Afternoon Tea Chez Lauren

Monday, 31 March 2014

You might have noticed that my blog has been a little taken up with coffee, tea and cake lately, because that's what I've been doing with my time in Paris at the moment! I love coffee. If you follow me on Instagram you'll know, but being English I'm also a big fan of tea - you can take the girl out of London etc...Luckily I've met a great group of girls who all share my sentiments for a good cuppa, and fortunately for me they can bake too!

The lovely Lauren, who blogs at Folies du Bonheur, invited us to her beautiful flat in the 17th on Saturday for a spot of afternoon tea. She lives in one of those typical Parisian apartments; small, but perfectly formed, with wooden floors and pretty features. It's on the top floor, so she has a great view and plenty of light, which is rare for Paris. And it's really homey - she's a dab-hand at decorating and the space resembles her personal taste. I can't wait to do a little house tour for Apartment Therapy.

I brought strawberries, as without an oven, or kitchen for that matter, I'm not geared up to get crafty in the kitchen at the moment. But Lauren baked biscuits, scones, meringues and Katie baked cupcakes with nutella icing, left over from a crepe night we had at hers last week. We had a lovely time gorging ourselves on sweet treats, drinking copious cups of tea and gassing, as girls do. 

Lauren looking gorgeous in her pretty spring skirt that she made herself!

Coffee at Coutume Instituutti

Monday, 24 March 2014

Since I've been staying on the Rive Gauche, I've been visiting Coutume Instituutti what seems like almost every day. (I was even there yesterday for a quick catch-up with Lauren.) And as I mentioned in my post last week, I've been going there so often to work that I've dubbed it the 'office'.. So I thought I'd better follow Carin's lead and finally write about it. 

It's a big, beautiful room (or hall) bathed in light (it also doubles up as a music venue and gallery), which is so rare in Paris. As expected from a Scandinavian institute, the decor is light, bright and minimal, with long pastel-coloured tables (perfect for working on) that are peppered with little potted plants or cacti. The space was designed by Linda Bergroth, who won young designer of the year in Finland, 2012. I'll definitely be taking away some inspiration when I finally move into my own place! 

The coffee is also very good; the cafe is a collaboration with Coutume Cafe, so they know what they're doing. I managed to get a few snaps of the lovely Michelle (who works there) making me a latte. 

Coutume Instituutti is open Tuesday - Saturday 9H - 18H and Sunday 10H - 18H

Lately... on the left bank

Thursday, 20 March 2014

You may have noticed that I've been posting a lot of photos of this beautiful lady on my Instagram feed lately. I've been staying at a friend's on the Rive Gauche just near Cluny - La Sorbonne, so have been lucky enough to take strolls along the Seine, which is only a couple of minutes away and admire the view on an almost daily basis. I'll only be here for another week, so I'm making the most of it before I head back north of the river.

I've loved exploring a new neighbourhood, I would never have discovered Instituutti Coutume cafe (I'll be posting about in a couple of days, so check back soon) for one, which I've been dragging (kicking and screaming of course...not) friends to on an almost daily basis to work - I've now dubbed it 'the office' - and wandering around the pretty cobbled streets of the Latin Quartier, and discovering places like this, of course has its perks.

Saying that, I did spend most of the weekend north of the river. I finally checked out rooftop bar, Le Perchoir, ate the most delicious meal at Le Quilles, had a glass of champagne (yep, that's how I roll) in the luxurious lounge at the Shangri-La Hotel and breakfast at Claus.

What's your favorite Paris quarter?

Breakfast at Claus

Monday, 17 March 2014

I love a good breakfast and I'm not one to skip it, but it's usually just a quick bowl of often boring cereal for me. So eating breakfast out is a bit of a luxury. 

Besides the staple croissants, pain au chocolat or a baguette with butter and jam, Paris isn't big on breakfast. Not like in London where most cafes and restaurants serve it, and if all else fails there's always the greasy spoon for a big fat fry up. But one place that does it well in Paris is Claus.  Located just near Palais Royal, behind a beautiful white store front and one of the prettiest wreathed logos (this place looks like Santa's grotto at Christmas, but without the tat), founder Claus Esterman and his team dish up all the usual cakes and croissants, but also eggs - a choice of boiled, scrambled or poached - omelettes, pancakes, fruit and muesli, in a truly lovely space that you could honestly spend the whole day in. If the weather hadn't been so great at the weekend, I think I would have just curled up in a little corner and had a post-food snooze.

