Sometimes it’s hard to muster some enthusiasm even for things that you love. Being stuck in a rut is not fun, especially because it’s hard to get out of it. I recently had a realisation that made me realise I was actually in a rut – a rut that had the potential to hold me back from chasing what I really want. It’s time for me to wake up move on. After all, they do say that the first step is admission.
Celebrating my 21st birthday in Paris was a dream come true. Paris itself is a dream city, matched by no other. For our last night there, we decided to dress up a little bit more than we had done on the two previous nights. Here I am wearing all items I received for my birthday – this is by far my favourite LBD that I own, and also one of the most inexpensive at £35 from River Island. My clutch is from Nadia Minkoff, its the Pimlico Tassel Clutch and so adorable! I aways love the quality and timelessness of Nadia Minkoff accessories, see a previous post here where I reviewed a handbag from the collection. My watch is from Tissot and was my present from my parents and my sandals are from Zara, my old faithfuls.
I’m already itching to go back to Paris, there are so many sights that we just didn’t get the chance to see, so many restaurants and cafés that we didn’t get a chance to eat in, and so many quaint little back streets that we didn’t have time to walk through.
Dressing for Paris in the at the height of summer can prove to be difficult, starting with the scorching heat in the busiest areas of tourist-laden locations, staying cool is paramount. Cobbled streets in Paris are a feast for the eyes, but a beast for the feet – especially if, like me, you live in sandals in the summer. So staying cool, comfortable and still dressed up enough to feel nice is a formula that’s not so easy to put together. Below is a little rundown of the outfits I wore for our three-day trip.
Angelina is just one of those places that you have to visit for breakfast if you ever get the chance to visit Paris. World famous for their Le Chocolat chaud l’Africain, or African hot chocolate, our breakfast at Angelina was nothing short of spectacular.
Café de Flore
For a traditional Parisian breakfast in a historically poignant setting, look no further than Café de Flore. I had a simple breakfast of eggs & bacon, which cost no less than 15 Euros, however with such fabulous service from some of the best looking French waiters we’d seen, Café de Flore is worth a visit if only to feast the eyes.
This was a small, modern café just down the road from the hotel that we stayed in that we ate in a couple of times, mainly for the convenience of the location, it was quick and easy to grab a quick bite to eat. Perfect for when we didn’t fancy eating a huge meal in the middle of the day in the heat; typical food on offer was smoothies, salads and granola with yoghurt. The café itself reminded me of a modernised sushi bar, all white acrylic furniture and glass-topped tables. All white errrrthang.
KONG was a restaurant that we had in our heads from the very beginnings of planning this trip, we imagined ourselves lunching like real sophisticated human beings who have their shit together. Having featured in Sex and the City when Carrie briefly lived in Paris, we (naturally) expected to re-create this aura. Not quite reality, but we loved KONG nonetheless. Located the very top of a gorgeously Parisian building, the restaurant itself it a surprisingly modern, glass-roofed extravaganza to the eye with spectacular views. The staff were literally all supermodels, none of them looked like they had ever had a good feast in their lives, let alone sampled the menu of Asian-fusian food. I had a rather nondescript plate of scrambled eggs and bacon (again), which was nice and filling, but the main attraction was the dessert that we shared – chocolate spring rolls with chocolate sauce and whipped cream. HEART-EYE EMOJI.
For all three of our dinners in Paris we asked the concierge for their recommendations, all three were top notch restaurants at different price points, and all three I would recommend and visit again. The first night we dined at Le Coq, a trendy restaurant close to the hotel, adjacent to the Trocadero. The interior decor of this place was uh-mazing. We didn’t make a reservation so we sat outside, but made the excuse of needing to use the bathroom in order to experience the incredible stairway. Lame? Nope. Food-wise, this was the best grilled chicken and chips I’ve ever had. Like a high-end Nando’s. I’m probably not selling the food in this restaurant well, but trust me, it was SO SO GOOD.
And a photo from Trip Advisor of the decor, for reference.
Our second evening meal was at XVIe Avenue, another concierge recommendation, and possibly one of the best pieces of steak I’ve ever eaten. Located a short walk away from our hotel, this small, typically Parisian bistro was quaint and pretty – the perfect contrast to the night before’s trendy, supermodel-wait staff, this place was much more down to earth, but with excitingly delicious food.
