Fashion is everywhere

Clones N Clowns by Aimee Wood

3 Places to visit in Paris this Summer 2014

Happy Sunday everyone I hope you’re weekend is as peaceful and sunny as mine. If you follow me on Instagram you’ll probably know how often I travel to Paris and I’m stopping over there again next weekend which reminded me I should get posting some Parisian tips on here some time. The city is changing at a fast pace and is already quite different from the Paris I knew and fell in love with (and in !) five years ago. Luckily, my frequent trips allow me to keep up and when I’m not there myself I have plenty of friends living in the French capital to keep me up to date on what’s going on. Traveling from London to Paris is so simple these days that in just a few hours you can pack your bag and go get that je ne sais quoi every perfect Summer needs. Here are the top 3 things that should be on your list this Summer if you’re planning a getaway to Paris, the city of lights, romance and gorgeous French people. 1: Les berges This is an area of Paris I did not know until very recently – shame on me! It’s the latest place to go for a stroll when you’ve filled your face with too much baguette and I was so impressed with the area I can’t wait to go back. I’m not one to say Paris is a modern city but the work the county has done along the Seine is seriously impressive stuff finally giving this museum of a city the touch of modern creativity it lacked. There are hamacs to lie in, huts to book for the day , dance lessons, photography courses and more – all for free. What’s not to love? 2: The Printemps Rooftop Despite the famous images of Parisian rooftops a la Aristocats, the French city is actually not the best place for a drink on the skyline. From what I know, having a rooftop view is a luxury only the maids would have in Paris since the top floors are often made up of wardrobe-sized rooms the “bonnes” – in other words house-carers – would call home. If you’re moving to Paris for a few months, are looking for a cheap(ish) place to stay and don’t mind having the toilet at the end of your bed I might recommend you rent one of these chambres for yourself and you may get to see the whole of Paris, including Madame Eiffel, from your teeny window. If that doesn’t appeal to you, you could always get a partial yet beautiful view from the top of the famous Galeries Lafayette store on Boulevard Haussman. The view won’t be quite as romantic as the twilight shot above, but you will see the Palais Garnier, one of my favourite 19th century buildings in Paris otherwise known as L’Opéra – arguably the most famous opera house in the World. The rooftop is free to access – unless you end up shopping on your way up – and you can even grab a coffee on the floor below if you’re in need of a café. Don’t go late as it closes at the same time as the shop – 8pm – but do turn up whenever you feel like it before then as you won’t even need to queue for the view. 3: La Nuba  If making yourself at home means hanging with the cool dudes then La Nuba is the place for you. I meet many people in London who like myself know Paris quite well after years of city-hopping like there ain’t no Channel. When you get to this point in a relationship with a city, you don’t want to be doing the touristy stuff any more. You want to be a part of it. And “it” my friends, is la Nuba. Make sure you pack your most hipster-chic outfit as well as a well-topped up credit card and head off for La Nuba no earlier than 10pm for the full Parisian experience. You’ll have to queue (for a while) outside but just remember it’s all part of the fun – and the fashion show. The club closes in the early hours of the morning but if nightlife is not what you’re looking for it opens again in the day time for laid-back lunch on the terasse. Let me know if you get to try any of these three places and bon voyage! xx Aimee

3 Places to visit in Paris this Summer 2014

Outfit du Jour: Simple style in Shoreditch

Good morning ! It’s time for another outfit du jour this week and today I’m thanking the lovely C from new blog The Lifestyle Directory for taking these pictures of me last weekend after lunch (or rather – granola) at Hoi Polloi. Though Shoreditch is usually known for its crazy outfits and bright colours, I was feeling pretty casual. In fact I’m never really up for the satorial competition that goes down in East London, I’d much rather be wearing my jeans, trainers and glasses – so that I can secretly stare at the amazing people around me. You gotta love people-watching in London, there really is nothing like it. Of course Paris is on of a kind for streetstyle too, but that’s a whole different story. London is so bright, bold and surprising. Forget your judgement at home and come as you are! Which is what I did. And I was glad to get some use out of my dungarees after leaving them on their hanger for way too many weeks in a row.The detail I love most about this pair of dungees would be the roll-up on the legs. It actually stays in place – which is not a given in the world of denim shorts, believe me I’ve had my share of days spent constantly bending down to get that scrunch just right… Not cool.As for the shopping of this outfit du jour, my dungarees came from Pull & Bear so cheekily cost me no more than £25 which I consider to be an absolute bargain for an item I love to wear in so many ways. My bodysuit is a basic black one from American Apparel, my shoes are by Ugg (!!!) and my sunnies from Zara’s Summer collection on sale in stores now. See you back here tomorrow, thanks for stopping by 🙂 Love from London, Aimee

