Summer Sun | France Part 2

Monday, 30 June 2014 ·

Now for days 4 - 7 of my little getaway to France! This is all I keep daydreaming about now I'm back in the office staring at my computer all day every day! I'm already in need of another week of indulging in too much food and wine, sunshine and great company! Make sure to check out Part 1 if you haven't already seen it!

Day 4 - Grotte de Pech Merle & Saint Cirq Lapopie
For preservation reasons you can't take photos inside the caves at Pech Merle which is a shame but it was absolutely incredible. The paintings date back as far as 25,000 BC which is just insane to think about! Not only that but the caves themselves were beautiful so it's definitely worth a visit if ever you visit the area.

By this time our stomachs were starting to rumble so it was time to head over to Saint Cirq Lapopie...
This place would have been heaving with tourists in a couple of months time but it was lovely and quiet when we visited, with just a few French tourists wandering the narrow, cobbled streets. I loved this as it meant our soundtrack for the day was French chatter and I could blissfully imagine myself living here....maybe one day right?
It seems that everywhere we visited that week had the most incredible views and surprise surprise Saint Cirq Lapopie was no exception with views for miles of lush greenery and the Dordogne winding it's way through the unspoilt landscape. 
There's not a single unnattractive building in Saint Cirq Lapopie and despite the high number of tourists visiting during the summer months it genuinely is unspoilt - there's not many places we can say the same for in the UK nowadays! 
Even the shop signs are beautiful and traditional!

Day 5 - Chateau de Puy Martin & Relaxation
This area of the Dordogne isn't known for chateaus in the same way as a lot of other parts of France but I wanted to at least visit one so we managed to find Chateau de Puy Martin which was pretty nearby.
The carpark was surrounded by beautiful flower beds which were buzzing with bees so I couldn't resist stopping and having a quick play with my camera and I'm so proud of this shot so I had to slip it in! 
With it being out of season we had another private tour which is always a benefit! Believe it or not it is still privately owned and the owners still live in part of the chateau but as there are only 2 of them they only live in a tiny portion of it. Imagine being able to call this place home?! 
Whilst we were wandering around before our tour started I saw this little guy having an early morning sunbathing session on one of the walls to warm up. 
You only get to visit about six or seven rooms in the chateau as due to the huge financial costs of owning and maintaining somewhere like this the owners are forced to keep the rest of it closed to the public as they cannot afford to maintain it all. 

Day 6 - Beynac
Beynac is yet another village built into the hillside overlooking the Dordogne River but it's highlight is the beautiful castle built on the top of the hillside. 
 With a view like this how could we resist having a little photoshoot!
Again this chateau is still privately owned and the owner still lives in a small portion of the chateau which is just beyond the right hand edge of this photo. I can only imagine how amazing it must be to wake up in the morning open the shutters and be welcomed by this stunning view! 

It's hard to believe that this was built on the side of the hillside like this back in the 12th century! 
The view of Beynac village up to the chateau. 
Mum and I found yet another cat to befriend in Beynac - he's so gorgeous - look at those eyes! 

Day 7 - Sarlat Market

On our last day we only had a few hours in the morning before we had to head to the airport so we just popped into Sarlat to have a little mooch around the market and a quick bite to eat. Then it was time to head to the supermarket and stock up on wine - my parents were driving back so we filled the back seat of the car with wine's we'd tried and liked!

I had such a fantastic time in France and I have to say I'm really missing it. The pace of life out there is so much more relaxed, if only London was a little more like that!!

Now I'm just counting down until the next holiday at the end of August! 

Summer Sun | France Part 1

Wednesday, 25 June 2014 ·

We never went back to the same place twice when I was younger and so I had been hoping to go back to the Dordogne since we went when I was about 5 years old (nearly 20 years ago!). So imagine how happy I was when I finally got my return trip to Sarlat all booked up for Matthew and my parents...!

Our villa for the week. It was so lovely being able to eat all our meals out on the terrace under the wisteria. 

Day One - Sarlat
The beautiful buildings of Sarlat. I loved the mix of timber framed and complete stone and all the different coloured shutters. There literally wasn't a single ugly building in the whole town. 
The cathedral in Sarlat turned this fantastic almost orange colour as the sun went down in the evenings and the contrast with the still bright blue sky was so striking I couldn't resist taking a picture. 
On the first night my dad surprised me and took us all to my favourite restaurant in Sarlat from when we'd visited back when I was 5 - who would have thought it would still be open all these years later?! The food was fantastic and there was so much of it - 3 courses for 15! It was in the sweetest little courtyard set back from the main streets so it was away from the hustle and bustle of everything. 

