Flâner in search of sugar…

It’s incredible to think that we started our flâner at the Eiffel Tower, lunched near Notre-Dame and swung by the Louvre, all in five hours. We continued our flâner towards the decadence that is Angelina’s Salon de The. Unfortunately, at least fifty other people had this idea at the same time, and they were all queued on the beautiful mosaic pavement. BB and I wisely decided to walk further on in search of hot chocolate & patisserie. This meant we had to wander through the very tempting Place Vendôme, the shopping zone for those with limitless credit cards. 

#cartier #paris #france #placevendome #jewellery

Not even I, jewellery Luddite, am completely immune to Cartier, especially when it’s this pretty!

#boulangerie #patisserie #paris #france #macaron #hotchocolate #erickayser

We ended up at Boulangerie Eric Kayser for some gooey salted caramel macarons and sinfully rich hot chocolate.

The children were now properly sugared up (yay, said no mother ever) and raring to go, so go we did. Up the road to the Opera Garnier, where DD seemed to realise she was on hallowed ground. Being there put her hours of dancing and mangled feet into perspective: “You think I could dance here some day, Ma?”  I don’t know, but summer school is definitely an option. I dream a dream…

And then, we were at Galeries Lafayette on Boulevard Haussmann. There are actually three buildings, but we headed straight for the one with the rotunda. See why?

#paris #france #haussmann #galerieslafayette #shopping

You can actually take a lift to the top of the Galeries and have a wonderful view over Paris. We didn’t. The sugar rush was fading fast.

On the bus home, clutching the iconic Galeries Lafayette bag.

Next on the WHISTLE-STOP tour: MONTMARTRE

Let us begin with a flâner…

I was SO excited to head to Paris last Friday, as you could probably tell from my posts. I didn’t count on the fact that I would tear up spectacularly when I saw BB again. She was teary, too. It was amazing to see her again, and the children.

She has a beautiful apartment in a tree-lined neighbourhood – all cobblestone streets, patisseries and Parisian charm. Paris abounds in charm. I love Paris. If I could only ever spend the rest of my life between two places, Paris and London would do. Wait, hang on, I love Reykjavik and New Orleans, too. Hmmm, let’s come back to this debate after I tell you more about my efforts to flâner.

#eiffeltower #paris

#nofilter

BB had a rough plan for the day, allowing for inclement weather. We headed from her apartment to the Eiffel Tower, which never ceases to amaze me no matter how many times I see it. It is equally beautiful in sunshine and rain.

I am deeply grateful for my new smartphone and its camera, which enabled me to get some creative shots with minimal effort on my part.

We took a fun river bus east on the Seine towards Notre-Dame – it’s called the Batobus and it’s a hop-on-hop-off service. Genius! I love the service in London for the same reason – plus it’s a very civilised way to get to work 😉

#batobus #seine #paris #riverboat

DD on the boat – grumpy because I insisted she sit inside instead of hang off the railing outside. Bad mother!

#bridges #paris #seine

Next stop: Notre-Dame & Île Saint-Louis

flâner dans les rues: setting the scene

#paris #france #metro

One of the fanciest Metro entrances I had ever seen! (2002)

In four days (FOUR!), I am going to enjoy a flâner dans les rues de Paris with the Breton Bestie, her daughter (DD’s bestie) and DD. Flâner dans les rues roughly translates to strolling the avenues, wandering the streets. I have been asked to bring tea cakes, fruit rolls and sharp British cheeses. There may be some other goodies transported across La Manche (hey, I have to keep some secrets, BB reads my blog!). BB has stocked up on wine (BB has EXCELLENT taste in wine; I think I’m getting the better end of the deal this weekend)

Spoiler alert: There are going to be many photos. Follow along on Instagram 🙂

I cannot wait to see DD’s face when she sees the Palais Garnier, and possibly dreams of dancing there. Then the Galeries Lafayette for the absolutely decadent interior. We’ll stop at Angelina’s for some restorative hot chocolate and cakes: my favourite is their signature Mont Blanc. You have to love chestnuts to enjoy this dessert; good thing I do!

But most of all, I’m so excited I get to see BB again. We’ll drink good coffee, eat too much, corral the kids, giggle, and catch up on everything that we’ve missed via Viber & Skype. 

Does your bestie live close by? How long have you known him/her? How do you sustain your friendship?

Amuse-Bouche #3: Autumn Gratitude Edit

I’m feeling grateful. We do a harvest festival in the UK (ours was Sunday), and it’s a sort of a precursor to all the North American Thanksgivings. All the singing and food always puts me in a good frame of mind to be grateful. To count my blessings. To give thanks.

Sarah’s blog post about Envy & Honesty really struck a chord with me today. How quick we are to accept a facade and assume all is well underneath. Her post reminded me to ignore the glowing updates on social media and actually ask my friends how they’re doing. Any excuse to send a postcard, really!

I’m thankful that E from I’m Strong Enough to Break has started a #ThingsKidsSayThursdays: read about the perception of hot girls from the mind of a second grade boy (hilarious!) or what my tween daughter thinks about the three wise men. Please join in and add your crazy tales tomorrow.

According to the weathermen, I can look forward to the coldest winter to hit the UK in 120 years. So lots of pretty white stuff which grinds London to a halt. Well, most weather does that, so nothing new really. I’m all for pretty white stuff and twinkly lights. Do you live somewhere that gets cold and snowy soon? Want to share your city with the world? Click here for more information.

All this promise of cold and snow inevitably means colds and man flu. So I’ve dug out a buttered bourbon cider recipe from the magazine archives (drool over the gorgeous image on the cover of Gathering below) – for medicinal purposes, honest! I’ve got other (non-alcoholic) ways of easing in to autumn, too, as does Jay from Running in My Head.

#bourbon #autumn

What are you grateful for this year? Your blogging community? Your health? A long-cherished dream come to fruition? If you’re comfortable to share in the comments, please do!

Autumn Falling…

I don’t know about the weather where you are, but here in London, it’s taken a decidedly autumnal turn early. Waaaaay early. So early I wasn’t ready. And I’m ALWAYS ready. Maybe this was the trigger to feeling totally off-kilter this last week.

I spent the week at work plugged into my headphones and working away, working through the blahs (or just ignoring them). It was enough to concern a few colleagues. I’ve earned the reputation of being somewhat of a cheerful soul (say what?) and they sensed I was not myself. Friday, I had the office all to myself and when you’re in a small open-plan office, this is a real luxury. So I revelled in my aloneness and decided I was not going to push it over the weekend. I was going to just relax, and read, and remember all the reasons why I love autumn so much.

IMAG0026

Jumpers. The colour orange. New boots. Mulled drinks. Stews. The smell of wood fires. Toffee apples. Pumpkin anything. Onion soup. Braised red cabbage & apple. Knitting projects. Crunchy leaves.

(My favourite memory of crunchy leaves is the boxful I was sent from a friend at Smith College in Massachusetts. It was my first autumn in New Orleans and let me tell ya, autumn really isn’t a season there. There are lots of things I love about NOLA but autumn isn’t one of them, so that boxful of leaves was the best care package this freshman could have received.)

I spent the weekend reading recipes, spiking my coffee with nutmeg, and mulling over what I should knit next. I’ve got a full-blown case of the warm and fuzzies now. The niggling grayness is hovering at the edges of my vision, but for now, I’m going to smother it in pumpkin spice.

How do you welcome autumn? What are your family traditions?