Spring in Bloom

Created in collaboration with Viktor & Rolf, photographed in Batignolles & Parc Monceau, Paris

Spring has finally sprung! Hooray for all the SAD sufferers out there! Me included. I’m definitely affected by seasonal affective disorder and am perennially cold. Ask anyone who knows me and they’ll probably tell you that my most used phrase is: “I’m cold.” I’m basically cold when the temp dips below 25 degrees (so most of the year) and sleep with a hot water bottle for 6 months of it. Yes even with a boyfriend in bed with me. You may laugh, but it means I get 360 degree warmth ;). I also have a small hot water bottle that I travel with, so I’m always prepared to banish any cold chills!

Spring is therefore unsurprisingly my favourite time of the year, not just for its transformative nature, as trees sprout leaves and flowers begin to bloom, but because it's the first sign that the temperature will begin to rise and I’ll actually start to feel my fingers and feet again when I leave the house. Spring also has a distinct scent - my favoured of all the seasons. As one with sensitive smell - my super power if you will (not so great when riding the Paris metro), I associate people and places with smell and would happily bottle this season's scent so I can sniff it all year round. Viktor and Rolf’s new fragrance, Flowerbomb Bloom, launched just in time for the arrival for spring has done just that! It’s a fresher, more aerial and sparkling take on their iconic scent, Flowerbomb, which was created over 10 years ago. They’ve kept the same memorable musky base, and notes of vanilla and patchouli, but injected a breath of fresh air. This added whiff of invigorating air (an innovative molecule captured at the top of the mountain ranges of the Pacific Northwest, and recreated synthetically rather cleverly) has been blended with a burst of fresh flowers, and notes of pomegranate, bergamot and mandarin oils. It’s sweet, but not too sweet, and leaves a lingering floral trail, as it surely did when I wandered around Batignolles last week, hunting down pretty blooms and blossoms, and chasing warmer rays, when shooting this editorial. Is Spring is your favourite season? 

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Photos of me by Roxanne Matizbit.ly/FlowerbombBloom

Dressing like a French Girl

Photographed outside Hotel Providence, Paris. 

I've held off writing a post like this as I've always thought it a little clichéd. Yet the fascination with the way French women dress (and what they eat, how they rear their children and look after their skin…) continues to endure. So I put on my new favourite top, donned a trench and bought a baguette! (Because no French cliché is complete without one.) And what with Paris Fashion Week a few days behind us, I thought there was no better time than now to address a style that I’ve become more accustomed to wearing. This particular outfit is what I want to be wearing when Spring finally shows up. I’ve already worn a variation of it which you might have seen already, if you follow me on Instagram.

Having now lived in Paris for just over four years, I feel a little more in tune with what French women wear. I can confirm that compared to Dalston, East London anyway, where I used to live and where it wouldn’t be unusual for someone to walk down the high street clad in a technicolour dream coat, with hair to match - they do tend to wear less colour. But it’s not the lack of colour that has struck a cord with me over the years, but the simplicity and ease with which they dress. You’ve probably heard of the French laissez-faire attitude – meaning to let people do as they choose or as they want. It's a nonchalant attitude - the same that shows up in French style. It’s this sense of effortlessness that people often elude to when describing the way women dress. It's as much about the attitude as the items they wear. There is not a mishmash of colour, fabrics and textures etc.. but rather a curated or pared back outfit that because it’s simple, looks effortless.

Look at classic French women such as Caroline de Maigret, Jeanne Damas, Ines de la Fressange and Anne-Laure of Adenorah – their style isn't fussy, with mainly neutral colours, jeans, white shirts, a blue blazer, beige trench, stripes, a pop of colour and leopard print here and there, and all together seemingly effortless – their clothes don’t over-power but rather complement their natural beauty. It's timeless. French style is talked about over and over again because it looks by far the easiest way to dress stylishly, but ironically it's the hardest to emulate as you also need the right attitude, you can't look too try-hard. 

Admittedly when I first moved to Paris, my personal style went from less colour to almost predominantly navy, grey and black because I wanted to blend in. I already felt different being a Brit in Paris - something that more recently I've embraced. Only in the last year or two, as I feel more comfortable living here (I now have my career, my circle of friends and I can speak French - it's home!), have I begun re-introducing more colour into my wardrobe and started having a lot more fun with what I wear. I probably look more British, with what I like to think a French twist. Note pink coat I wore during Paris Fashion Week - a first for me - yet I styled it simply over a striped top and jeans. 

