Review: Gloria Golf and Spa Resort, Turkey

As promised in my previous post of my favourite Family Resorts, here is my review of our time spent at the wonderful Gloria Resort in Turkey. It is a holiday destination that I would highly recommend!

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There was so much to do here, more than I have ever encountered at a family resort and the days were packed with kids activities from the moment we woke until we all crashed at the end of the day.

Starting with the rooms, we had a family suite which annoyingly I didn’t get a single photo of! But, it consisted of a master bedroom with lounge area opening to the balcony and a second room with twin beds for the girls. It was heaven having the separate room and Scarlett was most excited to have her own en suite!

The buffets in the main restaurants weren’t huge but what was offered was very good and aside from breakfast, were different everyday. There was a small kids selection and even purees for babies.

This brilliant little splash pool actually had sand on the ground which took some getting used to but the kids loved digging it and making soggy castles!

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Not the most successful sand castles!

Another shallow pool perfect for toddlers!

Another shallow pool perfect for toddlers!

There were plenty of deep pools for real swimming!

There were plenty of deep pools for real swimming!

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We are ice cream connoisseurs in this family and can feedback the chocolate ice cream was goooooood….

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They also did great pizzas and pasta at the ‘Gloria Pub’ nearest the pools. (One to check out!)

After lunch, it was straight off to the water park!

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At only 20 months Savannah loved going down the big slides on our laps – but these little toddler slides were great for when we needed a break!

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Despite us being at the resort during the school holidays and it clearly being very busy, there wasn’t a single queue for the slides, you could always get a group of beds together and it never felt over crowded.

The evenings were either spent at the main restaurant where they would open up an outside bbq for you to order your food and have it bought to the table (as well as being able to use the buffet), or trying out one of the many a la carte restaurants on the resort.

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Dining Al Fresco!

We only tried the Seafood and the International restaurants which were both good, but we soon realised that having 4 children and only 3 iPads (pah) – the buffet option was least stressful!

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After dinner – the entertainment begins in an impressive outdoor arena with cinema seating. A children’s show would start every night at 8.30 (everything from the Smurfs to Madagascar) followed by an organised disco with dancers for the kids to get on stage and have a dance. There was usually an adults show on after this, but we rarely made them as all of us were ready for bed by this point!

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Spot me and Grandma!

Often before bed, we would have a quick play / cool down in the air conditioned soft-play (just to make sure the kids were reeeaaally tired!) which also had a miniature outdoors village to keep their little imaginations active before finally hitting the sack and doing it all again!

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We did go to the private beach but didn’t spend much time there as it was just too hot, but the kids (and Paul) really enjoyed the trampolines! There was a selection of watersports that weren’t included but were averagely priced compared to others we have seen and it had beautiful pontoons with luxury sun loungers for those without small children to enjoy.

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You can see why you wouldn’t attempt this with a 1 and 3 yr old!

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Crab watching!

This resort makes for a pretty full on week, jam packed with activities to keep the kids entertained 24/7, but fear not – there is a luxury spa for the parents and the Prestige Pedicure is definitely a treatment to check out, I’ve never had one like it!

We didn’t take advantage of the kids clubs but reading the activities it is definitely something we would have done had the girls been older. There is so much more to do at this resort from world class golf to children’s pony rides it’s hard to fit it all in one blog post! Basically if you have kids that need constant entertainment – this is the resort for you.

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Alex and the gang doing a treasure hunt for the kids and teaching them a dance routine!

Fireworks at the beach party!

Fireworks at the beach party!

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Even the swish beach party had a children's entertainer so all the kids were raving with their balloons!

Even the swish beach party had a children’s entertainer so all the kids were raving with their balloons whilst the adults sipped their cocktails!

 

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The bridge to the beach

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Savannah in her new skirt from Box Upon A Time

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We found Travel Republic and EasyJet had the best deals on when we were booking so it’s definitely worth shopping around. I’d also check directly with the Gloria Resort for any special offers they may have.

 

Review: Box Upon A Time

It’s not often you’ll see an entire blog post devoted to a product review on Scarlett and Me. I try to avoid too much brand pushing across my blog, but when a product such as Box Upon A Time lands on your lap you make an exception…

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So What Is It? 

