What I bought & Wardrobe diaries: January 2021

New in

Madewell Hilltop Cactus Shirt (via David Jones; XS) – I saw this previously in store and thought the cacti were so cute but then decided to pick it up when DJ did an extra 20% off sale items. I ordered both XS and S since reviews mentioned it was really cropped. I didn’t notice much difference in the length so kept the smaller size since it is already extremely wide and boxy. I wear this with high waisted bottoms, untucked or unbutton the bottom one/two button/s and tie a knot as it is barely long enough to tuck into most bottoms. It’s really light and breathable for the summer and WFH though the embroidery is a bit itchy. Was $149.95, down to $99 and extra 20% off = $79.20

Scanlan Theodore Embroidered Eyelet Culotte (pre-owned via eBay; 6) – This is my first time trying this Australian brand. I had been wanting an Aje white linen culotte on eBay for a while but it’s buy-it-now price was a bit expensive. This looked really cute too and the auction was much more affordable. The waist is a tad big on me and the legs are a bit too exaggerated for a short-legged person like myself. Ideally if it was a bit shorter it would look much better on me. However I do enjoy them and the eyelet fabric is so gorgeous. It’s condition was pristine and I don’t regret trying out this brand first in this way. Including shipping, $43.

January 2021 total: $122.20

Considered or tried

Jac + Jack Walker Long Sleeve Tee (via David Jones; Cotta; XS) – Gee, I’m really having difficulties with this brand. I wanted to try out their linen stuff in the same DJ order with the extra 20% off sale items. I picked this dusty pink colour. All I remember was the moment I touched the fabric with my fingers I knew it was going back. It was an incredibly rough linen weave. This style would be a very casual tee for me, predominantly worn at home, and there is zero chance I could wear this for more than a minute.

Other updates

I threw away two Esprit cotton tees (one short sleeve and one long sleeve). They’re very fitted and in an easy-to-wrinkle cotton. I kept thinking I would keep to wear them at home but I never have in the last several years.

I did also forget (in the last post) that when moving house last year I threw away a pair of really battered Ziera Topaz sandals in black. The insides were so disgusting after wearing them pretty much everyday during the first Spring and Summer I got them. I took them straight to USA, where it was hot, humid and occasionally rained heavily, so they started their life off with lots of sweat, going through downpours and of course accumulating a lot of dirt and grime from all the walking everyday. Over time the dirt stopped wiping off and they were no longer appropriate to wear out. I have the same pair as a backup but for the last two-ish years I have been saving them and wearing the brown pair instead while I have another black sandal on the go.

What I bought & Wardrobe diaries: October to December 2020

New in

Jac + Jack Verte Organic Cotton Tee (via The Iconic; darkest navy; S) – I decided to try a Jac + Jack tee when The Iconic was having a massive cashback offer on top of 30% off selected items, landing this tee at almost half price. Jac + Jack is an Australian brand, which I feel markets themselves on premium fabrics and minimalist designs. I last wrote about procuring a pre-owned cashmere jumper (which was wrongly listed so I returned it) and trying on a skirt which completely swamped me. I decided to go for S and it fits perfectly for a slightly relaxed-fitted look, if that makes sense. I like that the crew neck is higher with ribbing and the fabric is soft but not thin and drapey. I really like it and wear it frequently. I have considered buying more colours of this line (since it is their only sustainable, made in USA line of tees) but I will wait for the right price. I think the quality of mine is fantastic though I did see some in store recently with very poor stitching work, so I will have to be careful in future. Was $99 – 30% – $12.60 cashback = $56.70

Viktoria & Woods Intarsia Knit (via David Jones; 0; sold out) – I ordered this in both 0 and 1 but I was refunded the latter size as it subsequently sold out. The 0 was fine so I kept it. I absolutely adore the colours and I really enjoy a good cotton jumper with a mock neck. It was a bit of an antsy purchase which I could’ve done without but I am so happy with it. I was very surprised to see the cashback amount approved recently, as the amount was based on four items in this order, two of which were refunded due to no stock and one which I returned (discussed below). I am, of course, not complaining! Was $290, down to $183.20 – $18.68 cashback = $164.52

