The Ultimate Beauty Stocking Fillers

Beauty products are the perfect little luxuries to fill stockings with at Christmas time. This year I have picked out some of the best products for winter-worn skin and hair, to get you through the colder months feeling moisturised and healthy. On this list of seasonal essentials there is something for everyone, from cosy scented candles to revitalising haircare, nourishing lip balms and refreshing toners.

beauty for christmas

DiptyquePine Tree of Light Candle (£53)

Diptyque is my favourite scented candle brand so I always get excited to see their annual festive range. This Pine Tree of Light candle comes in lovely sparkling green packaging, and inside the candle has a warming fragrance of pine and fir trees. I can’t think of a gift I’d like to find more in my stocking this year!

beauty for christmas

OuaiVolume Shampoo (£22) & Conditioner (£20)

Jen Atkin’s successful haircare brand Ouai looks super chic in the bathroom and works wonders on all hair types. The Volume range is great at this time of year, replenishing moisture whilst also adding natural volume to fine and limp hair. I find it’s great for controlling my static strands! This duo would be a stylish and useful addition to any Christmas stocking.

beauty for christmas

GlossierLip Balms (£10 each or 3 for £25)

The iconic American beauty brand Glossier now ships to the UK… making it the ideal time to buy for Christmas. Just £10 each, these little tubes are perfect for filling up stockings. The hydrating and long-lasting balm is multi-purpose and can be used to repair cracked and chafed skin. Available in a variety of flavours, my favourite is the ‘Birthday’ balm, inspired by Milk Bar (in NYC)’s birthday cake, it has a lovely subtle shimmer.

beauty for christmas

RENReady Steady Glow Daily Aha Tonic (£25) & Perfect Canvas Skin Finishing Serum (£50)

This easy to use tonic is a quick daily miracle worker. With natural bio-active ingredients it is good for all skin types and brightens and refreshes skin instantly. Use with the Perfect Canvas serum to leave skin looking smooth and feeling strong even in the harshest weather.

beauty for christmas

Living ProofRestore Mask Treatment (£37)

At this time of year my hair needs extra love and attention. The Living Proof Restore Mask can be used once a week with the Restore Shampoo and Conditioner, to restore hair cuticles and protect the hair from future breakages. The whole range is lovely as a Christmas present, but I always think it’s nice to fill stockings with those special products you wouldn’t indulge in yourself, and the mask treatment fits this brief perfectly.

beauty for christmas

MuradHydro-Dynamic Quenching Essence (£65)

This luxurious product is a special treat for a beauty-lover’s stocking. This product has won numerous awards for its visible results, with 100% of users commenting that they “instantly saw smoother, silkier and more supple skin texture”. The weightless serum should be used morning and night and will leave your skin feeling soft and plumper throughout the winter months. For extra effect use with the Hydro-Dynamic Ultimate Moisturiser.

beauty christmasbeauty christmas

Perricone Intensive Overnight Moisturizer (£129)

A pot of this magic moisturiser will make anyone feel special this Christmas. I have been using Perricone skincare my whole adult life and swear by the range. This intense overnight cream is velvety rich and will ensure you wake up with firmer skin that has more elasticity and glow. Use with the Deep Crease Serum (with a vitamin F blend) to see even better results.

Another fun Perricone product for Christmas is the ‘No Makeup Mascara’ cracker gift (see above).

beauty christmas

Malin & GoetzRecovery Treatment Oil (£66)

The Malin & Goetz range of haircare and skincare are both fun and effective. I love the delicious-smelling haircare which is sulfate-free and great for colour-treated hair. But at this time of year the Recovery Treatment Oil is the must-have product. Ingredients include evening primrose, argan and jojoba oil, which all contribute to improving tone and moisture of the skin. I loved how quickly this oil is absorbed into the skin, leaving your face feeling softer and brighter. The Malin & Goetz products are good for all ages, a fun present for any stocking.

Hicce, Coal Drops Yard

Hicce is one of a few new exciting food ventures to open in Coal Drops Yard in King’s Cross. Found on the top floor of the Wolf & Badger store, Hicce is the creation of long time friends Pip Lacey and Gordy McIntyre. Pip previously gained experience working with Angela Hartnett at Murano and Gordy has worked for many top restaurant and pub groups.

HicceHicce

At Hicce, Pip uses a specialist holm oak charcoal barbecue to cook the majority of the meat and fish. The dishes showcase the finest seasonal produce and draw inspiration from Pip’s travels. The drinks list features a selection of biodynamic wines, craft beers and creative cocktails, all curated or chosen by Gordy.

Hicce

The whole menu is intended to be shared, but this concept is particularly obvious in the starter section, where diners are encouraged to make up their own cheese and charcuterie board, paired with homemade breads, chutneys and pickles.

