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A Tour of South Molton Street

By January 31, 2020 FASHION, INSPIRATION, Travel
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Last year, we moved to the lovely South Molton Street and ever since, we have been busy exploring the shops and eateries in our new area and we have found some gems! The street is as central in London as any one person could get and is very convenient to get to as it runs diagonally from Bond Street tube station straight into Mayfair. Being a stone’s throw away from the bustle of Oxford Street’s shopping mecca you are very close to all the action, and so it is surprising and refreshing that the street has a laid-back and relaxed feel to it.  The street is wide and pedestrianised and lined with a mix of independent businesses with lots of surprises for all. Read on to discover what we have found so far in our forays down our street.

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After leaving the bustle of Oxford street, you may be in need of a sit down for a coffee and pastry, and Caffe Concerto is just the place for a rest either sitting on the terrace or watching passersby from the comforts of the cosy interior. There is a nice buzz to the place and a large menu to choose from including delicious, vegan options. After recharging your batteries perhaps you will be ready for a wander around the shops on South Molton and where better to start than Space NK Apothecary. With all your much coveted beauty products available and a lot more to discover, there is nothing quite like a visit to this place. You can book in for a private consultation to really tailor your beauty regime to your own needs.

Feeling in need of a little sparkle? Cross the pedestrianised street to no 14 and stop in at hugely popular jewellery brand, Monica Vinander to treat yourself to something special from their latest collection or if you’re looking for a present, take advantage of their complimentary engraving service in store. A warning though, a visit here can leave you truly hooked on their beautiful range. After this, why not nip into Happy Socks, which have such an array of  colourful socks that the store itself gives off a bright and joyful energy while still seeming really hip and trendy. We have popped into this store and purchased a few pairs already to add a fun touch to our ankles and it really lifts the spirits on these cold, winter days. Definitely worth a browse!

If you are in need of a little grooming, head over to Sassoon and get a a haircut in this legendary hair salon founded by Vidal Sassoon in the 60s. The team here are highly experienced and you can have a cut or colour and leave in style! Why don’t you top off your new pretty locks with a visit to Prima Lashes and get some enviable falsies at their store. Experts in eyelash extensions, this store is always booming with clientele so we’ll definitely be booking in to try them out.

We’ll check back in and update you with more locations as we try them! Let us know if you have any suggestions for places to go on the street. If you are in the neighbourhood, do come in and say hello, our new store, Les 100 Ciels is located at No 20 South Molton Street- we’d love to introduce you to our collection of soft cashmere clothing and lots more to try. Happy exploring!

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What’s on: London

By January 24, 2020 INSPIRATION, Travel
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London is arguably one of the most activity filled cities in the world. There are numerous things to do all year round and February is no exception. If you want to shake off the last days of winter or you have kids who need entertaining for the half term school break, then here are a few ideas for things to do around the city.

 

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Imagine Children’s Festival, South Bank Centre, 12th-21st February

If you have kids  needing entertaining over the half term, then head on down to the South Bank Centre for their Imagine Children’s Festival. There are so many activities on offer ranging from interactive games, visiting authors and workshops, puppet shows, music and more. It really will be a feast for the senses and an opportunity for kids to really express their creativity and let their imaginations run wild. Book tickets ahead so you don’t miss out!

 

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Cirque du Soleil- Luzia Until 1st March

The world renowned circus is back for a dazzling Mexican themed show at the Royal Albert Hall until March 1, 2020. The tickets may be expensive but they are worth it to see this bright homage to Mexico’s flora and fauna, transporting you to a different realm through brilliant costumes, contortionists and acrobatics that will leave you feeling giddy and breathless.

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Heralding Spring, The Chelsea Psychic Garden’s, 25th January- 2nd February

To commemorate the opening of the gardens after its winter slumber, the beautiful Chelsea Physic Garden will reopen just in time for the blooming of their snow drops, one of the first signs of warmer weather to come. Walk their snowdrop trail with over 120 varieties of snowdrops which make for a beautiful, serene way to pass the afternoon. There are also workshops, talks and lots of other plant life to admire in the gardens so you may want to make it a whole day affair!

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Chinese New Year, Chinatown and all around London

Not strictly a February activity as this starts at the end of January,  the start of Chinese New Year 2020 (The year of the rat) from January 25th will bring a host of festivities marking the occasion all around the city but the most iconic place to take in the celebrations will be London’s China town. There you can take in the decorations and catch some lion dancing and also nip into a restaurant to enjoy some steaming dim sum. Catch the action on the 25th and 26th January, Gerard Street, Chinatown and Trafalgar Square and enjoy a host of food and activities over the month of February such as at the Museum of London Docklands, Chinese New Year Family Festival.

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BrewLdn, Brick Lane, 27th-29th February

The Old Truman Brewery will host the much anticipated independent Beer Festival, BrewLdn this February. Held over three days, you can sip on some of your favourite beers and find new lagers, ciders and craft beers. There will also be live music and street vendors with delicious food and with over 200 exhibitors this is an event that shouldn’t be missed.

