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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Things I Almost Bought In London.


Anya Hindmarch Maud clutch bag.

Mum packed me off to London last week with firm instructions:
'While you're there buy your Christmas present from me" 
I took this jolly little  request, bagged it and drowned it in a whirlpool of anxiety. What with mum being over 90, I got it into my head that this might be the last Christmas present she would ever buy me, so of course that got my weep on, and then the subsequent forensic  judging of every would - be present left my head reeling.


I settled on the Anya Hindmarch clutch in navy seen above. I picked my monogram style and font size, husband and I went for a coffee and wrote out three messages each for me to choose from for the secret message which is inscribed in gold inside -  his were all non - starters, control freak picked out her own witty,  fabulously inspiring 'secret message'.
( I promise you I will never talk about myself in the  third person, ever ever again. )
I went back to the shop, filled out the form and suddenly  came over  a bit fey and whispy when the assistant asked me to pay, 

"Er, no um, have to leave it, sorry, back later"

It was so expensive yet seemed so tiny in my hand, although I don't doubt that I would have it for the rest of my life.
Still, that over anxious worm in the forest green hand knitted jumper had the steering wheel to  my brain firmly in his tail so off we went...

pic by Michael Roberts.

I hoofed to Church St in search of  a pair of timeless Manolo Blahnik's.



 Oh but hold on, my fancy Dan shoes rarely  tiptoe out of their art deco holding pen as it is but then again I do find them the comfiest shoes to wear.
Hmm onwards.








I tried on Maxmara's Rialto coat - £1000 smackeroos but a short classic coat with a hood would be  most welcome in my wardrobe but the black had sold out and I could feel my camel hair one rolling its lip and  hacking its throat for an envious spit in the direction of the parvenu.




Next up, Smysthon, perhaps they could print/emboss something for me, the idea of their keeping the original  copper plates in their archives felt terribly soothing, but what to choose; writing paper, social cards? The word nutcase on my forehead? I felt the scatty worm do a sharp handbrake turn in my brain and fled  empty handed onto Sloane Street.





I then went to Symons street where sits in glorious technicolour,  the happiest shop in the world, Kate Spade's London outpost. I tried on 'Glam Pad', I loved it but the price is ludicrous here and is satsuma orange a forever colour? Could I one day whizz along  a pavement in my OAP motorised scooter wearing this?
The jury is still out.



Returning home  empty handed with a headache the size of Pluto, I was delighted to receive a gift from the universe - otherwise known as Paul from The Magical Christmas Wreath Company. This is their  Ember Glow candle, a heady sensual  mix of  amber resin, clove and rich labdanum. It is redolent of 18th century London; vellum bound books, clove laced nosegays, gentleman's drinking emporiums
and I now anoint it a Dickensianesque elixir for fallen, anxious women.
Thank you for the remedy Paul.

Do you get stressed at the slightest things or is it just me?



84 comments:

  1. your description of the beautiful candle just makes me melt.

    no, i do the same when shopping or trying to even tell someone what i want for a gift. it paralyzes me. and i don't know why.

    loved everything you looked at. xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Janet - I was completely paralysised.

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  2. I'd like to order a few cases of that elixir for when I entertain.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. GSL - I am wrapped in its embrace right now, it's wonderful.

      Delete
  3. So many gorgeous choices I'd be hard pressed to select the "perfect" one. I had such a hard time figuring out what I want this year I only asked my husband and boys for a pair of PJs, cashmere socks, a Fresh (skincare) set of stuff I use and a case for my iPad. My list of wants is a mile long, but how do you select "the one"?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The One has blown my mind. Socks and pj's are perfect cosy Christmas presents.

      Delete
  4. I've definitely had that little illogical freakout when it comes to be time to pay - that being said I love that Max Mara coat, have just added that to my list (adore that it has a hood!)

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    Replies
    1. K: I don't have a hooded coat would be such a workhorse.
      I can spend my own hard earned money easily enough but not anyone else's.

      Delete
  5. I did have a moment of holiday panic at the mall on Sunday, and found myself standing paralyzed in the middle of the Macy's costume jewelry department.

