Outfit: Hairing around Notting Hill

A couple of weeks ago I was running around Notting Hill for meetings and bumped into Anneli for a quick shoot! I've found myself spending a lot more time in the area recently (probably because I've discovered a bus that goes from my flat to Portobello in half an hour) and love finding the new places that pop up on a weekly basis. I'd just finished breakfast with Lara at Varley (amazing activewear brand) at Farm Girl which I really recommend. It's run by an Aussie couple and for anyone who has visit places like Sydney and Melbourne it completely epitomises Australian brunching. I tried porridge with avocado for the first time; sounds gross, tastes great - try it!

I've been a few times, I also recommend the buckwheat pancakes and almond milk lattes - they're really pretty special (NB they're closed on Mondays, as I discovered last week!).   You've probably seen me in most of this outfit before, apologies for that but these really are the clothes I live in. That said, the shoes are new. They're from Superga's collaboration with Liberty. When they first arrived I was unsure about the florals as its not a print I'd usually go for… When wearing them they really cheer me up and make my outfit a little bit more fun! I'm now hankering after a second pair, these.

You may have noticed my hair has gone even shorter! Since cutting it a few months ago and chickening out of going "short" I finally took the plunge and went to Nicky Clarke last week and went for the chop. His Mayfair salon is an absolute dream, I spent a whole morning there chatting to the team who worked out the perfect length for my face shape, and once that was sorted we worked on the colour. I'm a very "ready in 15 minutes" girl and don't want to be spending hours every morning sorting out my hair. Their colourist did a mix of balayage (for the down low on what that is, check out this article) and highlights so that I wouldn't get bad roots and I can get away with getting my colours done every few months rather than few weeks. I've never been happier with my hair!

As for the outfit, the bag you've seen before as I wore it in Paris in this post. It remains one of my favourite things from this year; there is something very grown up about it and everyone asks where it is from - noone believes its high street! The jacket and jeans are my favourites from Topshop and the t shirt was a present from my sister last Christmas and although you can't see in the shots puts me firmly in Team Philo (to see what I mean, have a look here).

Shop my outfit here!


Paris Part Trois

cotton and silk mac, Reiss / jeans, Topshop / lace top, Reiss / shoes, Superga x Liberty / rucksack, Reiss / sunglasses, Marc by Marc Jacobs

This is my last Paris post, I promise. As this post goes live I'm on my way to a place that couldn't be further from the French capital - the Outer Hebrides - enjoying some true digital down time. Lopez is coming too and given how much he loves going "home" to Pembrokeshire I have a feeling Scotland is going to blow his little, fluffy mind… Any way, here is what we got up to on Sunday. It started off as a pretty miserable grey day so we had a leisurely breakfast before hitting the streets.

cotton and silk mac, Reiss / jeans, Topshoplace top, Reiss / shoes, Superga x Liberty / rucksack, Reiss / sunglasses, Marc by Marc Jacobs

We wondered around the 1st arrondissement and through the infamous Lourve courtyard before heading south of the Seine to visit a little hidden gem (although have since found out it's not that hidden, but I'd never heard of it before)… Outfit wise I was plodding around town in my new Superga x Liberty trainers which went perfectly with my mac from Reiss. I'm not a floral or a print person so I was worried I looked a bit mumsy in them, but looking back on these photos it's made me want to get even more of them… And for the record you can walk for miles in them, as I did.

Over the bridge and walking through the front gardens of Hotel des Invalides, we arrived at Musee Rodin. When we got there we thought it might be a bit of a disappointment as its being refurbished and the main exhibition is closed until November, but the gardens are absolutely beautiful and the sun came out just in time!

 cotton and silk mac, Reiss / jeans, Topshop / lace top, Reiss / shoes, Superga x Liberty / rucksack, Reiss / sunglasses, Marc by Marc Jacobs

I was pretty impressed with myself as I would consider myself at all knowledge about art and sculpture, but I instantly recognised The Thinker (Le Penseur… and the restraint required it took not to pose like every statue was immense) and the Gates of Hell and Burghers of Calais. Besides the statue, the gardens were super beautiful and a welcome calm from the hustle and bustle of central Paris. It's really cheap to go and visit, check out the website here.

