The Blue Pearl

Breakfast at Casa Perleta. 

Breakfast at Casa Perleta. 

Do:

  • Walk up to the Spanish Mosque (about a 30min hike up a hill) to watch the sun set over Chefchaouen
  • Get out into the streets at 7am before everyone else wakes up to get some shots

Eat:

  • Don't miss lunch (make that dinner too) at Bab Ssour - they do great tagines for around €5. Head up the stairs to the terrace for a breeze and a view over the rooftops. 
  • To be honest I didn't eat much besides a crepe, but grab at least grab a drink here to have an excuse to go up to the terrace and oogle the view, one of the best of the city. 

We stayed at Casa Perleta, but if I'd been a bit more plush, I'd probably have stayed at Lina Ryad and Spa.

 

Lisbon // Part 1

If you're following me on Instagram, you might have seen some colourful, sun-drenched photos popping up on my feed as I spent last weekend in Lisbon. Having spent just a day a few years ago in Portugal's capital, I have been eager to get back and explore more of the city ever since. Luckily the weather was perfect - blue skies every day with an average temperature of 18 degrees - my idea of spring! Along with five other photographers and Instagrammers from Berlin, London, Paris and the US, I was invited to stay in the city with HERE, a navigation application that allows you to (among other things), find your way around a city or new country offline - a huge advantage when I travel so much and don't want to come home to a huge phone bill, having used all my data abroad.

So.. after checking into the beautiful Pestana Palace on Friday afternoon, I ordered a cab and quickly headed over to the centre of Lisbon to meet Alice at Cafe A Brasileira to get my chops around some tasty pastel de natas and make the most of the first afternoon in the city.  We wandered around visiting A Vida Portuguesa to pick up some pretty soaps and Cutipol to drool over the cutlery (this brand has been on my list for a while). Then we headed back to the hotel to join the rest of our group for dinner.  I have a ton of photos, so there's going to be a couple of parts, but first here's the city of Lisbon. Scroll down for my little guide and let me know if you have any other tips! 

Pastel de natas at  A Brasileira

Pastel de natas at A Brasileira

Alice Gao  browsing books in  Livraria Sa Da Costa

Lisbon Guide:

  • Stay - Pestana Palace
  • Eat - pastel de natas at Cafe a Braseilera // lunch at A Cervicheria  or Cervejaria Ramiro or Mercado da Ribeira  // dinner at Belcanto restaurant 
  • Cafes - Copenhagen Coffee Lab // Cafe da Fabrica 
  • See - Arco Triunfal da Rua Agusta // Basilica de Estrella // Sao Jorge Castle 
  • Shop - A Vida Portuguesa // Cutipol 

Thanks to HERE for making this trip possible // All opinions my own. 

 

The Little Black Dress

According to Karl Lagerfeld, "One is never over-dressed or underdressed with a Little Black Dress." So when I received the invite to Coach's Prom Party (to celebrate the opening of their new flagship store in Paris) with a dress code of 'Prom Chic', I thought wearing a LBD was probably the safe, but chic option.  I usually reserve dress wearing for summer evenings and weddings, but a Prom seemed the ultimate excuse to dress up and don my heels. 

I found this little Carven number on The Outnet, which has quickly become my go-to for occasion dressing, or any other wardrobe essentials for that matter (I'm currently mildly obsessed with their brand line, Iris & Ink). Already ticking many of my little black dress boxes, eg. it's sexy without being too revealing or tight, it also channels this season's off the shoulder trend, which despite not being able to lift my arms higher than my chest all evening (thank god for obliging friends who were willing to help me with putting my coat on) left me feeling, what I was aiming for: chic. I added a little pop of colour with the bright yellow Marni clutch (perfect for spring) and these play leopard print pumps from J.Crew, and then hurriedly took a few photos in the fading light before heading out for the evening. Do you have a favourite LBD?

Carven dress, The Outnet, similar here / Marni Bag, The Outnet / J.Crew shoes 

Necklace, Links of London, similar here / Lipstick, Lady Danger from Mac

Photos of me by Joann Pai

New Year, Better Me.

I know I'm a little late to the New Year party, but I've been redesigning (read: taking apart) my blog. Anyway more on that later. So, how did we get here so fast? It literally feels like yesterday that I was noting down last year's goals! 2015 was a whirlwind. It had its ups: travel, friends' weddings, creative work, and downs: the horrible events that happened in Paris at the beginning and end of the year, and a few things going on in my personal life, but all in all it was one of my favourite years yet. I racked up 25 flights, visited  8 countries (three new: Philippines, Iceland and Zanzibar) and that's not counting the monthly Eurostar trains to London. It also helped set me up: I laid the foundations for more photography work, content creation and without trying to sound too corny, more confidence to follow my dreams. 

