For a few years, I have been keeping my eye on the Chateau de Gudanes. It was bought by people who left everything to start a new life in the Provence, South of France. The house, or what was left of it at the time, was a ruin. The Waters family started slowly restoring it – and blogging about it. I remember spending hours just looking at the imagery of what once was beautiful architecture, and still finding it absolutely hypnotic. I was definitely hooked.
I dreamed of visiting the Provence for a very long time – in my head it was where I could definitely wear ridiculously floaty dresses without being judged. And the dream came true. Inspired by the architecture around me as well as a selection of antique shops, I looked like I belonged in the Provence, like I was always meant to be there. If you are keen to catch the Provence bug, it’s worth checking out these Instagram accounts, as I think they best portray that beautiful antique French aesthetic. I can only describe it as looking at a fallen angel, a decaying gargoyle, a broken heart that has not given up on love.
- Chateau de Gudanes – This account makes me want to laugh, cry, gaze, stare, look – I am consistently mesmerised. I wish one day I am able to visit and experience this grand house. I feel if my soul was a building, it would be the Chateau de Gudanes.
- Jamie Beck – This amazingly talented photographer left the concrete jungle for the Provence. By doing so she has been gifting us with incredible content ever since. It’s like looking at paintings in the Louvre, but instead you are just comfortably glancing at your phone, and not queuing to see the Mona Lisa.
- Sharon Santoni – Have you ever had this feeling when you look at something and it makes your heart bloom? That’s what I feel when I look at this account. It’s all about Sharon’s French country home, so living vicariously through her blog and Instagram brings me joy.
- Vicki Archer – interior inspo all day every day.
- French Larkspur – When I have this overwhelming urge to go to a flea market or antique fair but I am stuck at the office/no fairs around, I just look at this account, and immediately feel that my thirst for snapping an antique find has been quenched. At least for a little while.
Do you follow any Instagram accounts that give you Provence nostalgia?
Faux Fur: c/o Embracing Trends, Faux Leather Trousers: Lidl, Bag: Louis Vuitton, Fedora: Boohoo, Boots: Quiz Clothing
Images by Ahmed Fayed
How To Collaborate with Influencers?
It must be scary to start you own business on social media. It must be even more frightening to approach influencers asking to work together. When you are just starting, you don’t have mountains of budget, and sometimes none at all – how do you actually put yourself out there?
Here are a few things I learned by being an Instagram influencer and existing on both sides of the equation as sometimes it was me applying for opportunities.
- Take it slow. Thinking about connecting with someone online doesn’t equal actually doing it. You either do it, or you don’t. However, taking your time with it is really smart. If you found an influencer you’d like to work with, observe their behaviour within their channels: how do they handle criticism, how often they post and is their online persona something that’s close to your brand values?
- Don’t be discouraged. The worst thing that could happen is them saying no or not replying. Don’t let that dampen your spirits – you can simply move on, but not without trying again. I admit, I have missed out on opportunities by reading messages while in transit and thinking – oh, I’ll just reply once I am at home. Only to forget, of course. So if an influencer doesn’t reply to a DM, leave a comment on a post that you’ve DM’ed and whether they received it. Thankfully brands did that to me and it resulted in some lovely collaborations.
- Be yourself. If you are genuinely passionate about what you do, infect your chosen influencer with it. Take time to explain your product in your own tone of voice, as if you are actually speaking to them face to face. Or, if you are honestly more of a formal person, there’s nothing wrong with that either, leave them a hand-written note in the product package and briefly explain what makes your product different. I often remember how a brand made me feel working with them rather than what they actually sent me. If an influencer has an awful brand experience, diamond encrusted handbags would still feel bitter to touch, let all be photograph and commend.
- Be open. We live in a me me me world, and no one is more me me me than an influencer. If they respond asking for a different way of working together, be fluid and consider other options. It may be the case that the influencer thinks that your brand is not very them. It’s okay – after all, you probably had the same thoughts about others in points 1, 2, 3. It’s not a one way street, that’s why it’s called social.
- Be upfront. If you are just starting out, just say it. Be honest. Not every influencer is looking to make millions out of every post (although it would be great!) but they too sought help when they were at the starting point. What goes around, comes around. It may be their turn to help others! Having said that, don’t be a cheapskate, if an influencer offers to work hard with your brand, consider how you’d like to reward them, and that doesn’t always mean money, but it may mean it in a future collaboration. Work is work.
