Friday, 15 November 2013

My Mumbai Christmas Shopping Guide

Welcome to my Christmas Shopping Guide 2013 - although you may also find it useful for gift shopping at any time of the year!

Christmas shopping in Mumbai can not be mentioned without touching on good old Good Earth and FabIndia.  I personally believe that there are lots of little places to support in Mumbai without having to go to Good Earth but it is worth mentioning the little gift options they have on such as toiletries, candles, cushions, mugs and pretty knick-knacks. (Items small enough to fit in your suitcase if you are going home). Good Earth is pretty expensive by Indian standards – their mugs start at 600-850 Rs.

Good Earth Mug Set - 1,150 Rs
At FabIndia (branches all over Mumbai), there are beautifully designed kurtas with a western slant, dupattas, bedspreads and more, from 600 Rs, as well as good range of pottery housewares and other more unusual items suitable for gifting.  Similar Indian handicrafts and quirky souvenir items, clothing, rugs and cushion covers can be found at the Bombay Store (various branches).  I like their black and white or sepia images of old Bombay for a few hundred rupees.

Anokhi Washbags/Pencil Chases
And who doesn’t love Anokhi? (branches in Chowpatty and Bandra). Jaipur based Anokhi manufactures and sells beautiful hand blocked printed items including clothing and home textiles.  At the cheaper end I adore their fabric covered notebooks for 80-120 Rs, small washbags for 250 Rs and women’s boxer short and vest top sets (for sleeping in) for around 800 Rs.  A little more expensive are beautiful table cloths, bedspreads, kimono style bathrobes, kaftans and pyjama sets starting at 1,000 Rs. Go there, go mad!

Furla 'Candy' Bag
Moving on to luxury mall shopping, there are plenty of goodies to be had at Palladium (Phoenix Mall).  Just go and spend a day browsing there. For any male readers, why not take a little diversion on your way home from the office and visit Furla on the 1st floor.  An outpost of this beautiful Italian handbag emporium you will find mid-priced bags, clutches, purses in jewel colours and shiny leathers (prices ranging from 8,000 Rs for a purse to 10,000 Rs for the delicious Candy Bag and 17,000 for the gold or silver clutch).  Yummy.  For the more generous of hubbies (no pressure!), there is also Gucci, Jimmy Choo, Bottega Veneta and a host of other top end labels in the Palladium section of the mall.  More on shopping at Phoenix Mills later. 

Baaya Design - good for Indian Crafts
If you are at the Good Earth outpost in Raghuvanshi Mills, Lower Parel, why not also make a visit to Baaya Design (www.baayadesign.com) which is just on the left when you turn into the compound.  I have bought lovely Indian art in there on occasion, even as gifts.  I particularly like the hand painted outlines of elephants which they will frame for you for around 2,250 Rs inclusive. In the same shop you will also find other Indian handicrafts such as metalwork, basketware, painted furniture and table top items.

Staying in the Lower Parel area, then you must head to one of my favourite shops - Magnolia Home - for gifts and decorations. Since 2012, the stock has been improved and increased and you will find lots of colourful cushion covers, Christmassy candle holders and gift options (detailed below)


Left to right, top to bottom: 1. Picture trays Rs 1,860 2. Cute purses/make-up bags and passport holders Rs 1,400/1,200 3. Rustic candle trio Rs 2,300 4. Selection of candles 5. Mugs with elephant handles from Pondicherry Rs 450 6. Hanging tea light holders Rs 650 7. White painted candelabra 8. Brass Pen Pots (old lassi cups on legs) Rs 950 9. Punched hole votives Rs 590 10. Set of six coasters Rs 1,350 11. Bright silk cushion covers Rs 2,500 12. Jars Rs 1,800 13. Selection of candles 14, Stunning silver lamp Rs 8,990 15. Red tray Rs 2,880 16. Foiled candle holder Rs 4,190 17. Silver candlesticks Rs 2,890 for the large one.
Also new for my 2013 guide is the Big Door in Bandra where you can pick up some gorgeous Rajasthani pieces that would delight anyone.  If your wife is haranguing you for jewellery, you will find a selection of silver jewellery set with gemstones on the ground floor - price range between 5,000 and 40,000 Rs.  There are also some rarified gold and precious gem pieces in glass cases if you are brave enough to ask the prices. Upstairs, I particularly like the marble ganesha diyas (left) - a pair for Rs 28,000 and the metal birds for Rs 3,750. 

