24 Hours in Mykonos with Figleaves

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I was really excited to be invited to Mykonos a few months ago by Figleaves to get a sneak preview of their gorgeous Spring/Summer’18 collection, which has recently hit their digital shelves. 

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I’d never visited the idyllic, white-washed Mykonos before, and over a whirlwind, bikini-filled 24 hours, I was able to really get a taste of both the glamour and simplicity of the Greek island. 

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In the morning I explored the island’s capital, Chora, which gave me the opportunity to wear some of Figleaves’ new beachwear around all the narrow and winding, labyrinth-style streets.  Picturesque, and quaint, there are endless little souvenir and handicraft shops to peruse, and cafes to drop into, as you wander around the bougainvillea scattered narrow and winding, labyrinth-style streets.  

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No trip to Mykonos would be complete without visiting the iconic windmills which overlook the sea, dating back to the 16th Century. 

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Above: Wearing the Rowan 0ff The Shoulder Sundress (RRP. £38.00), also available in white

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I was quite overwhelmed by the amount of stray cats in Mykonos, either happily soaking up the sunshine, or merely looking to share your lunch. To adopt a stray from Mykonos or sponsor their fostering or sterilization efforts, please contact Mykonos Animal Welfare. 

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In the afternoon, I headed to the Alemangou Mykonos, a boho haven on MykonosFtelia Beach. The rocky landscape, golden sand and crystal Aegean seawater made for the perfect location to shoot some of the latest Figleaves swimwear.  My favourite piece from the new collection was the Surf Shore Soft High Neck Tummy Control Swimsuit (below, RRP. £45.00), which was an unusually sporty choice for me, but I loved its high neck and unique mesh detailing. 

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I have always wrongly thought that Figleaves only catered for the more curvier figures, but I was so thrilled to realise that they have copious, sun-sational (couldn’t resist) fits for every shape and size, allowing us all to feel both supported and stylish this summer, whether poolside or at the beach.

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Above:  How pretty is this Margarita Frill Triangle Soft Bikini?!  I prefer non-wired bikinis, and being not adverse to the odd frill or two, this bikini top (RRP. £20.00) was an immediate, 'add to bag!' 

Below:  A few other favourites from Figleaves that I have my beady little eyes on for this Summer; The Secret Garden Soft Cut Out Swimsuit (RRP. £45.00), the Tulum Tassel Kaftan
(RRP. £45.00) and the Frida Underwired Bandeau Swimsuit (RRP. £50.00).

Here is a little video of my whirlwind 24 hours in Mykonos...

TLC ON TOUR... MYKONOS SUITCASE:
(Click on the items below for their direct links)

In collaboration with Figleaves

TLC VACATION: The Rose, Venice Beach, CA.

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After much kicking and screaming, this wannabe hipster eventually managed to drag herself away from the most spoiling, sun-soaked suite and jars of flakey croissants at The Rose Hotel, Venice... It was NOT easy! 

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The Rose Hotel, a little low-key Venice Beach gem, was originally designed in 1908 by Abbott Kinney, has had a recent, and most perfect, renovation by fashion photographers Glen Luchford and Doug Bruce. Once a notorious 'late night hangout' frequented by the likes of Charlie Chaplin and Jim Morrison, the hotel has maintained many of the original features, such as the reception's yellow counter slot for the working girl's keys, still in situ amongst the more recent flea market and vintage finds. 

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I spoilingly stayed in the hotel's Pacific Suite, a 1500 sq ft penthouse, with a massive bay window looking across the broadwalk to the ocean, two bedrooms (both with Queen size beds), linen covered sofas and a lot of too-cool for school art.  Aesop bathroom products, the softest stripey sheets and a bottle of rosé in the fridge (thank you Mr & Mrs Smith!), all helped to make my brief two night stay in the always characterful Venice Beach perfectly chilled. 

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Firstly, ALL hotels (and boyfriends) should provide designated little black make up towels to prevent the always inevitable, mascara and foundation induced 'White Towel Guilt.'  I know, a total bathroom epiphany!  Secondly, I brought some Ouai hair products with me to California to try (specifically, the hair oil and texturising spray) and HOLY MOLY they smell incredible - go get'em!

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"We never set out to create the perfect hotel; our walls are thin, and the building is wonky... But its not like any other hotel. And we like it just like it is."  Glen Luchford and Doug Bruce.

