Travelling to a foreign country with high expectations of seeing and doing everything on the must do list is aways going to be a challenge.


I’m pretty stubborn so when someone gave me that advice before our big European trip I was a bit arrogant nonchalant that our schedule would allow us to see everything on the list and more. We would also have fun whilst doing it and soak up the culture too.


Ok so I was a little deluded. Ok a lot deluded. However I realised this on day 4 in Paris. When my husband had decided to forgo a trip into the biggest shopping centre in Paris for a sleep I was a little ticked off. I know shopping wasn’t his thing but sleeping when in Paris??


So I bribe the kids into the delights of toy shopping at this amazing shopping centre and they willingly come along. Walking into LaFayette Paris I knew I was in trouble. Chanel, Prada, Jimmy Choo, Armani brands were all staring out at me. This wasn’t going to be like shopping at Target.


As beautiful as any shopping centre, LaFayette

As beautiful as any shopping centre, LaFayette


So whinging kids win and I head up to the toy section. It is tiny with very limited toys! Oh no…..I have lied to the children and they are NOT happy with me right now. Mr eight would like to spend his money on overpriced Lego for the sake of buying something and I say no we have 7 weeks of holidays left. Mr Eight does not take that overly well.


I decide to give them a break and head back as my expectations of browsing through designer clothes was quickly abolished when I saw €750 for a dress. Thinking I might have more luck purchasing french lingerie I drag two children down a level to the lingerie. I do realise this is about as exciting for them as me looking at Lego! However I will probably not be back here (when lingerie would actually look good on me) again soon so I make them suffer it out.

French Lingerie is about as iconic as the Eiffel Tower

French Lingerie is about as iconic as the Eiffel Tower


They are complaining and fighting in the middle of this upmarket department store and I am starting to feel myself ready to explode. But I breathe and remember I am in PARIS!


So I reach down to admire this gorgeous little lingerie set and hit my head on the rack and knock myself to the ground.


Okay I realise that I am going to lose it and so we leave. Forever. With no purchases. Again.


That evening I reflect that holidays are about memories and good times and you cannot expect everyone to love what you love. It is okay to walk away from your loved ones for a couple of hours to save your sanity. You are also on holidays and are able to do things that make you happy and just because everyone doesn’t want to experience that with you – it is still a great holiday.



Justine Smallwood is a mum, wife, obsessed traveller, and now your own personal travel agent. About You Travel takes the stress out of your travel planning, creating a tailor made holiday that is a reflection of you. Like us on Facebook & Twitter.


*image courtesy of – Letter from Paris