My most recent collaboration is with Embracing Trends, a lovely Instagram shop that sells a select number of lovely items that will make sure you are rocking the most recent fashion trends. Without realising, all the points above is what the owner of the shop followed, resulting in the photo shoot dedicated to it above. I went for a slightly more timeless piece from the brand’s selection.
If you have any questions on working with influencers, send me a cheeky email 😉
Coat: c/o Louche from Joy, Boots: Prada, Scarf: Valentino, Bag: Louis Vuitton, Fedora: Primark
Images by Ahmed Fayed
I’ve been wearing very tomboyish outfits to work lately and I felt I needed an extremely ladylike look to balance it all out.
So this is it. Don’t you just want to go out for high tea with me?
This grey coat from Joy Clothing is the perfect capsule wardrobe staple. It’s like clay – you can shape it any way you like. I chose to look like Poirot’s unsung hero lady sidekick, but I could have just worn sneakers with jeans and this coat still would have worked perfectly.
How to Add a Quick Ladylike👸 Touch to Your Look:
- Floral silk scarf. All woman, zero effort.
- Soft curls. If you have long, heavy hair like I do, it’s a time consuming step. However, not much comes close to walking around while your hair bounces as if it’s the main character in a glossy advert.
- A hard leather medium-sized bag. All the cult ladylike bags are rather compact – Chanel 2.55, Lady Dior, Le Boy or in my case the Louis Vuitton Eclipse. I don’t know what is it about this particular bag that makes me feel so feminine. Perhaps it is its uncompromising size and shape? If it doesn’t fit it, it doesn’t come with. Girls don’t carry what boys can carry for them. Or something like that.
- A romantic hat or fedora. Bonus points if the summery version has flowers on it.
- Focus on the waist. Anything that defines that hourglass shape instantly feminises the look.
Top: Christian Dior, Skirt: H&M, Scarf: Valentino, Belt: Vintage, Prescription Eyeglasses: c/o GlassesShop.com, Bag and Sandals: Louis Vuitton
Images by Ahmed Fayed
– I said I’d been making a small investigation of his past.
– And you found he was an Oxford man.
– An Oxford man! Like hell he is! He wears a pink suit.
– Nevertheless he’s an Oxford man.
F. Scott Fitzgerald – The Great Gatsby
Oxford is beautiful. The city centre is one big Barcelonian Sagrada Familia, without the pineapples. You’ll get a variety of different kinds of gargoyles instead, so intricately made, they seem to be staring right at your face, rather displeased, belittling you.
And one does feel dwarfed when surrounded by grandiose buildings of such colossal historical significance. To somehow heighten your relevance, you suddenly feel the need to learn: put your glasses on and blow some dust off an ancient leather-faced book.
While I need to dig out my own medieval book of serenades and chansons de geste of knights long gone, I have been lucky enough to be approached by GlassesShop.com and be given a pair of prescription eyeglasses to try out (they do sunglasses too). Oxford seemed to be the right location to be seen in these 60s shaped glasses. Though the style certainly demanded a grandpa sweater to complete the bookworm sort of look, a librarian is not what Oxford made me feel. I felt like an explorer, an appreciator. I was the one to be shhh’ed at instead of shh’ing at everyone else. There is no place for silence in my library.
Anyone interested in a pair of glasses? Enter the code GSHOT50 at checkout for 50% off on eyeglasses and sunglasses with free lenses (sale frames excluded).
Dress: Michael Kors, Turban: eBay, Sunglasses: Prada, Sandals: Louis Vuitton, Earrings: Kenneth Jay Lane
Images: Ahmed Fayed
Golden forest, golden lake
Sanctuary, state of grace
I will find reason a place to begin
It will be a good day
Beginning is one place, I’ve been before
Watching the sunrise on the silver shores
Setting me free again, leading the way
It will be a good day
Yes – It will be a good day
A perfect toga dress that can easily be taken from day to night by throwing the turban off and messing your hair up ever so slightly to give it that easy-breezy look.
I am a strong believer that anyone who wears turquoise and/or yellow will have a good day regardless.