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? 

 

Autumn Knits: Part Three

Photographed in Place Vendôme, Paris

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I'm not one for wearing a lot of colour and tend to steer clear of bolder shades unless it comes in the shape of lipstick or nail polish. But if you're like me and like to break out of your sartorial comfort zone for the festive season, by brightening up your wardrobe with a few key items that work for day or evening, then now's the time to invest in something fun like this Frilling Hemline Sweater from Chicwish

If you haven't heard about Chicwish yet, I suggest you swat up now. The brand creates fun fashion-forward feminine pieces that are perfect for sprucing up your wardrobe when it's feeling a bit drab, or when you need something a little more interesting than jeans and a white tee (literally my go-to look!).

I picked the Frilling Hemline Sweater for its flattering peplum hemline that draws your shape in at the waist (also great for fuller figures) and its nod to one of this year's biggest trends - ruffles. The sweater perfectly translates ruffles for colder weather and has just the right amount of flounce to make you feel like you're wearing something special and form hugging, without going overboard - if you're more of a minimalist like me. Paired with these wide-legged wool cropped trousers, which sport a subtle check and elevated with simple blue suede stilettos, it has maximum impact with minimal effort. We shot this look on a beautiful sunny day last week in the elegant surroundings of Place Vendôme - where it doesn't get much more festive than here during the holidays (Christmas trees have sprung up throughout the square), and with those cobalt blue doors providing just the right amount of pop against the violet pink of the sweater. 

I'm wearing Chicwish Frilling Hemline Sweater // Iris & Ink Cropped Trousers from The Outnet // Whistles Court Shoes, similar here // ME+EM Leather Saddle Bag // NARS Lipstick

I'm wearing Chicwish Frilling Hemline Sweater // Iris & Ink Cropped Trousers from The Outnet // Whistles Court Shoes, similar here // ME+EM Leather Saddle Bag // NARS Lipstick

Created in collaboration with Chicwish. Creative Direction by me, photographed by Roxy Matiz.

Christmas chez moi with Maison Chaumet & The Socialite Family

A couple of weeks ago I hosted a little festive fete in honour of luxury French jewellery house, Maison Chaumet and The Socialite Family, who came to photograph my apartment as part of their Christmas campaign, Winter Stories. We spruced the place up and created a table spread filled with eucalyptus, red berries and cake. Then my boyfriend and I adorned ourselves in beautiful Chaumet jewels and watches from the Liens collection that let's be honest, I didn't want to take off. And if it hadn't been for the bodyguard, I might have made a run for it, or stuffed them into my pocket to later wrap up as a well-deserved Christmas gift to myself. 

You can read the full interview with The Socialite Family here.

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Created in collaboration with Maison Chaumet and The Socialite Family

Weekend-ing in the 10ème

I moved to the 10ème from the 9ème (the 9ème being where Rue Rodier resides) two years ago and besides being home, it has swiftly become my favourite arrondissement. It's still walking distance to the Marais, where I lived briefly and do prefer to shop, but I'm near Canal Saint Martin, which feels decidedly more Parisian (as it's less touristy), and I have many of my favourite haunts on my doorstep. These places are where I can enjoy all of my favourite weekend things - buying fresh flowers, grabbing coffee coffee/drinks with friends...And the weekend is still the part of the week which I look forward to most. Despite having said goodbye to a 9-5 office job when I moved to Paris from London and now working to my own schedule, I haven't left the admin, daily grind, emails and to-do lists behind and still long for the two days of the week when I don't feel bad relaxing. I may sometimes work on Saturdays and Sundays, but I don't feel guilty heading out to take some time off, including cycling down to le Marché Bastille (controversially for this post, located in the 11ème) to stock up for the week ahead - and where you'll often find me most Sundays scoffing accras and slurping on oysters and Muscadet. So yes it's Monday, but roll on the weekend!

Scroll down for a guide to my hood & outfit links.

