Hollywood Sirens and Chanelling My Inner Marilyn

Hollywood Sirens and Chanelling My Inner Marilyn

Yesterday we went to a beautiful event on the rooftops of one of London’s most stylish hotels the ME Hotel thanks to Deluxe Store Bahrain. If you are looking for the best view in London in one of the most exclusive and elegant atmosphere’s, then this is the place to go in London. Radio Bar is open in the day time and is a great place for cocktails and food and in the evening it fills up with London’s most chic crowd who sip drinks in a blue hue whilst listening to lounge house. It is very hard to get in on a Friday and Saturday night and guest list is an almost must.

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This was going to be a very special occasion and so I decided to draw inspiration for my outfit from some of the most stylish, best dressed women every to grave this Earth, the Hollywood Sirens. These actresses burst onto the scene as drop dead gorgeous women and marked the golden era of American film and Hollywood. Grace Kelly, Joan Crawford, Judy Garland, Elizabeth Talor and Audrey Hepburn, all household names who inspire thought of elegance and beauty. But it was the most famous of all, the tragic Marilyn Monroe who’s looks and dresses really provoked, seduced and shook the nation. A sex symbol,  with a coy attitude and dresses so legendary they would become to be immortalized in stone, I decided to use her famous red sequin dress which she wore in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes as inspiration for my look.

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I opted for a long floor length gown with long sleeves and shoulder pads which is entirely covered in sequins to truly reflect the glizzy glam pre 1960’s era. As accessories I decided to wear my beautiful ALFEX watch which I have just received from Deluxe Store Bahrain which is super glam. The white of the strap really went well with the dress and the gold dial which I could light up for some added bling really enhanced richness of the look. I find it quite difficult to find a watch which is functional but which elegant enough to wear out and so I was so pleased with this beauty! I finished the look off white gold stiletto heels and a gold arrow necklace. Hope you like it! Which Hollywood Siren is your favorite and why? Maybe you could do a Hollywood Siren/Beau look and share the link at the bottom of this thread, I’d love to see you ladies and gents looking all glammed up! 😉

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WEARING

White and Gold Watch – ALFEX from DELUXE STORE BAHRAIN

Long Sleeve Floor Length Sequin Dress with Padded Shoulders – AX PARIS

Metal Twist Stilettos – DUNE LONDON

Arrow Pendant – ACCESSORIZE

5* Riad Palais Calipau

5* Riad Palais Calipau

There is no doubt that on your first trip to Marrakesh, to get a real flavour of the city, you should stay in a traditional bijou boutique hotel in the heart of the Medina. These hotels once traditional houses or Riads look more like the Sultan Palaces than hotels, with their interior courtyards lined with lush orange trees, water features, thick walls and rooms decorated with mozaics, they are a true wonder of Moorish Architecture and design.

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The walls of our Riad were red and from its protective shell little could be known of the beauty that awaited us inside. Indeed, passing the dark heavy door and stepping into Riad Palais Calipau for the first time was like walking into paradise. It was cool inside, whereas outside it had been really hot and the sounds of bikes and street banter were replaced with the sound of running water. The turquoise the pool was still. It was calm here and so lovely. Big lanterns hung from vaulted ceilings, lush velvet sofas lay hidden thin net curtains. It was here that we received our complimentary mint tea served on a gold tray and yum scrum biscuits on our arrival.

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Our room was extremely large and was on the first floor. It wasn’t the best one, but wasn’t the smallest one either. The air con made our stay even more bearable as at night without it, it would have become quite hot. I loved the ceiling and the blue of the bathroom. Everything was new, from the fluffy feather pillows to the TV and the safe in the walk in wardrobe. The water was always hot and it felt really safe. In fact I wish my room at home was that nice and I came to refer to our Riad not as “our hotel” but “home”, which was quite awkward as it kept requiring clarification every time I made the error. The only slight criticism, if any, would be say that there was no mini-bar in the room and no dressing gown/slippers provided. There was however shampoo and soap stocked up daily and both the room and the bathroom were very clean.

