Tuesday, 12 February 2019 / London, UK


Valentine's Day is nearly here. Only few more days to go which means it's time to start planning those flowers, chocolates and surprises for that special person in your life. I know Valentine's plans can be frustrating and expensive too. Flowers are certainly not cheap this time of year and everything seems to have that Valentine's 'extra' added. Which is exactly why I decided to share my DIY Valentine's bouquet with you. It's so much more affordable than a bouquet from a florist and looks just as impressive ( I hope).

I've teamed up with Dartington Crystal to create the perfect DIY flower arrangement this Valentine's Day. I picked the Florabundance Settle vase (size large) to go with this flower arrangement. It's so striking, don't you think? The optical effect creates more interest and thanks to its large size it's certainly a statement piece. I went for the large size but this vase is also available in two other sizes (small and medium). My vase collection has been missing a big statement vase and I'm so delighted I found this one. It's a big vase which means you need more flowers and ideally taller stems. You could always go for big fluffy flowers like peonies but unfortunately they weren't in season. 

My local florist was quoting me 40 pounds to create a similar flower arrangement, so I decided to get creative myself. This flower arrangement cost me only 12 pounds and it's so easy to make. Now I should probably mention that I have done a brief floristry course which I did find super helpful. If you're not comfortable creating an arrangement yourself, an evening course will help you to get the hang of it. Of course you could just google flower arranging or watch a few youtube tutorials (if you don't have the time to do a proper course).

So, how did I manage to create this big bouquet for 12 pounds? Easy. My florist was quoting me 20 pounds for a dozen of pink roses, but I got mine in Sainsbury's for 6 pounds in stead. That's a huge saving. However, I did buy some individual stems from the florist (6 stems) and they cost me another 6 pounds. Mixing some fancier individual stems/filler flowers together with roses will give your bouquet that professional look.

My flower shopping list (total £12)

12 pink roses (from any supermarket)

2 solidago stems (Most florists will stock them and they make great filler flowers that quickly add volume and balance to bouquets)

2 purple veronica spiacata flower stems. (Usually these look more blue, so I'm not 100% sure whether this is the right name but it's as close as I could find. These stems are great for creating impact in bigger bouquets, although I would only use max. 3 stems)

4 sea crass stems (from a florist)

My main flowers were roses and I added the foliage and the purple veronica in the middle. I like to hold the bouquet in one hand and add a single stem at a time, criss-crossing the stems to a bouquet. I prefer two or three main flowers and then some foliage. You don't want to add too many different type of flowers either as it can make the arrangement look a little bit too 'busy'. Also, some supermarkets will stock filler flowers but you usually have to buy a bunch (which isn't ideally if you're only making one bouquet at home). That's why I prefer to buy the individual stems at the florist and the roses at my local supermarket.

I really love the way the flower arrangement turned out. Obviously I'm no florist but I did find that my flower arranging course helped a lot. I also think that without the tall grass stems the bouquet would have looked a little short, so I'm really glad I added them. It's also really important that your vase complements your flowers. I can see myself getting so much out of this vase that I'm considering buying it in other sizes too.

I hope this post has inspired you to create a DIY flower arrangement this Valentine's Day and I would also make sure you have the right size/style vase to go with it. If you have any questions/comments, please leave a note below.

Happy Valentine's Day!

*This is a collaborative post with Dartington Crystal.


Tuesday, 5 February 2019 / Paris, France


I told you about my trip to Paris last week and how amazing it was to attend the prestigious Maison & Objet in the French capital, but I felt our hotel deserved its own post. Most people who attend M&O  tend to stay near the exhibition centre, near the airport, but since I was travelling from London to Paris with Eurostar it made sense to stay in a city centre hotel. I also decided to stay in Paris for few extra days to enjoy the beautiful city and all that it has to offer. Of course I'm talking about restaurants, shopping and those delicious bakeries.

I found the wonderful Hotel D'Aubusson thanks to Google and it certainly did not disappoint. I picked the hotel mainly due to its convenient location in Saint Germain. It's right in the heart of the Latin quartier (in the 6th arrondissement) and easy walking distance to many landmarks, shops and restaurants. I also knew that it would be on the RER B line, which has direct train service from Saint Michel-Notre Dame to Villepinte (where the exhibition was held). I also lived in Odeon for one summer in my early 20s and fell in love with the area. It's such a true Parisian neighbourhood with its boutiques, many art galleries, bakeries and Michelin starred restaurants.