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I'm wearing: French Connection Jacket // Lancaster Paris leather bucket bag, similar here & here // Acne Studios scarf, similar here // Madewell Jeans // Mac Lipstick, similar here // Michael Kors leather slippers, similar here 

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Photographed at Petit Chateau d'Eau

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I'm wearing: Iris & Ink Cashmere sweater // Zara PVC skirt, similar here // Lancaster Paris red leather clutch, similar here & here // Zara blue velvet heels, similar here & here // Mango earrings // Mac Lipstick, similar here

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Breakfast:
La Chambre aux Ousieaux

Coffee:
Ten Belles
Craft
La Fontaine de Belleville (also lunch) 

Lunch:
Petit Chateau d’Eau (great brasserie for lunch/dinner & in photos)
Sunken Chip (fish & chips)
La Marine (brasserie, great for Sundays)
Sesame (good bagels)
SAaM (bao buns)
Sol Semilla (vegetarian)

Shopping: 
O'Fleurs de Magenta (in photos)
Jamini (India-inspired interiors) 
La Tresorerie (scandi interiors)
Centre Commercial (clothing)
A.P.C

Dinner: 
Le Petit Cambodge
Hotel du Nord
Les Enfants Perdu

Drinks: 
Copper Bay
Le Comptoir General

Photos of me by Roxy Matis, edited by me. 

Taking a dip...

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It was a little too nippy to dive into the outdoor pool at Park Hyatt Mallorca, but I couldn't go to the Spanish island and not dip my toes in the water. Luckily the Presidential Suite has its own outdoor heated plunge pool, so I ventured in at golden hour and like a queen, sat warming myself, whilst surveying the hotel's villas and land towards to the sparkling sea.  

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Autumn Knits: Part Two

Photographed in Palais Royal, Paris

Originally the thought of matching knits made me conjure up images of the infamous twinset - a style made famous in the 50s and 60s by the likes of Jackie O and Grace Kelly. Although chic at the time, I distinctly remember mums donning them in the 80s and turning the once stylish combo into what can only be described as somewhat past its sell by date. 

But the matching knit concept has been revived, remade and upgraded for the modern woman, into the knitted skirt set or 'co-ord'. Equal parts cosy (and warm), as it is stylish, this set is ideal for cold winter days when you’re fed up of wearing jeans or trousers, or just want to look stylish when you’d rather be wearing pyjamas or fuzzy jogging bottoms, i.e no fuss - just-throw-it-on-and-go outfit. So comfortable, I could probably easily go to bed in it. So when I spotted this Comfy Direction Sweater and Skirt set in Grey on Chicwish - a site with a plethora of chic and happily affordable items, I knew immediately what I was going to wear for the second part in my collaboration with Chicwish. And you know how I love grey! I'm usually a size 34-36, so selected size small, but it is a perfect fit and the skirt even flattens by hips (try as I might to wear a pleated skirt, I just cannot get them to look good in one), which are on the wider size for my frame. 

I do love a bit of art imitating life, so we (Roxy & I) photographed the shoot in Palais Royal amongst Daniel Burian's sculptures -  note how the ribbed knit combo complements the black and white candy cane columns. 

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I'm wearing the Chicwish Comfy Direction Sweater and Skirt Set in Grey // COS navy coat, similar here & here // APC Demi-Lune Leather Shoulder bag // LK Bennet Leather Snake-Print boots, similar here & here

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Creative Direction: Marissa Cox // Photographed by Roxanne Matiz, with photos edited by Marissa Cox.

Park Hyatt Mallorca

From the road winding up towards the hills, I caught sight of the peach-coloured villas perched between the trees that look out towards the sea.  Park Hyatt Mallorca has been built to resemble a village rather than hotel, complete with a Plaza Mayor (main square). With three restaurants and a cafe, including an Asian restaurant and tapas bar, 142 rooms, two outdoor pools and a spa, it's pretty much all you might want or could ever need for a holiday destination. I spent a couple of days there last week soaking up some rays and eating my way through their menu. 

