Tag Archives: boutique

mini post: Autumn Style

October in the Virginia countryside is our favourite time of year. Autumn has just begun and the temperatures have cooled, making this the optimal time to be outdoors. In the morning, after the mist lifts off the fields, we have a bit of dew and that lovely crisp, fall air.

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The children just need that extra cosy layer or two and they are good to play outside until lunchtime!

When we moved to America, I worried I might have trouble finding the European styles we love. Fortunately, the internet is full of options, but it can be difficult to find everything in on one site and buying from lots of shops (especially for multiple kids!) can be time-consuming and wasteful with excessive overseas shipping. Paris-based Melijoe is an amazing online boutique where I can order all of our favourite pieces in one go!

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Marguerite wears a lovely cotton romper in Liberty floral print by Belle Enfant with Collégien tights.

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Lucas loves these soft corduroy slim fit trousers by Cyrillus and his favourite new Aigle wellies.

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Melijoe not only has timeless classics from Paris and London-based brands but also some modern, delightful looks perfect for young ones to wear to school and express their fun personalities!

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I love these pieces I found from Spanish brand The Animals Observatory, whose creative manifesto celebrates the wonder of childhood through their edgy designs.

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My favourite piece of the collection is this fancy v-neck cardigan made of 100% wool. I make a huge effort to put my children in only natural fabrics, and I love that Melijoe has so many options!

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Lucas picked out these Reebok x TAO collaboration trainers, mostly because they are his favourite colour red! They are such a cool, classic design which I remember from my own childhood.

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We finished the look with a brand we’ve never tried before, a new company from Portugal called Play Up. These cotton trousers are the perfect balance between texture and comfort, perfect for running and jumping and enjoying this wonderful season. Best of all they have pockets for storing all of our autumnal treasures.

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All of these brands, plus many more are just waiting to be discovered on www.melijoe.com and my order reached me within 3 days from France! I love the Magazine section of their page, which features different brands, provides trend alerts, and has lots of useful outfit inspiration (including this recent one on their selection of drool-worthy winter coats).

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Wishing everyone a lovely autumn, filled with lots of seasonal inspiration!

xx

La Pause, Marrakech

Sometimes to experience the essence of a place, you have to venture out of its heart and beyond its periphery. Marrakech is a seething urban cauldron, dust-tinged and hectic, petrol vapor refracting in waves off of its every surface.

But drive 40 km out of the city, and sputtering mopeds give way to donkey carts, and then to nomadic shepherds herding lambs by the roadside, and then to nothing but undulating red dunes. Eventually, there is breeze, there is quiet, there is calm.

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I really couldn’t fathom a better way to end my trip to Morocco than a day at La Pause eco-resort blissing out over lunch in an authentic Bedouin tent surrounded by the remote tranquility of the desert.

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Run by an eccentric French expat (of which I saw several roaming about fitting that description), La Pause aims to provide an authentic and timeless desert experience, with no electricity, and minimal modern conveniences.

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The chef at La Pause offers a set menu cooked with local seasonal ingredients, and your 5-course meal is served under a private nomadic tent. All produce is transported daily from Marrakech and not stored on location, ensuring the freshest, most delicious ingredients go into every bite.

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Lunch started with a rocket salad, freshly picked from the garden and seasoned using the extra virgin olive oil pressed from La Pause’s olive groves.

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Traditional Moroccan soup

Traditional Moroccan soup

Lamb tagine with prunes and almonds

Lamb tagine with prunes and almonds

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This intriguing Moroccan dessert tasted like frosted cornflakes

This intriguing Moroccan dessert tasted like frosted cornflakes

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Moroccan tea

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All visitors have free access to the grounds – go on, wander through the olive groves, take a dip in the swimming pool, or just stretch out to warm yourself on a sun lounger.

We sipped rose wine and gallivanted around the Agafay desert terrain.

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And what a special surprise when I spied the La Pause boutique! Leave it to the French to identify stylish wares of superb quality – without the dread of having to haggle animatedly for ages to get a fair price! Berber cushion covers, hand painted glass tableware, and woven baskets. Viola!

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Leaving with a bagful of goodies!

Leaving with a bagful of goodies!

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This magical desert experience was by far the highlight of my Moroccan trip. I have to say I probably won’t ever go back to Marrakech in the future; but if I do, I’ll definitely be La Paus-ing here again!

