Cowboy ‘n Cow Girl Style

Cowboy ‘n Cow Girl Style

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  I can tell that I am getting older because I no longer want to inflict minor injury on myself to avoid having to go for a walk with my parents. I can remember thinking how many walks do you need to go on? And why did they think it would appeal to me when I could stay home and watch Sabrina the Teenage Witch double episode? Slow, sometimes painful if going uphill…a run I would understand, but a walk invariably followed by a cup of tea???

Now that I don’t get a lot of time off, and I live a very city life here in London, I jump at the chance to run up a few hills, climb a few trees, kick some rocks and fall into rivers. So today, like everyday I was in France I had to be the one persuading people to go for walks and apparently when it’s someone else’s idea, they are a lot harder to convince!

Here are some of my pics from the time walking in the Pyrenees. I decided to wear something suited for the outback and nature but also which would make me feel good. I combined some thick leather cow boy style boots and an all denim ensemble and just loved the freedom of roaming around the cows, the horses, running in the meadows and climbing stuff. The boots are super special because of the rich green and yellow ocher color which I just love to wear in Autumn and the double denim really gave my look a retro cow girl look. And don’t forget,to follow the yellow/red path markers on trees and rocks to help you find your way if your ever lost along the Pyrenean mountain range.  Let me know what you think 😉

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WEARING

Large Denim Shirt – VINTAGE

High Waist Denim Shorts – BERSHKA

Leather Hat – VINTAGE from Australia

Leather boots – VINTAGE

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There Was A Fire

There Was A Fire

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My Dad woke me up early because there was a fire. The next door neighbor had stoked her chimney and had gone to see some friends. The pipe hadn’t been swept yet as it was just the beginning of this year’s winter days and so the heat had not been able to escape properly and the metal got hotter and hotter until it had started to glow red in the darkness. This is often how small chimney fires start here in the mountain, but this one was different. Yellow insulation resting on the red hot tin caught fire and by the time anyone had realized what was going on, the flames coming out of the house were 30 ft high.

The village is far away from the fire brigade station and so has its own fire brigade, a little group of volunteers who until now have never really been called upon. People ran between the narrow streets trying to work out which house was ablaze, as unless you are outside of the village you can not see one house passed another. At first we thought that it was us.

Smoke billowed through cracks in the adjoining walls and stones were red hot to the touch. The air outside was foggy as if in cloud and my Mum in all her panic had to go back to let the cat and the dog out of the house after we had locked up and vacated the building. We huddled in the outdoor square and watched chains of people with buckets from the nearby fountain, their meager water like rain drops, insignificant against the roaring fire. The owner of the house still wasn’t back and no one was sure whether her children had been inside asleep. A member of the volunteer fire brigade, a local farmer, scaled the medieval walls and kicked in the window and went inside with a handkerchief around his nose. We heard explosions are more oxygen reached the flames. After an agonizing wait he emerged from the shell confirming that no one was inside.

The wind in Mosset either blows from the mountains and this is called La Tramontagne, or blows from the sea and brings the clouds. Tonight, for the first and probably the last time in my family’s memory, there was no wind and the air was calm and silent and the flames lept into the starry sky and the smoke engulfed the villagers. The house burnt right through, but the fire did not spread. Had there been a wind, the whole village would have also burnt right through, burnt back down to igneous. As twilight dawned, my Dad went up to our roof to offer the sleeping fire men some of our left over Quality Street Chocolates and some coffee. They couldn’t leave yet even though there was nothing left, just in case one little spark reignited the blaze.

So my Dad woke me up early to say there was a fire, but this time it wasn’t a real fire, not like the one 17 years ago, the famous village fire in the house next door. I went to the window and rather than seeing swirls of smoke and floating ash, I saw an incredible fire, a fire in the sky. My Autumn sunrise, Orange, pink, red and light blue, magical and a reminder of the awesome power of nature.