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Tables post-breakfast in Balearic restaurant

Tables post-breakfast in Balearic restaurant

Lunch at Cafe Sa Placa

Lunch at Cafe Sa Placa

The Presidential Suite bedroom

The Presidential Suite bedroom

The Presidential Suite living room 

The Presidential Suite living room 

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The spa in itself is a reason to put a visit to Park Hyatt Mallorca on next year's wish-list. Beautifully designed, it's an ode to all things calm, amongst striking architecture, interiors and art installations - see second image below. 

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Thanks to Park Hyatt Mallorca for having me. 

Autumn Knits: Part One

Photographed at Du Pain et Des Idées in Paris

I'm wearing: Chicwish Sweater // COS Wool Coat, similar here, here and here // LK Bennet Boots, similar here, here and here // ME+EM Leather Saddle Bag // Madewell Jeans // Dior Lipstick // Sisley Foundation

There's nothing more satisfying than updating your wardrobe when the season changes. Ok I think of a few things - Thai prawn red curry, popcorn, a rom com with popcorn, the perfect light, a hug, a glass of good red wine, roast, spicy margarita... But seriously as a woman, the wardrobe is serious business - you want to look good; you don't want to look like you just dragged yourself out of bed and got dressed in the dark. And who wants to spend an hour every morning trying to figure out what to wear?! Ok I still do that sometimes, but either way it's better to be prepared. As soon as the temperatures begin to drop, or when I pack my swimsuit away, I start thinking about what I need to update my wardrobe with. I'm one of those people that goes through her wardrobe at least four times a year to clear out the old, over worn and not so loved items to make way for fresh, joy-inducing items (yes I'm citing Marie Kondo's tidying bible). I give it a good spring, summer, autumn and winter clean, and I even go so far as to make an inventory of what I have and a list of what I need - try it, it'll certainly helps solve those "i have nothing to wear" moments. Not that I've banished them, I'm just much better at getting dressed in the morning since doing this. US brand, Chicwish, besides doing a brilliant choice of stylish year-round items, offers a great selection of knits that will up your winter dressing anté. 

This is the first of a three part series showcasing a few of my favourite knits from the Chicwish collection. First up is the Lace-up Rhythm Sweater in white. If you've been following me for a while, you might know that I have a habit of going minimal to the max - in other words I often wear a uniform. So I thought it was time to push my sartorial sweater boundaries and pick one with some detailing, like this slightly risqué, sexier tied-up, yet still cosy and warm sweater, as what's the use of clothes (besides covering our modesty and keeping us warm), if we can't have some fun, whilst also feeling more confident. I paired the sweater with jeans, leather snake-printed boots and a navy coat and saddle bag, whilst indulging in a l'escargot rhum raisin at one of my favourite boulangeries in the neighbourhood, Du Pain et Des Idées - this place combined with its colours and smell of baked goods wafting out the door, couldn't be a more perfect place to hang out in autumn!

Created in collaboration with Chicwish.

Chicwish Sweater // COS Wool Coat, similar herehere and here // LK Bennet Boots, similar herehere and here // ME+EM Leather Saddle Bag // Madewell Jeans // Dior Lipstick // Sisley Foundation

Close-up of the sweater's lace detailing

Close-up of the sweater's lace detailing

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Creative Direction: Marissa Cox // Photographed by Roxanne Matiz, with photos edited by Marissa Cox.

Jardin du Luxembourg

I went location scouting around Paris in the week for a few upcoming collaborations. Following a meander around le Marais, I decided to cycle south of the Seine and ended up Jardin du Luxembourg. After hauling myself up a hill (I almost didn't make it and was cycling in heels!), I parked my velib, guzzled a bottle of water and wandered into this pretty place, which I hadn't visited in probably months. I live in the 10th, so don't often venture to the 6th. The sky was grey and the air was damp and a bit foggy, but the colours of this place were magical, so here are a few snaps. Enjoy! 