St-Trop ’til I Drop

The port town of Saint-Tropez is a shopper’s heaven. There isn’t much to do there but shop. Oh, and gawk at the monster yachts moored in the marina. Did you know it’s in the top 5 of most expensive marinas in the world? Yep, docking here for the week costs a cool 20,000 euros.

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I can’t shop on an empty stomach so first thing’s first – breakfast. La Tarte Tropézienne is a high-end patisserie with a stalwart presence around town. They are named after their signature pastry made famous by Brigitte Bardot whilst she was in town filming “And God Created Woman”, the picture that made her an international sex symbol. The main bakery on Place des Lices is a tony restaurant, perfect for a quality petit déjeuner.

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The original "Tarte Trapézienne" - Brigitte Bardot's favorite

The original “Tarte Trapézienne” – Brigitte Bardot’s favorite

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Omelette au fromage

Omelette au fromage

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Okay, time to hit the shops!

Espadrilles are a staple of any resort wardrobe, but they are practically compulsory on the Riviera. Perfect for slipping on and shuffling from the pool to the terrace, or home from the beach. Needless to say, they are everywhere in St-Tropez.

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Chanel had this pair of bad boys for me to lust after.

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Then I found a darling little boutique much more suited to my budget; L’Espadrille Tropézienne stocks a range of espadrilles with a modern twist and signature red rubber sole.

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Love these funky hand-painted graffiti ones

Love this funky hand-painted graffiti pair

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I did a bit more strolling around but after a few hours couldn’t cope with the rising heat so, like a seal, I had to slip away to find water. Can’t wait to post about the secluded beach I explored in the afternoon!

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Le Club 55

Lunch at Club 55 is a Saint-Tropez institution – and it’s always the first place I make a beeline for upon my arrival in the French Riviera. This shabby chic beach club offers everything you could possibly need for a day on Pampelonne beach: a popular restaurant, a luxury gift shop and, of course, the sea!

I arrived mid-morning and padded up the decked path lugging my straw beach tote to claim a prime waterfront spot for my lounger.

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You can tell it’s nearly lunchtime when the super yachts start to converge near to the coast. Celebrities are shuttled in on inflatable dinghys to the club launch as everyone makes their way to the restaurant behind the dunes.

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I sprang for the crab special to start, followed by the gambas, which I dunked with fervor in the tamarind aioli. Simple, light dishes – mostly grilled – and presented with minimal fanfare.

On the way back to the beach, I popped into the boutique for a souvenir – which was quite an ordeal with so many beautiful things to chose from!

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I whiled away the rest of the afternoon’s golden rays sipping citron pressé at the beach bar, swimming, and prowling up and down the launch waiting for my ship to come in…

Only I think it already has.

Tourtour: Le Village dans le Ciel

It was too overcast for the pool today so we walked up into the village. Tourtour is known as “the village in the sky” because of its stunning views from the top. We meandered through the streets climbing our way up to the the square.

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Mayor's Office, Town Hall

Mayor’s Office, Town Hall

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We passed by the Moulin a Huile, where the villagers bring their olives to be weighed and pressed into olive oil.  Tourtour has a cooperative system where the oil is distributed on a pro-rata basis depending on how many kilos of olives each villager contributes.

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Making olive oil is a two-step process of grinding and pressing. First, the olives are placed under the stones and squashed to make a paste. The olive miller then collects the paste and puts it into jute baskets.

For the pressing, two piles of about 20 jute baskets are placed, one on top of the other, under the press. The first pressing is “cold,” then the baskets are soaked in hot water before the second pressing.

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Olive oil features a lot in Provençal cooking, including many of the restaurants and cafés in the leafy town square. Tourtour also boasts a few galleries and boutiques.

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I wanted to take this dapper furball home but he was 320 euros!

I wanted to take this dapper little furball home but he was 320 euros!

Instead, I splurged on this little black number (to wear to the beach this week) from the prêt à porter boutique, Florence.

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We stopped at a café by the fountain to revive ourselves with a cold citron pressé – freshly squeezed lemon juice, which you can water down a little bit, add a teensy pinch of sugar to sweeten it up, stir and enjoy!

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This handsome pup kept cool as a cucumber under our café table and begged me to throw him his slobbery pinecone – which he kept retrieving and laying at my sandals again and again. I think I finally wore him out!

Our final ascent was up to the village chapel perched on the hilltop where we could look down on the gorgeous Var landscape below.

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Good thing the way home is all downhill!