Thursday 29 January 2015

A British girl in Paris: Part deux

On day two we grabbed hot drinks and x2 pain aux raisins from a boulangerie near Gare du Nord and made our way to La Defense for another Christmas market. An altercation with a member of staff at the station meant the morning in La Defense didn't get off to the best of starts...but thankfully the Christmas market proved a welcome distraction. My highlight? Finding a retro gaming bar which isn't usually there. All the machines there were free play so we spent a little while enjoying old favourites like Street Fighter, Marvel Super Heroes vs Street Fighter and PacMan.

Afterwards we headed back into town, stopping for lunch on the way. Our hotel had advertised a chocolate museum - Choco-Story (28 Boulevard de Bonne Nouvelle, 75010 Paris) - that took our fancy. We learnt about the history of chocolate, and how they made hot chocolate wayyyy before the time of Starbucks! Going on a week day was quite beneficial as it meant that we had our own private chocolate making / tasting class. The high percentage Venezuelan dark chocolate was out of this world! I loved all the display cabinets containing fancy tea cups:

There were advertising campaigns and typography everywhere. My favourite had to be this one:

On Wednesday evenings the Louvre stays open until late, so we took full advantage of this. The Louvre is one of my favourite places. The sheer size of some of the artwork is mind blowing and the decor and ornate ceilings, inspirational.

And whilst at the Louvre, you can't NOT go and see the Mona Lisa....

 ... or the pyramid featured at the end of the Da Vinci Code...

Walking around those vast halls is tiring work so what better excuse for a Coca Cola break with Anne-Marie? (even in France I can't find a Lucy bottle for love nor money!)

We walked and walked and walked until hunger got the better of us and we couldn't ignore those hunger pangs any more. A friend of mine who lives in Paris had recommended a restaurant which I just couldn't for the life of me find. So instead we headed back to the Champs-Elysees as several restaurants had caught our eye the night before. We decided on Pizza Pino (31/33 Avenue des Champs-Élysées, 75008 Paris) as pizza seemed like the perfect way to end such a physically exhausting day. We sat upstairs with a lovely view of the Champs-Elysees. It was hands down the restaurant with the most Christmas lights - it was like one of the houses from Deck the Halls! But the pizzas were incredible. I opted for a smoked salmon and crème fraiche pizza as it's not a combination you often see in England!

We knew we had an early start the next day, so we enjoyed a carafe of red wine and then headed back to the hotel. Stay tuned for the final installment - Paris day three - coming soon!

Monday 26 January 2015

A British girl in Paris: Part Une

If you can, cast your minds back to the start of December. I arrived at King's Cross ready for the 8am Eurostar crossing, bundled in so many layers that I felt like the michelin man. I stepped off the Eurostar late morning to a dark, drizzly, and absolutely freezing Paris. Being far too early to check in, we left our bags in our hotel's reception (a stone's throw away from Gare du Nord station) and went exploring to build up our appetite for lunch. A long walk later, we made it all the way to Notre Dame where we sheltered from the weather a while. I could spend hours in Notre Dame.

Outside, Notre Dame was looking pretty festive with it's Christmas tree and lights.

Hunger finally caught up with us and we stopped at Le Depart de Saint Michel (1 Place Saint-Michel, 75005 Paris, France), where we enjoyed a goat's cheese salad, snails, and boeuf bourguignon all washed down with a carafe of red wine.

By then our room was ready so we were able to check in and warm up for a bit.

The cold really took it out of us so we had a relatively easy first day. That evening we walked from the Arc de Triomphe right down the Champs-Elysees which had the prettiest Christmas lights and shops with the most incredible festive decorations. We found Laduree but the store had already shut by then :(

We finished up the day at the Champs-Elysees Christmas market which has the nicest atmosphere when you go at night. It's always interesting looking at the different craft stalls but a dilemma and a half deciding what to eat / drink. We settled for chips and then hot chocolate / mulled wine to warm our numb fingers. I liked my Christmas market cup so much that I washed it up and took it back to the UK with me as a keepsake!

I was in Paris exactly a month before all the atrocities happened in Paris. It was a huge shock and it's times like these that I despair for humanity. Namely the selfish few who feel no compassion and take pleasure in the suffering of others with no thought to the friends and families of those killed. It disgusts me. My heart goes out to the people of Paris <3

Until next time... stay tuned for Paris - part deux!

* full marks to those of you who got my SATC reference in the title!

Tuesday 20 January 2015

#13 Life as we know it

Brrrrrrrr! It's getting a touch nippy out isn't it? One equally chilly day, I caught up with some friends from uni for a spot of lunch along the South Bank - a favourite of ours as uni always used to be only a stone's throw away. And although we've visited the South Bank countless times now over the years, it never loses it's charm. Walking alongside the Thames with hands deep in pockets, we braved the cold for only so long until we sought refuge in Ping Pong. Glasses of steaming tea were perfect for warming ice cold fingers, and dim sum is ideal for indecisive people like me who want to try a bit of everything! I always really enjoy our time together. We've all gone our separate ways now and no longer live near each another (one of the gang now lives in Canada!) so these meet ups are really precious when they happen. After a warming and very satisfying meal, we all said our goodbyes - apart from Martin who I invited back to mine for a film. En route to the underground, we took a detour to Lola's in Waterloo station and bought a box of cupcakes to enjoy back at mine.

