C'est le weekend!

Friday, 29 March 2013

Here's a photo of the Sacre Coeur that I took last year. I know it's wishful thinking to hope for sun, what with the baltic weather we've been having for...forever, but there's nothing wrong with as cloud man, Gavin Pretor Pinney would say 'blue sky thinking'.

On the topic of wishful thinking, which also includes the subject of happiness, I just watched a brilliant TED talk by Dan Gilbert that I think everyone should watch. It's inspiring and food for thought. And when you watched this - go watch author of Eat Pray Love, Elizabeth Gilbert's.

Happy weekends and have great Easters.

Paris Living #1: Stefano Pilati

Friday, 29 March 2013

I spotted this amazingly eclectic and colourful Paris apartment on Architectural Digest yesterday, owned by fashion designer Stefano Pilati - he's the former creative director of Yves Saint Laurent, and is now head of design at Ermenegildo Zegna. (Love those pink socks.) Although it's not quite as serene and calm a space as I'd choose myself (mind you the muted colours of the bedroom aren't far off) I thought it was a really lovely use of colour, furniture and art. It's a great example of the mix between old and new, and of course it's in Paris.

Pick of Pins #1

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

I spend so much time on Pinterest every week that I'm going to start a little weekly edit of my favourite finds. I chose these four because:

1. This is a great little mantra to live by for 2013
2. I love that couch, serene colours and the aesthetic - it looks like a really calm living space
3. Brooklyn Bridge - for one day I will live in NYC
4. And the cover of volume 2 of Cereal magazine. I love the photography, styling and overall aesthetic of this lovely new travel and food tome.

Pardon my French...

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

I started my French lessons yesterday, hence no post - I ran out of time trying to post to Art Wednesday and write an Easter weekend guide for DistrictMTV. And if I'm honest, I'm still suffering from the weekend. It was great, packed as usual, but I didn't get enough sleep as this weekend I:

+ Went to a friend's birthday party, in a little flat near Canal Saint Martin on Friday night.
+ Ate chinese for lunch at La Taverne de Zhao.
+ Bought a black tee from American Apparel
+ Had dinner at a friend's parents' beautiful flat in the 9 arrondissement on Saturday.
+ Then went to a friend's house-warming in the 10th followed by a dance at a club called Memphis. It was as bad as it sounds.
+ Got home at 7am on Sunday morning and slept til noon.

So after a full weekend, yesterday was hard work, especially the 3 hours of French. But the lesson was good and I'm looking forward to today's.

C'est le weekend

Friday, 22 March 2013

Image credits: 1. [here] 2. [here] 3. [here] 4. [here] all via my tumblr Rue Rodier
So I managed to sign up for French lessons yesterday - hence the first image. I had to take a test, which was pretty nerve-wracking and my brain was frazzled afterwards, but I think I did better than expected. I start Monday for six weeks and they've placed me in the last week of the first level - so not a complete beginner, which is a relief!

I've also been thinking about how to redecorate our bedroom. At the moment it's a horrible bright yellow, which when we still had the semi-see through curtains up, it felt like we were sleeping inside the Swedish flag. Not cool. I love these easy, and super cosy-looking grey bedsheets and blanket.

The Portuguese and I have also signed up to the gym and start on the 1st April after he comes back from Porto. I'd like to say that this is what I'll be looking like on a bike in the gym, ahem.

And cakes, because we are celebrating a friend's birthday tonight. I love these cupcakes with white frosting that's been crafted to make them look like rose heads.

Hope you have lovely weekends.

Whilst in Paris

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Image credit: Hannah Lemholt Photography via [here]

I'm going to the Alliance francaise today to sign up for French lessons and to take a test to see if I'm a complete beginner, or if I can go into the next level. I'm secretly hoping I'm not a complete beginner - I have GCSE French, so that should count for something right? Probably not, but it's worth a shot. Anyway what with finally taking the plunge and starting French lessons, I thought it made sense to outline a few things that I would like to achieve whilst living in Paris, and particularly this year, as it's the year I turn 30.

To be honest, I never thought that would turn 30 in Paris, I've always loved the city, but never envisaged myself living here. I thought I'd be in New York by now, but then life (or love) can take you on weird and wonderful journeys. So while I'm here, I need to make the most of it. I'm not going to make a list of things to do before I turn 30, as I only have just over a month (eek!), but instead make a list of the things I'd like to get done in Paris, in my 30th year. So here goes:

1. So first up, learn French

2. Buy and learn how to use a digital SLR camera - I'd like to start taking my own photos for the blog

3. Learn a new skill - besides French and photography, I'd like to learn how to either knit or sew properly

4. Make cushion covers to replace the horrible brown ones currently on our sofas

5. Go to two exhibitions a month - you'd think that editing Art Wednesday I would get to see tonnes of shows, but the truth is, I'm usually edited other writers' words about their trip to an exhibition.

6. Take up dance lessons again.

7. Learn about wine - and more importantly French wine.

8. And to accompany the wine - learn to cook French food.

9. Visit two new countries - it's been my aim for the last few years, to visit two new countries a year. Last year I went to Sweden and Belgium. The year before that it was Portugal and Morocco.