What do you think about French style? Do you try to emulate it? 

Below I’ve listed high and low end versions of what I’m wearing in the hope that you might also find some style inspiration not only from French women, but also for spring!

I'm wearing: MIH Jeans striped top / Levis Wedgie Icon Fit Jeans / Next Trench Coat, similar here & here / Joseph shoes, similar here & here / APC Bag, similar here & here. 

The Striped Top: 

The Trench Coat: 

The White Shoe: 

The Shoulder Bag: 

Photos of me by Dimitra Sereti, edited by me. 

A weekend in Zurich

At the end of last year I visited Zurich. It was my first time traveling to Switzerland, the land of chocolate and crystal clear water. Admittedly the city - renowned for its cleanliness hadn't been on my travel wish-list, so I was surprised to discover just how much the Swiss capital and banking hub (for what I knew it for) has to offer. I didn't know for example that Zurich has such an important artistic heritage - it was the birth place of Dadaism. Besides the architecture, which is beautiful, and even more so during the festive season, I also loved Zurich West - the burgeoning neighbourhood built around an old viaduct, with quirky shops, cafes, restaurants and galleries. It was one of the best weekend trips I've had in a long time. Staying at the beautiful boutique Marktgasse Hotel might have had something to do with it and spending Sunday afternoon un-winding in the city's thermal baths, was by far my a favourite excursion. Here's a little round-up of what to do and where to eat in this up and coming destination:

Address Book: 

Stay:

- Marktgasse Hotel

Do:

- Take a ferry ride around the lake

- Visit Zurich West – an up & coming area with shops and restaurants

- Thermalbad – bathe in the amazing thermal baths

- Cabaret Voltaire – learn about the birth of the art movement Dadaism

- Admire Marc Chagall’s beautiful stained glass windows inside Zurich’s Fraumunster Church

Eat:

- Lunch at Sprüngli Café - Swiss chocolatier with iconic restaurant attached

- Frau Gerolds Garten – fondu restaurant

- Vorderer Sternen

- Sudhang Wine Bar

Shop:

- Walter Vintage Moebel & Accessories

- Freitag - bags made from recycled trunk tarp

- Soeder* - style/ concept store

- Bookbinders Design - techni-coloured luxury stationers

The Interior at Marktgasse Hotel. 

Exploring Zurich West

Thank you to Marktgasse Hotel for making this trip possible. 

Pretty in Pink

Pretty in Pink is one of my favourite John Hughes films that addresses social cliques, class, love and personal style in an 80s American high-school. It's about not fitting in and grappling with staying faithful to your individuality, versus following the crowd. All themes that I thought very apt for this post. If you haven't watched it, I urge you to! I recently read Lucy Williams' account of how she'd finally found her happy place at Fashion Week and it resonated with me. While I was never a fashion assistant for a prolonged time period (although I did a month's stint interning as a fashion assistant for a UK based magazine, followed by freelancing for the Style Editor during my second year of university), I have been attending fashion weeks (mainly in London) for close to 7 years. Before I moved to Paris, I edited an East London-based arts and culture website, which involved writing about and commissioning photographers to cover London Fashion Week, and I've written on and off about fashion for other publications. In spite of my experience, I'll be honest and say that I have never felt entirely confident attending shows, until this season. Despite fashion's democratisation through social media, it is still an elitist industry and can be hard to penetrate. Because I was never immersed in the world from the beginning of my career, like friends who studied it at university - but instead came at it from an angle of interest having been attracted by its art, creativity and theatre - I've always felt a little intimidated and like I didn't quite belong. Ironically many of my best friends work in fashion for incredible brands like Dior, Louis Vuitton and Net-a-Porter. It clearly comes down to confidence and feeling comfortable forging my own path.

Slowly, but surely I've been finding my feet - making friends in the circuit that means I don't attend shows alone - it can indeed be a lonely place and although my personal style feels ever-evolving, I'm getting to a place where I know what suits me and where I can and can't push my sartorial boundaries. Hopefully I can inspire you and others to be more outgoing in their style choices and feel more confident about what they wear, yet remaining uniquely you - as I truly believe that clothes can empower. It's about finding what works for you and your body shape and not necessarily about following the trends. As the inimitable Yves Saint Laurent once said: "Fashions fade, style is eternal." Although trends can be fun to follow - take this pink coat for example, pink is one of this season's must-have shades (if you've been following the shows and regularly read fashion magazines) and I'll freely admit that I jumped headfirst onto the bandwagon here. I perhaps wouldn't have worn it before seeing it crop up on the catwalks last season, but styled in the right way, i.e with accessories that are more me - I feel incredibly comfortable and stylish in it - much like Andy does in the pink prom dress she fashioned herself in Pretty in Pink

I'd love to hear your thoughts about fashion - do you religiously follow trends? Do you attend the shows? And how have you found your sartorial comfort zone? 

