London Zu Blog
Behind the scenes chit chat from London Zu.
We'll share things that we think are funny, interesting or helpful on this page x
Posted on 4:54pm Wednesday 25th Jul 2012
Listed under: Gifts for him
Father’s Day came and went at London Zu and the stock levels of our mens’ collection suddenly seemed massively depleted. So, it was with delight we greeted a new Tyler and Tyler collection as it arrived in this week. For the first time we are trialling 100% Silk Pocket Squares, in Polka Dot and Stripe designs.
Also completely new Olympic Themed Cufflinks with Boxing, Rowing and Athletics all being represented...a nice memory to look back on, and at least it’s one pair you’ll always be able to remember when you got them.
Also back in are the various Pinstripe Cufflinks with matching Collar Stiffeners (matching socks will be back pre Christmas Season...sorry to even mention that word.)
Tyler and Tyler are quintessential English Designers...it’s almost impossible to define exactly why, but once you see the designs and style of their men's range, nowhere else springs even vaguely to mind.
Posted on 4:23pm Wednesday 6th Jun 2012
Who invented Father's Day?
When is it celebrated?
It is generally celebrated on the 3rd Sunday of June, and the first American Presidential Proclamation recognising was made in 1966. It didn’t become a proper National Holiday in the USA until 1972, previous Presidents had been reluctant, some fearing the commercialization of the event. This year Father's Day falls on Sunday June 17th.
How is it celebrated?
From receiving a raised eyebrow some short ten years back in the UK, Father’s day has now become a firm fixture on the celebratory calendar, with Father’s Day Cards in the shops from mid-May, and an ever growing list of dedicated manly gifts.
Popular gift choices today are:-
Visit our Father's Day page to get more great ideas for suitable gifts for Father's Day.
Posted on 5:44pm Wednesday 30th May 2012
What is a Confirmation?
The Sacrament of Confirmation is the ritual practiced by most Western Christian Denominations at the young adolescent age of 12-14, wherein the Act of Confirming one’s belief and faith is undertaken, and the commitment to the Christian Church. Through the Act of Laying of Hands (invariably by a Bishop) the Acts of Jesus and the Apostles are mirrored and the Holy Spirit is thus conferred upon the participants.
When does it happen?
The Ceremony is generally undertaken on Pentecost Sunday (50 days after Easter Sunday) when Christians celebrate the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles.
It is regarded as a rite of passage for the young participants, recognizing their growing maturity and capability of mind to decide for themselves. The ceremony in the Catholic Church generally encompasses a “Sponsor” for the Child, and often a God Parent undertakes this role. This closes the circle from Baptism and Christening as the children now freely choose to 'Confirm' those earlier commitments made on their behalf.
How is it celebrated?
The Ceremony is commemorated with a Church Mass followed by a large family meal and gathering, and the giving of gifts. On many occasions the Parents have kept a variety of items from the Christening/Baptism and Holy Communion Ceremonies, and present to their Child their Prayer Book or Bible, Rosary Beads and/or Crucifix.
For the extended family and friends, gifts are more varied and many seek to commemorate the day with personal gift choices.
* Crucifix / Cross or Heart Necklaces, Bracelets or Charms.
Posted on 3:30pm Wednesday 23rd May 2012
London Zu has shops in both Chiswick and Twickenham and both areas boast a healthy Catholic population. As such, every year in April, we are constantly asked for advice on what is a suitable First Holy Communion gift.
When talking to our customers many remember their own childhood experiences of the rosary beads they received and lost from Auntie Mary. Or the icons that scared them by their bedsides. And of course, the “Communion Money” they received on that special day. Indeed in Ireland, unspent “Communion Money” is a well worn metaphor for the over-thrifty habits a particular person may have. However today, whilst a rosary bracelet or necklace may be occasionally handed down, or a Crucifix might be placed in the children’s room, the Sacrament of the Eucharist and its significance to the Christian, and especially Catholic Traditions are often more vaguely interpreted.
What is 'First Holy Communion'?
The “First” is the first receipt of the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, which for Catholics is the second of the Seven Sacraments, mirroring those actions and guidance of Jesus at the Last Supper - and whilst for many denominations the symbolic mirroring ends there, for the practicing Catholic the belief that Christ is truly present through the mystery of ‘substantiation’ is one the cornerstones of the ritual’s significance.
How is it celebrated?
