Sunday, 16 October 2011

With a cape of Harris Tweed

Listening to an item on Woman's Hour on Harris Tweed, which has taken me back to a very peaceful break on Harris earlier this year during which my sister and I bought Harris Tweed capes, sported proudly in the photo above, in the front garden of the croft we stayed in.

Harris Tweed warehouse and shop near the quayside in Tarbet. 
Harris Tweed is spun, woven and dyed in the Outer Hebrides using wool from the islands and is known around the world for its quality, protected by Parliament with the Orb mark, now 100 years old. Individual weavers work on looms at home to make cloth under the Harris Tweed Authority, which is then sold on in more than 40 countries and has featured in the work of designers like Alexander McQueen, Calvin Klein and Vivienne Westwood.

Wearing my cape makes me happy.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Small pleasures

Flowers from a friend, glorious even in death as they collapse under their own weight after blazing for nearly two weeks.

Quiet moments on the river bank looking at the freshly trimmed weeping willows. The one on the left looks like its mother has put a pudding basin on its head and cut round it.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Cameraless in Morocco

Tangier seafront, towards the port and old town.

A few days of sun in Tangier, for which we both managed to forget to bring the camera. We took a limited amount of phone photos, as didn't really like waving it around in the middle of a crowded medina.

Beautifully restored riad in the kasbah, with yellow mini. A sea breeze, I nearly lost my skirt, never mind modestly covered shoulders.

Looking back down to the city from the Kasbah.

The kasbah wall, the rolling surf.

The snake charmer in the kasbah, who shouted at me for having no change to give after I took photos.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Moo cards

Rather over-excited about my new freelancing business cards from Moo cards. Quick and easy to make and a great choice of custom designs, I hope they turn up before I leave for the UK...

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Summer garden

My parents' beautiful garden in the UK, is a lesson in how to make the most of a small space. It comes into its own early summer, last time I was home we had some beautiful sunny days and could really enjoy it.

In the passage leading down the side of the house from the French windows of the lounge, geraniums provide a splash of colour amongst the pots and miniature allotment planted with potatoes and herbs.

The circular law has been turned over this year as a vegetable patch, edged with lavender. In the middle are runner beans, surrounded by cabbages, lettuce, rocket and courgettes.

Small apples were already red in mid-July, on the apple tree trained to the sunny brick wall.

Cherry tomatoes grow in a hanging basket in a sunny corner, next to a honeysuckle trellis.

In a pot by the kitchen door, chives, mint and cherry tomatoes ripen next to trailing ivy and sweet peas.

Fish & chips, and bubbles, on a warm summer evening.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Projet Nivea, par trnd

Depuis quelques semaines je teste les crèmes du corps Niveau Pure & Natural pour le site du marketing bouche-à-l’oreille  trnd*. Alors, ai-je maintenant la peau douce de la tête aux pieds pour l’été… ou non ? Le bilan.

Pendant six semaines, j’ai testé lait nourrissant pour le corps, et la crème mains. J’ai la peau assez sèche et sensible, et ce qui m’a plu du projet à la base, c’était les ingrédients bios et l’aspect ‘doux’ du produit car 95% des ingrédients sont d’origine naturelle. Le look frais et clean de l’emballage est sympa – sans vraiment faire son effet dans la salle de bain à côté des produits plus haut de gamme par contre ! - mais c’est le fait que les produits soient sans parabène, sans silicone, sans colorant et sans huile minérale qui m’a attiré.

La crème pour les mains, j’ai mis tous les soirs avant de coucher et je l’ai mis dans le sac pendant la journée. C’est léger sans être trop liquide, avec un parfum agréable, qui nourrit bien la peau sans être trop collante – très important pour l’utilisation pendant la journée. Le lait du corps à également une bonne texture pour une utilisation le soir après la douche et surtout après l’épilation, mais je l’ai trouvé trop épais à mettre le matin. Je me déplace pas mal, et j’ai trouvé les échantillons dans le kit de bienvenue parfait pour la trousse de voyage !