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The Snakeskin Boots

LK Bennett Boots, similar here, here and here // Acne Studios Scarf, similar here // Sisley Anti-Ageing Fondation // Ray Bans // La Redoute rug

Fergie once said (yes, I am indeed quoting Fergie of Black Eye Peas fame): "the right pair of shoes can change the feel of an outfit and even change how a woman feels about herself." I've always thought this to be true, but I'm not sure how many times I've actually experienced it. For example, I do feel more womanly and sexier in high heels, but the fact that they usually rub my feet, leave blisters and make me never want to wear heels again, does slightly mar the whole event. Never has a pair shoes truly changed the way I feel, until now. Let me introduce you to the snakeskin printed leather boot. I've had my eye on a pair of boots like these since last winter, but somehow neglected buying them. But as soon as the weather started to turn colder in Paris, I began eyeing up boots, as one does and remembered how I had wanted a pair just like these. And since buying them I've hardly taken them off. Besides being comfortable leather, just the right heel height so as not to batter the balls of my feet too much when I'm pounding the pavement, they make me walk taller, with more confidence and more purpose. In fact I've caught myself positively strutting on a few occasions (a bit like Dave in that MoneySuperMarket ad - if you're a Brit or work in advertising, you'll know what I'm talking about, if not you can watch it here.) And to top that off, I've been getting a lots of compliments (or maybe my friends are just being polite after I force them to look at my boots). Either way I don't think I've been this excited about shoes since Clarks launched Magic Steps in the 80s (again you'll need to be British to know what I'm talking about.)

Have you ever bought a pair of shoes, or any other item of clothing for that matter, that has had more than a physical affect on you? 

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New York Eats

My recent trip to New York involved mainly eating (can it be classed as a hobby?), so thought I'd put together a round-up of a few of the eateries I visited! 

The Butcher's Daughter

First up, breakfast. Undoubtedly the most important meal of the day and the one I wanted to eat the most in New York. Paris is gradually improving on the breakfast front, but still lags behind the likes of London and New York. And I love nothing more than a good breakfast to start the day with. I met friends at the West Village outlet, not far from where I was staying at the Arlo Hotel for the KitchenAid event I was in New York for. They serve up great coffee by Aussie brand Vittoria coffee, fresh juices and a good choice of breakfast bites - I went for the suitably named 'Breakfast Bagel'. 

Address: 581 Hudson Street, New York.

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Toby's Estate

A classic New York coffeehouse, Toby's Estate is the perfect pitstop for coffee and a quick breakfast. I ventured to the West Village outlet on my first day in New York to meet Eva and Stefan from Trotter Mag. Feeling the need for something healthy (knowing I wouldn't follow suit for the rest of my stay), I went for the granola topped with fruit and yogurt, which didn't disappoint.

Address: 44 Charles Street, West Village, New York

Five Leaves

I stayed in Bushwick for the first leg of my trip and was eager to find a brunch spot in Brooklyn that I hadn't tried yet (last year I visited Reynards and Egg Shop - both of which are delicious). Five Leaves popped up with great reviews. After a 40 minute wait - it opens at 8am, so expect to queue after 10am, we were given a table inside. What's clever about this place is their coffee window, so you can order coffee while you wait. And it was worth the wait, I ate the best cooked breakfast that I've had in a long time that came complete with hash browns, baked beans, eggs, toast and bacon. 

Address: 18 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, New York

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The Spotted Pig

I'd heard good things about the Spotted Pig, besides the fact that it's April Bloomfield's restaurant. Decked out like an old English country pub, this place is very cosy. I met Joann for lunch on the Monday and we shared a plate of their Shoestring Fries (tasty shredded fries cooked with rosemary) and the Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Onion Marmelade and Mustard, which were equally delicious and enough for both of us. And the eating experience was made better by spotting Pierce Brosnan coming downstairs. 

Address: 314 W.11th Street, West Village, New York

The John Dory Oyster Bar

I met Anna, Digital Editor at Domino magazine for lunch here. A little hard to spot as the outside is covered in foliage, they dish up good fish. I had a delicious serving of the Chorizo Stuffed Squid, which despite it's small size (for the US) it was the perfect portion for lunch.

