Lugano and Lake Como

Hey everyone, it’s been a while since I posted on here because well…#mumlife things have been pretty busy around here so it was so nice to have a couple of days off to relax and unwind with the family in Lugano (the Italian side of Switzerland) and Lake Como in Italy. They are really close to each other so we were able to cover both places in 3 days by car.

Lugano has to be one of the most beautifully picturesque places I’ve been too. The region is shielded by these huge mountains covered in greenery that seem to be everywhere you look. Having such a mountainous country has meant that only the very bottom of these mountains are habitable.

Our first evening in Lugano we dined at Baja a nice restaurant right at the edge of the lake where we ate some pretty impressive seafood. The customer service was soo good even though they were super busy hosting a party that evening.

The following day we visited Lugano town, from the train station we were able to take a tram ride down the hill. This was super quick and cost just 1.30 one way. This was the only option for us because there were lots of stairs otherwise and we had our baby and the buggy.

After about 2 hours site seeing in Lugano we decided to check out the designer outlet which was a short drive on the motorway Fox town outlet we got a few nice things here. There are lots of shops spread out across 4 floors and is a great place to shop for a bargain! The website has a full list of all the brands you can find there. It’s a pretty big place and the layout of the shops isn’t very clear so you’ll need to allocate a good amount of time if you’d like to visit.

In the evening we dined at Osteria Lanterna this restaurant was soooo good! Everything from the ambience to the service to the food! I’m gutted that I didn’t save any of the pictures I took of the food because it looked and tasted amazing. I only have one picture (which isn’t the best quality) of my husbands desert – a panna cotta with berries.

The following day we headed into Italy, the drive was some what memorable as we drove up and down narrow and seriously winding roads along the mountain whilst taking in breath taking views of the land below.

We used the car ferry (roughly 23 euros one way for 3 adults in a car) to cross the lake in Italy and found parking nearby. In preparation for our trip I had booked a 1 hour private boat ride around lake Como to see the sights as I’d read this mode of transport was the easiest way to see everything. It was super cool and so relaxing my daughter fell asleep half way through lol!

There are lots of ‘taxi boats’ as they are called that run tours of Lake Como but you can also take the ferry that takes more people and I assume cost less too. We used a company called Taxi Boat Varenna it was so easy to book and pay on their site. We booked a 1 hour boat ride which was enough to see all the best bits and was totally worth it!

We finished off the afternoon with a late lunch at on of the cafe’s close to where the boat dropped us off, it was called Cafe Varenna I had a delicious rocket and tuna pasta with a nice chilled glass of Aperol Spritz. It really was the perfect end to what had been a lovely lovely trip. You’ve got to check out Lugano and Como if you’re looking for a nice place in Europe to go to. There’s so much to see, beautiful weather, nice people and the food is incredible!

Thanks for reading! Xx

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Paris!

I’ve had a few requests to write up a little review/recommendations list for my trip to Paris recently so here it goes! 🙂

My tips

-The best way to see Paris in my opinion is by public transport. If you do choose to use the buses and the trains then buy a day travel card from any of the train stations rather than paying for singular journeys. You’ll save money!

-There are lots of places that are walking distance from each other so do have your google maps handy on your phone and walk so that you can take in more of the sights 🙂

-Choose your hotel carefully. There are lots and lots of hotels in Paris but not all of them are central and can be over 30 minutes from the city centre. So do check carefully, many cheaper options are further out but will mean you spend more time travelling to where you want to go, which isn’t really worth it if you’re only staying in France for a couple of days.

-Reservations are a must in Paris. Wherever you choose to dine, I recommend booking in advance to avoid disappointment. Paris is full of tourists pretty much all year round and the locals eat out a lot too so book a table (and be on time 🙂 ) to avoid a long wait or being turned away. It’s very normal in Paris for small restaurants have a queue of hungry customers leading out of the restaurant.

-You probably already know this but when planning your trip let sites like trip Advisor be your friend. People are very frank on there and give you all the little details when it comes to hotels and restaurants. I prefer to look at the pictures that reviewers post rather than the professional pictures uploaded by the company, these give you a better idea of what to expect.

Attractions

  1. Eiffel Tower is a must see. Walk around to the north entrance so that you can get a good view from the end of the bridge. If you’d like to go up the Eiffel Tower you can do. You can book in advance or on the day and it costs 17 euros per person.
  2. Louvre Museum If you’d like to go to the museum please note that it doesn’t open on a Tuesday. Admission is free but there may be charge to enter some of the exhibitions.
  3. Notre Dame Cathedral This beautiful cathedral is well worth a visit, its easily accessible by train or bus.
  4. Square Louis Michel This green area is elevated and gives you amazing views looking down onto the city
  5. Pont des Art Also previously known as the padlock bridge. Although you can no longer place padlocks on the bridge you can walk across it and enjoy views of the river. Its also very close to the Louvre, so can be admired en route to the museum.
  6. Louis Vuitton Foundation We didn’t get to see this but when I was doing my research it looked pretty cool and is worth checking out.

Food!

