Italy Here We Come!

image

This was going to be a girls trip to one of the most sophisticated and beautiful places in the world! So before we set off I thought it best to Google a few things – Uffizzi, Medici, how remote Cinque Terre was and to quickly double check whether Fiorenzi was in fact the Italian for Florence… Unfortunately though, I was behind with packing and we had to finish a collaboration with a cool new brand that evening. So, when we set off to Stanstead at 5.30am, it felt as if I was going on our road trip slightly on a wing and a prayer! I would just have to assume the obvious: Fiorenzi = Florence…

image

The flight was delayed… but now on Ryanair we can take two bags of hand luggage. Now let’s be honest, as long as I don’t have to stuff my knickers in my pocket and walk around smelling like a men’s WC for lack of space for my deodorant, then I don’t care about a little lateness or care if we are all subjected to an intimate body check before mowing the runway and winding up the propellers…Anyway, I am sure I needed that extra pair of leg warmers to wear with my bikini, because of course there would be a massive freakish heat wave which would mean we could swimm in the sea even if our trip was going to run into December!* Optimism NEVER DIES (except for it makes you exceed the baggage allowance…then its a bitch)!

image

I just loved flying over the snow capped peaks of the Alpes and the journey was lovely! The delay meant that Stella, one my most loveliest of friends and I met just outside of Arrivals at exactly the right time. Stella had come all way from Salamanca and had had to push a taxi driver to the limit so that she could make her Madrid flight! Our first stop was coffee, but the second stop would be something much more special…

image

We learnt out first word of Italian at the train station in Pisa…Baggage Baggaggggggglioglgioglgio (luggage deposit)..it was the suitcase meme that gave it away, but anyway I could feel the local lingo and culture seeping in already after our Cappuccino…another word for the word bank * MY MIND IS A SPONGE and soon I won’t even need words as I will be able to tell stories with my hands like my Italian friends do… #LifeGoals

My first cunning European road trip tip that I would give to you all applies if you are going with someone who is coming from Europe:  On your first day, don’t bother changing Euros and just go about the first lef of your journey scounging off your friends and travel companions looking for non existent loose change in your purse/pocket/bag/coat before exclaiming “Damn! I just don’t have any euros!” Or else “I forgot to change money”. In my case I did actually not have time to change money, but really the results were surprising, so you should try it! So thank you Stella for saving me from famine, homelessness and dehydration  ❤ ❤ ❤ Looooove PS: that Prada bag was prescribed by my doctor to prevent more tendinitis in  my back, basic human rights, I swear!

So here are some of my pictures from our photo shoot  from the day before our trip! I hope you guys are excited… ITALY HERE WE COME!!!!

imageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimage

WEARING

Beige Fur Neck Jacket – JIGSAW

Gold Rings – PRIMARK

Leather Trousers with Padded Knees – ZARA

Metal tip slip-ons – STRADIVARIUS

White Cotton Crochet t-shirt – H&M

Want to know which company this photos were taken for?

MAKE SURE YOU FOLLOW MY  INSTAGRAM @ABIGIRLX TO SEE MY REAL TIME TRAVELS, LOOKS and COLLABORATIONS!

Abi xxx

bloglovin4_zps362d6fc6Instagram-icon-pinkTwitter-icon-pinkfacebook_thumbnail

Gym Class Heroes

  image

It has been said that a person who stays long enough at Piccadilly Circus, will eventually bump into everyone they know. The junction, with all its buzzing people, neon lights and roaring red buses really feels like the absolute nerve center of London. To the right more lights radiate from the pulsating Theatre Land, to the left Regent Street ‘s beautiful crescent, old school British landmarks like the Ritz, behind me Arcades, La Duree, Fortnum & Mason’s and the Royal Academy and straight ahead the maze of lanterns, green dragons and tuk tuks of China Town.  Perhaps it is true, if I waited there I could end up meeting everyone that I knew, but really what lies beyond is far too tempting to stop there for too long… Anyway I am sure I don’t know enough people and even if I did they would probably all just pass under my nose whilst both they and I stared up at the iconic Coca-Cola, which has been there since 1954 and checked our Google Maps trying to avoid getting lost…