Shop my outfit here

Next up we hopped in a cab back to the 1st arrondissement as I couldn't go to Paris and not have a drink in the cafe outside Palais Royale. My family absolutely love Paris and it's quiet a special city for us - we've been going to this place for decades. I'm pretty sure I ordered one of my first alcoholic drinks here… You can see from the photos below you couldn't really get a more stereotypical French place. Old ladies sit around you balancing their cigarettes against the tables whilst eating croque monsieur and drinking espressos. In a typical Parisian way, you feel slightly like you don't belong and are being stared at as a foreigner - something I love about Paris.

jeans, Topshop / lace top, Reiss / shoes, Superga x Liberty / rucksack, Reiss / sunglasses, Marc by Marc Jacobs

We then walked through the Palais Royale itself which is equally special for me as the black and white columns have acted as height measurements for my sister and I as there are photos that document us here over the years getting taller and taller (watching my "little" sister gradually be able jump over higher columns than me was one of the grander frustrations of my childhood - she's 6 inches taller than me).

Finally we ended up in another place we've been going to for years. My mum desperately didn't want me to blog about it as its her "hidden gem." Walk through the backstreets from Palais Royale and then the arcades around Opera and you'll eventually get to Bouillon Chartiers. As preparation, you need to lose all sense of logic and time to enjoy this - this is so French you find yourselves giggling about it for no real reason throughout lunch.

A former soup kitchen, Chartier is over a hundred years old and serves to give the Parisian locals a decent French meal for a reasonable price. I've been coming here all my life and bar obvious technology improvements (that said, using a card machine came in 10 years later than everywhere else) nothing has changed. The menu is simple, staple French food, the waiters are fantastic, ageing, rude comedians - and the "seating plan" is in accordance to the amount of space left in the restaurant. If you are a couple you will be sat next to another one rather than the spare table behind you. It takes some getting used to.

We ate and drank to our hearts content (3 courses, aperitifs and a bottle of red for two was 60€ with service) before heading back to the hotel for a cuddle with Kleo, one of Le Bristol's famous cats (below). She wasn't as excited as I was that we matched outfits and was much more fussed about me opening the ballroom door for her (the problems of pedigree Parisian felines, eh?). After yet another Aperol Spritz in the garden, we head for Gare du Nord to get home. Neither of us really wanted to go, we had such a brilliant time - we'll be going back soon (but not too soon, as the Instagram smugness got a bit intense even for me…).

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Beauty: Best Face Cleansers

As you guys may have picked up on, I'm really enjoying all things beauty at the moment. I knew very little about it all to start with, so I'm loving trying out lots of things and working out what works best for  me. The QVC Beauty Excellence Awards were last week and I was asked to test out their facial cleansers and let you know which one gets my vote… (Find out who won here).

Getting straight to the point, my favourite is the Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish. I've been using this for a long, long time having been bought it for Christmas one year. It was the product that showed me that in beauty (within reason) you get what you pay for. I use it once a fortnight as a bit of a skin blitz, but if you have more problem skin I'd recommend using it more. It's completely worth the investment, although I find it's far more of a skincare product than a make up remover.

Two other products (that I hadn't tried before) get a series thumbs up. Alpha H Balancing Cleanser is a fantastic all rounder. Soap free with bags of aloe vera and Vitamin E, I'd recommend using this for a couple of weeks after a holiday when your skin gets blasted by the "UK summer." It does also work as a make up remover so although it's £10 more expensive than the Liz Earle it saves you the expense of an additional product.

Finally, the Decleor Micellar Oil needs a mention. I'd been wanting to try this since reading about it on Really Ree's blog. Either use it "dry" or if you've really piled on the make up for an occasion splash some water on when you've put a couple of pumps on your face. 

For more information on any of the products visit QVC's website here. This post was in collaboration with QVC with no text or opinion editing.