2hr Westgate Xmas blitz!
Yes, doubters, it can be done! Memorise Muddy's gift buying masterplan, grab your credit card and go go go.
You’ve made your list, you’ve checked it twice and, yep, you do still have eight million presents to buy for all the various offshoots of your family. Gah!
But fear not, we’ve devised a handy two-hour festive shopping plan of action – you’ll have it nailed by lunchtime, promise. All you need to do is get yourself to the Westgate Oxford and follow our shopping trail below, which pinpoints the best stores for certain gifts. We’ve even put all the shops in location order to save your aching feet. Go forth and shop!
LOWER GROUND FLOOR
Head straight for this charming, quintessentially English gent’s lifestyle and grooming store for gifts for all those tricky-to-buy-for men and teenage boys in your life. There’s loads of stylish belts, bags, beanies, boots (I’ve got my eye on some Grensons for Mr Muddy) and lots of other things that don’t begin with B but that are equally cool.
It’s an oldie but a goodie – and I’ve never met anyone who didn’t like this natural, organic skincare brand, with its pretty apothecary-style blue glass bottles and delicious scents. Plus, it’s expensive enough to feel like a treat yet not a wallet-buster. I’m a big fan of the bath oils and salts (rose & pomegranate for me, please), but there’s also lots of loot for new mums, and babies, plus a men’s collection.
Have you been in Oliver Bonas recently? What was once a diddy greeting card and gift shop has blossomed into a bonafide lifestyle, fashion and interiors Mecca. You can tick off all the female friends and rellies in here, with chic cookery books, excellent jewellery and knick-knacks like these groovy penguin socks. Top of my own personal wishlist is this fabulous drinks trolley, above.
Here’s another store that’s on fire right now (not literally, don’t worry). The fashion brand’s accessories – like this cosy scarf – are en pointe this season and if you’re buying for anyone who prefers staying in to going out, their new hygge-inspired range is a total winner. Cashmere trackie bottoms all round!
UPPER GROUND FLOOR
Whatever you do, don’t tell my daughter you’re coming here – she’ll handcuff herself to you in a jiffy. All the little girls I know are obsessed with this insane-in-the-membrane, technicolour stationery store. Load up here on stylish, understated poo emoji merch (wonder if it’ll feature on Antiques Roadshow 50 years hence?), pens topped with pom poms and slapbands. Do check the prices though – I once accidentally paid £18 for a sequinned notebook and have never lived it down.
Foodie gifts can be blitzed at Muddy favourite, House, the first UK outpost of the Australian cookware stalwart. I raved about it at length here but if you’re stuck for ideas, how about a cafetière for the caffeine addict in your life? Aussies are serious about their coffee, so they have a great range.
Every fashion editor I’ve ever met has a Uniqlo cashmere habit – it’s the best value on the high street. It’s also a brilliant option for dads – you can’t go wrong with a crew new jumper in a muted shade for under £80. I’m gaga for green this season. Buy yourself one while you’re there, you deserve it.
This cult beauty brand is catnip to teenage girls, thanks to its Insta-worthy packaging and cutesy product names. But it’s not all style over substance – beauty editors rate both the eyeshadow palettes and the Better Than Sex mascara, so grab ‘em for your grown-up female friends.
You can’t go wrong with an old-school book token for Christmas of course and frequenting this Oxford literary institution also means brownie points for shopping local. We reckon Michelle Obama’s buzz memoir, Becoming, will be at the top of a lot of lists this year or check out Muddy’s book editor Kerry Potter’s reviews for inspiration.
OK, admittedly there aren’t any shops up here but there are refreshments – oh yeah, baby! After that retail military operation, I think we all deserve a restorative cocktail at The Alchemist, don’t you? And possibly a bite to eat at chichi Indian Cinnamon Kitchen (our review is here) or Pizza Pilgrims (yup, scoffed there too). Then it’s home you whizz to delegate all that present wrapping to someone else. Result!