I Love The Sales

I Love The Sales

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January is one of my favourite shopping months because there are so many great sales and bargains to be had! My friends and I always hit the boxing day sales even though they can be a a bit manic as a sort of New Year’s tradition…but now January is coming to an end and so are the sales 😥 or at least that is what I thought before I discovered Love The Sales- Q for boyfriend and bank balance to simultaneously let out a sigh of relief…

Love the Sales is a website that brings together the sale items from 500 of the biggest UK retailers. I wanted to dedicate this post to this amazing little corner of the internet because I think that everyone should know about them. They offer 75% off on some of the most incredible pieces, from Michael Kors bags, Missguided dresses, Armani watches and All Saint scarves. Fashion and shopping lovers, I tell you, they have it all!  There are so many pieces that would usually be super expensive which you can find for under £15 – It’s just the perfect place for finding some great looks because you can shop all the stores in one place! The products listed change daily, there are just so many great bargains to be had, from homeware and electronics to clothes, I really couldn’t recommend them enough!

Hurray! Finally sales all year round!

So here I am wearing a sick mesh panelled knitted dress that I had my eye on for a long time from Missguided, that I got from Love the Sales, in the sale! Today it was really sunny, so I wore it around East London and styled it with a wide brimmed hat and sequinned creepers.

Let me know what you think and thank you always for your amazing comments 🙂

Abi xxx

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Wearing

Black Mesh Panelled Knitted Dress (Missguided) – LOVE THE SALES

Sequinned Creepers – LONDON REBEL

Black Brim Hat – ACCESSORIZE

Leather Backpack – ZARA

Paris Travel Vlog

Paris Travel Vlog

So this post was supposed to have gone live yesterday but last night I went to one of my best friend’s Birthday parties which was amazing and which meant that my Paris travel pics and vlog just had to wait! 😉 That was my excuse for yesterday…today I have been buried under layers of purple and floral duvets, eating cake and drinking coffee in bed and watching back to back films: Home Alone 2 (because I am still having Christmas withdrawal symptoms), The Mummy (not sure why that one came on, but once it was on, it was on…) then a slice of JLO romcom heaven with The Wedding Planner and now the new Keeping Up With the Kardashians (please don’t unfollow me – insert embarrassed monkey emoji here…) and once it’s done THE REAL EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL, which I have been holding off from watching on Sky Demand until the perfect moment, but I just can’t wait anymore!!! Eeeeeek! So much excitement! #LAZYSUNDAYS #LAZYSUNDAYS #LAZYSUNDAYS 😀 *

*Please don’t judge me / If you want to do something, then do it to the best of your abilities including lazy Sundays…

OK, so maybe I am taking lazy Sunday’s a bit too far … So I thought now would be the best time to get something productive done and share my travel pics & vlog from Paris with you! Eeeeeek! So much excitement, right?! … but not quite as much excitement as for the Real Exotic Marigold Hotel…because everyone loves rocking oldies and hobnobs.

In Paris in between our meetings I got to see some really special views and places which I had not experienced before, including seeing the Eiffle Tower from La Place du Trocadéro a beautiful public park with fountains and statues. We visited the tomb of the unknown soldier of WW1 under the Arc de Triomph found in the center of Place Charles de Gaulle, built to commemorate those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and the Napoleonic Wars, with the names of all French victories and generals inscribed on its inner and outer surfaces…..It is such an iconic french monument, Napoleon’s remains passed under it on their way to the Emperor’s final resting place at the Invalides and prior to burial in the Panthéon, the body of Victor Hugo was displayed under the Arc during the night of 22 May 1885.