Aje Allegro Belted Jean (Classic wash; 6) – Earlier I purchased the similar pair in black because I had been wanted this classic wash pair all year. I wore the black ones a lot so when this finally went on sale, I snapped it up. They are so comfortable. HOWEVER due to the flexibility and extra time gained from WFH, lifestyle changes led to me losing ~one size towards the end of 2020. These jeans are a bit large (to be fair the website did advise to size down anyway…). I already had them hemmed so I intend to keep both pairs for now and tighten the belt as much as possible. Was $295, down to $206 (expecting $9.38 cashback)

Cos cotton long-sleeve top (black; 6) – I couldn’t find this on the website (also it’s wrinkled and I’m lazy so no photo). I actually find the very smooth and stiff cotton Cos uses quite difficult to maintain, even if it feels and looks nice. It’s like a magnet for dust and fluff! Unsurprisingly the fit is loose and large, but the A-line shape and wide sleeves are lovely. I REALLY like the single pocket on the front – so handy to pop my phone there to keep it with me around the house! Was $99.90 – 50% off = $49.95 but gave my Mum $50 in cash (she put our purchases on her card)

Cos cotton-cupro boat neck long-sleeve top (purple; 8) – (As above, lazy so no photo) I am on the fence about this purchase. My Mum purchased this top in a beautiful purple-mauve in size 6. I really wanted it but didn’t want to buy the same top (she saw it first!). There was a purple one too but the smallest available was 8. I had already been in the change rooms (which had a long line) so I tried it on over my clothes. Again, the silhouette is loose and boxy so I thought it would work. This material is really smooth and super difficult to keep wrinkle-free. The shoulders and wide boat neck are bigger than I would like. I probably should not have bought this size. Was $99.90 – 50% off = $49.95 but gave my Mum $50 in cash (she put our purchases on her card)

Acne Studios Mini Musubi Bag (burgundy – newly uploaded stock photos on Acne Studios website are fairly inaccurate for all the colours; better stock photos here) – I have had a journey and a half with this bag all 2020 and finally picked it up in the last days of the year. I first saw this bag online in black and thought the design was interesting but wasn’t wowed. And then at the start of 2020, I saw lumiere.dhelen‘s brown (not sure if it’s the caramel or the almond brown) and Brittany Bathgate‘s white Musubi bags, frequently featured on their Youtube channels. The lighter colours really made the unique design of the bag “pop” and I was completely obsessed. I actually had two bags sitting on my wishlist for a almost two years but this shot right to the top. I did not want the white or either of the browns though. They released the burgundy, which I was convinced I would get if I liked the bag in person. And then in the last few months of 2020, they released a grey colour and I was convinced it was a sign and I would get the grey (neutral and more practical). However when I finally got to the store and laid eyes on the burgundy (the oxblood, burgundy, deep red shades are my favourite colours), the colour took my breath away. It’s not impractical a colour, just a little less practical than grey. So I slept on it and the next time I went back, I picked it up (it almost didn’t happen as the SA had to run to the offsite storage three times because he couldn’t find the last bag in stock!). The bag is divine and ridiculously comfortable because of the thick strap and the way the soft leather sits against you. My only complaint is that the opening and access into the bag’s compartment is narrow due to the thick short strap and division in the middle of the bag. I tried to purchase it for cheaper online/overseas but the savings from overseas were not substantial enough. $1500

I haven’t purchased jewellery since starting this series. I don’t know if I consider them part of “my wardrobe” and feel like a different category to me. I don’t ever “get rid” of fine jewellery (which I purchase very infrequently and after much thought). I also can’t link/show custom-made jewellery (engagement ring and wedding ring) or discuss price (engagement ring – unknown). 2020 was an exceptional year though, because of the engagement and wedding rings and a bracelet for my birthday which I went to pick up in the last few days of the year (six months after my birthday).

I will also mention but not include the top and skirt (worn as a dress) I purchased for our legal wedding ceremony. Potentially (and hopefully) they could be incorporated as separate pieces into my wardrobe in the future, but the need and expense falls under our wedding fund.

