What I got for Christmas 2014

All over the internet, people have been sharing pictures of the gifts they received for Christmas. I think it’s lovely. They’re obviously happy and I don’t see why they can’t share a little bit of that happiness with the world. So in the spirit of sharing that joyful vibe, I’ve decided to also share what I got for Christmas this year. I’m lucky, I know, and I’m extremely grateful to be surrounded by so many lovely people who obviously thought of me when they planned their Christmas. I’m not going to be able to post everything here (at some point between Christmas and now, I’ve used or eaten some of my gifts!)… but, here are some of the things I got:

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Aren’t they lovely?

I particularly like this perfume and vintage Parisian necklace which I got from my sister in law – they’re just so French and so beautiful:

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And of course, everything that my husband bought me: a Tiffany’s necklace, a Burberry wallet and a Burberry bag – needless to say, they’re my favourite!

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I’m purring with happiness!! Can you blame me? xx

Christmas in Paris

This year, I spent Christmas in Paris – something that I do every couple of years or so. My husband and I drove there on Christmas Eve and we came back to London last Saturday. Yes, it’s not a long trip, but still, it’s magical. As much as I like spending Christmas on my own, I was pleased to be able to spend it with my husband’s family this year, and of course, it’s always lovely to visit Paris.

We woke up at 5am on the 24th and made our way to Dover. We were supposed to board the 8.45am ferry to Calais, but we got there early, so they let us board an earlier one. Lucky us! The sea was a bit rough though – I got sick! But that’s probably because I’m more prone to motion sickness than others. All in all, it wasn’t too bad. We reached France at around 10am and then we just took our time and arrived in Paris with plenty of time to get ready for dinner, which was delicious by the way.

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Just look at all that food! And I didn’t even take pictures of our main course and dessert!

We didn’t get a chance to breakaway from the family and visit Paris until the 26th. Not that I’m complaining – going to Paris is like going home; we don’t really do all those touristy things people do when they go for holiday. But still, it’s nice to go for a walk, just because it’s really romantic and Paris is beautiful at this time of the year. So that’s what we did on Boxing day (even if there’s no such thing in Paris).

We started our day with a typical petit déjeuner parisian (gosh, I like the sound of that) – we had some parisian brioche and parisian hot chocolate at the famous Place des Voges. They were lovely – a bit expensive, but hey, we don’t do this everyday, and it’s Christmas.

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After breakfast, we went for a stroll in the city. We did a bit of sightseeing, a bit shopping, discovered new shops… I love shopping; there’s no doubt about that. Besides, I believe that when you’re in Paris, you should fully embrace the local culture… yes, yes, like going to the museums, of course (Paris is full of them), but Paris also is famous for its couture houses and luxury fashions: Dior, Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Chanel, Louboutin, etc, etc. One of the best in the world really. Interestingly, when I talk about them, some people still roll their eyes (even French people) and I just don’t get it. If I were French, I would be very proud to have all those designers commanding the world’s attention. I mean, it’s what made Paris famous for being chic, elegant and glamorous. I can’t afford most of the things they sell, but it doesn’t stop me from admiring them (and wanting them) – hey, I love beautiful things. Anyway, here are some more pictures from that day (if you’re interested):

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The art installations in front of Centre Pompidou and musée du Louvre never fail to captivate… We didn’t go in to le Louvre this time, but if you haven’t seen the infamous Mona Lisa, you really should!

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Cécile and Jeanne are Parisian jewellery and accessories designers. They’ve got a workshop in Paris where they design and handmade all their products. I actually discovered this place by chance; my husband and I was just walking along the street when I was attracted by the beautiful jewellery displayed in the window and so I went in. They’re not cheap but I don’t expect them to be – they’re beautiful and very French. I didn’t buy any, but I just might very soon. They don’t have a store in the UK, but you can the products online.

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Don’t you just love Paris. Even at Ladurée, they’ve got super chic shopping bags! I always think their macaroons are a bit overpriced (they’re selling it for 5 euros per piece here), but still, I love those bags!

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This was the best cafe frappe I’ve ever tasted! Seriously! It’s so smooth, refreshing and not too sweet. I was in a desperate need of a cold caffeine that afternoon, and this frappe was just perfect.

After our afternoon coffee break, we decided to go see some Christmas decorations at Paris’s most fabulous places – where else… Galeries Lafayette, PrintempsChamps Elysees and Avenue Montaigne (of course).

