Sunday, 5 July 2015

One Day. How To Move To London

One year ago to the day I stepped on a plane at Brisbane airport, passport in hand and adventure in mind. Life starts now. I remember thinking to myself. How right I was…

Ice-skating in London

My heart lies in Paris

Kew Gardens

The view of Barcelona

Really, it’s a funny feeling knowing you’re leaving behind everything familiar in search of new adventure. I was moving to a city where a grand total of 5 people knew my name. The feeling of anonymity as one of 8 million was quite an unusual one considering I came from a city with a population of 600,000 that, at times, felt as though there was only one degree of separation.

Upon my arrival in London I felt so calm, which is highly unusual for me. With jittery nerves at the best of times and full blown terror at the worst, I’ve never dealt very well with change, yet when I reached London I guess you could say I felt serenely excited. I took it as a sign I was making the right move.

Albert Bridge, Chelsea

Needless to say, the first few weeks were a blur of exploration and job hunting. Lots of job hunting. It seemed surreal that this city that I barely knew was now my home.

Where do you live? I live in London.

Whilst it wasn’t all a walk in the park, I do feel as though I fell into the swing of things as a Londoner very quickly. British life seems to suit me (aside from the terrible, terrible weather).

The past twelve months have been nothing short of brilliant. I’ve got a job I love, I’ve made beautiful friends, I’ve done ample travel and every day I feel an infectious buzz exuding from the city. London truly is the gateway to the world. The highlight of the year for me has undoubtedly been my many travels.

The Colosseum Rome

Mount Pilatus, Switzerland

What started out as a desire has turned into an addiction. You could almost say I get a high from the feeling of arriving in a foreign city where I know nothing and no one, where my sole intent is to explore. It’s really liberating, not to mention the fact that it has opened my eyes to the world, and with each destination I see things in a new perspective. To be honest I don’t know how I could ever go back to living in Australia where I wouldn’t have the opportunity to pop to Spain or France for the weekend. It just wouldn’t seem right…

Keukenhof Gardens, Amsterdam

This is still the best pizza of my life to date from Milano...

Admittedly, I always used to roll my eyes whenever people would quote proverbs at me; “seize the day” or “aim high”. I thought I know, I know I don’t have to be told. But in truth, I think you should embrace the encouragement. Making a big leap of faith in your life like moving countries, changing jobs or planning travels takes a lot of courage. Lucky for me it has paid off in spades. So now it’s my turn to quote something to you:


Who knows where I’ll be in another year, all I know is I’m happy, healthy and loving London life. The rest is still unwritten…

Photos by Krissie.

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Friday, 3 July 2015

One Day. A Sunday Stroll Through Westbourne Grove

The pretty shopping street of Westbourne Grove in Notting Hill is well known to locals and, even better, slightly removed from the hordes of tourists in the city. I stumbled upon it during my first week in London as I went to a job interview. I didn’t get the job but I did have a great afternoon of shopping!



With the likes of The Kooples, MATCHES Fashion, AESOP and Club Monaco lining the streets, it’s an undeniably great shopping spot.


The PERFECT daytime dress (and it's on sale!) / trusty cons / clutch bag / bracelets here and here

You might even find some cool vintage cars in the area...


Personally, I love to come here on a sunny Sunday afternoon, grab a treat from the Ottolenghi bakery, and, with this safely in hand, set off on a serious window shopping mission. There’s pretty much a 100% guarantee I’ll spot something I love within 10 minutes. Particularly when the store is hot pink…


And if the beautiful flower stall is open I’ll always pick up a bunch of blooms, but if I’m too late it still makes a great photo opp!



So if you've got nothing planned this Sunday, you know where to find me...

Photos by the very talented Jessica Marano - www.jessicamarano.com

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Wednesday, 1 July 2015

One Day. My Notting Hill Love Affair

My love affair with Notting Hill started some sixteen-odd years ago when a little girl of nine years old saw the movie.



What with the glamorous movie star and the funny English chap who had a penchant for saying “whoopsie daisy” [as do I!], it didn’t take much else to sell it to me. I was in love with the idea of London’s most beautiful neighbourhood.


Then in 2007, when I first came to London, visiting the area was top of my list so we wandered around the Portobello Road markets, went to the Little Travel Bookstore and peered through the gates of the many private gardens. I thought it was all magical.


Now here I am yet another few years later and whilst I wish I could say I live in Notting Hill, at least I live not too far away and can spend plenty of time walking the streets. [And twirling through them when I’ve got the right outfit on!]


Grab this beautiful dress before it sells out!
Considering its Hollywood-esque glamour, it’s a steal! And don't forget my favourite shoes.

