Cocobelle Posts

Paris At Your Feet

There is magic in Paris that can be found nowhere else, not in the city that never sleeps, nor the sweet tropics of the Maldives. From the moment you step on the Eurostar that speeds you towards happiness, to the moment you have to leave, Paris is the city that gives you a thousand emotions. Where else in the world can you find Orlando Bloom look-a-likes working in The Louvre, or drink champagne on fabulous hot nights at 3am while watching the hustle of the Champs Elysees. Home to some of the biggest powerhouses in fashion, to the worlds greatest hot chocolate (Hotel de Crillon). No matter what the weather, rain or shine, your heart always shines in Paris. When there is such love and indulgence to be found in Paris, it seems perhaps only natural that this fabulous city has a reputation as one of the most romantic cities for lovers. I pose this to you however, that Paris is perhaps the ideal place to be single, and further more,  for you to fall in love with yourself. A place to renew, explore and inspire the unattached among us. A place where there is always something new to discover, and form an opinion on. If its quiet contemplation you are after of any kind, this can be found in Paris, indulgent shopping, no problem, to die for food, you got it. To take you away from the mundane of every day life, and present you with a brave new world of opportunity, Paris is the place for indulgence on your terms, as the single girl.

With that in mind, I bring you a selection of the most fun, and diverse adventures Paris has to offer the single girl.

Attach a Padlock… For yourself

The breath taking Pont des Artes, has become part of a new age tradition now reaching across the far corners of the globe. In the most romantic city in the world, lovers inscribe padlocks with their names, before flinging the key into the Seine to symbolise the binding of eternal love. The sceptic in me wonders how many of these fabulous love affairs outlive the padlock, let alone eternity. With that in mind, who better to pledge eternal love to than yourself. Paris is a place where hopes, dreams and love meet in glorious spectacular, so renew your promises to yourself, lock that padlock and bask in the romance knowing that you hold the key to a love affair that will last forever.

The Quest for the Ultimate Hot Chocolate

There is only one way to describe hot chocolate, and that is quite simply, ‘liquid heaven’. Although Paris is perhaps renowned more widely for its other gastronomic successes, it does not seem to have forgotten to turn its hand to this little beauty. The Angelina Salon de The’ puts its own spin on this classic, accompanying the steaming cup with a side of whipped cream (oh my goodness!!) But perhaps if you are looking for something a little bit extraordinary, there is only one place. The Hotel de Crillon provides a charming mix of old school glamour, (it’s the only place to be a debutante, don’t you know) and exceptional client service. The hot chocolate for me, demonstrates this perfectly. Served in the most exquisite silver service, the liquid chocolate is mixed with orange peel, providing a hidden surprise. So take your time, sit in the ornate salon, and savour every mouthful.

Marvel at the Most Fabulous Flowers

Take a trip to the Four Seasons George V to see how diverse flower displays can really be. Under the talented eye of Jeff Leatham, this floral feast for the eyes will leave you breathless with wonder. Known for ‘mixing it up’ in his designs, Leatham combines the delicacy of flowers with the edginess of modern design. The combination of daring colours, mixed with the aroma of the flowers will leave you breathless as you wonder through the hotel, happening upon new designs around every corner. Take your time enjoying the flower displays and really savour their uniqueness, these like so many of life’s beautiful moments, are one time creations. Sip a cocktail in the bar and admire the view.

Ride the Carousel at the Eiffel Tower

Doing this at night, while France’s most famous landmark after Bridget Bardot sparkles behind you, makes this experience even more magical. Embrace your inner child, grab some candy floss, and climb aboard the colourful horses, sit back and really savour Paris.

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Drive A Super Car

Another truly fabulous thing about Paris is that as your wonder the streets, you never know what you are going to come across next. Certainly not the sleekest of Lamborghini’s, parked on the Champs – Elysees just teasing you to drive it… Except you can drive it… for 89 euros. So for the petrol heads amongst you, this is an experience not to be missed. Cruise along the streets, while enjoying Paris in the fast lane.

Try on Breath-taking Jewellery

From the most intimate of shops on hidden side streets, to the luxury designers of the Place Vendome, feel like a million dollars as you try on the most fabulous jewellery. Most boutiques are happy to accommodate the discerning browser, so take time to marvel in the sparkles.

