Pastels in Notting Hill

Pastels in Notting Hill

This weekend we decided to go to one of my favorite and iconic places in London, the setting to one of my most favorite films, to the place with the house with the blue door, where everything and anything is sold of the burrow…Yes you guessed it! Portebello Road and Notting Hill ❤

Now that it looks as if my parent’s London base will be finished within a couple of weeks, my Mum sat me down and ran through the items that they are going to be taking with them to kit their flat out. The good news is that we getting rid of the two seats that my boyfriend found in the bin… but the bad news is that along with the seats they need pretty much EVERYTHING else too. Negotiations over the cream toaster and kettle set have been hard fought and I regret to say that as I haven’t contributed financially to anything contested, my arguments over ownership have been running thin at the best of times… So, so far I have only managed to secured the dishwasher, an old microwave, the washing machine, Grandma’s toaster, the existing fridge, a mended hoover and a chair. Now that I am soon going to be presented with a few tough choices like whether to sacrifice buying a table and opt instead of sofa and a tray, or whether to blow the lot on a plasma TV & a cocktail shaker… I thought that I would go to Notting Hill and check out if I could bag any antique bargains at Portebello Road Market…

Although it was a very sunny day, the air was pretty crisp, so I decided to wear a down feathered jacket from DKNY, which I particularly like as it has a shinny exterior which glistens the colors of the rainbow when the sun hits it. I added a thick wool scarf from Primark that has been great to wrap round to keep warm and wore dark blue jeans and high-top Vans sneakers, that are comfortable, keep my feet warm and who’s white flash add a trendy casual street style look. I am enjoying wearing darker clothes this season and big thick knits and large scarves make great statement pieces and are definitely in this season.

The sun was shining and the rows of pastel colored Victoria Houses were so beautiful and really deserve their iconic status. It felt as if behind each facade, Hugh Grant could of been there ready to pop out to his library. It was really busy, full of tourists so probably not the best place to buy furniture, but they did have some very cute floral tea cups which were really pretty. The vintage clothes boutiques were all really unique too and one of my favourite market stalls had second hand very bright color hats. There was such a great buzz, it was truly a magical afternoon.So here are some of my pictures from our shopping day!

Some of my recommendations are 202 on Westbourne Grove, West London’s most stylish shopping street. It is an interior and fashion shop with lunch combination.  I love this place. It’s always buzzing and a very nice street to hang out in the weekend too. Don’t let the queue put you off! They are usually able to sit you down within a short amount of time. And it’s definitely worth the wait! the Churchill Arms on Kensington Church Street if you’ve done some shopping at High Street Kensington and feel like a beer in a traditional pub. Its got such a quirky exterior with hanging baskets, flowers and Union Jack flags and it’s where Churchill himself used to come for a quick “couple” of drinks. Another cool place is Bodo’s Schloss in South Kensington which is cool apres-ski bar, restaurant serving Austrian food like wiener schnitzel and beef goulash and club, under one ski hut kind of roof. They’ve gone pretty wild with their ski theme with the waiters wearing leiderhosen, alpine furniture everywhere and instead of mountain views, Tv screens with videos of people yodelling and skiing down the slopes.

So here are some of the pictures from our outing and of my outfit! ❤ Let me know what you think, Abi xxx

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 WEARING

High Top Sneakers – VANS

Stone encrusted bracelet and necklace – ZEADES

Dark Blue Jeans – GUESS

Rainbow Reflector Jacket – DKNY

Thick Wool Scarf – PRIMARK

Pssssst…Are you looking for the famous Notting Hill blue door to William Thacker’s flat? Well it is at 280 Westbourne Park Road, Notting Hill, London W11 and a few minutes walk away is Hugh Grant’s travel book shop on 142 Portobello Road, Notting Hill, London W11

😉 #SelfieTime

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My White Picket Frock at the Dorchester

My White Picket Frock at the Dorchester

   I am so happy to be able to announce that this month, myself and My Girls On Tour are off to France and TURKEY which I am super excited about!!!!

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Last weekend as a very special treat we went to one of the most beautiful and famous hotels in the world, the Dorchester, for afternoon tea. Now a good old afternoon tea is, for me at least, right up there with probably one of the best inventions of the 19th century, with the likes of the light bulb, the steam boat, the telephone, the rubber band, the lawn mower and the dish washer. Am I exaggerating? Perhaps a little, but really how many other countries do you know of that have come up with what is basically a three course cake feast?