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Lobster Chic – Ripped Shorts and Crochet Top

Lobster Chic – Ripped Shorts and Crochet Top

The lobster was dead but somehow wouldn’t stop jumping around my plate. The metal tweezers that we were supposed to use to cut its pincers open, kept slipping and having missed the dark red shell, would almost take my fingers off. The few times I had had lobster before it had always been opened and all I had had to do was fish out the little squidgy pieces of light pink rubbery flesh out of the hard shell…My best ffriend Laura was having similar trouble her end. The loster almost defeated us, but then we decided…if we were to do this (and boy we were starving as it took ages for us to find a parking spot), all etiquette would have to fly out of the window. Once we had decided on that, things went better. Although pieces of lobster flew across the square, most got caught between the metal objects and we would clench our fists and give off  grunts, like those of tennis players, straining to find a last ounce of strength. It was when Laura started using her hands to claw the flesh out of the little cracks in the shell that the waiter decided to stop hovering around our table and leave us to our own shameful devices. The destruction left on the table was truely the sign of a great meal 🙂

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I went to Collioure with my best friend from high school, Laura. We have known each other since we were 9 years old and although we don’t see each other that often we always speak on Skype and catching up is always so much fun 🙂 Having eaten the most amazing sea food, we then walked around lovely Collioure. It was still really hot here and people were swimming despite it being Autum. I decided to wear short denim ripped shorts and a white summer top which I tucked into my shorts for our trip here. I really like the simple detail of the top and I find that all crochet tops just so perfect for the sea. It was a casual day by the sea and so I bought a canvas Che Guevara Bag and beaded flip flops for a sophisticated smart beach town look. Laura wore a black dress which she dressed down and accessorized with a brown belt, a bright pink handbag and feather earrings. Here are some of the pictures that we took around the fauvist’s stomping ground. Let me know what you think? 🙂

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WEARING

Cut Off Ripped Jeans Shorts – BERSHKA

Beaded Flip-Flops – ACCESSORIZE

Earrings – Boutique Barcelona Spain

White Crochet Top  – SALSA JEANS

Want to get closer to the action? Join us on our adventures, travels and see our outfits in real time via our social media xxx

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Les Fauves at Collioure

Les Fauves at Collioure

     It was the summer of 1905. Matisse was joined by Derain at Collioure for a summer holiday. The rich blue of the sea, the pastel of the houses, the red and green of the boats and the yellow ocher of the sand inspired their works which displayed incredibly vibrant brush strokes and colors. The passion and energy of the paintings were visible for all to see and people started referring to the artist’s as “Les Fauves” or the wild beasts.

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  What I love about Collioure is that it is seems to have remained unchanged from the time when the Fauvists were here. You can walk around the town and follow a trail of replica paintings hung at the very spots where the artists painted their masterpieces. Stand where they once stood and gaze at their present and reflect on your own.  The medieval streets wind away from sandy bays where fishing boats are docked, flowers twist their way around old doors, the royal castle looks down upon a stone causeway against which the sea crashes and catches tourists unawares. Rock pools, fish, gulls and a rainbow of colored houses spilling off the mountainside. Just when you think it couldn’t get much prettier, you turn the corner and see the once lighthouse, now converted into the church of Notre-Dame-des-Anges, its large cross dark against the blue water and the yellow cliff and the town walls, built all the way up to the sea’s edge.

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I went there with my best friend Laura, whom I met when I was 9 years old at primary school and we have remained friends ever since.  We had a big seafood platter lunch, with lobster, crab and shellfish on the sea front at alovely french bistro and then walked around and did some shopping in the little boutique side streets. I bought a really nice white cotton top and some pottery. The shops here sell some great local produce, so its a great place to buy some super lovely souvenirs 😉

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Fauvism is the style of les Fauves (French for “the wild beasts”), a loose group of early twentieth-century Modern artists whose works emphasized painterly qualities and strong color over the representational or realistic values retained by Impressionism. Characteristics of Fauvism  include warm and cold colors  juxtaposed to add excitement and  left almost unblended, the emotional quality of color was emphasized,drawings were simplified, there was no attempt at 3D drawing as most areas of the canvas were left “flat” and a dark line can often be seen around some elements.