For our last meal in Paris we decided to go for something traditionally French. And what is more French than escargot? Victor is a small, intimate French restaurant in the 16th arrondissement and the food was fantastic. We started our dinner off with a shared plate of escargot… Something I never thought I’d even try given what a fussy eater I am, I must’ve had a “when in Paris…” moment and decided to live a little. For anyone wondering, the snails were seriously NOT THAT BAD. It took us a while to muster the courage to actually eat it (and a few more minutes to actually prize the meat (?) out of their shells, but once we finally ate it, it really wasn’t that bad! Similar texture to pasta just a bit chewier, and it’s drenched in garlic so that’s all you can really taste. For my main course I had a steak (again) which was served with crispy polenta and some sort of creamy sauce. Dessert was a slice of brioche with caramel sauce and caramel ice cream. Embracing the food coma.
As somebody who never usually was a full three meals a day, I certainly gorged whilst we were out there and I’m so glad I did, we ate some of the best food I’ve ever eaten and would recommend all of the places we did eat at to anyone visiting Paris! Bon Appétit!
So our third day in Paris started as the day before did, with fabulous food in a famous café, today’s was Café du Flore in the Saint Germain district. We then went on to explore a bit of Saint Germain in the only way two fashion girls know how – the shops. The H&M in Saint Germain is the best one I’ve ever been to, even better than the good ones in London, however I ended up buying a pair of leather trousers which sounds great, but I challenge any of you to try on leather trousers in 35 degree heat in a hot changing room in an upper floor of a busy H&M. It was a pull-them-up-turn-around-in-the-mirror-pull-them-down motion that took all of 3 seconds.
Today was so hot that we decided to head back to the hotel to cool down for 10 minutes before heading to the Notre Dame cathedral. Turns out the queue was waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too long in the hot sun to be even worth trying so we took some selfies in front of the cathedral like the little Instagram whores that we are and took a stroll around the cobbled back streets instead. Here we found the most quintessentially Parisian garden with rows of perfecting groomed trees next to a canal with iron bridges and a live band playing near a fountain. If that doesn’t scream Parisian then I don’t know what does.
After that we headed back to the hotel for our final dinner in Paris (post to come), before catching a stomach bug and flying back to London the next day… Stomach bug aside, we had such a fabulous trip, Paris is one damn beautiful city, one that I can’t ever imagine tiring of.
Devouring the best hot chocolate in the world (fact), witnessing spectacular views with my own eyeballs of one of the world’s most beautiful cities, shopping on one of the most famous boulevards in the world, lunching like Carrie Bradshaw, standing in front of the world’so most famous, priceless piece of art and tasting some of France’s finest wines all contribute to day two of our unforgettable trip to Paris…
Breakfast at Angelina was a breakfast for champions – a separate blog post on the restaurants we visited whilst in Paris is to follow so I won’t go into too much detail, however the hot chocolate deserves a special shoutout for just being totally bae.
Walking through the Jardin du Luxembourg was interesting, mainly because we were lost in the scorching heat looking for a way to get out and jump into a taxi (which were positively non-existent resulting in U.S. Trudging round cobbled streets in seriously hot temperatures with the sun burning through our SPF50. Beautiful though, I’d never complain about having to walk around the gorgeous streets of Paris, even if it was almost 35 degrees Celsius at 9:30am.
We finally managed to grab a taxi to the Arc de Triumphe/Champs Élysées, which, for me, was a surprising highlight of the whole trip. First of all, anyone under the age of 24 goes free, FREE. Who knew that word even existed anymore? But mainly, the views from the Arc de Triumphe were even better than those from the Eiffel Tower because, wait for it, you actually get to see the Eiffel Tower. I would definitely recommend anyone to go up the Arc, (if you can manage the hundreds of steps up a spiral staircase to the top, that is) the views were breathtaking, much more so in real life than any photo could capture.
Shopping along the Champs Élysées was always going to be high up on our agenda, I have been here twice before and if I’m honest, once you’ve been there you’ve kind of done it. The shops are pretty much the same as in anywhere in the UK, with a few exceptions, mainly being SEPHORA (the motherland) which seemed to somehow grab me and pull me in and brainwashed me into spending too much money on cosmetics that I didn’t need. Don’t know how that happened. I’m pretty sure they pump some sort of narcotic or something into the store as you walk in that forces you to make irrational purchases.
We’d planned on visiting KONG for lunch even before we had planned the actual trip, even before booking flights and the hotel. That is how much we wanted to be Carrie Bradshaw. Having featured in Sex and the City (the episodes where Carrie is living in Paris with the creepy Russian) we naturally walked in feeling super sophisticated and fancy free with our sweaty, sun beaten tourist faces and myriad shopping bags filled with aforementioned unnecessary purchases. I’ll go into more detail on the food in an upcoming post.
