At this time of year when the days are short, skies are grey and winds bitter the best way to combat the gloom that this weather spreads is to find a bit of festive sparkle and get involved in that gift giving lark.
So with colour, decoration and shiny things the order of the day I suggest you head to the very best place in town. Follow me and we'll go Christmas shopping in Fortnum and Mason's where there are beautiful objects in abundance.
Their window displays are like intricately illustrated children's books with hundreds of things to marvel at.
Inside there is a cornucopia of special treats to buy for loved ones, or add to your own lust-after list.
Once through the front doors, I walked past sweets of all kinds where I stopped to admire beautifully decorated chocolate boxes and assorted marshmallows.
Upstairs in the kitchen section were rows of crockery sets, kitchen utensils such as some very tactile pestle and mortars and old fashioned branded goods.
Further, around the central balcony, I entered a scented world of candles and room diffusers, with the Cire Trudon range firing my imagination. Cire Trudon are the oldest candle makers in France and have a range of candles that include a gift set called the Odeurs Revolutionnaires! Inspired by the French Revolution, the set contains Abd El Kader, Ernesto and Prolétaire. Oh my days. This goes straight on my Lust List.
On the next floor, more heavenly scents drifted across the room, this time from a bar containing huge glass decanters filled with perfumes. To the back of the store ladies toiletries led on to a Bamford Haybarn spa treatment area. I first discovered this brand when we went for a spa day in the New Forest at Lime Wood House, so a treatment at F and M was added to my Lust List as well.
Heading up the stairs to the next floor I found a room dedicated to Christmas while next door was a large area just for the gents. Here I bought a few gifts, a print of an antique map of Surrey, which I think would look fabulous framed. I also found a delicately scented Geo. F. Trumper's shaving soap. The fine young man who served me agreed with my choice and told me he uses it himself, which gave me a little reassurance (as I'm not sure how the gift will be received).
I climbed the generously proportioned staircase for the final time and found myself at the entrance to a tea room. Fully booked the place gently hummed and it looked the perfect spot to relax after a jolly afternoon in gift heaven. I took away the menu so I could enjoy reading about the delights on offer and dream of booking a table for my next visit. This was my third and final entry on to my Lust List.
Walking all the way back down, I passed again the servants in eighteenth century livery, frozen in time. Established in 1707 Fortnum and Mason's is a very British tradition and definitely worth a Christmas shopping trip. I exited via the side door which was held open by a very jolly doorman who turned out to be from North Belfast and sounded comfortingly like my dear Uncle Ivan.
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