I posted a photo on my Instagram yesterday and got asked how do I find locations for my outfit shoots. It’s been a while since I wrote my last note on here but I honestly miss writing so much. So I thought why not share a few tips and tricks with you, to help you find those dream Instagram-worthy locations. Even the ones that nobody else has discovered yet (just like the one in this post).

Since Instagram is such a hot topic and locations are probably the most important aspect of an Instagram shot, many of you are probably wondering how to find the best ones. Other than seeing the exact location tagged in a photo or using popular landmarks as backdrops, there’s a number of other methods I use to discover shooting locations.

Seasonal Content

Many places in London (not only!) are now just as involved in Instagram as we are. It’s a two way relationship. They provide us with the dreamiest backdrops. In return, we provide the content that makes people visit these places. Most places now have a seasonal makeover, depending on the approaching holidays. My advice is to keep an eye on places that update their decor every season and be the first one to go there, so you can set the trend. Some good examples would be Annabel’s Mayfair, The Ivy Chelsea Garden, Peggy Porschen, etc. You can also follow pages like @prettycitylondon and @prettylittlelondon as they’re usually the first to post about these. Kelsey from CGG has put together a document with all the Christmas/festive locations in London and I highly recommend you to check it out here.

Go with the flow

My usual approach to finding a good location is to just go with the flow. I would often meet someone in an Instagram-friendly area and we would just explore and find the best corners to use depending on the outfits that we have. Apart from the struggle of finding where to change, this is quite a good way of discovering under-the-radar locations, that you won’t see in everyone’s photos on Instagram. If you like standing out from the crowd and you’re quite creative (can make something out of nothing) this is perfect for you.

Explore a new area

Pick an area that you haven’t been to before. Or perhaps one that you like but don’t necessarily go to when you want to shoot outfits. A change of scenery is always inspiring. Think of it as going to a new city. When you’re on holiday, it’s so much easier to spot a good location, because you appreciate the new surroundings. It’s the same with exploring a different area, minus the 3 hour flight time.

Marylebone and Mayfair are quite good areas with cute locations in close proximity to each other. Hampstead is another favourite of mine. I recently went to Marylebone and found so many cute spots to shoot just on one single street. Obviously, if you have more time, it’s good to explore and walk around. If you find yourself walking through an area on your way back from work, take photos of specific locations that you find cute. I also take photos of the name of the street they’re on, so I can go back later.

Go further

On Saturday, I was invited to 601 Queens Rd in Wimbledon for a brunch. Very Instagrammable location by the way and perfect for those cold winter days when it’s raining outside. You can get plenty of content shot there because that place is an interior heaven. Wimbledon is an hour away from where I live and it’s literally on the opposite side on London but I wanted to get a break from the usual spots in London and explore some different locations.

I went there a little unprepared and had about 15 min to explore the area around the station. The area didn’t seem very inviting at first. A quick search for Wimbledon on Instagram to look through the photos that other people have taken. Followed by a Google map search to see what’s around me. Google maps, helped me find out that Wimbledon Village is a short walk away. And thanks to my Instragram search, I found the prettiest house covered in leaves in the perfect autumnal hues. It took us a while finding the exact location, but Shelley went onto a website and found the exact location of the house but I’m sure you can Google it if you know the name of the house. Hint: If it’s a big one it usually has a special name and you’ll be able to spot it on the pictures.

 

What are your favourite ways of scouting shooting locations? Comment below or come over and say hi on Instagram and share your answers. I would love to talk to you.

Michelle x

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London is a pretty place. In summer though, London is beyond beautiful and the opportunities for having a great time are endless. I’ve decided to share with you my favourite things to do with my friends when the London weather is treating us well.

Outdoor swimming

I lived in the UK for 5 years before realising that open-air swimming is a thing here. I never thought lidos existed in London land, simply because we rarely get a proper summer, like the one we’re currently experiencing. A couple of years ago, I came back from holiday and the weather back here was unbelievably hot. Like, I actually genuinely could not believe how hot it was! So, off I went on a quest to find a solution to deal with the heat, after realising that copious amounts of ice lollies were clearly not resolving the issue. I went to Parliament Hill Lido for the first time, expecting a tiny puddle. But these guys are taking outdoor swimming seriously. They even have palm trees and a cafe that sells delicious food, drinks and all the yummy ice cream to cool you off. Pack your and your bestie’s bags and head to Costa del Gospel Oak for a refreshing day by the pool.

