8 terrific travel gifts for your favourite jet-setter
The travel enthusiast on your shopping list is sure to love any of these great gift ideas.
Shopping for someone who loves to travel this holiday season? Look no further for inspired gift ideas we’re sure they will love! From bags that’ll help them travel in style to essential tech gadgets they’ll never want to leave home without, these gifts are sure to be a hit this Christmas!
1 iPhone 7 Plus: No traveler leaves home without a camera and these days, all they really need is their smartphone! The brand new iPhone 7 Plus delivers its best camera ever with some seriously awesome new features, which make it a must-have for the shutterbug on your Christmas list. The improved camera means significantly better photos in low-light and more vibrant, colour-rich photos in regular light. The camera can take ‘portrait mode’ photos (blurring out the background and giving a bokeh effect like a fancy SLR camera) and has an optical zoom. Plus, it’s now splash- and water-resistant… hello, beach! iPhone 7, Apple, $899.
2 Jenni Saddle Bag: Ask any seasoned traveler and she’ll tell you that a small cross-body bag is a travel essential … and we just can’t get enough of the ‘Jenni’ saddle bag from Gigi New York. The sultry saddle shape combined with a luxe pebble grain leather make this bag a stylish addition to any outfit. With an adjustable strap and detachable tassel, this stunning bag is a winner! Jenni Saddle Bag, Gigi New York, $345.
3 Clarity Clutch + Coin Pouch: Looking for a gift for the stylish travelista on your shopping list this Christmas? This transparent clutch and coin pouch duo is just what you’re looking for! Both items are ideal for keeping travel necessities like a passport, boarding pass and money close at hand. Or use it to store makeup and toiletries. Either way, the clutch and the pouch will make it so much easier to find things that easily get lost at the bottom of a handbag! Clarity Clutch + Coin Pouch, Truffle, $60.
4 Kindle Paperwhite: The traveler who can’t live without her books will be truly thrilled to find the Kindle Paperwhite e-reader under the Christmas tree this year. Now available in black and white, the Kindle Paperwhite offers readers a high-resolution display with a built-in adjustable light. The screen has no glare so it simulates reading an actual paper book. Its compact size makes it perfectly portable, ideal for the travel lover on your shopping list this season! Kindle Paperwhite, Amazon, $119.99.
5 Beach Tray: In this acrylic tray, Gray Malin marries the stunning aerial photography he’s known for with a striking home decor accent piece. Suitable for a myriad of uses (serving tray, office catch-all or simply a beautiful objet d’art to be displayed and admired), this tray is sure to delight the traveler on your list. This particular tray, part of Gray Malin’s newly launched home collection, features an overhead shot of beach umbrellas in Lisbon. Beach Tray, Gray Malin, $295.
6 The Beaches Tote Bag: Every traveler needs a good, multi-purpose tote bag that can easily fit in their luggage and be pulled out at a moment’s notice. This canvas tote is the perfect bag for shopping at a local market, taking to the beach or for using as an extra carry-on bag to bring home shopping that won’t fit in the suitcase! The Beaches Tote Bag, Main and Local, $19.99.
7 The Bigger Carry-On: A suitcase that charges your phone? A suitcase that has an unbreakable, scratch-resistant exterior shell? A suitcase that is guaranteed for life? That’s the kind of suitcase every traveler dreams of. Away has reimagined the suitcase and the result is a modern piece of luggage that easily and effortlessly meets the needs of today’s traveler. This is a super chic gift for the super chic traveler. The Bigger Carry-On, Away, $245.
8 Men in Red Limited Edition Art Print: Inspire a travel-lover’s sense of adventure with a gorgeous piece of artwork that will not only look fabulous gracing the walls of their home, but will remind them of a favourite vacation (or motivate them to visit some place they’ve never been!) To make this gift extra special, choose the perfect frame from a number of options. Men in Red Limited Edition Art Print, Minted, starting at $21.
