From Paris with love…

I hadn’t been to Paris for almost four years before my last trip. In 2014 I took my granny to Paris and before that I think it was in 2009 when I spent two weeks in pretty Paris plus every other weekend for a few months. That was when I had a boyfriend who moved from London to Paris. And before that… it must have been as part of a student trip when the Economics & Econometrics student association that I was part of (yes, I had a fair share of nerdy times) went to Paris to visit the OECD and, I believe, the IMF. This is so long ago I can’t even remember. Well and before that… it was with my parents who took me there a couple of times when I was a teenager :)

Long story short, this time it was a girls trip.

Parc Monceau

I took the Eurostar from London to Paris and arrived a few hours before the rest of the girls. So I decided to spend the day in Parc Monceau, drinking coffee, eating croissants and reading my book.

Let the Girls’ Weekend Begin..

We all stayed at my friend’s place who recently moved to Paris. Once everyone had arrived at night, we went for dinner in a tapas place (don’t remember the name) and then had cocktails at a hidden bar (you had to pass by a cooling room for meat to get to the bar). I have also forgotten that name. Sorry guys. It was probably one of the speakeasy bars.

We started quite early the next day mostly due to the fact that my friend’s cute little daughter decided to ask for entertainment around 9 am. So after playing with little Julia we got ready and left the house by noon. The first stop was shopping.

If you ever wanted to wait on the other side of the shopping street and read your emails while leaning against a building that could potentially be an embassy, don’t.. 

.. because you will be greeted by a lovely guy that carries around a super huge machine gun!

I first didn’t see the guy’s face but only saw the machine gun. So you can imagine what my initial thoughts were…  but then, when he realised that I was just a tourist girl waiting for her friends to finish shopping, he was very nice and explained in broken English that this side of the street is not open to the public. Then I remembered that I did cross a little barrier to get there. Oops.

Shopping can be so exhausting! Duh. So headed over to Place de la Concorde and had cocktails at Hotel de Crillon. I instantly fell in love with the interior of the hotel. Even the bathroom was stunning.

Later that night we had cocktails at Hotel Plaza Athenee before heading over to the club at Matignon.

The Day After

I love to sleep in after a night out. This of course doesn’t work when you are woken up by little angel Julia around 8am. To be fair it the cutest way to wake up. She starts humming and singing and after a while adds a few ‘Maman?’ to the mix. So adorable.

Once we had given up on sleep we headed over to Monmartre and Sacre Coeur. Later that night it was time to go back to London again. Bye, bye pretty Paris.

In collaboration with Aquascutum.

‘Oh, you live in London. Does it really rain all the time?’

You can’t imagine how often I’m asked this or a similar version of this question. Especially from Germans. And I also grew up thinking that the only weather available in the UK is rain. Even my great granny once told me (when I was around 6 years old and met an 8 year old British boy on a family holiday):

‘Nadine, you don’t want to live in England, it always rains.’

So I guess that, at least in Germany, it’s common knowledge that it rains in the UK. All. The. Time.

But how bad is the weather in the UK, really? And more specifically, in London? 

Well, for the last few weeks it has been hot. And I mean really hot. It has been so hot actually that I can’t sleep in the bedroom under the roof without setting the ventilator on full speed. This still means though that I can’t sleep as the sound is much too loud to have a peaceful night.

And even outside of the usual 2 weeks of summer that we get in London (ok, recently it has been getting better..), it does not really rain all the time. In fact, it rather drizzles. And yes, it drizzles relatively frequently. But a good thunderstorm with heavy rain.. no, this is something that doesn’t happen too often in London. Unfortunately (I LOVE thunderstorms).

I’m so happy that we finally have a garden. For the 10 years that I have been living in London, I mostly stayed in places without a garden. But since last summer I have had the pleasure to set up my little workspace in the patio – that is as long as it’s warm enough. A couple of months ago I enjoyed this year’s first day of summer in the garden. And it’s still nice and warm.

Thank you, London – 2018 has been great so far!

But sometimes you might have gone swimming on a Saturday, relaxed in the park on a Sunday and then a few days later .. BAM! .. back to cooler temperatures and the umbrella will become your new best friend again. In fact, or maybe this is just my biased opinion, a hot summer of more than 28 degrees is the exception. If you travel to London in summer you will have a high chance of encountering temperatures from 18 degrees to 25. So, the below photo is a more ‘typical’ photo of what I generally wore in London in summer.

London Summer North

Jeans, t-shirt… and don’t you forget your cardigan.

This way you are very well prepared for most of what London will show you weather-wise :) And no worries, the outfit below you can leave hidden in your wardrobe until October… just take the umbrella with you :)

I collaborated with Aquascutum for this post. Aquascutum is a British brand that was established in Mayfair more than 150 years ago when it was one of the first to create waterproof textiles. Nowadays, they still create stunning fashion that protects you from the rain. Check out Aquascutum’s fancy rainwear for men

Ok ladies, the link for the men’s section was meant to prevent you from checking out Aquascutum’s outlet section… Do not click over there. Don’t. Fashion on sale will do funny things to your brain..