The hotel entrance looked as stylish and chic as I had imagined. I had totally forgotten how beautiful Parisian architecture is. There was inspiration and beauty everywhere. The Juliet balconies draped with foliage looked so beautiful even on a cold January day. I also thought the main entrance topiary looked absolutely stunning. I mean, what a welcome right?

The lobby looked equally stylish thanks to the mirrored furniture, giant flower arrangements and the most spectacular chandelier. Hotel D'Aubusson definitely oozes understated luxury and elegance. Isn't that what Paris all about anyway? The entire city is effortlessly chic and breathtakingly beautiful. It almost felt like I'd gone back in time, in a good way of course. I also loved the neutral colour palette which made the hotel feel warm and inviting. It didn't feel like I was staying in a hotel. It felt more like a private residence (or a mansion) which made my stay feel extra special.

Our room was a standard double room but it had everything we needed. A good size bed, lovely décor (all the rooms in the hotel are furnished differently) and even a mobile phone with 3G that I could borrow during my stay. I didn't actually need it in the end but it was very thoughtful. I thought the room was a good size as usually Parisian hotel rooms are tiny. You won't get a lot of space in the city centre but it really didn't bother me as we were out pretty much all the time. I miss the French balconies. I'm a really nosy person and I love people-watching, especially in Paris. It was a bit chilly to fully enjoy it (1 degree Celsius most days) but during the summer I would love to watch the world go by and enjoy the Parisian period charm. 

All the 49 rooms feature different colour schemes and modern amenities. Our room was predominantly green with floral wallpaper. I really loved the pop of colour. I was also a huge fan of their lighting choices. I wouldn't mind having contemporary lighting like this in my own house one day. Panelled walls and patterned textiles created more interests and depth. The old world charm was perfectly mixed with modern finishes.


Did I mention they had Hermes toiletries in the bathroom as well? Seriously, when can I move in..

Hotel D'Aubusson used to be a private Parisian mansion dating back to 1634 and you could really tell. You can still sense the old school elegance in the hotel. It has been fully refurbished but all the original features have been kept. It's the epitome of discreet luxury. The Louis XV furniture, original Aubusson tapestries and a spectacular wood burning fireplace work so well together. 

The outdoor terrace deserves a mention too. It was styled to perfection and I can only imagine how popular it must be during the summer. It was too cold to sit outside in January but I guess it means I need to come back during the summer. Luckily Paris is so close that I can totally see myself coming here for another long weekend. 

We had a wonderful stay at Hotel D'Aubusson and the concierge couldn't have been more helpful. This hotel truly deserves its 5 stars as I think it's quite hard to find affordable luxury right in the city  centre in Paris. I would say this is an ideal hotel for both business and pleasure (and especially for couples). They are very child friendly but personally I would prefer to leave my 5 yo and 3 yo busy bees at home. I was lucky my husband was able to join me on this trip, so I managed to combine business with pleasure. We really enjoyed the live jazz music in the hotel every night. It made our stay feel very Parisian and authentic. I would definitely come back to this hotel whether it would be for a holiday or for a short work trip.


1. Have lunch at the Le Cinq (George V, Four Seasons)

This is a stunning hotel and definitely worth a visit. The dinner in the 3 Michelin stared restaurant costs a fortune though which is why it's better to go for lunch in stead. Order the tasting menu if you want to spoil yourself.

2. Cocktails in Alcazar

This place is designed to perfection! I wouldn't bother with food though (it wasn't that great) but the balcony bar (with a DJ) is the perfect hangout on Friday and Saturday nights.

3. Go for an intimate dinner to Restaurant H  

This little hidden gem in la Bastille was recommended to us by Michel Roux Junior. The restaurant has only 7 tables so you must book in advance. The tasting menu with matching wines is very affordable in Paris standards and I was surprised to find sake on the pairing wines list. Book it. You won't regret it, I promise.

4. Listen to live jazz in Café Laurent

As it turned out one of the nicest jazz bars in Paris just happened to be in our hotel. Ok it's the only jazz bar I've been to in Paris, but I was impressed and loved it. Café Laurent have live jazz music most evenings and the perfect Parisian ambiance. Perfect to visit as a couple or with a group of friends.

5. Shop in Le Bon Marche

January is a great time to go shopping in Paris as it's winter sales everywhere. You may even find 70% off some designer items. Don't forget to stock up on Diptyque and Goutal scented candles at the Bon Marche.

6. Have breakfast/snack at Marche St. Germain

This is probably one of the nicest and  cheapest breakfast/lunch/snack spots you can find in Saint Germain. It's nothing fancy and it is full of locals, but it's perfect for a quick snack. Buy some speciality cheeses or a fancy bottle of Puligny Montrachet.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment below!
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