Beanie: ME+EM / Scent: Thé Noir by Le Labo / Lace bra: Oysho 

I am a big believer in making new year objectives or goal-setting. You can call them resolutions, but rather than label them so ('resolutions' are notoriously broken after the first few weeks and therefore I'm not calling the fact that I joined the gym last week a resolution) I prefer 'goals' that are hopefully a  little more achievable. Inspired by Anne of Prêt-á-Voyager, who every year picks a theme (more on that here),  I've come up with a few words that will hopefully help shape my year. I couldn't decide on just one theme, so I've settled on three words:  CREATE, EARN, SAVE. This new blog space is the first creation. It's going to act as an interim until I get the blog design I'm really after, but that will take the work of my website guru friend Rachelle, so this will have to do for now. Either way, I feel it's heading in the right direction. I'm also working on a new photography portfolio and I hope to be creating more posts here, focusing on interiors, lifestyle, style, and documenting further travel. And as I have a (bad) habit of spending a lot of time (hours upon hours) searching for clothes online (if you tell me what you're looking for, I can probably advise you on where to find it!) I've decided to add a Wishlist section to the homepage, so all those hours spent searching don't go to waste. Hopefully it will help inspire your future purchases.

And finally a few things getting me through the January blues: 

  • Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert & her podcast Magic Lessons, which you can find on Soundcloud.
  • Not that Kind of Girl by Lena Denham -  I'm officially a fan-girl after listening to her podcasts: Woman of the Hour, also on Soundcloud (thanks for the tip Meg)
  • Wooly hats - the below is sold out unfortunately, but I'm also loving this and this
  • The film Joy - I urge anyone needing an inspirational kick to see this.     
  • Chai latte at Fragments and brunch at Pas de Loup
  • Shini's home tour - I want...everything.
  • Comfy, yet sexy bras - I'm not exactly blessed in the boob department, but I'm more and more leaning towards being confident with what I've got rather than disguising them with a layer of padding. I just picked up the one above from the sale at Oysho, but I've also got my eyes on this and this.
  • Jessica Comingore's creative goal-setting - lots of food for thought there and beautiful photos of her office space!
  • Carin's beautiful photos of Bali here and here. I mean.. le sigh.                                                    

Intelligent Style

A couple of weeks ago it seemed like Paris had suddenly skipped a season. We went from 25c one day to 15c the next. For me, anything below 20 is cold..so I immediately started searching around for warmer clothes. I may have grown up in the UK, but I do not fare well in the cold (being half Californian might have something to do with it!) When looking for clothes I always make a list and I'm one of those people who will spend hours searching online to see what's out there. I know it takes the spontaneity out of spur of the moment purchases, but I like to know that what I’m buying will fit in with what I already own. Wardrobe essentials therefore (to me) are rather ingenious - not just a ploy to keep you buying, they actually make you look good easily and effortlessly. I usually add pieces every season - clothes that I know will stand the test of time and wear; spending my money on items that are timeless, elegant and have longevity. I like to think of myself as an intelligent shopper. 

Despite now living in France, I still love British brands and ME+EM set up by Brit, Clare Hornby to offer contemporary clothing with a focus on cut, material and quality, caters to my taste perfectly. Luckily she gave me the opportunity to select my top five items from her collection that I not only consider essentials, but also the perfect foundations to a autumn/winter capsule wardrobe. I shot them around my neighbourhood (the 10th) in a few of my favourite locations. 

Scroll down for more and I hope you enjoy the post! 

I have a tendency to wear a lot of black during winter (clearly I’m subconsciously colour-coordinating with the weather), but it leaves me feeling a bit drab. While I don’t like wearing a lot of colour and pattern, I do like wearing lighter shades. This cream

ribbed funnel neck jumper

 is the perfect compromise between cosy and stylish. Not only is it warm, but it can easily be thrown over anything from jeans to being dressed up with a skirt and heels. 

(Photographed in

Liberté Patisserie

.) 

When I’m not lugging my laptop and camera around with me, I like to carry a clutch i.e. the lightest bag possible – this gorgeous cream l

eather clutch

is a perfect everyday one (and it's not black!), with different compartments (plus one central zipped) for all your small essentials for day or night. It also comes with a 

detachable

 strap so you can chose how to wear it. I personally like to carry it in my hand, but it's great to have the option. 

(Photographed on rue Legouvé.)

I’ve had my eyes on a pair of leather trousers for a while. They’re a great alternative to jeans and these black 

leather and garbadine stretch leggings

are seriously comfy. 

If I didn’t think I was going to ruin them or the fact that they're just too nice to sit in for hours on end, I would happily fly in them! They also sit high enough on the waist that you can tuck tops into them. 

The 'whiskey' merino wool 

roll neck jumper 

is a great transitional item that will take you from autumn (if there is one) to winter. And if you're like me and don't wear a lot of colour, this is a great shade to ease you into brighter hues. (Take note of the colour-coordinating wall!)

And finally the Breton stripe... A Breton top might seem a little clichéd for someone living in Paris, but it’s a piece that doesn’t go out of fashion, made timeless by the original chic Parisian – Coco Chanel. This

navy an white lyocell/ cotton

style has even been worn by the Duchess of Cambridge no less - if it's good enough for Kate...! It's got a good stretch to it, but is tight in the right places, with a nice ruching detail towards the bottom on the sides which look great when worn over jeans. Again this is a piece that can be dressed up or down, or used to layer under a knit when the temperature starts creeping to zero. 

What are your wardrobe essentials?