imageimage

Yesterday my friends and I decided to go for Japanese to one of my favorite restaurants in Soho, Sushi Eatery on 40 Frith Street and in going there we passed the iconic illuminated advertising. For our dinner and cocktail evening I decided to wear a long oversize sports top as a dress and to keep warm got out some old football socks. Why did I wear my old football socks, I hear you ask? Well, I was sorting out my wardrobe as part of my room redecoration and inevitably, after putting it off for quite some time, I had to deal with the horror of my sock draw. I managed to wrench it open and after doing so, stood there looking at its rather pathetic contents: my most useful white pop socks were all odd and limply swimming around the sock soup, caught only by a giant ball of last year’s tights. All of my best socks were the ones that I never wear but which take up the most space: old hockey protectors, gym and football socks, mountaineering wooly mitts – of these I had quite a few massive bundles and clearly they had been the cause of the jamming of the draw in the first place…If I didn’t wear them, I should throw them away…either that or keep them and move one step closer to officially becoming a horder…so I decided that instead of wearing trousers, I would use my thick hockey or gym socks in today’s outfit. Felt that they gave my outfit quite a cool urban edgy look and would mean that I wouldn’t have to  walk around trying to fish out warn out floppy socks from under my feet whilst I tried to look cool in Central.. So here are some pictures of my Gym Class Hero look! I hope you like them 😉

imageimageimageimageimageimage

imageimageimageimage

imageimage

Abi xxx

WEARING

Sweat Shirt with a Print- H&M

Black beenie – H &M

Black Football socks – SPORTS DIRECT

Metal toe slip-ons – STRADIVARIUS

You can now get closer to the action by following My Girls On Tour via social media, where I post outfits, looks and pics from our adventures in real time xxx

bloglovin4_zps362d6fc6Instagram-icon-pinkTwitter-icon-pinkfacebook_thumbnail

 PS: Piccadilly Circus was created in 1819, at the junction with Regent Street, which was then being built under the planning of John Nash on the site of a house and garden belonging to a Lady Hutton.It was surrounded by illuminated advertising hoardings on buildings, starting in the early 1900s. At the southwestern side of the Circus, moved after World War II from its original position in the centre, stands the Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain, erected in 1892–1893 to commemorate the philanthropic works of Lord Shaftesbury, who was a famous Victorian politician and philanthropist. The subject of the Memorial is the Greek God Anteros and is sometimes given the name The Angel of Christian Charity and is popularly mistaken for Eros.

There Was A Fire

image

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.

image

imageimageimage

bloglovin4_zps362d6fc6Instagram-icon-pinkTwitter-icon-pinkfacebook_thumbnail

Les Fauves at Collioure

     It was the summer of 1905. Matisse was joined by Derain at Collioure for a summer holiday. The rich blue of the sea, the pastel of the houses, the red and green of the boats and the yellow ocher of the sand inspired their works which displayed incredibly vibrant brush strokes and colors. The passion and energy of the paintings were visible for all to see and people started referring to the artist’s as “Les Fauves” or the wild beasts.

026_cadre_collioureopen_window_colloire

  What I love about Collioure is that it is seems to have remained unchanged from the time when the Fauvists were here. You can walk around the town and follow a trail of replica paintings hung at the very spots where the artists painted their masterpieces. Stand where they once stood and gaze at their present and reflect on your own.  The medieval streets wind away from sandy bays where fishing boats are docked, flowers twist their way around old doors, the royal castle looks down upon a stone causeway against which the sea crashes and catches tourists unawares. Rock pools, fish, gulls and a rainbow of colored houses spilling off the mountainside. Just when you think it couldn’t get much prettier, you turn the corner and see the once lighthouse, now converted into the church of Notre-Dame-des-Anges, its large cross dark against the blue water and the yellow cliff and the town walls, built all the way up to the sea’s edge.

CIMG2982CIMG2997CIMG2999CIMG3002CIMG3008

DSC_0753

DSC_0723

DSC_0744DSC_0754DSC_0836DSC_0748

DSC_0312

DSC_0715DSC_0314DSC_0399

CIMG3002CIMG3008

CIMG3000André_Derain,_1905,_Le_séchage_des_voiles_(The_Drying_Sails),_oil_on_canvas,_82_x_101_cm,_Pushkin_Museum,_Moscow._Exhibited_at_the_1905_Salon_d'AutomneIMG_7202derain-Port-de-Peche-Collioure-19056

