Full disclosure: my contribution to our niche gift guides this year doesn’t reflect my current romantic situation (touch wood). While I’m holding down a long-term relationship like Bennifer, lately it seems like everybody’s breaking up / throwing their love away just like that Pussycat Dolls song. Amidst the warmth of Christmas, it can be a tough season for the newly heartbroken.
I’ve been traumatised enough in my 29 years to know that while heartbreak absolutely sucks, there is a silver lining, and that is rediscovering the joyful, platonic love of your friends. So this year, be a good friend to your single not-yet-ready-to-mingle loved ones who are going through it.
A gift voucher for a spa treatment
I know, vouchers are the cop-out gift from emotionally distant fathers – but not if you’re specific with them! May I suggest three thoughtful experiences: Contrast Therapy at Hana, $100, combines an infrared sauna (or at the very least, a warm place to cry) with an ice bath. If they can breathe through the cold plunge, they can get through anything!
Another divine option is the Hanakasumi treatment (a full body enzyme scrub) from Japanese Ikoi Spa, $158, or a botanical massage from Wellington Apothecary, $130, Isabelle Younjin Jang will select aromatic oils to suit their needs and make them feel extremely cared for.
Lavender pillow, $70
Speaking of aromatherapy, my mum used to get me a lavender-scented pillow (this cheaper Briscoes version is $20) whenever I moved into a new flat. Get this for your friend and they will think of you every time they sob themselves to sleep.
Flower Remedies by Valentine, $80
As close to a 'heartbreak potion' as you can get. I first heard about Bach flower remedies while doing makeup for the talented witchy sisters Clementine and Valentine. Similar to homeopathy, Bach is a system of plant remedies that “help manage emotional demands of life” - with different combinations that can be tailored to specific needs (Rescue Remedy is a commonly known one for sleep and stress). Clementine was telling me how her sister healed her broken heart with a tailor-made tincture, and I 100% believe it. Valentine says heartbreak is the most common complaint she comes across, and it's become her forte. She does gift vouchers for 40 minute consultations which includes a 30ml glass vial of personalised treatment, lasting about a month (apparently you start feeling the effects on day 3!)
Papinelle silk knickers, $60
The only thing better than listening to Lana Del Rey heartbroken in bed is doing so in luxurious frilly silk underwear.
Bruxa Body Oil of Summer, $120 from Underlena
All things considered, summer is the best time of year to be single. This heavenly body oil will leave the limbs gleaming and smelling of the wild jasmine bushes blooming all around Tāmaki at the moment, which can't help but put a smile on your face.
A thoughtful book
When you’re heartbroken, the written word will comfort you a lot more than your phone. Keep that device locked away after 9pm, no exceptions. My favourite life-affirming book is Walking Through Clear Water In A Pool Painted Black by Cookie Mueller, $28 (she goes to great lengths to heal her broken heart - including visiting a Witch Doctor).
I asked some friends what actually helped lift them out the dating dumps and here’s what they recommended (besides “time” and “ketamine”):
Figuring by Maria Papova
Lie With Me by Philippe Besson
Notes on Heartbreak by Annie Lord
All About Love by bell hooks
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
Heartsick by Jesse Stephens
The Myth of Normal by Gabor Mate
How We Love by Clementine Ford
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff
The Alex Quartet by Tessa Duder
Do you know about the TikTok famous Missing Person perfume? Described as a “delicate-yet-addictive fragrance that evokes the lingering scent of your lover’s skin”, Phlur founder Chriselle Lim created it after going through her divorce. You can’t buy it in NZ, but I researched some locally-available options that share its warm, spicy, musky notes. You by Glossier enhances your natural scent with peppercorn and white florals, while Abel’s Cyan Nori smells like warm salty skin and the ocean - highly comforting.
Wallowing around at home feels a lot less depressing when you are doing it in a lush hotel robe.
Ortiz sardines, $14
Fancy tinned fish is the ultimate hot/sad girl dinner for one. It requires no preparation, and it's not like they have anyone judging them for stinky breath right now. Pair a few cans with one of the platters from Zoe’s gifts for Gohar girlies.
It’s summer, pull your friend out to a party and offer to do their makeup as a treat. The new glossy pink shade from Maryse will only add to their post-break-up glow, while the mascara will stay put when they inevitably have a wine-induced breakdown.
Jenoura Beauty Sleep hot chocolate, $77
When you sleep, the cells in your body regenerate - so theoretically, the more hours your friend clocks in bed, the quicker they will emerge renewed and cured from heartbreak. Give them the gift of sleep.