J’achèterais le lait corporal comme soin de base à utiliser pendant la semaine et pour calmer la peau, mais en générale j’utilise plutôt Nuxe huile prodigieuse le matin, pour son parfum. Le crème de main j’utiliserai également, mais à côté de mon produit préféré, Occitane crème mains !

*c’est quoi, trnd ?
trnd est un site communautaire qui propose aux membres de tester des nouveaux produits et services, gratuitement, chez eux. Si on aime, on parle autour de nous. Simplissime.

J’ai déjà participé aux projets pour les pizzas Dr Oetker (maim !) machines à café Nespresso, livres photos CEWE, et maintenant, soins Nivea…

Friday, 15 July 2011

I heart my ScandiPhone

Last week the phone died. 'Died' is maybe not quite accurate, 'was killed by the wrong kind of batteries' more so. A little electrical pop and the non-rechargeable batteries quietly exploded, leaking battery fluid all over the inside of the handset and corroding the casing. Gone.

Nevermind, it wasn't exactly a style classic... unlike its replacement, our new mint green ScandiPhone, picked out by Mr pink milk Paris, on his own, no prompting. He went straight for it, possibly due to our current obsession with the original series of The Prisoner, with Patrick McGoohan.

Originally manufactured by Swedish telecoms giant Ericsson as the Ericofon, these telephones are mighty pieces of design from the fifties, that tapped straight into sixties space race cyber chic. There has been an example in the New York Museum of Modern Art since 1973, that's how cool my living room just became. The ScandiPhone, by Wild & Wolf is a modern interpretation, with push-buttons for the modern market instead of a dial, but the same, single-piece shell and styling. We found ours in 1962 at Abbesses, which specialises in mid-century design and stocks the widest selection of Orla Kiely I have found in Paris so far.

..."Hello, number two?"

4, rue Tholozé
75018 Paris

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Early Saturday evening run

Red hot pokers in Martin Luther King parc at Batignolles, 17th. My face is now approximately the same colour, a very heavy evening.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Berko cupcakes to round off dinner...

A delicious end to dinner with friends, Berko cupcakes and Kusmi violet tea.

Kumsi Tea had a flash sale on vente privée last week, €35 vouchers for €20, so we bought one each and got a little carried away in the Kusmi sops at Opéra and on the Champs-Elysées. Green tea, jasmine tea, loose leaf Earl Grey, violet tea, their famous Detox Tea and a miniature of Label Impérial signature tea, all in gorgeous coloured tins.

Cakes included Oreo, Speculoos, blueberry, peanut butter, cheesecake and red berries, complete with a little pipette of red berry coulis to squirt over the top. The best kinds of friends bring cupcakes to dinner...

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Friday, 29 April 2011

Trying out hipstamatic...

A latecomer to the retro cool that is Hipstamatic... now I just need my ageing iPhone to behave.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Lava and Icicles: The Blue Lagoon, Iceland

Rejkjavik, by the Viking ship, looking across the bay to where the sky meets the sea. Ice blue, everywhere. Saturday afternoon, halfway through a unique and surprising break.

Back to Friday morning, Charles de Gaulle airport. I don't know where I am going, so I have a case carefully packed for town and country, high heels and Converse, sun cream and snowboots. The snowboots were a suggestion late the night before, I think I may be going to Scandinavia... we check in at the Islandair desk, on a flight to Rejkjavik Keflavik airport.

I am delighted, thrilled and excited. Looking up Rejkjavik on my iPhone, reading about its history, what we will eat and drink, what we can look at, the fire and ice extremes for which it is famous.

The smiling taxi driver eventually gives the game away, with 'Will you be staying at the Blue Lagoon for your whole holiday?'. We roll on through the snow-covered lava rock in the sunshine, towards the natural thermal pools and the Blue Lagoon Clinic, a tiny hotel and treatment centre a five-minute walk through the snow to the lagoon itself. There is a volcano in the distance.

The Lagoon was formed in the early seventies, by operations for the geothermal heating company that still has a plant nearby. Public bathing opened in 1987, after people with psoriasis noticed an improvement in their condition after bathing in the water and using the natural silica mud at the bottom of the lagoon. The Clinic has been open since 2005, with just 15 rooms and a private pool, for true peace and quiet.