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For such a pampering and girlie afternoon I decided to wear a gold and turquoise bodice dress from White Picket Frock. What I loved about this dress were the rich colors and the beautiful heart shape of the corset. I felt like a Princess wearing it and so feminine. It was a perfect length, just above the knee, so it looked really sexy but also super sophisticated and smart. I paired it with a long gold arrow necklace to compliment the dress which shined in the light and sparkled as I moved. I really can’t get enough of this beautiful little London boutique’s dresses, they are just so perfect for special events. I can not recommend them enough!

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The atmosphere was amazing at the Dorchester Hotel. Staff gave presents to guests are they descended from their rooms, the staff were immaculately dress, so polite and the flower bouquets so beautiful. A place where the present Queen Elizabeth II attended a dinner part the day before her engagement was announced. This place oozed old school class and wealth.  I felt so chic and feminine wearing my Khalea Strapless Jacquard Midi Dress, whilst sipping pink champagne. The scones were so scummy and the fruit tea that I choose delicious. My favorite part were the little cakes which we couldn’t quite finish for fear of death by chocolate. A must do, even if it is just once in a lifetime 😉

Let me know what you think of the dress, do you like the look? What is your favorite White Picket Dress? Let me know 🙂

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Wearing

Khalea Strapless Jacquard Midi Dress – WHITE PICKET FROCK

Metal Twirl Stilettos – DUNE

Long Arrow Gold Pendant – Accesorize

Green flower earrings – Accessorize

Don’t forget that you have until the 11th October to use your 15% code “MGOT” on all dresses!!!!!

Khalea Strapless Jacquard Midi Dress

Sophie Embellished Lace Gown

Grace Beaded Detail Gown

Kendall Sweatheart Lace Bodice Gown

Brigitte Drap Straight Gown

Lia Sequin Midi Dress

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Columbia Road Flower Market

Columbia Road Flower Market

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It is so hard coming to London or any city for that matter as a tourist – the guide books seem to be filled with hundreds of pages of detail on one small seemingly obscure statue, there are unhelpful maps, dodgy recommendations which have been living too long off their reputation and worst of all there is very little local knowledge. What I really want from a guide book is it to act like a silent local tour buddy, taking me first to see the “essentials” where I can get my picture taken in front of the cities most famous landmarks – aka London Bridge, Houses of Parliament and Picadilly Circus, and then, once I have safely Facebook status checked in, selfied to my hearts content and social media conquered my holiday city, I want my local travel buddy to take me see the hidden gems that makes each place so unique and special. One such gem is Columbia Road Flower Market, a perfect place to shop, take beautiful pictures, meet interesting people, eat amazing food and relax at the haunts of some of London’s most trendiest hipsters.

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The market is open every Sunday until 3pm. We arrived around 1.30 in the afternoon and the streets were already bustling. Buskers strummed guitars whilst hipster ate oysters and drank beer in the street. Clientele with high waisted jeans, crop tops and hats spilled out of the Cafes and Boho Restaurants. The houses were really smart and the few gaps in the street had been filled with boutique shops selling terracotta pottery and antiques. Columbia Road was beautiful, with lovely shops selling cool clothes, art, gardening tools and home furnishings. Each one was so unique and alternative, I just loved the vibe. People queed for coffee and fresh juice being made behind tiny counters, pop up shops from front doors of houses to cater for this thirst crowd

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In between the shops were endless barrows of flowers, plants and potted trees. Real Londoners shouted at the top of their voices their offers and prices. The atmosphere was great. People jostled past with large ferns and banana plants. Cactuses were sold next to chilli plants for £1. Young men presented beaming girls with giant bouquets of sunflowers, roses and hyacinths wrapped in brown paper. The place was full, so sometimes it was hard walking through the throng of people. We had a good look and took some pictures and by the time we had got an amazing coffee from an art gallery/cafe, the market started closing and the prices started getting lower. It was hard to decide which flowers to buy because they were all so lovely. In the end we decided upon a huge bought of sunflowers and another of orange cabbage flowers as they were so different to anything that I had seen before.

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After flower shopping we decided to go to Venerdi‘s a great Italian restaurant in Chatsworth Road. We decided upon Venerdi’s for a change but we could have gone to any one of the great eats along Broadway Market, which is just 15 minutes walk from Columbia Flower Road and is where I bought my green jumper that I am wearing here in the pictures.