It is universally celebrated as a large family event. including a church ceremony where the girls are usually presented in white dresses and veils - symbolizing their innocent purity - and the boys are dressed in their new ‘Sunday Best’ or new uniforms.
What is a traditional gift?
Traditionally gifts of a religious nature were given (Rosary Beads or Prayers Books or Icons), and indeed treasured and kept through a life of practice. Today, many family members and friends give gifts of a more diverse nature. Money is still most common, and often enclosed with a small gift and a card. For a seven to eight year old, this is an exciting time.
What is a suitable modern day gift?
Typical gifts for a First Holy Communion today are : -
* A first Pearl Bracelet or Necklace (Girls)
* A Silver/Gold Cross or Crucifix on a Chain (Unisex)
* A Guardian Angel Pin (Unisex)
As part of the ritual of growing up within the Christian Tradition, this is a significant rite of passage for both the child and the parents. It often marks a transitional time and an increased rapidity towards young adolescence. Money in their pockets, savings boxes or bank accounts, the child begins the early days of decision making, and God Parents who’ve often had little to do in the early years can find themselves happily getting involved in their young charges lives once more. They are perhaps our true wonder years.
Posted on 3:23pm Wednesday 29th Feb 2012
NGT - Nougat London have launched their new toiletry range for men.
At long last a complimentary range to their ever popular womens toiletry range has come to market and we love it. In fact my husband is road testing it right now and has given it the thumbs up. He's also road testing Tyler and Tyler socks which he says are the most comfortable socks ever, but I digress.
The NGT range includes a face wash, shaving creams and balms, muscle soak and shower gel, which makes me wonder which are the favourites of the England Rugby team. Because an insider at Nougat recently told me that they were so delighted to hear that one of the England Rugby team guys had tweeted he was a fan of the range, they immediately sent the whole team NGT goody bags. Lucky them.
Well pop in a see for yourself. We have the range in both our shops and here online. We'd love your feedback x
Posted on 4:19pm Wednesday 22nd Feb 2012
STEAMCREAM is handmade in the UK and Japan with fresh natural ingredients, fused together with a shot of steam.
A great skin cream doesn’t just feel good as you put it on, it sinks deep down to keep it soft, smooth and flexible. Most creams are made with complex molecules bound together by a powerful emulsifying process; the problem with this is that they just sit there on the skin’s surface. They give a good first impression, but don’t keep their promises.
STEAMCREAM produce eco-friendly limited edition tins that they design with the odd collaboration here and there to spice things up. Which means the tin designs are constantly changing as new releases are delivered and designs sell out. So grab your favourites before they sell out because when you’ve used your STEAMCREAM, you can keep your tin for storing your small stuff, and come back to see what’s new. I like to use mine for earrings and rings in my suitcase, very useful.
Posted on 12:24pm Wednesday 18th Jan 2012
As Christmas fades into a distant memory and pre Christmas Sale signs are replaced by January Sale signs, one wonders whether these 'Huge Reductions' and '70% off' sale offers can firstly be genuine and secondly be sustainable if they are genuine.
It doesn't take a mathematical genius to work out that if a retailer buys something for £10 and prices the item at a standard retail mark up for £27.50 to reduce it by 70% would mean selling it for £8.25. Allow for VAT and the item is being sold at a significant loss for £7.94. If the same item is reduced by 30%, allowing for VAT the retailer will receive £17.40 which covers the cost of buying the item but is unlikely to help cover any other costs incurred with running a retail business such as utilites, rates, rent and wages. And a 30% discount does not give any retailer a profit. So for the small independent retailer offfering items at a reduced price it should be a considered decision. Independents which follow the big retailers business model may find they go out of business fairly quickly.
Large high street retailers work with a much higher footfall and stock turnover, it's a numbers game, a matter of volume turnover of often cheaply sourced items from the East each generating a small profit. A small independent retailer rarely has the luxury of high footfall and large volume turnover, and may struggle to negotiate lower unit prices on the stock they buy. So the business model simply can't compete with the High Street model. And let's not forget there have been plenty of High Street retailers that have gone to the big retailer in the sky because this model was not sustainable.
