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WEEKEND IN PRAGUE

31 May 2016

We only had two days in Prague a few months ago and wanted to squeeze in as much exploring as possible - fortunately our hotel was in the perfect central location for wandering the pretty streets of the medieval old town so we spent the weekend on our feet.  We visited the 600 year old astronomical clock as it chimed, listened to the street performers in the Old Town Square, visited the baroque St. Jacob's Church, walked over the Vltava river and climbed the hill to the 9th century Prague Castle, the gothic St Vitus Cathedral and the striking Schwarzenberský Palác (all conveniently located next to each other) and admired the views across the orange rooftops, chocolate box buildings and spires, walked past the baroque statues on Charles Bridge and made a wish at the shiny St John of Nepomuk plaque.

Weekend in Prague, Czech Republic - travel and lifestyle blog

L'EPICURIEN, VAL THORENS

29 May 2016

When we were skiing in Val Thorens in January we were really impressed with the quality of restaurants on offer. One of our favourite places we had dinner was the Michelin-starred L’Epicurien, part of the 5 star Residence Montana hotel by the Plein Sud piste in the heart of Val Thorens, which serves modern fine French cuisine created by head chef Jérémy Gillon featuring seasonal ingredients from local artisan producers.  We started with a cocktail made with raspberry nectar, vodka, lemon juice and brown sugar topped with Champagne and decided on the Carpe Diem tasting menu.  The food is inventive, the presentation is excellent and every dish was a winner.

Dinner at L'Epicurien, Michelin-starred restaurant, Val Thorens - travel and lifestyle blog

FRIDAY'S FFFFOUND: ROSE GOLD FRAME

27 May 2016

Rose gold bike frame - fashion and lifestyle blog

MADAM BUTTERFLY

Giacomo Puccini’s heartbreaking story of unrequited love is currently being performed by the English National Opera at the London Coliseum - I went to see it for the first time last week, armed with tissues and ready to shed a tear. Set in Japan in the early twentieth century, the three act opera tells the tale of the naive geisha Cio-Cio San who marries and is then deserted by an American lieutenant (played by British tenor David Butt Philip).  Madam Butterfly (played by American soprano Rena Harms) waits for him to return "one fine day" and is forced to give up their child when he returns with a new wife three years later.

Madam Butterfly by the English National Opera, 2016 - London lifestyle & culture blog

The late Anthony Minghella’s cinematographic staging of Madam Butterfly, first seen in 2005, is a visual feast featuring a traditional Japanese fan dance, falling cherry blossom, puppetry from Blind Summit Theatre (the bunraku child puppet is fantastic), glowing paper lanterns, Han Feng's colourful costumes and kimonos and simple staging with a black stage and colourful back lights designed by Peter Mumford. Sung in English (I'd have preferred Italian) with surtitles above the stage, Puccini's score is performed by the English National Opera orchestra led by conductor Sir Richard Armstrong, with the ENO chorus performing the beautiful Humming Song. It's a great production and moving story; Madam Butterfly is an enduring opera classic with good reason - go see.

Madam Butterfly runs until 7 July 
London Coliseum, St Martin’s Lane, London WC2N 4ES

INTERCONTINENTAL ASIANA SAIGON

16 May 2016

The first stop on our Asia trip in March/ April was the largest city in Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City (the former Saigon), known for its French colonial architecture, vibrant street food scene and role in the war.  We stayed at one of my favourite hotel brands, the Intercontinental, which is conveniently located in District 1 in the heart of the city centre near the Saigon Opera House, Notre Dame Cathedral, Reunification Palace and bustling Ben Thanh Market.

Intercontinental Asiana Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam - luxury travel and lifestyle blog

FRIDAY'S FFFFOUND: GLITTER EYES

13 May 2016

Glitter eye make up - beauty blog

BIG SUR

11 May 2016

Driving up the California coast was one of my favourite experiences last year.  We set off from Santa Monica at 6am and drove along the scenic, winding Highway One until we reached Big Sur, stopping off along the way to breathe in the ocean air, take photos and watch basking seals on the beach, waves crashing against the craggy rocks and the changing coastline become more wild the further north we went.

Driving to Big Sur, California road trip - travel blog

THEO RANDALL AT THE INTERCONTINENTAL

10 May 2016

To celebrate our seven year anniversary in March, my boyfriend and I went for dinner at the recently revamped Theo Randall at The Intercontinental in Mayfair.  The Michelin-starred British chef was Head Chef at the acclaimed River Café for fifteen years before relocating to Park Lane to open his own restaurant at the five star hotel ten years ago.  Randall creates award-winning Italian cuisine and prefers unfussy, rustic dishes using excellent quality seasonal ingredients.  Like the cooking, the décor is understated: chic neutral colours, wooden tables, contemporary art, white crockery and linen napkins.

Theo Randall at The Intercontinental - Michelin starred restaurants - London restaurant blog

VACATION EDITORIAL

8 May 2016

Lithuanian model Edita Vilkeviciute stars in WSJ Magazine last month, styled by Elissa Santisi and photographed by Cass Bird on a beach in St. Barth with make up by Frank B and hair by Esther Langham.  The sunny editorial features swimsuits and relaxed summer fashion from the likes of Chanel, Versace and Louis Vuitton and makes me want to go on holiday ASAP.

Edita Vilkeviciute beach editorial - summer vacation photoshoot - fashion blog

SKIING IN VAL THORENS

5 May 2016

Earlier this year we took the snow train for the first time, jumping on board the Eurostar at St Pancras and travelled through the night to arrive at Bourg-Saint-Maurice in the heart of the French Alps at 6am.  We took a short 45 minute transfer to our hotel, checked in, had a couple of hours sleep, headed out to collect our kit and lift passes and hit the slopes all before 12pm. Whilst you don't get a fantastic night's sleep on the train, you get an extra two days' skiing (on empty pistes on the weekend transfer days) so it's definitely worthwhile.

Les Trois Vallées - Skiing at Val Thorens - ski holiday in the French Alps - travel blog