I went for poached eggs (cooked to perfection) with extra crispy bacon that was not in the least bit greasy, and my date opted for an omelette with ham, avocado and cheese, all washed down with lots of coffee. We were served by the owner himself, which I'm embarrassed to admit I only realised after we left, but he was was every bit as charming and unpretentious as I'd heard and even humoured me as I spoke my broken French, which doesn't happen very often in Paris. 

We were lucky and grabbed the last spot at the bar, but everyone that followed us in, and there were a lot, were politely turned away or told to make a reservation for Sunday. So if you're planning to go, I suggest you book.

Other good breakfast/brunch places: 

Photography by Marissa Cox.

In her shoes

Friday, 14 March 2014

I've had a pretty crazy couple of weeks, hence there hasn't been much action going on here. I've moved twice (and I'm still in temporary accommodation), travelled back and forth to London for a couple of days, had two interviews, covered Paris Fashion Week, collaborated with a brand and caught a cold. Must be the change in temperature, or a little thing called stress. 

I've also had to really get my act in gear to get everything done, which admittedly I should have sorted last year when I moved to Paris. Like get a phone contract, apply for a French bank account and get my social security card, which entitles me to free healthcare. No easy feat. If you live in Paris, then you'll know what I'm talking about, if not, may you never have to walk in my shoes. But that isn't to say that it's not all been worth it. Despite all of these things, I love living in Paris, and enjoy all of the little challenges the city of lights throws at me as an expat in a foreign city.

So I thought a post with lots of shoes, pretty, colourful shoes (because colourful is how I'd describe my life right now) designed by British footwear designer, Nicholas Kirkwood for his Autumn/Winter 2014 collection - that I went to check out at the Almine Rech Gallery in Paris, during Paris Fashion Week - fit the bill perfectly, to illustrate my current state of affairs. 

Photos by Marissa Cox.

Going Green

Monday, 3 March 2014

The new Porter magazine
I have a bit of thing for green. The colour seems to creep into my wardrobe without me making any kind of conscious decision about it (have a look at those varying shades below!) So when teaming up with jewellery brand, Bochic for this little shoot in Paris, it came as no surprise that my eye was immediately drawn to this gorgeous emerald green ring. Bochic do a beautiful range of glitzy luxurious jewellery with the well-travelled woman in mind. Yep, that's me down to a tee (almost!). I went for something a little more minimal to suit my style, but I can't wait to have an occasion to go for some serious bling. 

Coat: Whistles | White shirt: Zara | Jumper: COS | Beanie: American Apparel | Lipstick: MAC 
* Thanks to Katie Mitchell Photography for taking the photos of me.

Garance Doré x Rifle Paper Co

Sunday, 2 March 2014

There are some things that I've just never really thought of doing, and going to a launch to meet someone I admire, is one of them. But then I'm in Paris, so here's to new experiences. Yesterday I joined Lauren and Katie on an afternoon trip to the uber cool Colette store, so we could go geek out at the beautiful new collaboration between French power blogger and illustrator, Garance Doré and gorgeous Florida-based stationary company, Rifle Paper Co. I've been a big fan of Rifle Paper Co for a while now, so when I saw that Founder and Creative Director, Anna Bond had announced on her Instagram that the launch of the new collection would be in Paris, I thought well why not go?

After filling our bellies with burgers from Razowski's, we got to Colette early so we could get a good look at the collection before the hoards swarmed in. Colette is busy at the best of times, but this week is Paris Fashion Week, so we expected carnage. And to add to that, Carine Roitfeld was also signing copies of her book downstairs.

I got a few snaps of the cards that have been beautifully adorned with Garance's signature illustrations and then we lined up so Lauren could get one of her cards signed by the lady herself. After lots of giggling, cooing and instagramming, we then spotted Anna who was clearly enjoying her role out of the spotlight a little too much. We quickly put a stop to that and went over to chat to her. She was lovely, and graciously accepted our overly-excited fan club behaviour (thanks Anna) and group photos. After getting a little hot and bothered from all that excitement we headed out for a bit of fresh air and to think about who we could go get nerdy over next.

Garance Dore
Anna Bond
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