Bistrotters Booking beforehand is a must here! Its a small restaurant so service can be slow but the food is faultless. We loved it here. The desert was sooo good- toasted brioche wish chocolate and caramel sauce. The menu choice is small with three options for starter, main and desert and you can have either a two or three course meal at a set price. You are of course free to order a la carte of you wish. The pictures aren’t great because I took them on my phone but you get the idea 🙂

Pottoka Again this is a lovely small restaurant and would strongly recommend you book a table in advance otherwise you’ll need to wait for a table. The food here is delicious, really different flavours and the service here is also great. I had the cod dish for my main with white beans, bacon and a tomato gazpacho, it was so tasty. A lovely dining experience 🙂

Twinkie Breakfasts If you’d rather have an English or an American breakfast in addition to french options then Twinkie is your place! The service super quick and the food is delicious. Just like with all with the restaurants do try and book. We went on a Sunday without booking and found ourselves in a queue! I didn’t get any pictures of the food itself (I was too hungry and the food smelt so good!) but you’ll like this one 🙂

Le 68 Guy Martin A lovely place with beautiful decor perfect for either lunch or dinner right in the heart of Paris.

Brasserie Barbes This cool find is open until 2am and serve reasonably priced lunches and dinner. It was on my list but I didn’t get the chance to eat there but the reviews I read on this place were very good. So if you do there please let me know how you found it.

Breakfast in America This cute diner serve breakfasts all day as well as all your american favourites. Theres no booking needed here, you just turn up and get seated. It was the first American diner in Paris and has loads of character. A cute place with good food. We had breakfast there and were so impressed by the quick service. This diner is also walking distance from lots of cool sites. We wandered down the hill from the street and discovered places as we went along.

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Shopping

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Les Halles This covered shopping centre houses over 150 stores and has many of the high street clothing brands we know and love. Its linked to one of the main train stations in Paris Chatelet-les-Halles. There’s something for everyone here, such as a dedicated basketball store by Footlocker, a Lego store as well as lots of nice restaurants to choose from too.

Galleries Lafayette A large department store in Paris’ city centre that can only be described as a shopping experience. The decor inside of this huge store is truly breathtaking. You’ll need some time in here if you like to take your time and browse through stores. The menswear is in a separate building and also includes lots of really cool brands. There’s a rooftop on the 7th floor (take the lift to the 6th floor then take the stairs) from where there are some cool views of Paris. On the rooftop you’ll also find a restaurant and bar thats worth checking out.

Carrousel de Louvre This little shopping centre is linked to the Louvre Museum. It has some shops and restaurants too.

 

Phew that was a long post and well done for making it to the end! I really wanted to include most of the places I liked/enjoyed or would have liked to go to. I found these places purely through researching and reading reviews and I tailored our trip around the things my husband and I would enjoy.

I hope its useful and as always I’m happy to answer any questions. Just leave it in the comments section or drop me an email fuschiasequins@gmail.com

Thank you for reading x

New lippy alert!!

Hi everyone! I know its been ages…but I didn’t really want to post anything until I had a product review or an outfit post to put up. Dont forget that you can follow me on my instagram page @fuschia__sequins where I post a few times a week 🙂

Okay so I had a short trip to Dubai recently and I absolutely loved it. The thriving city oozes luxury and class at every turn. I got some time to browse around Dubai Mall and loved the plethora of brands that were on offer. these weren’t just the big brands we all know and love but there were many that were local too such as Charles and Keith they had some gorgeous shoes and bags and guess what…they ship to lots if countries so check them out!

I of course had to pop into Sephora and have a look at what they have. It was a pretty big branch. Being a lover of matte lipsticks I was looking for a really nice nude shade to add to my collection as most of my matte lippys are either pinks or reds. I probably tried about 30 on the back of my hand then I stumbled across the Gucci Spring Rose Matte Lipstick. Now I know what your thinking Gucci may be a little much for a simple lippy but the richness of the colour and the texture on my skin left me unable to put it down.

Although being a rosey pink when you first look at it on brown skin the shade is definitely a nude beige colour. I have tried lots of Sleeks, Rimmel, Maybelline. Loreal matte lipsticks and also mid-range ones such as MAC and NARS and I can honestly say that the finish of this was totally different. The matte is also velvet to the touch and lasts! I did also wear this with a lip primer to further enhance the colour.colour swabFullSizeRender

This purchase was an investment piece that I know I’ll be wearing for a while 🙂 I’d love to hear your thoughts if you have used any of Gucci’s other make-up products and your thoughts on them.

Thank you for reading,

Claudia x

Where to shop – tips

When it comes to shopping on the UK high street compared with other countries I’d say we are pretty spoilt for choice. Whether you like to stay on trend with the latest looks or are looking for something a little quirky or different you’ll be sure to find something you love and within your budget. We are at a time in fashion where you can look great for less with some of our most loved brands creating stunning pieces at great prices.

