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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Lunch at Le Fumoir

Le FumoirLunch at Le Fumoir has been on my to-do list ever since I arrived in Paris. Two years ago. With a reputation whispered amongst those in the know, the hipster-style, vintage-themed restaurant has become the stylish place to hang out in Paris for light snacks, work socials and Sunday brunch.

Despite it’s location right opposite the Musée du Louvre near the Rue de Rivoli, Le Fumoir has managed to avoid the tourist tag and is a definite favourite amongst the Parisian locals!

Fun, jazzy and as-laid-back-as-Paris-gets, Le Fumoir has the perfect balance of being cool and elegant without the ridiculous prices and pretentious ambiance that usually goes hand in hand with this kind of establishment. Discussing a client meeting with a colleague, it was easy to chat amongst the light music and animated chatter in the background and we both opted for sandwiches from the light snacks menu. Obviously with fresh lobster sandwich on the menu it was impossible to see anything else but I was still tempted by my colleague’s tartine of goat’s cheese, aubergines and sun-dried tomatoes! Definitely a place to bring the boyfriend so you can share dishes.

Le Fumoir, 6 Rue de L’Amiral Coligny, 75001, Paris  (Metro: Louvre-Rivoli)

Le FumoirLe FumoirLe FumoirIl y’a déjà deux ans que je suis arrivée à Paris et même si depuis mon arrivée on me parle du fameux restaurant Le Fumoir à Louvre-Rivoli, je n’avais jamais encore eu l’opportunité de le tester.  C’est donc avec grand plaisir que j’ai accepté un rendez-vous avec ma collègue (il faut dire que jamais je n’ai été aussi enthousiaste pour une réunion de travail).

Alors, que pourrais-je vous dire de ce magnifique restaurant, dans un super cadre juste en face du Musée du Louvre ? Je l’adore ce restaurant. Menu gourmand, musique discrète et sophistiquée, même les boissons sans alcool sont un régale (vous voyez, le cliché de la petite anglaise bourrée n’est pas toujours juste) !

Malgré son emplacement au cœur du 1er arrondissement de Paris, Le Fumoir a quand même réussi à éviter l’étiquette du lieu touristique car s’il y’a une chose que j’ai appris ici a Paris c’est qu’un vrai Parisien évite a tout prix les endroits rempli de touristes.

Chic et décontracté, Le Fumoir a trouver l’équilibre parfait entre élégance et prix abordables sans l’ambiance prétentieuse que l’on trouve souvent dans des restaurants similaires. Et pour le menu ? Je peux vous dire que mes yeux ont tout de suite flashé sur le sandwich homard et je n’étais pas du tout déçu en voyant mon plat arrivé… même si la tartine fromage de chèvre, aubergine et tomates séchées de ma collègue me paraissait super appétissant.  Notez bien cette adresse pour un repas en amoureux, l’occasion idéale pour partager les plats.

Le Fumoir , 6 rue de l’ Amiral Coligny , 75001 , Paris ( Métro: Louvre – Rivoli )

Cruising the Fjords of Norway

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It’s been months now since we returned from an incredible cruise into the Norwegian fjords and I’m ashamed to say that I’ve only just made time to sit down and put this post together! I have to say though, it feels like it was only last that we boarded the impressive cruise ship, Horizon by Croisieres de France, and set sail from Calais.

Our itinerary took us first to Stavanger where we dined on fresh seafood at the local fish market and whilst the food was to die for, I wished I’d listened to the rumours about Norway, prices really are astronomical and I ended up paying almost £40 for a sandwhich and apple juice!

After 2 days visiting various villages in the fjords (Hellesylt, Geiranger, Flam) we headed back towards Calais stopping off in Bergen for a day of shopping, sightseeing and general strolling. Again, the food at the fresh fish market is to die for here and a little less of a shock when presented with the bill… although this is perhaps due to the fact we were now quite used to paying 3 times the expected prices for anything in Norway!

For anyone thinking about booking a short cruise to the fjords, I can only recommend that you stop thinking and just grab the opportunity. Truly, I don’t think any number of images, documentaries or tales could have prepared me for the absolutely impressive and tremendous sights of these landscapes, it was actually chilling to feel so small and insignificant in the presence of such natural beauty!

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Cela fait des mois maintenant que nous sommes rentrés après une semaine incroyable dans les fjords norvégiens et j’ai honte de dire que je viens tout juste de prendre le temps pour m’asseoir et écrire ce post ! Ceci dit, j’ai l’impression qu’il s’est passé que quelques semaines depuis notre retour après ce magnifique voyage abord notre bateau de croisière, Horizon de Croisières de France.