IMG_7210

I went there with my best friend Laura, whom I met when I was 9 years old at primary school and we have remained friends ever since.  We had a big seafood platter lunch, with lobster, crab and shellfish on the sea front at alovely french bistro and then walked around and did some shopping in the little boutique side streets. I bought a really nice white cotton top and some pottery. The shops here sell some great local produce, so its a great place to buy some super lovely souvenirs 😉

cadre_carre_pour_collioure_tederain_mt_collioure_380x309fauvism

Fauvism is the style of les Fauves (French for “the wild beasts”), a loose group of early twentieth-century Modern artists whose works emphasized painterly qualities and strong color over the representational or realistic values retained by Impressionism. Characteristics of Fauvism  include warm and cold colors  juxtaposed to add excitement and  left almost unblended, the emotional quality of color was emphasized,drawings were simplified, there was no attempt at 3D drawing as most areas of the canvas were left “flat” and a dark line can often be seen around some elements.

bloglovin4_zps362d6fc6Instagram-icon-pinkTwitter-icon-pinkfacebook_thumbnail

La Belle Epoque

image

Rudyard Kipling , the British writer, poet and novelist sojourned four times at Vernet-Les-Bains. In his letters home, he talked about Canigou, the magician among mountains, comparing it to the peaks of the Himalayas and certain hills in South Africa, which evoked mystery and spirituality. He, like many Brits had come in search of the winter sun and it were these pioneering, adventurous Victorians who are credited with the emergence of French alpine tourism. It was during the 1830s, when three more sources of water rich in sulfur and natural health properties were discovered, that the Belle Époque buildings and spa were built, to cater for vast numbers of health tourists. The arrival of the son of the pacha of Egypt and Constantinople, prince Ibrahim Pacha in 1846 really gave Vernet-Les-Bains international notoriety.

imageDSC04667imageimage

Now, many of the old grand buildings of the Belle Époque have gone, but there are two particularly impressive Art Deco buildings which remain, Le Grand Hotel Du Portugal and the Casino next door to it. They really are so beautiful and an impressive reminder of this golden age. The Grand Hotel is such a great representation of french architecture and I loved all the colors and the gardens. For our trip I wore glitzy sequin slip-ons and a very bold red jacket with big black buttons. I thought it fitting to add a black star to my lapel to bring me some luck for my game on the roulette and thought that the red of the jacket and my lipstick would be in sharp contrast to the black of the buttons and of the shoes. To really jazz up the look I decided to carry a hard mini case clutch made out of various tin cans and recycled metal.

 image

I never have enough money to bet on numbers, so on the rare occasions that I do go to the casino I tend to play black/red ;)… if things go badly I just leave feeling depressed for the next two hours and if things go well I turn into a crazy addict on a roll-

Red, red..it IS going to be RED next…Ermm, Abi how do you know? I just know, I know because I have a system OK?!, I must stick to the system, the patterns…The roulette gets me and I get the roulette. Red, it must be red….BLACK…!DAMN! F***! Abi watches with watering eyes as the croupier racks in her chips… It’s your fault, you broke my concentration…its over, our winning streak is finished and it is ALL YOUR FAULT… ????? Ok, maybe its not ALL your fault…I think your right, maybe its time to leave, I think I may have done enough gambling for one day…

imageDSC04640imageimageDSC04660image

imageimageimageimageimage

imageimage

Abi xxx

WEARING

Red Jacket –  CHRISTIAN LACROIX

Ripped Jeans – PRIMARK

Fairtrade Recycled Can Hard Clutch Bag – PITT RIVERS MUSEUM

Black and Silver Sequin Slip-ons – TESCOS

Black Star Brooch – VINTAGE

Earrings – BULGARI

Diamond Bracelet – MACY’S

Silver Bangle – AFGHAN CONNECTION (Charity Supporting Girl’s Education in Afghanistan)

bloglovin4_zps362d6fc6Instagram-icon-pinkTwitter-icon-pinkfacebook_thumbnail

Gold and Leopard Print for Pyrenean Oasis

image

Staying in the foothills of the Pyrenees is like a detox for your whole body. You get Vitamin D from the sun, the air is so clean, you get fit because you are walking up and down hills all day, you can gorge on a really amazing Mediterranean diet of home grown produce…and last but not least you can pamper you skin and body at one of the many Thermal Spas dotted around the valleys as a result of tectonic activity below ground. Our nearest Thermal Baths are at Molitg Les Bains Les Termes, where a beautiful art deco hotel has been built around natural hot springs which bubble up from the ground. The water is rich in sulfur and has loads of great properties and a lovely thing to do is to go for a day at the spa. That is if you can get over the horrible stench of rotten egg…

imageimageimageimage

The Thermes are situated in a stunning natural location, in the gorge of the Castellane valley at the heart of a vaste exotic park. Promenades are shaded by tall palm and fur trees and peacocks roam freely on the lawns. A romanesque fortress looks down upon the hotel from a tall rocky mound and its just lovely walking around in such lovely surroundings. The art deco design really harps back to this hotel’s pre war glory days, when ladies lay under parasols and the men climbed down the white metal staircases into the river pool.

 image

imageimageimage

For my trip here I decided to wear a black and gold plant embellished long blazer. The trees and plants are changing colors and so gold was a great rich Autumn choice to reflect the warm yellows and oranges in a sumptuous environment. I combined it with a Leopard print clutch purse and shoes. The leather trousers were a bit hot, because its so much warmer over here than in the UK, but the tight fitting cut really brought attention to the blazer.

