On the final days of our trip, we headed towards the Avenue des Champs-Élysées for a browse and some shopping. It was a seriously pretty street but hugely busy, and it felt like summer – which was a good thing.
We also went to see the Arc de Triomphe which sits nicely at the top of the avenue – slap bang in the middle of the busiest, craziest roundup ever. I hate driving through roundabouts so I couldn’t even look at this one. Truly. I kept trying to take a peek in to people’s windows as the houses were so impressive (pretty sure you can get arrested for that actually), and I’d heard the area was home to some of the most expensive property in the world. I’m not sure why you would want to live there though to be honest – it was noisy and busy. I still would though, don’t get me wrong.
After gazing up at the Arc, we took a walk back down Champ-Élysées again, and in to Sephora for a bit of perving. I left with nothing, despite wanting it all. Willpower, I think that’s called.
We decided to take a walk down the river towards the Eiffel Tower and get something to eat. We had a cute picnic under the Trocadero, and watched the sun set over the tower which was lovely.
On the final day, we headed over to the Notre Dame again and had a little wander around here, seeing the side streets before heading back to the Ladurée tea rooms & store to pick up some macarons for my mum. Maybe some for me too.
After that, it was time for wine in the sun outside a little café – people watching is fun in every country. We were actually sitting near the MAC shop and I just remembered seeing a couple come out of the store with three of the biggest bags of MAC goodies – like MAC bags that were the same size as those laundry bags you get. It could have been £3000 worth – considering how small MAC items are. Crazy. The girl couldn’t even carry one bag!
Before it got dark, we got the Metro over to the Trocadero for the last time, and watched the sun set over the tower before the light show. How pretty!
We decided to have dinner near our apartment and had one of the best meals ever at a new place up the road – slow cooked beef and lots of wine.
It was definitely such a great trip, made better by the fact that we saw and did so much more than we expected. I definitely recommend a visit in the near future! I hope you enjoyed my photos.
In the second part of our Parisian adventure, things take a touristy turn – I’m not usually such a keen tourist, but I may as well have been wearing binoculars and a little pair of beige shorts because we got stuck in! Make sure to read my first post to catch up on the first couple of days…
On the third day, we got the tube to Saint-Paul for breakfast and a little look around the Le Marais area which is meant to be amazing for vintage shopping – namely the Kilo Shop. Jordan is all about the vintage and second-hand items so this was a must. We went to La Favorite for breakfast, it was okay – incredible inside but pretty pricey for what it is. Let’s just say I didn’t Instagram my brekkie – apart from those croissants. We had a little wander around the La Marais area, looking in shops and generally having a nosy. We then went down past the Hotel De Ville and wandered down the river towards the Louvre and then headed to the Lovelock Bridge – aren’t we lame?!
If I ever decide blogging isn’t for me, I’m definitely stocking up on padlocks and standing around here – a lucrative business!
Walking down the River Seine is incredible, so much to see. Jordan told me that he read an interview with the band Phoenix and Thomas Mars (the singer, married to one Sophia Coppola) said although they were all from Versailles, none of them live there anymore because everything in Paris (and the surrounding) has already happened – which is definitely true when you look around. So much history.
Anyway, I couldn’t stop myself from taking so many pictures of the buildings – I didn’t include many as I doubt anyone cares as much as me. We headed over the river and had a coffee (for Jo) and ice cream (for… me) pitstop before continuing over to the Notre-Dame Cathedral – my first time seeing it and wow, incredible. I didn’t watch many Disney films when I was little but Jordan is obsessed (yes we have a very backwards relationship) so he was super keen to see it. Go Disney! It’s truly amazing – no words. I didn’t go inside though, I just sat in the sun while Jordan did – I couldn’t deal with the queues and I got to a really good bit in my book. Grandma was having too much fun.
The following day we did much the same, except we had breakfast in our apartment beforehand so we could relax and stay out a bit later – I’m getting old, ok? We were walking so, so much it was completely exhausting. So much for a break eh. We did more exploring around the La Marais area and then got lunch at a little patisserie near the Hotel De Ville and took it to some steps nearby. The sandwiches were incredible and so were the eclairs, the one I got was salted butter caramel. Heaven. Heaven, I tell you. There’s also a little apple crumble there, how adorable. Oh and the tiniest takeout Nespresso ever! I had a hard time dealing with the cuteness of it all.
