It’s the season of shopping, with Christmas mere weeks away. We know that there are countless gift guides out there with lots of advice, but it can be hard to know what’s a genuine recommendation - one that’s actually been used and loved.
These good things are just that: things we have actually spent our own hard-earned money on (check our bank statements!). Take them as gift inspiration for your loved ones, or simply for yourself. But trust us: they’re good, and none of this is #gifted or #sponcon.
Is it weird to get totally excited by a toothbrush? When I saw Klay post about these colourful versions on their Instagram, I immediately clicked through to buy four. They’re by a Swiss brand and do the job that a good toothbrush does, with gentle, fine bristles and the ‘right’ angled head. But if I’m totally honest, I bought them because of the 50+ fun, very Ensemble-esque colour options and combinations - lime green and pink, orange and yellow, blue and yellow, swoon! Klay is selling them as a lucky dip, which adds to the surprise and delight. They look amazing on my Cleancleanclean toothbrush shelf (from $59), not a recent purchase but something I would very much recommend. - Zoe Walker Ahwa, editorial director
I’ve wanted these for ages, and finally hit ‘check out’ on a lilac pair. I’m not the biggest gardener, but I love to ‘prune’ (classic editor); it can be like a little stress reliever to go out into the garden and cut some shit down. From Japan, Ars stands for ‘always really sharp’ - they’re lightweight and easy to use. But again, if I’m totally honest, I bought them because they’re cute and pastel... - ZWA
Ballet flats are very divisive. I lived in ill-fitting pairs when they were big back in the early to mid 2000s and I truly believe they ruined my feet and toes as they tried to grip on for dear life. I haven't been able to bring myself to embrace them again, until I saw these. I’ve always been a fan of Mary Jane styles like this, having loved my ‘kung fu shoes’ (a terrible name!?!) as a kid and holding onto a pair of suede, leather-soled Repetto flats for years. Both had their issues: absolutely zero grip, and so delicate and high-maintenance that I was too scared to actually leave the house in them. This velvet pair is by a Spanish brand, made in Italy, and sturdy enough to actually live your life in: they have a stitched rubber sole, made from recycled bicycle tyres, and a ‘popper’ for easy fastening. I love them. - ZWA
I’m a lizard that spends every summer with my shoulders out and my dress tucked up into my knickers. This dress will be pulled on over togs and left with big salty ocean stains I will wear to fancy restaurants with pride. - Rebecca Wadey, partnerships director
I’m obsessed with the brand Rodarte, run by two super-cool, connected sisters in Los Angeles. Fun fact, I once went to a fancy Oscars party in Hollywood where everyone was terribly (or at least very obviously) dressed. I accidentally entered in the same group as Elsa Hosk and a horde of other Victoria’s Secret models and I was so sad not to see any inspiring fashion on such clothes horses. I stood at the bar, next to Jeff Bezos, and as I ordered a drink I saw a woman in the most amazing outfit I’ve ever seen. She truly took my breath away and I had to bite my tongue to stop from gushing at her and asking who she was. The next morning I opened Instagram and saw her with Keanu Reeves and realised it was Rodarte’s Laura Mulleavy. This T-shirt is all I’ll ever be able to afford from the brand but it gets double points for being a Tom Petty collab. I know, I should be buying local. But buying this scratched my itch to visit LA (briefly). - RW
I’m partial to a planner and came across this brand in a list of recommendations of Māori and Pacifica on the Political Editing Instagram page. These planners are uber chic and in very ‘Ensemble’ colours. I couldn’t resist buying one in each for team Christmas presents. Watch out 2022 - the year of learning more te reo, being ultra-organised, and looking tōingo (stylish). - RW
I have never been a particularly good sleeper. While not a full-blown insomniac, it does usually take me approximately two hours to fall asleep. I’m a chronic overthinker, see. I have tried almost everything to get to sleep; it’s a lengthy list so I won’t note it here. So, when I heard about this thing called ‘weighted blankets’ I thought, hold on, that sounds rather nice (I’m that weirdo that’s always telling the masseuse “firmer”). And I must say, while it hasn’t yet notably decreased the amount of time it takes me to get to sleep (it’s a very stressful time of year), it does keep me on my back the whole night, which is apparently the recommended sleeping position for good posture, a loose jaw (I’m a clencher) and to prevent wrinkles. My muscles feel super relaxed in the morn too and I do feel more energised. Plus, wearing it around my shoulders at the desk ensures I sit up straight. Win-win! - Natalia Deyr, editorial assistant
There has been much written on ‘hustle culture’ aka “the state of overworking to the point where it becomes a lifestyle” in recent years. Another term for this is ‘toxic productivity’. When your working life becomes your, well, life, you know things have gone too far. There are many ways to combat ‘toxic productivity’. One I really like is the Dutch concept of ‘niksen’, aka the art of doing nothing (did you just shudder?). But, if doing nothing is not quite your cup of tea, ‘pottering’ may just be the thing for you. I have found this cute little book to be helpful in suggesting small ways in which you can slow down and find joy in the simplest of moments. “..a true ode to slow living and an antidote to the stresses of modern life” indeed. I will be gifting a copy to a fellow burnt out millennial for Christmas. - ND
I love a uniform. For years my go-to has been a pair of the comfiest Diane von Furstenberg wide leg pants in a super fun floral paired with a slouchy tee or jumper. This ensemble is still very much on heavy rotation but now I also have this comfy AF Mina dress to mix things up, keep things fresh. There are many things to love about this dress. For one, it is fully lined, a rarity these days! This means it doesn’t cling to your thighs as you walk. But perhaps the biggest win is the textured fabric it is made up in. Why is this a win you ask? Because you cannot see the crinkles. Meaning you can throw it in a ball on your chair and put it on the next morning, no sweat. I’ve been wearing mine with big buckle Birkenstocks (which is so fun to say). - ND