From the beautiful white Victorian homes to the pretty pastel shades that fill many of the streets, there is an undeniable charm that exudes from this area.


Who knows, maybe in another sixteen years I can call it home…

Photos by the very talented Jessica Marano - www.jessicamarano.com

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Sunday, 28 June 2015

Style It. June Celeb Street Style

Well here we are in June. Can you believe it? To be honest I’m too busy counting down the days to my Greek Island holiday to think about much else, but in fashion news, check out the babes who were rockin’ the streets this month. Effortlessly stylish, here are the celeb looks I’m coveting…

Jacket by Private White £187 || Knit by H&M £8 || Biker Jeans by BLK DNM £695 || Sunglasses by Le Specs £55 || Bag by Bottega Veneta £1,735 || Heels by H&M £35

When it comes to celebrity wardrobes, I would literally wear every single item that Rosie Huntington-Whiteley owns, she is so my style. Love this black and khaki combo, both shades look great on blondes. A Bottega Veneta handbag adds serious style points too.


Crop Top by New Look £20 || Skater Skirt by Boohoo £7 || Heels by Kurt Geiger for Topshop £140 || Bag by Dune £69

It’s pretty obvious why Taylor Swift insured her legs for $40 million. Yes it’s obscene but they really are amazing. Love all the skater skirts and crop tops she’s been rocking of late. Here she is leaving Katsuya in LA, what a lifestyle.


Leather Jacket by River Island £100 || Body by Miss Selfridge £12 || Leggings by New Look £15 || Sunglasses by Rayban £85 || Bag by Rebecca Minkoff $195 || Boots by Topshop £79

Gigi Hadid, what a babe. Here’s the look she was rockin’ as she headed to her bestie Taylor Swift’s bday. It’s like chic motorcycle girl meets horse rider. The long legs, the high pony, it’s an all black look that is anything but ‘blah’.

Photos via Pinterest and retailers.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

One Day. Columbia Road Flowers Markets

Last weekend, I was all bunkered down at home, set for a grey, cloudy day of movie-watching and sweet treats when the sun made a surprising appearance. Never one to miss an opportunity I scrapped my date with the couch in favour of a trip over to East London to the Columbia Road Flower Markets.


Every Sunday this little street tucked away behind Shoreditch becomes an oasis of flowers and foliage. Notoriously poorly connected on the east side, I had a bit of a stroll from Old Street station but with every block I passed more and more people with armfuls of flowers so I knew I was heading in the right direction.


Now, I'm fairly certain I could almost smell the markets before I found them, such strong perfumes from all the beautiful blooms. And there really is an incredible amount of them! Most of the sellers grow them themselves and there is a disarming assortment of varieties - a great deal of which I'd never heard of or seen. But they had my favourites - hydrangeas and peonies - so I was a happy girl.


Although you must prepare yourself, it's crazy busy all the time.


Open every Sunday, rain, hail or shine, from 8am, if you're strategic and go towards the end of the day you can pick up several bunches for a steal. I was there around midday and the flower men were cheerfully telling me I could have 3 bunches for £5 - which in their East London speak sounds like "free for a fiva!".


Then again if you're more of a roses girl, you can have a big bunch for only £7!


Undoubtedly, it's the market holders that really make the experience what it is. From buxom women happily calling out, to this sweet little old man, glass eye and all, who clearly lived for selling his flowers and has probably been doing so for over 70 years.


Next time you're in this neck of the woods on a Sunday please do stop by. You'd be bloomin' crazy not to!


Photos by Krissie.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Must Have. Summer Sale Top Picks

Sale? Sale. Sale!

In case you hadn’t noticed, the sale season is well and truly upon us. For the last 5 days, my inbox has been drowning in emails from all my favourite retailers promising 20%, 30% and up to 50% off. Let’s face it, it’s a fashionista’s dream because if you buy things on sale then you’re technically saving money! Right!?

To save you some leg work I’ve had a good gander at all my fav stores and brands, and rounded up all the must haves you need to buy now. Ready, set, shop!

Parisienne Sweatshirt Was £110 NOW £44 / Marc Jacobs Cross Body Bag Was £200 NOW £100 / Infinity Bracelet Was £6 NOW £3 / Michael Kors Platform Sandals Was £155 NOW £77 / Mini Skirt Was £62 NOW £16 / Kenzo Round Bag Was £180 NOW £90 / Leopard Crop Top Was £22 NOW £12 / Moschino Swimsuit Was £250 NOW £75 / Michael Kors Cross Body Bag Was £110 NOW £66 / Espadrilles Was £7 NOW £3 / Summer Dress Was £13 NOW £8 / Pointed Flats Was £55 NOW £27 / Plaid Knitted Skirt Was £32 NOW £22

You can thank me later... Happy shopping x

Photo by Krissie via retailers.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Suitcase. Barcelona, Spain - Travel Guide

Cosmopolitan. Historical. Hot.