Sit and Just Be… In the Tuileries

Recommended for a sunny day, Paris can be VERY cold in the Winter, however you are more likely to be able to seek some solstice at this time. Sit on a bench, hire a deck chair and really feel Paris. The bustle of the surrounding roads and irate French drivers, melts away and makes Paris seem like an altogether more tranquil place. Look one way and you will see the modern pyramid of The Louvre, contrasted with the beautiful palace behind. Look the other way, and the Eiffel Tower rises majestically  from the Parisian skyline. Bask in the atmosphere of it all, and really savour Paris.

Go on a Quest to Find the Most Chic French Woman Ever

Now being in Paris, the home of Christian Dior and Haute Couture, and given the reputation of French women as a whole, one would be right to conclude that this would not be a difficult task… Wrong. The fabled chic woman, seems to be a little more elusive than our cousins over the water would have us believe. In a day I would say it was possible to find perhaps 3, or 4 TRULY chic women, with that little extra ‘je ne sais quoi’ about her. So if people watching is your thing, and you relish a challenge, then this is the quest for you! It’s likely as well that she will turn up in the most unlikely of places… So scour the streets, comb the banks of Seine and see if you can find a more chic madam than this fabulous lady we randomly stumbled upon in a small French café… (please excuse the pap shot but I just had to share her with you!)

Journey to Shoe Heaven

Trot down to 19 Rue Jean- Jacques Rousseau to the birthplace of the ultimate aspirational shoe. As a girl who love, love, LOVES her footwear, Christian Louboutin has to be on the list of essential places to visit in Paris. Marvel at shoes that look like they have dropped straight out of heaven, and landed perfectly on their own individual pedestals. Honestly, is there anything quite so divine as that?! Try them on, (buy if you dare) and contemplate the genius of the man who brought Louboutin to the world.

Eat Unique Macaroons

As Laduree continues in its quest for world domination, popping up in the most unusual of places,  (I am informed there is now one in Charles De Gaulle airport) journey back to the roots and visit the luxury of the Paris premises. Next to the traditional chocolate, and Strawberry macaroons, Laduree premieres unique seasonal flavours. These range from the incredible Marie Antoinette, described by Laduree as ‘ A pastoral walk at the Petit Trianon’ to its newest flavour – Yuzi-Ginger. Sample these presented on delicate china, accompanied by a cocktail (Laduree make an awesome Kir Royal), feel them melt in your mouth, while you muse over the meaning that Paris has for you.

Paris is many things to many people. So visit the city and take what you need, and know that a piece of this extraordinary city will forever be in your heart.

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With love dancing on a cloud in Paris,

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P.S. Thank you and much love to my beautiful friend Claire Noyelle for her photos xxxx

International Adventures

 

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Taken from a Conversation with Justine Picardie & Susie Lau of ‘Style Bubble’

It can be argued that as a population, we absolutely love a ‘How To’ guide. In fact, helped along by the presence of the internet, you can literally find a step by step guide on anything. How to apply make up like a pro, how to bake almost anything under the sun (Pinterest must be given a well deserved shout out in this category) and of course, how to write a blog is no exception. While it is extremely useful to have support to achieve your goals (be them teeny, moderate or HUGE), the process can become quite prescriptive, and putting your own creative stamp on things becomes more tricky.

The conversation between two powerhouse women at The Dorchester, reminded me clearly of the intentions that should sit behind any blog. So, in summary, I give you 10 things to consider when starting a blog… the list that doesn’t include creating the ‘perfect logo’, as inspired by Justine and Susie.

Add value through your blog

It is a quote often said – opinions… everyone has one. Not only does everyone have one, everyone has one on EVERYTHING, and that is just fine. But don’t make a blog just a record of your opinions, make it something deeper. Conduct your research, collect your evidence, and then make an intelligent comment on your findings. Know your subject, and then share the knowledge – there is no greater gift.

Be True to Yourself

If you do this from the very beginning you will thank yourself. Not only will you feel better in your work, but pretending to be something you are not is just plain exhausting after a while! Honour you truth and the respect will come. You will draw the readers that you want, people can smell insincerity a mile away.

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Write your blog with unbridled passion

If you aren’t passionate about your subject or blog, find something else to do (This rule applies to everything in life) Quite frankly, life is too short, and as cliché as it sounds, you are going to have to love, love, LOVE your baby blog.

NOTE: While Justine was discussing the creativity she is allowed to express, and the legacy that has been forged at Harper’s Bazaar, you could see the passion literally radiating out of her.