Outfit du Jour: Simple style in Shoreditch

Clean Lunchbox #2

 Morning lovelies and Happy Monday ! If you’re following me on Instagram (which you should be ;-)) you may have guessed I wished for this celebratory weekend to never end but here I am sipping my Monday Morning tea *sigh*. Oh well, at least I have lots of exciting content to share this week – bring it on! This week my clean food lunchbox includes red pesto quinoa, a courgette/butter bean/mint salad in a zesty dressing, tomatoes, avocado, red pepper hummus sprinkled with sesame seeds and sunflower seed rye bread on the side. What a nutritious lot! So we’re still along the same lines as last weeks with the multiple bits and bobs prepared on a Sunday night and simply dished up in a jiffy each morning, only with whole new flavours for a whole new week! Here is my shopping list for one week of meals for two as well as the recipes in the suggested preparation order to keep it short and sweet. You’ll see I have also invested in some adorable new lunch boxes – how could I resist?! There are four that fit inside each other and the mini one is perfect for my dip. Shopping List for 5 meals for 2: 200g quinoa Red pesto 2 cans of butter beans 2 courgettes 1 tbs olive oil 1 lemoin 2 tbs plain yogurt fresh mint leaves 5 avocados cherry tomatoes 1 can chickpeas 1 crushed garlic clove 1 red pepper 1 tbs tahini (I also love this on toast or rice cakes in the morning!) Recipes for 2 to cook on a Sunday night ahead of a 5 day week at work: QUINOA: Cook 200g of quinoa according to the pack and leave to cool before stiring in a heaped tbs of red pesto. Keep in the fridge in a tight tupperware so it stays fresh all week. BUTTER BEAN, COURGETTE AND MINT SALAD This is an easy yet delish one. Whilst your quinoa is simmering away, switch on your grill, wash and chop your courgettes and pepper. Place them in an oven dish and cover in tbs olive oil, salt and pepper. Pop them in the oven and leave to grill. You may want to remove them and give them a mix to make sure they don’t burn but do cook all over. Remove after 15 min or when the peppers are beginning to go black. Pop your pepper pieces in the blender ready to make your hummus (see below) and transfer your courgette into a large tupperware. Add in the drained butter beans, the torn mint leave, the yogurt and 1/2 the lemon juice before adding salt and pepper to taste (remember your courgette is already seasoned so taste first!). Leave to cool completely and keep in the fridge in a box with its lid on. RED PEPPER HUMMUS: You’ve already grilled your pepper and popped it in the blender (see above) so now all you have to do is add your chickpeas, a tbs of tahini, the juice of 1/2 lemon, your crushed garlic clove and 10ml water. Blitz it up until you have a smooth paste. Transfer to a bowl and cover it up in cling film to keep it fresh in the fridge. Every morning, spoon quinoa and bean salad into two corner of your lunch box and complete with tomatoes and 1/2 avocado chopped into bitesize pieces. Add your dip and sprinkle with seeds of your choice. Take a piece of rye bread too if you wish, half a piece is plenty for me as this is quite a heavy bread. I hope you enjoy this – let me know if you try it! Also let me know if you have any tips of your own for quick and healthy lunches, sharing is caring 🙂 I look forward to hearing from you in the comments. Love from London and see you back here tomorrow, Aimee PS – MORE RECIPES AND HEALTHY TIPS ON INSTAGRAM SO FOLLOW ME AND CHAT TO ME IN THE COMMENTS! 