 

 

Lake Bled. Must-see sights in Easter Europe

As part of the Croatia and Slovenia road trip late last summer, we spend a day at Lake Bled. OMG, I don’t even know where to start to describe how beautiful this place is. In fact, I don’t even think that my non-mother-tongue vocabulary would do any justice (and I’m not a poet at all either). So instead of failing at describing it adequately, I took LOADS of photos of which this lot here is just a tiny little selection :) So, see for yourself!

Bottom line: Lake Bled is definitely a must-see if you travel through Slovenia or in Istria in Croatia.
Lake Bled Castle and Church On the Way to the Castle

Find the girls… or don’t 

I travelled with 3 of my friends (we were a group of 4 ladies) but on the day that we visited Lake Bled, I decided to stay longer in bed and recover a bit more from my cold. Our apartment was just a 20 mins walk away from the lake, so it would be super easy to find them later.

So I thought. I thought WRONG.

It turns out that you always need around one hour to get from one pretty place on Lake Bled to another. Walking up to the castle takes around 20 to 30 minutes (especially if you have a cold..) and the boat ride to the island takes about the same… then there are lots of pretty places around the lake to which you – depending on your choice of transport – also need around 30 mins. Once you have arrived at any of these pretty sights you also want to spend some time there. As I thought the girls would visit the castle first, I went straight there. Yet they decided to start with the island instead.. This meant that we were always around one hour and a half ‘away’ from each other.

Well, it’s not that I did sightseeing on my own for the first time, so I still had a great time. Yet I was super happy to finally meet them again in the late afternoon when we had a quick and early dinner before we headed off to the airport to fly back to London.

Bled Castle

Castle Bled. Slovenia Things to Do.

The most beautiful castles in Europe. Lake Bled Castle.

Lake Bled and Castle.

View from the Other side of Lake Bled.

Castle on the rock at Lake Bled.

Romantic castle built on a rock at Lake Bled.

Inside Lake Bled’s Castle

Inside Lake Bled's Castle.

Sightseeing Lake Bled Castle.

Wine shop at Lake Bled.

Lake Bled Castle.

Inside Lake Bled's Castle

Trekking to Lake Bled's Castle.

The View From Bled Castle

View from Lake Bled's Castle

Walking Up to Lake Bled's Castle

Beautiful view of Lake Bled in Slovenia.

Things to do in Slovenia: Lake Blade

Little Island on Lake Bled

Lake Bled’s Island

Quaint little island on Lake Bled.

… Taking a boat to Lake Bled’s island

So… I guess when I just hopped into the boat to the island, the girls just hopped into their boat to leave the island.. what a timing :) Nope, they couldn’t have waited for me as the boat rides are ‘timed’ and you have around 45 mins only on the island before your boat leaves again.

My road ride back was amazing though as suddenly a guy asked me to hold his phone facing him and his girlfriend. I took the phone with a big question mark above my head first – he just asked me to ‘hold’ not to take a picture.. But then he went down on his knees and I realised the phone is taking a video.. and it made ‘click’. He was proposing :) OMG, this was soooo cute. All the other guests on the boat started applauding and when we arrived there was a lot of hugging going on :) :)

Taking the boat to Lake Bled's island

Lake Bled and Bled Castle in summer

Lake Bled's Castle. View from below.

View of Lake Bled's island from the boat

Lake Bled's beautiful small island

… On the Island

Visiting the island on lake bled

Island on lake bled

Walking around the small island on Lake Bled

Walking along the water on the island on Lake Bled

Around Lake Bled

So I initially did NOT plan to take a walk around the lake. My only intention after visiting the castle and the island was to meet the girls to have dinner. As I didn’t find a taxi and it started raining, I decided to take the little sightseeing train that drives along the lake in a circle. It even stopped right in front of the restaurant.

But I didn’t get off. It was still raining so I took out my phone to check google maps whether I’m really in front of the restaurant or if I should stay in the train and get off at the next stop. When I realised that YEYYY, I’m right in front of it… the train started moving again. It had stopped each time before for around 5 mins but this stop was less than 30 sec! So I tried to shout at the driver but he couldn’t hear me. For a second I contemplated ‘jumping off’ the train but then, nah.. I didn’t do that. Reality is often much different from the movies.

I ended up at the OTHER end of the lake.. around 40 mins (!) walking distance from the restaurant. Awesome. I was already too late. So now I was even beyond being ‘too late’.

And again, no taxi. And no train going the other way. So I decided to RUN.

Have you ever jogged during the woods? In your jeans with your purse? It’s great…. not. At least I was wearing sneakers.

But it was sort of fun… Running up and down little hills within the wood and having no idea whether I’m actually taking the right route, reminded me on the game ‘Skyrim‘. At least I wasn’t wearing steel armor and had to fight dragons.. (yup, that’s my geeky side).

It turned out that I took the right short cut and arrived at the restaurant around 15 mins later. I was greeted with some Prosecco (girls – you are the best!).

View of Lake Bled's Island with Church.

Idyllic Slovenia. Lake Bled  Things to Do at Lake Bled. Lake Bled Slovenia.

Beautiful View of the Lake Bled Castle

Things to Do at Lake Bled. Trekking around Lake Bled   Things to Do at Lake Bled. Lake Bled Slovenia. Have you been to Slovenia and Lake Bled? Let me know in the comments.