Exploring Saint Tropez

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Welcome to St-Trop’

A couple of weeks ago I flew over to the South of France to spend a few days with my Mum. We stayed at our family summer house in a tiny village which is conveniently located to allow day trips to some of the loveliest places along the French Riviera. My favourite place to spend a summer day in is Saint Tropez, a village that since the sixties has become a popular destination for huge yachts and celebs. It has the perfect combination of luxurious hotels, charming little streets, beautiful beaches and famous clubs. I just love wandering around the harbour, people-watching, and checking out some of the fashion boutiques dotted along the colourful streets.

Saint Tropez always makes me think of Brigitte Bardot, who was partly responsible for transforming it from a fishing village frequented by artists into a glamorous celebrity destination. That’s why I thought a bardot top would be more than appropriate, and her love of headbands also inspired me to try a new hairstyle. What do you think of this look? I love the sixties vibe and it was great in the heat but I think that wearing my hair down is more flattering!

I’m preparing a short guide to Saint Tropez for you guys, so get ready for even more photos!

Wearing:

Topshop bardot top, Urban Outfitters button front skirt, Dune wedges (similar here and here), vintage Céline scarf, H&M sunglasses and Gucci bag.

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4 Lovely Places for Breakfast in Newcastle

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My boyfriend Chris whisked me away to Newcastle last weekend. Yes, I know, not the most romantic destination, but when we first started dating over a year ago he promised that he would be my guide in the city one day. So finally, I got to see the the lovely capital of the North East, its (old) new castle, and its many, many, hen parties. As with all my city trips, food played a big part in this weekend! Breakfast was my favourite meal in Newcastle, and there are a few places that I would really like to go back to.

Brunch at Blakes Newcastle

Blake’s – 53 Grey St
We found this place by accident, but according to a local friend “that’s where you go for breakfast”. It feels really cosy and unpretentious, but breakfast is presented beautifully and the fresh sandwiches look delicious. It feels like a very welcoming family business and would be a great place to sit and read a good book in.

Brunch at Quay Ingredient Newcastle

Quay Ingredient – 4 Queen Street, Quayside
Okay, so we didn’t actually manage to try this place (it was on the list but closed on the day we wanted to go), but friends have confirmed that this is the perfect place for brunch. Not only does it have a great name (guess where it’s located!), but it serves wonderful treats like cinnamon pancakes and eggs benedict with parma ham.

Dil and the Bear Tynemouth Review

Dil & The Bear – 18 Front Street, Tynemouth
Alright, so this one isn’t in central Newcastle but Tynemouth is only a few metro stops away! After wandering around the local market and walking by the sea, we stopped here for brunch. Their cakes were amazing and I loved their little tea cosies and mini milk bottles – it’s all in the details!

Breakfast at Baltic Kitchen Newcastle

BALTIC Kitchen – Gateshead Quays, Southshore Road, Gateshead
On the ground floor of the impressive BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, the Kitchen has a lovely view over the River Tyne and the Millenium Bridge. Go there for fresh scones or a smoked salmon and avocado toast, then head upstairs to check out some exhibitions and watch the bridge tilt from a viewing platform.

Although Newcastle’s nightlife wasn’t really my cup of tea (and that’s an understatement) I really enjoyed walking around the quayside, having a few nice meals, and visiting nearby Tynemouth and Durham. I’ll probably be back soon to meet more of Chris’s friends and try the other places on my foodie list!

Have you ever been to Newcastle? 
What places would you recommend?

A Girl’s Weekend Guide to Paris

By Posted on 4 min read 588 views
As you may have noticed from looking at my Instagram photos or my Paris photo diary, I absolutely loved my recent trip to Paris. It renewed my love for the city and I discovered so many great places that I had never heard of before. It goes without saying that I’m going to share all of these shops, bars, and eateries with you guys!

