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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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

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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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Walking-Paris-at-NightParis-9

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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

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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

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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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Office to Festive

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I hope that you have all been having a great building up to Christmas! As some of you know from my Instagram & Twitter, I am writing this from Paris. I can’t wait to share the pics and the stories from our trip, but first I wanted to share one of my best style type for vamping up a classic outfit.

When I was doing my live stream interview for Passion4Fashion, I was picture from one of my readers of their office outfit and was asked by one them to share my thoughts as to how I could make it more fashionable, turning it into an evening or festive city style. I thought that the question was quite a good one as turning a plain look into something more special without going over the top is something that I myself have struggled with in the past.

My first big tip to to take your outfit our of the office is to add a statement necklace. There are some great pieces around in a range of prices and every type of necklace can really alter a plain top and in such a different way that people will actually think you are wearing a completely different outfit. I have been loving silver chain Dylanlex statement pieces and the cheaper alternative from stores such as ModayBesos and boho coin necklaces that you can find from most online retailers such as H&M.

My second tip is instead of buying a plain t-shirt, top or blouse, buy one that has some neck detailing, such as beads, a collar with detail or studs. One of my favorite pieces this winter has been a plain black Missguided body that has a beautiful lace-up design up the front. It goes with everything, isn’t too flamboyant but is a great and easy piece to wear to get an eye catching fashionable look.

Finally ripped jeans really add a fashionable touch to any look. I would either get an old pair of jeans and distress them or I would buy a cheap pair and experiment with them. It’s as easy as adding one cut over each knee and then giving the cut a quick rip.

So with some ripped jeans, a plain top with some neck detailing or statement necklace and a black leather jacket, you can easily go from office drap to Christmas fab! 😉

Happy styling everybody!

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Wearing

Sunglasses – TRUSSARDI

Black Leather Jacket – ZARA

Black Blazer – ZARA

Metal Heel Heels – DUNE

Black Top – TOPSHOP

Statement Necklace with Crystals – MODA Y BESOS

Coin Necklace – Vintage

Lace-up Black Body – MISSGUIDED

 

 

Walking Wounded

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It was a few days ago in Paris when I was taking a video selfie for Snapchat in front of Laduree that two giggling girls came up behind me and followed me around totally photobombing me on purpose for like 5 minutes. It was when I turned in a circle to try to get a better face angle, * Stop judging me, I know you do it too* and could still somehow see them in my rear view of my front mirror, that I realized that I was being Selfie Punked…OH the SHAME! O MON DIEU! 😥

I shook off the massive sense of insecurity as they ran away arm in arm laughing, died a little bit inside and then flipped the camera back to selfie mode to keep on filming…Nothing can ruin a good selfie…NOTHING, you hear meaah, NOTHING! ;P

Being a fashion blogger and pretty active on social media, this isn’t the first time I have been judged for taking selfies in the street (First World problems I know…) but whenever it happens I do always laugh, because despite all the selfies I don’t actually take myself too seriously… So this is why I agreed to appear in Walking Wounded‘s latest music video entitled “Selfie“, which talks about narcissistic boys & girls who travel the globe only for their focus to be on selfies with famous monuments and site and not, on the sites themselves…

Sound familiar? no, No, NO , she denies forcefully… *

*Quick Camera Roll scroll and then turn and simply ignore the accusatory looks*

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So why did I agree to play the role of the narcissistic girl? Because Walking Wounded literally rock! Some of their tunes, The Devil Went to Tesco, Home Sweet Hackney,  are some of my favorite and their albums are perfect for trips to far off nomadic lands whether in person or imaginary, nights by the camp fire and for chilled out sessions full of authentically cool vibes. They are  a 5-piece band from pre-Hipster Hackney – before the East London borough was a inundated with  bijou cafe´s – playing cutting edge original material in a myriad of styles: from Punk to Arabic to Balkan, Celtic to Reggae, Ska to Rock, featuring  featuring Christine Taylor on accordion, Jonny Owen on harmonica, Hugh Poulton on vocals and guitar, Adrian Teasdale on bass, and Arnold Lane on percussion. They are every city hipster’s unattainable dream – their style and their sound is effortless, real and edgy in the true sense of the word. I really couldn’t listen to them enough!

I had never been in a music video before so I was excited when I was asked and boy, it the whole day was so much fun! I turned up at a big house in North East London with some of my boho clothes that I was asked to wear. There was a green screen and black screen in front of which the band played, lots of sound equipment and big cameras. The band had to repeat their pieces a number of times to get them right during which time we had to run on and storm the stage to obscure the real stars, to take selfies of ourselves with them, or simply of ourselves! The day was fueled with coffee and then in true rock in roll style the band went to the pub after finishing the first part of the recording! Sid Vicious and Gigi Hadid eat your heart out…

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So if you are fed up with people taking selfies all the time, or sick of forests of selfie sticks despoiling beautiful places…Then this video is for you!

Happy Monday everybody 🙂

Abi xxx

Don’t forget to check out all their awesome songs on the Cloud and subscribe to the Walking Wounded Youtube Channel! – Some of my favorites are and you can be sure that when I am out on one of my adventures I will be listening to them: Fallen Angel, Thunder at Sundown, Sahara Blues & California.

 

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