After a few salutes to the tricolor, we walked up the Champs-Elysees and did some serious shopping. The highlight was entering what can only be described as Willy Wonka’s dream home, the famous Laduree, which was elaborately decorated, painted duck egg blue with dim lighting, ornate ceilings and marble columns. If you love tea rooms and sweet things and ever in Paris, then go straight there and don’t be put off by the queues! I was actually introduced to their macaroons by my amazing friend Stella, who’s party I went to last night and so going there was that much more special because I wasn’t going to Laduree but “Stella’s favourite macaroons shop”. We walked up the grand boulevard to the winter fair but we didn’t quite manage to make it up to the huge fairest wheel that overlooked the Champs Elysees.

Another day we travelled to one of Paris’s most beautiful nine arch pedestrian bridge called Pont des Arts, which used to be the “love lock” bridge before they were removed! (A minute’s silence porfavor…) We walked down the Seine and admired some of the grand buildings that line the water. One of my favourites is the the Conciergerie, the power house and seat of Justice in Paris for 1000 years. I love it’s dark blue pointed turrets and every time I go I always wonder what it is! We didn’t have the time to see the beautiful stained glass windows of Saint- La Chapelle but we did go to Notre Dame to visit it’s beautiful bell towers an crazy gargoyles. We got a bit lost and ended up walking up round the back, we were almost late for one of our afternoon meetings but I couldn’t give up because we had to find the NEW love lock bridge….After a few laps round the island, or what I think was an island, or what seemed like an island after so many laps, we ended up finding it and it was full with padlocks! It was really colourful and my mind was blown when I looked closer and could pick out individual locks, knowing that each and everyone represented a story, a love, a person’s life. I wondered what they were doing now, if the couple were still together, why they had come to Paris, whether they would come back soon and try to find their lock amongst the thousands of others.

I saw the Moulin Rouge for the first time ever and we walked the beautiful streets of Montmatre and made our way past the artists and up to the Sacre Coeur.  The shuttered windows, the beautiful facades, macaroons over Parisien rooftop, colourful Parisian cafe chairs lined up ready for breakfast, flowers, amazing wine, the Christmas tree in the stunning Galeries Lafayette and of course les amoureux.

Paris is such a magical, special city, filled with so much history and beauty. It’s people were so welcoming and kind, I just can’t wait to go back! I have one last Parisien surprise for you, but first here is my full travel vlog and pics.

Thank you always for your lovely comments, they really mean so much!

Abi xxxx

PS: Sorry for the video format, will change it for next video! 🙂

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H&M x Balmain

H&M x Balmain

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On our third day after going shopping along the Champs-Élysée and scoffing some macarons from Laduree, which by the way is probably one of the most beautiful and busy stores in the world, we made our way to the Le Palais Royal close the Louvre to see the famous Colonnes de Buren, a highly controversial art installation created by the french artist Daniel Buren in 1985.

What I love about the installation are the patterns of the bold candy-striped black-and-white columns which are of different heights. They are placed following a grid pattern and in one sense the installation can be read as an exploration of the perception and intellectual projection of space. Placed in the courtyard of the Royal Palace there is such a great contrast between the beautiful old building and the fun pop art look of the installation. The light was starting to fade as we arrived but it was just so much fun, jumping on the black and white structures, taking photos and gazing up at the beautiful buildings. As the sun went down, the lights of the surrounding buildings got brighter so we ended up engulfed in a sea of hazy orange. Although this wasn’t great for photos it made it that much more magical!

I was wearing black thick heeled booties with white ripped jeans that I had got specially for the trip and a white chiffon long sleeve blouse. I have been loving the faux-fur coats that are so in this winter and so I wore that day one of my favourite pieces of the season, a shaggy green and black jacket from the Balmain x H&M collection!