Buying guide: The truth about thread count
Is there anything better than sliding into a bed laden with good quality sheets? At the end of the day, I can't wait to stretch out under my fresh, soft covers and nestle my face into a good cotton-covered pillow. We spend a third of our lives in bed so quality sheets are key, but how do you get quality for your money? There's no doubt that most consumers believe the higher the thread count, the better the quality, but this isn't entirely true. With the help and expertise of Joanna Goodman, owner of Au Lit Fine Linens, we expose the truth about thread count and what it takes to find quality bed sheets.
What is thread count, really?
Simply put, thread count is the number of threads woven into one square inch of fabric. This number is based on the threads woven horizontally ("weft") and vertically ("warp"). Extra threads can also be woven into the weft threads to increase the thread count. These added threads are called "picks" and are added in the overall count, which is how some sheets end up having thread counts in the thousands. This is why the idea that high counts equal better quality isn't really accurate. Consider this: Joanna says most weavers will say the maximum number of threads that can be woven into one square inch of fabric is 500 to 600. Though the number is arguable and, according to Joanna, "depends on the mill you deal with," it gives you an idea of where the line is between single-ply, unpicked weaves and ones that add threads here and there to bump up the count.
What to look for when buying sheets
Joanna lists three things to look for on the label: if it's Egyptian cotton, where it's woven and, lastly, the thread count. While thread count is a bit misunderstood, the buzz around Egyptian cotton is true. "The very best cotton in the world is grown in Egypt. So Egyptian cotton will be of a better quality," Joanna says. She also recommends pima cotton, which is grown in America, "though not quite as exceptional as Egyptian." When it comes to weaving, however, she swears by the Italians as being the "master weavers of the world" due to their "long tradition of weaving" and use of the best Egyptian cotton. Be sure the label says 100% or pure Egyptian cotton though, otherwise it may only contain a small percentage of the good stuff. As for the thread count, look for a minimum of 200. From there, it's all about preference!
What to avoid when buying sheets
Joanna's one key piece of advice is to watch out for extremely low priced, high thread count sheet sets. A complete sheet set with a high thread count for $100 or less is probably not the dream bargain you think it is. As Joanna believes, "you always get what you pay for." The price tag for bed linens will vary depending on the sheet size and what items you're buying, such as a duvet cover, sheet sets, or pillowcases. "A superior quality 200 thread count queen set (including flat, fitted, two pillowcases), made of Egyptian cotton and woven in Europe, could retail reasonably for about $150-$250," says Joanna.
What do you prefer?
After going through the quality checklist, go with what feels best for you. If you're looking for a durable linen, Joanna recommends any percale from thread count 200 to 800. Percale is any cotton woven with a 200 thread count or higher and will be more durable than a cotton satin of the same thread count. It's also less likely to pill than cotton satin because it has a denser weave. Love the feel of a cotton button down shirt? Joanna advises a crisp, dense 200 thread count percale. Prefer a silkier sheet? Go for a 300 to 600 cotton satin. If you want lighter sheets, Joanna says, a 400 thread count sheet can be soft and light, while an 800 percale would be soft and dense. The higher the thread count, the more likely multiple-ply thread is used or picks are added, making the fabric denser and heavier.
Now you know that quality is not just about the number, so don't let numbers rule your bed! Remember what to look for on the label and be wary of too-low prices for supposedly high quality items. Beyond that, go with what you prefer. Get a good feel of the sheets before buying. Whether you're unzipping the packaging or lying down on a display bed, make sure the fabric feels good against your skin and soon you'll be having sweet dreams!
Find out how to keep your new linens crisp and clean with our tips to whiter-than-white sheets.
Host the most unforgettable holiday party with help from our savvy hostess guide Source: Tracey Ayton
We asked the experts, consulted the pros and tapped into the minds of the most talented to create the ultimate handbook for the holiday hostess.
THROW THE PERFECT PARTY
The dos and don'ts of throwing the perfect party: Find out the ultimate dos and don'ts for throwing a fabulous holiday party from the expert.
SERVE THE PERFECT DINNER
Mark McEwan's 5 tips to serving the perfect dinner: Celebrity chef Mark McEwan is no stranger to dinner parties - both hosting and attending them. Here, he shares his secrets to serving in style.
