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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Hotel De Nell

Hotel De Nell

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After attending lots of great meetings and having spent some busy days in Paris we decided to stay at the Hotel de Nell for some amazing luxury and relaxation time. The boutique 5* Hotel De Nell, is famous for it’s bistronomie and unparalleled service and I can quite honestly say that it truly deserves it’s incredible reputation with it being one of the best hotels I have ever had the pleasure of staying in – which is saying a lot because I have stayed in quite a few!

On our arrival the first thing that struck me was the hotel’s beautiful appearance, a very chic Parisian corner building who’s white painted facade, black ironwork and beautifully kept ornate bushes radiated style and shone in the light. We past through a large modern glass door into an entrance decorated with festive Christmas lights and trees. A lit glass fire glimmered in the glass wall separating the bar from the entrance made the modern white interior feel so warm and cosy. I couldn’t wait to see more of this absolute gem designed by Jean-Michel Wilmotte and I had only taken three steps inside!

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You may have seen some of my Instagram photos and my reactions to our check-in – I think my words were “If only every hotel stay could start like this”… Why is that you may ask? Well, we arrived a bit early and as we waited for our room to be prepared we were greeted with cappuccinos and choux pastries that we enjoyed by the glass fire on the most stylish chairs I have ever seen! In fact all the chairs in the hotel were pretty special which really added some great character and design to the rooms!

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So after we had reclined on our uber design chairs to our hearts content we were shown to our room. We were staying in a Chambre Luxe and the first thing that struck me when we entered was how big our room was ! I loved how light and airy it felt!So many nice rooms are beautiful but this one was truly special as three floor length french windows led onto a Juliet balcony which had the most amazing views of the most spectacular site, the impressive domed Conservatoire de Paris! Being able to see such a majestic building from your bed was a real joy. I can’t describe it as anything other than feeling as if you are starring in a Chanel N5 or a Jean Paul Gautier advert! What was the tag line again? “Je suis Chloe” *

*and then roll and flick your hair like a chic bohemian goddess…

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The joy continued, when I checked out our bathroom! I know it sounds sad but seriously it was so cool! If there were ever “bathroom goals” then this would definitely be it! The room was clad in marble with his and hers sinks, an enormous shower which could fit about ten people and the most amazing marble Japanese bath, which was not only luxurious but also comfortable thanks to the wooden seat that lined the interior. I was so impressed as you can see from my video, I just couldn’t wait to give it a try!

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After a great meal and nice wine at a nearby french restaurant recommended to us by the hotel staff, we made our way back to the Hotel de Nell where we were greeted with soothing classical music and complimentary Champagne. It was the details that really made our stay so special – I ran a big hot bath, which I perfumed with the most incredible Bvlgari teabags that we had been given and which smelt amazing. Chocolates & a pillow menu had been laid out on our bed and we read fashion magazines in our cotton bathrobes and slippers.

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The breakfast in the La Régalade Conservatoire was of such high standard, made with market & local produce. Thick loaves of bread which powdered our plates with flower, rich creamy scrambled eggs and fresh juices. Bruno Doucet’s simple but very tasty bites were traditional and evocative, just like an authentic Proust Madeleine.

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I couldn’t recommend this amazing 5* Hotel enough, it really is a testament Paris and France with great food, top rate service and amazing french design. If you want to see and experience the best of Paris then Hotel De Nell is the best place to start! Here is a short vlog of our stay and of our day site seeing!

Midnight in Paris

Midnight in Paris

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One of my guilty pleasures in life is watching cheesy movies over and over again. I have probably seen Mama Mia about 1,000 times and I just can’t get enough of Notting Hill, Mean Girls and basically every chic flick, Rom-Com or fun film available on Sky Demand. This Christmas my parent’s brought back a few amazing films from France, one of which was Midnight in Paris with Owen Wilson and Rachel Macadams…LOVE! I watched in one, twice, three times before Christmas had even begun and basically the film influenced my whole Paris trip which was seen through Rom-Com rose tinted glasses!

One of the great things about Paris is that unlike lots of other cities it’s heart has remained unchanged and so when you walk down the streets, you are walking past the same buildings, over the same bridges and eating the same cafes as some of the greatest artists, poets, writers and revolutionaries in history! Having been to Cuba and seen what a total legend Ernest Hemingway was and being also a massive fan of Leonardo Di Caprio in the Great Gatsby (oh…yes…and of course the book…) I, like the main character from Midnight in Paris adore the 1920’s and so when we decided to take our own midnight strolls around the capital in the rain I couldn’t help but imagine that it was Picasso up there in the little room with the light still on painting one of his master pieces or that the tiny little cafe in Montmatre had been where Dali & Soutine had had a glass of absinthe before bumping into Henry Miller on a dimly light street corner.

  If you haven’t seen Midnight in Paris then I would definitely recommend it and if you are more into La Belle Epoque and Toulouse Lautrec then don’t miss another of my favourite films The Moulin Rouge! When I went to Paris I saw the whole city in this light and we decided to take our own midnight strolls every night around the capital in the rain and take in the magnificent and breathtaking buildings and atmosphere of Paris.

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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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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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