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As this was a Sunday afternoon out I decided to wear faux leather baggy (but not so baggy after the giant calzone pizza) shorts and combine them with a green sweater for casual look . What I love about this top is the rich green color, which really goes well with dark bottoms, like dark blue jeans or black shorts. The embellishment and pattern on the front I felt was so original as was the detail in the sleeves and as soon as I saw it I loved it. Let me know what you think of my suggestion for a great thing to do on a Sunday in London and also if you like the look! 🙂 Do have any great things to do in your city on a Sunday? What local haunts would your recommend or love to go on your day off? Let me know, Love Abi xxx

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WEARING

Faux Leather Shorts – Ebay

Green Embellished Sweater – BLACK TRUFFLE

Metal Tip shoes – STRADIVARIUS

Silver studded earrings – BULGARI

White baggy T – H&M

Follow My Girls On Tour on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to see our adventures, outfits and travels as they happen in real time xxx

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 🙂 xxx

Formal Dinner at St Hughs College Oxford

Formal Dinner at St Hughs College Oxford

I am really excited as I have just been invited by one of my most loveliest friends (if you are reading, then you know who you are 😉 to the 700th Exeter commemoration ball at the university of Oxford. So I thought it would be right to tell you all about the wonderful time that I had visiting Oxford university and attending a formal dinner at St Hughs College Oxford earlier this year with my friends.

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Oxford university is one of the best in the country, if not in the world. While having no known date of foundation, there is evidence of teaching as far back as 1096,making it the oldest university in the English-speaking world, and the world’s second-oldest surviving university. Oxford has educated many notable alumni, including 27 Nobel laureates, 26 British Prime Ministers (most recently David Cameron) and many foreign heads of state. It was such a joy wandering around and visiting all the beautiful grounds and Colleges. Christchurch, where the Harry Potter banquet scene is filmed and the beautiful large grounds of Trinity College. I went to Balliol to see the name on the alumni war memorial of my Great Great Uncle and loved going into the Chapel at Jesus College.

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Wearing:

Floor length sequin gown from AX PARIS

For dinner we went to St Hughs College, founded in 1886 as a women’s college and considered one of the most attractive colleges because of its extensive, pleasant gardens. We dressed in gowns or cocktail dresses and the boys in suits or black tie. There is a formal like this at the College once every week (if I am not mistaken) and a black tie event twice a month. We queued up outside and then were let in to a beautiful sumptuous room, with long brown tables laid for a three course meal. We sat at the senior table and as such were given wine with our meal too! When the fellows of the College walked in, we all had to stand in silence and the meal began after the Head of the College finished a quick speech in Latin. The tradition of this place was awesome and an experience which I will never forget. The food was really good too! Afterwards we all went for Whiskey tasting back at St Hughes College. A really magical evening! Thank you Stella 🙂

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Harrods, La Duree and a perfect day out in Knightsbridge

Harrods, La Duree and a perfect day out in Knightsbridge

London is beautiful and, if you know where to go and who to go with, you will experience the best of the best. Today, we decided to spend the afternoon in Knightsbridge, one of the poshest and most expensive areas of London. Close to Hyde Park, the Albert Memorial and the Diana Memorial, this is the perfect place to see fast cars and designer hand bags.

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Our first stop was to Harrods. This has got to be the world’s most incredible and beautiful shopping center in the world. Men in green tail coats and top hats open the doors to a world only seen in fairy tales, the only place in the world where you will have to queue up to pay at the Louis Vuitton Store.

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Even if you do not intend to spend lots of money on all their designer clothes, perfumes and jewellery, it is definitely worth a visit. My favorite part has got to be the food court. Tourists and locals alike throng through the narrow ills looking longingly at all the marvelous creations which is on offer. Chocolates, the world’s most expensive cakes, pastries, marzipan fruits, macaroons. The assistants wear white hats and stand behind their individual counters. Each morsel of goodness has clearly been specifically loved, made and chosen. Another room and some more wonders. Rows of Spanish cured hams and sea food restaurants. Lobsters and champagne. The ceilings are ornate and the wealth is opulent. This is food porn at its very best.

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After buying a lovely bag, my boyfriend and I went for lunch at Cafe de Paris, a little french bistro close to the back of the gigantic hall. Not wanting to end the day just yet, we went back to La Duree where we had coffee and macaroons in a sumptuous decorated room.

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After a bit more shopping, we set off for Zuma for some drinks. I would highly recommend their rose and lycee cocktails. It was so full, the atmosphere was amazing. We managed to get a seat by the bar and so we sipped our drinks whilst watching the incredible pace to which the bar staff worked.