After this we went back to the apartment and had dinner at Mama Shelter. This happened, no word of a lie.
Have I inspired you to plan a trip away? Part three on it’s way…
As promised, I thought I would show you some of my snaps from last week’s trip to gay Paris, we went from Monday until Saturday which was enough time to see everything without hurrying – although there’s so much to see so perhaps we didn’t see everything but we saw more than planned. You could definitely go for less time if you wanted, but we fancied a longer trip so we weren’t exhausting ourselves!
At first we thought we had picked the worst time to go as we missed Bombay Bicycle Club playing in Glasgow (not to mention a few great bands playing Paris), the opening of a great restaurant here, and then my mum asked me to go to New Zealand with her – as it turned out we picked a great time to go as the weather was stunning! T-shirt weather, in fact.
We stayed in an apartment we found on Airbnb which was great, so affordable and much better than a hotel. We stayed in the Porte de Montreuil area which is a little out of the city but it was actually a great place to stay – you can get the Metro line all the way to the Trocadero to see the Eiffel tower and it was an easy place to get the Metro to and from for other places. There’s also a couple of supermarkets and a market with fresh produce a few times per week, and we dined at a couple of the restaurants, including Mama Shelter which I had heard great things about from Liv – I was surprised to discover one nearby by accident which was ideal.
On the first day, we didn’t get to our apartment until the evening so we decided to head out for some dinner and then get a good night’s sleep. We got the Metro to Oberkampf to go to the highly recommended Blend, a gourmet burger restaurant a bit like Byron Burger perhaps. I can honestly say this was the best burger I’ve ever had, it was incredible! The staff were super friendly and the tiny cheesecake was divine also – as was the beer. I highly recommend you check this place out! I’ll probably never enjoy a burger ever again.
The following day we got the tube straight to the Trocadero – I can’t even put it in to words how amazing it is to walk out of the subway, around the corner and be faced with the Eiffel Tower straight in front of you. It’s incredible. I’ve been before but I had actually forgotten how breathtaking it is – I’m a little bit obsessed with all things Eiffel Tower, incase you hadn’t realised. After taking a few early morning snaps of the tower, we headed across the road to Carette, another place that everyone seems to talk about. It was Pancake Day so obviously we had to get some gorgeous crepes to celebrate! Just look at the whipped cream piled high – and the coffee! Oh baby.
We took a walk down (to work off the food babies) towards the Eiffel Tower and the Champ De Mars, we wandered through the park area and then got the Metro towards Saint Germain for a little shop. We were just exploring at this point, which I really recommend you do – it’s best to discover places rather than properly plan out a trip. You find so much more by just wandering around and getting a little lost. I of course headed straight for Sephora – actually that’s kind of a lie, I knew there was one on Saint Germain but I didn’t know where so I allowed myself to discover it – I picked up a couple of bits which I’ll be posting about in due course.
City Pharma was also on the cards – I never noticed before how many pharmacie’s there are in Paris! Last time I went I was only getting in to blogging (I think it was maybe the second post of mine!) so beauty wasn’t something I was phased about – there were around 5 beauty stores near our apartment though. I didn’t think I would be too phased by City Pharma but wow – I can see why everyone loves this place! Not only is it SUPER cheap, but the range of products they stock is incredible – I had to stop myself from buying skincare! I highly recommend a trip here – it’s heaven. And also a bit of hell too as it’s super busy – sharpen those elbows.
Stay tuned for part two of my trip – I hope you enjoyed it so far!
Whereas I do try to get everything just right when I shoot my photos – something I do for hours each day, so I’ve had to really get used to my camera and understand it, I talked about my tips and tricks here, but I have to admit there is some work to do after I take my photos. Sometimes I just need to crop the photo down but sometimes I’ll need to do more if the light has been terrible or I’m using a sheet as a background that has creases in it – I know, my life. I shoot in RAW which is a royal pain because they take ages to upload etc. but I used to avoid RAW and no one noticed a difference. But RAW mode gives you more control when it comes to post-production so handy if you need to do a lot of editing.