This post was created in collaboration with

ME+EM

.

Photos by

Ylenia Cuéllar

, edited by me.

Following My Nature

I've been having one of those moments of late, which surface every now and again. With summer firmly set in Paris these past weeks, the heat getting up to an almost unmanageable temperature and my (what seems like) incessant travelling backwards and forwards to the UK recently (I go again in a week!), I've felt lethargic at best and not so willing to conjure up new posts, or feel confident with the ones that are a work in progress. I know I'm in need of a rest. Freelance is wonderful, but it takes its toll, especially when I'm juggling so many things at once, or hustling for new projects. Luckily we're flying off to Santorini in a couple weeks, which I cannot wait for. The only downside being that our summer holiday this year, like the last, will be based around weddings - one in Santorini and the following in Biarritz. Not that I don't love a good wedding, and both I know, will be beautiful. But I could do with one whole week on a beach doing nada. Another project that is a work in progress. But enough of my first world problems, as I wanted to share a collaboration that I worked on earlier this year, with Marc O'Polo for their #FollowMyNature campaign. I love the photos and this is the type of project that I would love to do more of. 

The task entailed picking of few of my favourite items from their collection and wearing them around Paris - a bit like a day in the life of.. I purposely chose places that at first glance might not appear very 'Parisian' - places with darker tones and natural materials - wood, concrete etc... because I don't count myself a typical Paris blogger. It was a campaign I was happy to get involved with as I like to think that I tend to follow my nature. I followed my heart to Paris and have followed my gut to change career direction towards things that I personally enjoy and find more rewarding, even if I have in the past been warned against it by the more cautious. 

For the project I picked

Fragments

, a lovely minimalistic cafe in the 3rd and one of my go-to galleries in Paris,

Yvon Lambert

, which is located just off one of favourite streets - rue Vieille du Temple.  I felt that both complemented the clothes, and also reflected my personality and style tastes which are usually quite minimal. You can read the full feature + interview with me on their blog

here

. I'd love to know what you think! 

Photos by

Ylenia Cuéllar

, edited by me. 

Summer Favourites

I've been meaning to write this long overdue post for a while now, but what with all the travelling backwards and forwards to the UK recently (I feel like I'm currently living on the Eurostar, so much so that they should install a bed for me), my blog has (as is usually the case) has taken a backseat. 

So summer arrived rather abruptly a few weeks ago, when Paris was thrown into the depths of a heatwave. I usually love the heat - give me 30 degrees and I'm a happy girl, but the weather got a bit much even for me. And there's something that happens to Paris in the heat, it actually gets warmer in the evening. The small streets and Haussmann buildings insulate and keep the heat in, so by nightfall the city feels like a sauna, making it almost impossible to sleep. I've spent the nights tossing and turning trying to find a small available un-sweaty space on the sheets, to no avail. 

Since summer arrived I've been on a bit of a spending spree, yet still managed to be defeated by the heat. But when the weather's hit a cooler 30 (an oxymoron, if ever there was one), I've been literally living in this outfit. I'm happiest in a simple white tee - and this

ASOS offering

is a great option. White tees dirty and age easily, and I won't break the bank replacing this one, when the time inevitably comes. The skirt I picked up from the Zara sale. It's the perfect length, hitting just around calf level, but with buttons that go to the knee, adding a bit of je ne sais quoi and making it nice and airy, as well as easy to move in - perfect for cycling in (my newest obsession: I finally, after two years in this city, purchased a Velib pass!). 

The British brand,

Whistles

has particularly good to me of late.  The velcro sandals (another current obsession) and silver clutch are just a couple of things I've purchased in their summer sale this year. The clutch will be making an appearance at the rest of the weddings we have this year (three in a month starting the end of August!!) and matches a pair of silver heels that I bought from COS for the various occasions. The sunnies are

Retro Super Future

and have also become a summer staple, although I'm currently lusting after a pair of tortoiseshell ones. 

Along with a new wardrobe, I thought it high time I updated some of my make-up. I wear SPF 30 moisturiser every day, but I've also been plastering mattifying foundation over the top, in the hope of not looking like my face is dripping with sweat. But in a recent quest to feel a little lighter (especially in this heat) and not like I'm troweling on make-up every morning, I did a bit of research and decided to try the

Bare Minerals Tinted Moisturiser

. It's light (even lighter than the cream I've been using) and has a bit of colour, which I add to with some bronzer and blusher. I've been covering up any blemishes with

Laura Mercier's Secret Camouflag

e and suddenly feel a few pounds lighter! What's your go-to summer make-up regime? 

Spring Essential: Le Tote

Nothing updates a wardrobe for spring like a new tote, and this

stone blue number

from J.Crew is just the ticket for me. It's big enough to hold all my daily essentials, including my laptop, this fun

cork notebook

I picked up while in Manila whilst in the Philippines, as well as this month's must-read - the new 

Cereal magazine

, complete with a fresh redesign. I love the colour and funnily enough already have a small clutch and silk top from COS in the same shade, which didn't even cross my mind when choosing it. Something subconsciously must have drawn me to it!

What will you be updating your wardrobe with this spring? 

Winter Wardrobe

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.