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Here is a little video of my stay at The Rose Hotel, Venice Beach...

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Ohhhhh those Venice Beach sunsets... (*and ohhhh, those accompanying Margaritas...!)

TLC ON TOUR... VENICE BEACH SUITCASE:
(Click on the items below for their direct links)

Thanks to Mr & Mrs Smith for organising my stay. 

TLC Vacation: Los Angeles with Ingrid Goes West

To celebrate the DVD and digital release of ‘Ingrid Goes West,’ Matt Spicer’s dark comedy that satirises the modern world of social media, I was invited by Universal Pictures UK to visit some of the film’s featured hot spots, arguably some of the city’s most Instagrammable sites. 

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The film follows the journey of Ingrid Thorburn (Aubrey Plaza) who with an unhinged history of mistaking ‘likes’ for meaningful relationships, moves to Los Angeles in an effort to stalk down and befriend her Instagram idol, Taylor Sloane (Elizabeth Olsen.) What has been called the ‘Single White Female’ of the social media age, this film is brilliantly topical, and frequently makes for some super uncomfortable viewing (especially for those of us heavily involved in using social media… EEK!)

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Aubrey and Elizabeth aside, however, another shining star of this film is undoubtedly its location… LOS ANGELES. I’ve been really lucky to spend time out in LA over the years, even moving there for a few months to work with some producers when I was younger.  It’s ridiculously spread out, but each differing area has its own remarkable character and almost pre-filtered aesthetic, and having an opportunity to explore some of these places once more, as well as smugly missing the arrival of ‘The Beast from the East,’ seemed too good to be true. 

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I mean, I can’t tell you how jammy I felt to be taking off in a roomy Norwegian Air Premium seat and heading for the California sunshine, just as the first snow was beginning to fall upon the runway in my wake… #SorryNotSorry!

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I spent two nights at The Kinney, a beyond colourful and quirky hotel at the heart of Venice Beach (where the oh-so-Boho Taylor Sloane lives, no less!) enjoying both a delicious dinner on the candlelit Gjelina patio (is there a better, more comforting cure for jet lag than pizza and red wine?!) and a sunny breakfast (with avocado, natch…) and much needed giant coffees at The Rose Café which set us up happily for all our sightseeing… iPhones at the ready.  

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After popping into Clare V’s (the boutique Ingrid first meets Taylor) I had my my hair tousled by the lovely peeps at The Hive in Silverlake (no blonde Taylor make-over for me, this time!) I then, eyes on stalks, visited some key Instagram locations across the city, including the much-photographed Love Heart Staircase and the infamously pink Paul Smith Wall, with lunch at the Carrera Café, and dinner at Ostrich Farm in Echo Park, yet another aspirational filming location. 

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With my camera roll almost as full as my stomach, we then set off on a road trip, just like the girls do in the film, for an afternoon in Palm Springs and a night in Joshua Tree.

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I stayed at the Parker Palm Springs a few years back, and it remains one of my favourite hotels, so to return for a mouth-watering lunch at Norma’s (shrimp tacos, always) was a serious highlight. Originally a Holiday Inn, this mid-century mansion has been transformed by the famously eccentric designer Jonathan Adler, who’s iconic pottery I am a keen collector of. The hotel is a perfect balance of extraordinary and chic, and you’re unlikely to have seen anything like it.

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A visit to the Moorten Botanical Gardens followed lunch, a garden designed by Slim and Patricia Moorten in the 1930’s, which now boasts over 3000 examples of desert cacti and other desert plants, and has become a real Palm Springs destination.  

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Our next stop was a tour around the Palm Spring’s Art Museum, where brilliantly, our visit had happily coincided with their Andy Warhol retrospective. As if my senses were not on over drive enough, it was a total pleasure to see more than 250 of this artist’s works from over four decades, in person - the pop art in particular.   

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After an early dinner at The King’s Highway Diner at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs (shrimp tacos on repeat, this time with Frozen Piña Coladas… Next level, just sayin’!) we headed into the desert darkness.

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The Pioneertown Motel, a must-stay when exploring the Yucca Valley. The motel is rustic, and straight out of a film set, which is of course in keeping with the real life, actual Hollywood western film set that lies on its doorstep! The rooms are simple and stripped back, and if you are comfortable with the lack of light pollution, and abundance of cool desert air, a good night’s sleep is guaranteed.

