Category Archives: Christmas shopping

A not so Silent Sunday…

Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) in GlasgowSo you’re determined to finish the last of your Christmas shopping.

But when the hustle and bustle gets too much, take solace. Escape frantic shoppers and general festive mayhem in the magical surroundings of the Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA).

There you’ll find tranquillity, beauty and inspiration. Refuel with a coffee in their café. And if you must continue your shopping quest, check out their cool wee gift shop.

-T

 

Christmas is in the bag

The quest for my mother’s Christmas present continues so I head out again to visit some old favourites that I’m sure will deliver.

Bags galore at Elis Handmade Gift ShopI’m walking down Creswell Lane towards Nancy Smilie when I’m lured into De Courcy’s Arcade by a glimpse of something at Elis Handmade Craft and Gift shop.

Beautiful bags galore

This isn’t a gift shop but charming homage to the perfect bag.  Admittedly I wouldn’t know a Burberry from a Bulgari – I have no interest in designer.  But I can fully appreciate beautiful hand-crafted carriers that cause me to coo, touch and believe that it can quite literally hold the key to my happiness…or at the very least my home.

Laptop bags, cushions and jewelleryAnd Elis doesn’t just have the bag of all – it has a slew of unbelievably ideal bags all calling my name.

A personal favourite is a brown suede number with leather flowers called Bella’s Bag. Although Adeline’s white bag is so soft to touch it’s almost impossible to resist.  Laptop bags, homemade cushions and jewellery also call out to me.

I circle the shop imagining the different bags and perfect occasions they could celebrate – except for one… my mother’s gift has been replaced with working out how to get my husband in here before Christmas.

Do touch

So, if you are still looking for one of the most important Christmas present of all – yours,   get yourself (or your significant other) to Elis Handmade shop.  Also available online  but the pictures don’t do the bags justice because these beauties need to be touched to be fully appreciated.

– B

The world awaits at the Christmas market

Christmas Market in Glasgow - Turkish delightThe hustle, bustle and lights of the St Enoch’s Square Christmas market always draws me in. Christmas is officially here.

With my sons in tow, I set off to sort the dilemma of my mum’s Christmas present. I’m hoping the international market’s many and varied stalls will spark some inspiration.

Welcome to the global kitchen

The Sunday crowds are out in force.  We shuffle through clusters of people lured in by the aroma; going with the flow is the only way to survive the masses. There’s literally heaps of gorgeous food – my sons eyes pop as we explore the gastronomic tour of the world.

Crepes and churros draped in nutella, sugar from France, biscuits and cakes from Italy, curry from India, chorizo and paella from Spain – we hardly know where to starGlasgow Christmas Market cheeset. We finally opt for Germany – enjoying a hearty Bratwurst followed by Dutch waffles.

We  eye up the strange green cheese then circle the stalls again – we can’t resist the Turkish delights, pistachios, rose and lemon and pomegranate.

Blissfully full but forgetful

Admittedly my mum’s present has totally been forgotten. Full-up with food and contented, we’re ready to search the stalls again.  The choice is endless: beautiful leather bound notebooks; detailed metal works; snuggly woollen hats tempt us but don’t feel right for mum. Jewellery, scarves and bags are all options but I admit defeat realising my shopping ambitions have been lost to the sensational smells and tastes.

There’s only one solution – I’ll just have to come back again when I’m more focused. Perhaps shopping first and food later is the way to go… though I’m already dreaming of trying that paella next time round.

– B

Remember to refuel this Yule

Santa’s law – never shop on an empty stomach!

So if you’ve been out pounding the streets looking for that perfect something for that special someone, remember to also stop to feed yourself.  Because an empty stomach only makes for disastrous gifts.  So put down the festive tie and sock set for dad and eat something!  Your family and friends will thank you.

Fortunately nestled in between the shops of Glasgow are ample eateries ready and waiting to replenish your energy – send you off fed, full and ready to finish off that Christmas list.

Berits and Brown

Possibly boasting the best sandwiches in town – this light-filled, friendly delicatessen in Glasgow’s Merchant City (Wilson Street) offers deli eating at its best with hearty soups, deli platters, cheese and tapas boards.   And then there’s the gourmet sandwiches. The Mediterranean on toasted focaccia stuffed with roasted veg, hummus and mozza is divine.  And at £8.99 leaves plenty left over for Christmas gifts….or dessert.

Pinto

Restock your energy quickly and inexpensively.  If you‘re short on time and want to save those pennies for presents, Pinto on Queen Street is perfect.  This healthy Mexican ‘fast-food’ option promises ‘a fiesta in your mouth’.  The quirky colourful shop offers hearty flavourful burritos, tacos, nachos and more with an abundance of fillings.  And all hovering around the £5 – really you can’t go wrong.  No reservation required and if you’re pushed for time, you can take away.

Kember and Jones

If you’re trekking through the West End and desperately need a break, rest your tired feet and feed your soul at the welcoming Kember and Jones.  But be warned, there will be a queue – but on the bright side, it will be well worth the wait.

This ‘Fine Food Emporium’ welcomes you with the most delicious of smells and friendliest staff.   Their in-house chefs expertly prepare the most scrumptious cakes, tarts, scones, muffins, bread, soups and more. And their signature espresso blend coffee is sure to put that spring back in your step.