SET THE PERFECT TABLE
Holiday table setting 101: Easy tips to go from boring to breathtaking
CREATE THE PERFECT COCKTAILS
4 must-try classic cocktail recipes: You may not be a mixologist, but these signature drinks will have guests convinced you've been taking secret bartending lessons.
Drink recipe: Grapefruit rose mimosa: This refreshing grapefruit mimosa makes the perfect holiday brunch beverage.
Drink recipe: Ginger pear Bellini: Serve your classic Bellini with a twist by adding sugar pear and ginger liqueur.
Drink recipe: Satsuma sparkle: Freshly squeezed satsuma gives this champagne cocktail its signature fruity flavour.
Drink recipe: Blackberry lime fizz: Serve this fresh and flavourful champagne cocktail at your upcoming holiday party.
DECORATE THE PERFECT GUEST ROOM
How to decorate the perfect guest room for the holidays: The experts dish their tips on preparing for overnight guests this holiday season.
GIVE THE PERFECT HOSTESS GIFT
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Satisfy even the most discerning epicureans on your list with one of these fashionable foodie-approved finds.
We all have that person in our life who can prepare an intricate meal without so much as glancing at a recipe. That person who dabbles in all things culinary related on a daily basis and has a kitchen pantry that rivals that of celebrity chef Mark McEwan (or it at least comes close). Not sure what to treat them to this holiday season? Browse through our list of food-related gift ideas for inspiration.
A heart-smart treat for the health food aficionado in your life, this carefully curated six-pack of cold-pressed juices contains almost two pounds of fruit and veg in every bottle! Cold-pressed Juices, Dose Juice, $42 per 6-piece pack.
This elegant Art Deco-style coffee dripper is for your friend who has one foot planted firmly at home and the other off in some distant Parisian patisserie. Hario stainless copper Coffee Dripper, Indigo, $100.
If the Bat Cave had a coffee maker, this would be it. Nespresso’s latest boasts a matte black finish befitting anyone in need of a caffeine jolt before saving Gotham City. VertuoLine Coffee Machine in Matte Black, Nespresso, $249.
This high-ranking mustard deserves your salute. Flavoured with decadent wine and truffles – and only available for a limited time – it’s a covetable condiment fit for any top official. Black Truffle and Chablis Mustard, Maille, $43 US.
These striking mugs echo exotic corners of the earth that yield top-notch coffee, from Sumatra to Costa Rica. Pair a mug with beans from the same region for a gift guaranteed to please any java junkie. Stamp Art Mugs, Starbucks, $19 each.
These pretty, precious and feminine flasks are almost too stylish to sully with alcohol – but everyone has a friend who would! Stainless steel Odeme Flasks, 90 ml, West Elm, $29 US each.
This vintage-look colander is a timeless classic that takes an everyday kitchen tool from dull to display-worthy. Copper-plated steel Colander in Gold, Anthropologie, $34 US.
This Scandi-chic French press in pale pink (with a pretty copper detail) is not only a beautiful vessel for your morning brew, but also an ideal addition to any open shelf. Ceramic French Press in Sand, Yield Design Co., $120 US.
Treat fans of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation to “the gift that keeps on giving.” Translation: their very own Jelly of the Month Club gift set! (Reference lost on you? See here.) Griswold Jelly of the Month Club Gift Set, Retro Festive, $40.
It may resemble salami, but this treat is made entirely out of chocolate. Containing hazelnuts, almonds, cherries and even rum, the confection is a certified crowd-pleaser – especially when presented on a cutting board. Chocolate salami, SOMA Chocolatemaker, $23.
Count on Alessi to make a conventional utensil undeniably sleek. Crafted from stainless steel and boasting a unique shape, the modern citrus squeezer also doubles as a pestle. Valerio Citrus Squeezer, Alessi, $71.
Building a beautiful cheese platter is something of an art form, but it helps to have stylish spreaders to complement the nibbles. This gorgeous set with rose quartz handles will make any table sparkle. Rose Quartz Spreaders, HomeSense, $15 4-piece set.