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Sadly we arrived at the motel on one of the two nights a week where neighbouring bar and renown rockstar/cowboy/rock climber hangout, Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneer Town Palace was closed! This, coupled with having to set off early the next morning, rendering us unable to explore the film set, has left me with valid reasons to justify a return one day…

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After a stack of Cross Road’s Café pancakes (next to some dubious taxidermy), we headed towards Joshua Tree National Park, where my boyfriend had visited to rock climb only a fortnight before. With 8000 climbing routes and 2000 boulder problems, the epic landscape, fascinating variety of plants and rare opportunities to sleep under the stars, have all created a truly world-class climbing destination… Oh, and the perfect Instagram location…!  As demonstrated by Taylor and an eager Ingrid in the film, we also had our moment to capture some Coachella vibe #OOTD’s amongst the yucca trees...

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There are also some vintage stores, such as ‘The End,’ worth dropping in on before leaving Joshua Tree.  Despite not finding my dream cowboy boots, I did find a vintage Italian umbrella which was too adorable not to take with me on the road. 

With Downtown LA (‘DTLA,’ for those in the know) mid-way through a real rebirth, with exciting restaurants, galleries, and hotels opening throughout, its currently a really great, buzzing place to stay, and after all that dust, and travelling, it was pretty euphoric to walk into my beyond spacious, and achingly cool studio suite at The Ace Hotel.  With a roll top bath, record player, a guitar and water provided in cardboard boxes, I became hipster by default. Cool. 

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The next morning, after one giant lie-in (and hangover), armed with green juice, we hiked to the Hollywood Sign. Kidding, we took an Uber...

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After obligatory photographs were taken, a spoiling lunch (of, you guessed it, shrimp tacos) at The Ivy Restaurant in West Hollywood ensued. Totally sceney, and totally worth hustling your way into for the eclectic décor and people watching-alone, but I can also thoroughly recommend the Key Lime Pie! 

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Here is a little video of these fabulous few days in LA...

TLC ON TOUR... LOS ANGELES SUITCASE:
(Click on the items below for their direct links)

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In collaboration with Universal Pictures (UK), Discover LA and Greater Palm Springs CVB, with thanks to Norweigan Air.

Photography: Myself and Erin Wyatt.

Nails: Sophie Gass.

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OMEGA 'Her Time' Exhibition, Paris

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There are invitations, and then there are INVITATIONS.  Last month I visited Paris with OMEGA for the latter. With an itinerary that included meeting supermodel (and all round superhuman) Cindy Crawford, a spoiling stay at Le Meurice, a sunset cruise down the Seine for dinner, and an opulent party celebrating the ‘Her Time’ exhibition where the latest brand ambassadors were to be revealed had this girl, someone who let's not forget, hasn’t moved quicker than a strut since the mid 90’s, sprinting to catch the Eurostar!!

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OMEGA is recognised as one of the greatest watch brands all over the world (and even outside of it, thanks to their buddies at NASA), and since 1848, this Swiss brand has continuously redefined watchmaking, with their ground breaking and stylish watches accessorising the most glamourous and adventurous of wrists, from Olympians to presidents, and even Bond. James Bond.

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It was wonderful to meet with the eye-poppingly beautiful Cindy Crawford at the Paris Peninsula (see my hotel review here) ahead of the party, and hear her talk so passionately about her relationship with the brand, one she quipped, she’d been in a marriage with longer than the one with her husband.  Cindy joined the OMEGA family in 1995, and has relished the experiences she has had with them, specifically visiting Peru to see first hand the amazing eye surgeries OMEGA funds through their charity partner Orbis International, a non-profit non-government organization of doctors who volunteer their free time to fly around the world providing life changing eye surgeries and training local doctors.  Cindy revealed she didn’t have a stand out favourite style of OMEGA as she feels attached to all her watches, and like bracelets, she likes to change up her watch style according to her outfit and mood, however, she did say she felt very connected to the Constellation design.

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Above:  Here’s a great idea Kelly; How about standing next to Cindy Crawford for a photo whilst wearing flats that resemble penguin feet? Not enough filters in the goddang world…!

