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!

 

The Uffizi Hunger Games

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We had really soaked up the atmosphere of the city, had gone leather shopping and had drunk shots with a bald midget in some shisha bar after showing off our break dance moves. There was however, one last, very important thing left to do…

I always prefer seeing architecture and getting a feel of a city or a place through its people and learning through living history. So if I have a limited time in a place then I usually prefer spending it outside and taking in the atmosphere. However with one of Europe’s most famous museums and some of the world’s most famous works of art, here in Florence I was going to have to make an exception.

Florence is called the capital of arts; according to statistics produced by UNESCO, 60% of the world’s most important works of art are located in Italy and approximately half of these are in Florence. From the 13th to the 16th century it was a seemingly endless source of creative masterpieces and Italian genius. Both Dante and Michelangelo were born here. Boccaccio wrote his ‘Decameron’ in Florence. The Italian Renaissance, Europe’s richest cultural period, began in Florence when the artist Brunelleschi finished the Duomo, with the huge dome.

It was our last day in Florence. We walked past the bronze wild boar and rubbed its snout for luck. I had to do it twice because my coin bounced back and didn’t fall into the drain as it was supposed to…but the second time it did and so now I can safely tell you all that we will one day return to Florence*

*And also that I WILL now win the National Lottery…

Our first stop was to the the Galleria dell’ Accademia. We walked around the large rooms filled with religious paintings and iconography. Somehow in every room us art connoisseurs recognized the “famous painting” amongst all the others…Our conversations went something like this:

Abi: “I know that one…” “that’s that famous one”…

Stella: Ah yes, I think you’re right, who’s its by again”

Abi: “I can’t remember, but I’ve seen it before…. (Puzzled expression)*

*Move onto the next painting

My favorite things in the Galleria were the medieval religious flat paintings and the sculptures. There was an incredible room of plaster busts, but it was the majestic and spectacularly displayed, Michelangelo’s David, the most famous statue in the world, that was the star of the show. The stunning statue represents the Biblical hero David and because of the nature of the hero it represented, the statue soon came to symbolize the defense of civil liberties embodied in the Republic of Florence, an independent city-state threatened on all sides by more powerful rival states and by the hegemony of the Medici family. The eyes of David, with a warning glare, were turned towards Rome.

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We took a short break from culture and went to watch some hot fitties run the marathon around the streets of Florence after which I ate Tuscan Stew served in a piece of hollowed out bread at the highly recommended II Cernacchino coffee shop.

Then it was on to the Uffizi, one of the oldest and most famous art museums in Europe, which is so popular we had to book tickets to go well in advance. We passed the Vasari Corridor and walked to the gallery where I was struck by its beautiful design and courtyard. Arches lead onto the river and shuttered windows looked down upon the quadrant and upon us. The art inside was incredible but the building with its ornate beams and halls decorated with frescos was stunning in itself. It was great seeing the Carravagios and the Rubens but I just adored the Botticelli’s. Their size, their fluidity and rich colors were celestial. The Birth of Venus was scandalous when it was first displayed and I could see why, but these paintings stood out because they represented the men of the renaissance, with references to ancient Rome instead of Christianity. The Allegory of Spring was my favorite, not just because we have a copy of it at home, but also because it looks like a Flemish Tapistry and contains over 130 specifically named plants.

The museum was fascinating and we walked on through rooms and rooms of masterpieces. After a couple of hours we started to get tiered but we had to keep going. This place was huge and it wouldn’t surprise me if people entered the Uffizi and died of old age before escaping. We were close to the exit when we passed a darkened room full of flopped out tourists, recovering on giant brown sofas and armchairs. Were they still breathing? Was this another version of the Hunger Games? Dehydrated and desperate, they knew, like us, that there were still at least 5 rooms to go…After cramping and blistering we finally crawled out of Florence’s culture maze! Was the Uffizi Hunger Games worth completing? See for yourselves 😉

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Chelsea Bohemian Glamour with Castellano Ethnic Origins

  So  I have been teasing you over social media about a really amazing project that I have been working on with one of my favorite new brands, Castellano Ethnic Origins. As most of you know already, one of my greatest inspirations for my looks and outfits comes from traveling, learning about new cultures and taking inspiration from the places that I go to, so to find a brand with such beautiful ethnic pieces like Castellano was incredibly special.

