Fashion – Fabric Shopping in Paris

Last week was a stressful week for me. Anyone who knows me personally will know that I spent my week in Paris sourcing the fabrics for my final collection! You’re probably now thinking to yourself “Why on earth is she complaining, she’s spent the week in Paris.. It could be worse?” but spending around £1000 on fabrics for a collection that you’ve got no idea where it’s going is not easy, I’ll tell you that for free.

Before going I created a mood board with what I thought should be my colour scheme to make finding the fabrics that I thought were suitable a lot easier. If you’ve been keeping up to date with my blog you’ll know that I’m basing my FMP on the Palace of Versailles, so my fabrics had to be pretty  rich and luxurious. Finding the fabrics in the store was difficult at first because there was literally so much to look at, but once I got into the swing of it there was no stopping me.

I’ve been saving for my collection for nearly a year but seeing the money disappear wasn’t as heart breaking as I first thought it would be. Although I am, and always have been pretty spend happy, I did work hard to save this money and I thought I might have found it harder to hand over the plastic. I think I found it so easy as I was so ruthless with my first spend, marching over to the cash desk and accepting my fate.

What wasn’t easy was having to lug around my purchases after so easily buying them, 70 metres of fabric is SOO heavy! It was 100% worth it though as I do have some really pretty fabrics for my final collection, which will getting there own post hopefully within the next week or so!

There wasn’t the time to do all of the touristy things I’d hoped for, but as I had only been two weeks before I wasn’t too disappointed. The fabric shopping district is very close to the Sacre Coeur so we did manage to squeeze in a quick trip to the top of the hill on our final day. I also had the chance to do a spot of shopping along the Champs Elysee to get a few bits and bobs that I’m sure will feature on my blog in the future.

The weather in Paris was amazing, I literally couldn’t have asked for it to be better because I know usually its absolutely freezing this time of year, but it was sunny every day and not too cold!

I’m pretty gutted that as soon as I got to Paris last Sunday I realised I’d left my SD card for my camera at home so unfortunately the only images I have are from my phone! It’s one of those things where I knew I was forgetting something and by the time I realised what it was it was too late!

Never the less I’ve managed to salvage a few images that are OK from my phone so you can see them below!

Paris from Scare Coeur

Abagailemily Sacre Coeur

Abagailemily Paris

Unfortunately I have no more imminent trips to Paris planned, but I do love this City and more trips once I’ve finished my degree are guaranteed!

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Research – Trip to Versailles

This year is a big one for me as it’s the year I create my first full collection. With the help of my tutor at Coventry University I decided I wanted my inspiration to come from a very decorative source, being Versailles.

As I was basing what is essentially a visual dissertation on a certain location, of course it’s only sensible to take a trip to visit that place! Last week that’s exactly what I did!

On Tuesday 20th January I jetted off to Paris to get some essential research from what is most probably the most spectacular palace in the world. Luckily my Mum offered to come with me, as I didn’t want to go alone! Firstly, booking the trip itself wasn’t easy! This was the first time I’d fully booked something on my own, had to figure out how I’d get to the airport, the best times to fly, booking a hotel, and how to get to the hotel. Obviously I’ve booked things before, but this time it was all down to me, and it did feel like a lot of pressure!

By the time we’d finally got to our hotel in Paris on Tuesday we both needed a little sit down to recuperate from our journey! It was quite late in the afternoon so that evening we just got dinner from a restaurant close to the hotel and then caught a bus to the Eiffel Tower. (Because you can’t go to Paris and not take a trip to the top!)

On Wednesday we caught the Train to Versailles. It was pretty much love at first sight. I’d never been before so only had pictures as a reference for what to expect, but the pictures really don’t live up to how spectacular it is! It was free for me to get in as I’m a student under 26 and a European Citizen which is literally amazing as to how much you get to see inside. I think I walked around the whole place with a massive grin on my face because it is exactly what I wanted for my project. It’s so over the top, so highly decorated, the attention to detail is insane! There’s so much I can take from my little trip there and excited to start experimenting more with the colours, decoration, and shapes I found! (Watch this space for sneak peeks of my work!)

Abagailemily Versailles

While I was in Paris I also got the chance to see Museé d’Orsay, and the Louvre. There was a section in the Louvre about Versailles which was great as there was a tonne more that I can use for inspiration! There was even more little details like cutlery, crockery, pocket watches, clocks, etc.

Abagailemily Musée d'Orsay

Abagailemily Louvre

After a hard day of even more research my mum treated us to afternoon tea at Ladurée. I had a pot of vanilla tea (best tea I’ve ever tasted) and a giant macaron with fresh raspberries and lychee cream filling. It was definitely an experience I’ll treasure as it was so nice to have time with just my mum to do something girly! The restaurant had lots to choose from and was so pretty inside, it’s something I’d recommend to anyone  looking for something a little different to do in Paris. Although it is a little bit pricey I’d 100% go again as it just makes you feel so fabulous!

Abagailemily Ladurée

I had an amazing few days in Paris and I’m looking forward to going again next week to buy the fabrics for my collection! Exciting/ scary times!

Travel 2014 – Madrid

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I’m a little bit behind with this post but back in June I jetted off from Milan to Madrid.

One of my close friends Jenny was spending her Erasmus year studying over there so I thought it would be pretty rude not to visit!

Madrid was absolutely amazing! The week that I decided to go was incredibly hot so we spent a lot of time next to the pool with plenty of sangria to keep us going. When not lounging and soaking up the sun I actually got to explore quite a lot of Madrid seeing pretty much everything with my perfect tour guide!