October to December 2020 total: $2,027.22 (With the caveat that in addition, a substantially larger amount was also spent on a wedding ring, wedding “dress” and a bracelet)

Considered or tried

With my order from David Jones that included the Viktoria & Woods jumper above, I also ordered the Gateway wool pants in 0 and 1. I was also refunded for the latter size so I only received the 0, which fit anyway. I liked the colour. My issue was the very thin (so thin it almost felt like paper) and itchy fabric, so I returned it.

Other updates

I passed on that Country Road jumper I bought recently to my Mum because I really hated the colour whereas she didn’t mind it. Before moving, I threw out four pieces that I couldn’t sell and would only end up in landfill if donated – a Witchery skirt, a French Connection tee, a French Connection skirt, and a Tracy Reese skirt.

I sold a COOP Trelise Cooper skirt, Tommy Hilfiger jumper and Saba silk sleeveless (purchased pre-owned in September 2019). Due to changes to my clothing size, I am going through and cleaning out clothes that no longer fit (mostly bottoms because tops/dresses can often still work if -1 or +2 sizes) though they’ll only be mentioned when thrown/donated/sold. After shipping and fees, +$35.87

I finally sold my old Prada wallet. Purchased in 2012 for $640 and used daily until the end of 2019, it now retails for over $1010 (crazy!). Except for the zip, it was in immaculate condition. I was trying to sell it between $350-400 because I wanted at least $300 after fees. I had some offers and negotiations between $250 and $330 that I knocked back. Shockingly someone suddenly offered me $500 and I accepted right away! Needless to say I was very happy with that outcome. After shipping and fees, +$425.20

What I bought & Wardrobe diaries: January to September 2020

New in

January

Nobody Denim Cult Skinny Comfort Jeans (via David Jones; anniversary black; size 26) – Since purchasing my first Nobody Denim jeans at the end of 2019, I picked up another pair during the summer sales. It’s a really substantial thick denim and will definitely take me time to get used to, since I only wear very stretchy skinnies. Since it was summer at the time and then we’ve been in various levels of shutdowns and lockdowns all year, I haven’t had any occasion to start breaking into either new pair of jeans yet! Was $219, down to $99.

Ziera Liberty flats (via David Jones; black pewter; size 38; also here) – I continued to pick up discounted Ziera shoes where possible. (The company was bought and they are still alive, already releasing new styles!!!) I’d never tried this pair before but it looked pretty safe in terms of fit and comfort. Since going into stay-at-home mode, these were the only shoes I wore from March to September when going out (except for running, of course). These have been perfect for me in winter as I don’t have to wear socks and my feet don’t overheat too often. My feet are like saunas on a good day, which is made worse with socks and enclosed shoes. Was $259.95, down to $143.20.

February

Ziera Tyler sandal (via Ian’s Shoes; nude; size 38) – Another new style to me. I thought it would be “useful” to have a pair of nude sandals with a comfortable heel to wear to any fancy occasions, which is looking ever more distant. Was $219.95, down to $175.95, minus 20% off = $140.76

Ziera Lennon flats (via Ian’s Shoes; blush rose gold; size 38) – This is a another backup purchase. I now have two pairs in blush and two pairs in black because these shoes are so bloody wonderful! Was $249.95, down to $199.95, minus 20% off = $159.96

May

I had these Country Road gift cards I purchased during an extra-value offer that were sitting around after I no longer wanted the item I purchased the gift cards for. During an extra 50% off sale items sale, I thought I’d just order in some neutral pieces to try on (I returned one item).

Country Road Textured Cotton Resort Shorts (black; size 6) – I didn’t love either pair of black shorts in my order, but this one was lined and quite comfortable. The outer cotton is thin and wrinkles easily. Sale price $49.95, extra 50% off, see total below with rewards and gift card discount.