I absolutely loved the H&M x Balmain collection, I thought it was one of the best colabsin a long while, and clearly by the rate at which it sold out worldwide everyone else pretty much thought the same as I did! There were so many iconic pieces which I could have chosen as my favourite, including the gold detailed velvet blazer that was worn by so many celebs and fashionistas and of course the bright green sequin plunge dress with thick belt but I just loved the rich green and the black of this coat! Just in time for winter, it was great to finally get my hands on such a beautiful piece! 🙂

I will be sharing the pics from our last few days in Paris tomorrow, but first here is one of my favourite Paris looks 🙂

Let me know what you think,

Abi xxx

WEARING

Black Padded Clutch – ARMANI

Heels – JIGSAW

Ripped Jeans – M&S

Faux-Fur Coat – Balmain x H&M

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Fashion Blogger in Paris

Fashion Blogger in Paris

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Today we set off in search of the best views of the Eiffel Tower! After an incredible breakfast at le 5 Codet, which I decided to cut short on the 3rd course, not because I was full but because by then I had started to hate myself… you know the standard pre-Christmas “large eyes small stomach” kind of phase… we set off to see some of Paris’s beautiful sites! Although I grew up in France, I haven’t been that often to Paris and so the first thing I wanted to see and take photos of was the iconic Eiffel Tower!

After seeing the incredible Les Invalides and the dome of it’s famous church where many war heroes are buried including Napoleon Bonaparte, we  took the route that we had walked the night before in the light rain, past beautiful Parisien cafes and through the Champs de Mars. I was so excited to see the Seine which we crossed before running up the steps towards La Place du Trocadéro a beautiful public park with fountains and statues which is one of the best places to see the Eiffel Tower from! I was so excited and I was so impressed with the views that I forgot to run right up to the top…Doh! Oh well, I will just have to save that for next time 😉

I felt like a little kid, like the first time I saw the Eiffel Tower, when I travelled to Paris with the Pyrenees Oriental tennis federation and some of my best friends when we won a trip in a big regional tournament to see the tennis at Paris Bercy & to visit the grounds of Roland Garros. If any of you go to Paris, then don’t miss the views from La Place du Trocadero! With so much happiness and joy pulsating through my body we pushed onwards, towards the boutiques and one of the most beautiful streets in Paris, Avenue Montaigne.

One of the reasons why we were in Paris was to attend some important meetings in preparation of next fashion season with some incredible designers some of which have their flagship stores in this incredible iconic street. Black iron bars, beautiful Christmas decorations and window displays, and small ornate front gardens, the boutiques were so stunning! We had the pleasure of seeing so many lovely collections and so many iconic fashion birthplaces, including 30 Avenue Montaigne where in 1946 Christian Dior presented his first collection, after deciding that it would be perfect location for his “Maison”. I completely fell in love with the Dior Cruise 2016 collection of leather bags, who’s graphic symbols and imaginary words embossed like street art celebrate this season’s free, insouciant spirit. I just can’t wait to share with you some of the beautiful creations. including  and also the great surprises that we have in stall for you very soon! 😀 After our meetings we had some lunch in a beautiful Parisien cafe and then took the metro to Pigalle where I got my first glimpse of the Moulin Rouge before we headed up to Montmatre…

For my meetings and first day in Paris I decided to wear one of my favourite winter purchases, my black faux fur coat with leather cuffs. It felt so warm and cosy and yet looked chic and stylish, so I thought that it would be the perfect coat to bring with me to Paris. I wore it with a pair of denim flairs that have a beautiful red detail on one of the back pockets and small suede ankle booties that are comfortable but that give me some added hight, something that I think is key when trying to rock flares!

Let me know what you think,

Abi xxx

WEARING

Faux Fur Coat – ZARA

Flared Jeans – VINTAGE

Suede Boots – JIGSAW

Quilted Clutch – ARMANI JEANS

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Le Cinq Codet

Le Cinq Codet

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After getting my hair done, finishing off some last emails and then heading into town for a quick spot of shopping, I got home so late I was still packing my bags for Paris late into the night. I was so excited I hardly slept at all! We had a really early start but I had so much energy and after arriving at St Pancras to catch the Eurostar, I refuelled on the most delicious apricot pastries and coffee which kept me going through the morning.