I'm wearing: Chalayan Coat, similar here and here / Garrett Leight Sunglasses / Levis Jeans / Martiniano Shoes, similar here and here / Clare V round leather bag, similar here / MIH Jeans Breton Striped Top

Photos by Dimitra Sereti, edited by me. 

Courchevel 1850

If you watch my Instagram Stories, you would have seen that I spent the last few days in Courchevel. This was a very special trip for me, not just because I went with my boyfriend and friends, and visited one of the world's leading ski destinations, but because I finally put on a pair of skis for the first time since I was a teenager. For years I've been wanting to return to the icing sugar slopes and ski with Evian mountains looming behind me, but the timing just hadn't been right. But finally I found myself on the slopes looking up at the most incredible mountain views and bright blue skies. After getting stuck on the slopes a few times and suffering a couple of panic attacks - I am a bit afraid of heights and just hadn't built up my confidence enough yet to ski down a steep slope - I remembered how much I enjoyed (and the immense freedom that goes with it) skiing down a side of a mountain. It's addictive, and coupled with après ski activities, such as hot chocolate, fondue cheese for dinner and dancing either at an outside bar, ski boots an' all or in a lavish club at night - I now want to go back every year! Are you a ski-er? 

Scroll down for my ski style picks. 

Spring Favourites

Photographed in Paris

As I write this there are bright blue skies and the sun is finally streaming in through the windows after what was a very dreary, grey and cold weekend, which brought snow! I photographed this on an almost equally, but cold sunny day last week that had me tricked into thinking it was starting to get a little warmer. Wishful thinking. Despite the cold, my head is already in spring and more specifically what I will be wearing when the temperatures get a little more manageable and I don't have to wear a heavy coat. I started sporting this floral jumper (similar here and below) a few weeks ago as I was in need of brighter clothing to combat the grey, but it's also the perfect top to celebrate the (eventual) coming of spring. I've paired it with black jeans and this denim khaki jacket from Sezane, which I'm sure is going to become a throw-over-anything spring essential.

I'm wearing: Zara Sweater, similar here & here // Sezane Khaki Jacket // Sezane Sneakers, similar here // A.P.C half moon bag, similar here // Sezane Jeans // YSL lipstick

Photographed by Dimitra Sereti, edited by me. 

Driving through the Croatian coast with Nissan

I'm wearing: Ganni T Shirt, similar here & here / Levis jeans / Sezane sneakers / Fossil watch / APC bag, similar here / COS Green Bomber Jacket, similar here & here

I've just come back from a fast & furious trip to Dubrovnik, Croatia with Nissan to test-drive their new Micra. I hadn't driven in a year, and last time it was in an automatic, so I was excited, but honestly a little apprehensive to get back into the driving seat, albeit on other side of the road. I'm now used to driving on the right in France (we drive on the left in the UK), but I did have to muster up some confidence. Luckily the new Micra was a dream to drive and once I remembered where the clutch was (ha!), it was responsive and quick, and took those Croatian coastal corners like a trooper. Plus mine matched my lipstick ;) It was a quick trip that meant I mainly saw sea views (obviously nothing to be sniffed at!) and only had around an hour to see Dubrovnik Old City, but as it was off season and there were hardly any tourists, I could easily whip around the cobbled streets to capture a few shots. Do you drive? And have you been to Dubrovnik? Having now been during high (August) and low season (January) - I suggest you go while it's still a little chilly, but sunny enough for sunglasses. 

Check out my belated Dubrovnik post here (from last year) for what to see and where to eat. 

I'm wearing: Ganni T Shirt, similar here & here / Levis jeans / Sezane sneakers / Fossil watch / APC bag, similar here / COS Green Bomber Jacket, similar here & here

Dubrovnik in a Day

Last year I visited Dubrovnik during my trip to Croatia and completely forgot to post my photos. So here's a little guide below. We ended up staying on Lopud island and took the ferry into Dubrovnik for the day as it was less hectic. I'd definitely advise you to do this during high season!

