfect bathroom fodder, Lol's World Cup Rugby Tales makes for some excellent reading that one can dip in and out of as one has just a few moments to spare. For the second time, this Rugby World Cup winner has trawled through stories -some bordering on folklore- from his circle of international friends and colleagues to let us in on some rather amusing moments reaching as far back as the first very amateur affair in 1987, right through to his personal final appearance on the world stage in 2007. A proper giggle fest, and all in aid of the terribly good cause that is Wooden Spoon.
SPLASHDOWN: THE STORY OF MY WORLD CUP YEAR by Chris Ashton and Paul Morgan, Rugby Writer and former long-standing editor of Rugby World. Don't be fooled - this is not Chris Ashton's crazy attempt at producing a biography at the tender age of 24 when he has barely begun to live. But it is a charming diary of his journey from his explosive England debut in the Autumn Internationals of 2010, through to England's unfortunate exit from the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand. And yes it does address everything, though maybe not in as much detail as you may like. Though in his defence, his glossing over the controversies England faced down under are rather appropriate since nothing actually happened of any significance. It's not going to rock anyone's world, but it is a very interesting insight into the machinations of a young player's mind & how England did it's thing under the old regime.
THE TREASURES OF INTERNATIONAL RUGBY UNION by Richard Bath, in association with the World Rugby Museum, Twickenham. The press release simply says "A unique celebration of one of the world’s oldest international team sports, packed with never-published-before removable items of rugby memorabilia. Essential reading for every rugby fan." Well yes, but it simply does does not begin to capture the spirit of this beautiful, informative and fascinating dissertation of world rugby from its inception in the mid-1800s right through to modern times. The attention to detail, the replicas of the receipt for the creation of the Calcutta Cup trophy in 1878, the programme for the England Scotland match in 1895, the Official Souvenir guide to the Wallabies British and American Tour 1908-9, the poster for the contribution of rugby union players to the First World War, a ticket to the Wales vs France game 1930, the creation of the British Lions and the Barbarians, alongside a short history of every major rugby playing nation, this is the perfect rugby gift for any fan or player of the perfect sport. It is a treasure.
RUGBY Writer and journalist Adam Hathaway and travel expert Daniel Ford have joined forces to create A FAN'S GUIDE TO RUGBY - the ultimate guide to being a rugby tourist across the globe.
Yes of course this has had a plug already, but it is so essential that this bible that every self-respecting rugby fan simply must have.
From Ellis Park in Johannesburg, scene of Nelson Mandela's emotional handing over of the Webb Ellis Cup to Francois Pienaar in 1995, to Edgeley Park, home of the Sale Sharks in Stockport, every major ground is featured including invaluable information on how to get there, who plays there, which bars are within spitting distance, and a host of other fascinating and entertaining facts.
The book is clear, concise, animated, easy to navigate and simply the perfect pocketbook whether you are a seasoned rugby tourist or a complete rugby virgin...except of course it won't actually fit in your pocket(!)
THIS literary guide could not be complete without reference to this year's biggest global rugby event, the 2011 Rugby World Cup. And two publications have been produced about the spectacular event, one from a northern hemisphere perspective, BLACK GOLD, and a second from the land of the long white cloud, BLACK: WHERE IT BELONGS.
THE complete book of the Rugby World Cup 2011 tells the story of the competition from the opening ceremony to the presentation of the cup with details of every game played and photographs of all the action both on and off the field. Legendary broadcaster Ian Robertson sets the scene, and the matches are described by his BBC colleague Alastair Eykyn and leading rugby writer Mick Cleary of the Daily Telegraph. There are comments from players, managers and coaches as the tournament unfolds giving their views on team and individual performances. Over 100 photographs, provided by Getty Images, whose photographs cover every match, recapture the excitement and the emotions of a World Cup and there is a detailed statistical summary at the end of the book.
BLACK: WHERE IT BELONGS by Bob Howitt provides definitive commentary to a stunning array of full colour photographs taken during the course of the rugby news event that grabbed the world’s attention. Top-class action photographs of the games as they unfold, and a selection of colourful spectator photos from around the venues, the opening ceremony, and a shot from the ticker-tape parade in Auckland the day after the Final.
And if that's not enough literary inspiration, here's a selection of the rest of the year's best books...