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Look at all those lights…

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And that Louis Vuitton store on Avenue Montaigne!

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And of course… it’s Dior, darling!

… which was our last stop of the day. We had dinner with my husband’s family that evening and came back to London the next day. There was an hour delay at Calais due to the weather – they had to suspend all ferry services in the morning, but luckily, ours was in the late afternoon, so it was okay. I got sick again and it was worse than the first time. I’m definitely taking the Euro Tunnel next time! Anyway, we had an amazing time in Paris (as you can probably see), and in a few days time, we’ll be off to Tenerife for some sun! Yay!

Christmas trip to Paris by car: what’s in my bag

2 days until Christmas! How exciting! My husband is from Paris, so we’re driving down there tomorrow to spend Christmas with his family. I like travelling by car – I like the fact that we don’t have to rush and that we don’t have to worry about baggage allowance. Don’t get me wrong, I like travelling light, but let’s be honest, it’s not really possible to do that at this time of the year – what with all the gifts, etc. We have a large box dedicated just for them! Moreover, I’m pregnant! So, it’s probably better to just take the car. Personally, I’m still travelling light though – here’s what I’ll be carrying and wearing everyday: my new Burberry bag (Christmas gift from my husband), my trusted Ugg boots to keep me warm, a snood or a scarf (both from New Look), and a pair of legging (from Littlewoods) or bamboo tights (I love bamboo tights – they’re so soft and so lightweight; they keep you cool when it’s warm and keep you warm when it’s cold) from Boots.

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And here’s what I’ll be wearing them with: my favourite Sweaty Betty jumper over a tank top, which I’ll wear with the legging (I think it’s perfect for car travel – really comfy), Mango jersey dresses (which I’ll wear with the bamboo tights), a Zara top and a cardigan from Asos (which I’ll again wear with the legging). I’m in my third trimester now and I’m still really tiny, so I haven’t bought any maternity wear yet. I hope I don’t have to. So far, these styles work for me, and they’re all in my normal size 8. I suppose, dress smart (read: ditch the jeans, skirts, and anything tight for a while) and you don’t have to spend money on something that you’ll only wear for a few months or so.

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Oh, and the parka, of course. I bought this last year from Tesco F&F. It looks really good and is of surprisingly good quality for Tesco. In fact, it’s as good as the more expensive ones. I wear it all the time and with literally anything. Definitely my favourite winter coat!

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Anyway, enough with fashion. Moving on to beauty stuff now. I mean, it’s Christmas, and that means Christmas eve dinner and Christmas day brunch, and spending Christmas in Paris means… well, taking a romantic walk in the city and do what Parisians do (whatever that is). My point is, I need to look good, and so, it’s obviously important to pack the right beauty products and make-up. I’m sure you’ll agree. Here’s what I’ve decided to bring with me:

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1. Bare Minerals Active Cell Renewal Night Serum; 2. Neal’s Yard Remedies Beauty Sleep Concentrate and Almond Moisturiser; 3. Electric Hair Hydrate Shampoo (sample from Birchbox); 4. Organic Sweet Almond Oil from Naissance; 5. Balance Me Cleanse & Smooth Face Balm; 6. Pure Tea Tree Oil; 7. Organic Oatmeal; 8. Kats Kalma Geranium Water; 9. Avene eye cream

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1. Jean Paul Gaultier Perfume; 2. Waitrose Cucumber Facial Wipes; 3. MAC Lipstick; 5. Benefit Beautiful Eyes, High Beam and Ultra Plush Lip Gloss; 6. Bare Minerals Foundation, Warmth, Mineral Veil and Primer; 7. Lancome Mascara; 8. Eyeko Fat Eye Stick (sample from Birchbox); 9. Max Factor Eyebrow Pencil and Eye Liner

I did mention that I’m travelling light, right? Well, it’s true. It looks like I’m bringing a lot of stuff, but honestly, they all fit in my Cath Kidston ‘weekend bag’ – see:

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Finally, as you know, we’re travelling by car. That means, we have to cross the English Channel with a ferry, which takes around 1 and 1/2 hour; and it also means spending hours and hours on the road. Obviously, I need to keep myself entertained and what better way to do that than with the latest edition of Vogue and food, which go into what I called my ‘food bag’ from Cath Kidston:

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That’s it! I better go catch some beauty sleep and I’ll tweet from Paris tomorrow! xx

Disclosure: this is a non-sponsored post; it does, however, contain affiliate links.