Address Book:

Do:

  • Climb the city wall for views
  • Wander through the cloisters – this was probably the only place that wasn’t heaving with tourists
  • Visit the castle
  • Ride the cable car for panoramic views of the city 

Eat:

Dinner at Mandrac on Lopud Island

Dinner at Mandrac on Lopud Island

Lunch at Barba

Lunch at Barba

You me Paris by Chaumet

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Photographed at Peonies, Paris

I'm a big fan of applications, useful ones that is - the type that help me get a good night's sleep, shop better, order food, and find my way around a city - applications that add value and aid my busy life. So as a resident and Paris enthusiast, I'm very excited to be teaming up again with Maison Chaumet, to introduce you to their new application - You me Paris! It's a thoughtfully curated, discerning guide to Paris that has been created in collaboration with My Little Paris. Each space and place has been hand-picked specifically with us and our loved ones in mind. Think a romantic dinner for two, a stroll through one of Paris' famous undercover passages or a cosy bar where you can wile away an evening catching up with a good friend over a cocktail. 

There are five categories: Hotel, Culture, Restaurant/Bar, Shopping and my personal favourite Just For Two - a guide to Paris places that are best enjoyed as a couple or with your best friend. You might have already seen my post on Instagram from a lunch date with my boyfriend at Restaurant Edgar?! And earlier this week I finally discovered one of the city's newest café additions, Peonies - a cute coffee and lunch spot in the 10th where you can also pick up a beautiful bouquet of blooms. Chaumet has also suggested six different walks around Paris to suit various itineraries, such as Paris Under the Rain, Early Morning and Paris By Night! 

If you're planning a visit to Paris with a loved one, friends or family, or you live here and just want to learn more about what to do/ where to go in your city - download You me Paris now for inspiration!

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Goodbye 2016, Hello 2017

I've been writing this for the past week in between catching up on new year emails and starting new collaborations. But, wow, where to start? 2016 was dubbed one of the worst years by a lot of people, and while Brexit, the US election, celebrity deaths...we said goodbye to Bowie, Prince, Princess Leia, (and her mum!), Professor Snape, George Michael... - who didn't play Last Christmas at full-volume when they found out the news? So many wonderful, inspiring people, so much talent... all gone in one year. And then there were the many atrocities in between (Aleppo playing a huge part) that left unsalvageable holes. But despite all of this and sorry for sounding a little smug (although I'm not going to apologise for feeling this way I'm afraid, as it's taken a lot to get me here), it was one of my best years yet. And I'm beginning 2017 feeling more positive than I have in a very long time. This is mainly for one big reason - 2016 was the year I finally plucked up the courage to work for myself. I left the comfort of a monthly salary and began to whole-heartedly pursue my dreams! I'm probably a little older than most photographer/bloggers, so a regular salary is something I've been used to for the majority of my working life. But in September I left a part-time job, which for the past two years had been providing me with a stable wage in Paris. And although it allowed me to travel and take on more creative jobs on the side, it never felt right - hence I never talked about it! (PS it was with a digital marketing agency.) So as the work I wanted started to come in at a steadier speed, I decided it was time to take the leap. It was now or never. So I did it. Believe me, it was bloody scary, but thankfully I haven't looked back. I thought about it for a long time - my friends can attest to that ;) but sometimes it takes a little while to feel comfortable about making a big decision. And I'm the kind of person who likes to think, reflect and gather opinions from friends and family, before I make one. And now looking back, it was the best decision (besides moving to Paris) that I've ever made! I'm now working with brands and clients, and on projects that I could only have dreamed of a few years ago.  

Reading over my post from last year that looks back at 2015 and my goals for 2016, I can tell by the tone of my voice that in writing this post today, I'm a lot more confident in chasing my dreams. I was very tentative at the beginning of last year, a little unsure of my future and by the sounds of it, a lot more directionless. So I've compiled a few of my favourite things from 2016 as it's good to look back before you look forward! 

Work:

I won't spend too much time banging my own drum, as I want to get onto 2017 goals, but last year I collaborated with an amazing number of brands, including GAP, Kenzo, All Saints, Maison Chaumet and KitchenAid - my biggest collaboration to date - you might remember my KitchenAid posts on Instagram. I was chosen as the Paris-based ambassador for their new Mini Mixer. As part of the campaign I was filmed in Paris and was then flown out to New York in September for the launch. A 'pinch-me' moment happened when sitting in the theatre for a New York food awards night (which I'd gate-crashed last minute) and seeing the Mini Mixer campaign video played on the large cinema screen, complete with my face staring up a the Eiffel Tower! It was a wonderful experience and I met some incredible people who made me feel completely humbled to have been selected!