Country Road Linen Summer Midi Dress (black; size 6) – Country Road is maintaining expensive prices as its quality continues to go downhill but I do enjoy the French linen they use in some of their lines (most of the other linen is not as smooth and tightly woven). Often the final sale prices end up on 20-25% of the original retail price! I thought this simple black dress would be pretty safe and I really love it. It’s lined and very weighty. I actually wore this in the middle of winter with a skivvy underneath. Sale price $99.95, extra 50% off, see total below with rewards and gift card discount.

Country Road Linen Button Front Maxi Dress (antique white, size 6) – This I definitely haven’t worn yet. It’s a really bright white. It’s a safe style, comfortable fabric and lined. It’s perhaps too long and heavy for the hot summer days though so better suited to spring/autumn. Was $199.95, sale price $129, extra 50% off, see total below with rewards and gift card discount.

Country Road Texture Cotton Shirt (Ice blue; size 8) – Sized up for a loose fit but I probably should have just taken a 6. I actually really like this shirt even if it’s an unusual colour for me (and on me, as it looks bright against my skin tone). I’ve worn it a lot over the months, and it’s been one of the tops in rotation if I have a video meeting. The textured (crinkly?) cotton is not itchy and doesn’t really ever look wrinkled, which is such a bonus! Sale price $69.95, extra 50% off, see total below with rewards and gift card discount).

Country Road total $174.43, minus $10 rewards, used extra 10% value gift cards used = $149.50

July

Zimmermann Silk Wrap Midi Dress (current season colours are different) (moss; size 0P) – The colour is in the main image at the top of the post. I originally wanted this dress in last season’s berry (it might be this one). I tried on three dresses and ended up liking this in the moss green the most! This is the first green piece of clothing I’ve ever owned because I don’t think green suits me. I only tried it on because the store assistant handed it to me for sizing. The colour is gorgeous, rich and deep. The wrap style is a bit of a “cheat” for a dress, but the silk is so smooth and hangs nicely. It looks really chic yet seems like it could be appropriately dressed up or down. This style, along with the mini version, seems permanent with the colours changed seasonally, as I was also eyeing up a different colour during last year’s Boxing Day sales. I originally thought I would wear this to a wedding in October, but that is of course postponed. This was my first piece of Zimmermann and when I’ve browsed online I’ve been shocked by how expensive the brand is outside of Australia! I think I saw this dress retailing for almost $2000! Was $595, down to $360, $12 shipping = $372

September

Country Road Stitch Detail Cotton Knit (Liquorice; S) – I couldn’t decide whether to go for XS or S since the model was wearing XS and it looked loose-fitting already, but the image also made it look quite short. Having received it, S is probably too loose fitting for me, and the torso is not short at all. I probably should have gone XS. The chunky knit looks like it will snag easily and the colour is… interesting. I wore it out today and it looks… like a dark green-ish brown. I really don’t like the colour now so we’ll see if I pass it on. But that’s all my own fault and I don’t think I would have sent it back anyway. Was $159, down to $99.95, minus $20 rewards, extra 20% off, used remainder of pre-purchased extra 10% value gift cards and topped up with cash = $55.07.

Aje Coda Belted Jeans (via The Iconic; black; size 6) – I’ve been obsessed with the Allegro belted jeans for the majority of the year but spotted this pair on sale. It looked similar except it has a longer inseam and the denim is heavier. I ordered the 6 and 8 to try on and get a sense of my sizing (and maybe continue to wait for the Allegro jeans to go on sale). I ended up quite liking this. Yes, the hardware is a bit much in terms of weight and effort for putting on/taking off. I’ll have to get them taken up, too. I thought the 8 was super comfortable but I showed a photo to my Mum and she said it was ugly baggy, so gotta listen to the wise woman. The 6 is comfortable after a few minutes so it might just need a bit of a stretch since it’s so thick. Was $295, down to $118 (expecting ~$11 cashback).