    I really want those shoes.

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  6. Yes, and a lovely "please choose your Christmas present form me" would do it for sure.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Urgh. Whenever I have the means to buy something, I never can find anything I want, worthy enough of money in hand. But when I can't buy something, then everything is the apple.

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  8. OMG...I need one of those clutches.

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  9. when someone says that to me i immediately start stressing out - the giddiness of "woohoo" changes to not wanting to overspend and abuse their generosity, but also not wanting to insult the gift giver. i absolutely understand how you felt. i love everything you tried, and the clutch is stunning. xox P

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  10. It sounds to me like you are afraid to buy anything at all because you are afraid it will be the last Christmas gift from your Mum. Maybe subconciously you either want to defer what you are afraid of , or you are afraid of not getting the gift that will properly sum up the love you have for each other.

    In my humble opinion you should go get the Anya Hindmarch and then have "I love you Mum" or some other message that means something only to the two of you as your secret message inside.

    Whatever you do buy something for yourself, it will give your mother a lot of joy to make you happy.

    Thus endeth todays sermon ; - ) I have cookies to bake!



    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gracie's mom - oh you brought tears to me eyes there. Yes, the pressure was just too much, it didn't seem like fun. Self imposed of course, mum is going to live till she's 101.

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  11. Hi Tabitha, your picks are beautiful. I also get a bit paralysed when asked what I want for Christmas - there are so many lovely things that I like. However, this year there was one item in particular that I mentioned to my husband (well, I sent him the link) and he ordered it almost at once - I guess it spoke to him too. Something pretty, but with meaning. I imagine that anything your mum gets you from now on will have a lot of meaning.

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  12. Tabs, your choices are gorgeous. Yes! I always freak out and usually for the most illogical reason (happened today in Fortnum's ;-) Luckily Hubs was with me and just carries on his merry way with the purchases whilst I have yet another
    "episode" in the corner ;-)
    That Kate Spade coat is gorgeous Tabs xx

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  13. Yes to choice paralysis. Although, the Anya Hindmarsh clutch might have solved the problem. Inscription - I'd suggest your father's pet name for you, every time you spy it, it would make you smile (hopefully).

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    Replies
    1. Claire - Pilsbury after the dough boy, ok everyone's ideas are much better than hub's!

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  14. As much as I love the clutch with it's secret message I would settle for the candle. I love candles during the fall and winter as they are the only things keeping my home from stinking. I'd secretly save for the clutch.

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  15. The fact that your gift purchase is considered and not an instantaneous choice will make it all the more wonderful when the gift muse finally alights on your festive shopping shoulder.
    I knew your refined olfactory 'buds' would approve of Ember Glow. Your description has me swooning with delight! x

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  16. That IS a lot of pressure. These are all beautiful choices though. Well, except maybe that kate spade coat. I really can't envision you in that one. I've been on the hunt for some bayberry candles, none to be found. Yours sounds just about perfect right now.

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  17. I can understand your anxiety, Tabs. You are choosing a very special gift, from your dear mum who means the world to you, and that can be a lot of pressure. I do like all the things you are considering though, and know you will pick the right one in the end.

    In the meantime, enjoy your candle...it sounds absolutely delightful!

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  18. Ah, so much analysis attached to the process - nup, I get stressed out about these decisions just as you describe! Because it isn't the things themselves (getting stressed about that would be First World Problem category for sure!!).

    Maybe it's because of the emotional connection of being potentially the last present from your mum, and perhaps the notion that if you buy nothing, it therefore cannot be the last one. xx

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  19. Choices and pressure. Sometimes not a good combination! The navy clutch is beautiful though.

    ReplyDelete
  20. In the imaginary world I live in, there are luxurious indulgences I consider necessary to my very existence and have no problem with a loud verbal conveyance of same. The anxiety starts when I wake up from this daydream. Bourbon helps with this condition.