From the selection that we chose, I would particularly recommend the Alex cheese (a semi-hard cow’s milk cheese with a wonderful nutty rich flavour) and the speck meat, which was delicious with the divinely soft and pillowy beer bread. My guest also really enjoyed the Octopus salad, a vibrant dish with generous seafood and zingy fennel and seaweed. Also don’t forget to try a couple of the hot sticks… we liked the Chicken thigh with spicy shiso and crispy chicken skin best.

HicceHicce

The main section of the menu sensibly has only a few options, three of each: meats, fish, vegetables and sides. Easily the best plate was the Brussel sprouts, indulgently fried with hazelnuts and kohl rabi. The texture was satisfyingly crisp and they were delicious dunked in the homemade mayonnaise. The Miso potatoes are also a must from the sides, simple barbecue scorched new potatoes served in a puddle of aromatic sweet melted miso sauce.

I really enjoyed my lamb neck with mojo and tomatoes. The meat had a lovely charred flavour, but the accompanying vegetables were a little lack-lustre, presented as a pile next to the lamb. The Halibut with jerusalem artichokes and trompettes was nice, but considering the special ingredients I expected it to shine more.

Hicce

For dessert we tried Pip’s legendary Creme Caramel with muscovado and the decadent Chilli & Chocolate Tart with Ricotta ice-cream. Neither puddings were exceptional, I liked the creme caramel but found it too sweet and samey, while the chocolate tart would probably have tasted better without the chilli, but I did love the ricotta ice-cream.

It was lovely to try Hicce, and meet the friendly, ambitious team. Though the food wasn’t perfect there is so much potential here, I’m sure they’ll iron out the kinks, and Hicce will become a culinary highlight in King’s Cross’ new Coal Drops Yard.

More information and book a table at Hicce here.

Restaurant 22, Cambridge

I haven’t found many exceptional restaurants in Cambridge, so when my chef friend alerted me to her new favourite, Restaurant 22, I was eager to try it.

Restaurant 22 on Chesterton Road has recently been taken over by Alexandra Olivier and Samuel Carter, a local Cambridge couple with lots of ambition and boundless talent.

Restaurant 22

The charming eatery is found in an elegantly restored Victorian townhouse nearby to the River Cam and Jesus Green.

Chef Samuel Carter has worked in some top kitchens across the country, including Maze in London and Hambleton Hall in Rutland, before settling at the helm of his own restaurant in Cambridge. At Restaurant 22 his regularly changing seasonal menu champions the produce from their Cambridgeshire neighbours.

Restaurant 22

We opted for the 5 course tasting menu when we visited for Saturday lunch. But first, we were treated to a few little snacks… my favourite of which was the whipped goats cheese, fig and almond macaron, a sweet and savoury delight. Then came the bread, pillowy soft brioche with salty whipped chicken fat and heavenly Guinness bread with rich and decadent Guinness butter… completely addictive.

Restaurant 22

Each course was thoughtful and immaculate, to start we had Wood pigeon with pear, celeriac and pine. This game dish was an assortment of comforting Autumnal flavours, beautifully cooked meat with velvety smooth celeriac puree and a wonderfully rich jus.

Restaurant 22Restaurant 22

For the next course we enjoyed Cornish mackerel with kohlrabi, lovage & apple and Jerusalem artichoke risotto. The fish course was fresh and vibrant cold dish, a brilliant contrast of flavours and textures. The risotto was completely different… a steaming hot bowl of deliciousness, with rustic woody flavours of artichoke and sage.

Restaurant 22

The main event was a beautiful plate of Mutton, prepared three ways. The different cuts of meat were paired with aromas of cumin, coriander and curry. Each element was wonderful, but together it was a real joy, I particularly loved the curried meatballs. The friendly restaurant team advised us on drinks, and we enjoyed interesting wines that matched well with the food.

Restaurant 22

After so many successful savoury courses I was concerned that the pastry section may not live up to expectations… but I didn’t need to worry as it was as spectacular as the earlier plates. On the menu it was listed simply as ‘Chocolate, coffee, mascarpone’, which instantly reminded me of tiramisu. A striped chocolate and coffee mousse structure was the most striking element on the plate, accompanied with dark chocolate crumb, coffee gel and burnt white chocolate ice-cream. It was a wonderfully balanced dish, and we demolished it in happy silence.

Restaurant 22

The meal concluded with a wooden box filled with sweet treats… chocolate fudge and fluffy marshmallows. I absolutely loved our meal at Restaurant 22 and can’t wait to return to try more of their culinary creations, definitely a new highlight on the Cambridge restaurant scene.

More information and book a table at Restaurant 22 here.