Monday, August 29, 2011

Beautiful India

Welcome to India - I haven't been to Delhi since the Commonwealth games and it certainly has changed. After travelling to Delhi for over 14 years now it was a very welcoming surprise to arrive at a beautiful new airport. The lovely man that greated me at the airport said "yes madam the the city is changing fast - but the people they never change" Thats the beauty of India - the people!

Inspiration everywhere including the super cool dudes driving the tut tuts to the fancy Kainoosh restaurant in Vasant Kunj, which is definately the place to be. With an incredibly hip interior fitout i am loving the cutwork screens and the Tom Dixon lights, that I am now wanting for the kitchen at home. And the food was amazing too!

Being in India does have a way of making me feel like I could be back in Colonial times, the impecable dress of these lovely fellas! And below a traditional hand weaving loom kept as a symbol of the beginnings of this beautiful Silk weaving mill in Bangalore.

The beauty of jacquard velvet being woven - hundreds of threads going into create this amazing fabric.

A welcoming outdoor lunch, I love Indian food! Below was a great lunch made for me, bring on Summer so we can sit outside at home!

The beautiful circular staircase leading up to the showroom. The colour of the stain on the wood is something that will always remind me of being in India.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Bonjour Beautiful Paris

As tourists these are the amazing sites we see, the beautiful and inspiring part of the city. I do love the tones of the sunbleached faded shades of the buildings, above just outside my hotel window. Then below, the totally breathtaking Louvre Museum, originally built as a fortress and then in 1364 Raymond du Temple, Architect to Charles V, began to transform the fortress into a splendid royal residence.

I love this shot of the main Louvre Pyramid, built in 1989, such a landmark of Paris. The clouds overhead above and below remind me of Gothic Paris from many years ago, below the guardians of Gothic architecture the Gargoyles show us the mysterious and exotic side of Paris.

Below - The Ferris Wheel in the Jardin des Tuileries, on the Louvre side, apparently it looks good at night??

Below, the Metro entrance at the Palace Royal, at Place Colette, so stunning - it took me a while to work out it was a Metro! Right next to the Metro I listened to classical music being played - an Orchestra on the street, how lovely.

Then there is the realisation you have walked for an hour to come back to where you have started from, oh well in such a beautiful city who doesn't want to walk! ....Just when I was needing inspiration, I found Astier de la Villatte, so lovely I felt like I could move straight in. A small store of 3 rooms which used to be an artists supply store, the cupboards holding the brushes and paints - the current owner has renovated it, but saying that it is still very original with the peeling walls, but not the new mean't to be peeling look we are seeing, these are actually peeling! Shiney antique wallpaper and chandiliers which blended in so well they looked like they had been there for years. I just love how they left it, cleaning away none of the history. The little private stairway's where so original I had a flash back to Jonnie Deep in Sweeney Todd, I could imagine the beautiful Helena Bonham Carter sitting in the corner!

Then on to Galleries Lafayette, the ladies store that was built in 1912 has to be the most beautiful department store in the world! I ran out of batteries so you will have to believe me! The grandeur of the Art Nouveau store is 10 stories high with the most amazing glass dome shining down through each floor. Above is Le Bon Marche, which means "the good market" or the "good deal" founded in 1838 in a small store and this store was originally constructed in 1867, it maybe not as beautiful as Galleries Lafayette, but oh so chic!

Taking about chic - I am loving the Fiat Abarth 500 series, very hip! Abit more Italian than French but looked right at home on the streets of St Germain! Below is the foyer of my favorite boutique hotel in Paris the Hotel du Petit Moulin in the Haut-Marais. Each time you stay you will more than likely get a different room, each designed by Christian Lacroix and sitting behind the facade of the oldest bakery in Paris which dates back to the 1900 century. People in the neighbourhood say that Victor Hugo came here to get bread! Missing my beautiful room in already!

Friday, August 5, 2011

London calling!

So here I am in London town, just as bustling as usual, I am currently trying to write while siting in a very trendy bar at St Martins Lane hotel listening to a lovely african man play the drums to very cool music - so excuse any mistakes it is loud in here but they have wifi!