When I talk about photo editing here, I assume you have access to Photoshop or something similar. I’m part of the Adobe Creative Cloud, which is an extortionate amount of money each month but it allows you to have access to everything, from Photoshop to Illustrator. It’s a good idea and I think students get discount. Otherwise, I will not ask where you got your copy from. A friend, you say? How generous.
Another thing, I’m talking about editing your blog photos (mostly products but you could absolutely apply these to anything) to enhance, not to make you look like Kate Moss. I swear down, bloggers need to stop photoshopping their knees. Show me someone who has nice knees – please. Certainly not your blurred out versions. This is the same for eye bags, we all have them – leave them alone. Stop making me feel weird for having wrinkly knees and eye bags. Use these tips and tricks for enhancing your photography, please.
Curves. Curves work miracles! Upping this will brighten your picture, I think by changing the tones or something or perhaps something else. If you have quite a dark photo, for example you took it at 2pm in the near pitch black (thanks GMT), you will need to up the curves. This is a step I’ll allow for face photos too, it can hide many an imperfection – nudge, nudge, wink, wink. I just have it on the default preset and move the line up a little to brighten – it makes such a massive difference. You will probably only need to change curves if you’re already happy with your photographs, to be honest.
Sometimes, especially with bright makeup etc, the colours can look a little washed out. This is when I use the Vibrance tool, although once the box pops up (enough with the technical terms, Kate!), I move ‘Saturation’ up rather than ‘Vibrance’ – usually just up to +3 but it makes a big difference when shooting makeup. You can play around with it a little to match up the colour to the product which I think helps A LOT. Nothing worse than shooting a hundred pictures and they don’t even represent the colour of the products.
You can download Photoshop Actions from quite a few places, such as good ol’ DeviantArt - these are probably best for fashion photos but still handy to have. They basically work like an Instagram filter, you press the play button after selecting your Action and it carries out a range of changes and ends with the finished result – your edited photograph. There are SO many Actions available, you can even get actions of the Instagram filters so you can basically Instagram your blog photos. Pretty crazy, amiright? I have about 30 saved in Photoshop and use them occasionally to change up photos.
I found about everything in Photoshop through trial and error, I’ve been using it since I was about 14 so I know it like the back of my ear. I use Exposure a lot to make photos stand out a little more – moving the Offset bar down a little will darken any black bits in your photo – ie. it is a dream come true for NARS products that always seem to look filthy. Just move it down two notches and everything looks so much better! It’s honestly a dream come true for blog photography. Gamma Correction below it is also handy for making a white background more… white. So helpful if you’re all about the white background, which we bloggers are! Crisp.
Things such as the blur tool to neaten up cream blushers is also helpful – it just makes makeup look cleaner I reckon. Colour balance is really good if you have to shoot with the lights on, I find they turn my photos yellow so I just move the slider more to the blue or purple regions to even it out. So helpful when you have no other option – a little bit of red also enhances photos too I think. The Healing Brush tool is good for hiding any specks or crumbs in the background – not all of my white surfaces are perfect so the healing brush tool allows me to copy a perfect region and basically airbrush any chips to the table or whatever. Gotta hide my biscuit obsession one way or another. You can also Sharpen photos to make them more clear and crisp, personally I think this should be avoided because it makes photos look a bit weird but it’s there if you take a blurry picture.
I think that’s pretty much everything that I would ever use to edit my photos – I usually stick with curves and exposure to be honest as I use an SLR and I understand how to use it by now so my photos are pretty much done by the time I upload them but a little editing never hurt anyone. Blog photography doesn’t require much work so it’s easy as pie. In the above snap for example, I would have upped the curves a little to brighten, changed the exposure to highlight and enhance the black in the photo, and also up the gamma correction a little and then use the healing brush to make sure there were no bits of dust or biscuit crumbs in the background. Maybe change the colour balance to a bit more blue. Finito.
Obviously this is just the Kate guide, one idiot to another. I’m just here to help, promise. I hope this gives you a little insight, I feel like I’ve been promising this post for years so here it is, there’s not much to it.