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La Belle Epoque

La Belle Epoque

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Rudyard Kipling , the British writer, poet and novelist sojourned four times at Vernet-Les-Bains. In his letters home, he talked about Canigou, the magician among mountains, comparing it to the peaks of the Himalayas and certain hills in South Africa, which evoked mystery and spirituality. He, like many Brits had come in search of the winter sun and it were these pioneering, adventurous Victorians who are credited with the emergence of French alpine tourism. It was during the 1830s, when three more sources of water rich in sulfur and natural health properties were discovered, that the Belle Époque buildings and spa were built, to cater for vast numbers of health tourists. The arrival of the son of the pacha of Egypt and Constantinople, prince Ibrahim Pacha in 1846 really gave Vernet-Les-Bains international notoriety.

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Now, many of the old grand buildings of the Belle Époque have gone, but there are two particularly impressive Art Deco buildings which remain, Le Grand Hotel Du Portugal and the Casino next door to it. They really are so beautiful and an impressive reminder of this golden age. The Grand Hotel is such a great representation of french architecture and I loved all the colors and the gardens. For our trip I wore glitzy sequin slip-ons and a very bold red jacket with big black buttons. I thought it fitting to add a black star to my lapel to bring me some luck for my game on the roulette and thought that the red of the jacket and my lipstick would be in sharp contrast to the black of the buttons and of the shoes. To really jazz up the look I decided to carry a hard mini case clutch made out of various tin cans and recycled metal.

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I never have enough money to bet on numbers, so on the rare occasions that I do go to the casino I tend to play black/red ;)… if things go badly I just leave feeling depressed for the next two hours and if things go well I turn into a crazy addict on a roll-

Red, red..it IS going to be RED next…Ermm, Abi how do you know? I just know, I know because I have a system OK?!, I must stick to the system, the patterns…The roulette gets me and I get the roulette. Red, it must be red….BLACK…!DAMN! F***! Abi watches with watering eyes as the croupier racks in her chips… It’s your fault, you broke my concentration…its over, our winning streak is finished and it is ALL YOUR FAULT… ????? Ok, maybe its not ALL your fault…I think your right, maybe its time to leave, I think I may have done enough gambling for one day…

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Abi xxx

WEARING

Red Jacket –  CHRISTIAN LACROIX

Ripped Jeans – PRIMARK

Fairtrade Recycled Can Hard Clutch Bag – PITT RIVERS MUSEUM

Black and Silver Sequin Slip-ons – TESCOS

Black Star Brooch – VINTAGE

Earrings – BULGARI

Diamond Bracelet – MACY’S

Silver Bangle – AFGHAN CONNECTION (Charity Supporting Girl’s Education in Afghanistan)

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Breakfast at Tiffa…Abi’s

Breakfast at Tiffa…Abi’s

               One of my favorite things of being at home is sitting down and having breakfast. On holiday, it isn’t my alarm that wakes me up, but either the sun streaking through the window or else classical music that my parents play down in the kitchen. On hot days we tend to go up to the terrace to have breakfast, to the “bistro” as my Dad calls it and my brother and I fight over who gets the pain au chocolat 😉 Our house faces the Castellane valley and looks straight at one of the regions most sacred and the Pyrenees’s most tallest mountain, Mount Canigou. Canigou is a rich in iron and unlike the surrounding mountains it is bare of trees and looks blue.

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This mountain has symbolical significance for Catalan people. On its summit there is a cross that is often decorated with the Catalan flag. Every year on 23 June, the night before St. John’s day (nit de Sant Joan), there is a ceremony called Flama del Canigó (Canigou Flame), where a fire is lit at the mountaintop. People keep a vigil during the night and take torches lit on that fire in a spectacular torch relay to light bonfires somewhere else. Some estimates conclude that about 30,000 bonfires are lit in this way all over Catalonia on that night.

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Here I am wearing cream silk trousers and a white crochet top. As it was still breakfast

, I decided to wear my oriental mint green dressing gown as a Kimono. I have found that silk gowns tend to have beautiful patterns and are lovely to wear in the house but also look great for a chic geisha style look.