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Winter Walks

By January 16, 2020 INSPIRATION, Travel, Uncategorized
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A winter walk at this time of year can be just the thing to invigorate you after a few months hibernating. On a crisp, bright day in the UK, there is nothing quite like the feeling of being bundled up warm while enjoying the beautiful natural landscape. If you’re not sure where to go for a walk, we’ve put together a few options ranging from a short stroll to a more challenging walk in the countryside to suit a range of walkers.

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Richmond Park, Richmond

If you are after a short walk without having to leave London, then Richmond Park is the perfect place for a relaxing walk with lots to see and land to roam. There are many routes to walk, taking in the vast oak and chestnut trees along the way and you will be sure to catch a glimpse of parakeet birds whizzing through the air in a flash of green. Best of all, when you need a rest, relax with a flask of hot cocoa while watching the numerous deer which graze freely around the park.

 

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Holkham Beach, Norfolk

With three miles of sandy beach, this is a special walk to take along a beautiful stretch of coastline. Enjoy the sound of the waves and feel the Atlantic wind dust the cobwebs away. If the tide is out you can walk out to the sea, enjoying the dunes and admire the ocean or if it is high tide, visit the lagoon that forms in a natural basin along the beach. You can chose to walk back along the beach or walk back through the route that cuts through the pinewoods.

 

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Hever Castle, Kent

If a walk with other attractions available is more to your taste, then a walk around the grounds of Hever Castle is ideal! Located in Edenbridge the beautifully manicured gardens are stunning at all times of the year, but a visit in the wintertime with the dramatic backdrop of the castle makes for impressive viewing. A visit to the Topiary walk and a birdwatching stroll around the lake is highly worth the walk! You can also pay a entrance fee to visit the Castle if you want a break from the cold!

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The New Forest National Park

A visit to the New Forest is a real treat, especially if you have family in tow. There are miles of car-free walking available and you are bound to run into the famous New Forest ponies at some point along your walk. There are numerous trails that can be followed which are signposted around the park. We recommend the Tall Tree trail which will take you through lovely alpine trees and give the best chance to spot deer between the trees!

 

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Loch Muick, Scotland

The natural beauty of Scotland is truly stunning and a walk alongside the waters of Loch Muick will demonstrate this clearly. There is a circular walk around Loch Muick which takes in the Glas Allt Shiel waterfall and allows the chance to see wild red deer, red squirrels and the snow-covered peaks of Lochnagar. You might also see some salmon in the loch so keep your eyes open! If you are feeling very cold after your walk, why not include a visit to nearby Royal Lochnagar Distillery afterwards to try their malt whisky range- it will be sure to warm you right up!

 

 

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The History of Cashmere

By November 5, 2019 FASHION, IN THE MEDIA, INSPIRATION, Travel
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Cashmere has a long history going back many hundreds of years. The origins of this natural fibre comes from the cold, mountainous regions of China, Mongolia, India, Turkey and Afghanistan. For centuries, local people sought the hircus goats for the fibres of their coats that were long, silky soft and warm to help the animals survive the harsh conditions of winter. The fibres were combed off the goats and made into blankets that were prized for their superb warming ability. Early written accounts in the 15th century, describe the high quality of fibre from the kashmir goats of the Kashmir region. Thus the name Kashmir stuck and for many years Kashmir yarn was traded within the region.

Fast forward to the 18th century and the rise of the Imperial powers. Traders brought kashmir items back along the Silk Road from China to Europe and the Americas bringing much excitement. Initially kashmir was available exclusively to royalty and the elite members of society. It was considered the height of luxury and cashmere shawls or ‘pashminas’ particularly were a symbol of status and the pinnacle of a fashionable aristocratic woman. Even Napoleon was reputed to gift his wife Empress Josephine pashminas leading to a large and famous collection of pashminas.

The story of cashmere was advanced considerably, when in the 19th century interest by European manufacturers turned to creating mechanisms that could replicate the production of cashmere fibres into yarn as was witnessed in the East. Areas such as Scotland became powerhouses of cashmere production and a new era for cashmere was born. Cashmere rapidly gained popularity, particularly the cashmere sweater and twin set, sweater and cardigan- items that everyone wanted to have and show off. This would have perhaps continued, however popularity began to dwindle during the 1980s when cashmere was appropriated by high end designer brands who marketed cashmere as a luxury, highly expensive quality only accessible to the ultra wealthy.

In the last 15 years, cashmere has seen yet another shift, appearing on the high street for much lower prices. The proliferation of cashmere has meant a renewed increase in popularity, however mass production has also meant it is difficult to ascertain quality. There are now many brands claiming to sell cashmere, however the product is in reality a blend of cashmere and other fibres to achieve an inexpensive product or a lower grade, short haired cashmere item.

It is clear that cashmere has had many twists and turns in its history and it is hard to say what will be the next chapter for this yarn especially with the rise of mass production of the quality. What do you think? Do you own any cashmere? We are probably a bit biased here at Les 100 Ciels, but we do believe there isn’t anything quite like 100% pure cashmere-it is so soft and comforting to the touch and its warming qualities are undeniable- it is truly something to cherish..

Want to learn more about cashmere quality? Read more about this exquisite yarn here.

