Kim Jones Pont Alexandre III

These photos bring back some pretty fun memories of chasing sunlight around Paris with Kim. Although taken a little while ago I simply had to share them if for no other reason than the beautiful pair of Jimmy Choos. There are a few items that a girl will always dream of owning and I’m pretty sure that a pair of Jimmy Choos will often feature on that list. Kim’s envy-inducing red pumps were the classic finish to the iconic backdrop of Pont Alexandre III.

For more photos from our shoot together take a look at Kim’s blog.

Kim Jones

Perspective

The Louvre is pretty incredible from any which angle you look at it. I remember sitting on the bridge for a long while and taking in every intricate detail of this building. Sometimes I have to remind myself to take it all in with my eyes and not just through my lens. I find memories stick with me so much more when I remember to put down my camera for a moment and really appreciate what is in front of me.

Morocco bucket list

1. Ride a camel across the desert // 2. Watch the sunrise over the Atlas mountains // 3. Experience a Hammam // 4. Drink thé à la menthe // 5. Stargaze in the Sahara // 6. Watch the sunset over Marrakech // 7. Almond blossom festival // 8. Browse the souks // 9. Visit Ait Ben Haddou // 10. Eat tagine // 11. Go to Chefchaouen // 12. Hassan II Mosque

RIDE A CAMEL ACROSS THE DESERT

Riding into the desert after the sun had set with the stars as our only source of light was by far the most ‘pinch me’ moment of the entire trip. There was something extraordinarily magical about riding a camel into the unknown because truthfully we had no inclination of where we were to sleep or what we were to eat. The sign of a real adventure! But fret not, the accommodation and food are superbly planned by the tour guide and an evening of traditional Berber dancing will await. Oh and sand surfing in the dunes is a very fun activity, if you’re so inclined.

WATCH THE SUNRISE OVER THE ATLAS MOUNTAINS

When in the centre of Marrakech you’ll notice that the city is framed by the high Altas mountains so getting to the top of them after seeing them from the distance is a great feeling. Watching the sunrise through the mountains is a beautiful start to the day.

HAMMAM

A visit to a hammam (Turkish baths) is a blissfully relaxing experience and a must when in Morocco. Go after the camel tour as your muscles will ache for a full body massage with local Argan oil. I guarantee it will be an experience that you shan’t ever forget, just make sure to leave all inhibition at the door and be prepared to step out of your comfort zone on the nudity front (don’t worry though it’s always segregated by sex). The hammam photographed below is one of the most luxurious in Marrackech, found at la Mamounia hotel yet open to everyone if a reservation is made. It is a breathtaking spa and would be the perfect place to fully unwind, yet comes with a bit of a price tag. Otherwise at the local hammams, which can be found all over the city, you’ll get access to the sauna, a full body scrub with black soap and massage for about 20 euros.

DRINK THE A LA MENTHE

The Moroccans are very fond of the thé à la menthe and you’ll often see them perched on a stall drinking it on the busy streets. It’s a sign of hospitality and will no doubt be offered to you as a welcoming gesture.

STARGAZE IN THE SAHARA

The desert is an extraordinary place, so far from civilisation yet with the stars up above and your friends by your side you’ll feel the least lonely you ever have done. Sometimes it’s important to be reminded of the banality of the materialistic and vanity-obsessed world we live in; and stargazing in the openness of the desert was a good way to ground us and put everything back into perspective.

WATCH THE SUNSET OVER MARRACKECH

Marrakech is a very flat city with the Koutoubia mosuque being the tallest building therefore there isn’t really a vantage point as such, however the bonus of this is that pretty much most buildings have rooftop terraces with views spanning over the whole city. I’d recommend watching the sunset from the top of the Maison de la Photographie which is also a fascinating photography gallery with in an insight into North African culture.

ALMOND BLOSSOM FESTIVAL

We were lucky enough to be in Morocco for the almond tree season in late February when the flowers begin to bloom. It sure was a pretty sight to behold, especially with the snow-peaked Atlas mountains in the background. However we weren’t quite fortunate enough to catch the Almond Blossom Festival, held in Tafraoute, and which is supposed to be the best way to experience traditional Moroccan folk music and dance. After researching it online, the dates are apparently only shared by hearsay and can vary but usually falls in February.

BROWSE THE SOUKS

The souks are a sensory overload; from the smell of spices which pervades your nostrils to the colours and textures of the fabrics. It is something which must be experienced first hand and nothing can describe the chaos which lies within. Stray cats roam the cobbled alleys, motorcyclists don’t take care not to run over your toes and arms flail at you in every direction from over-enthusiastic owners trying to encourage you into their shops. Yet nothing quite beats perusing the souks with your eyes wide open in wonder and taking it all in.

VISIT AIT BEN HADDOU

This world heritage site is a fascinating visit; the mud-like architecture of the Ksar is surround by a multi-hued terrain of fiery oranges and reds. We hopped over pebbles across the river to reach it and marveled at the fortified city for quite some time thinking back to scenes in the Mummy and Gladiator, just  a couple of the many blockbusters which were filmed here.

EAT TAGINE

Part of the joy of travelling is to experience the different cuisines from all over the world. Moroccan food is delicious, it’s full spices without being overly hot. The traditional tagine is full of flavour and unique to North Africa, it arrives in the ceramic pot it’s cooked in and sizzles and smokes when the waiter proudly removes the clay cover. Something else you must try is their ever so simple dessert of sliced succulent oranges sprinkled with freshly ground cinnamon and mint leaves.