Shopping

I think most girls planning a trip to Paris think about doing some shopping there (am I right?). The thing is, unless you know where to look, you’ll probably end up wandering around Topshop or H&M, just like you would in London or any other European city (granted, on the lovely Champs Elysées). These are my top addresses that you won’t find anywhere else:

  • Mad Vintage – two locations, including 139, rue Saint-Martin
Right in front of the museum, this store has a fantastic stock of great vintage finds. I bought a suede mini skirt (because I’m loving suede for this season!) and I was super tempted to get a big red hat. I wanted to stay longer and hunt for more retro items but the boyfriend got impatient! Go there for wearable retro clothes in good condition for very reasonable prices. They have a huge selection of denim shorts.
  • Sandro Outlet Boutique – 26, rue de Sévigné
I’m sure many of you have heard of Sandro already. It’s my favourite for elegant party dresses – think lots of lace and LBDs like my NYE dress. The parisian brand also creates great casual wear, like awesome accessories and sweatshirts. This particular address is for their outlet boutique: it looks like a normal shop, but the prices are a fraction of what you would normally pay. I got my graduation dress (pictured above right) for 38€ instead of 215€!
  • St-Ouen Flea Market
When we decided to go to this market in the North of Paris, we were hoping to find some retro 60s furniture for our flat. The truth is, this market is so well known that the prices are mostly way too expensive for us – no bargains to be had! However I think it still deserves a mention because I found some lovely costume jewellery from a workshop that closed down in the 80s.
 
 

Food and Drink

Of course, there will always be the cute old street corner cafés and creperies, but Paris has a lot more to offer! I’m sure I haven’t even discovered the best of it, but these are my top recommendations for delicious food and drink in Paris.
  • Eclair de Génie – four locations, including 14, rue Pavée
The best éclairs EVER!! These are so incredibly good that I ate some twice in the space of three days. I tried the salted caramel éclair and the caramel and milk chocolate one, and both were amazing. We also had some of their chocolates filled with caramel, and they were absolutely delicious – not even exaggerating! They come up with seasonal flavours all the time as well, so there’s something new for you to try every time you go to Paris.
  • Ciel de Paris – 33 Avenue du Maine
Ciel de Paris or ‘sky of Paris’ is the best place to really take in the whole city and admire the Eiffel Tower from afar. We reserved a table for two in advance and were lucky enough to be seated by the windows overlooking all of Paris. The drinks are pretty pricey, but hey you’re paying for the view! We shared a bottle of champagne and sat there for a good two hours – a wonderful moment.
  • Le Relais de Venise – 271 Boulevard Pereire
Although they have now opened a few restaurants in London and one in New York, I think it’s still worth going to this charming restaurant (also known as L’Entrecote) when you’re in Paris. The starter is a salad, and the main is steak and french fries with a famous secret steak sauce. You don’t get to choose your food until dessert, but that’s part of the charm!

Next time I visit Paris I think I’ll have to try Angelina, a famous tea room with amazing-looking cakes, and Popelini for more cute pastries! You guessed it – travelling with me involves a lot of eating! For vintage, I’d like to check out Free’p’star which is supposed to be great. Stay tuned!

If you’re looking for more tips, check out Rashmi’s guide to Paris for first timers.

Do you have any favourite places in Paris?

Paris Photo Diary

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I’ve been planning to share some photos of my trip to Paris for a while! You may have seen some on Instagram already – these are from February, when I went on a romantic long weekend across the Channel with my boyfriend. We stayed right in the middle of Saint-Germain-des-Prés in a friend’s spare flat, and it wasn’t until we got there that we realised how perfect the location was. The neighbourhood is full of art galleries and famous old cafés, including an adorable little Ladurée shop right around the corner. We barely took the metro and spent hours walking along the Seine and across the Pont des Arts (the one with all the lovers’ padlocks) towards the lovely neighbourhood of the Marais.

This is what the Eiffel Tower looks like from underneath!