50 chic stocking fillers and Christmas gift ideas under £5

Disclosure: this is a non-sponsored post, and the prices shown below are accurate at the time of posting.

Nivea Mini Treats Gift Pack - £3.93 - Amazon UK

Nivea Mini Treats Gift Pack – £3.93 – Amazon UK

Baylis & Harding Beauticology Gingerbread Small Bath Set - £4.75 - Amazon UK

Baylis & Harding Beauticology Gingerbread Small Bath Set – £4.75 – Amazon UK

Baylis & Harding Beauticology Macaron Small Bath Set - £4.75 - Amazon UK

Baylis & Harding Beauticology Macaron Small Bath Set – £4.75 – Amazon UK

The Body Shop Frosted Cranberry Lip Balm - £4 - The Body Shop

The Body Shop Frosted Cranberry Lip Balm – £4 – The Body Shop

The Body Shop Vanilla Brulee Shower Gel - £4 - The Body Shop

The Body Shop Vanilla Brulee Shower Gel – £4 – The Body Shop

The Body Shop Bob The Polar Bear Bath Sponge - £4 - The Body Shop

The Body Shop Bob The Polar Bear Bath Sponge – £4 – The Body Shop

L'Occitane Delicious Almond Soap - £4 - L'Occitane

L’Occitane Delicious Almond Soap – £4 – L’Occitane

L'Occitane Rectangular Cream Soap Dish - £5 - L'Occitane

L’Occitane Rectangular Cream Soap Dish – £5 – L’Occitane

Lush Dashing Santa Bath Bomb - £2.95 - Lush.co.uk

Lush Dashing Santa Bath Bomb – £2.95 – Lush.co.uk

Lush First Snow Alcohol Free Sparkly Dusting Powder - £4.75 - Lush.co.uk

Lush First Snow Alcohol Free Sparkly Dusting Powder – £4.75 – Lush.co.uk

Lush Yog Nog Soap - £3.40 - Lush.co.uk

Lush Yog Nog Soap – £3.40 – Lush.co.uk

Crabtree & Evelyn Tarocco Orange, Eucalyptus & Sage Hand Therapy - £5 - Crabtree & Evelyn

Crabtree & Evelyn Tarocco Orange, Eucalyptus & Sage Hand Therapy – £5 – Crabtree & Evelyn