Forever indecisive, I picked four mini cupcakes; chocolate, passion fruit, and x2 red velvet. 
And when it's that cold out, a hot drink is a blessing on the tube (white hot chocolate in this instance!)

What you have you lovely lot been up to lately?

Friday 16 January 2015

Style inspiration... Laura Whitmore

There's something about Laura Whitmore. Enviable hair, piercing blue eyes, and a killer wardrobe. I don't understand why magazines haven't featured her in Best Dressed more. This girl has style with a capital S. I realise that some of you from overseas may not recognise the name (Laura Whitmore is a MTV Europe presenter and does a lot of presenting here in the UK). If you didn't know who she was before, you're about to find out...

Capes, blouses and beautiful dresses are fine by me. Oh to have that red cape. And the white cape dress.

I saw her on Wednesday night at the Kingsman premiere in London and despite the rather wet weather, she looked immaculate with a beautiful pastel coloured coat draped around her shoulders. However I soon became distracted away from her coat when Colin Firth walked past. Major Colin Firth fan girl right here!

What do you think of her style?

All images from Pinterest

Wednesday 14 January 2015


Oh January. I told myself this was the year that I didn't need to shop the sales or do any form of shopping in January. Then as the first two weeks of January passed, my frustrations began to air. I realised that I didn't like anything in my wardrobe any more. And that everything else in there no longer fits. Deep in the midsts of a wardrobe clear out (three massive bags have gone to charity already!), my wardrobe needed populating again. As luck would have it, I discovered Boohoo were offering 20% off NEW IN stock. I had a look - not expecting to find anything - but was surprised at how much they'd upped their game since the last time I'd been on their site. Here's what caught my eye...

Metallic knit jumper - £10  //  Lace off shoulder dress - £22  // Crochet camisole - £12  // Gold floral print leggings - £10 

The printed sweater came in two colours and I was originally drawn to the vintage feel of the black and bronze version (pictured below), but there was something about the blush one I really liked too. I'm not normally a pink sort of girl, but over the last year, I've been embracing it. Hard. The lace dress I actually ordered in red (snippet in collage below) but Boohoo doesn't show it in red for whatever reason - just the back of the dress and a close up (below). I've prematurely ordered this for Valentine's Day as this will be the perfect dress for a dinner date. Forever lusting after lace, I also couldn't resist this relaxed fit white camisole. I'm usually quite boring with jeans and leggings, but have decided this year that I want to branch out more and get into prints. This gold foil print may not be to everyone's taste, but I think these leggings would look great paired with a shirt and the right pair of ankle boots.

Metallic knit jumper (as above)  //  Statement necklace - £12  // Pinafore - £20   //  Lace off shoulder dress (as above)

... and here you have a couple of close-ups of the jumper and dress that I tried describing before! I love a statement necklace and thought this multi-coloured version would look so lovely with a crisp white tee - or any pastel shade for that matter. And as much as I love dungarees, trousers are a tricky area for me as I can never find the right length. This pinafore dress is more up my street and is a great transitional piece for spring / summer.

Normally I'd be more than happy sharing the 20% discount code on here, but it was a very last minute discovery (I had only minutes to get it all ordered before midnight!) so said discount code has expired... However being Boohoo, none of the items are particularly expensive in the first place, so definitely worth having a browse on the website here!

Monday 12 January 2015

Sick day

Not how I wanted to wake up today... but some days you just can't help feeling ill. I woke up with a fever this morning, but no matter how shit I feel, I am always incredibly stubborn and go to work regardless. This morning I became a statistic. I became one of those people who faint on the London Underground. It's always so crowded on the Central Line which never helps matters. And lots of people results in sauna-like heat. I suddenly become really nauseous and then blacked out. I had no idea where I was. I got off at the next station where TfL staff kindly took me somewhere quiet to sit down with an ice cold cup of water. I couldn't face the tube again, so I went outside for air. Turns out I was at Marble Arch. I took a bus for the remainder of my journey to work. I got to work without any further problems, but still felt light-headed and couldn't focus on much. So I left at midday. Being incredibly iron deficient, I stocked up on iron tablets, a beefy lunch and plenty of spinach to take home with me.

As well my iron laden lunch, I also picked up a magazine (magazines always make me feel better!) and some bubble bath. My temperature has been all over the place today, and I find that a bath is one of the best ways of regulating your temperature. The smell of this Strawberry Sundae bath / shower creme won't be to everyone's taste, but it reminds me a lot of strawberry calpol (anyone else remember this medicine?!) which I used to have as a kid and I always weirdly liked the smell!