Having lived in London for many years there were certain brands that I could bank on to find a gem for an occasion or to simply freshen up my wardrobe. Now with internet shopping being so conveniently at our finger-tips, finding what you need online saves the trip to multiple shops and trying on item after item. Personally, I prefer trying on what I buy and saving myself the annoyance of having an item delivered and finding the fit isn’t right (especially if I’m pressed for time). I also like feeling the material, looking at the finishing and judging the quality before making a purchase.

If like me you don’t mind shopping in stores then sample sales are a great way to find good quality clothing at a great price. I follow ldnfashion.com who always has the latest sample sales on their site. They often share sample sale dates and location for brands such as Reiss, Temperley and Mulberry but to name a few! So do check it out.

Speaking of Reiss, they also have an outlet website where you can find items for both men and women at a discounted cost, you can access the site here.

For special occasion wear Karen Millen has an outlet site where you can find wedding guest ready dresses too.

If you’re looking for boutique brands as well as some more established names such as Diane von Furstenburg then check out coggles.com  they have a great selection of men and women’s designer fashion plus homeware all at reduced prices.

Lastly all over the UK you can find entire outlet shopping centres that have many of the well known brands covering sportswear, beauty, women’s fashion and more including London Designer Outlet Wembley, Freeport Braintree in Essex and Bicester Village in Oxford. There are many more around the UK and Europe, you can find the full list of them here.

I hope you find this helpful!

Claudia x

 

Spectrum

This came to me as I looked around town this afternoon; what is our fascination with wearing black? Is it that we find comfort and warmth in this rich colour. A shade that requires no need to match with another colour and takes little effort in the morning. Whether it’s faded, leather, patent, linen, wool or cotton in Europe we simply love wearing black. It can make a bold statement, it’s certainly flattering on all skin shades, and it can convey a sense of mystery too.

BUT there’s something bold and adventurous about playing with colour. That red jacket, those deep purple shoes and that bright yellow bag. Why don’t we venture into this utopia of colour and dare to cloth ourselves in shades brighter than the melancholy tones that automatically blend us into our surroundings?

I know that there are those to whom this entire post doesn’t apply but for others it’s the difference between wearing a bright lippy, changing their nail colour to something slightly more daring or simply opting not to wear those ‘safe’ black jeans (again!).

When packing for a beach holiday I seem to be able to weed out all of my neon, florals and brighter shades out of my wardrobe without second thought, so I definitely think my clothing choices are heavily dependent on what the weatherman says. Rain seems to just create an instant desire to slip into neutral shades like grey and black often completed with denim.

Over the past few years I’ve experimented with colour a lot more. Why not? Variety is the spice of life after all (where clothing, lippy’s and shoes are concerned of course lol). There are enough mundane and drab things in life, let not your clothing be one of them 🙂

So if you’re reading this and thinking this is sooo me then try introducing some colour on your next shop, it won’t be instant but overtime start to wear your brighter shades. Don’t wait for summer there are lots of brands that do great winter knits in some fab colours.

Keep an open mind, be brave and don’t get a black winter coat this year. Live life in colour (gosh that sounds cheesy! Lol)

Hope you’ve had a lovely day

Claudia x

Quality vs. Cost

If you’re a regular shopper you would have seen stores such as New Look and Primark taking inspiration from the designs of premium brands like Chanel and Valentino (to name a few). More often than not the difference is rather obvious, like the use of fake or real leather for example.

In London it’s easy to find some real bargains but it’s also easy to collate a large amount of substandard items that bubble shrink or lose their shape after a few wears.

But how do you know if an item of clothing is of good quality? Check the label, what is it made from? Is it pure cotton? Pure wool? Real leather? Genuine leather has a distinctive smell to it. What’s the finishing like on the item? If it’s a shirt check the cuffs and edges for a clean sew, try it on and check how well the collar sits. If it’s a pair of trousers check that the waist fits well, test the zip, does it have a good fastening such as a button or a hook? When a good pair of trousers are true to size they will usually feel snug with just a hidden zip and hook and eye. YKK make the best quality zips so check for their branding on zippers.

When it comes to deciding whether to buy a quality item or a cheap item, opting for the more quality item works out more cost effective in the long run. Why? Because it’s likely that the cheaper item will soon need replacing whereas the quality item may only need a much smaller investment such as the cost of dry-cleaning.

So what high street retailers do I trust when it comes to quality at a good price? First and foremost French Connection; they combine quality and value effortlessly. Next is Hobbs, yes I know what you’re thinking lol but these guys aren’t just for the over 40’s they have some great classic pieces. I do prefer their accessories and shirts but I bought a great pair of snake-skin white pumps from there in the summer and they are by far the most comfortable shoes I own. Gap, Banana Republic and Reiss also have my vote. When you’re out (and have the time) try the shops you wouldn’t usually enter. Marks and Spencer have some great gems in their Limited Collection and Autograph ranges.

But let me stress that I speak purely on experience, don’t rule out all the other stores to purchase your wardrobe essentials. Mixing and matching quality items with basics is great. You must always cut your coat according to your size; buy what you can afford and upgrade when it’s financially viable for you to do so.

Hope you’ve all had a fabulous weekend!

Claudia x