January to September 2020 total: $1,237.49

Considered or tried

My relatives were visiting at the end of January and early February. While they were purchasing a bag in Celine (the Seau Sangle in grey, but why is it just called the Sangle now?!), I was trying to find any remaining old Celine they had left. The Melbourne flagship had several Frame bags and I really liked this colourway although there was a burgundy one too. I love the Frame design but not as a bag on me and for me. The shoulder strap is very wide so slips off my shoulders. It’s heavy relative to its size because of various compartments, all in thick (smooth) leather. The old Celine green shade is a stunner though, and has put me on the hunt for the Soft Cube in that colour…

In early March, I tried on the Zimmermann Silk Wrap Midi Dress (above) in the previous season’s berry and moss. Though I was only interested in the berry, the moss shade was simply amazing (perhaps if the berry shade was deeper and richer). I also tried on the tiered silk midi dress in berry. My Mum really liked it, but I genuinely don’t think I have the shoulders to pull this off so I veto-ed that. It’s also a beautiful style though and I think it looks better on in real life than in pictures.

In my Country Road order was also the Tie Linen Shorts (I ordered black in size 8 because it looked tight-fitting). These were a really scratchy and awful linen material. The stitching was wonky and there were loose threads aplenty. I returned these.

I originally made an Aje order because the Liberation Herringbone Smock Shirt in eggshell and onyx had also been on my radar since March and finally went on sale. I wasn’t sure on sizing though. The Iconic has free returns so I ordered both colours in 6 and 8, to be safe. I didn’t anticipate, from the stock images, how large and balloon-y the shirts were. I could hide two pregnant bellies under there, I swear. I don’t know how they tucked all that fabric into her jeans because it’s definitely an optical illusion. It just looked ridiculous on me, with so much fabric hanging everywhere. The sleeves were also quite long and the cuffs weren’t adjustable and poke out so I also think that would have annoyed me day to day. I don’t have a particularly long or slender neck, and found the collar stiff and restricting. The herringbone cotton is gorgeous though.

Other updates

My Mum has been trying to buy any unused bags off me, especially any black ones. After much deliberation, I passed on my Salvatore Ferragamo small Amy bag to her (didn’t want her to pay me though). I’m not sure if she’s used it, since the pandemic hit soon after. It’s a nice bag and I got it for an excellent price at the time via Farfetch. The grained leather is lovely and smooshy. I used it as a work bag for almost a year. My main issue is the long strap is not adjustable and hangs very low, and the shape of the bag doesn’t suit how I always organise things in my bags tetris-style.

I sold a Saba striped T-shirt dress originally purchase pre-owned and too short for me (+$6.62), a Marcs periwinkle silk short-sleeved cropped shirt that was too bright for me (+$13.98), and an unused Coccinelle wallet gifted to me (+$50.88).

I also sold some beauty products and Louis Vuitton packaging though these don’t belong to the “wardrobe” category… (Interesting observation is when we went in to lockdown recently, interest in the LV packaging really ramped up and it became hot commodity. It was quite bizarre.) But… I think together they more than cancelled out my September wardrobe purchases, so I’m happy with that.

Net worth allocation 2019

I wrote this at the start of January 2020 but then SO MUCH STUFF happened (actually this whole financial picture just changed this week so doing this again in December will be interesting)!

Just to preface, I consider my financial health tied to T’s and our finances have been tied since 2018 and I don’t see the point separating them out. For transparency, I earn less and had/have less assets, both of us have had varying levels of privilege and financial help bestowed by our parents, and since living together we have both made decisions and sacrifices together to be on the same financial path.

Our approximate allocation by end of 2019 (household of 2):
Equity in PPOR real estate (value minus remaining mortgage): 26.9%
Cash offsetting PPOR mortgage: 23.8%
Equities in stock market: 29.5%
Cash gains (expected) from sale of IP: 5%
Cash: 0.4%
Superannuation: 14.4%
MINUS DEBT (HELP): 1.6%

PPOR: Principal place of residence
IP: Investment property
HELP: Higher Education Loan Program

Real estate: We sold one apartment (“mine”) because we didn’t see any benefits keeping it. It helped realise a good chunk of cash, which we need more than holding the asset and it sits in the mortgage offset. (The price did not go up, by the way, but it wasn’t unexpected.) We kept our eyes on landed real estate (we want a house in the suburbs to put down roots) all year but officially are in the market as of late November 2019… right around the time the market went to sleep for Christmas and New Years, haha. We are hoping to purchase in 2020, and honestly if it doesn’t happen in 2020 we may be in a predicament in 2021, financially (see next section).