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Above:  Le Room Service (F.Y.I. My favourite French word? Pamplemousse.)

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Above: TIME to party with OMEGA

Despite it BUCKETING it down that evening, the OMEGA Her Time exhibition and the party, held in the historic Hôtel de Sully’s courtyard, was just as stylish as you might expect, complete with many a handsome garçon holding a smart parapluie to guide you in between the differing displays.  After exploring the selection of OMEGA’s most famous and exquisite women’s watch designs, the company’s charming President and CEO Raynald Aeschlimann introduced Cindy and the brand’s newest ambassadors onto the stage; Her model children, Presley Gerber and (girl du jour) Kaia Gerber

To celebrate the family’s sponsorship, a series of black and white family portraits of the beyond genetically blessed Gerber family, taken by renown Peter Lindberg, were presented (below). With legacy, history and family being at the core of OMEGA’s brand ethos, there couldn’t have been a more fitting reveal.  

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Below:  After the After Party... Putting the French into French Fry back at Le Meurice

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At a time where so many of us are leaning so heavily towards the digital, and can so easily read the time on our phones, there is something so reassuring and special about wearing a traditional watch, and I really enjoyed borrowing an OMEGA watch in Paris and for the week that followed, back in London-Town... 

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In collaboration with OMEGA

London Photography:  Frances Davison

London Hair: Taylor Taylor London

Nails: Swanky London

Watch More Here...

SHOP TLC's LOOK...

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TLC Vacation: Venice with Diadora

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Considering the Italian brand Diadora’s current motto is ‘Living Your Passion,’ there could surely be no better person to visit them in Venice than me, seeing that two of my own rather large passions involve travelling, and pastaaaa!  

Since 1948 Diadora has been creating renowned and technologically advanced footwear, initially starting out making mountain boots, and subsequently athletic wear for some of the world’s most famous footballers, tennis players and F1 racing drivers.  In the last few years, Diadora has also focussed on expanding its range of street wear designs, with a timeless range of low and retro high top trainers in an ever changing array of bright colour ways.  Over the last couple of years, Diadora has collaborated with some of the world's best stores and boutiques, including Colette, creating a series of vibrant, limited edition trainers.  I perused these exclusive styles at the Diadora HQ whilst having lunch, some Prosecco (when in Rome… or, you know, Venice) and chatting with Chairman and CEO, Enrico Moretti Polegato.  

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After a tour around the brand’s Museum exhibitions, where I met many of the people behind the brand, and learnt a lot more about Diadora’s history and style evolution, we were able to visit their remarkable in-house-factory.  With no mass production, Diadora’s emphasis is on quality and traditional craftsmanship over quantity, and it was amazing to see the trainers being made, at each of the eleven stages of their people-led production, with many of the original machines still in use and in good working order.

After being presented with two of my very own pairs of Diadora trainers, I was invited to a nearby wine tasting at the beautiful Villa Sandi (below), and then on to Venice to our hotel.  

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Excitingly, I was utterly spoilt with a night’s stay at the stunning Hotel Ca’Sagredo.  The lavish, newly renovated 15th Century palace, situated on the spectacular Grand Canal itself, is a real gem.  Did I mention it is also PINK?! 

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This half hotel, half museum, is not only home to a multitude of striking 17th and 18th Century art, but at the time I visited,  Ca’Sagredo was also playing host to the most Instagrammed piece of art this year; Lorenzo Quinn’s phenomenal ‘Support.’

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As our water taxi pulled up to the hotel, I had the most incredible view of the installation I’d seen peppered over my social media feeds for the previous six months; Two giant hands pushing up the hotel’s walls, brilliantly drawing everyone’s attention to the real threat climate change poses to this much loved, centuries-old city.  According to scientists, the beautiful Floating City could be almost entirely submerged by as early as 2100, and these hands symbolise the power mankind has to stop it.

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The next day, in the most glorious sunshine, I explored the city on foot, and was shown the ‘secret’ side of Venice (basically, less tourists and slightly less pigeons!) with a walk through the Rialto, S. Marco Square, and all the way up to the Castello neighbourhood.  After a delicious, and what seemed never-ending, lunch at Nevodi (so many beautiful courses! Wow!) I visited La Biennale art exhibition before heading back to the airport by water taxi (beats an Uber to Heathrow any day!)

