Christmas Shopping – when the nearest shop is a Gamme Vert and the local Leclerc is as close as you're going to get to Harvey Nichols – can be a tricky business when you live in far-flung France. Fret not. Cock a snook at the frantic crowds and relax. Pour yourself a hefty glass of rouge, pick up the laptop and raise a toast to modern technology. Father Christmas and his merry elves are just a click away. From lottery winner presents to token gifts, here are some suggestions. Ho, ho, ho...
If you're going to buy him a moustache wax, it has to be Penhaligan's. Dinky tin, smells just the right amount of divine (for a moustache) and you only need a tiny amount to look as groomed as can be – it might even last him right through to next movember.
From the sublime - to the ridiculous. If you're feeling flush, this is your baby. Great reviews, looks good, and whilst I can't make head or tail of the specifications, I'm sure the lucky recipient can. A must for the man who has almost everything; Posh has probably earmarked one for David's stocking.
Whilst we're feeling generous, this would go down a treat, with or without a 3D printer. Just a shame you can't 3D print a second bottle. There's only one left and they deliver to rural France.
If that's pushing the boat out a dram too far, how about glasses to put the Johnny Walker in? Funky design and a bit different. Cheers!
Retrogroovy, this present-to-be is cropping up on wish lists all over the internet and beyond. I love the model in Mad Men blue, but it comes in a range of colours: 3 speeds, a headphone jack in and an RCA out, and that is gloriously, simply, it.
The obligatory christmas jumper. Sorry.
PS. This one's rather cool.
Unabashedly sentimental and downright pretty, great for the girlfriend or for your mum. The red's just right for Christmas – all you need is a sprinkling of snow. It also comes in a tasteful silver.
A pair of utterly lovely soft leather gloves. Short or long cuffs and lined in softest pure wool, the sober black leather goes with everything whilst the soupçon of colour between the fingers is just a little bit Siouxsie and the Banshees.
As the cliché goes, diamonds are a girl's best friend. Small, chunky, diamond stud earrings. Perfect.
However - if you've won the lottery or struck oil in the jardin, this little trinket is sure to put a wee smile on someone's face. For a very long time. It'd go nicely with the earrings above, by the way.
It's called « Chateau kisses» and it plumps up your lips. Enough said.
Just the thing to wear to waft around the château on Christmas morning.
For little ones:
If little Johnny won't stay in his carseat, Santa has a solution: here's one he won't want to get out of.
So we didn't win the rugby - maybe this is what we were missing. For budding rugby chaps everywhere.
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow. Who needs sunshine when you can have sand indoors? Hours of fun and cleans up easily. What more could you ask for?
Not plastic, doesn't beep, need charging or take batteries; a wonderful toy for an active toddler. The wheelybug also comes as a ladybird or a rather pretty mouse.
I have absolutely no idea why this one is so expensive. Strawberry shortcake in all her glory. Enjoy! At that price, it would be a crime not to.....
Just gorgeous. 100% cashmere baby blanket in lemon, for your own baby or someone else's. Made in bonny Scotland.
What a great little stocking filler. A whistle and a bath toy combined – with a dash of physics thrown in.
Elsa, of course. Singing in English. It's on the best seller list so order early before stocks run out.....
And the less little ones:
All singing, all dancing, all-round sports camcorder – a nifty gadget at an extremely nifty price. Works underwater.
Forget everything I said about vintage, wooden and low tech – this one is the bee's knees. With voice recognition amongst its many talents, this IOS and Android compatible robot is a very, very modern meccano toy. Not cheap, but blimey, what a gadget!
You can't talk about teenagers and Christmas without mentioning the word drone at least once. So here's a bestseller :
The antidote to all that whirring technology – a boardgame, and a French one at that. Brush up on Ecclesiastical French history and thrash the family before the Queen's speech.
These nailpolishes are currently all the rage in France; here's a très chic set which will make any teenage girl go oh-la-la.
Simply a very pretty, stylish watch, ideal for a mademoiselle.
Once you've mastered Julia Child, try this one, from the fairy Godmother of French cuisine.
One for the cycle fans:
Not sure if it's the cheese bringing out the best in the wine or vice versa, but here's a definitive guide on what to bring home from that little cheese stall in the market, what to do with it and most importantly, what to drink with it.
A present for someone who's missing Starbucks. Great coffee and the machine looks good without taking up half the kitchen.
And finally, last but not least, what to buy for the rabbit in your life who has everything:
Or the cat that thinks that mice are so last year, darling. Is there an App for this ?