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The hotel staff were really kind. They booked for us a Hamman & Massage spa treatment at the famous Les Bains de Marrakech, our taxi to the Majorelle Gardens, Agadir Gardens  and airport – with our taxi driver being so friendly and honest that he would charge us “only what we wanted to pay” even though he gave us some great info about the city as he drove us round. We didn’t have time for tours, but other guests we spoke to really enjoyed their day trips organized by the hotel to the Atlas Mountains, Essaouira and the desert. In fact I can’t wait to go back to do them!

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The breakfast was plentiful, with pancakes, jam, honey, omelet, yoghurt, fruit salad, as much fresh orange juice as you could drink and great coffee. We saw Moroccan families eat similar foods for their Ramadan breakfast in the evening and every time we walked passed seller’s of our morning feast, we noted with excitement “that’s what we had for breakfast”! In this respect the Riad really felt as if I was staying with a friend or a wealthy Moroccan family which really added a great experience to our fantastic holiday.

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I loved sitting down at night by the edge of the pool and gazing upwards at the open sky surrounded by candles and orange trees. After a long day bartering in the souks there was nothing better than to take a refreshing plunge after and a spot of relaxation on the roof terrace in the waning afternoon sun.  Hotel Calipau was the perfect location – close enough to the action but far enough removed to feel like an oasis of calm and a great place to relax and recharge. I really can not recommend it enough and as I had such a great time, my sixty year old parents have also decided to go and stay at Hotel Calipau for their visit Marrakesh next year!

I booked this gem through Expedia (flights included) for a great price, so make sure you check out Riad Palais Calipau’s website but also Expedia for some great last minute deals!

Champagne Lunch at Le Procope

Champagne Lunch at Le Procope

I went to Paris for a brief reunion with my God parents who had come over from the US. After a lovely walk along the Seine and a visit to Notre Dame, we decided to go for lunch at France and the World’s oldest restaurants, Le Procope.

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Opened in 1686, started as a café where gentlemen of fashion might drink the exotic beverage coffee, or eat a sorbet, served up in porcelain cups by waiters in exotic “Armenian” garb. In 1689 the Comédie française was established across the street and the Procope became known as the “theatrical” café, and remained so. The world’s first literary café was born and, for over two centuries, everyone with a name, or who hoped to have one, in the world of letters, arts and politics was a regular to the Café Le Procope. From La Fontaine to Voltaire, Rousseau, Beaumarchais, Balzac, Hugo, Verlaine to mention but a few, the list of Procope’s « regulars » varies little from that of the great names of French literature. In the 18th century, it was a seedbed for liberal ideas and the history of the Encyclopædia is intimately linked to that of Procope where Diderot, d’Alembert, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin could be seen. During the Revolution, Robespierre, Danton and Marat met here and Lieutenant Bonaparte left his hat here as a pledge.

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As soon as you walk in you get knocked for six by the history of this place and the close ties that it had with the leaders of the revolution, which changed the course of French Society. The walls are yellow with wall paper inscribed with the french revolution moto “Liberte, Egalite, Fraternity. Citoyens, Citoyennes (The male and female translation of Citizen) adorn the men and women’s toilet doors. Indeed during the Revolution, the Phrygian cap, soon to be the symbol of Liberty, was first displayed here. Crystal chandeliers and oval paintings of the Cafes most famous patrons adorn the walls, and walk passed open books written by some of France’s most famous writers who ate in the same place as you are now eating.

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 The service was great and it wasn’t only the setting in the heart of Paris that was great. The culinary feast which we ate was marvelous. We started off the meal with a glass of champagne with cassis. My godfather ordered house foie gras with toasted Panettone for starters and my Godmother and I had the traditional onion soup with gratinee cheese. It was probably the best soup I had ever eaten, with a massive tick layer of melted cheese which made up almost a third of the plate. Just fabulous. For the main course I chose the duck and had to order thin chips separately as no sides are included with the meat. My Godmother chose the steak tartar, which I must say isn’t for the faint hearted. Essentially raw mince with herbs and mustard, this is a very famous dish and it tasted surprisingly good. It was however quite rich. My Godfather had the Calf’s Head stew casserole 1686 style, which sounds disgusting but actually looked amazing. The whole experience was wonderful and a great thing to do if only in Paris for a short time.