It’s actually quite hard to summarise this service whilst giving it the justice it deserves, but essentially it is a subscription for premium childrenswear.

The simple steps involve you creating a fashion profile for your child to include age, size, likes and dislikes, then from here – a stylist from Box Upon A Time will consider this profile and put together a beautiful box of designer goodies suitable for the season.

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It’s all incredibly straight forward and there are 5 steps in total


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Needless to say we went with Style Chic dahhhhling

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A few weeks after the profile had been submitted, the beautifully packaged box of goodies arrived… A friend was over at the time and we were both extremely excited to check out its contents!

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Why Do It? 

I initially wondered if I bought my girls designer clothes, would this be the way I’d do it? Surely the pleasure of going into the shop and making the choice yourself is why you would buy designer clothes at all? But actually, I can confirm that the genuine excitement of receiving the box to discover such beautiful brands that I have never even seen in any shop far outweighs any shopping experience! Especially knowing that all of the designer goodies are worth 60% more than I’d be paying through my subscription (a breakdown of your savings are also included in the box).

Plenty Of Options…

You are offered various levels of subscriptions; Silver, Platinum and Gold starting from just £29. You can suspend your subscription at any time and have no financial ties, you can opt for monthly or quarterly subscriptions and it’s even possible to just buy one box which would make a very special gift for any new mum.

You can check out the extensive list of designers they work with here

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This is a lavish concept that appeals to a niche audience, but if you do have the cash or already like a designer splurge (and a bargain) then head to Box Upon A Time. It’s a lovely idea and one that I hope catches on! For more information you can visit their site at www.boxuponatime.co.uk

 

July Giveaway: WIN a Pacapod Changing Bag!

Fancy getting your hands on this fabulous messenger changing bag from Pacapod? Well then you’re in luck… For this month’s prize draw I have been working with Pacapod to offer one of the Scarlett and Me readers the Jura worth £70 in a colour of your choice.

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Dove

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Black

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Cranberry

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Navy

The Jura is part of their classic collection and is packed with practicality without sacrificing on style. It’s the perfect lightweight addition to any mums bag collection.

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They have literally thought of everything…

This bag will look fabulous hanging from your pram with it’s handy pram attachments or worn across the body when going off road.

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Now for your chance to WIN…

Remember as usual, each way will count as a new entry!

  • Follow the blog by entering your email address top right of this post
  • Share this post on your Facebook page via the icon below
  • Comment below including the colour of the bag you would like to win

The extremely lucky winner will be selected on 24th July 2014 

Follow Pacapod on Facebook to find out first if it’s you!

Good Luck!

xx

Our Lavender Photoshoot With Mrs Shutterspeed

We are still totally buzzing from a fantastic photoshoot at Mrs Shutterspeed’s Studio in Mayfield yesterday. The girls had a great day and I managed to come home with some beautiful photos to share with you now. My 2 girls are the only females in the whole family that don’t like having their photos taken, it’s an absolute nightmare! To give you an idea of how difficult it is to take a photo of them, a commercial photographer we were on a shoot with a few months ago actually said it was the least successful shoot in the 22 years he had been a photographer, and recently we had to cut a shoot short because both girls were screaming blue murder refusing to have their photos taken! I had given up all hopes of getting some beautiful professional shots of the girls.

This is what makes Lorna of Mrs Shutterspeed so different. It helps having a spacious studio with a selection of backdrops and beautiful props, a state of the art editing suite and idyllic surroundings at her Mayfield studio, but what really sets Lorna apart as a brilliant children’s photographer is quite simple… She is absolutely bloody bonkers. She will go to great lengths to get your children laughing and will not stop until you have the perfect photos to cherish forever. It’s impossible not to enjoy the experience and you are guaranteed to leave knowing you have some beautiful photos of your children to share with the family. She has very kindly agreed to put together a special promotion for the readers of Scarlett and Me so check out the offer below!

