Gand is Grand

The London Lassie takes a trip to Belgium…

My ambition has always been to visit every country in the world and I suppose I have been to a lot of places atypical of the British ‘Packed it. Booked it. F***ed off’ – Russia, Finland, Mauritious, Hong Kong, Haiti, Australia…. Nevertheless I barely go off the beaten track. Did I befriend Aborigine women with sagging chests in the outback? No, I drank cocktails overlooking Sydney harbour. Did I explore some remote snowy Russian village? No, I went clubbing in a chic Moscow nightclub. Did I follow the Inca trail? No, I lay on the beach and drank Pina Coladas.

It’s not that I don’t have an interest in places off the beaten track. I just like the finer things in life and to be honest, I just haven’t got round to visiting these places yet. If you only have 5 days in Russia you’re obviously not going to skip Mosco and St. Petersburg right? However, I have started to realise that when you go off route, you discover so much more.

I recently went to Brussels to visit some friends I met in Sydney for a weekend of calorific cuisine (Pain au Chocolat and Moules Frites), crazy nights out, sunshine, amazing architecture and liquid gold beer.

On my first day my friends decided to show me another city. Antwerp – city of style? Bruges – picturesque and thrown into the mainstream thanks to Colin Farrell? Nope. Gand. I hadn’t heard of it either but I’m so glad I went!

Gand is Belgium’s answer to Venice. Mirror-like, rustic canals vein through its quaint side streets. The banks are filled with a contrast of modern apartments with balconies, adorned with Acne-wearing hipsters and antique like crumbling restaurants serving fine wine and Moules Frites.

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From left: Virginie, me, Sylvie and Maite. Mywhite lace skirt is from Topshop and is my new summer wardrobe staple.

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Restaurants serving calorific delights line the edges of vein-like, rustic canals.

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Moules Frites with white wine and garlic – yum!

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It seemed funny at the time to keep our lobster bibs on…

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Couldn’t resist snapping this cute loved-up couple!

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There was a music festival in Gand that day and the stages were set over the canals on bridges. When we got a boat trip (for 6 euro each!) we sailed under these ear busting stages and it was like having our own private gigs! The addition of sunshine, shopping in Gands selection of alternative boutiques, a gut-busting lunch by the river and a Hoegaarden beer made it the perfect day.

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Gand is only a 40 minute drive from Brussels, which is only 2 hours on the Eurostar from London.

Get to gorgeous Gand!

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The London Lassie’s takes a trip to NYC with Sunsilk…

On behalf of my new client Sunsilk, my fellow Salt PR colleague and I flew across the pond to shoot one of the most exciting look books of the decade!

Sunsilk haven’t been in the UK for a couple of years, but they’re HUGE in many other lands named under Elidor, Seda, Sedal and Sunsilk. Their Co-created products are customised for every hair type with the help of some of the world’s top hair experts. There’s Rita Hazan, colour expert to the stars; Ouidad, the Queen of Curl; Dr. Francesca Fusco, hair fall and scalp expert; Yuko Yamashita, who invented the Yuko straightening system; Jamal Hammadi, celebrity stylist and shine guru; Teddy, the go to guy on achieving volumous hair; Tom, the dry and damaged expert and last but not least, Mauro, the Latino hair expert.

Everyone knows bloggers are the new trend setters. I personally would much rather take advice from them than some PR ran celebrity. Bloggers are inspirational, not aspirational, so Sunsilk decided to shoot a fabulous look book at Hudson Studios in New York with 6 of the worlds top fashion bloggers, and their beloved hair experts!

The lucky bloggers:

Alaa Balkhy – Saudi Arabia/New York (http://alaabalkhy.blogspot.co.uk/)
Anny Vela – Peru (http://www.radarfashion.net/)
Eunice Annabel – Singapore (http://euniceannabel.blogspot.sg/)
Marou Rivero – Argentina (http://www.marourivero.com/)
Sherry Shroff – India (http://scherezadeshroff.blogspot.co.uk/)
Zuhal Okcu – Turkey (http://www.zetfashion.com/)

They were all a JOY to work with and absolutely gorgeous!

Apart from shooting we got to spend some fun times at some amazing Big Apple venues such as The Spotted Pig (where Maria parties with Jay Z and co!), ABC Kitchen, PHD, The Boom Boom Room, The Standard, Barneys, One Oak and Craft to name a few! A great week had by all…

A special thanks to all the hair experts, the bloggers, Salt PR, Unilever, Tracy, Nick & Co at Matador Productions, Hudson Studios, Vanity Projects (for their amazing nail bar), Anna Wolf (our superstar photographer), the lovely Martha and her very talented props crew, MARIA (big apple veteran and bff to Mary J. Blige and Beyonce!), Alpha Vomero (great stylist!), Marc and Michele at Marc Perman Management and of course Jamie Magnifico for being an all round legend!

Take a look at our story below…

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