If I had to sum up Barcelona in three words that would probably be it, although it doesn’t say nearly enough about this fabulous city. It’s rare that you’ll find a place that has a cultural city and a beach to offer. So Barcelona certainly has a trump card there. I spent three days in the sunshine last weekend and boy was it great. Just a taste of 27 degrees and a beach had me grinning from ear to ear, but the city had so much else to offer.


Sights
We based ourselves very centrally at an Air bnb on La Rambla which put us right in the hub and made the perfect look-out point for morning activities.

Playsuit sold out - similar here, here and here

With only 3 days, I was a little daunted by how much there was to see in the city. I’ll tell you now, I didn’t get through it all but I can’t wait to go back. First stop as always was a Free Walking Tour, Max was our guide and he was a fellow Aussie! With a history major at university, he was full of knowledge, and over the course of 2.5 hours I learnt about 2,500 years worth of history! He took us through the Gothic Quarter which had plenty of stories to tell, there is so much to know about this city and its origins. Did you know, Picasso painted his first pictures here, and they were sketches of prostitutes working the street!? Make sure you take the tour for more tidbits like this!


Next I took to wandering the streets to take in some of the incredible architecture. The city is filled with amazing buildings both historic and modern. Gaudi’s architecture is well known in the city, he created some incredible buildings and spaces such as the Casa Mila...


Casa Batllo complete with skeleton-like details


And the stunning Park Guell at the very top of the city. Talk about an amazing view...


Although, the standout for me has to be The Sagrada Familia. This church is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. It has a gothic design like Notre Dame but the scale of it is just something else. It is huge! And the craft work is incredibly detailed. I struggled to get it all in a photo. You need to see it for yourself. Just. Wow.



Cituadella Park is lovely for a sunny stroll. You can row a boat in the little lake (à la The Notebook), or set up a picnic on one of the many grassy knolls.



And of course, being the Australian I am, I couldn’t forget the beach! Barcelona originally just had a rocky outcrop on the water, but would you believe they shipped in sand from Egypt’s Sahara desert and brought the palm trees from Hawaii? Totally true. It may not be the Greek Islands but it was lovely all the same.


June-September is the time to visit Barcelona because it coincides with the iconic W Hotel’s series of Summer Wet Deck Parties. Basically you rock up at 8pm to party poolside, sip cocktails, listen to some seriously good tunes and dance the night away. The DJ had the music totally on-point. I’m still trying to find out who he was because he played the best mix I think I’ve ever heard. Oh what a night…

Sorry for the lack of dancefloor/party photos, when the tunes came out the camera went away!



Palazzo Pants / Lace Crop Top (a steal at £15!) / Platform Heels

Transport
Barcelona is a big city, much larger than I had imagined. So when your legs give out and you can walk no more then their metro/underground makes a great option for getting around. It runs in much the same way as London’s tube, just beware of pick-pocketers, we witnessed it first hand and the sneaky lady was dressed like a tourist to detract attention. Buses are also plentiful and reach most corners of the city. And if you’re in the mood for a little fun, then a pedal cab on the way home after an evening out makes a great midnight chariot!



Food
Tapas. Tapas. Tapas. Oh and some gelato. When in Spain! Undoubtedly the food highlight of my trip was Bar Lobo. Tucked away just off La Rambla in a little square, this modern tapas bar serves up some seriously delightful food. I highly recommend the artichokes with ham, seared tuna, seared squid and their croquettes were the best of my life. I visited twice in the span of three days! If you’re lucky they’ll be some musicians and acrobats on hand in the square to provide entertainment while you munch away.




Breakfast can be a bit of challenge to find in Spain. Since everyone rises so late and eats so late (lunch at 3pm, dinner at 11pm) it’s a bit of a forgotten meal, but never fear because Milk in the Gothic District serves up a mean breakkie.


And if you’re in the mood for something a little sweet then the Escriba Patisserie has some delightful treats. Their carrot cake was totally yummy.


Also be sure to check out St Josep market on La Rambla. It has an amazing selection of food; from fresh fruits to fish to traditional Spanish fare. Be sure to go in the morning and grab a smoothie, the strawberry and coconut is amazingly good.




From the searing heat, to the sights, to the parties and the cocktails, it certainly was a weekend of fun in the sun, and the perfect introduction to Spain. Barcelona, te amo.



Now that you’re inspired, why not book a trip of your own!? Flights from London are available from just £66 return.





Photos by Krissie.