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"Venice is like eating an entire box of chocolate liqueurs in one go..." Truman Capote

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Above:  *FYI. If ever you can't find me, always look for the nearest cat...

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Above: Hanging laundry: One of the unsung wonders of Venice...

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Back in London, back in the grey, and back in the real world, the trainer trend shows no signs of ever abating, so I’m thrilled I can wear my Diadora styles around and about, at work and play - A lasting memory of my fabulous 24-hour Venetian adventure.

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TLC LOVES... Diadora

(Click on the items below for their direct links)

TLC ON TOUR... VENICE SUITCASE:

Thank you Diadora

London Photography: Ella Sadika

#OOTD: 31.07.17

I couldn’t have chosen a better place to debut my new favourite Pampelone Blanco Playsuit than the Cote D’Azur, the same destination that inspired this sought after beachwear line.

Former fashion publicist, and a ravishing beauty, Holly Anna Scarsella’s Pampelone collection is inspired by the glamorous women of the French Riviera.  After a childhood spent split between the UK and in St. Tropez, Holly’s goal was to create a beautiful, ethically made collection of beach dresses and kaftans, all epitomising that unique and effortless chic the Cote D’Azur attracts.  

This gorgeous, light weight broderie anglaise Blanco Playsuit (RRP. £140.00), with its playful cut out details and tie front, is equal part cute, equal part sexy, and a real head turner.

TLC LOVES... PAMPELONE

(Click on the items below for their direct links)

Location:  Les Roches Rouges

Photographer:  Emma Horeau

#OOTD: 21.07.17

Just as florals are synonymous with Spring (yes, we know, ground-breaking…), fruit goes hand in hand with the summer. The minute the sunshine puts his hat on, and the rosé has been lined up, we all seem to reach for our most zesty ensembles and juicy accessories.

Pineapples are usually our first fashion go-to, with lemons not far behind (so very D&G), and then there are cherries. Ripe and ruby red, there will always be something a little bit more sexy and a little bit more playful about this fruity print, and my faves Chinti and Parker have provided this one of our fashion five a day in droves this season.

I’m a massive fan of Chinti and Parker’s whimsical cashmere designs, and recently I was treated to the most GAWGEOUS Ivory Cherry Silk Shirt (RRP. £275.00) which has fast become one of the most useful items in my wardrobe; Cool when its hot, warm when it cool - but always lots of fun!  The shirt also has matching pyjama style trousers if you’re feeling that extra bit fruity.

 

I recently wore the shirt whilst on a #TLCVacation in Nice, staying at Les Roches Rouges. I paired the shirt with my red ASOS skirt, Dolce & Gabanna retro cat eye sunnies and my new favourite shoes; my Drilles.

These unisex, handmade leather espadrilles, created by British fashion journalist Amy Williams, are available in a plethora of chic colours (my favourites being Rio Red and Portobello Pink) are set to be THE shoe of the summer. Get ‘em while you can from Barr and Bass (RRP. £155.00).

Shop TLC's Look...

 

Photographs:  Francis Davison

Nails:  Sophie Gass 

Jewellery:  Auree Jewellery

TLC Vacation: Les Roches Rouges, Saint-Raphael

What a total and utter treat it was to be asked to stay at Hotel Les Roches Rouges during the same month of its opening.  When confronted with the beautiful azure blue sea and the stark white and deep, seductive sienna hues of this modernist, 5* hotel situated in the heart of the Côte d'Azur, the memory of my ungodly wake up call to get to Gatwick Airport simply melted away. The Welcome (and very much welcomed) Cocktail miiiiiight also have played a part in this, to be fair…

Les Roches Rouges is understated luxury at its best.  Low-key but wonderfully luxurious, unlike its well known neighbours, you can enjoy the glamour without the glitz of the French Riviera in peace.

First and foremost, I should mention the view.  The sea crashing against the rocky cliffside, and the hotel’s two swimming pools, one a natural seawater infinity pool, combine to make what I’m sure will soon become the most Instagrammed set up of the summer!  It is like something out of a Slim Aarons photography book, I kid you not.  Exceptional.

