I hope you’re having a sparkling winter, truly I do. I pray that you’re visibly delighted by the prospect of the freezing months ahead, skipping through the snow, pausing at your white-topped front gate to French a beautiful lady before dancing off into the three hours of natural light the day affords you, like Bill Murray at the end of Groundhog Day.
I suspect, however, that some of you – pushed a chapped lip and frosty windscreen too far – may be feeling more like William Blake, who called winter “The direful monster… [who] strides o’er the groaning rocks/ He withers all in silence, and in his hand/ Unclothes the earth, and freezes up frail life.” Proving that nobody pinpoints the drawbacks of the chilly season quite so eloquently as a nudist poet.
Understandably, many Brits choose to take a holiday at this time of year. If you’re about to jet off somewhere sunny, read on. If not, read on anyway. A bit of online window-shopping filled with the promise of balmy days yet to come is the perfect antidote to the post-Christmas blues.
Style Passport is my absolute favourite travel-shopping site. As well as finding articles to inspire your next adventure, you can shop by destination (beach, city, spa, outdoors), style or brand and buy everything from your ski boots to your swimsuit – even the suitcase to stash them in – in one place.
As you might imagine from its name, Swimwear365 offers a huge range of beachwear and accessories all year round.
For upscale browsing, nothing beats Harrods’s Winter Holiday Shop. I had fun imagining a life where an £800 kaftan could have a place in my wardrobe and enjoyed the Travel Essentials section, which gamely tests the limits of the word “essential” by including an (absolutely gorgeous but undeniably £250) iPad cover. The Harrods shopper in lean times may note that the sale has begun. This DVF beach dress has come down to £219.
If you’re in search of something different, Notonthehighstreet is full of unusual holiday buys from small design studios, like this rush bag by Nom. If you’re lucky enough to be going on a family beach holiday, thistowel by Pip Studio is big enough for all of you to share.
Finally, I’m officially still in mourning for the Innovations catalogue, but gadget site Firebox has helped to console me. Holiday accessories there include this shockproof, waterproof mobile-phone protector.