The reason why we chose to go to Paris that weekend is actually because Chris wanted to see Wales play against France in rugby at the Stade de France. Now I’m not a huge fan of the sport but it was pretty cool to see the stadium packed with rugby fans, and the rest of the weekend was mostly spent doing what I enjoy: eating and shopping. We found some really great places that I need to share with you, but I’ll save those for another post!

What are your best tips for Paris?

Morzine – A Guide to Restaurants and Food Shops by the Slopes

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After my boyfriend, Chris, pestered me for months because he wanted to go skiing, we finally headed to Morzine for a week of snow earlier this month. We did some skiing, played some Scrabble (yes, we are a very exciting couple), and drank large quantities of mulled wine and hot chocolate. Although we were unlucky with the snow, we had a wonderful time in this little French ski resort. While we were there we particularly enjoyed the local food and we were very pleased to discover a few lovely businesses offering great food and drink.

Of course Chris had to make skiing into a competition (with himself, thanks to an app that tracked his speed), leaving me to trail far behind him! What’s great is that I actually improved my skiing a lot throughout the week despite having to ski on ice and slush. When you spend a whole day skiing, I think it’s inevitable that you will want to treat yourself at lunchtime. The problem with restaurants on the pistes is often the crazy prices – 16€ for mediocre fish and chips? No thanks. Fortunately, after going down our favourite red piste, the Chamois, we discovered Le Rocher, a little chalet that you get to by skiing through a bridge above a river. Even though we were there at lunchtime, I just had to go for the salted caramel crêpe (4€) and the hot wine (2.9€). Yes, this was an indulgent week! We ended up having lunch there again two days later, and on both occasions Chris had a cheeseburger and a hot chocolate topped with a mountain of whipped cream. Indeed, this little snack-shack is a must for bargain hunters.

The indulgence continued when we ended up at La Bonbonnière for lunch in town one day. This patisserie reminded me of Chocolat, the film where Juliette Binoche opens a gorgeous chocolate shop in a French village. La Bonbonnière make the most beautiful chocolates, cakes and little patisseries. I chose to have a vanilla éclair, which was deliciously fresh and creamy, while Chris’s pick was a caramel shortbread cake and a ‘croque monsieur’. The caramel was amazing – rich, chewy and slightly salted. The croque monsieur, which is sometimes nothing more than a ham and cheese toastie, was deliciously creamy in the middle – very moreish. All those treat-seekers out there, this is the stop for you.

The biggest reason why we ended up eating so much during that week is because dinner at the hotel was included in our holiday deal. What we enjoyed the most about that was the platter of yummy local cheeses that was presented to us every night. That’s why I was so excited when we walked into L’Alpage in the center of Morzine. The shop has such a beautiful selection of artisanal cheeses, ham, and jams. The best part is that you can see the cheese being made in the basement through the glass floor. Chris bought a whole round ‘Tomette de Morzine’ cheese for 12€ which has fed cheese-bug since we returned.

Amongst these hotspots other good places to try in Morzine include:

La Sherpa: a small bar packed with young people drinking cheap beer (2 for 5€) and shots served on wooden skis. It is also closest thing you will get to an underground rave by the slopes.

Le Tyrolien: Their lovely thin, crispy pizzas (around 10€) left us so full that we didn’t get a chance to try the delicious-looking salted caramel tiramisu that we spotted on a neighbouring table. A warm and welcoming atmosphere. Worth a visit for your evening meal.

Overall, Morzine is a lovely town full of little chalets and friendly people. In terms of skiing, it’s part of the big ‘Portes du Soleil’ ski area, which means that if you want to try more pistes you can head over to the Avoriaz ski resort for the day. Morzine is not a big nightlife destination (compared to my experience of Val-Thorens), but it does offer a good selection of nice restaurants and lively bars. Whilst the quality snow was missing during our stay, we found lots of hidden gems that will help you should you have ‘snow luck with the weather’.

Are you going skiing this year? What ski resort would you recommend?