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I met Daniela the founder of Castellano, in Sloane Square, where I got to see her beautiful collection of uniquely woven bracelets and bags prior to their release. I was immediately struck by the beauty of the pieces. The bright colors and the abstract patterning was ethnic, but each piece sparkled and shimmered in the light thanks to the hundreds of colored Swarovski crystals that had been added to them, a beautiful touch of luxury. I hadn’t quite seen anything else like it. Indeed no Chelsea hipster’s style has ever been the same since their release into the boutiques of King’s Road. Simply effortless way to achieve the bohemian chic look!

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For me this is why Castellano is so special and why I am so proud that My Girls On Tour has been asked to work with them. Each beautiful bag and bracelet is one of a kind and each one has a story but Castellano is also unique in that they collaborate with the Indigenous Women’s Association and support the ethnic communities in Colombia who seek to preserve their weaving skills and cultural heritage. There are brands who take inspiration from Columbian patterns and designs and make cheap replica copies, but never do these large companies recognize the human faces behind the creations or patterns. Daniela though felt that this needed to change. Castellano’s aim is to help improve the living conditions of the traditional weavers, their families and the community, with an emphasis on clean water, electricity and education. With donations from every sale, Castellano support social projects in the community, and bring employment to the highly skilled weavers in the north of Colombia, enabling them to preserve their way of life and tell their story through the patterns and colors they weave, each mochila or bracelet unique in its own right.

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The Tain bracelets have a beautiful gold coin at the clasp and come in three different models: The Wayuu, the Wayuu Chain and the Double Wayuu. The more I wore the better my outfit looked, so I chose the Double Wayuu and the Wayuu as my favourites. The Taratzu bag collection was so original and I loved the thick cross body strap. I chose the Tain which took 30-40 days to weave with just one strand of thread. Another one that caught my eye was the Wayuu Tote bag from the Isaschii collection. Carried in the city it would brighten up any everyday look, feel chic and authentic. It carries over the shoulder and would be perfect for my traveling adventures or for going to the beach with a luxury and hippie-chic feel! I particularly liked the bright blues, pinks and yellows of some of the bags which really brightened up the wintery London sky. What about you, which ones are your favorite?

So without further a due here are the pictures that we took of these wonderful fair trade creations, that I think would  really add a touch of colour and ethnicity to create the perfect glamorous bohemian chic look. What do you think? 😉

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If you want to see more of these stunning individual creations, they are now on sale as of today on www.castellanoethnicorigins.com  Also don’t forget to show your support for such a worthwhile cause by giving Castellano a “Like” on Facebook and by Following them on Instagram and Twitter!

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WEARING

Tain Bracelets – CASTELLANOS ETHNIC ORIGINS

Wayuu Tot Bag – CASTELLANOS ETHNIC ORIGINS

Tarazu Luxury Mochilla Bag – CASTELLANOS ETHNIC ORIGINS

Ripped Customized Black Jeans – PRIMARK

Crimson Velvet Jacket – DOLCE & GABBANA

Blue Crepe Top – BERSHKA

Metal top slip-ons – STRADIVARIUS

Silver Ring Set – PRIMARK

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4* Hotel Bolivar Rome

The first thing which was incredible about this boutique 4* hotel was its location. We emerged at the Colosseum metro stop and walked up the boulevard. Before we had even got to our hotel, we were gasping in awe at all the roman relics. Our hotel was a five minute walk from the Victor Emmanuelle II monument. Absolutely breathtaking.

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The rooms were large and sumptuous. I loved the yellow curtains and wall color. It made it really light and airy yet majestic. A large oil painting hung above our bed. The road on which the hotel is situated is little and so the rooms were quite.

The views from the breakfast room were wonderful, although the coffee a bit too rough and the pastries a bit stale.  One of the highlights of our stay were the restaurant recommendations which we were given by the receptionist. Rome is notorious for its tourist traps and thanks to him we were able to find a couple lovely restaurant which were inexpensive and did amazing food. It was a wonderful few days here and I would definitely come back.

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A cheaper alternative, where we also stayed for a few nights is the 3* Hotel Colosseum found on Via Sforza (10). The rooms were not as memorable and the location not as great (between Termini station and the Colosseum). However, what I loved about Hotel Colosseum was the massive roof terrace which has beautiful vistas over Rome. One night we bought our own food and sat up there and ate under the stars. The breakfast room is darker and ordained with thick wood. The quality of the food was better than Hotel Bolivar, but all in all if you can afford the price Bolivar would be my personal favorite.

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