Here are a few of my favourite snaps of the day. I love them because they are all so natural – of course they weren’t, but that’s the art of a truly brilliant lifestyle photographer…

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Taken in the beautiful grounds of the studio

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Making the most of the lavender!

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Gorgeous Savannah in her Angel’s Face tutu

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Scarlett in her fave strawberry dress – £2.99 H&M!

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And then we moved into the studio…

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Capturing every moment to get the perfect shot.

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Here I was actually having a serious portrait session and was suddenly climbed on by both girls, Lorna kept snapping away and ended up getting my favourite pic of the day!

Whilst I was there, Lorna took delivery of her latest collection of props for new baby shoots, they were just magical and made me wish I had got the girls photographed when they were still so tiny! If you have a new born or one on the way, don’t delay getting in touch and booking a slot. Lorna has a fantastic promotion on at the moment that you can take advantage of just by mentioning this blog.

The offer… 

1 hour studio portrait session plus a 7 x 5 digital image that you can print for all the family for just £45!

This offer is also available as a gift voucher which is the perfect gift for an expectant mum or any mum that has kids like mine who need a true professional to get them smiling for the camera!

You can get in touch with Mrs Shutterspeed via her website here. Otherwise, give her a call on 07787 535388 or drop her an email at email@mrsshutterspeed.co.uk

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Beautiful Baby Shower Gifts

With a good friends baby shower just around the corner, I have been searching online for the perfect gift that since having 2 babies of my own, I truly believe will be useful to a new mum.  So in no particular order, check out my tried and tested top gift ideas for stylish mums-to-be! (Click on any image for further information).

Faye and Lou Muslins, £28.95

Any new mum will tell you that you cannot have too many muslins, 3 years on I am still finding use for them around the house! I only ever had white muslins that didn’t take long to look worn and faded. This beautiful Rainbow Collection from Faye & Lou not only look incredibly stylish, they are double layered to make them highly absorbent and promise to keep their bright colours wash after wash.

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Pacapod Mirano Changing Bag, £99

The first baby changing bag is one of the most exciting purchases for a new mum and a great idea as a present for all the guests to chip in for. This Mirano bag by Pacapod ticks all of the usual Pacapod boxes of keeping you ultra organised with its separate compartments and internal bags, but it’s the stylish design inspired by Riviera Chic that sets this bag apart as the ultimate gift!

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I’ve been working with Pacapod to put together a rather exciting competition that will go live next week so be sure not to miss out by following this blog!

Love Boo Summer Skin Kit, £45.99

All mums-to-be and new mums need a bit of pampering and this award winning brand have put together the ultimate Summer Skin Care Kit for the perfect baby shower gift. The kit includes a tube of Bosom Buddy to restore elasticity on your boobs, Silky Soft Body Wash, a Body Smoother for stretch marks and a luxury body oil. This brand is purely natural and has won the Gold Award for Best Baby Skincare by Mother & Baby which is rather a big deal!

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Natures Purest Bamboo Blanket, £28

Made 100% from bamboo fibre, this is honestly the softest blanket I think I have ever felt and something you wouldn’t hesitate to wrap your brand new baby in. It’s the perfect item to pack in the hospital bag and a very special gift for any expectant mum.

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Natures Purest Bath-time Gift, £28

This best seller arrives in a beautiful gift box and is an essential for any new baby. The hooded towels really do make life easier when trying to dry a new baby and the beautiful bunny mitt will offer a distraction for babies a little less confident in the bath!

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Pigeon Organics Romper, £20.70

This is a brand I first came across when I was pregnant with Scarlett and she is still wearing their summer dresses now. They have a beautiful collection of stylish baby gros, but what sets them apart from others I have tried are the fold-over mitts which is really handy with new borns as they can scratch themselves when they sleep.

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Pigeon Organics Fine Knit Shawl, £31

This brand has the most beautiful prints on all of their products but it’s these beautiful shawls that will instantly make a style statement draped across the pram! They are also very lightweight so perfect for a summer baby.

 

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Goldbug Mummy Clip, £4.50

Quite possibly the most useful thing I own… Am dreading the day I no longer need a pram and have to actually carry my shopping!

