Sur la Seine with Vins de Bordeaux

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Last Tuesday I was invited along with four other bloggers and journalists, to sample wines from Vins de Bordeaux on a little boat on the Seine. Naively I thought it was going to be a big event - the last one was at le Perchoir in the 11éme, one of Paris' largest rooftop bars. I was looking for a big boat to board, but was pleasantly surprised when I looked down to the water and saw a little boat with wine, charcuterie and various snacks being laid out, and just a few passengers. So more of a private boat tour. 

Our driver took us on a round-trip from les Docks up the river to the Eiffel Tower, while we sampled different bordeaux wines; a claret, rosé and whites - a Pessac-Leognan from Le Dada de Rouillac and Graves de Vayres from Chateau Goudichaud - and heard from Nathalie of Chateau Bortinet about each variety. I'm no expert, although I do know my favourites (the alvarinho grape and wines from the Sancerre, Chablis, Bordeaux and Douro regions), but my favourite was the rose - it was crisp and refreshing, perfect for a warm summer evening on the water!

Thanks to Ylenia at Ambitieuse for taking the photo of me!
Ylenia from Ambitieuse 

At Home With Meg

Friday, 25 July 2014

Meg is the Denverite behind De quelle planete es-tu?, where she blogs about Paris life, café culture and beer (lots of it). After completing her master’s degree at the French business school, INSEEC she landed the job of Digital Content Editor at Dior. I met her a few months ago in her apartment, when she invited a few of us over for drinks and nibbles. Her vintage style and memorabilia instantly caught my eye, and I thought her colourful cosy apartment in the 16eme filled with knick knacks, photos, books and vinyls would be a good place to start my new series.

So last Saturday I snooped around her apartment, which was obviously just a poor excuse to spend some quality cat time with her seriously cute three month old kitten, Jefferson. I don’t like to boast, but I think he liked me – just look at him posing for photos.

Scroll down to read the full interview!

Note: The questions are a work in progress, so the format will probably morph and change, but hope you like it!

What brought you to Paris?
I moved to Paris in 2008 for university. Having previously spent my Junior year of high school abroad in a French high school in Normandy (where I learned French), I was itching to get back to complete my studies in France. I obviously fell in love with the city and over the years it has become my home.

How long have you lived in your apartment?
A little over 2 ½ years.

How would you describe your interior style?
Flea market and retro goodness, with pops of color and memories all over the walls.

Favourite piece of furniture?
My 1950s formica red cabinet with drawers that I found at the Centre des Objets Perdus near Canal Saint Martin. It is perfect in every way.

Go-to shops/places to buy for your home?
By far I prefer to find my treasures at flea markets or brocante shops (I’ve got favorites in both Paris and in Denver)… I also love finding things from my parents’ house that they don’t use anymore.
While traveling I also love finding things… not too long ago on a trip to Istanbul I found the most beautiful rug.

Interiors/style that have inspired you?
Mostly retro, minimalist décor with lots of crowded table tops and shelves where I can put little knick knacks. I love wooden furniture and random bursts of color. My main inspiration is when I see homes (or photos of homes, ha) that really reflect the person that lives there… you see the apartment and you think to yourself, “this is so that person”.

I was raised in a house that really reflected my mom’s taste and everything that she liked: our home was filled with trinkets and pieces of furniture from travels in the Middle East, with also a Native American flare given her Arizona roots and love for Santa Fe. Our walls were covered with her artwork and that of her mother or other artists, mixed with photographs and other hanging things like rugs and baskets. She was so good at mixing together different styles, modern and ethnic, colourful and shades of browns and tans…

All of this inspired me so much growing up, and made me realise that I want my apartment/home to reflect who I am and be filled with all of the things that I like - and that of my chéri. It also has to be filled with memories.

If your flat was on fire (touch wood), what three things would you take with you?
I would immediately grab my vintage green metal toolbox that is filled with everything I deem awesome and close to my heart, my cigar box filled with favorite photos old and new, and my kitten, Jefferson. But if Louis grabs the cat, I’d probably also grab my metal filing box filled with all my important files (being a foreigner in France helps to build up quite the collection of important and irreplaceable documents!).

Sources for inspiration?
I just love Pinterest and Instagram for drooling over interior design and decoration ideas. I usually get a bit jealous when I see big open spaces as most places in Paris are quite small, but I must say that I love discovering how to arrange random things and maximise space with things like shelving or hooks on walls, for example. It’s pure eye candy for me, I just  love it, it gives me so many decoration ideas. The other main inspiration of mine are my in-laws. I just love the way they have decorated their countryside house (and everywhere they have lived).

Top three instagrammers?
I’m going to go with @westelm +West Elm @ohladycakes and @ohhappyday

Online reading material?
Note to Self +Note to Self , SF Girl by Bay, Hello Sandwich. Although I must say I am always so thrilled when I find new lovely blogs to follow.

Last good book you read?

What's on your magazine pile?
Vanity Fair, Vogue… whatever catches my eye at a random magazine shop or museum.