In our shops we occasionally run a sale cabinet which offers quality items at a reduced rate. These will be the last one or two of a range which isn't being repeated. We tend to sell collections of designs, and when something is the last of a range it makes sense to sell it at a reduced rate, rather than have a shop full of bits and bobs, which are difficult to merchandise together. But such items only go into the sale cabinet when we are sure that we have sold enough of the range to make the profit we need to sustain the business. It's no use giving our customers a bargain if it means they won't have their local gift and jewellery shop in six months, because it's gone out of business.
So whilst we all love a bargain just take a moment to think about the whole story; is that '70% off' genuine or is it a garment brought in from a warehouse after being stored there since 1995! And so what if your local shops can't offer you huge discounts, their products are probably nicer and better quality, the staff probably offer you a much better service and if you don't support them and shop locally you won't have any local shops left.
Posted on 6:46pm Tuesday 15th Nov 2011
The 'Christmas lights switch on' is happening on Friday 25th of November, and we've already created our Christmas window display much to the delight of the local children. So it's no use pretending Christmas is not going to happen this year and trying to ignore the looming date of December 25th.
We have lots of lovely new lines to make your life easier and your Christmas shopping a breeze, and don't forget we are still gift wrapping up to mid December. So start your shopping early and avoid the crowds.
Keep those chilly Christmas winds away with our lovely selection of velvet, satin and jersey scarves from UK designers Earth Squared, Lua and Powder.
Accessorise with a pair of luxury suede gloves in a range of contempory colours by Penelope Pond, beautifully boxed and ready to give as the perfect present.
New in for the boys are boxed scarves and leather gentlemans gloves - men deserve a little pampering to!
And on those wintery Christmas nights what better than to fragrance your home with the scent of cloves and juniper and snuggle down to a warm fire and a good book. Then look no further as we have a new collection of winter fragrances from Lily Flame, Copenhagen candles, True Grace and Bluebell33.
Of course it's not all about staying home and keeping warm, it is afterall the party season! So what better way to care for those tired party feet after a night of celebration than to slip into the ever so comfortable Tipsy Feet. These clever little pumps fold away into a neat matching purse which also opens up into shopper bag to carry your party shoes in when you've swapped them for your Tipsy Feet shoes. Genius! They come in a range of colours and sizes and we've just uploaded our winter colours, including bronze metalic, for you to buy online.
And don't forget to accessorise your outfit with some stunning jewellery Michal Negrin is always perfect for a bit of vintage sparkle. Our London Vintage range includes swarovski rings, brooches, bracelets and necklaces in beautiful wintery colours.
The Michal Negrin rose bud studs and vintage necklaces are available in a huge range of colours and are now presented in a Michal Negrin vintage gift box for those of you buying as a gift. Just perfect!
And for those of you that missed out last year we have just two musical carousels left, so don't miss out again.
Happy Christmas shopping!
Posted on 7:19pm Monday 10th Oct 2011
If attending London Fashion Week has taught me just one thing, it’s that literally anything goes in the world of fashion. This year, designers showcased such a wide variety of colours, cuts and hemlines, inspired by every era and every continent. Designers like Emilia Wickstead embraced femininity with floaty florals and pastel shades, citing ‘charming moments from harmonious summers’ and garden parties as inspiration. Swedish brand Acne, on the other hand, showcased loose, masculine items in white, black and block yellow. Ashish, whose famous fans include Katy Perry and Marina Diamandis, toughened up Van Gogh-esque sunflowers and sequins with heavy duty boots whereas Corrie Nielson borrowed from Japanese origami and Victorian literature to create structural yet dream-like pieces. No two catwalk shows were the same, proving that spring/summer 2012 will be all about individuality.
The Exhibition featured more jewellery and accessories than the catwalk shows, and it was clear that everything that glitters is gold! From the delicate interlocking heart rings at Jordan Askill to the fairytale necklaces at N2, gold and gold plated jewellery reigned supreme.
Layering was still a very prominent trend. Designers showed delicate bracelets that lent themselves to stacking - much like the ever-popular sterling silver and silk ‘friendship bracelets’ at London Zu - and necklaces that could be worn as a statement piece or in combination with others. Designers like Cabinet bought along delicate gold chains with edgy pendants that worked alone or worn together, and even silk and gem stone studded collar necklaces to accessorise a plain dress or top!
The vibe of the whole event at Somerset House really embodied the spring/summer 2012 look - everyone was welcome, everyone looked unique and everyone was really enjoying fashion. It really proved that, in London of all places, it doesn’t matter how much you spend or how much you know about fashion, anyone can look fashionable every day.