    Regarding your lovely Mum (mine's 90, too), I suggest the sweet little satin clutch with the inscription of "Boum!", with the request of your Mum to give you one of her hankies as well to keep in it. That way when you're out about town swankin' it up with Mr. B&P, holding that lovely soft satin evocative of your Mum's satiny cheek, the happy inscription will kick you to remember how lucky you've been and are to have the very one thing she's wanted for you all along. And you'll have a hankie - just in case there's a tear or two of joy - because really, a proper lady should never be without one.

    Many merry wishes for the holidays and une grand, grand merci beaucoup for all your fantastic wit and posts. You're a treasure that helps me regain my composure in the mornings after I've seen myself in the mirror and realized, yet again, that I did not wake up looking the ten years younger as promised by Lancome. Pfft.

    Again, much tinsel and merriment,

    Queen of the Clean Up Parade

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Queen of the Clean Up Parade - thank you for your sentiments and advice, it brought a tear to me.

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    2. to me? to my eye, I went all pirate on on you there.

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  21. I think you should get the clutch - but that your mum should choose the secret message. She might enjoy that!

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  22. Oh, Tabitha, I'm a control freak when it comes to gifts too, it hurts my heart when a carefully lovingly chosen gift misses the mark. Maybe mum's real gift is telling you that you can have anything you want. That's the best feeling a daughter can have.

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  23. Tabs - the truth is that when I have lots of money I can think of nothing to spend, when I have none, I am stupid with money and could buy everything in sight! I have been known to dither about the stupidest things! It appears to me that you were taking careful consideration of it all. I am with Fred on this one. While my dad was still well enough to shop a little, money was no object at Christmas over the last few years - he just wanted us to get things that tickled our fancies. You will know what to get, but I suspect you may want to pick it out with your mum. And you got me all nice and weepy too - I love how much you love your mum!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. WMM - I kept thinking about you and your dad this year, emotions can be overwhelming at this time.

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  24. I have so many major large scale debacles to worry about that the small fodder does not worry me so much.

    Having said that I go bereserk when I lose things.

    Love the Kate Spade coat but let's face it, it will date.

    What did you buy in the end?

    One of my treasures is my Smythson monogrammed passport holder. So chic.

    Happy Christmas! Sweltering like buggery here xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. FF - Nothing!

      I can't imagine a warm sweltering Christmas, I'll be popping into marvel at whatever summery outfit you've picked out for Christmas Day, I'll be in a thermal vest and thick tights with some kind of pelt on top.

      Delete
  25. I do the very same thing when I am told (usually by Mumsy) to pick something out for myself. (Funny I never thought I would have such trouble spending someone else's money!)
    Love all of your 'almost presents' but I am smitten with the clutch!

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  26. I think Christmas every year might be Mom's last...
    call me paranoid but I am so afraid of losing her.
    I think your task must be quite a challenge...
    the candle sounds lovely.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hostess, yes we're in the same boat, it's a bit rocky at times but fingers crossed they have a few more Christmasses with us.

      Delete
  27. Yes, I get anxious, because with these kinds of items I find that the wanting is often more enjoyable than the actual owning of it. So many things I think I really wanted just hang around my closet, including jewelry. From my mom particularly, I like to get lasting things for my home. Art, silver, an antique, whatever. I enjoy my home and love walking around remembering things that my grandmother and mother bought me. I never tire of them. My grandmother died almost 30 years ago, and I still have such fond memories of picking something out with her for my home. I feel her presence around me.
    Or...you could have her get you a dog (dachshund highly recommended) which would be something you'd probably both enjoy.

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    Replies
    1. Kathy - art - that's a brilliant idea!

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    2. And I'm continuing the tradition with our kids. We buy them a piece of art that they want (within reason) for special occasions. Also, David and I often buy art for our anniversary, rather than separate gifts for each other.