I think I have been walking around dreaming of the sunshine in Stockholm today as it is 18 degrees and raining here :( 2 days shopping, first day was an adventure in Islington and Shoreditch but one wrong turn and a dodgy map and I ended up discovering the estates of Hackney - 30 minutes of walking later I finally found a bus to take me closer to where I was meant to be! I have been mastering the london buses this trip!

Above are a few shots of the stores in islington, a gorgeous store called "Loop" specialising in very impressive knitting yarns and patterns, I was blown away - the girls where so nice and it could even make me think about picking up the needles again! The store next door named "SMUG" a small and unique homewares collection with a cool name in a very cute pedestrian walkway full of antique stores. And then the super cool store of Abigal Ahern, a moody black store with oversized items and lushly coloured flowers - stunning! 
Second day out and about and I started off with the elegance of Harrods! a store that somehow manages to be perfect and beautiful each visit even with the hundreds of thousands of tourists who flock through it each year. How I'd love to see AURA in Harrods (you may be seeing a pattern here:) Now if you have some spare cash below are a couple of gems worth considering, a big rock of Amethyst at 22kilos and a giant Pyrite from Peru weighing in at 100kilos and on sale for 10,999 pounds! Only at Harrods! 

The new Paul Smith kids collection on display in Harrods windows, it is amazing to be able to travel the world and see all of this wonderful retail! Harrods and Oxford Street definately defies the suggestion that retail is slow - these stores are so busy its crazy! 
Anthropology in The Kings Road - how I love Anthropologie - this store is amazing, always inspiring and fresh - each time I visit I am just overcome - strange I know but there isnt much else like it in the world really and this Kings Road store is fabulous, I could just stay in there and admire all day! 

Above, is a wishing pond in Anthropologie and below a lovely display of green ceramics in a garden rotunda I guess youd say. Now I dont know any other store with their own pond??

Another bus ride and the window of the Regent street store above (sadly closed - 8pm is just too early in a city with so many stores!!) anyway very sore feet and on to my ridiculously cool hotel past the beautiful Liberty store and a few happy tourists and locals in Soho- every night in London seems like Friday night! 

Hard to say goodbye to a beautiful hotel like this! So until next time good old London town now on to the most romantic city in the world for some more shopping! x

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Hej from Stockholm

As soon as you arrive in Stockholm you know these are cool people by the duty free! Marimekko anyone? Unfortunately too hard to pack in the suitcase, and I couldn't pick between the green and the yellow below! Its been a year now since my last visit to the Nordic country and I was lucky enough to have a second visit, which proved yes it is a an elegant and beautiful place. A city full of heritage buildings, Viking cobblestone trails, wide tree lined streets, very cool bicyles, sunshine and parks all set around water.

Its Summer in Stockholm and lunchtime saw the parks full of sunbakers and picnicing as the locals take in as much sun as it lasts.

I visited the Saluhall below, a beautiful market full of fresh fruit and veg, amazing gourmet cheeses and the largest Salmon ive ever seen! I was talking to a Swedish 'chap' later who told me that you can catch Salmon around 12 kilos each! directly off the waters edge in town. Below is the fabulous lunch I had at Tysta Mari of smoked salmon, dill & white asparagus on toast, which I didnt realise was around $25AUD until later! That same chap also told me it is the most expensive market in Stockholm, and chefs go there to source the finest ingredients and he only goes there if he is having a special dinner party and wants to impress! Woops..

You can walk around Stockholm for days - unfortunately I only had one day and I visited many stores, alot which showcase the stunning Swedish, Danish and Finnish design, an ode to George Jensen, Marimekko, iittalia, Design House Stockholm and many more. But my favourite store is the super elegant NK, it was as lovely as before in amoungst the ciaos of sale mode everywhere else. I would love to have an AURA concept store at NK one day! Some shots of the fantastic window displays at NK the colours of the specially made glasswear was amazing! Check out NK's website for more pictures and information.

Above is looking down through NK - stunning, and below the busy Pedestrian street, Drottninggatan, where you can find all of the chain stores including Swedens favourite H&M, Zara, Allens, Topmart, Nike, just to name a few.

What would a post on Stockholm be without a shot of bikes! Notice the Design House Stockholm cool emerald green bike basket - id like one of these - also available in black if anyone is interested :)

More duty free! No I cant fit it in the bag - but I love it! Enough Salmon eaten, enough beautiful tall tanned blonds, so long Stockholm "London's calling!"