10. Have city breaks to Istanbul and Beirut - we are currently organising these.

11. Travel to India.

12. Stick to an exercise routine.

13. Be less fearful about... everything.

14. Worry less.

15. Go to a festival in France and one in the UK.

16. Laugh more.

17. Set up a monthly girls get-together.

18. Shop at markets in Paris.

19. Make more French friends.

20. Host themed dinners - this sounds a little cheesy, but I've been reading Nathan Turner's American Style and have been completely inspired by the themed dinner parties he threw in his shop in LA.

Ok, so there's quite a few there, and it's a list I probably should have done at the beginning of the year, but I'm going to try hard to tick them off. I may have to delve back into The Happiness Project for a little helping hand with some of these. (If you haven't read it yet - read it! It's life-changing.)

What do you want to get done this year?

March Wish List

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

1. Riley washed silk T-shirt from Equipment
2. Pink Animal Jacquard Skirt from Whistles
3. Foldover clutch from Claire Vivier
4. Klaia Cage Ring from Odette NYC
5. Sunglasses from Illesteva
6. Cotu White leather boots from Superga

Better late than never, here's my March wish list. Lots of pinks and white, perfect for spring. I don't think it's quite warm enough yet to wear these in Paris, but I can but dream.

Morning Monday

Monday, 18 March 2013

Hope you all had good weekends. This weekend I:

+ Ate tasty Korean at Gin Goa Gae - apparently one of the best in Paris. And it was - I ordered marinated pork and cuttlefish and it was cooked at our table on a portable grill and served up with an array of 5 weird and wonderful candied vegetables and herbs. Seriously tasty.
+ Watched The Silver Linings Playbook - yes the film that Jennifer Lawrence won an Oscar for. She's good, I'm not sure that she was Oscar-winning good, but it was a great film - really uplifting, and good for anyone who has ever had doubts or suffered from some kind of depression.

+ Went for a bike ride on the Velib, followed by a freezing cold walk in Paris' biggest park, Bois de Boulogne, which is more like a mini forest. Probably not one to do on a cold day, but rather a good place to go with a picnic when it's warmer.
+ Went for dinner on Saturday night with friends at L'Atmosphere - a great bistro right by Canal Saint Martin. I ate half a lobster, which at €18 was really reasonable, and unlike most restaurants in Paris (the city is becoming more like London and it's increasingly difficult to book a table unless you call a week in advance) we managed to book a table for 8 on the same day.
+ Then had brunch with a friend in the Marais on Sunday.

I also hit a bit of a wall on Saturday - hence the 'The struggle is part of the story' quote. I'm living in Paris, but I keep going back to London once a month, so I don't feel like I've fully immersed myself in the culture yet, and I can't speak French, which is obviously becoming increasingly frustrating. So this week I'm signing up to French lessons at the Alliance Francaise to start in April and I'm looking into dance lessons - partly inspired by Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper in the film, but mainly because I miss dancing. I used to dance ballet on and off. There's a studio just up my road - Le Studio de Lea, which offers Salsa, Zumba, Jazz etc.. and even yoga. I'll let you know how I get on.

Back to Paris

Friday, 15 March 2013

Image credit: [here]
I just got back from spending a crazy, packed week in London where I:

+ Celebrated my friend's beautiful wedding
+ Stayed in the fabulous, well-designed Town Hall Hotel in Bethnal Green
+ Drank inventive cocktails in the Town Hall Hotel bar and then ate a delicious multiple course tasting menu in Nuno Mendes' restaurant, Viajante
+ Had a massive traditional English roast at the Hawksmoor on Sunday with my mum for Mother's Day
+ And ran the door at Art Wednesday's Nice To Meet You on Wednesday

C'est le weekend!

Friday, 8 March 2013

I'm off to London for a wedding - a good friend is getting married tomorrow - and then work. Be back soon. Meanwhile I've set up a new Tumblr, please have a look and let me know what you think!

Image credit: Tower Bridge by EyePoetryPhotography and you can buy the print [here]

Petit Paris: Exercise

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

David Hockney's A Bigger Splash
I've been meaning to write a practical post about exercise for a little while now since I've actually started doing some. It took me weeks to get started. In January it was either too cold, too dark - it didn't get light in Paris til gone 9am - now it's around 8am (I think, as if I'm honest, I haven't seen 7am in a while) - or I was waking up with a headache having either drunk too much, might I say, very good red French wine the night before, or I stayed up too late browsing blogs - my new favourite past time. I finally persuaded my boyfriend to accompany me to Decathlon - Paris' mecca for all things sporty - to pick up a set of weights - I freelance from home so the idea here was that I would do a few reps in the morning before I sit down to my laptop (this has happened twice) - an exercise ball, because everyone attempting to exercise from home should have one, apparently, and a swimming costume and hat - for you can't go swimming in a public pool in Paris without one. Yes, even the men have to wear hats. So last month with hat and cosie in hand, I braved the still biting cold and ventured to our nearest pool.