Address: 1196 Broadway at 29th Street, New York

Momofuku Milk

I have been waiting with baited breath to try this delicious cup of ice-cream goodness. Of course I ordered the famous cereal milk with extra cereal flakes. It was delicious, but trying to photograph ice-cream in 31 degree heat isn't the smartest move I've ever made and the who thing dripped all over me. 

Address: 15 W 56th Street, New York

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The Wythe Hotel

To catch some of the best views of the city, I headed to the top floor bar of the Whythe hotel with my friend Asiyami, who was also in town. I was here last year for breakfast at Reynard's with Sharon and although visited the top, hadn't sampled their drinks. Being a big fan of margaritas, I tried their classic recipe, which was very good despite being a bit pricey.  

Address: 80 Wythe Avenue, at N 11th Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York

 

Grand Army

Having already enjoyed brunch and a margarita on the Sunday, I decided the only way to make the most of the day was to carry on in the current spirit (see what I did there), so I whiled away a couple of hours with friends in the cosy bar that serves up great oysters and more cocktails. The oysters were delicious, as were the cocktails. 

Address: 336 State Street, Brooklyn, New York 

Maison Premiere

As if I hadn't eaten enough oysters in one day, we followed up Grand Army (plus pizza slice in between) we a jaunt to the New Orleans speakeasy-style cocktail & oyster bar, Maison Premiere. I'd dined there last year was dying to go back. It was just as good as I remembered and we each ordered an exotic looking cocktails and a couple of oysters. Yum.

Address: 298 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, New York

I also ate at and recommend the following:

Freeman'sOst Cafe, AP Cafe, Lucy's (great Vietmanese in Bushwick), La Esquina (great tacos) for more New York tips (including shopping, cafes and what to see), read my post from last year here

 

 

Maldives with Constance Hotels Part 2: Halaveli Resort

 Halaveli is the kind of luxury resort that you might conjure up when asked to think of the Maldives. From the pool, restaurants (there are four, including a sushi bar), villas (there's also a huge presidential villa, should you be feeling extra plush and want to gather a group of friends to join you), to the experiences they offer, it has everything and more that you could ever dream of. And those experiences include dinner in the resort's wine cellar and wine-tasting in the lagoon. Yes - drinking beautiful bottles of wine in the lagoon. At sunset. With baby sharks swimming past your feet. I didn't even know that that was on my bucket list, but I ticked it off! Perhaps it's time I update the bucket list. Both are obviously a must. 

A 25 minute speed boat away from Moofushi, Halaveli is a completely different kettle of fish. While Moofushi is equipped for diving and has a more desert island disc vibe with a younger ambience, Halaveli is like the older, bigger, more luxurious brother that caters for families. But if you're considering them both for a honeymoon destination, they are equally wonderful. I'd highly recommend spending a few nights in each resort, to get the best of both worlds - just saying. And you could do what we did and stay in a water villa at Moofushi and a beach villa at Halaveli to get the full experience!  

Thank you to Constance Hotels for making this amazing trip possible! 

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Pathway to the spa

Pathway to the spa

Water villa interiors 

Water villa interiors 

Bathing in one of the water villa's private infinity pool 

Bathing in one of the water villa's private infinity pool 

Jahaz restaurant and bar

Jahaz restaurant and bar

Sushi at Kaika Sushi bar

Sushi at Kaika Sushi bar

My outdoor bathroom 

My outdoor bathroom 

Beach villa complete with outdoor bathroom and private pool next to the bath

Beach villa complete with outdoor bathroom and private pool next to the bath

The pool at the presidential villa 

The pool at the presidential villa 

Wine-tasting in the lagoon! 

Wine-tasting in the lagoon! 