Cash in offset: [The offset account, one of the safest tax-free “investment/saving” vehicles accompanying a mortgage. I believe this is fairly unique to Australian banking.] Our reasonable amount of cash in offset means our mortgage repayments are smashing through the loan’s principle amount. As we need cash for purchasing a house in 2020 (fingers crossed), funnelling money into the offset is the best and safest return on investment we can hope to achieve. Mortgage repayments are almost entirely paying principle now as the there is only a tiny bit of interest charged thanks to our cash offset almost equalling the outstanding loan. The tricky thing is our cash will likely equal the balance of the mortgage by mid/late 2020, so beyond that level, our cash will no longer be helping us and we will need to do something else with it instead of sitting around losing to inflation. This is why purchasing in 2020 will be the best timing.

Equities in stock market: T’s portfolio is over ten times mine and entirely Australia-weighted so it makes me very nervous. His portfolio’s reinvested dividends accounts for around one quarter of his taxable income so we are paying a lot of income tax on those reinvested dividends. We have actually switched dividend reinvestment off starting December 2019 to realise a bit more cash to help our borrowing capacity and increase cashflow for the next year or so (with the expectation of purchasing a house and using up a lot of cash). My much smaller portfolio contains some overseas exposure but I will need to lean a lot more heavily towards overseas markets as I try and rebalance with both portfolios in mind. I don’t see us adding to shares much, if at all, in 2020 as we need to keep as much cash as humanly possible for purchasing a house.

Cash gains from sale of investment real estate: I’m not sure how to classify this. In December we sold an investment apartment that we have partial stakes in. So this is the expected gains that we will see in cash at settlement in January factoring in some fees deducted (and then we will pay capital gains tax at the end of the financial year). My calculations could also be way off though…

Cash: I keep a tiny sliver of cash in my own account (I make sure to keep this low if it gets beyond a certain number, as this cash is not making any money unlike cash in offset) and there’s some cash in the Citibank account that provides us fee-free and near-global rate currency conversion for overseas travel. I did not empty the account after the last overseas trip and the number is not so high that I feel the need to move the money out. The cash in my own account is to pay for all our household expenditure and also there in case I ever encounter an urgent situation that required cash. Every time I receive my pay, I transfer a portion to T (savings to offset mortgage) and then the remainder I use to pay for all our living expenses. The portion I give to T actually covers the mortgage and more so essentially T’s entire wage becomes our “savings”.

Superannuation: (Australian retirement fund – employers must contribute a minimum 9.5% of employee’s salary on top of salary. In Australia, we commonly don’t label our wage to include superannuation and benefits.) I’ve been in a high growth portfolio for a few years and only managed to get T around to switching his strategy over at the end of the year (crying at all the lost gains – despite working more years than me and having been in a field that pays almost double the minimum superannuation, his balance is not significantly higher than mine). I feel there’s no worth staying in a balanced or conservative strategy at this age as the money is locked away until preservation age. At this time in our lives (need cash!!!) I am not considering concessional contributions a smart option.

Other: HELP “debt” is indexed to inflation and paid back based on salary, so I don’t consider this debt, since it is the cheapest money one can get (interest rate effectively 0%). I might have three or four more years to go. T paid his off a couple of years ago – he started working before me, earned more and took on less HELP debt overall.

Spending: Too high. Travelled overseas twice and I shopped a lot. We are travelling overseas twice again in 2020, but I expect that both will be cheaper and shopping will be kept lower this year.

Looking ahead to 2020: I mean, everything hinges on whether we can find and purchase the house that we want. We have some strict criteria and a “tight” budget so either we buy something we can barely afford or the real estate market will continue to price us out. If we can’t find anything within budget, we’re more likely to just continue living in the city rather than sacrificing more of our housing criteria, though an unpredictable timeline for purchasing a house makes it very difficult to make a plan for our cash as our apartment will effectively “paid off” by the end of 2020 (but we won’t technically pay it off as cash in offset is wonderfully liquid). Our plans with the current apartment are to sell it after buying a house as we won’t have enough cash if we reach our maximum house budget. If we find something below the maximum budget, we would consider keeping the apartment. I personally appreciate that the apartment is in a sort after building in a very prime location, making it one of the few decent apartments to actually hold.