Clean Lunchbox #2

Fast Food #1: Strawberry almond milk

    Good morning readers and welcome to my new column: Fast Food! So you thought this was the name for Macdonald’s and friends, hey?! Why should only the unhealthy guys get the cool alliterations?! A lot of the food I eat is perfectly fast to prepare and yet has not an unhealthy ingredient in sight. So I thought I’d ironically steal the name and share all these quick and easy recipes with you on here. Deal? This strawberry milk brings back memories of a sweet and innocent childhood. Not that my mom would have ever really let me have shop-bought strawberry milk… Was too many e-numbers. But anyway it’s definitely the kind of drink you want to slurp through a straw pretending you’re in some diner somewhere à la Sandra Dee. And yet this vegan drink is no more than three healthy ingredients blitzed in a blender. 10 almonds, a handful of washed strawberries with their stalks removed and a glass of filtered water. I liquefied mine in my Vitamix which is perfect for making nut milks without the hassle as it will literally blast the almonds into thin air – or water – resulting in a creamy milk. If you don’t have such a powerful blender yourself (those bad boys are expensive!) then you could also use bought almond milk making this a two ingredient recipe. Doesn’t get any better than that… Oh yes it does: The nutritional benefits of this scrummy drink are actually quite mind-blowing. Who would have thought something so delicious could feed your body so generously? Almonds are great for anyone on a diet as they actually reduce the bad cholesterol. In a nutshell (no pun intended): the good fats get rid of the bad fats. Heros! And almonds also make you feel less hungry so it’s great for taking your mind of food if you’re on a mission. Apparently we should be eating 10 almonds a day for a healthy diet – I like to cram them in at breakfast. Strawberries, as well as being an all time food fave, are heavenly on the nutritional front. Full of antioxydants, they are said to contribute to fighting off heart desease and cancer. STUFF THEM IN YOUR FACE! And grab them whilst they’re in season – they freeze a treat in preparation of smoothies all year round. So there you have it, healthy strawberry milk. I hope you’ve enjoyed this new column and will be back for more nutritional fast food soon. I certainly will! Love from London, Aimee

Fast Food #1: Strawberry almond milk

Outfit du jour: DECLUTTERED

Two posts in a row, we must be dreaming…! Well actually pinch yourselves peeps, I’m back for good! And today I return with an outfit which is something I hadn’t shared for a very long time. In fact, since I last posted an outfit on here a whole load of stuff has gone down in my wardrobe… I have totally decluttered. As in TOTALLY. Imagine one draw and one rail. Twenty hangers. Boom. THAT’s how decluttered it got. Scary, I know. I mean give me the clutter already, gosh… Do you realise, I literally gave away 6 bags of clothes and countless pairs of shoes… And it actually felt so GOOD to get rid of all that STUFF! What’s that I see ? A FLOOR ? No way, I’ve always wanted one of those ! And since then shopping has been minimal and well-thought… So un-me I know. Well, more like very neo-me. But anyway. Funnily enough, the whole wardrobe detox has actually meant I got rid of a lot of colour I had (but never used to wear) and haven’t really bought back since. My boyf is admittedly missing the brighter me but I’m actually really enjoying a more soothing style.. I have also totally given in to the fact that I will never be an elegant chick… Nope, never. *Cries, blows nose and mans up to the truth*. I have decided that at my old age of 26-nearly-27 it’s just not going to happen. Except maybe on my wedding day, we’ll see. Meanwhile, I love comfy and loose just too much so this outfit was the perfect weekend pick. White may not flatter my pale skin, the cuts may look frumpy to some and I may well be wearing teenager-tumblr-girl shoes on my feet but for my Saturday afternoon this was ideal. And the light shades did NOT stop me from rolling lazing around in the grass all day after this either.  Top – Pull & Bear Shorts & sunnies- Zara Bag – Lov Organic Shoes – Vans I could literally wear these shoes for the rest of my life there would be no complaints from me! That’s love. Have you decluttered your wardrobe recently? What do you think of this Summer’s total white trend? Looking forward to reading your thoughts – it’s been too long since we had a chat 🙂 Love from London, Aimee