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  28. This time of year....already laden with wishes, dreams, Christmases past & future (Dickens was such a genius!), and the horrible news stories, etc. ,,,stress is the name of the game! Perhaps some words from 1832 will help:

    "
    If the mind is to emerge unscathed from this relentless struggle with the unforeseen, two qualities are indispensable: first, an intellect that, even in the darkest hour, retains some glimmerings of the inner light which leads to truth; and second, the courage to follow this faint light wherever it may lead."
    Carl von Clausewitz

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a great quote, courage, hmm, sometimes I feel like the lion in The Wizard Of Oz "Put em up"

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  29. now wait....don't you already own a great MaxMara? If you need to pass it on, I'll put my name in :)
    P

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    Replies
    1. Yes, but not a hooded one and I like that shorter style, great for everyday.

      Delete
  30. I complete relate. I can't be cavalier about a purchase, especially of one with perceived magnitude, and I have a hard time committing myself to something wholeheartedly, if I have to make (again perceived) a big decision. I, too have felt almost "paralyzed" in similar situations. If I were in your shoes- oh to be in London!- I would veer toward the clutch, as leather goods seem to be useful longer, or I would think about a small piece of jewelry. I tire of things too quickly to invest so much in an item of clothing, but a nice handbag wears well. Enjoy your gift!

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    Replies
    1. Knit Yarns - I tire of everything, except toast.

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  31. Oh god talk to me honey, I am a bundle of stress and nerves. I had a hot sweaty dark night of the soul worrying about endless minor dramas and anxieties last night. I need a holiday.

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    Replies
    1. Ps I just love the clutch, and the maxmara coat xx
      Your mama sounds wonderful you two have a lovely bond.

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    2. Sarah, I was always a daddy's girl too, I'm lucky we had our fights but I got great parents.

      Oh hot sweaty dark nights of the soul are awful, were you up in the middle of the night? It's so dark and lonely then.

      Delete
  32. Tabitha, you are hilarious. I caught a quick visual of you on the motorized scooter. My grandmother wants one and my dad refuses to give in, thinking it will make her lazy. lol I'm also for the clutch. I adore the idea of a secret messages. It should have something inside your mom said for years and years and years that you want to carry around. Yes, the clutch!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can't believe your grandmother wants one, my mum refuses to have anything to do with them, she'd rather crawl along the road than ever go in one! They are a great invention for folk with limited mobility.

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  33. Go for it Tabs.
    Sulky's idea of getting your Mum to write the message, plus Queen of the Clean-up Parade's hankie with maybe some of her fav scent on would be timeless and full of beautiful moments. Maybe let her choose the colour too. Did you see the Marano in Emerald green?

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    Replies
    1. Curator: yes it does seem pretty perfect, even if I do only use it once a year, it will always be there.

      Will check out the Marano, I love emerald green.

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    2. It's musical! How did I miss that?

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  34. I'm doing my best to resist the temptation to buy myself yet another velvet jacket to add to my collection. Particularly now that I am green with envy at Maxminimus's latest score...

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    Replies
    1. But Reggie, Oscar has told us to resist everything except temptation!

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    2. Yes, and he also quipped my favorite quote of all time: "The more depraved I become, the more normal it seems!"

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  35. I've been ditzing about over a £100-200 purchase (depending upon if I have to pay postage and duty having it shipped from the US) until my size and preferred colour is no longer available. You don't know that your mom won't make it to 105 and you'll ruin all your Christmases going down that worrisome road! Look forward to hearing what you finally do select. You clearly have a much dressier lifestyle to mine...I'm still trying to find my first pair of Wellington's to wear to Sedgefield horse races with a friend of ours. He's bought shares in a horse called Stormy Morning. I've yet to attend the races here in Britain, and am determined to have that experience at least once.

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  36. Your angst made for funny reading and like Gigi I also had the visual of you on the scooter!
    I'm with the Anya clutch crowd here, I think it would be perfect.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Yes, Anya clutch, message from mum, no till remorse, done.
    (She is just the kind you will want to take to parties and big moments for the rest of your days.)
    Advice from another Cali gal:
    “Why not just live in the moment, especially if it has a good beat?”
    - Goldie Hawn

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  38. Tabitha,

    I can think of a thousand things I want until it actually comes time to purchase one of them. I do love the clutch and think that I would have my mum write a message for it.

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  39. You would look amazing on the scooter in that coat!