What I bought/gave: Presents this holiday season

There are heaps of gift guides, but I’ve always wondered what people actually give to people around them, so if you’re nosy like me, here are the things I gave people for Christmas and around Christmas. My family (every single one of them) and best friends all have their birthday around the November to January period, so I often combine the occasions in the gift-giving. I don’t pressure myself to find a present though, so if I can’t think of something useful/practical or that they would actually use/like, I don’t stress about not giving them something. I don’t think any of my family or friends will mind (though I make a special effort to give something to our grandmothers). I didn’t buy my Dad a birthday gift, for example. T and I also didn’t get each other anything. Neither of us wanted anything for Christmas.

T’s parents: T’s parents have moved frequently in the years I have known them and were in the midst of another move in December, so we are very mindful not to give them things that might become clutter. We try to not give them junk food/snacks unless it’s something quite unique, as they always have too many snack items (plus health reasons!). This year we gave them a gift voucher to a restaurant, Cheek, that we have recommended to them. It’s hidden away so most people don’t notice it or know about it.

T’s grandmother: We got a beautiful rabbit fur and cashmere scarf from N. Peal at the Bicester Village store a couple of months back. It feels so soft and luxurious and I’ve seen her wear similar scarves so hoping she liked it.

My Grandma: I left this to my Mum. She’s very difficult to buy for and due to some health issues in 2019, buying snack items is a no-no. Mum picked out a linen shirt for her that ticks all of Gran’s many boxes (she is very set in her ways about items of clothing) and we split the gift.

My Dad: He’s also tricky but often Mum will tell me that he needs something. Over the years we’ve been getting him snow gear because he really enjoys skiing, but he seems to have everything he wants now for skiing. This year Mum said his swimming shorts were getting old so we got him two pairs of Speedo swimming shorts that we split with my Mum (I had to get the sizes changed twice because the labelling on the website and compared to his old pair was so inconsistent!).

My Mum: On some recommendations from the Internet, I got her the Elemis Pro-Collagen Super Stars Christmas 2019 set. I thought the set was good value for the size and the products which I know she will use. We’ve also been on a hunt for a dress for her to wear to a wedding in late 2020 (I made fun of her for starting the search over 12 months ahead of the wedding – probably before the bride!). The first dress we ordered from The Outnet was too big and the smaller size sold out (such a shame as she really adored it and it was reduced from almost $2000 to $400) but then they had another 20% off promotion and my front-runner dress, a gorgeous silk ALC dress, was included so I ordered it for her to try. As it turns out she agreed with my taste and decided it was the one. I ended up buying it for her birthday (also in December).

My cousin: I knew early on that I wanted to get her the Friends 21319 Central Perk Lego set. We’re both nuts about Friends and she has been into Lego this year. I missed the first round of stock while overseas but fortunately did not miss the restock in November. I picked one up for myself too (and it will be the centrepiece of future-house for sure!!!).

My best friends: For one friend, I had gotten her a Jo Malone cracker (one with a cologne, body cream and body wash) that didn’t arrive last Christmas due to a postal mistake. I gave it to her this year as well as Pandemic Legacy Season 1. I HIGHLY recommend this as some of the best fun money can buy. For friend 2, friend 1 and I joined resources and got her things she requested – indoor rock-climbing gear (don’t even ask me as I have no idea what all the stuff was!) and the Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder, which I originally introduced to her and she has been using it since! She lives overseas so we purchased from local-to-her sites that shipped items to her.

Work colleagues: I have two office mates (more senior) for who I bought a small box of Koko Black pralines. For my close colleagues (friends), I got some Buttermilk Irish Cream Crumbly fudge and Koko Black Magic Pudding White Chocolate Bites (for the one who doesn’t like milk/dark chocolate).