Our ride home

Our ride home

Halaveli from the air at sunset 

Halaveli from the air at sunset 

Maldives with Constance Hotels Part 1: Moofushi

Three flights later, including a seaplane, we landed somewhere in the Indian Ocean, in some far flung edge of the planet, in a group of scattered islands called the Maldives. It's the kind of place you might have dreamt about during one of those rare dreams, the ones you can fly, where you conjure up crystal clear turquoise waters and whiter than white sandy beaches lined with palm trees. Well, I can attest that paradise is alive and well, not far from Sri Lanka. If I'm honest the Maldives was never top of my travel list as it always felt so unattainable; a place dedicated solely to honeymooners or a once in a life-time destination to celebrate something truly special. Now back in Paris, it feels like a dream, albeit a real one. 

The first destination of our four day foray in the Maldives, was the brilliantly-named Moofushi Resort, otherwise known as 'the jewel island' to the locals. I stepped off the seaplane and straight into the warm welcome of the staff and assistant resort manager, Srikanth. Having not slept (I’m not really a plane sleeper and I can’t resist watching the films, much to my own detriment), I was pretty dazed and practically running on empty, but anticipation, excitement and curiosity gave me enough fuel to see me through the rest of the day. Unfortunately the weather, although warm and humid, was a bit rainy and grey, but thankfully it didn’t mar the beauty of this incredible place, just prevented me from taking copious amounts of photos and forcing me to live in the moment. No bad thing, when I often see the world through a lens.   

Moofushi has a slightly rustic, tree-house vibe to it. Upon arrival, the staff actively encourage you to remove your shoes and spend your stay barefoot. It’s luxurious, but less flashy - more cosy and relaxed than you might expect a 5 star resort to be, but in a good way. During the course of two days, we explored the island, were treated to a massage, snorkelling and went diving. Beautiful reefs surround the island, so it's paradise for snorkelers and sea babies, and it also happens to have the best (award-winning) diving school in the Maldives. The centre is run by fellow Brit, Miles who very kindly offered us the first stage of the PADI course and held my hand throughout. It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a while, not only for the experience, but also to help quell my fear of the sea! I’ve been scared of waves and what lies below since a child and I'll try anything that might help (within reason - think I'll leave those caged shark dives to those braver than I!) After sampling the island's activities during the day - including a massage in the island's spa, a tour of the island and more snorkelling, in the evenings we dined at both island restaurants. Manta, the resort’s main eatery that also provides breakfast and lunch during the day, hosts a different themed cuisine every evening. Fortuitously we arrived the day they were cooking Mexican - if you follow my IG Stories or Snapchat, you’ll know this is a favourite. The following evening we dined in the Moofushi’s a la carte restaurant Alizee. With tables that line the beach, accompanied by live music and a delicious menu to match, it was more than dreamy. There's nothing like dining under the stars and listening to waves gently lap against the shore. Sigh... 

The spa - each hut is a massage room with peep whole to the sea, so you can relax and watch the fish swim by. 

The spa - each hut is a massage room with peep whole to the sea, so you can relax and watch the fish swim by. 

Pre-spa flip-flop prep 

Pre-spa flip-flop prep 

The pool. 

The pool. 

Cute messages from couples who have stayed on the island

Cute messages from couples who have stayed on the island

My private steps to the sea & water villa terrace!

My private steps to the sea & water villa terrace!

Breakfast at Manta

Breakfast at Manta

New York City Light

On my last day in New York I woke up at the crack of dawn to head out to take some photos, as any wise photographer does (or should) at least once while they're visiting another city. Besides golden hour (just before sunset), early morning offers up some of the best light to shoot in. Getting up early and venturing out is something I’m trying to do on every trip I take, despite not being a morning person. If it wasn’t for Marta knocking on my door – I would have dove down deeper into my duvet, I was so tired. It was the morning after the KitchenAid dinner (If you've been following my Stories you would have seen that I was in town as I was part of their new Mini Mixer campaign!) Anyway more on that later and back to the light. I'm making this post short and sweet, but wanted to accumulate all the photos where light played the main part in different spots around New York. Hope you like it.