A.P.C. Fall 2013 Look Book

Friday, 26 July 2013

I have a bit of a thing for French labels and it's nothing to do with moving to Paris, well perhaps a little. There's just that certain je ne sais quoi about French fashion. I love the simple chic designs of Sandro, Maje and of course A.P.C. whose simply tailored and relaxed designs, with a vintage twist, are so easy to wear. My favourite jacket to date is a green A.P.C. anorak that has seen me through all types of weather (don't forget I'm from England) making it by far the best (and most practical) wardrobe item that I own. For their Fall 2013 collection, I've got my eyes on the leather sleeved bomber at the top and those white trainers, which I believe are the ones that they designed in collaboration with Nike. Which look would you wear?

Weekend in Pictures #2

Monday, 22 July 2013

I haven't been able to write my blog as regularly as I like to recently, mainly because for the last two weeks I've just been travelling, first to Budapest, then back to Paris for two days, then through the Chunnel to Canterbury and then up to Latitude Festival in Suffolk for the weekend. I finally got back to Paris late last night. I love travelling and moving around, but sometimes it does take its toll - last night was the first night we slept in our bed in two weeks as we've also had family staying with us. There are currently 6 of us in the flat, including a baby and a six year old. That's a lot of bodies, especially in this heat. It will hit 35 degrees in Paris today - it's so hot, my glasses keep slipping down my nose as I type.

Anyway I thought I'd share a few photos from the weekend. It was lovely to visit my mum and Lily the cat in Canterbury, and then head to Latitude, which if you've been you'll know how great it is, and if you haven't, I thoroughly recommend it. It's by far one of the most relaxed and chilled out festivals around, mainly due to the ridiculously high number of kids running around and the fact that there's so much to see besides music including ballet - we saw the beautiful Ballet Boyz - theatre, comedy, cabaret and cooking. Here's the preview I wrote for Art Wednesday. Bloc Party and Kraftwerk were definitely the festival highlights. Have great weeks!

A Weekend in Budapest

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

I was lucky enough to visit Budapest at the weekend as my friend Mariana is currently working there. I've been wanting to visit this wonderful city for a long time, so jumped at the opportunity. One of the first things that struck me about the Hungarian capital was just how calm and quiet it was during the day. There isn't that hustle and bustle you find in most European capitals - it's touristy yes, but no where near the hoards you find in London and Paris. The city itself is really beautiful; the architecture is captivating - an interesting mix of communist-style, Soviet Bloc buildings and ice cream colours. And the best bit? The city baths, which you can visit even in winter as they're heated. So here are a few things not to miss:

1. Castle Hill - this is the area encompassing Buda Castle and complex - where Hungary's kings that includes Budapest's must-sees: the Royal Palace, Matthias Church and the Fisherman's Bastion. Try to see the changing of the guard if you can, which involves a march with drums. I'd recommend spending a whole morning or afternoon wandering around here and perhaps have lunch in one of the cafes or grab an ice-cream. It involves a lot of walking, so make sure you wear comfy shoes. A mistake I made and was practically crippled by the end of the day! Those Sandro shoes I'm wearing in the photo above are pretty, but painful...

2. St Stephen's Basilica - the basilica towers over one of the main square and is right next to a group of bars, making it a perfect photo op place for night time

3. Margaret Island is probably the best place to go on a hot day as there are the baths, with plenty of shade if you need it and pretty gardens to walk through. Oh and I almost forgot to mention the 

4. Szechenyi Baths - unfortunately we didn't have time to make it to these baths. Although they look the most aesthetically pleasing, they don't have any shade. And in my rather dehydrated condition on Sunday I would probably have melted into a giant puddle, but they'd be on the top of my list for the next visit. 

Eating & Drinking:

- The Big Fish - although Hungary is a land-locked country and not known for its delights of the sea, Fish Bar dishes up some of the scrumiest seafood I've ever tasted. You go up to the counter and choose want you want and then they cook it for you. We went for a portion of battered fish and chips and a portion of squid, prawns and scallops. It was delicious, and we washed it down with a bottle of white Hungarian wine. Just don't sit inside before a night out as you will come out stinking of fish. 

- Hello Baby - I haven't danced so much, as I did at this place over the weekend, for ages. It's a really fun place to go with various rooms and music, and it's set in a beautiful, old high-ceilinged building. 

- Innio Wine bar - this is a great pre or post dinner venue for a glass of wine, Hungarian or otherwise.

[Photography: Marissa Cox]

Baked: French Almond Cake

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

The last few days have been gloriously sunny in Paris. It's been so nice and uplifting to throw open the shutters in the morning to a bright blue sky and rays of sunlight hitting the building. And the evenings have been so warm and balmy, I feel like I'm on holiday. So I haven't really felt like baking, let alone spending time in a warm kitchen, so to ease myself in I thought I'd try out something simple. While I Skyped with a friend in London last night, I made a French Almond Cake (also know as 'Financiers' in finger form - the name comes from the traditional rectangular mould that looks like a bar of gold or according to Wiki, these little almond fingers became very popular in the financial district near the Paris stock exchange - a bit of trivia for you), which is about as simple as they come - staple cake batter, but with added almond powder. So here goes:

110g butter
120g caster sugar
40g flour
1/2 packet of backing powder (the French sachets here) or 1tsp
90g ground almonds or almond powder
x3 eggs
x1 tbsp milk
x1 tsp vanilla essence
x1 packet flaked almonds 


Preheat the oven to 180g, grease a cake tin with butter and then line it with greaseproof paper. Mix the butter and sugar together (I didn't have to wait long for the butter to soften in this weather), then beat in the eggs. Sift in flour, almond powder, milk and vanilla essence. Empty the mixture into the cake tin and finally sprinkle with flaked almonds. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown. Et voila! 
 If you want to be particularly fancy, you can dust icing sugar over the cake.

A Day Trip to Chateau de Chantilly

Monday, 8 July 2013

I took a little day trip to Chateau de Chantilly yesterday with friends, to take advantage of the glorious sunshine and have a picnic with a view. After visiting the Chateau, which is like a mini Versailles and a lot less touristy, we whiled away a few hours in the grounds having a picnic and napping in the sun. The perfect Sunday afternoon.

Chateau de Chantilly is just 20minutes on the train from Gard du Nord and walking distance from the train station. Tickets cost €14, which gives you entry to the grounds and the chateau. 

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