The Italian Caffé Enoteca

food at Italian caffe in GlasgowYou’ve done it!  You scowered those shops, fought through crowds and ticked off all those lovelies on your Christmas list.  Hooray.  Now it’s time to get away from the madness of the shops and treat yourself to something delectable.  And there’s no better place to do this than the Italian Cafe tucked away on Albion Street.

Their weekday lunch menu is extensive and their titillating taster menu allows you to sample four small plates from just £8.95.   The food is so wonderful that admittedly you may never want to leave.

Happy shopping (and eating!)

-T

The quest for the Ragged Trousered Philanthropist

Christmas shopping for my husband is normally frustrating and challenging – but not this year.

Combining his love of books and politics I set off on a trawl of the West End’s second hand bookshops in search of The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist .

Alba Musik – rare books and music lovers

First stop, Alba Musik on Otago Street , a shop ‘run by a musician for musicians’ that stocks rare books and sheet music.  Calm instantly washes over me as I’m greeted by a tangible house of books – the wall is a neatly stacked masterpiece of words and wonder. The owner is lovely and incredibly helpful, trying to help me in my quest for The Philanthropist.  And although, in the end, we don’t find it, I’ve discovered a magical solitude and managed to pick up another Christmas present just the same. 

Voltaire and Rousseau – welcome to the world of discovery

Voltaire book shopEncouraged, my next stop is Voltaire and Rousseau on Otago Lane.  This enchanting hide-away is to be admired.  Around since the early 1970’s, there’s piles of books balancing precariously on each other – everywhere you turn another book – really barely room to move.  

You can’t rush in a place like this and really why would you want to.  Instead dive in –  bury yourself in the wonderful world of books; there’s hours of searching and discovery at your fingertips.   To my delight I’m told they recently had a copy of The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist – to my dismay, someone has beaten me to it.  I leave my name and number just in case another resurfaces.

Caledonia Books – literary lounge heaven

Undeterred I’m onto Caledonia Books.  This quaint bookshop has been around for the last 25 years and the owners have successfully created complete comfort in the wee lounge area tucked away from piles of books that guard the wrought iron spiral staircase.  As Kafka says “A good book is the best friend there is.”  And in this solace I am truly surrounded by friends – though unfortunately The Philanthropist is not among them.   And so I move on.

Create your own tale – this Christmas support your local bookstore

Admittedly with a few clicks of the mouse I could probably find The Philanthropist online – but the utter joy and satisfaction in finding it tucked between the shelves of one of these captivating bookshops is worth so much more.   And of course there’s also the story of the chase! 

I may not have found the book (yet) but I have managed to lose myself in magical world of discovery for the afternoon – in fact  it’s some of the most pleasurable Christmas shopping I’ve done, even if I’m still two steps behind The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist.

The quest continues.

– B

Joy to the world – I’ve found the perfect Christmas gift!

There’s less than a month till the big day and usually this countdown sends me into absolute panic.  What and where to get that perfect gift for all the people in your life?

Christmas shopping is enough to drive even the most sane batty.  And I totally sympathise.  So here’s a few of the great places in Glasgow that will set your mind at ease and make your shopping a snap without breaking the bank.

The quirky

De Courcy’s Arcade on Creswell Street is home to a variety of shops and an absolute treasure trove of wonderful things.   The Maisonette is just one of the fantastic shops and is a must for any of those hard-to-buy excentrics.

Describing itself as ‘a gloryhole of unusual homewares, stationery, art, gifts, textiles, music and more’, it truly has something for everyone and even better has treats and trinkets for all price ranges from 1-100 quid!

Christmas tree at Maia shop, Glasgow
Maia – something for everyone

The person with everything

Maia is quickly becoming one of my favorite shops – boasting some of the most unique gift ideas and possibly the friendliest staff and best customer service in Glasgow; this lovely shop is a must stop.  Whether you’re looking for him, her, friends, family, colleagues or the kids, you’ll find it here.

Tucked down the stairs on 21 Bath Street this magical wee shop is stocking stuffer heaven and offers some of the most original and well priced jewellery, books, bags, kids stuff and best novelty gifts in the city.  And so much more – so go, you won’t be disappointed.

The man

As the saying goes, food is the way to a man’s heart – and no more so than in January.  Because once the festive season bubble has busted along with the bank account, it’s nice to have a delicious meal to look forward to – so treat him with a gift certificate to somewhere delicious.  Some of our absolute favorites  are for the semi-traditionalist – Left Bank ; for the quirky cool dude The Tiki Bar  and for the foodie –Two Fat Ladies – possibly serving up some of the best food on the planet – let alone in Glasgow.

Failing that, warm his heart (and body) with a choice bottle of whisky from the Whiskey Shop  in the Buchanan Galleries.  And give him the perfect resting spot in one of the inviting, comfy chairs from Nancy Smillie’s shop in the West End.

The fashionista

Also located at De Courcy’s Arcade on Creswell Lane, Miss Lotti Lou’s specialises in creating beautiful made-to-measure 40’s and 50’s inspired fashion – that much more authentic because it’s all created from vintage and repurposed materials.  You’ll definitely be on the top of the best gift of 2011 list.

You

Yes, don’t forget to treat yourself – especially as you’ve been out pounding the pavement for everyone else.  You’ve scoured the shops – and you know where to get the most wonderful gifts – so go for it,  you totally deserve it!

-T