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We went to a Musee de Cluny, an incredible museum dedicated to medieval art which is set in a 15th-century abbot’s mansion with ruins of ancient Roman baths.  I particularly liked the Lady and the Union, the modern title given to a series of six tapestries woven in Flanders of wool and silk, from designs drawn in Paris around 1500. They were so rich in color, incredibly large and beautiful in detail. It is no wonder it is considered the best piece of art from the Middle Ages.

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5* Hotel De L’Europe – Amsterdam

5* Hotel De L’Europe – Amsterdam

On our tour we stayed at a number of places: Zeewolde, Den Hague, Rotterdam. After having played and lost quite a few tournaments around Holland, our group decided it was time to go for a few days to Amsterdam. We took a train and arrived at Central Station. The plan was that the girls would wait with all the bags, whilst the guys went off in search of a cheap hotel or hostel close to the center. After more than hour my friends returned. The bad news was that all the hotels were fully booked. The good news was that a 5* Hotel a short taxi ride away still had some rooms available.

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Hotel De L’Europe loomed up ahead. This is the one place where sneaking an extra guest for free into your room will be impossible. We were going to have to book two rooms and it was going to be expensive.The porter opened the door for us in a green tail coat, top hat and white gloves. It was really grand and the reception desk spanned the whole crescent of the beautiful entrance hall.

De L’Europe is acknowledged as Amsterdam’s legendary hotel and is a member of The Leading Hotels of the World for over 25 years. With its location on the banks of the Amstel River in the heart of historic Amsterdam, it’s impossible to escape the city’s rich history while staying at this iconic 19th century treasure. Expect timeless design, intimate ambience and genuine service.

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The rooms were very beautiful. I particularly liked the yellow and white striped walls and the beds were extremely comfortable. De L’Europe boasts a distinctive décor, enhancing each room and suite with a replicated Dutch Master painting, handpicked in exclusive partnership with the nearby Rijksmuseum. Choose for gracious and timeless elegance in the historic Rondeel Building or for art and design in the contemporary Dutch Masters Wing.The room service breakfasts were amazing, with lashings of scrambled egg, bacon, juice and fruit served in silver dishes. The pictures below show our group in one of the rooms before heading out.

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De L’Europe is a hub of haute cuisine, boasting a selection of the city’s finest restaurants overseen by Executive Chef Richard van Oostenbrugge. Bord’Eau has redefined Amsterdam’s fine dining scene. Hoofdstad Brasserie is perfect for a sophisticated yet casual riverside bite. With its plush interior, Freddy’s remains the city’s iconic bar, while Hèt Terras offers a contemporary take on café classics, and the city’s most authentic Afternoon Tea is served in the Promenade.

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The location of Europe de l’Europe was wonderful and the staff so friendly. I would highly recommend this to anyone looking for the ultimate luxurious stay in the heart of Holland’s most vibrant city.

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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5* Islantilla Golf Resort & Mirador del Golf

5* Islantilla Golf Resort & Mirador del Golf

At only a 70km drive from Faro airport,the stylish resort of Islantilla can be found on Spain’s ‘Coast of Light’, often referred to as the ‘Spanish Algarve’ or ‘Spain’s Best Kept Secret’. Its beautiful sandy beaches stretch for miles and its lack of over-development means that it has retained its natural beauty with its backdrop of sand-dunes and pine trees between the sea and the promenade.We found beautiful star fish and walked past a lagoon to a deserted beach.

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I particularly liked the small fisherman’s village with its little white chapel. At night after a hearty meal we would walk about along the promenade and see their little lights bobbing out at sea. In the morning we went and bought fresh fish straight from their nets and saw how they pulled their boats in and mended their nets. Islantilla is the perfect place to relax, enjoy a lovely scenery in a very stylish and beautiful Spanish town. There are many shops and restaurants, some cocktails bars but no night clubs. In the summer half of Madrid and Sevilla escape the hot sun and come down for a couple of weeks to play golf, tennis and eat some of Spain’s best sea food. Make sure you can speak Spanish or don’t mind giving it a go, as there are not many foreign tourists here and lots of people can’t speak English.