THE LOUVRE, first of all, we hadn’t anticipated quite how stinkingly HUGE The Louvre actually is, to the point where we turned up 45 minutes before closing time and it took us that long to find the freaking Mona Lisa. Finally found her, (by following the crowds of sweaty tourists with their God-forsaken selfie sticks) took a photo for Instagram in what is possibly the most 2015 way of documenting the fact that we were standing in front of the world’s greatest piece of artwork, and got ourselves out of the mass of human beings and into a much appreciated A/C’s cab back to the hotel.
After that we needed to cool off and shower the day off before dinner at XVIe Avenue.
So that was day two of our trip, one more day left! It was by far the most exciting and possibly successful day of the trip, we started the day off with the world’s greatest hot chocolate and ended it sipping wine from the world’s most renowned vineyards. Successful day all round.
Spending my 21st birthday in Paris with Hayley, my BFF was a dream come true. From the minute we scrambled off our EasyJet flight like cattle, to the moment we stepped into the lobby of our 5-star hotel, we were in awe. I’ve visited Paris twice before, however only for the day and I would highly recommend doing so if you are able to, however staying in Paris overnight (we stayed for three nights) is magical. We stayed at Hotel Baltimore Paris Champs-Elysées, of which we couldn’t have asked for a more chic hotel experience.
The view from our room was everything we’d imagined a Parisian view to be, I took most of these photos with my DSLR camera, however the photos we took on our phones came out just as dreamy – dreamy photos are par for the course when visiting Paris.
Is this too much makeup for a 4-day trip? Hayley brought just as much as I did – overindulgence in makeup products is why we’re friends.
No fancy filters or lighting tricks needed, the Eiffel Tower is always at her best. Our first night in the City of Light was spent ogling the famous tower, not much explaining to do other than heart-eyed emoji, heart-eyed emoji, heart-eyed emoji.
Day one in Paris was truly majestic, days 2, 3 and 4 were just as much so. I’ll have posts up on each of those days as well as outfit posts and the most important aspect of our trip, FOOD.
Follow me on Instagram for more up-to-date posts xo
So Snapchat is basically a watered-down version of Instagram am I right? Over-sharing has become official, we can share our innermost thoughts on Facebook, witty quips on Twitter, our breakfasts/OOTDs on Instagram and no the menial tasks of everyday life on Snapchat. And of course, I love it.
Add me: hannah_stocking
In my humble opinion, MAC reigns supreme when it comes to lipsticks. The sheer diversity of shades and textures can be beaten by no other brand. Lipstick is my favourite thing to put on in the morning and I shamelessly own 16 MAC lipsticks so I think I’m in a substantial position to be able to give my favourites.
1. Relentlessly Red | 2. Faux | 3. Happy-Go-Lucky | 4. Speak Louder | 5. Angel
I love lipstick and I’ll wear most shades, the only one I won’t/can’t wear is orange – it makes my skin and teeth look yellow. These are my top picks from MAC, there are so many that I love that it was so hard narrowing it down!
Relentlessly Red (Retro Matte)
The perfect vibrant retro red. My favourite deep red used to be Ruby Woo, however that has now been cast aside for Charlotte Tilbury’s Red Carpet Red. Relentlessly Red lasts alllll day with a liner and is the prefect red for summer.
This shade is more of a winter one for me, I am the palest of pale girls and this can come out quite dark on me if I haven’t fake tanned, whereas it’s too pale for my mum who has slightly more olive skin. It’s my version of the “Kylie Jenner” lip (as much as I hate to use her as a reference).
This is my favourite cool-toned bright pink, it’s more on the matte side so it lasts for ages and looks good with or without a tan, which is always a plus! I always feel like my skin looks healthier when I wear this shade, it brightens up my whole complexion.
Speak Louder (Cremesheen)
This is my go-to everyday red. It’s nicer to wear than matte lipsticks as it doesn’t dry your lips out, but it’s still long lasting, especially if you wear it with a liner.
I tried to avoid mentioning shades that I thought were too “obvious” however I can’t not mention my perfect nude, Angel. The classic shade that everyone seems to talk about, Angel is so versatile, I can use it as a nude without liner, with a darker liner underneath for more texture and with a gloss on top for some sheen. It just seems to go with every makeup look possible and is the one shade that I grab for when I don’t know what else to put on.
What are your favourite MAC lipsticks?
As I write this I am wearing a wooly cable knit jumper whilst rain pours down the windowpane in front of me. You would never know that it’s actually summer here in England…
Most bloggers tend to make their summer wish lists not long after the A/W shows in March, however winter seems to drag and drag and draaaaaaag until we get perhaps 5 minutes of sun at the end of August.
So here is a few of my favourite picks from the summer collections, even if I do have to wait for a weather/lottery miracle to happen in order for me to actually wear them.