Our journey was so easy and the incredible way the train passes under the Channel is simply magical! It is easy to forget which such different identities and personalities how close London and Paris are to one another! It was amazing, one minute we were waving goodbye to the red buses and the Christmas lights of London and the next we were walking down grand boulevards and shopping along Les Champs Elysées. We got so caught up in the beauty of it all that we didn’t check in to our amazing hotel until late in the day, the 5* Hotel Le Cinq Codet, which was in the most incredible location, minutes from Les Invalides where Napoleon Bonaparte is buried and just a stone’s throw from the Eiffel Tower and the famous Champ-de-Mars in the 7th arrondissement, one of the most exclusive neighbourhood’s in Paris.

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The 5* Hotel Le Cinq Codet, designed by Jean-Philippe Nuel was beautiful. We were greeted in a modern colourful lobby, filled with incredible pieces of furniture and beautiful flowers. The whole hotel was finished to such incredible quality. As we were shown around I couldn’t help but admire the courtyard situated in the middle of the building decorated with Christmas trees and lights. There was so much light and so much glass yet the stylish bar and lounge still felt cosy. I couldn’t wait to see our room!

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We stayed in their Chambre Duplex, which I will refer to for the rest of this post as our “suite” because it was so big! When I showed my friends the photos of our room, they thought that our sofa and seating area was actually the hotel lobby because it was so spacious and nice! The room didn’t have one, but two plasma TV’s and both had my name on them upon arrival “Mrs Royston” – Ok, so I am not Mrs yet…but still, pretty cool right?!

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The room was filled with original works of art which made it feel like a modern day artist’s studio, a futuristic version of the bohemian romantic and creative hubs that fuelled so many creatives that Paris is so famous for! There were curves and angles all in the right places, all complimented by original lighting, large mirrors and an incredible glass window that travelled the length of the two floors. What really added to the luxury and the modernity of the room were all the gadgets and incredible technology that we had at our disposal – from an an Apple-mini which enabled us to check Facebook and let me blog on the plasma TV, to design mobile phones that we could use to call room service. To say that Gustavo had a field day with all these toys is an understatement!

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I on the other hand was far more obsessed with the fact that this place had a gym and a spa and that we not only had a separate washroom and walk in shower that was big enough for 4 people downstairs, our own bathrobes, slippers and the best smelling cosmetics, but that we also had a huge bath in our bedroom, just feet away from our bed! Ou La La! This meant that I could run a bubble bath and watch Bad Grandpa on my customised “Mrs Royston” plasma TV! If this is a time to Hashtag Travel Goals then I don’t know when is…

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I slept like a chubby cat who has found a pile of freshly washed warm towels in the airing cupboard and has decided to go for a nap after polishing off a whole packet of cream. I woke up in a chubby Abi’s paradise – the Breakfast buffet was one of the most extensive I had ever seen…Continental, American, English, I made about three trips over to the counter and only stopped because we had managed to fill the whole table with our treats – bacon, sausages, croissants, pains of chocolats, coffee, juice, fruit salad, yoghurt, pastries, bread, muffins… It was so good I actually managed to eat most of it but only of course after taking a few pics 😉

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Our first two days were so busy and it was great coming back to such a lovely luxurious hotel in the evenings! We had some great meetings lined up for this year’s fashion season but we had a bit of time to Paris – so I can’t wait to share some of the pictures that we took and to reveal some of the exciting things that happened in this magical city soon! But first, here is a quick peak at the 5* Le Cinq Codet  and the first part of my Paris Travel vlog!

 

2015 Highlights

2015 Highlights

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Happy New Year everyone! It’s that time of the year again when we start choosing our New Year’s resolutions, dusting off the trainers and stocking the fridge up with salad and fruit! I would say that I don’t do resolutions, but let’s be honest OF COURSE I DO! Insert Awkward Monkey Emoji! In fact I love starting off the New Year in a super positive way. I always find that after a period of eating until I can no longer fit my trousers, January is always a good month to start a fitness regimes or diets and although I don’t tend to follow it through for the whole year, it feels good for the short time that I do do it! Better something than nothing right?! Do you have any 2016 resolutions and do you usually stick to them?

