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Monday 16 November 2009

Shop in the Spotlight: The Gifted Penguin

Maybe I’m behind the times, but until recently I hadn’t heard of The Gifted Penguin before. A friend recommended the website to me because it sells beauteous homewares and droolworthy stationery from a broad range of big brand names, including the wares of Cath Kidston, Emma Bridgewater and Gisela Graham. And ever since then, I’ve developed something an obsession for perusing its virtual shelves:

By now you should all know how much we Domestic Sluts like to lust over Penguin Classics paraphernalia. From postcards and pencils to tea towels and deckchairs, something about those block-printed paperback covers just makes our hearts melt. So this notebook emblazoned with the spines of a selection of our favourite Penguin Classics was always going to go down well at Domestic Sluttery HQ. It’s a satisfyingly chunky size, with a hardback cover, and best of all, it’s only £11.99.

And continuing in the theme of gorgeous gifts for book dorks, I’m also ever so smitten with this Karlsson Book Clock. It’s bright and colourful without being too gaudy or over-fussy, and it’d look perfect either on a mantelpiece or on the top shelf of a tall bookcase. It’s £19.99, and if it was mine I’d wedge it in between two fancy bookends with vintage teacups and other bric-a-brac on either side. But it’d also look fab if you err towards a more minimalist décor. It’s attention-grabbing enough that even on its own it’d make a design statement, whilst being lovely and functional in telling you the time too!

But maybe you’re more adventurous than me, and prefer exciting voyages to exotic places to staying at home with a mug of Amaretto, a blanket and a smutty bestseller. If so, you might be more suited to this quaint travel book, £16.99 by East of India. The hardback notebook comes in its own presentation box, so you can keep it looking beautiful even whilst you’re on the move, and inside it includes lined pages for scribbling down the saucy details of your holiday romances, along with cardboard pockets for collecting keepsakes from your travels. I especially like this detail, because I’m a fiend for amassing scrappy paper souvenirs like train tickets, but without a designated place to keep them they just end up either crumpled beyond recognition in the bottom of my suitcase, or kept in a pocket and eventually laundered into oblivion. The sepia and muted colours give it a romantic, vintage feel, and the notebook cover is patterned with polka dots, an old-fashioned map and a retro travel ticket. It’d make a perfect present for someone off on a jaunt to somewhere glamorous and far away, and the sweet, dated design will be all the more satisfying to leaf through whilst reminiscing long after their travels are over.

Although it might not take long before the clunky website design starts to get on your nerves, The Gifted Penguin is a handy one to have bookmarked as the festive season creeps ever closer. The range is broad enough that you’ll be able to satisfy your own shopping desires whilst also picking up perfect presents for your nearest and dearest, and the prices aren’t too hard on the bank balance either.


  1. Thank you, that clock ("nine" and "three") is the best! Great holiday shopping tip.

  2. I know, I love the clock! I wish the colours were a tad more understated, but at least the bright tones mean it'd stand out on a bookcase!

  3. We're a fan of the Karlsson book clocks too. The same design is also available in black and white, which is a bit less 'in your face' than the multicoloured one. Details are here -


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