I ate lasagna in bed with the covers pulled high, read a few pages of the magazine, and by the time you read this, hopefully I will be fast asleep! I will wake up in a few hours time for more iron supplements, more beef, more spinach and a nice bubble filled bath which may or may not smell medicinal...

Thursday 8 January 2015

What I got for Christmas

I realise that lots of people are divided about these sorts of posts, but I really enjoy reading them and find they provide me with gift ideas for friends and family for the year ahead. So I hope my post does the same for you and that despite reading lots of these sorts of posts / watching similar vlogs, that you still find this one semi interesting! I was - and still am - incredibly grateful to all my friends and family for their thoughtful gifts. Each year I am always moved by how well people know me and their generosity. Here's a little sneak peak of what I received for Christmas this year...

Polaroid accessories for my SLR - really looking forward to playing around with these!
Multi wick candle - love the townhouse design, it's the ultimate statement candle
Silicon tea cup cake moulds - tea cups AND baking.... my sister knows me well!
H&M and Zara vouchers - Vouchers are always wonderful. 'Nuff said.
Yankee Candles - Such generously sized jars, these will keep me going! Thanks Alison :)
CK One Shower Gel - if you haven't smelt CK One, you really should. It's unisex and I've loved it for years!
2015 diary - "Good things with happen" - Very apt as I'm hoping 2015 will be a special one for me...
Silicon macaron mould - will help me achieve the perfect macarons. So they no longer resemble this
Vogue and Harper's Bazaar - magazines like these are always a treat as I can't afford to buy them regularly!
Lee Evans DVD - I went to see this show in 2014 so it'll bring back good memories of a good night!
Robin Williams' films - I am still really sad that he's gone :'( These films are classics and I can't wait to re-watch them
Endless Love DVD - because Gabriella Wilde is my girl crush
Cherry eau de toilette - the perfect size for carrying around in my bag every day. Bravo again Alison!

Creative writing book - I'm really into writing and write a lot, so this book was a lovely surprise!
Macaron books and toileteries - clearly everyone knows how much I like macarons!

Cecelia Ahern book - this was a surprise gift, but I've read her books before and really enjoy them
Little French Kitchen - Love Rachel Khoo. Loved Little Paris Kitchen. Loved her show. Say no more
Cabana cook book - one my favourite places to eat, so looking forward to re-creating the recipes!

Portable DVD player - Perhaps quite boring to some of you, but I was really excited about this particular gift! I acquired two new laptops in this year (one work, one personal) - neither of which have disc drives. Although easily amused with Netflix and Amazon Prime, there are some evenings where I just want to watch a damn DVD. And now I can.

The more eagle-eyed of you may have noticed that I still have a Christmassy throw on my bed. I'm still hanging onto it, because if I take it off then it means that Christmas is officially over... and taking down the tree was hard enough *sob* This particular throw is so soft and cosy at night that it may have to stay a little longer until I can find a new - non festive - replacement! If you know of any nice ones, let me know in the comments below!

What did you receive over the festive period? I'd love to know!

Friday 2 January 2015

New Year bargains from Forever 21

With the January sales no longer strictly starting in January - most start in December and it seems to be earlier and earlier every year(!) - I never really find anything when Boxing Day swings around. To get the best bargains you need to start looking early. And according to this year's papers, some people were queuing for the sales from 7pm on Christmas day. This I just can't get my head around. Christmas is a day to be spent with your loved ones, indulging in enough cheese to sink a small battle ship... right?! I ventured out to the sales on 27th December but nothing decent was left. Online wasn't much better either. However Forever 21 was an absolute cracker. All the below, at those prices, you'd imagine to be in the sale. But I've got news for you: everything below is non sale and full price.

Boxy stripe tee - £6.50

I love a striped breton tee as much as the next person and for £6.50 you just can't go wrong! I love how it's been styled with a pleated skirt - I own one just like this and this whole look will look amazing with knee high socks.

Collared sweater - £15.00

I love collars. Peter Pan collars. Lace collars. Shirt collars, Those collars that you can just clip onto a jumper for the effect. This collar and sweater combo is a mere £15. Forever 21 does have the sweater in other colours, but I'm boring and I like black. How awesome are the tweed jacket and loafers?! This is definitely the sort of look I tend to gravitate towards.

           Wire collar necklace - £3.50                                              Blogger PJ set - £10.65

£3.50 for a necklace... Toppers, please can you take note?! I oddly like the fact that it doesn't go entirely around your neck - it reminds me a little of headphones. Subtle and delicate, it's exactly what I go for in jewellery. I've enthused about Forever 21 pyjamas before, and found these incredible blogging pyjamas! I fell in love with the shorts which have little coffee mugs and laptops on them, and are the perfect shade of blue.

Did you find any New Year bargains?