Winter Wardrobe

Monday, 22 December 2014

I am not built for cold weather. My hands are the first to freeze, then my feet, then nose and before I know it I need to be thawed out. I know that 'chilled to the bone' feeling oh so well - when they invent wearable hot water bottles, I will be the first to buy one. So this year, I vowed I'd be prepared for the first sign of frost. I bought my winter coat when it was still warm, having spied this dressing gown navy number in COS. It's over-sized, snuggly and keeps me warm. Better yet, it slots into my wardrobe.

Since moving to Paris and in my quest to live better, I've been trying to streamline said wardrobe and throw out the clothes that I don't wear, with the aim of building a uniform (note irony when you scroll and see the grey jumper/navy skirt schoolgirl combo) of items that are stylish, timeless and made to last. It's an ongoing task, this shopping better and only trying to spend money where it counts, (it helps to keep a list) and I am constantly on the search for classics that will last longer than a season. My taste is pretty minimal and varies between shades of black, navy, grey and white, with the odd shot of colour, usually in the form of lipstick. This winter, I have been literally living in a variation of the following looks, switching it up with a pair of jeans, white tee and navy cardigan  (I have a thing for navy right now). And thinking I perhaps needed a little more colour in my life, I bought the trainers to match my lipstick, yep not the other way around.

How much thought goes into your wardrobe? 

Photos by Hana Pedajnianska, edited by me.

Christmas on Columbia Road

Saturday, 20 December 2014

One of the things I used to love doing when I lived in London was spending my Sunday mornings wandering (make that squeezing my way) up and down Columbia Road during the flower market, to peruse beautiful fresh blooms, foliage, cacti and a variety of potted plants and herbs. As I was back in the Big Smoke last week, I thought it was high time I paid an overdue visit. It being the second weekend before Christmas, the place had been transformed into a winter wonderland, with Christmas trees everywhere. I knew it might be festive, but not quite the explosion of forrest greens, berry reds and golds it was - luckily I brought my camera.

I haven't been in two years - so long that I arranged to meet a friend at a cafe that no longer existed. Luckily we managed to find each other in amongst the crowds. If you've been you'll know what I'm talking about, but for the uninitiated, it's quite an experience to find yourself pulled into the steadily moving traffic of bodies as they drift up the street, momentarily stopping to admire a flower or to purchase a bunch, in between the loud hawking noises of the stall vendors ("TULIPS!! - 2 BUNCHES FOR A FIVER!"). It's almost meditative to get swept along by the current, as the throng of locals, tourists, pets, children and buggies push you through the most congested part of the street and out the other side, where you can suddenly breath with ease again. I went through twice to try and capture what I could, after grabbing a tea and a warm pain au chocolat (as if I don't get enough of those..), with my friend in a makeshift cafe, which looked like it had been set up in an old garage. Despite the doors being open, the light was streaming in (hence I had to snap Gemma's sun-drenched hands clutching her warm mug), so we stayed wrapped in our coats, perched on a couple of stools and caught up, whilst watching the world, as well as purchased Christmas trees, go by. 

A day in Amsterdam

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Last weekend we drove to Holland. Yes you can do that from Paris. You can even take the train - something I'm going to do more of, now having been and loved it and not wanted to leave... We stayed with friends in Rotterdam in their beautiful apartment (more about that later) and then had a day trip in Amsterdam. I'd heard good things about the city, although admittedly mainly memories from friends who had visited the city during their youth to try and get their hand on illegal substances of the smoking variety. Luckily the city has cleaned up its questionable reputation and is now a destination for design, coffee, shopping, sightseeing and eating - all of my favourite things rolled into one. We managed to pack in a lot in eight hours, but this is definitely a city you need to spend a good 2-3 days in to really make the most of it. Here's a quick little guide if you're planning to go below, and hoping you like the photos. (It's not so easy to stop and snap every five minutes when you have a man in tow...)

- Nine Streets (great shopping area, where we spent most of our time)
- Coffee and Coconuts (Amsterdam's newest hotspot for coffee and breakfast - it's a huge three-storey space in a converted 1920s cinema)
- KOKO Coffee & Design (good coffee and clothes)
- HAY (amazing design and things for the home)
- WEEKDAY (for jeans & clothes)
- Athenaeum Nieuwscentrum (great magazine shop where we spent a small fortune)
- Wolvenstraat (good lunch place for tasty pizzas and sandwiches)
- Bloemenmarkt (flower market)

KOKO Coffee & Design

Taste of Paris

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Forgive me if this is beginning to look a lot like a food blog, but I couldn't not write about the lovely welcome back to Paris I had on Monday in the shape of an invitation to the launch of Taste of Paris. It's a new food festival that will be held in Paris in May, featuring the French capital's finest restaurants. An export from London, established in 2004, it has grown into a foodie super-power, having setting up camp in cities all around the world, including Sydney, Dubai and Amsterdam. Paris is its latest conquest. 

Installed in the patio of the lavish Prince de Galles Hotel near thChamps-Élysées, were cooking stations manned by the likes of top chef, Alain Ducasse (ok I didn't actually see him cooking, but I was assured he was there, probably being harassed by paparazzi, journos and food fans), Joel Robuchon and Stephanie Le Quellec, the hotel's in house chef, who was serving up tasty little bowls of sautéed langoustines. This isn't your average food festival, forget stalls and food 
trucks, this is a festival for food connoisseurs, who know their Bertrand Grebauds from their Christian Constants. Nonetheless, if you like fancy food and want to sample dishes from some of the city's most renowned restaurants, mark your diaries!


Thursday, 4 December 2014

A little while ago, the lovely Rich and Rosa over at Cereal magazine shared a few of my Porto photos to their online journal. Porto is on the rise and one of my favourite cities (it helps that I have friends and a boyfriend from there so I've been a few times). I took these on the first of two trips this year, whilst visiting in June for a friend's wedding - hope you like the full set! 

And here are a few places of note:
Taberna do Bonjardim - great for brunch
Book Restaurant - good for dinner or cocktails 
- Livraria Lello & Irmao bookshop - the bookshop that helped inspire Harry Potter
Piscina das Mares in Leca de Palmeira - an incredible brutalist style swimming pool nestled in the rocks right on the beach, designed by the Portuguese architect Alvaro Siza between 1961 and 1966 - think the Barbican centre crossed with some sun, sea and sand. 
Rota do Cha - a traditional tea house, in beautiful calm surroundings 
- Matosinhos for fresh fish - head to the fish market (the oldest in Portugal) and you'll find a street filled with fresh fish restaurants, all grilling fish (especially sardines) on the side of the street 

Tea and cake at Rota do Cha  

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