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Finally, on to Baku Bistro for some top notch Azerbeijan cuisine with live DJ and fruit hooka outside on their front patio. The cesar salad was the best I have ever had and the champagne was to die for. The best day out in London by a mile 😉

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Shanghai Blues

Shanghai Blues

Shanghai Blues, is a sumptuous central London Restaurant, which is not only elegant and does great food, but also has incredible live jazz. Here are the pics from our recent trip! I absolutely love this place and it is a great chance to dress up! A great reminder of my trip to China and the best luxury which I experienced in Shanghai.

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We had Champagne Berlinis for starters. We tried peach and raspberry. They were so good, we ended up buying a whole bottle of Champers to ourselves!

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Here come the 7 courses.

Dim Sum and spicy cucumber for starters. I am not normally a massive Dim Sum fan, but these were truly scrumptious. Particularly loved the squid ones

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The next courses included baby squid with garlic and peppers, followed by prawns in batter with lemon sauce.

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Peking duck pancakes, my true favorite. I didn’t get the chance to try some whilst I was in Beijing, but I am sure it wouldn’t have been as nice as the duck which is brought to the table, cut up and served here at Shanghai Blues.

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Make sure you save some space. Unfortunately the best is saved till last. Meaty lobster and fried rice. Really well cooked and very fresh. This was the first time I had lobster coated in a light batter and it was delicious.

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 The music was pitch perfect and it was nice to sing along to some great tracks, some by the Killers, Alicia Keys, Maroon Five. It wasn’t over powering though, so it was just a perfect setting for a romantic dinner.

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Finished off with some rose tea – magical

The service was good, but as it was a lot of food we didn’t hesitate to ask the waiters to bring the courses slower . At first we felt a bit rushed, but after our request the speed of the course delivery was perfect. After all it does takes time to eat 7 courses, sorbet and a bottle of Champagne!

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As the period from the end of the First World War until the start of the Depression in 1929 is known as the “Jazz Age”, I opted to wear a 1920s style sequin backless dress, similar to those worn in the Great Gatsby film, based on the 1925 novel written by American author F. Scott Fitzgerald.

WEARING

MISS SELFRIDGE DRESS

E-JEWELLERY-BOUTIQUE PENDANT AND MATCHING EARRINGS

DUNE BEIGE/PINK HEELS

 

La Paella – an Unchained Melody

La Paella – an Unchained Melody

We found a splendid little oasis of calm called La Paella located at the Hostal Valencia, between Clles Lamparilla and Obrapia in Old Havana. We had walked quite some time from the crafts market down to the Cathedral Plaza and this was a great place to relax, cool off and recharge.

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The restaurant’s design is typically Andalusian. The interior is dark and sombre.But at the heart, a beautiful courtyard flourishes with vines and plants and color.

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An architectural Heathcliff.

The food was very good, really quite authentic but slightly meager in the chicken/ vegetable to rice ratio. However, the rice was very well cooked, sticky and not hard. In all the meal tasted great.

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The Cuban trio came round and serenaded us.  I must say that these were best ones that we encountered in Cuba and boy we met a few. The lead singer had an incredibly delicate voice and we loved it so much that we had to request a CD.The whole atmosphere was great and we smiled when we heard a large group sing along to a wonderful rendition of Unchained Melody.

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Dinning in the Colonial Era -Sol Ananda

Dinning in the Colonial Era -Sol Ananda

Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar, conqueror of Cuba, founded Trinidad exactly 500 years ago, in 1514. The city is a living museum piece. Not only is it older than almost every building in Paris but this World Heritage Site is one of the world’s best preserved colonial cities.

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Sol Ananda is one of Trinidad’s many good restaurants. It is set in a house which looks onto the Plaza Mayor that was bought by an architect, re-done and transformed back into what it would have looked like a hundred years ago, when Trinidad was a very affluent area thanks to its blossoming sugar industry.

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All the furniture is antique. Tables are set amongst bedrooms, with ornately decorated beds, wardrobes and rocking chairs. A real old Cello is propped up and is used by locals who play at the restaurant museum in the evening.The concept is clever, dinning tables are interspersed amongst these old heirlooms, so there is ample opportunity to really feast upon the items. I felt that it was a much more enjoyable way to contemplate and admire these great pieces of craftsmanship than by glancing quickly at them whilst walking through a museum gallery.

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We ate off antique plates with antique silver cutlery from an old colonial ship

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The food is pricy for Cuba, like normal London prices, but the menu offers a variety of India, Caribbean, Mexican and Spanish food. This is what we had for lunch, but I would highly recommend the lobster which I had on our last dinner in Trinidad.

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For our final dinner in Trinidad we up to the restaurant’s roof terrace. The sky was alight with color as the sun set. Stone angels became shadows against the fiery sky. DSC_0425

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