It has to be said that my absolute favourite time of year to visit Paris is in the winter. Granted I’ve never been to this part of France in the Summer but I’m pretty sure the lure of the Marche de Noel and the twinkling lights of the Champs Elysees would outweigh what the summer months could offer.

Back in December we had a short break in Paris with some friends, child free (thanks mum) so I thought I’d share a little photo diary of our time there. Most of our photos were quick snaps taken on my iPhone, as we really wanted to switch off and enjoy.

Our first stop was of course the ionic landmark that is the Eiffel Tower. We decided to go right to the top and the view was incredible, entirely worth it if you are thinking of visiting. We booked our tickets for late afternoon so we could witness the sparkling lights of the tower at night, it really is magnificent. Of course we took in the usual sights such as the Notre Dame, the Louvre and I certainly enjoyed the wonderful shopping. We enjoyed finding little cafes dotted around the streets to stop and enjoy a caffe latte and a macaroon or two, sitting outside under a little blanket and watching the busy people of Paris stroll by.

Passage de l’ancre – home of Pep’s umbrella repair shop

Throughout Paris there is an abundance of boutique hotels, however this time we booked an apartment through Air B&B, which was in a cute little street Passage de l’ancre hidden behind a private blue door. Once behind the door you are greeted with a charming cobbled street full of colourful potted plants and vines. After a bit of research we found out it is home to the oldest umbrella shop in Paris, apparently quite the find.


The Eiffel Tower at night is always a pleasure
The view from the top of the Eiffel Tower
Notre Dame Cathedral
Marche De Noel

I always find it easier to buy for the females in my life, and to be honest I struggle a little when it comes to my husband or other men in the family. They’re just not as forthcoming with the Christmas lists as the ladies are, so if you find it as tricky as me I hope this little gift guide will help.

As with the men, kids can often be tricky to buy for. With two children 7 years apart in age I find myself spending a lot of time pondering over what I think they would like. So I’ve added in a few ideas for the kids too. If its the ladies your looking for, don’t forget to have a look at my Ultimate Gift Guide (Part 1) here.

 

FOR THE FELLAS

  1. Nespresso CitiZ & Milk Coffee Machine by Magimix, Black £189.99
  2. GANT The Check Padded Overshirt £135
  3. L’homme Cologne Cédrat Gift Set £65
  4. UGG Scuff Mule Suede Slippers, Chestnut £80
  5. Mega Monopoly Board Game £23.99
  6. Aspinal Round Street Zip Wallet £150
  7. Gourmet Pizza Oven £56.99
  8. Mophie Wireless Charging Base £39.95
  9. Bose Soundlink Micro Bluetooth Waterproof Speaker £99.95
  10. Smart Phone Stand £6.39 
  11. Jo Malone Cologne £47-£94
  12. Daniel Wellington Mens Classic Leather Strap Watch £159.00
  13. Happy Socks Big Dot Cracker £19.95

 

 

FOR THE OLDER KIDS

  1. Instax Mini 9 Camera £64
  2. Echo Dot Smart Speaker £49.99
  3. Fjallraven Kanken Classic Backpack £80
  4. Classic Lava Lamp £15
  5. Sharpie Marker Pack £9.99
  6. American Candy Gift Box Hamper £10.99
  7. Sony Bluetooth Wireless Headphones £34.99
  8. Jelly Belly Bean Boozled Spinner Game £9
  9. Nintendo Switch Console £279.99
  10. Lush Christmas Candy Gift Box £19.95
  11. Elmers Slime Starter Kit £11.99
  12. Gravitrax Starter Set £39.99
  13. Lego Creator London Bus £109.99
  14. Instant Table Tennis Set £11.45

 

 

FOR THE YOUNGER KIDS

  1. Personalised Where Are You Book £19.99
  2. Wooden Number Bus £32.00
  3. Dinosaur Bingo £16.99
  4. VTech Kiddizoom Camera Smart Watch £35.99
  5. Fire 7 Kids Tablet £99.99
  6. Wooden Marble Run £21
  7. Elasti Plasti £12.98
  8. Wooden Stacking Toy Rainbow £13.69
  9. Kidizoom Camera £39.99
  10. Poopsie Unicorn Slime Surprise £49.99
  11. Fisher Price Music Box Record Player £35
  12. Junior Guitar £29.99
  13. Wooden Figure of Eight Train Set £29.99
  14. Mini Micro 3in1 Deluxe Scooter £109.95

 

Have you started your Christmas shopping yet? I absolutely love shopping for gifts for my loved ones this time of year, and there’s nothing like a good Christmas Gift Guide to get the inspiration flowing. I love reading these types of blog posts so here’s my version for 2018, grab your gingerbread latte and have a browse….