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Angelcare Soft-touch Bath Support, £24.99

This wasn’t around for my babies but I certainly wish it had been! I had one of those fabric supports that sit in the water which did the job but it didn’t take long for the fabric to start looking a bit tired and grubby. This moulds softly to the babies warm body and has a water level indicator to help with bath safety.

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Gro-egg Thermometer, £21.99 

A thermometer to monitor the babies room at night is essential and this really is the best I have come by. The glow of the egg will change colour depending on the temperature so you will know instantly if you need to adjust the heating or your babies clothing. Not only this, the thermometer works as a comforting nightlight which is another essential every new born needs.

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Beibamboo Sleep-Pod, £33

This lightweight sleeping bag is the height of comfort for any new baby with it’s patented seam covered designs. It also has fold-over mitts which as I’ve already said is very useful for new babies that scratch themselves when sleeping plus, this sleep-pod opens fully at the front to make nappy changes in the dark much easier!

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And now I must step away slowly from all of these beautiful new baby products, it’s getting dangerous and Paul is looking nervous…

 

My Top 5 Luxury Family Resorts

Following on from a previous review of the Sensatori Holiday Resort in Crete, I wanted to put together a brief summary of some of the other places we have visited that I would recommend to families with young children. I personally find friends recommendations far more valuable than any review on Tripadvisor, so I hope that some of you find this interesting and it can help you on your search to finding the perfect summer holiday! Click on any of the hotel names to be taken straight to their site for further information.

1. Sani Resort, Beach Hotel, Halkidiki - We stayed here with Paul’s family in May 2013, there were 4 kids in total aged 5, 3, 2 and 6 months and there was something for each of them. They were totally catered for children for all ages, with clubs, soft play and outdoor parks, they even held baby swimming lessons at the indoor pool! There was a convenient buffet available at meal times along with the choice of several other restaurants on the resort, but less than a minutes walk was a fabulous marina with cocktail bars and beautiful family-friendly restaurants to pre-book. The thing that really stood out for me at this resort was the evening entertainment. The outdoors auditorium held full scale theatre performances such as Mama Mia, it was so impressive and the kids were engrossed night after night. I’ve never stayed anywhere with such fantastic entertainment and it quickly became the holiday highlight!

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2. Atlantis The Palm, Dubai - This is a holiday probably better suited to families with slightly older children so you can really take advantage of all of their fantastic facilities. The main attraction to the Atlantis is the water park. It’s amazing. One slide actually goes through a shark infested aquarium! Whilst the girls weren’t quite old enough to go on the slides they still loved going around the park in dinghis’. The real highlight of this holiday for the girls was walking around the massive underground aquarium in the hotel. If you have kids as obsessed with Finding Nemo as ours, this is the hotel for you!

We stayed here in November 2013 which was perfect as the weather wasn’t too hot.

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‘Must Do’s’ in Dubai: 

  • Get yourself some bargain diamonds at the Gold Souks
  • Check out the indoors ski slopes at the Emirates Mall
  • Visit The Dubai Mall for the ultimate shopping experience (largest shopping mall in the world)
  • Watch the water fountain show outside the Dubai Mall
  • Go up to the top of the tallest building in the world – the Burj Khalifa

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3. Sensatori Resort, Crete - This was our most recent holiday and we were massively impressed. The first thing that made us go ‘wow’ was the room, if you can get yourself a family suite with a private pool you won’t regret it. It made holidaying with two little ones almost relaxing! The restaurants and variety of food was great, but I would recommend booking the restaurants as soon you arrive as they get booked up very quickly. The children’s splash pool was an absolute godsend and again, the entertainment which is key at a family resort, was brilliant. A CBeebies style show every night kept the kids entertained before it was the parents turn to enjoy an hours musical production performing everything from Motown to Elton John. You can check out my full review including lots more photos of the Sensatori Resort, Crete HERE.