VISIT CHEFCHAOUEN

They always say to leave a country with at least one thing that you wanted to do but didn’t get around to. Alas, my desire to visit Chefchaouen, also known as the blue city still remains high on my bucket list. It’s very close to the Spanish border therefore would make more sense to do when in the south of Spain which means that a return to visit to stunning Seville and Granada might have to be considered.

Morocco photo diary

Morocco is such a beautifully vibrant country full of life and love. I recently took a trip there with a group of friends from Paris and had the most wonderful time  away. We laughed until our cheeks ached and frolicked until our feet were sore. You’ll be able to find my Marrakech guide shortly so I shan’t share too much but here are just a few of my absolute favourite places photographed above:

Stay: La Mamounia resembles a palace more than a hotel and if you’re lucky enough to stay here I don’t doubt that you’ll be treated like an Arabian princess. The most beautiful hotel I have ever laid eyes on.

Eat: Above the madness of the souks and the bustling square you’ll find Nomad; a restaurant terrace offering the best of traditional and modern Moroccan cuisine. Order a selection of dishes to share to create a diverse and unforgettable Moroccan feast. They even serve mojitos, something not to be taken for granted in this alcohol-restricted country.

Do: the Ben Youssef Madrasa is the most stunning example of Moorish architecture, it’s intricate tiling and vibrant colours will wow.

Wanderlust

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain.

This is something which I have to keep telling myself time and time again because I know how very true it is. The things that you decide not to do are the ones that haunt you the most. This is especially true of the things that you tell yourself over and over and promise yourself that you will do but somewhere down the line, a cloud of excuses gets in the way. I am determined not to let this happen to me. I often read articles differentiating between the thinkers and the doers which always prompts me to contemplate which category I fall under. Reading such articles always scares me into action as there will always be that niggling fear of not doing what I say I will. Whether it be a diet, a marathon, a destination or a profession, we should always follow our desires. However all too often we live in fear, fear of the unknown and the instability of the unknown. I can feel  that fear all too well right now. I’m currently working in a stable job with a steady income and the luxuries of home, life is very comfortable but entirely unfulfilling. It’s an interim period of my life to save for the next step. I’ve set myself a date where I’ll leave this life behind which slightly terrifies me. I often find myself making excuses not to go, or to extend my stay at home because of the fear of such a drastic change. Fortunately I know from past experience that it will all work out and that as soon as my journey begins I will know that it is the right one for me. I guess what I am trying to say is that if I hadn’t ever left home all those years ago then I might  not be leaving again now because I would not know of the benefits of starting a new life, of travelling alone or my strength. But leaving before has taught me that I can leave again. Live not in the fear of the unknown but go forth and accomplish your dreams. Don’t overthink it, just do it. Otherwise twenty years from now you will regret the dreams that you didn’t live out not the ones you did.

Le louvre

Truthfully speaking I’d never really seen the attraction of the pyramid often dubbed as an architectural gem, as a symbol of amalgamating the old and the new but I’d always seen it as a modern monstrosity standing before one of the most beautiful buildings in Paris, the Louvre. That was until the day I woke up and left my apartment before sunrise; I’d never thought to venture out this early before but don’t really know why it hadn’t ever crossed my mind as I took the most beautiful photographs I have done in the three years I lived there. Note to self (and to everyone else) always, always wake up for the sunrise when in foreign lands; it will undoubtedly result in your most picturesque memories of the trip. Seeing the pyramid without a single tourist posing in front of it allowed me to see it in a whole new light. Sometimes it takes a fresh perspective to feel differently about something so familiar.

Le Saint-Honoré

Despite only just disparaging the French pâtisserie for its high butter and high sugar content, here I am once again worshipping it. You knew I couldnt stay away from these delights for too long.. After all the stomach knows what the stomach wants. Anyone who can walk past Café Pouchkine without batting an eyelid is a hero to me, or maybe not human. The selection of treats here is enough to sway even the most determined of dieters. I don’t think the Saint-Honoré needs any introduction but the one from Café Pouchkine really is a piece of art so if you get the chance, scrap the diet, forget about the butter and simply indulge.

An education

Do you know those films that you can re-watch time after time yet never seem to tire of? An Education is that kind of film for me. It is flawlessly filmed, effortlessly timeless and entirely gripping. If you haven’t watched it, you simply must. If you fancy yourself as a bit of a francophile then you will particularly love it as there are endless references to Albert Camus, Jacques Brel and of course Paris. For some reason the below photos reminded me so much of the Paris scene where Jenny & David epitomise two lovers in the city of love, walking hand in hand along the Seine, running down the iconic steps in Montmartre and picnicking in the park under Pont Neuf. This scene makes up only a very small part of the film but boy is it a good one.

Pâtisserie Ciel

Pâtisserie Ciel is a breath of fresh air among the often heavy & laden in sugar patisseries which Paris has become so famous for. After several months of living in the land of cheese and bread you might just find yourself needing a break from the starchy baguette and buttery croissant and if/ when you tire of the French classics you might just find Pâtisserie Ciel the ideal place to try. Much lighter on the lips, these candy-coloured sponge cakes, entirely void of butter, still manage to kick any sugar craving yet don’t leave you feeling boated and over-full. Not to mention the place itself is far from Parisian in appearance with a white, refreshing interior and hushed whispers being exchanged you’ll find it a calming oasis from the overcrowded boulangerie across the road. These little angel cakes are a testament to the ever-growing dessert scene in Paris.

Address: 3 Rue Monge, 75005 // Métro: Maubert Mutualité