Spending a few sun-drenched days splashing in this refreshing water, whilst having a friendly team of Stan Smith clad staff waiting on my every Orangina whim, was le dream!  (Below: In Réard Paris)

My sea-view bedroom was small, but perfectly formed, with a balcony, artesian snacks (think, saucisson and nougat rather than your regular selection of Pringles!) and gorgeous, refillable Le Labo amenities. I mention that they were refillable, because as much as I love sneaking home a bottle or two of travel sized shampoo and conditioner, I love it more when hotels are eco conscious. The minimalist, yet artistic approach to the decoration felt fresh and light, the bed was cloud’esq comfy, and as an additional stylish touch, a gorgeous straw basket was ready and waiting to be used as your beach bag throughout your stay.

There are three bars and two restaurants at Hotel Les Roches Rouges, my favourite being located on the rooftop where I spent my last evening taking in a particularly other worldly sunset. The Provencal cuisine, with all ingredients sourced from local farmers, cheese makers, olive oil producers and beekeepers, is more than complimented by the array of cold, crisp wines offered (another Magnum of rose, anyone?!) I would however, say some English menus would be helpful (#BritAbroad, apologies) and perhaps a few more creative Vegetarian options. 

Above:  My blogger friends wearing their #TLCxAuree bracelets.  Every purchase from my and Auree Jewellery's Masai inspired Tembo Collection sees 100% of profits donated to For Rangers, supporting those risking their lives daily to protect Africa's wildlife. (RRP. £50.00-£140.00)

By day, if unwinding with a book, cocktail in hand lounging doesn’t suit (who even are you?)  you can busy yourself with some kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, table tennis, yoga cooking classes or a visit to a nearby, picturesque village for a wander.  In the evenings, there is live music (Gypsy, Cuban, acoustic folk rock) and cosy, open air cinema nights.  After a gorgeous massage, I can also certainly recommend a visit to the spa, you know, in the unlikely event that you just weren’t feeling relaxed enough…!

TLC ON TOUR... COTE D'AZUR SUITCASE:

(Click on the items below for their direct links)

Thank you Les Roches Rouges.

Additional Photography: Emma Horeau

Nails: Sophie Gass

TLC Vacation: Global Day of Discovery, Paris

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I was recently invited to Paris by Renaissance Hotels to celebrate their fifth annual Global Day of Discovery.  This hotel group is known for helping its travellers really experience their destination, something so frequently missed out on by those with a busy travel or work schedule, and for one day a year 170 of their hotels, across 24 countries, assist in helping you uncover the real soul of the location you’re visiting.  As Audrey Hepburn once said, “Paris is always a good idea,” so how could I miss such an exciting opportunity - one that would really immerse myself within the city, and not just within it’s bottles of wine and baskets of baguettes, as previous trips have witnessed!  This time, I was set to truly experience some authentic local culture that makes Paris unique.  

After arriving in Paris on the Eurostar (still never gets old), we were collected and taken to the Renaissance Arc de Triumph Hotel.  After a quick change and turnaround (I obviously needed to don some stripes and apply some red lipstick… ‘Cos Paris, innit?!) I was taken for the most tasty, colourful and inventive lunch at Balagan, the latest offering from the team behind the Experimental Cocktail Club.

With famous Israeli Chef Assaf Granit at its helm, this new, stylish restaurant and cocktail bar officially opens in June, in the Renaissance Vendome, and it should not be missed.  Make sure to try the amazing polenta starter and the tuna tatar wth tomatoes and tobiko yoghurt before the staff, accompanied by loud music, all join together to create you the messiest and most fun deserts… Think, chunks of cake thrown with wild abandon onto a tin foil lined counter top, followed by handfuls of watermelon and blueberries, a scattering of nuts, and giant spurts fruity syrups and lashings of cream! How very apt that Balagan means ‘Joyful Bazaar’ in Hebrew!

After a walk in the beautiful sunshine around the surrounding area, I have to admit I maaaaaay have then spent most of the afternoon in Sezane#DésoléPasDésolé

TLC LOVES... SEZANE

(Click on the items below for their direct links)

After another quick change (so little time, so much Paris), and another quick change after that (zip issues with my dress), we were entertained by some dancers in the lobby over champagne, followed by Parisian beatboxers over more champagne, in a coach headed towards the Eiffel Tower.  Oh, did I forget to mention?!  The six Renaissance Hotels in Paris came together and threw an exclusive party a the sought-after Salon Gustave Eiffel in the Eiffel Tower and THAT’s where I was headed.