Open-air cinema

An outdoor cinema is like the coolest thing to do on a summer evening, ever! Enjoying a cider or two and having a laugh whilst watching your favourite comedy could be such a relaxing thing to do. Who wants to be stuck indoors watching a movie, when the weather is this good outside? The Luna cinema has various locations in really cool spots across London, including Kenwood House which one of my favourite places in Hampstead Heath (also good for picnics). Check out their website for info and screenings.

Afternoon tea at The Den Summer Terrace

Whether you enjoy a traditional afternoon tea complete with delicious treats on the side or seek to soak up the sun with a Bacardi cocktail in hand, The Den Terrace is the perfect tropical oasis to escape to in the heart of Covent Garden. Their afternoon tea includes savoury and sweet bites, and of course classic warm scones. These treats can be enjoyed with a glass of champagne, G&T or a rum cocktail in hand. I’ve tried all the options (ooops..) and I’m currently struggling to pick a favourite. The terrace itself is beautifully decorated with an arch of fern foliage as the focal point, alongside an array of greenery from flower pots to mini cacti on the tables. The surrounding will definitely make you feel as if you have left Covent Garden and entered the tropics. Oh, did I mention it’s the perfect place for pictures as the light is very subtle. And trust me, you’d definitely want to take a picture of those treats. Even the porcelain Ted Baker sets are too cute not to be captured. Book here.

I’d love to know what are some of your favourite summer activities? I’m sure there’s something I haven’t tried yet and I’m always up for new experiences.

Michelle x

 

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*This post is in partnership with St Martins Lane and The Den Terrace, however all opinions are my own.

With Christmas well underway and gift shopping in full swing, I’m once again as confused as ever when it comes to making my loved ones happy. I’m not really the person to buy gifts. And it’s not because I don’t like giving. There’s nothing that makes me happier than seeing the person across me excited as they rip that beautiful gift wrap that took me so long to do!  I love the idea of giving but I’m more about the non-material gifts such as experiences and memories. A box under the Christmas tree is great but will you remember what was inside in two weeks? Not really. Unless the person giving it to you has really put some thought into it and made it a little more memorable.

This year I came to a decision. Since my family loves Christmas a tiny bit more than I do (well a LOT more actually) I have to make the effort and create a truly personal experience. Each and every gift is carefully selected and has a special meaning to both me and them. And let’s be honest, that’s not an easy task! It’s much easier for me to do what everyone else does, get a jumper and some socks and get it done with. But people who do that are just doing Christmas the wrong way! To me the meaning of gift giving goes far beyond any ritual or tradition and it has more to do with who you are as a person and what the person receiving the gift means to you.

 

While looking for inspiration for my list of top meaningful things to give this Christmas, I came across a few quotes that really inspired me to be more creative with my gifts and go the extra mile this year. Here is what I discovered:

The beauty of Christmas is not in the presents but in the presence.

The manner of giving is worth more than the gift.

Each day is a gift. Don’t send it back unopened.

The greatest gift you can give someone is your time. Because when you give your time, you’re giving a portion of your life that you’ll never get back.

And that last one really got me thinking. Is there a better gift than time? We’re all short on time. If you ask the person next to you if they have time to grab some coffee after work, chances are they don’t. They have to pick up the kids from school, or go to the gym, or do some shopping. The lack of time is something that we all experience. So when Henry London approached me to collaborate on this post, I knew right away, it was the perfect TIME!

As I said above, I want my presents to be meaningful. It’s not just about a watch in a box. What’s special about Henry is not only the watches arrive beautifully packaged but they also offer the opportunity to have your watch personalised through their exclusive engraving service. Personalised? Sign. Me. Up. There’s nothing better than having the option to make a gift that extra bit special by customising it with initials, a special date or a personal message. There is so much you can do with engraving and I decided to give you a few ideas and hopefully make it easier for you.

 

Dates:

The date that you met that person; Their birth date; The date you’re giving them the watch

Initials:

I wouldn’t go just for the first initials like M.N for example. If you want to make it special, either have their full first name and second initial or the other way round. In my case it would be Mihaela N. Anyone could have the initials M.N.

Quote:

I asked Henry Watches to engrave “All we have is now” on mine as I really thought this goes perfectly with the watch. If I was to give this as a present, I know it has a special meaning. It’s like saying to the other person, here’s a reminder that you shouldn’t waste your time on things that are not worthy. Also remember that yesterday is not coming back and tomorrow is not here yet, so focus on the present moment.

