Okay, so  this one is for the Christmas Shopping Ninjas out there, repeat after me; there is only one day, one shop, one Alara. As you may already have deduced I am definitely Planet Na Last-Minute/One Chance when it comes to shopping, especially in the festive season where between parties, events and getting my Christmas beauty game on (I don’t play with my skin, at-all, at-all), things can slip. Like presents. But the good news is help is at hand –  especially if A) you live in Lagos and B) you like to keep things quick and nifty, then Alara will sort you out and then some. And joy of joys, there is the added incentive of an Ogogoro Colin’s to sip on whilst said items are wrapped and boxed for you to be the purveyor of good cheer. Come armed with a card that will not ’embarrass’ you at the till or a small manila envelope with new notes. Let the shopping commence.

Not meaning to be too philosophical in what is essentially a shopping guide, but if you cannot love yourself who can you love? So how about a celebratory pair of shoes to help you move into not only your blessings this season but in the year to come?  Everyone has their own personal favourite of the original Trinity of It-Shoe Designers (Manolo Blahnik, Jimmy Choo and Christian Louboutin), but whether it is a case of getting immortalized in the personal psyche of many a fashionista courtesy of the nick-name ‘Red Bottoms’, or the fact that said red-sole is all-out glamorous, you can’t go wrong with a pair, of classic black Christian Louboutin Pigalle pumps. In fact just call this a shoe-necessity, you will literally wonder what you shod your hoofs in before! If the south of N150,000 is still a scary proposition – you can sit it out and pick up a pair in the (whisper it) sale.

She’s picky discerning, and has pretty much got all the key ‘jewellery’ must haves: from Cartier Love Bangles to Elsa Perretti for Tiffany and Co. bean necklaces. What on earth do you get this woman, short of a mine of her own? May I suggest a pair of Mercedes Salazar earrings? Salazar is quite the hit in her native Columbia where her costume and semi-precious stone pieces have gained her a cult following.  We particularly love this pair from her “Birds Collection’ which celebrates the biodiversity in the bird kingdom. The tassles make these bang on trend and your recipient can confidently rock these with trad, a cocktail dress, or if she is doing the whole Lo-Fi-Luxe thing, the trusty jeans and t combo. Your BFF/Sister/Sisi-in-Law will hold you in the highest regard for the longest time ever, and here’s the best bit there is change from N50k!


If bae loves his beats but is far too posh for those as-seen-everywhere Beats by Dre headphones then pimp his corner office (or that bachelor crib of his) with some Bang and Olufsen Speakers. B&O as they are affectionately known have been in the audio visual game since 1925 and manage to match the sleek sensibilities of Scandinavian aesthetics with the technology that will ensure that the opening bars of bass line from Niniola’s Maradona do not get distorted and sound as good as a sound-system in a nightclub. As he spins you around or draws you in closer, you might even consider staying in as the new going out for 2018!

For the perennial traveler in your life (could be that executive Uncle, or the Brother who is the definition of entrepreneurial and on the go, or the glamorous Auntie who is ultimate Boss-Babe goals), sets that make sense become a big deal, and no, I am not referring to perfume and cream, these people are way beyond that. We are talking of the carry on luggage that gets you from aircraft to boardroom and back to your hotel for a quick freshen up before you join friends for cocktails. This Bottega Veneta Travel Set ticks all the right boxes: black means it is discreet, but the classic woven motif that is Bottega’s trademark adds essential style points. The laptop bag is roomy enough to fit additional documents and reading materials,  and as with all good quality leather goods, this luggage will age beautifully. And if your loved one is on a budget but using this particular set, come early enough for check-in and an upgrade is probably their’s anyway. Consider it an investment in their career/business, as this set will set you back north of N200,ooo,

The song lyrics go ‘Sweet Mother, I no forget you’ and she certainly won’t forget Christmas 2017 if you bring her this absolute game over Saint Laurent Sac Du Jour. Consider this a masterclass in creating a  handbag that is above the fripperies of seasonal fads. It’s black calfskin, it’s roomy enough to fit all of Mummy’s essentials in a real way: we are talking wallet, keys, phone, power-bank, make-up bag, the lot and it has none of this logo-mania which will make a low-key Mum especially happy. And if she is of a certain vintage she will know that Yves Saint Laurent himself was inspired by black women, being the first to use an African supermodel – Iman- to front his Rive Gauche campaign, So why not give your original and best Super-Mummy her own turn at being the star of the day with a pressie that is def north of N200,000 – after all she has spent a lifetime of putting everyone else first.

And then there is the Original Man in your life, the one you will remain the apple of his eye until the day he dies and of course the one who is without no equal – we are talking Popsie of course! In this instance Alara has two rather excellent options that you can get him. If Daddy is the sort who still has a crate or two of albums from his high-season than what better than a Crosley Turntable? These beauties have built in speakers, fold away in a lightweight briefcase case and most important of all can allow your father to be DJ for the night with a playlist that will feature jams from the 80’s, 70’s and before…or as he will remind you, before music became ‘repetitive and boring and not about real musicianship.” Twirl in the living room to Michael Jackson and Lionel Ritchie and make his day, all for less than N150,000!

However, if 2017 has been an absolute corker for you and your business, then perhaps this is the year that you do something super luxe and Pimp Papa’s Rollie? This one is for the Big-Girls and Big Boys in the children’s stakes, because let’s be frank a basic Rolex is hardly standard issue fair. But then when you see the amazing-ness that is Mad Paris‘ customization one can only best describe it as #levels, the horography edition! This Rolex Milgauss complete with emerald bezel is the definition of show=stopper.

So there you have it – one final dose of emergency Christmas Shopping magic that covers all of your nearest and dearest. And if this has read as fantasy shopping – just file for next year  – it’s amazing how the hustle flows with visual motivations. And if you are still at a loss there is always Nok by Alara, the award winning restaurant that is part of Alara – you can either have another Ogogoro Colins to commiserate having left things a tad too late or better yet you can book a table and take all of your would-be pressie recipients for a meal there and bring in the New Year in style. Either way, Christmas is officially sorted, thanks be to Alara!