WEARING

Silk Cream Trousers – NEXT

White Crochet Top – H&M

Geisha Kimono/Dressing Gown – Charity Shop

Purple Studded Flip Flops- Primark

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Gold and Leopard Print for Pyrenean Oasis

Gold and Leopard Print for Pyrenean Oasis

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Staying in the foothills of the Pyrenees is like a detox for your whole body. You get Vitamin D from the sun, the air is so clean, you get fit because you are walking up and down hills all day, you can gorge on a really amazing Mediterranean diet of home grown produce…and last but not least you can pamper you skin and body at one of the many Thermal Spas dotted around the valleys as a result of tectonic activity below ground. Our nearest Thermal Baths are at Molitg Les Bains Les Termes, where a beautiful art deco hotel has been built around natural hot springs which bubble up from the ground. The water is rich in sulfur and has loads of great properties and a lovely thing to do is to go for a day at the spa. That is if you can get over the horrible stench of rotten egg…

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The Thermes are situated in a stunning natural location, in the gorge of the Castellane valley at the heart of a vaste exotic park. Promenades are shaded by tall palm and fur trees and peacocks roam freely on the lawns. A romanesque fortress looks down upon the hotel from a tall rocky mound and its just lovely walking around in such lovely surroundings. The art deco design really harps back to this hotel’s pre war glory days, when ladies lay under parasols and the men climbed down the white metal staircases into the river pool.

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For my trip here I decided to wear a black and gold plant embellished long blazer. The trees and plants are changing colors and so gold was a great rich Autumn choice to reflect the warm yellows and oranges in a sumptuous environment. I combined it with a Leopard print clutch purse and shoes. The leather trousers were a bit hot, because its so much warmer over here than in the UK, but the tight fitting cut really brought attention to the blazer.

Let me know what you think of the look 😉

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WEARING

Black and Gold Lead Embellished Blazer – RIVER ISLAND

Leopard Print Shoes – RUSSEL & BROMLEY

Leopard Clutch – TK MAXX

Gold Sunglasses – EBAY

Black Lace T-Shirt – H&M

Taupe Leather Biker’s Trousers – ZARA

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Mosset Through The Seasons

Mosset Through The Seasons

                So I am supper excited to be writing to you from the South of France! I arrived yesterday and can’t wait to show your my pictures and share my stories of my trip with you 🙂 The good news is that whereas in London it was super freezing, here people are still going swimming in the sea!

My base for my week in the sun is Mosset, which is 55km from Perpignan and is considered to be one of the most picturesque villages in France. The medieval town looks down upon the Castellane vallee from its rocky perch and a beautiful bunzzai pine tree grows from the roof of its church. In the foothills of the Pyrenees, the little cluster of red roofs and houses is surrounded by hundreds of hectares of forest and beautiful wild mountainside. This place is very special for me, as it is where I grew up and it is where my family home is. I learnt to speak french at the village school and the thick forests are where we went skiing every Tuesday afternoon. I don’t get to come back here as often as I would like, but when I do come it is the perfect place to relax and really see the beauty of nature.

Being so close to nature, you really get to experience and see all the seasons unfold in all their glory. The snow capped peaks in winter, the flowers and butterflies in the spring, the blue skies and swallows of the summer. But for me it is in Autumn when this place is the most spectacular, as the weather is usually great, the sky is really dark blue and the hills are ablaze with color. The leaves of the cherry trees turn bright red and orange, yellows and beautiful purples erupt all around the houses.

Everyone though has their favourite season, so I thought I would show you some pictures of Mosset through the seasons so that you could decide on yours! 🙂

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In 1258, Mosset became part of the Kingdom of Aragon after having been under Moor, French and Roman rule.  At this time the village was 3km away and the remnants of this part of the village still stands to this day. From the 10th until the 13th century, the population began gathering around the castle and it is this way that the village moved to its present site around 700 m in altitude which is higher up the valley.  Part of the Kindgom of Majorca until 1344, Mosset became an important boarder town and city walls and fortifications were built. On the route of the Kindgom of Aragon and France, it grew in wealth, population and economic importance. After 1344, Mosset once more became under Aragon rule and it was in this period that the castle was renovated. Only in 1649 is Mosset attached to France under the Pyrenees treaties. The village was little affected by the measure from the central government and the revolution and the inhabitants maintain their combative, unique and rugged personality.

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