 

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City Break: Krakow

By September 27, 2019 Editor's Picks, INSPIRATION, Travel
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Krakow is below the radar for many people as a city break but that is soon to change. With cheap flights on airlines like EasyJet or Ryanair, this is the place to visit before it gets too popular. Here are our top  reasons to visit Krakow soon!

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Architecture

Krakow is Poland’s 2nd largest city with a long history. It is known for its medieval architecture that is largely intact, particularly that of the Old Town and main medieval square Rynek Glowny. A walk here is to step back in time to the 12th century and explore one of the few examples of urban planning to survive the toil of time. Architectural gems through the baroque and renaissance periods also exist, so a walking tour of the city is highly recommended to truly get a feel for this city’s history.

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A Slice of History

Krakow is truly a slice of history. During WW2, the Nazis occupied Krakow and made the city its base. Many tourists use the city as a stepping stone for a visit to Auschwitz, the site of infamous WW2 tragedy about an hour’s drive outside of Krakow. A tour there is a sobering affair but the guides are respectful and informative. The Jewish Quarter, Kazimierz was abandoned after WW2, but recent developments have seen the area move into a new trendy, cultural scene. A visit here is worthwhile while the older buildings and cobbled streets are still intact to give a sense of how the Jews lived their daily lives.

Also a visit to Nowa Huta will give you some insight into the height of Communist rule. Built by the Soviet Union, the buildings are a true example of proletarian life in that period.

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The Food

One of the better kept secrets about Poland is its food. There is much more than sausages to be discovered. Try pierogies, delicious dumplings with fillings that will leave you eager for more. For something more warming, we recommend, Bigos, which is a stew made from cabbage and meat or barszcz,  a warm beet soup. If you are visiting in the warmer months, do try oscypek, a smoked sheep’s milk cheese that is very tasty.  There are lots of eateries for all budgets so our best advice is to be open minded and just try things! You might be surprised by what you discover- after all good things like the bagel originated from Poland!

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The Nightlight

If a tipple after dark is your thing, then Krakow is the place to be. With a large university community, Krakow is reputed to have the highest density of bars of any city, there is something for everyone. Many drinking establishments are to be found underground, literally.  In Krakow in cellars that are full of atmosphere. If you prefer to be outdoors, there are also historic courtyards converted into bars and more modern venues pumping out cocktails to fulfill every hedonist’s dream. Try a glass of Soplica, Poland’s oldest vodka, or one of the flavoured varieties of the spirit that have become popular recently.

What are your travel plans for the coming months? Let us know where you go!

 

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Tips for Minimalist Packing

By July 12, 2019 Travel, Uncategorized
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So you’re off on a summer holiday and trying to decide whether a hand-carry suitcase will be sufficient or should you pay for extra luggage. We know its hard to figure out how to pack light. Here are our tips for a minimalist packing style to travel with no fuss ever again!

1. Versatility is key

Our number one tip for travelling is to choose clothing that can be mixed and matched easily. Neutral colours tend to be best for this category, for example a white linen tshirt like this one can be worn with just about everything. You can choose dresses that are casual enough to wear during the day  but can also easily be worn at night with heels and accessories. A sarong is another example of a versatile item that can double as a scarf/ a blanket and even an outfit if its large enough! By choosing clothing by their versatility, you can significantly reduce the number of items you take with you.

2. Planning is your friend

Prepare for your trip by taking some time to think about your holiday. How many days will you be going for? What kind of activities will you be doing? What is the weather like? By doing some planning ahead of the trip you can save lots of luggage space. If its forecast to be sunny for the entire period at your destination, you can probably leave the umbrella behind. Going away for 5 days? Plan outfits for each day, thinking about which styles can be worn with multiple outfits (remember you can always do laundry while you are away). Planning might seem like a lot of effort before a holiday, but it will save you so much energy and space in the long run!

3. Must haves vs Just in case..

With all your items but especially with toiletries, make-up and jewellery think about what you ‘must have’ vs ‘just in case’ scenarios. It is tempting to bring along every shade of lipstick you own and 10 pairs of earrings, just in case a situation arises but it brings a false sense of security. You cannot pack for any and every eventuality so the sooner you let go of this idea and focus on packing essentials that you know you will need, the sooner you can relax into holiday mode. Packing only the essential items also builds your confidence in learning to adapt and be creative with what you do have. Worse case scenario, if you left something behind and ended up really needing it, unless you are going to the North Pole you can always purchase it while you are on holiday.

 Bonus Tips

  • Find out ahead of time what items are already provided at your accommodation. There is no need to bring a hair dryer if one is already provided at your hotel!
  • Roll your clothing- it takes up much less space
  • Bring toiletries that can do double duty- such as 2 in 1 shampoo and conditioners. Everything else store in mini containers to save space

Packing like a minimalist is not easy if you are accustomed to travelling with everything you could ever need.  However eliminating what you don’t need, packing light and sticking to essential items  you love that will work for a number of situations is a liberating process. It will also mean you don’t do that walk of shame when you arrive at the hotel with more luggage than one woman should ever have!

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