For children there are several options, both Indian and Western.  I love the adorable kiddie’s room at originally named “The Shop”, (Drego House, Ambedkar Road, opp. Pali Village CafĂ©, Bandra).  Here you will find handcrafted soft toys and clothes for kiddies aged 0 to 6 for under 1,000 rupees as well as children’s books.  There are plenty of things for adults in there too – 
Candy coloured hair grips at
Accessorize
 like gorgeous tablecloths and bedspreads starting at around 900 Rs.  I also like the western but ethnically influenced brand Accessorize (back at Phoenix Mills) for its candy pink and glittery accessories for 6-12 year olds and bejewelled ethnic style bags for teenagers.  Prices range from 300 to 800 Rs for stocking fillers such as hair clips and rings.  Toys, games and children’s books can also be found at most branches of Crossword.  On the subject of books, Indian cookbooks make great presents for friends back home (especially vegetarian ones!).  I can recommend any cookbooks written by Tarla Dalal (she does mini editions which are great for putting in the mail) or Sanjeev Kapoor, all for a couple of hundred rupees.  If you know someone leaving Mumbai early next year, why not give them a beautiful hardback souvenir of Indian imagery?  I particularly like “Mumbai Now Bombay Then” by Naresh Fernandes and Chirodeep Chaudhuri.
Chimanlals' Gift Wrap
For me there are only two places in Mumbai to shop for fabulously colourful gift wraps, both in South Mumbai.  Bombay Paperie (Samachar Marg nr Bombay Stock Exchange) has cards, wrapping papers, notepads, and gift bags in every colour under the sun.  I love their gift wraps - so carefully made by hand, slightly frayed around the edges and block-printed with such gorgeous motifs. The shop also stocks craft kits for both adults and children (around 150 Rs) which make lovely little stocking fillers.  All at very reasonable prices.  Chimanlals, (Wallace Street, Fort) which is even cheaper, has the most glorious selection of stationery, gift envelopes, gift tags, gift boxes, wrapping papers (15 -52 Rs per sheet) – as well as bargain paper based items that make great gifts such as frames, pen holders, and notepads etc.  Unlike the slightly raw handmade appearance of Bombay Paperie products, the papers here have more of a luxury feel.  I can spend hours in  this shop in a total frenzy over which designs to choose.  

Gorgeous Indian Motifs on these
Chimanlals gift tags

I particularly love the notelet sets with bright elephant motifs (boxset of 10 notelets and 10 envelopes for 120 Rs) and the writing paper embossed with gold leaf (80 Rs). Both of these are perfect for older relatives who may still actually write letters by hand! They also have dinky bangle boxes (75 Rs) which you could fill up with cheap bracelets for teenage girls.  Lastly, there is a raft of rainbow coloured gift bags priced between 22 and 45 Rs depending on size. Chimanlals is definitely worth the diversion to Fort – perhaps treat yourself to a lovely lunch at Britannia whilst you are at it (Sprott Road, Ballard Estate).
If you are feeling a little more intrepid and want to find that something a little bit unusual, then Chor Bazaar is the place for you.  I love A-One Corner (99 Mutton Street) for Bollywood posters costing 
a few hundred rupees – perfect for teenagers and fans
Brass Buddha from
A-One Corner
of the genre.  I also adore Art Gallery at 66 Mutton Street for brass boxes and Ganeshas. At 56 

Sift through the curios at Art Corner
Mutton Street you will find Art Corner selling what appears to be a load of junk but if you look closely you will find a random bargain curio for sure – just be prepared to barter hard.  If you investigate most of the antique shops, you will find beautiful teak boxes which make elegant gifts for anyone, especially lovers of colonial antiques.  Don’t pay more than 2-4,000 for a basic one with brass handles (depending on size) and pay less than 1,000 for a pencil box sized one – depending on inlay etc.  On Chor Bazaar it should be possible to hunt down all types of curios for a few hundred ‘roops’.  I have previously bought a green painted letter rack with gold inlay for about 600 Rs.

Another place to find bargain and unique gifts for friends and family is the retail behemoth that is Crawford Market.  Fabulous presents for bakers and cupcake lovers can be bought from Arife La Moulde (shop no 556). They stock cake moulds, bread moulds, Wilton food colour, chocolate moulds, and every pan and baking accessory possibly required.  The silicone cupcake moulds are available in vibrant colours, much like the Wilton ones, but at a fraction of the cost (150 Rs for six moulds!).  Although I wouldn’t recommend Crawford Market as the place to go


Silicone moulds from
Arife La Moulde
in a stressed last minute Christmas 
Masala Dabba
shopping panic (it will just make you feel worse) so you should be able to find items such as tin spice sets called ‘masala dabbas’ locally (why not fill them with cardamom, cumin, garam masala etc from the market whilst you’re at it?).  You can also find many stalls selling basketware for making your own hampers at Crawford Market as well as Christmas novelties (well perhaps Diwali novelties and decorations but they are equally good for Christmas!)