Let me know what you think of the look 😉

imageimageimageimage

imageimage

imageimage

imageimage

image

WEARING

Black and Gold Lead Embellished Blazer – RIVER ISLAND

Leopard Print Shoes – RUSSEL & BROMLEY

Leopard Clutch – TK MAXX

Gold Sunglasses – EBAY

Black Lace T-Shirt – H&M

Taupe Leather Biker’s Trousers – ZARA

bloglovin4_zps362d6fc6Instagram-icon-pinkTwitter-icon-pinkfacebook_thumbnail

Mosset Through The Seasons

                So I am supper excited to be writing to you from the South of France! I arrived yesterday and can’t wait to show your my pictures and share my stories of my trip with you 🙂 The good news is that whereas in London it was super freezing, here people are still going swimming in the sea!

My base for my week in the sun is Mosset, which is 55km from Perpignan and is considered to be one of the most picturesque villages in France. The medieval town looks down upon the Castellane vallee from its rocky perch and a beautiful bunzzai pine tree grows from the roof of its church. In the foothills of the Pyrenees, the little cluster of red roofs and houses is surrounded by hundreds of hectares of forest and beautiful wild mountainside. This place is very special for me, as it is where I grew up and it is where my family home is. I learnt to speak french at the village school and the thick forests are where we went skiing every Tuesday afternoon. I don’t get to come back here as often as I would like, but when I do come it is the perfect place to relax and really see the beauty of nature.

Being so close to nature, you really get to experience and see all the seasons unfold in all their glory. The snow capped peaks in winter, the flowers and butterflies in the spring, the blue skies and swallows of the summer. But for me it is in Autumn when this place is the most spectacular, as the weather is usually great, the sky is really dark blue and the hills are ablaze with color. The leaves of the cherry trees turn bright red and orange, yellows and beautiful purples erupt all around the houses.

Everyone though has their favourite season, so I thought I would show you some pictures of Mosset through the seasons so that you could decide on yours! 🙂

imageph66_mosset1imageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimage

imageimageimageimageimage

image

In 1258, Mosset became part of the Kingdom of Aragon after having been under Moor, French and Roman rule.  At this time the village was 3km away and the remnants of this part of the village still stands to this day. From the 10th until the 13th century, the population began gathering around the castle and it is this way that the village moved to its present site around 700 m in altitude which is higher up the valley.  Part of the Kindgom of Majorca until 1344, Mosset became an important boarder town and city walls and fortifications were built. On the route of the Kindgom of Aragon and France, it grew in wealth, population and economic importance. After 1344, Mosset once more became under Aragon rule and it was in this period that the castle was renovated. Only in 1649 is Mosset attached to France under the Pyrenees treaties. The village was little affected by the measure from the central government and the revolution and the inhabitants maintain their combative, unique and rugged personality.

bloglovin4_zps362d6fc6Instagram-icon-pinkTwitter-icon-pinkfacebook_thumbnail

10 Things to Do in New York City After Midnight

    New York Fashion Week is coming to an end and I haven’t been able to make it this as my invite (as perhaps yours was too?) was somehow lost in the post. However to make up for this series of unfortunate events, I thought it would be nice to share my night time experience in the city which never sleeps and the pictures that I took on our 12 hour stop over in the city some months ago. Our plane arrived in from London at 11pm and we were to fly out to Punta Cana at 6am, and so we would have the whole night to see the lights, the action, hail a yellow cab and perhaps even have time for a trip up the Empire State Building. It was hard to find things to do for such an awkward itinerary and so I hope that this will help anyone who has a quick stop over in the city.

travel-wallpapers-empire-state-building-night-wallpaper-34499

1. GO UP THE EMPIRE STATE BUILDING

The Empire State Building is open every night until 1am and going up such an iconic building is such a special thing to do it must be at the top of your list! The views over the city are spectacular and the lobby is gigantic. I loved seeing all the lights and the beautiful skyline. A truly magical experience.