Day Two - Domme
The next day we headed over to Domme, a beautiful village set up on the hillside. Like everywhere we visited the buildings were to quaint. I love the little balcony on this house - it reminded me a little bit of Romeo and Juliette. 
There were some lovely little shops in Domme all selling handmade products. This shop was selling terracotta soaps which are infused with essential oils and so it smelt absolutely incredible! I picked up some little terracotta serving bowls for nibbles which I thought would be great for when Matthew and I move in together next month. 

Day Three - Rocamadour
Rocamadour was yet another beautiful village that we visited, by this point I was beginning to think that everywhere in France is this lovely. It was so nice to be coming outside the main tourist season as apparently in the middle of the summer you can barely move down this main street!
Mum and I have a habit of befriending a cat more or less everywhere we go (crazy cat ladies alert!) and so we spent some time fussing over this little guy before Matthew and my dad dragged us off to visit the sanctuary. 
Up above the main village, set in the hillside, is this incredible sanctuary which pilgrims, historically, would climb 216 steps on their knees to reach believe it or not! The views were unbelievable and it was so quiet and relaxing up there.   
It was so beautiful up there we had to take some pictures of us all... 
...Mum and dad managed to steal the better view though - typical! 

Check back soon for Summer Sun: France Part 2 to see what we got up to for the rest of the trip. 

EAT | Clapham Foodies Festival

Friday, 20 June 2014 ·

My favourite thing about the British summer - who can say no to 2 punnets for £5? 

The best cider (I can't wait to try the Cloudberry flavour). Plus I love the reclaimed wood bar! 
I'm not a fan of macaroons but all these colours caught my eye and they were just begging to be photographed. 
Getting ready for some free wine tasting - my kind of day out! 
Such a cute tuk tuk  to advertise the new spicy Opihr gin. I just wish I could go round London in this to avoid the tube. 
Matthew loved his hogroast for a late lunch!
Ever seen a bigger bag of popcorn? Didn't think so! It didn't last too long though...oops!
Enjoying the sunshine.
I want one of these crates to keep my veggies in at home.
The perfect place to chill out with a glass of Pimms or dance while the sun goes down. 

We had such a lovely day at the Clapham Foodies Festival. Not only are there loads of food and drinks stands with lots of tasters (it would be rude to say no right?), but there are also free cooking demonstrations by professional chefs and even wine tastings. There a number of Foodies Festivals happening around the country throughout July and August so I highly recommend you get tickets if there's one happening near you. It's a great day out and there's something for everyone! 

Bedside Table | Poorly Edition

Tuesday, 17 June 2014 ·

Who knew it was possible to come down with the flu in June?! I certainly didn't but there was no doubting that was what I managed to catch the other week so I was bedridden for a few days working from home - in all honesty illness aside it was kind of nice to be able to snuggle up in bed and do my work instead of be in the office! But I was feeling pretty awful so my usually tidy bedside table become inundated with a plethora of things to try and make me feel a little more human.

First up, pretty self explanatory - a huge glass of water. As we all know it's important to stay hydrated all the time but this becomes even more important when you're not well. So I filled this up first thing in the morning and popped in a couple of slices of lemon and lime to try and make it a little more interesting (water is just so boring) plus for a little injection of vitamins.
Now onto the medicines.... my winning combination tends to be any brand cold and flu tablets and Vicks VapoRub. That stuff is incredible (and smells so good)! I always have Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream on hand in case my nose gets sore/dry from blowing my nose. And then of course some lip balm which this time was the plain Carmex one.
My original plan had been to do my nails as a little treat to try and make me feel better but in the end I was too busy working so didn't get time :( Nevermind, my intention had been to use the Orly Bonder Rubberized Basecoat (read more here), then 'Sugar Plum' by Ciate and topped off with the Rimmel Nail Nurse 5-in-1 Base and Top Coat. Sugar Plum is one of my favourite nil varnishes for the spring time as it's the perfect pale purple which has a lovely pink undertone.
Onto the entertainment...the latest issue of Stylist on my iPad. This is always the highlight of my commute each week so I love that it's available to download whenever I'm not in work! Finally, last but not least my Parks candle which I love - I pretty much always have a candle burning as I love the scent and find it really relaxing.