En partant de Calais un dimanche après-midi, notre itinéraire nous a amener en premier à Stavanger où nous avons manger des fruits de mer tout frais au marché de poissons, un repas qui était juste à tomber par terre ! Par contre,  je vous conseil de bien écouter les rumeurs au sujet de la Norvège car les prix sont vraiment astronomiques et j’ai fini par payer près de 50 euros pour un sandwich de crevettes et un jus de pomme !

Après 2 jours à visiter les différents villages dans les fjords (Hellesylt , Geiranger , Flam) nous sommes retournés vers Calais avec une pause à Bergen pour une journée de shopping, de tourisme et de promenade dans cette ville très agréable. Encore une fois, notre déjeuner au marché de poisson etait un delice et cette-fois ci avec un peu moins de choc a l’arrivée de l’addition… probablement dû au fait que nous étions maintenant tout à fait habitués à payer 3 fois les prix habituels en Norvège !

Pour ceux qui envisagent de réserver une petite croisière sur les fjords , je ne peux que vous recommander d’arrêter d’y penser et de saisir l’occasion. Sincèrement, je pense que n’importe quel nombre d’images, de documentaires ou d’histoires aurait pu me préparer pour ces paysages absolument impressionnants et puissants, c’est juste une sensation incroyable de se sentir si petit et si insignifiant dans la présence d’une telle beauté naturelle !

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La Dolce Weekend in Sardinia

Sardinia Porto Cervo flowersHaving gone AWOL for the past two weeks, I’m thrilled to share the reason behind my guilty two weeks of no posting and I’m sorry for the endless appearance of smug vacation Instagrams! That’s it now for sunsets, beach toes and gelato, it’s back to reality for now but this summer’s island roadtrip has brought me some of my fondest memories and I’ll be hanging on to those moments until my next adventure.

Having spent an exciting 10 days in Corsica, we hopped over to Sardinia from Bonifacio (a speedy 45-minute ferry journey) finding ourselves in the rainbow-coloured seaside town of Santa Teresa da Gallura which quickly led to a 48-hour whirlwind of shoe shopping, tiramisu eating and beach bumming along the stunning Emerald Coast.

For any lucky jetsetters in search of a weekend escape or holiday destination, I highly recommend the north of Sardinia (I’ve yet to check out the southern coast but I hear the beaches of the north are considered the most beautiful on the island)… See below my favourite addresses for inspiration.

Olbia: This was the largest town we visited and great for super cheap shoe shopping. Avoid the tourist traps and grab lunch at L’Arte nel Gelato, they put together a delicious focaccia sandwhich and the tiramisu gelato is to die for! For a cheap and cheerful hotel, we stayed in the Hotel de Plam along the port which was perfectly located if not the most luxurious!

Santa Gallura da Teresa: Grab your camera and spend a morning walking around this little seaside town, taking in all the pastel-coloured houses and exotic plants. There are several steep climbs in this town so choose flat shoes over heels. For unique and very affordable handmade jewellery, check out the beautiful boutique, Preziosemozioni di Giuseppe Muru (P.zza San Vittorio 3) and then head to La Lucciola (Via Maria Teresa, 42) for some absolutely delicious pizzas, served by the slice.

Porto Cervo, Cannegione & Arzachena: One of the most charming hotels of our trip was the little family-run Hotel La Borgata in the hills set away from the coast. We drove down to the coast for afternoons at the beach and dinners by the port but were glad to retreat back into the peace and quiet after a long day. Whilst Porto Cervo is a must-see destination, there’s not much to do unless you’re planning on spending a fortune in Cartier and Louis Vuitton.

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Interview with Alain Rondini, Les Sandales Tropeziennes

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They used to say ‘see Naples and die’, but I say it of Saint Tropez.  This little gem of a village, discovered by Brigitte Bardot, is synonymous with the luxurious lifestyle of the rich and famous; impressive yachts rival one another along the quays lined with top designer boutiques and fashionable cocktail bars where you can watch and be watched.  Madonna, Tom Cruise, Karl Lagerfeld, … For some, it is all they will see, and they’ll be perfectly happy. But step away from this dazzling façade, into the heart of a charming fishing village and you’ll be rewarded with one of its best kept secrets: L’Atelier Rondini.

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