Here are my recommendations of where to stay in Islantilla:

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A lovely two bedroom house in one of the most exclusive urbanisations of Islantilla, ‘Mirador del Golf’, 5 minutes walk from Islantilla Golf Club- rated Top 100 Best Courses in Europe by Golf Digest, and 8 minutes from the beach. It is a peaceful & securely gated complex with a stunning pool, sea views and own parking. It was really clean and had been newly refurbished to a great standard. The pool was beautiful and the kitchen was really well equipped. We enjoyed using the DVD player and watching the wide screen TV. This is a really cheap but good quality alternative to a hotel as prices start at £350 per week and the house sleeps 6!

Another wonderful place that I have stayed in is the 5* Islantilla Golf Resort, which is 3 minute walk from the house Mirador del Golf. It is very large and its grounds are really impressive. With both indoor and outdoor pool, a beautiful and world famous golf course right in front, this is the place to go for all golf lovers. It is around 10 minutes from the beach, but a little train goes passed every half and hour and it is free for guests. An additional perk of staying here is the ability to use the Beach Club which is a luxurious pool and lounge area right on the sea front reserved for members and guests of the hotel. The golf coaches are great and when we went they offered a free lesson to anyone who came every Saturday morning. The rooms were large and had great views. The only slight downside would be that it was a little empty and thus the services normally on offer at a 5* resort were slightly absent.

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Experimental Cocktail Club

Experimental Cocktail Club

Walk passed its anonymous small black door once, twice, three times. Invisible to the naked eye, this place is secret and it looks like people want to keep it this way. Charm the sturdy Frenchman guarding this gateway and walk through into a beautifully arranged, expensively decorated Brooklyn Prohibition style cocktail club. Sumptuous and well lit, all that is missing is the thick cigar smoke and the jazz musicians. The immaculately turned out bar tenders know their stuff, and you can choose your favorites or pick  from a short list of sophisticated, strong and complex drinks. Quite expensive, all drinks come with an original twist. It can get really busy, but the atmosphere is usually great! Here are some photos of when my friends and I went here for a couple of drinks the other day 🙂

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We had a great time and a perfect place to have a drink if you are ever out in China Town. Will definately be going back soon 🙂image

WEARING

ZARA TROUSERS

ZARA TOP

DKNY JACKET

E-JEWELLERY-BOUTIQUE PENDANT

ACCESSORIZE RING

ALDO STUDDED BOOTS

 

Sitting on the City Walls Courtyard House – Beijing

Sitting on the City Walls Courtyard House – Beijing

This was my first time in a hostel. Apparently, it was actually possible to stay for under 7$ a night and in really good conditions too! If you have read my earlier posts, you will know that the location wasn’t great. We had chosen this place to stay as it was Lonely Planet recommended and looked fairly close to all the major attractions of the city. The NianZiHuTong or Hutong as we called it for short wasn’t charmingly old, it was more corrugated iron and shanty old.This was at least from the outside… No taxi drivers would take us to or from there, no one had really heard of the hostel. Finally, it was very far from any metro, which we found out later was by far the best way of traveling round the city.

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My trip to China taught me many things. Probably one of the most important ones would be to never judge a book by its cover. Yes, the exterior of the houses were rough and we could hear birds shrieking, BUT these houses are traditional ones and thus, their center is focused on an internal courtyard.

Things are not as they seem; the first appearance deceives many – Phaedrus

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Deep thoughts. So anyway, even though, from the inside it looks like the worst place in the world, but from the inside we were treated to a marvelous flash of color, the sound of running water, fountains and beautiful plants. Terracotta warriors stood over the main internal courtyard, where food was served on demand and computers purred away into the night. This place really had everything and was a great rest from the rest of the world around us which was very foreign and alien. Here we could get crisps, coffee, food which we recognized. The staff were so so helpful. We were able to book our tickets to far away tours and all our travel tickets to our following destination Pingyao. We were given maps and ideas of what to do and what to see.

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The rooms were really clean and had air-conditioning. The bathrooms were really smart and the beds comfortable. Apparently in China toilet paper is supposed to be put in a little bin. I’m sorry to say though I flushed it and I flushed it all.

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So, although not the greatest of locations, we did enjoy many other benefits of this charming traditional Courtyard House. Here you will get a great sense of the real Beijing. Close by there is a park where people of all ages play ping pong and board games, couples stroll along to the night markets. Little bikes and cute, hopefully rabies free dogs wander around.

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