 

For the ladies

Molton Brown Muddled Plum Body Wash
Rainbow Stripe Scarf
Diptyque Candle
Hush Pyjama Top
Hush Pyjama Bottoms
Next Red Tartan Slippers
Molton Brown Muddled Plum Body Wash
Rainbow Stripe Scarf
Diptyque Candle
Hush Pyjama Top
Hush Pyjama Bottoms
Next Red Tartan Slippers
Molton Brown Muddled Plum Body Wash
Rainbow Stripe Scarf
Diptyque Candle
Hush Pyjama Top
Hush Pyjama Bottoms
Next Red Tartan Slippers

Molton Brown Muddled Plum Body Wash £24

Accessorize Rainbow Stripe Blanket Scarf £20

Diptyque Sapin de Lumiere Scented Candle £30-£53

Hush Printed Pyjama Shirt £59

Hush Printed Pyjama Bottoms £55

Next Faux Fur Tartan Slippers £16

For the Beauty Lover

Pixi Glow Skintreat Besties
Bobbi Brown Party Glow Eye and Lip Palette
Elemis Skin Radiance Christmas Collection
Spacemasks
Liberty Scamp and Dude The Sleep Kit
Urban Decay Naked Cherry Palette
Pixi Glow Skintreat Besties
Bobbi Brown Party Glow Eye and Lip Palette
Elemis Skin Radiance Christmas Collection
Spacemasks
Liberty Scamp and Dude The Sleep Kit
Urban Decay Naked Cherry Palette
Pixi Glow Skintreat Besties
Bobbi Brown Party Glow Eye and Lip Palette
Elemis Skin Radiance Christmas Collection
Spacemasks
Liberty Scamp and Dude The Sleep Kit
Urban Decay Naked Cherry Palette

Pixi Glow Skintreats Besties £28

Bobbi Brown Party Glow Eye & Lip Palette £26

Elemis Skin Radiance Christmas Collection £59

Spacemasks £15

Liberty London The Sleep Kit £59.50

Urban Decay Naked Cherry Palette £42

For the Personal Touch

Next Alphabet Mug
Marks and Spencer Alphabet Cushion
Oliver Bonus Personalised Wash Bag
Personalised Framed Print
Anthropologie Pommed Monogram Stocking
Stanley & Maud Rose Gold Mini
Next Alphabet Mug
Marks and Spencer Alphabet Cushion
Oliver Bonus Personalised Wash Bag
Personalised Framed Print
Anthropologie Pommed Monogram Stocking
Stanley & Maud Rose Gold Mini
Next Alphabet Mug
Marks and Spencer Alphabet Cushion
Oliver Bonus Personalised Wash Bag
Personalised Framed Print
Anthropologie Pommed Monogram Stocking
Stanley & Maud Rose Gold Mini

Next Alphabet Mug £5

M&S Alphabet Cushion £12

Oliver Bonas Alphabet Embroidered Wash Bag £24

Sophia Victoria Joy Best Friend Print £48

Anthropologie Monogram Stocking £36

Stanley and Maud Rose Gold Mini Necklace £35

 

I hope that’s given you some ideas and inspiration, Part 2 will be coming in the next couple of days so keep a look out for that if you’re struggling what to buy the man or kids in your life…

Weymouth Harbour

Usually as soon as the school holidays roll around I’ve already booked our ticket to somewhere abroad, somewhere guaranteed to offer sunshine, a beach and good food. However with the weather in the UK recently being compared to that of a long haul destination, and trying to save for house renovations, we decided to holiday a little closer to home.

Normally we reserve visits to the British seaside for a slightly colder day with the dog in tow, as there’s a well known fact as soon as the sun appears in the south a million people and their families get in the car, join the motorway and head to the beach. That is not a relaxing break I tell you.

However this year, with a bit of research and the decision that we would drive down in the evening to avoid sitting in traffic we booked our little vacay in sunny old Weymouth.

Weymouth is a seaside town I used to visit as a child, along with Swanage which is just along the coast. We found a cute house along the old harbour (it isn’t a holiday unless you can see the boats) through Dream Cottages, who we have used a couple of times before.

Bridge End House was situated right opposite the bridge, which lifts every couple of hours thoughout the day to let yachts and larger boats into the harbour. This proved for much excitement with my two boys seeing as they had a prime view from all the windows in the house.

Weymouth Harbour

Weymouth Beachfront

Instead of sticking with the main beach we went on a little mission to find lots of other little beaches and coves in the area. I remember visiting places when I was a child such as Lulworth Cove, Durdle Door and Corfe, and I was excited to go back there with my children.

With this year being the year my Husband decided to introduce the boys to beach fishing, we saught the expertise of local fisherman who guided us to the most wonderful locations. A couple of evenings we spent sitting on a beautiful pebble beach, watching the sunset with fish and chips and a bottle of something cold. Those were my favourites.

Fishing in Dorset

Sunset Fishing

As is usual with a trip to Weymouth, most days included an ice cream or two, a visit to the arcade to win vast amounts of tickets (which incase you’re interested we swapped in for sweets and a variety of plastic knick knacks) and crab fishing along the old harbour. Some of the best fish and chips can be found here too, which in my opinion was Bennetts Fish and Chips (and we tried ALOT to compare!) There’s nothing better than sitting on a harbour wall in the evening watching the boats come back in from a day out at sea.

