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

Madrid Image

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 – Lisbon

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I’m a little bit late with my post for this, but on the 14th April I jetted off to Lisbon from the UK for a ‘surprise’ birthday trip.

I lie when I say it was a surprise, because I did actually know a couple of weeks beforehand that I was going, but this is only because Joe is so bad at keeping secrets!

I was really excited to get to Lisbon, as I’d never been to Portugal before, so this was another place I could cross off of my list of places to visit! I didn’t really know what to expect from Lisbon, as obviously I’d heard of it, but had never really researched into the city.

Below, I’ve put together my top 5 places in Lisbon of things to see and do!

 

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1

My favourite place in Lisbon was the beach. This might be a little bit controversial point, because Lisbon doesn’t actually have a beach and we had to travel on the train to get there!

Obviously the reason I liked this so much is because it’s a beach, and what’s there not to like when the weather is so nice!

As it was only April the water wasn’t very warm so we didn’t go swimming- but we did do one better and hire a kayak! It was reasonably priced to rent at 15 Euros for an hour- but as it wasn’t busy he let us use it for longer.

We set up camp on our 3rd day in Lisbon at Carcavelos beach by a little bar, which had deckchairs outside. We paid our rent for these in the excessive amounts of cocktails we ordered while we enjoyed the sunshine.

Carcavelos itself was about 30 minutes away from Lisbon on the train – and only cost us roughly 3 Euros each way.

As we enjoyed kayaking and sunbathing so much the day before, on the 4th day of our stay we decided to visit a second beach at Casicas.

Casicas was much more scenic with a historcial town and an absolutely beautiful beach. We didn’t plan on spending our entire day here, but it was so nice that after lunch we didn’t want to leave. There was a lot to do in Casicas too, from shopping in the small town, to renting stand up paddle boards and kayaking.

 

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On our 2nd day in Lisbon we decided to take a wander around, just to see some of the sights. We took the train about 10 minutes outside of the centre to a little spot by the Belem Tower. We had planned out in the morning the sites that we wanted to see there, and also discovered the art gallery near by in the Belem Cultural Centre.

The museum was huge- and was also free entry which gives even more of a reason to visit. We had only planned to do the 1st floor of the gallery so that we could fit more sight seeing in, but we enjoyed it so much so we ended up doing all of the floors.

You’re allowed to take photos inside the gallery, which is something that surprised me, as almost all of the exhibitions in Milan don’t allow cameras.

The museum was filled with modern and contemporary works from the likes of Warhol, Picasso, Dali, Pollock and many many more – which all come from one mans collection – Joe Berardo.

If you have a spare afternoon in Lisbon and have a passion for modern art this is a must see!

 

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On the second to last day of our stay we decided to take a bus tour. We did the tour with ‘City Sight Seeing’ and it cost about 18 Euros each. It seems pricey, but this was a ticket that would last for 2 days and which was ‘hop on – hop off’.

We had seen pretty much all of the major sites before, but we thought it’d be a fun thing to do as the weather wasn’t as nice.

The tour took us to all of the sites, from the Belem Tower, Jerónimos Monastery, Padrão dos Descobrimentos, to bull fighting rings, and so many more.

The bus takes two routes, red and blue. The red route was the best – as the blue route takes you on more of a scenic ride through mostly the middle of nowhere.

I have to admit, it was the most touristy thing I’ve possibly ever done – and I probably won’t ever do one again.

 

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On the same day as our bus tour, to walk off our lunch we decided to go and find the Cathedral (because the bus tour doesn’t take you here!!) It was apparently a 10 minutes walk from the centre – but turned out to be more like a 40 minute steep climb which results in leaving you with a serious need for water. By the time we actually got there (from being lost for a while) we were too tired to fully appreciate it!

The cathedral isn’t in such a monumental place as many of the other cathedrals I’ve ever visited. It’s really out of the way and just placed on the side of a road.

I didn’t know before I went, but Lisbon is actually very hilly – so if you’re thinking of going make sure you take yourself a comfortable pair for shoes!

We walked a little further up the hill to get to a view point of the city, and you can also see the castle from there. If you’re feeling a little less athletic than us, you can take the number 28 tram which will give you a good run of the city.

 

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5

 

Lisbon really isn’t what I expected from the capital city of Portugal. I’m not sure if it’s because we went in April, but it was extremely quiet. There weren’t many shops and there was no rush to get around.

My favourite place in the centre was the Rua Augusta Arch. It reminded me so much of Milan.

The square surrounding the arch had lots of nice restaurants – two of which we tried and were really delicious!

The square got busier in the evening with people visiting to find somewhere to eat, and also taking in the views of the water. It was a nice place to just sit and admire the beautiful views.

A short walk from the square we found a little bar with deckchairs and parasols which overlooked the sea and the  25 de Abril Bridge.

We sat a couple of times with cocktails and beers, just to watch the world go by.