Posted on 11:38am Tuesday 23rd Aug 2011
Guest blogger Francesca Wilson is here to help you with your shopping conundrums.
What to buy for…. THE GIRL WHO HAS EVERYTHING?
It’s a question I hear every week at London Zu, what DO you buy for the girl who has everything? Good question. Most of us have had this predicament when trying to buy that last minute present for our most particular of friends, BUT luckily I have some answers for you… We pride ourselves on keeping our stock up-to-date, evolving and different from what you find on the high-street. We also love to help you find the perfect present so if you’re stuck for ideas we’re happy to make some suggestions, just ask!
DID YOU KNOW?...
That a lot of our jewellery collection is handmade? That we stock a number of fair trade products? That we prefer to work with small suppliers and all our toiletry ranges are made in the UK? That we now sell online and deliver UK-wide?… So, don’t fret, we guarantee there’s always something she won’t have from our selection of gifts and jewellery, and it won’t break the bank either. Tick tick!
If she already has lots of jewellery, why not give her a means to organise it beautifully? Here are a few suggestions:
STACKERS Beautifully coloured tray organisers in a leather style finish with pretty and chic fabric lining. Designed in the UK to be the most flexible of jewellery boxes, Stackers are bought as separate trays so they can be added to as your collection grows and literally stacked up to infinity! You need buy only the sections which suit you most, whether deep sections for bangles and beads or small sections for storing earrings. The closable lid section can also come in useful on holiday as a portable jewellery box!
WIRE HEART WALL PHOTO HOLDER/ EARRING DISPLAY
An unexpected life-safer of an organiser in a vintage cream finish. Do you have so many pairs of earrings they get stored in a box and you end up wearing the same pair day in day out? Thought so! Hang a pair off each little hoop, of which there are 97, and you’ll soon be enjoying browsing your full collection as you decide on your outfit for the day! The hearts in the middle can be used to display your favourite photos or cards, and are also are a handy place to hang necklaces! What’s more, they’re only £14.99
JEWELLERY WRAPS An absolute investment - every girl needs one of these on holiday, in her handbag and even in her gym kit! Jewellery wraps are stylish way to transport jewellery safely when off on holiday, a weekend business trip or even so as not to lose it in the bottom of your handbag whilst you’re in the gym. One of our newest designs, the rainbow sequinned union jack wrap is being snapped up! We have them in all different sizes and designs, starting from £9.99.
Other London Zu favourite organisers:
VIP BAG ORGANISERS For the girl who has hundreds of handbags - once you’ve had one of these you won’t know how you lived without one! Pretty and practical, these pouches have pockets galore for all your daily essentials. You can just pop it from bag to bag without accidentally leaving your keys, cash or mascara in yesterday’s bag! They come in 2 sizes and in an array of lovely colours, and for a limited time only, in shimmering silver.
LUGG PORTABLE BRUSH CANOE A clever little organiser from our newly arrived LUGG range: stores your make-up and brushes in organised sections. Also, it can stand upright so you can access your products and brushes easily whilst you apply it… No more rummaging. Hooray!
BAGABOOK A really clever solution to carrying your ebook, Kindle or paper book in a nifty designer bag with an extra compartment for you travel card, mobile phone, keys and money (just the essentials). Bagabook even has a bookmark for those of you that haven't switched to an ebook.
HAND, BODY AND FACE PAMPERING Well of course every girl loves a luxury hand and body lotion, or a yummy perfume so why not consider some of the following must haves on the London Zu favourites list...
STEAMCREAM An all-in-one lotion so gentle and clean it can be used on your face, body or hands. SteamCream is a steam infusion of natural ingredients including Lavender and Orange Flower and is presented in limited edition tins which can be re-used as a pretty trinket box when you've used up all your SteamCream.
PACIFICA ROLL-ON PERFUME OIL A roll on perfume which comes in a variety of scrumptious fragrances such as Persian Rose and French Lilac, they are beautifully packaged and come in a handy travel size. Every handbag should have one.
DI PALOMO'S Wild Fig & Grape is a constant favourite with London Zu customers, so you can't go wrong choosing from this range and our mini travel size ABAHNA products in White grape & May Chang and Frangipani & Orange Blossom are just gorgeous. A free gift bag when you buy two or more mini Abahna just seals the deal.