Breakfast or dinner?
Breakfast, à l’américaine, savoury all the way. 

Wine or beer?
Beer forever and ever… IPAs and stouts, preferably. I like wine though, too. 

Tea or coffee?
Oh, this is a toughy. I do like both…. I like my espressos with sugar and tea with heaps of honey. Coffee vs. tea depends on the time of day, where I am and the mood! 

Bedside table essentials?

Little containers for random things, a ring stand, hooks for necklaces, my jewellery box, a big glass of water, phone charger and chapstick.

And finally your favourite Paris places!
Pain & Chocolat +Pain Et Chocolat for breakfast, Le Trois 8 +Les Trois 8 for a craft beer, Cafe Loustic for coffee, and I love wandering around Belleville and Montmartre. Oh and my favourite sweet treats are chouquettes.

Catching light at the Louvre

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

I'm finally getting around to posting these photos I took at the Louvre last Monday. It was 14 juillet or Bastille Day to most, which not only means big national celebrations, but also free entry to most museums around Paris. Win win. So I took full advantage, having not been to the Louvre for oh, about 7 years...and had a good nosey around. You could spend hours in here, and I did. The place is huge. I headed straight to the Egyptians and made my way through the ancient civilisations, through the statue hall and up to the apartments of Napoleon and Marie Antoinette. I spent at least three hours wandering around, which included having a drink on the terrace overlooking the pyramids. When it's sunny this is quite possibly one of the best spots in Paris. My feet were a little sore by the end and I did have to dodge a lot of tourists, but it was worth it, especially to capture the shots below. 

A Jaunt around Jardin du Luxembourg

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

After some serious sugar intake at Laduree on Saturday, I was in need of a little walk. I said bye to Carin and trotted off to meet my man for a little jaunt around Jardin du Luxembourg. I'm not usually south of the river (sounding like a typical Londoner here), so wanted to take advantage of our location and see the park. While he found a seat in the sun (watching me take photos can get pretty laborious, I presume), I wandered around the gardens to capture a few shots. Of course the park was packed - people were sunbathing, roaming around and families were sailing boats on the pond, but it was good to be outside. The weather was lovely - a respite from the constant rain we've been having recently, and the atmosphere was warm and relaxed. 

I'd love to know what you think of the photos - and what's your favourite park in Paris?

Lunch at Ladurée

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

I had one of the loveliest Saturday's this long weekend, which helped kick me out of my slump. I met Carin at Caféotheque for coffee to help her with a photography assignment. After taking a few snaps of the pretty turquoise tables, we then meandered over to Ladurée, wandering through the winding cobbled streets of Saint Germain, which in the sun is a real treat, especially when we chose to walk down tiny streets we hadn't discovered before. This is one of the best things about Paris, you can stray off the beaten tourist track, without ever really getting lost. Of course, we did walk down a few dead ends, but sometimes these are the best for a good photo op. 

At Ladurée we shared a chicken club sandwich, which I highly recommend as they come big - with chunky fries - followed by a few macarons (the caramel salé is a personal favourite), which we gobbled up (in the daintiest possible way, of course) in the booth by the window for all passer-bys to see! 


Monday, 7 July 2014

I’m not usually so personal in this space, but the pros of having a personal blog is that you can be ‘personal’. So I will admit that the last few weeks have been tough. I got food poisoning from the wedding I went to in Porto, which put me out for two days and generally helped upset my balance. Not just because I was sick, but because Porto was also meant to be a holiday and a time to rest - I haven't done much of that in a long time, and am in some need of switching off (something I am terrible at). Being bed-bound because you're sick is obviously not very restful. And then (without trying to sound like every woman blighted by her body once a month, although I don’t feel so bad mentioning this after reading Garance’s brilliantly honest post), my hormones have been wreaking havoc (I came off the pill, to try and balance my moods, but it is currently having the opposite effect) which in turn has made me tired, grumpy, moody, low, sensitive and generally lethargic and lazy (did I miss anything?) And when I am all of these things (bit of a toxic combo) I retreat into myself, doubt myself, let those little gremlins in my head get louder and nastier, and I don’t get much done. So despite having a backlog of blog posts, I haven’t posted them and have been generally putting things off. They say procrastination is the thief of time, I'm going to add PMS to that equation. 

It’s hard to get out of slumps like this, which I’ve been trying to do by not drinking too much, listening to happy music (Pharrell’s 'Happy' is obviously high on the list), spending time with friends, organising my summer holiday, hopefully doing more exercise like yoga in the coming weeks and watching videos like this.

But despite my grumps, I’ve had a couple of good things happen over the last few days  – my interview with Paris interior designer, Dorothee Meilichzon can now be read in this month’s Eurostar Metropolitan magazine (read it here and here). And the nice people over at Made With Map featured a few of my favourite places in Paris on their Instagram feed this weekend. Thought I'd end this post on a positive note!

I'd love to know what you do to feel better when you're caught in a slump or your body drags you down!? 

[I took this photo in the Jardin du Palais Royal back when my mum was visiting.]
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