Vintage Shopping on Portobello Road

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Wow, until last week, I hadn’t been back to Portobello Road since my first year at university so it was really exciting to head back to Notting Hill and take in the beautiful coloured houses and vintage boutiques… Since I was mostly looking forward to taking in the scenery and get a little shopping done, I decided to avoid the crazy Saturday market crowds and I can confirm that on a fall Thursday morning, it’s a very different atmosphere.

There were still a few stalls out, mostly selling jewellery and winter accessories, but it was actually great fun just browsing the quaint little boutiques selling anything from retro preppy clothing to antique sports equipment and very cool home furnishings.

Obviously, a refreshment stop at the orginial Hummingbird Bakery was a must and they even had a delicious selection of limited flavours for Christmas, more about those on my previous post. The street art in and around Portobello Road is very entertaining and makes for some perfect photos (I didn’t realise at the time that I had a cartoon man holding a gun to my back in my photo below!) and the pretty coloured houses, whilst quite unexpected in central London, are really charming and add an exotic feel to the city!

For more information on market opening times, check out the Portobello Road website but even if you can’t make the market it’s still definitely worth strolling through Notting Hill for the environment itself.

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Gambettes Box by My Little Paris

Gambettes Box My Little ParisGambettes Box 2Gambettes Box My Little ParisGambettes Box My Little ParisRecently I discovered a monthly box subscription which I just might consider sticking to a little while longer! Having tried beauty boxes and even tested a wine box (that was so good, it could seriously have become dangerous!) I decided a while ago to sign up to My Little Paris‘ discreetly launched Gambettes* Box.

To my surprise, the first box was a beautiful collaboration with Diane von Furstenberg in which I received two pairs of DVF x Gambettes Box tights, one was a  plain black 60D for winter, the other was a patterned 20D with a cute spotty print. Of course, with a designer collaboration, I was hooked and couldn’t wait to receive the next month’s edition which was inspired by all things wild and exotic. Cue yesterday’s parcel which included two warmer 60D tights both with a fun but subtle pattern – python print for the wild, symmetric print for the exotic.

The subscription costs 13,90 euros each month and you can stop at any time… though you probably won’t want to once you’ve started. It’s a great way to mix up your winter outfits and it’s made a big difference to my style as I would never usually think to experiment much with tights! This month I also received a little sample of Talika’s best-selling face oil and a discount voucher for the brand so there are also some little beauty treats included from time to time.

Visit Gambettes Box online for more details or to subscribe.

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Ice Skating at Somerset House

Somerset House Ice SkatingSomerset House Ice SkatingSomerset House Ice SkatingWhen spending time in London during the lead up to Christmas, there are a few moments which everyone has to experience… and one of these is ice-skating and mulled wine at Somerset House. The windows at Selfridges and Harrods have to be seen, Christmas cupcakes from the Hummingbird Bakery are not to be missed but the beautiful ice-rink with the backdrop of Somerset House is one of my favourite winter moments!

Last week, I was lucky to have shared the experience with my beautiful mummy and Parisian boyfriend (he was absolutely loving all the British festivities!) and despite the fact that none of us actually made it out onto the ice, we had such a great time just taking in the merry atmosphere, drinking mulled wine and browsing all the tempting treats at the Christmas Arcade.

This year, the Somerset House Rink is hosted by Fortnum & Mason which means the après-skate shopping and entertainment are exceptionally good! There’s champagne and cream tea in the Fortnum’s Lodge, cocktails and fondues in the Skate Lounge and late-night shopping with a limited edition range of items available on-site only!

Book tickets online at Somerset House or find out more on the website. 

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Christmas at the Hummingbird Bakery in London

Humming bird bakery London Humming bird bakery London 3Humming bird bakery London 7This week in London was incredible! I know it’s only just November but the festive atmosphere in the city was so much fun and despite having felt slightly repulsed upon first hearing Jingle Bells playing in M&S so early on, I have to say I actually kind of miss it now I’m back in Paris.

I found myself immediately drawn to all things Christmas including pretty beauty gift sets in Selfridges, ridiculous reindeer jumpers at Old Spitalfield Market and mulled wine at Somerset House but no festive treat was quite so pleasing as the adorable cupcakes from my favourite Hummingbird Bakery on Portobello Road!

To start off the holiday season in style, the super popular American-style Hummingbird Bakery has created a selection of special edition cupcakes in three festive flavours, Candy Cane, Gingerbread and Christmas Spice… I’m still dreaming of the sweet, wintery taste, when are they going to open up in Paris?

You can find the delicious sweet treats in each of the 5 London branches and you can even order your own box of mini cupcakes or delicious Christmas cakes online now!

Visit the Hummingbird Bakery at Spitalfields, Soho, Richmond, South Kensington and Notting Hill or online.

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Exercising the Mind and Controlling Anxiety

Headspace app stress manage mind exercise meditationA few years ago, whilst studying at university in London, I experienced a particularly difficult situation and found myself totally unprepared to cope with my own reactions and feelings towards the event. I tried counselling, I poured all my feelings out to a stranger in a coffee shop, spoke to friends, spent lots of money and often had a few too many drinks, but no matter how much I tried to escape my own mind, I was trapped.

Today, I’m still very much an anxious person by nature. I have a terrible phobia of flying, something I have been trying to battle with for a couple of years, I over-analyse most situations and I prepare myself for catastrophic scenarios after watching the news. Certainly these are not the makings of a relaxed and comfortable mind. Recently though, I was introduced to a playful little mobile app with the ability to drastically improve my lifestyle and help me control my over-imaginative mind, Headspace.

Founded by Andy Puddicombe, the Headspace goal is to encourage everyone to exercise their mind, whether it be on a daily basis or just once in a while. Having spent ten years on a journey around the world, including time spent as a Tibetan Buddhist Monk in Northern India and training with the Moscow State Circus, Andy has since published several books on the topic of meditation as well as numerous television appearances and the New York Times recently stated that ‘Andy Puddicombe is doing for meditation what Jamie Oliver has done for food‘. High praise indeed.

Having tried out the free Take-10 trial (10 sessions each lasting 10 minutes to introduce you to the app, the process of meditiation and the encouraging animations), I was quick to subscribe to the full version which unlocked hundreds of new mediation sessions ranging from mini SOS bursts to help calm a difficult situation to on-the-go sessions during a workout, sleeping or even eating. There are themed mediations including relationships, health and performance as well as one-off sessions lasting between 10 minutes to an hour. I’m even planning on taking it with me for future plane journeys so I’ll let you know how that goes!

Andy explains that Headspace is ‘like a gym membership for the mind‘ but I would disagree because, whilst I’m constantly looking for a million excuses to avoid my Tuesday evening boxing class, I actually really look forward to my morning meditation. I’m comforted by the fact that whatever situation I may find myself in, I can always take 3 minutes to clear my mind and suddenly nothing looks quite so dramatic!

If you think Headspace could help you too, I really recommend that you check out the website for full details and a very cute animated introduction.

Headspace app stress manage mind exercise meditation

Headspace app stress manage mind exercise meditation

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