As for Christmas Decorations,  Hill Road in Bandra is the place to go – Bandra being a traditionally Christian settlement, Christmas is celebrated in force by its inhabitants.  I can recommend via word of mouth ‘Something Special’ and ‘Cheap Jacks’ (next door to each other at 63 Hill Road).  You will also be able to find products such as lanterns and crafting papers at Bombay Paperie above to make your own decorations with your children.  That should be fun!
Hamper from the Foodhall
Where does one get mince pies and other yummies on the run up to Christmas?  The obvious choice of course is Nature’s Basket – the management tell me that Mince Pies, Christmas Cake and German Stollen will be available from the first week of December.  If you can’t be bothered to enter the shop itself due to their poorly designed aisles and attempt to squeeze every Western product under the sun into such confined spaces, check out their selection of hampers available on line at www.naturesbasket.co.in (2-3,000 Rs for a reasonably sized basket). The Foodhall in Palladium also stocks hampers of various price and content. There is also a glut of fine bakeries across the city that will be stocking festive eats.  To name but a few; Theobrama (branches all over) for stollen and mince pies, French patisserie Debailleul in Prabhadevi, and LE15 in Palladium or the Good Earth store for delicate macaroons in Christmassy colours.
Most of the five star hotels will probably oblige with western food hampers.  Last year the Bombay Baking Company, the bakery at the J. W. Marriott hotel Juhu, sold Christmas goodies such as gingerbread; doughnuts; Yule logs; Dundee cakes; raspberry and almond cakes; plum puddings; marzipan; and Santa Claus-shaped chocolates. I imagine it will be the same this year.  I also have a fondness for The Gourmet Store at the Grand Hyatt, Santacruz which stocks gorgeous baked products.  Whilst you’re on your way there, go and see if the al-fresco gardening centre on CST Road is stocking poinsettias and Christmas Trees. 


Body Shop Gift Set
I have left the men till last.  It’s always such a struggle isn’t it??!!  I have previously bought Mr Jules one of the afore mentioned wooden boxes as well as a gorgeous Waldemann German manufactured silver pen from Editions on the 3rd floor of Palladium.   For men’s toiletries, I can recommend established British brand Body Shop, which always stocks great gift packages, and also the New York brand Kiehl’s (both in Palladium and Phoenix Market City) – they do a superb range of high quality, manly shaving products in slick navy blue and white packaging. Their signature “Facial Fuel” moisturiser comes in at 1,100 Rs.
Manly products at Kiehl's
I also love the masculine smelling BAVX line from French brand L'Occitane to be found nearby. In Phoenix Mills you will also find nice checked shirts and chinos from Tommy Hilfiger (much more reasonable prices than in Europe) and very British clothing brands such as Pringle and Hackett at The Collection, also in Phoenix Mills.  As for teenage boys…well I am afraid I am going to have to leave that one to you… ..

......I definitely don’t think they will be interested in Indian handicrafts though!


Happy Christmas and Happy Shopping!


Another excellent place for purchasing your Indian handcrafted Christmas Gifts:

http://bombayjules.blogspot.in/2012/12/shop-contemporary-arts-crafts-mumbai.html?utm_source=BP_recent

8 comments:

  1. Thanks - the parcel arrived yesterday - what a wonderful gift. Please get in touch as I've not kept your email address.
    Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

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  2. Woot! Woot! Love this post! Do you know the place in South Mumbai near Victoria Terminus that sells home furnishings, gift bags, etc? It's called Bombay Arts something something.

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    1. Hi GoodInk. Are you thinking of Contemporary Arts & Crafts (CAC!)...around the corner from Chimanlals? I only discovered it recently, might have to blog about it soon, it's great..otherwise, no I have not been to Bombay Arts something something ;) Thanks for reading Love your blog by the way....

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  3. Yes, that's it! Love that place. And the prices aren't bad, either. Thanks for reading! I find that blogging encourages me to go out and do more (and with a better attitude)!

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  4. Very nice and helpful information. This is very helpful for peoples who walked first time for Mumbai. Thanks for sharing this informative blog post. Gifts Shop India

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  5. Hey Bombay Jules, I don't mean to spam your blog with any marketing msgs. But I've recently started a foodie venture called The Basket Case where I make baskets of home-made foods. So flavoured butters, jams, sauces, etc. all wrapped into a cute basket. Just another great Christmas gift idea :) If you would like to see some of the fun stuff we have, look us up on Facebook and Twitter. Not posting any links here unless you say it's ok :)

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    1. That's OK - we like all things Christmas so please go eahd for the benefit of my readers :)

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