Getting about, going out for meals, drinks, etc in the city were super cheap so that was an added bonus. On a couple of my nights there we went to rooftop bars which in Milan would be exclusive and come at a premium, but in Madrid were pretty cheap compared!

I really loved Madrid, not only because it was cheap but the lifestyle there seemed so free and easy. One of the nights I was there Jenny and I went to a Flamenco show it was just so much fun to watch, the audience really get involved cheering and clapping along.

Looking back on it, we managed to fit so much in to the tiny 5 days I was there! We had 2 pool days, one day long bike ride along the river, visited all of the site seeing attractions,  visited two rooftop bars, lots of Tapas, fought the crowds at the Sunday El Rasto market and so much more.

I think I started planning my return trip as soon as I left. It’s definitely a must see city, I think that what made it so special was having someone who knew their way around almost off of the back of their hand, knowing the easiest ways getting from A to B, and also living 30 seconds away from Gran Via!

Below I’ve posted a few of my ‘holiday snaps’ I’ve not made this a ‘Top 5 Places’ post because I think there are just so many more things that are really special in Madrid.

Temple of Debod

Temple of Debod

El Oso Y El Madrono

  El Oso Y El Madrono

Buen Retiro Park

Buen Retiro Park

Ayuntamiento de Madrid

Ayuntamiento de Madrid

Plaza de Espana

Plaza de Espana

To conclude, I think if I had to pick my favourite place in Madrid it would probably have been the Buen Retiro Park. It really was like something in a film! Unfortunately we didn’t go on one of the rowing boats simply because of the heat! Instead we just walked around the whole park chatting and found some pretty places to sit and watch the world go by (in the shade!) The more I think back to my trip I just remember how hot it actually was and on all of the days begging for stops for water!

I think that this was probably one of my favourite places of 2014. Thank you Jenny for having me!

Travel 2014 – Top 5 Places – Venice

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Since returning from Italy I’ve had so little time on my hands that I have almost a million places I’ve visited with no blog posts about them. As I have a gap in my schedule after finishing my first module for my final year I’ve decided to catch up with myself and reminisce on all the amazing times I’ve had over the last year.

I went to Venice for the first time a few days after my Birthday, so back at the end of April/ beginning of May. It was about a 3 hour train journey from Milan to Venice (including delays, it’s Italy after all!) I went with my Mum, as she’d been before it was great to have a tour guide who knew exactly what everything was called and (nearly) knew the way everywhere we wanted to go!

We decided to get a day ticket on the water bus as although it was pretty expensive my mum said that there’s no better way to see Venice than from the water. We started our journey at the train station and caught the bus all the way down the Grand Canal. It really was the best way to possibly see it, and although the bus was pretty busy and pretty expensive it was definitely worth it.

I went to Venice again a couple of weeks later as I felt I couldn’t really do it all in a day, and that way I didn’t feel pressured to cram everything in to one rainy day.

Below you can see my top 5 things to see and do in Venice!

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1

Saint Mark’s Square is the heart of Venice. This is where the boat from the train station first dropped us. It’s absolutely packed with tourists gawping at the beautiful, ancient architecture.

The square itself is the centre of the maze which is Venice. There are what seems to be hundreds of narrow passageways leading towards the square each scattered with unique shops and restaurants. The square is home to the bell tower, cathedral and a host of posh eateries and champagne bars that my purse would never even dream of letting me visit.

Every hour the square fills with people as they wait for the clock tower to chime and the bronze figures on the terrace to strike the bell.

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2

The Rialto Bridge is probably the busiest bridge I think I’ve ever been on. It’s a stone bridge with two rows of built in shops that apparently were once market stalls connecting the two districts of San Marco and San Polo. The bridge itself has stood in place for nearly 500 years so it’s obvious why it’s such a landmark!

The Rialto is made from marble that has worn so beautifully it really is something that has to be appreciated up close.

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3

Going to the top of the bell tower was something I didn’t manage to do on my first trip to Venice, but it really was worth the wait! You get the most spectacular views of the city and really get to marvel at its size. From above, it seems as if Venice is on land and it’s easy to forget that between every couple of buildings there is flowing water.

The bell tower itself stands at 98 metres tall and is over 1000 years old, when you think about that and think that thousands of tourists trek to the top of the tower every year, it makes it even more amazing that the tower still even exists.

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4

The Grand Canal is something that doesn’t really need too much of an explanation. This is one of the things that you don’t need to make too much of an effort to see in Venice. It’s basically the ‘highstreet’ of Venice and is the most important route in the city for getting around, that is unless you want to walk! It’s easy to forget that there are actually no roads in Venice and if you want to get somewhere you either have to walk, or take a boat.

The river’s road system is non existent and there are boats speeding in every direction. It’s mesmerizing to watch especially if you can drown out the sound of chaos with the peaceful lapping of water.

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5

The Cathedral in Venice is something that really shouldn’t be missed. It would be easy to spend hours on end exploring the inside and admiring the extensive work that’s been put in to both its interior and exterior.

It again is hard to believe just how old this building is as construction is said to have started nearly 1000 years ago.

There’s lots to see inside the cathedral and lots of extras that you can pay for, which I’d definitely advise you do! My favourite part of the cathedral was the outside terrace over looking St Mark’s Square, as although you can see this from the top of the bell tower it really doesn’t get boring!

Venice really is now one of my favourite places I’ve ever visited and nothing that I can say would do it justice. If you’ve not been before it’s one of those places that you have to see to believe as you just can’t even begin to understand how easy and how exciting it is to get lost in the maze of seemingly floating buildings and bridges.

It’s a place you’d only imagine in a fairy tale, just with lots of other people there – A place to visit before you die.