2015 has such an amazing year and I hope that 2016 will be even more exciting! In September I  finished my final law exams, the professional exams needed in order to be a fully qualified solicitor and Gustavo, my boyfriend and I, now live together 🙂 Finishing my exams gave me the freedom to dedicate more time on blogging and after a great summer travelling around Europe with Gustavo, My Girls On Tour was made an official blog of London Fashion Week by the British Fashion Council. One thing I would love for 2016 is to spend more time at home in France and also to see more of my friends! This past year I got to meet so many new friends, fellow bloggers and readers who share similar passions and interests and I hope to meet many more of you in 2016!

In this post I wanted to share some pictures of some of my 2015 highlights, from Christmas with my family and making new friends, to having over 100,000 of you sharing my dreams and adventures with me on social media and here on the blog. It has truly been a blessing attending so many amazing events and having the opportunity to work with so many great designers and some of my favourite brands. In fact I have been working really hard on some exciting new projects that I can’t wait to share with you in 2016! The blog that I started less than 2 years ago has completely changed my life and I can’t wait to continue this magical journey with you!

Happy New Year everybody! May 2016 bring you and your loved ones joy, happiness, success and may it be the year when all your dreams come true ❤

Love, Abi xxx

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Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas

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Hello everyone! I hope that you have all had an incredible Christmas with your loved ones and that Santa brought you all that you could wish for 🙂

This year was one of my best Christmases ever…When I was young we used to have Christmas at my parent’s house in France which was always so much fun! My sister who always makes the festivities so special would come home along with a sack full of presents and some very special things that at the time we couldn’t buy in France – Brandston pickle, Twigglets, BirdsEye Custard, Jelly, Mango Chutney, Christmas crackers, Christmas pudding and of course our favourite Christmas CD with songs from the Slade and Band Aid. When she arrived it was when Christmas truly started so it was extra special when her and boyfriend Rod, invited me and the whole of the family to spend Christmas & Boxing Day with them at their beautiful house in Landemere, which was once inhabited by the famous artist Paolozzi.

Now that my Grandma is old she can no longer make the journeys and so for the last few years we have brought Christmas to her! Early Christmas morning, after wrapping up my presents (you may have seen my awful sleepy half awake face on Snapchat when I was trying to do this…) my Dad and I set off to see my Grandma. She is 96 years old on the 2nd of January of this year and lives in a beautiful old folks home just outside of London. We arrived to scenes of people unwrapping their presents, children visiting their grandparents and of course lots of chocolate eating! We helped Grandma to open her presents & cards and then spent the morning with her before she joined her friends at her Christmas lunch.

My Mum was ill that day and so couldn’t make it and so we drove back to London to see her and pick her up before driving the party bus/pasat car onwards to my sister’s. I hadn’t been to her house before, so I was overly excited. It was so lovely and in the most beautiful place, next to water and in the countryside. It was painted pink and had the most beautiful wreath on the door and inside the Christmas decorations were amazing. I felt like I was in an episode of Escape to the Country with it’s tiled entrance hall, a beautiful country kitchen dinner and massive cosy living room! The tree already had so many presents around it and we were greeted at the door by Pedro, their 12 year old little doggy. Awwwwwww….