HARRY POTTER - THE COMPLETE COLLECTION
The entire Harry Potter Collection from the first film way back in 2001 right through to the final instalment from July 2011...
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
THE HANGOVER: I & II
THE first movie had me LMFAO as they say. After much cajoling by many a pro rugby player who all insisted it was one of the funniest things I would ever see, I finally succumbed, and my love affair with THE HANGOVER began.
Watched the trailer for Part II...I was howling with laughter. If the first was anything to go by, this should've been the funniest movie of 2011! So...the verdict...as long as you have the sense of humour to appreciate the first film, you will just so enjoy this. The same craic as The Hangover, it had me in stitches...just not so many.
And the monkey! Bloody marvelous!
EVEN though I’m no Formula 1 junkie, this intrigued me, and I had the pleasure of seeing the extended version which is almost 3 hours long; I was not bored for even one second.
We all know how the story ends, but this is the story of Senna's life...his world, his passions, his family, all expertly told through interviews with a range of people who knew him well, including the not so pleasant Alain Prost.
Simply...this is brilliant. Whether you are a fan of Formula 1 racing or not, whether you followed Ayrton Senna or not, this superb documentary shows the legend, the inimitable sportsman, the tragedy of his passing, and will have you mesmerised throughout.
THE KING'S SPEECH
THE KING'S SPEECH is enchanting, engaging, emotional, sublimely acted, humorous, expertly visualised and beautifully filmed. It will move you in every fashion; you will laugh, you may shed a tear, you'll feel contempt for those who deserve it, and admiration for others...you will feel the essence of what Tom Hooper wanted you to experience.
Colin Firth has produced his best work yet, Helena Bonham Carter has personified the Queen Mother, Geoffrey Rush could not have been improved upon, and the supporting cast...simply perfection. There is not a single element of this multi award-winning masterpiece that I could possible fault.
DOWNTON ABBEY BOX SET
SUMPTUOUS costume drama DOWNTON ABBEY, written and created by Academy Award™ winner Julian Fellowes, and boasts an all-star cast including Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern and Dame Maggie Smith.
Set in England in the years leading up to the First World War, Downton Abbey tells the story of a complicated community. The house has been home to the Crawley family for many generations, but it is also where their servants live, and plan, and dream, and they are as fiercely jealous of their rank as anyone. Some of them are loyal to the family and committed to Downton as a way of life, others are moving through, on the look out for betterment or love or just adventure. The difference is that they know so many of the secrets of the family, while the family know so few of theirs. But for all the passions that rage beneath the surface, this is a secure world, serene and ordered, and, at first glance, it seems it will last forever. Little do they know, family or staff, that the clouds of the conflict that will change everything are already gathering over their heads. The second series sees the return of all the much loved characters whose intertwined lives are rendered more complicated by wartime and its impact on the great house itself. And when the storms of war have finally cleared, will the way of life known by all the inhabitants of Downton have changed forever?
HBO does good TV - Rome, Six Feet Under, Sex & The City, The Sopranos to name but a few triumphs. ENTOURAGE is the hit comedy series that takes a look at the day-to-day life of Vincent (Vince) Chase, a hot young actor in Hollywood, and his inner circle. He's brought with him from their hometown in Queens, NY: manager Eric, half-brother Drama, and friend Turtle. The series draws on the experiences of industry insiders to illustrate both the heady excesses of today's celebrity lifestyle, as well as the highs and lows of love and success in show biz. Eric, along with superagent Ari, keep Vince's star rising while making sound decisions for a long-lasting career in a world of fleeting fame. And it was a highly addictive favourite of pro rugby players the planet over.
Now there is no definitive box set of all 8 seasons yet, but you can get 1 - 7 as separates, and it is a series absolute not to be missed if it has passed you by!
And for all the other fabulous movies from this year, just pop over this way and have a good rifle through...
THIS Christmas season we've decided to not to reinvent the wheel, when there are those out there who have already done all the hard work. SO we bring you links to to the ultimate guides to presents for both him and her, but not necessarily breaking the bank along the way...
Nothing screeches fashion quite as loudly as Vogue, and so British Vogue has put together a list of the trendiest gifts you can pick up for him.
Live LIke A VIP is reknowned for following the latest trends, so this should inspire you how to get her the latest fashion must haves.