Crabtree & Evelyn Travel Bag - £5 - Crabtree & Evelyn

Crabtree & Evelyn Travel Bag – £5 – Crabtree & Evelyn

Lake Land Happy Jackson Love Me Bag - £3.99 - Lake Land

Lake Land Happy Jackson Love Me Bag – £3.99 – Lake Land

Lake Land Moo Moo Milk Mix For Kids - £4.79 - Lake Land

Lake Land Moo Moo Milk Mix For Kids – £4.79 – Lake Land

Lake Land Bubbly Bung Champagne Stopper - £4.99 - Lake Land

Lake Land Bubbly Bung Champagne Stopper – £4.99 – Lake Land

Babies R Us Hip Hip Hooray Rabbit Comforter - £4.99 - Babies R Us

Babies R Us Hip Hip Hooray Rabbit Comforter – £4.99 – Babies R Us

Babies R Us Snuggle Chums Play Mat - £4.96 - Babies R Us

Babies R Us Snuggle Chums Play Mat – £4.96 – Babies R Us

Paddington Bear Fizzers Gift Set - £2.25 - Marks & Spencer

Paddington Bear Fizzers Gift Set – £2.25 – Marks & Spencer

Harrods Showtime Bib - £2.95 - Harrods

Harrods Showtime Bib – £2.95 – Harrods

Harrods Showtime Children's Apron - £3.95 - Harrods

Harrods Showtime Children’s Apron – £3.95 – Harrods

New Look 5 Pack Gold Symbol Friendship Bracelets - £4.99 - New Look

New Look 5 Pack Gold Symbol Friendship Bracelets – £4.99 – New Look

New Look Gold and Pink Sleek Bangle Set - £2 - New Look

New Look Gold and Pink Sleek Bangle Set – £2 – New Look

Topshop Interlocking Heart Necklace - £4 - Topshop

Topshop Interlocking Heart Necklace – £4 – Topshop

Topshop Knife Edge Hoop Earrings - £4.50 - Topshop

Topshop Knife Edge Hoop Earrings – £4.50 – Topshop

Cath Kidston Mini Clocks Ticket Holder - £4 - Cath Kidston

Cath Kidston Mini Clocks Ticket Holder – £4 – Cath Kidston

Cath Kidston Clocks Pocket Mirror - £3 - John Lewis

Cath Kidston Clocks Pocket Mirror – £3 – John Lewis

John Lewis Inner Peace Yoga Bag - £4 - John Lewis

John Lewis Inner Peace Yoga Bag – £4 – John Lewis

John Lewis Assorted Lip Balm - £5 - John Lewis

John Lewis Assorted Lip Balm – £5 – John Lewis

Superdry Nail File Duo - £4.50 - John Lewis

Superdry Nail File Duo – £4.50 – John Lewis

Wax Lyrical Have A Totes Amaze Christmas Candle Tin - £4 - Tesco

Wax Lyrical Have A Totes Amaze Christmas Candle Tin – £4 – Tesco

Zara White Jasmine Christmas Edition Incense - £4.99 - Zara

Zara White Jasmine Christmas Edition Incense – £4.99 – Zara

Kikkerland Owl Contact Lens Case - £4 - Oliver Bonas

Kikkerland Owl Contact Lens Case – £4 – Oliver Bonas

Oliver Bonas Friendship Bracelet - £5 - Oliver Bonas

Oliver Bonas Friendship Bracelet – £5 – Oliver Bonas

Oliver Bonas Pearl Bracelet - £5 - Oliver Bonas

Oliver Bonas Pearl Bracelet – £5 – Oliver Bonas

Oliver Bonas Silver Two Hearts Drop Earring - £5 - Oliver Bonas

Oliver Bonas Silver Two Hearts Drop Earring – £5 – Oliver Bonas

Henry's Future Concrete Heart Pot - £4 - Notonthehighstreet.com

Henry’s Future Concrete Heart Pot – £4 – Notonthehighstreet.com

The Letteroom Letter Tile Style Buckets - £4.95 - Notonthehighstreet.com

The Letteroom Letter Tile Style Buckets – £4.95 – Notonthehighstreet.com

Beecycle Pack Of Five Message Beanstalk Seeds - £3 - Notonthehighstreet.com

Beecycle Pack Of Five Message Beanstalk Seeds – £3 – Notonthehighstreet.com

The Little Boys Room Personalised Bright Wooden Alphabet Train - £2.75 - Notonthehighstreet.com

The Little Boys Room Personalised Bright Wooden Alphabet Train – £2.75 – Notonthehighstreet.com

Sophia Victoria Joy Personalised Baby Keepsake Building Block - £5 - Notonthehighstreet.com

Sophia Victoria Joy Personalised Baby Keepsake Building Block – £5 – Notonthehighstreet.com

The Contemporary Home Decorative Sentiment Stone Heart - £3.50 - Notonthehighstreet.com

The Contemporary Home Decorative Sentiment Stone Heart – £3.50 – Notonthehighstreet.com

Sanctuary Spa 5min Thermal Detox Mask - £3 - Boots

Sanctuary Spa 5min Thermal Detox Mask – £3 – Boots

Sanctuary Spa Hand Wash White Lily and Damask Rose - £5 - Boots

Sanctuary Spa Hand Wash White Lily and Damask Rose – £5 – Boots

Sanctuary Spa Hand Lotion White Lily and Damask Rose - £5 - Boots

Sanctuary Spa Hand Lotion White Lily and Damask Rose – £5 – Boots

Bulldog Original Face Scrub For Men - £4.99 - Amazon UK

Bulldog Original Face Scrub For Men – £4.99 – Amazon UK

Bulldog Original Face Wash For Men (x2) - £4.50 - Amazon UK

Bulldog Original Face Wash For Men (x2) – £4.50 – Amazon UK

Bulldog Original After Shave Balm For Men - £4.99 - Amazon UK

Bulldog Original After Shave Balm For Men – £4.99 – Amazon UK

Nivea Men Shave Gift Pack - £5 - Amazon UK

Nivea Men Shave Gift Pack – £5 – Amazon UK

Nivea Men Minis Gift Pack - £4.50 - Amazon UK

Nivea Men Minis Gift Pack – £4.50 – Amazon UK