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.