Aside from getting ABSOLUTELY SOAKED by a freak thunder storm (if you watched my InstaStories that night, you might remember my hurricane of a hair doo and complaints over my soggy Jimmy Choo’s!) the evening was what dreams were made of; incredible and rare views across Paris, the City of Light, and a fun party involving a lot of glitter, a lot of bubbles, and many, many extraordinarily good looking stubbly men. I mean… They were EVERYWHERE. If you’re single Ladies, head to Paris, that’s all I’m gonna say!!  

The next day, a Renaissance Navigator, an expert in local neighbourhood activities and local gems, took us to the Fondation Louis Vuitton

Not only was it as fabulous as ever, but I was able to visit the Art Afrique exhibition, which was exhibiting one of my all time favourite photographs in all its glory, 'Nuit Noël’ (below).  Captured by Malian goat herder turned photographer Malick Sidibé, in 1963, three years after Mali's independence from France, and a time of hugely euphoric cultural and social change.  I just love the vibrant intimacy of the couple jiving under an African night's sky, still both in their Parisian best (she, sweetly barefoot), surrounded by beer bottles on the concrete dance floor.  

Before heading for to catch the Eurostar home, we headed for the Place du Trocadéro. You can’t come all the way to Paris and not get the money shot, after all!

TLC ON TOUR... PARIS SUITCASE

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When in Paris... I love French beauty products (*and pastries) and I have a lot of love for cool cat (and daughter of Serge and Jane) Charlotte Gainsbourg’s new khaki packaged NARS collaboration - the make up brushes are firmly on my Wish List. Also, if I could eat the new Sisley Paris Black Rose Cream on toast, I would.

An unforgettable journey, Merci Renaissance Hotels!

TLC Vacation: Montenegro with Octavia Hix

I was recently whisked away by Octavia Hix to beautiful Montonegro for a fun filled few days.  I got to explore the country’s dramatic coastlines by speedboat, its breathtaking views over wine-tasting, and its Unesco-listed old town of Kotor (all very Game of Thrones), ALL whilst getting to wear some of the designer’s newest, silkiest designs. Spoilt, much??... Da!  

I wore an Octavia Hix dress on a trip to the Caribbean last year, and was really excited to get my mitts on some more.  Founded by sun-kissed sisters Vix and Hattie Clark, Octavia Hix really do create the most timeless, ageless and elegant printed silk dresses, which you can even wear as over sized shirts with jeans on chillier days.  The prints are inspired by their travels and their upcoming marble print was designed with Montenegro in mind.

I flew out on British Airways to Dubrovnik, where we were swiftly collected and driven across the border to the Regent Porto Montenegro, our glamorous new abode.

The Venetian-Renaissance inspired hotel is located inside the exclusive Porto Montenegro complex, neighbouring an abundance of chic cafes, restaurants (TLC TIP: Head straight to Byblos for the most amazing Lebanese feast) and designer boutiques, a sprawling Yacht Club (with the most INSANE of infinity pools) and it overlooks a picturesque 450-berth super-yacht marina… I mean, I obviously fitted in perfectly, darrrrling!

As well as having its own in-house bakery (the dream), the Regent Porto Montenegro is home to a cosy library bar, a delicious Mediterranean/Fusion-Asian restaurant, and the most heavenly spa, one I was lucky enough to visit on my last evening for an amazing massage. 

Two real highlights of the trip included taking in the amazing views over wine tasting (my new favourite hobby) at Castel Savina (TLC TIP:  The Castel Savina Merlot is ACES. Two enthusiastic thumbs up!) and our boat ride around the atmospheric Kotor Bay.  

Despite not being the sunniest of boat trips, the billowing clouds rolling over the bay, in all its wild, brooding beauty, was incredible and I loved weaving around the dramatic maze of cobbled streets in Kotor’s walled in medieval old town, which incidentally is brim full with stray cats… I’m not even kidding.  The whole town FREAKING LOVES CATS, and every shop and restaurant leaves water and food out for these descendants of seafaring felines, and there are even designated shops exclusively selling a plethora of cat clobber. Basically, I think I’ve found my people…

TLC ON TOUR... MONTENEGRO SUITCASE:

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