Travel:

In 2016 I travelled to 11 wonderful countries (Copenhagen, Munich, Venice, Morocco, Vienna, Croatia, Bordeaux, Maldives, New York, Mallorca, Zurich) - 3 of those being completely new to me, with the Maldives being by far the best! I love to travel - not just for the simple notion of getting away, setting your eyes on fresh sights, but to expand my horizons, meet new cultures and people. On my list this year is:

California - my mum is from San Diego and I have family there - it's been 4 years since I've been back, so I'm over-due a visit. (I'm also trying to organise a trip to Coachella with my old London flatmate, as this has been on my list for the past 4 years!)

Vietnam/ Cambodia - these were on my list for last year, but the year raced by, I went to other wonderful destinations and just ran out of time!

Berlin - I have good friends living there and have been saying for the past 2 years that I will come visit!

Barcelona - equally it's been years since I last visited...

South American: ideally Argentina or Brazil, or Mexico - so I can get my fill of my favourite cuisine, marvel at Mayan temples and bathe in the sea. 

What's on your travel wishlist? 

2017 Goals:

And so on to goals. Last year I chose three words to live by, inspired by my friend Anne: CREATE, EARN, SAVE. Looking back over 2016 and my bank balance, which is healthier than it's ever been, I think I did adhere to them pretty well. So this year, I'm choosing EXECUTE. Having now worked for myself for the past 3-4 months, I've realised that I need to work faster and more efficiently if I'm to continue reaching my dreams. There is so much more that I want to be doing, but I need to work better and smarter to achieve everything. I'm also going to get some help and am currently interviewing candidates for an internship (thanks to everyone who has applied!!) And I've made a little list of specific goals that I'd like to accomplish in 2017, which will hopefully keep me on my current path and inspire you to set your own goals! 

1. Become a morning person: 2017 is the year I'm going to get up early. I've never found it easy to get up in the morning, I wake up groggy and generally feel like I'm pulling myself out of a coma. I'm either sleeping too long, going to bed too late or going to bed wired (new rule is not to look at my phone in bed - I set my alarm before I get into bed now). So I'm currently reading The Miracle Morning to inspire me. I urge you to read it too, if waking up earlier is something that you dream of! Ideally I'd love to be up at 6:30 to exercise, meditate and set my goals for the day, and to be able to start work at 9am. For now 7:30 (not every day) is the earliest I'm managing...but I'm persevering.                                 Do you have any great techniques that you use? 

2. Read more & be informed - I spent far too much time on my phone last year, and often before bed flicking through the What's New section on Net-a-porter (ok I still do it) but I'm trying not to do it before I go to sleep and aiming to read more before bed. Not only to relax before I go to sleep, but also to enrich my brain! I'm currently reading Sebastian Faulks' new book Where my Heart Used to Beat. I also want to be more informed and up-to-date on what's going on in the world, politics and in business. Here are some great resources I'm currently tapping                                                                   into: Inc.comBoF, the Guardian (being British), Business Insider.                                                             What are you reading? 

3. Stop comparing: now this is an important one and one I urge you to adopt too. Working within the social media industry can have huge highs (travel, wonderful experiences), but it can also have extreme lows and greatly affect your self-esteem. Theodore Roosevelt wasn't wrong when he said "Comparison is the thief of joy". In fact it's probably biggest stripper of happiness. I've invariably had the habit of going down the social media rabbit hole - those times when you're suddenly looking at some random person's instagram account, not quite knowing how you got there. Or spending 20 minutes scrolling through some gorgeous model's feed, which leaves you feeling fat, inadequate and deflated..   So don't compare, stay focused on yourself and what you're doing, embrace your imperfections - remember we aren't all living the polished life that you see you Instagram. Everyone is human. Here are some great resources: Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, Daring Greatly by Brene BrownThe Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, The Desire Map by Danielle Laporte

4. Exercise more:  I know it's a cliche and I say it every year, but I feel I need to put down in writing to make sure I do it. I did make it to my yoga class last night and will be going to Zumba tonight. If I can do a minimum of 2 classes a week that's a good starting point, but I would like to do more to make me stronger, fitter and healthier. 

5. Build Rue Rodier - my blog has been somewhat neglected of late as the majority of my recent work has been connected with my Instagram. But I want to build Rue Rodier into a platform. More interiors & home tours, more outfit posts and more inspiration to get you lovely people living better! I also want to continue photographing/creating content for clients and for Rue Rodier.

What are your 2017 goals?