“I don’t usually enter Aldi’s middle aisle armed with a purpose,” explains Amber-Louise Large.
Writing for MyLondon, Amber-Louise shares the wonder she finds in Aldi’s middle aisle, when looking for gifts. “I let the aisle speak to me, like some sort of supermarket medium, and tell me what I need – whether it’s a sausage roll maker or a candle twice the size of my head.”
“Every week is something different and it can be a bit of a gamble as to what you will face in Aldi’s mystical middle aisle,” she continues. “One week it could be power tools. The next week it could be beauty dupes. The following week it might as well be magic beans.
“I’m in need of a bit of magic right now. It is Secret Santa season and I’ve got £10 to buy the perfect present and no idea where to start looking. So for once in my life I head to the middle aisle with a purpose. Maybe, like the room of requirements, it will listen to my wishes and magically produce the ideal budget present.
“Or maybe it will be power tools again this week. If I’ve got my Harry Potter trivia right, the room of requirements needs three wishes. I wish, I wish, I wish. Okay, I must have been picturing a candle. There are so many in here it might as well be a Yankee store. Big candles, little candles, candles that smell like stale toothpaste and then some that (luckily) smell remarkably better. Some of them even look like Yankee candles with their dome jar lids and pretty picture labels. “Alpine mist” might make a nice gift for £3.99 if it did not smell just a little bit too much like toilet cleaner.
“The hotel collection looks over at me as if to say: “Why are you considering anything else?” This is the range inspired by (or smelling very, very similar to) popular luxury perfumes. Many of them Jo Malone.
“Jo Malone candles start at £55 each. Aldi’s Hotel Collection candles start at £4.99 for a set of four mini candles. This set includes Lime, Basil & Mandarin, Pomegranate, Sweet Almond & Macaroon, and Rose Noir. Some of the most popular dupe scents at Aldi.
“I would definitely be happy with this set. I would also be happy with one of the larger wooden wick candles in the Hotel Collection. One of them is even called Amber Woods. I could pretend it was named after me.
“I wish, I wish, I wish I could just buy myself a £10 present. That’s not really in the spirit of Christmas, though, is it? Just when I think Aldi must have run out of wax I see them: the mammoth candles.
“These are almost twice the size of my head and more than twice my budget. Yet oh, how I am tempted. The Hotel Collection Hurricane candle has four wicks and must take about ten years to burn through.
“Now I might be a tad over-exaggerating there but I doubt you’ll find anyone who has ever actually finished one of these. So £24 is a lot, yes, but it might be worth it. Just not today. Today I only have £10. The mini set it is!
“Still with £5.01 (let’s not forget that all-important penny) to spend I traverse the aisle for something, anything, other than a candle. Someone into games might like the Calm puzzle for £3.99 to go with their candles. Someone into Disney might appreciate the £2.99 Lion King or 101 Dalmatian socks. Someone into chocolate (i.e anyone) might opt for a £3.49 sharing bag of quality street.
“They are all good options and anyone would make for a nice stocking filler. Candles, chocolates and socks might seem like basic gifts but the middle aisle does not do boring. The candles are designer dupes, the socks feature childhood favourite characters, and the chocolate… well, it’s chocolate. Who would complain about receiving a big bag of chocolate?
“The middle aisle has spoken and I have listened. It would not usually be my go-to for the gift-giving season but Aldi always seems to have something up its sleeve. My Secret Santa is going to be very happy.”