The engraving service is available on their complete watch collection but the length of the engraving depends on the case size of the watch. If you’re unsure, just get in touch with them and they will be more than happy to help.

Check out there amazing new collection here.

Michelle x

Photography by Olga Kim. Find her on Instagram @olgakimphotography

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Now that the weather in London is so much nicer and all the trees are blossoming, it’s all about spending time outside. Organising a fun afternoon in the sunshine seems like an obvious thing to do. London is such a diverse and dynamic city, and there is something for every mood and occasion. So much that sometimes we find it hard to sift through all the options.

When I’m searching for inspiration and places to visit in my favourite city, I normally look on Instagram first. However, the place we visited this time, I discovered by accident a few years ago. It was one of my first times visiting London back in my student days. I was traveling on a budget, so coaches back then were the only affordable option for me. I met my friends near Victoria coach station and right next to where they had parked, I saw this girly, blush pink cafe. It was like a fairy tale come to life.

A couple of weeks ago, while browsing on Instagram and Pinterest for some girly inspiration to match my new pink skirt, I stumbled upon the same pink cafe again! I could not hold my excitement and messaged my friend to meet up. Cake included, of course! You cannot go to Peggy Porschen without trying her award-winning treats. I highly recommend a slice of the strawberry and champagne one, with a side of macarons, if you too are a fan. A selection of Peggy’s own blend teas, inspired by flavours from her kitchen, is also available. We couldn’t get enough of the jasmine one, which had such a beautiful aroma.

Later that afternoon we went on a quest to find the most instagrammed pink door in the area. I’ve seen it scrolling through my Instagram feed a million times but I had no idea where exactly it was. I remember taking a screenshot of it on my phone but it wasn’t there anymore. That’s the problem with having no memory – you end up deleting important stuff. Luckily, everything’s online these days, if you are lucky enough to have battery on your phone of course.

After a long stroll down King’s Road in the sunshine and a few stops on the way (mainly at florist shops), we found ourselves on Oakley Street. We had to stop and admire the beauty for a while before continuing ahead. And just when I thought the afternoon could not get any better, we discovered a pink bridge at the end of the street. It lead to the beautiful Battersea Park where we spent the rest of our lovely afternoon.

I would love to know where you guys find inspiration and places to visit. Do you have any tips and different sources to Instagram and Pinterest?

The photos were taken on my Olympus Pen camera.

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H&M Spotted Blouse | New Look Pink Leather Skirt | Dune Patent Heels | Katie Loxton Pouch

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“Is it spring yet? Can I take my coat off? Maybe not just yet… Oh, I’ll take it off, I’m feeling too hot! Oh, no, it started raining again?!?”

I mean, literally, this weather has been more than confusing in the past month and understandably so. It’s March after all. But let’s face it – one sunny day a week doesn’t supply a sufficient amount of vitamin D to get us through the transitioning spring season. It’s been such a long winter in the UK and I really feel like I need to spend more time walking, getting more fresh air and making the most out of every opportunity to be outdoors. But when the weather is changing by the hour, I find it hard to decide what to wear and where to go.

I had my eye on this place for a while. After discovering it on the DOJO app, I naturally stalked it on insta and before I knew it, I was hooked. I met my lovely friend in the early hours of the afternoon and we had a nice walk before spending the next two hours in the absolute heaven that is Bourne and Hollingsworth. I must say we’re spoiled for choice here in London and there is far too many beautiful and quirky places that are worth a visit but this place got me obsessed with the interiors the moment I walked in.

The space is so bright, airy and full of light, thanks to the huge windows and high ceilings. The sun was lending a helping hand and the place was very well lit. Apart from a small birthday celebration in the greenhouse area, we were more or less the only people there, which of course was perfect for taking out my new Olympus camera and getting some snaps of the interior.

One of the highlights for me was the gorgeous velvet sofa in green which adds a sophisticated touch but makes for a quirky little snug area. A good amount of plants hung from the high ceilings, create quite an impact and the floral prints on the sofas add a botanical feeling throughout the entire space.

My friend’s partner is a chef and, as you can imagine, she is not easily impressed and can be very picky with her food. But all she kept saying was how delicious the food is and how everything was cooked to perfection. And my inner foodie couldn’t agree more. The staff kindly accommodated all our requests and they didn’t mind us being all over the place with our camera at all.

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