The turkey was cooking away, there were bottles of Fizz being opened. We put the ice maker on and started opening the nibbles. My sister’s boyfriend Rod and his mum Olive were also there and soon there was a knock on the door followed by excited barking – my brother William and his girlfriend Myfanwy had arrived carrying gifts, cheeses, wine and their lovely young dog Beasley! One thing that never lacks at our Christmases is the food and my sister did my Mum proud by producing the most amazing Christmas meal: braised cabbage, sausages, bacon, turkey, two types of stuffing, vegetables, potatoes, sweet potato. After a short pause and some impressed gasps directed towards my brother when he finished his massive plate of turkey, we pushed on to the puddings! I don’t know about you but I love puddings and it really felt as if I had died and had gone to heaven: My Mum’s meringues, vanilla cheesecake, chocolate business cake, cream, custard, chocolate cake, my sister’s lemon tart, Christmas pudding, chocolates and Cava…HEAVEN! PS: The diet starts tomorrow…

So true to form, I didn’t stop eating when I was full, but instead I stopped eating when I truly hated myself…and when everyone else had finished and similarly hated themselves, we waddled in to the living room to open our presents! By this time it was 9pm but we with so many big kids in the room we weren’t going to leave the present opening until the next day… I received some beautiful gifts and if you want to see some of the things that I gave my family or things that I think would have made great gifts then check out my post 20 Great Christmas Present Ideas 🙂

The next morning we had my favourite, croissants, coffee and let’s not forget the mini boxes of cereal that used to be my Christmas highlight because I could choose any flavour I wanted! Now that I am older I would say that the cereal pleasure has probably been overtaken by Cava & Chocolate pleasure but it’s still SO EXCITING :D…We all then went out for a walk around the surrounding countryside. My brother and I found some old flints in the ploughed up field by the house and it was so much fun being outside with the dogs. My sister and Rod took us to the most beautiful old boat graveyard and jetty, to see where Marigold swims with her wetsuit and where they sometimes go sailing.

It was quite cold so I decided to wear my white ripped jeans that I wore on Christmas day with a white cotton and chiffon long sleeve blouse and my faux fur shaggy green and black coat that I bought a few days before in Paris. Last but by no means least I wore my fluffy pompom hat all from H&M, which I love because it is so cute and also keeps me warm 🙂

What did you get up to? Who did you spend it with? Do you have any Christmas traditions that you do every year that make Christmas special for you and which wouldn’t be the same otherwise?

Wishing you all the best for the holiday season !

Merry Christmas,

Abi xxx

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Westfield Stratford Shopping

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My nearest shopping center is the Westfield in Stratford London, which was built as part of the Olympic renovation scheme. It is absolutely massive, there are so many beautiful shops both inside and out and although there is not the luxury department like there is at the Westfield in Shephard’s bush, they do have some great shops for buying small fun family Christmas presents, like H&M, Primark, Zara and TK Max.

As many of you have already guessed, I am a last minute person. I didn’t get my Halloween outfit sorted until after 4pm on the day, I realized I had my final law exam just two days before the exam was to take place and, despite every time saying that I have learnt my lesson, I obviously never do, because I left all my Christmas shopping until the very last minute. Indeed, by the time the 24th came, I was really dreading facing the big crowds knowing that I had such limited time I would probably end up going into endless shops not being able to find the right thing, sweating and more sweating and then buying way too many things for myself…

So I decided to go to the Westfield in Stratford to see what I could get in 4 hours for my parents, my brother & his girlfriend, my sister & her boyfriend and perhaps even a little something for grandma… I ended up doing quite well and I will be sharing with you my Christmas present gift guide (which will now all be in the SALE! Hurray!) and also sharing what I ended up buying 🙂

In the meantime here is the outfit that I wore to Stratford and the type of look that I like wearing when I have to do some power shopping – flat comfortable shoes (uggs or slip-ons), a big over sized coat or jumper, a light cross body purse, so that I don’t freak out every 2 seconds thinking I have lost/left/had stolen/abandoned my bag somewhere.

I hope that you are enjoying your Christmas!

Best wishes,

Abi xxx

Wearing

Leopard Shoes – DUNE

Black padded clutch – ARMANI JEANS (from FARFETCH)

Black Wool & Silk Coat – JOVIS

Ripped Jeans – VINTAGE

Chunky knit scarf – ASOS

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