Outfit du jour: DECLUTTERED

Healthy Lunchbox #1

Hey girls ! I’m so pleased to be back after such a long wait… I’ve been updating my French page recently but not so much my English one; but no worries, I have returned to share some delicious and nutritious and fashionable and creative new posts ! Yay ! Let’s start with healthy lunchbox ideas, something I want to be sharing with you more often over here. I started a new job a few months ago in London and have been in a daily dilemma about what to eat. Wasabi and Pret are all too tempting; but what about my commitment to homemade and wholesome?! So I dug out some of my fave bloggers’ tips and now make sure I make my own lunch on most days. Ella was the most inspiring to me and so this lunchbox is literally made following the Ella model – thanks Ella 🙂 I always find lots of amazing recipes on Ella’s beautiful blog. Anyway, the idea of prepping all the food (or almost) on a Sunday night ready for an easy week to come more than appealed to me and I have been doing this for the past couple of weeks now. A nice mix of grains, veggies and whatever else you have lyring around in the fridge makes for the perfect lunchbox – and it’s simple to make in batches too so great if you live with your partner or friends. This here lunchbox looks a lot like Ella’s though it’s not exactly the same. I will be experimenting over the weeks to come and will share how I mix this up too, making sure I don’t go dippy for eating the same stuff all the time. Here it goes for this week. SHOPPING LIST for 2 people for 5 days: – 3 cups of bulgur – Pesto (I used red) – 2 big sweet potatoes – 2 big aubergines (egg plant) – Olive oil – Paprika – 10 tomatoes – 3 avocados – 300g Feta – 1 small plain yogurt – 100g pistachios weighed with shells on – Juice of 1/2 lemon – Sesame seeds (or other seeds of your choice) – Olives or whatever else you have leftover in your fridge as I treat this as the “leftover” section To prep your lunchbox on a Sunday night (in suggested order of preparation): BULGUR: Make your bulgur as suggested on the packet. Once it’s ready, stir in 2 tbs of pesto and leave to cool. ROAST VEGGIES: Oven on at 220°C. Wash your sweet potatoes and aubergines and chop up – no need to go too small or precise this isn’t art class! Throw them in a large dish and toss in olive oil and paprika until all covered and ready to cook. This should take 30 min (or until fork slides nicely into sweet potato). Perfect timing to make your dip. DIP: This dip is simply delicious. I really recommend it to you whether it’s in a lunchbox, as dinner or as a midnight snack. Just try it. All you have to do is mix the shelled pistachios and 75ml olive oil in a blender (don’t worry; all that oil is going to be split into 10 meals all together!). Add the feta, yogurt and lemon juice and blitz until smooth. There you go; your Sunday night is done. Now all you have to do each morning is add each of the above ingredients into a corner of your lunchbox followed by some chopped tomato and 1/2 avocado and a handful of olives or anything else you want to pack in there. Sprinkle a few seeds on top for extra crunch and nutrition and you’re off! No more than 5 minutes each morning – star. So, meet me here next Monday for a new version of the healthy lunchbox ! Love from London, Aimee