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  40. I like the idea of the clutch and having your mum write a message but I would be too worried I would leave it somewhere when out and about to use it. It's a very worrisome thing, having someone special ask you to choose your present from them. My mum does this to me every year and I too always worry this year will be her last Christmas so everything assumes great significance and you end up putting yourself through the wringer.

    I also like the idea of a bit of art or an antique piece of silver or glass (Tiffany/Lalique?) you will see in your home and get enjoyment from every day.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Tabitha you will adore the clutch forever. A dear friend has an evening bag her Grandmother gave her; she cherishes it so much!

    Love and Hugs
    Karena
    Art by Karena
    $75 NOVICA Giveaway

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  42. Gifts can be so freighted with meaning! Whatever your Mum knows you will see (art) or use ( clutch) and think of her is the thing; that may be the real meaning of her request of you.

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  43. I do think when you have to choose a present for yourself from someone else it is difficult you have to please them as we'll as yourself . I am good at buying presents but not for myself. Go with your heart not your head. Your mum wants you to buy something you love and her pleasure will come from your dellight.

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  44. Oh you are so me.....wow that does not make sense does it!!!!

    I always seem to run round London like a headless chicken (driving HB mad)then when I arrive home wish I had bought the items.

    I think you need time and space to buy Mum's present,think Kathy's suggestion about art or something special for the home is a goody.
    If you care to share would love to know what you decide on.Ida

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  45. Something you choose at the request of someone else is fraught: you have to please both parties. I'm a fool for things engraved, so the clutch or a compact or bangle- a deeply-considered gift of both your mother's era and yours- would be my choice. Happy Christmas, dear Tabitha!

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  46. The best presents are those that are the hardest to give away.
    Robert Sandeman 1929-2001

    Wishing you lots of future Christmases with your Mom.


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  47. Your husband must be the trigger man on these outings. Wives, the good ones, cannot be left to decide expensive purchases on their own. They are always backing out. The good ones that is. I stroll New York with my lovely wife who is as tight as Dick's hatband and I make the big moves, take command, whip out the wallet, swallow my astonishment at the price. We only live one very short life my dear. In the end it will not matter one tiny bit.

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    Replies
    1. Michael - a trigger man, that's a great way of putting it, yes I am exactly like your wife!

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  48. No rush, some people celebrate Christmas January 6th.

    Sheree

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  49. Oh, I can totally relate to your agony but yes, you are so funny, thanks for this post, it cheered me up today.
    I love the coat but you are right, it would have to be black since you already have camel. Secret message idea tickles my fancy too. Your mom is so sweet you made me weep too, just thinking about the 'last present' and what a good daughter you are (and how I need to be a better one, now weeping again).

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    Replies
    1. ajc - you are great mum, we fought like cat and dog when I was growing up, still do at times, my mum is very strong and opinionated, she can start an argument in an empty room!

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  50. It's not just you.

    Tracy.

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    Replies
    1. Sheree: I already want to postpone Christmas by a week, I love the magic just now.

      Tracy: It's good to have company.

      LPC: I thought it was very you.

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  51. I get stressed about all sorts of things but would not about the chance to buy that Anya Hindmarch clutch as I find it to be just the thing. Spot on.

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  52. It's not just you...I know exactly what you mean. I feel like it's our inner voice...and we must listen, at least some of the time.

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  53. It's because this might be 'the' Christmas present, the one that you remember forever and hold dearer than the rest. Take your time with it. x.

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  54. I'm adore my mother, we speak so many times during the day. She always asks me to select something for my birthday/Xmas...confusion sets I'm and I'm reluctant ro purchase anything as it's my mums money.

    However I adore spending my own dough.

    Love all the goodies you selected.

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  55. I think this is a very special gift for you and I can appreciate the pressure you feel. There is no "wrong or right." I know you'll make the best choice for you and that your mom will be delighted at whatever you do. In the meantime, I get to have a glimpse of all the lovely shops and scenes in your area! So, her gift to you has gifted me too - thank you! Happy holidays xo

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