Christmas is, undoubtedly, a time to spend with loved ones, and if you're lucky enough to be all loved up this Christmas, then you'll no doubt be hunting for the perfect gift for your special somebody.
And, as a much as i'm sure a lovey-dovey Christmas is beautiful, I must admit that I don't really envy you- buying the perfect present is a total nightmare.
In saying that, though, I simply must put my hands up and say that it is even harder for the boys. We're a picky lot, us ladies, and the worst part is that when men feel defeated and deflated after a good few hours of trawling the department stores, they will simply march to the lingerie department and buy some'it there.
STOP. Read this first. Underwear is not as simple as "Ooft, that looked fit on Miranda Kerr so my girlfriend will look equally amazing in this hot pink lace corset with nipple tassels and suspenders."
Shopping for lingerie is a bit of a tricky one, but Marks & Spencer are reaching out a helping hand to you lost souls, with a lingerie buying guide on their website. This little godsend goes alongside their gorgeous collection of beautifully crafted, understated underwear (shop it here) that any lady would welcome with open arms on Christmas day.
You can read it here, but here are a few of my own little tips to ease you in...
1. PICK THE RIGHT RED
For some reason, you guys seem particularly drawn to bright red lingerie, but you have to be careful. The wrong red is tacky, tomato bright and, more likely than not, cheap and nasty satin. Pick something a rich, black cherry shade with subtle lace detailing like this featured Rosie Huntington-Whiteley for Autograph set in Ruby... I just received this set and I think I am a little bit in love, it is decadent but still demure enough for everyday wear, and it fits like a dream.
2. KEEP IT SIMPLE
It's all too easy to go a bit OTT when browsing the lingerie department, but you need to remember that this is a gift for her, not you. She is probably more drawn to pretty and feminine lingerie, so think about what she likes to wear rather than what you like her to wear.
3. ALWAYS GET THE RIGHT SIZE
This is an obvious one, but a tricky one at that. She will not be grateful to unwrap a luxurious silken bra on Christmas morning, only to find that it does not fit. That will almost certainly have you in the bad books. Make sure it's the right size before you buy. Always.
1. This black lace set by Autograph at Marks and Spencer is sexy but still flattering and sophisticated: the balconette bra is a favourite of mine as it elongates the neck and boosts a smaller bust. The bra is £27.50 and the matching french knickers are £17.50.
2. A little champagne goes a long way, and is the perfect little extra for your lovely lady this Christmas. This Oudinot Rose champagne from Marks and Spencer is £28... It's also deliciously indulgent.
3. Light up her world with this heavenly candle by Diptyque. Nothing is more romantic than candle light and this delectable scented offering by Parisian favourite Diptyque has a heady and sensual Jasmine aroma that she will simply adore.
4. Give your girlfriend the gift of relaxation with this Jo Malone bath oil in seductive Pomegranate Noir. The scent is powerful and darkly luxurious and leaves skin soft and supple £52
5. My pick has to be this Rosie for Autograph set in Ruby. The rich dark red is glossy and festive, but still sophisticated and elegant. This underwear is the perfect balance of sexy and wearable. The bra is reduced to £18 and the matching knickers are reduced to £10.
6. My favourite set also comes in a number of other pretty colourways, including this soft oyster pink. Peachy pink lingerie is feminine but still sexy, and will always be a hit.
7. Another hit of jasmine comes from this ridiculously indulgent Tom Ford Private Blend fragrance in Jasmine Rouge. It smells seductive, sensual and richly opulent. A heady floral with a woody note, a little goes a long way and this £135 bottle will look fabulous in any boudoir.
8. All I want for Christmas is a man who is happy to buy me Agent Provocateur lingerie until it is coming out my ears. This little Selena set is beyond hot- I absolutely adore it. The bra is a cool £110 and the matching knickers are £96.
9. If you fancy buying something a little more pretty, then this Rosie for Autograph teddy in oyster pink silk is just stunning. It is flattering but still exudes glamour. This lovely piece is £45.
10. I absolutely adore Mimi Holliday by Damaris, and always keep my eyes peeled for it in post-Christmas sales, but if you're lady friend is an innocent one, then stick to this crisp cream set. The bra is just £45 and the matching lace knickers are £39.
11. Last but not least, if all else fails, buy 'er some chocolate. These passion fruit flavoured salted caramels by Artisan du Chocolat are so moreish that I could just eat them all day. Perfect with champagne. These are £13.45