Swimming in Paris is not like swimming in London. I have been kicked, slapped and splashed so many times, I've actually started to find it funny. Luckily I'm a strong swimmer so it doesn't faze me too much, but swimming here is far from relaxing. And if you think Parisian men are arrogant, just wait to you see them in the pool. They are in constant competition with each other - who can swim the fastest - cajoling each other on, and if one goes without waiting their turn, there'll be trouble. Yes, the pools here are so packed at certain hours, you have to cue in the pool to swim. Then there are older women who insist on doing back crawl, crawling along at such a pace they might as well be treading water.

Anyway, if I haven't put you off swimming (it's really not that bad, you get used to it, and it's good exercise) or any other exercise for that matter, here are a few top tips.

+ Nageurs - this website has everything you need to know about swimming pools in Paris and France, from where they are - there are around two in each arrondissement and how big they are to their opening hours. If you get really into it, you can even post how many metres you swim. 
+ Decathlon - as I said before this is Paris' mecca for all things sporty. They sell everything here and it's cheap
+ Good old-fashioned gyms - gyms are quite expensive in Paris, so make sure you're going to use it before you sign up. Club Med is one of the most popular and they have them everywhere, and Fitness Price is also good, and they usually do deals in the new year. 
+ Yoga - most gyms offer yoga classes, but there are also yoga studios dotted about. Try Le Centre Uma.
+ Bikram Yoga - this is another thing I've been meaning to try. It's pricey, but most studios offer a deal of 10 days straight (of course you need the time to do it every day) for just €35 - the only problem is you'll probably be hooked by the end of it, and that's when they get your money. Try Bikram Yoga Paris.
+ Dance Studios - I've danced on and off for years, mainly ballet, so will probably take up some more dance classes soon. From what I've found, Le Studio de Lea looks like a good option and they have lots of choices.
+ You can also play tennis - here's a good list of where all the courts are, and here's the website to book them.

My colour of the year: Emerald

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

With spring in the air in Paris - well there are blue skies, but it's still bloody freezing - I've been looking into what to wear and of course, more colourful interiors inspiration for the flat. Pantone's colour for 2013 is Emerald, so a good place to start and it just so happens to be my birth stone, and this is the year I turn 30, spooky.

1. Mape cropped leather jacket from Acne at Net-a-Porter.com
2. Satchel in Emerald from Cambridge Satchels
3. Urbanears Headphones from Urban Outfitters
4 Siren ring in green onyx from Monica Vinader
5. Tassel earrings from Oscar de la Renta at Net-a-Porter.com
6. Medium solid green rope bowl from Liberty

I'd also like to get my mitts on this green mac:

Image credit [here]

And here's some interior inspiration - green accents, a gorgeous green window frame, ornaments and miscellaneous bits and bobs.

Image credits: 1. [here] 2. [here] 3. [here] 4. [here]

Morning Monday

Monday, 4 March 2013

This weekend was as usual food and wine-filled, but with the added bonus that the sun finally showed its head. To celebrate I bought three pots of daffodils, a small cactus and a bunch of tulips. I also...

+ Finally watched Ruby Sparks
+ Went to Cafe des Musee for dinner Saturday night with some American friends
+ Missed a Paris Fashion Week party as we glugged a little too much champagne at a house party on Saturday night
+ Cured my hangover on Sunday with a cheeseburger from Lou Lou (that I wrote about here) and then strolled around in the sun in the beautiful Jardin du Luxembourg
+ And then sleepily ate some tasty duck at Le Petit Marche on Sunday night

So here's a Monday mid-morning pick me up - a quote that I can relate to having moved to Paris to pursue my dreams and discover a new city.

C'est le weekend!

Friday, 1 March 2013

It's been a busy week. First my friend Harry came to stay on Tuesday for the beginning of Paris Fashion Week and now my mum is visiting.

Yesterday I took her to the Museum of Everything at the Chalet Society. I've been meaning to go for ages (ever since one of my Art Wednesday writers wrote about it for me), but just haven't had the time. Entertaining a guest, however, especially a parent is the perfect excuse to take the afternoon off, and I've haven't really explored Saint Germain, where it's based. I won't spoil it for you, but here are a few photos I took on the way in.

I watched Brene Brown's TED talk, which I read about on sfgirlbybay and have been sending it to everyone. Victoria was right, it's brilliant, thought-provoking and if you're procrastinating over something at the moment, it's just the inspiration you need to pull your finger out.

I also purchased LA interior designer Nathan Turner's new book (I know, not very French, but since I moved to Paris, I've been looking for interiors inspiration for the flat) after reading about him on Rue magazine, an interesting interiors and design-focused San Francisco-based publication - check out their new site, Rue Daily. I love his colourfully eclectic style that's peppered with patterned fabrics, art works and trinkets he picked up on his travels.

Image credit: Kimberley Genevieve for Rue magazine

I also discovered cool new quarterly magazine, Apology, edited by former Index and Vice Journalist, Jesse Pearson that's filled with literature, humour, essays, photography - see Ryan McGinley below and  fiction. And the front cover is gorgeous.

And so bon weekends everyone!

Image credit: 'The Red Balloon' print available to buy from [here]

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