We enjoyed a trip to an old favourite of ours The Crab House Cafe, situated on the way to Portland overlooking the breathtaking views of Chesil Beach. If you’re a fan of seafood then this really is a must place to visit, although I recommend booking as its a popular place. They farm their own oyster beds so you can enjoy them literally minutes after they leave the water. This time we chose the crabs which were delicious, the boys particularly loved that they came with a little hammer and nut-crackers to help get the meat out of the shell.

The Crab House Cafe

Our trip to Lulworth Cove brought back memories of my childhood. I remember walking down the path to the stony beach at the bottom. Although it’s much busier now, with a good choice of places to eat and drink it was exactly as I remembered. We found a cute place at the bottom called The Boat House Cafe, and ordered a little afternoon tea to take away so we could enjoy it on the beach. Apart from the wasps which were very persistent in joining in, it was pretty perfect.

Lulworth Cove

Just up the road from here we called into Durdle Door on the way home to see the famous limestone arch. It was a little windy up the top but worth it to see the magnificent views. We’re planning to come back here another day hopefully when it’s a little quieter.

Image via Wikipedia

We loved our little break in Weymouth, blessed with sunny weather most of the week, apart from the last day when we tried to visit Lyme Regis, we pretty much got rained off and had to hide in the arcades, little boutiques and pasty shops. Admittedly there are worst places to hide out.

We spent a lovely week exploring more of Dorset than we previously had, the boys loved it especially the quiet fishing beaches. We’ll certainly be back.

Most of the time if I imagine Summer, I think about lying on warm sandy beaches, Pina Colada in hand watching the waves roll in. I’m a huge fan of the beach and I like to go prepared, usually weighed down with far too much.

For me, once I have a holiday booked the first thing I think of purchasing is a new beach bag. I tend to look for something inexpensive, so I don’t have to be too precious about suncream getting spilt all over it or sand getting everywhere. One I’ve had my eye on recently would be this straw chevron bag from Accessorize. If I had more of a budget and was visting somewhere a little more special I would certainly go for a monogrammed one from Raefeather.

So whether you’re planning to hit the pool or the beach, here’s a little guide of what’s in my beach bag, hope you find it helpful.

 

DOCK AND BAY Quick Dry Cabana Beach Towel – This brand is a new find for me but I love these lightweight beach towels. They are super thin and light and promise to dry you 3 times faster than a normal cotton beach towel. Plus sand won’t stick to it which was a huge seller to me! And I’m loving this cute rainbow design.

RAY BAN Erika Sunglasses – You can’t beat a pair of Ray Bans for the beach, always stylish and I love anything that comes in the tortoiseshell design.

BY ELOISE LONDON Pineapple Hairband – I found these little hairbands that double up as a wristband in a farm shop near me, I’ve bought a couple now in different designs. I think they look so much prettier on my wrist than my usual black hair elastic!

APPLE iPhone 7 Plus Rose Gold – My phone is always on hand to take any photos as I don’t tend to take any bigger cameras with me when I’m at the beach.

OLIVER BONUS Hip Pink Water Bottle – Always a good idea to keep hydrated in-between the cocktails and I love this funky glass water bottle from Oliver Bonus.

ELEANOR OLIPHANT is completely fine – I love getting into a good book, but nothing too heavy on holiday for me. It’s sadly one of the rare times I get to read a book & although I quite often read from a kindle, I find it best to take a paperback to the beach.

AVENE Eau Thermal Water Spray – I always take one of these in a mini size, not just in my beach bag but on a day to day basis too. Perfect for fitting in your bag and cooling down your skin on a hot day. It works really well on irritated and sun intolerant skin.

BOBBI BROWN Pot Rouge for Lips and Cheeks – This is a fabulous multi-tasking product for lips and cheeks. Great little product for when you’ve got no make up beach days planned, just a little of this brightens up my face. It also has a handy compact mirror inside!

LA ROCHE-POSAY ANTHELIOS SPF Spray – A firm favourite in my beach bag. I recently did a post here about my favourite SPF products and we always tend to reach for this. Ideal for the whole family and especially for sun sensitive skin. If you struggle with any sun allergies, redness, prickly heat then this is the one for you!

LA ROCHE-POSAY ANTHELIOS Invisible Face Mist – This makes reapplying SPF to the face so incredibly easy. It can be used on bare skin or over make up, the invisible spray is easily absorbed and leaves no greasy effect as I find some other face SPF’s can.

PAMPELONE Bardot Dress – I always pack a beach dress or kaftan in my bag, perfect for throwing on over a bikini. I just love this one from Pampelone which would look great on the beach and not out of place if you fancy popping out for a bit of lunch straight after.

 

So that’s the essentials you’ll find in my beach bag (obviously amongst the kids footballs and spades, lets not pretend I get the bag to myself!) I’d love to know what your essential things are for the beach!