Four days of bathing and soaking, dozing and reading to unwind from urban life. After a morning in-water massage - like being in the bath, and massaged all at once and undoubtedly the best treatment I have had to date - we took the bus into Reykjavik for an afternoon and evening in the capital. Icicle removal by the fire service was a highlight.

The city lake had iced over, people were skating, sledging and playing on the ice, feeding the ducks at the edge and enjoying the winter sunshine. Life in Europe's tiniest capital felt cosy and laid-back, bustling but not too busy. We had Icelandic beer and warming spirits in a little yellow shabby chich vintage corner house, then moved onto an organic dinner at Icelandic Fish and Chips near the harbour, before jumping in an extortionately priced taxi to retreat back to the Lagoon.

Arriving back just in time for a bedtime bath in the Clinic's private Lagoon, we looked up to find the North Lights dancing across the sky for us, green and red and purple.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Found! Mid-century espresso set

A surprise sunny Sunday morning brocante in the quartier. I popped out for mince meat and came back with a six-piece mid-century porcelain espresso set for €5. Must find a prominent display position before husband comes back...

Back last weekend from a wonderfully peaceful trip to the Hebrides... photos to come.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Trouvé: table récup'

Last Sunday, we picked a table up off the street, and brought it home. I have never done this before, it felt a little like stealing, a little like virtuous recycling. It was quite heavy, and I was bright red with exertion and embarrassment stemming from a feeling of doing something slightly naughty, and the sneaking suspicion that someone was going to come running up the street after us, demanding their table back.

They didn't, in Paris it is quite usual to leave out objets encombrants, big items that you are getting rid of, in the street for the council to pick up the next morning. So we saved them the trouble, and are very pleased with our wide, solid, hardwood coffee table. It may not quite go with the mid-century aesthetic of the lounge, but it fits the size of the sofa and will be great in our next, bigger space.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

This time last week we were here

This time last week we were at the Blue Lagoon, near Reykjavik in Iceland, bathing in a geothermal pool surrounded by snow-capped volcanoes. It was the best surprise I have had, in ten years of surprises. Here's to another decade.

More to come...

Friday, 11 March 2011

A wet shave with your brunch, sir?

A wet shave man spends every Sunday afternoon in our favourite place for brunch, the Truc bar round the corner on rue Poteau.

For €10, you can have the whole massage, shave, hot towel, oil experience.

Your wife can enjoy a final coffee and pampering by proxy.

Sunday brunch at the Truc is a bargain at €20, with patisseries, coffee, muesli, pancakes, and a salmon, bacon, or homemade burger main course. We have never managed the pain perdu dessert.

mmm, massage...

mmm, hot towels...

Baby-soft face.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

This week I have learnt...

  • That an extra 50cm squared can make all the difference to a kitchen worktop (but so can the loss of an entire drawer).
  • That sharing music when you're lazy and usually listen to the same artists can be much less daunting with a fab music-sharing site like Lets Loop.
  • That Royal Jelly really is something, with added Vit B even better at boosting both energy and morale.
  • That party costumes are best planned more than three days beforehand...

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Bettina Rheims, Printemps and the Diamond-Encrusted Eiffel Tower

Photographer Bettina Rheims has provided Printemp's latest windows, with a nine-frame story of diamonds, dresses and deception set in its Boulevard Haussman store. Each frame showcases a different designer, inlcuding Balenciaga, Chloé, Dries Van Noten, Maison Martin Margiela and Valentino, as the model searches for a diamond-encrusted Eiffel Tower in the clutches of a myterious stranger. The exterior, shop floor, rooftops and staircases of one of Paris' biggest department stores play a leading role in the project, but my favourite shot is the mod girl in her stripy tent dress, looking out past her own silhouette.

Much better pictures than my single, rather rushed effort, are on the, worth a click through to the full post for all of them.

64 boulevard Haussmann, 
75009 Paris
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