Taken from our balcony

Taken from our balcony

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4. Moon Palace Golf and Spa Resort, Cancun Mexico – We actually spent our honeymoon here when I was 6 months pregnant with Savannah and Scarlett was just 16 months old. It was relaxing enough for a pregnant woman with enough going on for a lively toddler. Like most Mexican resorts, its massive (10,000 rooms!) with a huge selection of restaurants, bars and pools giving plenty of variety to the week. Most resorts on this coast are all inclusive, but what sets this hotel apart is the holiday credit included in the package that you can spend on any of the hotels facilities. I obviously spent my share on massages, but Paul decided to venture out for a swim with dolphins! Most evenings (in the right season) they release hundreds of baby turtles into the sea which is a really special event for the guests to get involved with.

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Releasing our baby turtle into the sea!

 

5. Gloria Golf Resort, Turkey – This place has come very highly recommended by Paul’s parents (a very reliable source for luxury hotels!) who visited this golf resort last year so we are in the process of booking it up for August. We are already assured the food, spa and hotel facilities are out of this world, but having looked through the site it seems it’s the kids activities that steal the show! Kids clubs for all ages, sheltered trampolines on the beach, an indoor jungle, a mini village, a water park, a zoo! The list goes on, and as I have said before – if the kids are happy, everyone’s happy. I’ll let you know more after we’ve been!

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If you have any holiday resorts that you’d recommend please let me know in the comments below so I can get researching for next year  :)

 

Stylish Father’s Day Gifts

Paul if you are reading this blog post, don’t get too excited… Scarlett insisted on choosing your Father’s day gift and we both know how much she loves the Pound Store. However, I did put in some extensive research for the rest of you looking for some stylish and very special gifts for the Father’s in your lives! Check out my top gifts for the most ‘impossible to buy for’ men. You can click on any of the images to be taken straight to the site for further details.

Auntie Mims Personalised Wooden Hammer

All men love new tools but this is a particularly fabulous gift for a Dad into DIY. This quality wooden claw hammer can be engraved with a personal message from his little ones and arrives in a cotton presentation draw string bag. Auntie Mims have a huge selection of beautiful hand crafted wooden items to personalise as special gifts for all occasions, make sure you check out their site here!

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Auntie Mims, Personalised Wooden Hammer, £20

 

All Things Brighton Beautiful Barbecue Tool Set

Now that summer has officially landed, the roast dinners have been replaced with barbecues and al fresco dining. What better gift then smart new tools to get the man doing the cooking! This 4 piece set by All Things Brighton Beautiful is made from high quality ash wood and stainless steel making them incredibly hard wearing and can be stored in this handy canvas carry case.

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All Things Brighton Beautiful, Barbecue Tool Set, £29.95

 

Luckies Scratch Map

If the Daddy in your life loves to travel, this is the ideal gift from his little ones. The deluxe edition Scratch Map allows him to log his travels by scratching off the top foil of the countries visited to reveal beautiful bright colours. A stylish edition to the study or as a keepsake to enjoy looking at with his children as they explore the world together.

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Luckies, Scratch Map Deluxe, £19.95


Luckies Smart Phone Projector

You can’t go wrong with a gadget when shopping for men, but it’s hard to find something they haven’t already come across. Luckies have a huge online selection but it was this mini portable cinema that caught my eye. It’s new to the market and will project on a wall, any images or videos you play on your smart phone.  Perfect for those Peppa Pig re-runs on YouTube!

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Luckies, Smartphone Projector, £15.95

 

Dermalogica Shave Kit

For the modern man that takes care of his skin, Dermalogica have put together this kit to offer the ultimate shaving experience.  The box contains the Soothing Shave Cream, Daily Clean Scrub, Pre Shave Guard and the Post Shave Balm.

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Dermalogica Shave Kit, £43

 

Stow London Luxury Coin Tray

Finally for the man that really does have it all, look no further than this super stylish coin tray by Stow London. I for one hate seeing Paul’s pocket junk scattered all over my dresser, this little tidier in butter soft leather means he can finally store his clutter in style. If you wanted to really impress, there is an option to personalise this item with his initials in embossed gold…

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Stow London, Luxury Leather Coin Tray in Sanderson Smokey Quartz Brown, £49 (on offer!)

I’m always on the lookout for beautiful brands not on the high street, so if you have any that you’d recommend please let me know about them in the comments below!

Have a Happy Father’s Day! x