view-from-empire-state-building-at-night-3

view-from-empire-state-building-at-night-620425154

2. WALK AROUND TIMES SQUARE

Although Times Square is really great when it is bustling and full of people (including the Naked Cowboy), a night time tour of the theater district is really fun and spectacular. There will be few people so a great opportunity to get uninterrupted views and the lights will look really impressive. I loved seeing the warm air rise from the sewers, the yellow taxis flash past and the NYPD cop cars which for me looked just like toys. It was so exciting driving there too, as I loved seeing the large avenues all lite up and glowing. If possible ask your driver to go via the Brooklyn Bridge for a really special journey.

DSC_0161

DSC_0197

DSC_0137DSC_0149DSC_0154DSC_0184DSC_0208DSC_0166DSC_0175DSC_0167

DSC_0185DSC_0169DSC_0138

DSC_0202

4. EAT OUT

 Veselka is an East Village favorite among locals, visitors, and celebrities alike. They serve dumplings, crepes, soup, and coffee at all hours and it seemned that the guests were happy to engage in conversations about everything from art, to punk history, to socialism. Even better, it has wi-fi so that you can send a few pics and make a few status updates to make your best friends jealous! Midnight dates are popular at French Roast’s uptown and downtown locations. This French bistro offers plenty of hearty menu selections, like quiches, sandwiches, salads, and soups, 24 hours a day. If you want Chinese in China town then head to  Wo Hop one of the few places still open passed midnight.

5. GO SHOPPING

Around Times Square there are lots of shops which are open passed midnight, where you can buy some great souvenirs and clothes. This city never sleeps and a great example of this is at Kate Spade,which may have closed its doors, but allows shoppers to order anything from their catalogue via its touchscreen window and have it delivered by a courier at all hours. Stuck out in the rain at 2 a.m.? Order a cute umbrella (and maybe receive it from a cute delivery boy!).

DSC_0228

6. SEE THE LIGHTS AT ROCKEFELLER CENTER

One of the things we really wanted to see was the giant Christmas tree at the Rockefeller Center, you know the one that features in Home Alone! The whole area is fantastic and the large sky scrapers looked really impressive. Angles lit the path and US flags blew in the wind. The ice skating rink looked beautiful and was illuminated, although it was closed. Sadly the big tree was there but it was shrouded in darkness as the lights are on but not all night. The other decorations still made the whole square rather spectacular though, so it was worth the short ride from Times Square.

DSC_0248

DSC_0243

7. THE CHRYSLER BUILDING

Looming high up ahead we saw the diamond glass tip of this imposing building shinning like a star. The view at night of this incredible architectural wonder really reminded me of a scene from Batman and could very easily have been Gotham City itself. Walking up to the enormous jet black door was such an experience and to think that it was built almost 100 years ago now!

DSC_0217

DSC_0250DSC_0276DSC_0265

8. WAVE GOODBYE TO CENTRAL STATION

We walked away from the Rockefeller Center and towards the very famous train station. It was closed but we could see in and the entrance to the station was magnificent in itself.

DSC_0258DSC_0263

9. LISTEN TO JAZZ

Head to Fat Cat which is open until 5 a.m and which is a great place to grab a beer for $3, lounge on the sofas, rent ping pong paddles, or challenge someone to a Scrabble or snooker game.

10. GET YOUR HAIR AND NAILS DONE

Still have got some time spare before you have to head back to the airport? Head to Hair Party 24 Hours for a manicure and hair styling party with your girlfriends. Check out the karaoke room in back while waiting for your nails to dry. Services are discounted between 6 a.m. and noon.

 

Now we just happened be  arrive right at the time of of the Arctic Freeze brrrrrr….so I wrapped up warm in a faux fur hat, a silk wool scarf and brown leather boots. If you go at night really make sure to really wear warm clothes, especially gloves. I made the mistake of removing mine and my fingers almost froze whilst I snapped away with the camera. Also I am heading back to NYC hopefully within this year, so please could you suggest any other must see places (whether day or night)?? Thanks xxx

DSC_0199

WEARING

Brown Faux Leather Boots – PRIMARK

Faux Leather Trousers – GUESS

Faux Fur Hat – ACCESSORIZE

Silk and Wool Scarf – PINGYAO VILLAGE CHINA

Black Wool Coat with Silk Lining – JOBIS

bloglovin4_zps362d6fc6Instagram-icon-pinkTwitter-icon-pinkfacebook_thumbnail