Healthy Lunchbox #1

What makes me smile with Colgate #MAXWHITESMILE

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens… ♬♬♬ When it comes to a smiley face I’m more than a giver – even though this blog makes me look a little more pouty than I am in real life ! It’s never easy to give a full-on smile to a camera lens but grinning at my favourite things is a day-to-day habit I have and intend on keeping. In fact I have been caught by more than one bus-stranger smiling away on my own thinking of a loved one or a fond memory. I truly believe smiling makes life more pleasant, even on the toughest of days. I once read that forcing your face muscles to smile sends positive vibes to your brain, tricking those hormones into happy-mode ! So smiling is more than just a whim, it can be a clever trick. When Colgate asked a few happy bloggers to make a video of what made them smile, I knew the challenge could be easily accepted. In fact, my whole Instagram account is more or less a diary of things that make me smile… I snap away at flowers, shoes, DIY projects, pretty homes and London landscapes… Here is the compilation I created for the Colgate #MAXWHITESMILE campaign including all of those things, a bagel, a green smoothie, an early Spring BBQ, my gorgeous man and more : Have you ever noticed how a smile is genuinely a girl’s (or anyone’s !) best accessory?! I always admire people who are comfortable enough to simply smile their way through life, whatever the situation, however bad the hair day, however intimidating the people opposite. I aim to smile as much as possible on a daily basis, whether it’s to make someone else feel good or to get the positive juices flowing for my own sake. As a rule I always look on the bright side of life and I guess Colgate Max White One Optic (that’s a mouthful – pun intended !) is the perfect way to make sure your smile shines bright like a diamond. Yep, three songs in one post. Nailed it. Colgate Max White One Optic is the simple answer to an instantly visible whiter smile. Buy it in high street chemists or most major supermarkets, priced at around £4.49. xx Love from smiley London, Aimee Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Colgate via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Colgate.

What makes me smile with Colgate #MAXWHITESMILE

Meet Pierre Herme !

Today is a big day readers… It’s the day I meet a French chef I have always admired ! Yes, Monsieur Pierre Herme will be meeting and greeting fans in Selfridges this evening and guess what ? You’re invited too ! This is a rare occasion to meet the famous taste-bud-teaser as he does not often attend public events. But what’s the occasion ? His new concession in Selfridges new confectionery hall, of course ! More Pierre Herme products will now be available in the carefully designed space, including the chef’s special Easter range and his all-new Satine collection too. I am dying to try the cream cheese – orange – passion fruit trio that has been tickling my fancy ever since I opened the press release so I’m going to be all over those beautiful macaroons like a rash ! Meet Pierre Herme in Selfridges tonight Friday 11th April from 5pm to 6pm. Come on, meet me there? Let me know if you’ll be attending by tweeting me @clonesnclowns or if you can’t make it (shame on you!), follow my instagram account @clonesnclownsblog to see the launch in photo. See you there! Aimee

Meet Pierre Herme !

Vanessa and me

Good morning readers, long time no bloggin’ ! I hope you’re well, and thanks for sticking around whilst I was running around like a headless chicken. Lots going on over here, I’ll update you one of these days… 😉 Meanwhile, there’s no time like the present to introduce you to my new best friend. Yep, I leave you for a couple of weeks and I come back with a new BFF ! And believe me, she’s the one… My new Vanessa <3 My navy blue, eyelet studde leather Vanessa Bruno handbag. This is L.O.V.E. I had been looking for a new bag for a while now, waiting for that ONE to come along. All I knew is that it had to be leather and wearable on a daily basis. I was getting tired of bag-swapping, especially since I always lose something during the swap… Keys, phone, charger… You name it, it goes missing when I swap bags. So in the name of good organisation, I decided I needed a go to bag. So the search began. After months of searching for the right bag for me, I fell in love in Paris (as you do !). I had got used to popping in and out of bag shops, just in case my ONE was in there. I didn’t know what I was looking for, but I knew I’d know it when I saw it. And indeed I did. After trying on a beautiful powder pink Vanessa Bruno sequin bag that I just managed to resist, I fell upon this beautiful leather version of the classic Vanessa Bruno shopper. With eyelets studded around the frame, instead of the classic sequins. And that was it, in five minutes flat, I had a new bag. They say you know love when you see it, and I most certainly did ! Have you ever seen / bought the bag of your dreams ?! What do you think of my new friend Vanessa ? Lots of love from London, Aimee & Vaness’

Vanessa and me

Inspo of the day : a plant pot necklace!

Good morning lovely readers and welcome back to my secret garden! I’m so glad to have you here this morning because I have found the perfect Spring DIY on a blog named Sincerely, Kinsey. Have you heard of it before ? Kinsey’s plant pot necklace project is adorable and comes along with another luscious DIY on the same page – a double whammy of sunny crafts – just what you need on a Monday Morning ! See the tutorials here. Aren’t they irresistible ? Nice one Kinsey ! High five from the Peak District, xx Aimee

Inspo of the day : a plant pot necklace!