Be honest… but never rude

If something makes you feel uncomfortable then of course you have every right to express that, but, do so with respect. Chances are whatever you are commenting on is the result of another person’s hard work and effort, so be mindful of that when putting across your point of view. There is nothing admirable in being difficult for the sake of it either.

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Engage with your audience

Start each article with your audience in mind, and when they comment on your content, take the time to connect with them. Consider what they may want to read, ask them, then action  if appropriate. Nothing makes a person feel more valued than actually being listened to.

Always act with integrity

Integrity… A loaded word if ever there was one! Easy to say in an off the cuff comment, yet not always so easy to implement! This becomes more relevant as your blog starts to become more successful and especially if you consider monetising you blog. If you are being sponsored to write a post, say. If you have benefited from a free product, thank the provider (after all, it’s only good manners!), and write an honest review. Consider carefully brands that wish to advertise on your site. Do they back your ethos? Do they conduct their business ethically? Ask yourself what is non negotiable in the quest to stay true to yourself, and then consider whether that particular brand adopts the same stance.

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Start small, but always deliver the best quality

So when you start, it maybe that only a handful of people read your blog… in fact, being harsh, it maybe no one reads the articles that you have poured your heart and soul into. But, even if this is the case, I urge you to continue pouring your very best into your writing. From small beginnings come great achievements, and the habits that you instil within yourself early doors will serve you well in the future. Set out to deliver the best, do your research, write and re-write, edit and re-edit. Do whatever it takes for you to know that once you have hit publish, you have given it your all.

Seek inspiration continually. Keep it fresh

Keep your content awesome. Easier said than done I know! Look for new adventures to share with your reader, and seek out things you haven’t done before. Even if you have a regular post that you publish on a weekly basis, consider switching this up from time to time. To keep inspiring, you need to keep moving forward.

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When you want to give up… don’t

So, if you are continuously ‘giving it your all’ and the results are coming a little slower than you would like, it’s only natural that you start to get, shall we say, a little fed up. There is so much literature, not just on the internet, but everywhere you look, advising you to ‘keep going’ or, to quote our favourite ‘tick’ sportswear brand, JUST DO IT. Now that’s all very well and good, but sometimes this type of talk which we can all be prone to, is just not helpful. So, in response, take a little time to step away from things and just recharge yourself. Get away from the laptop, and go seek inspiration. Remind yourself WHY you started your blog, and rebuild the belief that you can achieve amazing things. Work through your resistance to starting, and then gently lean back into it…

Success is not measured by numbers

This comes back to the age old question… how exactly does one measure success? When reading about  starting a blog, especially guidance about how to monetise your blog, the emphasis seems to be on building traffic. In fact, it seems to be all about traffic and followers. Success is reflected in thousands of Instagram likes, and general worldwide acclaim. I urge you to consider this choice. Which would you rather have – 1000 new followers on Facebook, or to know that your work had struck a cord with just one person at their lowest ebb and encouraged them to reach out and follow their dreams. Success is a personal journey, just like everything in this life, and I guess the point here is can you really measure ALL success by numbers. Is it statistical success you look for, or do you seek to inspire something more emotive in people ? The choice, as always, is yours.

With love,

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Adventures In Style

Hello and welcome to the world of CocoBelle.

Why am I writing this?

I am writing this because I believe in beautiful creations whatever shape that may take. I believe in lovely clothes, fabulous hotels and experiencing life in all kinds of ways possible. But I also believe in something deeper. I believe in inspiration and hope, and about spreading this so when people get stuck, they can see how colourful life can really be. I believe in women supporting each other through it all, and that when genuine women come together to support each other’s dreams, well that’s just a fabulous thing.

So CocoBelle is a record of inspiration. Things that have made my life brighter and encouraged me to chase down my dreams. I hope they also inspire you to realise that the world is there for the taking, and it’s a beautiful, wild place.

I also feel that it is important for me to tell you this – being you, and whatever that looks like to you is just dandy. In fact, it’s more than that, it’s amazing.  It’s fine to be 30 and still love Frozen, it’s also fine to want to climb Everest and still like to have pink glittery nails. If you are anything me, you will have spent hours pouring over tricks & tips that will make you a better person… Well the great news is that it all starts with you…you are the question… but you are also the solution.

With love,

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Adventures In Style